On December 22nd I went to my mailbox expecting to find a Christmas card from my brother with pictures of my nephew inside. Instead of a Christmas Card with photos of my nephew, I found a bill. A bill that I didn’t want, wasn’t expecting and should’ve never gotten.
In August of 2019 I had some medical appointments in a province that I was not living in. The way that Universal Health Care works in this country is that, you can go to the doctor in any province and that bill from said doctor will be sent back to your home province for your home province to pay. The province never sent the bill back to my home province at the time. They just… held onto it?
Apparently they found out where I am and how to get a-hold of me now so they’ve sent me the bill, plus a year and a half worth of interest for this bill not being paid, to the tune of several thousand dollars.
Yeah. I cried. I definitely cried.
I haven’t thought about these appointments since August 2019. Opening up a bill three days before Christmas and finding out you’ve been accruing interest on a bill that’s been in your name for a year and half that you never knew existed? It sucks.
This is entirely an issue of the province and not of me. You don’t have to pay to see a doctor in this country if you’re a Canadian citizen. So, now begins the long, drawn out process of trying to get this bill sent back to the province. I was told that the process could take 4-6 months, and warned that because this bill is already a year-and-a-half old that I could get sent to collections if it does take 4-6 months to get resolved.
I’m not stressed about paying this, because I know that I don’t have to. I know it’s not my responsibility and that being caught in the middle of inter-provincial pissing match is not my fault. What I am stressed about is this bill staying in my name for another 4-6 months, possibly being sent to collections while I’m trying to get it resolved.
It has taken me five years to figure out the name of this song. While I cannot say that I’ve been actively looking, when this came on my Soul Cycle radio the other day, I nearly lost my marbles.
About five years ago there was a viral video circling the web that saw a bunch of dancers wearing storm trooper costumes dancing to this song. I think it was on America’s Got Talent. Don’t quote me on that, though. I just remember Simon Cowell being on the show. It was intoxicating. I remember watching the video on repeat because it was the epitome of unique entertainment to me. I still watch the video from time-to-time, but I’d never actually managed to find this song.
What is it the kids are saying these days, ‘this song is a bop’? I think. Actually, I’m probably wrong on that. I’m extremely out of touch with the younger crowd. I hit thirty and I might as well be 90, I’m so far removed.
I have been thinking that I’d like to buy a treadmill to keep in my garage. It’s been something that I’ve had on my mind since I’ve moved into this house, basically. I just haven’t been able to pull the trigger because purchasing things for a home takes a lot of time. When I moved into this place I had next to nothing. Slowly, but surely, over the past six months, I’ve gotten bedding and silverware, towels and all those other luxuries that would be impossible to live without in the western world.
Those things add up over time. Spending a thousand dollars on a treadmill just couldn’t be in the budget. In full transparency, it still shouldn’t be on the consideration list based on what I still have to purchase. That being said, I’m watching news reports that say it’ll be September of next year before enough vaccines are dispersed to make regular activity regular again. If we have another ten months of this, I want something. Especially with four of those months being in a deep freeze.
I don’t know what will happen with it. I probably won’t do anything. I like to write things down, though. Perhaps it’ll allow me to bring the desires to fruition if I actually put it on a page somewhere. You know, hold myself accountable and whatnot.
If you’re wondering what happened to Blogmas Day 1, so am I. Yesterday got away from me.
If you’re wondering what Blogmas is, I completely understand. Blogmas is a trendy tag that bloggers use to compete with the algorithm each Christmas season. You’re supposed to write a post every day leading up to Christmas. I’m not really trying to compete with any algorithm, and I can’t promise that I’ll even keep up with it. But, it does seem like an easy title to give my posts for the month of December.
What’s been going on lately? My mom’s had some health issues as of late and it has caused me a lot of worry. She’s spent my whole life telling me I’m too stubborn for my own good, but the truth is, I learned it from her. She is a very stubborn woman. I am just hoping that she gets through this soon and gets back to feeling like herself again.
COVID is still bad. For some reason they seem to believe that it’s going to miraculously disappear right before Christmas. I think they’re acting a little naive and a lot ridiculous being ten months into this and knowing how the general public acts, and reacts, to the pandemic at this point. But hey, what do I know?
Each morning at the start of the work day my sales team has a meeting to touch base before we do anything for the day. Our American crew (I’ve mentioned them before on here) are fighting as of late.
Kendra, who thinks COVID is a hoax, plans to go to Hawaii this weekend. Apparently Hawaii is doing this thing now where they don’t require a quarantine period as long as you can show a negative COVID test 72 hours before your flight. Kendra, not being the sharpest tool in the shed, has decided that she needs a holiday, so she’s headed to Hawaii. She’s angry that she has to get a COVID test at all, but, since she believes that Hawaii and Los Angeles are in the same time zone, it’ll all be worth it so she can pop off to Hawaii on Friday and pop back on Sunday.
Jason is mad at Kendra for not taking COVID serious. Jason has not taken COVID seriously since the beginning. But, last week Jason’s fiancee came down with COVID. Now, now… he cares. The past few months he’s been to California for a beach trip, Oregon for a fishing trip, Florida for a just because trip, and has continuously been out and about refusing to wear a mask because… why follow rules? Well, his fiancee now has COVID and I guess that’s what it took to actually make him give a damn. Jason now owns all the masks, all the sanitizer, all the things. He’s been tearing into Kendra since she announced her Hawaii plans because how dare she be so vapid and self-centered as to not take this pandemic seriously.
