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.


The year in review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My varied work life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SO tired of getting hacked

A few months ago my BMO bank account was hacked for $200 by "SONY". I don't even own a Play Station. I reported it to the bank, had to go down to the branch to sign the paperwork, get a new bank card and then update all my legitimate accounts like Amazon, Google, Netflix and so on. Shortly after this I was hacked for $158.19 for "AppleTV". I don't own anything Apple, let alone a TV app. Off I go to the bank again, sign the paperwork, get another new bank card, update my accounts and wait three weeks to get my money back. Not two month later I get hacked again for the exact same amount and same "vendor". This time my bank gives me back my money right away knowing it is fraudulent. Then I discover a fraudulent payment of $59.99 each month for three months by some company I've never heard of. I go to what appears to be their website and the first thing I see is a scam alert! Again I go through the same process getting my new card and updating my accounts. Getting very frustrated that my bank appears to be useless in stopping this fraud.

Today I discover that my funds on hold include $343 from some company called, again who I have never heard of. I go to their website and it just shows an error. I email them immediately advising that I have reported this transaction to my bank as fraud. Naturally I haven't heard anything back from them. My bank won't do anything to release the funds until I go through the same reporting process I've now done over and over. As a poor pensioner this amount means I won't be able to buy food and I'll starve! Does my bank of some forty years care? No! My bank manager even suggested that this is somehow my fault by being loose with my banking information which could not be further from the truth. I am very cautious with who I give my banking info to and only deal with companies I've dealt with for many years, like Amazon, Google and Netflix, none of whom I've ever had a single problem with.

UPDATE: The next day my account was charged $315.76 by this SparklingPureProducts, leaving me with no money for food. I had received at least six "tracking" emails telling me they had shipped the product. I replied to every single one of them telling them I had not ordered any product and to refund my money immediately or I would report them for fraud. No response. I checked out their supposed website and discovered it did not exist, so I found their registrar and reported the fraud to them. I then managed to track down who supported their toll-free number and found a company called Twillio, so I also reported the fraud to them. For the sixth time this year I had to go to the branch, sign all the paperwork, get yet another debit card and update my online accounts. The manager did show a little compassion by giving me a hundred dollars for food. Naturally she said this would be reversed if and when I got my money back from the scammer.

I then got a call from a Maria at whoever SparklingPureProducts was and she left a message apologizing for any misunderstanding but insisting that I had ordered products from them; however, she was going to issue a refund for thirty-five percent of the cost as a goodwill gesture. I also got my first email response offering the same thing. Once again I refused and demanded my money back and I told her I had reported the fraud to my bank. She called again and this time I spoke to her. Her big mistake was asking me how I was doing? She got an earful. I told her their website did not exist. She said it was down for maintenance. BS! I told her I found their toll-free support company and they were doing an investigation. I told her I contacted their website registrar and reported the fraud to them. I told her they were the worst company I had ever dealt with. By this point she might have been close to tears if she really cared but she did offer to issue a refund for the balance of the charge. She also said that I could keep the product when it arrived but I said I didn't want anything for nothing and I would either refuse it or return it. I found it stuffed in my mailbox a few days later.

As much as this gave me far too much stress there is another interesting part of the story, and that is the bank.

Back when I was hacked for the three payment totalling $179.97 the branch refunded the charges after the investigation. Shortly after I got the same refund again, I assume by their fraud department. I reported the duplication to the branch and they said it would be reversed. After I got the refunds from SparklingPureProducts I emailed my bank manager and said she could debit the hundred dollars she gave me. Yesterday when I checked my account there was another refund for $315.76 from the fraud I had reported, this despite telling the bank that the company had issued refunds not quite totalling the original charge.

So as of today they have not charged back the $179.97, the $100, or the $315.76, for a total of $595.73. Even after some forty years with BMO I have been thinking about closing my accounts because of all this grief. I have tried to get an account with a digital bank, Simplii, but they are impossible to deal with. Almost worse than BMO. If I were not such an honest person closing my account at BMO and being up almost six hundred dollars is tempting. I figure it could be consideration for the many, many hours I've spent trying to get things sorted out with BMO.

Too late for a career change?

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

Extraverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Personality Types: ENFP

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

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

Entrepreneur Type:

Business Leader

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

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

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

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

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

Necessary Steps for Success in Your Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Entrepreneur Type:

Business Leader of Technology

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

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

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

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

Necessary Steps for Success in Your Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On getting older

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Family - A Matter of Record

Over the last far too many years friends have known how my family has has fallen apart, mostly for reasons I will never understand despite begging for answers. With the current virus situation and me being at great risk as a senior, seventy-one years old, a diabetic and a smoker, I could go at any time, so I thought it best to do a post about my family, mess that it is. I've maintained this personal website for some fifteen years but I have no clue if anyone in my family ever reads anything or cares. As stupid a`s it may be I'd like to think that if something happens to me then someone in my family will want to know about me. When my granddaughter, Mackenzie, first contacted me years ago she was most upset that her parents hadn't told her about me. She said that the decision to contact me was hers, not theirs. That being said shortly after we were planning to meet when she came to a friend's wedding in Puerto Villarta she suddenly joined the family members who had cut me off and never spoke to me again.

