Reflecting on life.

Clearly no one cares, but, as always, I find writing is a little therapeutic for me. When life gets me down more than I can handle I’ve reached out for help from both “friends” and mental health organizations like the Enrichment Centre here in town and others, but nobody responds. Healthcare in general is a total mess right now in Canada, but mental health is by far the worst. People are waiting months for desperately needed appointments. Sad.

As I have said in other life reflection posts I feel totally trapped here in Belleville and feel like I am just waiting to die, which, thanks to my apparently not so urgent medical issue, might be closer than I think. It’s now been a year since the doctor at the walk-in clinic supposedly gave me an “urgent” referral to a neurologist in Kingston but I haven’t heard a word yet. As is said, too much analysis is paralysis, so I’ve stopped researching why you go to a neurologist. There’s no simple reasons. All of them are downright scary.

No question that Belleville is the very last place I ever thought I would live. Many years ago I ended up here after things didn’t work out for me in Ecuador and my friend, Heather, a former employee of decades ago, offered to let me stay at her son’s house outside of town which was under renovation and she thought based on my years of renovating several houses that I could help him. That turned into a total disaster when the pellet stove he installed failed and I froze my ass off for several days. I ended up breaking down in tears at the Salvation Army and they managed to get me into a group home. Yet another disaster.

After far too long I managed to get into another group home, this one run by All-Together Housing, where I met the President, Bob Cottrell, which was the start of a years long relationship. Back in 2017 when my time was about up at the group home, plus my rent for my room went up a hundred dollars, plus I now had an absurd amount on my credit card, I made the decision to give Mexico a try. Although it sure was an adventure, including falling in love with the love of my life and getting engaged, it was yet another disaster when I lost one of my pensions, about a third of my limited income, I couldn’t afford my very expensive medications, and I got dumped by text message and she married my best friend, who had money, way more than I did. I was forced back to Canada and tried to go back to the Okanagan where I had spent fourteen wonderful years, but it proved impossible to find anywhere affordable to live and I had no choice but to return to Belleville.

When I lived here before I found several good friends, but things have sure changed now. One was a guy I lived with at the last group home. We did a lot together, like going out for dinner, going to the show, visiting parks in the area, and going to Kingston several weekends, but when I came back he had moved to Winnipeg. Although I don’t remember where I met her, Doral was a good friend when I first came here. We used to go every Saturday to the Trenton Legion to see the bands. I helped her at her trailer north of town many times. We worked the Elvis Festival in Tweed. We helped a buddy move. We went to the casino for breakfast a few times with another good friend, Kate, all before the virus shut everything down. When I came back from Mexico the bus from Toronto dropped me off miles out of town and I was panicking. I called Doral and she was kind enough to pick me up and rescue me. I called for emergency housing and she got me connected to take a cab to Trenton to stay in a motel for the night. After that I barely ever see her other than once in a while at dances here. She won’t take me to Trenton for some reason and has nothing to do with me anymore. It’s the same with Kate who has been a dance partner for some eight years now, but she has abandoned me as well. I also met Jassmin and we went to Cheap Tuesdays at the movies. I bought the tickets and she gave me a ride, but she too has stopped responding to my messages. With all these “friends” I don’t know if I’ve done something to upset them and have no clue why they’ve dropped me.

I don’t know if it’s a post COVID thing or me, but people seem to be a lot less friendly now than they used to be. I’m in the Quinte Singles group which has close to eight hundred members now, but they don’t come out to any of the events. A recent corn roast/pot luck event only had twenty-four people show up. There’s a dance coming up soon so hopefully lots of members will show up.

For me the summer has been a total disaster. Not only have I never been to a dance in Trenton because Doral won’t give me a ride anymore, but I can’t get a ride to anything. There’s been some great bands playing at the casino Friday nights, but the last bus home is at 9:40 so I miss most of it. One of the bands that I built a website for, Back Swing, was there recently but I couldn’t go. There’s also great concerts at the Lions Pavilion at West Zwick park, called Concerts On the Bay, every Wednesday and Sunday nights, but the buses don’t even go there so I’ve not been to one concert. I’ve never been anywhere near a beach this summer. Never been to Kingston on the weekends. Even the Saturday night dances at the ANAF club are impossible because the buses don’t run on Saturday nights and it’s impossible to get a cab even if I could afford it, which I can’t.

Hard as I try my website business, something I’ve done for decades and in many countries, has failed to make a dime. What I used to get four or five hundred dollars for is now down to a hundred and twenty-nine dollars and I do a lot more work for it, like registering the domain name, building a much more complicated website, and free hosting. I did build a couple of band sites for even less money. I also invested about three thousand dollars worth of time building out one of the most complicated sites ever, my mistake, yes, but the client turned out to be an idiot and ended it just insulting me.

Life is certainly not good now. I did just manage to connect with my son from another mother to tell him about my health issue because it might affect him someday. His mother told me never to contact him again but I felt I had an obligation to let him know because he is my biological son and he thanked me and asked me to keep him posted so I will.

As much as I would be giving up on ever seeing my kids or grandkids before I die, I still wish I could go back to Mexico to live out what’s left of my life. My dear friend, Annie, said she would marry me so I can stay in Mexico, but I would again lose one of my pensions when I am out of the country for more than six months and I could never afford my diabetic medications, which are free here in Canada. I told Annie that if my eventual diagnosis with the neurologist is fatal I will sell everything and come back to live out what’s left of my life with her and her wonderful family.

Should anyone care, stay tuned.

2022 Year in Review

Over the course of the almost twenty years I've maintained this personal website I've often done a review of the previous year highlighting some of the major things that have happened and looking forward to the next year. Most often it seems like I am always hoping that the next year will be better. My site motto is the "good, the bad and the ugly" and it appears that the bad and the ugly usually win out.

2022 was mostly about my health. As we grow older our health becomes more and more important. The ravages of age can be cruel. For me as I’ve gotten older I have sensed my own mortality more as I draw closer to the ages of my parents. My Dad died in my arms when he was eighty-one and my Mum, who had advanced Alzheimer’s, died at eighty-four, so that’s not a long time from now even if I make it that far. I am also diabetic and a smoker so that’s two strikes against me already. A couple of months ago I was shooting video of a band down at the Caribbean Festival, holding my phone up over the heads of the crowd, when I suddenly felt like I was going to fall down. I wasn’t dizzy or faint, just lost my balance. I stumbled back to grab onto the building, then managed to get to my bus home with the help of the auxiliary police. After that I spent hours and hours in the Emergency Department getting all kinds of tests, including a CT scan, all of which came back negative. A doctor at a local clinic gave me an urgent referral to a neurologist; however, there are none in Belleville and the closest one is in Kingston and I have no idea how to get there. I’ve been waiting weeks for the call, but I’m told it could be months. Thankfully it has gotten better. I'm still a little shaky in the shower but I'm not banging into the walls of my apartment. I've even managed to dance again.

There are two related issues with this condition. First, and clearly the most critical, is not knowing what is causing this loss of balance. As usual too much analysis can be paralysis. Back when the CT scan was scheduled I researched why you get one of your head and the results were not great. Everything from a brain tumor to aneurysm or a stroke. Scary stuff! Thankfully the results of the scan showed nothing abnormal, but being referred to a neurologist was just as scary. My research points to vestibular balance disorders because it can be a result of diabetes and one of the symptoms is tinnitus which I suffer from. Obviously self diagnosis is dangerous so I won't know until I actually get to see the neurologist.

The other major issue with this situation is with my kids. Not to be overly dramatic but if whatever this is turns out to be fatal I didn't want my kids to find out I was gone from some random Facebook post. I felt they had the right to know about my condition. As I have lamented many times over the years my kids all abandoned me for reasons I have never known. My wonderful daughter, Heather, has not connected with me in almost thirty years now. My son, Chris, connected with me back in London, Ontario is 2009, but blocked me on Facebook soon after. My other son, Andy, from another mother, hasn't blocked me but has chosen not to have anything to do with me. As far a grandkids go I just recently learned that my daughter had another son back in 2019 but nobody told me. Heather now has three kids who don't know anything about me. Chris has three daughters, only one of which I had contact with. When I lived in Mexico she messaged me on Facebook, saying she was so upset that her parents didn't let her make her own decision about me. We chatted back and forth for a while and then she was coming to Mexico for a friend's wedding and she would let me know where and when. Then suddenly she blocked me too with no reasons why. It's all so very confusing.

I tried to let my kids know. My cousin in Toronto doesn't have any contact with my kids and didn't want to get involved anyway. Friends, like Annie in Mexico, had her daughter message Mackenzie to contact me, but her mother sent me an angry message telling me to stop having anyone message her daughter. At one point Andrew's mother, Pat, had put Chris and Heather in touch with him and they met each other, so I was hoping that he might let them know about my situation, but I asked Pat if it was okay if I told Andrew and she blew up at me and told me not to contact Andrew, so there went that idea. I had made arrangements with my Executor to access my Facebook account and have someone do a post that I was gone, but we had a stupid fight about something he completely misunderstood so I don't know if he's going to be my Executor or not. After the fight he said he was going to return all the paperwork to me but he hasn't done that yet, so I don't know if I have anyone to look after things or not. It's all such a mess and so stressful.

Besides the health issue my life over the last year has not been great.

Without question this has been the most boring year of my life. Being stuck back in the most boring city I’ve ever lived in is bad enough, but even compared to my previous years here this is by far the worst ever. Before I made yet another fateful decision and moved to Mexico for two years my life here wasn’t all that bad. Although I lived in various group homes and never had a place to call my own, I did have friends and did a lot. With my friend, JC, at the group home on Forin, we went down to Kingston several weekends, and went over to Wolfe island. We went to Sandbanks to swim. We had a most interesting day visiting the monarch butterfly exhibit. We also went out to dinner a few times and went to the show. When I returned to Belleville in 2019 he had moved to Winnipeg. Although I ended up in Forin again, nobody had a car so we never went anywhere.

Someone who was a good friend was Doral. She took me to the Legion in Trenton many Saturdays for their dances with great bands. I also helped her at her trailer several times. She also took us to volunteer at the Elvis Festival in Tweed, which was a fun weekend. She and our friend, Kate, also went to the Monday brunches at the casino before they shutdown for COVID. I also helped Doral with a flea market event at the Trenton Legion. We danced at all the various music events at the Belleville Legion and the concerts at the Lions pavilion on Wednesdays and Sundays. When I returned in 2019 of course the world went into lockdown when the virus hit so there were no dances or events to go to. Now that things have slowly recovered Doral has written me out of her life. I saw her at the Canada Day event at Zwick park and asked her about going to the dances in Trenton again but she said she was too busy selling her clothes at various festivals and jamborees to go. She’s never called about going to the casino either.

Someone who has helped me more than anyone in my life is Bob Cottrell, the President of All-Together Housing, the charity who ran the group homes I stayed in over the years. When I went to Mexico he let me store all my storage bins in the basement at Forin and when I came back to apply for residency in Mexico he brought all the bins to the hotel for us to sell everything, and this despite having a heart attack the day he was to meet us. After I was forced back from Mexico he managed to get me into Forin again and even paid an invalid collection from the housing corporation in London, Ontario so that I could qualify for more permanent housing, without which I’d be on the streets now. After I moved out to my own apartment he basically wrote me out of his life. I had spent hours on a major shipping container apartment project and asked to meet him to go over it and see how we could get funding and approvals for it, but he never responded. A couple of months ago I was in a very rough state of depression and I wrote him a very pleading email for help from the mental health folks here, but, again, he didn’t respond. Then I had a major issue with someone who’s been my best buddy and I asked Bob to speak to him, and he said he would, but that was months ago now and he’s done nothing.

Probably the biggest challenge this year has been what happened with my best buddy, Rob. After I moved out of Forin we lost touch for almost a year and I had no clue why. Then one day while I was out front of the building having a smoke he comes walking up and starts chatting as though nothing had ever happened. He told me he finally got his own apartment just around the corner from me so he came to see me. I was thrilled that we connected again and we went for coffee at Tim’s several times. When I faced this new health issue that could end my life I realized that I needed someone to deal with selling and donating my stuff. Bob Cottrell was my Executor and I knew he wasn’t going to handle things anymore, so I asked Rob if he would be my Executor and he agreed. We spent the next couple of weeks getting my new will updated and signed, having him meet my landlady, and going over all the things to do with my websites and so on. I was so relieved that everything would be handled by someone I could trust.

Then Rob asked me if the doctor at the Bayview Clinic would fill out his paperwork for ODSP so he could get more money. I was visiting the clinic to get my referral to the neurologist so I asked Dr. Maraghi if he would complete Rob’s paperwork and he agreed. Rob asked me to go with him to introduce him to Dr. Maraghi and I agreed because I said I was going to ask Dr. Maraghi if he got my medical records from the hospital. When we met at the clinic I went in with Rob, introduced him and asked Dr. Maraghi if he got my records and he said to check with the front office. No sooner had I gone outside than Rob came out very pissed at me. He said after I left the doctor Dr. Maraghi had throw his paperwork back at him and said the appointment was over because I had used the time. Rob hurled insults at me, finally telling me to f*ck off and that he was going to drop off all the paperwork we had signed for my will. He told me to lose his number and never call him again. I was really upset at what had happened.

When I got home, still very upset, I realized that the fault here was Dr. Maraghi. Why would he treat Rob with such disrespect simply because I took thirty seconds to ask him a question? I sat down and wrote a three page letter detailing what had happened and asking him to be professional and call Rob to come back in again and complete his paperwork as he should done the first time. When I met Rob again to give him back some money he had loaned me I gave him a copy of the letter so he would know why the clinic was calling him. To my considerable surprise he called me later to tell me he had shown my letter to a police officer because somewhere in the letter he got that I was threatening him. I read the letter again and for the life of me couldn’t see where he got this. As he was yelling at me he did mention that the clinic had in fact called him to come in again, but he had gotten his paperwork completed somewhere else. It didn’t matter. The friendship was over. Although at this point, weeks later, he still hasn’t returned my will I doubt he will handle things if I drop dead.

