Looking for something different.

So after dealing with the crazy one, I made a mental decision to move on, and for some reason, my criteria for a new girlfriend was she had to come from a good family. Not sure why I chose that as a reason to pick a girlfriend, but that was one of the things I was looking for, it’s too bad I carried forward all my baggage, making it almost impossible to have a normal relationship with anyone.

The Strand Lounge
This is The Strand at The Avalon Mall in the 80’s.

I met Rita around 1987 I think, met her through a friend at The Strand Lounge in The Avalon Mall. We used to hang out there every now and again, live bands, pre-VLT’s, it was a great place to hang out. I used to go there with Darren (AKA Dirtbag) and see the bands. One night, Rita came along and that was where we had our first kiss. So we started dating after that night, met her family soon thereafter and made my mind up to continue dating.

Was renting the upstairs, never had a bed or a 1 piece of furniture.

Was living with a couple of roommates at the house above, didn’t last very long, and moved about 6 months later. Moved into a house on Waterford Bridge Road with my mom and sister, that turned out to be a disaster as I came home one day and they were gone, left me with all the bills and rent, fucked me over big time. I think the place may have been haunted, weird things used to happen all the time, we had a tv that had no remote and had a pull on, push off power button, you’d be sitting in the room and the damned thing would turn on or you’d be watching it and it would turn off. The button was either pulled on or pushed off, it was the weirdest thing. The house is not their anymore, it was torn down awhile back and a new house is in its place.

New house built where the old haunted one was.
This house is built where the old haunted one was.
Lived in the back apartment in this house on Portugal Cove Road.

Rita and I started dating and it was almost a disaster from the start. After we moved from Waterfordbridge Road to a place on Portugal Cove Road. With getting shafted in the last place, and not finding work for almost 16 months, this was the last place I lived before going to Edmonton.

I remember we went to see Colin Janes at The Breezeway at MUN. Got quite drunk, and we left early because she wanted to leave, we went home and had a fight, and I slapped her, not too hard, but hard enough to blacken her eye. I thought that was it, we would be done, but she came back soon after. I felt horrible, but again, with my baggage, I was an asshole, at best.

It wasn’t much longer after that incident that the decision was made to move to Edmonton, I had a job lined up, just needed to get enough for airfare. Sold everything I had except the clothes on my back, barely got enough to get a plane ticket. I remember the day I landed because that was the night The Edmonton Oilers were defeated by The North Stars, I guess I was a bad luck charm because it was 5 years before the even made it to the playoffs again. So based on that tidbit of information, I landed in Edmonton on May 10th, 1991. I started work that Monday at Grinnell, formerly TYCO. The boss was a true Newfoundlander, he actually immigrated to Edmonton in 1948. I’m not sure the timeline, but Rita came to Edmonton while I was still at my Uncles, it wasn’t long after we moved out to my Uncles friends house. Rita was on EI when my other uncle Pat asked that she babysit his daughter, although we lived on the south side, and he lived close to refinery row, she took the gig. That lasted until there were some problems with drug abuse, and tensions between everyone because of it. The final straw was when his wife Shelly asked us to come in a half hour, or an hour earlier the next day, unfortunately, it was the coldest day of the year the next day, and even though the car was plugged in, we barely got it started, needless to say, we showed up around 6:30am or so, but not good enough and we were told off and that was the end of that.

Lived here a total of 3 times over a 10 year period. Whyte Ave and 99st.

There was at least one incident between us at my uncles friends place, I never hit her, but i drowned her with a big glass of Pepsi. We moved from there after an altercation with my uncles friend who wanted to increase rent, even though we had agreed on a certain amount, he complained that the gas bill was too high, meanwhile, we nearly froze in that apartment, when it was -40 outside, it was hard to heat a basement apartment with just a fan blowing hot air around. We moved then to Whyte Avenue, and the troubles between us continued, we had fights, cops were called once, they showed up, but she refused to file charges against me.

We moved into a townhouse, next door to a friend, that I met during a job re-entry program, unfortunately, he drank a lot, so in turn, I drank a lot with him. Eventually, we asked to move to a couple of blocks away to another townhouse. The first week, the neighbor starts playing the piano at 7 am on a Sunday morning, and as you know, with row housing, the are only separated by a cinder block wall, and that was the wall they had the piano on, it was just as well she was in the room playing. I lost it, started banging on the walls, even hitting it with a hammer. This happened 4 or 5 times, as early as 6:30 am, total bs, so, luckily for us, the building adjacent to us, had an opening, and it was at the end of the block