Sometimes I feel like the people I work with are characters in a Soap show.
I really need to start going to bed earlier. I always have good intentions of going to bed at a decent hour but then something good comes on television and I wind up awake to midnight, or even 1:00 am. It’s not good. I’m not a morning person and I definitely am not making things easy for myself by staying awake until 1:00 am and then having to get up for work. In my ideal world I could work from 12:00 – 8:00 pm and never have to wake up early again.
Since we lost my Uncle K earlier this year, my Uncle F has been a giant pain in everyone’s ass. He’s sought to make all of our lives miserable and he’s sparing no one in the process.
First, he tried to have me removed as executor of the will. He was trying to prove that I manipulated Uncle K into making me executor of the will.
Next he tried to have my cousins and I removed from the will itself. Uncle K had made sure to leave each of his family members in the will. EVERYONE. From his brothers and sister, right down to his great niece and nephew. Uncle F decided that if he could get everyone removed from the will except for his siblings, he’d get a lot more money.
Uncle F also stole Uncle K’s car because the rest of his siblings wanted the car to be given to my cousin Tara. Uncle F didn’t want Tara to have the car, he wanted to sell the car for profit. So, he stole it in the middle of the night and hid it, only to be found at a later date when he tried to sell it and wasn’t legally able to do so.
There was a period of about five months there that everything we tried to do to contribute to the closing of Uncle K’s estate was halted, delayed or outright stopped because Uncle F was being an asshole for the sake of being an asshole.
LOTS of petty bullshit went on. Every time that we made any progress Uncle F would send his lawyers out for blood. I don’t know if he just didn’t understand or if he was specifically trying to be an asshole for the sole purpose of being an asshole, but he was paying lawyers to halt the lawyers from fulfilling Uncle K’s final wishes. Uncle K’s estate is paying the lawyers, so every time he sent his personal lawyers after them, he was essentially lessening the inheritance we would get from his brother’s estate.
About three weeks before Uncle K’s memorial in September my father decided to put an end to it. He went to see Uncle F and words were had. I’m not really sure what happened or what was said because my father still hasn’t talked about it, but what I do remember is that my father told me from that point forward Uncle F would not interrupt any more.
Seeing Uncle F at the funeral was pretty awkward. He wasn’t mean and he didn’t cause a scene but he looked at everyone and sulked a lot like a toddler who’d just been told they couldn’t stay up late. Thankfully the fact that everything was exceptionally distanced that day meant that no one really needed to talk to him. He basically sat off to the side and pouted.
Fast forward to now.
The sale of Uncle K’s house was supposed to go through this past week. I say it was supposed to go through because, had everything been able to happen as was, we wouldn’t own it anymore.
Uncle F sent his lawyers to temporarily halt the sale of the home. Why? He doesn’t think we’re selling it for enough money and thus he’s arguing we’re undercutting his inheritance. Apparently if we just held out and waited we could sell the home for a lot more.
I’m utterly convinced he’s doing this when he’s doing this specifically to cause the most annoyance possible. He didn’t have anything to say when the offer came in. He didn’t have anything to say at any point during the negotiation process. Contracts are being finalized and how he’s trying to prove we’re trying to undercut his inheritance?
Uncle K’s lawyers don’t seem to think this will take too long. They think it’ll be wrapped up in a week or two.
I’m just so… annoyed.
As of right now it’s estimated that the siblings share of the inheritance should be between $100,000 – $150,000 each. This asshole is over here saying ‘STOP THE SALE. I WANT MORE MONEY!’
Of course he is. He’s a greedy SOB. There’s a reason why Uncle K chose a niece and two nephews to be executors to his will over any of his siblings.
I want to drive to his house and punch him in the face. That might sound aggressive, but at this point I feel it warranted.
‘Banged’ is a really weird word. It almost defies the rules of English. It sounds like it should be ‘bonged’…
Anyways, I banged my head. Really badly. I have a stacking washer/dryer set and this is the first time in my life to ever have the stacking laundry system. Since I moved into this place I’ve been extra careful about ensuring I don’t stand up with the dryer door open. Well, careful until last night.
I grabbed the last two pieces of clothing out of the washing machine and stood up quickly, gesturing my hand upward to throw them into the dryer. On the way up, though, I hit the dryer door… so fucking hard. My head has been throbbing since last night. There’s actually a giant lump on the side of my head, where I hit it. It’s probably been 20 years since I’ve managed to do that to myself.
I had a really hard time sleeping last night. I’m having a really hard time focusing today. All I can really focus on is the gnawing pain… reminding me of what a dumbass I am for knowingly standing up whilst the dryer door was open. It’s like I was asking for it.
A man spit in my face once. Actually, I shouldn’t really call him a man. He was 20, exceptionally immature and generally a disgusting human being. Calling him a man seems like a disservice to men in this world. Then again, calling him a boy seems like I’m making an excuse for his behaviour. There’s no excuse for spitting on people.
