Time For A “Time Out”….

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.

Change Was Near! Very Near!

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.

Helping So Many People All Over The World…

This business aura became means of payment and a high for me. Our numbers were climbing to over nine thousand people helped with not one failed case. We were assisting over thirty illegal immigrants in Canada a month. Sending them back home and properly, legally having them come back on proper permits. This also meant building more relationships with boarder security officers. Our non profit business was the place where people could go and tell us there personal private problems without the intimidation of an officers appearance. They could feel safe with us knowing we only did things for their best interest. I was waiting to receive some type of an award for properly stopping the weight of illegal immigrants on Canadians pocketbooks. We had a case of a client that required emergency medical surgery in Alberta but didn’t have health care or proper papers. The bill would hit over forty thousand dollars and counting rapidly. The hospital was contacting us with whom was to pay her bill. The association could not afford to fork out that kind of money for one client. The hospital told us things like that happened frequently.  If this individual would have had the proper papers, all would have been ok. The amount of money some of these illegal immigrants costed Canadians was astronomical. We had many clients even telling us they would fake certain sicknesses just to attain antibiotics so they could ship the meds back home to their country. It was like one crazy story after another. Some clients that were illegal in Canada would not take our advise to leave and properly come back to Canada with us backing them the entire way. They were stubborn and wanted to continue posing a hazard to themselves and society. Not getting medical care when they really needed it or working cash jobs doing illegal activities. It was insane! One clients teeth were so black and mostly missing. He was so sick from it but was to scared to go to a dentist. His body was, at that point, full if infection. His fever was so high you could fry an egg on his forehead. He was sneezing all over the place and on everyone! His anger and rage would make him a risk if we had let him leave. He even pushed one of our staff out of the way. Surly with the smell of alcohol on his breath and keys in his hand, we were not about to let him leave the venue. It would definitely be times like this that I would have to call on my friends at boarder security to take over. We were unable to assist clients like that but still checked it off as a job well done for us. We could have saved that man’s life or someone else’s. 

Soon we would start getting invites to other associations and to banquets honoring our work within the members that we helped. We had invites to government functions to gain our input on several topics regarding immigration matters and processing. We knew it was time to grow larger but for some reason, funds were not allowing us to. Staff were consistently wanting higher pay even when their work load was not changing. It seemed like almost everyday, someone would ask me for higher pay. Never my family members. I had never drawn a paycheck the entire time from when the business began till now. Always making sure everyone else was happy first. I was use to that. I began to realize I had a bunch of misfits for staff. Non educated or just looking for an easy buck. It began to irritate me as the work was getting severely sluggish. They fooled around all day so much that work was not getting done properly or it was always full of mistakes. Our office always had a very extremely friendly atmosphere. Inviting to all that entered full of food and drink offerings. Even the delivery drivers stayed for chats. I had loved the atmosphere but some of the staff needed to learn when to and when not to be so professional. It seemed as though the not so professional was happening all the time. It was getting ridiculous. 

I had a new employer client come in to see me. His name was Owen. He seemed to be very well off and his business employed many foreign workers. He needed assistance in handling their work permits allowing him to employ them legally. Owen was a very friendly and heafty man. A diabetic. We hit it off rather quickly. Our personalities clicked and we ended up becoming friends. He would learn the business and how it worked and was very impressed with its structure. In one meeting, he pointed at my business card and said “I want this”! I couldn’t quite understand what he was saying until he finally pit it into layman’s terms. ” I will give you two million dollars to step down as president of this company and sell it to me”. I was shocked! Two million? You must be kidding me! I told him I would not sell the business even for ten million dollars. It was also not a business to really sell as it was a non for profit company. Owen could have stepped next door and opened one of his own! “No”! He said, ” I want this”, pointing at the logo on my card over and over again. I told him again that it was not for sale. He wanted to be a part of it somehow but that would then come later. We took on his employees and he paid for all their memberships. Increasingly through the weeks, we noticed many employers paying the memberships for their employees and that was great! It was so nice to see compassion in the workforce. You didn’t really see it too often those days. Not in the business we were in anyways. Owen became increasingly interested in taking some type of ownership in one of the two businesses. We would have many lunches and dinners together. He owned property in the Philippines and was married to a Filipina. Seventy five percent of our clientele were from the Philippines. The rest from Germany, Chili, Pakistan, India, Spain and so on. We worked with clients from all over the world. 

