We were a few weeks away from our houseboat vacation for my brothers last will. Working hard on Kumas homes, trying to get everything fixed and done before her sister arrived was difficult. I was juggling so many things ay the same time. We had a truck between Marcus and I. I never really needed a car. I would come and go with my sister to work all the time and after that, Marcus always got home early enough for me to have a vehicle for the afternoon well into the evening. It was a nice Dodge Ram 1500, mega cab. Blue and spacious. The winters we had in Canada would make us appreciate it big time! I had always dreamed of owning a camaro convertable. I quickly decided that it was about time a got one! I went to see a dealer my sister used all the time. Friendly and not pushy. He showed me the new ones on the lot and we went over pricing. It was affordable! It actually was not as expensive as I thought it would be. The total was around fifty five thousand dollars. I thought he was going to say eighty thousand dollars at least! I decided before making that commitment that I would test drive a few different cars first. The interest rate would be around six percent. Not bad. I went home and the following day, I picked up Kuma and we went on some joy rides. I rented a mustang for the day. We loved it. Kuma made me laugh so hard on her broken English saying we were two hot chicks in a sports car and we were going to attract good looking Asian men. The next day we rented a Sebring convertible and had a joy ride once again. The following day we rented a white mustang again and decided to rent it for two days. We had fun with it but found it a little compact. No space hardly. We all ended up going out for dinner that night. Kuma picked up her daughter and my husband met me at her house with our two kids. Kuma took us to a place by her house. Japanese of course. She wanted us to try it. We ordered and the food was fantastic! We had such a good time. She asked us to come back to her place because she had bought some new ice cream. Kuma said the kids would love it. When we got to her house, she couldn’t find her house key. Her daughter had left it on the counter. She started to panic as there was really no way into her house. She had the back locked up securely because it was just cliff side. She had no balconies for safety, is was locked tight. Kuma tried opening the garage in hopes her daughter had left the back garage door open. It was the first time I had ever seen her garage from the inside. She checked the door and if course, it was locked. I told her not to panic because we could just call a locksmith and all would be fine. The inside of her garage was loaded with disaster supplies! Water and more water, sleeping bags and canned goods. Kuma was always afraid of what the psychic man in India told her. The world was going to end and she would be safe in Canada. Particularly in Calgary or Edmonton. Kuma confessed to us that she was constantly gathering supplies just in case. The locksmith finally arrived and let us in. I could see the relief in her. That day was also the day I noticed she had piles of salt in every corner of her house. At least three inches high each one. I of course, had to ask why. Kuma told me it wards off evil. Bad spirits that may want to enter her home. In the business I was in, I was always intrigued by different cultures and ways of people. I learned so much. Kuma was the friend and client that taught me so much Japanese culture. In my own mind, I would always compare the varieties of cultures we had in our world. It sure was interesting! The ice cream was delicious and she topped it off with fresh cherries. After all was done, I told Kuma that I would be leaving on a holiday slash last holiday with my brother. She knew of his sickness and all he was going through and promised she would continually pray for him and for our family. I explained to her what the houseboat holiday was to be all about and she was saddened. Kuma hugged all of us and had tears in her eyes. I would have loved for her to join us with her daughter. She had never been to British Columbia or experienced a house boat. She would have had such a a great time. The only problem also was, my brother only wanted his immediate family surrounding him in his final days. When we left after dessert, Kuma and her daughter came out with us to the driveway hugging and kissing us goodbye. Kuma cried saying she was going to miss me. I found such sweetness in our friendship. I told her I was not leaving for two more weeks. I would see her tomorrow as a delivery was coming for the company I hires to start working on her balconies. They blew kisses and waved as we pulled out of the driveway and left. The following day, I had met up with her again to check the shipment that had arrived. She hugged me as though she hasn’t seen me in years! It was so strange but then again, there were many strange things with Kuma! I told her that I was going to buy the Camaro! After all the test drives we both took, I told her I was interested in the Camaro convertible, price reasons and it was just a nicer car. She was so excited! I think more excited than me! I told her I had found a black one just twenty minutes outside of Calgary and I was headed to the dealership to sign the papers. Kuma started to ask me questions about the loan and how it worked so I explained to her that we fill out a loan application and make payments on cars here. However long and however much your approved for. You pay interest on the loan and that’s It! She freaked out! It was the first time I had seen her that angry! She said “No! Don’t do loan! You have the money you buy It! No paying no interest! Like me, I buy my car no payment no extra money, why”? She went on to say ” I give you money, you go buy car, we go drive have fun”! She was adamant! We sat down at her kitchen table and she made sure I was not to get financing for that car. She told me ” I pay cash for my houses and cash for my cars, no loan for anything”! Then she ran upstairs and brought a large shoebox down with her. She opened it in front of me and said see? She must have had at least fifty credit cards in it with bills from her daughter’s and her schooling plus her house tax papers and more. The credit cards all had the sticker on the front of them still. Never used. She told me she hated owning anything that had interest along with it. She would never use a credit card or owe anyone anything that had interest attached to it. I had to calm her down and tell her that some people, such as myself, cannot afford to do stuff like that. We have mortgages and bill payments. She brought up the money that she had gifted to me earlier in the month saying to just use that! I explained to her that I had put it into the business! Kuma asked me if I had spent all of it already? I told her that I did not. It was sitting in the business and personal accounts. The more we talked, we were able to come up with a plan. I would get a money order from my account for fifty thousand even calling it a shareholders loan. I would pay the difference of fifty five hundred from my own money. Then, beginning in September, I would pay one thousand a month from my personal money back to the business to pay the loan back with no interest which was what Kuma demanded from the beginning to avoid high car loan interests. The very next day, I went to the bank, got a money order for fifty thousand dollars even. I went to the dealership, met with the finance department. Gave him the money order and put the additional cost on my personal credit card. They had the car all shined up for me ready to go. I drove straight to Kumas house first. We were both so excited! She was so happy for me and made sure I followed all her advise from the previous day. Just as I was entering her house, I got a call. Work needed me. They were having problems with a particular client. I told them I was on my way. We hugged goodbye and I left back to the office. Serena greated me as I parked to go up. She was stunned by my new car. For some reason I could truly sense jealousy. I could see it in her face. It was really none of her business why and how I got the car. She was still angry with me for not increasing her salary to eighty five thousand a year. No education? No one would pay their employee that without some kind of experience. Serena figured because we were cousin’s, I should just agree. Unbelievable. The changes I began to notice with Serena were becoming severe. I was too busy to address them. I paid twenty five thousand dollars for her schooling. That would have to come first. Then the huge salary increase. Serena was not happy. Some staff members seemed to follow her unhappiness. It was turning into a trend in the office. I was so busy dealing with my promises to Kuma to fix her homes while I temporarily had them in my name for her sisters arrival. I was all over the place all day. Hardly able to even spend time with my family. Plus, we were leaving on a holiday for one week for my brothers final wish. His health was deteriorating fast. Life was busy but I had not been on any kind of a vacation in over twenty years. Marcus and I never even had a honeymoon after we married. Not even our second wedding when we wanted to renew our vows in front of our entire list of family and friends. I was looking forward to a little quick break. We were to leave the next day. August 12, 2011.
