Category Archives: My Life

Lesson learned – a question of who to trust

Yesterday as I picked up a few essentials at Super Lake, bemoaning the fact that I had thirteen dollars left until my pensions come in at the end of the month and wondering how I was going to make it, and, yes, feeling sorry for myself, when I came out of the store I noticed a young girl standing just outside the entrance. She had a crude cardboard sign with English and Spanish scrawled on it saying “please help me. I need food for my baby”.

It’s a sad fact of life here that Mexicans are forced to beg. Kids are often trying to sell you something. Ladies sit outside places like Super Lake with a cup in their hands hoping you will give them a few pesos. The vast majority of Mexicans live in abject poverty.

As I came out I reached into my pocket and gave her the few coins I had planned for the bus. I couldn’t carry what I had on the bus so I was going to need my driver to come and get me, something I could ill afford.

As I stood outside waiting for him I watched person after person just ignores this girl, not even returning the hello she said to them. They saw her sign but just walked by her. As usual with Super Lake, there were no locals coming out because they can’t afford to shop there. I wondered if local folks would ignore a woman begging for food for her baby?

After a few minutes watching this I couldn’t take it anymore. I asked her to come back to the store with me to get some food for her baby. I told her I was not a rich American so I couldn’t get her very much but I would try. She got bread and some small jars of baby food and I treated her to some chocolate for herself. It was only a couple hundred pesos.

She was thrilled at this very small gesture. She told me her name was Melissa and she showed me a picture of her baby, Daniel Alexander. I gave her my card and told her that if she ever faced a day when she had no food to come to my place and I would feed her something. She couldn’t stop smiling and even helped me with my groceries when my driver arrived.

My point in telling this story is simply to encourage you to give when you can, especially if you have more money than you need. The locals are an admirable, warm, proud people, happy with little but when someone like Melissa needs our help please give. It will make you feel very good, as it did for me.

As that old radio program used to say, “And now for the rest of the story.” Oh, and this is a good one. If all you get out of it is how stupid I am, well, you are SO right.

First, Melissa called me yesterday and asked to meet me at Super Lake so I could buy her more food for her “baby”. I told her it wouldn’t be much because I don’t have it to give her but I would buy some for her. I said I would be there around 3:30 and we agreed to meet. She wasn’t there but called me later to tell me she was now at Super Lake and expected me to come back. I said no but told her if she came to my house I would give her a little money. Big mistake!

She showed up a while later with a friend in tow, no doubt because she didn’t want to be alone with a man in his apartment, regardless of the fact that I could be her grandfather. So be it. I understood. I fed both of them. Her friend and I went out on the terrace to have a smoke and Melissa asked where my broom was because she was going to do some cleaning for me for the money I gave her. Nice, I thought. Then she said they had to go because her “baby” was sick. We said our goodbyes.

Oh, read on. This gets a lot juicier. A little while later her friend came back alone. Needless to say, I wondered why. I thought she might have forgotten something. She then tells me that Mellissa had shown her my diamond ring and said she was going to sell it! Sure enough, I checked and it was gone! This was the thanks I got for helping her?

We called the police who showed up fairly quickly. They took all the information and then told me to call Uber to take us to the Chapala police station where they would meet us and then go to Melissa’s house together. When her friend and I arrived at the police station it was closed. No sight of the two officers that came to my apartment. An officer outside said we couldn’t do anything more tonight and we had to come back in the morning.

I figured that my thousand dollar ring would be sold by then so I convinced her friend to go to her house and confront Melissa to give back my ring or she could deal with the police tomorrow. She didn’t answer the door and when her friend called her on my driver’s phone so she wouldn’t recognize the number she hung up on her. Now the plan is to go to her house in the morning with her friend and the police to confront her to get my ring back. No doubt she has either sold the ring by then or will simply deny she stole it. The police believe her friend who Melissa was dumb enough to show the ring to and tell her she was going to sell it.

We gave her the chance tonight to just give my ring back and be done with it. No police. No charges. No possible jail time, but she refused.

The bad part of my story is how stupid I was to trust this girl. It turns out she has five children, all of whom have been taken away from her. For me, as dumb as I know I was to trust her and try to help her, the good part is that I know her friend could have simply gone home and forgotten about it. Instead, she came back to my place to tell me what happened and then she spent hours with me dealing with the police, going to Chapala, confronting Melissa, and now she’s doing it all again tomorrow.

I have hesitated to name her until this is hopefully over and maybe I get my ring back, but she works at Super Lake and I hope to be able to disclose this amazingly honest girl’s name so you can tell her she did the right thing when you see her.

I pray that tomorrow will bring a better ending to this story. Even if she hasn’t already sold my ring and gives it back I don’t know how things work here in Mexico. Will she still be charged with theft now that the police are involved? Do I have the right to stop her being charged if I get the ring back? Do I even want to? She’s clearly a thief and I don’t want her doing this to anyone else. I am trying to warn anyone who sees her begging at Super Lake to avoid her like the plague.

Live and learn.

Just when you think it can’t get any worse….

After the police station was closed last night my driver, Salvador, suggested we go to the police station at 8:30 when it opened today. I handed my phone to her friend to make arrangements to pick her up this morning. When she hung up I asked what time he was picking her up and she said 8:00 o’clock. I asked if she had given him her address and she said yes.

This morning I’m anxiously waiting for them to show up at my place. It gets later and later and she has to be at work at Super Lake at 10:00 so I begin to panic. I text Salvador asking where they are? He calls and tells me he is in Chapala, knows nothing about picking her up and doesn’t know where she lives. By now, with all this total screw-up, Melissa has had plenty of time to sell my ring. The police no doubt wonder where we are and drop the case.

A very bittersweet end and a huge loss for me. A thief gets away with it. and will no doubt do it again? For me, my trust is gone. Never again will I try to help a local. Expensive lesson learned.

A final note. Just when I thought Melissa’s “friend” was so wonderfully honest and was being so helpful, she told me she worked at Super Lake and was working 10:00 until 2:00. My very confused driver, Salvador, and I went to Super Lake to see if Estafan could come with us to the police at 2:00 when she finished work. 

Yup, you guessed it. She doesn’t work at Super Lake. Although I am still absurdly confused as to why she came back to tell me that Melissa had stolen my ring, I guess she was in on it from the start. Maybe she came back to see if she could steal something else. I’ll never understand all this. I’m out my ring and there’s no hope I’ll ever get it back And the little thief gets away with it.

If you are at Super Lake and see a girl holding a sign begging for food for her “baby” rip the sign out of her hands and tell her to scram!

For the death of me

Back in April of this year, after the love of my life, Elba, and I returned from what can only be described as a nightmare of a trip to Canada, where everything that could go wrong did go wrong, I thought I was going to get to actually realize my dreams of life in Mexico. I could not have been more wrong.

Maybe I was blinded by love, or, like most men, just clueless, but I knew something was wrong the day we got back.

The plan for months had been to find a place to live together because they had increased the rent on where we were living by almost sixty percent and we could not afford that. We had looked at a couple of places before our trip but hadn’t found anything suitable for us. Elba had an apartment in Guadalajara which had turned into a nightmare for her when her ex-husband had not paid the mortgage as he had agreed to in the divorce agreement for twenty years! Not only that, but the minute he signed their divorce agreement he had divested himself of all assets, even including his cell phone. She had no chance of getting any money out of him.

Her original plan was to move in with me and give her apartment to her son, Kevin and his girlfriend, partly because in the divorce agreement the ownership of the apartment had gone to Kevin and her other son, Jonathan, with the agreement that she could live there. Making matters all the worse she had just spent twenty thousand pesos repairing her apartment from a water leak above her, for which she got no compensation from anyone. Now she learns that she owes over three hundred thousand pesos or she would be evicted. Even though it was a dump of a place in a very bad neighborhood I advised her to sell quickly, pay off the debt and move on. Instead she hired a lawyer at great expense to sue her ex. I told her she had zero chance of getting a dime out of him so not to waste her money on a lawyer. She paid no attention to me.

The day we got back the plan was to hurry up and find a place to live because we were out of La Floresta at the end of April. The first hints that something was wrong were two things. First, she told me she wasn’t coming back to Ajijic because she had yet another meeting with her lawyer the next morning. When I protested, again telling her she was wasting her time and money, she told me to go ahead and find a place on my own. I told her that I would never agree to rent a place that she hadn’t seen first. I guess it was our language difficulty because what she meant was to find a place literally “on my own”. The first sign that things were not as I believed.

She said she was still coming to Ajijic on Monday night with Jonathan, as usual, but she would be coming to our apartment early. I had gone to play pool with Jonathan as usual and when I came home she had some suitcases packed. When I asked why, she lied and told me that because we were going to get a smaller apartment she needed to get rid of some of her clothes and her many shoes. Made a little sense to me so I bought it.

That night at Adelita’s where we had met and spent so many wonderful nights for six months now, including the night people thought I had proposed to her when all I was doing was giving her a better ring, things were very different. Normally we sat together and were very affectionate with each other, kissing and hugging. It was why so many people said we were so much in love. It was nice.

This night, first she sat on the other side of the table from me, for the first time. Not good. Then when we danced, which wasn’t often that night, instead of laughing, smiling and dancing together better than anyone, she kept looking at the floor, not meeting eyes with me. Even when we went for a smoke, as only she and I did, and was how we first met, she said she was fine when I asked her if something was wrong. The capper was that I had assumed she was coming back to stay at our apartment so we could get to work finding a new place to live. Instead she told me she was going back to her place to, again, meet with her lawyer. This was the very first time I sensed she was lying to me, possibly about everything. In our hours and hours of talking about relationships she had always agreed that honesty was crucial, along with trust and unconditional love. I thought we had it all. She constantly told me she loved me and that she had never been happier in her entire life. I felt the same way.

Despite praying that none of this was true my senses told me otherwise. I knew something was very wrong but I had no clue what was going on. I had hoped that we were going to talk when she came back to our place after Adelita’s which didn’t happen. Then she sent me a text message that nearly destroyed me.

A simple text message, in Spanish, saying she was, ”terminating our relationship”. No explanation why. Naturally I called her, admittedly crying my eyes out, and asked her why was she doing this? I begged her to talk to me, hoping that there was just some misunderstanding that we could get past. She agreed to come and talk so I was hopeful.

Instead the next day she sent a series of very cruel text messages talking about age difference, our language difficulties and even my ED. Our age difference had never been an issue and we had talked for hours on end, only once and a while needing our translation on our phones when things got complicated. She had always understood my ED was a result of my diabetes and she had even come with me to the doctor who had discovered I had very low testosterone levels, for which he had prescribed medication. Despite my ED our sex life had been incredible. She was a typical passionate Latin woman and I never failed to satisfy her. Making our sex life even more magical was how much we loved each other. Now she refused to tell me why all of this suddenly meant nothing to her and refused to even talk to me.

She said she wanted to come and get the rest of her stuff and did say she wanted to talk to me to explain why she had ended our relationship, but there was no sign she wanted to make up, although she did say she might be making the biggest mistake of her life. I just couldn’t face the thought of watching her taking all her stuff and leaving me, so instead my friend Jack took me on a drive to the other side of the lake while Elba got all her things.

Soon I fell into the worst depression of my life. I couldn’t stop sobbing and crying. I had gone from feeling on top of the world because of how wonderful she treated me. How she always said how handsome I was when we got dressed to go out. How great it was when I cooked for her and we ate together. How everywhere we went was such a joy. How we lived together as happy man and wife. I remember going on this crazy ride at the Plaza which nearly killed us. It was so fast. Stopping at the top of the Ferris wheel, looking out over Ajijic. It was all so romantic. We had sat down on a bench at the Malecon one night and just sat there in silence, enjoying each other’s company. So much in love.

A huge part of our relationship had been her family. I knew Jonathan before I met her and he seemed very happy with me, even calling me his “new Dad”. At Christmas I went to Guadalajara and met her other son, Kevin and his girlfriend, Sarita. He also said he liked his new Dad. Over Christmas we had visited so many of her family, especially her mother who I was very nervous to meet, but she also told Elba she liked me, which was a huge relief. Her entire family, which was huge, all treated me so well. Her brother had even said “welcome to the family” when I met him.

A big part of meeting her family was my own family situation. I hadn’t spoken to my son and daughter in years. No idea why they cut me out of their lives. I have five grandchildren, four of whom I had never even met. I had lost both my parents and was feeling so very alone. Her family, especially Kevin and Jonathan, made me whole again. I was part of a new family now and I loved every minute of it. When we went to a family birthday a while later her sister, Gloria, chided her as to why we weren’t already married. I didn’t know that the culture here in Mexico was after you proposed you were supposed to get married right away. That had always been fine for me but Elba was never so sure. Now I saw why.

Now that she had ended our relationship with a simple text message it was a very dark time for me. The worst of my life. I had faced challenges before but I was a fighter and always refused to let things get me down. Many people in my life, on learning what I had been through, expressed amazement that I was still hanging on and was so optimistic despite everything being so negative. For the first time I felt totally worthless and saw no point in going on. My thoughts turned to how I would end my life. I thought of swimming out in the lake, far enough that I could not make it back, but drowning seemed like a painful way to go. I started researching if an insulin overdose could kill me, but it was inconclusive.

