Fourth Marriage - Sandra and I
1988 - 2001
I met my fourth wife as we were each Single Adult Representatives for different Wards in the Church. We got to know each other a little better at a Halloween party held in West Salem. I went in costume as Dr. Who (as played by Tom Baker). Some people thought I was Harpo Marx, and one person thought I was Kermit the Frog. She was the only one who recognized my character, besides the clerk at the Circle K Market. After getting some lessons at the party, I danced with her. She said if I came to the SA dances, she would dance with me. I did, and she did, quite often.
In mid-December I asked her out on a date and she accepted. We went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner, then to a theater in Keizer to see The Land Before Time, and then to see the Christmas light displays. We got lost and didn't find the place we wanted, and went back to her house to talk on her mother's couch. We talked all night and she made me breakfast before I went home to get some sleep. I proposed to her the following Sunday between meetings at her Ward and mine. Actually, all I got out of my mouth was, "I love you," and she said she wasn't ready yet. She said she wanted to finish school, and go on a mission -- about four more years. I said I would wait.
Within a month she decided it was right that we should get married as soon as possible. I got to set the date, Valentine's Day 1989. As the day approached for us to take the trip to the temple in Seattle, it snowed. Not only that, but the lock on the door to the car froze. We began to think we might not make it.
But two of our good friends drove us there and picked up their own marriage license application on the way (as we found out later). I asked about paying for gas or something, but they said I should sing all the way to Seattle. So I brought along several books of songs. At the Temple, Sandra and I were married for time and sealed for eternity by the power of the priesthood. Our friends, who weren't prepared to go into the temple themselves, had been busy. They presented us with a cake and a bottle of Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Cider with which we all celebrated.
In April, we went to Silver Falls State Park, visited several of the falls, and camped out overnight.
In June, we found out Sandra was pregnant, and soon had an ultrasound picture of our future baby - only an eighth of an inch long. The following January with about a month to go before the baby was due, we found and moved into a two bedroom apartment on 8th Street in West Salem.
Near the end of January, we began our Dale Carnegie course at work on Effective Speaking and Human Relations.
Our daughter, Christina was due on our first anniversary, but waited six extra days. I always thought it was because she was waiting for the snow to melt. We had a false alarm and went to the hospital eight days before her due date. In spite of being late, she was on the small side. Someone had once told my wife she could tell how big the baby would be by looking at her husband. I responded with, "But I haven't always been this big!"
I was present for the birth, in fact I kept a journal on my laptop computer and took still photos (not of the actual birth). It was a girl. Sandra named her Christina Marie Sawyer. Chistina after a friend of hers. I was the first one to change her diaper and to bottle feed her as her mother was resting.
We watched the first Iraq war on television at home. We started Team Management at work.
We bought my brother Jim's '74 Plymouth Duster. In March with Christina only 13 months old, we took her to the coast for the day. On the way home after dark we had car trouble. There was a noise and I pulled the car over. While looking for the trouble, one of the tires exploded. We found our lug wrench did not fit the nuts on the wheel. Seeing a light nearby, we found a house, and someone working in his shop. Charlie Knight helped us get our tire changed even though he broke one of his own wrenches. He said it was guaranteed to be replaced. We found out he blows glass figurines and works on carousel horses. We returned safely home. In April and May, Jim made several repairs to the car.