My brother told us he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. He had thought he had the flu. He had already been on dialysis because he only had one kidney from problems when he was younger. His kidneys were not functioning properly so dialysis was put into place with a pic in his chest. The dialysis took a toll from him always. He was completely unable to urinate. My brother had always lived a great life. He was not extremely wealthy but wealthy enough to own and enjoy the finer things in life. He owned his own company that produced oil tanks for storage. He owned a Viper and other fancy cars. He was big on collectables of great value including a Faberge` egg called the “Imperial Coronation” more of the most famous and iconic egg in the Faberge Family. It made an appearance in the movie “Oceans 11″. He also had many collections of gold and silver coins and bars. Our brother Rob was also the owner of expensive collectors items with Ducks Unlimited Paintings, football’s signed by pro athletes and clothing signed by famous people such as Dale Erinheart. He was also an extreme outdoorsman. He loved fishing and owned the newest and the latest equipment including bass boats for tournaments. Anything his heart wanted, he would own it or work very hard to own it including a beautiful property in which he lived in and another lakefront property an hour away from his home. Rob also lived to golf. It was his hobby. He would set up annual tournaments worth millions for golfers to join and play. All proceeds going to charity. When Rob first started dialysis years before, the meaning of charity took on a whole new vision for him. He became dedicated to helping others as much as he could. He would sit for hours during his dialysis sessions and watch people around him suffering from one thing or another. With each session, he would take the entire floor staff donuts and coffee. At one point he bought the entire floor a new washer and dryer including kitchen stuff for the staff and patients. All the proceeds of his golf tournaments would goto charities and he would never leave the little ones out including the seniors homes. Offering them whatever they needed to properly tend to all seniors. Our brother was the most dedicated, inspirational, funloving and most generous man anyone would ever get the chance to know. He was smart and never let anyone take advantage of him in any way. Rob was a diabetic. Getting his sugar under control you think would be easy but with dialysis and now cancer, it was more difficult. The other biggest problem he had was chemotherapy. There was only one chemo treatment they could use on him for his cancer. With his dialysis coming into play, he was unable to urinate any other chemo out so they could not use it to save him. His breathing was getting worse and the myeloma was taking over all the bones in his body. By this time, his then doctor told him he only had a month to live and began the process of putting him on palliative care. They said there was nothing more they could do for him. My mother actually lost it. My eldest sister, her husband and my mother went to visit him in Edmonton. He was staying at a hotel close to the hospital. While visiting, he seemed positive. His breathing a little heavy. They were going to try a few more chemo treatments because Rob put up such a stink. He refused to go onto palliative care. Around the early afternoon, Rob decided to take a little nap. He was very tired and worn out. While everyone visited in the main room, they noticed quite a few hours went by. My mother got concerned. His wife said to just leave him sleeping as he must have been very tired, so they did. Still deeply concerned, my mother and sister kept going in the room to check on him. He was sound asleep. His wife again, stopped anyone from waking him up. Finally my sister put her foot down angrily and said that this nap was way too long. She entered his room and places her hand on his forehead, whispering to him to wake up. He didn’t even flinch. Almost immediately she knew something was wrong. He was hot. Sweating all over. His forehead was so hot she began lightly slapping his face to wake up. No matter what their attempts, he didn’t move. They began to get more aggressive, nothing. My mother screamed and my sister ran to the phone to call 911. Within minutes, police and ambulance were there. They immediately jumped on his chest and assessed him with medical equipment working very fast and loud. It was determined he was slipping into a coma or already in one. He was rushed to the hospital and put on life support. My mother and sister were frantic. My sister knew it was her chance to hold her emotions because our mother was going to have a heart attack. She began beating her chest and pulling the hairs on her head out. She started yelling up to God in the hospital hallway just outside his door. ” Why are you taking him”??? “Why are you making me watch my son go first, before me”??? “You took my husband and now your taking my son, my child! Take me first! Take me before him. Take me, please take him, please don’t make me watch”!!!
