The Business Grew!

Every day, we grew larger with more clientele. With this vast growth, we required more staff, naturally. We finally moved into our own office. It was a nice four room office with a nice lobby. We had our own supply room! It was naturally all coming together. It was difficult for me to deal with growing the business and deal with all the paperwork and financials. We were on a tighter budget now so even hiring a receptionist was like pulling teeth but we needed one. One day while at the bank, as I was leaving and bumped into a long lost cousin. We had not been very close but at our wedding I remember her and her sister crying and so happy for us at our speeches. They were cousins from my mother’s side. My uncle’s daughters kids. We only really saw them at big family get togethers but always got along just fine! Her name was Serena. She was working for FedEx and just delivering a package. She was so uplifting and pretty bubbly. She had always been that way. We chatted for a bit and she told me she was unhappy with her job. That she was looking for something more challenging.  We spoke for a few more minutes and she was on her way. Driving home, I thought of our conversation and a light bulb went off. I thought I could perhaps hire her to help me with the caregiver division of the company. She would be perfect for it. I called her to come over to my house and have a little lunch meeting. We talked about her potentially doing the job and wages. She told me she was still getting money from another source and if I wanted, I could pay her minimum wage but it would have to be in cash. I had no problem with that. As long as everything was in the books, it didn’t bother me how a staff member would get paid. Serena came over a few more times over the summer to discuss how the business worked and so I could train her. Leann also took it upon herself to help me training her to handle the nanny/caregiver division. Leann never liked her very much but we needed staff and we couldn’t afford salaries. Serena was also family and Leann didn’t like that either. My niece was also working for us. Leann would drop hints to me all the time that this was trying into a family business. I told her on many occasions that if she knew anyone who would consider working for us for minimum wage, hire them! She never did. Serena would soon learn the business rather quickly and was doing a fantastic job. So many jobs in that category would finally be moved off my plate and onto hers. Serena seemed to get along great with the clients and her bubby personality would be similar to mine which clients loved. Serena also loved her job which helped. It sure was challenging so it was right up her alley. It’s what she wanted. After a few months into her job she came to my office to have a meeting with me. Serena had mentioned that she had done her mom’s books for her business and was able to help me with that part as well. Her mom owned a business for quite some time and she told me she was the bookkeeper. We decided that we would put her on salary and I would up her wage for taking on that side of the business as well. All the invoices and payments and client receipts would be issued by her. Serena would provide me with a simple summary of the daily events financially. This would open my time to work with sponsors and advertisers including new clients and legalities for assuring the business was up to par with rules and regulations. I was also dealing with forms and research. 

We received a letter from the government as all agencies were not able to charge caregivers for anything anymore. It was actually a rule that no foreign worker could ever be charged whatsoever for attaining a job and their paperwork. I was so happy with the new rules because that would mean all the agencies illegally charging these foreigners would have to close down. They did. From hundreds of agencies to perhaps ten legit ones across Canada. The ones whom chose to continue there charging through the roof found new illegal ways of doing it. 

So many clients came to tell us of their stories which we similar and marched our personal nannies story for me starting this whole thing in the first place.

I had always been the one to come up with great ideas that worked so of course my mind went into full gear trying to come up with a way where we could help these people but we had to be able to pay for our office and staff including our supplies. I had a conversation with my lawyer whom was also a friend. He spoke to me about non for profit companies and how they worked. The light went on rather quickly!  We would open a non for profit company that could possibly help these people by having them become members of our society. My brain went on. If they were members of our society, we could protect them by helping with what ever their needs while here on work. We could also help employers to not get taken advantage of, working with their employees. I started having dreams of how nice it would be to turn into a massive organisation that worked through out Canada helping foreigners everywhere. The dream went on to even reach every Country to have our non for profit exsist within it. My mind raced for days. I brought the idea up to Leann and could see the excitment in her eyes as well. She knew I was on to something and she could catch my drift! We started the process. Thinking of the name first and then filling out the many forms required to open a non for profit society. Temporary Foreign Workers Association of Canada. In short. T.F.W.A of Canada. As our papers went in, we were getting approved. Every document was stamped with approval. We finally got our association papers finalized in June of 2010. With excitment and celebration, we had a staff meeting and explained how both companies would coexist. Americanadian was the licensed agency that could legally work with matching nannies/ caregivers and skilled workers with potential employers. The association would be the big bear charity that protected everyone within it. For six hundred dollars, you could join the association and be given a number. Using that number for up to two years from your joining date, you would receive assistance financially, lawyers fees would be covered, aid with food or living, assistance with all paperwork and assistance with all immigration matters while in Canada. We would then contract people like law firms and immigration consultants to do the work for us for a fraction of the cost, for a non for profit association. It was all working out. The staff would soon be divided. Those that worked for Americanadian and those that worked for the TFWA. Things were getting better everyday! TFWA would pay our rent and pay Americanadian for doing all the work it could legally do. TFWA pay the lawyers fees and pay for any assistance the member needed within reason. Our Calgary news crews would eventually catch word of our association and come down to do an article on us. We would then start to get calls from prominent agencies asking our advise on certain topics they were having problems dealing with. I began making friends with several boarder security officers. It seemed that the association would start to attract several illegal immigrants stuck in Canada because they simply were scared and didn’t know what to do to make things right. The TFWA was able to help every illegal immigrant by sending them home and properly fix their paperwork so they were able to get on the right track and come back legally. Some of our clients were in Canada just visiting and decided to stay. They were doctors, teachers, wealthy and poor. One client was a doctor. A specialist. He had been in the Country illegally for over eight years and didn’t know what to do. He was very wealthy and stranded. He thought if he had left, he wouldn’t be allowed back because his papers expired. We had a family of wealthy educated people from the age of 25 to 80. Six members of the family, stranded because they didn’t want to be legally separated from each other if they turned themselves in. We were able to help each and every individual regardless of their problems, get on the right track. By the following summer, we had helped over seven thousand illegal immigrants. They did not have to become a member. Some cases, the individuals didn’t have the funds to become a member. What kind of a helpful association could we be if the ones that couldn’t pay couldn’t receive help? With that much love, care and attention, our business would soon begin to grow faster. The only problem was one of our staff members, Lilly would soon start to get jealous of our advancement and in Spanish, being trying to take our clients by telling them she could help them better. I let it go a few times and had conversations with her about it in which she totally denied it. My heart still couldn’t let her go. Leann became so angry about it that she decided to fire her. Until today, Lilly still blames me for her being fired when it had nothing to do with me. After Lilly was escorted out of the building, the staff noticed that all her computer programming was porn sites. She had hardly been working or doing her job. Paperwork started to come forward of her sabotaging clients papers by not sending them into the government. It was disastrous but with hard work and dedication, we managed to fix it all. Lilly ended up taking us to the labor board by complaining we didn’t pay her enough. Not only did we over pay her but we found out she was having sexual relationships in the office after hours and cheating on her husband. Lilly was also a very believable liar. She managed to swindle the labor board in believing her story and we needed up having to pay her a few thousand more dollars. I didn’t care. I just wanted her gone. That was all. We needed more paperwork processors so I hired my nephew, again for fraction of what I would of had to pay for a regular salaried employee. My family never had salaries, they would get paid hourly for the work they did.  My niece was now our receptionist, my nephew helping with endless paperwork and my cousin dealing with a division of the company and our books. Family could be trusted. Many of our clients paid in cash so there was always cash floating around the office. Serena was always good at handling it and processing it properly. Leann helped take over the processing of the work permits so our clients could legally work. It was called the Labor Market Opinion process. Many of those were done on a daily basis. Leann’s dad was seeking employment. As a man in his late 50s and a recovering alcoholic, I had no choice but to agree because I had family members working for us, why couldn’t she? He was a man knkwn for great talk but no action. Actually, that is an understatement. All he did was talk but there was never any action! He wasn’t paid more than my family members but always asked me for money. For food, gas, whatever. It was also always urgent! He had filled gas at the gas station and discovered he had no money so he would have to rush to me to get money leaving his drivers license with the gas attendant. One of many problems I had to endure with him. He would continuously try changing our plans and strategies with these potential bigger and better ideas. This man was beginning to be a huge pain in the ass. 

