The Fish Bowl — Chapter 3

Needless to say at this point, my answer put quite a damper on the rest of our holiday. The time immediately following this trip was uncomfortable because once he had asked me to marry him and I had declined it changed the relationship. I remember there being this awkward feeling of not knowing how to proceed, what to do next.

The distance between us was palpable. I knew that I had to make a decision. I either had to rethink my initial response or I had to end the relationship with this guy.

On a particularly memorable day I had coffee in the main administrative building on campus. This was a large building that originally had been paid for by the students, if I remember the story properly. Not only did it contain the administrative parts of the university, it also contained offices for the student newspapers and clubs, a bar, the graduate student lounge and a cafeteria of sorts.

The place that contained the cafeteria tables was affectionately called the fish bowl because it was a large open space that had glass on four sides extending up two or three stories and forming the roof. This area overlooked the centre of campus that had a lawn with walkways through it and was home to the cannon. These were some of the places that I used to sit with Bob the first summer when we both worked on campus.

I’m not sure what the initial significance of the cannon was, but it became a symbol on campus. Various groups and individuals would go out and paint the canon. Sometimes it would sport the team colours. Sometimes it would have slogans or messages on it and sometimes it was painted to look like something else, a zebra perhaps. Occasionally, particularly ambitious groups would steal or move the canon. That meant the university employees would have to retrieve it and replace it.

http://elementalview.blogspot.com/2010/07/iphone-diries-200-cannon-old-jeremiah.html
http://elementalview.blogspot.com/2010/07/iphone-diries-200-cannon-old-jeremiah.html

So, my best friend and I sat in the fishbowl and had a coffee together. The conversation started with my admission that Bob had asked me to marry him and that he wanted to start a family. I wanted to have a family as well, so it was something that was being discussed.

This friend and I had become acquainted during our pre-vet year, a year that was tacked onto the beginning of the veterinary degree to essentially make a four-year program into a five-year program. We both sat at the front of the class and quickly got to know one another. She had been with the same guy for a few years by the time that I met her and she was still with him at this point.

On this fateful day we started to do the math around becoming mothers. First, we had to finish veterinary medicine. Then, it was advisable to practise for a year in a city that you did not want to stay in. As new graduates, you are more likely to make a mistake so you are advised to not start where you wanted to end up.

Then, we would move to the city that we wanted to live in more long term and get a job. Once we had established ourselves in that community, we could then start our own practices and then we could start our families. So, lets see three years of schooling, one year of practice, then another two and by the time that you could establish your own business you have to add two or three….

The math said it all. We would both be well into our thirties before we had even begun to start to try to have babies. As biologists we knew the problem with this. The older you are when you start trying the harder it is to get pregnant. Some estimates put the decline of fertility beginning in the early twenties. On the other end of it, we would be in our sixties before our children were through university.

This just wouldn’t do. After a long discussion with Bob, held over several days, it was decided that it would be possible to start a family right away. He had already suggested that we have a baby sooner rather than later and he said that he wanted both of us to have part time jobs so that we could minimize childcare. He would be finished his degree before the baby was born and he would stay at home full time and care for our child while I finished my veterinary program.

I felt that it was more responsible to get married to have a child. In my estimation of things, that showed that the father was committed to the relationship and that he was in it for the long term. It was proper to be married if you were choosing to have a baby. So, we got engaged.

To mark the occasion Bob rented two videos and we had a take-out pizza. The movies that he rented were, “Lost in America” and “Paris Texas”. It is eerie to think back to this selection now. For those of you unfamiliar with these films, in the first one a couple liquidates all of their assets and then loses all of it gambling and in the second a man becomes so obsessed with his wife that he ties her to the stove. At the time I found it unnerving but how much can you read into the movies that just happened to be chosen at a video store?

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available

Keep Reading: Investing in the Future

www.wendypowell.ca

Rainbows and Sunrises — Chapter 4

IMG_2765I can only say that I was enjoying myself. I loved this feeling of being a family, of having a gorgeous three year old daughter and a perfect newborn. We had a lot of family visit and we had friends come over. We were renovating the back of the kitchen that had been a mudroom. I had gotten to know a lot of people in the city and felt that I had a reasonable community around me.

In Canada there is a lot of messy weather. With this in mind, entrance ways are equipped with a mud room that is designed to house a lot of coats and boots and provide a space where you can change and put things away. The house did not have an eat in-kitchen, so we decided to remove the wall between the mudroom and the kitchen.

We had patio doors installed on the one side of the mudroom and it opened the kitchen up and gave us room for a table with a view into the backyard. The workers were in the house right after the baby was born, which was a little bit of a bummer, but it was nice when it was completed.

I would sit for hours with my daughter lying asleep on my chest. I did this with all of my newborns. There is a real comfort holding a baby. They are so much nicer when they are on the outside, especially when they are still small and fairly immobile.

