As winter settled in, knowing that things were much more financially fragile than Jim would ever admit, I placed the business in the prairie papers.
Winter was hitting them hard out there, and I knew many would be looking to start a new life on the softer coast of beautiful B.C.
We had ten responses immediately, and eventually one of those ten bought the motel from us.
After four years, Jim and I made a tidy profit. Everyone was unaware that, if we had waited just one more year, the motel would quite likely have gone under.
The old saying, “Strike While the Iron is Hot” is so true.
The new owners, delighted with their purchase, took over from us with great enthusiasm. They would run the business in quite a different way, much more realistically. Without the problem of addiction to color the project, they settled in for the long term, doing a good job.
The new owners had two cats of their own. Unnoticed by me, my little “girl” Minx, had watched the collapse of her empire in dismay and horror! She was losing her coveted position as counter-greeter of hundreds of traveling cat-lovers from all over the globe.
King, being older, I suppose, took it all much more philosophically.
Jim asked me to take King when I moved out into a rented townhouse for a while, so both cats came with me. Jim moved into, if I remember correctly, our own townhouse.
As the days of our motel ownership had come to an end, so had his relationship with Shelley, his cute find from the internet ads.
As soon as he told her I’d gotten half the profit from the sale, she dropped him like the proverbial hot potato.
Another big surprise…but only for Jim.
Funny, but very little surprised me any more.
After spending that final day with the new owners finishing off paperwork, I took the last load of cardboard boxes and the two cats over to my rented townhouse. Leaving the animals there, I went off to sign documents and arrange for a few leftover bills to be paid.
Late in the day, I went home to my new place only to find Minx was missing. King was sitting downstairs looking vaguely unhappy and disgruntled…he didn’t like being separated from Jim.
But I could not find Minx. The cardboard boxes were stacked high everywhere, upstairs and down, and I could not find her.
Finally I discovered her little black furry form huddled in her catbed upstairs, between two stacks of boxes.
Greatly relieved to find her, I picked her up for a hug. Shocked, I looked in dismay at her tiny face.
Her body was slack, hanging numbly over my arm without interest in living or dying. Her face was covered in snot and tears. Dampness covered her face, her nose was running, her facial fur and ears were slick with mucous and wetness.
She was in full-blown grief. She had lost her job. She had lost her fan club.
No more “Oh what a beautiful cat.” No more,”What a gorgeous cat!”
How much the motel episode had meant to her, my little sweetheart. And now it was all gone.
I tried to comfort her but she did not respond. Her body continued to shake and her sobs and snuffles were clear and loud.
Never in my life had I realized that a cat could weep, sob, shed tears.
Unable to get any response from her, I put her down in the bed again. She lay there till she cried herself to sleep.
King, like all males everywhere, stayed well away from her downstairs, completely unmanned by her tears.
And I began the next part of my war-zone life. I had some money, but I had no idea what to do next. No longer having a profession, not sure what to do for work, I realized the money would not last forever. I had to get organized and get a plan.
Although I had spent a lot of time, while running the motel, trying to work out what to do when it was all over, I had no experience of money and had no success in figuring out a pathway to follow.
Next morning, I started planning this urgent task. Obviously, since I had only a few years left to work, (I was 56) I should go back to nursing..the shortest solution to that problem. Then I decided to put two arrows in my quiver.
I wanted to learn Medical Transcription, for I loved to type and was a very fast, accurate typist, well over 100 words a minute. I would work on my Nurse Refresher at the same time, as I had already started on a refresher by correspondence from an Alberta college.
But I wasn’t ready to give up on romantic happiness yet. Sitting at the computer in my little abode, I began to look at the internet personals as Jim had done. It was not long before I was hooked.
A man in the Sacramento Valley had posted photos of his horse, his home, and a description of his dreams. We began a lengthy period of contact.
At first it was pretty casual stuff, and as the months wore on, and we continued to feel good about each other, I was affected by the sugar he sprinkled on that email bread. It was sweet stuff. I began to be pulled in.
Up to that time, I had always been a woman who could not settle for a single life. I could manage to live alone for quite a period of time, but never happily. So I kept looking for that elusive “someone”.
After six months of emails and phone calls, we decided to meet. He was trying to establish an orchard, he said, and was using his tractor to prepare the ground in what was virgin soil, hard work. He couldn’t take time out to travel north to meet me.
So away I went. Feeling fairly secure that this was a genuine, super-nice man, I took a lot of luggage with me, and, of course, my little princess cat.
