Category Archives: My Life

A startling discovery today. A Facebook page dedicated to the memory of the Club Bluenote.

Posted on the club’s Facebook page today. 

UPDATE: It came as quite the surprise that Pat objected so strongly to being included in the story. She threatened to report me to Facebook if I didn’t remove her from the post. I contacted the pages’s admin and asked them to delete the post, which only they can do and takes about two seconds. Their response was to criticize me for including her in the comment and said how difficult it was to delete the comment. Not true. I have followed this up with numerous messages requesting the deletion but they have done nothing. I told them she had threatened to report me to Facebook which I don’t want, of course, having been on Facebook since it started. My last message to the admin is that I will report them to Facebook, who may well overreact and take down the page, which I will very much regret. I do not understand why they are being so difficult. 

Wow! A whole lot of memories come flooding back. I was the drummer in the house band at the club for nine months way back in 1967, 1968, I think. Zak Marshall was on keyboard. Nolan Yearwood was our lead guitarist and Allan McQuillan was our rhythm guitarist and resident nutcase. Among our various names over ten years of playing I don’t recall what we were at the club. Either The Bow Street Runners, The Clyde Valley Showband, although I doubt that in a blues club, or maybe even HappyFace, when I painted my bass drum with the bright yellow logo.

Boy did I ever get some lessons in life at the club. Smoked my first joint thanks to Eric Mercury. That was a total disaster when our next set opened with You Keep Me Hanging On by Vanilla Fudge, at about half speed because I was so stoned and groovin on the sound of my kit. Never again!

We played every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, backing the floor show from about 1:00 til 4:00 in the morning, which was quite the challenge because we all had full time jobs during the day. By Sunday morning I don’t remember driving home to Streetsville because I was beyond tired. I worked at the bank at the time so who knows who I gave too much money to on a Friday?

Our gig was no doubt the same as for any other house band there. Top name entertainers like The Platters, The Ink Spots and many more would do their shows at other venues in town, then head over to the club for the floor show. I met so many talented people as well as a lot of rising local talent. Among my friends were Shawn Jackson, who I loved to death. I still remember having a long talk with her at a party at Al’s house. So many more who would go on to become famous, especially for Canadian artists at the time.

We became better known because of the club and got invited to go places with other musicians. I still remember going down Yonge St for a rehearsal for Grant Smith and The Power. Stony thrilled the heck out of me.

It was during this time that I first met George Olliver. Pretty sure they became the Mandala during this time period. A really cool guy. We were playing on the second floor of some club in Toronto and Domenic Troiano came down to ask if they could use my kit because theirs’ went missing. I was happy to help. I think Whitey Glan was with him then. Sorry to learn he’s gone.

Reading everyone’s comments I had a few laughs and a few tears. Those all too short months playing at the club changed my life forever. Haven’t had so much fun since.

Cheers from Mexico. Shameless self promo – check out my website at AjijicToday.com.mx.

A question for you my dear readers.

Having lived in Panama, Ecuador and now Mexico and visited Costa Rica many times, my question is about basic services – electricity, water and internet.

These counties in Central and South America (some consider Mexico part of North America) and quite possibly others, have been referred to as “third-world countries” when it comes to many things, such as hospitals are concerned. The shifting winds of governments over the years, together with the influx of Expats to these countries has brought on many improvements to healthcare, highways and sewage treatment, for example in Panama City where 40,000 metric tons of raw sewage were previously dumped into the Bay of Panama daily. This was the primary reason that all the big hotels on the bay, built to launder drug money, sat empty.

In the countries I have lived in or visited the most frequent occurrence was no water, no electricity or no internet, often for days on end. My question is if this is a result of inadequate infrastructure to support these services, corruption either in private companies or the governments, a lack of funding, incompetence or maybe just a lack of intent?

Each of these countries have at one point made International Living’s Best Places To Retire list. First it was Costa Rica, then Panama, then Ecuador and now Mexico. Those who have been part of the Age Wave, the baby boomer generation, are shocked when they move to these countries only to learn that the basic services that they have been accustomed to in their home counties are often not available. Electricity (power) in particular is an exception because people have experienced a loss of power as a result of thunderstorms, ice storms and high winds taking down power poles, but, except in extreme situations, such as the recent tornados in Canada, power is usually restored fairly quickly.

That is not the case in the countries mentioned because weather is seldom a contributing factor. Instead, the power just goes off for no apparent reason at any time of day or night. In some situations I understand that it is because of the electrical grid not being designed to allow localized outages for work to be done. The entire system must be brought down.

Water supply can be just as problematic. Unlike in more developed countries where water supply is a public utility, in Panama, for example, water is supplied by private companies which are often underfunded and ill-equipped to deal with problems that arise. Again, in Panama, a pipe broke in the system supplying my water and I had no water for over a week. Not so great to not be able to flush the toilets for a week. Here in Mexico it’s the well known don’t drink the water. Bottled water is the norm, although I for one don’t know what the problem is with the water supply. I can only assume that it is a lack of purification that is a normal part of water supply everywhere else.

Internet is a whole other issue, although improvements are being made gradually. A common complaint here in Lakeside will soon be solved when iLox brings 50 Mbps service here soon. Telmex is also introducing fiber-optic service. no doubt in response to iLox coming. That being said, Telmex service is completely unreliable. Many areas get less than 2 Mbps, if at all. And just yesterday the service from Telmex was out all day here in Riberas. The question is why?

The new President has pledged to bring WIFI to everyone in the country. A very lofty goal. He has also pledged to stop Guadalajara from drawing a foot of water out of Lake Chapala every year, although there is no indication how that might affect the local water supply.

Obviously I can only speak to these issues as an immigrant to the countries I have lived in, but I wonder how the locals feel. Do they just accept that this is the way it has always been or are they just as annoyed at the constant failure of these services? If so, why aren’t there loud protests to clean up the mess that is, for example, CFE? Are Mexicans just used to no water or no power? Don’t Mexican businesses suffer the same consequences when they can’t operate their equipment? It costs businesses a lot when they must close because they can’t function without power. Their employees must be sent home with no pay, which hurts everyone. Food spoils in restaurants when there is no refrigeration. They can’t open at night with no lights. Bands can’t play music without power.

Please don’t get me wrong. I love Lakeside and I do everything possible to promote the area on my website. I simply want to believe that these issues can actually be solved to make life here even better.

Ode to my boy

The last time I had a dog was way back in 2000 when I lived with Tracy and the kids. Somehow we learned about a lab being put up for adoption because the little girl had become allergic to him. They brought him over to meet us and, although it was very sad to see the little girl crying, we said she could come and visit him anytime.

His name was Spade and he was sure something. He was a mix, part pit-bull and part lab. We were a little concerned about how much pit-bull he was, even way back then, because the kids were small. Before we took him we made sure the kids understood they had to take him for walks and clean up his poop in the yard. They agreed, probably just because they instantly loved him.

………………………………..

I digress, but maybe a little personal history here. When I was knee high to a grasshopper I had horrible eczema. I scratched and scratched so badly that the skin on my hands was pretty well gone. My mother sewed me little bags to put over my hands so I wouldn’t gross out the other kids at school. They had to tie my hands to the crib, and later to my bed, to stop me scratching. My poor parents spent a fortune on creams and medications but nothing worked.