With prompt medical attention, the medical team at the University hospital managed to get his vitals under control and within a few hours, he came to. He was extremely week but no longer in a coma. The medical team worked on him consistantly. He was never alone for a moment. My sister decided she would take the chance to get our mother away from the hospital and bring her back home. If anything was going to happen, especially with our mother there, we would lose both our mother and our brother. The doctors told my sister that it was their recommendation she go home for now. Not only was she approaching her eighties, she also had diabetes and a weak heart. Thankfully Robert’s vitals were improving. Slowly but improving. With great force, they got her into the car for a long drive back to Calgary. His wife would stay with him and report any and all changes to us. Once she arrived home, she began the hair pulling and beating her chest violently. It got so sever we had to threaten her to stop the yelling and all she was doing to herself or we would call am ambulance to pick her up. She refused to go but we threatened her even more. We just wanted her to calm down a bit. We explained that she was acting as though he WAS dead and he wasn’t. We had to yell at her and again tell her over and over that if he passed away, the reaction would be more appropriate but he was alive. He was on the mend, slowly, from a dangerous place he was just previously in. It was July and his doctor had only given him until the end of August 2011 to live. They had given him aggressive chemo treatments in the days following. His weakness was only bad after dialysis but he refused to lose the game. Rob always called his sickness “a game”. In my brothers history, he loved games. He was a very extreme competitive player and refused to lose. Now, his sickness was called a game to him. A game he refused to lose. The family ended up deciding to plan a vacation that would be a peaceful and quiet retreat of some kind that our brother would appreciate. A gathering with everything he loved all in one. Rob came up with idea as he began feeling better but the doctors words were still embedded in his mind. August. A family vacation many years ago on three houseboats was brought up in discussion. They talked about how much fun it was. The lake, the surroundings, fishing, cooking, docking at night and enjoying the night sky was what he wanted. He left it to me to do all the bookings and arrange everything. After getting the cost finalized including gas for the boat and groceries, I was to let four families know and we would split the cost four ways. Rob wanted to take care of the whole thing but we all refused. The cost would be split and we would all come together and enjoy each other while we could. The trip was not going to be fun. Watching him weak, sick and not able to eat properly would be the most difficult thing to see. He loved his food and the sun, so many outdoor things and could not enjoy any of them but as long as he was in his element, that was all he wanted. In case his doctors were correct, which we all refused to believe, this was what he wanted and needed from us and we would be there with him no matter what.
Having dinner, just the two of us gave us an opportunity to talk even more. At this point we had now known pretty much everything about each other. At least all the important parts of our lives. Her daughter had gone to bed early and we sat up until two in the morning, laughing and drinking Dr.pepper. It was that time of the month for me. My cycles were so severe due to my past and my birthing kids. I was always so afraid of leaving spots where I sat. Unfortunately for me, kumas furniture in her home was all white! Everything white! Oh dear Lord… I prayed my pads would hold. She laughed so hard when I told her I would rather sit on her off white carpet then the white beautiful couch. Being a diabetic, my feet were so swollen. Almost immediately, she grabbed a bucket and filled it with warm water and began giving me a foot massage. No matter how many times I told her no, she insisted. What a sweet woman. When we finally sat down after cleaning up, she told me she wanted to ask me something. Kuma went on to tell me she wanted to invest in my business. She wanted to work for me. She wanted to be a part of my world. She admired and loved my family so much. She told me she had to ask me a huge favor. She was hoping I would not say no. She seemed nervous. Kuma asked me if I would take her homes upon myself under my name for only three weeks. I was puzzled and did not understand. She asked if I would put her two homes on my name for three weeks only because her sister was coming to visit and she didn’t want it to be known that she owned any property. She told her sister she was broke and her money all spent when it wasnt. She just wanted it hidden from her until she left then I would sign the homes back to her. She wanted to see a lawyer and have it all done legally so her sister would never find out with all her sisters connection. Kuma believed that her sister was only coming down to visit her to snoop and see whether Kuma was telling the truth or not. Kuma was terrified. I told her that was really weird but I would do whatever she wanted. It was not going to cost me anything. We decided that while thr homes were in my care, I would assist her on getting the landscaping done and fixing the problems that were irritating her before signing the properties back within three weeks. The plan was set and she was delighted!! I told her I would assist her with the landscaping and the balconies. When I was to meet her sister, I would tell them that I was her landlord. I was to also say that she had been struggling to pay her rent. Embarrassing but, that was the plan. I told her I would help her on one condition. She would contact the Korean friend she gave two hundred thousand dollars to and make sure there was a contract between them in writing to give some sort of assurance to her to hopefully get the money back. She agreed. Before leaving that night, I told her she should have a public trustee assist her with her finances to assure her that no one will ever take advantage of her. Just under twenty million was a lot of money for her to be handling when she was giving it away with promises. I explained to her that one of my clients was also very wealthy and they were seniors requiring nurses twenty four hours a day. They hired a public trustee to handle their finances and it was the public trustee that paid us for employing the nurses for them. It would be a safe and secure plan for her so she wouldn’t have to worry anymore. Kuma said she would think about it buy it was getting late and I was super tired. Kuma told me she had something she wanted to give me. She had asked me to join her at her home for breakfast in the morning. I joked saying it was two in the morning! How about a late breakfast early lunch! I needed to sleep a little. Later that morning came quickly! I drove to her house once again to see what she needed from me. I rang the doorbell and she opened the door hugging me like she hasn’t seen me for weeks!! She was so excited! She hurried me into the kitchen and sat me down on the table. She gave me three envelopes. I took them from her and opened them one at a time. The first one was a money order made out to me in just over two hundred thousand dollars. The second one was money order made out to me for just over one hundred thousand dollars. The third one was another money order made out to me for just over ninety thousand dollars. My heart stopped for a bit. What???? What was going on here? She asked me to wait and stop talking so she could explain. Kuma said the money order for just over one hundred thousand was for her homes. I was to use it only for the fixing and construction work that was to be done. When I was to sign the homes back to her, I would give her the receipts and whatever money was left over from it. That one I completely understood. The other two money orders were to go to myself. To do whatever I wanted with them. She wanted me to get healthy so I was able to take care if her