The Last Post, Again

I guess it speaks volumes about my life that this is my third attempted “last post”. My first very dark days were after I was dumped by the love of my life by text message with no explanation, then or since. It came as close to destroying me as I had ever been in my life. I felt totally worthless and saw no future. Hindsight is 20/20, of course, and if I knew then what I know now I wouldn’t have bothered trying to go on. The months since the breakup have only brought more and more pain. 

Around this time last year, believing that it was over for me, I wrote my own eulogy, dumb as that was. I accepted full blame for the mess I found myself in and knew that there sure wouldn’t be anyone at any memorial for me or who would really say anything nice about me. As I said in that original eulogy when someone takes their own life often people around them are left feeling very guilty that they didn’t pay any attention or offer to help before it was too late. There’s also the question about how someone could be so stupid to just give up and take what is often called the “easy way out”. Believe me, there’s nothing easy about this decision. It’s gut-wrenching. I’ve spent days on the verge of tears and fell apart crying uncontrollably many times. You become consumed with that single fact that you will finally be out of all the pain and suffering. Any regrets? Certainly. Hundreds. 

Not that it will matter one iota to me because I’ll be gone, but I do feel the need to explain how I ended up in this mess. Mainly it will be for my family, despite the fact that they have never given a damn about me. My own kids, Chris and Heather, cut me off years ago for reasons I never understood other than their vindictive mother. My daughter was the best thing ever in my life and I was so proud of her, but she cut me off over twenty-four years ago with no explanation. Hurt me every single day since. In explaining myself here, or trying to, the only real reason I could think of was my five grandchildren. With the exception of Mackenzie, who contacted me on Messenger when she was fourteen and was so angry that her Dad had told her I was dead, no one else has ever tried to contact me. I’ve always been very public with this website and I’ve had the same email address for twenty years. Same with Facebook which I joined back in 2004 when it first started. Mackenzie chatted with me several times and then said that she was coming to Mexico for a friend’s wedding last May. She said she would let me know where and when and maybe we could meet. That was a thrill. Then just as suddenly she stopped talking to me, refusing to answer me about her trip. It broke my heart to see her Facebook photos in Puerto Villarta. I have no clue why she cut me off completely.

So I thought what if when my other grand kids are older and somehow they learn that they had a grandfather they didn’t know about they just might want to know about him? Even if this possibility is beyond remote I wanted to be able to share something with them to answer any questions they might have. There’s also my hope that they might learn something from all the mistakes I’ve made and avoid repeating them. I also believe that many lies have been told about me or why would they have cut me off? There just has to be some valid reason, especially for my son and daughter who are long passed being adults who can make their own decisions. Over the years many friends have said that my kids would reconnect with me once they got out from under their mother’s skirt. Never happened. My hosting for this personal website expires at the end of October so everything I’ve ever written will disappear so I’m hoping that someone, anyone, will share this with my family before it’s gone. Yet another total waste of time if it doesn’t. 

So, why is the fat lady singing her lungs out? 

It’s virtually impossible to prioritize the reasons, so I won’t even try. Here, totally randomly then, are the reasons for me to give up:

First, and foremost I guess, is money. Back in Canada before I made the decision to come to Mexico, I was living in a group home in Belleville, Ontario. I had been bounced around their homes in town and was about to wear out my welcome. They had also just put my rent up from $379 a month for just a room to $479, which was totally not affordable on my measly pensions. An apartment would have cost me at least eight hundred a month, plus utilities or at least a grand a month, leaving me no money for food or anything else. This was also unfurnished and I had little else besides my desk, my laptop and my clothes. All totally impossible. That’s when I started looking at Mexico. It’s a very long story as to how I managed to fly to Mexico, but I’ve covered that elsewhere on this site. The fact was that, thanks to the help of my new friend at the time, Francis Dryden, I managed to get a great apartment in La Floresta, for 6,700 pesos, or about three hundred and fifty dollars at the time, everything included. This was a big apartment of my own, not just a room! Good deal!