In June, we returned to the Knight Gallery and bought one of Charlie Knight's glass figurines, a carousel horse, as a souvenir of his friendship. We went on to the D River, had lunch in the car, and fed the gulls and ravens. Then we went down on the beach. We each had to take one of Christina's hands at first because the sand was dry and her feet would sink into the sand. As we got closer to the water, the sand got firmer. We saved the first stone she picked up as a souvenir. I think she would have walked down to the water, but the wind was blowing so hard. She played for a while in the medium dry sand digging and making piles. Then she played in the dryer sand making lines with stones and a stick. She got sand in her eyes and her mouth from tasting the stones and sticks and rubbing her eyes. It doesn't seem to have bothered her much, though. We left there and stopped again at Boiler Bay. We got out and walked around there. We continued to Depoe Bay. We got a good parking spot (on the same block as most of the shops). It is the first time I've ever gotten a good parking spot in Depoe Bay. We looked through all the shops, asking if they had blown glass figures by Charlie Knight. We went through an art gallery just south of the observatory (for whales). There they had a room of paintings called "Living Light Paintings". As the light would darken in the room, the paintings would appear to be going from Daylight scenes to Nighttime scenes. Some of them were really impressive. One looked like a street scene in old Jerusalem. We finally found Charlie's glass figures in "The Gift Horse". They were beautiful! We returned along the east side of Devil's Lake. We wondered about the origin of the name. I honked as we passed Knight Gallery. He was standing outside talking with someone, and we waved as we went by. Somewhere, I didn't make a right turn and ended up on the road to McMinnville; I first noticed something wrong when I saw Mt Hood off to my right. I doubled back to the Amity cutoff and headed east to Amity. Along that road I saw a deer lying by the road, obviously hit by a passing vehicle. We headed south from Amity to Highway 22. Then we headed home to West Salem.
On July 11, 1991, there was a solar eclipse. I was able to view it at work in the calender 2 area as a shaft of light came down through the exhaust fan opening. I used a piece of cardboard with a pinhole in it to project an image of the eclipse onto the floor.
Grandpa Edgar Sawyer died at 3:50 pm on July 12. I phoned his brother Star to let him know. The funeral was on the 16th. Star was there. My brother John gave the eulogy. Afterward, we went to the Keizer Community Church for the family to get together for a meal.
On July 24, I got my first prescription for reading glasses. My eyesight had gotten noticeably fuzzy.
On August 25, we wenr to Corvallis, Oregon for the Regional Conference. We drove west to 99W then turned south through Monmouth to Corvallis. It took us about an hour. We were directed to a parking lot south of the Gill Coliseum. We got out and walked to the Coliseum. We went to the second floor where there were still seats. We sat down. There were many people. We saw several people we knew, but could not recognize people well across the room, it was so big. The regional choir was directed by A. Lawrence Lyon, and several from our ward were in it (we recognized Alan Murray). The first speaker was Elder Robert E. Wells (father of Charlene Wells, a former Miss America). He spoke on keeping the higher commandments, not just the letter of the law. He also said referring to Luke 18:19 that of all who serve Christ "The Lord will make up all their losses in the Resurrection". He encouraged us to pray aloud. He also said that we agreed to accept the trials of this world before we came here. The next speaker was his wife, sister Helen Wells. She spoke about the importance of not being lukewarm. She told an anecdote about Arab bedouins drinking hot drinks to keep up their fluids. Then Sister Ruth Faust spoke on Love. She said love makes the lover beautiful. She told about a man who bought a piece of land and his neighbor told him he had bought a lawsuit because the fence was ten feet onto his property. The man said if the neighbor got someone to move the fence, he would pay half the cost. He said he didn't want ten feet of land to make them enemies. The neighbor never moved the fence. Elder James E. Faust spoke next. We missed most of his talk, being occupied with Christina. Elder Boyd K. Packer spoke about the significance of the Old Testament, citing the events of the Exodus from Egypt and how they are applicable to us. He said that revelation is a feeling. Afterward, we went to the main floor and were able to shake hands with Elder Packer, the apostle. I told him, "This is our daughter Christina". She was not paying any attention to him, so he said, "I can tell she is impressed". We also shook hands with Elder Faust and Elder Wells. Sandra was surprised she did not feel anything special when they shook hands with her. I pointed out that they are just like we are, as are all prophets. We visited with Brother and sister (Tish) Walker in the parking lot. Sandra had known them in Sweet Home. We drove home through Monmouth, Independence, Riverdale Rd, S River Rd, to Adah's, where we visited for a while, having just missed Jacques, Kay, and the girls.
