From Terry’s PI Files : The Sleeping Baby

Newborn kids are always a bit of a nightmare for parents of any sort. There’s the crying, the diapers, the feeding, the burping, and on and on and on… it’s a chase to keep up with a tiny little carbon based machine that does nothing that burp, poops and eats.  Sure they’re cute, but the act gets old really fast. It’s no small wonder that a lot of parents, especially the parents involved in busy office jobs, bring in armies of nannies from overseas to help.

Sleeping peacefully and safely...or is he?

Sleeping peacefully and safely…or is he?

Tell me if you heard this one, a single busy mother brings in a nanny from overseas. She’s just finishing her maternity, and is understandably worried that her baby might get abused or hurt by this new stranger living in her home. She still takes a leap of faith, and lets things go on for a few weeks, and surprisingly, everything seems to go well. But soon enough, her suspicions kicks in as her young son is always dead asleep every afternoon when she gets home with no variation at all. Still, everything seems fine, 

That’s where I was brought in. She came to my office, not knowing exactly what she wanted to know. Really, all she needed was some comforting to see that her baby was being treated like gold. So, clock radio camera in hand and a few other choice items, I soon had my client’s home ready and set for an observation.

From KJBSecurity.com, a selection of Hidden Cameras Available for the home

From KJBSecurity.com, a selection of Hidden Cameras Available for the home

Camera one was in the nursery, two in the kitchen and a third in the living room, all the hot spots where you’d expect activity to occur. I would have added another in the bathtub, but privacy issues for the client and the nanny prevented that understandably.

It really didn’t take long. The following day, the camera system recording a day in the life of the busy household. There was feeding, burping, barfing, crying, giggling and more, all as expected in the main feeds from the living room and nursery. But it was the kitchen camera that was unusual. While preparing the afternoon feeding, the nanny had grabbed a droplet and poured something into the milk. It was pretty unusual behavior, and I followed up quickly by showing my client the video.

Did you know that most people only start to develop any sort of resistance to alcohol until their teens? That’s why it takes as little as a thimble full of cognac to knock out a kid. But a baby? Only a few drops of relatively odorless vodka is needed. And guess what had been added to the child’s milk every day for weeks?

Evidence in hand, the client pressed criminal charges immediately. All sorts of hi jinks came about and once the debris had settled, the nanny in question opted to return back to her home country and be banned from returning to get a suspended sentence. 

Any lesson from this? No one expects the Spanish Inquisition? Cameras save lives? There are so many things you can take from it, but all I can say is that I’m relieved that the little boy, now 5 yrs old, seems to have recovered with no ill effects.

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Adventures in the Spy Biz: Reflection on the Final Days

Seven years. I’ve been involved in the Spy business for 7 years, and it comes to a relative end in 2 weeks.

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Always watching through the windows when you least expect it

In 7 years, I’ve been involved in at least 4-5 police investigations involving murder, assault or kidnappings. I’ve assisted in a number of child abuse cases, or at least made it possible for the parent to do the work themselves. I’ve helped prevent at least 2 child abductions, and helped family members find out if their son or daughter was into drugs, planning secret parties or being cyber-bullied. As for infidelity or other stuff, I can’t even begin to count the number of cases I’ve either directly or indirectly been involved in.

In the end, as my time here comes to an end (not 100% immediately, I’ll still do the odd case or two or assist with my successor to complete existing contracts that started in my time), I wonder what did I learn?

Well, the first thing is… unless you work for a corporation or contracted to one, it’s not exactly the most glamorous job in the world. For every interesting case involving police work, there are 10 jobs involving husbands or wives cheating. It’s not so much James Bond as it’s the cheekier side of Magnum PI. In my last entry under “Adventures”, there tended to be a lot of times that would involve long hours watching a hotel or sneaking around a place in the middle of the night to plant tracking devices, cameras and the like.