As I’ve said many times I fell in love with Ajijic the day I arrived. That very first day I gave up on the idea of just spending my six month tourist visa here and I wanted to figure out how to stay. Then, shortly after, I met the love of my life and everything changed. Now the plan was to go back to Canada to apply for my temporal visa, come back, get married and live happily ever after. That plan went in the dumper the day we got back because she dumped me n a simple text message with no explanation. That sent me spiraling down into a very dark place. I had no wish to go on. 

Somehow, mostly thanks to a couple of friends, well, friends back then anyway, Don and Violata, I pulled through and went on. After my landlords put my rent up to ten thousand a month, illegally, I moved to an apartment in Riberas del Pilar, the one soon to prove to be the apartment from hell. 

Back to finances. Back when I decided to give Mexico a try, after disasters in both Panama and Ecuador, I never gave a thought to my pensions other than could I survive on them in Mexico? From my previous experience with Ecuador I knew that I would lose the GIS (Guaranteed Income Supplement) once I was out of the country for six months, but I thought with Mexico I would probably return to Canada before the six months expired. I had also done a ton of research on websites for the area known as Lakeside, found nothing like I had created in both Panama and Ecuador, so I started building AjijicToday. Francis had said that he thought replacing the five hundred dollars from losing the GIS would be easy to replace. I hoped so but nothing could have been further from the truth. In almost two years of very long days working on my websites I had yet to make a dime. A total disaster compared to Panama and Ecuador. 

Although there was a whole lot of confusion about when I would lose the GIS, I knew that coming back to Mexico in April of last year meant that I might lose it in October, but that didn’t happen, thankfully; however, doom was on the horizon. Earlier this year my pensions were suspended, leaving me thirty-three cents in the bank. What followed was a nightmare with a total asshole in the Federal Government, a Victor Sokolov in the CPP Integrity Services, who said that my pensions had been suspended because a letter had been returned from my old address in Belleville and there had been no response to phone calls made to my dead cell phone in Canada either. After agreeing that all my information had been updated to my address in Mexico and my cell number here, and that suspending my pensions had been wrong, he still did nothing to restore my pension payments. He wanted me to send him the the answers to a multi-page questionnaire along with a Travel History Report from the Canada Border Services Agency, something that takes weeks to get. It was only through the valiant efforts of both Melanie at Service Canada and Adrianna at my MP office back in Belleville that I finally got funds released after three weeks of grief.

Not only had I now lost the GIS of about five hundred dollars a month, or a third of my income, but now this Victor idiot was going to go after me to claw back the over payment of the GIS I had received, about three thousand dollars. If I were to return to Canada I would get the GIS again; however, they would garnishee thirty percent of my total pensions until this was paid back, leaving me even less to try to live on. Hopeless!

Living on fifteen hundred dollars, especially lowly Canadian dollars, was hard enough. Now trying to survive on less than a thousand dollars has been impossible. I end up borrowing money. I end up with no food for days on end. I can’t afford my rent of only five thousand pesos. There are days I don’t have bus fare. The stress has become unbearable. How could it get any worse? 

Well, yesterday, right at the worst possible time possible when I am seriously thinking of just giving up, my idiot landlord increase my rent to seven thousand pesos, plus he wants it now! He whines that he has no money to do all the repairs desperately needed unless I pay him right away. This idiot has made my life a living hell since the day I moved in last year in May. No hot water for days on end. No internet, which he lied about in the first place telling me it was great. It’s not. No electricity when the local utility came to shut off our power because the bill hand’t been paid. Numerous times when I was infested with ants and cockroaches. Most recently my apartment floods every time it rains. One of the windows by my bed has been broken for months and it’s not tempered glass so if it falls out it could take my leg off. The bathroom window which is wooden and so warped and damaged by the rain that half of it fell out onto the toilet the other day is also the reason my bathroom floods as well. He has refused to fix any of this until I pay him more rent. 