On September 17, 1991, Sandra and Christina came to pick me up at work. Sandra was talking with Jackie, the receptionist, and Christina was fussy, so I stepped out on the porch with her. It was sunny and she was nearly bare-topped, so I began moving over into the shade of the roof, forgetting that the porch did not extend all the way to the walls. I stepped off of the porch while holding Christina and we fell. Christina dropped about 6'. We fell into sawdust and a short pine tree. Jackie saw it happening and Sandra turned and came out and picked up Christina. Christina was crying and wouldn't stop. I could find nothing obviously wrong with her. We took her to the doctor's office and she began playing while waiting for the doctor to look at her. She was fine. So was I. We all went to Paula Stapley's baptism. We rode with the Stapleys.
In October, I began selling Avon (for the second time in my life).
I was laid-off from my job as a Calender Operator in April 1992, after 16 years there. Not knowing if it was permanent, I got an occupation aptitude evaluation at Chemeketa Community College. I learned that the problem at work was not fixable. Back East, they were developing fabrics that oould not be produced on the equipment we have and they were not going to spend the money to upgrade our equipment. I enrolled at Chemeketa in the Computer Support program.
In September, I received my Retirement distribution check ($24,596). We went to the bank and set up a savings account ($12,000), a checking account ($9,167.33), and received cash. We paid off our outstanding debts, bought a 486-DX/33 computer and a 14" monitor for school, and had some repairs done on the car.
In December, I got my first straight-A report card and a certificate from the school for the same.
I started Winter Term at Chemeketa taking 20 credit hours (12 make you a full-time student), but had to drop one programming class after 6 weeks due to trouble I was having in Financial Accounting I. I learned that I am no longer liable for Child Support for Ernie, as he was 18 years old on January 2nd. This was a great relief to us. Christina started spelling everything. She recognizes most of her upper-case letters, and knows that S-T-O-P spells "stop." She counts this way: one, two, three, four, five, six, nine, eight, six, zero; she confuses 7 with 9, and 9 with 6. She works with the computer a lot. She plays games, works puzzles, and generally plays around with what she can do with the mouse and keyboard. She started with the mouse, and she's very good with it. We also got a new sofa. We call it a couch, but the salesman said it was a sofa. Sandra describes it as soft summer colors -- blue, green, pink, purple, and white.
On Thursday, March 25, 1993: I was shaken from my sleep by an earthquake and a loud noise. Sandra and Christina were up too. Christina asked her, "What is it?" and Sandra replied, "An earthquake." We turned on the TV but nothing was reported. Sandra wanted to go back to bed; she suggested the radio. I turned on the radio and sure enough they were talking about it. According to the earthquake monitors at the Tsunami Center in Alaska it happened at 5:36 am and registered at 5.4 on the Richter scale and was centered 30 miles south of Portland [somewhere near Woodburn]. The Dayton bridge on Hwy 18 is reported severed (8" separation) and impassible. Another bridge in McMinnville on Hwy 99W is reported damaged. In Salem, some plaster is reported fallen from the Wallace overpass. A later report said that it was centered 15 mi. SSE of Oregon City [Woodburn] and registered 5.3 [according to the folks in Colorado] on the Richter scale. It was felt as far North as Seattle, as far South as Cottage Grove, as far West as Tillamook, and as far East as Bend. At 6:43 am it was reported that the Lafayette Bridge in McMinnville on Hwy 18 is damaged. The Center Street bridge over I-5 is closed until they can make sure it is not damaged. The Center Street bridge over the Willamette is still open, as is the Marion Street bridge. Aftershocks may be expected for any quake over about 2.6 on the Richter scale according to the Tsunami Center. At 7 am, it was reported that part of the roof of a school in Portland had collapsed and damage to several businesses. There is a fire at a mill in Molalla. Several bridges on Hwy 18 and Hwy 47 are closed. A Mt. Angel monastery reported structural damage. A partial evacuation of the Cannon Beach area due to the possibility of high tides; there is an automatic warning system there. Highway 35 between Parkdale and Mt. Hood is closed due to a mudslide. Mulino has received some aftershocks [It is now reported to be the epicenter]. The Center Street I-5 overpass is OK. The source of the quake was reportedly 30 miles below the surface. A woman in Pratum reports foundation damage and the loss of their chimney. Seven aftershocks have been reported in the first 2 hours in the Molalla-Mulino-Colton area. Molalla High School reports bricks fallen from the walls. Three hours after the quake, it was reported as 5.7 on the Richter scale according to the University of Washington in Seattle; it started at 5:34 am and lasted for 45 seconds. It was centered under Goat Mountain. I called Adah; she was fine. She was awakened by the earthquake shaking her mirror against the wall. She may have a few new cracks in the plaster, but otherwise there was no apparent damage. I finally got hold of Ernie about 6 pm and found out that he had been visiting a friend named Eric in Woodburn and they were awake when they heard a rumble, but had been asleep about an hour and a half when the earthquake hit. There were video tapes all over the floor. The friend's mother had a collection of porcelain masks which were all OK.