Next, you find out that Hollywood has completely misconstrued everything to be a world where there are tracking devices the size of sugar cubes that work around the world and need absolutely zero power. For example, those wireless portable cameras that Lisbeth uses in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”. How the hell did those cameras operate? Battery power on wireless cameras work for a matter of HOURS, not days, not weeks as suggested. If they applied the real rules, then the cameras would have run out of power long ago and her journalist friend would have been murdered. There’s Hollywood, and the laws of physics. I would bet on those laws every day. One special note though, the tools and the gear has improved a lot though, even from when I first started my work.

Finally, there’s always an anterior motive. It doesn’t matter who and what case, there always is one. I won’t comment on the Police ones out of respect to the inspectors who have a hard enough time as it is, but there have been too many cases from other Private Investigators and the public at large to not have seen this. I’ve found that without knowing that motive, a client’s case would linger for weeks, even months. I’ve had cases go for over 5 years because I was directed to look in one direction without knowing the other. Sure they pay well, but you just want to have the closure eventually.

So, as my time comes soon to an end, I wonder, was it worth it? I know that a huge chunk of my soul has been bruised in ways that I can never describe. The look of horror of that woman when she found out how her child was being drugged. The knowledge that no matter what I do, often the client refuses to help themselves and endure unspeakable abuse. The regular disappointments by occasional clients that despite retrieving what they needed, they lack the courage to take it that last step. But in the end, I think yes. Despite what my family and friends who disapproved of the job, in the end, I can honestly say that I was in a position to help far more than most. That’ll be the thought that will follow me.

But if I’m so melancholy of the time I spent as a spy of sorts, how did I manage for so long? People in Calgary know me as a social media person, a regarded foodie and Calgary booster. That description probably fits me well, but little do people know that all of this wasn’t just me being a particularly involved with things, it was my life line. While the infidelity stuff can be funny, more often than not, it was simply tragic. It’s a world where there are legions of broken hearts, misplaced anger and residual damage in the lives any children involved. I needed the social media world, a dynamic arena of minds and spirits the world over to keep me engaged with the brighter parts of life. I needed to be a foodie, not simply because I truly enjoy good food and the passions involved with cooking, but to give me a means to brighten the horizons of others through the simple communion of a shared meal. As for being a Calgary booster, that was easy. For every one case I dealt with, there were 100 Calgarians making the lives of one another a better place. If anything, the people of Calgary bring me hope that there are happy families out there, lovers enjoying the simple joys and artists creating art and music. To this incredible city, thank you, and I promise to continue to serve.

Adventures in the Spy Biz : What NOT to do when you’re Cheating Pt 1

A few years back, I was requested by a client to see if I could give her a hand. I had been working at Spy City as the store manager for a while, and we had long since established ourselves in Calgary as a place of last resort.  We dealt with the people who couldn’t get help from the police, needed to get evidence and find a means to protect themselves.

In the almost 7 years I’ve been there, I can honestly say that I’ve prevented some child abductions and saved I don’t know how many women from serious physical and emotional abuse. There are stores and restaurants that I’ve stopped internal theft and outright assaults. Information I’ve gathered have stopped a murder and made life easier for helpless seniors. Needless to say, I really have to write a book about all this one day, but the most prevalent type of case I’m involved in usually has something to do with infidelity and the like.

Well, with my work, I’ve gotten much more involved in some cases than simply selling product or advising companies. Why take the risk? I’d like to say it’s because I love being a spy for hire, or try to emulate my favorite childhood tv show Magnum PI. I might even say that with my strong belief in Chivalry, that maybe it has something to do with being a White Knight and helping the damsel in distress. But really, in the end, if I ever do get involved in a case, it’s more because the person in trouble simply trusts me and her situation is dire, and I just can’t look away.

Now there are plenty of pretty serious cases, but there are a few that were also pretty hilarious. So let’s get to a few tips to the Cheater on what NOT to do, and I’ll give a bit of a summary.