A recurring issue this year has been not being able to get a ride anywhere from anyone, including my offers to give gas money. I have not gone to a single Wednesday or Sunday Lion’s concert at Zwick because no buses go there. The buses in this town stop running Saturday nights and early on Sundays and not at all on holidays so that’s not an option. For every single event I have posted an offer of gas money on Facebook but not a soul has responded. If I still drove I would offer anyone a ride and not ask for gas money because I’m going there anyway. Belleville must be the most unfriendly town anywhere.

Maybe also related to the whole “friends” thing is what happened with a neighbor here in the building, Dave. He had previously lived in the apartment I now live in and we had chatted when we saw each other. One day he asked me if I was interested in playing shuffleboard at the Legion. Although I had not played in years I said I would try so he told me to meet him in front of the building and we would go together in his car. I enjoyed it and joined the league. After a couple of weeks we went to the local fish and chip shop for dinner and I paid to thank him for the rides to the Legion. He also took me out to the reserve to get my smokes, for which he wanted twenty dollars so I paid him. Every week we went to Tim’s on the way and I always paid. Then one week I was waiting for him in the lobby but he didn’t come, so I called him to ask when we were going. He said he had already left and when I asked him why he said because I never gave him any money for gas! He had never asked me for gas money to go to the same place he was already going. I guess he forgot about the expensive dinner I had paid for and the Tim’s every week. We have barely spoken ever since. I have heard that he’s spread the story about me not giving him gas money to other tenants. He sees me taking the bus every week and drives to the Legion himself but never offers me a ride or says anything to me. A nice lady at the shuffleboard, Nancee, often offers me a ride home and won’t accept gas money.

A few other people affected my life this year. Jassmin is someone I met on Facebook. Back in 2021 we met for dinner at Signal Brewing, went to the cheap Tuesday movies at Cineplex a few times, biking along the lake twice, and planned to go to a beach somewhere. So much that I bought a lawn chair, a cooler and a backpack, but we never ended up going. This year I emailed her before every Tuesday asking her what movie she’d like to see, but she was always “too busy”. She never once asked me to go biking and nothing about going to a beach.

Back in 2020 I also met Sornia at the Trenton Legion. When I got up the courage to ask her to dance it was just incredible. She was one of the best dance partners I ever had in my life. People who saw us dance would ask us how long we had been married. In my dreams! I really liked her and hoped for more, to at least get to dance with her, but she never once responded to my message on Facebook about upcoming dances and she posted videos from various dances she had gone to, so clearly not interested in even dancing with me, let alone anything more.

Yet another disappointment was with my dear and oldest friend, Linda, who I have always called Lenny. We were the best of friends during the fourteen years I lived in the Okanagan and we had many adventures together. She is the one who phoned me from Turkey on my birthday many years ago. This year, out of the blue, she called me and we talked for hours, mostly about memories and where friends were now. One very upsetting thing she told me was that someone who had been a very close friend, Bianca, had told her never to lend me money. When Lenny asked her why she said she had leant me seventeen thousand dollars when I lived in Panama and I had never paid her back! This shocked the heck out of me because it was a total lie! It’s a very long story but Bianca had pressured me about investing in my website business in Ecuador. I had registered domain names for several cities and was building the first site, WelcomeToBoquete, as the model for other sites. I had just hired a local Panamanian girl to work with me as a reporter and sales person and she got an exclusive interview with the mayor. I was also making inroads with a large grocery chain, Romeros, and several banks to advertise on all my sites. After much discussion, most of which was me warning Bianca that it was a very risky investment which could either pay off huge or she could lose it all, I finally agreed to sell her ten percent of the company for two thousand dollars. When I was forced to return to Canada the business fell apart, obviously, and just as I had warned her. It was never a loan and certainly not seventeen thousand dollars. I have no idea where this amount came from or why she would lie that it was a loan. I would never have borrowed any money from her or anyone else.

The one and only constant friendship I had throughout the year was with Annie in Mexico. We chatted on Messenger almost every day as we have since I returned to Canada in November 2019. She has always wanted me to come back to Mexico but I would again lose the GIS pension after six months so we would have to figure out how to survive. At one point she even offered to marry me so I could stay in Mexico, but then there were issues with her husband's pension which she would lose if we got married. Annie is that person in your life that whenever something really good or really bad happens they are the first person you want to tell. She is literally the only friend I have in the world.

Another not so great part of the year was getting scammed by girls on Facebook. Two in particular were really bad. Okay, I'm stupid to fall for them but I'm just too trusting. With both of them we had chatted for hours and hours and they both said they wanted to visit me, and making offers hard to refuse. Both were gorgeous if the photos they sent were really them. The first, Mary Hannah, lived in Toronto. She said she would borrow a car from her friend and come and stay with me for a "few days". It was too tempting and by this time I trusted her. She wanted thirty-five dollars for gas but I told her that would not get her to Belleville, so I offered her fifty but told you that was all I could afford so she would need to get herself home. She agreed. She was going to shower and head off to see me. About an hour later she texted me that she was stranded at a gas station, out of gas, apparently because the car was not good on gas. Not wanting to see her stranded I sent her more money. About an hour later she again texts me that she's in Belleville but out of gas. I ask her where she is and she gives me an address where there is no gas station. I tell her to give my number to the gas station attendant and tell him to call me to get my credit card for gas, but she says he refuses to do that. I tell her that the address she gave me is around the corner from me so walk over, but she doesn't want to leave her car there overnight. Now realizing that she's still at home I refuse to send any more money. She responds with pleas that it's not safe for her to sleep in her car. Just more and more lies. I tell her we're so done.

Lesson learned? No. Next a friend of a friend contacts me on Facebook and we chat for hours. Sandra Scott is in Ottawa and wants to come and visit me. Of course she sends photos to encourage me and makes offers too good to refuse. At first she says she's going to take an Uber to me, which is insane because it would cost hundreds of dollars. Then she's going to borrow a car and needs gas money, of course. Do I yet again fall for it? Well, first I go back to the friend I've known for months and ask her if this Sandra can be trusted and she says she really wants to visit me and she can be trusted. I send Sandra fifty dollars. She cashes the gift card and disappears on me. A day or so later she comes back and messages me that she's so sorry. She had a "medical emergency", her period, and needed pads and medications. Again she promises to come, but by now I am very suspicious so I go back to my friend, who tells me that Sandra had messaged her saying how sorry she was about what happened and how much she still wants to meet me. I fall for it and send her another fifty dollars. She says she's on her way. I had given her my address and asked if she knew how to get here and she said the car had GPS so she would find me. A few hours later she texts me that she can't find me. I ask where she is and she gives me a street about a block away from me. I give her directions. Far too long later she gives me a different street, further away. She adds that the car has broken down but there's a guy who will give her a ride for fifty bucks. I tell her that's ridiculous to come a couple of blocks and I will send her a cab. I ask her to give me a specific house address where she is. Her response is her phone is dying so hurry up and send the fifty bucks because the guys are looking scary. Instead I call a cab telling them it's urgent and we go to the street where she said she was. Of course there's no car and no guys. All lies. Add another twenty bucks for the cab to my losses.

Naturally I go back to the friend who had told me to trust Sandra and she says she is so pissed off that she scammed me. She says Sandra is very sorry and will pay me back. Yeah, right. I am so angry I tell Sandra that I am going to file a report with the RCMP Fraud Centre is she doesn't pay me back within twenty-four hours. She not only doesn't respond she isn't even bright enough to delete our chat which clearly shows she scammed me. I copy the chat and submit it along with her supposed photos to the fraud centre, although I doubt they will do anything. I also do a post on Facebook with her photos warning people not to fall for her scam.

Since this happened several other girls who have friended me also asked for money. Not to visit me, but for photos and videos, but I've told them that I have been scammed badly before and I will never ever send money to anybody again. Some have said that it's not fair to not trust them because of what happened with someone else, which may be true, but I'm firm on not doing it again. Period.

Yes, as per usual, I hope 2023 is better. A lot better. Just surviving another year would be a bonus.

Why do people do this?

There's no shortage of internet scams and frauds, and the police or the RCMP Fraud Centre seem powerless to stop them, but how can people be so cruel to do this to innocent victims? Yeah, I was dumb enough to fall for it, but there's a lot of history on this.

I could literally write a book on some of the strange experiences I've had with various girls who I've met on Facebook Messenger, Google Chat and WhatsApp. There was Thana, who said she was trapped in Afghanistan with her nine year old son. Her husband, a soldier, had been killed and left her with millions of dollars in a bank account in Turkey that she couldn't access without physically going to the branch, but she couldn't leave the country. Over a long and complicated process I was to contact the bank and tell them that Thana wanted to come to Canada to marry me and I needed access to her money to fund her and her son's trip. At one point I had to give my bank information for the bank in Turkey to deposit one million dollars, something I was very nervous to do, but she convinced me that she loved me and really wanted to be with me, so I gave my bank information to her "bank manager". Within minutes she had cleaned out my account. I reported this to my bank and luckily they reversed the charges and reported all the transactions as fraud. Of course she denied ever doing this, but that was the last time I heard from her.

Then there was Adrianna Grace. Again she chatted with me over several weeks, eventually saying how much she loved me and wanted to be with me. She said she really wanted to video chat with me but she needed a new phone. She said she lived north of London, Ontario so I spent an hour online with cell phone carriers seeing what kind of deal I could get for her. Then in one of our many chats she said she wasn't feeling well because she was starving. I said I had a fifty dollar gift card from one of the grocery stores and could send it to her if she gave me her address, which she did and off went the card.

Days later, after I asked her if she got the gift card okay, I guess in a rare moment of honesty, she told me she didn't live where she said she did, in fact, she didn't even live in Canada! She was somewhere in the States. I asked her why she had me spend all the time with Canadian cell phone carriers, and who got the gift card? She was sorry and her friend enjoyed the gift card. Never heard from her again.

Then there was Mary Hannah, although I doubt that was her real name. She friended me on Facebook then we started chatting on Google Chat, and for hours and hours. She was one of those girls who wanted to sell her sexy videos and I offered to help. Like many of the women who sell their videos she also shared one of her naked, playing with her pussy. I suggested that this is not what men really want so over the course of many hours I wrote a script for her telling her exactly what to do and what to show. She loved the concept and said she would record the video and send it to me "right away". Hours later of course she came back saying she had done the video but needed money for her internet to upload it to me. I sent her the twenty bucks she asked for, but, naturally, got no video. She said she lived in Toronto and wanted to come and visit me in Belleville, but she needed money for gas and asked for twenty or thirty dollars. With the current price of gas I said that would not even get her here, let along back home, but she said she had gas in her car and just needed more. I sent her the money and she said she was on her way. An hour or so later she messages me telling me she is out of gas and if I send her some more money she will be here soon. I ask her to tell me exactly where she is but she can't tell me, probably because she's still at home. Later she tells me she's here in Belleville but stuck at a gas station because she needs more gas. I ask what gas station she's at and she gives me an address where there is no gas station, of course. Then she sends a bunch of messages saying she will be forced to sleep in her car if I don't send more money for gas. I tell her to get the gas station attendant to phone me, but she says he refuses to call. I tell her leave her car and get a cab to my place but she says the driver won't take her unless she gives him twenty dollars. I tell her to have the cab driver phone me, but she says the driver doesn't have a phone. I tell her that every cab driver has a phone for dispatch. Finally she says she's not coming and going back home. I ask how she'll do that if she has no gas? End of story. Nothing but lies. She was never here.

The final straw was the worst. A long term friend on Google Chat, Sarah Logan, told me her friend, Sandra Scott, who was "like a sister", wanted to meet me. She put us in touch on Chat and we started chatting. Over the course of the next few hours she said she really wanted to meet me. She sent several very attractive photos to tease me. She just needed "gas money" to come, of course. I explained that I had just been ripped off by someone else who wanted to visit me, so I wasn't going to fall for that again. Over several hours it got so bad that she said she was booking an Uber to come and needed a hundred dollars. She promised to spend several days with me if I would just help her out. I asked if I sent her a hundred dollars to get her how was she going to get home? I was clear that I had no more money to give her, but she said she would borrow money from a friend to get back home. The story was getting more and more fishy, but I really wanted her to come and stay for a few days. The minute I finally sent her the money she disappeared.

I went back to Sarah and told her what her "friend" had done to me. She was livid and said she would contact Sandra. She came back saying she was furious with Sandra and that she would return my money. The next day Sandra came back on chat to say she was really sorry, but she had a "medical emergency" and needed ninety dollars for meds. She insisted that she would pay me back, but I didn't believe her and ended our chat.

Oh, but there's more to the story!

Several days later Sarah contacted me again to say that Sandra was so disappointed that she hadn't come to spend some time with me. Despite what had happened she insisted that Sandra could be trusted, saying that if I sent "gas money" to Sandra again, and she didn't come, Sarah would pay me back. At one point I was chatting with both of them, arguing back and forth about sending her the money. I told Sandra to come and the minute she showed up I would get her the gift card for a hundred bucks. No deal because she needed "gas money" to come. Over the next few hours she made all kinds of juicy offers to sleep with me, which only made me more suspicious, but throughout this chat with Sandra there's Sarah telling me it would be the best thing I could ever do because there could be more with Sandra. She could be the girlfriend of my dreams and stay with me. I broke down and sent the money. Sandra said she was on her way. At least this time she didn't disappear on me after she got my money.

About two hours later I get another message saying she's run out of gas. She even includes a map showing where she is and that she's thirty-six minutes away. She says she needs thirty dollars but I send her fifty because we're going to use her car for the next few days that she's here with me, doing all the things we talked about. About an hour later she messages me telling me where she is, but she can't find me. The street name she gave was about a block away so I give her directions and tell her she's five minutes away. Awhile later I get another message saying that her car has broken down and she's on a street miles from where she just was. She says there's a guy there who will bring her to me for fifty bucks and to send it right away because her phone is dying. I tell her there's no way I'm going to pay some guy fifty bucks when she's only minutes away from me. She replies that there's a bunch of "bad guys" there and she's in danger. Her phone dies, so I call a cab and we wander the street she said she was on, but there's no car broken down and no her. I got back home and suddenly her phone is magically charged and she attacks me saying she is going to need to get a motel now and she "hates me".  I guess she hates me for realizing that she is still in Ottawa and not here.