It was March 2018. I was having a discussion with my friend Rob about another crazy story from his work-life. Rob was the chief of police. Though he never told me anything that was confidential, I did hear some crazy stories from the man over the years that I knew him. We’d just grabbed some coffee and we were waiting for players to return from the intermission of the game we were watching. Rob was telling me a story about how a few nights prior he was working the graveyard shift and he found himself, at 2:00 in the morning, chasing a man in his tighty-whiteys yielding a machete high off some sort of illegal substance through the courtyard of city hall. He uh, well he has no fears.
Rob is tower of a human being. He stands at 6 feet 7 inches tall. He has an extremely intimidating presence. Had he not been married to one of my coworkers, I likely would have feared him just based on his presence. Nevertheless, I digress. Cop life was a fit for him.
So, the explanation of Rob is important to the story because Rob actually plays a pretty integral role into what came from the rest of that evening.
During the third period a fight broke out. This was a bad fight. One of the players actually attempted to use a piece of his equipment to inflict dangerous, physical harm that could disable another player for life during this fight.
Typically, though a player is going to be kicked out of the game for such actions, they’re put in the penalty box while the referee reviews the play, what happened and what lead to the dangerous actions to ensure they have everything correct for expulsion from the game because they will have to file a report after.
This player was minutes from being kicked out. He was mad. He got into the penalty box and started using his equipment to try and break the penalty box. Which… physically speaking isn’t possible. But, he was angry and being an idiot, trying to inflict damage and throwing around threats to anyone he laid his eyes on.
Rob being Rob, well he stepped in. He stood in front of this player, towering at least 6 or 7 inches over him, and told him to sit down and calm down. This player didn’t.
I needed to collect some information from this player for the incident report so I asked Rob to get it for me.
Ohhhhhh, let me just say no one was prepared for what happened next.
This player got mad. He got up and in his fit of fury decided he was going to come after me. Problem was, even with all of his equipment on, he was still a lot shorter and smaller than Rob and Rob was standing between him and I. Rob was literally holding this player back from trying to jump at me and swing punches as he hurled insults my direction and shouted some pretty vulgar things.
I’ve been around sports most of my life so hearing vulgar things doesn’t really phase me. I don’t like. I don’t think it’s acceptable. But, I also can’t control the things that people say, so, I don’t let it get to me when disgusting things are said to me. Especially if it’s coming from someone like a 20 year old brat with a bad temper, no social skills and clear anger issues.
What did phase me though, was that in that moment when the player couldn’t overpower Rob, he decided to spit on me. He knew that he couldn’t get past Rob so he hocked a loogie and spit directly into my face.
It was one of the most disgusting moments of my life.
I was shocked. I was embarrassed. I was immediately scared. This idiot’s saliva had just landed in my eye and on my face.
This player does not know that the man he’s been trying to overpower to come at me is actually the Chief of Police. No one ever really knew what Rob did because it wasn’t something that Rob broadcasted to anyone outside of his circles. He just did his job and lived his life.
Well, in the moment when he spit on me, everyone knew it. Largely because everyone heard him hocking a loogie and then because everyone heard me scream in terror when the spit hit my face.
Here in Canada spitting on someone is a form of assault. This player, not realizing that he’s just committed a form of assault in front of the city’s chief of police, kept on shouting vulgar things at me as I started to cry and pull off my jacket and sweatshirt and scrape away at my skin with said clothing because I felt disgusting due to their being spit on me.
I kid you not, Rob grabbed this player by the back of his neck, walked him out of the penalty box and down the hall to the dressing room. He didn’t ask the referees, he didn’t wait for anyone, he just walked him down the hall and put him in the dressing room.
He came back to check on me. I was crying at this point in time. It was just such a disgusting feeling. I felt like I needed a shower. I felt like I’d been violated in a sense. I just felt… unclean. People say that I completely overreacted when it happened, but I really don’t think that I did. Until you’ve been spit at, in the face, you really can’t understand just how disgusting it feels. And by a stranger… someone you don’t know. It’s just… it really does leave you with this sense of feeling like you want to crawl out of your skin.
Rob’s a cop. He’d just watched this entire thing unfold. He got on his phone and he called some cops, who were on duty, to come on down and help this get sorted out. He made a statement, he vouched about what happened on the ice, and then about what happened to me when I got spat on. Because the police were there, I had to make a statement about getting spit on.
The police were waiting for this player when he came out of the dressing room. Let me tell you, it wasn’t a good sight. So Rob stayed back next to me, and the two police officers that came waited for this player to walk out of the dressing room to inform him they’d been told of what happened. This player got angry again, screaming down the hall at Rob and myself ‘You called the fucking cops on me, you pieces of shit!’
At this point the player proceeded to walk past the cops saying that everything they were told was a lie and that they were wasting their time and should go back to the donut shop. (Classy, I know)
When the two on-duty police officers pointed out that they had statements from an off-duty police officer that he witnessed the player spit on someone and that’s a form of assault, the player got angry.
‘You’re a fucking pig?’ He yelled in our direction. Then he tried to run at us again. The two on-duty police officers held him back. Like, this player has a serious anger issue. So, the police officers were holding him back and he hit one of the police officers in the face, which is a form of assault against a police officer.
So, they handcuffed him and took him off to the station.
It took three months following, but this player was actually charged with three counts of assault.
For using his equipment to inflict harm upon one of the players on the ice.
For spitting on me.
For hitting a police officer in the face.
