I can't tell you how many times over the past year I have sat down to write a blog post, then walked away from the computer. The things I wanted to write about all seemed sad or whiney or complaint-riddled, and I know absolutely everyone is having a hard time during this pandemic. Why add to the misery? Gordon and I have been fortunate; although sadly G lost his cousin to Covid last March, touch wood we have both remained healthy, and my mother-in-law just received her second vaccine, which allows us to worry a bit less about her. We are financially solvent, and my barn helper Joseanne has been an absolutely godsend. She makes me smile every day. Things overall are going well, and we are managing to keep our heads up.
But the past 14 months have been hard here at the farm. Many animals, foster and otherwise, have passed to Rainbow Bridge, and worst of all, in December we had to euthanize our beloved pony Esme. Then, fifteen days later, I woke up to find my heart kitty Naomi dead on our bathroom floor. (Still don't know why, but she had had some heart issues earlier in life and I think at age 12, her heart just gave out.) Every time I thought to write about these things, it was just too painful, and I walked away. It has all been too much.
To top it all off, just before the start of the pandemic, we found out that the person that had been working here for six years, my right-hand person, someone I thought cared about our animals, someone whose partner (my former hairdresser and someone I considered a friend!) had recommended to work here (knowing full well the truth about him)... well, that person turned out to be a thief, a fraudster, and a lying, lazy cheat. I shall call that person Bloodsucker.
I now have recurring nightmares about Bloodsucker, including a very bad one last night. I think that's what prompted me to write this today. I need to get it out ad I don't care anymore who knows about it. I need catharsis. Not a lot of people know what happened to us here. I really haven't wanted to spread it around. I know how foolish it makes us look to have allowed someone like Bloodsucker into our lives. We should both have known better. Gordon is a lawyer, for God's sake. He knows full well what criminals are like. I realize these manipulators know how to target their victims, and I get that, but I have been through enough in life that I usually am able to see through narcissists and sociopaths. Not this time.
I am now convinced I had a sociopath working alongside me for six years, which is absolutely horrifying. It makes me want to vomit. In fact, I have vomited over it. This person not only stole (and damaged) many, many things from the farm (including the spotting scope and tripod Gordon gave me for my 50th birthday, now gone forever), he routinely claimed hours he hadn't worked. He went to the local hardware store where we had given him signing authority to buy construction materials (AFTER he had worked her for a couple of years) and bought himself many goodies, including a circular saw, a parka, winter overalls, and perhaps most offensive, $2.50 worth of SNACKS on a Friday night. Going over a couple of years worth of receipts, we realized he had been going there two to three times a day, wasting time on our dime. Why buy a pack of screws when you can buy three screws on three separate trips and get paid for doing so? How could we have been so naïve? In my defence, that kind of gross dishonesty is so out of my mindset, it never even occurred to me it could be happening in my own proverbial backyard.
Of course, this is in part our fault for trusting too much and not insisting on matching receipts to invoices, which is what we did in the early days. But that's how sociopaths work. Bloodsucker gained our trust over several years, then completely f*cked us over. It was so awful to discover all this. Neither of us can believe we were so stupid, and of course looking back, we realize how many times we ignored gut feelings and warning signs. It has been a hard but important life lesson. I will never trust anyone like that again. I honestly don't want to trust any human being ever again.
Not only that, once we fired Bloodsucker, he presented us with an outrageous, fabricated $6800 bill that he could not back up with hours and dates. We therefore refused to pay it. This bill included a $300 excavator fee for burying our foster cat Kwazii (actually buried with a hand shovel!), and another charge for burying a goat with an excavator that was in fact buried with our own tractor, something I witnessed with my own eyes. But I guess if you are making up an exorbitant fake bill, it can be hard to come up with realistic details. He actually admitted to us that although his last bill included $3000 worth of his hours, he had not worked all those hours. He actually ADMITTED that to Gordon, but still demanded the money!
And keep in mind, we are talking foster and rescue animals here. Bloodsucker basically screwed over a rescue farm for six years, on top of being paid a hourly amount that is so outrageous, I am ashamed to tell people what it was. He has also painted himself as the victim in this situation. Fortunately everything he stole from us came from our own bank account, not the rescue's. Still, I remain ashamed to have misplaced my trust so horrifically.
After he was canned, Bloodsucker started staging sit-ins at Gordon's office, until Gordon finally threw him out. (All this in a pandemic!) Then Bloodsucker's girlfriend came in one day, making demands and threats. She was threatening to smear US! Gordon refused to see her, and she is now also banned from the office. She is a very pathetic woman propping up a truly evil man. I am as betrayed by her as I am by him. These two use people to their advantage, then throw them aside when they are done. And frankly, they aren't even very good at it. Like a lot of unintelligent people, they both think they are a whole lot smarter than they actually are. They don't even know enough to cover their tracks.
The day Bloodsucker came back to the farm to pick up his things after being canned, he was so angry, I ran to hide in the barn with my cat Emerson in my arms. Bloodsucker was so irate, I had flashbacks to my former spouse, and I could not stop shaking and crying. I called Gordon to come home immediately. Unfortunately, while I was hiding in the barn, Bloodsucker and his helper were busy stealing and trashing our things. We found tools (including power tools!) thrown in garbage cans, things broken, things missing. This is when my spotting scope disappeared. Sadly, it took me too long to notice it was gone, because it has been hidden upstairs in our granary under a sheet while renovations were going on (renos supposedly being done by Bloodsucker, when he deigned to work.) Later someone told me it was Bloodsucker's trade mark to trash a place after being let go. Too bad we didn't know that sooner.
