A lament. The perils of loving the wrong person.

No question that I have been guilty of constantly falling in love with the wrong person. I have always been a hopeless romantic who wears his heart on his sleeve. Love means opening your heart but it also means a risk of getting really hurt. Every time that happens you lose your faith in love and think you will be alone forever.

As a teenager I had my fair share of girlfriends. I was in a band at sixteen and had more than enough "groupies" but they were never anyone I cared enough to ever love. The several girls I called girlfriends were always more friends than lovers. That was until I met my future wife. I was at a party with my then girlfriend, Bev, but when Janice walked down the stairs it was love at first sight. At the top of the stairs I learned that her friend, Lynn, had warned her about me. That I loved blondes. I dropped Bev's hand and went over to Janice and asked her to marry me. I should have taken the clue when she told me to F-off. She had a long term boyfriend, Doug, but I didn't care. After we came back to her parent's place one night he came racing up ready for a fight. He made the fatal mistake of spitting in Janice's face after her mother had come out to see what all the ruckus was about. That ended it for him.

After we spent some time at my parent's place alone because they had gone on vacation the inevitable happened and we slept together and she got pregnant. It didn't matter to me because I loved her and was ready to marry her anytime. Her father was very angry but agreed that we should get married right away, which we did on August 16th, 1969. The wedding and the reception at her parent's place was a hoot, but what happened after was not, and a clear sign of the trouble to come.

My Dad with his warped sense of humor had rented us a room at what was the Thunderbird Motel and he had put a rattle toy under in the mattress, thinking that it would startle us when we made love. Very funny, Dad. It didn't matter because I spent the night sitting on the floor at the foot of the bed. It was the first time that I learned that her getting pregnant was entirely my fault and I was going to be punished for that forever. The only funny part was that when we left on our supposed honeymoon the next morning I had forgotten about the toy in the ripped mattress for which my Dad would pay. I went back to the room and removed it, then had to walk through the lobby with the toy rattling.

The next twenty-three long years were spent in a loveless marriage. I tried and tried, but it was always a better car or a better house or more money for her. She wanted nothing to do with making "love". About the only times we had sex were the three times she got pregnant, until she insisted that I get a vasectomy. My son, Chris, was obviously not planned. My daughter, Heather, came along when Janice didn't tell me she went off birth control. I think she realized that I was going to leave this disaster of a marriage so she got pregnant to keep me. She aborted the third pregnancy without even discussing it with me so I knew the marriage was over.

I will be the first to admit that in the last few years of our marriage I was unfaithful many times. I traveled a fair bit and always seemed to find someone who treated me nice and gave me what I longed for. I hadn't even slept with my wife for five years so it worked for me to feel better about myself. I came very close to leaving my marriage a couple of times and I wish I had. Sticking around for the kids turned out to be useless. Heather told me to go out west when my mother was diagnosed with fifth stage melanoma. She knew my marriage was long over and it was time to give up, but this was the last time she ever talked to me for almost thirty years now. Neither she or Chris have ever given me a reason for abandoning me. Many friends, some of them girlfriends at the time, have said that my now ex had told lies about me and they tried to get in touch with them but always failed.

During my fourteen years in the Okanagan I had lots of girl "friends" but only one real love, Tracy. She had three great kids who I also fell in love with and my relationship with all of them was perfect. That is until her school girlfriends warned her about our age difference and she asked me to leave. It was as hard to leave the kids as it was her. First major hurt, breaking my heart in a million pieces. More to come.

After the renovation from hell my doctor said I was a poster boy for a heart attack and had to get away. I researched other countries with a lower cost of living and chose Panama. There was lots of good and more bad but I did have a girlfriend, Magaly. We had fun together and she slept at my place a lot and we had great sex. With the age difference and the language barrier I don't think I would call it "love" but it was good and I felt bad for her when I was forced to return to Canada.

Back in Canada, saved by my dear cousin, Joan, I lived with her for several months. I met a girl from London on the internet, Denice, and ended up moving to London to be with her. She was married but was in the same position I had been, knowing she had to leave the marriage, which she did. We had some fun times and I loved her daughter, Emily. We never lived together but it all came crashing down when I found out she had lied about a weekend trip. Instead of going to a cousin's baby shower she flew to Ottawa to be with yet another guy she met on the internet. Second time crushed.

Yet again searching for a lower cost of living somewhere off I went to Ecuador. Again more bad than good but just when I was again being forced to go back to Canada I met Patricia. We were good together and spent some very romantic time together. We tried to keep it going after I came back but it wasn't working. Then she started saying she couldn't pay her bills and asking for money, so that ended that. This time my friend, Heather, who had worked for me decades before, offered me her son's place north of Belleville for free because he was renovating it and she thought I could help based on my years of experience. When I got there he had installed a pellet stove, a fridge and stove and even laid in some food for me. It was okay but then the pellet stove failed and I froze my buns off for five days and ended up falling apart at the Salvation Army in Belleville. They were incredible and helped me to get into the first of many group homes.

After finally working my way to living on Forin my rent went up a hundred bucks a month for just a room so again I searched for somewhere with a lower cost of living and this time found Ajijic, Mexico. I left in September, 2017, hoping to finally find that elusive place. I fell in love with it the day I arrived and my plans quickly changed to finding a way to stay there forever instead of just checking it out. Then within a couple of weeks I met Elba, who quickly became what I thought was my true unconditional love. We quickly moved in together and started planning our future together. Her large family accepted me right away. We got engaged at our favorite place, Adelita's, and were congratulated by all our friends. Her two sons asked if it was okay if they called me Dad. Then yet another huge mistake.

My six month tourist visa was about to expire so I had to return to Canada to apply for residency. Although I had my return ticket, I now had to get a ticket to come back. I told Elba that I would miss her and she wanted to come with me, but I was honest and told her I couldn't afford to pay for her ticket. She said she always wanted to visit Canada so she would pay for her own flights. What I was too stupid to realize was that if she married me as planned I would automatically get residency and would not need to go back to Canada to file for it. Our trip back was the trip from hell in every way, but we struggled through it and I didn't see any change in her, but the minute we got back she wasn't coming back to our apartment. Instead she went to hers in Guadalajara, saying she had a meeting with her lawyer in the morning. I knew that was a lie and something was very wrong.

Then she came to our apartment when I was out and packed up all her shoes and clothes. When I came home and asked her what was going on she said she knew we were moving to a smaller place so she was going to sell most of her clothes and shoes. Again, I knew she was lying. That night at Adelita's she was very distant. She didn't sit with me or dance with me. I kept asking her what was wrong but she kept saying nothing was wrong. I thought we were going back to my apartment but she surprised me saying she was gong back to Guadalajara with her son. Now I knew something was really wrong.

