Sunday, 5 January 2014

Getting married . . .


 
In my younger days I was “Mr Marriage Booster”.  I loved the institution of marriage and I took every opportunity to extoll its virtues.  To me, being married is what a loving couple did as an expression of their love for each other and in so doing, solemnized their bond to each other publicly and without reservation.   It was how couples would “conquer the world” together.   Of course, being deeply in the closet at the time, marriage to me was the sole purview and domain of straight couples.  I don’t think I even dreamed of the concept being applied to same sex couples.

My infatuation with marriage came to a grinding halt when I suddenly found myself without one.  My wife made it very clear one day that our marriage of 19 years was over.  It was a shattering experience and changed my outlook completely. My view on marriage had soured and I looked upon it with disdain and cynicism.   

As I’ve written before, the failure of my marriage became the catalyst for me stepping out of the closet and I began to explore my new-found sexual liberty.  I immersed myself in learning about life as a gay man and occasionally, I would find myself in discussions about gay marriage.  I encountered the naysayers, the gay folk that believed marriage is too “straight” a concept for gay people and should be left to hetero’s and I encountered the same-sex marriage proponents that yearned for the same right to marry that everyone else had.  Still, after much discourse and thought, I hadn’t personally formed an opinion about whether same sex couples should be able to marry, let alone exercise that right.  For me, I was quite certain I was done.  I made sure everyone I met knew that I “will never cohabitate with anyone again and I will never marry again”.  Period.
 
In the intervening years, I have decided that same-sex couples have the intrinsic right to marry, even if the law doesn’t allow for it.  Simply put, the law must change and I’m happy to note that I live in a country that recognized this inherent right some years ago.  Regardless of my evolved support for gay marriage, my cynicism about the institution itself hadn’t waned. I still didn’t understand why anyone would want to get married, even if they could.
I’ve learned over the years to “never say never”.  And even when I was saying “I will never . . .”, I knew deep down within my cerebral cortex that “never” was not necessarily sustainable.  My intent to remain unencumbered for the rest of my life began to weaken when I met my soul mate, Bill.
The first test of my resolve came in the second year of our relationship.  As now, we lived in separate homes that are about 30 minutes apart, but as it happened that Christmas, we both had two weeks’ vacation over the holiday season.  I ended up staying at his place the whole two weeks.  It was awesome, but my goodness, how could it be?  I decided “I could do this”. “I like it”!  But, I cautioned myself, “I’m still never getting married!” 
A few more years have gone by and the love between us has grown immeasurably.  This fall, Bill needed to take some time off work for health reasons and this time he lived with me for almost three months.  It’s been a few years since our first cohabitation test and again it was awesome.  Just around the time he was returning to work, he turned to me and said, “You know, someday I’d like to get married again”.  Holy smoke, is this a proposal?  I didn’t know what to say.  “Can we think about this”?  “Oh sure”, he said “there’s no rush or pressure”.
The truth be known, I’d been mulling over marriage for some time.  But like coming out of the gay closet, I found myself fearful of stepping out of the “no marriage” closet.  After all, I had failed at that once and it wasn't, and still isn’t, pretty.   After that, Bill never said another word about his desire for matrimony but his unsolicited “suggestion” kept my mind occupied.  We have been “going steady” (he’ll hate the juvenility of that phrase) for over five years and in terms of our relationship, the years have been truly magnificent. I decided I would give him an answer over this past holiday season.  On New Year’s Day 2014, I said to him, “I’d like to talk about marriage again . . .”
Unless one is very famous or one does something extremely public, I don’t think a regular person can get anymore “out of the closet” than being in a same-sex marriage.  As we know, even people who appear “gay” may not be, but getting married to someone of the same gender will leave no doubt about that couple’s proclamation. 
As if there were any lingering doubts, Bill and I are delighted to announce that we are stepping “way out” of the closet as we’ve decided we are getting married . . .

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year . . .

 
My wish for you is that 2014 is everything that you want it to be . . .
 
