A Request from a reader

“Tell us more about living OTG!”

Well, OK. But I kinda ‘did’ that already….first with the pre-Russian website-theft blog series, then with book #1 and then, in case you missed it, with book #2. And I even do OTG in the post-Russian-theft blog era now and again.

Still, OTG seems to have a bit more cachet than does my political blogs or my Doomsday series. Sal (as a topic) is always a big hit. Dogs are good but too easily overdone…..and my time-life on the wrong side of the tracks also piques a bit of interest sometimes amongst a few…..but the request was for more OTG.

So, I’ll get there but maybe in a roundabout way….

We are currently in Victoria helping Sal’s mom move into an assisted living facility. She was dead-set against it until a few months ago and now impatiently wants the move. “Fed up cookin’ for myself!” And so into the facility she goes. And, of course, her moving there prompts me to think about us and whether we will ever follow in her footsteps.

Sal and I have been talking. NOT doing very well, so far…….she’s a bit resistant….

“Not in a million years. I hate it here (Victoria) and I hate everything about it – shopping, traffic, incarcerating my mother, trying to keep two dogs restrained and not frustrated. I just hate it! Never coming back! Not to any town. Not ever! Right?………Right?…..RIGHT!!???”

“Sal! Calm down. I am on your side. But ya gotta think about it…ya gotta at least have a plan B. Right? Right?”

“Fine! What’s our plan B?”

“I dunno. We start with the talking and thinking part…then we get to the planning part….”

“I’ve thought about it. I do NOT want a plan B! I wanna drop dead on the beach at our place!”

“OK. Good. That’s our plan B. I get that (presumably I am dead-on-the-beach first so that is her Plan A). But, just for the fun of it, let’s think about what happens if you drop on the beach like you planned but don’t die? But your hips and a leg are smashed up. Should I just leave ya there to float in and out with the tide til yer good-and-dead and really, really wet? Or, if I abandon plan B and take you in and you get patched up but then you need a wheelchair……should I just roll ya back to the beach so ya can try again?”

“OK, fine! What’s a better plan B?”

“Well, we could move to Thailand and have beautiful Thai women take care of us? You know….massages, salad rolls, curry and Pad Thai?”


“OK, we could move to the Philippines and have beautiful Filipinas take care of us? You know……..massages, adobo, crispy pata….maybe a little karaoke?”

“I do not like where this going….?

“Well, we could just stay here, fix up the boathouse, extend another room, add some amenities and find a beautiful woman who needs a place to live in exchange for some cleaning, housekeeping and maybe a few massages…?”

“OK! Now you’re talkin’!”

Planning our departure (in whatever way it comes) is clearly a work in progress, the first step of which was taken today. Kinda. I could probably pull that joke-plan off if I found a woman who also liked quilting but I fear that then I would be the one in the boathouse….or left rolling in the tide….

…….we have more talkin’ to do…

20 thoughts on “A Request from a reader

  1. What coincidence that we both thinking of boredom away from our OTG and that someone in addition to me, I presume due to timing, wants more of your OTG. We spent 5 weeks in Victoria returning to the apartment a p7 days ago. Too bad we missed you. . Maybe we can meet this year, perhaps in Kamloops or on VanIsle to discuss planning slowing down for a few years prior to our departure. As you can read, I am bored today. . Steve


    • Humour is your strong suit,more of that pls
      In the mid seventies I and my “sal”leased our first store on the north side of the100block east Cordova
      Walked by your clinic to “seafoods only” I still have a clear picture of the greasy red nose fry guy and the lanky Scandinavian working those 20 stools around the horseshoe counter
      Makes me wonder how often we were there together unknowingly, going for the boiled salmon, or fried oysters.


      • I am pretty sure our clinic was at 373 E. Cordova. That means you were in the first block west after Main street? Detox was pretty close to you…St James and #5 Orange practically neighbour’s. Brian Adam’s had a loft down that way. I usually didn’t eat lunch but, when I did, I went for dim sum in Chinatown. I was there for 4.5 years over a 5.5 year span. 1973 (?) To 1975, 1977/78- ish. I think…I left the clinic. Burned out. They hired a new guy. He was no good, stole $12k. They asked me to come back to get the clinic’s house in order. When running smoothly, I left…still burnt out…almost crispy. Skid row is a black hole that drains the do-gooders dry.