That night was a moment that changed my life. She sent me a simple text message that our relationship was over. No reasons given. It struck me like a lighting bolt. I fell apart crying my eyes out. I begged her to tell me why but she refused. For the first time in my life I wanted to just swim out in the lake far enough not to make it back. With her my self confidence could not have been any higher. She told me she loved me several times a day. She said I was the best relationship she had ever had. When we went out she told me how handsome I was, something no one had ever said to me. Every minute together was incredible. Then in a heartbeat I was worthless and saw no reason to go on. If it weren't for two of my friends, Violetta and Don, who talked me down and convinced me to go on I wouldn't be writing this now. In my panic texts I begged Elba to talk to me, but she sent only one text telling me to "disappear". Don actually ended up marrying Elba shortly after I returned to Canada. He had money. I didn't.

Back to Canada in November, 2019 and another series of group homes. I eventually got my current geared to income apartment where I am now. My friends from before when I lived in Belleville had abandoned me for reasons I don't know so life was very lonely and I never met anyone who I might fall in love with, until now.

Call it fate if you want. My neighbor took me to the last concert of the Concerts On the Bay series at West Zwick. Just like any guy I hate to ask a girl to dance and get a "no". You never know what to say after that. I saw this cute girl dancing with a guy, then another guy, then another guy. As I walked passed her I tapped her on the shoulder and said I saw her dancing with a bunch of guys so who was she with? She said she was single. When I said I would love to dance with her she held her arms out. We had some wonderful dances and she asked me if I wanted to take dance lessons with her. Of course I did so we managed to meet at the Quinte Mall and go to the lesson in Trenton. For some unknown reason we instantly clicked but she got me talking and talking, far more than I should have. I kept saying that I was sorry that I was probably boring her but she said she was interested. Hours later when she dropped me off I felt so guilty that I knew almost nothing about her. Was she divorced? Did she have kids? Did she have brothers and sisters? We talked long enough that I should have known. My bad.

More and more connections followed, but I soon discovered that she was a deeply religious girl, and I'm not. At first I thought this would be our undoing but she said that we could debate anything about religion, so that was good. As we spent more and more time together my feelings for her were growing despite not wanting to after how Elba hurt me so badly. I sent her a religious bangle for her birthday, hoping she would be okay getting it from me, and she was. I ran around at the mall getting her birthday cards, a teddy bear, a birthday balloon, a flower, which I somehow lost on the way home, and put together a gift bag for her. I hoped she would let me take her out for a birthday dinner, but she declined. She did come over and spread out a blanket to have a picnic. She opened the gift bag and loved everything in it. Things were good with us.

Then I blew it. I professed my love for her. I sent her a very long, romantic poem in which I acknowledged that she just wanted to be the dreaded "friends". I did still hope that she would eventually feel the same for me though. I loved every minute that I spent with her, could not stop thinking about her and missed her every minute that we were apart. One day when she came over we talked for four hours, then she phoned me later and we talked for another four hours! Never in my life have I ever talked to any girl for eight hours in one day! I told her that I had probably talked with her more than I had with my ex of twenty-three years.

After making the huge mistake of telling her that I loved her all the joy of our relationship was sucked out. At our last dance lesson she was leading very strongly. As I have for many, many years I had told her the three lessons of dance. One, the guy leads. Two, whatever goes wrong is the guys fault, and, three, have fun. Over the last thirty years I have taken ten years of lessons in country dance and competed in several competitions. I must have danced with several hundred women and in four countries. If the girl is leading after I gave her the rules I tell her that she's leading and usually she stops. If she doesn't listen I will stop on the dance floor to give her the choice to quit or pay attention. Never in all those years have I ever had a problem. In Kelowna at the OK Corral I probably taught thirty young girls to dance because their boyfriends were too stupid to take lessons.

In the lesson she refused to stop leading so again I stopped to give her the same choice I've given all the other girls. She was then really upset because she said other people there would think she was a "controlling bitch". The first and only girl to ever think that. Our lessons were over. After the lesson we had a great hike up a local mountain so I still had hope for us. Boy, was I wrong.

We did have a wonderful day together at the O'Hara Homestead for their two hundredth anniversary, but still had issues. She didn't take her phone for some reason and kept ordering me around to take photos as though I had never done that thousands of times. After I joked at the tea party we went to that men have no such thing as equality but we accept it to keep peace, again she said it made her sound like that controlling bitch. Apparently I am no longer able to make jokes about anything.

It was around this time that I realized she had never gone to my Facebook page or, more importantly, this website. She also dictated that she would no longer use Messenger which we had used a lot. She also insisted that we only use texting despite the fact that I had told her I hate typing on my phone. It was becoming more and more clear that she wasn't interested in me at all, even as a friend. I knew I couldn't just stop loving her so I hoped we would make it through all my growing doubts.

The next day she was going to a friend's birthday party in Madoc but she surprised me by inviting me to go. I wasn't sure who this friend was so I felt a bit awkward going if she didn't know me, but it turned out I did know her and had even danced with her at the lessons. There were a lot of friends from the dance class there so that was good and I felt comfortable. When we danced though she started pushing me around the dance floor again, telling me what to do. Obviously she didn't pay any attention to what I had said about the guy leading. Dancing with her was not fun anymore.

The birthday party was the good part of the day, as was what we did exploring the local shops and stopping to look at a guy's paintings by the road. The horrible part of the day was the start.

After picking me up she started the worst attack I've ever had in my life. Even my ex wasn't as cruel. I had told her that my loveless marriage was nothing but verbal abuse for everything I said or did. No matter how hard I tried I could never make it any better. Better house. Better car. Nothing worked. And I said clearly that I vowed to never put up with that again. For me respect and equality are fundamental to any good relationship. Her vicious attack found fault with everything I had done or said. No mention of the love I had shown her. No respect for the way she knew I felt about her. She even said friends are supposed to make each other happy and we weren't doing that. Much as I didn't want to I fought back disagreeing with her that I was worthless. She countered that I was playing the victim, which I clearly was. She had me on the verge of tears. Not only had I given up on any loving relationship with her and was struggling to just be her friend, now that was gone too. You can't be friends with someone you find so many faults with.