In retrospect, my 2013 was pretty darn good.  In fact, it was a 1,000 times better than my 2012.  In the past year: I started the year living in a new home, my divorce was finalized, I went on a few trips, things at work settled down (although they are started getting weird again toward the end of the year), and Bill and I co-habitated for pretty much the last quarter of the year (although it was unfortunately because of his health).  So, all in all, a good year from my perspective.
 
We finished the old year with Bill, my sons and I drinking some bubbly while watching Ryan Seacrest and Jenna McCarthy (and unfortunately Miley Cyrus) usher in the new.  The kids had mostly fallen asleep but I woke them in time for the countdown.  I thought young people had more staying power than this!!
 
The new year promises much change and excitement.  The biggest change(s) is that Bill is retiring and he's moving in with me permanently.  We're both looking so forward to this.  It means a lot of work, each downsizing our own "collections of life" and consolidating into one place.  It also means getting his house ready for sale.  As Martha says: "It's a good thing".
 
So, wherever you are, here's to a Happy New Year . . .

Saturday, 28 December 2013

To comma, or not to comma . . .


I believe that I over-comma my writing.  I was going to seek your advice on comma'ing but then decided to Google it instead.  I found this great site: Grammar Book with a whole list of rules about commas (in fact too many rules to remember).  I tend to use rules 8 and 11 quite a bit.  Maybe too much. 
 
I'm probably still no further ahead.  Next, apostrophe's, but for now: to comma or not to comma . . .

Friday, 27 December 2013

Like a moth to a flame . . .

It fascinates me and I don't know why. 
 
 
It fascinates me to see the slow, downright evolutionary pace, with which our gay American cousins are having their human rights "granted" to them.   In Canada, we're only a few years ahead, having gained same-sex partnership rights at the end of the 1990's and out-right legal marriage since 2005, so from my own perspective, what's going on south of the border has no effect on me.  My intense interest, therefore, must come from the fact that I paid no attention to the topic when Canada was wrestling with this "demon" over a decade ago.  At that time, I was a deeply closeted, "straight acting" father with no interest in the affairs of gay people. 
 
How times have changed.  This past summer, like millions in the USA, I was riveted on the internet news feed, waiting for the Supreme Court of the USA to rule on this topic. And ever since that historic day, the anti-gay marriage faction's house of cards has been slowly crumbling.  Ever so slowly.  On last count, less than half of the USA's states have enabled gay marriage. 
 
Most of my current news comes from following gay marriage "pioneer" Stuart Gaffney on Facebook (www.facebook.com/stuartgaffney). 
Stuart Gaffney (r) and his husband John Lewis
His posts several times a day have me entranced by the machinations of the ultra right wing agenda as they throw every obstacle they can muster in the way of allowing people the basic human right to love whomever they wish.  The good news is they seem to be losing on a daily basis.  Even as that bastion of morality and values, Phil Robertson, while wrapped in a bible and standing before a burning cross, gets his duck called by A&E for voicing his racist ideals and his idiotic views of homosexuality, the "moral majority" is losing the battle.  Hallelujah!
 
Even though A&E has gone soft on patriarch Phil, I haven't.  He, his show and his family will still be "on hiatus" with me.   And although I have no say in the matter, I will continue to wish the best for those that desire the "land of the free" be truly that, and I will continue to observe the slow march to freedom for USA LGTBQ couples.  
 
Like a moth to a flame . . .    

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Season's greetings to you and yours . . .

Monday, 11 November 2013

Lest We Forget . . .


The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month . . . We Will Remember Them

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Happy Anniversary to Us . . .

Five years ago today we met.
 
It started out with an early morning coffee at a Tim Horton’s Donut Shop about halfway between our two homes.  He didn’t actually want to meet. He thought we lived too far apart (about an hour) and wasn’t interested in a long-distance relationship.  We had connected online and something about his profile piqued my interest so I persevered.  Eventually I got him to agree to a phone call.  That conversation then spurred him to agree to a face to face meeting on “neutral” ground.
 
We both are biological fathers from failed hetero marriages.  We have similar jobs.  We both came out later in life.  We lived on the same Island.  It seemed a good start to me.
 