I've had enough. I email Sandra telling her that I have our chat records. I've contacted Google who say they have her IP address and will release it to the police. I have her Google Chat information and will get her account suspended with Google. I have spoken with Amazon and they will suspend her account for "suspicious activity". I will file a report with the RCMP Fraud centre within twenty-four hours if she doesn't return the money she extorted from me. I will also publicly expose her on Facebook to warn others about her. No response from her. I file the report and here's the post.

Be warned!



Well, this might be my last post. I hope not.

It has been a very tough few weeks which has left me with a lot of worry, escalated stress, depression and a new sense of my own mortality. If this ends up being my last post I feel the need to explain, not for my family who abandoned me years ago for reasons I have never understood, but for any of the friends I have made over the years in many places who just might care.

Around the first of July I had nearly fallen in the shower a few times and I found myself bumping into my apartment walls when walking around. I wasn't so much as dizzy, just losing my balance for some unknown reason. When this didn't go away I emailed by nurse, Carolyn, at the Diabetic Education Centre here in Belleville and she asked me about my ears, knowing that I had a wax buildup in my right ear that I had been trying to clear for weeks. I had gone to the Emergency Department over a year ago for the same thing and the nurse had cleared a tiny bullet of wax, which she said was very hard to clear. Like thousands of other people here I don't have a family doctor so my nurse said to go to Emergency again. Emergency Departments are in chaos across the country because of the virus and staff shortages, so I knew the wait time could be brutal, but off I went.

After about two hours getting booked in and waiting I got into the department where a nurse took about a minute to look in my ears and tell me they were clear. She followed with a bunch of tests checking my reflexes and vision, then told me to put on the gown and wait for the doctor. He eventually came and asked me a bunch of questions, then ordered a chest X-Ray and blood work. He also checked my heart. Several hours later he came back and said the tests were all negative but he was ordering a CT Scan. His words scared the crap out of me because he said "light stroke".

They called me the next day to schedule my CT scan for Thursday morning at 11:15 so off I went in plenty of time on the buses. Unfortunately the bus driver failed to mention that I was on the wrong bus when I told her where I was going, so I was late for my appointment. I didn't have to go through the lengthy triage booking again so they sent me down to Imaging. I barely got my bum in the chair when they called my name. It was my first CT scan, and of my head, so it can seem a little scary but it was fine. When it was over I asked the technician how I would get the results and he said Emergency would have them within an hour, but when I went back and saw the triage nurse she said she had no idea why he would say that and they MAY have the results today. She agreed that I might wait all day. I told her I had a funeral to go to at 1:00 o'clock so could I come back and she agreed.

Although the funeral for Steve Martin was nice, there were probably two hundred people there celebrating his life over many decades being a musician, I had to wonder if anyone would show up for my funeral? Certainly none of my family, who had abandoned me years ago for reasons I never understood, wouldn't care and I have few people I would call friends here. It's academic anyway because I have no money for a funeral so the City will just dump my body to be cremated and take money from my last pensions to partly pay for it. Even my mother was obviously there when I came into this world but I go out alone.

When I returned to Emergency to get my scan results I waited five hours and was going to miss my last bus home so I told the nurse and she said to come back the next day. When I came back there was no triage nurse but I saw a sign on the wall to pick up the phone if there was no nurse on duty. When she answered she said they weren't taking anymore patients today! What? This is the Emergency Department ad they're not taking anymore patients? Seriously? I told her that I had waited five hours the day before but no results and she agreed to come down and book me in. No sooner had I seen her than she said it would be a "very, very long wait". I noticed at least twenty patients in the waiting room and every chair filled down the hall.

After I got my coffee at Tim's I had a thought. I went to the Diabetic Education Centre to see if I could get the results sent to Dr. Jamil, my diabetes doctor. After a lengthy conversation with Laura she said that Dr. Jamil was on holidays but he would be coming in to sign prescriptions so would make sure he got my results and would contact me. I was to call Medical Records to request the results be sent to him, which I did. The next day I got an email from someone else at the Diabetic Education Centre, this one in Trenton, telling me that Laura was new and didn't know what she was talking about. This lady asked me for authorization to release my medical records, which I gave her, and she came ack later telling me that my scan was "clean", whatever that meant. She did give me an appointment to see Dr. Jamil, my first ever, the following week.

The following Monday Dr. Jamil did some tests and asked a bunch of questions and then said it was nothing to do with my diabetes. I was to go to a clinic and get a referral to a neurologist. Scary stuff! I went to the Bayview Medical Clinic and got a referral from Dr. Maraghi, although he said I would need to go to Kingston and I have no clue how to get there.

If this is, in fact, my last goodbye I have a few things to say.

First, and foremost, is the horrible situation with my kids and grandkids. Although I have covered this in other posts, I feel the need to express my thoughts if my kids or grandkids ever wanted to know about me. My darling daughter, Heather, has not spoken to me or contacted me in almost thirty years now. My last contact with my son, Christopher, was way back in 2009 in London, Ontario. For a brief few months my granddaughter, Mackenzie, chatted with me on Facebook Messenger. In her first message she was very upset that her parents had not let her make her own decision about me. We had a number of back and forth messages, the last of which she said she was coming to Mexico for a friend's wedding and she would let me know where and when because she wanted to meet me. I was thrilled to say the least.

Then I heard nothing back from her and she stopped replying to my messages. Then one day I saw her photo on Facebook of her at the wedding in Puerto Villarta! I had no clue why she didn't let me know about it. After sending her a message asking what happened she didn't respond and simply blocked me! I was left so confused and hurt. In desperation to learn why she had blocked me I posted a message on Father's Day, the toughest day for me, asking people to try to get a message to her to contact me. What I got was a horrible message from her mother to "stop all the bullshit" and that "I was not her grandfather"! Another knife to the heart!

Danielle was the only grandchild I had ever met. That was when I had driven across the country in the dead of winter to see Heather, but they had hidden her away from me when I arrived. I spent three weeks with Chris and his then partner, Tina, waiting to see Heather, and I held Danielle in my arms. She was just a baby. Years later I added a photo of Chris' three girls to my Facebook page and immediately got a terse message from Danielle to remove the photo or she would report me. Then a few months ago I mentioned Mackenzie in a post and Danielle again blew up at me and told me to remove it. She added that I was to stop trying to get ahold of anyone in the family or anyone I ever knew.

The last time I ever saw Heather was back in 1993 when I went out west to be with my mother who had cancer and had been given less than a five percent chance of surviving for more than six months. My parents, brother and sister had moved out west in 1970 and we had seen each other very rarely over the years. I wanted to spend whatever time she had left with my mother so it was clear that I had to go. Heather knew that my marriage had failed long ago and she agreed that I should go to be with my mother. I had no plan for what I would do after my mother passed but I knew my Dad would still need support so it was all up in the air when I left. Heather and I did discuss her coming out again on vacation as her and Chris had done before and had a ball. That was when Heather broke my heart telling me to stay because she said I had never been happier. I couldn't stand the thought of leaving her so I came back to Brampton, only to waste a few more years.

As my mother hung on, not in any pain and her usual happy self I made the fateful decision to listen to my daughter and move out west. I had finally had the courage to leave the marriage so I drove down with my parents and sold the house and everything in it that my ex didn't want. The last day we were together in the house my ex spent some thirteen hours admitting that she had been a terrible wife , that everything was her fault, and that she knew how hard I had tried, but it was far too late for any apology. Despite her admission, for all the twenty-three years we were married she had always agreed that if we split it would be fifty/fifty, as the law called for, but as soon as I left suddenly she wanted everything "for our daughter" supposedly. Yeah, right! Throughout our marriage I had grown the original one hundred dollars I bought our first house with to over a hundred grand after renovating eight homes, not one of which she had ever lifted a singer to help. Not only did I work sixty hours a week, but I got to come home and cook and clean and renovate while she sat at her mother's talking every night, not coming home until late. My kids grew up more at their grandmother's house than ours. When I left all I got was my final cheque from my last client. She got every dime and bought a house! Thanks!

After I moved in with my parents in what was then Westbank they were going to Yuma, Arizona for the winter as they had done for years, so my Dad said I could rent their place as they had also done many times. I had no clue what I was going to do for work so it sounded like a good plan. I still had my custom van that I had not been paying for so I knew it was only a matter of time until they came and got it. I had no money to keep up the payments so I had no choice.  Sure enough they came late one night and repossessed it.

I had managed to find work, although at a much lower rate than I had been making in Ontario, and I had joined the Courtplex and made friends, two of which became my best friends, Laura and Linda, who I called Lenny for some unknown reason. Laura has written me off long ago after believing all the lies my brother and sister told her, even though I wrote a long post giving her the facts. Lenny has remained a good friend and we even talked on the phone a while ago. Over the course of the next fourteen years I spent in the Okanagan I met many, many friends and had a ball. Karla (my pretend wife), Larry and Darlene, Susan, Sue, Brian and Linda, Brian Wall and Doris, Don and Karen, Crystal Mogdan, Jackie, Tracy, Wade Silver, Mike Nixon, Ron and Suzanne, Bianca and numerous dance partners at the Corral, like Heather, Pat and Nola.  I had boats, snowmobiles, dirt bikes and I played racquetball frequently, downhill skied, cross country skied, waterskied, ran a hiking club and a rollerblading group, danced my butt off three nights a week at the OK Corral and went snowmobiling around Kelowna and in Revelstoke. Family and friends spent many a wonderful day at my parent's place. Life was good, but, I missed my kids!

Shortly after I arrived in Westbank I came home one day and my Dad said Heather had called and asked if I would come to her convocation for school. She said she would let me know when. I was thrilled. At that point I still had the van so I was prepared to drive down. She called and we had a very brief chat but we set a day for me to come. Unfortunately it was going to be in the dead of winter so I wasn't crazy about the drive but she was worth it. I went through the States again but ran into a lot of very bad weather. In Montana they were closing the road behind me. I think it was in North Dakota that I had pulled into a rest stop that was packed with rigs, but when I woke up I couldn't see my watch because it was iced over. When I turned the radio on it was minus fifty-five degrees! Not only that but I was the only one in the rest stop! The truck groaned when I tried to start it and I believed I was going to freeze to death out there alone. Thankfully it finally started and took about half an hour to get any heat, but I survived! Then in northern Michigan I hit a brutal snowstorm. I was the first vehicle on the highway and had no clue where the road was. Soon there were several cars behind me crawling along and I thought they no doubt hated me. Then I remembered where the two lane road widened to four lanes so I gingerly moved over to let all the cars pass, but they all dropped in behind me and no one passed! Now I was thinking they were saying that I was doing a good job and they were sticking with me. lol

When I finally got to Brampton Heather was nowhere to be found. No message at her apartment. Not at her school in Mayfield. I then learned from Chris that my ex and her new husband (my long term friend, Gary Ellis) had hidden her away and would not let me see her! I just did this horrendous drive because Heather asked me to come down, and now they were not going to let me see her? She was my daughter and I had every legal right to see her. After three weeks of waiting I drove home, crying all the way. My heart was broken.

Over the years I spent in the Okanagan many friends, usually girlfriends from time to time, all could never understand why Heather had abandoned me. Quite often I could sense that they thought something had happened between us like child molesting, but I assured them that nothing had ever happened between Heather and I other than a wonderful father daughter relationship. I had sent Heather a very detailed letter but got no response. I had sent her a cheque for Christmas because I didn't know what to get her, but it had never been cashed. Girlfriends sent letters to her but never got a response. One of them said her mother had probably destroyed the letters so she never got them, but that was illegal so I couldn't believe that my ex would do that. Then my Dad called her from Yuma and spoke to her now step brother and told him to get Heather to call them collect, but she never called. When my Dad told me this my reaction was that he could have been calling to let her know that I had died, but she didn't care enough to phone!

As far as I have been able to learn, which is hard because Heather has blocked me on Facebook, she is still in Burlington and has a son and daughter, neither one of whom probably know they even have a grandfather. Just like my kids and other grandkids who I thought would contact me when they were older, like Mackenzie did, I know Heather's kids won't because I'll be gone before that happens.

With Chris I could write a book about our lives. We sure had our struggles over the years. Back in 2009 he contacted me to let me know that he was going to be working in London, Ontario on the weekend and wanted to meet. Again I was thrilled! I waited all night the first night he was in town but heard nothing from him. Then we were going to go for a beer the next night, but, again, I didn't hear from him. Then he called and asked if I could meet him for lunch. I raced over and we got a whole forty-five minutes at Timmies. Not much time to catch up. We left it that he was going to setup a meeting with his three daughters, but months went by and I had heard nothing. I called his number and some girl answered saying she had bought Chris' phone. He also blocked me on Facebook with no explanation why. At one point someone said they heard that he was living in his car but no one knew anything more about him. Another knife to the heart.

Nothing in this goodbye is as important as my kids and grandkids. I have never given up hope that we would reconnect before I died. Even if they didn't want to have a relationship with me I just desperately wanted to know why they abandoned me. Many people have told me about all the lies that have been told about me. I don't know why anyone would lie. My friend told me that someone who had been my friend for fourteen years told her not to lend money to me if I asked. Why? She said she had lent me seventeen thousand dollars and I had not paid her back! What? I never borrowed a dime off her or anyone else, so why would she make all this up? I had never done anything to hurt her or deserve this! My idiot brother and my equally idiotic sister had lied through the teeth to my friend Laura about how I had handled my mother's estate, not one word of which was true! Did my sister bother to say that she got twenty grand from me before my mother even died and refused to sign the promissory note I asked for; that she used my mother's pension money to pay her own mortgage, or that she had yanked our mother out of the care facility I took eight months to get her into, and that killed her? No, of course not. My brother was just as bad, and was the curse of my life, from when he got me to sign a loan for his motorcycle in Brampton for his job, and then took off out west leaving me with the payments, to calling me at one in the morning to tell me customs at the airport were waiting for him to shit because he had swallowed cocaine packets. He was facing ten years in prison for trafficking but I got him a lawyer and he got six months in Milton. How did he repay me? He refused to pay my lawyer. I did. Then out west he offered to sell the daycare I had helped him buy by signing the mortgage to my then girlfriend, Tracy, as long as I was no longer involved. It ended the best relationship I ever had. Then he demanded ten grand from me when he was in Thailand apparently from guys who would kill him if they didn't get the money. I sent it, although I wish I hadn't. Good riddance!