Today wasn't just a conflict about going or not going to the dance lesson. It was a full on attack. To quote:

"I won't be calling you when I get home to listen to you ranting and raving about how you miss today even though yu said you didn't want to come anymore...I don't play mind games. And when you tell a person you don't want to go somewhere anymore. And then you say tell me what time you're picking me up. That's playing mind games...if you don't believe me please run it by your friend anna"

If you're not coming that's one hundred percent your choice. I just don't want to hear about it for an hour and a half the next time I see you. It's the end of the subject. If you said oh I changed my mind and I'd like to come now, that's different, but when you say what time are you picking me up? That's passive-aggressive because the last news I had was that you didn't want to go anymore. Did you look at the communication videos I asked you to? I never did mind games in high school and I don't do them now. Say what you mean and mean what you say. It's really simple and avoids confusion. Please don't twist my words."

"Again you're talking head games. Let me know if I'm not coming with you today please. I don't let anybody know what they're doing. I'm not a control freak like you think I am. You're a big boy, you know, whether you want to go or not. You're manipulating the situation and forcing me to make the call for what is happening. That should be a decision mutually made by two grown adults. All you had to say was "Hey (name). I changed my mind and I'd really like to go today. You don't realize it but instead you manipulated the situation to try to get me to make a decision for you. That's controlling but I know you don't realize it."

"Even by saying you screwed up the best friendship you ever had is passive-aggressive because I never said that. I had no idea that our friendship is over but I guess apparently it is according to you. I think maybe you just experienced most things in a grandiose way, like kind of overexaggerated in your experience with the situation. Have you ever been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder?"

The facts of this whole situation are that, yes, after friends supposedly thought she was a controlling bitch after I stopped on the dance floor I wasn't enjoying the lessons after that and said I probably wouldn't go again. For me, much as I cared for her, dancing is supposed to be fun and it wasn't. Sunday when she dropped me off I said I would think about it regarding going to the lesson. I also said that I was down to my last bus tickets and couldn't afford to get more so that was also an issue. She said she would pick me up but I said that I would meet her again at the mall. I did and realized both how much I enjoyed dancing with her and just spending time with her. I accepted that I would let her do all the leading she wanted to and not object. Early this morning I asked her not what time she was picking me up, rather what time she wanted to meet at the mall as we had done before. I needed to shave and shower and catch the two buses to get to the mall in time. Clearly I wanted to go. Instead of simply answering me she sent me all the bus schedules that I already knew from riding the buses in town for years and years, then went on the diatribe you see. I have no idea why.

Yet another wrong woman to fall in love with. I get that I express my love too soon, but I am a painfully honest guy and I am always honest about my feelings. For me, to be in love with someone and not tell them is just wrong, but yet again I have been hurt badly by doing this. If I ever fall in love again it will be very hard not to express my feelings honestly, but I'll try. I probably don't have much longer to live so I guess I will be alone.






Reflecting on life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Should anyone care, stay tuned.

Advice to the young

Someone asked what advice I would give to someone twenty years old so this was my response -

1. Don't just get a job. Take a course like Personality Dimensions (True Colors in the US) to discover your passion. You will spend the majority of your life working so do what you love and it will never feel like work.
2. Find someone special to share your life. Your heart can be tricked and your brain will know something's not right, but trust your gut. A great relationship is based on mutual trust, respect and equality. Never let anyone control you.
3. Travel the world while you are still young. You will learn so much by experiencing other cultures. Take a month every year and travel to different places in the world.
4. Take lots of photos and videos of your life, especially of your kids if and when you have them. You will treasure those when you are old and look back on the memories, especially if you are alone.
5. Never let anything come between you and your family. Blood is thicker than water. Always take the high road and be the one to forgive no matter what they do. Don't let petty issues fester until they are gone and it's too late.
6. Difficult as it is to talk about, know your parents financial situation and their wishes when they are gone. If you avoid it you will face many problems when they are gone.
7. Don't do anything criminal and get trapped in the horrible justice system because it can ruin your life.
8. Regardless of where you are born consider living in other places, even other countries. Look at business opportunities, weather, language, Real Estate to find your own version of paradise.
9. In everything you do pay attention to your health and mental wellbeing. Don't smoke. Don't drink. Don't do drugs. Have adventures but don't take unnecessary risks getting hurt. Stay safe.

Yet another birthday

Just turned 73. Feeling very old this year, but, as is said, getting old is a privilege denied to many. Normally I review the posts I've done on previous birthdays just to see what stage I was at and what were my thoughts going forward. Regardless of the setbacks I normally try to remain optimistic for the future. Not so much this year.

As we grow older our health becomes more and more important. The raves of age can be cruel. For me as I've gotten older I have sensed my own mortality more as I draw closer to the ages of my parents. My Dad died in my arms when he was eighty-one and my Mum, who had advanced Alzheimer's, died at eighty-four, so that's not a long time from now if I make it that far. I am also diabetic and a smoker so that's two strikes against me already. This birthday I am dealing with a new issue of great concern.

A couple of months ago I was shooting video of a band down at the Caribbean Festival, holding my phone up over the heads of the crowd, when I suddenly felt like I was going to fall down. I wasn't dizzy or faint, just lost my balance. I stumbled back to grab onto the building, then managed to get to my bus home with the help of the auxiliary police. After that I spent hours and hours in the Emergency Department getting all kinds of tests, including a CT scan, all of which came back negative. A doctor at a local clinic gave me an urgent referral to a neurologist; however, there are none in Belleville and the closest one is in Kingston and I have no idea how to get there. I've been waiting weeks for the call, but I'm told it could be months.

Over the many years I've maintained this website I've often done a year end review, but seeing as how I might not still be here at the end of this year I figured I'd add a bit of a review here instead.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The one and only constant friendship I had throughout the year was with Annie in Mexico. We chatted on Messenger almost every day as we have since I returned to Canada in November 2019. She has always wanted me to come back to Mexico but I would again lose the GIS pension after six months so we would have to figure out how to survive. Annie is that person in your life that whenever something really good or really bad happens they are the first person you want to tell. She is literally the only friend I have in the world.

Nothing makes me sadder than the situation with my family. My three adult kids and what I only recently learned my six grandkids. I knew about five but my daughter, Heather, had another baby back in 2019, but nobody bothered to tell me. For many, many years now, with my daughter ever since I moved out west to be with my then dying mother, with Heather's blessing, and with my son, Chris, since way back in 2009 when we met in London, Ontario, I have never stopped trying to contact them. When I was living in Mexico my granddaughter, Mackenzie, contacted me on Facebook and she was so upset at her parents that they had not let her make her own decision about me. We chatted back and forth then she told me she was coming to Mexico for a friend's wedding and wanted to meet. Soon after she stopped responding to my messages and then blocked me on Facebook. No reasons why. Over all these years not only have I tried to contact my kids but friends and girlfriends have also tried, but all failed.

