We tell anyone who asks just how happy we were with the decision to move here. We both consider it the best move we could have made and the glow has not yet worn off. You still tell me periodically that you love living here. That you are happy we relocated. That you are glad we get to bring up our kids here. And I still find myself having quiet moments where I walk up the drive and think wow, we really do live here now. Everything we have is definitely not something I saw us being able to afford a couple of years ago and I was wrong to ever think that this town was a compromise for Canberra. You wanted acreage and I didn’t. You wanted rural and I didn’t. Our new home was the “compromise”. Every time we drive into Canberra though, I think thank God I didn’t move back there. Not that there is anything wrong with Canberra. I have friends and family there but its not my home anymore.
Neither is Sydney. I don’t miss that place either. I went back for three nights this month to officially finish up work and to go to the Bookclub Christmas dinner. Rather than taking public transport, I got a hire car to get me to Kellyville where I was staying. I arrived back into Sydney to traffic and rain. I then had to take an hour long bus ride into the city. I worked long days just trying to get loose ends tied up and then had a long trip back to family where the house that is normally kept at arctic circle temperatures at night was in the midst of a broken air conditioner episode and a busted water heater episode. So my big fat pregnant self spent a few nights sweating it out in the heat and humidity before declining a cold shower in favour of a wet washer wipedown in the morning. My trip was just awesome.
Work was equal parts flattering and frustrating too. The first day I was there, we had the group Santa party and catch up. As per usual, we’d run through social updates such as new people coming, old people leaving and birthdays. As an agenda item, they welcomed a new employee to the team. They talked about someone from the wider group retiring and then they talked about an EA from the dealer group resigning. And then they went through a business update. I was completely flabbergasted. I was also extremely hurt and practically in tears. I couldn’t believe that when all the offices were brought together via a videoconference (ie. probably my last opportunity to see the interstate people), the executives could talk about a staff member from the wider group retiring (ie not an actual employee of the dealer group at all) and someone from within the team resigning after six months and they couldn’t spare a breath to say goodbye to someone who had been there for five years! Not a word was said.
I got an sms from the Group Managing Director late that night to say this was actually on purpose because they thought it lessened the occasion of me leaving to put it in the same breath as someone who had been with the company only six months. They had actually planned a morning tea to say farewell to me so I should act surprised when that happened. Now I am grateful for the morning tea. I loved the native flower arrangement they gave me (way nicer than flowers requiring a vase). I also appreciated the kind words. My first boss and my last boss both spoke and it was lovey to be appreciated. Also, an executive with whom I considered I’d previously had a precarious relationship was SUPER nice to me…which was a little weird. On the whole though, I have to say that I think the lack of a mention at the group catch up was handled really badly.
So there was that moment where I was incredibly bitter and upset and there were the meetings where I was trying my best not to get frustrated. For weeks I had been asked to prepare proper handovers to allow others to complete tasks. I did my best to cram five years of knowledge into manuals and emails and conversations so that I left everyone prepared. I got the feeling at times though that some of what I had to say was in one ear and out the other. The expectation being I guess that if I was going to contract at least until the baby was born, I was practically on call so anything that seemed like it should be in the “too hard” basket was really still in the “Lexie” basket. I could just take care of it myself. Which I am happy to do. I want to still do work for the company but I was trying to get them to the point that they didn’t have to rely on me if for some freak reason they couldn’t utilise me. It was weird to walk out late and by myself on Friday evening feeling like I’d just left a chapter smack bang in the middle…
And then the very next week, there was Christmas. Oh, Christmas…a glorious time for some. Genevieve was definitely full of wonder at the sheer multitudes of presents for her. It’s the first Christmas she has really been able to appreciate that part. For the rest of us, it seems slightly like an exercise in trying not to kill each other. Or sarcastically slam each other into a wall. For me, Christmas was a bit of a pain in the backside. Because apparently I failed to tell you that despite the fact that we have celebrated Christmas with my family for the past seven years and every year we have eaten a hot roast as part of lunch, I did in fact expect that a cooked roast lunch would be part of our festivities this year and personally happened to want this as well. I stupidly made the assumption that when my sister discussed providing some meat and when I spoke about the fact that I’d like some roast chicken or some roast lamb, it wasn’t just a passing fancy that I was aching to drop like a hot potato. And speaking of potato, when I happened to specifically mention that I wanted either some roast chicken or some roast lamb at lunch because I happen to like that part of Christmas, I apparently failed to mention, specifically, that I would like some vegetables to go along with that. And Lordy did the shit hit the fan when I wanted to include hot vegetables with the hot meat for the hot lunch.
Then there was the present. I tried to communicate that there wasn’t much I really wanted for myself because the current things on my wish list are quite expensive and rose gold jewellery in general is not terribly common. I mentioned that one of these days I’d like a watch but I’ve never seen anything I liked which cost less than a couple of hundred dollars. You were immediately well have you looked? Are you even trying to find something? You then went and promptly found a second-hand one within our price bracket but got real pissed with me when I took one look at the picture and said no because it has diamonds on it. Just like with the house hunting, you never asked me specifically what I was looking for in a watch. You just blithely went ahead and made an assumption that I would have no other criteria for a piece of personal jewellery. Later you went and did exactly the same thing again. You found some earrings that you liked and asked me to take a look. When I dutifully did so but mentioned that they weren’t really to my taste, you got frustrated all over again which I think is kind of unfair.
We ended up settling on getting me a fitness band which will fulfil the role of sleep tracker, step counter and watch. That sentence makes it sound like this was an easier process and one that I didn’t get grief over but that would incorrect. You went a couple of rounds with me about why I wanted a fitness band and what exactly I thought I was going to do with it as well. Christmas really was a pain in the bum.
And on top of all that, there was also the episode this month which landed you on crutches! Now that the weather is much warmer, you and Genevieve went to the pool. You were getting ready to go when she decided to play with a pool noodle right near the waters edge. After you had removed all her flotation aids. She unfortunately dropped the noodle into the pool and promptly tried to retrieve it by herself. And that was when she fell in. At which point you hightailed it to the pool’s edge as you were not right beside her and jumped in feet first. Into the shallow end. This screwed you up emotionally for a couple of days an physically for a bit longer. It also scared the pants off Genevieve. Your reaction that is, not the pool. Now don’t get me wrong. I am glad that no one was seriously hurt (or worse). I think it was an accident and no one was at “fault”. I do kinda wish that you had paid a little more attention before you jumped in though. It sounded as though you were right there scant seconds after she went in so she needed help and not panic. I admit I wasn’t there though so maybe that is not fair.
And that wraps up this year. Next year will bring with it a whole new set of challenges, memories and changes I’m sure. In the meantime though, we have now passed the Christmas hurdle so happy New Years Eve to you and may our next year be a great one.
Silly seasonally yours,
Your Loving Wife