Luckily, I guess at the time, two friends intervened when they learned how desperate I was. Don and Violeta. They both chatted with me online telling me that I wasn’t worthless and I had many friends who would miss me. They managed to convince me of the old adage that time heals all wounds and gave me hope. I only got over my severe depression thanks to them.
Fast forward to mid-October. Despite months of grief with my new idiot landlord, who refused to do much needed repairs, left me with no hot water for days on end and just made living here pure hell, I survived. It was difficult not being able to go to Adelita’s which had been such a big part of my social life, but I knew I could not face seeing Elba. That was made all the worse when she and Don hooked up. He had always told me that he had a thing for her but knew she loved me so he had stayed away from any thoughts of being with her. As soon as he learned she had broken up with me he moved in. Now the thought of seeing them together made going to Adelita’s even more impossible.

Not only Adelita’s was a problem. Everywhere I went in town just brought back memories of being with Elba, the wonderful times we had and the fact that it was all over now. Broke my heart. I wandered around on the verge of tears everywhere.

A new club had opened in town, The Spotlight Club, and I started working with the owner, Mark Rome, promoting the club by doing videos and taking photos of the bands that were playing there and posting them on my website. He was most appreciative and told me I was welcome in the club anytime. Although I didn’t get a table and spent all my time working, it was nice to get out of the apartment once in a while. One night when I wasn’t working I got to dance the whole night, something I hadn’t done in months.

Then yet another problem arose. When I came back in April I had managed to see my nurse and get six months of my critical diabetic medications. Now I was running out of them and had no clue how to get more. My blood sugar levels were hovering in dangerous territory at thirty, which put me at risk of a heart attack, stroke or lapsing into a diabetic coma. Because I live alone no one would find me until it was too late.

The final blow was when I learned I had only twenty-eight dollars in the bank and a lot of month still to go. I admit that I had lost track of my finances a little, with purchases from Amazon for stuff I needed, but also because of some fraudulent charges from my hosting company, who charged me to renew hosting on sites that were long dead and not to be renewed.

With everything piling in on me I was very depressed. About a month before this I had adopted my best buddy, Rollie, who was so much fun and had made me feel less alone. One fateful night I had been drinking far too much, something I never did, plus I hadn’t eaten all day. I was chatting with my friend, Christine, who sensed that I was in real trouble. She sent over a doctor and two of her colleagues who managed to talk me down. The doctor said she would get me financial help for food, even offering me to do some website work for them. When I told her they had threatened to take Rollie from me she said she would talk to them and make them understand that this would be the worst time to take him from me.

The next morning, without warning, they came and took him from me. It broke my heart. The doctor who had made so many promises suddenly disappeared on me so there went the help. Thanks to Christine I got a call from John Kelly, the President of the Canadian Legion here in Chapala. We had a long talk in which he offered to take me to what’s called Seguro Popular where I could get my meds. We also talked about them giving me a loan to help me through these tough times. I had some renewed hope thanks to him.

John took me to their office in Chapala to apply; however, I didn’t know that they wanted everything but your first born child to apply. I didn’t even take my passport, so the trip was a waste. We did get a list of what they needed so I spent the next few days copying all the documents they wanted. That first day we went to their office I had met a guy who helps people apply. He picked me up and off we went to the office again. Although we got through the application process there was no doctor available to see me. He said he would go there first thing in the morning to see if he could get me an appointment.

A couple of days later he phoned me in a bit of a panic to say a doctor could see me that day. We arrived at about nine in the morning and he left me there to check-in. It turned out my appointment wasn’t until noon so I wandered off to get a coffee somewhere. When I came back for my appointment the doctor took one look at my list of medications and said they couldn’t help me. Came as quite the shock, of course.

So now I faced having no medications critical to my health. I have been trying desperately to get my medications renewed in Canada, which will need the help of my nurse who has to agree to renew my prescriptions without seeing me, of course. A friend back in Canada has offered to pick them up for me and ship them to me. A lot to ask but it is my only option other than dying.
Even if I somehow solve my dilemma with my meds I face yet another challenge soon. This month I went through hell when two of my pensions were not deposited on time. Umpteen emails back and forth with my MP and my bank manager and I finally got them, just in time or I would have starved. This brought to light the fact that I will soon lose what’s called the GIS (Guaranteed Income Supplement) which is the pension you receive when your standard government pensions aren’t considered enough to live on. The problem is that it stops after you have been out of the country more than six months, which I have. The GIS is almost five hundred dollars a month, or about a third of my limited income, so surviving without it is almost impossible. My pensions are in the lowly Canadian dollar so what I get is tough enough to live on, let alone when I lose the GIS.

So, here’s a recap of my current situation.

  • If I can’t get my meds from Canada it will all be academic because I will die. Even if by some miracle I do manage to get them renewed this time I will face the same situation again in six months,
  • Due to my current health situation I have been too disabled to go anywhere. My peripheral neuropathy in my feet makes walking so painful. Without my meds to control my blood sugars this is only going to get worse,
  • When I faced all this depression I posted for some help on Facebook. The result was a slew of attacks, like “suck it up”, “stop whining”, “stop posting” and “grow up”. People obviously don’t have a clue how their cruel comments hurt someone who is already suicidal,
  • The website business I have worked so hard on for a year and a half has so far not earned me a dime and just recently I barely managed to pay for hosting. When I first came back in April I knew that I would be losing one of my pensions in six months, so I hoped to replace this with advertising revenue from my website.

To get paying clients I always knew that I needed someone to call on potential clients. My Spanish isn’t good enough for that so I have been trying to find someone to work with me. Elba was going to be my Sales Director but all that fell apart when she dumped me. To date I have interviewed seven women, none of whom have understood the opportunity to make a lot of money.

  • Before I left Canada they had discovered a bone spur in my right shoulder, probably because of my decades of playing tennis, squash and racquetball. The specialist in Belleville gave me a cortisone shot, hoping to avoid surgery, but it did nothing. Given the short time I had before leaving for Mexico and the lengthy delays for surgery I couldn’t do anything before leaving. I hoped that this type of surgery was cheap here and I could get it done. Quite obviously there hasn’t been any money for surgery so I still suffer with the pain.
  • Although things have gotten a little better with my apartment, after months of pure hell, with no hot water for days on end, an infestation of ants and cockroaches, no electricity, no internet, no repairs done for months until I threatened not to pay the rent and dealing with an asshole landlord, full of excuses and telling me this wasn’t a “hotel”. Now the manager of the new restaurant, which is being converted from the main part of the house, has proven to be more helpful than my landlord, but my lease is up at the end of April. The new manager has already asked me if I would be agreeable to paying eight thousand a month instead of the current five thousand, so I may well be out of here. Right now it is virtually impossible to find an affordable apartment anywhere in the area. Someone suggested a room in Chapala but it was $450 USD a month just for a room. Not possible, especially after I have lost the GIS. I may well end up homeless.
  • Not being one to give up easily I tried to start a fund raising campaign, first to help with my urgent needs. Not only my meds but I also have about forty thousand pesos in urgent dental work I need. Back in Canada I lost a crown I’d had for thirty years and they wanted a thousand dollars to replace it. Cheaper here but still a lot of money I don’t have.

My goal was to raise a hundred million dollars. Maybe sounds absurd but I had seen so many posts on Facebook that had been viewed by sixty and seventy million people, many of whom had commented. I wondered if those same people were asked to donate just a single dollar would anyone respond. It was worth a try.

Mexico is a great country but there are so many needs, from education to housing to clean water to good paying jobs. I had shared a lot of ideas with my former good friend, Jack, about things like building a solar panel manufacturing plant, hydroponics and building social housing. If I did manage to actually raise a hundred million dollars just think what I could do for the people here. It was dream.

After spending hours developing my campaign on GoFundMe I learned that their minimum donation was five dollars, so there went all that work down the drain. I connected with yet another fund raising site, Ketto, who turned out to be an equal disaster. After again submitting my campaign details they rejected the campaign because, believe it or not, the “recipient was not an Indian”. Seriously?

Still not willing to give up I’ve been designing my own website, called, surprisingly enough, justadollar.com.mx. The site is almost ready, but as is typical in Riberas where I live, we haven’t had internet for two days now, so the site is not finished. I have no idea how I am going to market the site but I’m hoping that friends around the world will have enough faith in me to get the ball rolling by donating just a dollar. I hope that as soon as people see that others are donating that they will jump on board. Who knows? I can only try at this point.

  • In terms of emotional happiness, despite the tragedy of Elba I am still a hopeless romantic and always have been. It took me several months to even start getting over Elba, which was made all the worse because she refused to answer me when I texted her about anything, at one point telling me to “just disappear from her life”. Nice. More war wounds thanks to her cruelty. There are so many gorgeous women here in Mexico. It’s hard to ignore them. One day when I was walking Rollie I saw this absolute vision of a woman coming towards us. Thanks mostly to Rollie we got to chatting. Before long I had asked her she liked to dance and when she said she did I asked her if she wanted to come to Adelita’s the following Monday. To my considerable surprise she agreed. We had a great night together dancing and soon I hoped for more, but it was not to be. She just wanted to be the dreaded “friends”.

Probably because I am hardly what you would call good company in the state I’m in, both physically and mentally, I haven’t found that special woman. I’ve come close chatting with some women on Facebook but it never gets to meeting each other. Without a special woman, or a special dog anymore either, to share my life I am one lonely guy. In my whole life I’ve never once enjoyed living alone and it’s no different now, despite all the romance challenges.

  • As has been discussed a lot lately on Facebook the Christmas season is a particularly tough time for people who are alone. Many have strong and emotional memories of previous seasons spent with, most importantly, family, and friends. I remember many a Christmas dinner when someone would invite a friend who was going to be alone on Christmas. I’m sure they appreciated it a great deal. Who knows? Maybe some of them managed to avoid the suicidal thoughts so prevalent on this, the worst day of the year for suicides.
    I know all too well how this feels. Even in Panama and Ecuador I had never been alone on Christmas. Last year of course I spent Christmas with Elba’s entire family so it was wonderful. They were all my new family and made the Christmas season so very special.

I had also been planning and shopping for weeks to get Elba special and meaningful Christmas gifts. Let’s just say I burned my credit card badly. I got her an Amazon Fire HD 10 which had only just came out in the US and would not be available in Mexico probably for years. I got her a beautiful purse at LCS. I got her a new gold colored case for her cell phone and a personalized case for it, with Elba monogrammed on it. I got her some beautiful jewelry showing just how much I loved her. I got her a gorgeous long dress to wear on New Year’s. I also got her a special little gift I can’t disclose other than to say I bought it at El Dildoria. I’m sure you can figure out what it was. I also bought her a silver scorpion anklet. She loved everything, although she ended up returning her engagement ring, her watch and a bunch of the jewelry when she dumped me. She kept the tablet, the cell phone case and the anklet.

So, this year I am truly alone. For whatever reasons I’ve lost most of the friends I made here. Jack, who I lived above at La Floresta and who spent a lot time with Elba and I with morning coffee and late night drinks, attacked me brutally on Facebook after I posted something on my personal website, garycjones.ca, which I’ve had for ten years. It’s a diary of sorts, done mostly if my family ever showed any interest in me. He told me to “stop f*cking posting” as though I was suddenly somehow accountable to him now for my own website. Such arrogance! After I told him I was never going to answer to him that was the end of our friendship. I’ve had to block him on Facebook because of the mean things he continued to post.

The same thing happened with my dear friend, Francis. I met him over the internet before I even came here and he was instrumental in getting me the apartment in La Floresta. He went over and met my landlord, toured the place and took photos for me. More importantly he recommended I take the place and make a deposit, which I did. When I arrived and saw the place I was even more impressed with it. I could not have been happier with everything at that point.

Over the course of the next few months Francis and his wife, Anastasia, took me everywhere, introducing me to a host of people who would become good friends. I thought. Francis started giving me advice about my websites which was welcomed since he had been here since 2010, but he treated me like I hadn’t been building websites for some thirty years or hadn’t launched city portal sites before in both Panama and Ecuador. He had never built a website, ever. I’ll never know what I said or did but he sent me an email saying that he was “done with me. Period”. I haven’t spoken to him since and he stopped sending me his weekly newsletter to post on my site. If you check out my site you’ll see that I have created my own events calendar, called Encore, plus I have a section called Ajijic Now devoted to promotion of local clubs and bands. I built it when I started working with Mark of The Spotlight Club. It was going very well until my health prevented me from going out to the venues. This year I missed the entire fiesta season that I so thoroughly enjoyed last year.

Some folks have suggested returning to Canada to get my meds. Although, yes, that would solve that problem, there are a host of reasons I can’t do that. First and foremost I can’t pay for my flights, obviously. Second, I have nowhere to live. I overstayed my welcome at the group home, so that’s not an option. Third, although yet another long story, I no longer have my laptop computer. I now have a desktop computer and large monitor which I obviously couldn’t take with me. Assuming I’m coming back I would need to leave it here and do without a computer while I was in Canada.

