Tag Archives: Friends

On losing touch with friends

During my life I’ve been very lucky to have made a number of friends. Because I’ve moved around a lot, from Toronto, Ontario to Streetsville, Ontario, to Brampton, Ontario to Kelowna, BC to Boquete, Panama, to Toronto, Ontario to London, Ontario to Cotacachi, Ecuador and finally to Belleville, Ontario I don’t have any lifelong friends, much as I wish I did. I still remember many of the friends I had as a kid and I often wonder what they’re up to all these years later.

Good friends are hard to find. One of those was one I met who worked for me decades ago. Our friendship was way passed boss – worker and we treasured each other on so many levels. I got a job offer and moved on and we lost touch with each other. I searched for her many times but I was using the wrong last name, her married name at the time. Then decades later out of the blue I get a message from her on Facebook and I was thrilled. She was now living in Saskatchewan, married again. After a couple of posts back and forth she asked me to call her. We spent hours just catching up on all the years we had been apart and reliving some of the great memories we shared together. The way we talked on the phone was like not a day had passed.

Around this time I was considering moving to Ecuador. My previous experience with Panama had certainly not been good and I wasn’t sure I even wanted to try again. I had followed a girl to London from Toronto and that had gone badly but I was still in London, the last place I ever thought I would live, almost five years later. I thought there just had to be more to life than this. She agreed, poetically stating that I was basically molding in London, waiting for a miracle to happen and my kids would reconnect with me after twenty years. She made two excellent points. One, I could die waiting and had no reason to think that I wouldn’t and, two, if I didn’t go to Ecuador wouldn’t I live to regret that? I agreed that I would, so off I went, but not after hours and hours of talking to her about it. I don’t know to this day if I would have had the courage to move on my own without her sage advice.

Well, if you follow me at all you know that Ecuador turned into a disaster, mostly because of things I could not control, such as the falling Canadian dollar. At one point I was getting really desperate financially and pretty depressed about how bad things were going. Naturally I reconnected with her and at first she felt bad that she had encouraged me to move to Ecuador, but I reassured her that it had nothing to do with her. Neither of us could have foreseen the things that happened. Her advice to go was right in the first place and nothing had changed. Not only did she reassure me that I would survive but she also sent me two hundred dollars that saved my butt, money I did not ask for and I doubted she could afford.

When it looked like I had no choice but to return to Canada I had no clue where I was going to go or how I was going to live. I only had two of my pensions because one had been cutoff after I was out of the country more than six months. I figured I would be homeless and waiting for winter to arrive. She said her son had a place that he was renovating north of Belleville and suggested that I might be able to help him given my years of experience. She made no promises but she put me in touch with her son. Not only did he agree to let me live in the house rent free but he also booked me on the VIA train from Toronto to Belleville in the VIP car using his points. I was also pretty well dead broke when I came back so he sent me two hundred dollars, again not asked for. When I arrived at the house he had put in a fridge and stove, washer and dryer, small appliances and stocked the place with food. This was all done for the sole reason that his mother said we were good friends.

Fast forward a coupe of months and there were some problems at the house, like no heat and I froze. Her son had asked me to move out and I was lost with nowhere to go. My fiancee in Ecuador had also just ended our relationship so I wasn’t going back to Ecuador. It was a dark time so I sent her a lengthy email pleading for more time at her son’s place and hoping that we could chat again because I again needed her advice on what to do. She didn’t answer me. I saw her on Facebook and asked if she was angry with me for some reason. When she didn’t even respond I knew she was really angry with me.

After I sent her the last of the money I owed her a year ago she sent me back a short response thanking me for the money. That was it. I figured something was up but didn’t want to press. Then when I hadn’t heard a word from her for months I sent her a long email explaining what I was thinking about with moving to Mexico. I asked for her valued opinion, again hoping that we could talk. A month later I asked if there was something I should know because I found it strange that she had not responded. I got a very terse email saying that she had a busy life and couldn’t just “drop everything”  to answer my email. I cried when I read that. I knew that I had lost the very best friend I had ever had and it broke my heart. I never felt so alone in my life. I really miss her.