Moving Into An Office Was Apparent!

We had offer to move a little bit of our office in my home, out to my lawyer friends office. He had a large law firm and a few available rooms. In exchange, we would assist him with immigration paperwork for his clients. As paralegal assistants. This could work but the room was so small. Our clients could at least come to an office setting instead of a home which by far looked more professional. We would send Lilly there for sure and Ashe. Hopefully it would allow the rest of us to work without interruption or having our fridge constantly cleaned out. It truly didn’t matter, we were still being bombarded with tons of silly questions like “what country is this city in”? Why was it so hard to use Google? Just type it in and voila! There it was! It would be nice if they could investigate their own questions to get the answers that would be displayed in front of them on a computer. This told me Ashe’s computer skills were not too up to par. It was time to let her go. I had paid her for the week and the following week before letting her go but she wasn’t too happy with me now for sure. I couldn’t believe that she even had the audacity to tell me that my uncle’s now grown up kids had talked badly about me and she would be the one to tell them I was a good person. What? In my minds eye, if my cousins were talking bad about me, they can go shove it where the sun don’t shine. What reason would they have to not like me? They didn’t even hardly know me. Whenever we spoke at family gatherings, we were fine, caring and loving I thought. I had no issues with any of my cousins. I was told they chose to ridicule me from my past but they didn’t even ask me why or what was wrong. They just judged. Fine by me, their relationship to me had no bearing on my life so I really didn’t care what they thought. Drama was never my forte so Ashe telling me when I met her that she would intervene, didn’t make sense to me. Now that I was letting her go, I could only imagine what she would be telling them to perhaps hate me more but I had to focus on this business and having to always do her job was just not working out. A few weeks after she left she had the audacity to actually tell my uncle everything was my fault. That I just didn’t like her from the beginning. She even lied by telling him I never paid her. Holy smokes! What else was she going to make up. Over at dinner at my other aunt’s house one evening, my uncle was there. I took him to the office computer and logged in to the online worldwide database website. I could access our business database from anywhere in the world. I showed him her log in work and everything she had done which was next to nothing. Then I pulled up my banking and showed him the checks I had issued her when she left that she had already cashed. I was glad to have opened his eyes to her fibs. I told him I didn’t hate her in anyway. I just could not employ or work with her. It was like babysitting and this new business had no time for that. The whole ordeal was done thankfully. I didn’t have to deal with it anymore. I knew that I would eventually have a lot of staff coming and going through out my life and she was definitely the first one leaving. I was never a judgmental person. Everyone has their good and bad qualities. Ashe, in general was a super nice person.  She loved people and working with people and was very considerate. Well before I began my business, I had always liked her. As I spoke about earlier, her accent always stood out to me because I loved it. It sounded a little British. I will never forget her accusations towards me about her accent and being racist. Wow did she ever have it wrong. 