I reminded him today that under the law here in Mexico the rent is due on the first of each month in accordance with the lease. The lease also states that any notice of eviction, termination by either party or changes, such as the rental amount, must be notified in writing thirty days in advance. He doesn’t care about the law. The last time I had had enough and told him that I would pay my rent into the court, as I am entitled to do, he shut the water and the electricity off on me. He is unquestionably the worst landlord I’ve ever had in my entire life. A total idiot! Now I was worried that he would change the locks on me and leave me on the street. Just adding to my stress.

My health is in equally bad shape. Somehow, maybe thanks to the climate here, I have managed to survive without my critical diabetic medications for more than eight months, although I still have insulin which is also about to run out very soon. Months ago John Kelly, the President of the Canadian Legion here, told me that I could get my medications from Seguro Popular, but after three trips to their office in Chapala the doctor said they couldn’t give me anything but my insulin. Better than nothing but not enough to deal with my diabetes, especially my very painful peripheral neuropathy in my feet.

Out of total desperation I tried to contact my doctor back in Belleville to see if there was any way for them to renew my medications. When I had not heard back from my wonderful nurse, Claudia, I took a chance and called the pharmacy. The pharmacist informed me that my doctor had been charged with some narcotics offense and the clinic had been shutdown. She was most empathetic and agreed to renew my meds for three months until I could find another doctor. My friend, Doral, back in Belleville agreed to pick them up for me and ship them to me. I just asked her to give me the size and weight of the carton so I could figure out what courier to use. Instead she sent them with Canada Post who are located in the pharmacy. The clerk said that I would have them in two weeks, which only shows how little Canada Post knows about the mail system, or rather lack thereof, here in Mexico. The shipment was January 19th. I received it five months later!

Could it get any worse? Oh, yeah! When I opened the small box it was insulin, not my dry meds! Obviously total garbage after sitting somewhere, not refrigerated, for five months. Why she would have picked up insulin instead of my dry meds, then shipped them by mail, destroying it in the process, is beyond me. Doesn’t everyone know that insulin must be kept refrigerated? Guess not. So, after five months of delay and then still not getting my meds I contacted Shoppers Drug Mart and explained the whole situation, asking if my proper meds could still be shipped? They refused despite telling them that it was death sentence for me. They’re in the health industry, professing to care, but they don’t.

Like any diabetic constantly at risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke, even on the right medications, there is also a risk of losing hands or feet to amputation, vision damage including blindness, kidney failure, hearing loss, dental problems with fracturing teeth, infections, slow healing and even Alzheimer’s. Such fun! With your feet it is important that they are inspected regularly for any cracks or dryness and your nails must be cut to avoid fungal infections. Whenever I could afford it, which was all too rarely, Elisa at Doctor George cut my nails and inspected my feet. She also gave me some medication to treat some minor infection. After losing the GIS pension I had not been able to afford to see her so my nails were in terrible shape. I also dropped my mirror and broke it, so I couldn’t even check the bottom of my feet myself.                           

So many things have contributed to my current depression. Some big. Some small. One thing that has surprised me is that I believe, like most people do, that when you are in trouble, either from mental illness or severe depression, all you need to do is ask for help. Turns out that’s not true. I’ve begged for help from everyone. People I thought were friends. Family. Every level of government in Canada, from the Prime Minister’s Office on down, including the Minister responsible for Seniors. The Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Sheer, who is facing an election soon. I’ve begged every politician to restore the GIS for seniors who are just looking for somewhere that they can afford to live. I’ve asked them to increase pensions to at least the poverty level so seniors can live with some dignity. Not a single response from anyone. I went so far as to contact gopublic at the CBC, who didn’t care and wouldn’t pick up the cause. I emailed or tweeted every news organization in Canada trying to tell my story. Not just for me but for others who were also suffering. After watching a story about mental illness on The National on the CBC, about an organization in Ontario and funded by OHIP, called Big White Wall, I registered and sent them an email detailing my desperate situation and begging for help. I got no response. 