In April, we went over to Terri Shaw's (whom I knew from school) place and I worked on setting up her computer for her and Sandra became friends with her.
In June, I graduated from Chemeketa (with a D in Financial Accounting II) and earned my Computer Support certification. Terri Shaw married Monty O'Dell and went to live with him in California.
On July 10th, 1993, We took a trip to the coast. We got up at 7:30 a.m. and got ourselves ready; We had gotten food supplies for the day the night before. I began to take things out to the car. When I stepped out the door with the cooler, I apparently stepped on the edge of a board in front of the door and turned my ankle. I went sprawling on the sidewalk. I was in great pain, figuring I had broken my ankle. But the pain subsided some after a bit and with help I was able to get to my feet. I went into the house and put my foot up with a cold, wet towel around it. I found a single crutch in the closet and we went ahead with our plans -- I figured it was either sit at home in pain or go to the coast in pain. After filling the gas tank about 10 am, we headed West along highway 22. In the mountains, a big, fancy Car caught up to us at the end of a passing lane (I was doing 55 mph -- the legal limit) and after the lane had closed to one lane I saw him in the rearview mirror trying to pass us on the right but he gave up on that. As we started down the other side, the East bound side had a passing lane and the Car shot past us in that lane, illegally. A little farther on, we passed the home and business of a friend and noticed that his sign was not there -- the place looked deserted. We took the East Devil's Lake road for the scenic route once we neared the coast and when we came out on highway 101 we drove south to Gleneden Beach where we had a picnic and walked down to the beach. Even I managed to get my feet wet in the ocean -- a wave caught me by surprise as I was looking for souvenirs (I picked up a mussel shell, a small white stone or piece of shell, and a fair-sized piece of smoothed pink coral). I sat for a while on a driftwood log while I dried my shoes and watched Christina play in the sand. This year she did not fill her mouth and eyes with sand -- I don't know how kids can get away with it. After we climbed back up from the beach -- you can imagine how difficult it was with a sprained ankle, even with a crutch -- we drove south to Boiler Bay where we got out and admired the view of waves crashing against the rocks, Sea Gulls and Ravens feeding from the tourists, and a 180 degree view of the horizon. There were two fishermen fishing from the clifftop -- they had tied themselves with ropes to the fence, just in case. While we were there one of them hauled in a large Perch -- another was already lying on the ground. Christina was fascinated with the fish -- she asked, "What is he doing?" I said, "Waiting to be et." We continued south to Depoe Bay. We stopped in at the Gift Horse where our friend sells some of his blown glass figurines (notably, his carousel horses) and inquired if they knew if anything had happened to him. They had talked to him about a month ago, but had not been able to get hold of him the last time they had tried. We bought a fancy seashell for Christina there. We walked down the sidewalk and checked out another gift store. We bought a T-shirt for Christina that had a variety of fish pictured on the front, and a little toy that you turn over and a colored fluid turns little wheels inside it. At 3:30 in the afternoon we headed home again, north up the coast. We headed east at Lincoln City. Some time later we arrived at our friend's. It didn't appear that anyone was there, though there was a dog chained up, and a van parked at one end of the building. Charlie's daughter appeared at the door and indicated that he was working in his shop. We visited a while. His sign was blown down this spring by one of the big storms that even made it as far as Salem, and since most of his business doesn't come to him by passers by but by his reputation, he hasn't gotten it replaced yet. We continued toward home. At Valley Junction we turned off onto highway 18 looking for Shenk's Campground, where our church has a campout later that month, but didn't find it. We gave up on that and headed east to Amity where we had a picnic supper in the City Park. We finally arrived home about 7 pm, very tired.
