If I had a million dollars…

Those of us who play the lottery often muse on what we would do with all that money. It depends on how much we are talking about, of course. If it’s only a couple mil then that is barely enough to live out your life on, let alone afford any real luxuries like cars, yachts, or homes we wouldn’t be able to afford. If it’s an insane amount like the recent fifty million, well then the imagination runs wild. We could change the world, right?

I am one of those unfortunate people who got hooked by the commercials one of the lotteries ran featuring a guy reading the paper, and seeing his number had won but he didn’t have a ticket. My numbers, 4 11 19 27 36 and 39, were based on my age and family ages at the time, so, now that I am 62, you can figure out how long I’ve played the same damn number. I’ve won a couple of $10 payouts, which is frustrating because then I think the chances of those numbers coming up again is remote. I never know whether to keep buying tickets or not.

Just to dream for a while, if I did win big, these are some of the things I would do –

Numero Uno would be to pay back the people who have helped me in my life, some more than others. Top of my list is two people who believed in me and through circumstances beyond my control, I could not pay back as planned. I lost everything and was forced to leave the country just to stay alive and I hurt them very badly when I left. I have felt terrible every single day since and I hope to be able to pay them back as soon as I can. Living on assistance obviously is not the way to ever get ahead with anything, but I hope to change that. They get a hundred grand. Next would come my true friend, Bianca, who believed in me when I was in Panama and invested in my business, which died when I was forced to return to Canada. She lent me two thousand dollars on blind faith, so she gets fifty grand. Next comes my best bud, Wade, who stepped in to help me with the disaster of a house that cost me everything. He said he got his money back, but he never told me the whole truth. He also gets a hundred grand, hopefully to help with his hunting lodge dream. I would also invest in anything he wants to do because I trust him with my life.

Next comes family, and that’s a tough one. My son and daughter both abandoned me after I moved west, so, on the one hand, I feel they don’t deserve anything. I wouldn’t want them to get back in touch with me just because I now had money. On the other hand, they are still my flesh and blood, so I would want to help them however I could. I don’t think I would outright gift them, but I would help them if they asked. My ex got ninety-five percent of everything we owned when we split, so she’s off the list. My brother and sister have done enough to me for a lifetime, so they don’t get a dime. My Mum and Dad are gone, so it’s too late to help them. I’ve lost touch with whatever other family I have anywhere, but I’ll bet they would find me if they thought there was something in it for them. I would help my cousin, Joan, in any way she needed for letting me stay with her when I came back to Canada.

Next would come friends and that’s also a tough one. How do you give something to one without offending another? You can’t place a monetary value on friendship, so I wouldn’t try. I think I would throw a big bash and invite them all and maybe give them something like ten grand each to blow on something they don’t need. If it was something like the fifty million I won, then the bash would be on a tropical paradise somewhere.

Silly things? My one compelling wish if I won the lottery is to go to the Corral and tell the manager that I’m paying for drinks for the women for the next hour. I wouldn’t want them announcing anything; just tell them as they order that it’s free. At the end of the hour they would just announce a thank you to me for buying the drinks in my favorite bar. If you wonder why only the women, well, I don’t dance with guys and they get drunk and stupid enough on their own without my help.

I would also invite Teri Hatcher and her daughter to visit the Okanagan, just so I get to meet my fantasy girl. Maybe I could swing a fantasy sleepover with Teri, Marcia MacMillan, Diane Ladd, Sally Fields, Cheryl Hickey, Sara Richardson, Sandi Rinaldo and Hayley Bennett? Now, that would be an interesting group.

I would want a decent house on the beach in West Kelowna, preferably be able to design and build my own as I’ve always loved architecture. It would not be any elaborate palace, but would have some nice touches. My only luxury would be an indoor/outdoor pool for parties, a game room and home theater. I can’t imagine any fancy expensive cars in the driveway; probably just a Honda Civic, which I’ve always wanted. I might want some kind of off-road wheels, plus, of course, a dirt-bike, a couple of sea-dos, a ski boat and a snowmobile – my “toys”.

Business wise I would invest and work on many of the concepts I have had most of my life. My dream project was to develop a manufactured home park like no other and this would be a priority for sure. I would love to win enough to be able to help people start small businesses. Investments, not gifts.

Charity wise I would want to develop the assisted living facilities that I designed, to provide people in need with decent housing and help to get their lives back on track. It would be s step up from the shelters and give people back their dignity. I’ve been there and it’s not pretty. The government wastes so much money on funding substandard living and I want to help to change that.

There would be some pet projects, like one life to save, a website where people can tell me their stories and we would help them to get back on track with whatever they need. It would operate similar to Extreme Makeover, with companies donating goods and services to people to help to change their lives for the better. Hopefully I could convince Ellen DeGeneres to work with me. It would be my make a difference while I’m here project.