As a family we had gotten into a routine. My baby would sleep the entire night if I sat and fed her for a really long time before bed. She would also sleep in the afternoon. My days were composed of going out in the morning for preschool, groceries or Dancefit and then staying in, in the afternoon, so that the baby could nap. I would watch cartoons during this time with my older daughter.

I remember there were many thunderstorms that summer, right around dinnertime. The house had a huge front porch and the three of us would stand out there and watch the display. It was the kind of porch that was made to sit on and was covered by a roof and there were partial walls around the front and sides of it. This was not just a slab of cement to mark where the front door was. It was a place to sit.

The porch faced east and had the added advantage of being a great place to see rainbows and sunrises. I have seen rainbows in the other directions, but my experience is that most of them are in the east. Just recently, there was a double rainbow in the west one morning, but I don’t recall seeing a lot of them. For one thing, you have to be out in the morning. I do remember standing on the porch with my daughters waiting for Bob to come home from work.

I had read how many women would put a lot of pressure on their husbands when they got home from work and I didn’t want to be doing this so when I realized that I was doing it I backed off considerably. Bob had already mentioned that I was “too bored” at home and I misread why he was saying it.

He was saying it because he wanted me to be back at work. From a purely mathematical perspective, I could be making a lot of money. The cost of childcare paled in comparison to what a veterinarian could make. His mother felt the same way, but she went one step further. She explained that the taxpayers had contributed a lot of money to running universities and as a graduate I had a certain responsibility to give back to the community.

This did not show any respect for the fact that I was bringing in money. Not only did I have an income from the social safety nets in the province, but also I had rental income for a while and then I had tax return income from the final sale of my house. Then, there was the money that was made from the sale of my house. I had also invested several thousand dollars in a second mortgage for some neighbours and they were paying dearly to keep this money. I was bringing in a substantial amount of money considering that I was not “working” or “contributing” as I was being told.

The main thing that was clear was that I was not appreciated for what I was doing. I was bringing in money; running the household; raising the girls and trying not to make too many demands on Bob. What I wasn’t doing was anything that could give Bob more status or prestige. Having a baby is good until the novelty wears off. My purpose in his life was to make money and to make him proud, as far as I could tell. I did not know this for many years, at least consciously.

Keep Reading: My Father

 

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available
The Narcissist Survival Guide now available

The Fish Bowl — Chapter 3

Needless to say at this point, my answer put quite a damper on the rest of our holiday. The time immediately following this trip was uncomfortable because once he had asked me to marry him and I had declined it changed the relationship. I remember there being this awkward feeling of not knowing how to proceed, what to do next.

The distance between us was palpable. I knew that I had to make a decision. I either had to rethink my initial response or I had to end the relationship with this guy.

On a particularly memorable day I had coffee in the main administrative building on campus. This was a large building that originally had been paid for by the students, if I remember the story properly. Not only did it contain the administrative parts of the university, it also contained offices for the student newspapers and clubs, a bar, the graduate student lounge and a cafeteria of sorts.

The place that contained the cafeteria tables was affectionately called the fish bowl because it was a large open space that had glass on four sides extending up two or three stories and forming the roof. This area overlooked the centre of campus that had a lawn with walkways through it and was home to the cannon. These were some of the places that I used to sit with Bob the first summer when we both worked on campus.

I’m not sure what the initial significance of the cannon was, but it became a symbol on campus. Various groups and individuals would go out and paint the canon. Sometimes it would sport the team colours. Sometimes it would have slogans or messages on it and sometimes it was painted to look like something else, a zebra perhaps. Occasionally, particularly ambitious groups would steal or move the canon. That meant the university employees would have to retrieve it and replace it.

http://elementalview.blogspot.com/2010/07/iphone-diries-200-cannon-old-jeremiah.html
http://elementalview.blogspot.com/2010/07/iphone-diries-200-cannon-old-jeremiah.html

So, my best friend and I sat in the fishbowl and had a coffee together. The conversation started with my admission that Bob had asked me to marry him and that he wanted to start a family. I wanted to have a family as well, so it was something that was being discussed.

This friend and I had become acquainted during our pre-vet year, a year that was tacked onto the beginning of the veterinary degree to essentially make a four-year program into a five-year program. We both sat at the front of the class and quickly got to know one another. She had been with the same guy for a few years by the time that I met her and she was still with him at this point.

On this fateful day we started to do the math around becoming mothers. First, we had to finish veterinary medicine. Then, it was advisable to practise for a year in a city that you did not want to stay in. As new graduates, you are more likely to make a mistake so you are advised to not start where you wanted to end up.