So, let me start with my birth family. My Dad was Donald Lloyd Jones, nicknamed Jimmy to everyone except his own family, originally from Innisfail, Alberta. My mother was Alice Joyce Jones, known as Joy, maiden name Hardy from Toronto, Ontario. My Dad's family all lived out West so I knew very little about them. I did meet my grandfather one time, but I don't even remember his name. My grandmother on my Dad's side died of diabetes at a very young age, something like fifty-six. My grandmother on my mother's side was Jenny Hardy and she lived with us for several years on the farm in Streetsville. She died at eighty-six. My mother's sister, Ann, live in Georgetown, Ontario so she spent a fair bit of time with both my birth family and later with my own. Sad to say I don't remember when we lost her but it was shortly after she was planning to come out West to visit my mother. After I moved out west to be with my mother I did meet some of my Dad's five brothers. My Uncle Earl lived in Kelowna so we saw him a fair amount. I also met his brother Roy who spent the winters with my folks in Yuma but maybe saw him once in Westbank. He died in Yuma and my father got his Honda Accord and the fifth wheel they lived in which Roy owned. My mother had two brothers, Uncle Cliff and Uncle Frank. Uncle Cliff was a real card and always fun to be with. He played the piano and always put on a show. His daughter, Joan, is the only member of my family who still talks to me. Every Christmas the family met at Uncle Frank and Aunt Daisy's place in Toronto. That would have been when I was in my early teens. Christmas was also the time that I learned all the cousins I had, most of which I barely knew. Frank and Daisy had three kids, Bobby, Donna and I forget the older boy's name. Probably like many families there were all kinds of kids who weren't actually blood related.

I had one sister, Wendy Jean, and one brother, Kevin James. My sister was seven years younger than me and my brother was younger than her, although I can't remember how much younger. I've covered what happened with both of them in another detailed post so I won't repeat it all here. Let's just say that I have nothing to do with either one of them for very good reason. My sister was married to Ron Kupser and they had two kids, Krystal and Ryan. Krystal was a real sweetheart and we always got along. The last time I had any contact with her was after her mother killed my mother and I couldn't even go to her memorial because I wanted to kill my sister for what she had done. Krystal hasn't made any attempt to contact me so I guess she's never forgiven me. Ryan was a real piece of work and drove his parents nuts. He had a party at their house when they were away and destroyed their kitchen. He ran up a five thousand dollar phone bill talking to some girl in Japan. I'm pretty sure that he spent some time in jail as well. He did stop by when I was renovated the place in Westbank. It was not great because he spent the time telling me that his mother thought that my caring for my mother for a year and a half was nothing. She soon learned exactly how tough it was when she pulled her out of the long term care place it had taken me eight months to get her in. She couldn't handle it.

So on to my family. I met who was to become my wife, Janice. Her father was Ray, a gentle and nice man who unfortunately suffered a heart attack and died at only fifty years old. We always got along. Her mother was Marion who was a pretty quiet soul herself. Janice had two brothers, Gord and Douglas. Gord married someone whose name I've forgotten and they had a daughter. Doug married Karen and they had two kids, I believe, one a son named Raymond in honor of his grandfather and a daughter, Candice. Gord had a daughter whose name I believe was Michelle. Gord had a massive brain aneurysm at something like forty-six years old and died. Doug apparently had major drug problems later in life and died. Ray and Marion looked after both our kids when they were babies up until they went to preschool. My fondest memory of my father-in-law was after our daughter, Heather, had had her surgery to repair her cleft lip at Sick Kid's Hospital in Toronto, and she fell at their place. He called me in an obvious panic and when I got there he had Heather in his arms. As soon as she saw me she broke out in a big smile which basically meant that her face separated. Off we went back down to Sick Kid's for yet another operation. My mother-in-law was basically involved in my ultimate decision to leave my marriage. First she had offered to pay for my son, Chris, to go on a European hockey tournament trip that he had been invited to join. After he had lied to me and not gone to school in Toronto for three weeks I told him the trip was off. I still remember being on the phone on the lower level of our then townhouse arguing with my ex and my mother-in-law about him not going. I had to put my foot down and he didn't go. Then to my considerable shock my ex said she and her mother were going to a hospital in Toronto to have an abortion. She hadn't even told me she was pregnant, let alone asked me about whether to have the child or not. I was furious and knew that my marriage was over. To this day, especially with the things I am going to tell you, I have always wondered if this was the kid who would be close to me.