As I said earlier, I've made many friends over the years in many places, from childhood friends from Perth Avenue Public School in Toronto, to Churchville Public School, where I met my first love, Roxanne Rollings, to Streetsville Secondary School, where I joined my first band, The Tempests, with Don Thurston, David Kirk and Chris Hayes, and I would play drums for various groups for many years, the last of which was the house band at the old Club Bluenote in Toronto, with Paul (Zack) Marshall, Alan McQuillan and Nolan Yearwood, all of which I have tried to find on Facebook, but failed. Today, pretty well alone, my two friends, Rob McCann and Annie Vita, have been treasured friends. Rob was an immense help when I first moved to my current apartment and has stuck with me through thick and thin. Annie, my dear friend in Guadalajara, has chatted with me pretty well every day since I came back to Belleville. She even offered to marry me so I could stay in Mexico, but there were too many issues with that. Whenever anything happens, good or bad, Annie is the first person I want to tell. She has been supportive and encouraging throughout this latest ordeal with my health. A true friend.

During my long tortuous marriage we actually had very few friends. Because my ex got pregnant at fifteen and married at sixteen she did keep in touch with some of her high school friends, like Dale Evans and Lynn but she rarely saw them. Most of our friends were the parents of kids in all the hockey teams Chris was a member of over ten years. We all went to numerous tournaments and booked rooms at a local hotel. Too many parents to remember. Larry and Anne McNichol, Jason's parents. Bill and Gerry Peters, Kevin's parents. All good and fun people. After Chris was signed by the Streetsville Derbys but quit hockey we realized that we really had no friends outside of hockey.

Although during my varied career I had some forty different jobs and self employment ventures I would not consider any of those I met to be friends in the usual sense. Rarely, if ever, did I stay in touch with any of the people or clients I worked with. Other than my first job working at the Toronto-Dominion bank where I stayed for just over two years I was never at any job very long. In my whole life I only got fired once but that resulted in a wrongful dismissal suit that I won. The longest career was my computer consulting which lasted sixteen years, installing computers, networks, cabling, furniture and often getting into areas of consulting that had nothing to do with computers. Almost thirty years ago now I got into building websites and still do that today. I did that in the countries I visited trying to find a lower cost of living. Panama, then Ecuador and, lastly, Mexico.

When I think back over my often disastrous travels I made a lot of friends in every country. In Panama I had a girlfriend, Magaly, who I adored and I felt very bad when I was forced to leave and return to Canada. If not for what they pulled I would have considered Verushka and Amilkar to be friends. Both of them spent many months at the house I was renovating and we had a lot of dinners together. At one point Verushka said her family was being evicted and had nowhere to live, for two weeks, she said, so I let them move into the penthouse of the house. Two months later after not giving me a dime in rent and having me spend hundreds of dollars in food for their large family - mother, two sisters, two kids, two dogs and three parrots, I had to change the locks on them to get them to leave. After the police showed up to monitor their move I learned they had stolen everything from the penthouse, even the light bulbs and the batteries from the TV remote! When Amilkar learned that I was going back to Canada he stole at least a thousand dollars of my tools! Some friends.

With Ecuador I was only there for less than a year primarily because the government screwed up my pensions and left me without a dime. I also got ripped off by someone handling my residency application to the tune of three hundred and fifty dollars US. She also kept my passport and forced me to go through hell at the Canadian Embassy in Quito to be able to fly home. I did meet some great folks at the usual Expat hangout, aptly named The Bar, where I also met my future wife, Patricia. We had a brief but torrid affair and the plan was for me to come back and marry her, but after a few months trying to stay in touch by video it became clear she was just looking for money. That all ended badly. One girl I loved and thought she was going to work for me was Phoenix Bess. She was gorgeous and smart and we talked for hours but nothing came of it.

Mexico was where I spent the most time in another country. Two years, first in Ajijic, then in Riberas del Pilar, and finally in Chelem. Someone I considered a good friend partly because we met before I came and he checked out my potential apartment for me, then we spent a lot of time together after I came, was Francis Dryden. He and his wife, Anastasia, took me to several local bars and introduced me to a lot of their friends. I met many musicians in local bands, among them Jonathan Guzman, the son of my future fiancée. Bill and Violeta who first introduced me to Elba that fateful night. I thought the driver who drove me around for most of my two years in Lakeside was my friend, but he ended up stealing half my stuff when he moved me. No friend of mine. Until I got dumped by a simple text message I had planned to marry Elba and live out my life in Mexico. I even thought my kids might come to visit. Silly me.

Like most people I have certainly made my fair share of mistakes in my life. With the benefit of hindsight I can look back and realize what I did wrong or where I should have made a different decision. Every decision, including not making one, has consequences. In the extreme I could look back on my failed marriage and say if only I had worn a condom me ex would not have gotten pregnant, but would that mean we would not have gotten married? For me it was love at first sight so I don't know what would have changed. Young as she was I believed my ex loved me and would have married me later. At least she wouldn't have started off hating me for getting her pregnant and making my life hell because of it. Who knows? What I do know is that Chris, Heather and all their kids wouldn't be here so despite my current troubles with all of them I wouldn't have changed that by wearing a condom.

I could go back even earlier to when my parents decided to move out west in 1970. They had vacationed the previous year and were going to move out then but couldn't sell the house. I had met and married my ex in 1969 so there was no way we were going with them. For many years after I tried to get my ex to visit and think about it, but she said there was nothing in BC but mountains, she was born in Brampton, she was going to live in Brampton, and going to die in Brampton. End of story.

One the biggest mistakes I made in my life was being the patsy for a business deal where no one lost a penny and nothing illegal was really ever done. The tragedy was that I could not afford a lawyer so I ended up with the dumbest Legal Aid lawyer ever. He blew the whole trial, refusing to ask the questions I wrote out for him, especially of the President of American Hoist, a simple question if the company lost any money, to which the answer was NO and I would have been acquitted. Simple. After the trial and conviction even the Crown Attorney outside the courtroom told me that I should never have been charged, let alone convicted. I spent three months of weekends in the detention centre, eventually going out on work details like peeling potatoes and cleaning. The saddest part was that I now had a criminal record which has haunted me for the rest of my life. I lost jobs. I was refused entry to the US. I spent years and years trying to get a pardon but the government changed the whole parole program and I had to wait ten years before I could apply again. I take it to my grave, although I won't actually ever have a grave.

So, if this is in fact my last post, to my family, especially my kids, and to all the friends I've met in my life please know that I always tried. I never ever hurt anyone. I have always been referred to as the proverbial "nice guy", the kiss of death for women. I have never retired. I have always worked hard trying to make a better life for myself. I wish that I had not ended up in Belleville, the last place on earth I ever thought I would live. I still would rather be in Mexico but that has always meant being far away from my kids if they ever changed their minds about me. My dear friend, Rob, has agreed to be my executor to donate my things and deal with my body, my death certificate, my pensions and keeping this website up for one year, just in case my kids or grandkids ever want to know about me. At some point I hope people will remember good things about me and dispel all the lies that have been told about me. I go obviously with the huge regret not knowing why my kids abandoned me. The regret of my too short life.


Looks like the Fat Lady might be singing

Like millions of Canadians I don't have a family doctor and never will. My previous doctor, Dr. Savic, who had some four thousand patients, lost his medical license, throwing all of us out with no family doctor. As a diabetic having a family doctor is beyond critical, especially when there are related complications of diabetes.

Recently I got a real scare when I felt very dizzy and thought I was going to faint and fall down. I had been crashing into the walls of my apartment and even nearly fell off the toilet. Living alone I worried about falling and hitting my head with no one to call. To make matters worse I have also been dealing with a wax buildup in my ear, something I've tried to use drops and devices to clear, but failed. Every time this has happened before I have either gone to my family doctor or to Emergency to clear it out. Right now the Emergency department, like all Emergency departments across the country, is in turmoil with people waiting hours and hours to see someone. I may have no choice but to go soon if this dizziness continues.

Without a family doctor I did the most dangerous thing and that is to lookup my symptoms on the internet. I discovered something that sounded exactly what I'm suffering, called Vestibular Dysfunction. It is common to older people and is the leading cause of people falling down. Dizziness. Loss of balance. Blurry vision. Tinnitus. Hearing loss. Cognitive changes. I've got it all. I tried to see the doctor at the Diabetes Education Centre at the hospital, but he is booked into late September, by which I could be dead.

I was first diagnosed as diabetic back in 2004 and for the most part it has been manageable. I started on insulin around 2011 and I was recently diagnosed, at a whopping hundred and thirty-three dollar cost, as still being Type 2. Like all diabetics though I worry about losing a foot or a hand, but not until recently have I worried about dying. Of course the whole COVID thing made it all the worse, but I am double booster vaccinated now so hopefully that doesn't get me.

Now that the fear of dying has reared its ugly head, and bad as that is, it's not my worst fear.

For far too many years now I've been abandoned by my kids, Chris and Heather. The worst part, the part that breaks my heart every single day, is that I've never known why. Way back in the early nineties after my business had failed I had to get out of town so I just left without any real plan. When I got to Dryden and got a map I realized I was better than half way to my parents in what was then Westbank in BC. I thought I would really surprise them and just show up. I did. Shortly after I brought my kids out for a three week vacation and we had a ball. When it was time to leave my beautiful daughter shocked the heck out of me by telling me to stay! She was wise beyond her years. She told me she had never seen me happier and she knew my marriage was over and that I had tried. It broke my heart and I cried for hours. How could my daughter not want to be with me? We had the best father daughter relationship ever. I couldn't stand the thought of leaving her so I drove back to Brampton. It made no difference because after I left the marriage I was making appointments to see her. It wasn't great to say the least.

Then I got the phone call that would change my life. My mother had fifth stage melanoma and was only given a less than five percent chance she would live another six months! It devastated me. I knew that I had to go out west to be with her for as long as she survived. My work contract in Markham was coming to an end and I had turned down any new work. Our house was sold. Heather told me to go to be with my mother. She said her and Chris could come out on vacation again. It all made sense so I left. Being with my mother in what could be her last days made sense, but what I didn't know was that it would be the last time I saw Heather. My mother sure beat the odds and lived another fourteen years and I found a better life in the Okanagan on some many levels but I missed my kids every single day. I tried to contact Heather in every way possible and my friends did as well. Over the years and with several girlfriends none of them ever understood why my daughter didn't talk to me, so they tried too. All failed.

After trying to live in Panama but failing I ended up in London, Ontario in 2009. My son, Chris, connected with me and said he was going to be working in London over a weekend and wanted to see me. I was thrilled. Instead of spending a single evening with me he only called one day to get together on his lunch break, so we had an all too brief forty-five minutes at Timmie's. He did say that he wanted me to meet his three daughters so we would arrange something. Instead he sold his phone to someone else and blocked me on Facebook. No explanation why and he hasn't talked to me since.

Dealing with all this hurt and confusion makes Christmas and particularly Father's Day really rough for me. Last Father's Day I posted a message on Facebook asking people to please try to get a message to Mackenzie to contact me. I don't know who of my twenty-one hundred friends did anything, but I got a text message from Mackenzie's mother to "stop the bullshit and sending her daughter messages". She also very cruelly said that I was not Mackenzie's grandfather. Reduced me to tears. Again, what have I done to deserve this?

Now given my health concerns and my fear of death I can't stand the thought of kicking the bucket never knowing why my family has abandoned me. In know Heather is still on Facebook but I'm blocked so that's out. I don't even know if Chris is still on Facebook because no one has been able to find him, so that's also out. Chris' other two daughters have also blocked me, so they're out. Heather's kids have no clue who I am and I don't even know their names, so they're out too. My ex's brothers have both died so they're out. My ex hasn't talked to me in thirty years and even refused to go for coffee after I had driven across the country in the dead of winter to see Heather, but they hid her away and wouldn't let me see her, so she's definitely out. I've tried to connect with my two former brother-in-laws, Gordan and Doug kids, but never found them. My only hope is still Mackenzie, although at great risk of again pissing off her mother.

I'm trying to recruit a dear friend who might be willing to help me by messaging Mackenzie with the following -

"Mackenzie, your grandfather, Gary, was a good friend of mine for fourteen years when he lived here in the Okanagan. We recently reconnected on Messenger and we talked on the phone for two hours. In our conversation he was shocked to learn the lies his brother and sister, and a former good friend of his, were spreading about him, none of them true.
He also told me that he still had not heard from his son, your father, or daughter for many years, despite trying so hard to get in touch with them in every way possible. They had both blocked him on Facebook but never explained why. He then told me about you connecting with him on Messenger when he was in Mexico. He said you were very upset that your parents didn’t let you make your own decision about him. You chatted back and forth and then you told him you were coming to Mexico for a friend’s wedding and you wanted to meet. You were going to let him know where and when you were coming. He didn’t hear anything about it, then saw your photos in Puerto Vallarta at the wedding, which upset him, naturally. He sent you several messages after, but you didn’t reply and then you also blocked him, leaving him very confused about what happened.
I know that he was always very strong on family, both his own and his birth family. After your great grandfather died in his arms he moved in with your mother to care for her because she had advanced Alzheimer’s. It was the toughest year and a half of his life and his brother and sister were of no help at all. After eight months of trying every single day to get his mother into a proper care facility he finally got her into Winterhaven here in Kelowna, where she needed to be to survive. Instead his sister pulled her out and put her into an assisted living facility in Revelstoke, which was a total disaster. Her brain cancer came back and she died, which was merciful because she had no quality of life. He was so upset at his sister for pulling her out of the care facility that he couldn’t even go to his mother’s memorial. His sister had already upset him by spreading their father’s ashes on the lake without even telling him.