On July 22, I left at 10 am to help Steve Entz with his computer. I was stopped by a policeman in Keizer who thought I had a warrant out against me, but discovered his mistake (it was David Edward Sawyer he wanted). I arrived at Steve's with about 5 minutes to spare. I think I was able to help him a lot. He paid me more than I asked for. I stopped at Bi-Mart on the way home and purchased 4 pads for sleeping on for the camp-out. After returning home, we went to Bi-Mart and bought a tent, a bicycle helmet for Christina, and a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) for Christina. Then we went to Lancaster Mall and did laundry: My sleeping bag, A big blanket and three baby blankets. We drove by where Elaine had been staying but her trailer was gone, so we drove to Independence to see if she had arrived safely. After some searching, we found her. We stayed and visited until 8:15 pm. We then drove to Jim & Debi's to show them our new tent and visit. While we visited, Sandra mentioned that only a couple of days ago she found Christina sitting in the bedroom after she woke up. She asked her what she was doing and learned she was saying her morning prayers. Later, when Christina came out to the living room, she announced to Sandra that she had said her prayers. We left there about 9:30 pm and drove back to Salem. We had dinner at Burger King then went home after Christina played on the playground equipment some.
The next day, we took Christina on her first campout; our Church has a campout every year to celebrate the pioneers. We set up our new dome-style tent and camped out with others from Dallas, Lincoln City, McMinnville, Monmouth, West Salem, and Willamina at Shenk's Park at Fort Hill near Valley Junction. We pitched our tent next to our family doctor's tent. My ankle was still pretty bad, so after a camp-wide dinner we watched most everyone else participate in the square dancing. Afterward we sat around a campfire with our doctor's family and some others listening to stories and singing songs; I played my harmonica. The doctor made an apple cobbler dessert in a Dutch oven he placed in the fire. The next morning Dr. Heder made a breakfast in his Dutch oven of eggs, hash browns, sausage & cheese, and invited us to join them. I broke camp while Sandra and Christina took a walk. I joined them later. We found a covered sandbox in another part of the park in which Christina played for a while. After a community lunch, we went home.
In October I wrote, "Christina has learned to dress and undress herself: buttoning and unbuttoning as well as snapping and unsnapping. Her only real obstacle is to finish buckling her shoes, or tying them. She thinks she is only beautiful when she is wearing a dress, as opposed to pants. She is learning to sew. Really! She uses a needle and thread and weaves it in and out of her blanket. We have to undo it when she is done, of course! We are still struggling with toilet training. The potty chair that we have is uncomfortable. She was 36" tall and 23 pounds the last time she was measured. Because Hallowe'en was on Sunday this year, our church held a family tail-gate party at a local school on Saturday night. We parked our cars in the parking lot, decorated them with pumpkins and spider webs, and after playing games, the kids went around in costumes to the vehicles and Trick-or-Treated (actually, just treated). We think this was the first time Christina had any idea what was going on and she enjoyed it. She learned to say, 'Sank-yoo' after receiving her candies -- without too much coaching from 'Daddy.'"
On Christmas Eve at my parents' home, Christina went "potty" for the first time. Bribing her with candy didn't work; what did work was telling her she couldn't flush the toilet until and unless she "did something" in the toilet. Also, their toilet seat is not as uncomfortable (to her) as ours is. Christina got a Barney puppet from Ernie, a shirt, and Sesame Street dominoes. Sandra and I got a lap warmer, a "CARE package' from my parents: in a bucket there was a 6-hr video tape, rice, canned meats, soap, towel, popcorn, coloring books, crayons, etc. In the last week Christina had mastered three things: 1.) She can say her full name "Kisseena Mree Sawyer." 2.) She can say her phone number without leaving anything out, "3 6 4 and 5 6 2 1." 3.) She knows her age, "3 years old, and 10 months old." She also knows a few songs: "I love you, you love me", from the Barney show, and "Sally the camel has 5 humps", also from the Barney show, and "Happy Birthday to You."
