Ahh…let the SUCK begin

And no…it’s NOT what you think (although that type of post could be available upon request):

  1. Y’know, I think I’ve been doing a pretty decent job thus far of not letting the distance get to me…but last night sucked. HARD. It was a loooong drive back home (even though I made it back in record time) and all I could think about was just how normal life feels when we’re together. I felt like I was driving back to an abnormal world.
  2. As much as I love spreading out in the middle of my bed and trying to take up as much of it as possible, I totally missed Sunshine cuddling up next to me last night. I don’t know if this sounds odd or not, but I kinda feel like a protector of sorts when she’s snuggled up in my arms. It’s a nice feeling.
  3. As much as we all would like to think that we could handle the Big Brother house (I know it’s the only reality show I’d like to try), there’s something to be said about being locked in a house with 11 other people with no television, no radio, and no internet for two months. I wonder if any of us would truly act ‘normal’ the entire time or if the time spent inside the house would start to get to us.
  4. I don’t like waking up alone…just let that be said.
  5. I’ve learned a lesson from this past weekend: I’m officially out of shape when I get winded after only 15 minutes of vigorous sex. That never happened before my marriage (and sex rarely happened at all during the marriage anyway). Guess who is hitting that treadmill tonight??
  6. Masturbation isn’t NEARLY as good as the real thing…just let THAT be said, too.
totally pouting
A picture I took of myself while driving home from Sunshine's yesterday. Yes...I'm TOTALLY pouting.

Storms, scary back roads, & family meet-n-greets

We hit the road around 10am and head out.  We were looking forward to having a nice little road trip…just the two of us, some 80’s music, and memories.

We were heading to the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia, a place where I lived as a child for a few years (before I turned 10) and where Sunshine went to school.  The plan was to hit some places that I remember from my time as a child, go to a local tourist sight-seeing spot, and then eventually make our way to Sunshine’s mom’s house for my initial meeting.

The weather, unfortunately, didn’t really want to co-operate with us…though Tropical Storm Danny wasn’t due to pass through until later in the evening. We got off the highway in Grand-Pré and used the “back roads” to make our way through the rest of the primary journey.  I remember, as a kid, my parents would always drive this way when we came home from visiting outside of the area…and as we drove through the winding road lined with beautiful houses and amazing landscaping, I could totally understand why as an adult.

Wolfville, NSAs we entered Wolfville, I remembered quite a few things as a kid.  I remembered getting my first swimming lessons as Acadia University.  I remembered my first taste of moon-mist ice cream at the local farm market (it was STILL there!!).  I remembered visiting again as a young 20-something (had a girlfriend going to school there at the time).  I remembered just how beautiful that little village really was.

We then took a right turn and head towards Port William and Canning…two more very small villages that would lead us to a tourist attraction that I had not heard of before: The Lookoff.

Let me say that the build-up was definitely appropriate because the pay-off was spectacular…even in the rain:

The Lookoff: Annapolis Valley, NS - 08-29-09
The Lookoff: Annapolis Valley, NS - 08-29-09
The Lookoff: Annapolis Valley, NS - 08-29-09
The Lookoff: Annapolis Valley, NS - 08-29-09
Sunshine & I at The Lookoff: Annapolis Valley, NS - 08-29-09
Sunshine & I at The Lookoff: Annapolis Valley, NS - 08-29-09

New MinasWe then made our way into New Minas, NS.  It was very cool for me because some of my very first memories as a child were from my time living in New Minas.  I was blown away to see just how much it had grown into a commercial/retail beacon for all villages and towns in the area.  I mean, I don’t think there’s much industry in New Minas…but when EVERY business appears to be booming, is it necessary?  It’s one of those villages where there is one main street (the same one we drove on for hours) and for about 5 miles or so, it’s nothing but one long traffic jam and a ton of shopping opportunities.  A little weird seeing how the village had developed over the past 25+ years, but still very cool to reminisce.

The old stomping grounds
The old stomping grounds

Sunshine then indulged me a bit and let me drive through an old subdivision that I lived in as a child. I remembered where it was and what house I lived in (which was almost completely hidden by trees).  I remembered names of a couple of the children who lived in a couple of houses in the area.