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The second loss was a new friend, certainly nothing comparable to her. When I moved into the group home here in Belleville one of the tenants was a jovial guy and we kind of hit it off. There was never a topic that we couldn’t have a lively discussion about, but we basically kept to ourselves at the time. I think it was asking him if I could pay him to take me food shopping that started more of a friendship. Before long we were going to movies together, most of which we agreed upon after seeing the movie. We began using our two for one coupons to eat out at places like Harvey’s. He also liked to wander around shopping at the discount stores like Dollarama so we did that a lot. We started going to some of the provincial parks on the weekends to enjoy the warm weather. At Christmas we went to several of the events at the local churches.

Back in October, I believe, he moved into another unit here at the house and took on the role of facilitator. For some unknown reason he suddenly began throwing his weight around, posting nasty notes about things he was unhappy about. Back when I met him he was working at a local call centre, strangely enough the same company I had worked for in London, so we swapped a lot of war stories. Then he suddenly stopped going to work late last year. After several months he told me that he was on leave. At Christmas he said that he was going back to work in January, but that didn’t happen.

Around this time we were both looking at other places for when our time here was up. I suggested to him that we get a place together, preferably a house and that I wanted to winter in Mexico so he could rent my room to a student while I was gone. After much discussion he said that he was “95%” on the idea. I started looking at places and found one that I setup an appointment with on the following Sunday after confirming it with him.

The turning point in our relationship was a night we went to Harvey’s intending to go to see La La Land. His car broke down at Harvey’s so we never got to see the movie. Then he basically disappeared. His place was in darkness. The car was gone. No one knew where he was. After what had happened with John, a new tenant who left for the weekend and didn’t come back because he was killed in a car accident, we started to worry about him. I started sending him text message asking if he was okay but he didn’t respond, which made me even more concerned. I asked if the appointment to view the house on Sunday was still on and got a snarky response about my “attitude”. When no one knew where he was Sunday morning I texted him again and he just said to cancel the appointment if I wanted to. Again, no car so I don’t know how we were supposed to get there anyway.

A few more days pass with no word from him so now we wonder what to do if something happens at the house. I had a number for the President but I was told it was only for text messages. We have had a number of issues with burst pipes so I didn’t think texting was any good. I sent an email to the President expressing concern that no one knew where this guy was and asking what we were to do if there was an emergency. The next thing I know he comes over to the house and gets him out of the shower. I didn’t expect that reaction.

That night all hell broke loose. I was cooking my dinner when he came in and started screaming at me about the number to call. He said it was none of our business where his car was or what was going on. It was the most ignorant I have ever been treated in my whole life.  One of the other tenants was close by and he said he couldn’t believe the reaction for only being concerned that he was okay. That was the end of any relationship we had or might have had.

A Facebook excercise

No question that Facebook has changed our lives, mostly for the good but some for the bad. People rediscover long lost friends and make new ones. They contribute to a host of issues we all face every day. Users are probably as addicted to Facebook as they are to checking their email. Some just want to get as many friends as possible, even to test that five thousand limit put on by Facebook.

I’ve lived a long and somewhat eventful life in terms of my career and the places I’ve lived. I’ve met a ton of people in the process, many of whom I have forgotten. Now that I am officially a senior and facing the possibility of dementia or, worse, Alzheimer’s (my mum had it), I thought I would see just how many people I could remember that I had actually physically met, either in my personal life or my marriage or my various travels or my various jobs, of which I’ve had many. I’m not going to cover my kid’s friends or the kids of any adult friends I had unless it will help to reconnect me with their parents. For many people I will only remember their first name so I’ll do my best to describe how I met them and what the circumstances were. The goal is to test both Facebook and that thing they call six degrees of separation, meaning that “anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries”. We’ll see.

Obviously I don’t expect anyone to read this entire lengthy post. I just want you to go to a section you might have been part of and add anyone you know or add their Facebook link. That’s all.

