Wednesday, August 13, 2008

One week, part 2

No, not another Regents post (although there is a story in the Telegram today talking about the MUN/government racket). One week from today Cathy comes back home. Well, as is typical of most Newfoundlanders, she returns to her other home which is not located in Newfoundland. She's back in Iqaluit.

I think we both like the little break from each other during the summer. This isn't to say our marriage is in trouble or anything silly like that. It's just that we spend a lot of time with each other during the course of the year. And then three weeks with each other pretty much every waking moment while we were in Italy. I suspect she needed a break from me and I could use a break from her.

You hear this a lot from people whose spouses are either working in the offshore or flying out to Alberta. There's this fluctuation between missing them awful when they've been away for a few weeks and not being able to wait for them to leave again (or not being able to wait until they can go again) after they've been home for a couple of weeks.

So I think we're at that point now where the break has been nice, but I miss her a lot and she misses me a lot. So she's looking forward to coming home. And as nice as it's been to have the apartment to myself the last few weeks, I'm looking forward to having her back here.

Plus, given the absolutely terrible weather in St. John's the past couple of weeks, I know she's starting to go mad. I haven't helped any by saying we've been having a pretty nice summer in Iqaluit. Pretty consistently sunny, pretty consistently between 10-15 C. Which, for up here, is pretty comfortable. You know you're in trouble when you're coming here for some nice weather and a break from the cold and damp.

The only downside is that she's also going to be bringing back a very spoiled little dog. Cathy's parents are great and I'm grateful they took care of Boo while we were in Italy. But dear God, did they ever spoil him. He's going to be a handful when he gets back here.

So yeah, one week from today and she's back home. I think I'll start counting the days.

By the way, since we're talking about being apart from one's spouse for work reasons (well, I have to work. She's a teacher enjoying summer vacation), I've always been curious if there will be any long-term societal damage done to Newfoundland over having so much of the province's population in transit to other places for work. Yes, this has happened before, many times before, with (mostly) men having to go away to work. Boston and New York had its share of Newfoundland men go away and send money home to their families, getting home when they could.

But this is different, I think. In recent decades families tended just to pull up stakes and move to Ontario, BC or Alberta. Now, some are still doing that. But you are seeing more incidents where the wife and kids stay home while the husband goes to Alberta for four to six weeks, then coming home for a week or two. And you've got to wonder what that's going to do to families after awhile. For a year, maybe you get through it. But some have been doing this for years now. And what point do things start to breakdown?

I don't know. Sociology was never my strong point. I may well, and this will shock some, be completely fully of shit. But I can't help but think that it might be helping the economy, it's probably not helping people in the province. Not in the long run.

Last Five
1. So here we are - Bloc Party
2. Part one - Band of Horses
3. In that quiet earth - Genesis
4. Calm like you - The Last Shadow Puppets
5. Revolver - Donnas*


Matt, Kara and Hunter said...

There was an article in my Chatelaine magazine last month about exactly that! Women and kids being left behind while husband are off in Alberta working. One story was about a fire happening in a small community with only a volunteer fire station. Well the guy in charge had taken the keys out west with him! And most of the male volunteers were gone as well.

It also said that a lot of groups like soccer, hockey, etc are in trouble. Moms are too overworked to fill in everywhere. Interesting stuff.

SRD said...

This sounds like the migrant labour system in Southern Africa etc, (except with more frequent trips home). Needless to say, this has been linked to the spread of AIDS, gender roles, and family/generational relationships in all sort of obvious and complex ways...not a nice comparison, i'm afraid. srd

towniebastard said...

No, and you're already hearing some stories about drug and alcohol problems (you're stuck in an isolated area making 150k/yr. No surprise, really) and marriages breaking up over the stress.

In the short term, it's helping keep the province afloat, all that extra money. In the long term, you can't help but wonder if it's going to make things worse.

WJM said...

There's no obvious trend in the official divorce stats in NL. However, the divorce/marriage ratio, which increased from 5% in the mid 1970s to 30% in the mid 1990s, has actually been trending downward since.

That might be because the divorces are happening in Alberta or Ontario. I don't know.