Now with this new health issue that could spell the end of me I felt that my kids and grandkids deserved to know. Sure, maybe they didn't care but I still felt an obligation to let them know before I was gone. I asked a couple of friends to message Mackenzie to ask her to contact me. All I got was a terse message from her mom telling me not to have anyone message Mackenzie. My cousin in Toronto, who gave me shelter when I was forced back from Ecuador, refused to get involved. When I wanted to contact my son, Andrew, I first asked his mother, Pat, if it was okay. I got an angry response telling me not to contact him.

I swear to the world, maybe even on my death bed, that I was never done anything in my life to deserve this treatment. I have always been very strong on family values. I loved my kids and devoted my life to them during my twenty-three year marriage. My son and I sure had some challenges but nothing to ever end our father son relationship. I was always so proud of my daughter and we had the best ever relationship. She knew my marriage was a disaster and encouraged me to leave. She called me in BC and asked me to come down to visit her and I drove through the depths of winter to get to her, but my ex and her new husband hid her away and wouldn't let me see her. I drove back to BC in tears. My biggest regret in my life will be dying without ever knowing why my family abandoned me. It hurts every single day.


Well, there ya go. My most boring year. Happy friggin birthday!





I'm a narcissist?

UPDATE: Recently I was accused of being a narcissist and of "abandoning my children". I want to respond to those attacks.

First, I searched for the definition of a narcissist and this one appeared to be the best -

12 signs of a narcissist

1. Grandiose sense of self

  • Feels superior to others and believes they deserve special treatment - Quite the opposite, in fact, thanks to the rejection of my kids I have most often felt totally worthless. In Mexico after my fiancée dumped me by text message I seriously considered swimming out in the lake far enough that I couldn't make it back. I felt totally useless and that nobody cared. 
  • Often accompanied by fantasies of unlimited success, brilliance, power, beauty, or love - I have done several career tests in my life, one of which was an IQ test and I scored in the top ten percent of people, so I doubt this is a "fantasy" of brilliance. Just a fact. 

2. Excessive need for admiration

  • Must be the center of attention - Although I do consider myself an extrovert I am never the centre of attention. I remember back when I was going through the initiation and was the only niner on the bus dressed like an idiot I was terrified. Yes, I did like the attention we got in the bands but I was never the only one. 
  • Feels slighted, mistreated, depleted, and enraged when ignored - I don't think anyone likes to be ignored, including me.
  • Often monopolizes conversations - No disagreement that I am talkative, but I don't monopolize conversations, in fact, I love to hear other points of view.

3. Superficial and exploitative relationships

  • Bases relationships on surface attributes and not unique qualities of others - looks deceive so although I like to be attracted to someone in a romantic relationship I am definitely more interested in their qualities.
  • Values people only to the extent they are beneficial to themselves - very much the opposite. I have hated being used all my life and I have reached out to help people thousands of times, almost never getting any return benefit for me

4. Need for control

  • Perfectionistic - yes with my website designs because I want them to be the best and not have any common errors. Making things right does not mean perfection. 
  • Becomes upset when things don’t go their way - although I will push to do things the right way I couldn't care less if this is not my way.

5. Lack of empathy

  • Severely limited or totally lacking the ability to care about the emotional needs or experiences of others, even loved ones - absolutely not true. No one cares more than me. 

6. Identity disturbance

  • Sense of self is highly superficial, extremely rigid, often fragile, and easily threatened - no. it takes a lot to get me upset or angry. I've often said threaten my daughter and you will see anger, but most things I take in stride and deal with.
  • Self-stability depends on maintaining the view that one is exceptional - I'm exceptional? Hardly
  • Retreats from or denies realities that challenge this view of self - simple answer. No

7. Difficulty with attachment and dependency

  • Relies on feedback from the environment - no idea what that means
  • Relationships exist only to shore up a positive self-image - friends and romances certainly make me feel better about myself
  • Tends to avoid intimacy; interpersonal interactions are superficial - again, the opposite is true

8. Chronic feelings of emptiness and boredom

  • Feels empty, bored, depressed, or restless when attention and praise are not available - although I have the normal feelings of being bored and, yes, get depressed about being lonely at times, it is not a lack of attention or praise. 

9. Vulnerability to life transitions

  • Difficulty maintaining reality-based personal and professional goals over time - although I am officially "retired", I have never stopped working for a day. If being a hopeless romantic always open to finding that special someone is not reality based then guilty as charged. As for professional goals I have worked every single day in every country and back in Canada designing my websites trying to make extra money. 
  • Feels overwhelmed by compromises required by school, jobs, and relationships - no, always more than willing to compromise. 
  • May have “failure to launch” syndrome when young - not sure what this even means but I never suffered from failures. I saw them as opportunities to learn

10. Lack of responsibility

  • Blames others for their faults - I have never said I am perfect in any way and know that I have faults, but they are my own. 
  • Deflects responsibility onto others, often with those close to them - no one else is responsible for me. 

11. Lack of boundaries

  • Beliefs others think the same as they do - I could write a book on this one as I have yet to ever find anyone who thinks like I do about pretty well anything. 
  • Feels shocked and insulted when told no - I've had more than my fair share of no's but they don't shock or insult me because that would be arrogant. 

12. Fear of rejection

  • Afraid of being wrong or seen as bad or inadequate - many people have proved me wrong about something in my life but I'm never afraid of that. I am strong in my own beliefs and don't feel "bad" or somehow "inadequate".
  • Does not develop trust in the love of others - again as a "hopeless romantic" I have never given up on love despite being hurt many times. When I have found someone to love I never hold back because I've been hurt before. 

So, all in all I do not feel that I am a narcissist, at least not by this definition. A true narcissist is Trump and I would hate to think I am anything like that asshole,

Abandoning my children?

The criticism on this one is hardly worth commenting on because it comes from someone who hasn't got a clue about my history with my kids, but just in case anyone else believes this I will respond.

First, as to my relationship with my kids, my son, Chris came into my life March 27th, 1970. He was pure joy from the start and after he started playing hockey at the tender age of six consumed our lives for the next ten years playing for three different hockey teams and eventually signing with the Streetsville Derbys Junior B team. At a tournament in Thornhill he was also scouted by an agent who said he would offer a scholarship to MIT, worth about forty grand at the time. When he signed with the Derbys they had an agreement with York University where he had to maintain a seventy-five percent average to remain on the team. Unfortunately after two weeks with the Derbys he quit hockey, something he would regret many years later and tried to blame me for letting him quit. I told him that I wasn't the one lacing up the skates and two thousand other kids wanted his spot.

