I haven’t updated my blog in months. 8 months to be exact.
I wish I had a good reason why, but don’t. All I have are excuses.
So much has happened, so much has changed in our life over the past 18 months. About a year ago, I shared that we’d relocated from Texas back to my hometown in NorCal.
In case you missed it, here’s a “little recap”. Ready? For the majority of our relationship, Ryan badgered me about moving. It was a topic that came up more frequently than I liked. I had valid points as to why I was not ready & would not move. Last January, after 13 years I finally agreed to relocate Fort Collins, CO – Only because of a job opportunity for Ryan. We talked to the girls about it & then my ex-husband. We started making preparations to make it easier when the time came to move. THEN… an old friend from my hometown came to visit for a week to go hunting in Texas with Ryan. While he was visiting, he told Ryan he should come work for him & that he could make more money than he would taking the job in Fort Collins. He spent the entire visit begging us both to come move back to my hometown, somewhere I swore I’d never return to. I had many objections, that both had a rebuttal for. After lots of convincing for a week, and then more convincing, Ryan finally got me to agree to go back to my hometown instead of Colorado, a decision I regretted after only a couple months of being back and greatly regret today.
On March 31, 2018, Ryan left Texas, headed to Tahoe with our two dogs, Beast & Norman. He stayed in Tahoe at my mother-in-laws house for a couple days, then headed to our friends house in Redding, where he left Norman, so that my childhood best friend (who lived in Redding), could come get a few days later. He made it to Fort Bragg, spent the first week in a hotel, then the following 8 weeks at my friends fathers cabin. Meanwhile, I stayed in Washington, Texas in our friends guest house (which I was so grateful for). 9 weeks was a really long time to be apart. Other than when we separated in 2015, we’d never spent that much time apart. It is true, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Literally, the day before Ryan left, my sister in law (who had been my best friend for well over a decade, and then married my brother in law in 2011) reached out to me via text to make amends. We had not spoken in years and just recently had Ryan started speaking to his brother. There had been years of bad blood between him & I and his family. It had been years since we’d spoken to or seen my mother in law or other brother in law (Ryan is the oldest of 3 brothers). I remember being hesitant about responding, but after talking it over with Ryan and the girls, I decided to respond. I am so glad I did. Even though, I 100% regret moving back to my hometown, I AM TRULY GRATEFUL that we did because, had we not, I’d almost guarantee that we would still not be on speaking terms. I spent most of the 9 weeks Ryan was gone with them. I cannot even begin to put into words how happy it made me to see Rebel finally get to experience family (REAL FAMILY) for the first time, get to know my nephews, who’d I hadn’t seen in years, again and spend tons of quality time with my niece. After having them back in life now for 18 months & looking back at how quickly & easily it was to repair things, I only wish we would have done so sooner. I cannot imagine life without family now. I focus on this often when I am feeling bitter and angry about being back here in Fort Bragg. I have to remind myself that some good has come from the decision.
Ryan left Fort Bragg and drove straight through (24+ hours of driving) back to Texas on Friday of Memorial Day weekend, The plan was that we’d load all of our things up in an enclosed trailer he’d borrowed from a friend, which I would pull back to California and he would pull our friends camper trailer, which we would stay in temporarily while we waited for the rental to be ready. He stayed in Texas for a week, and during that time, he, the boys and my nephews went to Matagorda to go offshore fishing. While there, he literally got bit by a shark (which he refused to go to the hospital or doctor for) and took WEEKS to heal up. (This was his 2nd major injury in 6 months.)
Ryan, Hunter, Rebel & I left Texas at 4:59 A.M. on June 3rd and 18 hours later finally stopped for the night in Flagstaff, AZ. On June 1st, Aidan (my niece) and Emily flew from Texas to Nevada with my mother in law. So when we got to Tahoe the next day, the girls were there waiting for us. Ryan only stayed for a couple days, then headed to the coast. I stayed for a few days. Haylie and Hailey returned from their week long stay in Kona (at my mother in laws other house) on Rebel’s birth.day so we all celebrated together.
I rolled into Fort Bragg, for the first time in a decade on June 9, 2018. It felt surreal and if I am being completely honest, most days it still does. I find myself driving through town, thinking to myself, “Am I really here?” It’s hard to describe how I feel about being back. It’s the strangest feeling. It is like I am a stranger in my hometown. I know that I am nothing like the girl who grew up here or the young woman who left, but being back here, reminded of so many bad memories, sometimes I get sucked back into my old mindset.