dauhhter? She wanted me to do whatever I needed to do with it. I asked her if she was dying?? She said no, she had pain from the tumor but she tolerated it. I told her there was no way I could accept that!! No way! She stood up in front of me and begged me to please take the gift giving me other suggestions about what I could do with it. Suggestions like expanding the business, hiring proper staff, getting more computers and eventually hiring her to work with me. I was to use that money to begin the process of opening up three offices in Japan to help her people. She would run the three offices out of Calgary. We finally came to an agreement. I told her I would only accept this gift if she would accept shares in the business. I would offer her fourteen thousand shares at the twenty dollars a share they were going for at that time. She agreed. We both cried. I had never received a gift like that from anyone. She still demanded to leave the money orders all in my name. Insisting it was still mine and I could do whatever I wanted with it. After leaving the house, I drove straight to my bank and sat down with the manager. I had shown her the three money orders and gave her a quick brief history about what happened. The manager had known my entire family for over 30 years. It was also the same bank my sister use to work for before going into disability. I cried again in her office and she cried with me. After they were deposited she asked if there was anything else I needed to do before leaving. I ended up paying all the companies loans and credit cards down. I would talk to Serena when I for back to the office and have her figure out how to start going through everything business related so I could take care of it. I contacted my lawyer on the way back to the office to have him start the process of drawing up the papers and a share certificate for Kuma. When I got to the office, Serena was anxious about how all this money came into play. I had to lie to her at the moment as other staff were around and I didn’t want anyone knowing anything yet until I properly discussed it with the accountant, Serena and the lawyer. I had planned to get rid of some of the staff that were no working and playing around all the time despite the numerous warnings. It was no ones business yet but I had to lie to Serena and tell her that I just remortgaged my home. Within a few days, I would invite Serena to my home and explain the truth to her. By the end of the day, my lawyer called me to tell me that Kuma had contacted him to set up a meeting for transferring the homes. He was puzzled with what was going on but I would soon be able to sit with him and Kuma so we could both explain it to him.
Both Kuma and her daughter were already at the lawyers office when I arrived. We say down and Kuma wouldn’t leave my arm. Holding me with such a tight grip. We sat down and began telling him the story of the Korean man she loaned all that money too. She was so nervous because she felt embarrassed for doing that. She said she felt stupid. When we told the lawyer his name, to our surprise, he knew him! He calmed Kuma down saying he was an honorable man and would pay her back. He was struggling with something regarding his father and needed that money but she would get it back. He even contacted the man to assure us that it was all above board. The Korean man agreed to a contract and would sign it for Kuma. Phew! One problem out of the way. Secondly, Kuma told the lawyer that she wanted papers drawn up to make me the guardian of her daugter. We explained her tumor and story a little to him. He told us we could do that on another visit because he was booked up and were were their to sign over the homes. We agreed to come back the following week for the guardianship papers. Kuma and myself both explained to him the story of her sister and the issue at hand. He said it would be no problem to sign the homes over to me for a dollar! Each home was worth just under a million dollars. They were being signed to me for a dollar?? That was so odd. It actually made me feel weird and second guess what we were doing. Her grip on my arm was so right I could not go back on my word. The lawyer even noticed how anxious she was. To have this all done before her sister arrived. I raised my right hand, swore an oath, she signed, I signed and all was fine. The homes now apparently belonged to me. Kuma was delighted. The lawyer promised to have the share certificate ready with a few weeks and everything would then be finalized. I must have repeated to him over five times that when Kuma was ready, she would just have to let me know that her sister was gone and whenever she asked, I would return to this office and sign the homes back to her but until then I would have an awkward feeling having them in my name. We left the office and decided to just celebrate. Things were on the right track for her and for me. We booked a hotel for my whole family and for Kuma and her daughter in pool side rooms. Our rooms were on the main level with a large private pool. We would stay for three days. The kids could swim indoors all day under our watch while we just relaxed. It was perfect. We had such a great time and the girls would order room service all night. They were fascinated by it. After the relaxing weekend, everyone returned to work and I made a meeting for Serena to come to my home. I needed to tell her the truth about all that happened. That night, Serena and I talked for the entire evening. I explained everything that had happened with Kuma and I noticed her excitement building. She was happy for me. She asked if I would spend the money within the two businesses or keep it for me. I told her I would never just keep it for me. It would be spent on the businesses. At the end of our meeting, she asked me if she could have a raise. She then demanded that I pay her a salary of eighty five thousand a year for her services and book keeping because she was worth it. I nicely explained to her that she had no education about accounting or book keeping but what I would do was pay for her education to accounting school. She agreed. It would cost twenty thousand dollars for her education but only if she completed it and passed would be talk about that kind of a salary. I began to notice a huge change in her. She was not happy with me denying her huge salary hike. She never said it but I could read it all over her face. She left without even giving me a hug as cousins, we always did. That told me she was pissed. Back to the office the next day and for a few weeks after that, I noticed a change in everyone. Serena promised she did not tell anyone anything but I could tell something was weird. I began working hard on Kumas properties as promised. Spoke to the property manager and convinced him to stay with Kuma. He agreed. I began working on the landscaping hiring the best and affordable. I hired the Korean friend Kuma gave the money to because he had a construction company. The money was honored to me to pay these people and I would not let anyone take advantage of that as Kuma always did. Regardless of her leaving it up to me, I still kept her in the loop of everything I was doing. I wanted Kuma to just focus on her paperwork for “humanitarian & compassionate “. I wanted her to legally be allowed to work with me instead of just staying in Canada on a study visa. She never studied anyways and hated going there. I would hopefully be able to change that soon for her. One day Kuma told me she would love it if we all lived together. She loved my family. I told her it was a great idea as our daughters could be closer and because they were both being bullied at school, they could support each other. Kuma and I began looking at homes to accommodate us all. It was not a priority but it was fun. It seemed Kuma was now calling me for everything causing me to not be able to work in the office as much as I needed to. The staff were handling things just fine, I was told so not to worry. The share certificate was finally complete and signed. Everything was now official. Everything was going great! Then I received a call from my brother..what I was about to hear would shatter my world.