The biggest issue with this is whether or not I plan to come back to Mexico. Even with everything that’s going on I would hate to give up on my dream of living out my life in Mexico. I just have too much invested in living here. My business would be gone and I know, despite the many challenges, I would forever regret leaving Mexico.

With the dreaded Christmas season fast approaching the thoughts of major depression are front and center. As hard as I try to find a glimmer of hope in anything I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. Bad as things are right now I think that they are only going to get even worse.

Back in October things were so bad that I wrote up an agreement with my friend, Christine, at the time to dispose of all my things. Knowing what an asshole my landlord was I also wrote up an inventory list of the things that were mine to avoid any problems for Christine. Eventually he signed it without even looking at it and I don’t trust him. Depending on how I go, whether because of my health or intentionally, I can see him locking the doors and claiming everything here is his. True to the way my life has been Christine has joined the chorus of people who’ve dropped me and I haven’t heard from her in weeks. My friends from Canada, Arnie and Barb, who are about the only ones I have left here, have agreed to handle things in the event of my demise.

One invaluable lesson I’ve learned through all of this is that all those posts on Facebook about who your true friends are and who are not has become painfully clear to me. People I honestly believed were good friends who would support me instead either attacked me or just ignored me. Virtually no one, with the exception of a couple of friends back in BC who wished me well, showed one iota of concern that I was going to end my life. Not one. Some folks on Facebook who I had never met were more supportive, telling me not to give up.

Family were non-existent, of course. My son, Chris, had blocked me on Facebook years ago, for whatever reason. My daughter, Heather, hasn’t spoken to me in twenty-five years so I highly doubt she bothers to follow me on Facebook or my personal site. Only my darling Mackenzie, one of my son’s daughters have ever had anything to do with me and even she didn’t seem to care. My other son, Andrew, originally promised to send me a photo of him and Chris for a page I was doing on family, but he dropped me just as fast. I don’t know if he has ever read anything on my site about his mother or him. I doubt it.

Okay, so I’m gone. Who gives a rat’s ass? In all honesty I think it will be that old adage if you think you will be missed stick your finger in a bucket of water then pull it out and see what difference it makes. There you go. Nothing. Like most people I’ve always wanted to make a mark in my life and do something to make the world a better place. Not a Bill Gates or Steve Jobs kind of thing. Just something to be remembered by.

At many stages in my life I thought I had finally discovered it. Decades ago I invented what today we call the “cloud”. I had assembled a group of very important partners who all agreed to the concept and were willing to invest heavily in it, but we needed Microsoft to be part of the plan. They refused, destroying the entire idea. Naturally years later they announced the exact concept I had proposed to them. My ship had sailed without me.

Throughout my life I’ve always worked very hard and had lots of really good business ideas. Many people have said I was always just too far ahead of my time. That proved to be very true when many of my ideas became reality years later, such as the cloud. I can only imagine how different my life would be today if I had made millions off these ideas at the time. All I know is that I sure would not be in the mess I’m in today, consumed with thoughts of ending it all just to relieve the pain I’m in. Maybe with all that money I wold have just had other issues but I highly doubt that having money would have turned to thoughts of ending it all.

So, what will Christmas Day bring? I’ve realized I’m too much of a coward to swim out in the lake or jump in front of a bus. With my luck someone would rescue me in the lake or the bus wouldn’t kill me and just put me in traction in a hospital I can’t afford. No guarantees with either. My thoughts right now are to tell the pharmacist I am having trouble sleeping and get some pills. You don’t need to see a doctor here to get medicines other than opioids, so that might work. At least I get to decide when and how I go. Peacefully.

Unless something changes dramatically in the next few days to give me hope I don’t see any other options. I’ve been working furiously on my fund raising site, www.JustADollar.com.mx, in the hopes that people will donate, literally, just a dollar to save me and allow me to go on. Here’s hoping that works.

 

 

 

 

THE END, literally.

Leaving a mark after you’re gone.



Everyone likes to believe that they somehow left their mark on the world. Some people certainly deserve it, like Einstein, Lincoln, Mandela, Mother Teresa and many more, all of whom had a huge impact on the peoples of the world. Others like Hitler, Stalin, Bin Laden, Manson and many more left their mark because they were such despicable people.

Common folk like me were never famous for anything and the mark they leave is minimal in a worldly sense. They hope, as I do, that they have had a positive effect on family and friends. In my case this isn’t true. My family have abandoned me in a time of urgent need. My children, Chris and Heather, disconnected with me years ago for reasons I have never understood. I only chat with one of my grandchildren, Mackenzie, who doesn’t chat with me very often. There is much I would like to share with her to help her to avoid the mistakes I’ve made, but she’s not interested.

Being a thoughtful and supposedly more intelligent person than most, I have always studied the crazy things that go on in the world and formed opinions. Never in my life have I felt that world is crazier than now. All common sense has disappeared and incredibly stupid things happen more and more every day. This has all left to what I am calling my manifesto covering several different topics. It’s certainly not all inclusive because that would be a book. The basic reason for this manifesto is that I am close to death. Complicated circumstances have left me without my critical diabetic medications for more than a month now. My blood sugars are hovering around an incredibly dangerous level of thirty so I am at great risk of lapsing into a coma and dying. I hope no one believes that I just gave up because I have been trying everything possible to get my meds, but failed. So be it.

So here’s my manifesto. At least I hope it gets people talking.

By Gary C Jones, Canadian Citizen, November 2018

BACKGROUND

The world has often been a crazy and cruel place. Decisions made by leaders often seem totally lacking common sense and will do more harm than good. Just one example would be the invasion of Iraq in search of weapons of mass destruction which, in fact, never existed. Good people lost their lives in a failed war and today that country is in even worse shape than before the invasion.

THE GOAL HERE IS TO PROPOSE COMMON SENSE SOLUTIONS

  • In this document I just propose what I consider to be common sense solutions, but they are more for debate and input from other clear-thinking people.
  • Obviously open to any intelligent debate; however, I will not accept or tolerate any hate speech, lies, political promotion or insults to others. Always be respectful to others or you will lose the privilege of posting your thoughts.
  • I am not supporting any political party anywhere in the world, primarily because no party offers what I consider a common sense platform. Also, the very structure of political parties in the free world is so corrupted by money and influence that any claims of civility are fraudulent.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Animal Rights
Crime and Punishment
Education
Environmental Regulations
Equality
Government
Guns
Healthcare
Housing
Immigration
Indigenous People
Military
Personal Identification
Seniors
Sex Workers
Taxes
Voting
Workers’ Rights

ANIMAL RIGHTS 

Hunting simply for sport is banned. Killing any endangered species would an automatic twenty thousand dollar fine and one year in jail. Poaching, for example, rhinos for their tusks, would be an automatic fifty thousand dollar fine and five years in jail.

Domestic animal abuse of any kind would carry an automatic ten thousand dollar fine and a minimum one year in jail. Any animal threatened with abuse will be confiscated.

This includes commercial production such as puppy farms, chicken farms, breeding companies, and any company caring for animals of any type in any manner.

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT 

For time immemorial crime has existed. Study after study states that for the most part money crimes exist because people have no other choice. They cannot survive on what little they earn and they have to turn to crime to make more money.

Violent crime on the other hand has deep psychological factors. What causes it? Humans being the way we are, gives us not just psychological reasons as to why we turn to crime but also societal. Psychological can be anything from complete parental neglect to just being brought up in a twisted environment, not being taught the rules of the world or being psychologically damaged from mistreatment.

Statistics on imprisonment clearly show that it is not an effective solution to combat crime. Recidivism rates remain high despite attempts to change the prison environment. Punishment has been replace by treatment in an attempt to change the person’s behavior for the better.It has become clear that the right treatment is a more effective option. Giving prisoners the right to work, learn, and feel worthwhile provides a much better chance for them to be released back into the community with more skills and a better attitude to better fit into the community.

Another factor in imprisonment is the cost. In many countries, especially the United States, where much of the prisons have been turned over to for profit businesses, the cost to imprison far exceeds the cost to rehabilitate them in society. They could be provided with housing, work and a decent income at less cost than to imprison them.

Punishment for a crime should entail a loss of freedoms. Prisoners are limited to the facility they are in. Prisoners cannot enjoy the luxuries they had when they were free, like movies, television, entertainment and relationships. They can still be provided with the necessities of life, like food, shelter and the ability to do paid work, particularly with training to do work they enjoy and can continue to do when they are released.

There must be punishment that fits the crime. The Victorian era where people were hanged for being homosexual are long over. There needs to be a clear definition of what is crime, for example, it is not a crime to hold different political or religious views.

In any case where a gun has been used an automatic five years is added to the sentence.

EDUCATION 

All public education through universities and trade schools would be provided regardless of income. Charter schools would continue to operate for those who can afford them.

Standards of education would be established that meet or exceed any private school standards and teachers would be paid on performance. Tenure would be eliminated.

ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS 

CLEAN AIR AND CLEAN WATER ARE DECLARED TO BE BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS

Any persons or companies found to be polluting the air or waters will be held criminally responsible for cleanup. They are required to demonstrate that they are using every available technology to limit or erase any environmental damage. If no effective solution is available their activities will be prohibited.

Any company producing any consumer product deemed harmful to the environment will be given a limited period of time to find alternative safe products, failing which the production of these products will be prohibited. Examples would be non-biodegradable plastics.

Any company proposing any process that is potentially threatening to the environment must post a bond equal to the costs of cleanup. They must also clearly demonstrate that they are employing every possible technology to minimize any potential harm to the environment. This would include projects such as pipelines, mining, transportation, manufacturing plants and off-shore drilling.

EQUALITY 

All persons are treated equal regardless of color, creed, country of origin, sexual preference, gender, religion or political beliefs.

This applies in all situations. Examples would be equal pay for work of equal value, the right to vote, access to housing, medical care, education, the right to marry including equal benefits, legal rights including justice, freedom of expression, free speech and equal opportunities to earn a living wage. Those seeking asylum for legitimate reasons of threats and violence are granted.

GOVERNMENT 

A group of people that governs a community or unit. It sets and administers public policy and exercises executive, political and sovereign power through customs, institutions, and laws within a state. A government can be classified into many types–democracy, republic, monarchy, aristocracy, and dictatorship are just a few.In the US with the passing of the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution the payment of income tax first became permanent to finance the government. Before that any form of taxation on income was only to pay for specific things, such as the cost of wars.

As has often been quoted, a democracy is supposed to be, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, back in November, 1863, “government of the people, by the people, and for the people’. This rarely true today.

This principle has been decimated by the way elections are run today by the influence of money, interference by the elite, lobbyists, the enormous costs of running for election, and even the ills of social media. The sheer elongated and expensive campaigns make it impossible for all but the rich to run.

Even when the various campaigns at all levels are over the results often lead to totally impotent legislatures, with more time spent in political squabbles than in actually governing.

It’s time for a radically different form of government that respects the true “will of the people”.

First, campaigns will be limited to sixty days before Election Day. Any televised debates can only take place during this time period. Incumbents for any office must resign prior to this sixty day period to run their campaigns.All donations must be made anonymously and are limited to a hundred dollars or equivalent currency in the specific country. Corporations are exempted from donating. Executives of any corporation are only allowed to donate personally like everybody else, so they will not have any undue influence on the outcome.

Lobbyists of any kind are deemed to be illegal, thereby further reducing the influence of special interest groups.

Under previously stated freedom of expression any political party may be formed but it will not be recognized until it has a minimum of one hundred thousand members or a specific percentage of the country’s population, as applicable. Once officially recognized the government will fund an office and allow funding based on a specific dollar amount based on membership.

Term limits of any kind will be abolished. If the electorate is satisfied with the job that’s being done there is no reason to arbitrarily end the term. This does not mean that an elected official cannot be terminated for illegal acts or social impropriety such as sexual abuse; however, any such claims must first be proven in a court of law.

All representation is by popular vote only. Any artificial system such as the Electoral College in the US are abolished.

Any legislation entered into law is subject to the same legal right to challenge and will be subject to the ruling by the courts, ultimately to the Supreme Court level.

No governing authority has the right to enforce executive orders of any kind without the express authority of the applicable governing body.

GUNS 

The issue here is not whether to allow or ban guns. Those in favor cite the need for personal protection, to participate in the popular sport of target shooting and for hunting.

None of these require assault rifles and these would be banned, including all forms of rapid fire bullets, for anyone except the military. Anyone caught in possession of any assault weapon would face an automatic two thousand dollar fine and a two year federal prison term. Anyone caught committing a crime with an assault weapon would have an automatic five year term attended to their sentence.

Personal protection firearms and hunting rifles would require registration and a criminal record check, plus a thirty day waiting period.

HEALTH CARE 

Medicine – all prescribed medicines would be provided through a national Pharmacare program with prices established by the national government.Medical Care – all doctor, clinic, specialist, hospital, assisted living would be provided through a national private insurance program paid into equally by employees and employers, similar to unemployment insurance and pensions. Self-employed persons would contribute on in an equal manner.