1) When you’re having a nooner, do NOT use the Company Van

A few years back, a wife had intercepted her husband’s cell phone message from his secret lover. He was supposed to go to a motel at the outskirts of town, and be available for an hour of bedroom acrobatics. Since the wife was a housewife who didn’t drive, she turned to me to see if I can get some evidence ASAP.  My problem, he was going to his nooner the next day, and the exact motel wasn’t mentioned.  Still, I knew that there were only so many possible places, so I drove up and down this strip of 16 Ave NW and tried to figure it out.

I had barely gone 2 blocks when I noticed the work van. Now, normally, trying to find a single work vehicle in a large neighbourhood would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. But this particular vehicle was with a company that’s quite popular in Calgary, with especially visible cartoon like characters all over the sides. Needless to say, it took me less than 2 min to find the place, and being a motel, I just waited around with a camera and got the evidence when the client’s husband and lover left the motel. Easiest tracking of a client EVER.

2) Don’t post your topless pics to try to impress your lover on FACEBOOK and TWITTER.

You would think that this would be a no-brainer, eh? I mean, Anthony Weiner is by far a great example of what can be found out. Apparently, NO!

My client was admittedly had a bit of a tech-phobia. She had barely any idea how to use her computer, and had not touched social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and the like. Her husband, being a little tech saavy, had no such restrictions, and was using his own Facebook page as a means to impress a friend with topless beach pics and the like. Worse, he was encouraging the target of his affections to make comments and so on. It really didn’t take me very long to get evidence obviously.

3) Do NOT get a mother angry. Not unless you really want to become a eunuch.

There’s an old saying, the female is the deadlier of the species. I prefer the ol’ saying, “Hell hath no fury than a woman scorned.”

When a family is about to be broken up or endangered and young kids are involved, I find that women are always going to find unusual levels of strength and anger to protect her cubs. I’ve also found that they tend to be ESPECIALLY vengeful for the family being damaged in the first place.

To my experience, when a guy is cheated on, 9 out of 10 times he’ll just do what’s needed to confirm and then leave or break things off. When a gal is though, and kids are involved….. well, 6 out of 10 times she’ll do what’s necessary… and THEN do even more to continue to make his life a living HELL long after the breakup!  I’ve got cases that has lasted over 5-6 years where I found the evidence a long long time ago and they’re still after the guy’s head. Needless to say, I should give presentations at wedding encounter workshops.

That’s enough for a start for now… but I guarantee that you’ll be more than a little amused.  Same bat-title, same bat-channel!

#YYCVote – A plead to #Calgary to vote.

“Now its been suggested to me this week that I should try to buy your support with jobs, & the promise of access. It’s been suggested to me [that it] is more important than your democratic rights… That’s right, it’s not, and you have a decision to make. Don’t vote for us because you think we’re perfect. Don’t vote for us because of what we might be able to do for you only. Vote for the person who shares your ideals, your hopes, your dreams. Vote for the person who most embodies what you believe we need to keep our nation strong & free.”.

– Matt Santos, The West Wing

That speech, written by the brilliant Aaron Sorkin for his show, the West Wing, always brought chills up my spine. It’s not because it’s so catchy, or well written, or even that it definitely tugs at your heart strings. It’s because it appeals to a dream. It appeals to the dream that we all should have, one where our leadership should be responsive to our needs and values without being beholden to one group to another. In our modern democracy, while no where near as insanely skewed as in the US where it takes tens of millions of dollars to win a job paying $150k, our politicians still have to raise a fair amount of money in order to put up those lawn signs, to organize the volunteers and pay for those TV and radio ads. Let’s face it, virtually every candidate INCLUDING Mayor Nenshi is beholden to some extent by outside forces. Any politician who says otherwise is a liar.

But let’s take things a bit in perspective.

1) There’s being open and transparent with your donors, and then there’s candidates with backing from groups skulking in the shadows, with secret plans and huge money spent to have a council in their control. There’s enough in the news to prove it, and I’m not going to name names. If you don’t care enough to find this out and confirm for yourself, then whatever I say won’t matter anyways.