The devastation was unbelievable. After people had suffered the effects of the Tsunami, they had to deal with radiation. My Japanese client and friend has many friends back home that went missing. She had been unable to reach them by phone or by email. All our inquiries and my attempts to help her came up with nothing. She was saddened by this. I will call her Kuma. Having hated her only sister growing up, she told me she never wanted anything to so with her. Her sister was a terrible person. At one point, Kuma told me that she had wished harm on her sister and was afraid of the karma that would give her. She said that in Japan, when you wish I’ll on someone, it comes back to you. In one of her visits at the office she told me that she was suffering from a tumor behind her heart. She said the only reason she has the tumor was from her ill wishes upon her sister. She had refused to have surgery in Canada. Kuma told me she would only have the tumor taken out in Japan but was too afraid to go home. We went out for dinner together one evening, all I knew of Japanese food was Edo Japan in Canada and she told me that was terrible and not even close! She took me to a special restaurant that she said was pretty good. It was! We sat together chatting the entire evening away. Towards the end of our conversation, she asked me a favor. She told me that she trusted and knew no one on the world. Kumas daughter would be alone in the world if anything was to ever happen to her. She asked and entrusted in me to sign papers to be the guardian of her daughter. She wanted Marcus and I to take her daughter as one of our own if she died from her tumor. It was a heartfelt conversation and I was so honored to be asked such a thing. I told her of course! Almost immediately, she stood up from her side of the table and gave me a huge hug with tears in her eyes. I told her not to worry about anything. She would be just fine and have no problems raising her daughter. If I was needed, I would always be there for her. Each day, we became closer. Her stories would blow my mind of what she had to go through to escape her highly prestegious gangster boyfriend. A well known man throughout Japan that had done many bad things. She would travel from country to country looking for where to call home while trying to stash millions of dollars on her persons. She believed that banks would be able to trace her if her boyfriend asked. He had many connections. Kuma said she would stuff money in her babies carrier and in her luggage. Within her clothes while opening accounts all over the world in her daughters name. Kuma was very clever when it came to hiding cash until she managed to land in Canada. When in Canada, she told me she trusted the banks here and would open accounts with three or four of them. While keeping her over seas accounts as well. On another conversation eating dinner with my entire family, at Japanese Village, she told me she was having a problem with her sister calling her all the time. Her sister wanted to come visit her in Canada. She flipped! When I asked her what was so wrong, she said that she owned her rental property and her own home she lived in. If her sister knew about the homes she would manage to take them from her. That is what her sister always did best. When we left the restaurant, we drove her home and talked more. She said the home she lived in had no balconies and was built on a cliff. Her patio door was a drop way down. She then mentioned that she was scared from her rental property. Kuma had hired a property manager to manage her property for her. The property was so new that it had no landacaping. The renters had little kids and it was dangerous for them to play outside. No fence with dangerous edges and mud everywhere due to no grass. The property manager was so frustrated with her because of her English barrier. He refuses to work with her anymore. He demanded the property be fixed as he was sick of the renters complaints. Kuma didn’t know what to do. I told her I could help her in whatever way she wanted but kept running into road blocks because I was not the property owner and she had to always be there to give permission to me. When she attemted to fix the home issues and landscaping, she hired a japanese construction crew to first develop the basement. From the very beginning they charged her thirty thousand dollars for the job and demanded it be paid up front. So she did. Within the first week, the company hired managed to break the main homes foundation bar in the basement causing the upper bonus room ceiling to begin to crack. Kuma was terrified. If anything happened to anyone in that home, they could sue her as the landlord. Kuma then told me she had met a Korean man and his family whom were nice and friendly to her always. He owned a Dairy Queen and a construction company. He said he would help her with the balconies by building them for her. When he came over with his wife to see the house, Kuma told me she did not like the wife. She had a bad feeling about her. This woman would always look around with a jealous face and sometimes rolled her eyes at Kuma when she spoke. The husband was very sweet she said. Kuma told me she had something scary to tell me to go along with everything else bad that was happening to her now. Kuma told me that the Korean man she had only known for three weeks, asked her for money. He had asked her for a two hundred thousand dollar loan and she agreed!! No papers! He promised to pay it back within the year. That seemed crazy to me! I was shocked! I asked her how she could entrust someone like that so quickly to give them such a large sum of money? She told me she couldn’t say no. I was dumbfounded. First the thirty thousand dollar construction scam then a two hundred thousand dollar loan on a promise? She had given him a money order. It was already cashed. Kuma had come to the office the next day to invite myself and a few other staff over for dinner with our families. Myself and Lydia, the client liaison whom helped drive Kuma around accepted. By the Saturday night dinner invite, our son was sick and our daughter was addicted to a video game not wanting to leave. My husband decided to just stay home with them so I went alone. When I arrived at Kumas home, she informed me that Lydia had also canceled. She was having issues with her youngest daughter and couldn’t make it so she canceled via text just before I arrived. It was just to be myself and Kuma with her daughter for the evening. What was to happen that night and the following morning would change my life forever.
The fights between the staff members were getting worse. Some were great, some terrible. Many times, I felt like just firing the next person that walked through my door and complained about their salary. I had still not been able to pay myself anything. Borrowing from here and there was becoming more frequent. I was bringing in so much money I couldn’t understand why. Every time I talked to Serena about it, she would flash papers at me saying it is what it is. Serena began coming to me saying these people or those people did not take checks. Only cash or money order payments. When bills had to be paid by check she would fill it out, bring it to me to sign it and all was done. Serena had four staff members receiving their full salaried with nothing taken off for taxes. She had convinced me that out accountant told her to write them off as subcontractors and make them pay their own taxes. The staff were all for that! Slowly, I began to notice the staff members not really talking to me anymore. I would have the feeling that there was talking going on behind my back. Owen would soon find a way to get in on the action coming around very often. The society was so busy that I ended up offering him a piece of my Americanadian company. Selling off the skilled worker division so he could open a company and take that part over. I helped him think of the perfect name and talked him into hiring Serenas sister to run it for him. She was looking for work at the time and I was told she was a quick learner. I even ended up getting her the salary she wanted, to work in his new company. If someone had a problem, I was always great at fixing it. In my lifetime, I had become the master of fixing everyone’s problems. It seemed natural and there was always a simple solution that they themselves, never saw. I was always very able to make almost anyone’s problems, disappear. It’s funny, I still have the knack to do this today. Always able to fix anyone’s problems but my own.
