During the first few years of my painting business, from 1981 to 1985, I lived in two different places. The first was in an apartment in south Minneapolis. The thing I remember about that place was that I got some of the cost of my rent taken off for doing some badly needed painting in a few apartments. I remember that I never felt pressured to finish a job—since I had an understanding with the landlord that I could only work a couple hours a week, because I was already working my painting business. I don’t know why I got such a kick out of it and felt so empowered to just walk away from a job half-way finished and to tell the people, “I’ll be back next Wednesday to finish up.” I would never do that today. But, part of me wishes that I could be more carefree as I was then, and not worry about finishing a job when the client wants it to be done. At the time of this writing I am semi-retired and I’m trying to be more like that—more carefree. I do try not to work such long hours and maybe take a few days off.
After a couple years I moved to a different apartment in northeast Minneapolis, What I remember most about that place is that it was located right across from Zurbey’s bar, and quite often they would play loud polka music all night long; and they would always leave the front door wide open so the whole neighborhood could hear it. It was obnoxious, and it would keep me up when I was trying to sleep.
Another thing I remember about living there is that it was when I decided that I would get serious about writing. So, I began setting aside at least an hour a day just to write—a book. Yes, I had a topic and a book title—but I can’t remember what it was. Sadly, after a few years I got frustrated with it and tore the whole thing up. Looking back on it now, I know I did the right thing. If you are gong to write a book it really should be inspired by God, not just something you think could sell or make you some money—which was the case for that attempt. In a few years down the road, in 1993, I was inspired to write a book, and I never was frustrated with it. I’ll write more about that in a future blog.
From 1981 to 1985 was also the period when I was dating. Most people, I suppose, start dating quite early, from age 16 and continue until they are married. Not me. In high school there was a couple girls I liked, but I didn’t date them. Then after high school I went right into the Marines—no dating there. Then I was in the Navigators from 1971 to 1975, and they are notorious for not dating. In fact, they would keep the men’s ministry entirely separate from the women’s ministry. I hardly ever saw a girl. Then I went to Northwestern college and Western Seminary, and I was so dedicated to my studies that I hardly ever looked up from my books. So, after Western Seminary, in 1981, is the first real chance I had to start dating. I mean, I had nothing else to think about except my work—painting, and I didn’t really have to think about that too much.
I guess you could say, I was getting a late start at dating. I was already 30 years old. Good grief! Oh well. Better late than never. I really didn’t date a lot. There were actually only three girls that I can think of that I dated off and on. Elise was the main one. I was really crazy about her. Well, actually, she drove me crazy—because she couldn’t commit to me. Finally, I decided to break it off with her. I couldn’t handle it any more. Then in 1985 I met the girl I ended up marrying. I’ll talk more about that later.