My son, Christopher Michael, was born March 27th, 1970 on a very stormy night. From the start, at about age five, he showed real hockey talent. For the next ten years he played on rep teams all seasons. He also played in a summer league for several years. At a tournament in Thornhill I was approached by a scout who first told me that it was illegal for him to talk to Chris because he was too young to be drafted. He did say that based on what he had seen he was going to offer Chris a five year scholarship at MIT, something back then was probably worth about fifty grand. When Chris was ready to play Junior B we took him t the tryouts for the Streetsville Derbys where there were more than three hundred kids trying out. Having watched my son for ten years I knew that he played best when they had to come from behind. I spoke to the coach, gave him my assurances that Chris would not sign with anyone else, but said not to sign Chris until the last night of tryouts. Despite agreeing to that Chris came out of the dressing room that first night, thrilled that he had been signed. I knew it was the beginning of the end. Not two weeks later he told me he wanted to quit paying hockey. He had lost his drive. Many years later he asked me why I "let" him quit hockey? He obviously gave up the scholarship and was making minimum wage at a local warehouse, for which he blamed me. I said I couldn't put the skates on. He had to maintain a seventy-five percent average to qualify for York University which for him would have been a stretch. He was never an A student. Without that burning desire to excel playing hockey he would never have made the NHL, something he was more than qualified to do. I reminded him the thousands of dollars we had spent travelling around the country for ten years for his hockey and that he was supposed to repay us when he signed his NHL contract. For whatever reason we fell apart for many years until he contacted me in London, Ontario saying he was going to be working in London and wanted to meet. That turned into a total disaster and we only spent forty-five minutes together at a Tim's. Shortly after when he had agreed for me to meet his three daughters, my grandkids, there was nothing for three months. I called him but someone else answered his phone saying they had bought it off him. Then he blocked me on Facebook and we haven't talked since.

My daughter, Heather Tyrell, was the golden child. She made me so proud. She had no interest in hockey but she did play soccer and she was quite good at it. Compared to hockey I was not really much of a soccer fan but I did enjoy watching her play. I have so many fond memories of her. We had the best father daughter relationship. Unlike her brother I had never had a moment of trouble disciplining her, other than when she spent the night at her friend's place and got drunk. She ended up in hospital with alcohol poisoning and learned her lesson. We drove home in silence and when she aske if I was going to say anything to her I asked if I needed to? She said no. I did slap her face once when she called her mother a bitch but that was as far as discipline went with her. When she and Chris came out west for three weeks if was the best time of our lives. Sadly, when they were ready to leave she broke my heart by telling me to stay out west. She said she had never seen me happier. She knew my marriage was over. She would come and visit me again. It broke my heart that my twelve year old daughter wanted to be apart from me. I cried for three hours. When my mother was diagnosed with fifth stage melanoma and given six months to live and I moved out west to be with her it was the hardest moment of my life when I left Heather. Back then I did believe that she would come out to visit me though. Had I known that she would never talk to me again for what has now been twenty-seven years, I don't know if I would have moved. To this day I don't know why she cut me off. Over these many years many friends, often girlfriends, tried to get her to talk to me again, but they all failed. It breaks my heart every single day.

Although technically not "family" I do have another blood related son. Andrew. His mother, Pat, and I got involved when I was in the house band at the old Club Bluenote in Toronto. Over the years I've tried to reconnect with him but he has chosen not to be involved with me.

Moving again

For most of my adult life the one consistent factor has been moving. From the many houses we bought, renovated and sold during my married life of twenty-three years to my first major move out West in 1993 to be with my then dying mother there was no shortage of moves. During my fourteen years in the Okanagan I moved several times, most often moving in with various girlfriends and before and after caring for my mother. My last move in BC was to the disaster that was my renovation in Princess which I have detailed in another post. When everything fell apart on me and my doctor said I had to get away from all the stress or I would have a heart attack this was the start of my foreign moves. 

After months of research my first international move was to Boquete, Panama. Back then it was a combination of good weather, lower cost of living, doing something where I could make money, and finding somewhere in the mountains maybe as beautiful as the Okanagan. Boquete was a mixture of good and bad, mostly bad after the horrible renovation of Vista Grande which left me penniless and I was forced to return to Canada and had a roof over my head thanks to my cousin in Toronto. After wearing out my welcome at her place I followed a lady I had met and fallen in love with to London, Ontario. That quickly fell apart on me and I lived everywhere from my car to several homeless shelters, finally ending up in my own apartment on Hale where I lived for several years. As I approached retirement age I again searched for somewhere warmer and where I could continue to work to make extra money. 

