Married and Divorced

This is where I live now, but seven years ago. It’s a little messy.

It all went by so fast. We were married in 1985 and divorced in 1991. Though it seemed like such a waste, I do have some good memories. One of the best memories were the times we rented a cabin for a few days and did some fishing. I also enjoyed dinner times when my wife would cook a big meal. She loved cooking and there was always plenty left. And then I remember the father-daughter dance. Justina, my daughter loved it. To tell you the truth, most of the marriage years were happy years—at least for me. It was those last years that kind of went downhill.

Anyway, as I said previously, out of the blue she asked me to leave. She suggested that I go live with my mom, but I couldn’t do that. I was too old for that. So, I looked for an apartment, and God supplied my needs almost immediately. It was a very nice two-bedroom unit, and right away I had plans to get some roomers to help with the rent—and I got three roommates. I put two in one room and one with me. Funny, I lived there for about three or four years, but I have no memory of the room mates, just that they were there helping me with the rent.  I guess that tells you something about who I am. I’ll leave it at that.

I don’t remember exactly what happened, only that I had to move. I quickly found another place with Gloria. She was a very nice older lady who was renting out a room, and I was welcome to use her kitchen and stove and fridge. Nice. I think I stayed there with Gloria for about four years and then she kicked me out for another guy; I think it was someone she knew. I didn’t ask any questions; I just moved.

I quickly found another two-bedroom apartment (pictured). I also found a roommate—James. He stayed with me for quite a while—about 7 or 8 years. I have many memories of James. He liked to sit and play his guitar. He also was quite a collector of Volkswagen model cars. Oh, he had boxes and boxes of model cars in his bedroom. He had hardly any room to walk around. He also would buy and sell and trade things at garage sales and flea markets. That was kind of his side business. I could tell it was fun for him, and I liked talking to him about all that stuff. Eventually, I talked him into moving somewhere else, because of some issues he had, and well, I just thought it was for the best. I guess he understood, because we are still friends.

Well, I am still living in that apartment. I have been there for 20 years now. I use the extra room for an office. Though I kind of miss having roommates, I like the freedom and the solitude. I don’t mind living alone at all. And I still work and get out and see people.

One of the great disappointments about the divorce is that I only got to see my kids once a week for a couple hours. I would usually pick them up and we would go out to eat at a family restaurant; and then we would spend the rest of the time at a park. They enjoyed running around, but I didn’t so much. They always wanted to play “monster.” That is where I would be the monster and would chase after them. They didn’t realize that I had been working all day and was tired. Oh well. It was worth it.

My Painting Business: Places I’ve Lived, Writing, Dating

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.