Along with the delights of the eczema, and I don’t pretend to understand the relationship, I was also deathly allergic to anything that had fur, feathers or just about anything else that contains dander. The only animals I could ever be close to were fish. It was so bad that we could go visiting to someone’s house and my eyes would swell up and I’d start sneezing and coughing uncontrollably. We would ask if they had a dog or cat and they would say no, but then they would tell us they had a dog ten years ago. That was enough. I had to go and sit in the car.

Then by some accident, of course long before the internet, my Dad learned about chiropractors, who, back then were considered quacks by most people. We lived in Streetsville and the nearest chiropractor was in Oakville, quite a ways away. We met with him and he took a bunch of x-rays. We learned from those x-rays that there was a bone out of place in my neck that was pressing on a nerve and apparently causing

both my eczema and my allergies. He said he would do the now famous neck crack thing to move it back into place and take the pressure off. Given how chiropractors were thought of back then I had no idea why my Dad was willing to believe all this, especially when the chiropractor told him it would take weekly visits for more than a year. Even considering the cost of gas back then, that was asking a lot of my Dad. I think my parents were just so desperate to find a solution and had been spending so much on failed creams and meds that they took a chance.

To this day I still remember meeting a charming patient at his office, who was basically a paraplegic in a wheelchair, but he was such a nice guy. He told me he was twenty-one, but the amazing part was when he was born the doctors gave him little chance of survival. His poor parents were told he wouldn’t make it to two years old. Well, here he was now twenty-one and it was only thanks to the chiropractor. That sure gave me confidence that this might actually work. The treatments were kind of brutal because he would massage my head back and forth and then, without warning, give me the crack. Sometimes I thought my head was going to come off.

Sure enough he was right. My eczema cleared up and I felt my allergies were gone. At least we hadn’t been anywhere that I had any troubles. Even my aunt and uncles in Toronto for the annual family Christmas party who had four dogs. I didn’t take any chances with them by playing with them and by now my aunt and uncle were used to locking them in a room when we came.

At long last I figured I might just be able to have a pet. My Dad wasn’t keen on a dog yet but he let me get a cat, Bootsy. We became inseparable because I was so thrilled I could finally have a pet after all those years.

Well, life can certainly be cruel, even at that tender young age. I was coming home on the school bus and as we got close to my laneway someone said something about a dead animal in the road. Sure enough it was my Bootsy. She had been hit and killed by a car. It broke my heart, especially after waiting all those years to have a pet.

Not long after that my Uncle Earl asked my Dad to take their dog. They were moving to Vancouver or something and couldn’t keep him. My Dad agreed and we got Hobie, who was part boxer and part hound. He became an instant member of the family and proved to be a great guard dog even though he wouldn’t hurt a fly. During the first thunderstorm we had we couldn’t find him. Eventually we found him shivering and shaking under my parent’s bed. The funny part was that once the storm was over he couldn’t get out from under the bed. We had to all lift up their big, heavy, four-poster bed to let him out. I often wondered if the people who visited us and Hobie would come charging at them barking away ever saw him under the bed would still be afraid of him.

He was with us for years, but, again, life’s cruelty struck. My Dad had taken him to the vet in Streetsville. It turned out he had cancer and I think it was going to cost something like eight hundred dollars, a fortune back then, to keep him alive. My Dad said the vet told him it would only give him a few more months and he would be in pain, so my Dad made the difficult decision to put him down. I still remember his funeral when we buried him on the side of the hill where he loved to play with us. We all cried and cried, surprisingly even my tough Dad, who I had never seen cry.

We did have another dog very briefly, Champ, after that but he was a nutcase who attacked and bit anyone who moved. He was gone soon. I remember my in-laws had a small dog. Jiggzy, I think was his name, but we never had a family dog. I honestly don’t know why. My kids would have probably loved to have one. I think it might have been that we were so busy traveling all over the country for their sports that owning a dog would have been a challenge.

………………………………..

So, back to my story. Flash forward many years to 2000 and Spade. He was the most patient dog in the world. The kids would use him as a pillow while they watched TV. They would maul him to death playing with him and he never complained. I think one time Brayden got a little rough and he let out a little growl to let him know that was too much. He was a pooping machine though and, you guessed it, I got to clean up after him. I never minded though because he was such a great dog. Every time I came home he went nuts as soon as he heard me at the door and he would greet me like a long lost friend every time.

There’s a theme here. Yup. Life’s cruelty struck again and this one was much worse. Tracy was the love of my life and so were the kids. We were twenty-two years apart in age but that was never an issue. I think she was older than her years and I was younger. When we were doing something like hiking or rollerblading she always had trouble keeping up with me.

One fateful weekend she went to Kamloops to spend some time with her friends from school. The minute she walked through the door Sunday night I knew something was wrong. I think her friends had got to her about the age difference, asking her what she was going to do when I was maybe seventy. She admitted that it might be the mistake of her life but she asked me to leave. I fell apart. The night we told the kids was one of the very worst of my life.

I found a place to live and moved out, leaving my family behind, including Spade. A few months later Tracy called and asked me if I could take Spade. Apparently he had started shitting all over the house and she couldn’t handle him anymore. I took him gladly but then at the time I was living with Ans, who had another dog, a three-legged dog, Skipper, who was not my favorite dog. Spade was okay for a while but then he started shitting in her house. After coming home I put him out after discovering a pile of shit in her living room. It was raining and she wanted to let him in. I told her that if she did that would be the last she would see of him. I guess she didn’t believe me because she let him in. The next day I took him back to Tracy. Ans was not happy and that pretty well ended that relationship, whatever it ever was.

A little while later Tracy called and asked me to come and get him again. When I started to explain that we had been down this road before she stopped me and said it was much worse. I rushed over and as soon as I knocked on the door he started barking. When I opened the door and he saw it was me he was at the top of the stairs. He came bounding down to me. I say “bounding” because I don’t know how else to describe it. He had completely lost the use of his hind legs so basically bounded down on only his front legs. Something was very wrong. Tracy then told me the news. She had taken him to the vet and been told he had to be put down, but she said she just couldn’t handle that, so she had called me to do it. Nice.

This was all going to be traumatic enough for me but my darling little Madison, who I believe was five at the time, insisted on coming with me to the vet. Here I was on the verge of falling apart and now I had to be strong for her. Looking back into the vet’s office at Spade for the last time is one of those traumatic life moments you will never ever forget.

So other than the fact that I’ve lived in BC, Panama, Ontario (twice), Ecuador and now Mexico, I haven’t even thought about having a dog again, until Rollie came along. Although I had been thinking about maybe getting a dog, mostly because of my failed relationships with women, I hadn’t done anything more. Then I saw Paola in a video walking Rollie along the malecon. Something clicked and I wanted to meet him. That was about a month ago. Let’s just say it was love at first sight on both parts. He was a riot and so affectionate. I truly wish I had been able to video me trying to put my shoes on in the morning to take him for a walk. He wanted to eat my socks, my shoes and my clothes as I tried to get dressed, laughing my ass off at this antics.

Being a rescue and a puppy he was pretty undisciplined but soon I had him sitting to put his leash on. He understood “no”, like not getting on my bed. The only problem was he wanted to eat everything in sight. He quickly devoured the chew toys they brought with him. He ate his leash. He desperately wanted to eat my slippers but got a “no” when he went near them. He started off peeing and pooping all over my apartment but soon understood that Daddy wasn’t happy with that so he started going on the terrace instead. A small improvement but still something.