Without writing a book on my relationship with him we certainly had our struggles. After he also quit school and had laid in his room for three weeks, not going to school and not looking for a job, I picked him out and threw him out. My ex had a real problem with that. At some point I had cosigned a loan for him to get a car so he could get a job he told me about. Three months later I got a notice from the finance company that he hadn't made a payment in three months. I tracked him down where he was staying and told him he had two minutes to get his stuff out of the car and give me the keys. I ended up sitting in downtown Toronto for days trying to get someone to take over the lease and finally got someone.

Fast forward to 2009. He sent me a message that he was going to be working in London, Ontario where I was living at the time and he wanted to meet. I was thrilled. He said he would call after work on Thursday, but I sat waiting all night for the call that never came. Same thing happened Friday night. Then he called me Saturday morning and asked me to meet him for lunch so I raced over to where he was working. We had a whole forty-five minutes at Tim's to catch up and the last thing he suggested was meeting his three daughters. Again I was thrilled at that, but after months not hearing from him I called the number he had given me. A girl answered and said he had sold the phone to her and she had no idea how to contact him. He had also blocked me on Messenger after I sent a message asking him what was going on. Since then the only thing I've ever heard about him was that he was living in his car. I've never stopped trying to find him.

Heather was the light of my life. She was born with a cleft lip, according to the doctor because my ex had used aspirin for her fibromyalgia. She went through two operations at Sick Kids. Throughout her formative years we had an excellent father daughter relationship. I was so proud of her in every way. We had a lot of wonderful memories like bike riding around Professor's Lake and going to see Phantom of the Opera at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto. She played soccer so we went to a lot of her games. When my life took a turn after the company I worked for went down I had jumped in the car just to get away but had no idea where I was going. As it turned out I drove to see my parents in BC. Chris and Heather then came out for the most wonderful vacation we had ever had. When it was time for them to fly back Heather broke my heart by telling me to stay. She said she knew my marriage was long over and that she had never seen me happier. She said they would come out on vacation again to see me and because they loved my family out west. I cried for hours but I couldn't stand the thought of leaving her so I drove back to Brampton only to waste a few more years.

Then I got the disaster call of my life. My mother had fifth stage melanoma and was given only a five percent chance of living six months. My parents had moved out west in 1970 and I had hardly seen them over the years since so I knew I had to go and spend whatever time my mother had left with her. I talked to Heather and she agreed I had no other choice. After a short time out west I made the fateful decision to listen to Heather and to be with my mother so we drove down to Brampton and sold whatever my ex didn't take. I remember the tearful day I said goodbye to Heather as though it was yesterday, but I never thought for a moment that it would be the last time I ever saw her.

The following year she called my Dad to tell him she wanted me to come down to her convocation. Later she called to say that it had been delayed until January but she still wanted me to come. I had a very brief chat with her and we agreed I would drive down. It was now the dead of winter so I knew the drive would be perilous and it was. When I got to Brampton she was not at their apartment as agreed. I went through hell trying to find her but then Chris told me that my ex and her new husband hid Heather away and wouldn't let me see her. I hung around for three weeks at Chris' place hoping to get to see Heather but nothing changed and I drove back to BC in tears.

When I got back to BC I wrote Heather a three page letter asking what happened but never got a response. Later I sent her a cheque for Christmas because I didn't know what she wanted, but it was never cashed. Over the years since many friends, mostly girlfriends, have tried in vain to contact Heather but failed. Quite often people assumed that something bad had happened between Heather and I, but I swear nothing ever did. At one point my Dad called her from Yuma and told her now stepbrother to have her call him collect. She never called. When they returned from Yuma and he told me about the call it really upset me because he could have been calling to tell her that I died. It broke my heart that she didn't care enough to call.

One of Chris's daughters, Mackenzie, contacted me on Messenger when I was in Mexico. She was fourteen at the time and really upset that her parents had  not let her make her own decision about me. We had a number of chats and then she told me she was coming to Mexico for a friend's wedding. She said she would let me know where and when. She stopped responding to my messages and then she posted a photo of herself at the wedding in Puerto Villarta. I was so disappointed that she didn't want to meet, but after I asked her in a message she blocked me. Yet another mystery.

Yes, I have another son, Andrew, although I spent most of my life denying I was his father. Yet another book I could write but in more recent years I have tried to establish some kind of relationship with him. Many years ago we did exchange some emails and more recently I asked him on Messenger if it was okay to add his photos to my family page on this site and he agreed. His mother and I did spend some time together briefly, but today she just wants to attack me.

So the idea that I somehow abandoned my kids or grandkids could not be further from the truth. Even now when I am facing this potentially serious medical issue I have felt that my kids and grandkids have a right to know, but nobody will help me to contact them. Andrew's mother went so far as to tell me not to contact him. Sad.


Is the Real Estate market going to collapse?

Back in 1980 when I was a Real Estate agent the average house price was $90,000. Standard commissions were six percent for an exclusive listing and seven percent if the listing was on MLS (Multiple Listing Service), which was exclusive to Realtors. The commission was split between the seller's agent and the buyer's agent. On the average price that would mean $6,300 and  $3,150 to each Realtor. Back in those days most Realtors took fifty percent of the agent's commission, so that left the agent with $1,575. That was before Realtors like RE/MAX offered up to one hundred percent commissions but with what they called "desk fees" that were usually around five hundred dollars a month. These agents also paid for their own advertising. Also back then twenty percent of the agents made eighty percent of the commissions. There were also a lot of part-time agents, although they were never required to disclose that to clients. Most of those agents just focused on getting listings and let full-time agents do all the work.

Fast forward to today and the average selling price is now close to a million dollars. Over the years there have many firms who have tried different selling options, like reduced commissions (one company tried one percent), flat fees and a consulting fee, but most failed, although new firms are still around. The regulations covering Realtors had also been that every agent legally represented the sellers, on the idea that every agent was obligated to get the most for the sellers. That was never the case because any agent for the buyers was always trying to get the best deal for their clients, not for the sellers. Some regulations then changed to allow for buyer's agents, which was simply an acknowledgement of reality. Although commission rates in some markets have modified slightly the average rate is still five to six percent. To have your property on MLS typically used to cost an additional one percent but now there are numerous flat fee Realtors. To have your property on MLS you must still use a licensed broker.

In the GTA, the acceleration in prices has been even more compared to many other areas in Canada, with the average home price increasing by 27.7 per cent year-over-year since 2021 to $1,269,900. Using the same commission structure, but with the more typical five percent now, the total commission on the average selling price is $63,450, still split between the seller agent and buyer agent. $31,725 each. RE/MAX no longer offers a one hundred percent commission plan with desk fees, but they still offer agents the largest commission share, now usually seventy percent. Those agents will earn $22,207.  Not much has changed over the years, so twenty percent of the agents still make eighty percent of the commissions.

