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PH likes change.

It is one of his most baffling but also more endearing qualities. He likes to visit new places, try new things, and basically expose himself to all kinds of potential for disappointment, regret, and other things that I avoid as if they were herpes.

Change me no likee.

Well, that’s not quite true. I like GOOD change. Really obvious, risk-free, guaranteed-to-be-positive change!

Most change doesn’t fit that criteria.

It was his love of change that sent PH out to Vancouver in the first place. He sold all his possessions, up and moved.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMaking the decision to move out there with him several years later was probably one of the riskiest things I have ever done. I was leaving friends and family behind and quitting a job I liked. But on the other hand, I was heading to a place with much better job opportunities, I was young, and I had my fiancé with me.

It was fun, and exciting, and difficult. I had trouble finding a job, I had trouble making friends, and I had a lot of trouble putting down roots. I suffered depression. I lost two jobs.

But I’m finally getting settled in.

Carol with poutine hotdog

And now, Perfect Husband is starting to get bored of Vancouver.

I think he is also getting tired of sharing me with three different jobs – my vet clinic job, my dog training business, and my occasional Elance work.

Even though he knows we need the money, and he is supportive of my dog training business in general, he doesn’t like me disappearing for half the weekend on my dog training appointments. And if my clinic job asks me to work a Saturday? There is definite grumbling to be heard.

But at the same time, we want a second child and have no idea how we will be able to afford it. The math just doesn’t work.

If we didn’t have a $220,000 mortgage plus monthly condo fees, we wouldn’t be feeling the pinch so much. It doesn’t help that we know that if we outgrow our current place, we’d need an even larger mortgage. Our current one is tiny by Vancouver standards, because our complex has so many repair issues.

For a larger place, we’d be looking at $600,000 or more, very probably. And that just ain’t gonna happen unless I suddenly become VERY famous and rich.

So whenever a job pops up at PH’s company in a place with lower housing prices, even if it’s a job that he is totally unsuited for, he applies for it and starts browsing houses. I’ll get a text saying ‘Hey, want to live in Memramcook?” or “Who wants to move to Burns Lake?”

Of course, since he’s largely unqualified for most of these jobs, and because he lists moving costs as a condition of getting the job, the chances are remote… but there have been some close calls.

And every time he does this, I have to think about how I feel about moving.

The problem all comes down to change.

I’m actually HAPPY right now, which, to quote Marlin from Finding Nemo, is a big deal, for me.

I like the vet clinic where I work. I like my boss, and my coworkers.

My dog training business is picking up. We actually have a minor TV celebrity on our training roster right now. If we get permission to use her name on our website, that will look AWESOME.

I have friends who have little boys of about Owl’s age. Our neighbour dropped his two sons off to play with Owl for a couple hours yesterday and the house got so much more peaceful with to toddlers to occupy Owl’s attention. We have another friend’s tot coming over for a babysitting session tonight, so Owl will be happier than a pig in muck.

For all of the issues we occasionally have with Owl’s daycare, he loves it there. He talks constantly about the other kids, he hates to leave, and they love him. They tell him “I love you, baby” constantly.

Daycare Lady’s daughter even painted a large (and slightly Uncanny Valley creepy) portrait of him which now dominates the playroom. It is the Temple of Owl over there.

So why on Earth would I leave?

Oh, right – the fact that we are a $4,000 flight away from our families at Christmas time.

Oh, right – the fact that our parents aren’t getting any younger and are missing Owl’s toddlerhood.

Oh, right – the fact that we have no idea how we will be able to support a second child.

Oh, right – the fact that we definitely have no idea how we would ever afford a larger house than we have now.

If you had asked me three years ago if I wanted to leave Vancouver, would probably would have said yes. I was unhappy with my job, my friendships still felt uncertain, and I was lonely and feeling damaged by years of workplace bullying.

But now I don’t know.

I want to be closer to my family, but I don’t really want to start over in a new city – make friends, put down roots, go through all of that again.

I REALLY don’t want to have to hunt for a new job. My job experiences have been so fraught with stress that I just can’t face it again.

If we moved anywhere, I would want it to be either such a massive promotion that PH could mostly support us on his own, and I could just write or train dogs for extra money on the side, or it would have to be a place with such cheap houses that it amounted to the same thing.

And when it comes to moving back to the Maritimes, well, I have a lot of conflicting feelings.

On the one hand, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are home to me, and probably always will be.


The clapboard houses, the drifts of snow, and the shabby corner convenience stores are real to me in a way that Vancouver has never been. I see Vancouver as shiny and soul-less by comparison.

Besides, if we moved back there I wouldn’t be facing the making friends issue – I still have friends there, although they don’t have boys Owl’s age the way my friends here do.

But they’re old friends who would pick up with me as if I never left.

On the other hand, I’m a massive snob.

I went through the public school system in Nova Scotia and I shudder at the thought of putting poor Owl through it. Even though I know there are good teachers and bad teachers everywhere, and it’s all just a crap shoot.

I also feel like being a professional dog trainer from Vancouver means something, whereas if I ever wrote a dog training book, the fact that it was written by a trainer in, say, rural New Brunswick wouldn’t do much for my reputation.

Everything in the Maritimes is small, and expectations are low. Businesses tend to have shoddy signs, and websites that use comic sans. People “from away” are looked at with suspicion.

I feel like moving East would be a huge step back for my career, even if it were a step forward for our finances and family life.

This is the stuff I torture myself over. 

I’m happy right now, but like it or not, change is coming – either we have a second child and things get really challenging, or PH actually gets an offer from one of these jobs he applies for, and my entire life will be uprooted, with good and bad consequences mixed right in.