Leann’s dad was starting to cause trouble. Of course when someone with huge bucks walks into the office, he would be very attracted to them. He began writing Owen proposal deals. Some along the lines of giving him one million dollars and watching what he could do with it! Wow. How embarrassing. I had never met someone so addicted to money that he would make himself look like such an idiot. Staff ironically complained that he was never working and when he was on his computer at his desk, he would be playing games. They started to secretly film him on their phones all the time to prove he did diddly squat. They sure were right. I don’t think that man ever did any work other than composing PowerPoints to help boost the business which were mimicked from others on the internet. Again, he was always all talk but I had yet to see some sort of action. I would complain here and there to Leann but what could she do? He was her dad. He was broke and needed money. Another loser staff member. So many bodies around the office and so many of them useless. We never had proper funds to hire experienced staff yet but I always waited anxiously. Meetings upon meetings to boost their egos in hopes to get them to work a little harder all fell on deaf ears. Our business was growing rapidly but what a terrible predicament to be in. I ended up hiring one of my music lesson students I had remained friends with. She was a registered nurse by trade but was an extremist in organization and dealing with the public. It was nice to finally get some proper help in the office. Someone who’s work reflected on the growth of our business. Leann would then, behind my back, go ahead and hire another staff member to help with our clientele. He was a Filipino and a bubbly character as well but how would we pay him? She knew we had a limited budget and could not afford to hire more staff. We weren’t even getting paid yet. 

One morning, Serena notified me that her real dad, whom she always had issues with, was coming into town. She had told him about our business and he was naturally intrigued. He was a public speaker and lived in the United States. I could never u understand why their relationship was so terrible. He seemed to continuously piss her off. She told me he had never been there for both his daughters. Brushing them off and remarrying to a woman in which he had more kids with. She seemed to think he honored those kids more than her. He set up a special meeting with both Leann and I to honor me with his astonishment of what an amazing business we had. I had no idea that the next paragraph he was about to say would change Leann forever and out her into a rage of jealously.  He began by saying ” if this was a large boardroom with everyone important in it. Full of staff and executives, only the really important people, including you and Leann. If there was a threat and a bomb was going to go off.. security would only make sure that they saved YOU. He went on to explain. Everyone in the room is important but it is the person with the ideas that work, that’s the most important person of them all. They would save you first”! I was terribly flattered by his statement and felt humbled. As soon as I turned to Leann, my face dropped. She was horrified and angry. Her face turned red. From smiling and happy to angry, she said,”what about me”? He then repeated the same statement. “Your funny”! She said, as she got up and left the office. Her anger from that would last for the rest of our lives. She was so amfet towards me! Why me? What the heck did I have to do with him saying that? I had always been her punching bag for everything and this was going to, by far, be the biggest punch. 

My eldest sister would start working for me becoming my assistant. She never wanted a dollar for her efforts. She was also my eyes and ears in that office. She would always compliment me on how proud she was of my success in both businesses. I employed her privately to quit work as a hairdresser and take care of my kids. She had agreed as she wanted to retire from doing hair for a while. My both caregivers ended up getting work permits and their residency cards so they could work as nurses. I had no one to take care of the kids. Marcus was busy at work. I was so delighted when she agreed. Who could you trust more than any caregiver? Your sister! When the kids were at school, she would always come to the office and give me a hand with what ever o needed. Leann was already pissed off at me so bringing in another family member would just make it worse. Leann came in my office one morning to hear about the Owen story. I told her everything including the two million dollar bribe. She flipped once again on me. She wanted me to accept the two million. She said “that’s a million each and that is great”! When she would find out I said no, war started. I knew for a fact, this business would grow to be very successful. What made her think she would get a million anyways?

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.