There are some very scary things happening with house prices lately -

"An Ottawa home has sold for more than $800,000 above its asking price, a potentially record-breaking purchase. The three-bedroom house was listed for $2.3 million last week. This week, it sold for $3.128 million. One home in Manor Park sold for $260,000 over asking recently. And a home on Sandridge Road in nearby Rockcliffe Park sold for $440,000 over asking after being on the market for less than a week. “As it turned out, it was a Toronto buyer. So $2.35 million for a five-bedroom single family in Rockcliffe Park sounded cheap, because if it was in a comparable neighborhood in Toronto it would be $5 million.”

A three-bedroom house in the west end of Toronto hit the market earlier this month, and in just eight days, it sold for more than three quarters of a million dollars over asking. The detached home was listed with an asking price of $1,399,000, and one very motivated buyer picked it up for a cool $2,165,000.

In a recent case, New Era Real Estate sold a home in Mississauga for $2.4 million – a whole half a million dollars over its listing price of $1,900,000.

Beyond the substantial increase in Real Estate commissions there's the question of the overall housing market in terms of affordability and demand. Again, a historical view.

At the end of WWII the average price of a three bedroom bungalow was about double the average income. For example an electrician I know (a relative) made six thousand dollars a year and paid twelve thousand dollars for his first home, a three bedroom bungalow, just outside Toronto. This also came with a twenty-five year mortgage at five percent. Moving up to that house in 1980, now at forty thousand the average income had increased to just over twenty thousand. Still double. This started to change in 1990 when the average house price rose to about eighty thousand but the average income was only thirty thousand, or about two and a half times. By 2000 the average house price had increased to $165,000 but the average income was now only $45,000, approaching four times, far from double.

Fast forward to today when the average house price in Canada is just above $800,000, and 1.2 million in markets like Toronto and Vancouver. The days of buying a home with one income are long gone so now it's household income, normally two people. The average income is now close to sixty thousand dollars, so the average house price is thirteen times the average household income. Add that to qualify for a CMHC backed mortgage you now need a twenty percent down payment, so that's $160,000. A recent study in Vancouver said that the average amount of time it would take for buyers to save for the down payment would be thirty-five years!

No question that housing is now in a state of crisis. The entire model for housing has always been first-time buyers entering the market with their first home which then allowed other home owners to move up in the market, maybe to a bigger home now that they had a larger family, or to a better location, or to own a home with a suite for parents, or one with a separate apartment to rent out to help with the mortgage payments. Without first-time home buyers this whole system will collapse. What's been driving the dramatic increases in prices, and with all the over asking price sales, has been a combination of low interest rates and low inventories. As rates increase there is an affordability crisis looming and, as happened before in Ontario with what were called zero lot line homes, once home owner's equity is gone many will just stop paying their mortgage payments, save their money and wait for the bank to take over. Banks aren't interested in selling Real Estate and just want to recover as much of their money as possible. Dumping all these properties on the market at foreclosure prices will drastically increase inventories and deflate prices. There's a real danger that Canada could see the same disaster as the collapse in the States in 2008. One property owner I knew personally had his home listed in Lake Tahoe for one point two million but sold it for three hundred and fifty thousand after the collapse. This could happen in Canada if things don't change. IMHO

Is that all there is?

A moment for reflection.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Abortion - A complicated issue

"The abortion debate is the ongoing controversy surrounding the moral, legal, and religious status of induced abortion. In English-speaking countries, the sides involved in the debate are the self-described "pro-choice" and "pro-life" movements. "Pro-choice" emphasizes the right of women to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy. "Pro-life" emphasizes the right of the embryo or fetus to gestate to term and be born. Both terms are considered loaded in mainstream media, where terms such as "abortion rights" or "anti-abortion" are generally preferred. Each movement has, with varying results, sought to influence public opinion and to attain legal support for its position.

For many people, abortion is essentially a morality issue, concerning the commencement of human personhood, the rights of the fetus, and a woman's right over her own body. The debate has become a political and legal issue in some countries with anti-abortion campaigners seeking to enact, maintain and expand anti-abortion laws, while abortion-rights campaigners seek to repeal or ease such laws while expanding access to abortion. Abortion laws vary considerably between jurisdictions, ranging from outright prohibition of the procedure to public funding of abortion. The availability of safe abortion also varies across the world."

The recent birth of Molly has reignited the debate over frozen embryos. When Molly Gibson was born in October of this year, it was 27 years in the making. Her embryo was frozen in October 1992, and stayed that way until February 2020, when Tina and Ben Gibson of Tennessee adopted it. Molly is believed to have set a new record for the longest-frozen embryo to have resulted in a birth, breaking a record set by her older sister, Emma.

There are an estimated one million frozen embryos in the United States alone right now. If you're somebody who believes life begins at conception, you might see a potential tragedy. If you’re somebody who has long been struggling with infertility, you might wish that someone, somewhere, would send one your way. If you’re a clinic or storage facility, you might see a logistical struggle. And if you’re a former patient of IVF to whom one or more of those embryos belong, you might see indecision, an unyielding maybe that you can avoid dealing with for the not insignificant cost of approximately $1500 per year.

The options with leftover embryos are to use it themselves (an option that might now really even be on the table for those scrambling to raise other kids). Donate them to another infertile couple. Allow them to be used for scientific research. Or simply thaw and discard them. This has raised the debate over whether destroying them is abortion. Those that believe that life begins at conception argue that this should be criminalized. In the US the recent appointment of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court has raised concerns among pro-choice advocates because of her previously expressed opinions. 

"Barrett signed newspaper ad in 2006 sponsored by St Joseph County Right to Life, an extreme anti-choice group

Barrett signed newspaper ad that called Roe v Wade ‘barbaric’
Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Washington
Thu 1 Oct 2020 13.45 BST

Amy Coney Barrett publicly supported an organization in 2006 that has said life begins at fertilization. It has also said that the discarding of unused or frozen embryos created in the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process ought to be criminalized, a view that is considered to be extreme even within the anti-abortion movement."

"So, what then? When might we reasonably say that personhood begins?

"A starting point that is far more consistent with the facts of biology is not conception but the emergence of the human brain. We declare persons dead when their brains have lost the capacity to govern the core functions necessary for life—breathing, excretion, and the like. When a fetus has developed a brain that can support its basic biological functions, probably at around six months of life, it can be reasonably argued that personhood has begun.