He met me at the airport and we drove a long way to his home in a small town. This was entirely different from any kind of country I’d ever seen. To my eyes, used to the lush, luxuriant green of British Columbia, this was stark, almost alarmingly bare country.
We got to his house, which, in the pictures he had emailed before, had looked quite large, tidy and expansive.
It was actually a badly kept manufactured home, quite dirty with beer cans scattered everywhere. And he had two seventy pound dogs…who hated cats.
It took only a few hours for him to establish that I could not drive. This was a disaster. He needed someone who could drive his tractor and his vehicle, as he had a lot of work to do if he intended to actually produce an orchard in that parched, gray place.
The lack of a driver’s license had never been discussed; like most people, he took it for granted that everyone could drive.
He immediately became insufferable and rude, obviously wanting me gone so he could move on to greener pastures.
There was not the slightest sign of the sugary sweet man who had been emailing me for six months.
It’s hard to believe…where do they get this stuff, if they don’t believe in love and don’t practice it??
Minx suffered. Every time I got up the morning and opened the door of my bedroom (yes, I had my own bedroom, there are limits to trust even for such a dumb bunny as me) the dogs were trying to get in to eat Minx.
I had to watch her like a hawk if I were to get us both home in one piece. This was ridiculous. But Mike himself wasn’t scary. He was just another man with poor emotional development and a false sense of what he could achieve on that plot of land. It was silly, even I could see that.
If I had to pick one memory of that irritating week, it would be of the dog hair; both dogs were part shepherd, and great clumps of dog hair floated around in the air, settled under and on things. But it was the floating clumps that were so memorable.
One evening I was outside exploring this strange new environment. Suddenly the dogs let out loud barking and yelping. I hurried around to the back of the house to see a gray cat, who had apparently tried to make it from the surrounding “meadow” to the safety of the crawl space. It was lying still, its head under the crawl space and its back end lying in the open, unmoving. Realizing it was alive, I began to scream for Mike.
He was very annoyed, having no patience for anything and not liking cats at all.
“But it’s alive,” I countered. “We can’t just leave it there. The dogs must have bitten its spine and it can’t move. We have to take it to a vet.”
He glared in exasperation. “OK, but you have to pay. I can’t afford to have it put down.”
I agreed and off we went with the cat in a box between us. I was glad to have he poor little thing put out of its terror and misery.
But I gathered some beautiful memories while there which have outlasted the disappointment.
I recall watching the semis THUNDERING UP THE ROAD TO CANADA, loaded with the stuff I buy (and would be buying the very next week!!) in long caravans, noisier than camel caravans on the desert sands used to, when they carried spices and other delicacies from Asia to Europe.
Another wonderful thing was to see California poppies growing all over the place. I was in California and these were the real thing…the native plant. I have always loved these beautiful bright flowers.
And cowboys!! Not far away was a ranch, and I could stand and watch men wearing those leather chaps and real Stetsons, throwing lassooes!! On horseback!!
Too wonderful for words.
These things gave me so much pleasure, I cannot tell you.
When I got home I talked to someone about this, and she said, ‘Memories!! What good are memories??”
It’s like having a brand new coloring book with no colors in it yet, and suddenly you have this great box of crayons and you can fill in all the color. And the smells and the air on your skin, the way the sun feels on your face, everything.
Was the trip worthwhile? Oh yes, to have gathered these sights, sounds, smells and memories.
I felt like an explorer. The man himself was just a side issue, a small problem I could now tick off my list.
Drop his resume in the wastebasket, just another waste-of-time interview.
Still unable to settle down to a single lifestyle, I continued to search the online personals after my return home.
A few months later, I spotted an ad with the magical word “Alaska” in the headline.
When I saw Greg’s ad I knew I had to talk to this man. He sounded very romantic as well as compellingly gracious.
At first we just talked on the phone, but quickly he decided to fly down and meet me. We hit it off like magic from the first hour. It was much later on that I flew up to Alaska to see him in his own home environment. One of my girlfriends said to me firmly ”You do not know what a man is about until you see him in his own home. You must go and see him in Alaska!” So I did.
Thus began the most passionate, romantic love affair I had ever known.
In fact, however, I was doing what Jim had done with Shelley…keeping my eyes shut to the real and very obvious motivation behind the relationship. Money.
He was a tall, incredibly handsome man in his mid-sixties who had been married twice. He looked very much like Omar Sharif, with eyes so brown and deep you could almost catch a trout in them. Snow-white, wavy hair, dimples, completely gorgeous.