It didn't stop there, though. After we let him Bloodsucker go (he was never anything more than an hourly contract worker), his hate campaign stepped up. He began calling my friends to see what I was saying about him (nothing!) He stopped people we knew and demanded to know what we were saying about him (nothing.) He tried to tell "his side of the story" to anyone and everyone, which of course painted him as the poor abused fellow and us as the callous con artists. (He actually called us con artists! Talk about projection!)
He stopped the guy who mows our lawn and started telling him lies about us until our guy said he didn't want to hear it. He sent "anonymous", threatening hate mail to our mailbox. Our beautiful farm sign was mysteriously egged for the first time in 14 years.
When Gordon and I were walking down our road one day last summer with the dogs, Bloodsucker came up behind us in his truck, honking and accelerating and veering over the centre line to startle us. It was not long after this that we went to the police. The OPP have warned Bloodsucker to stay away from us while they investigate our complaint. Now when Gordon occasionally drives by Bloodsucker (small town, hard to avoid), Bloodsucker backs down the road in his truck in an exaggerated and dangerous manner.
Unfortunately Bloodsucker is not one to let things go. He has been harassing his next-door neighbour for years over a fenceline dispute. The neighbour once called the police on him, and Gordon actually went over there at the time to help Bloodsucker deal with the police. That should have been our sign to cut and RUN. I heard so many stories over the years from Bloodsucker himself about people he hated and wanted revenge against. I think part of the reason we kept him on as long as we did was that we were afraid what would happen if we ever stopped requiring his services. Turns out our fears were justified. I know for a fact that Bloodsucker likes to go as close as possible to his neighbour's house and run his chainsaw just to be annoying, because the township ruled against Bloodsucker in the fenceline dispute. That's the level of ridiculousness we are contending with.
We have now spent $3000 on security cameras for the farm, and for the first time in my life, I thought maybe I WOULD like the own a gun for protection. That thought has now passed, in part because I would probably accidentally blow off my own foot if I had a gun.
I'm not sure what hurts more; knowing that I treated this criminal well and trusted him with my precious animals, only to discover he was screwing us over, or the fact that his girlfriend, someone I let cut my hair, someone I considered a friend and ally, saw us as an easy mark and sent Bloodsucker over here to work for us, knowing all about his criminal past and thieving ways. Of course it's only now that Bloodsucker is gone that everyone is coming to me with the stories about him, and her. I'm just in a world of hurt, although I am working hard at moving on. I just want the nightmares to subside. I don't know who I am angrier at: them, for using and abusing us, or me, for being kind to both of them for far too long. I will never be that stupid again.
I do believe in a sort of karma, in that you get tend to get out of life what you put into it. I know these two particular people are not happy. How could anyone like that be truly happy? My hope is that the OPP will at least lay some kind of theft/fraud charges, because Bloodsucker has gotten away with a lot of things in the past, and he is very cocky. He truly thinks he is smarter than everyone else. And no one has ever stepped up to stop him, short of one criminal charge when he was younger.
His evil then came to rest on us.
I am trying to move on from it all, knowing the outcome of the police investigation is pretty much out of my hands. I treasure my animals and get much joy from being with them. I still want to believe there are good people in the world, although those I trust are few and far between. I have been spending time writing poetry and painting and riding my horse. I am doing all I can to make sure I listen to my gut and keep these kinds of people out of my life in the first place. Really, it's all we can do now. Learn and move on. Be with the people who truly matter and have your back, as you have theirs.
On a happier note, I finally have a pet cow. I have wanted one forever, and it was in fact Bloodsucker who refused to accommodate a cow here, because he would not build a stall or fencing for one. That's how bad things got; he ended up dictating to us like he owned the place. It is so much better here now that he is one. It's like a dark presence is gone from the farm.
My cow is a Simmental named Eve who was given to us by Joseanne on Christmas Eve. She was born on November 24th and is simply a pet to be enjoyed here. I just happen to love cows. Eve was not suitable for Jo's uncle's breeding program, so she came to us. She is growing like a weed and is so fun to have around:
And here is my other reason to smile:
This is Hannah. She is about five months old now. I found her in a barn with her eyes crusted over. At one point, we thought she was going to need her left eye removed, but both eyes have recovered sufficiently that she can keep them, and she has vision in both. Like that wasn't bad enough, shortly after we got her, she fell off my desk and broke her rear leg! She has a pin inserted and has healed up great, as have her eyes. All she needs is an eye pressure check every three months to make sure she isn't developing glaucoma.
That cast is gone and she is running all around like a little kitten should!
Her eyes have improved quite a lot since this picture was taken!
Hannah is fearless and she loves the dogs! She makes me laugh and I love her for it.
I hope you are all well and healthy and managing okay through these difficult times. Life will get back to normal eventually, whatever normal is. I try to keep that in mind. It is true that nothing lasts forever.
I wish you well, and if you have read this far, thank you. I will try to get back to regular, happier posts. I have missed writing in my blog!