Those in the personhood movement in the United States have let their animus toward abortion blind them to the facts that have emerged about human embryology over the past fifty years. And scientists, sadly, have been unwilling to correct them. Conception is the start of something, but it is more the start of the possible rather than the actual. It is not until a being emerges that has the traits necessary for individual existence that we can and should say that a person has begun. How law and public policy want to handle that fact is still debatable. But to ask the law to treat embryos as persons from the moment of conception is to head down a path where the facts ought not permit anyone to go."

Beyond the moral, ethical, political, and legal issue about when does life begin, with the answer to that then affecting abortions, for me it is a very personal argument. 

My son, Christopher, was born in 1970. My daughter, Heather, was born in 1977. Both wonderful kids. The loves of my life. Sometime after Heather was born I noticed that my ex-wife was not getting ready as usual to go to work. When I asked what was going on she responded that she was going to Toronto with her mother to Sick Kids Hospital to have an abortion. Needles to say I was shocked because she hadn't said a word to me about being pregnant. My first reaction was to question why she didn't need my agreement before aborting our child? She said it was her decision alone and did not involve me! Admittedly I didn't know the law but I just knew this was wrong. She obviously wasn't giving me any choice in the matter and it was too late to challenge her decision. It was very upsetting to say the least. One thought that I did have was that this was a clear indication that my marriage was over.

After the solarium company went down I just had to get away. I left home with no idea where I was going but when I got to Dryden I realized that I was half way across Canada and could keep going to see my parents. Shortly after my son and daughter came out for a three week vacation. The best time of my life until the day they had to go back to Brampton. Heather told me to stay out west. She said she had never seen me happier and knew that I had tried so hard, but my marriage was over. It broke my heart, I couldn't stand the thought of leaving her so I drove back home. A big mistake. Then in 1991 I got a phone call that changed my life forever. My mother had been diagnosed with fifth stage melanoma and given less than a five percent chance of surviving more than six months. Having been apart for more than twenty years I knew that I had to go to BC to be with her. I took a flight out the next day. Miraculously they caught my mother's cancer before it reached her lymph nodes so she was given more time. Finally after even more stress in my marriage I realized it was time to leave. I had left home a year earlier but I was still paying for everything and my wife wasn't even working. I told her we were done. I also wanted to spend whatever time my mother had left with her. In June of 1993 my parents drove down to Brampton with me. The house was sold and my Dad was going to sell off all my tools and things. The day I left my daughter was one of the toughest days of my life, but the plan was for her to come out and visit me again so I didn't know that it would be the last time I would ever see her again. The following year after talking to her I drove across the country in the dead of winter to see her but my ex and her new husband hid her away from me and wouldn't let me see her. It broke my heart and I cried all the way on the drive home to BC. That was twenty-six years ago and my daughter refused to respond to me despite numerous attempts to contact her. I saw my son briefly back in 2009 and we made plans for me to meet my three granddaughters but that fell apart after three months of waiting and he blocked me on Facebook and sold his phone.

The point in all of that is that I can't help but wonder about that possible third child. Would that son or daughter be the one who loved her father? Would we have had a life together? Would she maybe have gone with me on my travels? Maybe they would even be able to mend my broken relationships with my kids and grandkids. Would I still have a family that I cherished so much? 

Quite obviously it changed my feelings on abortion when it became personal. Before that I agreed to abortion in cases of rape, incest or when there was an danger to the mother. I also agreed with pro-choice that it is a woman's right to control her own body; however, in cases like mine I also believe that it should be a mutual decision between a man and wife. I don't know if I had the right to object before my ex had the abortion or what the result would have been if we had not agreed, particularly given that our marriage was in big trouble at the time. Her killing our unborn child has obviously had brutal consequences for me and raised many other issues had she not gone ahead with the abortion. Still, I live with huge regrets and the unknown.            


Happy Birthday To Me

Well, here I am making it to seventy-one years old.

Considering my life experiences and my health issues it’s a bit of a surprise that I made it this far. I’m becoming more aware of my own mortality given that my Dad made it to eighty-one and my mum made it to eighty-four. I don’t feel like I have a lot of time left and this virus situation sure isn’t making it any better. 

As I’ve done in posts before on my birthday I reflect on my life such as it is. Before writing this post I read some of my earlier birthday posts and it seems like I’m always in some turmoil and not very happy. In a way I wish I had been able to start this website earlier in life. Maybe I would have been able to have some happier thoughts. 

Getting old isn’t great but at least it’s a privilege denied to many so I need to be thankful. I hate that I am alone and I’m still suffering from losing my fiancée in Mexico because she was certainly my true love. If I reflect back to before the breakup it was a time I could not have been happier. I was so thrilled to being able to stay in Mexico, get married to a girl that I adored and live happily ever after.  That sure all fell apart and nearly killed me.

Living back in the transitional home I was in before is a giant step backwards. I think back to all the homes I’ve owned in my life and the many great places I’ve lived in Canada and various countries, some better than others, but all of them better than this place. I’ve been hoping that I will at least manage to get a place of my own but despite being on the emergency housing list it can take a very long time to get something. Even if I find a place of my own it will mean staying in Belleville, the last place I ever wanted to be. 

No shortage of health issues right now. I still haven’t managed to find a doctor and it looks like that might take at least a year. Not great when you are diabetic. The coating on my years old glasses started breaking up back in Mexico and has only gotten worse. Trying to work on my computer fourteen hours or more each day has become very difficult and my eyes are very sore and tired. I did recently go to an optometrist here and my new glasses will be about ten days so that’s progress.

My years old bridge did finally fall out and that has left me with no front teeth. Eating is a real challenge. My photo face mask is now doing double duty because I still had teeth in the photo that’s on the mask. I have been approved under the new Ontario Seniors Dental Plan for all the work I need, so that’s great. It will still be about two months before I get my dentures and have teeth again.

I was first diagnosed with diabetes back in 2004 and I’ve sure had some challenges with it over the years. I collapsed in Ecuador with low blood sugar. I collapsed in Progreso and was rushed to the hospital. When I was on my way back to Canada I collapsed in the airport in Cancun and was rushed to the airport doctor. Nearly missed my flight to Toronto. When I finally got back to Belleville I spent five days in the hospital because my blood sugar was out of control. My sugars have been okay recently and I’m using the new FreeStyle device so I don’t need to prick my finger all the time now. Much better.

My mental health is not so great. If you’ve been following my life you know that I came all too close to ending it all twice. Once when my fiancée dumped me, and once when everything fell apart on me in Mexico. After getting dumped so shockingly I wanted to just swim out in the lake far enough to not make it back. When I lost one of my pensions, was running out of my meds and the landlord from hell put my rent up two thousand pesos a month, something I could not possibly afford, I wanted to just take the sleeping pills and lay down in my bed. The move to Chelem then being forced to come back to Canada have proved to be even worse. 