        • Ok that explains it
          There was street clinic such as yours in the same time frame at Hastings and Carroll NE corner
          Maybe it has leaked out of your memory.
          my spot was 76 e Cordova on the south side between Columbia and Carrol,the place was called MALLACA.
          If seafoods only was not a go to,so sad cuz it was incredible.
          Do you recall the orange door and green door alleyway Chinese joints?

          There must be more to the “hate on Victoria” story,we can leave that to a time when things may be a tid more placid


          • Aha! I used to go the ‘ONLY’. Never knew it as anything else. And, of course, I remember the Orange door and the Green door in the back alley behind Keefer Street. Pender st? A regular Sunday night hit.
            I have also been inside half of the SRO hotels seeing patients with the doctors. I was their security – for some, not all.


  2. I guess that if a plan b is required then Paul has the best idea. Buy/build a small rancher close to one of the docks so you can at least run your boat motor every now and then. Im hoping that my kids will honor my wishes and let me end out here. If or when my mind goes maybe I won’t mind being moved but rather stay just because I’m stubborn. Got hit by such a blast of rain for an hour or so this evening, sure the boat sank an extra inch for a bit.😊


  3. Be careful what you wish for. I am pretty sure you end up in the bathouse and Sal has a quilting friend and a massage now and then. Your dogs will be spoiled by the 2 women.
    In the best case scenario, they will bring you some leftovers from time to time when they come and check up on you if you are still live. Maybe they will make you dinner when you chop wood for them.
    I understand Sal’s reluctance to even start thinking about a plan B, you guys live in paradise, who wants to give up on that
    But Sal seems to have strong genes in the family, so you are good for another 20 years at least

    For your reader who wants to read more on the OTG stuff : I can recommend books #1 AND #2


    • Hmmmm…..what do I wish for? I guess it would be another 20 years of exactly what we are doing.
      And then a mysterious fall to the rocky beach below with no suffering but a rising tide….or….fall asleep and not wake up….you know….a nice easy exit.
      But it isn’t the end so much as it is the journey getting there that might need some planning. And I do not want twenty years of boredom. I want interest and challenge. Maybe enjoy a younger, stronger female to help us by taking over some of the chores, singing karaoke, doing some meals…..maybe a massage….?


  4. Loved your article! Perfect after the conversation I had with Sally. She is one determined gal just like her Mother. Hoping we can all enjoy our little bit of Paradise for another 20. That would be 102 for my hubby.


  5. It’s funny.
    In an ironic sorta way.
    Got a call this evening on my drive home.
    I was in Victoria for the day for work.
    A friend since high school passed away in Nova Scotia.
    64 years old. Still working.
    He wasn’t feeling well and went in to the local hospital.
    “Get your things in order. Cancer everywhere. You have about 3 weeks.”
    2.5 weeks later.
    Which is worse?
    A slow , porridge drooling, diaper filling existence that takes YEARS?
    Or …Bada bing bada boom. Dead.
    I’ll take the 2.5 weeks after watching my parents slow, confused, inexorable decline to the Grim Reaper.
    They were comfortable but……hated it.

    Victoria is a tad “city-fied”
    What about a place in Campbell River.
    New Hospital.
    Go for walks.
    Some friends are close.


  6. “OK, we could move to the Philippines and have beautiful Filipinas take care of us? You know……..massages, adobo, crispy pata….maybe a little karaoke?”

    Not an all bad idea. For about 500 bucks a month, you could hire a Filipina nurse to live in and help out with everything.


    • I did many buying trips to the Philippines, no sugar coating, regardless of how it may look from here. Think of ending your days in scene more similar to a Hieronymous Bosch canvas.


      • Well, if you are thinking of the Bosch “Garden of Earthly Delights” work, I might agree. But somehow I think you are alluding to some of his darker works.

        It may be that your buying trips to the Phils have endowed you with much knowledge and keen insight into life here, but I am no dilettante myself. Since early 1995, I have lived here full-time for 3 years and all my other trips probably add up to another 3 years or so and I have travelled widely in the country. I have been here for 4 months, at this writing. So, when you mention “how it may look from here”, I know not where “here” is. Maybe Canada, somewhere?

        I lived for many years (born there) in Vancouver and some years in Los Angeles. I know I can find you parts of those cities that fit your Hieronymous Bosch canvas allusion quite nicely. I refer to the discussion with David, supra, about Cordova St. haunts. I too recall eating at the Only. Described by one newspaper writer at the time, praising the cuisine, adding “It’s the only place where you might find a drunk in your soup.” The Downtown Eastside is not a place where I would choose to grow old. Some have scant choice. The PI is not one big Downtown Eastside. Sure, it has some parts that are worse; much worse.