When someone was working with Lilly, she actually worked. When no-one was with her, she would browse the internet and do basically nothing. Numerous times we found her browsing the internet on sex sites. I didn’t want to embarrass her so I never said anything. I never understood how people could get paid to do job and not do it. I had never had any problems with staff from my previous business. They got paid to do a job and they sure did it. I was very lucky with all of them. I treated them with the utmost dignity and respect all the time making sure they all had their every need while employed by me. I sure wasn’t use to this lazy bunch. My niece was an exception because she was family. She worked hard naturally. The rest, was like pulling teeth to get some effort out of them. The pay wasn’t that great because they sure weren’t worth it. It was a learning experience for everyone. Lilly couldn’t speak English well and her writing and typing errors were insane. I had to redo her work over and over again. Make sense to just let her go? I truly should have. Of course, I was such a nice person I couldn’t bare to break her heart. She needed a job and her husband was out of work. I had faith in people until I got fed up to a point. The “Ok this one has no hope for sure” point. The light at the end of the tunnel was far away but I could see it with Lilly. Kept my fingers crossed. Her personality made up for some of her absentmindedness and language barriers. One thing for sure…my hair was going grey fast. I knew my business was eventually going to grow. When love, compassion and effort is put into your business to keep your clientele happy, you can only succeed. 

Working under the wings of a law firm made things so much better. I would eventually work out a deal with our lawyer by doing the immigration paralegal paperwork for him for free he would sign off on our immigration documentation. It would take him some time to thoughrouly go through it to make sure it was all correct. If we has to pay a lawyer to do it, the costs would be astronomical. There had finally come a time that it would no longer be legal to charge a caregiver for anything.  The only charge our company implicates was to assist them with their government paperwork, to advertise for employers for them and for their flights to Canada when all was approved. The rule was then passed that the employers had to pay for everything if they wanted to hire them. Either hire the ones already in Canada or the ones they would have to fly in on their own costs. It was crazy. Employers were very angery and they has a right to be. Why would they spend all that money on doing the caregivers paperwork, then pay for her flight here when after she arrived, she would have every right to tell them she no longer wanted to work for them. It was causing a chain of tensions for any employer and rightfully so. Some caregivers had family on Canada and were just looking for a free ticket here. This was the best way to get that. Within the programs rules, any caregiver or employer at any time could break the contract and no longer have to employ or be employed. Not being able to charge the caregiver or giving them the benefit of having no financial obligation to their employer, they could just simply quit or change their minds whenever they wanted to and the employer could do nothing except be out of pocket in the upwards of four thousand dollars. It turned chaotic. Employers were no longer willing to put out that kind of money on a whim. I loved one thing about the new rules that’s for sure. Agencies began shutting down one after the other. They could no longer gauge these poor workers charging them thousands upon thousands of dollars. Many of them were doing it to their own people which angered me. Their own people trying to make a better life for their families in a country that had no work. They would sell their homes and belongings to come up with the money these agencies would ask for in order to get an opportunity to come and work in Canada. I began to learn that some agencies were also in on scams with employers. They would ask employers to sign their names to government documents requesting a caregiver for their kids. The poor caregiver would be charged by the agency at least five thousand dollars. The agency would keep twenty five hundred and give the employers that signed their name twenty five hundred. As soon as the caregiver would arrive in Canada, they would tell them they longer needed them and release them from the airport. Now the caregiver was left stranded at the airport. No job, no home, no money and out five thousand dollars. This was so common. If not every one of our clients, every second one suffered that same circumstance. Our job was to find them real jobs in Canada so they could work. Employers like that a lot as well because they didn’t have to pay for their flights and they could actually sit down and have an interview with her/him before hiring them. Soon, the stories began to get worse. We would have boxes of Kleenex all over the place. It was extremely hard to find Canadians to do these jobs. They would have to be live-in and the going rate for that work was twelve hundred dollars take home. Employer was responsible for the room and board. As a nanny they would have to take care of the kids or elderly, nine hours a day while also cooking and cleaning the home. Long long lists of chores to do. It was always the foreigners that loved the work and the pay. If they had a university degree from back home and worked as a caregiver in Canada for at least two years, they would qualify for permanent residency automatically. They then would be able to bring their family to Canada as well. The program was great! It was just too bad that some had to take advantage of it making the government continue to tighten the ropes!

Cornering The Market

Americanadian Inc. would go on to be one of the largest businesses in Canada but we just didn’t know it yet. All of the smarts in business that I had learned over the years would assist me in making this business such a success. Also the care and compassion I had for my clients would be the key to my success. It wasnt taught or fake. I truly cared for people and made sure they were happy with my service going above and beyond my service intended to both the workers and the employers. Compassion for their needs and understanding their wants. In my life, I had learned very well that the success to any business that dealt with the public in any way, was customer service. In fact, how well a business is with customer service saves the business advertising costs. Advertising is unnecessary when word of mouth is so much more powerful. Word of mouth is the best source of advertising and will always be. Customers are always hesitant when buying or signing up for services unless they are told by someone they trust that the business is wonderful and great! Making every client happy and going above and beyond was always the key to success. 