So, not sure the timeline there, but it was here that we broke up, a couple of times. We agreed to split and I guess I was supposed to leave after a weekend, we ended up having a final romp, I had forgotten she went off the pill, and long story short, she got pregnant. I ended up staying and when we found out she was pregnant, I was working at The House of Tools, and Country Kitchen, they were in the same parking lot in Mayfield area. So, I used to work 8-4:30, then 5 – 8 at the restaurant. When we realized there was a baby on the way, I went full time at both jobs. I used to get the bus at that time as well, so, an hour and a half each way, 8 hours at The House of Tools, then 7 hours at the restaurant. Managed to keep this up for about 6 months before burnout started setting in, and I was pretty grumpy all the time. The House of tools job was getting very tedious and when I had started there, there were 6 guys working the warehouse, at the time of getting let go by the manager, there was just me, doing every job, including input of all stock, we used to get containers of product from China every couple of weeks, so, it was my job to enter, then put away all product, including all the other things that used to take up my day. I complained too much and the manager fired me, although I had heard that he was chewed out majorly by the owner the next day. The owner liked me and the way I worked, but always seemed to rub the manager the wrong way. My buddy, who got me the job (the drinker) and he were very close, and as I didn’t get along with his buddy, the manager, we drifted apart as well.

Rita was induced on February 28th, 1995 at The University Hospital, he was one of the last babies born there as they moved all births to The Royal Alexandra Hospital. It was quite the day, full of ups and downs. Some scary moments because he was stuck, and as Rita had a curved spine, he wasn’t coming out, at one point, they started to remove her jewelry, and were about to get her ready for an emergency C-Section. After about 8 hours (I think), the room began to fill with nurses, and interns, and 1 doctor. It was at this point, the doc tells an intern to get the forceps, it was then I thought I was going to pass out, but as I looked up, there were about 10 people between me and the door, so, I was sure I wouldn’t make it out, so I stayed and watched as this intern struggled to get ahold of Brandon. Finally, after what seemed forever, out he came, he didn’t cry immediately, and Rita started freaking out, thinking they waited too long before the pulled him out, but after about 30 seconds, he started crying, and all was well. Except for the forceps marks around his cheeks, he was fine.

When it was time for Rita to return to work, we needed someone to take care of Brandon, so we asked her sister Elaine (Shorty) to come and stay with us, her boyfriend Brian also came and they actually lived in the basement, it wasn’t much, but it was all we had at the time. This continued for almost a year and a half until tensions between all of us started to effect our day to day life. I had started a job with DOSCO, and we were getting ready to move into a new building and overtime was a must, as it turned out, I ended up doing over 800 hours overtime that year. We split and she basically wanted everyone out, so, I left with the clothes on my back and the old car.

I bounced around from my Late Friend Ron’s place, to at one point, living in my car, as I was currently unemployed, and had just been put through the wringer with an outrageous amount for child support for one child. It didn’t matter to any of them where or how I was living, as long as they got as much as they possibly could from me. I had met someone online and we’d hit it off (at least on the phone), I visited her in California and decided, I would move down there. I met with Rita before I left with an understanding that I would either come back to visit or send for Brandon to come to visit me in California, all was agreed and she even drove me to the airport. I had apologized to her for being such a dick and an asshole to her for almost 10 years, she forgave me (or at least that was what she said). While I was down in California, I called her from Long Beach to see how Brandon was doing, and she said he was being like the anti-christ, putting her through hell and that she put him on Ritalin. I didn’t like that too much and then asked her about getting Brandon down to where I was, and she said no, and that she had changed her mind.

So, after 4 months of California, I was heading back to Edmonton, to at least get any more agreements with Rita signed, or through the courts. I wasn’t about to give up not seeing him again, and the woman I was seeing in California wanted me to forget all about Brandon and just take care of her kids, well, no, that wasn’t going to happen. I got back to Edmonton and decided I was done in California. Got a job at a small oilfield supply place and moved into an apartment on The Calgary Trail, right at the beginning of that highway, so it wasn’t that bad except I had psycho neighbors who played music til all hour or came in the back door (just off my bedroom) and they were not quiet at all, even though it was 2 or 3 in the morning.

Wasn’t long after that my best friend Ron Thoreson took his own life, to say I was devastated, would be an understatement. I had people that barely knew me coming by to make sure I wasn’t hanging from the rafters. I was working at a small oilfield supply company, the boss didn’t like me, and to make a long story short, after getting raked through the coals by the system, I had to look for another job, higher paying, to try and pay the elaborate amount of child support that the court awarded. So, the boss found out, and he decided to fire me for looking for another job? I got my revenge shortly thereafter when I sent him a message saying I had a log of all his chat conversations (they used to surf the net during lunch, and he was chasing after young girls) and would be sending them to his wife. Found out later he got divorced, hopefully, I had something to do with that.

So, here I was again, unemployed, child support attached my EI, i was barely clearing enough to pay rent and buy some food. I asked Rita to call off the dogs, but she ignored me, as usual. After a few months of this, she decided to move back to St. John’s. I was applying for a job a block away to a New Home Depot, got through 3 interviews, figured I had the job, but that was it. I found out later that Rita had attached my wages to a job that I never even had yet, so, they never called me back. What a stupid move on her part, but hey, she wasn’t known for making the smartest decisions (she stayed with me for 10 years).

I was able to get enough to fly home, and actually moved by Canada Post! I packed whatever I could in boxes and shipped them home, not an ideal way to move, but it worked.

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