THE EARLY YEARS

Obviously first is my childhood, which was so very long ago. Way back in 1949 I was born at St. Joseph’s in Toronto after the fireboat rushed my mum from the islands, where her and my father lived, in the middle of the night. I was apparently born at seven twenty in the morning which I only mention because of the numerous times I’ve woken up at exactly that time now matter where I was. We moved around a fair bit when I was a wee one, at one point to an apartment in Ajax, then to a farm called, I believe, Donelda, which became Don Mills. The only name I remember from any of this was someone called Bumpy, a friend of my Dad’s.

When I was maybe four of five we moved in with my Mum’s parents at 7 Hugo Avenue in Toronto. Shortly after my grandfather died so I really don’t remember him at all. My grandmother, whose name was Jenny Hardy, lived in one of the bedrooms upstairs. I went to Perth Avenue public school for several years. The only friends I remember from those early years were Ralph Scholumberg (not sure of the spelling), my best friend and Sharon, a lovely girl who lived a few doors away. I remember she had polio, something more common in those days. I don’t even know if we had yearbooks back then but I have nothing from my years at Perth Avenue. Photos would be nice.

When I was twelve I learned to hate my parents because they moved me out of the wonderful city, where I could go anywhere on transit or my bike and where I had tons of friends, to a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. It had no indoor plumbing. Just an outhouse. A stove in the kitchen to heat the house, which it didn’t do so we had kerosene heaters in our bedrooms. It’s a wonder we didn’t die from the fumes. I forget what time of the year we moved but I soon learned that I was miles from anywhere. Even our neighbors were far from close. My parents both worked, no doubt to pay for their first house, so they weren’t around to drive me anywhere. I had my bike but it was miles to visit anyone. I went to Churchville public school through to grade eight. Grades six, seven and eight were in the same room. Lots of fun. Other than my first love, Roxanne Rollings, I have vague memories of anyone I went to school with. She broke my heart when she married Wayne (forgot his last name) years later. I think there was a Dave and Doug Mackenzie in Churchville. Surprised that the only girl I can remember is Roxanne. Normally I pay a lot more attention to the girls. Still do.

Moved on to Streetsville Secondary School for grade nine. Even though I went there from grade nine to twelve about my only memories are the guys in the group I joined, called the Tempests. No idea why. Dave Kirk, Don Thurston, and Chris Hayes. We played the Coke dances after school and I soon discovered that women love musicians. That joy lasted for years. I do remember a real sexpot in grade 12, Valerie and one of my many girlfriends was Francis Carkner (not sure on the last name). I remember Mary Hamilton who I took the school bus with. The name Judy North is in there somewhere. The group changed over the years. Vic Dimitroff. Zak Marshall. Nolan Yearwood. Alan McQuillan to name a few. I also met people like George Oliver, David Clayton Thomas, Whitey Glan, and Pat Cosby and many others when we were the house band at Club Bluenote. We also built up quite a fanbase in Brampton where we played quite often. So many names I’ve forgotten. I think that we were the Bow Street Runners back at that time. Sammy Conners. Gloria. Marilyn Adams (my girlfriend for a time).

GETTING MARRIED

Okay, so on to the first big lifetime event was getting married. My ex was Janice Kennedy Tyrrell from Brampton. She had two brothers, Gord and Doug. Her father was Ray and her mother was Marion. Friends of hers who became mine were Dale Evans, Gary and Glen Ellis, Bobby Munday, Brian and Lynn Jamieson, Greg and Laura Smith. I was in the band for ten years and met hundreds of people but can’t remember a one of them. My son, Chris, also played hockey for years, on several different teams and all year long. Again, met tons of parents on all the teams but remember few. Jason’s parents, Larry and Ann. Fabio’s Dad, Rolly. Kevin’s parents, Bill and Gerry. I should remember some of the coaches and managers of the teams but I don’t. I can’t even remember the name of the coach for our summer team. Russ Bird, my best man at my wedding.