2) Who actually has a dream for Calgary? A politician does what’s expedient for the immediate future. A leader has a plan that looks forward regardless of any backlash, and fights for his/her cause because it’s right.

3) Who is willing to make hard decisions when needed? A politician will give in to the hoi polloi which is usually short sighted and has repercussions in the long term. A leader will follow his or her decision, come what may, for the benefit of all regardless of how unpopular it may be.

That’s how I based my vote, and why I chose the people I did.

I call myself the Calgary Dreamer in Social Media. Once upon a time, it was become I was a person who had dreams on what Calgary could be. And then came the floods… and the people… and the good will… and the chance to see true leadership in action. Then and there, I rededicated myself to a new definition of Calgary Dreamer. I now strive to make the dream that IS Calgary to become a dream to us all.

Please. This is your city. Be a part of my dream where our city is prosperous, open-minded and free of corruption at the highest echelons. Think and consider carefully. Think of who are the people who didn’t take their money from special interests. Think of who are the ones who have financial supporters who were “suggesting” to their employees on who to vote for. Think of who are the ones who decided to fire teachers, yet give themselves raises and have meetings in Palm Springs with your money.  Think of the ones who seems to be honest, and brings inspiration and leadership. Think of the ones who share your beliefs and values, and have a dream of what could be a Calgary you can live and grow happily in. In the end, you are your own person, but do you really want to live in a kleptocracy where corruption and special interests are the ones in power, or in a city where your leaders will do what is good for all?

I believe in a Calgary with leaders that we all can be proud of in the end. One that we need, if not necessarily deserve. Most importantly, I believe in my fellow Calgarians.

See you tomorrow at the ballot booth. #YYCVote

#MondayBlogs – Rants on Faith: “What went wrong” Pt 1.

I just spent a weekend for a sad duty, but one that was enlightening as well. My best friend’s mother had passed, and as he is my brother in every way that matters to me except biologically, I had to come to offer my support for him and his family. His mom was a pleasant, charismatic woman, a teacher, a seeker of knowledge and one who I always regarded with warm feelings and pleasant thoughts. She was a woman who loved, whether it be her son and daughters, her husband, or their large family of grandchildren, brothers, sisters and extended members. But I learned for the first time, how that love was extended to people in need, her students, fellow church goers and more, and I can only laud her that much more as she was loved deeply as well by all. Good on you Mrs. P, as I believe that the measure of a person can only be seen in the end by the tears of those left behind. As such, she was truly a wonderful, cherished person and I am proud to have ever made your acquaintance.

But this put me directly back into the path of faith and belief, as people who know me, know that I am very much an anti-theist. I see that religion is not so much a solution to problems as it is the source of those problems. But more on that later.

This was the second funeral I had attended in as many months. The first, was a tragic death of a friend of my gal from Lou Gehrig’s disease, and not long after the birth of her first child as well. She was one of faith, like most in the Filipino community usually are. But her memorial service actually angered me, infuriated me to a point that I would have walked out if it wasn’t for decorum. From the readings, to the psalms to everything said and told by the people (except for one unfortunately monotone presentation of the late person’s life), every single message was thanks be to God for making this woman’s life a living hell with this disease, and that everyone should be thankful. And as I looked around, every single thing that this woman represented wasn’t because she herself was a good woman, but because it was God who made her so and all credit belonged to God, not her. I saw this as an insult to her memory, and definitely one that demeaned her, made her achievements, her joys and her sorrows not of one of a remarkable young woman who fought against the oncoming tide, but one that it was all great because God had all the credit in making her act as she did. It had struck something fundamental in me, as credit was being stolen and more so, and I’ll get back to this shortly.

