26 August 2018


Having visited England for six years prior to moving here two and a half years ago, I do believe I can make an honest assessment between the two countries. Many people believe, myself included, that moving between the two countries wouldn’t be that much of a change. I was in for a rude awakening when instead of a visitor, I became a resident. At times, I just wanted to throw in the towel and head back to America with my tail between my legs.

The reason I moved here was because of a lovely British gal and no matter how much I wanted to run away, I wasn’t going to give up on our life together. So I carried on and fought a battle within myself to change what I had learned for over 50 years, to adapt to a new culture and a new way of life.

Admittedly, I still make more than my share of mistakes. Now though, I realize I am the one who needs to adapt, not for a country to adapt to me. Some things were easy to accept and quickly fall in love with. One example would be bacon. Both countries love their bacon. And as an American I can honestly say, you haven’t tasted bacon until you tasted English bacon. Another example with food products is Mountain Dew. The American version of this drink can not be purchased in England. The reason being that one of the preservatives used in it is considered a poison in the UK. To put it simply, all of Europe is a lot stricter with food products than America.

Adapting to food has been one of the more comfortable changes I have had to make. One of the more difficult changes has been employment. From zero hour contracts to contracts in general, work in the UK is more frustrating and in a somewhat bad way, more employee friendly. As an employer, if you have a “bad” employee, it can take forever to fire (sack) him. These employee’s can show up late, leave early and still have a secure job.

The younger generation will work but very few go above and beyond to improve their lives. They know how much to work and when to quit. If they work to much, they can hurt whatever benefits they get from the government. In America, if you work, you may get help with food, in the UK, you can get help with your housing and sometimes travel expenses as well. Some have kids and want to work even less, so they get help with their housing. As and immigrant I am not entitled to any government benefits. Imagine that America. No benefits for immigrants! For me, it is for the first five years that I live here. I consider it one of the smarter things England has done.

Even though, I’m not entitled to any benefits, I am able to receive healthcare. When I moved here I paid a surcharge to have the ability to use the National Health Service (NHS). Now as a working member of the British society I contribute through my taxes to use the NHS as well as help others to have the ability to use it.

This is one expense I have no problem with. I remember back in the 80s when America was giving free breast screenings for woman to look for cancer. Yes, the tests were free, but if you had cancer then you needed money to treat it. Let’s face it. Only the poor people would use this free service. Then when they found out they had cancer there was nothing they could do to treat it.

The reality is that both countries have their own pros and cons. In a very simple nutshell, capitalism says you work to afford things. Mainly though, you work for one benefit – health insurance. One health issue can bankrupt a person. In 2014, I had open heart surgery. The total cost was a quarter of a million dollars. It was also the first year of Obamacare. Without insurance and without Obamacare, I would have gone bankrupt.

In 2016, my first year in England, I was diagnosed with mouth cancer. I had 30 days of radio therapy and spent over two weeks in the hospital. Two years later I see an ENT every three months for check-ups, and through it all I have never seen one bill for any of it. In fact, one expense was even eliminated. If you have cancer, for five years afterwards you get all your medical prescriptions for free.

To be going through cancer or a major health crisis and not have to worry about any bills, makes for an easier path to recovery.

Our two countries have so much in common, yet we also have so much that divides us. We should never assume and American is a Brit, nor should we assume that a Brit is and America. They are two totally unique countries, with a long history that both countries can be proud of.

There is so much difference that it would make an interesting book, from a personal perspective. … hmmm!?!

25 August 2018

The narcissistic bully

Have you ever met a person who shows superficial charm, has an overinflated self-worth, is a pathological liar, as well as a con artist? These people show no remorse, have a parasitic lifestyle, and fail to accept responsibility for their own actions. If you have met someone like this then you have met a sociopath.

How about a person who has a grandiose sense of self-importance and has fantasies that they are famous? They are sure they’re unique and special, while from their family and co-workers they require absolute devotion and admiration. They have a total sense of entitlement and can not show empathy. If you have met these folks than you have met a narcissist.

Combine the two and you have a narcissistic sociopath. A person incapable of change.

The narcissistic bully

a behaviour can be changed
a behaviour can be improved
from anti-social to social
a hoodlum from the past
becoming a friend of today

a lifetime to develop a personality
not always improved
not always changed
what you see is what you get
sometimes a friend… sometimes a bully

the friend thinks of others
the friend shows empathy
the friend listens more than talks
grateful to see the friend
grateful to be a friend

the bully thinks of me-me-me
the bully don’t care
the bully talks and shuts others down
anger fills the bully
disgust fills others

confrontation doesn’t always bring rewards
the bully becomes the victim
from look at me-me-me
it goes to poor me-me-me
no remorse… no regrets

ok for a day… a week… a month
yet no permanent change
the anti social personality returns
the narcissist lives on
the sociopath stays strong

easier said than done
ignore… don’t chat… walk away
don’t give the narcissist power
on their pedestal they live with drama
they don’t care about you… walk away

the sociopath don’t care
no remorse… no shame… no guilt
the narcissist says look at me
no time for you… all me-me-me
do you really need the grief?