My old home in New Minas, N.S.
My old home in New Minas, N.S.

I even remembered a story where I was hit in the head by a railroad spike (I had thrown in up in the air and run…only I ran into it’s downward path…ouch) and Sunshine says that she can see as mall scar on my head to prove this story of mine.  All-in-all, it was a very awesome trip down memory lane that I wouldn’t have wanted to share with anybody else.

So off we drove through the Annapolis Valley…looking to find a local diner to eat in and then bide our time before making our way to Momma Sunshine’s momma’s house. Along the way, we saw a sign that took us by surprise.  Take a look at what’s offered for your motel room and tell me what you think…

I get WHAT with my room?
I get WHAT with my room?

It was around 3pm when Sunshine decided it was safe to take the drive to East Dalhousie, Nova Scotia.  Now, to say that this small village is a bit out of the way would be an understatement.  I had taken a picture on my Blackberry and wanted to text it at the time but…as would be the case for the next 5+ hours…there was NO reception whatsoever in the area for any data transfer.  Here is what I wanted to send out on Twitter:

If we break down here, we're NEVER getting out...
If we break down here, we're NEVER getting out...

Of course, as we continued to drive into the abyss (lol), I continued to make smart-ass cracks about seeing guys in hockey masks or hearing somebody playing the theme song to Deliverance.

Sunshine was only slightly amused at this point.  Sorry baby!!

After the 40-minute back-woods drive in the rain we finally found Momma’s momma’s house. But Sunshine wanted to give me the full tour of the village first.  We drove two minutes and then turned around.

I’m only slightly kidding.

Apparently, East Dalhousie was having their annual community fair.  And apparently, this brings in a lot of people from surrounding areas.  And apparently, the rain kept a lot of people away.

You tell me…

This was the main performance stage.  No, the guys playing guitar & banjo didn't appreciate my "dueling banjos" request.
This was the main performance stage. No, the guys playing guitar & banjo didn't appreciate my "dueling banjos" request.

Even Sunshine was less than enthused about the turn-out (she’s gonna hate me for this post…lol):

Sunshine is ALL about the East Dalhousie Community Fair
Sunshine is ALL about the East Dalhousie Community Fair

We arrived at her mom’s home and I was immediately welcomed warmly.  Her mom is sweet…just adorable.  Funny enough, I had each one of Sunshine’s Tips For Meeting Mom memorized and even had to stop myself from saying a “that’s what she said” joke.  Luckily, Sunshine mouthed it quietly and we both had a few laughs (we ended up having about 9 or 10 of those jokes during the next few hours…we love making our own fun). Her mom fed me, talked to me, and really made me feel at ease.

Then two of Sunshine’s sisters showed up.

But y’know what?  They were just as friendly and welcoming. It turned out being a VERY comfortable visit and I’m very much looking forward to visiting again. Sunshine’s family is awesome…just for the record.

We head back on our 90-minute trip to Halifax around 7:30pm.  At this point, Tropical Storm Danny was just starting to make his presence felt…and then it got dark by 8:15pm…and then driving 120kph on the highway eventually turned into 70kph (74mph to 43mph). Traffic was slow-moving and the rain/wind combination was incredibly stressful to drive in…especially in the dark.

Luckily, I had Sunshine with me.

She really is tremendous in every way. It seems that every moment we spend together only furthers my thoughts on us and our future. I’ve never felt this way before…she’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a partner.  I just love spending time with her, regardless of what it is. She can make any situation better.

Life, my friends, is good.

Life is good

Meeting Mom

meeting-the-parents.jpgI’m “meeting mom” tomorrow.

I don’t know if I’ve really got much more to say than that. I mean, I’m pretty big on family…I’m fairly close to mine and I don’t think I’ve ever had any bad relationships with parents of any previous girlfriends (and only one former girlfriend really had issues with my dad, but that was 12+ years ago). While I don’t think my in-laws have a picture of me lying around their house anywhere, I always got along with them and I think they’re very sweet people.