Mrs. P’s service however, still in the same context of God, was a celebration of her life. Sure faith and God might have led Mrs. P into certain decisions, but in the end, she was a person of true and virtuous character. Yes there were the hymns and the readings, but in this context, it showed that this remarkable woman was someone whose loss is something that we will all feel, and all would miss in so many ways.

The next day, I went to visit my parents, and some friends in Montreal. But the 2 very different celebrations was in my thoughts. Conversation with my folks eventually touched upon my relationship with my nephews, and, with faith on my mind, asked my mom’s opinion on whether my change from faith to atheism might affect my relations with my sister. She had chosen to raise the kids as Catholics as well, and I’ve stayed quiet around her as it’s not my place to dictate anything despite personal reservations. Instead, she mentioned to me how upsetting it has been to the both of them and how my activism against religion specifically hurts them, and how they wonder what they did wrong. It’s from this conversation where this blog entry comes.

As I bounced about in the skies above Canada on my way home today, all of these events of faith the last few days, reminding me of my own decisions, and wonder a bit about how that belief had given my friends and family comfort, and how it gave some a direction as well. And most importantly, how I’ll have to make those I care for and love understand why I have left that belief because it was right for me. So the only way I can express myself properly would be through what I know best… my writing.  SOooo… where to start.

The beginnings….

The path from faith and belief to what I like to describe as a growing up stage wasn’t one that was too difficult, but I can’t call it easy either.

I was given the typical Canadian Catholic upbringing.  I was brought to church every Sunday to hear the sermons and sing to the hymns.  I did the altar boy thing, dressed in the robes and brought the wine and the tapioca host circlets to be transformed into the blood and body of Christ.  As I grew up, my role changed to that of one who served to one who taught, and did my bit to spread the word at mass, doing the readings, being a part of the youth faith groups and the occasional forums.

And no one can say that I wasn’t given the right encouragement either.  I went from Catholic elementary school to Catholic high school.  My instructors were priests and deacons. My parents are staunch Catholics, and can only be described as true believers of the faith.  They themselves served the church in as anyway they could.  Dad would help Father Tou of the Chinese Catholic Church with the regular affairs.  Mom would volunteer years of service for convents and the like.  On long car rides, Mom would lead the family into a round of prayers with the rosary, saying the Hail Marys, Our Fathers and proclamations of the mysteries over and over down the highway.  My godparents would lavish religious items from time to time, and celebrate my entry into Catholicism with parties and dinners. My grandmothers, both of them, can only be described also as believers, though in many ways, I would even say zealots to the cause.

I myself, can honestly admit to being a zealot at one point as well.  I went to daily morning masses in High School, would join in on the prayer events at school and home and even considered a calling to priesthood.  I would pray on my own, asking for guidance and strength to be the good Christian, the good Catholic.  I even wondered from time to time what it would be to be like those who would go out into the deepest darkest lands to spread the Good Word, converting the heathens and the unfortunate who would never had the chance to know HIS love, and be envious by their bravery and faith.

I feared Hell, Purgatory and all that, and would go out of my way to do good deeds like every Catholic boy who believed that there is some cosmic ledger out there weighing the good and the bad.  My classmates and I would even go through a weird “who’s the better Catholic” game of oneupmanship unofficially to see who really was the most faithful, the most believing.

In all that, I was fated to be a true believer, a soldier of the faith. Everything that could have been done to me, with me, by me and for me that could make me believe was done after all. So, as my Mom and Dad, plus the other members of the Lo family might ask and wonder why I turned away… I thought it was time for me to answer their question…  exactly “what went wrong”

End of Part 1

The New Frontiers: Breaking the Cycle

“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then—to learn.”

-T H. White, The Once and Future King, Unknown

Fathers, be good to your daughters. Daughters will love like you do. Girls become lovers who turn into mothers, So mothers, be good to your daughters too

– John Mayer, “Daughters”

Since Xmas,it’s been a hell of a roller-coaster life.  Here’s my recap for new readers (you can read the full story in “The Days Before Tomorrow“).