I arrived at our rendezvous first and although I had a rough idea what he looked like from an exchange of photos I still doubted my capacity to spot him in the crowd.  Naturally I was nervous.  I missed seeing his entrance but somehow he saw me and quickly arrived at my table.  He tells me he fell in love at first sight.  We had a warm and comfortable conversation.  I wasn’t very adroit at dating and although I was enjoying our conversation, I looked for a way to end this initial encounter.  My father always advised us as children to “quit while you’re having the most fun so that you will always end on a good note”.  I certainly didn’t want to overstay my welcome.   Remembering that I had recycling materials in the back of my truck that I had planned to take to the garbage dump, I stammered that I needed to go.  As soon as I said it, I realized it sounded contrived and terse so I followed up with “would you like to go with me?”  To my pleasant surprise he said “yes”.
 
We abandoned his car and we drove to the garbage dump as well as a few other chores.  Our connection seemed immediate.  Through conversation, we realized that we had much in common.  Our marriage and parenting experiences matched very well, our coming out stories were very similar and before we knew it, the minutes had turned into hours.  One of the goals I had, which also resonated with him, was that I wanted someone “that I could do things with”.  We ended with a romantic candle light dinner at a nice restaurant near his home.  When I finally returned him to his car, twelve hours had passed since we first laid eyes on each other in the morning.
 
Since then, we’ve progressed from a casual date to “going steady” to being in a “committed long-term relationship”.   I am still in awe that we lived within a relatively short distance from each other and that he matched me so well.  He is the kindest, most forgiving and generous man I have ever encountered and I am indeed fortunate, and “count my lucky stars” every day to have met Bill and to have him in my life.
 
We've been happily in love ever since that first day.  Happy anniversary to us . . .

Saturday, 28 September 2013

I’m guilty of neglect . . .


Guilty of neglecting this blog, that is.  
 
It’s true, I have not been active in the blogosphere for some time.  Why?  Not sure.  Time is a huge factor.  There seem to be so many demands on my time that something had to give.  Blogging for one.  Also, I seem to have lost my voice.  I mean, I seem to have run out of things to say.  Yet there are so many things to talk about.  It appears that I focussed most of my time for social media on Facebook.  That seems to be waning now as well.  Hmmm . . .
 
I did have a look at my blogroll the other evening.  It occurred to me that I should probably remove inactive and broken blog links.  I was amazed at how many had gone “private”, had been deleted or had simply stripped out all content.  I removed any over 6 months out of date.  I guess I’m not the only one guilty of neglect. 
I’ll be keeping mine open because I really enjoyed writing it (even though the thought of stripping it bare had also occurred to me for security reasons).  I’ve made some really neat connections too (with many of those doubly connected on FB).
Maybe I need the long, dark nights of winter to get back at it.  I doubt I can remain too long, guilty of neglect . . .

Saturday, 6 April 2013

A strange occurrence at Wal-Mart . . .