The initial count of assault ended up being thrown out because, reviewing the video of the game, they could not prove intent to harm based on what the player had done. The crown prosecutor argued that he could have accidentally tried to use his skate blade to cut the other player’s neck. Which… was complete and utter bullshit, but whatever, I don’t control the justice system.
He was charged with assault for spitting on me and he was charged with assault for hitting the police officer when they were trying to hold him back from running at Rob and I after he learned that Rob was a police officer.
Nothing ended up going to trial. He admitted guilt. I think he realized he had no choice but to admit guilt because he knew that he spit on someone in front of the chief of police and proceed to hit a police officer in front of two other police officers and a crowd of people.
He was given a fine and probation and forced to take anger management classes.
In a weird twist of events, though the player pleaded guilty to two charges of assault, the league actually never punished him. The league said that we could not prove that the player intended to injure the other player his skate blade and that there was no video footage of me being spit on, so it could have been any one of the six people around at that moment who decided to spit on me.
The league took zero ownership of the incident that involved the police officer being hit because they said they cannot control the actions of said players once they leave the ice, and therefore he cannot be held accountable by the league for something that could’ve very well happened on a sidewalk anywhere in the city on any day of the week.
Rob kept working games after that.
I think it was good for him. He loves hockey and he has a commanding enough presence that, when players pull bullshit like what happened that night, he played an integral role in calming down situations.
I didn’t keep working games.
I wrote an angry letter to the league explaining that I went home wearing someone else’s clothing that evening because I was so disgusted and felt so unclean I couldn’t bear to wear my jacket and sweatshirt. I actually threw away that jacket and sweatshirt. I remember crying my eyes out in the arena bathroom trying to scrub my skin, to try and make myself feel clean. It wasn’t like a small spit wad. It was like… a mouth full of disgusting spit that hit my face and ran down my face onto my neck and my clothing because there was so much of it.
I told the league they shouldn’t expect people to be there if they cannot protect the people who are there. I told the league that if they don’t take hard stances on behaviour like that, they’re as culpable for the behaviour as the person who commits it. Yeah, behaviour might be learned, but that doesn’t mean it has to be accepted.
The league basically black-listed me. Which was fine. I wasn’t going back there again.
As for what happened to the player… in late 2018 he was arrested for pushing his pregnant girlfriend down a flight of stairs.
In 2019 he was arrested again for kidnapping his child causing a nation-wide amber alert to go out and ended up ‘on the run’ for just 48 hours before they police caught up with him.
Currently he’s serving a two year jail sentence. After he was arrested for kidnapping his baby, his girlfriend came forward with allegations of continued physical assault throughout the relationship that included statements like her saying she was punched so hard she actually lost two of her teeth.
In 2019 when he went to jail the league, who had allowed him to play all throughout his troubles with the law (spitting, hitting a police officer, pushing his girlfriend down the stairs), finally made a public statement about him.
It was your standard run of the mill PR Bullshit.
‘We’re so shocked to learn of the actions of [player’s name]. We’re sending our complete support to [his ex-girlfriend] and [his child] during this troubling time and we want everyone to know that we do not condone these actions, or domestic violence of any kind.’
Now, I’m not saying this night set off a chain reaction of events in his life that led to him pushing his pregnant girlfriend down the stairs and subsequently kidnapping his baby. He clearly has anger issues and has clearly had them for a lot longer than I’ve ever bared witness to. That being said, an arena full of people watched him take his skate off of his foot and use the blade to physically try and slice someone’s neck. The chief of police watched him spit directly into my face as a form of trying to intimidate me, and two police officers had to physically hold him back, one of which ended up getting punched in the process.
If a league isn’t willing to take a stance on that behaviour, why do they get to play the ‘we had no idea it was this bad’ after this player’s behaviour makes national news.
They knew what he was like. They made excuses for it. They continued to pay him and cover his actions, that continued to the point where a pregnant woman was pushed down a flight of stairs and a baby was kidnapped.
You know that saying ‘birds of a feather flock together’? I kind of feel like this applies to people. If you’re covering up someone’s shiteous actions for years, quite literally until it makes national news and you just can’t anymore, are you not culpable? I mean, you might not have committed the actions yourself but you knew what was happening you saw hard evidence as to what was happening and heard what was going on behind the scenes… hell WE ALL HEARD. Rather than giving the player ramifications for his actions, they covered them. They swept them under the rug. They kept paying him and making him feel as though his behaviour was okay.
Quite frankly I think he got off easy only getting two years. I really hope that his ex-girlfriend has taken their child and started over somewhere new. I hope she’s not waiting for him to get out. People like that… they need more help than any one person can provide. People like that, they will likely continue to be a part of ‘the system’ for the rest of their life. People like that never seem to think they have a problem.
Anyways, that’s the story of the time someone spit in my face.
People say I overreacted. I really don’t think I did. Some people think being spit on is not a big deal, I personally think it’s one of the most disrespectful and degrading things you can do to a person. Also, it’s disgusting. It is. It makes you feel unclean. It makes you feel gross and it makes you feel less than human.
There’s a local car dealership that’s been giving me the gears for over a month now. I wanted a new(to me) car, I can afford the new(to me) car, I applied to purchase the new(to me) car.
I applied on June 27.