And an incredible lover. The first time we made love, my kundalini opened. Don’t laugh. It really did. I went into spasms and a fit-like state the moment he touched me, a maddening pleasure coursing through my trillions of cells like a nuclear blast. I had never felt anything like it.
Oh, how we loved, how we romanced each other. He sent me copious buckets of roses. They would come in on the bus, I picked them up on my bike and carried them home in my bike basket.
We were the king and queen of love.
We both bought security phones so we could talk dirty on the phone between B.C. and Alaska. I would soak in a bubble bath, the CD playing love songs, and talk for hours.
This was unfortunate, as I should have been starting my Nurse Refresher instead. However, I ended up in Alaska for that winter, attending University of Alaska and completing my Medical Transcription Certificate.
Before my Alaska adventure, though, I had to take advantage of this interval in my life to finally fly to Virginia and The Monroe Institute…at last I was in a position to take the Gateway Program on campus, cementing the knowledge I had gained while studying the tapes and CD’s they had sent me.
At the same time, I decided to attend a week long workshop in Friday Harbor to get a basic certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming.
Exhausting though this agenda was, it seemed the only way I could press all that into a short time, get to Alaska and proceed with my self-imposed re-training program, while enjoying Greg’s cooking and warm attentions.
I flew to Virginia first, to experience the lofty goal of learning mind-travel techniques, remote viewing and other esoteric material in a heavy courseload with a large group of students from all over the world. There were even two or three rocket scientists in the group!
Each of us had access to a little unit called a CHEC unit which was heavily curtained and contained a small bed and control panels for colored lights and audio input. The audio came from a central source in the building and was composed of Hemi-Sync CD’s for different purposes.
I will try to explain briefly how this works, in a very rough layperson’s way. As I understand it, Hemi Sync is a system whereby the frequency of sounds entering the right ear is different from the frequency of sounds entering the left ear. The brain subtracts the lower frequency from the higher, and the resulting frequency dominates and takes the brain/mind into the far reaches of inner space. There are different areas to travel to, depending on where you want to be.
These frequencies are buried in music of a very high caliber. The Institute scientists are among the best in their field, Ph.D’s and specialists all.
We also had a Remote Viewing session which was fascinating. Though complete novices, we were able to successfully “see” a location thousands of miles away and approximate a general drawing of it. All we had to work with was the latitude and longitude of the place, given to us by our instructor, a former professional remote viewer for the U.S. Government.
After each session of any kind, we all met in a room for discussion, in a circle, and compared notes on our experiences.
One session was composed of instructions to “travel” via mind to the rooms of other students where all were snuggled down in their individual CHEC units, all trying to contact each other.
As we “traveled”, Hemi Sync sounds moved our brains to change frequencies so we could successfully “see” each other in our units. At least, many of us did. I had no trouble finding different people in our first exercise, and by the discussion that followed, most of the students were equally successful.
It got easier as we went through the week and became more comfortable with the entire process. The strangeness of it all wore off quickly.
Following the completion of Gateway, I flew, already quite exhausted, to Friday Harbor and the NLP course for another week. This again was very intensive as we learned techniques to help others successfully effect change in their lives. For example, the relief of phobias or obsessive behavior, or depression.
One week can’t give much of either of these incredible disciplines, but it whetted the appetite and did give us the ability to be of assistance to others, and to change things in our own lives.
When I landed in Alaska, burnt out from all this learning and travelling, I was ready for a rest.
Greg wanted to take me fishing right away, so after a few days, off we went in his sport fishing boat into the abundant Alaskan waters.
Things became strained between us quickly, when, for some unknown reason, I landed a 75 pound halibut and a huge King salmon on that first trip. I knew nothing about fishing and put it down to his great teaching and equipment. He clearly found it distasteful for a woman to have such huge success on her first attempt, when so many came and left empty handed over and over again. I couldn’t explain it either.
But WOW, although my heart went out to that valiantly struggling halibut, I had the ride of my life, hanging onto that rod, cursing now and then, and threatening Greg with instant death if he TOUCHED that rod to help me.
How did I do that, I wondered after?? Land that big fish myself?? I can’t answer, I don’t know. It would probably never happen again!!
As soon as I finished with the halibut and put my line back in the water, BINGO! I caught a King salmon! Wahoo!! What a day for a beginner!!
When we arrived on the dock with our prizes, the biologist checked the halibut out and suggested she take out the earbones for me.