In January 1994, Sandra began working at Tiki Lodge as a motel maid, then I found a temporary job as a Tape Clerk. What I did was mostly babysit a computer that copied data from old tapes to new tapes. It seems that BASF, the magnetic tape producer, had a large batch of defective tapes -- they will not last their expected lifetime -- and hired StorageTek out of Texas to replace the tapes for them at their customers' sites. StorageTek asked Brandon Systems Corp. (My employer) to provide workers to do the tape copying. I worked the graveyard shift in the State Office buildings where the tape libraries were. It was a job estimated to last for 3 months Sandra and I couldn't handle working the two jobs and taking care of Christina, so Sandra decided to quit her job after just a few weeks. Christina also had Chicken Pox in January.
On June 22, we went to the Salem Airport at 2:30 pm to see the WWII bombers. The B-17 arrived about 3 pm and the B-24 arrived about 5 pm. We left at 5:30 pm.
The job that was supposed to last only three months lasted six, but then it was over.
On July 15, I got up at 1 pm after only 4 hours of sleep to prepare for the Dallas Stake Pioneer Campout. We gathered clothes and other items, and I prepared the food box and cooler. I loaded the car. we went first to pick up my check at work, then to the bank where I deposited $100 for the check I wrote, then to the Post Office to mail the check, then to the gas station to fill the tank, then to Safeway where we bought a loaf of bread, a roll of paper towels, a small jar of Miracle Whip, and doughnuts (for breakfast). Then we started on our journey. Things seemed to go well until we began climbing hills beyond Dallas. The car would lose power and hiccough. The speedometer dropped to 10 mph while climbing one hill. Sandra was concerned, but I assured her that we would make it to camp all right - we did. However, when we arrived and drove down onto the grassy camping area, we heard a crunching sound from beneath the car. It turned out, on checking, that the muffler had separated from the exhaust pipe and was dragging on the ground. We set up the tent between the car and the edge of the field - it was bounded by tall plants - and got our sleeping gear into the tent. With great exertion, I was able to get the muffler reattached to the exhaust pipe. I would have moved the car next to the tent, but someone else had pitched their tent close by ours and parked a pickup between our tents. We watched at the dunk tank for a while until a ball hit me hard in the chest - about at the heart. We didn't see where it came from, but we gave the activity a wide berth after that. We went up to the gathering area. Someone was making snow-cones. We had a blessing on the food - which was hot dogs, corn on the cob, potato chips, punch, and watermelon. Christina ate and enjoyed her first corn on the cob. After eating, we sat and watched while most of us square danced. Christina danced by herself, mostly, but sometimes with a few children, and near the end, the Morgan family took her into their circle - she had a great time. They danced until it was nearly dark. We then headed to our tent. I read 5 verses from D&C aloud, then Sandra read her Book of Mormon privately. Other campers were still setting up camp. We listened to conversations as we lay there.
The next morning after breakfast, we broke camp. We discovered that we couldn't start the car. Sandra and Christina went back with the Hydes and Dave Miles was called to tow the car back to Salem. Part way home, his tow truck broke down and he had to call a tow truck for the tow truck. I picked up a rock where the tow truck broke down as a souvenir of the day.
Sister Shirley Meyers paid me to sit vigil for about a week for her husband who was dying. Then I was back on Unemployment for a while, but at a much reduced rate. We also got assistance from the Church.
From October 24 to November 4, I attended a two-week Life Skills course at Chemeketa Community College.
On November 5, 1994, I had a job interview with Mike Mitchell of Agency Automation, Inc. in Portland, Oregon. I Showed him the Beeswax game I wrote. This led to a second interview with Clyde Horney, the owner, and I was hired as a C and BASIC programmer for their Specialty Auto insurance rating software.
I commuted for a month, burned out the engine in the Duster, got a loaner, and then our family moved to Portland in mid December 1994 to live on SE 112th Avenue with Don Garlick, one of the employees' (who happened to be a member of the Church) mother.