I ended up selling a third of the shares to Owen. He wanted to be a part of everything including the society. In the contract, all I was willing to give up for the society was him being able to attend out meetings and provide input. He seemed happy with that when almost a year earlier, he had offered me two million for the presidency. He was always a little pushy but a smart businessman. Owen was an all around great person. When he went to Nova Scotia, he knew I loved lobster and brought a cooler full of them back for me. He attended our marketing events in the malls to gain the public’s awareness of who we are and what we did. Naturally, when it came to people finding jobs, we did not only cater to the foreign workers, we also catered to many Canadians looking for work as well. When an employer needed employees or good workers, they didn’t really care where they were from. They only cared that the job would get done properly and efficiently. Whatever the job was. For us, it was certainly easier to give them Canadians workers. No paperwork involved. We let everyone we could know that if they needed a job, to please come to us. The more applicants in our database with diverse talent and trades, the better. An employer could come to us and say they needed twenty landscapers immediately and we could fulfil their needs. We had some wrath from Canadians time to time thinking that we only catered to foreigners but were they ever wrong! Hiring Canadians just made sense. No hassle with government and papers what so ever. It was not only just about business. I was so talented at helping people and my companies did just that, all the time. A simple idea from so long ago would turn into such a success. I ended up meeting and working with a lady in Taiwan. She was so similar to me. Our hearts matched. She had quit a company she was working for because she couldn’t take the harassment they did to their clients. Gauging them for high end dollars with promises to work in Canada. She ended up flying to Canada to meet me with the high interest of opening up the same society in Taiwan. We hit it off. She was great! It would have been a pleasure to work with her. We both had the same care and compassion for people. I wish she lived in Canada. I would have made her a partner in a heart beat! Before she left back to Taiwan she agreed on a handshake that we would work together and start branching out this amazing society which would in turn begin to help people all over the world.
In all that time being in the new office, I had heard that the Japanese client I was told of in our old office was wanting to start the process of staying in Canada indefinitely. She was all alone with just her daughter. She had fled Japan after her father passed away. She had gotten pregnant by a gang member in Japan and he was high up in the list of this huge gang feared by all Japanese people. When her mother found out she was pregnant, she told her daughter to escape. She was one of two daughters. Her sister was always very mean to her and they were not close. Her sister was very money hungry and stole from her any chance she would get. She told me when they were little, her sister would steal money from her piggy bank and offer to take her out for icecream. Her sister ended up marrying a prince. A real prince! They lived in Paris. When their father died, they were given twenty million, each girl. Her sister left to Paris with her prince and my friend fled Japan touring different countries in hopes of finding a place to settle. The tour ended short. She was now about to have a baby and didn’t know where to go so she went to Paris. To her sister. The baby was born in Paris. A little girl. After the babies birth, she had a huge fight with her sister and the prince and ended up fleeing once again. Same travelled some more with a baby now in tow. She went to India searching for a place to live. While in India, she went to see a medium. They would tell her things no one would have known. This man told her to go to Canada. He even specified Calgary and not Edmonton. She would soon apply for a study permit to learn English as her entrance to Canada because her English was so bad. She never cared to learn it but if that was her ticket into Canada, she would have done anything. The medium also told her that devastation was coming to the world. The safest place she could be in the whole world was in Canada. Particularly Calgary, Alberta. After much more travelling, she landed in Canada when her daughter was eight years old. A study permit was also issued for her daughter so she could attend school. When she landed in Canada, she met a man who was an immigration lawyer. He helped her to settle and do all the paperwork for her. They would soon fall in love with each other. Only when their relationship got intimate, did she learn that he was an abuser. He loved to hit women. He truly had no respect for a woman and treated them like walking meat. He even abused her in front of her daughter threatening her that if she didn’t listen, she would be next.
When this woman came to our office, I did not know any of this. My associate came to me and asked me if I remembered her and confirming that the Humanitarian and Compassionate package was the best one for her. After running it through our lawyer, that was all agreed upon and the process began. My associate gave her a to do list, to gather all the proper documentation for the appication including passport photos for her and her daughter. After about a week of her process she was introduced to me in my office. We sat for a few hours chatting about her life and she would do nothing but thank me and tell me how much she admired and loved the association. She told me about a huge Tsunami that had hit Tokyo Japan recently and the air was all full of radiation. She had friends there and was so worried about them. They were not returning any of her emails. She would soon start to come by almost everyday, bring me snacks and cinommon rolls. We had much in common. Our both daughters were the same age and had the same name! We had both gone through abuse. Different types of abuse but still, abuse is abuse period! I had never really told her too much about my story. In time, we would become great friends. Talking always, I would just tell her bits and pieces. She would tell me at one point, that she cursed her sister. She was always so angry with her! The only blood she had was so evil, her both parents had now passed away, she would tell me. She would also get the courage to finally break it off with her immigration lawyer lover. We would meet plenty of times for dinners and lunches. Our daughters would play together and have sleep overs. We became great friends. While visiting one of our staff one day, she again was admiring the business and wanted to be a part of it. My staff member told her that she could buy shares. To talk to me about it. The following morning, my staff member told me she was on her way to discuss shares with me. It was at the same time I had the people from Taiwan in my office learning about our society as they were wanting to open one in Taiwan. She came with some pop and a huge box of cinommon rolls for me. Everyone got to meet everyone! We chatted about the Taiwan office and now about my Japanese friend wanting to open up an office in Japan. Three offices to be exact, she said! Everyone was excited about this new venture coming up. We immediately went online and started reaching out to the Japanese consulate for further information about rules and regulations in Japan.