The reason I am sending you this message is that he is not well and very afraid of dying. He has no family doctor in Belleville and never will. He is seventy-two, diabetic and still smoking. He has lost a lot of weight and constantly suffers from dizziness, nearly fainting and falling down many times. Of course he doesn’t want to die, but the bigger issues, one that breaks his heart every day, is dying with never understanding why his kids and grandkids cut him off. Over the years many friends have tried to get his family to reconnect with him, including his father before he died, but Heather did not return his phone call. Although he has never given up on reconnecting with his kids or you, he just wants desperately to know what he has done to deserve this isolation. Like everyone he made his fair share of mistakes in life, but he is not a murderer or child molester and has never done anything to deserve being cutoff. If someone has spread lies about him he deserves a chance to explain, doesn’t he? That’s all he asks.

I am just a friend who’s trying to help a buddy out. If you prefer not to contact him directly you can tell me what to tell him about why you cut him off and don’t want to talk to him before he’s gone. Just knowing why would help him to solve one of the greatest mysteries of his life. He would also appreciate the opportunity to challenge the lies before it’s too late. He has never stopped loving his kids despite what they have done and would just like to know that everyone in his family is doing well, including you, your sisters and Heather’s two children, who probably think he’s already dead.

Thank you."

If Mackenzie chooses not to respond it tells me that she doesn't care if I die without ever knowing why my family abandoned me. If she did contact me again it would thrill me beyond words, but that is probably too much to hope for. I pray that she does tell my friend what happened. This may well be my last attempt to make things right.


Is that all there is?

A moment for reflection.

Much against my will I came back to Belleville, the last place on earth I thought I would ever live, in November of 2019. And back to living in the group homes I'd lived in before. Finally in March of last year I got my own apartment in a decent seniors building. Much better than living in the various group homes, or on the street, or in my car as I had done in London, Ontario. The best part was it was geared to income, and because I had lost the GIS when I returned to Canada, my rent went from $497 for only a room, to $385 for my own place. Bonus! In March of this year my rent went up to $506 now that I was getting the GIS. Still less than the average $1,400 for a one bedroom apartment in this town. I got organized with some donated furniture, pots and pans and what I needed to live on my own, but I missed Mexico so badly.

Despite being in the last place I thought I would ever live I begrudgingly accepted that this might be my fate, for now at least and I tried to make the best of it. I hoped to make some friends and maybe even find the love of my life again. Like everybody though the virus made life even worse. All the dances were cancelled and there was even less to do. I focused on trying to build my website business, something I seem to have been doing for decades now, in Panama, Ecuador and Mexico. All dismal failures. The virus made it all the more difficult because small business, my target market, didn't even know if they were going to survive, so they weren't interested in getting a website. I did manage to build a couple of sites for local bands, but no bands were working, so that was a tough market as well.

In Mexico I had met Annie from Guadalajara, who sold much of the stuff I left behind. We only met in person once as I was leaving for Chelem, but we have stayed in touch on chat ever since and chat frequently. When I said how much I missed Mexico she encouraged me to come back, but when I talked about all the challenges with my pensions and medications she jokingly said to come back and she would marry me. As time went on she got more serious about it, saying her daughters thought marrying me was a good idea. The whole thing got more serious when she wanted me to come for a vacation and see how we got along. In addition to the cost of going I also thought that I would not want to return to Canada. If instead I was going to return to Mexico and marry her I would be giving up my very hard to find geared to income apartment, something I would struggle to get if I was forced to return. I'd also be selling all my stuff, yet again, and losing a fortune. Although I was seriously considering the idea of going back, what ended that idea was when she told me that she was on her late husband's medical coverage, and if we got married that would end. Not only would I be in big trouble if I got really sick, but my meds would not be covered. In addition to again losing my GIS pension, about a third of my income, I would now face about five hundred bucks a month for my meds, if I could even get them. The end of a dream.

Now that I'm stuck in Canada I would much rather have returned to BC, but that was impossible because there was nowhere to live. A friend offered me her couch but that was not long term, obviously, so where could I afford to live? Rents have tripled since I lived there before, and my income certainly hadn't. I also knew that my life would be a lot different than it was before during the fourteen wonderful years I lived in the Okanagan. No car. No boat. No dirt bike. No snowmobile. My parents were both gone. My life would be a pale shadow of what it was before so would I be happy? I hoped to rekindle my friendships but it had been a lot of years since I left back in 2007. I've never given up on finding somewhere affordable to live, but I would still have to get rid of all my stuff and somehow afford to move. Not easy.

The biggest challenge of my life for years has been my kids. I've never understood why they wrote me out of their lives. Going all the way back to 1993 when my mother was diagnosed with fifth stage melanoma, and given less than a five percent chance of surviving more than six months, they both encouraged me to go out west to be with her. They knew my marriage was over long ago and it was time to leave. My son and I reconnected briefly back in 2009 but then he stopped talking to me. When I was in Mexico my granddaughter, Mackenzie, contacted me on Facebook and I was thrilled. She was fourteen at the time and really pissed at her parents for not letting her make her own decision about connecting with me. We had some great chats and she was coming to Mexico for a friend's wedding so she said she would let me know where and when so we might meetup. Then suddenly she stopped talking to me and blocked me on Facebook. I have no idea why.

The only benefit of living here In Belleville is that I hold out hope that one day my kids and grandkids will reconnect with me. As far as I know my son is still in Brampton. My daughter is in Burlington and Mackenzie is in Wasaga Beach. If any of them contacted me I'd do whatever I could to meet up with them. It breaks my heart every single days that my family has abandoned me, and, worse, I've never known why. I hate the thought of kicking the bucket and never knowing what happened. I was a good father totally devoted to my kids and had strong family values, but that doesn't seem to matter to them anymore. I've never given up trying to contact them, as have many friends over the years. It's the biggest regret of my life.

So, I'm seventy-two now, diabetic and still smoking, dumb as that is. I have no family doctor and probably won't for more years than I have left. My Dad died at eighty-one and my Mum died at eighty-four, so is that my fate? That doesn't give me a lot of years left and I hate the thought of spending them wasting away here in Belleville. Regardless of my many mistakes trying to live in Panama, Ecuador and Mexico, challenging as those times were, I still had many adventures and met some great people, including falling in love several times. Mexico in particular had the best climate I've ever lived in. I loved the culture, the many festivals and parades and the local people. I woke up every day so thrilled to be living in a such a wonderful place. There's nothing like that here. Life is just boring and I feel like I'm just waiting to die. That's no way to live.

Maybe the fat lady is warming up getting ready to sing.


The year in review

As I have done many times over the years I start the new year by reviewing the previous year, good and bad. 2022 started off very badly when I lost this website and it took many, many wasted hours online with my hosting company to finally get it working again and that was only today.

The best things that happened last year was that I finally got my own apartment. It took a lot to get my own place setup properly, but I got a lot of help from the local St. Vincent de Paul with some furniture, a couch donated, very cheap end tables and a coffee table, and help from someone who was my friend, Rob, helping me install blinds and putting together my night tables for my bedroom. Having lived in a group home I needed a lot of things for my kitchen, like dishes and cutlery, but I got a lot on sale. I brought my desk and computer with me so I was able to continue working despite the fact that I still didn't earn a dime.

Last year was mainly about friends and my health, both of which weren't great.

On friends a lot happened to shake my belief that I was your proverbial "nice guy". My very good friend, Rob, who I lived with at the group home, and who helped me a lot with my apartment, plus we hung out going for coffee and so on, suddenly dropped me. In our last conversation he sounded really upset and said he would call me back, but that was months ago. If he was upset at me for something I have no clue what it was. I have tried to follow up with the President of the housing corporation where we lived and with some of the staff of the management charity but no one will tell me anything. I just wished that he would tell me what happened so that we could talk about it.

On Messenger I met a nice lady, Jassmin, and we chatted a bit. She asked me if I wanted to go dancing at an event at Signal Brewing and I said sure, of course. We met for dinner and she was very honest telling me that she had a boyfriend, which was fine. We did have an issue. Totally my fault. I should have clarified that we were splitting the bill but I ended up paying like a hundred and twenty dollars, which I sure could not afford. I wasn't sure whether to say anything to her after but I think honesty is the best policy so I told her how I felt. She apologized, said she totally understood and that we would share the cost in future. I was relieved.  Shortly after we went to the show together. I paid for the tickets instead of giving her gas money as I would normally do. She said she would like to go to the cheap night whenever there was something we both wanted to see, but we never went again. We did go bike riding along the bay and, although she was in much better shape than I was, I thought we had a good time. I have responded to her Facebook posts several times and messaged her, but she hasn't responded in months now. I don't know why. I might have sort of flirted with her a couple of times, which she may not have liked, so this could be the reason.

A lady friend I met while I was still in Mexico, Annie, stayed in touch on Messenger almost every day since I came back to Canada. When I told her how much I missed Mexico and how I wished that I could come back she said to come and stay with her, originally on vacation, but then she said she would marry me so I could stay in Mexico. At first I thought she was joking but it got more and more serious. She said she had talked to her two daughters and her mother about me and they all agreed that it was a good idea. I was very nervous because there was so much that could go wrong. I would be giving my notice on my hard to find geared to income apartment here in Belleville, something I would never get again if Mexico fell apart. Things have really changed drastically for residency in Mexico now and I would never qualify if we didn't get married. I gave it a lot of thought though.

Annie was renting out her house and moving to a small apartment so I wasn't sure about that idea. After she sent me photos of some of her furniture I made a bad joke and asked if her grandmother missed her furniture because it was so old. She blew up at me and sent me the most hurtful message I've ever had in my life. She said that she understood why my family wanted nothing to do with me and told me she never wanted to talk to me again, and to forget Mexico. It really hurt on so many levels. The remark about my family was a knife in my heart and losing the dream of returning to Mexico made it all the worse.

Next would be my health, which has never been worse. I knew that I was not in good shape and when I moved across the street from the YMCA, one with a pool, I figured I would join and get on some sort of program to improve my fitness level. I was most interested in the pool because I could swim without having any issues with my peripheral neuropathy in my feet. Just before I intended to join my right shoulder started acting up again. Back in 2017 I had been diagnosed with a bone chip. I had a shot of cortisone but it didn't work so surgery was going to be scheduled. That was six months out and I was going to Mexico so it got cancelled. After I came back to Canada the surgeon wanted another referral and my family doctor had lost his license. It's virtually impossible to find a family doctor in this town now. I did manage to get another x-ray and ultrasound and now it turns out I have bursitis, not a bone chip. A clinic doctor is going to put me on some meds so hopefully that helps because I am in constant pain.

My eyes have also been an issue. Despite getting new glasses, which helped, I now suffer from constant burning in my eyes, apparently because of a loss of oil because of ageing. I have to use drops every day and apply a warm compress to try to stimulate more oil. Apparently according to my optometrist I don't blink enough either. Who knew?

The bottom line in all of this is I've never felt so darned old. For most of my life I was in pretty decent shape. When I lived out west I was very active. I played racquetball several times a week. I roller bladed. I downhill skied, water skied and cross country skied. I danced three nights a week. I ran a hiking club. I dirt-biked and snowmobiled. I was always doing something. That life is gone. Even after coming back to Belleville I hoped to go dancing every week like I did before, but the virus has shut that down. Compared to other places I've lived in my life there's not a lot to do in Belleville anyway, but the virus has ended everything.

As it seems I've ended every year in review the ongoing issue is with my kids. It's now been an incredible twenty-eight years since I spoke to my daughter, Heather, and more than ten years since I spoke to my son, Chris. The worst part in all of this is I still have no clue why they cut me off. I have always tried to contact them, as have many friends, over the years. I contacted my other son, Andrew (from another mother), and asked if he would try to contact my kids to get them to reach out to me, but that has failed as well. Andrew knows both Heather and Chris and said he would try. My worst fear, especially with the virus, which could kill me, is that I will go to my grave never knowing what happened with my kids. I miss them every single day and it makes my heart ache.

At this point who knows what my future will hold? I can only hope that 2022 is a whole lot better than 2021.

My varied work life

My very first "job" was plowing fields for our neighbor, Ernie Brocklebank for fifty cents an hour. I learned to drive a tractor and it was gruelling work, but it was nice to earn my own money. I might have been about fourteen at the time.

My next job was part-time because I was still taking school for half a day. I delivered newspaper bundles off the back of a truck around what was Cooksville at the tome, now part of Mississauga. I forget how much I was paid, but I do remember one fateful day. It was raining and the step at the back of the truck was very slippery. As we rounded a curve I fell off and slid several feet on the road. Luckily is was wet so I didn't get major road burn. I do remember that the driver was terrified that he had killed me.

After quitting grade thirteen I got my first full-time real job working for what was the Toronto-Dominion Bank, where my mother worked in Streetsville. She thought it was a good way to start a career. I had always wanted to be an architect but, of course, there was no money to send me to university back then. I started at the branch in Cooksville at a whopping fifty bucks a week. I had one suit that I wore every day. I had also started playing in a local band during this time and at one point we were the house band at the old Club Bluenote at Yonge and Gerrard in Toronto. We played the after hours floor show backing up major entertainers who played regular gigs at major places then came over to the club after their shows. We started at one and played 'til around four in the morning Thursday, Friday and Saturdays. After the show Thursdays I would drive home, grab an hour of sleep, take a shower and go off to work at the bank. I was so dead tired that I was always worried that I would give someone too much money or make stupid mistakes. I was on what the bank called their advanced administration officer three-year course, but I finished it in nine months and ended up being transferred to nine different branches in just over two years. I was working at the Keele and Wilson branch when we were robbed by the infamous Montreal gang. At my last branch at Jane and Steeles I was the Administration Officer at only nineteen years old, with everyone at the branch working for me. When my manager went on three weeks vacation there was supposed to be another manager coming in to cover for him, but the day he was to come I got word that he had died! They had no one else to cover so they asked me if I could handle it until they found someone. What choice did I have? I called the staff together and asked for their help and they were all amazing. Over the three I wrote over a quarter of a million dollars worth of loans, which today would be multiple millions, with a default rate of zero. I often looked back and wondered what those poor people meeting with a nineteen year old thought about our meetings, especially those that I turned down.