The first few months, hell, the majority of our time here has been extremely challenging for one reason or another.
I spent most of the summer shuttling kids back & forth between Fort Bragg, Tahoe and the airport.
What was supposed to be a “temporary” thing, became 26 weeks of living in a 26′ RV (and not a RV with slide-outs). For 26 weeks, Ryan (who is 6’5″), my stepson Hunter (who is 6’2″), Rebel, Beast (who is 100 lbs.) and I ALL resided in 200′ living space. During those 26 weeks, Ryan sustained another hand injury. This time, it wasn’t a shark. It was a log splitter that almost took his thumb. This time he actually went to the ER … because he had no other choice. Within the same week, Rebel got hurt at school, which resulted in having to wear a splint and sling for weeks. And I cannot leave out that one time, when Beast got sprayed by a skunk, directly under the window to our “room” in the RV. The smell was absolutely horrible. Poor Beast, rubbed all of the black off his nose by that afternoon, trying to get the smell out of his nose.
Hunter had decided that he wanted to live with us. He had never lived with us. When my stepdaughter found out a couple weeks before Ryan moved, all hell broke loose and she informed her mother before Ryan or Hunter could even talk to her. So by the time they tried, she had already decided in her own words “HELL NO!”, which was not the least bit surprising. She has never once been amicable, despite our many apologies, hoping that things could be better. Hunter spent the summer with us and then decided he wanted to stay with us in California, so a letter was sent to her, which did not go over well. It was met with threats and demands, just like normal, but this time we now had my stepdaughter acting just like her. Instead of trying to find a solution, attorneys had to get involved. So it resulted in thousands of dollars had to be spent and a long custody battle, which in the end didn’t ever do any good because this summer Hunter decided that he wanted to go back and live with his mother.
We finally got into our house on October 27th. We went from a 200 square foot space to around 3,000 square foot, which seemed ridiculous. We were ALL so happy to have a house, our own rooms, big comfy beds and a fridge that held more than 2 days worth of food.
It felt like I could finally breathe, but it didn’t take long for some issues to arise. Let me just say, that who ever said parenting is the hardest job on Earth, wasn’t a step-parent. Being a step-parent is the most challenging and thankless job. It is funny how a man who “steps up & does another mans job” is a hero, yet a step-mom is either too much or not enough in any and every aspect of parenting?
The highlights of my Fall of 2018 was that I was able to go back to Texas at the end of August and move Haylie in to her Dorm at the University of Texas in Austin with her Dad. I am so glad I didn’t have to miss out on that. I also go to spend several days at my brother and sister in laws house. Then at Thanksgiving Haylie, Emily and Aidan came to visit for 11 days.
Meanwhile, as the time ticks on, work for Ryan becomes slimmer and slimmer. By mid-December work had come to a complete halt. Fortunately for me, I had been contacted by a stranger and offered a temporary job earlier that fall. It was ideal in the fact that I was able to basically pick my schedule. The shifts were 9-3 or 3-9 or 9-9. Every month we’d get a blank calendar and could write in our availability. At first, I took it to recuperate the money that we had to pay the attorney, but later turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
After 4 long months and 2 trips back to Texas to work there, the weather finally cleared up and Ryan was able to return to work, right when my job ended. I am so thankful that the job was available to me from September to mid-March, without it we wouldn’t have survived on my income alone.
This has been one of the most eye-opening 18 months of my life. I cannot tell you how many times Ryan & I have said “If we can make it through _______, then we can make it through anything.” over the past 14 months, but we’ve said it countless times about this winter. It was the hardest & most trying season of my life.
This move has taken a toll on my business, our marriage and my mental health.
I have counted my blessings & focused on gratitude, but if I am being totally transparent, I will say that the spent the majority of the past 18 months, bitter, angry and negative. I feel like I am finally on the right track, mentally and emotionally.
My mindset wasn’t getting me anywhere and to be honest, looking back, it feels like I lost over a year of my life waiting.. living in limbo.. waiting for something to happen to fix things. I got tired of sucking. So now I am taking back my power, to take back my life. I am getting more involved. I am getting more focused.
So that is the (honest to God) short version of the longest 18 months of my life. There is more, a lot I’ve left out, but the ending of the story is: I’ve survived; we’ve survived this far. My goal is to end 2019 strong and have a much better outlook and attitude in 2020. How has your 2019 been?
Have you relocated? Are you thinking about relocating? Would it help if I put together a list of do’s & don’ts or tips for those who are contemplating making a move in the near future?