Then I had to go out shopping and I wondered how he would handle our first separation. I was only gone for a couple of hours and when I came back he was thrilled to see me and hadn’t done anything bad. While I was out I had bought him a new and expensive bed and he took to that immediately. I went out at night and it was the same. No problem.

Then I was out at night working at the Spotlight Club. When I came home I guess you would call it severe separation anxiety. He had destroyed everything he could get his teeth on. His bed was in pieces. My slippers were toast. He had started eating the blanket he loved. It was a mess. He got put outside on the terrace while I fumed and cleaned up. I was not happy and he knew it.

The plan then became putting him out on the terrace when I was gone. I had always left the patio screen open all day to encourage him to go out there, but he had this strange timid reaction to venturing out there so I didn’t want to make it any worse. When I returned he was happy to see me and danger had been averted. It appeared to be a solution, although if I wasn’t watching him while I worked he was trying to eat something else. He destroyed my very expensive lifts in my shoes.

All that bad stuff being said he was still the love of my life. He brought such joy into my life at a time I really needed it. At first I had been hesitant to let him off the leash when we went for our walks, fearing that he would take off and not come back when I called him, but soon I was letting him off more and more. He never failed to come when I called him. About the only time I used the leash was when we walked to the store and I put it on him to wrap it around a tree while I was in the store. No big deal.

One thing that always amazed me, and I never understood, was how he told time. If I wasn’t up yet he would come at 8:15 every morning and start kissing me on the face, like “time to get up, Daddy”. It was exactly the same if I laid down for a quick nap in the late afternoon. An hour later, at most, he’s kissing me awake again. “Time for our walk, Dad”.

We sure had no shortage of things happen on our walks, some good, some not so good. When he did his business, which was usually at a vacant weed-filled lot just down the street, he got his treat and “good boys”. He rarely failed to do his pooping there. I always carried a poop bag with me but rarely needed to use it.

Then the little smart ass tried to get the better of me. When I had first got him he squatted like a girl to pee. Why he didn’t lift his leg like every other male confused me. I was told by others that he would eventually lift his leg. As though he understood the conversation that very day he lifted his leg to pee. Then a few days later, usually when he was not close to me and even after he had done his pooping in the lot, I would see him squatting to pee again. Then I realized that as soon as he peed he came running for his treat. Aha! Trying to fool me. No way, Buddy. Nice try.

As we came back to San Diego one day I heard someone calling his name. Sure enough it was Normis, who Rollie was nuts about. He took off to her in an instant. We ended up walking her home, mostly because she’s gorgeous and I really liked her. When we got to her place their pit-bull was safely behind the gate, going nuts. Her roomie came home with the other dog and the minute she opened the gate the pit-bull went for Rollie pinning him down with just an unbelievably strong grip on him. I tried to pull her off but that proved impossible. Finally her owner managed to get her off. I was panicking because I thought the next bite was going to be to Rollie’s very exposed throat and he would be gone.

Another day we were walking down a new road I had not been on before. We came around a corner and there was a big neighborhood fiesta going on. About ten dogs came running out to check out Rollie. The look on his face as he looked up at me was just priceless.

The last one with him was for me the funniest. Ramone Corona, the street we normally come back on was flooded by some burst pipe somewhere so we headed down to the road we had come back on before, the one with the fiesta. There was a car parked with a beautiful girl sitting on her boyfriend’s lap in the back seat with the door open. Before I could stop him he jumped up on her lap and started madly kissing her. She was squealing with laughter. I told her that Rollie’s problem was that he loved beautiful women. She liked that one. I finally got him to leave her and get out of the car.

Right before this walk, on what turned out to be our last day together, the people who gave him to me had been threatening to pick him up and take him from me. After I stopped laughing at this thing with the girl I started crying again realizing it might just be my last time with him. It was.

It’s another story, but things had basically been falling apart on me. I had just learned that I only had twenty-eight dollars to my name and a whole lot of month left and had no idea how I was going to survive. Worrying about Rollie on top of this was killing me. I did have a big bag of food left for him so I knew he was in no danger. I was. That night, having not eaten a thing all day and drinking way more than normal for me, I started losing it, believing that there was no point in going on. I just couldn’t handle all the crap coming my way all at once. It got so bad that my friend, Christine, sent over a doctor and her colleagues to talk to me. She offered to help me with food, medications and Rollie. I told her they were going to take him on Thursday but she said she would talk to them and explain that taking him from me was the worst thing they could do to me.

It didn’t matter. The next morning, without warning, they came and took him. It just broke my heart. When I told the doctor what happened she was mortified and said she would get him back. Then she called and told me they would “consider” giving him back to me, in THREE MONTHS! How stupid! Then they said I could “visit” him, as though that would make everything okay. I posted all this on Facebook. Big mistake!

First, people I honestly thought were friends started attacking me, without a clue what I was going through. They told me to “suck it up”, “stop feeling sorry for myself” and it was “all in my head”. Just brutal and the very last thing I needed. It’s no wonder that mental health is such an issue when so many people are so clueless about it.

I was deeply upset about losing Rollie, my best friend, but I had equally important things to deal with, like no food, no money, no medications and no future. Fighting over getting Rollie back was more than I could handle. I knew that the bitch who gave him to me was not going to “consider” anything. She was going to make sure he never came back to me again. I knew she would do her very best to get him adopted by someone else as quickly as she could so he could never be with me again. She showed her stripes when she took him from me in the first place knowing I was suicidal. What kind of person does that?

At this point all I can hope now is that he finds someone who loves him as much as I did and makes him happy. Daddy misses you, Buddy.

Good-bye.

Good Boy.

Here’s my thoughts on voting for governments

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.

Just one man’s opinion.

My last bitchin’, whining, angry, post, but necessary

After some ten years today my long lost brother, Kevin James Jones, surfaced on Facebook Messenger under his new wife’s name, Kikiandkyle Siallagan, because he doesn’t have Facebook. They live in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia. The reason for this venting post is because in his short message he had the unbelievable gall to say “I forgive you”. I saw red. For what? So this is going to be a little history on my dear brother to see if anyone agrees that I needed to be forgiven for anything. My opinion? Fat chance.

Let’s start way back years ago when he came to Ontario and was living in a room in our basement, for free. He connived me into believing that he needed a motorcycle for his new job and he couldn’t get credit so he asked me to cosign for him, which stupidly I did, much against my wife’s objections. Sure enough, he took off with the bike and left me holding the loan. We had just bought the house and still had bridge financing on our old house, so things were tough enough. Now I had to pay off his loan or my triple-A credit rating would be toast. Luckily we had a great manager at BMO at the time and he let me pay it off over time. I don’t think my wife ever forgave me for trusting him though.

Didn’t hear from him for years again, I guess because he didn’t need me for money. Then at one o’clock in the morning, we get a phone call from him telling me he’s been detained by customs at the airport in Toronto after returning from Jamaica. To be blunt and a little gross, they’re basically waiting for him to shit because they suspect he’s swallowed bags of cocaine. He had. How stupid can you get? I had to post bail for him and find him a lawyer. He was facing ten years in maximum security prison for trafficking. Luckily I had a very good lawyer who managed to get him off with an unbelievable six months in a minimum security facility in Milton, Ontario.

If swallowing cocaine isn’t stupid enough he was a registered nurse at a facility in Red Deer. Of course the minute he was convicted he could no longer handle any drugs at the facility, basically ending his career. We visited him pretty well every weekend unless my son or daughter had sports. All he did was bitch about the cost of the lawyer, never once being thankful that my lawyer saved him from ten years in the slammer. I can’t remember but I think we also got stuck with the bill.