Another kind of major issue was the day I heard a customer arguing with my head teller. I intervened to see what the problem was and learned that he had bought five thousand dollars worth of traveller's cheques the week before planning on going on holidays, but that had been cancelled and he wanted to return the cheques. Anyone dealing with traveller's cheques knows that there is one rate for buying and a lower rate for selling, and this guy wasn't happy about that. It turned out that he was a very rich customer with a lot of money in our bank and he very loudly threatened to pull his accounts if I didn't give him back what he paid for the cheques. I told him that it was the same policy at all banks and for every customer so it did not matter how rich he was. He said he would call our Head Office and stormed out of the bank. My staff who had been listening to this whole discussion virtually applauded me for standing my ground, but I hoped I wouldn't get fired for it. The next day I got a call from the Vice President of the bank who asked me for my side of the story. When I finished he congratulated me on not giving in to the customer and said he had told the customer he could leave. I was very relieved.

Shortly after this experience a customer met with me and asked me how much I was making. When I told him fifty dollars a week he offered me ninety dollars to work for him as his accountant. With a young family to support I couldn't turn down the idea of making almost double, plus back then working for the bank was considered more of a calling so I knew that I was never going to make any real money. I gave my notice. But after only a couple of days working for this new guy he started asking me to do things that I knew were wrong, like writi8ng off his new home stereo as office equipment. I wasn't any kind of chartered accountant but I knew if this guy got audited and charged I would be implicated so I quit.

Things got a little hairy after quitting. I remember living on Main Street in Brampton and Gary and Brenda lived upstairs. One night we put dinner together and all we had was some potatoes and onions and some cereal. I don't even remember how I found the job but I worked for Dominion Glass. One day they asked me to go down to the end of the recycle line and break milk jugs that were too big to go down the chute. That was bad enough but near the end of my shift the foreman came and asked me if I would work another shift because no one would do what I was doing. I guess no one else was as stupid as I was. I survived but went home more dead tired than I had ever been. After only a few shifts they went on strike so we couldn't go to work. At one point the company said they would secretly hide us in rail cars to get in to work, but I wanted no part of that. I remember having quite a fight to get unemployment because they said I was on strike which I was not. Somehow we survived.

Next I landed the longest normal job I ever had in my life, working as the Production Scheduler for Emco Plastics in Brampton. I started with training at Emco Limited in London, Ontario, a place I would return to many years later. I worked at Emco from August 1971 until June 1976. A highlight of my time there was designing and implementing a whole new visual production scheduling system which worked very well and solved a lot of problems. The Manufacturing Manager, Morris Cook, was very pleased with me and that would soon be good for me. Earl Lince was the General Manager. Doug Bryant was their Engineer. Frank Cook, Morris' brother, was the Shipping Manager. Partly getting a little bored with my job and realizing that there was no future for me I started looking for another job and found a similar job as a Production Scheduler at Able Plastics. It was owned and run by a older couple who I soon learned spent the day fighting. I barely lasted six months before I couldn't take it anymore. I was then interviewed by Hilti Canada to be their Customer Service Manager. The reason I got the job was because of the wonderful reference I got from Morris Cook. When I went to thank him he said he knew he would miss me when I first left but agreed that I had no future with Emco.

Hilti turned out to be a mix of great things and nightmares. I completely reorganized what had been a clerical function to be an integral part of the sales team of four Area Managers and twenty-six sales reps. The bad part was that our office was at the back of the main Hilti building and Head Office was at the front. Every time there was any meetings with them, usually run by a Tony Leckie, the worst manager I've ever known, it was a disaster. He was like your worst school teacher, always talking down to people and screaming at them. At one point he came up behind one of the Area Managers, Jim Young, who he thought wasn't paying enough attention and he slapped his ruler down on the table, jumping Jim out of his skin. Shortly after that Jim left the company and he called me to tell me to follow him out the door. I had lasted just shy of two years with Hilti but, again, I started looking around. That's when I found what was probably the most secure job of all. Customer Service manager at Indal Products.

Indal was great. My six staff joined me in my enthusiasm for being a bigger part of the sales function. They were a great group of people. Heather, Marie, Dave, Frank, Doug, even Jon. We all worked hard and ended most days by going up the street for a beer. I had a lot of history with this company, most importantly the support from Jon LeHoup when things went bad for me. One of our customers, Ciro Guchiardi, the President of Extrudex Aluminum, approached me one day and asked me to be the General Manager of another company he owned, Dural Patio Doors. Being somewhat secure in my job at Indal and really enjoying working there I was hesitant to leave, but I sensed a big opportunity. Ciro said the division had lost a hundred thousand dollars but he hoped that I could turn it around. I wrote the most generous employment contract ever with bonuses for increasing sales of both the patio door and sealed glass units, reducing costs and increasing profits. I still remember the lunch we had to sign the contract when Ciro said he doubted he would ever pay me any bonuses but he hoped that he was wrong.

I threw myself in the job. Shortly after I started a bunch of computer equipment showed up. When I called the company to ask when they were going to install everything they said Ciro had just bought the equipment, no installation and they wanted two hundred dollars an hour to install everything. There would go my profit bonus, so despite not knowing a thing about computers or, more importantly, networks, I opened the first of thirteen Novell Network manuals and started reading. Six weeks later after working seven days a week we had a fully functional inhouse network.

My foreman, Joe, was Italian, as was most of the production staff. Walking the plant I could see that a lot of things weren't being done right, but I didn't want to interfere with Joe and I couldn't talk to the employees because they wouldn't understand me. I got some Graff paper and went out in the plant at night to measure all of the equipment, then cut-out little pieces of cardboard to represent the machines. I then told Joe to invite the employees to a meeting in my office after work. I couldn't pay them but I would provide pizza. Joe said he doubted anyone would show up but the room was packed. I explained that I wanted to totally reorganize the plant and that the employees were the best ones to know what to do. Joe then said everything in Italian and I could sense how enthused the employees were. No one had ever asked them before. After a flurry of activity production more than doubled and the employees were really happy. Because we didn't just build patio doors plus I saw a far bigger market for what was called Heat Mirror from Southwall Technologies in California I convinced Ciro to rename the company Clearview Industries. a name that still exists today. Joe and I traveled to Southwall to learn more. After we returned and retrofitted the production line we got the contract for the Motorola Head office which was all glass. It was a very big deal.

Just when things could not have been going any better (yes, I had been paid every one of my bonuses) I got a call from a friend of Ciro's inviting me out to a fancy lunch. He started by saying that Ciro could not be happier with what I had done to turn things around and make a substantial profit. He said he was very surprised at the things I had done like getting all the employees together to reorganize the plant, not to mention installing a complete computer network when I had known nothing about it. After heaping all the praise on me I wasn't sure where this was going. I was thinking that this guy must own some similar business that was in trouble and he wanted to hire me, but I could not have been more wrong. Again he stressed about how I had made the business very profitable, so profitable that he was going to buy it. Okay, that's cool. Then the other shoe dropped. Not only was he going to buy the business but he was going to run it! Not cool! My contract was about to come up for renewal so I had no choice other than to just leave.

While I was sitting at home contemplating my future I got a call from what had been one of my patio door dealers, Recom Windows and Doors. They said that they heard that I had installed the computer network at Clearview and that they were getting their first computer and wanted me to come in and set it up and teach them how to use it. It was one of those life changing moments that would set the course of the rest of my life. I have often wondered what I would have done had that phone call not come. For the next sixteen years I ran my own consulting company, originally called KISS Consulting and then Contact Associates, doing everything from supplying computers, software, network installations, computer room design, cabling and even supplying computer furniture. I had over fifty very happy clients over the years, all of which came from referrals. I never once ran an ad. I also came too close to total burnout when I billed ninety-six hours to three clients in one week. My last contract was for Fellowes Manufacturing in Markham, the makers of the BankersBox, installing thirty-five work stations and moving them off a server in Itasca to an inhouse system.

This was the point where my life took some major turns. Near the end of working at Fellowes I had finally made the years overdue decision to end my loveless marriage. I had been staying at the Journey's End motel in Markham plus still paying all the bills for the house in Brampton. My ex had done nothing to get a job and was only too happy to have me pay for everything and give her money. More importantly my mother had been diagnosed with fifth stage melanoma and given less than six months to live. Having been apart for so many years I wanted to spend whatever time she had left with her so I went to BC. I really missed my kids but I had been making appointments to see them anyway. I figured if I moved to BC they could come out for vacations like they did before and that would be better. I decided to sell the house. My parents drove down with me in the van and my Dad spent three weeks selling everything in a garage sale. My ex had laid claim to anything of value like all our furniture and gone was the idea of fifty fifty split. She wanted everything using the guilt trip of supporting my daughter. When all was said and done I ended up leaving with my last cheque from Fellowe4s and nothing else. My ex got every dime of the equity I had single-handedly built up doing all the renovations over the years. I didn't want to see any money go to lawyers so I just gave up and didn't fight.

Once settled in BC, originally living with my parents, I quickly learned what the sunshine tax was all about. On my last contract with Fellowes I was charging sixty dollars an hour, plus half that for travel. I still can't believe I was ballsy enough to ask for them to pay for me to come from Brampton to Markham. In BC it was all very complicated because a lot of people were doing consulting for free hoping to land a paying contract. I also found people installing demo software which was totally illegal. It was an uphill battle to land any work until I decided to partner with local accountants. That got me the contract at Central Valley Trucks, although only at nineteen dollars an hour, a far cry from sixty. That whole job turned into a nightmare when they took me to court to get back what they had paid me, almost eight thousand dollars. They lost.

After fighting a losing battle on my own I finally gave up and took a job with Northern Computer. Can't beat em, join em. Although my time with them was short I did land the largest contract in their seventeen year history when I got the contract to upgrade the entire system for a local law firm, Salloum Doak, against thirty-five other competitors. I had known that Dell had bid on the hardware, basically buying the business as they often did back then and that we would not be able to match them. At a critical meeting with all thirteen partners of the firm I was asked if we would partner with Dell? Without hesitation I answered "no". A scary silence fell over the boardroom and I worried that I had blown it. Then the controller asked me how much of a deposit I wanted. Phew! When I got back to the office, cheque in hand, I told my manager what happened. I looked very sad and when I got to the part where I told him they asked me if we would work with Dell and I had told them no he had a look of terror on his face. Then I smiled and handed him the very large cheque. We all hooped and hollered and high-fived a lot that day. It was a great career moment.

Shortly after this rather major accomplishment a lady from Shaw Fiberlink invited me out to lunch where she explained that she was moving back to Vancouver to be with her family and she had recommended me for the job. Soon I was off to Calgary to meet who would be my manager. He explained that the job was basically selling their new business modem to small business and developing a market for fibre connections that were about to be installed in the valley. I got to work and soon not only set a record for business modem sales but also made tremendous inroads with fibre. I had met with the manager in charge of the installation plan and we had worked together to come up with a total plan to connect what was called the Interior Health Region throughout the valley. After a big presentation to a senior manager he gave us a contract to connect two hospitals with the rest of the entire contract based on meeting the standards of the first connection, which we exceeded. The contract was huge and I stood to make about eighty thousand dollars in commission. I had also been working with people like Interior Savings to connect their branches in Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon. I knew it was only a matter of time before I had landed every major contract. I had also managed to join the new Okanagan Science and Technology Counsel who were going to promote the area as a major tech hub. They were thrilled at what we could do for them.

Just when I thought my life could not get any better my world came crashing down. There was a big announcement coming from the President of Shaw and my manager (the ninth in a very short time) was coming from Calgary to our office. The announcement was that Shaw Fiberlink had been sold to a company called Group Telecom, who were basically a hedge fund like Goldman Sacks. The sad part was that they had no interest in laying fibre in the valley because it was "too expensive" so our office was being closed and I was out of a job. Some time later they had laid off all hundred and thirty-five employees of Shaw Fiberlink. Even at that point I figured they owed me at least twenty thousand dollars in commissions but they refused to pay me a dime. I was beyond devastated. I spent months renovating my girlfriend at the time's house and struggled with what to do. After that ended I took at a job with Pacific Cellular selling for Rogers AT&T and then moved to Sunwest Cellular. Neither was a great job so I started looking around again. I found FBC, a company selling tax and estate planning services.

With FBC I covered the South Okanagan, meaning I put on a lot of miles. At one point they lost their rep for the North Okanagan and I covered the whole territory until they hired someone else. During my not quite two years with them I sold more than they had ever seen in their fifty year history and I never lost a prospect. What turned out to be my last contract was with a guy who owned a helicopter company and his wife owned a retail store. Their numbers were high and my commission was nine thousand dollars. The deal with FBC was that within thirty days after I signed them our tax consultant would meet with them. I was starting to get annoyed calls from my clients saying that they had heard nothing from the company. My manager said the company was having trouble hiring and training staff to do the work. He actually said that it was partly my fault for selling so much. Not funny. Then I got an angry call from that last big contract, demanding their money back which would mean I would need to return the nine thousand dollar commission. I quit.

I then got a job as the Regional Manager for a new business publication, Business Thompson Okanagan. It was an interesting job and I did have some success, like getting John Thomson to do a full page report in our paper, and signing  Envision Credit Union to a two page spread. I worked very hard but my manager did not understand that it takes time to build relationships in the Okanagan. I would never have landed John had I not known him for years. My manager and I agreed to part ways. The publication is now called the Business Examiner.

In May of 2005 came another one of those life-changing moments. My father died in my arms, leaving my mother who suffered from Alzheimer's in need of care. My father had done nothing to get her into the type of care facility she needed, and my brother and sister were useless so I was the one who gave up my life to live with my mother and care for her, which was the hardest job I've ever had in my life. No one who has not been directly involved with Alzheimer's will ever understand how incredibly difficult it is. In addition to spending every day trying to get her into a care facility I also finished the renovations getting ready to sell her place as soon as I got her into a facility. After months of trying I finally got her into Winterhaven but my sister pulled her out and that ended in disaster with my mother dying.

I was then self-employed as a contractor renovating a manufactured home in West Kelowna. When that turned into a total disaster I moved to Panama, where I built city portal websites and also renovated a three story apartment house. Yet another disaster and I was forced to return to Canada, originally offered refuge by my cousin in Toronto. I then moved to London, Ontario, following a new love and started working for Phoenix International at a call centre marketing an international trade show in Toronto. It did not go well.