Only advertising the first week, we became busy enough over the next year building up our database of clients and making matches with caregivers/nannies to employers. The matches had to be perfect. The employer would tell us exactly what they were looking for to tend to their children or their elderly loved ones. We would then match them up with our now extended database all researched and checked for proper qualifications. We would not only match education and work ethics but personalities as well. That was the most important. Many of the caregivers we had and on the program were full of different qualifications and of course the good and bad qualities. They were also mainly “live in” caregivers do personality was very important. We had to make sure there were no clashes. We were also strict on employer tendencies. We made sure we only accepted the employers that had family values and would not treat the caregiver as a hired hand only. They had to be compassionate and make the caregiver a part of their family. Not eat and drink from a different set of dishes and cups and eat in their rooms not with them on the table. We also had to make sure they were paid properly for their time and overtime. Assisting employers with the proper biweekly pay stub to their caregivers as well as the proper amounts on taxes owed to the government and the proper deductions being taken off their employees paycheck. As an agency, we acted for both sides of our clientele making both parties feel safe and assure that everything was done legally and correctly. Americanadian began to grow at a faster pace. I had to hire two more workers to assist us. My staff was now a total of four. Not sure how we managed it but we were able to properly have four desks in the bonus room with a little more space to spare! Financially, it was cost effective working from home but supplies and electronics were still costly. Business was good so it was affordable. Our printers were always going nonstop. Whether it was governmental paperwork, documents or client files including our sign up application forms, ink was the most expensive! I was able to work from noon until six everyday. Girlie would be in charge of my kids and make sure things would run smoothly on the main floor. I ended up becoming good friends with one of my mother’s day home parents. We had a lot in common. Leann was married to an Italian man and had three kids. She lived about 20 minutes away. Leann would commute to my house and work with me in building this business. We became very close friends and with us both having busy kids, we took advantage of having time out smoke time in the garage. We would have a glass of wine, talk shop and come up with strategies on building the business. Eventually as we got more busy, she would put her house up for sale to move closer to me. A home for sale came up three homes down from ours. She bought it! I never thought she would be that close! It sure made it easier to work in the small moments where we had odd times without kids. We knew each other’s garage codes and pretty much helped each other with everything. If she was entertaining a huge dinner party and didn’t have enough plate settings, she would come over and help herself to my plates and cutlery returning them cleaned when she was done. We would sometimes work until two and three in the morning brain storming. This business was getting exciting. She had the brains to organize and I had the brains to deliver. I was able to come up with great ideas. Leann was able to put it into actor. Her only fault was customer service. She didn’t have patience or know how to deal clients. Money was important and huge to her. It ran her life. Everything was about the money. Completely opposite from me. I would observe how she tended to clients. Leann seemed scripted. As though explanations were being read from a text book. It never seemed like it came from the heart at all. It was soon decided that I would take on meeting our clientele and taking on their business. Leann would soon partner with me. She wanted that if we were going to do going together. We were a great couple! She was the bitchy one to put up with those whom deserved it. I was the quiet innocent one who got things done my own little way. Nicely and not fake seeming. I wasn’t able to stick up for myself or the business and that is where she was terrific! A big mouth is an understatement. She would let nothing get passed her. Slowly she would become obsessive as to my each and every whereabouts. It seemed like a weird marriage. She would try my cell phone and if I didn’t answer she would start down the list of my family members in hopes to learn of my whereabouts. When she found me and was satisfied, what she needed of such apparent importance was not important at all. It weirded me out a little but I let it go. It was nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of. My home was now turning into a zoo or shall I say Grand Central Station. If it wasn’t family members coming and going, it was day home kids or clients or staff. Another staff member I hired was named Lilly. She was Spanish and her English was a little rough. Lilly was educated as a lawyer back in her Country but in Canada she was not allowed to practise with out upgrading her education. She was married but unable to have children. It was hard to be paying staff members yet so we took in staff that were inexperienced in hopes to eventually teach them but I didn’t have to pay them full salary. In Leann’s case, we had agreed that as a partner she would get 49% of the companies shares in exchange for a salary. The bigger we could build the business, the more expensive our shares would get. When it came to paying my niece, it would be minimum wage while we were trying to get the business on its feet and she was good with that. Eventually, my so called staff would get so comfortable that apparently breakfast lunch and dinner were provided via my fridge in the kitchen. I didn’t care about my niece. She was family but especially Lilly. She would go downstairs to our fridge at all times of the day and help herself to any food she wanted. Then she began finishing my kids school snacks and treats including their juice box drinks. At first, I didn’t really care but eventually, she would bring nothing from home and feast on my dime everyday. Being such a shy person, I was not able to say anything to her so I resorted to hiding stuff in other fridges and all over the house. In my family, we were raised to always offer, serve and feed our guests. We love it when people were eating and drinking and happy. Our guests were always served and catered to no matter why they were over or for he long. We were never chintzy with our guests and always offered them an abundance of food and drink. When it was expected or happening daily without even asking, it would become maddening. It would soon irritate m because she had no limit. She was no petite girl either. The only way to solve this problem was to slowly move out of my house into an actual office. 

After a little while passed, my uncle would introduce me to his wife’s cousin who needed a job. He had talked about her as if she would be someone valuable to have on board. I would pay her three hundred dollars a week for part-time work. I had remembered seeing her at family functions in the past and was always so fascinated by her accent. She was of East Indian decent but it seemed as though she also had a British accent. I loved listening to her talk. When she came to work for me she was very pleasant and bubbly but couldn’t fathom how this business worked. I did not have a lot of spare time to train her properly but some of most simplest things weren’t sinking in properly. We would soon have to use staff meetings as the excuse to get important information across without sounding as though we were actually targeting her. Between as Ashe and Lilly, Leann and I would find ourselves spending more time with them than with clients. On one occasion, I noticed that Ashe couldn’t say our companies name properly without messing it up. It was a very tricky name to greet our clients with his telephone. All one word, we taught her. “Think of it this way, american—adian. Not americanacanadian or ameri cana Canadian. American……adian all one word”. It was not professional to be answering the phone and not be able to say the companies name properly. Big mistake! Ashe got so angry and went to the phone calling my uncle and telling him that I was racist. What??? What the hell does race have to do with you not saying the companies name properly? You must be kidding me right now. Since I had first known this woman and over the years, I had appreciated her accent and loved it. What does properly pronouncing the business name have to do with racism? I couldn’t believe my ears. The rest of the staff were also shocked by her anger and lashing out on me. I new at that moment, she would be hard to train. If this one thing I would try to teach her turned into this massive explosion than what about the next thing? Believe me, there were many many things. Then calling my uncle as if to tattle tale on me? Simply ridiculous! I tried to explain to her, the rest of the day, that it was not her accent but simply a correction of how she pronounced the business name. She still didn’t understand. I was done with it. Angry and pissed  off now, I just wanted the day over.