  • 29 years ago, I met a girl who I loved. We never did end up being a true couple, but still ended up in love with one another.
  • Almost 22 years ago, I deliberately broke her heart, and mine, out of what I believed to be the greater good. (Covered in The Days, Pt. 2)
  • 21 years ago, she married a man she liked, not loved, out of confusion, spite and so on. (Covered in The Days, Pt. 3)
  • 20 years ago, she gave birth to my spiritual step-son, Terry, named after me and appointed me as his godfather and guardian should something happen.
  • 18 years ago, she gave birth to my spiritual step-daughter, Georgia, also named after me, and again appointed me godfather.
  • 10 years ago, she divorced that man and tried to reconcile the years with me, of which I was unavailable physically, and as I ponder, possibly even emotionally at that time.
  • 9 years ago, she was killed by a drunk driver, and I was banned from the kids as a possible kidnapping risk (covered in The Days, Pt 4)
  • 2 years ago when Terry turned 18, he looked for me and found me on social media. He then started to watch me from time to time wondering if he should approach me or not (explained in Unintended Consequences)
  • Last Xmas, both kids finally did, and I wrote the Days over several weeks for them to explain the whole story of their mother and me. (explained in The Days, epilogue)
  • Last month, we were reunited for the first time. While it’s wonderful to be back in their lives, I find out that history is about to repeat, as Georgia is very much like her mom. (Covered in The New Frontiers)

In the past month since reuniting with “my kids”, I’ve been forced to navigate between my obligation to the kids, loyalty to myself and my own family, and the memory and last wishes of a woman now 9 years gone.  Georgia, upon finding out the full story of her mother, myself and the mistakes made by all parties involved, has distanced herself from her father and grandmother. For better or worse, she has told me that I am, and have always should have been, her father. More so, she, at the tender all knowing age of 18, has decided to marry a 24 yr old Mainland Chinese foreigner who I have no idea if he’s even a Canadian citizen. Finally, as her “one, true dad”, it is my responsibility and duty to give her away at her sudden rush wedding in September.

Damn it. I hate it when people know how much importance I place duty and honor as part of my life. I hate it when my beliefs in modern Chivalry are tested at such extremes. More so, I believe she has a point. Georgia in another world and time, should have been my daughter. She should have been the little girl I’ve always wanted to raise, and be there for her first day at school, her first date and first night at the prom. In her, I see so much of her late mother, and while I have no regrets of the life lived thus far, I do wonder about that path not chosen.

I don’t believe for a second that this is right. I didn’t earn the right to be her dad. I’m not the natural father who did all of those crucial life events with her, but the past is forged with heavy chains that hold us all still.  My love’s ex-husband still refuses to talk to me, and so far as I can tell, wants me to deal with this mess. The grandmother is not an ally either in this matter, as she’s been cast out with her son-in-law. Making matters worse, she still bitterly despises me for my part in the choices that eventually led to her daughter’s death.  Terry, well, he’s a great 20-yr old kid who may know his sis too well, and has advised me on when not to push it too much.

In the end, the choice has been left to me, and I’ve been undecided long enough. September is coming up fast.  Friends who have followed The Days have been advising me, and I came to a conclusion finally.  But it was a conclusion I probably always knew would have to be.

This is wrong. Period.  And 20 minutes before I started writing, I told her. (She’s not a happy camper.)

Probably not to the surprise of anyone despite sage counsel, I will NOT step away. I will not get into a family war, or be the cause of one like before.  But until either her father or Georgia smartens up, or hopefully both, I will support her in any decision that will give her time to properly live a little bit first. If she moves in with the guy, and I get a proper chance to know him, I might even consider giving her away, but ONLY if there’s no hope of reconciliation between her father and herself and I’m satisfied that they’re in it for honest reasons.