This dealer, something about him just made my spidey senses tingle. I was approved for an auto loan so I waited patiently. I was told that the car was mine. I was told that it would be delivered in a matter of days. I was told A LOT of things. And this man, always had an excuse as to why today wasn’t the day and tomorrow wouldn’t be either.
I asked for the Carfax. He wouldn’t provide it to me. I asked for pictures. He wouldn’t provide them to me. I asked for warranty information. He couldn’t provide it to me.
He was… I’m not too sure what he was doing. I can speculate, but I can’t speak for certain about why he kept giving me the run around.
Fed up with waiting, I decided to write him a very vexing email on my lunch break Monday. I will say, there’s a reason why I work in Marketing/PR. When I really stop to think about my words and piece them together carefully, they’re bulletproof. When you piss me off, I’m definitely not going to yell and scream. I’m going to be frank, to the point and I’m going to remind you just how low of a tolerance I have for idiocy and lack of transparency.
Anyways… I guess I scared him?
He waited all fucking day to write me back. And when he did write me back, he offered to have a driver come and pick me up so that I could come down to his dealership to ‘talk it through’.
Because I needed to be ‘handled’. Heaven forbid a woman stand up for herself.
I kindly told him that unless there was a vehicle there, ready for me to drive off in, there was no point in me coming down to his dealership because speaking to him would be a waste of time, like it had seemingly been for the last month.
I think that made him mad.
He uhhh, well he referred to me as one of ‘those women’. He said ‘I’d be nothing but trouble’. He said ‘there’s no pleasing women like that’.
Dang. I’m happy to be one of those women. Because if standing up for myself makes me one of those women, I will choose to be one of those women each and every time.
Furthermore, if I (yes, little ole’ me) possess the ability to make the earth quake beneath his feet with a single email… if I have the ability to make him that scared with a single message, then I’m pretty damn proud. I didn’t call him names. I didn’t say a single mean thing in the email. I spoke the truth. And clearly from his reaction to my email, his customers really don’t do that often. So yeah, I am proud to have put him in his place.
Do I think it’ll stop him from pulling this bullshit on other customers? No. People like that really don’t change in life. But, I do take great pride in how much discomfort I was able to provide him. And, I’m going to be even happier to purchase my car from elsewhere now. Elsewhere that’ll treat ‘those women’ as valuable customers. Elsewhere that’ll value my time. Elsewhere that’ll give me a better deal.
Until then, well… it’s a good thing that my office is working from home for the time being.
I went for a tour of my office on Thursday. I’d been putting it off for a while due to the fact that several of my coworkers and at least two of the building’s security guards tested positive for COVID. But, I was assured that professional cleaning and disinfecting was done and so I made arrangements with my boss to have a socially distant tour.
First stop on the tour? My office. That’s right, I have my own office.
It’s big. Real big. And it’s all mine. There’s a wrap-around desk, a wardrobe, cupboard storage and a table/seating area. There’s also a giant west-facing window with a view of the city skyline. Given that we’re on a high floor, I reckon the sunsets will be pretty spectacular as we head into fall and our staff actually goes back to working in the office.
It was a very surreal moment for me. I’ve never had an office before. In the decade I’ve been working, I’ve been had board-room tables, a reception desk, a desk-sized cubicle in the middle of the lobby. Never an office. Offices were always reserved for the men. And now, I have an office.I have four walls. A door. A cork board and a white board! It’s the small things but they mean so much. I wanted to cry when I sat down at my desk and spun around in my chair. I also wanted to take a bunch of pictures of every square inch of the office. Given that my boss was watching me, though, I chose to not do either.
The entire office is quite a maze. Lots of hallways, a maze of offices, a classroom for when we host professional development workshops (when there isn’t a global pandemic). There’s even a games room! A room with a pinball game and a Foosball table and a few other arcade games. The building even has a private gym for tenants… not that it’s open right now. But, it’s still a cool perk.
As I was leaving I told my boss that I was excited to get into my new office in September (COVID Permitting) and do a lot of great work in there. I said that I’d never had an office before and that I’d never worked in an office with this many amenities or luxuries before.
They smiled and said ‘Welcome to corporate, kid’.
It was a cool day for me. And, I guess I have a lot to look forward to (COVID permitting). I might like this corporate world after all…
Last year I made a post about the best things that never happened to me. Throughout the entire post I shared some stories of my life centered around the premise that perhaps the best things in our lives are those that never actually happen to us, or for us.
The stories that I shared had finished with 2018, and at the point of writing, I genuinely hadn’t had an experience that led me to believe there was anything to share with respect to 2019.
Fast forward to today.
Today, I got an intriguing email to my work inbox. Being a relatively new employee, my inbox has been rather quiet the past few weeks, mainly serving as a means for coworkers to share files with me. Today, the email I received was from someone that I’ve met before. It was from someone that I interviewed with in 2019.
In May 2019 I had a job interview with a tech company that I was really excited about. This company was ‘on their way up’ in the business world. It was new and exciting software that was unlike anything else on the market and they were poised to make an integral mark in the industry because of investments from Silicon Valley.
I made it to the final round of interviews and was one of the last two candidates being considered. Nevertheless, I was devastated when I didn’t get the job. I was so excited for the opportunity and I genuinely thought that the job was mine. It took me months to get over the fact that I didn’t get that job. I really felt like I was to blame for the missed opportunity at really stepping up my career.