The Nanny

Girlie was becoming a part of the family. She was getting comfortable in her surroundings and we loved to see that. We had to tend to her every need. She couldn’t hardly move without the assistance of either Marcus or myself. Her cast was so heavy and awkward. We had to do everything for her. Even in the times of her menstrual cycle. I had to help clean her up and change her hourly. When she woild wake up, Marcus would have to carry her down our ling flight of stairs. At bed time he would carry her back up.  We would have to take her to her many appointments for check ups on her leg. It sure waa a busy time for me. If it wasn’t the kids, it was Girlie and if it wasn’t Girlie, it was my family and so on. Always something to do and the days would fly by. When kids were napping or when the went to bed at night, we would talk. Girlie told me so many stories of the hardships of foreign workers. Agency’s that gouge these working banking on the desperation for them to get a job, come to Canada and make money leaving your kids and family behind. Girlie had two boys she had not seen in years. She told me that when her second son was born, she literally handed him over to her mother and left to Canada for work. She went on to tell me about the thousands of dollars charged to foreign workers from agencies that were out to steal and make money off there own people. It made me sick to hear these stories buy also blessed to have a home, husband and two beautiful kids. Girlie was married but when she returned home to surprise her family a while back, she walked into the front door of her house and found her husband sleeping with a other woman in her own bed. She had become so angry against all men and vowed never to be with one ever again. I guess that happened in the Philippines quite often. Spouses would leave the country seeking work and the spouses would go on to find new people while their spouse was away. Story after story, one time she stopped. She looked at me and said “you should open up your own agency. You have such a good heart! You will be so successful”! She assured me it was a simple process but that I should do it! I began the long process of government immigration paperwork so she could legally work with me and be in Canada properly. I learned how it was done and was the same paperwork for any foreign worker. It was tedious but I got through it. I was beginning to understand it all. Researching and making many calls. When Girlie’s paperwork came back approved, it was the realization that I could do this. I was able to perhaps help others in this process. I would soon start to ponder business names to come up with something that worked. My husband was from the state’s and I was from Canada so it didn’t take long to come up with a great name. “Americanadian Caregivers”! Perfect! A little difficult to pronounce but I loved the ring it had to it. I had been pretty close friends with a lawyer for over twenty years. My music and my previous business all sheltered under him to assure all was being done properly and legally. When I contacted him with my ingenious idea of a company name, he complimented me on the savvy name. I would soon incorporate the business and slowly begin opening up this new company. In our home, we had a large bonus room. I thought that would be perfect to make my office. It could fit a few desks and a nice sitting area with a coffee station. At the same time, continuously tending to the kids and Girlie as well. Marcus was also not working. He had hung up his keys when it came to driving a truck. One set of parents from my day home had spoken to me about Lafarge. He spoke about what a great company it was and was drawing a paycheck in the upwards of two hundred thousand dollars a year. He had worked in sales for the worldwide cement company. Seeing as how my husband worked so much around cement and knew the industry, I asked him to please put a good word Marcus to help him get a job that was more like a desk job than having to drive truck. Within days he showed us two openings that would be available to Marcus. We sent in his resume and pretty quickly we found out he got the job! No more being worried about him on the highways. He would have a regular job everyday and come home every afternoon like everyone else! So may things were falling into place. Working out in our favor. Things were finally starting to get better. Girlie had finally gotten her cast taken off. This also started many hectic appointments taking her to physiotherapy and them teaching her how to walk again. The kids, a day home and a new business, I sure was multitasking but I loved it. I was use to it. Who would have known my previous work would mold me into this multitasker who was able to handle so many things at once! It actually destressed me. 

Over time, Girlie would actually be able to help me around the house. Cooking, cleaning and feeding kids. I would finally have time to properly run this new business.  I hired my neice to help me with the company. She was amazing with computers and I was literally a computer virgin. I had so much to learn and understand and to have her do most of that, worked out well. The office set up was complete and I had worked weeks on the internal side of how this business would run. Setting up procedures and creating a database, the brains of the company, to properly store all our clientele we would hopefully have, professionally. It would store names and vital information about the employers and the foreign workers. I applied for the business license within our province and it was granted to us! I began advertising and before I knew it, the business would soon take off! When our business line would start ringing, it excites us! I wanted to make sure we cornered the market on agencies and put all the bad ones out of business. Ninety nine percent of them were bad. They would charge terrible fees to the poor workers looking to have a better life taking advantage of them. These foreign workers would have loans all over the place including family and would sell their homes and properties to pay those agency fees just to work in Canada. It was completely ridiculous. I couldn’t wait to put them put of business. Americanadian would be the company that changed everything when it came to nannies and caregivers in Canada. Not only for the foreign workers sake but to assist the employers as well in the whole process.

One evening, Girlie and I had chatted about her love life and her kids. She was still so angry at her husband for cheating on her. She told me she was now a lesbian. She said she no longer wanted men he life ever! She told me she wanted help in bringing her friend/lover, a registered nurse from the Arab Emirates, to join her here in Canada. Girlie was also a registered nurse from the Philippines. It seemed almost everyone from the Philippines had such educational backgrounds. Girlie’s hope one day was to finish her two year work program with me and apply for permanent residency in Canada then eventually bring her son’s here when that was all achieved. The caregiver program in Canada was wonderful because it would allow her to do just that upon completion of her two year work permit she now had with me. Her hopes were to get her residency and then further educate herself in the proper courses required by Canada to work as a registered nurse here in our hospitals. Unfortunately, her education degrees back home didn’t just transfer over. As a nurse, to be registered here, she would need to pay almost twenty thousand dollars in education fees and courses to upgrade herself when she was ready. For Americanadian, she was also a great source of advertising for me. She would go to church on Sundays and make friends telling them of my business and they would sign up and become clients in no time. My business was to never charge the worker anything. The employer had to foot the bill to hire one. The way it should be. The worker would only be responsible for their flights and paperwork fees. Especially if they were coming from different countries as most were. Things were getting busy and I loved it! I began the paperwork for her friend and started that process! She was happy, we were happy and all was going well.