CAREER

Should cover the career here, at least during my marriage. I started at the Toronto-Dominion Bank in 1968, only because my mother worked for them in Streetsville. My first branch was in what was called Cooksville at the time. During my short two years or so I was at nine branches, the last one being Jane and Wilson, I think. I was the administration officer at only nineteen and took over for the manager for his three week vacation when the replacement manager got sick. I was making fifty dollars a week and a customer hired me away by offering me ninety dollars a week. He turned out to be a crook though and wanted me to do things that weren’t quite legal so I quit. I think I ended up breaking milk jugs at Dominion Glass during a strike. No fun. Met a ton of people working in all those branches, but only remember Steve Vass and the manager of the branch at Keele and Wilson where we were robbed, Joe Murphy.

In no particular order I’ll cover some of my many jobs in Ontario and include the names of anyone I remember. I was at Able Plastics, the manufacturer of foam, mostly for furniture. It was a husband and wife team who spent the entire day fighting. My assistant was Linda. I was at Emco Plastics for several years. I remember Frank and Morris Cook, Earl Lynch, Doug, John McQuarrie, John Farncomb, Roger. I was at Hilti Canada in Brampton. I remember Jim Young, Debbie, Kim, Brian Snyder. I was at TCM, a division of American Hoist. Gerry Waterhouse. Terry. Betty White. Joe Barone. Carolyn, Rene Couture. Skip. Sam Osborne. I was at Kyle Jamieson Real Estate. Doug Jamieson and several clients. I was at Clearview in Weston. Joe. Ciro Gucciardi. I was at Indal Products. Heather Paul. Doug Banyon. Frank. Jon Lehoup. Marie Dearlove, Dave. Steve Duplantis. Michelle. Buddy Bent. Staynor. I spent sixteen years as a computer consultant and dealt with about fifty clients. Fellowes Manufacturing – Gail-Ann Duxbury, James Edmonds. Elliott Industrial Equipment – Bruce. TNT Roadfast – . Florimex – Recom Windows and Doors. GlassVision Solariums – Jim and Linda Webb.

After I moved out west in 1993 I worked as a computer consultant. First major client was Central Valley Trucks. Can’t remember the owner’s name but his son was Rick. I also remember Linda. Worked at Northern Computer in Kelowna. Doris Bonn. Jim Condon. Ross Dickie. I worked for FBC for a while. My boss was Grant Diamond. Worked at Western Star on the line. Don’t remember anyone. Worked for Shaw Fiberlink. My tech was Brett. Had six managers back in Calgary in only a few months. None memorable. Worked for two cellular phone companies for a bit, Sunwest Cellular and Pacific Cellular. Also worked for Canwest Communications and Business Thompson Okanagan, a newspaper.

GO WEST, YOUNG MAN!

My first friend in Kelowna was Laura McKinnon. She introduced me to a lot of people, both through the Courtplex and socially. I met a ton of people – Bianca Siebrand, Wade Silver, Tawni Silver, Brian and Linda, Brian Wall, Doris, Darlene, Norma, Larry, Ann Hansen, Ron Le Stage and Suzanne Le Stage, Tracy Church, Judy Allen, Juanita, Karla Longacre, Stephanie, Debbie, Carolyn McCulley, Trish Power, Laura Johnston,  Gary Bakelmun, Sabrina Weeks,  Linda Lichtenegger, Pam Ferens, Doug Cuming, Rob Dubuc, Debra Birce, Pete Tarasoff, Sylvie Sanson, Kelly Harrison, Teresa Lotoski, Caron Masse Abel, Cathy Kadatz, Jackie Goulding. Spent a whole lot of nights at the Corral and had many, many dance partners. Heather, Jean, Crystal Mogdan, Debbi, Nola, Sheila, and many more.