This is what you get when you ask for help? What is painfully obvious is that no one cares. You are alone in the world. Period. 

Another huge disappointment is with people I stupidly, naively thought were true friends. I’m not referring to my more than a thousand Facebook “friends” because few of them are friends or even people I know. Facebook just seems to be a case of he who has the most friends wins. Stupid! I did believe though that some of the “friends” I have made in my life, back in Canada, during my twenty-five plus years in Brampton, Ontario, my five years in London, Ontario, my two years in Belleville, Ontario and especially my fourteen years in BC, plus in Panama, in Ecuador, and here in Mexico, were people who actually cared. They would read or listen and offer to help in anyway they could, just like I would as a true friend. Boy, was I wrong! Not a soul has ever made a comment on this personal website in more than ten years. The only thing I ever got from Facebook “friends” was personal attacks telling me to “suck it up”, “get over yourself”, or “stop posting”. So cruel and dangerous at a time when you are so fragile. 

When I first arrived here in Mexico I met so many people and I thought I would soon have as many friends as I had back in BC. About forty at least. I met Francis who had helped me with that first apartment, his lovely wife, Anastasia, their friends, Violeta and Bill, who were the ones who soon got me and my love together, and just so many other wonderful people at the places Francis and Anastasia took me to the very first week I was here. I could not have been more thrilled to have met so many potential friends, if only because I have always been a very social person who loves being with a lot of people. I thought that this was going to be paradise here for sure. 

Well, it seems that just like everything else in my wasted life, that didn’t turn out to be true either. Just like when couples get divorced, people choose sides and you lose the friends you had as a couple. I don’t think that happened with us. It was more because I stopped going to all the places we had gone for months, like Adelita’s, because I just couldn’t face her, plus she married Don Row, a guy who had been my best friend before she dumped me. Seeing them together would have killed me so I just stopped going out. The friends I had before I got involved with her, Bill and Violeta, had their own troubles after Bill got very sick, spent months in hospital and Violeta cared for him. Something terrible happened because she suddenly went on a tirade to me against him swearing to never have anything to do with him anymore. I offered to get together and talk, but she never answered me, in fact, she never spoke to me again. We haven’t seen each other since January of last year and she has ignored my requests to get together to catch up. She was good friends with my former fiancee so I can only think that she was told some lies. 

On a hopefully less depressing topic and mostly if anyone who ever cared for me in any way ever actually reads this, I want to cover how hard I’ve tried to get ahead here and survive. I mentioned earlier that I hadn’t made a dime from my websites and that I have never understood. I’ve built what I believe is the best city portal website that I’ve ever built. There’s so much to offer, both to advertising clients at very affordable rates, and to visitors with tons of free features. I’ve just failed miserably to attract any paying clients or visitors, no matter how hard I’ve tried. It’s a mystery to me. 

Hard as I’ve worked on my websites though it isn’t all I’ve done to try to survive. For decades I’ve come up with business ideas that were eventually launched by others and it seems that I was always ahead of my time. Decades ago, back in Kelowna, BC I put together a group of companies to launch what today we know as the “cloud”, long before its time, but Microsoft had no vision of just what it could be and they squashed it. Ironically my slogan for our concept, called iNetworks, was “access anytime, anywhere and on any device”. Months later, after turning down our proposal, Microsoft launched their plan with the slogan, you guessed it, “access anytime, anywhere and on any device”. Had I had any money at the time I would have sued their ass off. 