At work, I was learning the job from scratch. Mike Leonard, who was supposedly showing me the ropes was letting me work things out for myself pretty much, which was probably the best way.
Don drove us for errands as needed. Our Bishop requested that all Elders 45 and older begin meetin with the High Priest Group.
We bought a car and in March, we drove it to Crown Point and Multnomah Falls. In April we took a trip to Washington Square, Cathedral Park, Marine Drive, and Strathmore Park.
Sandra didn't like Portland. She didn't get along well with our landlady, either; call it a personality conflict. We moved in the summer to an apartment complex on SE 122nd Ave. We signed up as Amway distributors just before we moved. We bought a camera through them and started taking pictures, mostly of Christina.
Christina went to Kindergarten at Mill Park school in Portland.
In the Spring of 1996, we participated in a Daddy-daughter Event at the church. I towed Christina from station to station in a Recycle bin boat, where she played different games for prizes. Sandra helped out at the Count-the fish station. Christina and I had our picture taken in a land-locked canoe.
On Easter Sunday, Christina participated in an Easter egg hunt at the apartments where we live. She won a large basket of things and a large inflatable Easter Bunny.
One Sunday, we headed out to church, but the car was putting out white smoke. We parked it. It needed repair work we couldn't afford.
We decided to Home School Christina. It was something that Sandra and I had been thinking about for several years. It went pretty well. We shared the responsibility and Christina seemed to enjoy it.
For Valentine's 1997, Sandra and I were able to get a sitter and go to a Church-sponsored "Sweetheart Dinner and Dance" at a building we had danced at with the Singles over 8 years before. We didn't dance this time, because neither of us was physically up to it, but we had a good time. The building was an older building with old-style architectural features. We explored it together, but mostly sat, sometimes in the chapel, sometimes in a downstairs foyer. Christina enjoyed being "sat" - she seldom got away from us either.
In April, Christina got over her second case of chicken pox. I had always thought you could only get it once.
In May, Sandra's father died. He left us some money and his pickup. We paid off back taxes and the remaining amount owed on the car. We sold it to a neighbor for $25.
In July, Dr. Kauffman at the Providence Medical Center said I was diabetic and prescribed Glucotrol to control my blood sugar. A few days later, I was driving the pickup back to work after picking up a sandwich for lunch. I was stopped at a traffic light and I began to feel like I was going to faint. I put on the hand brake, just in case I didn't pull out of it. I fought it somehow and when the light turned I pulled into a parking lot. I ate my sandwich, thinking it was a low blood sugar episode, but although I got better the feeling did not go away. In the evening, I phoned the doctor and he had me go to the Emergency Room. They checked me out thoroughly and found nothing wrong.
That same month, my employers offered to rent us the house on Halsey Street where I first worked when I started with them, before they moved the office to Stark Street. We couldn't pass up the rent they asked, so we moved. It needed work. But it was two and a half bedrooms with a yard. They said they would put up a fence so Christina could play in the yard, but that never happened.
I took a class in the Hospital on Diabetes and how to deal with it. Sandra and Christina attended it with me. We had supper in the cafeteria.
Coming back from a trip to Salem, the truck engine started making loud noises. We pulled into a truck stop. A mechanic volunteered to check it out, but couldn't identify the problem. We called a tow truck and were towed home. We paid a mechanic in Portland to assess the problem. He found it was a broken spring in the pistons, but he couldn't work on it, being out of his domain. The truck sat.
In September, I went to the hospital twice, once from home and once from work, because my heart was racing and my blood pressure was high. I had an angiogram the second time - they found no narrowing of my arteries.
On Halloween night, or the next morning, someone slashed tires in the area and did the pickup's too. In December, we sold it to someone for $300.
We bought a guinea pig from the Menlo Park pet store and named it Jasmine. I bought a bicycle to get to work.