The single payer system would require a payment based on income. All persons under a preset minimum annual income would not pay for care.

Funerals would be provided for anyone based on minimum income. All persons under a preset minimum annual income would not be required to pay for a basic funeral.

HOUSING 

Government/Private organizations would be established to build public housing at below market rents and rent controlled. These communities would be created under the Land Trust concept on government owned or donated land. Prices would not reflect any ownership of the land; however, participants could do a rent to own or purchase outright with a vested interest in the units.

IMMIGRATION 

First, any person currently classified as “undocumented” can apply online, with help from a government worker conversant in their native language if necessary, to become a citizen of the country. They are required to make available all forms of identification from their native country, such as passports, identification documents, driver’s licenses and so on, including medical reports. They must declare any criminal record under threat of deportation if they lie. Once approved they obtain equal rights and obligations of citizens by birthright.

All countries will remove any physical impediments to entering their countries, for example, the existing wall between the US and Mexico would be torn down. Persons entering the country by any means would be granted a temporary visa and be required to go through the immigration procedure within a set period of time and before their visa expires.

As is the case with current permanent visa applications in many countries the applicant must demonstrate that they have sufficient resources to live without assistance. They must demonstrate that they have sufficient skills to find work. They may also have a domestic sponsor.

Immigrants who are fleeing unacceptable conditions in their native country, such as escaping war or the threat of death, may apply for a special short-term visa, one which will require assistance with housing, medical needs, access to education for their children, language training and assistance finding work. This support will be limited to one year and the applicant must go through the normal visa application process during that period or they will not be permitted to stay.

There will not be any artificial quota on immigration.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE 

Although covered by the same rights as all citizens, native people have always been treated differently, more often poorly. Many live in squalid conditions with no access to clean water, for example. They face extreme racism and are denied access to services available only to non-indigenous people. They face increased risks of drug dependency, alcoholism, suicide and discrimination.

In many countries they have been decimated by genocide, killed, tortured and enslaved.

Indigenous Peoples worldwide number between 300-500 million, embody and nurture 80% of the world’s cultural and biological diversity, and occupy 20% of the world’s land surface. The Indigenous Peoples of the world are very diverse. They live in nearly all the countries on all the continents of the world and form a spectrum of humanity, ranging from traditional hunter-gatherers and subsistence farmers to legal scholars. In some countries, Indigenous Peoples form the majority of the population; others comprise small minorities. Indigenous Peoples are concerned with preserving land, protecting language and promoting culture. Some Indigenous Peoples strive to preserve traditional ways of life, while others seek greater participation in the current state structures. Like all cultures and civilizations, Indigenous Peoples are always adjusting and adapting to changes in the world. Indigenous Peoples recognize their common plight and work for their self-determination; based on their respect for the earth.

In countries like Canada indigenous people have been treated particularly badly. They live in conditions demeaning to humanity with no access to basic services. Their rights have been trampled on with projects like pipelines that cross their lands.In many countries, again like Canada, they are forced to become more military in their approach. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada made hundreds of recommendations, few of which have been acted on.

These were all people who originally occupied their lands with no interference from the countries that invaded them. They need to be restored to have the rights they had originally. Any condition imposed upon them by invading forces need to be removed.

MILITARY 

All countries will reduce their military presence in foreign countries to what is required to train local military and with specific time limits until they withdraw completely.When military forces are removed foreign aid will also be terminated.

Any and all intelligence agents will be removed from the countries involved. No attempts will be made to interfere in the politics of any other country, including attempts to impose democracy on countries where that goal has proven not to work.

All returning military personnel will be reassigned to domestic projects such as firefighting, security and infrastructure improvements. They will also be paid a living wage subject to the normal conditions. Any injured military personnel will be provided the necessary unique medical care they require, particularly mental health assistance.

PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION 

At birth an application for an identification card is automatically generated. It includes a name, gender, place of birth, eye color, retinal scan, blood type, photo, DNA, and birth parents’ names.

When any changes are made and every five years an application must be made to update the information and receive a new card.As age appropriate additional information is added to the card, such as driver’s license, a change in marital status, a gender change, passport number or change in citizenship.

If the person is convicted of a crime this information is added to the ID card to warn prospective employers, potential partners and custom officials. If a pardon is issued the criminal record information is removed from the card.Any information contained in the card record is private and secure and may never be divulged to anyone. If a card is lost or stolen a new application must be made in person and the original card will be cancelled to prevent ID theft.

Upon notification of the death of a person the card will be so noted and cannot be used again.

SENIORS 

No segment of society has been more mistreated and abandoned than seniors who have worked their entire lives and paid dearly in multiple taxation. The government pensions they have contributed to their entire working lives are woefully inadequate to provide for a decent living. The cost of living in many countries have left seniors far below the poverty line. Many seniors are forced to give up on independent living and stay with their children because they can’t afford the basics. Seniors eating cat food because they can’t afford food are all too common.

In far too many countries immigrants who have never paid a dime in taxes receive far more financial assistance than seniors. At the very least seniors deserve pensions above the poverty level.

SEX WORKERS 

The profession will be legalized subject to all normal conditions such as the payment of income tax and health care benefits to workers. Clients will no longer be subject to arrest or prosecution. Workers must be above a set minimum age and must work only at a legal facility. It will still be illegal to live off the avails of prostitution and be a crime.

TAXES 

All levels of taxation would be eliminated. A tax on income would be the only tax to fund government. It would be a flat twenty percent tax on ALL income regardless of how it is earned, legally or illegally and applicable to all type of organizations based on where their income was earned. Banks, churches, corporations (regardless of domicile), internet companies, foreign companies, stock markets, charities, lottery winners and anyone earning an income from any activity would pay a flat tax on their total stated income with no deductions.

Anyone failing to report their correct total income and paying their tax would be subject to an automatic ten year prison term and would forfeit any illegal gain to the government.

VOTING 

The process starts with getting your voter ID card when you turn legal age to vote in whatever country you live in or whatever country you are eligible to vote in based on your citizenship. This could be done at places like passport offices or driver license offices. Wherever they can take a photo and verify your other ID, ideally with a passport or any recognized photo ID. You would also need a valid credit card because you are going to be charged a fee for your voter ID just like you are with a passport. Also just like a passport it is good for five years.

After applying in person and providing all the required ID you would be sent a photo voter ID card along with instructions on how you register online, just like with a credit card activation. You would be provided an ID number and allowed to select a password which needs to be updated at least annually. You will receive a reminder email or text message to update your password. Because the card is a permanent voter ID information such as address, marital status and anything else that could change frequently would not be required although you can update your registration online at any time. For anyone whose marital status changes their legal name, they would need to go to the appropriate office to update their information and receive a new card with the proper legal name. Their new card would be valid for five years from the date of the changes.

Qualification for a voter ID card would not be automatic. Each country would develop a test based on their accepted values. The application would have conditions similar to filing an income tax return with the same sort of penalties. Basically, you could be fined or charged if you lie. So, a question such as are you now a member of a recognized terrorist organization would automatically disqualify you. Do you have a criminal record could also disqualify you conditional upon the type of conviction. Other questions would deal with the specific values of the specific country and the responses would be rated on a scale of importance. No questions related to sex, discrimination or politics would be allowed.

On voting day you simply log in on your computer or smartphone and vote. Although your vote is duly recorded it is anonymous so there is no record kept of how you voted. It also does away with voter lists. A related system could be added so that you can use your voter ID to donate to a specific party. These donations are recorded both for income tax purposes and to ensure that your donation meets the legal standards for making donations. A corporation would not be allowed to donate if the chief executive does not have a voter ID.

You would still be allowed to vote in person on Election Day as long as you show your ID card. Those overseas, such as military personnel serving outside the country would also vote online.Would this totally eliminate voter fraud? Probably not but it sure would make it a lot harder. Once you have voted online that is recorded for your voter ID and the system does not allow you to vote again. If you make a mistake you would be allowed to void or change your vote until you make a final submission. It would be very difficult to fraudulently come up with all the ID documents required for your voter ID, but nothing is impossible. Regardless, producing documents such as a birth certificate, social insurance card, passport, government photo ID card or driver’s license would need a lot of effort for a simple voter ID card.

Is this big brother? It’s a question of the ends justifying the means. In most countries, the voter turnout is pathetic, often less than fifty percent. Does the elected government truly reflect the will of the people? No. In some countries it is a legal requirement that you vote. If this system were adopted there is no valid reason why every single citizen could not vote. Although maybe a bit heavy-handed, your credit card could be charged a fine for not voting.

With the rapid advances in technology, things like fingerprint ID and taking a photo when you vote could be added. The voting process could also allow clicking on a candidate’s name and getting a brief summary of their positions on the issues before recording your vote. By voting online you can take all the time you want to be informed before voting.Also, in some countries, employers are required to allow their employees paid time off to vote. This cost would be eliminated completely.

WORKERS’ RIGHTS 

All persons working for someone else are covered by safety committees paid for by their employers. Unions are abolished in favor of employee associations to protect workers and negotiate contracts in a non-adversarial environment. All contracts are negotiated on the base premise of a living wage based on a minimum set annual by the government based on the latest poverty index, or salary based on a set number of hours worked per week, with overtime compensation for those who work in excess of the minimum hours.

Additional income plans such as commission, profit sharing, stock options and additional benefits such as company paid trips and entertainment are negotiated based on the structure of the business.

Limits of ten percent of the companies after tax profit are imposed on any chief executive and senior managers combined. No individual person is allowed to earn more than one half percent of the companies after tax profit.

All persons can earn a legal wage with the associated protections, pay their tax and live free from persecution based solely on their tax and live free from persecution based solely on their implied differences.

Animal Rights 3
Crime and Punishment 3

Writing my own eulogy – first attempt

This one was from a few years back at a time a time, just like now, when I figured no one would show up for any memorial for me and no one would do a eulogy. 

He isn’t lying here and we don’t really know where he is and neither does he at the moment. Let’s just say he’s lying here in our imaginations.

Gary wasn’t anything special, as he’s learned from many of you recently, much to his surprise. He always thought he was a pretty decent guy, a good father (although his kids don’t agree apparently), a good friend, fun to be around, reasonably bright and, in recent years, not a bad dancer. He was a good husband and provider in his twenty-three year marriage, always trying to make it better even though his wife, Janice, never did. He could always be counted on to lend a hand when needed, even though he seldom, if ever, got it back. He always worked crazy hours, both to support his family and then to try to afford the life he never had after he moved out West to be with his mother, who had been diagnosed with fifth stage melanoma at the time and was only given a five percent chance of survival.

His parents, Donald Lloyd, better known as Jimmy from his time in the Navy, and Alice Joyce, known to everyone as Joy, moved out West back in 1970 with his brother, Kevin and his sister, Wendy and Gary had only visited them a couple of times in all those years, once with Janice, Chris, Heather and Janice’s mum, Marion, to visit Expo ’86. After a week at Expo, staying with Don and Karen, friends of his Mum and Dad’s, they piled into a camper van and toured up through Alberta to Jasper, then back to Westbank (now called West Kelowna), where they got to sit in the rain for a week, unusual for that time of year in the Okanagan. At one point with family and friends, there was seventeen people crammed into his parent’s small mobile home, with only one bathroom between them. He was sitting on the picnic table looking out at the lake and his Dad came out with a drink for him and asked what he was doing. Gary said that he was going to sit there until the damned sun came out. It finally did but the rest of their holiday had been ruined.

In 1989 Gary had hit the road after the business he had been working for, GlassVision, owned by Jim Webb, crashed and burned because one customer had failed to pay them as Gary had warned. He knew it was over but just couldn’t take losing everything especially when he had been the one who knew better than to trust this customer. Gary had made promises to pay their suppliers in good faith and he knew they would be screaming. The company had just come through the most successful National Home Show ever, with some three hundred solid leads from people who wanted solariums, ones that now would never be built. The last thing he did was mail back every deposit check they had from customers so they would not lose their money.

When he headed off out of Brampton he had no clue where he was even going. He always loved the open road and just getting away was all he wanted at the time. It was late May. The sun was shining. The car sunroof was open. The music was playing and he felt a tremendous sense of relief even though he had no plan. Even though as a kid he had been with his parents when they drove to Port Arthur/Thunder Bay as it was called back then to visit his Uncle Earl and Aunt Peg, he had no clue just how big Ontario was. When he stopped in Dryden and bought a map he realized just how far he had driven. The thought came to him about driving to see his parents in Westbank, BC. Boy, that would surprise them, eh? No sooner had that crazy thought struck him than he realized he was almost half way there! He could actually do it! Only a couple more days on the road and he would really be there! He finally had somewhere to go and wouldn’t that be fun. So, off he went with a new spirit of excitement at the thought of surprising his parents.

