Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Wow! That was a week I wasn't expecting.

At this time last week I was wondering what I should do about the job posting in London.  Less than 24 hours later I was faced with another decision.

Should I go to my Mother's funeral. 

I was sent a message on Facebook from a very close childhood friend.  A friend I haven't really spoken to since I went off to college 16 years ago.  Her message was very urgent, and urged me to call her as soon as I got the message.  As I was dialing the number, I realized what it was probably about.  She was Facebook friends with my brother.  Why else would she want to talk to me so urgently?  I was right, she wanted to give me the news that my mother had died that morning.  She was chatting with my brother online and passing the information to me as she got it.  I thanked her for letting me know, and apologized for her having to get in the middle of this horrible situation.

As I've written before, I haven't spoken to my parents since just after my youngest child was born.  At that time, I had made the decision that my parents were too emotionally poisonous to be around.  Based on this, I didn't want my parents - specifically my mother - around me or my family again.  I mourned the loss of the people who raised me just over 3 years ago.  I've already dealt with my grief.  Why bring up the past again?

Going to the funeral wouldn't be for me.  I had no interest, or need, to go.  It would have been for my father.  I still love my father.  I've missed him terribly since the last, horrible time we spoke.  I hate that he's having to go through this by himself.  So, I decided that once I knew when the funeral was going to be I would start making travel arrangements so I could be there.

The day after I found out, and once I had made my decision to attend the funeral, I called my father for the first time in 3 years to give my condolences.  After a little bit, I got up the courage to ask when the funeral was going to be.  His response, "it's kinda hard to plan a funeral when she isn't even dead yet". 

Um, excuse me?  What do you mean? 

My father explained that she had been taken off of life support the day I spoke to my friend, but that my mother was still breathing on her own more than 24 hours later. 

I asked my father why I was given different information and he didn't know.  The only explanation he had was that my friend had misunderstood what my brother had told her.  Well, I didn't want to get into an argument with him and didn't give him all of the information regarding what was posted on my brother's Facebook wall.  According to my father, my brother could not have been mistaken since my father and brother had been speaking multiple times a day.  If my brother wasn't mistaken, then he was an ass - plain and simple.

To say I was livid, is an understatement. My whole life, my brother has made all events about him instead of who they were really about - which is precisely why he wasn't even invited to my wedding. It took me hours to calm down from my anger at my brother. I couldn't get over why he would post on his Facebook page that our mother died Wednesday morning, when on Thursday night she was still alive.

It turned out that my anger was all for naught.  I got an email from my father the next morning saying that she had died a few hours ago.  During the conversation I had with him on Thursday night, my father had said that there wouldn't be a funeral or a memorial.  That he was going to have her cremated and bury her ashes on their property in Vermont.

Which brings me to the next bit of stress in my life. 

All weekend we were watching the CNN coverage of hurricane Irene.  Not once during the broadcasts we were watching did we hear anything about the damage that was happening to Vermont.  When I arrived at work on Monday morning I was saddened to see the main story on Yahoo News was about the very town my father's house is in.  The property that he was planning on bringing my mother's ashes to in order to bury them where she was happiest.  As it is right now, the town the property is in has been cut off from all directions.  We have no way of knowing whether the house is even still standing - the house that was less than 100 feet from what turned into a raging river with very low banks.  For some reason, this has saddened me more than the death of my mother.

Oh, and I made a decision about what to do about the job in London.  I'm not going to apply.  In fact, we don't think we want to move there at all now.  Right now, we just want to stop putting our lives on hold - as they've been since the beginning of the year.  We promised to revisit the idea of a move in the future, but for now we're staying put.  Maybe not in the same town, but at least we'll be staying in the US.  That's something at least.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dreams, and how swiftly they can shatter

It was just 8 months ago that the idea was even in our heads.  The idea; let's move to England.  Sounds hard to do, right?  For most, it is because of this small little problem of not being allowed to be there longer than 6 months without a visa.  Not a problem for me since, as you already know, my husband is British.  Well, it's a little bit of a problem, but not nearly as big of a problem if he weren't British.

Since I'm married to a Brit, I was entitled to a visa that would let me stay in the country for as long as I liked.  However, it was a pain in the ass to get.

The process we went through was stressful and time consuming.  And expensive.

To make sure we didn't screw it up, we hired an agency in London to help us out with the application and the supporting documentation.  The list of the *highly recommended* supporting documentation was a couple of pages long.  They wanted records going back 4 years to prove that my husband and I have been living together that whole time.

Thankfully, I'm petrified of not having something we may, possibly, may never, eventually need and had saved everything for at least the last 10 years.

So, we go through the hassle, stress, and expense of getting this visa in my passport - it took about 3 months.  Great!  Now I can apply for jobs with my resume showing that I'm legally allowed to work in the UK and I wasn't just looking for someone to sponsor me.  I applied for a job I thought I would be a shoe-in for.  And I was!  I was so qualified for the job, the hiring company actually thought I was too qualified and would end up leaving shortly after starting.  So I didn't get the job.

No biggie.  I knew of another company that would be hiring for a few different positions in the near future that I was also very qualified for.  But, since I currently work for this company, and know how their hiring policies work, I wasn't too concerned that they wouldn't hire me for something I was too qualified for.