All those years ago, extreme choices I made led us all into a place that I could have never imagined possible. Subsequent choices that my 1st love made, turned a tale of lovers lost into an outright Greek tragedy. That was the beginning of a cycle of hurt, of sorrow and lost chances. I can’t let this cycle repeat with her daughter. I won’t. She needs to be free of this legacy of what us, her mom, her dad and myself did.

More so, I need to be free. I just want a fresh start with T & G. Is that really too much to ask?

To Georgia, my beloved goddaughter, this is my decision and my reasons.

I fully believe that any marriage in the here and now, is a mistake, and is a decision based partially on defiance and maybe even anger against the sins of your late mother and your fathers…. both of us.

I WILL support you in any way I can to live a little, travel a little. In the semester to come as you study law, why not consider moving in with him for a little bit. If it’s honestly love, and one worth pursuing, then what’s the harm of a little time to give you a chance to study and live. I need to be assured that he is a good man and this is something that has an honest chance, and that’s something I don’t have right now. I’ve known him for 2 1/2 hours in real face to face time, and to put it honestly, all I want to do right now is to “grab the proverbial shotgun” and chase him off. 

I love you. I always have. I am proud of your achievements. You remind me so much of your mother, my heart honestly aches with the pain of loss and sweet memory.

But I can’t support a mistake, especially one without your true dad at the altar. Georgia, I will be a part of the solution, not one that continues the cycle of mistakes and anger. There may be no hope between your dad, your grandmother or me, as too much has happened. But there’s always hope for you and them, and they acted always to protect and guide you.

Think about it. I’ll be here for you.

The New Frontiers: Repeats, Reunions and Restorations…

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

I’ve got news for Mr. Santayana: we’re doomed to repeat the past no matter what. That’s what it is to be alive. It’s pretty dense kids who haven’t figured that out by the time they’re ten…. Most kids can’t afford to go to Harvard and be misinformed.”  ― Kurt Vonnegut

Before I go on, I’m still not going to post any pics for the foreseeable future.  Outside of their first names, I want the kids to still have a measure of privacy.  I am writing this with their full knowledge and permission, but I am now trying to be a little more restrained due to circumstances.

Well, it’s happened.  I’ve met my “kids”, and in all honesty, I still don’t know what to think.  The first meeting I had in mind kinda went awry, as WestJet inexplicably flew well over 90+ minutes late.  Add processing and the rest, and my late but still ok 9-something pm landing suddenly became one that happened a little before midnight.  Needless to say, by the time I I got out of the gates, the kids were absolutely exhausted.  Given that Terry had to get back for lunch and dinner service in Whistler the next day, the meeting I wanted to have with them both together pretty much was blown out of the water.  Georgia just went home, and we would find a time to later meet.

Terry

Terry stayed over in Vancouver that night, and met me for a pretty early 6:30am breakfast in a Chinese café-bakery.  (By the way, highly recommend New Town Bakery on E Hastings, it was simple, inexpensive, hot and simply rocked.)  In the brief hour or so that we talked, he was simply a joy.  Obviously a child of the 00’s, his Star Wars was Anakin Skywalker and the Clone Wars.  Linkin Park was his Sting and the Police and he never even heard of The Doctors 1 thru 8.  He’s bright, analytical and determined to be a chef no matter what.  He’ll make it, I have no doubt.  But he’s also a little awkward socially.  His focus on his craft has made him appear to be a little cold, even aloof to an extent.  Still, once you do get to know him, you can’t help but respect him.

Georgia

On Saturday, I had went out to meet an old friend I had never met face to face in 15 years.  It was fun, exciting and a grand old trot down memory lane.  But as all good things, it had to end a little early as I had promised a friend to pick up some Dragon’s Beard Candy from the Richmond Night Market.  On my way there, I noticed a text from Georgia, who was already there and we agreed to meet.

Remember, until this weekend, all of my communications with the kids have been entirely on the phone or via the net.  Everyone has a persona they assume online, whether it be one that’s daring, brave, meek or silent.  But in person… ah, there’s the rub.  The cute little 8 yr old girl I remember is a very different 18 year old girl, and one that I bet her mom would have tore her hair out over.

