Is There Such a Thing As…

…baptism by cold?

El Poema and I have booked his trip to Canada next month. We’re meeting in Montréal on the 9th, apartment hunting together until the 13th, and then he’s coming to Halifax until the 2nd.

Of course, the point of apartment hunting together is that Montréal will be a new beginning for both of us, so I can’t imagine him not having a say on the new digs. But what a wretched time of year to come to Canada for a Mexican who’s unusually sensitive to the cold! Obviously, we’ll have to devote part of our time in Montréal to clothing him properly. And then, back in sleepy little Halifax, it’ll be …well …realistic in some ways because I’ll have to work during weekdays. And I think it’ll help categorically firm up our plans on which approach to take for his coming to the country (assuming the cold doesn’t freak him out so badly that everything comes to an abrupt halt).

Meanwhile, last weekend, I visited my mom in Moncton because I couldn’t possibly tell her by phone what transpired in Mexico over Christmas. This is the rub: the fact I like to kiss boys has been a weird and convulted open secret in our family for 25 years, with some of my siblings officially not knowing about my “affections,” shall we say. But now that we’re all in our 40s and 50s and that my marital status is about to change, the denial has got to stop. And I expect nothing less than a recognition that this family is getting a new member.

The talk with Mom went as well as I could expect. I introduced the topic by saying that I had some very good news, but it’s the kind of news I had to tell in person because it has an impact on the family, and family matters a lot to me. She was okay at the point where I declared that El Poema was my “significant other.” But then, understandably, she couldn’t hide her surprise when I went on to tell her how significant and what we intend to do about it. I may be 42 and she may be nearing 80, but I’m still her baby, after all. And I detected some panic coming from her at that point as she tried to imagine how to lift the lid from the house of cards that she so carefully built over all these years and figure out how it should now be reconstructed.

Then, a breakthrough of sorts came when we were looking at our Mexico pictures and she saw him for the first time. Not that it would have changed anything, but I have to admit I worried that she would dislike this tall, long-haired Mexican who has become the object of my affection. But at one picture in particular, she finally said that she could be contrarian but “je dois admettre que c’est un bel homme” (“I have to admit that he’s a handsome man”), noting in particular his beautiful brown eyes. (Coincidentally, within five minutes of my meeting El Poema’s mom in person, she commented on my eyes and how they were so much like her own mother’s.) And then Mom asked me to help her save a particular photo of us to her computer’s pictures folder.

I know my mom. She probably looked at that picture a few dozen times this past week. And although I assured her that I’m happy and confident that we’re doing the right thing, I know she worried at lot …not so much for how to let the cat out of the bag, although there was probably some of that. But simply about me. ‘Cause, like I said, I’m still her baby.

Mind Dump

Back in the days when I was self-employed, I used to reach points where I’d complain about having alligators at my ass. But now my to-do list has become so downright ridiculous when I combine the day job, the other job and my personal life, that I think that, more often than not these days, the expression on my face must be that of a deer in the headlights.

— Three to five major jobs to complete for the other job before I leave Halifax, not to mention the normal day-to-day stuff that keeps coming in.

— Keeping up with (and in some cases catching up at) the day job.

— Apartment hunting in Montréal from February 9 to 13.

— Figuring out the cost and logistics of moving, including deciding what belongings will come to Montréal and which won’t, then actually executing the move, and then replacing the belongings I decided weren’t worth moving from Halifax.

— El Poema and I deciding when, how and where to tie the knot, which is now in flux because of having to…

— …figure out the best way of cutting through the bureaucratic red tape to get his Canadian permanent resident status.

And then I wonder why Spanish is not sticking to my brain as I’d like it to! It pains me that it isn’t, and I don’t want El Poema to think for an instant that I’m not serious about learning or that his fiancé is in fact spectacularly dim. But there are times when it feels like the words are hitting my forehead and just bouncing back off, like trying to save one more file on a hard disk that has reached its storage capacity.

At any rate, I get dizzy just thinking (and writing) about all that’s in store for the next few months. And it makes me wish I were so filthy rich that I could just hire a bunch of specialists and let them take care of everything except what I must absolutely do myself.

Techie Things That Baffle Me

When it comes to “computer stuff,” some things baffle me. Like…

  1. Getting hardware to work. I tentatively bought a laptop this week. By “tentatively,” I mean that I told the salesperson that if I can’t figure out in a few days and with relative ease how to get the blasted thing connected to my wireless router, I would bring it back. For some unexplicable reason, I have no patience for stuff like that. Or a short attention span. But at the rate things are going now, I may end up returning the damn thing.
  2. How some days spam e-mails clog my inbox in a manner that resembles a sudden and heavy snowstorm, and then dies down to a trickle or even nothing. It conjures up images of spammers launching an attack and then the people at my hosting company intervening by altering the server-side filtering rules to stop the influx. But then I suspect that, really, it’s more a case of the storm simply stopping.

A while back, I asked my hosting company if they had any suggestion of what I could do to cut down the spam in addition to applying my own filtering rules. I was given an excellent explanation of why it’s such a big problem for me, but implementing a lasting way of stopping the influx would require considerable work on my part. And work is time, which is at a premium for me these days.

Days of Engagement

David astutely remarked on my previous post immediately after my return from Mexico, “Although this [the Maurice and El Poema engagement] is not what I would have expected many years ago when we met, I am pleased you are at a place where you can enjoy this sort of happiness.”

Now there’s an understatement! Not even a year ago did I think that I would be into “this” a year later. In fact, so huge, sudden and abrupt is the change for both of us that we sometimes find ourselves pausing and saying, “Oh my gawd, are we really doing this?!”

Granted, for me at least, pretty much everything in the last two years has been about change — not just making changes, but also recognizing a deep sense of restlessness within myself that has forced me to assess the previous 5 to 10 years. And what I concluded, at both a very conscious and subconscious level, is that not only have I merely coasted through those years, but that I have also, in many ways, remained relatively static. Sure, new and old friends have come; new and old friends have gone; some people who seemed like friends turned out not to be such great friends; some projects got realized while others never evolved beyond ideas; there were great moments of shared happiness, serenity, fun and support as well as seriously unsettling moments of conflicts and sadness. But really, when one thinks about it, that’s just the normal ebb and flow of living, where the faces, situations and endeavours may vary with the passage of time, but once a tally is done at the end of each year, very little has essentially changed.

It seems pretty clear to me now that fear of commitment is what fuelled my inertia. I don’t just mean fear of settling down with one person; I mean how, even professionally, I resisted for so long commitment to an employer. Yet, in contradiction, loyalty and dedication are values I cherish and, I believe, honour. But I guess at one point, namely shortly after I turned 40, I asked myself the question the insufferable Dr. Phil would ask: “How is that working for me?” And my non-verbal answer — the deep sense of restlessness that very question triggered — was that it wasn’t working. I was left feeling ungrounded. And yearning. Not so much yearning FOR anything or more “stuff,” but yearning TO be able to give more and to find reason to celebrate the comfort that can be found within what on the surface may seem common but perhaps isn’t so common.

There’s something El Poema said to me numerous times from the very beginning, which I won’t repeat here for the sake of our privacy and in order not to seem boastful. But it resonated. What he said is true, I think, and by recognizing that it is, I’ve finally begun to shed my fear of commitment.

In spades! Because not doing things in half-measures is one of the few traits that hasn’t changed.