        The Phils is one of those places where you hear stories about it being a “paradise” where one can “live like a king on $1,000 a month”. None of that is true. But, one can live quite well for much less than in Canada or U.S. But one must choose location and circumstances with care. Life in parts of Manila can be good. Manila also is home to the worst this country has to offer. But Metro Manila is not really what this country is all about. Any foreigner who comes , stays in Manila, then goes home, knows nothing of this country.

        I would be quite content to spend the rest of my days here in the RP. Here in Iloilo would be fine. But other places are on my radar. Yes, I intend to return to Canada this year, but the jury is still out as to where I’ll end up.


  7. Certainly you have perspective, I was there once or twice a year from the mid seventies to eighties
    Manila,Laguna, Cebu and Davos.My contacts with wealthy business folks really made me doubt the viability of the underclass there.
    I hear that much has become worse, so be mindful of rose coloured glasses
    You have done the work,but to think of starting that in one’s seventies ?well you get the point.


    • Sure, I get the point, although I would resist any suggested that I have ever looked that this country through rose coloured glasses. Perhaps the opposite. In my early days here, it’s probably fair to say that I rubbed shoulders more with the underclass than with wealthy business folks.

      In my early trips here, I was here because I was in a relationship with a Filipina I met in Vancouver. She had done well for herself, but came from humble roots and we came here regularly and visited her clan, spread out over a few places. I went along with her for her sake. I did not enjoy it. I saw little that was good here and could never have imagined living here. The best part of the early trips was getting the hell out. Over time, that changed, and I found myself not wanting to leave. I got to know a lot about the country, the people, I learned to speak passable Tagalog.

      I am feeling that way right now. Looking at returning to Canada in 2 weeks and not happy about the prospect. But, like Dave and Sal, I have an off-grid oceanfront home to take care of and, while I have someone close by who helps out when I am away, in spring and summer there are maintenance things to be done and I must be there. I have the same things to take care of as Dave and Sal – the house, several outbuildings and a few sheds, the dock, an orchard, 50 acres of land. Besides, I really love the location and there, in summer, it is a paradise. I cannot imagine a better place to be, although I have seen parts of Norway, where my family is from, that are quite reminiscent of parts of coastal BC.

      So, once back there, I’ll settle in and enjoy my island home and its amazing location. Nothing here in the Philippines can compete, although some living here would not trade what they have here for anything in BC.

      As for starting in one’s 70s, why not? I have seen many do it. I can show you a video of a guy who moved here in his 80s and he had not even visited here before committing to the move. One should not consider oneself too old to start new things in one’s 70s and beyond. My parents took off from Canada and worked in Kanpur, India, for 2 years in their 70s. If you know India, Kanpur is not where one meets the rich and famous. The “sweeper class” was just as downtrodden there, in those days, as your Filipino underclass when you were here. On their return, they went to Iran for a year. Then Puerto Rico for 2 years. All of this was after my dad “retired” at 65. He always told me: “I do not grow old. If I stop growing, I am old.”


    • Y’er welcome Scott.

      Above, you mentioned “Got hit by such a blast of rain for an hour or so this evening, sure the boat sank an extra inch for a bit.😊” I trust pumps are working fine.

      Your mention of sinking an inch reminds me of one of the thousands of BC court judgments I have read over the years. It involved a good-sized vessel moored somewhere around Vancouver. It had a through-hull fitting above the waterline that I think was to drain one thing or another. Problem was, the fitting had frozen and cracked. No problem until an unusually heavy snowfall weighed the vessel down some. Now, the through-hull fitting was below the waterline. Water poured in and the vessel went to the bottom.

      As I recall, I was a guest aboard your very comfortable vessel a couple of years ago, in the company of LP. Does that sound at all familiar?

      As an aside, your message appears to have been posted on Feb. 22 at 7:13 p.m. It’s now 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 23 here in the Philippines, 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 22, your time. We are 16 hours ahead of you.


  8. Yes a nice visit was had. LP has threatened to visit me in Octopus but not yet (too damn cold/wet for the old man🙂)My boat is fine, pumps not needed as I was playing on the volume of rain(it just runs overboard). Enjoy your time left.


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