As I reach the twilight of my life

As we grow up we take advice from friends and family, mostly our parents. It’s a little late to realize that my parents really didn’t talk to me or share their life lessons to help me to avoid the mistakes I’ve made. Now that I’ve lost both of them I realize that they were too immersed in living their lives trying to survive and didn’t focus on teaching us anything. There were no talks around the kitchen table about life in general or decisions that I had made or what my plan was for my life. We all lived in the moment and didn’t have any real vision for the future.

The “talk” came much too late in life and it was an emotional regret. My Dad decided it was time to ask me where my life was going. It started with a pretty devastating summary of where I was, with no money for the future, no home, no special person in my life and on and on. He pulled up every mistake he felt I had made in my life. It quickly turned into a three hour shouting match, mostly because of the comparison to my brother. They felt he was far more successful than me because he was married, owned a daycare and import business and traveled the world to buy inventory for his business. What they didn’t know was all the dirt in his life. He treated his daycare employees with contempt, taking money out of the business at will and leaving no money for payroll. He wouldn’t spend a nickel on anything to improve the daycare. When he was overseas and his mortgage on the daycare was coming due he called me for help. Every time he got into trouble with the daycare he called me to bail him out.

The history of how he got the daycare, which my Dad felt was such a smart move, would never have happened if it weren’t for me. His girlfriend in Revelstoke had finally got fed up with his smoking weed around her young child that she threw him out. He showed up at my door in Westbank, sobbing that he had lost everything. They had been working together on a mobile home park in Revelstoke and he had put months in to improve the park. Although they were not married, they had lived together for seven years, so he had some right to share in the mobile home park. I started questioning him about how they had handled the financing on the park and he was clueless. He had never even written a cheque and didn’t know anything about the business as Joanne had dealt with everything. I asked if he had any record of all the hours he had put in. He had nothing. I asked if they had drawn up any agreement about the park. He had none. He had even received an inheritance from our aunt, thirteen thousand dollars, and I asked what he had done with the money. He had just given Joanne the money and he had no record of it. He was in up the creek without a paddle.

Knowing that Joanne’s father was a ruthless businessman, coupled with the fact he would not want to see Kevin get anything, I knew he would take steps to transfer the ownership of the park to him so that Kevin couldn’t get his hands on it. I contacted a lawyer immediately and she called a judge in Revelstoke and got an injunction to stop any transfer of ownership of the park. I then spent hours with him going over his contribution to Joanne and the park. After much haggling back and forth, which only happened because we had the injunction and they had no choice but to negotiate, Kevin ended up getting a cheque for a whopping one hundred and thirteen thousand dollars. His reaction? Never thanked me one second and complained about what the lawyer charged him.

He then looked around for something to invest his money in and asked for my help. Although he was a registered nurse he had been caught trying to smuggle cocaine into Canada. He had swallowed bags of it and he called me from the airport saying they were holding him until it came out. Another long story, but he was going to do at least ten years of hard time. I got him a wonderful lawyer who ended up getting him only a six month sentence in Milton. Again, all he did was complain about the bill from the lawyer and never thanked me for saving his ass. With the conviction his life as a nurse was over.

He found the daycare for sale and felt that as a nurse this would be something he could do. When we put in an offer, again, with my Realtor, he couldn’t get financing because his credit record was a mess. I had also warned him that with a criminal record he might have trouble getting his license for the daycare. The only way he got his financing was assuming a first mortgage from the bank and I arranged a private second mortgage, both of which I had to sign for as a guarantor. After the closing date I went in for several days going over the books and setting things up properly. He never spent a minute in the daycare. The old tired house needed a lot of work to be able to get the license, so my girlfriend at the time, Tracy and I spent six months getting the daycare setup properly and running the way it should. Tracy ended up working their looking after the staff and she was amazing.

Before we had started working at the daycare Kevin said that his import business was taking all his time and he wanted to sell me the daycare. That was most of the reason that I worked there with no pay. I drew up an agreement of Purchase and Sale and submitted it to him. He was leaving the country, so I pushed him to sign the agreement before he left. His answer was to call Tracy and offer her a deal to buy the daycare, cutting me out of it altogether. I was furious. Before he left the country he took six thousand dollars out of the daycare, leaving no money to pay the staff. I did my best to collect as much money as I could, but I could not make payroll. On Monday morning, without notice, I had to put up a sign that the daycare was closed, leaving parents with no care for their children. I stood at the door for hours as parents arrived and they were obviously furious and took it out on me. So much for his “successful” daycare.

His marriage? Well, believe it or not, on one of his many trips overseas he met a young girl and got her pregnant. He actually asked Susan if he could bring them to Canada and is she would look after the baby? Talk about clueless! In a flash Susan closed all their bank accounts and froze the assets of their import business. She fire-saled all the inventory out of their store and closed it down, leaving my brother with nothing. Naturally he phoned me to bail him out. He had got involved with some shady land deal in Thailand and needed ten thousand dollars or he said they would kill him. Even though my mother hadn't died, so he was not entitled to any inheritance, I sent him the money, much against my feelings about it. His reaction was to get my sister to argue with me that he should have got more.

It was the last time I had any dealings with him and today I don't know whether he is alive or dead and, frankly, don't care. He has used me ever since he was a teenager and I always come out the worst of it, so good riddens.