28 July 2018

Finding The Simple Life

The Ninth Promise of Debtors Anonymous states that we will find acceptance and gratitude and it will replace regret, self pity and longing.

Finding the Simple Life

A boring life… a simple life
no need for extravagant possessions
add no value to one’s worth
just a thing that will lead to regrets

oh poor poor me
no money for a car
can get it with credit
though it is no longer an option

oh poor poor me
no special vacations… no holidays abroad
realizing there is no debt
yet at times it isn’t much of a reward

oh thank you… thank you
this is simple life is a good one
sleep soundly having no debt
stress free home with no bills

thank you… thank you
for the strength not to keep up
neighbours with new cars and new debt
riding the bus… reading the paper

accepting this new life
simple and stress free
no longer afraid of phones
wondering… how to pay

grateful to accept responsibility
to stretch money… to make it last
to set goals… for a healthy future
thank God for this freedom

27 July 2018

9th Promise of Debtors Anonymous

The Ninth Promise of Debtors Anonymous states that we will find acceptance and gratitude and it will replace regret, self pity and longing.

When I looked at my financial nightmare, seriously for the first time… I was filled with so much shame and regret. Here I was in my 50s, deep in debt, with absolutely nothing for a safety net. I wasn’t even living paycheck to paycheck. I was spending my next paycheck two to three days before I actually had it in the bank. Which meant that more times than not, I would bounce a check and pay extra charges for having an overdraft.

With not having any funds available, I never really devised a plan to get out of debt because I simply didn’t have any money. Yet, when I left my marriage I knew that second chances for me had run out. This would be my last chance to get it right.

My plan was simple. Start working on the debt. One bill at a time. Starting with the smallest one. I really didn’t care about interest rates or late fees. My credit score was shot and robbing Peter to pay Paul hadn’t worked. So, it was one bill at a time.

The next part of my plan was to quit bouncing check. Every bounced check cost me two hours of pay. So if I had four bounced checks than I was working that day to just pay overdraft fees. To do this I started rounding up the checks I wrote and rounding down my deposits. In a very simple way, I had started and emergency fund. Yes, it was only pennies… but it was pennies I have never been able to save before.

It took over five years but by doing these three little things and sticking to them I was able to get out from behind. I started with a debt of $65,000. Today I am in my fourth year of being debt free. I am so grateful that I had the strength and courage to stick with the plan and not try to “fix” things quickly. And I’ve learn to accept that the simple life is the best life for me. With simple things I have been able to stay debt free and more importantly have been able to build and maintain a healthy emergency fund.

30 June 2018

Owning Oneself

The 8th Promise of Debtors Anonymous states that we will cease to compare ourselves to others;
jealousy and envy will fade.

Owning Oneself

You own what?
Didn’t ask… yet wondered
how did they afford that?
If they can get it…
I can get better
I can get bigger and newer
And most of all more expensive

Still better than you
I’ll have the things to prove it
Stereos, cars, laptops, and notebooks
Yours? New! Mine? Superior!
I’ll give the illusion that everything bought
is owned and is mine
No one will know what I own
is actually owning me

I don’t own that new car… it owns me
monthly payments, insurance and service
working more hours to pay the bill
I don’t own the latest phone or notebook… it owns me
monthly payments have stolen the joy of it all
deep in debt… reality hits
it doesn’t matter what is owned… what matters is what is owed

Now I own myself
With no competition there is no envy
Jealously is a thing of the past
Having no debt is freeing
No longer living a life of stress
No longer paranoid of phone calls or letters
Spiritually awakened to simplicity

8th Promise of Debtors Anonymous

The 8th Promise of Debtors Anonymous states that we will cease to compare ourselves to others; jealousy and envy will fade.

When I was working my way out of debt (over $65,000) I came to believe that the more I owned than the more I was owned. I spent most of my life comparing myself to others. Sadly, not in good ways. Ways that said I was a good dad, or a good husband, or a good friend. Instead, I made comparisons to the cars we owned. Or the stereo, or swimming pool, or whatever… the material comparisons were endless… as was my jealously of what others had.

Life is so freeing when competition fades away. Since I was a child I have loved fish. Tropical fish. I can remember having different aquariums with different fish. Everyone a living community. It was better than anyone else’s that I knew at the time. Nearly 50 years later, I still have fish. On a lot smaller scale. Instead of 55 gallon (2 of them), a 30 gallon, 29, numerous 20’s and 10’s, I have a 75 gallon pond. For an aquarium it would be a rather large fish tank. For a pond, it is rather small. Inside of it are seven goldfish and a carp. Nothing exotic, just a simple family setting for our simple life.

Someone I know has an 800 gallon pond, with over 80 fish… mostly kois that are over 12 inches long. Waterfalls, numerous pumps and filters make his yard a showcase. In my old days, I’d go deep in debt, just to have a better pond than his. Nowadays I’m happy for him. In fact, maybe even excited for him. As for my little pond? I love it. It is a beautiful natural water display with small living creatures enjoying their spacious home.

It comes down to that old thought of the grass always seems greener “over there.” I’m no longer interested in what is “over there,” I love what is right here. No comparisons, no jealously, no envy… just a simple acceptance that things are OK just the way they are.