We chatted, all of us for the rest of the afternoon. We were all ready to start this new chapter!
Blogging my life story for a book has been so difficult. Bringing up so many things I have worked so hard trying to keep down and hidden. Especially at the point in my life now and the present tense I am in. I look around me. My life in complete shambles. I still try to understand why I am here. In the last few months, I have been so depressed and suicidal. The events happening in my life at this present time are unbearable and uncontrollable. So many loved ones around me. So many things I would think would be important to live for but my brain erases it quickly. I truly forgot what it was like to be happy. Even for just one day. Actually just for an hour. I see so much beauty around me. My heart feels the beauty but my soul just wants to cry. I am a tough girl that holds it in really well. No one really knows how I feel inside. My husband, my kids, my family and extended family. Even my best friends. I have gone through so many things in my life as I have blogged so far, and just when things seem to look up, a major devastation happens to put me under again. Never had bad things or kind of bad things like usual people experience, it’s always huge mega devestation. Over and over again. This time, I feel weak. I don’t think I am able to handle what is happening now or soon to come up. A human being can only take so much and then when they reach there threshold, they give up. I’ve never been a quitter. I have come a long way. This time however, it is unsolvable. To explain it better, it now feels like some little demon is cutting away at my actual heart, piece by piece. I can actually feel it! I get a strong pinch and then it goes away. At least ten to twelve times a day. This devastation can’t be solved with money, it’s not a disease or sickness, it’s not war and it has nothing to do with death. When I get to that part of my story, it will be the hardest part to write. With all I have written and been through so far with even more devastation coming up right now, in my story, this today, by far, has been the worst. As people call it, the cherry on the cake. I am not caring who reads this, who doesn’t, I just need people to finally know what happened in my life. The truth. The end all. I cried so hard last night, only in the middle of the night when everyone is finally asleep. I had to document this moment before I go on. I have company over so I have to go..
Now I can continue when I have a moment.
Like the sun and the moon, life was about to change dramatically. It was decided to start growing the business into a bigger office. I took on the task of starting to open an office in as many countries as we could. If this was successful in Canada, perhaps other countries could learn and help people in their own country. We would all be linked together so people wanting to travel or work in any country could do it through us. It was a great idea and the job would actually be gratifying for me. To see my idea spread like this would be so amazing to see. People helping people in an entirely different way. Our business would eventually piss off many lawyers and immigration consultants because they would lose a lot of clientele. Why would people go and pay them when we were free? For two years? We started making enemies we didn’t intend to make but helping people was my only focus. I was booked with clients all day and one of those clients had a big problem. She originally met with my staff and after her assessment she was sent to me. She was from Japan and here on a study visa. She was alone and only had a ten year old daughter on a student visa. I was told she had a lot of money but was scared to go back home. She wanted to stay and live here in Canada. Naturally, all clients that had a lot of money were out through an immigration process called “Humanitarian & Compassionate”. This would be an application for clients that either suffered devastation in the Country they were from or for some reason could not return. It also enabled clients whom had a lot of money to invest in Canada, be able to. It was one of many applications but in her case, it would be the perfect one. I did not know much of her story and only had a chance to meet her for a few minutes. It was arranged that I would have more of a chance to talk to her but at a later time. She was not in a rush but eager to start something. I had spoken to our landlord about an available office space coming up above us on the top floor. Instead of seventeen hundred square feet, it was thirty five hundred. Nine offices, a huge lobby and entrance with a boardroom, a supply room and a kitchen/sitting/eating area for staff. Perfect! Perfect for our growing staff and business. I signed papers and we were able to move the same month! Of course as president, I got the corner office with a view. Leann was not too happy about that. She was not happy about much those days. She wanted to start being paid. She demanded it. Her shares, she explained to me, were not enough. She was also, back before this, a realtor. She was always able to make money on the side. It was rumored that she made an illegal deal with her own property, trying to sell it, and was caught. I am not sure what the whole story was but it was not good. I still was unable to pay myself and if she was remotely a partner, she would have to suffer all the consequences with me. Upon losing a two hundred member deal with her dad, go figure, it was time to let him go and she agreed. He was completely useless. Is everyway. Off topic for a second, I have to explain this one situation that I will never forget with him. Leann told me one night that her dad wanted to see us. He had some ideas he wanted to bounce off us and she wanted to bounce some off him. I agreed. We drove over to his house. Just after eight in the evening. We were both starving and thirsty as we had worked hard all day without a moment to have a bite. We got to him house and we walked in to the smell of bacon frying. Well, when your starving, that was a great smell! We walked into his kitchen and he had a huge loaf of bread that he had sliced fresh. Next to it was a large pile of lettuce and a bowl of sliced tomatoes with some mayo next to that. Then, he had a huge oval dish of bacon he had fried and was frying more. Maybe three packs at least? He was making BLTs and it looked great! I was always raised to offer my guests a drink or something to eat and even if they said no thank you, it would be in front of them anyways. It was just nice! We stood there in the kitchen chatting. Both his daughter and myself . I thought, ok anytime now, he is going to ask us if we wanted something to drink. Nope! All that good and eating it in front of us, he had never offered anything at all. I was so surprised. Especially after all I had done for him. Helping him with money at least twice a week. Water was free. He couldn’t even offer that? He had been over to my house with his daughter over twice a week every week and he was served like a king. No really, appies, fruit platters and all and every kind of drink you could want. I would spend his whole visit in the kitchen. He couldn’t even offer us water? Are you absolutely kidding me? I don’t know if it’s cultural or not but it’s always nice to offer a guest that comes to your home, something to drink. We do not live in the dark ages. Mostly everyone has a cup or glass of some kind and a tap with running water. It’s free. I was losing respect for this man almost everyday. He would do at least one thing that was so dumb, it made me scratch my head and wonder how he makes it in life with anything.