Manitoba wasn’t bad, although he drove through what had been a huge forest fire. Everything was so black and ugly. He couldn’t wait to get passed it. After an incredibly boring drive through Saskatchewan he finally stayed in Medicine Hat, Alberta. He left as the sun came up and soon saw the mountains in the distance, thinking he’d be there in only a few hours. Boy, was he wrong! He didn’t even reach the sight of the foothills until early evening but, having chosen the scenic route of the Crows’ Nest Pass was soon in his favorite place in the whole world, the mountains. He remembers coming down out of the mountains, where there was still snow and frozen lakes, into Grand Forks. As he rounded a corner he noticed what he thought were deer ornaments on the front yard of a house, that is until they all turned their heads to follow him. Before he knew it he was driving into Shady Rest, heading for number thirty-four to greet his Mum and Dad, who he hoped would be home. They were and, as expected, heard his Dad holler, “Oh, my God. Look who it is!”.

At some point, probably not too soon after arriving, he called Janice to let her know where he was and she was, of course, not amused and only asked when he was coming home. The next few days were spent just enjoying being with his parents and loving the beautiful Okanagan. He was in no hurry to go back, although it didn’t take him long to start missing his kids. Soon he was trying to figure out if there was any way he could afford to bring them out while he was there and somehow he managed to pull it off. They both came out for what turned out to be the best three weeks of his life, right up until the last day. They had the first real holiday they had ever had and every single minute was a ball. They did far too much to go into here but the best time was when they went dirt-biking up at the Kettle Valley Railroad trestles. His Dad had managed to put vice grips on the back wheel of Gary’s dirt-bike for Heather to put her feet on. She took to it like nothing else and was soon squealing with delight. At one point they took a wrong turn going back down and ended up at the top of the power line road, which Gary knew was really steep and dangerous. Not wanting to scare Heather, he asked her to just get off the bike at the top of each drop and walk down, then he gingerly coached the bike down, trying not to lose it. By some miracle they made it down and soon found the others, who all said they could not believe that Gary and Heather had survived coming down the power line road.

Although he fully expected to drive back to Brampton at some point, probably soon, he still hated the thought of the day when they were leaving to go home. Heather shocked the hell out of him when she told him to stay out West. She said both Chris and her had never seen him happier and they knew the marriage was a disaster. All they ever saw was him working his butt off, coming home to cook and clean and renovate every place they ever owned, without a minute’s help from Janice. They knew he loved my parents and spending time with his brother and sister and could not love BC any more than he did. Even at that tender age she said he had done enough and deserved some happiness himself. They don’t know that after he dropped them off at the airport he cried his eyes out for three hours alone in the car, disbelieving that his daughter did not want him to come back.

After many hours of agonizing thought he just knew that he could not leave Heather. He loved her more than life itself and the thought of staying out West without her in his life was simply impossible. He headed back to Brampton, wondering if he was doing the right thing or not for anyone.

He left Westbank at 10:30 Thursday morning, dreading the trip home every second. When he stopped at a gas station north of Dryden Friday night the clerk looked out to see who else was in the car when he said he left BC yesterday morning. That was impossible, he said. He would have been home the next day had he not had a flat tire in Parry Sound, but he still made it home late that night. As he was heading down the four hundred he thought that there must have been a huge accident or major oil spill because of how much it stunk, but he soon realized that this was just how Toronto smelled, especially after having spent three months in the fresh air of BC. Not only that but he couldn’t stand the humidity, which was like breathing water, again after the dry heat of the Okanagan. It took him staying in the basement of the four level townhouse for five days before he could handle the humidity. How had he handled this all his life, he wondered?

Soon life returned to what had passed for normal. He was back working day and night, selling their townhouse after renovating it top to bottom and selling it for more than anyone had ever sold in their neighborhood before, and buying a builder’s upgraded home on Mara Crescent, believing as always that if they just had a better home or car or something that things would get better. They didn’t. As his wife sat on her ass, not working or even filing for her unemployment, he landed the biggest contract of his career, a major upgrading of a large thirty-five station computer network for Fellowes Manufacturing in Markham, taking them off a mainframe in the States. Considering that he was from Brampton and Fellowes was smack in the middle of computer junction, it was a real coup. Not only had he quoted them a nice rate for himself, he had also quoted them half his rate for travel, knowing that much of his day would be spent getting back and forth.

Several things happened then. First, it was making less and less sense to spend all those hours traveling back and forth, so he started staying a few nights at the Journey’s End motel. Then he started spending more and more nights at the hotel, mostly because when he got home his wife wasn’t there anyway and he had to be gone early in the morning. Then he started spending time with Gale-Ann Duxbury, the incredibly gorgeous executive secretary. They snuck around during the day, of course, to keep it secret, but they started spending more and more time together outside of work. She was the most amazing woman he had ever run into and soon he was falling head over heels for her. She asked him to move in with her and there ended the marriage. He still continued to pay for everything for the house because Janice was still not working, but something had to change. He was also literally making appointments weeks out to see Heather as well.

The DELL Experience

My story with Dell started way back around 2006 when my cheap Acer crapped out. It suddenly had a wide black stripe down the middle of the screen and I had to send it back to Toronto to get it repaired. I was without it for three weeks. It was such a piece of crap I don’t even remember what I did with it after I bought the Dell.

When I got that first Dell laptop, a Vostro 1500, my first issue was I didn’t know how to get my programs and data files from the Acer. I contacted Dell tech support, which I believe at that time was based in Nashville. Quite quickly and easily I contacted an incredibly helpful rep. He spent the next four hours helping me to setup a home network and connect both laptops. I could not have been more impressed.

That was the last time anything went well with Dell. For the first of many laptops later I found the lettering on the keys wearing off. Prior to the Acer I had rented an IBM ThinkPad that was several years old but the keys were like brand new. The reason was simple. The writing on the keys was slightly inset so you were never typing on the actual lettering. That wasn’t the case with the Dell so as I used it the writing started to wear off to the point that frequently used keys were blank, worn off so bad that the lighting below showed through if back-lighting was turned on. I contacted repair and was told the keyboard overlay was no longer available. That started many emails back and forth asking if they expected me to be able to use a computer with blank keys? I got nowhere fast until I contacted Michael Dell’s office directly. Nathalie in his office, a wonderful lady, apologized profusely and sent me a keyboard overlay the next day. I still had to pay to have it installed but at least I could work again. Of course the lettering started wearing off again.

My life went through a major change when I had to move to Panama around Christmas. I transferred my warranty to Latin America, which was a disaster in itself. Shortly after getting settled in Boquete I contacted warranty support in Panama. Of course they couldn’t find my warranty transfer until I got my sales agent back in Canada involved. I tech came all the way from Panama City, on the bus. About a seven hour drive. He was a nice guy and he ended up staying for dinner and we went out to the bar later. He had friends in Boquete so I assume he stayed over. He was shocked when he saw the condition of my fairly new keyboard. After he replaced it I asked him to make sure that the one he replaced got to production somewhere with the simple solution to change the mold to be inset. He agreed. Now, remember, this was way back in 2007.

All hell broke loose in Panama after the girl who worked for me ripped me off in every way she could, leaving me twenty-eight dollars in the bank. My darling cousin, Joan, back in Toronto, said to come and stay with her until I got my life sorted out. I met someone online and moved to London, Ontario.  Not long after moving they sent a tech from a company called UNISYS. Good technician except that for some unknown reason he took the laptop completely apart, replaced the keyboard overlay, but then forgot to reinstall the hard drive so he had to do it all over again. I had the same conversation with him that I had had with the tech in Panama to send the keyboard to production, wherever that was. He agreed.

Sometime later I took another stab at living somewhere that I could afford and researched Ecuador, but it proved to be even worse than Panama if that was even possible. I nearly died when I was overcome with carbon monoxide poisoning and, according to the doctor in Emergency, was minutes from kicking the bucket.

Yet another Dell disaster. This time not only was the keyboard lettering wearing off again but I got a big flashing red warning that the hard drive was about to fail. Scared the crap out of me. I contacted repair again and they sent the most lovely girl to replace the keyboard and the drive. She gave me a newer, faster, bigger drive. Not only that but she wasn’t supposed to have anything to do with installing my Windows or my programs, but she did anyway. I invited her to dinner and to stay over but she had to catch the bus back to Quito, about two hours away. I’m sure she knew what I had in mind. lol

When Ecuador failed for many reasons I returned again to Canada. This time ending up in a group home in Belleville, Ontario. When the keyboard started failing yet again another tech came to replace it. This time after he replaced the overlay and rebooted the computer the motherboard blew. He went back to the original overlay but the laptop was toast  I had to send it to Toronto where they did nothing except waste my time. They returned it to me and the tech came out again to replace the overlay. We held our hands in prayer when he rebooted it and it worked.

Yet another move, hopefully this time more successful, to Mexico. Wasn’t long before the keyboard started wearing off because despite all the expense of all the warranty repairs, Dell had done nothing to solve the problem. This time the tech traveled from Guadalajara. He replaced the overlay and, of course, the motherboard blew the minute he rebooted. Just like the other techs he had no clue why.

At this point, after more than ten years of so much trouble and particularly that replacing the keyboard had blown the motherboard twice now on this same laptop, I told Dell I had had enough. I wanted the laptop replaced with a desktop with a keyboard that would work and continue working in future. I asked if Dell had any keyboard that had the inset keys so the writing would not wear off. No answer. They finally agreed to send the desktop but sent one certainly not of equal value to what I had paid for my laptop. That was disappointing enough, but what I found just unbelievable was that they sent it with the cheapest keyboard possible. I found it on Amazon for FIVE DOLLARS! How could anyone ignore what I had been through, over and over, for years and not supply a decent keyboard? Was that too much to ask? Literally within days the lettering started to wear off. Worse, some of the keys stopped working. I would click on a letter and just get a blank space. Then after I clicked again the letter would start rapidly repeating across the screen until I hit another key to make it stop. Total garbage!

Back I went to Dell and told them I would not return the laptop until they supplied a far better keyboard. They replied with two keyboard links. I had found what looked like a better keyboard at Amazon.com.mx which could be here overnight, but they said they couldn’t supply that one from their distributor here in Mexico. Suddenly out of nowhere a keyboard showed up the next day. You guessed it. Worse than the first keyboard! Nothing has changed in the design of the lettering. It’s still on the surface and will no doubt start wearing off soon.

So, after at least ten warranty replacements, at huge cost to Dell in four different countries, plus, for me, countless hours and hours of downtime and nothing but frustration, for an issue that could have been so easily solved in the first place and at zero cost to Dell, I still don’t have a functional keyboard. Seriously? I have found a real keyboard at Logitech and I’m working with them to get it here in Mexico. Probably going to cost me a hundred dollars on top of all the time I’ve lost, but at least I will end up with a keyboard that works and lasts more than a couple of months. Puts an end to this nightmare.

Oh, and here’s my nineteen page letter to Michael Dell sent to him last year.

Michael Dell

 

Another day in the life

Although no one will probably ever read these posts, no one who has ever experienced suicidal thoughts and feels so completely alone will understand how therapeutic writing can be in a time of such stress. Much of the reason for this site has been for my family, just in case they ever care after I’m gone. Being ostracized from my kids and grand-kids has been the regret of my life, especially when I have never known why. No question I had problems with my son and we didn’t connect for many years after I moved out West to be with my dying mother. Then I reconnected with his daughter Danielle, and we chatted a fair bit. Chris suddenly connected and we had an eight hour, very expensive chat. Turned out he was facing some trouble because he was going to be charged with tampering with the mail. He was a contractor for Canada Post and they had added so many additional routes to him that he couldn’t keep up. He started storing third class mail in his garage, so he was going to be charged with failing to deliver the mail, a very serious offense and he could well go to jail. He asked for my help. I spent a week researching the issue, including reaching out to the Postmaster General explaining the circumstances. Do to privacy concerns they said they had to deal with him directly. I prepared a detailed summary of everything I had learned and told Danielle on chat to have him call me collect. That was the last I heard from either one of them. He blocked me on Facebook. That was over ten years ago.

When I was back in London, Ontario Chris was a videographer for a dance troupe and they were coming to London. He suggested we get together. I have posted what a disaster that turned out to be, but the end result was we were going to get together with his three daughters that summer. I was thrilled at the prospect of meeting two of my granddaughters I didn’t know. Months went by and I never heard from him. I eventually called him at the number he had given me, but the person who answered said she had got the phone from Chris. He blocked me on Facebook so I had no way to contact him. I was so disappointed that I would not get to meet my granddaughters.

At one point I had found a photo of Chris’ daughters and posted it on my Facebook page. I immediately got a message from Danielle threatening to report me to Facebook if i didn’t delete the photo. After all our great chats I was totally confused by what she did but I removed the photo from Facebook. It’s still on this site because no one controls what I post here, although some have tried.

I am even more confused by Heather. First, as I have also detailed in another post, she was the one who encouraged me to stay out West and not return to her mother. She said she had never seen me happier. I cried my eyes out for hours after she left and went home, but I just couldn’t stand the idea of leaving her so I went back to Brampton. Big mistake. When my mother was struck with terminal cancer I had to be with her for whatever time she had left. The doctors had given her less than a five percent chance of surviving more than six months. Although leaving Heather was one of the hardest things I had ever done, I thought she would come out on vacation again. She appeared to completely understand and agree that I needed to be with my mother and she was the one who had encouraged me to stay years earlier.

