I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Friday, November 20, 2009


Asheigh's not allergic to prawns. She had an extensive allergy test and wasn't allergic to any food, just a lot of plants and dust. So what was it that triggered that reaction, I wonder?

I realize, reading over past posts, that the last one doesn't make much sense because I forgot to write about finding a suite one day back in September. I was at my friends house and she was asking me what I was going to do for a place to live and I said I had no idea. We started to look in the local paper and I made some calls and found a suite right on her street! We walked over to take a look at it, she said we couldn't be more than ten minutes because she had two cousins coming over for some curly willow from her tree. The suite was tiny and I told the sweet old couple that I would let them know. On the walk back we could see that her cousins were just backing up into the driveway. When we got there my friend explained that we had just gone to see about a suite for me. One of them perked up and said 'I have a suite for rent.' She told me that it was huge and it went for $700 a month, utilities included. She asked if I was interested and I said I was. So I agreed to help collect the willow and load it into the truck and then follow them back to her place to take a look at it. As I was loading an armful of willow, my friend came up and told me that the suite was gorgeous and that her husband had put in custom cabinets. I was excited.

When we got there, the house was gorgeous and so was the suite. It was HUGE with more than enough room for all of my furniture, and a big storage room that would easily hold my Christmas stuff and other bits. I told her that I loved it and I would take it. She said 'great', and took me back upstairs and told her husband, 'Sandy loves it and is going to take it.' He said 'great', and then we talked about moving in and perhaps the current occupants, her relatives, might move out before December first and, if so, I could take it sooner. I told her that would be great but December first was fine and I left her my business card so that she could call me if it came free sooner. That was how we left it, so that was why I was so shocked when I called her to let her know I would be moving in December first because I hadn't heard back from her about an earlier time.

On to current events...

Right after I hang up from her telling me the suite is rented to her nephew, I call a friend who had contacted me two weeks prior to tell me his suite was available December first if I was interested. I had told him I had a place already, but thanked him for thinking of me. I now ask him if it is still available and he says it is and I say I would love to take it but the price is out of my reach. He says that he and his wife will talk about lowering the rent and asks if I would come over the next day to talk with them about it. The next day, over a cup of tea, we come to an agreement on rent, more than I want to pay at $900 and not including utilities, but they came down from their advertised price of $1,100 a month - which there is no way I could afford. I write them a cheque dated December first for the first month's rent.

I have no car and so my son has loaned me his. He just bought an old Jeep for work and so has let me use his Jetta. I walk out in the rain to the car, relieved to have a place to live.

Driving away, I am both relieved to have a place but also anxious about finding work so I can afford it. Earlier this week I had gone for an interview for a movie and the director was great and we seemed to connect but he also has a friend who script supervises and is pulling to hire that person. The producer wants me on the job, but unfortunately for me, the director gets to choose. So I am hoping that either his choice isn't available or that the producer talks him into hiring me. If I don't get this gig, or another to replace it, then I can't move into the suite. But I have secured it and that gives me some peace of mind. And I am hopeful about the show.

I don't hear back from the production so I give them a call. The Production Manager tells me that he hasn't heard anything from the director yet, that it's a bit soon. Soon? I don't realize till I hang up that it's two weeks today to shooting. I should be breaking down the script this week. He tells me if he doesn't call me by Thursday evening to give him a call Friday morning. I don't hear so I call Friday morning and he tells me no one is around, that they are all on a survey. He says he will call me Monday. Over the weekend I meet with a friend who is working on the show. She tells me that, due to some funds not arriving for the production, everyone has Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off and so I am not going to hear anything until Thursday. This is so not good. I need to know if I am moving into the suite so that I can let them know and they can find someone else in time for me to get my money back. If they don't find someone, I will lose $900 and that's almost half of all I have in the bank. I start to panic.

On Wednesday I get a text from my friend telling me that they won't be back in the office until Monday now. They still haven't got the missing funds. Meanwhile, I am spending all day, every day, on the computer looking for work - any work I feel I am qualified to, or capable of, doing. I send of resume after resume, praying that one of them will stick. The thoughts of working in an office again fills me with dread. But I have to do something. I apply at some retail places as well, even though the pay is total crap. Anything is better than nothing at this point. I start to think about moving up to Kelowna. My daughter there is not happy with her room mates and is wanting to move out but can't afford a place on her own. If we shared a place, her rent would stay low and mine would certainly be a lot lower. I look for jobs in Kelowna and apply for the only one that suits. I send my daughter an email proposing the idea and she emails me back saying it wouldn't be easy to move in with 'mom' after all this time but she will think about it. We talk about it later, on the phone and it's an option. But I'd have to have work before I would make the move.