On March 7, 1998, We took a bus/MAX trip to OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry). After we arrived we had lunch outside, overlooking the river and the submarine, Blue Fin. We had chicken salad and egg salad sandwiches which we had packed for the trip. We went to the OMSI store where we bought a few things. Next, we went to the Sports Science exhibit. Christina tried out the balance beam. She was really scared of falling down. We heard them announce a tornado demonstration upstairs, so we went upstairs. It was pretty interesting. The man's name was Greg, and he explained and showed us about three ways air moves through air: 1. In bubbles, or thermals. 2. In a vortex, i.e., tornados. 3. In a torus, like smoke rings. He showed us how we could create our own versions of all three. After having a snack, we went to the Where Babies Come From exhibit. We saw a progression of pickled embryos & fetuses from about 26 days old to about 35 weeks old. Christina thought it was really interesting. We went to look at the Visible Woman exhibit. Then we went to the Murdock Sky Theater to see Planet Trek, where they detailed what we have discovered about each of the planets in recent years. We caught a bus just after five which took us back downtown. We walked 4 blocks to the MAX station, where we were able to catch a trolley to Lloyd Center. The trolley was really neat: It was upholstered in rattan and had carved woodwork inside. They had a conductor as well as an engineer. The conductor announced stops and sights of interest along the way. We caught another MAX from Lloyd Center to the Gateway Transit Center, where we had a 50 minute wait for our bus home. We decided to have supper while waiting - Same thing we had for lunch. Then we walked to Fred Meyer at Gateway and got a few groceries, then went to the Bus stop to catch our bus, where Christina fell and hit her head on the pavement. The bus came and we arrived home at 7:15 pm. Christina seemed to be OK.
In August, we discovered we had mice in the house. We began trapping them and letting them go, but then we had to use the kill traps.
In November, Sandra and I gave up our drivers licenses and got photo ID's. My dizzy spells and unreliable eyesight were my reason, and she was afraid of the way other people drive. Besides, we had not been able to keep a vehicle running very long anyway.
On May 31, 1999, Katie Lowell dropped Sandy and I at the Lloyd Center and kept Christina while we enjoyed our date. We saw Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace for the second time, but just the two of us. We had lunch at Lloyd Center, then went to the park, phoned Katie, and sat on a low wall to wait. It began to sprinkle, so we sat close under my 68" umbrella until we were picked up by Katie. Christina had been having a good time too.
On July 17, we turned on the TV, and three channels were doing live coverage of a search for JFK Jr's missing plane, presumed down at sea. This was also the third anniversary of TWA Flight 800's crash.
In August, I noticed that Joe Riker had not been driving his usual bus. I asked the driver about him and was told, that a couple of days earlier, his bus struck a pedestrian. Sandy told me the Swamp Cooler was leaking. We were having hot weather and thunderstorms. We drained all the water from it, then took it apart. There were no holes in the water basin. I added two nuts to the motor mount for spacers, making the fan centered in the front opening of the cooler. Sandy cleaned the basin and we replaced it. We got all the pieces back together. It seemed to run quieter, which we were hoping, because the fan used to rub on the opening.
For Christina's Fourth Grade, we discussed her schooling with her and we all decided she would go back to public school; she seemed to be getting bored with home schooling. She made the adjustment back to public school well. Sandy would walk her to school and pick her up, at least for a while at first, and sometimes they would walk over to work after school and we would take the buses home.
Things between Sandra and I were taking a turn for the worse. She was beginning to suspect I was doing things I wasn't. I was unable to resolve our differences to her satisfaction, and near the end of June 2000, I came home and found both my wife and daughter gone. By the time I found out where they had been staying locally, she had moved to her mother's place in Salem. I tried talking to her by phone, but she would tell me very little. I was served divorce papers. I went to Salem and talked to an attorney for $250. He outlined what I needed to do to respond; I didn't have enough money to have him do the work for me. I followed his instructions, attended the hearings, and tried to convince the judge that the marriage could be made to work. Apparently, I was wrong. The divorce was finalized in March 2001. My wife retained custody of our daughter.
During the divorce, I had to go down to Salem periodically for the hearings. I'd take the bus or the train and stayed at my sister's house, usually on the couch. I got a lot of emotional support from my family (my parents live in the same house). I got to know my sister better, too, as I hadn't spent much time around her since I left home about the time she arrived. I admire how she turned out.