Friday, February 27, 2009

On the Move

Let's get caught up.

Like I said in my profile, my name is Rick, and I'll turn half a century old this October 3rd. My life partner's name is Chris, and he'll turn forty-one on November 6. We met on June 13, 1992 (he was twenty-three and I was thirty-two), and we've been in a totally monogamous, long-term, committed gay relationship since. If you have trouble with simple math like I do, Chris and I will celebrate our seventeenth anniversary this year. We count our anniversary date as the day we met. We've spent little time apart since. We can now get legally married in British Columbia, but we've chosen not to. Given the length of time we've been together, we already feel married to each other in every way. (But just to be safe, we have wills and Powers of Attorney in place.)

In November 1980, I started my job with CIBC, Canada's second largest financial institution. A year before meeting me, Chris got a job with the provincial government.

Over my twenty-eight year tenure with CIBC, I held various positions, from Teller, to Administration Officer, to Customer Service Manager, to Manager, Currency Operations. In August 2000, Chris and I moved from Vancouver to Victoria so I could take over as the Manager of Victoria Currency Operations. Chris didn't want to move to Victoria, but I told him he either came with me, or we both stayed in Vancouver. I'm grateful he came so I could take advantage of a big opportunity in my career.

In July 2007, I retired from the bank at the age of forty-seven. Too much stress, not enough fun, time to pursue personal goals. The plan was that we would sell our condo in Vancouver, which we'd bought in 1994 and rented to tenants after we moved to Victoria. In August 2007, I lived from the condo, renovated it thoroughly, and, with the help of a wonderful realtor, Chris and I sold it for more than double what we paid for it. We paid off all of our debt, and I was able to embark on a writing career while Chris supported both of us on a single income.

Fast forward to September 2008. Still working for the same ministry with the provincial government, Chris was advised that his boss intended to consolidate the Victoria office to the Vancouver office. The time frame by which this would happen was loose, but everything lined up in early 2009 to start the process.

In mid February 2009, Chris applied for and won a managerial position in the Vancouver office. Within the same week, we listed our townhouse in Victoria, and, in a supposedly depressed real estate market, sold it within a single week for what we thought we'd get for it. Strangely, we even got a second realistic offer on the place just a few days after accepting the first.

It's now February 27. The subjects on the sale of our townhouse have nearly all been removed. The closing date is April 23. We need to be out by April 24. Our realtor, Denise, returns from five months in the Bahamas on March 2. On Friday, March 6, Chris and I will spend up to five days with Denise in Vancouver, looking for a suitable place to move to.

Already, we've been on the Internet looking at properties in the Metro Vancouver area. We have only so much money to spend. We want to keep our mortgage as low as possible so I can continue to write full-time. But I've already drawn up a realistic budget that tells me I may have to go back to work, at least part-time. Who will hire a fifty year old, with twenty years of management experience, and who doesn't want to be a manager anymore? That is the question belaboring my mind.

And will we find the right house for us? I have a vision of what I want it to look like (detached, freehold, quiet location, close to downtown Vancouver, brand new, Craftsman-style, great room, hardwood floors--you know what I mean), but, to fulfill that vision, we'd need about $750,000 to one million dollars. We don't have anywhere near that. Chris is the realist; I'm the dreamer. I guess we'll see what happens.

I've always wanted to write a blog about the gay relationship I share with Chris. I'm proud of what we have and want to celebrate it in my writing. I want other gay men in long-term, committed relationships to see what another gay couple does in various situations. I want us to learn from each other, if we can. And I want single gay men to know that wonderful gay relationships really exist, to know that there is a possibility for them to enjoy the same thing I have with Chris, and that so many other gay men in committed relationships have too. Give love and commitment a chance. You won't regret it.

So come along for the ride. As Chris and I negotiate our way back to Vancouver, to build a new life there, I want to share that with you, along with all the terrific and awful details. Using our upcoming move, I want to show what a day-to-day, long-term, monogamous, gay relationship looks like, and how it works. I hope you'll join me.

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