I believe it was on our first trip out west to go dirt-biking that I met his dream girl, Joanne. She was the sweetest thing I’d ever met and he was so lucky to have her. He crashed his bike and nearly killed her, leaving her disabled and barely able to walk. After about eight years together he had worked on a small mobile home park, adding some decks and fixing up the place. I still remember going up to Revelstoke to help him with the decks and him screaming at me for using two screws to fasten the deck boards. He wanted me to just put one in the middle. I warned him that the boards would warp with only one screw but he insisted. When I went up the next spring, sure enough, all the boards were warped. He’s the cheapest person I’ve ever met.

Next thing he shows up at my parent’s place while they were south for the winter. He’s crying. Joanne had given him a choice, either the drugs or her and he chose the drugs. Such a dumb move! They weren’t married so we start talking about their split and what each of them will get as far as the house and the mobile home park. This is when I learn he hasn’t got a thing in writing and he doesn’t even have a chequing account! Joanne handled all of their business, of course. Knowing her father I knew he was going to transfer ownership of the house and the park immediately so Kevin wouldn’t get a dime. I made arrangements with a good lawyer I knew and she managed to get an injunction on the park within twenty-four hours, just because she knew the judge, stopping any transfer of ownership.

My lawyer did an incredible job and managed to get him over a hundred thousand dollars, every dollar of which he would not have gotten without her. Instead of kissing the ground she walked on all he did was bitch about how much she charged. You just can’t win with him.

Now that he’s basically moved in with me, while I pay the rent, of course, he does everything possible to make my life miserable. Every night of the week he brings some floozy home with him to screw and I get to meet them in the morning. I did get some payback though because the day my parents were coming back I didn’t tell him. My Mum and Dad get home only to meet that night’s floozy. They weren’t impressed and Kevin was gone. My mother was horrified that he had left Joanne.

So now he turns to what to do with all that money. Naturally, he asks me. He had his eye on a daycare in Kelowna and wanted me to check it out with him. Of course, he didn’t have a clue how to negotiate a deal, how to get a mortgage and how to get a license to operate the daycare when he had a criminal record. I worked my butt off to get him the daycare. He had such bad credit that I had to cosign for the mortgage. Big mistake!

The daycare was in pretty rough shape, physically and financially. Most of the clients were single mothers whose fees were paid by welfare. The records were in such a mess, with many mothers months overdue in paying or months late in even applying for assistance. It took me hours to sort it all out and I had to be tough telling delinquent mothers that they had until next month or their kids were out. Every single one of them did what they needed to do long ago and we didn’t lose a single child. No thanks to Kevin. I had to fire some staff and hire new and we ended up with a good caring crew. I reorganized every procedure and got the financials sorted out. I also dealt with a new bank and got everything in place for things like payroll. It was a ton of work.

Sometimes his stupidity knows no bounds. I needed him one day and asked where he was. One of the girls said she saw him go outside and around the side of the building. I went looking for him and just before getting to the storage shed I smelled the odor I knew too well. I burst open the door and here he is toking in the storage shed! I lost it on him asking him what would happen if one parent smelled the weed? He would lose his license in a heartbeat. Stupid.

He was heading back overseas for his import business so I put together a very fair proposal for us to run the daycare together. Don’t forget I had already put in a ton of hours over six months getting the books sorted out, the payments coming in and doing renovations to the house, all without a dime. I told him we needed to discuss the deal and he had to sign before he left. Not only did he not sign the deal but he offered the same deal to my girlfriend at the time, Tracy, totally bypassing me! Around this time she had started working with me as the Manager and was doing a great job, especially with the staff and the parents, not to mention the kids who all adored her. What he did drove a wedge in our relationship and we ended up splitting up. More Kevin damage.

Financially things were always tight. Sometimes we just barely managed to pay for something critical, such as food for the kids. Payroll was always a huge concern because you have to pay your staff or they will leave. Coming up to payday I watched every penny in the bank account to make sure we had enough. The day before payday I check the bank as usual and I’m shocked to see a five thousand dollar withdrawal by Kevin in Thailand! There goes payroll. Panic phone calls to Kevin about why the hell he would do that, the result of which he just agreed we needed to shut down the daycare. Throw the staff out without their pay and leave all our clients with no daycare on Monday. And guess who got to give the staff the news and stand at the closed door Monday morning to face all these very angry women. It was not fun. The fallout was obvious. I spent the morning trying to find everyone other daycare which was tough, mostly because a lot of our clients were on welfare. It was pure hell, all of which Kevin totally avoided.

The whole time I worked so hard trying to build the daycare I faced guilt by association with everyone I dealt with because of what Kevin had done to them. He burned the bank. He burned our private mortgage holder. He burned the mortgage company. Every person I spoke with said they better not catch him walking down the street or they would kill him. It was so enjoyable trying to get them to calm down and deal with me instead. Not.

Over the years I hadn’t spent much time with his then-wife, Susan. She was very quiet but seemed sharp when it came to their import business, which Kevin always just referred to as “junk”. Then came the pièce de résistance. He had got a girl pregnant in Thailand, which was bad enough, but he expected he could bring her and the baby to Canada and Susan would look after them! How stupid can you get? Her reaction? She immediately seized all their inventory and got an injunction against him, basically kicking him out of the business. I doubt she ever spoke to him again. Don’t blame her.

Wait! There’s more. After my Dad had passed away and he was back in Thailand he called me to say he needed money right away or these thugs were going to kill him. I explained that my father’s estate was my Mum’s money now and, although I was the executor, there would be no inheritance until my mother also died. That wasn’t good enough for him. He had to have money NOW! Much against my better judgment, partly because my Mum was too far gone, thanks to my sister, to have a clue what he was asking, I sent him ten thousand dollars. I admit I was so tempted to refuse the money so they would kill him.

If you’ve read this far, good for you. Now that you know the history do you think I need forgiveness for anything?

Turning Sixty-Nine

If you had asked me at any point in my early life, like when I was just a kid or even a teenager, what my life would be like at almost seventy I would have been honest and told you I never thought about it. I just muddled through every day with no real plan or thoughts for the future. As John Lennon famously said back when I was a teenager, “life is what happens while you’re making other plans”. So very true.

I guess my thoughts of my own demise started when my Dad died in my arms back in 2005 and then when my mother died in 2007. My Dad was 81 and my Mum was 84. I wondered if that was a sign of my future. Would I make it into my eighties and, more importantly, would I want to? My Dad smoked. So did I. My Dad had terrible asthma which is what killed him. My mother was much worse because she suffered from the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s and I moved in with her to care for her until I could find proper facilities for her. Watching her waste away was just brutal. I wondered if that was in my future too, which I knew I couldn’t deal with after watching my Mum. I would rather be dead.

Okay, somehow I managed to make it this far. I’ve certainly had my share of near-death experiences in my life. My first was when I was just a kid at a camp in Algonquin Park. A bunch of us were playing on a raft, tipping it over and jumping off. At one point I came up and banged my head on the overturned raft. I was laughing and panicked. I started swimming like a mad fool and came up about twenty feet from the raft. Scared the crap out of me.

