I was doing some work on my newly acquired laptop yesterday morning, while Tim was out taking one of his dogs back to the kennel (she was over for the weekend). Kat gave me his 6-month old Toshiba, because my Acer died, and I needed a work machine. I've been trying to get it in working order before we go back to Vancouver next week. So I've spent the last few days (among trying to get other things in order before we head back to BC) setting up programs like Lightwave, Fusion, and also deleting the existing crap on there that I don't need, that's been taking up a ton of space on the HD... and I've of course been fighting with Vista the whole time, but I don't want to spend an extra day wiping the whole computer, to install XP, because I just don't have the time to mess with it.
Anyway, as I was doing a backup, Tim's mom came downstairs, and said, "Oh, good morning Jessie! Hey, in about 20 minutes or so, could I talk with you about something?" She sounded very pleasant at this point, and so of course I said sure! I told her that I was only doing a backup while I waited for Tim to get back from the kennel, so I would be happy to talk with her right away. I immediately gave her my full attention, and she sat down and started speaking.
It started off decently enough, with her letting me know that she's been concerned about some things that have been going on with Tim and I, over the past couple of weeks that we've been staying with them, while we sorted out buying a house. We did manage to get a house, by the way. We had the inspection yesterday, and we're now just waiting for the closing, and for all of the paperwork to be done, and we can move in on August 1st.
Anyway, Tim's mom was concerned about why I was going back to Vancouver. She just couldn't understand why, after buying a house here in Michigan, I seemed set on moving back to Vancouver, and why I was shipping some of my stuff back with me, when I now had a house to come back to here. She also said she thought I wasn't trying hard enough with the immigration visa, among other things. The "conversation" went something like this:
"Well, you know, I've gotta tell ya, I've been really concerned about what's been going on with you and Tim. I don't understand what's with this business about you now moving back to Vancouver and getting a job out there, and staying there with some other people, when you've got a perfectly fine house out here now with Tim. And who's going to be paying for that place in Vancouver? You can't say you are - it's coming out of Tim's pocket right now, because, I don't care, but you don't have a job out there yet! I just don't understand it... Tim loves you immensely, and if I seem like a mother Lioness, well that's exactly how I feel, and I'm going to look out for Tim, because I don't want him to be hurt by you! You should be one happy girl right now! And maybe I don't know everything that's going on... I don't know who made the decision to come to Michigan, whether it was you, or Tim, or if it was a joint decision... but you made a VOW to Tim, and you are not honoring your own marriage by taking off like this! If you were dedicated, you'd stay here and support him, and I don't think you've been making any effort at all to look into this immigration visa! All you do is spend your days sitting in front of the computer, and wasting your time looking for apartments in Vancouver! You say you have a ton of things to do still, and you don't know where to start, and yet you sleep in until noon! Don't tell me you don't have time! Get out of bed early in the morning, and make a list, and start working! You'd better figure out what it is that you want in life, young lady, and you own it to Tim to be honest with him! And if I seem pissed off, well that's because I am!! You had better get it together!!!"
...And then she stormed off upstairs leaving me quite speechless. :/
So I started quietly panicking, which only gets this chronic cough I've had for a while now all fired up again. I sat on the bed in the downstairs bedroom until Tim got back home, because I was too terrified to even step a foot upstairs, as long as his parents were there. I was quite upset about the fact that she conveniently waited until Tim was out of the house, before laying all of this stuff into me. Tim got back, and came downstairs, and had heard from his dad that his mom had a "chat" with me (for all intents and purposes, Tim's dad is a really cool, laid back guy, but he doesn't cross Tim's mother at all, and will blindly stick up for her, or keep out of the situation all together).
When Tim found out that his mom had actually yelled at me, he wasn't impressed. Apparently this is something that is typical of her to do, and is why much of the family isn't very fond of her. She comes across as very sharp/brash/insensitive, and is very opinionated and doesn't like to listen to anything that anyone else has to say. Tim's had issues with her for years, and has basically given up trying to have decent, rational conversations with her.
Tim and I talked about the situation, and while I understand that she is a protective mother, concerned for the well-being of her son, and I agree that she has some valid reasons to be concerned, a lot of what she brought up was quite off-base, and misinterpreted. There are a lot of things that may *look* a certain way, but unless you actually know what the situation is, you can't just come to an automatic conclusion. And it doesn't help that my and Tim's situation/relationship is pretty damn complicated and non-standard, at this point in our lives.
First, I know I have flaws, and I am realizing more and more that I sometimes do things, without being aware of how they may be interpreted by others. I do get so wrapped up in what is going on around myself, and my immediate surroundings, that I sometimes forget how it may appear to the outside world.
Tim and I have been working, a lot. Tim gets an office in the basement, where he can spend most of his days hiding away, and I have my computer set up upstairs, because Tim's dad likes to spend his days watching golf downstairs, and I can't concentrate on what I'm doing when there's a bunch of noise around. So I've been in an open area for the last two weeks, working on either fixing up the computer, or working on modeling weapons in Lightwave, for the current production that Tim is doing freelance work for. In the evenings, I've been doing the bit of e-mail that I can, and also looking for apartment listings online. So yes, I can understand how it could look bad to Tim's mom, when most of what she sees when she's home, is me at the computer. Tim says that was my first big mistake - being in an open area, instead of being set up in an office. We've now fixed that, and Tim had to move some furniture around in the downstairs office this morning, to make room for me to sit at a card table, while I work on Fusion training this week.