So it is far from a happy birthday this year. I can only hope that I manage to hang on and that my next birthday will be much brighter.  



Some time ago, pre-virus, I had the most detailed dream about winning 50 million on the LottoMax. Obviously I hoped that after thirty-nine years of playing the same number but not winning a dime my dream would turn out to be a premonition, not just a dream. In my dream not only did I win but I had incredibly detailed things that I did after winning, all of which were based in the realities of my life.

Every time that the LottoMax shows as fifty million I rush to buy a ticket, and some times, tickets. Again tonight is fifty million so I bought my regular, so far useless, number and four more just in case. I thought if I won it would make for an amazing story that I had predicted winning in my dream so I thought that I better record it before winning or no one would believe me, so here goes, again pre-virus.

First was collecting my money. I lived in Belleville and had to go to the lottery office in Toronto so I called a local limo company, told them that I needed to go to Toronto to collect my cheque and that I would pay them as soon as I deposited the money. Off I went the same day. In my interview with the lottery corp I remembered the lady who won many years ago and in the interview she referred to her recently divorced husband and said "sucks to be you". I had the same thoughts when it came to my kids who abandoned me years ago, my daughter, Heather, twenty-seven years ago. Hasn't contacted me since and I have no idea why. I connected briefly with my son, Christopher, back in 2009, but not since. I did think that my five grandchildren hadn't done anything so they would certainly get something, mainly to help with university when they came of age. 

When I came back to Belleville when I went to the bank (BMO) to deposit my big cheque I asked for a money order for a hundred thousand dollars payable to All-Together Housing who have helped me so much over the years. I had spent many hours working in their office on Victoria Street when I lived there so my memories of meeting with Bob Cottrell, the President, were very clear. He was very happy. 

Next I found a corporate jet company near the airport in Toronto and booked a flight to Kelowna for the next day. I arranged the trip with the same limo company because I was going to pay them for the trip to Toronto, along with a generous tip. When I arrived in Kelowna I had booked a penthouse suite at the Delta Grand Hotel on the waterfront.

After checking in I contacted a Facebook friend who I had chatted with offering her a job if I won the lottery and she had agreed. She's a gorgeous blonde so there was more to it than just the job offer. She responded agreeing to meet me at the hotel. We had coffee and I offered her fifty thousand dollars a year if she worked for me, but I made sure that she understood that I meant really full-time. She would have to travel with me everywhere and be my personal assistant. I knew that she was divorced and had kids but they were older so she would need to find care for them when she travelled with me. I even remember that I told her that I expected her to dress in business attire, not jeans and a halter top, because she would be meeting with business people on my behalf and with my friends. 

For my many, many friends that I made in the fourteen years that I lived in the Okanagan I called the local BMO branch and told them that I wanted fifty envelopes each with ten thousand dollars in hundred dollar bills in them. Then I booked one of the large conference rooms at the hotel for the following Saturday night. Somehow I also booked one of my favourite bands, the Foster Martin Band, offering them twenty grand to play my party. Then I did a post on Facebook telling anyone who knew me to contact a new email address about an upcoming party. Then I had my new assistant track down and contact every one of my friends that she could find, get their address and telling them that a limo would be picking them up for the party at the Grand, and that they would get a nice gift when they came. Everyone accepted, but asked what this was about? I told her not to tell them. Just come and they would find out.

My dream got a little weird at this point because I also had her track down some very famous actresses that I liked. First was Teri Hatcher for whom the invite included her teenage daughter, Emerson, offering her ten thousand dollars in addition to paying for her flights plus a week at the hotel for her and her daughter. Next was Sally Field who I always wanted to marry. I knew she was single and hoped for more with her. Next was Melissa Benoist, who plays Super Girl. Then there was Diane Lane, yet another woman I fantasized about marrying. Quite fittingly there were no men invited. Wonder why? 

The night of the party came and everyone was curious as to what was going on. They also wondered why there was a security card standing next to a bunch of envelopers piled on a table beside the stage? With great fanfare my assistant announced my arrival. I'm not real clear on what time of year this all was but I think it was summer. All I know is that I was wearing a new powder blue suit so it must have been summer. The band was on stage behind me and I may have embarrassed them a little when I asked if I could play the drums with them in a song? No answer, although I doubted that I could drum anyway.

After the usual hellos I thanked them for coming and knew they all wondered what this was about. First I introduced my special actress guests, telling them to give them space and not to bug them for autographs, but that they were willing to take photos with them later. I then told them that I had won the fifty million dollar LottoMax and that was what the party was about. But there was more. I called out the name of my first, and best, friend, Wade Silver and asked him to come to the stage. I gave him a hug and one of the envelopes that were beside the stage. I asked him not to open the enveloper until I said so. Then one by one I announced the name of each of my friends and gave them an envelope, again telling them not to open it. When all the envelopes were given out I asked Wade to come back on the stage. I again warned everybody not to open their envelopes for security reasons, but to write their names on the envelopes if the names were not already printed on them and give the envelopes back to the security guard so that they could dance, eat later and enjoy the party. I asked Wade to open his envelope and tell everyone what it was and how much was in the envelope, which he did, to delighted gasps from the crowd. My twisted sense of humour came out when I told the crowd that their envelopes could have much less money or be stuffed with blank sheets of paper, again to gasps but not happy ones. After the laughter subsided I told them that I was kidding and that they all got ten grand. The reason it was in cash was so that they did not have to pay tax on it which they would have if I gave them cheques. The security guard would give them their envelopes when the limos arrived to take them safely home. I also told them that I had booked a number of rooms if they wanted to stay. My assistant had told them to come prepared if they wanted to stay free in the hotel. 

That's pretty well where the dream ended. Since the night of the dream I've added a lot of things I would do now, such as fund the projects in Mexico that I detailed on my website, JustADollar.com.mx. I planned to buy a house in Ajijic, Mexico and one in Kelowna, figuring that I would spend the winters in Mexico. My buddy, Wade, has his marine certification so I planned to get some sort of big party boat, better than the monster one he owned for a time, so we could all party on the lake all summer. I would also try to resurrect my affordable housing project, Heritage Homes, that I had worked so hard on, but that Rich Coleman, the provincial housing Minister at the time, had destroyed. I would invest five million dollars of seed money to encourage the others to invest as they had agreed originally.

I would hopefully also find somewhere to build one of the homes that I designed. I also hoped that the land on the far side of the lake was still available to build the four housing units I had planned back when I was in the Okanagan. One of the units in each was for Wade, Mike and me back when we were all single. The one on the beach was all for vacation rentals. 










Now if only my dreams could come true.