WARNING: This is a LONG post. After all, we're talking about a year here.
A year ago today, The Boy and I left the Evil Empire State with two suitcases and the cat. I had previously FedExed six boxes of stuff (approximately 150 pounds' worth); the rest of our belongings (over 4,000 pounds, according to moving estimates) were either sold for chump change,given away, or thrown in a very large dumpster. Even the car (which had serious mechanical issues) was donated to charity. Thus began our trek toward our new life here in Missouri.
The Mister wants me to explain my willingness to part with our belongings. When we decided to have a life together, we decided that we wanted to fill our home with "our" stuff, not with a collection of things acquired during failed relationships, or castoffs from friends and relatives. I had some trouble with this concept at first. After all, I had been on my own for many years, and worked hard to acquire my belongings. I was letting them define me, I suppose. But afterall, they are just THINGS. I was being offered something much more important here. Life. Love. Happiness. Hugs, kisses, and all things wonderful.
I began to embrace the idea of purging my stuff. I packed up some clothes, sentimental items that couldn't be replaced, many photographs (sans frames), and a box of toys for The Boy. The rest could be purchased in Missouri, if I felt a need for them. It was a cathartic experience - I was letting go, literally and figuratively, of the past, and looking toward OUR future. And The Mister also did his purge. About the only things he brought along were his clothes and his important manly appendages (his tools).
Here in Missouri, The Mister was also quite busy. He purchased a mobile home (which I suggested, as I knew it might be some time before I could contribute financially to the household - we could comfortably afford it on one income). I had seen pictures of the trailer, it looked fine to me. I guess I should point out here that I am not one who is obsessed or impressed by "things"; a home is more what happens inside it, rather than what it looks like from the outside. And I'm not even hurt if you want to call me "trailer trash".
The Mister shopped like a champ, he being the king of sale prices and yes, even coupons! We discussed all major purchases, and many minor ones. Many emails contained pictures and links to items before he went out and scored the best price for it. Even I did some shopping. I had things delivered to The Mister, and from NY, I was able to set up all his utilities, so he could move in and get things organized. I even found a kitchen table and chairs on Ebay that matched our kitchen perfectly. The seller noticed that I was in NY, and reminded me that it would be an awfully long drive to IL for pickup of the item. I assured her that my grasp of geography was firm, and that The Mister would be happy to make the drive from MO to pick up the table. By the time we arrived, the only big thing we needed was a couch. Click here to read of The Mister's love for all things bright and shiny.
Meanwhile, back to our travels:
The Mister was anxiously awaiting our arrival; we were anxious, too. The cat was especially anxious. She 'perfumed' the interior of her cat carrier during takeoff, as she was carefully stowed under the seat (a privilege that cost me $100). In hindsight, I should have had her tranquilized prior to flight. Our subsequent connecting flights involved a cleaning and further 'decoration' of the cat carrier in an airport bathroom (where the cat was certain of a death by drowning), as well as tense negotiations with airline personnel regarding the feasibility of putting said carrier under other seats, and the possibility of the cat not being allowed on the plane at all. At this point, The Boy informed the gate attendant that he, being a person with a mental illness, was liable to "freak out" if we were unable to get on the plane from Pittsburgh. (Visions of TSA agents and handcuffs danced in my head). Suffice it to say, our last leg of our journey had the cat and carrier strapped into a seat beside me (for no additional cost). We were in the very last row of the plane at this point, next to a non-working, rather odoriferous, restroom. Any smell emanating from the general area could be blamed on either the cat or the lavatory, which assuaged my guilt and embarrassment somewhat.
After many hours, we arrived safely in St. Louis...our luggage, however, did not. And our boxes of clothing weren't due to be delivered for a few days. Would we be giving new meaning to Missouri's 'Show Me' state slogan?
The Mister picked us up at the airport, loaded our carryons and cat into the van, and off we went. To our new home. To our new life.
The three of us began the arduous (at times) task of adjusting to life as a single unit. The Boy and I had been on our own for most of the lad's life, he was used to my 'loosie goosie' method of discipline (which more than likely contributed to his behavior problems). The Mister, on the other hand, is much more strict. I think The Boy would classify him as being a hardass. The Mister and I had many private conversations (somewhat heated, at times) regarding how to deal with The Boy - we've pretty much resolved all those conflicts by this point.
The change in the regime has been a good thing - a very good thing. The Boy's behavior has improved immensely, and he did very well in school this past year. The Mister continues to 'remind' me to keep The Boy on a short leash - and we are all benefitting from it.
The Mister has three well-adjusted daughters (one who insists on being referred to here as gorgeous), so he knows of what he speaks. The girls, now grown, love and respect their father - and I have hopes that one day, The Boy will feel the same way (he's awfully stubborn). Even though The Boy complains about The Mister's rules, he has said that "I finally have the father figure I deserve".
We've also had the typical adjustments about all things domestic. These too, have been worked out satisfactorily. That doesn't mean I don't bitch when things aren't put where I want them (I'm June Freaking Cleaver, not Mother Teresa!). We have been able to deal with our problems mostly in a straightforward manner, though there have been a few instances where we both stewed for a bit before resolving our differences. We talk it over, and kiss and make up, resolving to do better. And we laugh...a lot.
So, a year later, here's my take on the scorecard:
Love - multiplied
Burdens - more than halved
Sleep - increased
Happiness - immeasurable
Troubles - negligible
If I could learn how to talk less and listen more, and The Mister would stop being right more than humanly possible, it would be darned near perfect.
This post has been endorsed by The Mister.