How Can Daddy Be On The Phone? They Don’t Have Phones In Heaven!

Marcus was working up in Grande Prarie. Approximately twelve to forteen hour drive away from us. I was putting the kids to bed when Marcus had called to say goodnight to me and the kids. I walked back upstairs with the phone to let him talk to the kids. Our daughter pulled the cover over her head and said that she didn’t want to talk to him. I spoke to Marcus telling him what she was doing. The odd behaviour puzzled both of us. Our little girl was very sassy and stubborn. She was strong willed and strong minded. A handful that’s for sure but also a smart cookie. We knew that she would for sure grow up to be something of true importance because of her smarts. She refused to talk to her dad. Our son talked gibberish and giggled on the phone with him for a bit but our daughter refused. Finally getting her to take the phone from me and talk to him, she said “hi daddy, where are you”? I heard him say he was working. She immediately threw the phone to me and said “That’s not my daddy. Daddy is in heaven and there are no phones in heaven”! Marcus and I were shocked and speechless. We didn’t know what to say. That statement had totally thrown us off guard. She wouldn’t touch the phone again after that. I could hear Marcus’s heart breaking. I could sense that statement had hurt him. I didn’t know what to say. The phone was silent for a bit then Marcus suddenly said ” I’m turning the truck around. I will be home soon. It’s a long drive home but I will see you as soon as I can get there. I’m done with this”! Sure enough, that’s just what he did. Yes he had to work but the struggles of him not being around while the kids were growing up was hard for both of us. He had already missed so much of their growing up. First steps, first words. So many occasions. I was so excited he was going to come home. We would work on a job for him that required him to work in town. Leave every morning and come home every night like everyone else. That would sure be amazing! In any case, that was happening! He was coming home! He was not due home for over a week but he was now coming home! Finally the next day, he made it home safely. I prepared a huge dinner for him and we sat together eating as a family. It was pretty special. That night in bed, he told me that what our daughter said to him really hurt his heart. She didn’t get to see him and be around him as much as she wanted so she assumed he had died and gone to heaven. What a horrific assumption for a daddy to hear. I was glad he made it home safely. While waiting for him to find another job, I decided to watch a few more kids for some extra money and to play with my kids as well. I ended up becoming good friends with the parents. We had a lot in common. It was more important that I got along and liked the parents more than anything. It’s the parents and their personalities that tell you what kinds of children they have. Some kids in interviews would come into my home spitting on the floor and literally jumping on the couches and the parents would just sit there and say ” oh, stop that hunny, your not being very nice”, while they continuously spit and ransacked the entire room. You could tell the parents couldn’t care less how bad their child was behaving. Those parents would definitely not get a call back from me. I chose parents whom had the same care, parenting and love as we did with our kids. 

One Saturday, Marcus was sleeping in and the kids were antsy. They wanted to run and burn off energy. I decided to take them to the closest local school playground. While they were playing, a Filipina woman came and sat down next to me. She was minding the children playing at the park as well but the kids didn’t belong to her. She was their nanny. We ended up chatting on the picnic table. She told me she was the live in nanny of three kids that lived pretty close by. She went on to mention that ahe also did house cleaning on the  side. I was excited. I told her I would love some extra help on Saturdays with cleaning my house! We agreed for her to come see me the following Saturday. Even once a month would be great. The following Saturday came and in the late morning, I received a phone call from her crying hysterically. Her name was Girlie. I yelled on the phone “what the matter? What is going on”?? Girlie told me that she was chasing a two year old whom had dashed for the street when a bus was coming. Girlie had chased her to stop her ans slipped on a patch of ice falling and hitting her calf on a rock. She had broken it. Her employer had come to assess the situation seeing as how it was in the field just being there house. The employer had her luggage in tow leaving it next to her while she called an ambulance to pick her up telling Girlie “your no use to me anymore”! What a bitch! I can’t believe someone can do that to another human being. I told girlie to relax and let the ambulance take her to the hospital. I told her Marcus and I would meet her there. Not to worry. All would be ok. 

We arrived at the hospital and she was so happy to see us, crying hysterically. She knew no one in Canada. She had just arrived as a foreign worker, a caregiver/nanny. Her employer was to begin her paperwork so she would be allowed to work in Canada. She promised Girlie many things but never did them. As an employer, she thought she could save money by not paying her taxes as there was no binding papers. Girlie had no medical insurance or anything. The doctors told us she had broken her two bones on one leg between her ankle and her knee. She was rushed into surgery right away. I cares so much for this woman and had only met her now a second time. Marcus and I were people that could not see sadness or devastation. If we could help in any way we always did. Whomever or for whatever. I got on the phone with immigration Nd told them of the horrific ordeal that had happened. I told them if it was possible, I would sign her paperwork and hire her as a nanny for us and our kids. Even though there was the possibility of her not walking for a very long time. We promised on paper to take care of her and all her needs to heal and to live a normal life. We definitely couldn’t afford a nanny on one salary and I was a stay at home mom for our kids but in the long run, when Girlie was able to tend to our children, I could perhaps go back to work or start teaching privately again. Girlie was in the hospital for five days before she was allowed to come home with us. Marcus and I cleaned out our savings of just over eight thousand dollars to pay her bill. We got her home and Marcus carried her into the house. We sat her down on a comfy couch and placed her leg up on our ottoman. The leg was so heavy from the huge cast she had on. They had to pin her leg in eight places back together again. It would be a long healing process that we would have to go though with her but she was so grateful and told us that almost every hour on the hour. She was to become a part of our family now. We didn’t mind at all. We would have to take care of her fully as another child. Bathing her, cleaning her, feeding her and putting her to bed everyday. 