So for the meeting tomorrow, I’m not really overly concerned. I’m hopeful, obviously, that Sunshine‘s mom will like me and we’ll get off on the right foot. Where Sunshine has met my parents and they like her (although they have doubts about how we’re going to handle the distance going forward), and we have both met each other’s children (except my daughter, who isn’t scheduled to visit until Christmas…ugh), this seems like the final step in making our relationship “the real deal”.

I’m trying to not make it a big issue in my head. Let the record state that I’m really looking forward to meeting her, so it’s not like I’m overly nervous or anything. But for me, meeting a partner’s parent(s) is a really important step.

So I guess we’ll just have to play it out and see what happens. When Sunshine met my parents, it turned into a very cordial meeting. She even came with me to visit mom when she was in the hospital and dad took us both out to supper at a local restaurant. So I’m hoping that meeting her mom (and there’s a good chance of meeting one of her sisters, too) will turn out in a very similar way.

It’s a case where Sunshine and I know how we feel about each other and we 100% believe that we’ll one day overcome the distance obstacle; we’re just hoping that we can convince our “old school” parents of the same thing.

Wish me luck!

Why Won’t My Son Talk?

no_talkingI don’t get it. The kid turns 3 in a couple of weeks and he’s still not talking. Oh don’t get me wrong, the boy mumbles and babbles and says the occasional word very clearly when he wants to, but his communication skills are clearly not where they should be at this point.

But the kid ain’t stupid…not by a long shot. I mean, we’ve already tested his hearing and communication skills and he’s come back 100% every time. He shows signs of keen intelligence and does so quite frequently.

He understands almost everything that I tell him without fail. If I tell him to go pick something up or get a blanket out of his room, he does it…quickly. He says ‘dad’ and ‘mom’ and ‘yes’ and ‘no’ and ‘up’ and a bunch of ramblings that I have learned to understand their meanings.

At first, doctors and friends and family told The Ex and I not to worry. But as time has passed and months have turned into a year, we’re going to have him tested again soon. For what, exactly? I don’t know…that’s all on The Ex right now. I’m just going along for the ride.

For me, I’m in no rush to really force him to talk. In fact, I was joking with him the other night that I thought he was faking it. Is he? Who knows? Probably not…but here’s kind of how the conversation went after I picked him up from the babysitter:

“How was your day, buddy? Was it good?”

…babbling…

“Oh really? (laugh) Y’know, I think you could tell me if you wanted to.”

…babbling in response with his shoulders shrugged a bit…

“That’s right, buddy. I think you can talk to me just fine.”

…babbling in response…

(more laughter) “I’m just saying, buddy…I think you can speak to me.”

…babbling and a shake of his head ‘no’…

It was that last shake of the head that pretty much confirmed (in my head, anyway) that he’s ready to talk at any time. I mean, he understands so much…I just don’t see how he couldn’t talk when he’s extremely audible at times with certain words.

My dad had recently ripped out a story from a copy of a Reader’s Digest from 1998 that had some advice on this very subject:

“Don’t try to teach him to talk – not right now. You just give him lot sof love and attention. When he feels confident and secure, he’ll talk.”

In that particular story, the child ended up talking around the time he turned four years old. I honestly don’t know if I can go another entire year without him talking to me (and I suspect both him and his mom will also be frustrated), but I really don’t want to push it right now.

I just want him to be happy.

No one knows exactly why some children take so long to talk while others don’t. What I know, though, is that there is a large group of kids out there in the world that share the exact same pattern of development and learning that my son does. I know he’s intelligent and I know he’ll be talking my ear off soon enough. I have confidence that he’ll talk when he’s ready and not a day before.

And y’know what? That’s good enough for me.

The Normal Life

holiding-handsY’know, there are times when it’s difficult to full comprehend what it would be like to have a ‘normal life’ with Sunshine.

I mean, we’re in a long-distance relationship and that probably won’t be changing any time soon…so it’s sometimes hard to fully realize what things could be like if we were in the same city.

The past few days gave us a glimpse of just that.

Sunshine came to visit for a few days on Sunday. I’m driving down on Friday after work to spend the weekend with her and even meet her mom on Saturday. So what did we do? Well, I went to work during the day…we hung out or went on a date at night…we lounged on the cough and watched TV together. It was just really, really nice. It didn’t feel like a visit; it felt like the future.