It’s not that Georgia is a bad girl, or some wild child who drives parents to drink.  It’s that she’s so very much her mother’s daughter.  I see so much of my old love in her, and so many of the special qualities that made me so charmed and enamoured even now over 3 decades.

Georgia is smart and clever, quick witted and open.  She is a caring, loving blossoming woman who you can’t help but fall in love with from the start.  She keeps the same insane schedule that her mom did at this age, with most of her days already prescheduled weeks to months in advance.  It’s that drive that made her mom such a star to UBC, and when properly focused, will make Georgia a contender in the days to come.  The problem is that just like her mom, she wears her heart on her sleeve, and is incredibly pig headed.  Terry told me that once she’s made a decision, it takes a small miracle to make her reconsider.  Like me, she has a flair for the dramatic, and makes life changing decisions at a whim as she will follow her heart.  And more importantly, she has a sense of justice based on her own beliefs and is quite willing to defends those decisions to the death.

Unfortunately, this has led her to three decisions that I wonder how much came from me (somehow) and how much came from my old love.

– After reading “The Days” and finding out so many things about her bio dad, and my deep unusual relationship with her mom, she’s stopped talking to him now altogether.  She assures me that she came to this decision herself, but I can’t help but feel that I’ve traumatized her with the truth.  Problem is that, what choice did I really have as well?  I wasn’t about to lie to protect the false reasons why I was abandoned the kids after the death of their mom, or my complicated feelings for her even after all of these years.  Nevertheless, it’s been months since she has had more than a 3 word conversation with her dad, and I feel so horribly personally responsible for this.

– She’s about to get married in a few months, about the same age when my old love and I had once considered the future together.  Worse, it looks like her taste in men is about the same.  Her fiance was working at the Richmond Night Market (hense the timing), and he’s CHINESE.

– She’s asked ME to be the one to give her away.  She sees it as things going full circle, and that I was supposed to be her dad.  I am honored that she asked me, but it feels quite honestly wrong in a lot of ways.  I don’t deserve this pedestal.  I was with her mom in a quasi lost love relationship for over 7 years. Her real dad raised her for most of her 18 years.  He has cared for her, loved her, and sacrificed so much for her that I can never ever repay.  This is his spot, and his honour not mine.

Now let’s get back to where this mess is about to lead.  I’m not going to comment much on her fiance for now, since I really don’t know the guy at all.  All I know is that he’s from Shanghai, studied in western schools and is 24 years old. I have no idea if he’s getting his citizenship, or if he’s even a landed immigrant.  He speaks english with a bit of an british / chinese accent, and apparently works at that market on the weekends.  He seems to genuinely care for Georgia, but I can’t get over the fact that they started seeing one another only months ago…. and now marriage???

I haven’t had time to really think this all through, but this feels so wrong.  I’m trying to respect her decision, but now I think I have to be her father to try to talk sense as she’s presently lacking one right now.  She won’t talk to me at all abotu how her dad is, and what are his thoughts.  I’m actually a bit surprised that he even let Georgia move out at this age for that matter, assuming he even had a choice.

I’ve gotten advice from a few friends here and there, but I still have to think for now. I can tell already that my wife is going to have some problems with Georgia, which is another consideration I’m will have to factor in. So many lives, so intertwined in the decisions I soon will have to make, and all from a single desperate moment based on an ill-conceived haphazard plan. Wow. If there is some sort of afterlife, I can just imagine my old love just looking on in total puzzlement and disappointment.

But there is one thing for certain… I promised someone special and dear to me that I would always be there to strive to be their father, mentor and friend.  I promised her that I would always be there to try to guide them on a path that would find them their own happiness, and to avoid the mistakes that my old love and I made that will always haunt me.

“Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!” – Margo Channing, All About Eve