I then spent several months living out of my car and in various group homes like the Centre of Hope run by the Salvation Army. Certainly the low point of my life. Despite living in a group home in a dormitory I managed to get a job at Home Depot. Lousy shifts. Lousy working conditions. Lousy pay, but it was a job. Then about a hundred of us got laid off. For a very brief period I worked for the worst company I had ever worked for, Stream Global Services (now Conversys). Enough said.

I got accepted into a build your business program and managed to earn enough to survive for a little while. When that was coming to an end I again started looking for somewhere cheaper (and warmer) to live out my life and found Ecuador. After moving to Cotacachi I again started building city portal sites for various towns around me. Unfortunately I got screwed by my government when I did not get my GIS pension for six months. It left me penniless and I was borrowing money from a friend to survive. I knew that I had to return to Canada and my friend offered me a place owned by her son north of Belleville. Yet another turning point. Belleville.

Now technically "retired" but still searching for somewhere cheaper and warmer to live I moved to Mexico where I again worked building city portal sites. One of them, for Ajijic, was the best site I had built in my life, but despite that I still never made a dime. After losing my GIS pension, which was a third of my limited income, I had to go back to Canada yet again. I tried to get back to BC but that proved impossible so back I went to Belleville to again live in a group home. Now I finally have my own apartment and I continue to work all day, every day, building websites, praying that someday I will make enough money to live somewhere else.

Well, believe it or not despite the many, many jobs I've listed here I left out a few, like GlassVision Solariums where I thought I would make my fortune and be set for life. For a breif time I worked for a company whose name I think was Canwest something, selling home phone systems. I've also done a number of home renovation contracts for various people. Nothing of any consequence. I've also had numerous business ideas over my lifetime, many of which were eventually developed by someone else. My biggest was inventing what today we know as The Cloud but thirty years ago I developed as InTouch Networks. At the time after assembling an amazing group of partners Microsoft wouldn't agree to something that they did agree to years later, and the whole concept died.

SIDEBAR: In May of 1978 I started working for Gerry Waterhouse as Sales Administrator for what was then a start up, the TCM Division of American Hoist, in a small warehouse with limited office space. Over a very short time I managed growth from less than an original quarter of a million dollars to over six million dollars. Unfortunately American Hoist couldn't handle the growth well. We built a network of dealers partly by offering a good floor plan financing program, but after I did the contracts and sent them to American Hoist for signing they just sat there. I remember having a meeting with the Vice President in his office and saw stacks and stacks of these contracts piled up everywhere. He didn't seem to care. When the dealers would visit us they would ask me where the contracts were. Some would even admit to me that the fork lifts had been put in their rental fleet or even sold, meaning they needed to pay for them. Gerry and I soon realized that it was a house of cards which would soon come crashing down and we would be out of a job.

One day he brought me a brochure for a different kind of fork lift, called NYK, and asked me if I thought we could put something together. After a lot of hard work we were on our way to Chicago to sign the papers to become the national distributor for these fork lifts. I remember on the flight down Gerry asked me what our "company" was supposed to be and I suggested Canada Lift, which we instantly became. I got an incredible floor plan with the Bank of Nova Scotia. I organized a meeting at a resort in Caledon and invited all the dealers. They all came and all ordered product. The next thing we knew we had a quarter million dollar order to soon be on its way, with every unit presold. We found an office in Oakville and got ready to receive the order. Although this sounds like a very bad soap opera we soon got word that there was a big investigation by the RCMP about some conspiracy by Gerry and I. Although nothing to do with handling the new line of fork lifts, which American Hoist was prevented from doing because of their contract with TCM, there was one deal made with one dealer on TCM lift trucks that had been ruined in a shipping accident, for which American Hoist had been paid in full by insurance. Soon Gerry and I were being escorted off the property and charged with criminal offenses, for which we would pay dearly soon.

Obviously it wasn't great being led off the premises or, much worse, being charged, but we had our new company and sold lift trucks on the way on which we were going to make great profits and order more trucks, right? We also knew that being charged was just part of this giant conspiracy theory and we were only guilty of stupidity, nothing criminal. One dealer told me that he heard we were only charged because the RCMP had spent two million dollars doing a national investigation, only to find nothing about any conspiracy. If we had only known what was about to happen.

I got a call at our new office in Oakville to come to the Head Office of the Bank of Nova Scotia in Toronto. When we arrived we were ushered into the Executive Offices on the top floor where we met with a roundtable of the most senior executives of the bank. They informed us that the floor plan financing program was cancelled immediately, along with the one hundred and eighty day line of credit they had extended for us to buy the trucks from NYK. Obviously shell shocked I reminded them that they had signed contracts with our dealers to finance their purchases plus the trucks were on a ship arriving shortly. With stone faces they said there were no options here and the decisions were final. It was the death knoll to our business. Everything we worked so hard for was gone. It was the worst day of my life.

As I picked myself up and thought that maybe I needed to do something that only I could control I thought about Real Estate. I took the course and came in third in the class. I became a sales agent with Kyle-Jamieson Real Estate. Until the market crashed because of absurdly high mortgage rates I really enjoyed what I was doing. I still managed to sell some properties for wonderful clients and I worked for six months putting a mall expansion project together, which all fell apart when one idiot refused to sell a property he hadn't even moved into yet for double his money. This was not the career for me, although I have always regretted that.

Too late for a career change?

Many years ago I took a very extensive career test which, funny enough, said I should be a lawyer. Years later when I was designing a site for Personal Dimensions I had attended a five day workshop that was downright inspirational. It told me I should be a consultant, which I sort of already was with designing websites. Now that I am seventy-one I doubt it's time to go career searching but I just took another test and found it to be just as inciteful. Anyone I've ever worked for or with may or may not agree.

Extraverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiving

ENFPs are both "idea"-people and "people"-people, who see everyone and everything as part of a cosmic whole. They want to both help and to be liked and admired by other people, on both an individual and a humanitarian level. This is rarely a problem for the ENFP, as they are outgoing and warm, and genuinely like people. Some ENFPs have a great deal of zany charm, which can ingratiate them to more stodgy types in spite of their unconventionality.

ENFPs often have strong, if sometimes surprising, values and viewpoints. They tend to try to use their social skills and contacts to persuade others gently (though enthusiastically) of the rightness of these views; this sometimes results in the ENFP neglecting their nearest and dearest while caught up their efforts to change the world.

ENFPs can be the warmest, kindest, and most sympathetic of mates; affectionate, demonstrative, and spontaneous. Many in relationships with an ENFP literally say, "They light up my life." But there is usually a trade-off: the partner must be willing to deal with the practical and financial aspects of the relationship, and the ENFP must be allowed the freedom to follow their latest path, whatever that entails.

For some ENFPs, relationships can be seriously tested by their short attention spans and emotional needs. They are easily intrigued and distracted by new friends and acquaintances, forgetting their older and more familiar emotional ties for long stretches at a time. And the less mature ENFP may need to feel they’re the constant center of attention, to confirm their image of themselves as a wonderful and fascinating person.

In the workplace, ENFPs are pleasant and friendly, and interact in a positive and creative manner with both their co-workers and the public. ENFPs are also a major asset in brainstorming sessions; follow-through on projects can be a problem, however. ENFPs do get distracted, especially if another interesting issue comes along. They also tend towards procrastination, and dislike performing small, uninteresting tasks. ENFPs are most productive when working in a group with a few Js to handle the details and the deadlines.

ENFPs are friendly folks. Most are really enjoyable people. Some of the most soft-hearted people are ENFPs.

ENFPs have what some call a "silly switch." They can be intellectual, serious, all business for a while, but whenever they get the chance, they flip that switch and become CAPTAIN WILDCHILD, the scourge of the swimming pool, ticklers par excellence. Sometimes they may even appear intoxicated when the "switch" is flipped.

One study has shown that ENFPs are significantly overrepresented in psychodrama. Most have a natural propensity for role-playing and acting.

ENFPs like to tell funny stories, especially about their friends. This penchant may be why many are attracted to journalism. I kid one of my ENFP friends that if I want the sixth fleet to know something, I'll just tell him.

ENFPs are global learners. Close enough is satisfactory to the ENFP, which may unnerve more precise thinking types, especially with such things as piano practice ("three quarter notes or four ... what's the difference?") Amazingly, some ENFPs are adept at exacting disciplines such as mathematics.

Friends are what life is about to ENFPs, moreso even than the other NFs. They hold up their end of the relationship, sometimes being victimized by less caring individuals. ENFPs are energized by being around people. Some have real difficulty being alone, especially on a regular basis.

Personality Types: ENFP

One ENFP colleague, a social worker, had such tremendous interpersonal skills that she put her interviewers at ease during her own job interview. She had the ability to make strangers feel like old friends.

ENFPs sometimes can be blindsided by their secondary Feeling function. Hasty decisions based on deeply felt values may boil over with unpredictable results. More than one ENFP has abruptly quit a job in such a moment.

Entrepreneur Type:

Business Leader

The Business Leader is confident, persistent, and inventive in business. He or she can launch a new business and will invest all their energy into establishing it. In addition, one of their outstanding features is a talent for inspiring people. The Business Leader is a good communicator. They know exactly how to implement business policy, and they actively, persistently strive for success. They know how to set goals and they strive to reach them as quickly as possible. This dynamic approach to reaching their goals allows them to quickly develop and promote their business.

However, their approach may also have negative effects. Because the Business Leader strives to reach success quickly, their approach does not always lead to a sustainable business when economic conditions are unfavorable. In such situations, they will sometimes close their enterprise in order to start a new one they believe to be more promising in the moment. The Business Manager flourishes most in a fast-paced environment.

During the company’s start-up period, the Business Leader can develop the business by themselves. At this point, they can temporarily take on the role of manager and analyst, in addition to his or her primary function developing the business.

The Business Leader may encounter problems if they do not anticipate obstacles. Their tendency to take risky actions is also potentially damaging. The Business Leader will find themselves in a tight spot if they do not weigh all the pros and cons while making a decision. Sometimes they cannot stop but try out solutions that are heavily based on a fleeting moment.

The largest comfortable business magnitude for the Business Leader type: Large

Necessary Steps for Success in Your Business

You evaluate information quickly. As a rule, you quickly find a way to achieve your goal. You should be careful not to underestimate the potential difficulties in your path. As well, always carefully consider any possible negative consequences of achieving your goal. It is a good idea to occasionally take breaks from your intense, active work to re-evaluate your goal pathway. Also, try to foresee what problems may arise once the project is completed.

Businesses typical for the Business Leader may or may not be local. Therefore, it is very important to advertise using mass-media agencies that have access to the largest possible audience. Various Internet advertising tools are very useful for this purpose. For example, sending solicited commercial emails to professionals and other customers is a valuable practice. It is also highly beneficial to keep in contact with potential customers through mail, telephone, or other means of communication.

Make sure to carefully analyze customer needs. Then, try to design your advertisements so that they target these needs. Professional referrals and recommendations are essential for the success of your business, so make sure to use them in your marketing and advertising campaign. They can seriously impact a prospective customers’ decision to buy your product; in many cases, they have no other way of judging its quality. Always be in contact with your customers, and send them catalogues or samples of your latest goods.

It is also important to create and support your business brand. Give your business a name that reflects your own name, or one that expresses the essence of your company. Develop a logo or a picture that represents your business. Create and run advertisements. Distribute branded pins, fridge magnets, and similar items to your customers. Remember that low sales may be due to lack of customer’s awareness about the product. Therefore, you should continuously promote your goods and carefully analyze customer feedback. This will help you determine whether the reason for low demand is insufficient advertising or a shortage of product.

If you are financially able to, it makes sense to launch an intensive advertising campaign involving commercials on TV, the radio, the Internet, etc. This is a great way to promote your business. You can increase sales by giving customers the chance to win a valuable prize upon purchase of your product. Create a bundle package of your product and a third-party product. Look for a way to sell your product at a discount to another business who will offer it, free of charge, with a popular product of theirs. In doing this, you will reach a wider audience, while also generating mutual, simultaneous profit for both parties.

Make sure not to push your product overzealously when talking to a customer. However, still point out the product's advantages in terms of quality or price. If you can, give interviews where you explain the advantages of your product or service.

The Business Leader can start a new business or buy an established one. In some cases, they will start a new business based on their own technologies and innovations.

It is important to have a detailed business plan when you start a business. You should assess the market and find a niche for your product or service. Your business plan should point out your company’s weaknesses and suggest strategies to mitigate them. You must analyze the difficulties your competitors face, and propose methods to cope with analogous ones you may encounter. Carefully consider any investments you require to expand your business. Having an investment plan will strengthen your case in negotiations with potential investors.

If you need to strengthen your company’s management, then the Innovative Manager may be the right partner for you.

Entrepreneur Type:

Business Leader of Technology

The Business Leader of Technology (BLT) clearly understands the structure of his or her business and its technological makeup. They are very skilled in developing complex technologies. One of the BLT’s outstanding characteristics is their ability to form a hardworking, enthusiastic team to work with. They are persistent, inventive, careful, and thorough in their business ventures.

One of their weaknesses can be a pronounced perfectionism, as well as a tendency towards excessive criticism. The Business Leader of Technology may tend to present their products logically but dryly, instead of communicating in a more personable and appealing to customers way.

The BLT can encounter difficulties with expanding their market exposure or entering a new business area quickly. The BLT should always keep in mind that their tendency to overanalyze may put the business at risk in situations that require quick change.

The largest comfortable business magnitude for the Business Leader of Technology type: Large

Necessary Steps for Success in Your Business

As a rule, you actively and persistently strive for success. You know how to set practical goals and how to accomplish them on time. However, your perfectionism takes away from your time and resources, and sometimes slows active development in your business.

You easily analyze a given situation. You know that before beginning to work towards your goal, it should be precisely defined. You should define and assess the various ways of accomplishing it. Then, you should choose the most appropriate method. It is a good idea to weigh the positive and negative consequences of achieving your goal before you take action. If, as a result, you decide that the goal is worth pursuing, then implement your plan decisively. You should do this quickly -- if you procrastinate, various circumstances can slow down or stop your goal-completion efforts.