Then, we would move to the city that we wanted to live in more long term and get a job. Once we had established ourselves in that community, we could then start our own practices and then we could start our families. So, lets see three years of schooling, one year of practice, then another two and by the time that you could establish your own business you have to add two or three….

The math said it all. We would both be well into our thirties before we had even begun to start to try to have babies. As biologists we knew the problem with this. The older you are when you start trying the harder it is to get pregnant. Some estimates put the decline of fertility beginning in the early twenties. On the other end of it, we would be in our sixties before our children were through university.

This just wouldn’t do. After a long discussion with Bob, held over several days, it was decided that it would be possible to start a family right away. He had already suggested that we have a baby sooner rather than later and he said that he wanted both of us to have part time jobs so that we could minimize childcare. He would be finished his degree before the baby was born and he would stay at home full time and care for our child while I finished my veterinary program.

I felt that it was more responsible to get married to have a child. In my estimation of things, that showed that the father was committed to the relationship and that he was in it for the long term. It was proper to be married if you were choosing to have a baby. So, we got engaged.

To mark the occasion Bob rented two videos and we had a take-out pizza. The movies that he rented were, “Lost in America” and “Paris Texas”. It is eerie to think back to this selection now. For those of you unfamiliar with these films, in the first one a couple liquidates all of their assets and then loses all of it gambling and in the second a man becomes so obsessed with his wife that he ties her to the stove. At the time I found it unnerving but how much can you read into the movies that just happened to be chosen at a video store?

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available

Keep Reading: Investing in the Future

www.wendypowell.ca

Sunrises and Rainbows — Chapter 4

IMG_2765I can only say that I was enjoying myself. I loved this feeling of being a family, of having a gorgeous three year old daughter and a perfect newborn. We had a lot of family visit and we had friends come over. We were renovating the back of the kitchen that had been a mudroom. I had gotten to know a lot of people in the city and felt that I had a reasonable community around me.

In Canada there is a lot of messy weather. With this in mind, entrance ways are equipped with a mud room that is designed to house a lot of coats and boots and provide a space where you can change and put things away. The house did not have an eat in-kitchen, so we decided to remove the wall between the mudroom and the kitchen.

We had patio doors installed on the one side of the mudroom and it opened the kitchen up and gave us room for a table with a view into the backyard. The workers were in the house right after the baby was born, which was a little bit of a bummer, but it was nice when it was completed.

I would sit for hours with my daughter lying asleep on my chest. I did this with all of my newborns. There is a real comfort holding a baby. They are so much nicer when they are on the outside, especially when they are still small and fairly immobile.

As a family we had gotten into a routine. My baby would sleep the entire night if I sat and fed her for a really long time before bed. She would also sleep in the afternoon. My days were composed of going out in the morning for preschool, groceries or Dancefit and then staying in, in the afternoon, so that the baby could nap. I would watch cartoons during this time with my older daughter.

I remember there were many thunderstorms that summer, right around dinnertime. The house had a huge front porch and the three of us would stand out there and watch the display. It was the kind of porch that was made to sit on and was covered by a roof and there were partial walls around the front and sides of it. This was not just a slab of cement to mark where the front door was. It was a place to sit.

The porch faced east and had the added advantage of being a great place to see rainbows and sunrises. I have seen rainbows in the other directions, but my experience is that most of them are in the east. Just recently, there was a double rainbow in the west one morning, but I don’t recall seeing a lot of them. For one thing, you have to be out in the morning. I do remember standing on the porch with my daughters waiting for Bob to come home from work.

I had read how many women would put a lot of pressure on their husbands when they got home from work and I didn’t want to be doing this so when I realized that I was doing it I backed off considerably. Bob had already mentioned that I was “too bored” at home and I misread why he was saying it.

He was saying it because he wanted me to be back at work. From a purely mathematical perspective, I could be making a lot of money. The cost of childcare paled in comparison to what a veterinarian could make. His mother felt the same way, but she went one step further. She explained that the taxpayers had contributed a lot of money to running universities and as a graduate I had a certain responsibility to give back to the community.

This did not show any respect for the fact that I was bringing in money. Not only did I have an income from the social safety nets in the province, but also I had rental income for a while and then I had tax return income from the final sale of my house. Then, there was the money that was made from the sale of my house. I had also invested several thousand dollars in a second mortgage for some neighbours and they were paying dearly to keep this money. I was bringing in a substantial amount of money considering that I was not “working” or “contributing” as I was being told.

The main thing that was clear was that I was not appreciated for what I was doing. I was bringing in money; running the household; raising the girls and trying not to make too many demands on Bob. What I wasn’t doing was anything that could give Bob more status or prestige. Having a baby is good until the novelty wears off. My purpose in his life was to make money and to make him proud, as far as I could tell. I did not know this for many years, at least consciously.

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available

My Father

www.wendypowell.ca