The weather over our four day Easter long weekend was absolutely gorgeous.  It was so nice that it was hard to remember that it was only the end of March.  Bill and I, encouraged by the sunshine and the warmth, eagerly visited local nurseries and farm supply stores.  I had planted quite a few bulbs and shrubs at the farm and now needed to repeat that in town.  Each of us was armed with a coupon for a free bulb if we spend $15 at one particular garden centre.  We spent an enjoyable hour or so, poking through the containers, the bare root trees, the bulb displays and the seed packages.  We both bought a variety of items and claimed our “prize”.  Unfortunately, as is often the case, I forgot to pick up some potting soil so Bill suggested we stop at Wal-Mart to get it.
Generally, I’m not a big fan of Wal-Mart but, as has happened in many other places after Wal-Mart moved in, there are fewer and fewer local retailers left.   We have one of those Wal-Mart Supercentres that sells everything from motor oil to carrots.  Strangely, they were almost out of potting soil and only had a few bags of the premium type that I wasn’t interested in.  Something else did capture my eye though.  Nesting deck chairs.  Colourful ones.  Cheap.  It just so happens I was in the market for new patio furniture after leaving the farm.
Bill had spied a few things he wanted too.  I grabbed a shopping cart and we both put our individual purchases into it.  It wasn’t clear to us if the cash tills at the garden end of the store were open so I hailed a young clerk and asked if they were.  Indeed he told me, he had one of them open but had just stepped away to help another staff member.  He quickly jumped over to the till and removed the closed sign.  I had difficulty putting the chairs into the cart (it’s a big cart but not big enough) so the young man told me I could hold the chairs at his till and drive my truck right up to the doors afterward to load them.
Bill put his purchases through first and as is our little custom wherever we shop, we kibitz with each other and with the cashier as we’re going through.  As Bill was paying and chatting with the cashier, I loaded my items on the belt without paying too much attention to what they were talking about.  Then I heard the cashier say “this is going to be a little bit of an odd question”.  I wasn’t sure if he was continuing a conversation with Bill but he looked right at me and asked “are you two a couple?”  I could feel my face turn beet red.  “Yes”, I said and quickly moved back to the chair display to collect the chairs I wanted.  I heard the cashier then ask Bill how long we had been together for.  “I don’t mind,” the cashier said, “I was just curious”. 
I completed the transaction without any more fanfare and Bill stayed with our purchases while I left to drive my truck to the door.  As we were loading, suddenly the cashier was there too.  “I thought you said it was a big truck” he teased.   Bill must’ve mentioned my truck to him.  We had a brief chat about trucks, we thanked him and went on our way.
“I think he’s gay” I said to Bill as we were driving off.  “Do you think so?” Bill seemed uncertain.  “Yup, he was genuinely too interested in our arrangement and in chatting with us” I replied.  I haven’t met many straight guys that intensely interested in gay relationships. 
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Bill and I have been a couple for so long and are so natural as a couple that we just appear to be a couple even if we can’t see it. Or, maybe it’s just a strange occurrence at Wal-Mart . . .

Friday, 5 April 2013

Being a townie . . .


If you count the rural years of my childhood and after twelve years recently as a “once and future farmer”, I have lived in the country for almost half of my middle-aged life.  Until I moved to town three months ago following my divorce, my nearest neighbours were chickens, a goat and a horse.  I could see across the field from my sub-standard, rat infested hovel to the farmhouse where my ex-wife and my kids lived but beyond that, no other neighbours were visible from my vantage point.
Since moving to town, I am frequently asked how I like it.  The truth be known, I have enjoyed living in town.  I would explain to those with inquiring minds that I have a very nice house on a quiet suburban cul-de-sac and I’m enjoying my new life.  Originally, my plans were to move back to a farm when my youngest son moved on to a life and career of his own after graduating from high school.  Further to those thoughts, Bill and I have spoken about buying a farm together in the future. 
Recently, I even began telling people that there was now only a 50/50 chance that I’d ever go back to the country.   It’s pretty easy living in town, especially when one has no pets to look after.  I think Bill was still resolved to live on a farm in the future as my conversion of him from city to rural life had taken root.
We don’t have alleys in this part of town so we share a common backyard fence and even though their land is down-slope from me, the size of our lots brings us into close proximity with one another.  This neighbour has two little girls and a very large trampoline.  One of the neighbours beside me has two beagle hounds.  One of the beagles must’ve been unsuccessfully “debarked” as is evidenced by the whiny, whistley sound it makes when aroused from its usual afternoon slumber on their deck and occasionally at 1:00 am.
Last week, with my youngest son hanging with his buds somewhere other than at home, I settled onto the couch to spend a few quiet, relaxing moments to myself before having to make supper.  Then it began.  I literally had to look over my shoulder out the window because I thought the girls’ peals of laughter and shrieks of joy were coming from directly outside my family room.  They were actually on the trampoline in their own backyard.  This is when I also realized that their father has a booming voice that carries right through my house as he’s calling to them.  At that moment, I was 60/40 heading back to the farm.
Last weekend, another re-evaluation.  Helping our friend Martha trim her goats’ hooves I was reminded just how much I love farm animals and farm life.  I think I’m up to 80/20 for farm life in the future.  I suppose, in fairness I should probably not decide this far out about being a townie . . .