At one point in my life, many years ago, I had a hard copy file chock full of ideas, drawings, written proposals, hand-drawn CAD renditions and more. Just one of them was for what I called The Future Shoppe, which was going to be a store featuring all the latest products. I paid a graphic designer to draw up a logo which was basically a light bulb logo showing the future. This was all long before the actual Future Shop started but is now closed. My idea would have been better. Years later I built a website for what I called Google World, featuring all the many apps they could easily create to serve every need, including what I told them to call Office Suite which would replace Microsoft Office. Of course they ignored me and now offer all the apps I proposed.

Speaking of Google I have been trying to connect with anyone in their senior ,management with an idea that would revolutionize the way we all use the digital world. I prepared a detailed proposal on how it would work and that it would make Google millions, if not billions. Despite spending hours of research on both Google Inc and Alphabet, their parent company, I have failed to contact anyone. Like so many companies when they become successful they insulate themselves from the real world and stop listening to the people who made them successful in the first place, believing now that only their own ideas have any merit. Quite obviously my proposal has remained closely guarded until I finally connected with someone who could be trusted to actually do something with it. My decision now is whether to post it publicly on this site so the world will know who came up with it, but I need to believe that anyone will ever read it. 

Going all the way back to when I lived in BC I got involved in developing websites, first with an ancient program called Hot Dog Pro, which was basically HTML coding. I built many sites of my own such as the Okanagan Manufactured Homeowners Association, later the Canadian Manufactured Homeowners Association, to fight the horrible situation with people getting evicted from mobile home parks where they had lived and invested in their homes for decades. I also formed a partnership with Westcorp in Edmonton and Chaparral Homes in Kelowna to build a unique manufactured home park on what was a Land Trust concept. Westcorp had unceremoniously been thrown out of Kelowna after proposing a two hundred and fifty million dollar waterfront project that would have invigorated all of Kelowna. They were willing to develop the infrastructure in exchange for an interest in the development company. Chaparral was willing to provide a model home and pay me a commission on home sales. I needed the involvement of the Westbank Indian Band, CMHC and the provincial government to agree to the Land Trust concept. The housing minister at the time, Rich Coleman, a total idiot, said that he didn’t want to disrupt the development of any planned parks in BC, despite the fact that none were planned. Yet another promising idea failed. 

As much as I really didn’t want to get involved in building websites here in Mexico, mostly because there were now sites like WIX where you could build your own sites, I needed the money so I created a site for myself called the Lakeside Design Group. That’s when I first met Sergio Gonzalez, one of the owners in the group that had taken overt the old Salvador’s restaurant. When I first met with him he said that they were going to call it Spago’s. I suggested that this was going to be a very bad idea because that was a world-wide registered trademark and no doubt they were going to sue. He didn’t listen. They installed a new sign for Spago’s and the next time I saw him he said they were buried with lawyers fighting Spago’s. Certainly they were. What else did they expect? Could you open a burger joint in Lakeside and call it McDonald’s? No way! Only the lawyers get rich. 

That started a search for another name. I liked Clasico and designed several logos for him, but it turned out that there were sixteen Clasico restaurants in Mexico so that was the end of that idea. He then said that they had come up with Scallion, which means “onion”. Not the best association for a restaurant but it was available. He wanted a logo that looked like ribbons and I managed to find a font called ribbons and designed his logo. He said he loved it! There was then the discussion about calling it Scallion or including Ajijic in the name. I suggested that it was kind of insulting to have a sign that included Ajijic as though people were too stupid to know that they were in Ajijic. I lost. They decided to call it Scallion Ajijic Bistro and I registered the domain name. I also suggested registering Scallion Bistro to protect themselves if they opened in other locations because obviously they couldn’t include Ajijic in the name. Eventually he agreed. 

I had found a website theme I thought would be great for them, called Elegantia and Sergio agreed. I met with him and his partner, Erick to discuss designing the site. I offered to build the site at far less than I would normally charge, only because I needed the money. For the first time in my career I also asked for a deposit, only because I was starving. They beat me down but eventually agreed and I got to work. What followed was at least ten times the work I had charged them for. It was a completely new theme for me and a new developer that I had never worked with before. Despite that they proved to be very good with support and even made some requested changes for me. Over far more hours than I had planned in my low price I managed to come up with a very good site, although there was still a lot of information I needed from Sergio to finish the site. That’s when the problems started. 