PANAMA

My almost two years in Boquete, Panama was interesting. Elle Nicolai, Mark and Jennifer (owned Amigos), Walter Cruz (my lawyer), Karynthia, Magaly (girlfriend), Jim, Mitzi Nash, Priscilla Nash, Verushka, Terry and Judith, Amilkar (my worker bee),

LONDON, ONTARIO

I returned to Toronto in March of 2009 and stayed with my cousin, Joan Thomson. I was only in Toronto a few months then moved to London, following Denise Walters. Hard to believe I spent five years in this place but I didn’t have much of a social life to speak of. Sieg Pedde was a colleague I actually met in Panama. For a time I lived in my car and at various shelters around town. Knew some of my neighbors when I finally landed in a real apartment. Worked at Home Depot for a time. Also worked at a call centre selling an international property show in Toronto. Dr. Ramona Cuelho was my doctor. At one point I joined one of those Meet-Up groups but that did not go well. No one I could call a girlfriend in five years, after Denise.

ECUADOR

My last out of country experience was Ecuador and I met an amazing number of people considering I was there less than a year. The first person I met, at the airport actually, was Ana Romero, who was going to work for me but that didn’t work out. Next was my landlady, Jessica Alban, who ended up ripping me off for two hundred dollars when I left. Next was Peter and Mauro, the owners of the hostel I stayed at. Then, in no particular order, Deb Swansburg, Mari Ruiz, Dutch Fuscaldo, Mia Rushing, Debra Rambo, Michael Griffin, Tanya Harrell, Deborah Lapping, Kasie Estevez, Jessyta Teran, Deborah Angus, Gary Phillips, David Meade, Bobby and Becca Vinces, Candace Burch, Joel Kaplan, Yolanda Santana, Dilan Tuquerrez, Lulie Lawry May, Anne Worthington, Julie Powell, Jean Clark, David Beede, Bonnie Davis, Monica Granja, Lindsay Numedahl, Kashmir Moses, Jeanne Martin, Jeanine van Griensven, Mary Ellen, Nick Rossicci, Kaden Brown, Colleen Hemphill, Steve Donoso, Santiago Hidrobo, Bonnie Hall, Steve Rushing, Janda Grove, and many more who aren’t on my Facebook, like Valeria, Marlene, Olga, Esperanda, Janice, Mickey, Dan, Veronica and Santiago, Guiermo, Yulie, Phillipe and Ronda, Negrita. Kathy Fajardo, my “facilitator” for my residency, who ripped me off for three hundred and fifty dollars and cost me my passport. Phoenix Bess, who was also going to work with me at one point. Carlo Ami.

BELLEVILLE

I returned from Ecuador last October and first lived in Foxboro in a house owned by Greg Castonguay, Heather’s son. Then I moved into Belleville to a group home on Murney. Met Terry, Scott, Chris, Blair, Dave, Ron and Mo. Moved to Forin last March. Met Bob, Mike, Mathew, Frank and Jean Karl. Blair has now moved here from Murney. New guy is Chris. Frank is moving to Toronto so we’ll be getting someone new soon.

 

Never underestimate how much of a difference you can make

This was a very sobering experience and came as quite the surprise. My last post asked my “friends” to help me with the most important decision in my life. I am alone here in London with no friends to talk to and I hoped that people who I felt had been close friends in the past would give me their advice. With the exception of a handful of people, frankly people who were not what I would call “close” friends, not one of the people I asked for help from responded, even those who knew me very well for years.

Yes, I left the Okanagan in 2007 to go to Panama, so it’s been seven years and I guess even your friends forget you after all those years, but I have kept in touch through Facebook and emails. The ironic part is that many of those same people have connected with me asking my advice. I chatted with them on Facebook or by phone and gave them all the time they needed, often several hours, but when the tables are turned and I ask for help, they’re nowhere to be found. Sad.

One of the factors in thinking about moving back to the Okanagan was to reconnect with what I thought were my many friends. I had such great memories of all the great times we had over the years and thought it would be great to share some new times together. Apparently I am incredibly naive and stupid.