Businesses typical for the Business Leader of Technology may or may not be local. Therefore, it is very important to advertise using mass-media agencies that have access to the largest possible audience. Various Internet advertising tools are very useful for this purpose. For example, sending solicited commercial emails to professionals and other customers is a valuable practice. It is also highly beneficial to keep in contact with potential customers through mail, telephone, or other means of communication.

Make sure to analyze customer needs and design your marketing and advertisement campaign accordingly, to target these needs. Referrals and recommendations from professionals are also essential for the success of your business success, so make sure to use them in your marketing and advertising. Referrals and recommendations can have a serious impact on a customer’s decision to buy your product - in many cases, this is the only way for them to judge the quality of your product. Always be in contact with your customers, and send them catalogues or samples of your latest goods.

It is also important to create and support your business' brand. Give your business a name that reflects your own name, or one that expresses the essence of your company. Develop a logo or a picture that represents your business. Create and run advertisements. Distribute branded pins, fridge magnets, and similar items to your customers. Remember that low sales may be a result of customers' unfamiliarity with the product. Thus, you should continuously promote your goods and carefully analyze customer feedback. This will help you determine whether the reason for low demand is insufficient advertising or a shortage of product.

Keep in mind that you should not push your product too insistently when talking to potential customers. However, it is good to point out your product’s advantages and why it would be especially useful to them. Explain the product's different uses and make recommendations for its maintenance. Give your permanent clients the option of trying your product, free of charge. If customers trust you, they will trust your product too. As a result, they will be much more inclined to buy the product and will very likely come back for another purchase.

As a Business Leader of Technology, you generally prefer starting a new business over acquiring a running enterprise. If you do indeed plan to start a new business, it is very important for you to correctly choose which product to sell. If your business is based on an innovative product of yours, you need to carefully assess the time and tools required for its development and production.

You should carry out a thorough market survey to evaluate your goods’ or service’s sales potential. You need to become familiar with the expenses and income of companies that produce products similar to yours. It is useful to get opinions from experts in the field. You should only make decisions about the needed quantity and overall necessity of investments after thoroughly considering their advice. In general, it is best to invest more in high-quality equipment and employees, and less in the rent of your premises. As a rule, the location of your business is not critical for its success. This is because sales and customer service are usually performed by stores or sales agencies, or you send your goods directly to the customer with a delivery service.

On getting older

Back when I turned seventy and still in Mexico, but living in Chelem in the Yucatan Peninsula, I was reminded of the saying that growing old is a privilege denied to many. It was an age I thought I would never make it to because of the less than ideal way I had lived. I had smoked for most of life, having not started until I was twenty-two and the only time I quit for six months I put on some seventy pounds and was in the worst shape of my life. I had more medical issues and couldn't even walk up a flight of stairs without being out of breath. I had zero stamina and asked my doctor if I should just start smoking again. Of course he disagreed but as soon as I started again I lost the weight over just a few months. My normal weight was usually around one seventy but I had ballooned to two forty after quitting so I was very happy to be back to normal.

This birthday milestone was also the first time I sensed my own mortality because my father had died at eighty-one and my mother had died at eighty-four, so I suddenly realized that I might not have too many years left before I kicked the bucket. Still I didn't feel "old" because I was still in pretty good shape. No aches or pains of any consequence. Although I had been diagnosed as diabetic back in 2004, it was under control. I had started taking insulin in 2011 but my sugars were still pretty normal with my medications and the two insulins I took. Before the disastrous move to Chelem I lived in the Lake Chapala area. I walked more than I ever had in my entire life. I ate better. I danced a lot. I felt pretty good overall. Even after the move I still walked a lot. The little local store in Chelem was several kilometres away and I walked it several times. I also swam in the pool where I was staying. I never got to dance because there was nowhere to go. 

After all that happened to me after the move my stress level was off the chart. I had lost one of my pensions after being out of the country for six months so I was really struggling financially. I also was running out of my medications, especially my insulin which cost a fortune in Mexico. At one point I collapsed in Progreso and the EMTs got me to the hospital where they gave me insulin and got me back on my feet. Add that my new landlord had not told me the place was sold so I had to find somewhere to live and couldn't find anywhere and I knew I had no choice but to return to Canada, something I thought I would never do when I first moved to Mexico in September 2017. The first day I arrived in Ajijic I fell in love with the place then two weeks later I met the love of my life and was going to get married and live happily ever after in Mexico. As John Lennon said, "life is what happens while you are making other plans". After a disastrous trip back to Belleville to apply for my visa in Toronto as soon as we got back my fiancée dropped me by text message. It nearly killed me. I cried for days. I thought my life was over and saw no reason to go on. Then all hell broke loose with my idiot landlord in Riberas Del Pilar and I had to move to Chelem. Yet another big mistake.



My appeals for help from everyone including the Canadian Consulate all fell on deaf ears so I had no choice but to try to get flights back to Canada. I had also contacted the President of the housing charity about getting a room in one of the group homes again and he had confirmed that I could move back to the place I had left two years earlier. I only had my measly pensions to buy the flights with so I searched and searched but couldn't find anything. Then one day when, as usual, I found cheaper flights but every time I tried to book them they were sold out, this day I actually booked the flights, to my considerable surprise. It was then that I realized just how bad the flights were. I was flying out of Merida, the closest airport, to Mexico City then to Cancun then to Toronto. I had lengthy layovers and would take more than twenty-four hours to get to Toronto. As bad as the flights were they were even worse when my first flight out of Merida was delayed two hours. By the time I got to Cancun I collapsed at the airport and was rushed to the airport medical centre where they gave me insulin. I fell asleep waiting to board and only caught the flight to Toronto because one of the airline staff found me and got me on the flight at the last minute. 

Just before I left Mexico I got an email from the President of the housing corporation telling me that the room he told me I was getting was no longer available. Now I had nowhere to stay when I finally got back to Belleville. Just more stress. I arrived in Toronto close to midnight and had to wait for my bus to Belleville at six thirty in the morning. No one had told me that the bus did not go to the bus terminal in Belleville. Instead it dropped me off in the middle of nowhere at a truck stop off the 401. It was a twenty dollar cab ride into town and I didn't have any money. Luckily I called a friend and she rescued me. I called the Emergency Housing line and was put up in a motel. By the time I got to the CHMA office to apply for housing I was a total mess. Although they promised to find me a room they insisted that I first go to the hospital which I did. My sugars were off the charts, above thirty and I should have died, but after five days in the hospital they brought them down and released me. 

This was all in November of 2019, before the virus hit. I went through a nightmare with getting my pension reinstated, leaving me with not enough to pay my room rent and I was threatened with eviction to the street the next day but I managed to get help from the local housing authority and avoided getting thrown out, but it was close. Physically I was okay now that I got my meds again, but mentally my stress level was killing me. I didn't know how much more I could take. Then I got really sick and spent five days in bed which didn't help. When I finally got better my friend took me to the Legion in Trenton every Saturday so I got to dance again. I knew I didn't have the same energy level as I did when I danced for hours several nights a week, but I managed. Then the virus hit and the world stopped. 

For fifteen months now I haven't done a thing. When I lived in Belleville before going to Mexico I was very active. More in the summer than the winter but I still danced every week. I went to the concerts in the park every Wednesday and Sunday and danced. I went to the Waterfront Festival every day. I worked the Elvis Festival in Tweed. I went down to Kingston quite a few weekends with a guy that lived at the home. We went to the Provincial parks often to spend the day at the beach. I wasn't getting a lot of exercise but it was all something. It all ended with the virus. Not only was I not getting any exercise but I was also bored out of my mind. Although I had more than my share of challenges in Mexico there was always a sense of adventure every day. Now there was nothing. I literally could feel myself wasting away physically and mentally. Soon I had a host of new aches and pains. My peripheral neuropathy in my feet suddenly became so painful that even walking was difficult. The bone spur in my shoulder which I had not been able to get surgery for before going to Mexico now suddenly ached all the time. Even my skin became so dry that I looked like the elephant man. The various creams I had used stopped working. I had new balance issues and nearly fell in the shower. My vision got worse and I had to get new glasses, which I could ill afford. 

When I finally got moved out of the group home to my own apartment it's across the road from the YMCA. I figured I would join and at least be able to use their pool to get some much needed exercise but, of course, it's been closed for a while and now even if they reopen I'm told that the pool will not open this year. There goes that plan. There's talk of things like the Legion dances starting up again but I don't know how long it's going to take me to be able to dance again. All the concerts and festivals are cancelled. Even the parks are limited but I don't know anyone who drives now so I have no way to get anywhere.

For most of my adult life from my first real job on I was the proverbial workaholic, usually working fifty or sixty hours a week at least and during the sixteen years that I did consulting often many more hours. I remember billing ninety-six hours in one week alone. Makes you wonder when I slept. After I moved out West to be with my mother in 1993 I was determined to get a better work life balance. Right away I had bought a boat but that got stolen and set on fire the first week I arrived back in the Okanagan. I did join the local racquetball club, the Courtplex, where I met a lot of new friends. I started hiking in the mountains around Kelowna and, of course, started dirt-biking with my Dad. Over the course of my fourteen years in the valley I was incredibly active. In the summer I swam, dirt-biked around Kelowna and Revelstoke, water-skied, hiked, danced at the Corral, biked the Kettle Valley Railroad, ran a roller-blading club most Sundays, and even paraglided.  In the winter I downhill skied, snowmobiled around Kelowna but mostly in Revelstoke, still ran the hiking club despite the snow, danced three nights a week at the Corral, and, most importantly, got into cross country skiing at Telemark. My friend Brian Wall had got me started and at first I couldn't quite see why I would do it, but then once I discovered the rhythm I loved it! I also learned why those NordicTrack machines are so popular because I was never in better shape in my life. My stamina was top notch. Despite still smoking my lung capacity was tested at the Courtplex and I was in the top three percent of Canadian males. They had me do the test three times because they couldn't believe it. Of course that lifestyle all ended when I went to Panama and I would never again be in such good shape, physically or mentally.    

As much as being so out of shape now, feeling so old and dealing with the stress of being poor is not great, nothing is worse than the emotional pain of not being in love and being cut off from my family. My twenty-three year marriage was a total disaster because the girl I fell in love with at first sight never loved me back. I tried and tried to make it better. A better house. A better car. For her, a better job. At one point she even went off the pill without telling me and we had a daughter, but nothing changed. Then she killed our unborn child without even talking to me first and I sure knew that my marriage was over. It was only on the very last day we were together, sitting in the house that had sold, that she talked for hours about what a terrible wife she had been and taking full responsibility for the failure of our marriage, but it was too late. It was over.

Over the years since my divorce (for child abandonment according to her lawyer. Yeah, right) I've certainly had girl friends, girlfriends and came close to getting married again. As much as I thought I was in love with my ex from the start I didn't really know what love felt like until I met Tracy. We were awesome together despite our age difference of twenty-two years, that was until her girlfriends from school started asking her what would happen when I was seventy. That ended the relationship. She asked me to move out, although she did say it might be the biggest mistake she ever made, and it nearly broke me. Not only was I so hopelessly in love with her but I also loved her three kids. It was a very bad breakup. Next came Magaly in Panama. Again she was much younger than me, plus she didn't speak a word of English, but we got along. It was very hard to leave her when I was forced back to Canada. Back in London, Ontario I never had so much as a girlfriend. In Cotacachi, Ecuador I met Patricia and had a very romantic and lustful short relationship and after I was forced back to Canada, again, she wanted me to come back and marry her. We couldn't do the long distance thing though and soon she just wanted money, so that was over.  Same love drought when I came to Belleville. Nobody special, then off I went to Mexico.  

In a short two weeks I met the proverbial love of my life, Elba. As much I thought I had been in unconditional love before, I was wrong. Over the months we were together we were so very much in love. We kissed all the time and told each other we loved each other all the time. We lived together. We danced. We talked for hours upon hours even though my Spanish was a little rough. People who saw us out together always commented on how they had never seen a couple more in love than us. We got engaged on New Year's Eve to the congratulations of many of our friends. Her very large family welcomed me with open arms and constantly asked why we weren't married already? I had already booked my return trip to Canada but now it was going to be to apply to the consulate for my visa to come back to Mexico. To my surprise Elba wanted to come with me and offered to pay her own airfare when I told her I couldn't afford it. It turned out to be the trip from hell with everything from screwed up flights to it being freezing back in Belleville. I was so glad to finally get back to Mexico, that is until Elba said she was not coming back to Ajijic the night we got back. Then she sent me a text message telling me that the relationship was terminated. It broke me and I saw no point in going on.  

Back when when I left for BC to be with my mother who had fifth stage melanoma and had been given less than six months to live I didn't know that it would be the last time I would ever see my wonderful daughter, Heather. Way back in 1994 I drove across the country in the dead of winter to see her after talking to her on the phone and she wanted to see me. Instead my ex and her new husband hid Heather away and wouldn't let me see her. I tried for three weeks but failed and drove back to BC crying all the way. 

My son, Christopher, had three daughters, only one of which, Danielle, I had ever met, but when she was just a baby. Back in 2009 when he and I connected in London, Ontario he was going to set up a time and place for me to meet his other two daughters, Marissa and Mackenzie, but after three months getting nowhere he sold his phone and blocked me on Facebook. When she was fourteen Mackenzie connected with me on Facebook Messenger and she was so angry at her parents for not letting her make her own decision to talk to me. We chatted back and forth for a while and then she said she was coming to Puerto Villarta for a friend's wedding and she wanted to meet. I was so excited! But she stopped talking to me, never said anything about meeting, refused to answer my pleas on Messenger and has now blocked me. I had posted a photo of the three granddaughters on my website and Danielle sent me the most horrible message on Messenger telling me not to try to talk to anyone in the family. Throughout all of this, like the twenty-eight years my daughter has not spoken to me, I have begged and pleaded, as have many friends over the years, to understand why everyone cut me off. I think even child molesters and murderers are treated better. No one was stronger on family values than me. Back when Chris and I connected I asked how his Mum was and he said he didn't know because he hadn't talked to her in six months! When I asked Mackenzie how her sister were she said she had nothing to do with them! What the hell kind of family is this? It all makes me SO sad and there's not a day goes by that I don't think about my kids and grandkids. I pray that I find out why they've all cut me out of their lives before I die.     

I've never felt so old, unloved and forgotten.