The email that I got today was from the woman who interviewed me, and inevitably, did not select me to fulfill that role.
She’s looking for a job and she wanted to know if I was hiring.
A year later, someone who didn’t select me for a job was now asking me for a job. Does she know that I am relatively new to the company? Does she remember that I was the candidate she rejected to do my very role at her company last year?
I sent her an email back, reintroduced myself as the individual who interviewed with her last year and asked her what was going on, why she was looking for a new job. She seemed to have it made at the company she was with, so I just… wanted to open a conversation and see what she had to say.
‘The company went under in December 2019.” She said. Of course she went on to explain exactly what happened and she let me know that she was looking for work in January and February and then the pandemic hit and she hasn’t been able to find work since.
She actually went on to mention that she applied for the position that I now have. (Which I did not ask her, it was information she volunteered)
It was a ‘holy shit’ kind of a moment. I feel bad for her for being in a position of being unemployed. I know the feeling all too well and I don’t wish it on anyone. But also running through my head was ‘Had I been selected for that job, I literally would have worked for six months and then had to start back at square one’. Then my mind went to ‘holy shit, the woman who thought I wasn’t good enough to have this job at her company now wants me to keep her application in mind for being my assistant’.
There’s so much to unfold there. The biggest thing that I can’t seem to get past though is… had I gotten that job, I would have worked for six months and been right back to square one.
Did I dodge a metaphorical bullet, or did I dodge a metaphorical bullet?
As hard as my unemployment tenure was, and as much as I whined and complained to my friends, family and this blog, I’ve always maintained the belief that the universe guides us. And the universe clearly had better plans for me than a tech company that was soon to go belly-up.
I feel sorry for this woman. I really do. I wish I could say ‘sure I’ll keep your resume’ and give her hope. But, truthfully, I can’t give her any hope. My bosses won’t be hiring any more this year. I befriended her on LinkedIn and told her that if I hear of any similar positions that I’d pass along her name/contact information. I wish I could do more for her but dang, 2020 has been a hot mess and there’s really not much more I can do now.
Execept… I can savour the role that I have so much more today than I did yesterday. Does that make me a bad person? Her email just made me so much more thankful of the role I’m in now. I mean I’ve been appreciative of this position since they day they said ‘Will you accept our offer?’ But, today… it just seems so much sweeter…. like so much more of a win, finding a role in the industry in the middle of a pandemic.
2020 man… such a crazy year. The universe always has a plan.
Disclaimer: This is bare-bones explanation of this story. Honestly, there could probably be a novel written about all of the skeletons in this family’s closet, but the most important pieces are here. For the purpose of this story, I have not shared the name of the child which I speak. He is no longer legally their child and thus, being a minor, I did not want to post the child’s name on this blog.
I’ve long since had issues with ‘family vloggers’ and people who use their children to make them money on YouTube. It’s one thing to call yourself an influencer and use YouTube to broadcast every aspect of your own life, but it’s a completely separate thing to do that to your child.
A child doesn’t get a say in the matter. A child doesn’t have the frame of reference to understand the ramifications of a digital footprint when they’re eight, for example. Children also (largely) aren’t paid for the work they’re doing to make their parents wealthy via YouTube. Because, if we’re being completely honest, these parents, without the adorable kids doing funny things, would be rather boring and no one would tune in. Parents know their children are click-bait to the masses and they take advantage of that, subsequently not giving their children a dime in the process.
Insert the Stauffer Family.
Myka and James Stauffer have come under fire recently for FINALLY acknowledging to the world that they have ‘unadopted’ their adopted special needs son from China. The phrase they used was ‘rehoming’. But let’s be real here, this isn’t a pet. This is a living, breathing human child who has now been abandoned again. Yeah, the term abandoned is a much better term for it.
It’s estimated that dissolution of adoption happens in roughly 10% of adoptive cases in the United States (Source: Children’s Welfare Information Gateway) So, an adoption not working out is not a new concept. Why then, have the Stauffer’s made international headlines?
After being relatively anonymous in the YouTube spectrum for nearly a decade, The Stauffer’s adopted a special needs child from China and brought him to the United States in 2017. They proceeded to film every aspect of their lives with new adopted son and upload videos to YouTube for profit ever since. These videos of their adoptive child have made them rich. Rich, rich, rich, rich, rich. They skyrocketed from 4,000 subscribers to millions of subscribers amassed from five different YouTube channels. They found a ‘niche’ that people couldn’t help but tune in for, and they exploited it. That niche being a little orphan boy with a beautiful smile and rambunctious personality. People genuinely fell in love with their son and they knew that… and they took advantage of that.
At best, what you could call this is child exploitation. At worst, this story really borderlines on child trafficking, if we’re being totally honest. They built a wealthy empire upon the likes of this child for three years and then, when they decided he was no longer profitable, they put him into foster care.
Backtracking a little bit here, Myka has been trying to become famous through YouTube for more than a decade. She tried fitting into the ‘hot girl with the amazing diet tips’ niche and that didn’t work. She tried fitting into the ‘I’m going to teach you how to cook’ niche and that didn’t take either. She also had her go at the ‘Single Mom, doing it on my own’ niche, but quickly pivoted when she met and married her now husband in a rather swift time frame.