Flash forward to when I was in a band playing at Chez Monique, a club in Yorkville. It was a three-story house and I didn’t know that the third floor was a brothel. Our guitarist’s, Don Thurston, sister, Pat came with us this night. While we were playing I noticed this guy in an overcoat bothering her. The minute our set finished I went over to them and told him she was with the band and to leave her alone. He turned and pulled a gun on me! Hell. I was only sixteen at the time and I was going to die getting shot. Luckily he just put the gun away and left. You need to remember that I was a scrawny hundred and twenty pounds back then and certainly not threatening.

The next time I remember was dirt biking with my son, Chris. He was new to biking and I was worried he was getting too cocky and could get in trouble. We were racing down a mountain in Revelstoke which had what’s called switchback after switchback, basically a hairpin turn that you needed to be cautious going through. Chris was behind me and we were really booting it. I kept looking back to make sure he was okay, not paying attention to what was in front of me. I was in third gear and going fast when I looked forward and realized that I was going way too fast for the switchback ahead. Too late to apply the brakes so I just geared down, very quickly. I saw the gravel on the side of the roadway too close, with the drop off at least a few hundred feet. It took every bit of riding knowledge to somehow get around the hairpin without going over. My heart was racing. From then on Chris was on his own.

I had a ball in my fourteen years in the Okanagan. I had a much better life balance not working the crazy hours I had been working back in Ontario. I had my toys. I had three different boats. I had several different dirt-bikes. I had a snowmobile. I had both downhill skis and cross-country skis. It was quite the life. In all those years I only had one near-death experience.

Wade and I had found a gorgeous little-sheltered bay on the Okanagan Mountain side of the lake. There was room for several tents and there was a stone berm protecting our boats. Once we got all our friends there we decided to go down to the bar in Penticton. Late that night I guy comes running into the bar and hollers whoever owns those boats on the dock needs to go now! As is typical of the lake a huge storm had come in and our boats were smashing on the dock. Two of my bumpers were smashed to bits. On the way down I had several women with me but as soon as they saw the height of the waves they all went in Wade’s much bigger boat. Only my buddy, Greg, offered to come with me. At the back of the dock was a huge wall of rocks meaning that if I didn’t time it right getting out of there that’s where my boat would end up. Literally holding my breath I timed the incoming wave and accelerated. I made it but immediately porpoised into the next wave and the water flooded my boat. If it hadn’t been for Wade’s vital counseling I would have ended up on the bottom of the lake. He got us back to our campsite and got me into the bay. I wanted to kiss the ground.

The next one is in Ecuador and the closest I’ve ever come to buying the farm. I was staying in a cabin high on the mountain just outside Otavalo. It was freezing so I had to keep a fire going all the time. Funny and nearly tragic that my landlord and I had discussed putting a fan in the cabin to exhaust the gases from the fire. As usual, I was working and suddenly felt very tired so I laid down on my bed for a quick nap. My landlady brought my dinner down earlier but it’s important to understand that she valued my privacy and never once came down later in the evening. For some unknown reason this night she did.

Apparently, she tried to rouse me awake but couldn’t. She knew something was very wrong and thankfully called the ambulance. All I remember was waking up in the hospital just in time to hear the emergency doctor say that I was ten minutes from death! I had carbon monoxide poisoning from the fire. If my landlady had not come down to check on me I would be gone. Far too close for comfort.

Now that I’ve described the times I almost didn’t make it I wanted to turn to a more cheery subject and talk about my birthdays. With exception of one I honestly can’t remember any of them. I racked my brain trying to remember turning 21, 40 or even 60. Nothing. I guess they weren’t very memorable.

My fifthtiest would have to be the celebration of my life. My girlfriend at the time, Karen Falloon, had done an amazing job organizing a surprise birthday party for me. It was the first surprise party of my life and boy did she do a great job. We lived together and I don’t know how she managed to keep it a secret. The plan was we were going to meet some friends at a local restaurant. After we got seated she asked me to come with her to the back where they had meeting rooms. I was confused. When we got there the doors to the meeting room swung open and the first thing I saw were my parents. Then as I entered the room I realized that there were tons of people there. Friends, not only from Kelowna but from far-off places like Pete. Karen had organized the whole thing and kept it a secret from me. It was a really special birthday.

Last year was nice too because my friend Francis arranged for a small cake at La Sima. I had only just arrived here in Mexico so it was a nice touch.

This year was not shaping up to be anything other than sitting at home with my dog. I was a little down about that until Norma said she would join me at the plaza for what I thought was a night of the fiesta. There was nothing going on but we went down to the Malecon for a bit and then walked to El BarCo where I thought a great band was playing. We got there just in time to see the bass player, Sergio, leaving because they had five power outages and decided to quit. Norma and I went up on the rooftop area and had a nice chat. Not exactly a night of excitement but better than sitting at home alone.

Hopefully, I get to write something about turning SEVENTY. Never thought I would make it that far.

The Year In Review

One year ago I arrived in what was to become my new country, although I didn’t know that at the time.

Anyone who has followed my trials and tribulations knows that I spent time in both Panama and Ecuador, both of which I can only describe as total disasters. When my time in the group home was coming to an end in Belleville and I found it hard to believe that I had actually been there for two years, I knew I had to make a change. I considered returning to my beloved Okanagan but I knew that life would be a pale shadow of what it was before. My parents were both gone. All my wonderful toys, my boats, my dirt bikes, my snowmobile as well as things like my downhill skis, my bike and a host of other things were all gone and there was no way I could afford to replace any of them on my meagre pensions. Not only that but rents had basically tripled so I couldn’t afford to live there anymore. It had become only for the lifestyles of the rich and famous, certainly not me. The other option was Mexico.

The only reason I looked at Mexico was that a friend of mine from Ecuador had moved to Ajijic, a place I had never heard of and she posted glowing reports about the area. I started researching and was surprised to see how much it was like BC. A huge lake. Mountains. A gorgeous climate. Wonderful culture. And, no winter! The problem was that I was barely surviving month to month even living in a group home so going to Mexico was impossible. I had more than overstayed my welcome in the group homes so I started looking for a place to live in Belleville, Trenton and even Kingston, a place I really lived, but the rents everywhere were absurd. I would starve if I rented anything.

Life is timing. Earlier in the spring, I had bought a bike at Canadian Tire. When I came in the door they were doing one of those credit card promotions with double the points and so on. Knowing I had gone bankrupt twice I knew they would turn me down but what the hell? Go for it just for fun. When I bought the bike they gave me the points and processed it through my temporary credit card so it looked like I had made a payment of four hundred dollars. The next thing I knew I got a permanent MasterCard with a credit limit of two hundred dollars. Go figure. Over the next while anything I bought at Canadian Tire I put on my credit card and paid it off immediately, partly so I could use the points. Cool!

Next thing I get a letter from Canadian Tire that my credit limit has been extended to five hundred dollars. Hey, this is great. Me, a guy who has had more than my fair share of credit troubles, has five hundred bucks of credit. Before long my credit limit is one thousand dollars, then two thousand dollars and finally, ten thousand dollars! Of course, the interest rate was a crazy nineteen percent so I hadn’t planned to put anything on the card. Then they send me yet another promo that I can write a cheque to myself for four thousand dollars and deposit it then get three months interest-free. Talk about an offer you can’t refuse.

At this point, despite knowing that going to Mexico was an impossible dream, I had started working on a city portal website for Ajijic, something I felt was sorely needed. The more I learned about Ajijic the more I wanted to go. At the same time, the President of the group home had told me my rent was increased by a hundred dollars to $479 a month, for a room! I had learned enough about rents in Ajijic and actually found a nice looking apartment for less than that a month. The cost of living looked cheap, so the issue was my flights. Well, there’s my credit card staring at me, interest-free for three months, so being the eternal optimist I figured I would be making money from my website to pay off the flights. Oh, boy. Was I wrong.