Time To Move Again…

The home we lived in was perfect. We truly loved it. It seemed as though the kids were growing and the home was getting smaller. We needed more space. If we sold our home and got the price we wanted, we would make one hundred thousand dollars in profit. It was tough putting a home up for sale with two kids. When the sign went up, we had to continuously make sure everything was neat and tidy. We could get calls at any time for a showing. My best friend decided to help us out by staging the house and her husband was a realtor. After all the preparedness of becoming ready for a showing, the home was to be on the market the following day. Our realtor friend called us up that afternoon and told us that a realtor was interested in buying the home. Realtors got to see listings before the public was able to. Prices went back and fourth between us and the interested buyer. Finally, just before the evening got too late, we settled and agreed on a price. We were thrilled with it and got what we had asked for. We never had to show it to anyone or deal with that headache. We sure were lucky as the market was rough. My mother had always raised us to be neat and tidy. I found myself being more and more like her when it came to our home. My mother had a distinct eye for perfection. As kids we use to have fun moving an object of hers a quarter inch left or right then watch as she passed by the same object. You guessed it! She would turn it back. She would notice everything. The only thing I remember getting away with in our seven floor house was the vacuuming. Somewhat like Russian roulette, she would call stumble on our names trying to say the name of only one of us for a job. Instead of just saying the name, she would go through the list of our names first. We would listen hoping she wouldn’t land on our name. She had called on me to vacuum the house. What a job! Do you know how much carpet we had in that house on seven floors? I couldn’t even see a spec of dust anywhere anyways! I got smart, I would vacuum perfectly when I was in her eyes view. When I wasn’t, I would go to plants with dirt and soil and suck the dirt up. Little by little to make it sound like I was doing a terrific job! She never knew this. I don’t even know why she didn’t realize that the plants would slowly be losing their soil when it came time to water them.

We had signed the papers and had one month to move out. Looking for the new home was easy. We knew we wanted to be around my mother and sister’s so we had the realtor look in their community. At that time, their were only two homes up for sale. One that was in the millions and the other a spec home. The builder had used the home to showcase it to clients. It didn’t have everything we wanted in a home buy it still was pretty nice and definitely larger! We signed the papers and the home was to be ours. We were also given the opportunity to move in a week early so we did! Things were looking great! Moving was always hectic but moving to a new home was exciting! We finally had a double garage! The home was pretty close to my family. Perhaps a few blocks then across the street. Marcus was doing all he could to help with the move in between driving a truck for work. He had a better paying opportunity to work with another trucking company that would assist us in making sure he was home more often. The kids and myself had missed him so much. I was always to tense and worried about him because the highways always scared me. Especially in the winter. The fact that he was hardly home and risking his life on the road all the time was a perfect concoction for worry where I was concerned. I had problems sleeping and taking care of the house hold in the winter months especially when it was storming outside. As soon as the phone would ring and I would see his number, I was instantly relieved. Hearing his voice took all my stress away for the moment but as soon as I would hang up, it would all come back. Again, I did have a lot of help from family especially now that we lived closer but it wasn’t the same as having my husband with me raising the kids. Marcus worked long hard hours and when he was home, he was so tired and didn’t want to do much. I couldn’t blame him for that but it was sure hard on both of us. He would miss Christmas or other holidays which made my heart hurt. Every time I cooked a meal that I knew was his favorite, I would feel guilty. What was he eating? Some take out from somewhere? I was always a very mothering type person. If I couldn’t take care of him or his health, I felt useless. We would talk on the phone several times a day and of course every night before either of us went to bed. I don’t recall ever missing a chat. I would fill him in on all the kids did and what happened in our day and he would do the same. He would frequently have stress either from other drivers on the road or problems with the loading or unloading docks and wait times or the individuals handling the site. Even when things were crazy at home, I didn’t want to tell him everything. There was no use in stressing him out more.

Our son was now just over one years old. Changing his diaper one day, I noticed the smell of his urine to be very strong! He also had a bit of a fever. My worry immediately dated back to his new born hospital kidney problem. It was after midnight and I had decided to take him to the children’s hospital. I didn’t want to tell Marcus until I had word from the doctor about what it was. There was no sense in worrying him if it was nothing to worry about. My niece decided to come along for the ride to help me. We got to the hospital and they took us in right away. In our area was many beds with curtains diving us. I sat with our son on my lap kissing him and playing peek a boo while we waited. He was addicted to his soother. It hung on a clip from his shirt. He called it a “tio”. Again, not sure where he got that from but his tio was his life. A nurse came over to us and told us the doctor had requested a urine sample to rule out a bladder infection. I had just changed his heavy diaper not too long ago but the nurses assured me that they could simply use a catheter to take a small sample of urine out. In fear of him having pain, they also assured me that the medication “Vicodin” would be inserted up his nose so he won’t feel any pain. They went on to tell me that after administered, he would act as though he had just finished an entire bottle of rum. I giggled but worried at the same time. What in the heck? Before I new it, another nurse came with a syringe and put a few drops up his nose. He coughed a bit but then his pupils dialated and within seconds, the nurses were able to extract the sample and the whole episode was done. They told me I could put a new diaper on him and dress him then go back to our bed and wait for the doctor. I was not ready for what was to happen next. As we sat down back in our bed space, they had all the curtains opened. Everyone could see everyone. It was not busy anyways. Suddenly, a little girl was rushed into the bed right across from us. She was bluish in color and nurses were working on her to give her oxygen. She was asthmatic. He mother was sitting next to her bed crying through all the medical action her daughter was receiving. When they were done working on her, the little girl started to regain her color and fell asleep. Almost immediately, my son’s Vicodin decided to truly kick in! They weren’t kidding when they told me he would act like a complete drunk toddler. He started swirling his words and when he said “tio” it was long and drawn out. Then he would giggle in slow motion. I started to laugh uncontrollably. Tears were streaming down my face and I couldn’t control it. I don’t know if it was just that I was exhausted or what but the mother with her daughter in front of us couldn’t help but stare at my laughing fit with a smile. I used my son’s body to shelter my face from laughing and crying so much. He was totally acting drunk. It was hilarious. When I finally was able to speak, I apologized to the mother for laughing feeling as though it was totally inappropriate but she assured me that upon listening to my son’s slurred words and his behaviour, it was pretty funny and gave her a good laugh as well. At the end of all this, my son did have a bladder infection. We were given antibiotics and sent on our way. My niece and I laughed all the way home. My son continued to crack us up with his actions and words. I couldn’t wait for this medication to wear off because I couldn’t laugh anymore. My tummy was hurting and so was my face!