After marrying her husband and quickly having her second child, Myka and James began documenting every step of their lives and their children’s lives on Youtube in 2013. They lead a very modest life, went on to have a third child and documented every single step of it on YouTube, amassing only 4,000 subscribers between 2013 and late 2016.
In late 2016, Myka started an adoption series on her YouTube channel. She had decided that she wanted to adopt and that she wanted to adopt right away. Apparently god had called her to adopt and she needed another child in her life immediately.
Because she had no issues with fertility, three young children and she and her husband were unwilling to adopt an older child, they sought to adopt from overseas. She is on video stating that she specifically chose China as the country to adopt a child from because it would allow her to adopt a child the fastest.
Prior to even adopting her son, she made a 13 part series all about him, how she literally picked him from a catalogue and how he was now her son who she’d ‘birthed in her heart’. It was all very sweet, very hertfelt, very saviouristic.
She took the thirteen part series to explain that the child that her and her husband wished to adopt was one with special needs. He was living in an Orphanage in China, was nearly two years old and (they were told) he had a brain tumor.
Myka also took the thirteen part series to explain that she had this child’s medical records reviewed by doctors in the United States and that the doctors here had warned her about adopting him because his prognosis was quite severe and could cause for around the clock care.
Myka, again on video, said ‘I used to be a nurse before becoming a stay at home mom, so whatever it is, we can handle it’.
Myka and James subsequently used a GoFundMe campaign to raise the funds to adopt their son from China. Though they did not need the money for the adoption, they were happy to essentially ‘crowdfund’ to pay for the process because… why not? The GoFundMe actually garnered the family a lot of attention and the couple were touted as incredible saviours for rescuing this boy from life in a Chinese orphanage.
While the adoption process was still going through, they were already showing photos and video footage of their to-be son for the world to see. And, when they brought him home, their YouTube channel skyrocketed.
Their ‘Gotcha Day’ video they uploaded of the day they picked their son up and he legally became theirs garnered more than 5,000,000 views and was monetized up the whazoo.
And, after they brought him home, they filmed his every move. His every struggle with adopting to a new life in the USA, his trauma from being torn from his home country, his adapting to a new family he didn’t know, they put it all out there. They did it because it got them attention, it got them views and it grew the balance of their bank account.
Keep in mind here, Myka had three biological children and this adopted child from China was responsible for the majority of the content on her YouTube channel. She wrote articles for Bump Magazine, was featured in People Magazine and got a lot of national attention because she was this incredible mom who rescued this boy from China, knowing he had a brain tumor, to give him a better life.
Along the way, Myka and James learned that it wasn’t a brain tumor their son was suffering from. Rather, once reaching the United States, he was diagnosed with Autism. Myka quickly took the opportunity to become the ‘autism mom’ and ‘autism advocate for youtube’ despite the fact that she clearly knew nothing about autism.
People started to notice a change in this family. While everyone were tuning in to see this adorable little boy, the family took to exploiting him for each diagnosis he was given, for every struggle that he had. At one point he was seen on one of their YouTube videos with his thumbs duct taped. Myka later explained in a comment that she did that because they were annoyed that he would not stop sucking his thumb. The channel became more about this little boy and less about the family.
Don’t get me wrong, if you look at her YouTube channel, she did upload other content from time to time… including ‘What I eat in a day to stay skinny’ and ‘Cleaning the whole house because it’s a disaster’, but none of those videos ever garnered the views that her adopted son was getting. So, she continued exploiting him.
Adoption updates. Autism updates. [Son’s Name] first therapy session. Celebrating Chinese New Year for [Sons’s Name]. All of these videos were centered around him. Why? Because people tuned into her channel to see him. They wanted to see him grow, flourish and become his own person. They wanted the best for him. The views turned into big bucks for this family.
Between 2017 and 2020, the Stauffer’s also proclaimed they were going to adopt another child from China because they loved their son so much and wanted to rescue another boy. Also during this time, they went on to have another biological child, meaning that they had four biological children and one adopted child.
Between 2017 to 2020, Myka’s channel grew from 4,000 subscribers to more than 700,000 subscribers. The family vlog channel grew to 350,000 subscribers and her husband’s YouTube channel grew to nearly a million YouTube subscribers. They bought a 6,4000 square foot million dollar hom and multiple $90,000 SUVs, took vacations to California and Flordia, Myrtle Beach, London and more… staying in swanky hotels along the way. They were ‘living the life’ all because they were the saviours of this adorable little boy.
It’s worth noting here that after seeing doctors in the United States, their son was diagnosed as being non-verbal autistic. So he largely did not speak. That didn’t stop the family from click-baiting multiple videos with titles like [Son’s Name] Finally Speaks, we’re so happy! and so on and so forth.
They knew what was making their money, so they kept it up for clicks.
All of the sudden in January 2020, this little boy seemingly disappeared. For a woman who’d been exploiting his every move, every tantrum, every struggle, every doctor’s appointment, every piece to his life since 2017, it was odd… to say the least.
Where did he go?
People asked for months.
People asked and comments were deleted.
People emailed and were hit with responses from the Stauffer’s lawyers.
People commented on their YouTube channel and they got blocked.
Where was their son?
The couple went on a luxury several week long vacation in February to Indonesia and boasted on social media about staying in a room that cost $9,000 a night.
But where was their little boy?