So, one of the positions at this company was posted.  There were two spots available.  The requirements for even working for this company are complex, but both my husband and I met those requirements.  We were also both qualified for the job.  So we both applied.  Many, many weeks go by and we don't hear anything.  Weird.  I guess they had someone else in mind.  Oh well, I knew they were going to be posting for another position shortly that I was also qualified for.

During this whole time we already had plans to take a vacation in England for my Sister-in-law's wedding.  So, shortly before we left I sent an email to the people I had been talking to about these positions asking if they wanted me to drop by when I was in London.  A few days later I received an email saying that they'd love to meet me!  Also, they explained that the reason my husband and I were not considered for the position we applied for was because we weren't currently in the country and the policy was they were not allowed to do phone interviews.

This information pissed me off in more ways than I care to admit.  Had I been told that they couldn't do phone interviews then we may have been able to make ourselves available for an in-person interview.  As it was, we were never given that option. 

During my visit with them, they seemed very eager for me to start in the position that hadn't even been posted yet.  I was very eager too, but only had a vague idea of how much the position would be paying.

While in England we probed our friends for information on how much they thought we would need to make in order to live where we wanted to live.  The number that came back was about £50,000 - if my husband were willing to stay home with the kids until Ramsay started full-day school.  Also, we realized that we really did want to move back - the concerns voiced in a prior post were all things that could be worked around simply by having my husband stay home with the kids.  Childcare is just too expensive otherwise.

Well, the position was posted this morning and our dreams have been shattered.  It is only paying £42,000.  That's quite a big difference when there's only one income.  Now we're trying to come up expenses we can cut.  Instead of living in a 3 bedroom townhouse, maybe we can make do with a 2 bedroom apartment.  Maybe we don't really need a car.  Maybe we won't have a home phone.  And so on. 

Are all of these concessions worth the upheaval to live like we were living when we first got married?  I have no idea.  I hate living paycheck to paycheck, and that's what we would be doing if we cut enough items out of the budget. 

Plus, we have the whole problem of the house we're living in now.  We won't be able to sell it.  So we would either have to walk away from it and have it go into foreclosure.  Or, rent it out - probably at a loss.  If we were to rent it out at a loss, that's even more money coming out of the measly pay listed above. 

I just don't see how it can be done.  Am I being too selfish in wanting a somewhat, but not even close to, comparable life there as we have here?  I need someone to tell me what to do.  But since I know that won't happen, I'm posting it here for input. 

Help a girl out, won't you?  Please?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Preschool - are you ready for Ramsay?

Friday morning, as I was frantically trying to finish up a file at work to close out before the noon deadline, I received a call from the school district we live in.  Because I was so busy, I wasn't going to answer the call.  But then I realized it could be about Lucas, who was hopefully behaving himself in his 3rd grade classroom at that moment.

It wasn't about Lucas. 

It was about Ramsay. Ramsay, who was hopefully behaving himself at daycare, not school.

Actually, it was to let me know that even though school started almost 3 weeks ago, a spot in the preschool had opened up.  Did I want it for Ramsay? 

Um, hmmm, let me think.

Do I want my child, who is about a year behind where his older brother was at this age, to have a structured setting to learn the things he is supposed to know by the time he is in Kindergarten?  Of course I did!  I snatched up the spot right away.

The only problem was the school needed a copy of Ramsay's current physical - one dated within the last year - before he would be allowed to start.

Ramsay's last physical was June 4, 2010 - which, for those of you who are mathematically challenged, was more than a year ago. 

After getting off the phone with the school district I called his doctor's office to make the appointment figuring they wouldn't be able to get him for at least a week or two.  To my greatful surprise, they were able to see him at 9am this morning.  So, as of 10:20, Ramsay is registered and scheduled to start preschool next monday.  And, as an added bonus, since he wasn't able to start with the rest of the class, I won't have to pay any tuition for August.  Yay!

Now, who told my little baby that it was ok to grow up and start school?

I feel like it was just a few months ago he looked like this:

Ramsay, 6 weeks

Now, he's a walking, talking, running, getting into trouble, 3 year old who looks like this:

Ramsay, 2 weeks ago

I am officially the mother of a 3rd grader and a preschooler.  Hold me.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Why is life so complicated?

I was adopted as an infant. I only met my biological mother 4 years ago, when I was 30. I know how lucky I am to even know who she is, let alone to have already met her. But I get a very bad vibe from her. I don't know how to explain it. This 'feeling' I get has led me to keep her out of my life, and my families life, for about 3 years.

She has another daughter who I am facebook friends with. We kind of keep in contact that way. Today I got an actual email from her. The email was explaining that our mother was taking care of her Mother's (my bioligical grandmother) estate. Due to this, and since I was being listed as a beneficiary, our mother was asking my half-sister to ask me for my social security number (Phew! Confused yet?)

This is weird, right? I don't really want to have anything to do with this woman, and haven't for almost 3 years, and now she's asking for my social security number. Something just doesn't seem right. Am I just reading too much into this?

Whatever portion is supposed to be mine, I would rather it just go to her other daughter. I've told her this before, apparently she's not taking my feelings into consideration. What should I do?