The Day Came Quickly!

It was a day away! I was so excited to see this mass gone! Nervousness was to be expected. I did not do well with anesthesia. With my previous c-sections, I would always have tingling and allergic reactions of itchiness. I think I was more worried about that then the actual surgery. Marcus took me to the hospital the following morning. It was so great to see my doctor. He was always so calming and reassuring which made things so much better. He reminded me of Marcus that way and I appreciated him even more because of that. He began drawing all over my abdomen where he was to work on. Unfortunately he told me he could not so much with the top part but at least all that flabby hanging stuff was going to go! While drawing on me he mentioned that I would also lose my belly button. Not to worry though, he would make me a new one. It would look as natural and real. 

The time was here. They had me on the bed and wheeled me into the surgical room. Almost right away, they had the epidural in and before I knew it, they had a mask on my face and told me to count backwards from ten. I don’t even remember counting. I was out! I woke up to the same tingling and itch! I asked the nurse if she would please put some ice on my feet. It was so bad. The pain in my feet was unbearable. I remember crying because it seemed to be getting more and more tense. Nothing else was wrong. I felt nothing. My feet were just taking me to the brink of my pain tolerance. They administered allergy medication right away and put bags of ice in each foot. Finally the pain was settling and I was finally able to think about what my body had just been through. The more I came to, the more excited I was to look under the blanket. The nurses told me the surgery was a success and I was grateful. I was all bandaged with drain tubes on both sides of me. The doctor came in to see me with a big grin on his face. He told me he was abkento remove eighteen pounds from my tummy. He was successful in making me a new belly button which he said looked terrific! Lastly, he told me he was able to stitch me closed without having to use staples. From one side of me to the other, he stitched me three hundred and eighty five times. Compared to the ten and twelve staples from the c-sections, that was huge!

I was scheduled to be in the hospital for at least a week. After the second day, I began to get knocks on my door with other surgeons wanting to come and take a look at my doctors fancy stitch work! After having kids and now this, I pretty much lost all dignity anyways. I wasn’t shy that’s for sure! They would ask if it was ok and move my covers down to see the stitches then mumble to each other impressed by what they saw. It was actually quite funny! I always said yes and allowed whomever wanted to see the stitches, come and look! I had never in all my life had so many people see me naked and it didn’t bother me. I was finally able to go to the bathroom by myself. They removed my catheter and I was suppose to pee on my own. I finally had the sensation to go. It was the middle of the night and I had to go badly. I couldn’t move very fast so by the time I would make it out of the bed, it would take more time than usual. I had to push my button and ask for nurses assistance. A Filipino male nurse came to assist me. I finally made it out of the bed and into the bathroom. The nurse told me that he would be waiting outside the door if I needed anything. It was my first time standing since the surgery. I slowly sat on the toilet being mindful about the drainage tubes still in my incision corners. When I was done I tried to clean up so I got a bundle of toilet paper and looked down to clean myself. I screamed! “Oh my God!! I can’t believe it, I can’t believe it!! The nurse started banging on the door asking me if I was ok, extremely concerned. “Ma’am! Are you ok?? What’s the matter? Do you need me to come In? Why are you crying”? I answered “wow I can see my vagina! I haven’t seen my vagina in a few years! It’s so nice to be able to see it again”! I could hear the nurse giggling behind the door. I was dead serious. I was so happy that I was able to see my lower section again. When I opened the door to go back to bed, he greeted me with a smile. We giggled all the way back to the bed. I had to call Marcus in the middle of the night to tell him the news about my vagina. He answered with a sleepy voice. When he heard me crying he was suddenly concerned. After telling him about seeing my vagina, he wasn’t impressed anymore and went back to sleep. I was impressed! That’s all that mattered. It was finally time for me to go home. I was educated in how to keep the wound clean and free from infection. It sure was painful every where around the incision but the actual area was numb and would be for many months to follow. It was so nice to be able to wear underwear properly. No more long shirts to cover anything! I was so excited to try all my clothes on. Just to see how they fit now. Most of them didn’t fit me anymore at all. Keeping the area clean was a chore. It was hard to keep bandaging an insicion that ran around half your body. Anything sticky would hurt even more. One day with my genius husband tending to my bandages, he came up with a terrific idea! He pulled out an ace tensor long bandage, in the middle of it he stuck two kotex maxi extra long overnight pads. He wrapped the wings of the pads around the tensor bandage then placed the pads directly onto the wound. Using the extra bandage, he wrapped them around my waste to hold them into place. It was soft, no tape or bandages being used and it worked perfectly! What a man! Finally, this wound would heal so much faster. Woman’s maxi pads are already sterilized and sanitised so they were more than perfect. When my husband came up with ideas, they would always we awesome! He was always so smart that way!