All of their biological children were still appearing in videos, but their adopted son was… gone?
No one knew. Every time someone kept asking, they would get blocked.
Screenshots started to circulate of the Stauffer’s complaining about their adopted son on adoption forums. (Probably wasn’t the wisest thing for them to use their real names to complain about their adopted son given the YouTube fame they’d skyrocketed into)
Footed started to circulate of Myka being really sinister towards their adopted son and people who were sharing them were getting letters/dms and emails from the Stauffer’s lawyers.
Where was this little boy?
Well, his birthday is June 1. And, as the majority of their following really started to realize he was missing and had been for a long time, getting closer to his birthday the questions started ramping up. They were getting so frequent that the couple couldn’t possibly delete/block everyone fast enough.
On May 26 the Stauffer’s uploaded a video to Myka’s channel explaining that they had ‘rehomed’ their adopted son. They fake cried throughout the video, had disingenuous jump-cuts and proclaimed that they couldn’t tell anyone they abandoned their son because of his privacy. They also proclaimed that they were lied to by the adoption agency and the Chinese government about the extent of their son’s special needs and that numerous doctors had told them to put their son up for adoption.
The whole video was incredibly contrived. Nothing about it was genuine.
Let’s keep in mind here that ‘god called on her’ to adopt a child with special needs. Let’s also remember that doctors warned her about the severity of this boy’s special needs and she is on video stating that it ‘went in one ear and out the other’ because she was a nurse and she could handle it.
Let’s also keep in mind here that they were on video proclaiming that they couldn’t afford the cost of his therapy, whilst also bragging on Instagram about staying in a $9,000 a night hotel room in Indonesia and living in a multi-million dollar home wearing a $10,000 watch on her hand…
Everything about this story just disheartens and disappoints me to my core.
Honestly, people struggle for years to try and adopt. They have to go through home studies and family vetting, have every aspect of their lives combed through to ensure they’re a safe fit and a good family to care for the child they’re adopting. And rightfully so. But there are so many people who try so hard to adopt a child and hit continuous roadblocks. Somehow, this couple, with a criminal past, managed to jump through all of the hoops of an international adoption within a matter of a few months to bring home a little boy from China.
The crowdfunded his adoption, exploited his life every step of the way and, when he was no longer profitable to them, they ‘rehomed’ him.
Imagine what it would feel like, psychologically speaking, to be one of the other four siblings in that home who this year just watched their parents give away one of their children. They’re all under the age of ten, and probably so young that they could be wondering if they screw up next, will their mom and did abandon them…
Knowing that the announcement of their ‘rehoming’ their son was going to get them a lot of views, they selected to have the video monetized on YouTube. It was quickly demonetized, I’m not sure if that was a YouTube choice or if someone reported their video as content that should not be monetized. It’s just telling of the parents that, after abandoning their son, they’re still choosing to profit from his story.
Myka Stauffer has also been filing copyright claims against people who’ve been using her video announcing the ‘rehoming’ of their son, as a measure to further profit from the story from content creators/people who are telling her story in a light that she might not like.
The adoption community is worried about whether or not China will penalize future adoptive parents who genuinely want to adopt because of the actions of the Stauffers.
The autism community is angry after all of her videos are being re-watched and scrutinized for her lack of empathy, acceptance of her child’s autism and willingness to help, care for or treat his needs
The general public (30,0000+) who enjoys watching family YouTube videos signed a ‘Change.Org’ petition to have her remove all images and videos of this little boy, since he is no longer legally their child and she has been still profiting off of videos and Instagram ads about him since abandoning him.
Myka has, since the video where she says she ‘rehomed’ her son, gone on to proclaim that the little boy, who is now five (was four at the time), expressed to them that he no longer wished to be a part of their family. She says that they unadopted him as per his wishes. When people called bullshit for that comment, she deleted it and had her lawyers send a statement regarding the child to major news outlets stating that the couple would no longer be speaking of this child.
Because when a non-verbal, autistic child says ‘Mommy I don’t like you I want a new mommy’ the obvious choice to make is to put your child up for adoption.
From my perspective, I can’t understand how a couple specifically seek out to adopt a child with special needs and then proclaim to millions of people that they unadopted your child because he had special needs. Those old videos still exist… the ones where they proclaim they specifically wanted a child with special needs. The videos where they proclaimed any and all special needs that could arise were fine with them because they could give a little boy a better life. With the sheer vastness of wealth they accrued in recent years, they could easily afford any and all treatments and therapy that would/could help the boy. (For reference, they’re on video bragging about making $47,000 for one YouTube video… so do the math there)
This whole situation just saddens me.
This little boy has now been abandoned three times in his short life. I can’t imagine the horror that must feel like. While he might just be better off without the Stauffers, I can’t help but feel sad because they did him so wrong.
I wanted to link to a few articles about this story, but the majority of articles use this little boys name and photos in their articles. If you want to read more about this story and this couple and why they’ve come under fire, please google ‘Myka and James Stauffer’.
They story hasn’t just made it all over national headlines in the USA, but it’s also made it to Chinese News Outlets, Australian news outlets, The Netherlands news outlets and more.
Honestly, after a decade of lying to the internet, there’s a pretty huge digital footprint from this family. One quick google search and you’ll start to realize that not everything is adding up about what they say on the matter.