My time at the group home was up at the end of September so I booked my flights to Mexico. I made a new friend, Francis Dryden, in Ajijic who was kind enough to go and check out the apartment and he said to take it, so I did for six months. My experience in Panama and Ecuador had taught me to not believe the tourist information you find on the internet, so checking it out for six months seemed like the right thing to do. The group home graciously let me store all my stuff in their basement while I was gone. I had no idea what I was going to do when I returned but that was a worry for the future. I was excited about my new adventure in Mexico.

My terrible experience with AeroMexico has been the subject of numerous other posts, so I won’t repeat it here. Let’s just say that it should have been a foreboding of the troubles that lay ahead.

Francis had agreed to pick me up at the airport in Guadalajara and take me to my apartment because he knew where it was, of course. I waited and waited outside the airport, but no Francis. Finally, when an Uber driver asked me where I was going I went with him, hoping Francis wasn’t just late. I learned later that he thought my arrival time was at night, not in the morning. My Uber guy, Mike, spoke pretty good English, which was good because I had lost most of my Spanish from Ecuador. He ended up spending a couple of hours with me while we tracked down where my apartment was. Nice guy. I can’t find the right words to describe my feelings as we came down into Ajijic. It was love at first sight. The area was so beautiful. The weather was incredible. The first thing I saw was the Walmart so I figured I might just be able to get the things I needed and was used to back home.

We then found our way to my new apartment and it was even better than I expected. It was huge and had everything you could imagine in it. I wouldn’t need anything except food. I met Perry and Kathy, my new landlords and their dogs. I was one happy camper. Francis and his wife, Anastasia, then took me out every night for a week to the best restaurants and bars ever. Monday night was my first trip to Adelita’s, a bar I would spend a lot of time in over the next couple of months. They had amazing food and a great band. The place was packed and I couldn’t believe this was a Monday night. A whole lot different than what I had left in Belleville.

In a couple of weeks, I met the love of my life. Here again, I have gone into great detail about my relationship and how it ended with her, so I won’t repeat myself. The point for this story is how that relationship changed my entire life plan. The day I had arrived in Ajijic my six-month plan went out the window and I started figuring out how I could stay here forever. I decided to return as planned to Canada and file for my temporal visa and return to get married. She surprised me by wanting to come with me to Canada and offered to pay for her own flights, so that became the new plan. To say that the trip back to Canada was the worst experience of my life would be a gross understatement. I have referred to it as a Murphy’s Law trip because what could go wrong did go wrong, from our flights to our hotel to applying for my visa to not being able to sell a single thing of all my stuff. It was also unusually freezing for that time of year, late March, early April which didn’t help.

As I’ve described elsewhere Plan D went out the window when she broke up with me by text. In terms of describing the highs and lows of the year that was, this was not only the low point of my last year. It was also the low point of my entire life. I completely fell apart and considered suicide for the first time in my life. I felt totally worthless and didn’t see any reason to go on. It was only through the support of good friends that I made it through and I’m still around. It was a life-changing experience that has changed my faith in love and people who you really can trust. It hurt so bad.

One of the things we were dealing with pre-breakup, was that we had to find a new place because my landlords had put the rent up almost sixty percent, which we could not afford. On the trip back from Canada she had informed me that I should look for a place on my own, which was clearly a forewarning of what was to come. It had become increasingly difficult to find a place and Ajijic was out of the question. I ended up moving to the disaster I am now stuck in here in Riberas, a short distance from Ajijic. I have the landlord from hell. I’ve had no water, no electricity, no internet, cockroaches, ants and on and on. No fun. I’m stuck in a one year lease and he refuses to give me back my deposit even if I could find somewhere else, which I can’t.

I don’t really want to admit this in public, but I should follow-up on the credit card story. Partly because of the flights back to Canada and partly the expense of my relationship, like losing three thousand pesos when she missed one of her flights, my credit card got to an unbelievable twelve thousand dollars, an amount I can’t possibly payoff! I have no clue what I’m going to do unless I finally start making some money off the websites. I’ve written to MasterCard confessing everything but they don’t respond. I am also paying nineteen percent on that huge amount so I’m just getting deeper and deeper in trouble. My only benefit is that I am not reachable in Mexico and still don’t ever plan to go back to Canada. I just have to put it out of my mind or I’ll go crazy with worry about it.

Since my devastating breakup, my feelings about women have certainly changed. I have always been a hopeless romantic and love women, but my faith in love was shattered. I’ve certainly met some nice women and there’s no shortage of beautiful women here, but I don’t trust anyone with my heart now. I know how difficult it was to make it through the breakup and I could not survive it again. I recently went through a horrible scam with a woman who I spent hours and hours on chat with and I still don’t understand it. I was just left feeling very stupid for falling for it. Made me even more cautious.

Just when I had pretty well given up on women and focused on work instead I saw a video on Facebook of a friend with a rescue dog who was up for adoption. It’s been a very long time since I had a dog, my wonderful Spade back in BC, who I had the tragic experience of putting down. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have a dog again but thought it would be nice to have some company. My boy, Rollie, joined me a little over a week ago and it has been a fabulous experience. We bonded instantly and he’s a real treat. A wonderful and welcome addition to my life here in Mexico.

Who knows what the future holds and what I’ll be reporting a year from now? I’m turning 69 in a week so I at least hope I’m still alive in a year to celebrate seventy. I’m still working all day, every day on my websites so hopefully I can finally find someone to work with me in the field and start making some desperately needed money. I lose one of my pensions now that I am out of the country more than six months and I will not be able to survive when that happens if I haven’t found a way to earn more money. Ever going back to Canada is out of the question. Regardless of what happens, I’m not ready to give up yet.

Stay tuned.

The “Dildo” History

Somehow for much of my adult life I avoided the need to ever use “Toys”. That’s probably because for my entire married life I didn’t really have any sex. Well, I remember three times, actually. One was Chris. One was Heather, and the last one was the one my ex-wife killed without my involvement. Probably would have been the “good” one, the one that actually talked to me.

Fate would have me meet a very sexy woman who did like her “toys”. It was all new to me but she sure enjoyed it and it increased the orgasm numbers, so I thought it was okay. She had one that as a man I did find intimidating because it was huge, but at least I found comfort that it wasn’t real.

That breakup came as quite the shocker and the toys were involved, unfortunately. She was going to Toronto to see her niece’s new baby, at least that’s what she told me. I found it strange that she came back without a single photo. Hmmm? A couple weeks later she was off to Toronto again and I was left cleaning her apartment. When I went to vacuum under the bed her suitcases were in the way. As I pulled them out I saw the baggage tags for the date she was supposed to be at her niece’s place and they read Ottawa. As if that wasn’t bad enough I looked in the drawer where we kept the toys and they were gone. When she came home Sunday I confronted her with the baggage tags and she broke down. She had gone to Ottawa to meet a guy she had met on the internet, just like she met ME! There went that relationship

So fast forward to when I met the love of my life here in Mexico. I asked her if he had ever used “toys” in a relationship and she hadn’t. I asked if she might want to give it a try and she agreed. Believe it or not we have a store here called the Dildoria. Not hard to figure out what they sell, right? I looked around but just wanted something small to try. I found the lipstick dildo. Perfect!