“Why?” I asked, puzzled.
“For ear rings,” she explained. “Lots of women keep the earbones and get jewellery makers to create little items for them.”
I found an empty chiclet packet and put the earbones carefully in the little squares, keeping them safe. Back on Vancouver Island, later on, a local jeweler made me the most exquisite earrings with them, images of little exotic gardens with an earbone star shining down in one, and an earbone moon in the other.
What I did not know, and only found out the other day in fact, was that halibut sells nowadays, nine years later, for $50 a pound. I don’t know what my fella sold MY halibut for, but it must have been a couple thousand anyway. I was so happy when he took me shopping for some new clothes…totally unaware he was spending my own money!
I had never thought about the money value of the fish I caught that day until recently I overheard two competitors in the local fishing derby, and suddenly the light dawned. Was I furious? Well, yes, but anyway. Water under the bridge.
The thing was, he would not let me have my photo taken with the halibut and I was not allowed to take the fish back home with me either. I did not stop to question why!
But I do have a nice photo of me holding the King salmon and someone else’s fish…he stuck that on to placate me. He must have thought I was pretty dumb…
But that’s all getting ahead of myself.
Before I left for Alaska I had gone to a psychic fair.
Approaching a very popular astrologer, I asked him to draw up my chart, as I was about to make a fateful personal decision.
He drew it up, sat looking at it in clear dismay. His face fell.
Then he said these amazing words: “I can’t do this reading for you. I’m sorry. You will have to get someone else.”
I sputtered, “What?? Why??”
He replied, ‘OK. You have a disaster waiting for you ahead. You are in for several terrible, dark, storm-filled years. I am being honest with you here. Whatever you are doing, I urge you to change your course. This is going to be a truly awful part of your life journey. That’s all I am going to say.”
He ended the reading firmly, refusing to say anything more.
Deeply alarmed, I refused to believe him. I walked around the Fair and selected a palm reader. She looked at my hand and cheerfully told me that there was a handsome man waiting for me. He was anxious for me to come, could hardly wait for me to get there. He was crazy about me, she said.
This was more what I wanted to hear. I chose to believe the Palm Reader instead.
What I did not know was that Greg’s first wife, his only true love, who he thought would never come back to him, was returning to Alaska briefly and was hoping to stay with him while taking care of some business.
It’s quite likely that Greg had an inkling this might happen, and this caused a sea change in his emotions and intentions, unknown to me.
He told me nothing about it, of course.
The arrangement we had made during our passionate phone calls was that I would stay till end of January and then, all being well, we would get married.
My brains were in my feet somewhere.
I arrived in Alaska looking terrific. I knew I looked great. Wearing little leopard-print high heels, a short black skirt, a sexy little black top, my hair and nails perfect, my waist tiny again, I trooped through customs with my luggage, prepared for, at last, some real happiness.
I had no sooner settled into his home, enjoying his wonderful cooking and hospitality (and other things of course) than the phone rang. His son was coming to stay for a couple of days.
And his son settled in for the duration and would not leave. He began to try to get rid of me. Wow, I was getting used to this. Everywhere I went, I was in someone’s way. The young man had six children to provide for and was not about to let any of his father’s money get wasted on this dissolute affair.
I had no idea that his mother, Greg’s first wife and his first love, would be arriving at some point, looking for accommodation in the bed we were sharing.
Christmas loomed, and one day Greg said to me, “I think I will go down south with my boy and spend Christmas with his family. Do you mind staying here and making sure the water does not freeze?”
Unbelieving, I stood there in his kitchen, staring blankly at this man, this romantic, adoring man I was supposed to be getting married to shortly. He son stood nearby, listening and watching.
I replied slowly, the light dawning, but unsure what was happening,” Yes, in fact, I do mind. I mind greatly. I am not staying here alone while you go down to spend Christmas with your beloved family.”
He began to argue. I began to cry, hopelessly and with an utterly broken heart. Something was going on, yet again. He had lied to me, somehow, about something, I didn’t know what. It was desperately painful.
What a fool I was.
He fussed around, not knowing what to do. His son was laughing at me.
I gasped out,”Why are you laughing, Marcus? I am breaking my heart and you think it’s funny??”
He replied, “Because I know you already agreed to do this. I guess you probably thought you could talk Dad out of coming south with us for Christmas.”
I replied, my tears completely dried up. “What?? I absolutely, certainly, did nothing of the kind.”