As we learned with Steve Jobs, money can’t buy health, but I would hope that I could get maybe a personal trainer and a decent doctor to help with my diabetes and all the challenges I’ve had over the past few months. I want to lose the weight I’ve gained and get back to being active like I used to be before all this.

And, finally, I hope to convince Cheryl to have dinner with me. It would be a very private affair, maybe on a rooftop somewhere, with lots of candles, flowers, wine and music to warm her heart and convince her that I now have enough money to make her happy and she will get over our age difference. lol


Reflecting on my birthday

People often say “I’m not in a good place right now”, usually meaning that something has brought them down temporarily. Seldom is it a reflection of their entire life status; however, in my case, it is, sadly. I’m writing this on my 62 birthday, documenting where my life is today, in the hopes that this time next year things will be a whole lot better. Either that or I’ll be dead, which is a good possibility as well.

I find myself alone, living in a place I loathe, as a result of yet another mistake with a woman. When I moved from Toronto I was full of such hope for the future. I was in love and believed that I would again be part of a family, which I missed so much. Things took a tragic turn and I found myself alone in a strange city, trapped by circumstances. I longed to be anywhere else but London and obviously regretted leaving Toronto and, even more, missed being out West where I was truly happy.

Through living in a rooming house, to sleeping on the floor of a colleague’s office, to ending up in shelters, to an apartment I could not possibly afford, to finally getting into public housing, it has been a long and stressful road. Laying on my filthy bed in the shelter in oppressive heat, afraid for my very life, surrounded by the lowest of society, I knew I had hit rock bottom. Those were very dark days. Although I appreciate my little apartment I face the daily struggle of trying to get enough food to survive on the measly amount I get from assistance. The little things that I have always enjoyed in my life, like having a beer, playing pool, even a meal out at McDonald’s are out of the question when there is no money. I have probably applied for at least five hundred jobs over the last few months, with no luck. I have done research on many companies and sent proposals out, again, with no response. I firmly believe that my age is against me and there is nothing I can do to change that. The economy is in the dumps and finding any kind of job, especially in a depressed area like London, is virtually impossible.

I long to return to the Okanagam and I apply for every conceivable job I see in the area. I have limited funding to help me to relocate if I can find a job, but this has not proved successful either. I came close with a perfect job, covering Kelowna north and the island, but was not selected for a final interview, despite being perfectly qualified for the position. I let myself get excited and put everything in place to be able to leave immediately, which only served to bring me down when I didn’t get the job.

My family situation is unchanged and still a mess. A tiny glimmer of hope is that my son has reconnected through Facebook; however, his life is as much a mess as mine and he doesn’t want to let me back into his life beyond these messages. My daughter has completely shut me out of her life, ever since I drove across the country to see her and she was hidden away from me. So cruel! I have never understood why she shut me out of her life and it’s a knife in my heart every single day. Having lost my mother and father I am left with no immediate family, something I have always cherished.

My health is a disaster. I was always so happy that I was physically active and healthy. Whether I was busy renovating or climbing a mountain, I had tons of stamina and could do almost anything. Today my heath is in ruins, mostly because of my diabetes. I have put on thirty pounds, which has resulted in acid reflux and many other problems. I have no energy and sleep more than I ever have in my life. My feet are painful and swollen and I can barely walk. My shoulder, which has yet to be diagnosed properly, is painful and I have very limited mobility. My toes are so painful that I can’t sleep. I tire easily and can’t exert the smallest physical energy without resting. I feel so very old, for the first time in my life.

There is no one special in my life in the romance department. I have lost touch with all of my friends from out west and I don’t know anyone in London. After forty-five years I have reconnected with the mother of my other son and she has been a great help. She has come to London and got me out of my apartment and done things with me that I haven’t done in a very long time. She has most graciously paid for everything, something that makes me feel very guilty. I have always been the one to pay and it just reminds me how pathetic my life has become that I am a pauper. I have always been a hopeless romantic and I miss being in love. I think to find someone you need to first feel good about yourself and I certainly don’t.

Regardless of what a mess I’m in right now, I hope that some luck comes my way and I can get back to the person I used to be. I think that this will only happen if I find a way to get back out west, but this may only be a dream. They say you can’t go back and maybe that’s true. I am hopeful I can reconnect with some of my good friends, but it may have already been too long being apart. It also takes money to live in Kelowna and it will very much depend on my financial circumstances. Living on assistance in Kelowna, even if that were possible, would be just as bad as here. I will not give up on my dream to get back there before I die, but short of winning a lottery, it will be an uphill battle. No matter what, my life will be much different if I get back. There won’t be any boats or dirt bikes or snowmobiles and my life will be much different. One of my passions for years was to dance at the Corral, but my feet would make that impossible right now. Hopefully if I can lose the weight and get my diabetes under better control I may dance again.

I pray that I can write a much better story on my next birthday. If nothing has changed by then I will simply not survive.