In my original meeting with Sergio and Erick I had carefully laid out a plan on what would be needed for their site. This included things like their social media links, photographs, specifically photos of their actual food, decision on including a blog, a reservation form, responding to customer comments and so on. They agreed to provide everything. Since then everything has been a total mess. Sergio sent me some twenty photos of food but didn’t tell me what menu items they were. I carefully prepared a return email to him showing a space under each photo that he could show me what menu items they were. That was weeks ago but no response. The photos on the menu are for items I had carefully researched and found comparable photos for, but not his actual food, which could result in huge problems when customers didn’t get what the photos showed. His social media was a disaster! Their Facebook page didn’t even have a photo and their hours were wrong. Someone else did their Facebook page for him and he didn’t have the login information for me. This was even worse because I was going to add Facebook Live for his planned cooking shows. It was the same with his Instagram account. He didn’t have the login information for that either so I couldn’t add all the photos he had. There were many other social media links I wanted to add but failed because he didn’t give me the information. I had created a special home page for the site which included their daily specials, which because he failed to provide me the Spanish version I had designed myself. They have a Sunday special and I had asked for the graphic for it at least ten times, but never gotten it. 

I sent him a detailed email listing some twenty-seven issues that needed to be resolved. Two weeks ago he said he wanted to come over to my place Sunday afternoon to review everything and get it finished. He never showed up or called or let me know what was going on. I was very upset and sent him a message that I would remove my logo from his site and provide the information for someone else to finish the site, stressing that high season would soon be upon us and the site needed to be finished, albeit not by me. He still hasn’t responded. That leaves me very confused and upset because I probably did at least forty thousand pesos of work for a measly five thousand. I also wanted to promote this site to the many other restaurants here to build their sites for them. Now I can’t do that because the site isn’t finished properly which is clearly not my fault.

Then I connected with Patrick O”Heffernan, who has a number of sites relating to what he calls Music Fridays Live. He has a Facebook page, an Instagram page, a YouTube channel and a podcast on BlogTalkRadio and wanted a new website to pull it all together. I admit that we had a tough time getting together and that I failed to follow my normal process to build a website for someone. First I meet with them to learn why exactly do they want a website. Sometimes it is only because they say everyone else has a site which is not a good reason. Once we have agreed on the website they want I go to work. First I research available domain names for them. Once I have found one that they agree on I register the domain name along with other similar names to protect them. I also offer free hosting which means I need to point the website to this, or what’s called the DNS (Domain Named Server). This can take about forty-eight hours to propagate and I can’t work on the site until it does. I then do a lot of research to find a theme for their site. This alone can take hours searching through numerous free sites and premium sites. Eventually I find several to recommend to the client. I then purchase the theme and start building the website for them. 

In this case I found a theme, called OnAir2 which seemed to fit the bill. I was confused by why I found this theme for only nineteen dollars one one site but fifty-nine on another. I thought something must be wrong, but after Patrick liked the theme I recommended that we buy it quickly before they discovered the mistake. What I didn’t notice and clearly should have was that this was the HTML version, not the WordPress version that we needed. Not only did Patrick not agree to let me handle the domain registration but he also setup an account with Envato and bought the theme, the wrong theme, himself. He also did not understand what adding the DNS records was all about so I could not start working on his site. Eventually everything got sorted out and his new site, MusicSinFronteras.com was live. Now there’s another problem because I can’t afford to renew my hosting so I have asked him to get his own account, preferably with my hosting company, so his site content can be moved. I’m still waiting. 

Just when I thought that my life could not get any worse, it has. Stay tuned.   

 

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