Everything just felt comfortable and natural and right. From the times we played with Ankle Biter during his suppertime visits (he was more interested in playing than he was eating) to just driving around the city and talking and laughing and enjoying each other’s company.

It was one of those trips where the distance didn’t seem to be a factor; where the 3 hours didn’t really exist. We could just pretend this was the way it was because we both felt it was the way it should be.

I’m not a big fan of her city…she’s not a big fan of my city…but whenever we’re together, all seems right with our worlds.

Is it Friday yet?

The Date Night

One of the things that The Ex and I never really did was go out on dates. I mean, we went out on a few in the beginning, but once we moved in together we really just sat around a lot. When we did go out, it was normally in groups or to an event or something of that nature…nothing really considered a “date”.

This is another relationship trap that I never want to fall into again.

See, every happy long-term couple I know has one thing in common: the date. Just taking one night a week…one night every two weeks…to go out and do something as a couple can mean all the difference in the world to a relationship.

Now you’re probably thinking that being in a long-distance relationship would automatically mean that whenever we get together we’re going on dates. Not true. I mean, we could very easily do the whole “stay in the bedroom all weekend” thing or “go out and do as much as possible” thing when we’re together…and we definitely have done those things on occassion.

But this week, for example, sees Sunshine spending a few days with me at my house…I work during the day, we spend time together at night. And I believe that we’ve reached that “comfort level” where we could easily just curl up on the couch every night and be very content with the situation.

Tonight, though, we’re going on a date. Dinner and a movie…the old stand-by classic. And to me, it’s just an excuse to go out and really just focus on us…to just enjoy being in a relationship with the person that I’m in love with and NOT take them for granted.

As I look back at my failed marriage and previous failed relationships, taking things for granted was a huge mis-step on my part most of the time. It’s something I don’t ever planning on doing again because I know this is a feeling I haven’t felt before, and this is a relationship that I plan on working very hard on to ensure it lasts.

What about you? In your successful relationships, did you take time out for yourselves? What about your failed relationships? Was not being able to communicate or focus on one another one of the issues that split you up? Can the “long-term relationship date” really save the relationship?

What if you’ve moved on but the parents HAVEN’T?

Yeah…this is a legit question for everybody.

Here was the scenario: Sunshine and I met up with my parents a few weeks back. It was their initial meeting and after dinner they had invited us back both to their house for some casual conversation. Once we entered the living room and sat down, I glanced over at the television and nearly recoiled in horror.

On the shelf directly next to the television was a picture of me and The Ex on our wedding day.

I was absolutely mortified. Thankfully, Sunshine held in any horror or uncomfort until later…and even then brushed it off a bit and my parents just being forgetful.

Then a couple of weeks later my dad wanted to show off his new trailer for camping. They had a beautiful trailer that they sold because it was getting too difficult for mom to go camping and climb in and out (the stairs were too difficult to climb). So they basically just moved everything from one trailer to the next.

As soon as we walked up the stairs and stood in the FIRST ROOM, my jaw hit the floor again as there was now ANOTHER COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PHOTO of The Ex and me from our wedding day.

So after Sunshine was long back at home, I discussed this with both of my parents on separate occasions…just trying to feel out where they were at.

My mom said that she just didn’t even think about it and completely hadn’t thought about removing them in case I had moved on with my life…even though it was over two years after the initial split.

My dad told me that he’d always consider The Ex to be part of the family. I immediately told him that of course she would be…she’s a great person, just not a good fit for me. But he said that he’d move the photo.

Cut to this past Saturday. I took the Ankle Biter with me to visit the folks. He was playing in another room when, after about an hour or so, I heard him say, “Mom!”. I wasn’t sure what was going on. He then proceeded to come get me and take me by the hand and lead me out.

He took me to my parents’ bedroom. He got up on the bed and began to jump up and down (they’ve got a big king-sized bed so it’s fun for him). He then pointed at the wall and said, “Mom!”

Sure enough…they had moved the wedding photo from the living room to their bedroom.

Sigh.

So that brings me to the question: What if you’re separated and/or divorced and have moved on with your life, but your parents HAVEN’T moved on yet?