Sometime later in the fall I came home and my Dad said Heather had called inviting me to come down for her convocation and she would let me know when. I was thrilled she wanted me there. I was so proud of her, as I always was. Then I got another message that she had changed her mind and would attend a different convocation in the fall. We did actually connect and I said I needed to see her because I missed her and I needed to know what was going on. She agreed and I drove through the dead of winter across the country to Brampton. When I got to her apartment where she lived with her mother she wasn’t there. No message for me. I spent hours trying to find her, even going to Mayfield, her school, but I never found her. Eventually Chris told me that they, her mother and new husband, had hidden her away and wouldn’t let me see her. I hung around at Chris and Tina’s place for three weeks trying to see Heather, but got nowhere. I cried all the way back on the drive to back to Westbank. I was clueless as to why she had agreed to see me, but then changed her mind after I had driven across the country in such dangerous conditions. I didn’t know if this was her decision or her mother’s. It broke my heart. Back then I never knew that I would never have any contact with her for the next twenty-five years.

So, back to today. That my new friend, Norma, had dropped by to check on me yesterday made me feel a little better. I was determined to find a way to get my meds. I connected with my friend, Doral, in Belleville, who said she was willing to help me. Now it was a matter of getting my prescriptions renewed at the pharmacy in Belleville and, if necessary, getting my doctor to go along knowing I was in Mexico. Big challenges but I am desperate.

No sooner had I got another glimmer of hope that I might get my meds and not die than I got yet another cruel message posted on Facebook, for all to see, from a guy I thought was my friend, Francis Dryden. It was very mean and cruel so I just deleted it and blocked him. I will never understand why people hurl cruel comments at you when they know how much you are already suffering.

In my desperate attempts to survive I had started a GoFundMe campaign to help me right now with my meds and urgent issues like keeping my business alive, but also to help others in my type of situation in the future. I just asked for a single dollar from anyone. My dear famous friend, Andrea Pearson, who I have always adored, had posted a video about having problems in your life and how much she appreciated the help of friends. I posted a comment about my situation. I told her about the GoFundMe campaign and asked for her permission to add another comment to her post, to which she agreed. Although I appreciated that, I didn’t want to appear to be taking advantage of her, so I asked if she would consider just adding a simple comment abut my campaign. If she didn’t want to do that I understood. I asked if she might donate that critical first dollar to the campaign. No response.

I sent another Facebook private message to her telling her that I completely understood her position and that she had to protect her own reputation. I wished her good luck with her career. To my great shock I got a response from her sister, Laurie, accusing me of sending “unkind” messages to Andrea. I have no idea what “unkind” messages she is referring to as I have never once said anything negative to Andrea. I adore her and have always been supportive of her, as I have of Laurie, in every way. Laurie’s attack really hurt me. Although Laurie and I are not Facebook friends, despite my many attempts to friend her, her attack is just more evidence of how little people understand how hurtful and dangerous their cruel words can be to someone who is already suffering more than they can stand. These people don’t know if I have a gun or not. Their attack could well be the final stroke that pushes a person over the edge. Is that really what they want?

As if I needed more, my hosting company, domain.com, charged me for a renewal of one of my sites. Back in July I had given them clear instructions not to auto renew any of my domains. I was also in the process of changing the domains from dot com to dot com dot mx, so I certainly didn’t want to renew any of the dot coms. I went on their chat and had the most frustrating chat with the dumbest person, who just made me angry. I gave her the support ticket where I had specifically told them not to auto renew any of my sites. The ticket included their response listing all the sites that had been updated. I didn’t realize at the time that this one site was not showing on the list. She refused to refund the charge despite clear evidence that the charge should not have been made. She has given me her manager’s email address so I wrote to him explaining what had happened.

No sooner had I sent my email to him than I checked my bank and I had been charged for renewing three other sites! I am already struggling with no money so this was the last thing I needed right now. I sent another email demanding that they reverse all the charges.

Again, I have touched many times on the ten years of trouble I have had with Dell. The lettering on the keys on their laptops wears off prematurely because the lettering is not inset on the keys so every time you use the keys it wears off a little more. The first time they replaced the keyboard under warranty in Panama I asked the tech to send my old keyboard to manufacturing, wherever that was back then. I made reference to a previous IBM ThinkPad I had used where the writing was inset and always looked like the day it was new. I suggested it was a simple matter to redo the mold for the keyboard to have the writing inset. He agreed. Well, more than ten years later the keyboard has been replaced on three different laptops, all under warranty, at great expense to Dell, in Panama, Ecuador, Canada and Mexico. No doubt thousands of dollars that could have easily been avoided by Dell.

In replacing my keyboard on my most recent laptop twice the motherboard has blown up, once in Canada and once here. Although replaced again under warranty I had finally had enough. To me there was no question that the keyboard would fail again and there was an obvious possibility that the motherboard would blow again. I insisted that they replace this laptop with a desktop to avoid this possibility. I also told them to send the desktop with a proper keyboard. What did they do? Although they did send a decent desktop, not one of equal value to what I had paid for the laptop mind you, they sent the cheapest keyboard possible. I found it on Amazon for FIVE DOLLARS! Within a few days the writing is already starting to wear off. Not only that, some of the keys have stopped working. I will click on a key and just get a blank space. Then when I try again the key will start repeating across the screen until I stop it by hitting a different key.

I expressed my anger that after ten years of total frustration, not to mention the numerous hours of downtime this had cost me, that I would not be returning the laptop until they sent me a decent keyboard. Their response? They sent me site links for two of their keyboards, but it turned out they were only available in the States, so this means waiting at least three weeks to get here. There’s an obvious chance that the keyboard I have will totally fail so I told them this was not good enough. I found a better keyboard available on Amazon.com.mx which could be here in a day, meaning that the distributor had them in stock here in Mexico. Dell replied that they couldn’t supply that one. Talk about the proverbial mountain out of a molehill! A solution proposed over ten years ago that would not have cost them a dime, but they have ignored that and made this hell on wheels. Clueless!

Yet another horrible, stressful day.

 

 

 

Men of War

This is not the first time I’ve dealt with this subject. Years ago on one of my many drives back and forth between Brampton and Westbank (now West Kelowna) I used my personal recorder to talk about my trip but, more importantly, to just express my thoughts on a number of topics. It was more than a forty hour drive and I love to talk, so it got pretty deep at times. One of the subjects was why men go off to war.

Although I had, thankfully, never experienced war, both Dad and my Granddad had. My grandfather had served and had been left with a plate in his forehead. I remember talking about it when he visited us at the farm in Streetsville one time, but I don’t remember how he got it. My Dad served in the navy in the second world war. He lied about this age and signed up underage, which was one of the things I did not understand at the time. His ship, the HMS Skeena was lost in a vicious storm in October, 1944. For some unknown reason my father said the ship had been torpedoed. He ended up in the freezing cold water off the coast of Iceland, watching his buddies around him die. Somehow he ended up on shore where he was stung by a rattlesnake, eventually losing one of his fingers because of it.

When I returned to BC I went through the lengthy process of transcribing my voice recordings to my computer then printed out this massive document, called My Body Time because that would be the preamble every time I started recording as I traveled across Canada through different time zones. My Dad actually read it and said he learned a lot about me. Whatever happened to that manuscript I don’t know. What I do know and regret is that the Word doc didn’t follow me to other computers. Given the mess I am in now I don’t know if reading it would help or make things worse. At least back then I had a future.

An entire chapter in the novel was about war. At the time I was still married and had two kids. I wondered if I was called to duty, first, would I go and, second, how could we survive being separated possibly for years? The very possibility of being killed was enough to make me question why I would go. I can only assume that the threat of losing your freedom would convince you to fight and risk your life. That so many women suffered through every single day wondering if their men were coming home is just unbelievable.

With so many nutcase leaders in the world today how would we react to that same threat of war? The entire technology of war has changed a lot. Pushing a coupe of buttons would wipe us all out.  No need to fight it out in the trenches like previous wars. What if there was an imminent ground invasion though, say Kim Jong-Un of North Korea? Given his military strength as compared to the US it would be more of a minor skirmish solved quickly. Hypothetically he decides to invade Mexico to get closer to threatening the US. I am a Canadian but would I sign up to defend Mexico? Well, luckily I am far too old to sign up for anything in the military so it’s academic. If I were a younger man, in all honesty, I don’t know.

Much of my confusion about war has always been, and will always be, how so many wars are based on religion. Admittedly I have never been a religious person but if I understand anything about faith I don’t understand why so many of the world’s wars are all about religion.

As the saying goes, “Is that all there is?”

Unless you are Albert Einstein or Bill Gates it’s probably not a good time to summarize your life. Have you been “successful” in the eyes of others? Has your life had a positive impact on people’s lives? Have you made costly mistakes that have now put you in such a depressive state that you want to end it all? Do you matter to anyone? Has your life just been a waste? Is anyone going to miss you?

After some very tough years, ending up living in a group home in Belleville, Ontario and, in fact, overstaying my welcome there, I had no idea what to do. After disastrous experiences moving to Panama and Ecuador I wanted to give it one more try in Mexico, so I hoped to go for six months on a tourist visa. By a quirk of fate I was given a Canadian Tire MasterCard, which I didn’t deserve having gone bankrupt twice, but it allowed me to book my flights. I had found an apartment in Ajijic that was cheaper than just my room in Belleville. A lot of research told me the cost of living was much cheaper, so off I went last September.

I fell in love with the area the first day I arrived. My apartment was even better than I expected and thanks to my new friends, Francis and Anastasia, I met a lot of great people who I thought were going to be great friends. A couple of weeks after I arrived I met the love of my life, Elba. It quickly became the relationship of my dreams. I had never had this kind of love before. Relationships are always complicated but this one was just incredible. Despite our age difference of twenty years and the fact she spoke no English, every minute together was pure magic, for me at least. Although not what was intended when I gave her a replacement ring on New Years everyone congratulated us on getting engaged. Her two sons, Jonathan and Kevin, loved calling me Dad and her family kept telling us to hurry up and get married. I had never been so happy in all my life.

My plan to just check out Mexico for six months quickly changed. I needed to go back to Canada to apply for my temporal visa to return to Mexico and get married. Elba insisted on joining me on the trip although I told her I could not afford her flights, so she agreed to pay for them. I have gone into great detail on what a total disaster the trip was in another post, so I won’t repeat myself here. As far as it relates to this post what happened only contributed to where I find myself today. When we returned and she ended our relationship in a simple text message it nearly killed me. It was the hardest thing in my life. I felt totally worthless and just wanted to end it all. The future was destroyed and I didn’t even know why I was back in Mexico now. Getting married and all the dreams we had shared together were now shattered. I saw no reason to go on.

Thanks to a couple of good friends at the time they convinced me that I wasn’t worthless and urged me to go on. Time heals all wounds. Not true for me. My life had been turned upside down and the wonderful memories of our time together have haunted me everywhere I go. I also had no clue why she had so abruptly dumped me. Still don’t. She refused to tell me why. She refused to answer my pleading text messages or talk to me. At one point she simply said she wanted me to “disappear”. What a great thing to say to someone who’s suicidal.

Then a month or so ago I discovered I had only twenty-eight dollars in the bank and I whole lot of month left. I had also run out of my critical medications for my diabetes. No food. No meds. No hope. I reached out for help from anyone. I offered to sell an interest in my website business. I applied to the local Canadian Legion for a small loan to get me through. Although a couple of people offered small amounts of money for food this was not a solution to the mess I was in. After a day of not eating and drinking far too much, which is not normal for me, I was crying my eyes out in horrible depression and just wanted to end it all. A friend sent over a doctor and two of her colleagues to talk me down. She offered help in not letting them take my dog from me. She offered help with money and some work. She offered help with getting my meds. She gave me hope. She took my bottle of rum, which considering the condition I was in was probably a good thing.

The next morning they came without warning and took my dog, Rollie. Then despite all the offers of help Dr. Lupita basically disappeared on me. Luckily John Kelly, President of our local Canadian Legion, called me and we had a very long conversation. We talked about getting my meds through Seguro Popular, which I didn’t even know was possible. We talked about a small loan from the Legion to help me get things in order, most importantly to keep my business alive that I had worked so hard on for so long. Again, that glimmer of hope appeared.

Now, three weeks later that glimmer has gone dark again. Seguro Popular said they can’t help me with any of my meds. My blood sugars have been hovering around thirty, which is very dangerous because at thirty-two you risk slipping into a coma. Although I couldn’t afford the hospital anyway, falling into a coma would mean the end because no one would discover me in time. At least I would go quietly and not need to deal with suicide.