I am also very much NOT a social morning person. While I did sleep in until noon ONCE, during the first week that we were here, (because we had just driven for 5 days straight, from Vancouver!!) I normally get up at around 9am, especially if Tim and I didn't get to bed until 1am the previous night. I have my morning routine, and while Tim's parents get up every day at 7:30am, and Tim's mom will make breakfast in her bathrobe, and expects me to come upstairs and mingle, I am NOT a morning person. I do NOT like going upstairs into the bright morning light, not having brushed my teeth yet, or taken a shower, or anything like that... I'm sorry. Tim is allowed to see me first thing in the morning - we're married. I also hate to say it, but I am very self-conscious about my image, especially first thing in the morning. It is a very private thing to me, and Tim's parents have not yet earned that trust. I don't want to feel that vulnerable in front of them.
But I can understand how that might make me look unsociable. Very valid reasons for Tim's mom to feel concerned, but very poor execution in brining it up with me. She could have pulled me aside and gently told me how she felt. But I am now making an effort to get up at 7-8am, and be upstairs, having morning coffee with the in-laws. *flattens ears*
Regarding the house situation, she doesn't like my "attitude" about feeling like the house is just another temporary place. I had to explain to her (for at least the second or third time) that Tim and I have moved around 3 times in this last year, and have been living out of our suitcases for so damned long, that this house doesn't make any difference to me. I still have to go back to Canada, because I don't have a visa yet, and I am not allowed to stay in the U.S. So having a house, (which is ONLY in Tim's name, by the way, because I'm not allowed to have any kind of record of trying to live here) doesn't mean a hill of beans to me right now, if I can't actually live in it. I told her that until I am settled in ONE place, for at least a year, everything is temporary for me, at this point in my life. I have no bloody stability, and I am always feeling like the ground is going to fall from underneath my feet, or that the sky is going to fall down on top of my head. I can't be thrilled and happy about buying a house right now... because as far as I'm concerned, it's not *our* house - it's Tim's house. I just happened to help pay for part of the down payment. That doesn't mean I won't feel better about it in the future. It just means right now, at this point in my life, I am going to be thinking about how can I feel stable?
Then she brings up the fact that she's not seen me make any effort on getting a visa to stay in the U.S., which is utter BS, because I was the one who did all of the preliminary research into getting the K3 visa, when we were back in London! It's not my fault that the process may take over a year, and that I could be stuck in Canada, not even able to visit Tim in Michigan, until I get my visa! Tim's mom says that can't be correct, and goes into how she's had friends who have done the immigration process and have had no trouble. Well guess what? That was a few years ago, and government policies have changed since then, making things significantly harder for us now.
We've told her that we are looking into contacting an immigration lawyer, that can hopefully give us some advice on a different type of visa that I may be able to get, to make it easier for me to go back and forth from Canada and the U.S. But until I actually *have* some sort of visa, I need to be living in Canada, and that is why I am going back into Vancouver.
It was also hard not to be extremely insulted when she said that I'm not working and Tim's paying for everything, which isn't 100% true. Yes, he's always brought in the bigger income, but I was also bringing in about $2k a month while working in London, and part of the reason why I want to get this job in Vancouver is so that I can continue making a positive contribution to our relationship. What Tim brings in from this job goes to paying for mortgage on the house, and what I bring in with the job goes to cover my rent in Vancouver. Also, if I get this job, it's doing management for the same studio that Tim is currently doing freelance work for anyway, so I would be *helping* him out, by coordinating, so that the next few gigs we do go much smoother than this current one is going, because the main VFX producer for that place doesn't know what the hell he's doing!
But I've done plenty, financially speaking, for us. Who covered seven months of boarding for the dogs while we were in London? Who covered the expensive cost of moving all of our belongings from Vancouver to Michigan? Without my stupidly excellent credit, we would have been screwed for thousands of dollars! Also, who put together our mortgage financial package? Who makes sure that all of the bills get paid on time, every month? *I* do, because Tim trusts me with keeping our expenses tracked, and keeping everything organized, because I'm good at it! But his mom doesn't know anything about that!
I owe it to Tim to be honest with him... shit. I'm *brutally* honest with him, in fact he knows how much I don't even want to be here in Michigan. But if I didn't care, and if I didn't love and support him, I wouldn't BE here right now! And getting this house now is really the first big step. We made it, and we did it together. Tim now has a house, in the woods, and is going to have all of his dogs back with him in just one more month. He can now work on Kaze (during the times he's not doing these small freelance jobs to keep the money coming in) in the peace and quiet of his own place. I've helped him get to this point, because I know how damned important it was to him!
So now it's also time for ME to figure out what it is that I need/want to do with my life, and this time in Vancouver is what's going to help me do that. I need to have a job, I need to be able to pay for my own space. I need to pull my own weight, and become more independent and self sufficient. I love Tim dearly, and I also need to know that I can take care of myself, and not have to depend on my husband to do everything for me.
I need to get to know myself. Tim got the chance to do that in Alaska. Now I need the chance to do the same, and he understands and supports me in this.
Even after this conversation with Tim's mom, I feel like a lot has still gone way over her head. She said, "Well... let's just start over..." which I guess is nice coming from her. But honestly, I don't think I'm going to feel very comfortable, the next time I come to visit Tim's folks. For the rest of this week though, before we fly to Vancouver, I'm going to have to play the nice, happy, friend of the family, daughter-in-law role, (and the kids are coming over again on Thursday...) even though I'm feeling anything but happy at this point. I hate pretending - it is such BS.
I can't wait to be back in BC on the 7th. -___-