Without hopefully being too dramatic there has been a fourth option that I didn’t mention in my original post. There have been times over the last few years, starting with being ripped off for everything I owned in Panama, really dark times when it all seemed to be too much to handle. Discovering that the girl I loved, the one I moved to London for, cheated on me with someone else she met on the internet, which broke my heart. Being forced to go to a shelter and lying in filth sweating in hundred degree heat trying to sleep. Getting kicked out of the shelters when the government screwed up. Sleeping on the floor of a colleague’s office. Finally getting a job at Home Depot and my own apartment, then having my hours cut back to a minimum and I couldn’t pay my rent. Going without my vital medications for six weeks and ending up in hospital, resulting in painful peripheral neuropathy that has ended any physical activity. Researching and applying to over a thousand companies for a job, with no response. The government denying my application for a disability pension because I missed the deadline for a Medical Report because I could not find a family doctor in London. Getting wrongfully dismissed from the worst job in my life at Stream and taking a year to get paid. Being turned down by three different Meet-Up groups with no explanation.

The worst time in all of this was when my diabetic specialist put me on Oxycontin, a narcotic, with no warning about the side effects. My life went from working long hours on the computer every day trying to get anything going, to lying on the couch all day, crying because I was so depressed. My seventh floor balcony looked awfully inviting many times. The struggles I had fought so valiantly, like the heartbreak of missing my kids, suddenly became overwhelming and I didn’t see the point in continuing to fight. I had lost my will to survive.

I was very fortunate that I did fight back a little and researched the Oxycontin, only to learn that one of the major side effects was thoughts of suicide. In all there were seven side effects and I had all of them. I called my family doctor for advice on how to wean myself off this dangerous drug and I got back to normal. I had come far too close to ending it all. Part of the reason I asked for advice from my “friends” was to avoid making another mistake.

The fact that so many “friends” didn’t think enough of me to give me just a few minutes out of their busy lives speaks volumes about who I thought I was to them. It has certainly given me a different perspective on my options.

I do again thank those who did take the time to try to help me.

Friends, I’m asking for the most precious gift you can give – your time

Those of you who know me know what a mess the last few years have been for me. Everything that could go wrong went wrong and I ended up at one point living on the streets. It was not a good time and it was a real low point, but I’ve managed to sort of get back on my feet.

Now I’m faced with one of the biggest decisions of my life and I’m really struggling with it. I need some help from those who know me well. I hope that you value the friendship that we had enough to invest a few minutes in giving me your honest opinions here. I don’t have a single friend here in London so I’m lost being on my own. Much as I’ve tried these past five years in London, I don’t have a “significant other” to talk to. First time in my life I’ve been alone and the timing could not be worse.

As I see it I have three options; one, to continue to struggle with my business, getting it to the point where I could sell it and improve my options. Realistically that would take probably three years, at which point I will be 68 years old with maybe not a lot of time left. I might mention here that I have doggedly applied for over a thousand jobs with not one response. Not all that surprising, I mean who is going to hire someone so close to retiring at 65? I don’t get to tell them that I went bankrupt and I don’t have a nickel to spare. Retirement is not an option, at least until they put me in a box.

The hardest part of staying here in London is that, first, I loathe this city more than any place I’ve ever lived in my entire life. The people are cold and arrogant. Those who know me really well would find it very hard to believe I was turned down by three different Meet-up groups, all with no explanation as to why. That really hurt and made me angry. I never had that kind of brush-off when I first arrived in Kelowna, in fact, the opposite was true and I soon had a very large group of wonderful friends. The city is dying because of all the employers who’ve closed up shop. Thousands of good paying jobs have been lost over the last couple of years. There’s very little to do here. The rivers and lakes are too polluted to swim in. The ski hill is a joke, more a bump than a hill. Much of the business district is empty stores. Not exactly the place to be optimistic about growing a business in.

The other part of living here breaks my heart. When I first came to this area I held out hope that I would get to see my two children and all the grand kids. My son did make a half-hearted attempt to see me two years ago and that was it. I haven’t seen my beautiful daughter in over twenty years now. She has two kids I’ve never met. My therapist suggested I might well live out my life and die and still have never been in touch with them. But the other two options mean I will never ever see any of them again, and that is a very hard decision to make.