All the horrendous issues coming at me every day, like the numerous issues with my idiot landlord, like no hot water, no electricity and no internet, were just daily hurdles that challenged my patience, but nothing was worse than what happened with my “friends”. The reaction to my painfully honest post about ending it all was such vicious attacks on me. How these people could be so cruel and not get how dangerous their mean words were to someone already on the edge just baffled me completely. The only way for me to survive was to block and ban them. I simply couldn’t take anymore.

That no one in my long list of six hundred supposed Facebook “friends” gave a damn came as quite the shock. Even my new found granddaughter, Mackenzie, didn’t respond. I had been so looking forward to meeting her finally when she came to Mexico for a wedding next year. I apologized that I would not be here and explained why, but even that got no reaction from her. I got the same reaction from colleagues back in Canada, some of whom are rich beyond compare. I had sent detailed investment proposals to them, not just investing in the website business. Things that would make them a lot of money, but got zero response.

Still fighting not to just give up I started a GoFundMe campaign asking for just a dollar. I had seen sixty or seventy million people view and comment on the dumbest things so I thought they might be willing to invest a single dollar. Not a single response. I even asked my famous friend Andrea Pearson to add a post on her Facebook page encouraging people to visit my campaign but got nothing other than a private message that she hoped things would improve for me. I even asked her if she might donate that first dollar to kick start the campaign, but got nothing. My life is not even worth a person donating a dollar? How’s that for “is that all there is?”

I’m not looking for pity or charity. I am looking for a reason to go on. I just hope that anyone who knows me understands just how hard I’ve tried to go on. Without my critical meds it will all be academic soon. I don’t know how I will be remembered, if at all. Maybe just some nutcase, but I just want anyone who ever cared about me in any way to know how hard I tried.

Gracias.

 

A Day in the Life

No doubt most people will think this is a weird exercise but once again being at great risk of slipping into a coma I hate to just go and have no one know what happened. If you suddenly see no more updates, well, then you will know I’m gone. At this point that would be a blessing for both you and me.

If you have been following my posts on Facebook about my meds, which I doubt because that thunderous sound you hear if no one caring. No one. I have been out of my critical diabetic medications for three weeks now and my blood sugar levels have been hovering in dangerous territory, around thirty. Coma time if thirty-two so that’s why I thought that the end was near. I’ve been doing everything humanly possible to save myself. Posts on Facebook begging for help, which only got me ridiculed. Emails to everyone I’ve ever known or had contact with. I even started a GoFundMe campaign asking for just a single dollar to help me. No response. Not a single person in the world willing to invest just one dollar to save me.

At seven this morning my “medical consultant” called to tell me to get to Seguro Popular as soon as possible. No time for a shower so I just threw on some clean clothes. It was going to be extremely difficult to walk to get the bus because the pain of the peripheral neuropathy in my feet is excruciating without my meds but I told him I would try.  I guess he knew how tough it was going to be because he picked me up half way down the street. We stopped at the bank on the way so I could pay him. We got to Seguro Popular and the place was packed. He took me to the long line-up where you checked in. Had your blood pressure taken and your blood tested. Weighed and checked how tall you were. There were at least ten people ahead of me in line. What I found strange was that when a person was finished another person would suddenly appear from nowhere and sit down. Not someone who was standing in the line. There was a white-haired man at the front of the line, but when someone sat down in front of him he just looked perplexed but didn’t question why he wasn’t next. Then they opened another table for this process not far away. Same thing again. People appeared out of nowhere to be processed. I swear one of them had just walked through the door. No waiting for these special people. All very confusing.

After about half an hour and having finally made it through the line I asked the nurse, Claudia if I had to stay to wait for my doctor’s appointment at 12:00? She said no. Just be back before twelve. So I was starving because I had no time to eat breakfast before rushing off. I asked if there was a restaurant nearby where I could get a coffee and some bakery things. A nice gentleman outside gave me directions but after walking more than I could handle I asked them at a taco place if they had coffee. Thankfully they did and it was good. I ended up having a potato taco which was also good. After too many coffees and a bottle of water I asked where the bathroom was, but they didn’t have one. They told me the closest one was two block down at the bus station. Another consequence of my screwed up meds has been a lack of bladder control. At home I normally get up three times a night to pee and during the day probably go twenty times, often with little notice and many times I don’t think I’ll make it in time. So, here I am with too much liquid in me and urgently in need of a bathroom but I’m blocks away and in no condition to run.

I finally get there, worrying all the way that I’m just going to blow out my shorts before I get there. By the time I wade through the crowd getting on their buses, find the bathroom and pay the lady for my toilet paper I’m on the verge of losing it when I finally get in my stall, and I do, peeing my pants before I sit down. Oh great! Now I’m on my way to see a doctor and I’ve peed my pants. How embarrassing!

On the way rushing to the bus station I had passed a barbershop where I would love to have had time to shave off my very itchy hair, but I would be late getting back to Seguro Popular so I figured I would come back after finishing there. After all this my heart skipped a beat at the thought of finally getting my meds. A glimmer of hope. That didn’t last long after the doctor called my name, took one look at my list of meds and said they couldn’t help me with any of them. This after three trips down. Paying Arturo. Not to mention all the people who had told me that I would be able to get my meds through them. My heart sank.

Arturo had told me to call him if I had any problems but he didn’t answer his phone or respond to my text messages that I sent him. I was lost. Despite being starving I went back to the barber to at least get rid of my itchy hair. I asked the barber where I could get a hamburger and he told me the Malecon. Now that had my bearings from the bus station I knew the Malecon was a long walk but I was starving so off I went. On the walk I saw a store selling ice cream and I noticed the milkshake makers. They made me a chocolate milkshake, well, more chocolate milk than a shake. While waiting for my shake I noticed that also had hamburgers on the menu so I ordered one. Not great but I was too hungry to care.

It was a nice day so I thought I would wander down to the Malecon now that I wasn’t starving. I had asked Arturo if we could go to Soriana after I was finished and he said he had an appointment but maybe later we could so I had some time to kill. On the way down I passed a lady selling some jelly for pain. After a pleasant chat I confessed that I had only stopped to talk to her because she was so beautiful. That got a a smile.

When I got to the Malecon I found a bench down by the water and sat down. As I looked out at the lake and saw the boats along the beach my thoughts once again turned to that long swim out in the lake too far to make it back. My focus became just not to break down in tears as my mind wondered what I could do. I figured it might be very traumatic for the boat operator to take me out and be told I just wanted overboard and for him to leave. Then my logical mind wondered if he would understand my request to take my messenger bag, my wallet and my phone. Would he understand my instructions to call Christine? Maybe he would just throw everything overboard on his way back.

I was so tired I just needed to lie down on the not very comfortable bench. I almost moved because the sun was so intense without any shade but I was tired enough not to care. I drifted off. An hour or so later I was awakened because I was in a downpour. Couldn’t move faster to get undercover. Called Arturo several times to get home but no answer. Sort of gave up and called Salvadore, one of my Uber drivers. Told him I needed to go to Soriana then home. He said he was on his way. I told him I would meet him at the Chapala sign. An hour later no Salvadore. My phone was about to go dead but I called him and got some crazy explanation about the police. He said he would send someone else and thankfully he did.

I forgot half the stuff I needed at Soriana but got some important things like milk. Got home and crashed for about three hours. Long day. No success. Back where I started with no meds and no hope.

 

 

 

You can’t give up hope when you have none to give up

Looks like this will be my last post, literally the “last post”. It has been the most difficult week of my life. Last week at this time I was so depressed and ready to give up. My only question was how to kill myself?

My dear friend, Christine Philipson, was so worried about me last Monday night that she sent a Doctor Lupita and her colleagues to my apartment late at night to talk to me. I was crying uncontrollably at the thought of losing my dog, Rollie, and I only had twenty-eight dollars in my bank for food for the rest of the month. I was out of many of my important medications for my diabetes and could not afford more. My website business, primarily AjijicToday.com.mx, that I had worked so hard on for over a year was in shambles because I did not have the money for my hosting and other things I desperately needed to keep it going. I had other medical issues like my urgent dental work to replace a crown, but I did not have the two thousand pesos to finish it. I did not see any way to go on and urgently needed help to survive.

Dr. Lupita held my hand, got me to stop crying and told me not to give up hope. She told me she would not let them take my dog, Rollie. She offered money to buy food. She said she would help me to get my medications. She even offered me some work to earn some money. That did not solve everything, but it gave me some small glimmer of hope.

The next day, first thing in the morning, without warning, they came and took Rollie, which broke my heart. Dr. Lupita said she would tell them that it would be the very worst time to take him from me, but they didn’t care. Their only concern was the dog but he was in no danger. I had food for him and I loved him to death. It was like losing a child. Again I could not stop crying and only wished that I had a gun to end this pain.

Then I got a call from John Kelly, the President of the Canadian Legion here. He scolded me for refusing the help I needed and went on to suggest that the Legion would help me. He said they would give me a small loan to keep me going, saying that they had just helped a lady to buy a car. I felt that my needs were far more justified and more modest than buying a car. He said there was a meeting on Wednesday to discuss it and he would call me around noon on Thursday. I followed this up with a detailed explanation of how much I needed and why. I requested the modest sum of forty thousand pesos, repayable at two thousand pesos a month and allowing me to pay it off early once the business started earning money. He said he would let me know after their meeting, which was now planned a day later.

Initially Dr. Lupita was angry about what happened with the dog, so she said she was fighting to get him back to me. She came back telling me that they would “consider” giving him back to me, in THREE MONTHS! They also said I could “visit” him, as though that would make everything just fine. I told Dr. Lupita to give up on getting him back to me because it was pointless and I had equally big problems that I needed help with, like food and medications.

For some unknown reason she then disappeared. No one could find her, not even her nurse or John Kelly, who understood that she was looking after getting my medications. He told me that he had spent the day running back and forth between Ajijic and Chapala trying to get my medications. He said that there was an organization called Secours Populaire that would provide my medications free of charge. When I asked him about the loan he said he would now let me know on Monday. Luckily I had received a small tax rebate from the Canadian government that allowed me to buy some much needed food. That made me feel a little better. At least I wouldn’t starve to death.

If you wonder if Dr. Lupita knew the terrible state I was in, I had messaged her asking if an insulin overdose would work? I told her I did not have the courage to swim out in the lake far enough that I could not make it back. I told her I did not want to hang myself here because of the trauma that would cause to the children who lived here. My research about an insulin overdose was inconclusive about whether that would work and I did not want to just end up in hospital instead because I could not afford that either. Her reaction to my pathetic mental state was simply to just ignore me. Very strange for a doctor.

Then John Kelly sent me a short message that the Legion could not help me with a loan because they “didn’t have that kind of money”. Considering that they did have the money for a car loan for someone else I figured that was just a way of saying we don’t want to help you and we don’t care what that might do to you.

On top of everything I was going through I was also the victim of vicious attacks after my honest post about what happened with Rollie. Regardless of whether people gave a damn about me I knew they cared for Rollie and I just felt I should let them know why I suddenly had no more photos or stories about our wonderful lives together. First I was threatened and told to delete the post which I refused to do because I felt people needed to know the truth. Then I got truly vile messages saying things like “suck it up”, “stop feeling sorry for yourself”and worse. Although these hurt, I realized just how these people were really showing how little they understood mental health and how dangerous their comments could be to someone already on the edge.

It is said that true friends are there in both good times and bad, especially bad, when you need their nonjudgmental support the most. During my year here I thought I had some of those kinds of friends. I could not have been more wrong. Someone I thought was a real friend since before I even came here to Mexico, Francis Dryden, ignored my request for help and instead picked this time to dump on me about the mistakes he felt I had made with my websites. He said my sites were “just a bunch of worthless code” and nothing more. He said if I had listened to him and done the things he had suggested I would not be in this mess. This despite the fact that I had been in this city portal business for thirty years and done the exact same project before in both Panama and Ecuador. He knows little about designing websites or the business, but somehow he knew better than me? I even sent him an email transferring ownership of my website business to him and hoping that he didn’t mind looking after getting rid of my stuff because my executor is back in London, Ontario. No response even to that very clear message.

Shortly after arriving here I met Jack Irish when he moved into the house in La Floresta. We became instant friends and spent many an hour over coffee in the mornings or drinks at night talking about a host of topics. He shared his hard to believe story about some money thing he had been involved in for some six years already, one that was going to make him a multi-millionaire soon. We spent hours talking about all the good projects he planned to do here in Mexico and how I could be involved. He would buy a house for my fiancee, Elba and I to live in, rent free. We declined saying we would pay whatever rent we could afford. He offered to just give me money for my website business, but, again, I said I would only consider an investment and partnership. He said we would “talk” after his millions came in, soon.That was months ago.

Then I went through the devastating experience of Elba, breaking up with me by text message with no explanation. I loved her unconditionally, more than I had ever loved anyone in my life. We had just returned from Canada where I applied for my visa to return to Mexico and get marry her. I was not only in love with her but also her amazing family who all loved me and wanted us to hurry up and get married. Of course I had lost my own kids when they wanted nothing to do with me, so now having her sons, Jonathan and Kevin, tell me they loved me being their new Dad was just awesome. Suddenly, without warning, I had lost that all in a simple text message and had no idea why.

