It seems almost predictable that the first thing that Bob and I decided to do together was move. The house that I was living in was my home alone. Bob felt that if we were going to start a new life as a couple, we would need a home that was ours and not just mine. I couldn’t argue with this and we began the process of looking for another place to live.
Bob had managed to get a job at another university in the same general region in Ontario and we decided to move closer to his work. Since I had quit my job, location was not important to me. I had no intention of going back to that particular job so it made the most sense to focus on living near his work.
We could not afford a home that we liked in the city where the university was so we bought a house in a city that was very close to where he worked. It was a beautiful older home that had been built in the early 1900’s. It was a two-story brick home with a full dry basement and three bedrooms on the second floor. The baseboards were a full foot high and there were hardwood floors and solid oak doors and finish throughout.
The walls in this place were almost a foot thick. They were a sandwich of space with wallboards and then plaster on each side. From the point of view of a mother that had a child that woke at the slightest sound, this was a dream home. The backyard was fenced and had mature trees. We moved into this place three months before our second child was born.
I immediately connected with this city. I joined a Dancefit group that exercised by dancing to choreographed songs and met a bunch of women right away. We could walk to the public library from where we lived and there was a preschool nearby. The preschool was not a formal full time school; it was a community centre that had a playtime three hours a week. This allowed me to take my oldest daughter out to play with other children and gave me the opportunity to speak to some other mothers.
The main difference between a first pregnancy and a second one is that during the second pregnancy you have a child to take care of. Unlike when I was in school, my time was not my own and was largely dictated by my daughter’s needs. This had contributed to the stress of being pregnant and my having to quit my job.
Of course, this was not the only thing that contributed to the stress. I had not made the adjustment to being back with Bob. We were actively looking for another house, which required a lot of driving around and visiting homes. We were also trying to sell the house that I had bought which meant that it had to be kept clean enough to show and even if I did have time for a nap, it was often interrupted because there were people that wanted to see the house.
In the early 1990’s the bottom fell out of the real-estate market and we were unable to sell my house so we put it up for rent instead. This turned out to be a great thing. For tax purposes it was worth substantially more when we converted it to a rental property than it was when we finally sold it about year later. This shows up as a capital loss and we received a large tax refund because of it. We still managed to sell it for slightly more than I had bought it for a couple of years earlier.
This was a busy time for me. The sheer work involved in having a preschooler plus moving into a new home and being pregnant meant that I was fully occupied. Bob was settling into his new job and I was getting to know the neighbours and my way around the city.
It made sense for me to be taking care of the house and the meals because I was at home full time. This was not something that I questioned or argued with Bob about because I felt that this was the way that it was supposed to be. Long gone were the days when he would do half of the work that needed to be done. He shifted into doing very little. No yard work, no garbage, no car maintenance, just his job.
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