This year, 2018, marks the 10th anniversary of my wedding to W. As part of the celebration, I will be documenting our relationship from the proposal up to the wedding, and each year up to our 10th anniversary.
The days leading up to ringing the New Year, 2015, made us feel empowered to achieve almost anything if we fought hard to keep this partnership going. The bumps on the road, and ghosts of Xmas past were seen as trophies that proved we could conquer any adversity. It was really ironic because the new chapter of our life and marriage started off with a little pink slip, a 60 day layoff notice, in mid January.🤦♀️
My last day of work would be March 20th, the original due date given to us during the first miscarried pregnancy. Fascinatingly coincidental, perhaps, but I didn’t find it funny at the time. It was as if this date became symbolic of all of my failures as a career minded woman. At first, it wasn’t a big deal since the severance package and savings would hold me afloat for a year or two, more with the aid of the unemployment insurance of our state. What got to me was that my 10th anniversary with the company fell right in between the notice period and my bosses were urging me to play nice and not bring it up to the same Chief Engineer that had signed the order.
People rationalized it this way: I was in what turned out to be the first of many layoff waves. I could grab a job somewhere else with fewer competition and less stress due if the cuts led to market saturation. Worst case I could stay home and raise some kids, as if you can go get those in store or rush order via Amazon. I still don’t know why people were thinking but a quick trip to Bogotá for Valentine’s Day weekend reminded me that at least I’d have a lot of chances to travel in the immediate future.
Sure enough, my 10th company anniversary came and went quickly. My anxiety and despondency over the countdown rose to levels my husband wasn’t able to work with. I needed the break, that was known and acknowledged widely among my friends, family and peers, but I felt rushed through the process. With no past personal or maternity leaves logged, I had been running on fumes, stuck on a rut for the last decade. I didn’t realize how much the pressures of adulting had led me astray for both my goals and desires. It was time to stop and smell the proverbial roses. Why I couldn’t allow myself to enjoy the uncertain future still eludes me.
They say people don’t like change. I did, and still do. WHY WAS I SO OUT OF WHACK THEN?
Not being grabbed last minute like W was back in 2009 gave me an opportunity I hadn’t contemplated before: writing. Outside of engineering papers and technical reviews, I hadn’t written a single poem or story in a decade! For a creative type like me, and an A-type no less, my quest for perfection in life and love had relegated the spark of artistry to the very end of the priority list. All my anger, fear, joy, sadness and courage had nowhere to go, bottled up inside my soul and stuffed in a box, where it couldn’t be reached. With the freed up hours of my day, I had the time to rediscover myself and unpack all of my emotional baggage which eventually led to the brightest idea I had in years: start a blog!
And thus MrsEnginerd was born.
An interview in April almost derailed my plans to redefine myself as a non-engineer. I know that no one can take the diplomas and knowledge away, nor discredit my passion and penchant for problem solving that make this profession almost a calling, but I needed to shed the inertia generated by the status quo. With most of my efforts invested in helping out others, I had failed to help myself grow outside of my comfort zones.
To start oiling the intrinsic motivation machine and get the gears moving in the right direction, I bought a ticket to San José, California to stay at a high school friend’s house in the beautiful hills. She opened the doors to her home, took me to the Monterrey Aquarium, and reminded me of who I used to be before I went off to college. Her love and support made me see the light at the end of the tunnel. To this day she is one of my best fans and followers of the blog and social media side questa. Surely my hobby could lead to wonderful things, not necessarily a second career, a means to expand my horizons and keep the juices flowing. Who knows, maybe it would bring joy to my life, make me happy…
Happy…happy…happy… 🤔🤔 (echoes)
It felt like a weight had been lifted. I could finally do whatever I pleased. (#adultingdidntsuckduringthistime) Being happy felt just like having old friend come home after a longtime sabbatical. We picked up right were we left off. I’d missed being truly happy, which is a good side effect of freedom. Between little DIY projects and an already paid vacation to the Mediterranean, it seemed life was good. Walking Dubrovnik’s Game of Thrones sets, visiting Santorini, and walking ancient Greek ruins sure did the trick! Catching the Splendor of the Seas in Venice, aka Ezio’s stomp grounds, was a treat for W. He felt like he was right inside Assassins Creed.
What we all had missed during my journey of self awareness was that W was not amused by my intent to turn a bad situation into a good one. He didn’t like the improved me. For some reason he thought he was footing the bill, alone, shouldering the financial responsibilities of the household even though my severance cash was taking care of both his and mine joint business. In my creative spree, my husband saw a threat of the new and novel, the change other people hate and avoid. In true me fashion, I did what I thought was best and threw all of his, and my own, savings into purchasing a rental property.
This rental was intended to be the main residence of my sister who, after a very heartbreaking divorce due in part to domestic violence, needed a fresh start. If W needed an excuse to rain on my parade and ask me to apply for jobs this mission was as good as any. I sold my CX-9, bought a new one, and cashed the proceeds. The down payment alone was 40k and I didn’t sweat it. Two weeks after closing I got an interview for a position as a learning and training engineering focal. My sister moved in to the house, took her doggies who i had been babysitting for almost a month, and I accepted the 20% pay cut offer, with seniority, to go back to the same place that had found me good enough to let go. I think I’m a bit of a masochist too. Hey, it was easier to go back “home” that start from scratch. (More on that later.)
As a gift to myself, for surviving the layoff and subsequent events, I decided to get a puppy. My online search for a fur nephew doppleganger of the labmix kind led me to an adolescent black pittie that desperately needed a foster. W still remembers my desperate sobs as I read that he was going to be put down as early as December 13th. Since I had a job offer he caved in and let me inquire about the particular challenges the puppy faced due to his origin story. Rescued and undersocialized, this 60 lb furball couldn’t be walked or taken outside without a muzzle and some coaxing. Maybe with some training he could get used to normal dog stuff. Definitely no young children should be allowed into the foster home. 🤷♀️ W winced but took the plunge anyway.
Unbeknownst to all of us, #ProjectZach would stay with us for three years, and counting. It was the beginning of my reign as Empress Enginerd. I had beaten all the odds, started a new personal brand/hobby, and now had the paystubs necessary to go after one of my long lost goals: moving to a customized home. Our success with our latest real estate acquisition had me setting my sights high. I hugged Zach and promised him a yard worthy of an introverted pup, and a BBQ party throwing family. Would the now expanded clan of three finally get their happily ever after?
Stay tuned for Marriage: Year Seven.
For more on the Layoff and our adventures with Zach, go to the main menu and click on the eponymous sections.
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