I am not sleeping well, unusual for me. I wake up too early and for a few moments I feel peaceful and then my reality hits me and my guts start churning, my chest gets tight and my mind starts spinning. I end up in the bathroom, my nerves having their way with my insides yet again, and either stumble back to bed to lie in the dark and fight down waves of panic and despair or go to the computer to see if maybe anything has happened that changes things for me. Nothing so far.

My friend who I am staying with wants to talk to me, so we sit in the basement media room, where I spend most of my day looking for work, and she tells me that this isn't working for her. I was supposed to be here three weeks and it's been six. I did ask her if staying until December first was okay and she said it was. But if I don't take the place in December because of no work, I can't stay on longer. It bothers her to see me like this, stressed out and unhappy, and to know I am down in the basement all day. I have been trying to stay out of her way so that her routine isn't disrupted. I know she has a very precise way of living her life and I didn't want my presence in the kitchen or upstairs too much to be a problem. But it seems that my staying out of her way has been the problem. Also, I don't stay in the basement all day. Most days if I have a car, I go out to either meet with friends or spend some time in a coffee shop on the computer. I hate being alone, I am not a loner, so getting out helps me a lot. But she doesn't know this because I am here when she leaves and, more than half the time, here when she gets home.

So now I am faced with being well and truly homeless come the end of November. And I don't even have a car to live in. I have been looking on Cragislist for a cheap car but everything I see is either too expensive or a pile of junk. I gave up the quest two weeks ago. I start to look again, for a minivan so I can sleep in it if it comes to that. I find one for $700, a '95 Ford Windstar. The photo shows it's in great shape. And it sounds like it's been kept up. I write to the woman and offer her $500. She says she just posted it yet will accept my offer, but will take out the stereo that is worth almost as much. I tell her that's fine. She says she drives it to work every day and that it's reliable and had regular maintainance. It will need brakes in eight months or so and has a cracked windshield. I tell her that I will probably take it but want to come and see it. She later emails me and tells me that she has had lots of interest in it and isn't sure she wants to sell it for $700 but whoever is first there with the cash takes it. I email back asking if I am there with $500 do I get it or is it the first with $700. She writes back and says that she told me $500 and she will honor that, and asks for my phone number to call me that night.

She calls me and tells me that I have first rights to buy it at $500 and, as she needs time to remove the stereo and get her new car - she inherited from a relative and won't get it until Monday or Tuesday - I have to the weekend to give her a deposit and then pay the rest when I pick it up at the beginning of next week. I tell her that's great and I will see her soon.

I feel like I have gotten a great deal because any minivan I have seen for that price has either been much older or not running. I put out a notice asking my friends for a ride over the bridge to go see the car either Thursday or Friday. One replies that she can take me Friday night.

I start to panic about buying the car. It's half of what I have left in the bank after that rent cheque comes out. Taxes and insurance will be another $200. That leaves me $300. Not much at all. But I need a vehicle to get to work if I find a job. Especially if I take the suite because it's not anywhere near a bus route. And I might have to end up living in my car... and if I don't have a car ... I can't imagine living on the street but what other choice do I have?

No one looking at me would ever believe that I am reduced to this, yet here I am. I feel like I have lost everything I have worked so hard for since my divorce. I am worse off now than I was then, and it was pretty bad back then. Yet, if it wasn't for the goodness of a few friends, I would have been on the street last year this time. I haven't gone without a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, or food yet. I am trying to hold on to the shred of hope and faith I have left. But it is just the smallest of shreds and sometimes I can't find it.


  1. Sandy,
    I am truly sorry to hear this. I have enjoyed following your blog since you were in the Caribbean, as I enjoy real blogs, about women and what they are going through.

    I will keep it in mind if i hear of work down on the boats in the BVI. Do you have any cooking skills?

  2. Hello 'Anonymous' friend,

    Thank you for the post and your kind words...

    I DO have cooking skills. I was responsible for dinner for 250 people every Friday for a year. Menu, shopping, prep, and cooking. It wasn't gourmet but it was good. And I cooked for my family for 25 years... and no one complained! ;-)

    I would LOVE a job on the boats in the BVI... that would be a dream come true. Any job I could do down there would be amazing.

    Thanks so much!



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