Instead of being a good friend when I needed him the most, Jack chose instead to blame me for everything, regardless of the fact that he knew nothing about what had actually happened. That really hurt. When I told him I had enough of his arrogance telling me what I could and could not do, and blaming me for being “so stupid”, he ended our friendship. Although later more by accident at Arnie and Barbs, we got back together again, but he ended our friendship again and hasn’t spoken to me in weeks.

I sent him a heartfelt message saying I was sorry he had ended what I thought was a close friendship and just letting him know what a mess I had found myself in. I didn’t ask for financial help because I knew he had none to give. He didn’t respond and today I learn that he has apparently sent out what has been referred to as a very “vitriolic” message about Elba and I. After six months I thought our break-up was ancient history so I have no idea why he did that, but maybe he just wants to finish me off and take credit for it.

You earn some friendships literally over a lifetime. Regardless of not getting any response from those I naively considered to be friends here in Mexico I did get some very warm and encouraging messages from people back in BC, Canada and from Ecuador. They all expressed sadness at how things had turned out for me and encouraged me to go on in spite of the problems I faced. They gave me words of encouragement, telling me that I wasn’t worthless and hoping I would get through this very difficult time. They are good friends who clearly understand how a few words of support can make a huge difference and I thank them sincerely.

When someone gives up and takes their own life it is always sad, but there is also that feeling of guilt by people who feel that they should have known, recognized the cries for help, and done something. Anything. Although there are a lot of folks here who should feel that shame because they not only refused to help, but also thought this was a good time to criticize and insult me, I know and accept that for them it will be like that old adage – if you want to know how much you’ll be missed, stick your finger in a bucket of water then remove it and you will see just how much you will be missed.

Certainly I have a very long list of regrets, all of which I take full responsibility for. There is no one else to blame for my dreams crashing into pieces except me. I know all too well the mistakes I have made, what I deserve to be punished for and what I don’t. I can only say that I have always tried to do my best. I have treated people with the respect I hoped to earn from them. I have never knowingly tried to hurt anyone.

My biggest regret in my life is what happened with my children and I go to my demise having never understood why they cut me out of their lives. My daughter chose to have nothing more to do with me over twenty-five years ago and this has hurt me immensely every single day since. We always had a wonderful father-daughter relationship and she was the one who encouraged me to leave my terrible marriage and move out West. I couldn’t leave her then, but I did years later when my mother had cancer and was given less than a five percent chance of surviving more than six months (she lasted nineteen years). I had to be with her. It killed me to leave Heather but I thought we would be together again soon when she came out to visit. After she said that she actually wanted to see me I drove down from BC in the dead of winter to see her, but my ex and her new husband hid her away from me. I have never understood why. Despite being married for twenty-three years he wouldn’t even let me have coffee with my ex-wife.

My daughter has two sons I have never met. My son and his girlfriend had three daughters, only one I had met when she was just a baby, Danielle. Although it is yet another long and complicated story from my youth I also have another son, Andrew, who had decided he wanted nothing to do with me either, regardless of how hard I tried to connect with him. Andrew has actually met my son and daughter, a most complicated situation to say the least. He and my son, Chris, look like twins. Two years ago I reconnected with my granddaughter, Mackenzie, on Facebook. She was very angry that her parents had told her I was dead. She felt that it was her decision whether she connected with me or not. I was overjoyed that we had found each other at long last. She was now fourteen years old and totally gorgeous. She told me that she was coming to Mexico next May for a wedding and that she would let me know where so we could meet. Nothing in the world had ever given me more hope in the future than meeting her and I couldn’t wait. Of course, that was then and this is now. I honestly don’t know if she is going to be angry with me now or just disappointed a little. Forgive me, darling. Someday you will understand better.

Not that I am in any position to give advice to anyone, but I did want to share one aspect of my life that had a truly devastating effect on my entire life and one I hope others can avoid. I want to be very clear that there was nothing criminal about what I did, which even the Crown Attorney who prosecuted me agreed with, and no one lost a penny. Although the exact circumstances of what happened were only ever of concern to the RCMP, who apparently spent over two million dollars on a wild goose chase, it involved the disposition of forklifts that had been damaged by sea water on their trip overseas from Japan. The shipment was fully insured so there was no loss to the company I worked for at the time, American Hoist. After I arranged for the insurance settlement I was given clear instructions that the forklifts were to be destroyed, which was my plan.

Shortly after one of our dealers from Nova Scotia, Sam Osmond, came to our location in Brampton. He met with Terry, our warehouse manager, and they had a conversation about the fact that there were numerous forklifts in the shipment that would still be good for parts. They agreed that is was a shame that they would all be ground up and destroyed. Sam came to talk to me and suggested that he was willing to take the shipment off our hands as we had been instructed to do, but he wanted to offer us some “compensation”. I told him that the company had already been paid the insurance settlement so there was no way we could “sell” the goods to anyone. He said he understood but would talk to our General manager, Gerry Waterhouse. Later that day I was summoned to a meeting with Sam, Gerry and Terry. They had apparently agreed to “sell” the shipment to Sam for thirty thousand dollars in cash. All I was asked to do was to issue an invoice to Sam for zero dollars, clearly marked “sold as is, where is, with no warranty expressed or implied”. I didn’t see any problem with that because it showed that we had disposed of the goods as directed, so I had done my job.

Later, Gerry, who remember was my boss, said that I had been elected to fly down to Dartmouth to pickup the money. In exchange the thirty thousand dollars would be split equally, three ways, me, Gerry and Terry. Ten thousand each. To this day I remember wondering if I was just being played, especially by Terry who I never got along with, but at the time I was struggling financially and ten thousand dollars was sure attractive. I agonized over whether I had done my job properly or if there was something dangerous about doing this. I realized that I had done my job totally and the company had not lost a dime. It all made sense to me at the time.

Unfortunately at this exact same time Gerry and I had been approached to take on another line of forklifts from Japan by a company called NYK. For several other reasons, all of them the fault of management at American Hoist, we knew that it was a house of cards that would soon collapse, leaving us out of a job. Because of the contract between TCM in Japan and American Hoist we were not allowed to take on another line, even though the products from NYK, electric forklifts, were not competitive to TCM. It looked like a golden opportunity too good to miss. On our way flying down to Chicago to meet with the executives from NYK we formed our company, Canada Lift, at least that’s what we would tell the Japanese.

Soon after landing the distribution for Canada from NYK I organized a floor plan financing program with the Bank of Nova Scotia and we held a dealer meeting at the Millcroft Inn in Caledon. The dealers, many of whom were TCM dealers, were most impressed and they placed orders for over a quarter of a million dollars worth of NYK products. We had the Letter of Credit in place with the bank so we were off and placed our much welcomed order with NYK.

Not long after, both of us were escorted off the premises of American Hoist’s TCM division and duly fired. Shortly after that we were given the opportunity to turn ourselves in to police voluntarily. We learned that we were being charged with several offenses, mostly conspiracy to commit fraud. From our previous employees we learned that the RCMP had turned the place upside down looking for evidence to support these charges. Of course, there was none because there never was any conspiracy.

At our later trial I was most unlucky to have the dumbest Legal Aid lawyer ever. I wrote out the questions to ask that would have clearly disclosed to the jury that there was no conspiracy and not a penny had been lost by American Hoist, but he completely ignored me. Sam Osmond, the dealer, took the stand and basically played dumb Newfie, saying that he knew nothing. Joe Barone, the President of American Hoist, took the stand and basically said he knew nothing about nothing. Even my poor assistant, Betty White (not that Betty), took the stand and admitted she had no clue what anybody was talking about. It was all a total farce, but, boy, did I pay the price!

Mostly because the actual “facts” never came out in the trial I think that the jury was totally confused, but they thought that if the RCMP had spent millions on this investigation there must be something illegal here. They dropped most of the conspiracy charges but found us guilty of fraud. I still have no idea who was defrauded out of anything, but it was what it was. Outside the courtroom even the Crown Attorney said that the only reason I had been convicted was because of my stupid lawyer. When it came time for sentencing he was one of my best witnesses, admitting to the judge that he had failed to see any evidence of any fraud or any loss. Jon Leheup, the President of the company I worked for at the time, Indal Products, also gave a glowing description of how valuable I was to the company and that he would regret losing me if I went to jail. Given the severity of the charges, but the total lack of any evidence, the judge sentenced us both to ninety days to be served on weekends. As much as I may have dodged a bullet at the time, I had no idea how disastrous this was going to be for the rest of my life.

After losing our jobs earlier and despite being charged and facing a trial Gerry and I had to continue on with life. We both felt that we would never be convicted because there was nothing to be convicted of. I had some serious regrets about being the one who had gone to collect the money because the RCMP had my flight records and my hotel bills, so they had me on that, but, so what? It proved I went to Dartmouth to visit one of our dealers but what else did it prove? Nothing. Even Sam wasn’t stupid enough to admit to paying the thirty thousand dollars that he gave me on the trip.

We had rented an office and warehouse in Oakville, getting ready to receive our first shipment from NYK, all of which was pre-sold and we were working on our next order. That all came crashing down when we got a call from the Bank of Nova Scotia saying they wanted to see us at their Head Office in Toronto. When we got there we learned that our floor plan financing had been cancelled. Our Letter of Credit which gave us six months of free financing had been pulled. We suddenly had no way to pay for the NYK order that was on a ship heading to us and no way to ship the trucks to our dealers. Regardless of how hard we pushed to understand why they refused to give us any answers. One of the people in the meeting with the bank was their lawyer who just kept shaking his head no every time we asked a question.

On the way down from the bank’s penthouse office we stopped into a very famous lawyer’s office to see what we could do. After a lengthy conversation with him he said we would unquestionably win. The bank was clearly at fault. Good news, until he then said the bank would drag us through the courts for probably ten years and he would need a retainer of fifty thousand dollars! I still remember his fateful words. In Canada it’s not how much justice you have. It’s how much you can afford. We knew at that exact moment that we were done.

So everything I had worked so hard for was gone. No choice but to accept that we had been defeated and lost our business and all the profits that would have come in the future. Our weekends at the Metro West Detention Center were a lesson in humility. Yes, we called the guards Boss and we were stripped of any dignity we ever had. After a while we were sent out on charitable works like peeling potatoes and cleanup in various group kitchens where we were always treated like child molesters. Some people may well feel that the punishment did not fit the crime, but I can tell you it was horrible. My one saving grace was that my son had a hockey tournament in Lake Placid. A really big deal. They actually let me go which shocked the hell out of my son.

After my three months were finally done I tried to get back to a semblance of a normal life. I applied for a really good job and was within minutes of getting it when they called and said I lost it because I had a criminal record. That was the case for the rest of my life. I tried on numerous occasions to apply for a pardon. I wrote to every single Minister in the government but got nowhere. Eventually I learned from my local MP that I had a twelve hundred dollar fine that I never knew about. Then the Minister at the time, Vic Toews, changed the entire pardon system and I was told that after I paid the fine I could apply for a record suspension, as it was now called, in just TEN YEARS! I gave up hope of ever being cleared or that I would ever get a job again. At one point I was going to be hired for two weeks at Christmas at a call centre, but the day before I was to start they called and said that their client couldn’t accept anyone who had a criminal record.

Facing the fact that I would never be pardoned and never get a job I planned to move to Panama, which I had been researching for months,  hoping to put all this behind me. No sooner had I got to the border then they told me to pull over. The midget, failed police officer with Homeland Security asked me about my criminal record. What followed was three hours of questioning like I was a convicted child molester, fingerprinting, and telling me it didn’t matter if I ever got a pardon in Canada because that meant nothing to them, and then barring me from even flying through a US airport. I quickly drove back to West Kelowna, stopping into BCAA to get a direct flight from Vancouver to Panama City that night. Panama sure didn’t work out for me, getting arrested when the girl who worked for me, Verushka Valenzuela, lied about me being a drug smuggler, in the country illegally and accusing me of raping her. After stealing my rings, my phone, my new camera and ripping me off for every cent I had she forced me to return to Canada.

Some years later, facing the same dilemma in Canada because of my criminal record, I moved to Ecuador. That proved to be just as disastrous, especially when I nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning because of the fireplace with no ventilation in my cabin. I was also ripped off by my landlords, my driver and the private hospital they took me to, who charged me fourteen hundred dollars US for four days of pathetic care, when they could have taken me to a public, free hospital. It didn’t help that Service Canada, who had told me there would be no problem receiving my GIS, instead denied payment for more than six months until I contacted the Minister responsible. I had been left penniless, borrowing money from friends back in Canada to eat plus being ripped off for three hundred and fifty dollars US by the person handling my residency application. She also refused to return my passport which nearly stopped me from flying back to Canada.

There. All the bad news and my total confession. When I read it back to myself I can’t believe the bad luck I’ve had and wonder why I didn’t give up long ago.

Right now I know that with the legalization of marijuana in Canada a lot of people are hoping that the government will just expunge their criminal records for simple possession. With what I have been through my entire life I hope they agree to do that.

So long mi amigos.

 

 

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