The non for profit was making money but we were paying out more than we made. If people would have just done their jobs, actually work, we could have done so much better. Maybe moving into a hire rent office was not the best idea but we surly were squished and needed more space. One evening, as many times before, Leann came over with her father as he wanted to discuss something with me. He began getting angry yelling at me saying, “I know this company has money and you better start paying me what I’m worth”! What a loser. I should have, at that very moment said, “of course I can! I can pay you a while dollar and hour”! That would be mire than his worth. He costed me so much money but because he was Leann’s dad, I had to hold my tongue. I couldn’t afford to lose her yet. She knew deep down that her dad was useless. We had a heart to heart a few times and she cried telling me she didn’t know what to do with him. That family was so dysfunctional. I couldn’t understand why at first. They had a son and a daughter Leann. The son had not spoken to his family in a long time. Writing them off. He had vowed never to talk to them again. He got married and had kids refusing to let his own family be a part of his parents or his sister’s lives. I was beginning to now understand why. It was always about them and money. If it didn’t benefit them, they had no part of it. Well, when your working in a charitable business, that was not good. They didn’t care about the people. They only cares for themselves. Staff and clients would continue to complain about them, their work ethics. They had no real heart. At least her dad was done with the business and out of our lives. He would continue to come to the office and visit his daughter. His presence made the staff angry all the time. He had managed to take advantage of everyone there one way or another. Serena and my nephew took on the task of painting the office and preparing it was business. Everyone then pitched in to move into our new place. It looked awesome! Amazing and so professional. I was so proud of it. We had sure moved up from my home in the bonus room. It was exciting. We had hired another Filipina to help us with clients. Like a liason that assisted in the signing up process and giving our clients all the knowledge of what we do. She was high in the Filipino community. It seemed as though she knew almost everyone and if she didn’t, she would make an effort to get to know them. With our new location and our growing staff to help our members, we had to up the price on the memberships. They would now be one thousand per member for a two year an inclusive membership. This would help in the cost of our growing society. As directors, it was signed that myself and my husband, Leann and her husband and my student friend would be the five directors. Myself being president and Leann, the vice president. I will never understand how she swindled her way into that title but she managed to. I had done all the work. As if I had no directors. I did not expect our husband’s to do much. Their names were just there to balance out the fairness in a vote. All the deciding factors were always on my back. The staff, bills, finances, complaints and any problem you could think of. I began to notice the business was making money but never enough to cover the expenses to I had to put my personal money into the business always. By that point, I had put in over eight thousand dollars of my money to keep things afloat. Leann had the odasity to keep asking for more money when we simply weren’t making enough. Partners meant if things were short, we would both have to pitch in. Serena was still handling finances and book keeping. It seemed weird that we made a lot of money yet still couldn’t afford our bills. When ever I asked Serena for a financial run down, she would supply me with a single paper summary and it was always short. It was such a mystery to me why we were making so much money yet struggling to pay our bills. For a third time, I was sent out to get a loan just to cover payday. I finally hired a professional chartered accountant that gave me a great idea. He said to have Serena go to his place and he will educate her on what she has to do with the books to bring his fees down. The way he wanted things organized. She would then tell me what I had to do. Like a chain reaction of perfection. Books being done right! Serena had all the receipts, checkbooks, bank cards and cash. I didn’t want to deal with any of it. She asked for a three thousand dollar a month salary with no taxes taken off it. Serena then told me she was going to pay a few more staff members subcontracting wages taking no taxes off them as well. I never really questioned anything she told me because I knew she was under my accountant wing. He was telling her what she needed to do so I always agreed and went with it. I wished I could have gotten rid of half that staff. The useless ones that just fooled around but I wasn’t able to teach new staff and pay higher wages. I told many staff members that complained regularly, to just leave if they weren’t happy but they never did. They were getting paid for much more than they were doing and they knew it. It was easy money and no other job they had would allow them to do nothing but fool around and surf the internet working maybe two hours of full eight. Maybe three or four of us out of twelve, actually did their job. There one hour lunch was always two hours with plenty of other kinds of breaks. When they didn’t show up for work, they still demanded to get paid. Charging me by the hour! I was not a strong person with this. They new they could walk all over me. I did not have a mean bone in my body. That was why Leann and I made such a perfect team. Lately, she had changed and really didn’t care for anything but money. I was all alone in this venture now and for a long time past. Leann seemed to have the knack to make my job harder by yelling at staff and throwing her title around which aggravated them even more. My office would be full of complaints daily. I really couldn’t blame them on that part. She would argue with everyone. Everyday, about something.
Can you imagine someone telling you “I am the boss”!! Everyday? Most did deserve to be yelled at but the funny thing was she yelled at them while they WERE working. Mostly reasons that were miniscule. She should be the one to talk. Coming into her office in the morning an closing her blinds so she could spend the next two hours doing stretches, yoga and aerobics. Charging me by the hour, naturally. I had such a successful business but a mess of a staff. I began meeting with many employers who closed the immigration sector of their business down, to work with us. It would be cheaper for them not having to pay salaried staff to do the work but a simple membership with us to have the job done and take care of their worker for two years thereafter. Employers would come see me and opt to take care of 10 to 20, sometimes more, workers memberships at one time.
I knew from my seeing clients from my point of view, that we should have beem making good money to at least cover rent and payroll. We still weren’t. Something was so wrong but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I had been working eighteen hour days and would get home exhausted. Time was of the essence.