He said, incredulously, “You are standing there saying you didn’t agree to stay here and watch the house while Dad comes with me?”
I assured him I had not made any such arrangement. I told him we were supposed to be getting married.
It was his turn to be speechless.
Greg, standing there, was mortified at being exposed in such a way, especially in front of his son.
He grabbed Marcus and said, “Come downstairs. I will explain everything.”
They left me alone upstairs and disappeared down the steps.
After a bit Greg came back up. He said, “What I told Marcus is that we were planning to be married, but I am no longer sure. I admitted to him that you came here not knowing I was going south for the holidays. I told him the truth.”
I looked at him, this incredibly handsome man I had trusted with my whole heart like a complete idiot. On whom I had spent a good deal of money, too. I had paid for hotel bills and many other things over the months of our affair. Actually, about thirteen thousand dollars in total!!
It was true, I realized then. People really do mislead and lie to others just to get a few bucks, and I am just as likely to be a victim as anyone…like Jim for example!!
I knew Greg had nearly exhausted the equity in his home, trying to help out his son’s family. I knew he was worried about his old age. I had been as silly with this romantic episode as Jim had been with Shelley. Exactly the same.
He thought my money would come in handy, but my money was dwindling fast…some spent on the construction of a complicated house, which I was renting out, and the tenants had already stolen a lot of the furnishings and supplies I had stupidly left for them to use. The collection of rents was proving to be difficult, since I was not there myself to collect it.
My friends had tried to warn me not to furnish the house like that, and my lawyer had warned me of tenant problems if I left town, but of course I ignored everyone, thinking I knew better. The story of my life!!
As the years have passed, I am more and more grateful for the advice of friends and am more inclined to listen to them!!
In addition, I had paid out quite a sum in university fees for my transcription training and for my R.N. refresher course, which I had already begun work on, via correspondence course from a college in Canada.
My most important goal was to prepare for a few more years of work before I retired. This had become my focus, so I was not entirely stupid. At least I had my feet on the ground with regard to my financial future.
Greg allowed me to stay on for several months of training at the college there. Then I returned to B.C. with my transcription certificate under my belt. I knew I loved that work.
Before I left Alaska, his first wife, Millie, arrived, very annoyed to find me there. She hated cats and made many rude remarks about my little furry love. Millie was a tall, slender Native woman, extremely beautiful. Large, almond shaped, perfect brown eyes, an hourglass figure, very elegant, beautifully dressed, she looked down her perfect nose at me as though I were a grease spot on her window.
I could see why he had loved her so much, and wondered what aspect of life had driven her to another man’s arms. Probably Greg’s drinking I supposed…yes, Gregg was another one. He drank Manhattans, and lots of them. In his pantry was a store of six bottles of whiskey, in a size I had never seen. Magnums, are they called? Texas Mickeys? About, I don’t know, what, maybe two feet tall or more. He told me he always kept a good store of them, they were such a good deal when he bought them on sale.
He said, as he opened the pantry door and stacked four more gigantic bottles in the small space, “I don’t like running short.”
Greg did not get foolishly drunk often, but when he did, it was a sight to behold. Strange how I had attracted another one, and had not been aware that he was a heavy drinker before coming to stay in his home.
All the evidence had been before me, but the romantic bubbles in my brain had occluded my vision.
Millie stayed with someone else while I finished up my Certificate at the college. Greg and I slept in the same bed, but we never touched again.
By the time Greg and I finally parted, I knew that I was standing in the doorway of a new beginning and was fully up for it.
My naivete about men was not quite cured at that point, I still had a little way to go. Optimism always reigned supreme and usually returned, no matter what events transpired in my life.
Before I left Alaska, I successfully used the internet to find a good job at a spa where I would be helping with client care and offering Reiki treatments. A whole new chapter was beginning, I knew.
I had gotten my Reiki Master certificate while still in the motel, and had begun to practice this wonderful modality as opportunity had afforded.
This was to be a turning point for my psychic development, though I could not have expected that to happen.
Funny, but in the midst of the darkest hours, there are certain parts of life that shine like brilliant stars in our life story, unforgettable, utterly meaningful events that fill our skies like a meteor shower, so full of light that we forget about the darkness of other parts of our lives.
He had been wrong, that astrologer, really. Nothing is ever truly dark. While there were more storms to come ahead of me on life’s journey, the inner light of my expanding metaphysical understanding would continue to anchor my soul and mind at all times, never allowing the darkness to overwhelm me.
I just wished my understanding of men could match that other kind of growth!!