This time, again after much research, I went to Cotacachi, Ecuador. This move started off better than Boquete, Panama but just as quickly turned into a disaster. That was mostly because I got screwed by my own government. Despite assurances before I left Canada that my GIS pension would be deposited it wasn't, leaving me more and more desperate for six months. By the time it finally came through I was already booked to come back to Canada, this time to Belleville. At the time I had no idea how much Belleville was going to be part of my future. After nearly freezing to death in Frankford and having a breakdown at the Salvation Army in Belleville I ended up in the first of what would be several transitional houses in Belleville, the first being on Murney. From there I moved back and forth between Forin and Victoria, now part of All-Together Housing.

As my one year tenancy was about to expire plus my room rent had gone up a hundred dollars I again started looking for somewhere to go, again warmer and escape the Canadian winter, lower cost of living and where I could work to make some extra money. This time I knew that my GIS pension would end after six months out of the country so I had to find a way to replace this income. I thought I did. Before going I had connected with a guy in Ajijic, the place I was going, and asked about the city portal sites I had built. He said there was nothing there like that and I would have no problem earning an extra five hundred a month to replace my lost pension. That proved to be so wrong. 

Although Ajijic turned out to be my favorite place, far better than Panama or Ecuador, things soon fell apart on me again. At one point the government suspended all my pensions, leaving me thirty-three cents in the bank for three weeks. After that my landlord, the landlord from hell, put my rent up two thousand pesos (about a hundred and twenty dollars) and wanted it paid in advance. This led to the worst decision I ever made when I moved to Chelem in the Yucatan Peninsula when I was offered a month's free rent. Just made a bad situation all the worse and again I was forced to come back to Canada.

After nearly not surviving the flights back the room I thought I had available with All-Together Housing was not available after all. I ended up in emergency housing who put me in a motel in Trenton. The next few days were just horrible, shunting me from various Comfort Inns to the reserve and finally to the CMHA who insisted I go to the hospital first because my sugars were off the charts. After five days in hospital I was moved back into a different room at Murney. Within a week I was then moved to Dunbar where I stayed until moving back to Forin in April of last year. I was then on the Emergency Housing list for my own place. 

In September of last year I was told that a place was available on Turnbull but because of the virus situation I couldn't get anything I needed for my own place, from a bed to all the things I needed. These would normally be available from St. Vincent de Paul or the Salvation Army, but they were both shutdown because of the pandemic. After some back and forth with Housing it was agreed that I could not move; however, I would still not lose my position on the housing list. Then in January I was advised that an apartment at 50 Rollins Drive would be available March 15th. Shortly after I visited the apartment and it looked fine. It would be my first time living in what was a senior's complex and it was disappointing that all the normal activities were all shutdown because of the virus. The apartment was small but at least it would finally be my own place. Progress!

After all the troubles at Forin I was relieved to get out of there, but all hope of ever moving somewhere warmer and with that spirit of adventure that I had experienced so many times before was all gone. Not only was I going to be stuck in Belleville, the last place in the world I ever thought I would live, but I would be facing another Canadian winter, something I thought I had left behind. Belleville is the least scenic place I've ever lived since going to BC, but the virus makes it all the worse. When I lived here before I had friends who took me everywhere from Kingston on summer weekends, to various provincial parks, to local festivals like the Elvis Festival in Tweed, to the Belleville Waterfront Festival, to dancing every week in Belleville and Trenton and simple day trips. Since the virus hit I've done absolutely nothing other than work at home and the occasional shopping trip. Total boredom! I can only hope that things get better post virus. As a hopeless romantic I will never give up on meeting someone to share my life. I am also planning to join the YMCA across the road to quit smoking and get in better shape. I also have my bike that I have yet to ride and I'm now close to the nice paths along the lake.  

For well over twenty years I've always hoped that things got better. Moving to BC gave me the best fourteen years of my life. Even though Panama and Ecuador both ended in turmoil there were some good parts. Mexico was the one place I thought I would live out the rest of my life in, especially when I met the love of my life and was going to get married. Getting dumped by text message came far too close to ending it all for me and I'm lucky I survived. For now I have to accept where I am and focus on some way to earn enough money to go back to Mexico. I refuse to give up on my dreams.   



Gallery - Messenger Women

For some unknown reason, maybe call it just good luck, for the last few months I have been friended by numerous twenty something girls on Facebook and they all share some very nice photos, some of which you would call “private”. I end up chatting with some of them, many for hours at a time. The first thing I do in our chats is share my photo, which always leads to the question of how old I am. I respond with old as dirt and when they ask again I tell them to guess. It’s good for my ego that not one of them has guessed over mid-fifties and they are usually shocked when I tell them I’m seventy-one. Of course some of them chat for a while and then ask me for gift cards, which I won’t do, both as a matter of principle and because I can’t afford it. The result is that I lose some of them because all they are just looking for is money. A few ask for money to send me naked photos, but I won’t do that either.