When I gave it to her I said it was ONLY for both of us to use together, not just her, and we were only to use it when we were together at our place. She was not to take it back to her place and use it alone. That was the deal and she agreed.

After she dumped me by text message she cleared all her stuff out of our apartment. To my considerable shock and surprise, she had stolen the dildo out of my drawer! Go figure!

 

Does time “heal all wounds”?

Not really. It depends on the severity of the wound, or exactly what it is you’re trying to get over.

Some things, like the loss of a family member, especially a mother or father, can take years and you never really get over losing them. You still miss all the wonderful things they meant to your life, but time does heal the severe feeling of loss when you first lost them. The death of my father was sudden, unexpected and he died in my arms, so the trauma of that never really ever goes away. On the other hand, the death of my mother was a relief because cancer had returned and her Alzheimer’s got as bad as it gets. Her quality of life was zero.

Then there’s my kids and grandkids. It’s been a staggering twenty-four years now since I spoke to my daughter, Heather. She’s married and has two kids, neither of which even know I’m alive. Same with my son and his three daughters. I was so thrilled when Mackenzie contacted me on Facebook and we started talking. She was fourteen at the time and very upset that her parents had kept me from her and not let her make her own decision. That was then and this is now. She stopped talking to me just as fast and never explained why. It was hard to miss someone I didn’t know, as is the case with all three of my granddaughters, but even worse with Mackenzie when we connected and then lost it. I wish I knew why.

Anyone who’s been following me, especially on Facebook, knows just how much I was in love. For years I believed that the problem was always me. I was too romantic. I was too honest. I believed in an equal relationship that just wasn’t possible. That all changed when I met the love of my life. It could not have been any better in any way. I was totally and unconditionally in love with her and I believed she felt the same. I let my guard down, gave her my heart and trusted her completely. What a huge mistake!

When she abruptly ended our relationship by text message it shattered me. I cried and cried for days and for the first time seriously felt like giving up. I had no idea how I was going to go on, or, more importantly, why would I want to? Suddenly everything seemed so hopeless. All the wonderful dreams we shared of our future together were gone. The worst part and the part that still hurts is that I have no clue why she ended our relationship. She hasn’t responded to a single text I sent her. She refuses to tell me what happened. She recently told a friend that she wanted nothing more to do with me. So cruel. I didn’t do anything to deserve this. You don’t end what you said was the best relationship you had ever had with a text message.

Time is making it a little easier, but it sure isn’t healing it.

 

The Blame Game

The last few really bad days have made me question why people are attacking me so brutally, blaming me for everything. My gut wants to say “Fuck off, world!”. Leave me alone when you don’t have a clue what happened; however, it does make me question what is actually my fault?

I’m certainly not perfect. Nobody is and we all make mistakes. Some big. Some small; but what about the ones that have a major impact on your life? Moving. Relationships. Marriage. Career. Health.

My childhood was pretty normal, except that I never stopped blaming my parents for moving out of the city to the middle of nowhere on a farm. No indoor plumbing. Kerosene heaters. Miles from anywhere I could get to at twelve. In Toronto I was hardly ever home. I could catch the bus or streetcar or ride my bike. I went everywhere. The only rule was to be home by dark. A horrible difference in the country and I hated it.

With Mum and Dad at Ontario Place

My parents decided that they wanted to move out west after they took a three week holiday through the Okanagan. Although I was working at the bank I might have gone with them. Who knows? They couldn’t sell their house so they decided to go the next year. Fate? During that year I met my future wife. There was no way I was going to move out west now. She also got pregnant so we got married. Big mistake! At nineteen I honestly thought I was in love and couldn’t wait to get married. Yes. I got her pregnant; but I thought that was a mutual thing and never thought of it as a mistake. My son was born the following year. My parents, brother and sister had left for BC and I missed them; but not my fault they moved.

No point in going into my failed marriage of twenty-three years, except to say that I always tried to make it better. Better car. Better house. Worked my face off always through a number of careers, the last being sixteen years as a computer consultant, installing networking hardware and software. I never ran an ad and all my business with some fifty clients came from referrals. I remember billing ninety-six hours in one week, so that gives you an idea of how much I worked. In the last few years, and living in a new house with a fat mortgage, my wife sat on her ass not working and didn’t even file for unemployment. I paid for everything and even when I left to stay in a motel near my client I paid for everything on the house and gave her money. I didn’t like giving up on the marriage after trying so hard for so many years; but it was time.

My ex, Janice

When I told her we were selling the house because I wasn’t going to pay the bills anymore the whole idea of fifty/fifty that she had agreed to for years went out the window. She wanted everything, supposedly to support my daughter; but she took things like all my Rosemond prints that she never paid any attention to, plus all my Charlie Brown books that she had never read. Thanks to all my work on several houses we owned over our marriage I had turned my original one hundred dollar investment in our first house into one hundred thousand dollars of equity, all of which she got and bought herself a new house.

Although it had zero to do with my marriage, I did make what turned out to be the biggest mistake of my life. I’ve gone into all the details in another post, so I won’t repeat myself. Let’s just say that I was charged, convicted and spent my weekends in a detention centre. I was not guilty of anything; but I had the worst Legal Aid lawyer, according to the Crown Attorney, and he got me convicted anyway. The toughest part was that my ex never even came to court for a second to support me. It was all my fault, of course.

There were many troubles in our marriage, not the least of which is we never really had a loving relationship. We seldom slept together and we didn’t make love for five years at one point. The only two times I remember making love to her were my son and daughter. The very worst thing that pretty well ended my marriage was when she got pregnant with what would have been our third child. She and her mother made the decision to have an abortion without even talking to me about it. I was livid and to this day will never forgive her, especially when neither of my other two kids will have anything to do with me.

After finally deciding to end our marriage was that my fault totally? No. On the final day in the house we had now sold she talked to me for thirteen hours! Believe it or not I hardly said a word. She said the failings of our marriage were all her fault. She had been a terrible wife, she said. She said I had always tried to make things better and worked so hard, not only on my career; but also renovating every home we had. She was sorry she had never lifted a finger to help with anything. She said she had spent her life sitting at her mother’s place, never coming home to cook dinner. She said the fact that I had done my own cooking and cleaned every house without her was all her fault. Even when we went to counselling and the counselor blamed her for everything she refused to believe her or do anything about it. It was quite the conversation; but it was obviously far too late.

So my marriage was over; but why did I leave my flourishing career and move out west? I was billing my last clients sixty-five dollars an hour plus half time for travel. Pretty sweet deal. They also gave me a glowing reference letter that would have gotten me tons more clients. The problem was my darling mother had been diagnosed with fifth stage melanoma and given a five percent chance of living more than six months.

On her way to eighth grade prom.

It hit me hard. I knew that the right thing to do was go out and spend whatever time she had left with her. It was going to break my heart to leave my daughter; but I thought she would come out and visit her grandmother soon. I never once thought that I would never see my daughter again. Also now that I was living in Markham I was making appointments with my daughter and we never seemed to be able to get together. I thought it would be better for both of us if she came out to visit.

What I didn’t realize at the time was just how vengeful my ex could be. She was paranoid that I would convince the kids to come out west and stay there, leaving her all alone. The one time my son contacted me and we talked for hours she apparently blew up at him for talking to me and he said he couldn’t take the third degree from her if he kept in touch with me. I didn’t believe for a second that would mean so many years without them. They never once contacted my Mum and Dad in all those years and now they’re gone of course.