So, option two was to return to the place I love – the Okanagan, but, you know that saying, “you can never go home again”? My life in the valley could not have been any better. I had wonderful friends. I danced my ass off at the Corral and had so many great dance partners. I owned three boats during my time and was out on the water as often as I could be. I water-skied, even learning to slalom. I downhill and cross-country skied. I snowmobiled around Kelowna and Revelstoke with my Dad, my brother and my brother-in-law. My son and daughter came out for the best three weeks of my entire life. I roller-bladed and skated. I even paraglided. My Dad and I went dirt-biking for more than ten years and every single ride was awesome. I played racquetball every week in the winter and I played in the pool league for over ten years. Life was very good.

If I was to return to the Okanagan now, well, first my Mum and Dad are both gone. I am estranged from my brother and sister for very good reasons. I don’t have a boat or a dirt-bike or a snowmobile or skis or a racquet or anything I would need, even if I could do any of those things, which today I can’t. My peripheral neuropathy means I can barely walk, let alone dance or ski. Not going to happen, so my life would just be full of regrets. My friends have all moved on or scattered across the country. Sure, it would be nice to see them again and get in a few hugs, but it would never be the same. Kelowna is also a very expensive place to live so it would be a struggle on my measly pension. More on that in a minute.

Most unfortunately I also hurt some people when my business failed. I went down owing a lot of money and my goal to see the house I gutted and rebuilt over a year and a half fell apart when one of the Westbank Chief’s said in the press that anyone who bought on native land was “stupid”. I ended up with a very beautiful white elephant. Then the “friend” I left living in the place let the snow build-up so much that the roof collapsed. I lost everything and not a lot of people would exactly welcome me back.

The third option, one I have researched to death, partly because of my not so great experience in Panama, is moving to Ecuador. The place I have researched has spring-like weather all year long, so no snow and no humidity. The cost of living is very cheap and there’s a very good chance that my health will improve by eating better and living in the mountain air. The people are friendly and Ecuador is fast becoming the best place for people to move to or retire. I have started building a website, WelcomeToEcuador.ca, which is designed for Canadians looking to visit or move to Ecuador. The government has just increased the tourism budget significantly and there are a lot of opportunities everywhere, especially Real Estate. My dream is to travel around the country on my dirt-bike, taking pictures and writing a blog for the website, plus getting advertising to give me a little extra income.

Here’s the financial differences. When I turn sixty-five I no longer receive ODSP, which right now pays for my meds to the tune of about seven hundred dollars a month; however, I’m told that I will be able to continue to get assistance from the Feds. Right now I am receiving my small CPP, just under five hundred dollars, which I took early to survive. I will then get my OAS, which should be around five hundred as well, but then I also get the GIS because my income is so low, and that will be about four hundred dollars. All tolled it will be about fifteen hundred dollars a month, not enough to live here comfortably because my rent is “geared to income” so they will take about six hundred and fifty dollars in rent, far more than my apartment is worth. If I were to return to the Okanagan I wouldn’t be guaranteed to get any assisted housing, so my rent anywhere is going to be expensive.

The issue with moving to Ecuador is that I am not allowed to receive the GIS if I am out of the country more than six months, so I would lose that. I would be hopeful that I can supplement my income with the website after six months, but there’s no guarantee on that. Without any other income I would be left with about a thousand dollars a month, but my current meds in Ecuador would be about three hundred dollars. The government has just passed a law about a national health care plan which I could join as soon as I am a permanent resident. It’s about seventy dollars a month and covers all prescriptions.

So, if you’ve read this, you are a true friend and I thank you. Please share your honest opinions, good or bad. I’m usually a pretty decisive guy, but this one has me in knots, mostly about my kids. No matter what, that’s the tough part.

James Taylor said it best

If you’ve been following my blog you know that life has not been kind to me lately. Just when I thought things were finally turning around for me with a job, albeit the worst job I’ve even had in my life with the worst company I’ve ever had the misfortune to work for, Stream Global Services, I was wrongfully dismissed last November.

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