My mother survived for another nineteen years which was great. After my Dad died in my arms her Alzheimer’s got so much worse and I spent months trying to get her into a care facility where she needed to be. Finally someone died at a place called Winterhaven and they called to accept Mum. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done because, of course I had to lie to get her there. She then left some thirteen messages saying she was sorry and to come and get her; but the Director said not to contact her.

My sister came down to see her and flipped out at the kind of place it was with security to protect people from wandering off. Despite my objections she took her out and put her in an assisted care facility in Revelstoke. Huge mistake! She was found wandering around town in the dead of winter with no coat on. Luckily someone knew she was my sister’s mother and took her to her shop. The facility called me to tell me they could not handle Mum and wanted her out. I had told my sister when she made the decision to pull her out of the place that I had spent months getting her into that I would no longer have any responsibility for her. She ended up killing her and I have never spoken to my sister again. I couldn’t even go to her memorial because I wanted to kill my sister for what she had done.

My next mistake? After I had sold my Mum’s place, for more than any place had ever been sold before by the way, I moved to an apartment. I barely had the boxes unpacked when a by-law officer came by and said I had to move out because the place wasn’t zoned for apartments in the lower levels. I was on my way to view another apartment in Kelowna when my Realtor emailed to come and see a mobile in the park next to Mum and Dad’s. It was a total disaster but I could just take over the private mortgage, so I did. Big mistake!

I busted my butt for over a year completely gutting the place and rebuilding it. When I went to list it my Realtor said it was the best place in the valley and he wanted to list it for $149,000. I had already looked at a couple of other places with my electrician friend and we wanted to put in offers, so I listed it for $139,000 and told him I wanted a quick sale. The day before the listing was to go into effect one of the local Indian chiefs posted an article in the local paper saying that anyone who bought on native land was “stupid” because there was no tenancy and they could be thrown out in a minute. He said the only reason prices were so high was because of “greedy Real Estate agents”. Overnight no one would touch a mobile on native land. The private mortgage I had arranged just in case the place didn’t sell fell apart. No bank would touch it. No lawyer would touch it for fear of getting sued. No Realtor would touch it. I was devastated.

I was left owing money to everyone, mostly Home Depot and Canadian Tire for tools and building supplies. Now I had no way to pay them back. My stress level was off the charts and my doctor told me if I didn’t find a way to get away from this stress it would kill me. He called me a poster boy for a heart attack. I knew I had to do something.

I think quite obviously I had the run away instinct. I knew things were only going to get much worse and with no mortgage now I couldn’t pay anybody back anyway. I also had no way to survive. To eat. To pay my pad rent. Nothing.

My diabetes was also starting to get much worse in the cold. I now had peripheral neuropathy in my feet and it was very painful. At the end of a day working on my feet I could barely walk. I started looking for somewhere warm. After a whole lot of research I found Panama and it looked like a good fit. My electrician friend had just split with his wife and needed a place, so he agreed to pay the pad rent to keep the place and look after it for me. I wasn’t sure if things would get any better in the spring and to protect it from creditors I transferred the title to my good friend, Wade. Off I went to Boquete, Panama in the mini I had just traded my truck in for, packed to the gills.

When I got to the border I was asked where I was going and how much money I had? When I told him Panama he told me to pull over. Thus began the worst experience in my life when they asked me about my criminal record. I went through three hours of grueling questioning like I was a child molester. Fingerprints. Photos. Then they told me I could not enter the States. I couldn’t even fly through a US airport. They told me that even if I got a pardon in Canada they didn’t give a damn and it would take years to apply for whatever their version of a pardon was. Some much for Homeland Security.

I returned home and made some panic arrangements to fly to Panama, not through a US airport. I sold my car to my electrician’s son who had worked for me for months. I reduced my car full to my luggage and left on Boxing Day for Vancouver. My fault? Totally.

Panama was a terrible experience. The house I had rented on the internet was a disaster. I ended up renovating a place for a friend back in Kelowna and lost my shirt. At the same time my dear friend, the electrician, did the one thing I had warned him about over and over before I left. I warned him to clean off the roof of any snow buildup because when it melts it can become too heavy for the roof supports. My Dad had always cleared his roof of any snow, regardless of amount.

Next thing you know my friend Wade calls me to tell me that my electrician had not cleaned the roof and it had collapsed under the weight of the melting snow and ice. He estimated it would be about twenty-five thousand dollars to replace the roof, plus the water had ruined most of my new flooring, all laminate. It was a huge blow. My fault? Not a chance. Okay. Maybe other than trusting my “friend”. Yes. My fault.

Sometime later he found a young guy who was willing to buy the place and fix the roof himself. He offered a pathetic price, with me only losing about eighty thousand dollars in the process; but who else was going to buy it? His parents were going to loan him some money; but he still needed me to take back a second mortgage for five thousand dollars. Again. No choice; but you guessed it. He never paid me and I lost the five thousand dollars on top of everything else.

After five miserable years in London, Ontario I was reaching pension age, so I started looking again for somewhere to go. I found Ecuador. Yet another total disaster. It wasn’t at all as billed and although I did have some good times there there were far more problems than good times. I also had a horrible runaround with Service Canada over one of my pensions and six months later I was destitute and couldn’t even afford food. Had it not been for the generosity of my friend, Heather, I wouldn’t be writing this. I finally wrote to Service Canada and told them that there would be a letter on my cold dead body clearly blaming them for my demise. I got my money in three days; but it was too late. The lady who was looking after my application for residency stole my three hundred and fifty dollars and did nothing. She also refused to return my passport so I couldn’t even leave the country on my paid return flight. It was a nightmare. My landlord also ripped me off for two hundred dollars in rent she owed me, plus my driver stole two hundred dollars out of my messenger bag. I also got carbon monoxide poisoning from the fireplace in my cabin and came far too close to dying. I remember the doctor saying I would have been dead in three hours had they not got me to the hospital. Before that they took me to a private hospital when the altitude first got to me. Four days and twelve hundred dollars later I was released. My fault? No.

Limping back to Canada to Belleville, thanks again to my dear friend, Heather, I eventually ended up in several group homes that literally saved my life. They weren’t the best place to live because there was a constantly revolving group of guys at various stages of need; but I did end up with a nice room in one of them and managed to do my website work.

So that brings me to Mexico and what exactly is my fault. Although I don’t agree with all the people blaming me for the breakup, I do agree that what was clearly my fault was falling so deeply in love. For six months it was the very best relationship I’d ever had in my entire life. She was everything I’d ever dreamed of in a woman. We shared such a bright and promising future together. I loved her completely and unconditionally.

Right now I have no clue why she sent the fateful text message telling me our relationship was over. I will say that I never did a thing to hurt her or mistreat her or do anything but love her to death. She was always so happy to be with me. It was an incredible love on every level. She came to Canada with me to file for my temporal visa to come back to Mexico and marry her. Her family loved me and pushed her to hurry up and marry me. It was all pure bliss.

Then totally out of the blue she sends me a text message that our relationship is over. As I said I have no clue why. I’ve begged her to talk to me or text me; but she refuses. Apparently she is sad. She told me that she loves me and misses me, so what’s going on? Something is obviously seriously wrong. Don’t I deserve to know why she ended our wonderful relationship? I think I do. My fault? Not a chance.

 

 

 

 

 

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