Monday, January 18, 2010

How I met my sweetie - Part II

I have been a Christian most of my life – although I sometimes practiced my faith better than other times, but always with the knowledge that Christ died for my sins, that He is the only son of God, and no matter what kind of curves life throws at you, God is always there to lean on. In the winter of 1983, I was leaning on him very heavily. With the financial struggle, the relationship I knew was going nowhere, and the job situation I was in, I was beat down pretty heavily. I remember one night in particular near Christmas of heavy prayer, crying out to God that something – anything – needed to happen and that I needed a break, and asking in earnest what I should do. “Bid on the job in Wichita,” came the response. Clear as a bell, just like He was standing in the room right next to me. I had heard of people saying that God spoke to them, but I’d never experienced it before. I couldn’t deny the voice, as I heard it again very clearly and emphatically when I said, “I can’t bid on the job in Wichita; I have no money to move on.” He said, “Bid on the job in Wichita! It will be alright.”

So, I dried my tears and picked up the phone to call Paul Watson, our union representative. I did the verbal part of the paperwork and he sent me the part I needed to sign by overnight mail. One thing about Kansas City and Wichita… Even though we had the same general manager and reported to the same hierarchy, I didn’t really have bidding rights to jobs in Wichita. I did not know this and Paul did not know this. God knew it – but He provided a way for me to bypass that.

Somehow during my employment with WU in Kansas City, I became friends with a woman named Marie (although I can picture in my mind what she looked like, I cannot remember her last name). Her brother, Warren Young, was the general manager over Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri. That was a very important friendship, but I had no idea how important until January of 1984. Warren Young called my home. He was going to be in the area the next weekend visiting his sister, who remembered me, and wanted to know if he could come to MY HOUSE and interview me for the position in Wichita. I was stunned. General Managers just didn’t go to peoples’ homes for interviews. But – if this was truly a “God thing” then him coming to my house was in God’s plan.

In the meantime, I got a telephone call from the sales manager in Wichita who wanted to set up an interview time with me and wanted me to drive to Wichita for this. I explained to her that I had an unreliable car (an old VW bug), two small children, and no one to keep them for me while I went out of town. Plus, I said that Warren had already called and set up an interview time for the coming Sunday. She was a bit flustered, said she’d get back to me, and hung up. That Saturday, my phone rang again and this time it was Tim Phares, the manager for the Wichita office. He reiterated that I needed to come to Wichita for an interview, but when I again said that Warren would be at my house the next day for an interview he decided that we’d do an informal interview right then, over the phone. My guess at the time was that he didn’t want to be “one upped” by the General Manager. Either way, it worked out well for me as Tim said he thought we’d “do” working together.

Sunday arrived; I sent my kids down the street to the sitter’s house and I patiently (anxiously) waited for Warren to arrive. Once he did, we chatted for about 30 minutes about various things – none of which had to do with my qualifications or skills. Finally, he stood up to leave and said, “So, do you think you can be there in two weeks?” I quickly said I could, in the back my mind thinking “how am I going to arrange that?” But, I did not want to pass up this opportunity to provide for my children. He said, “Fine, we’ll see you two weeks from tomorrow then,” and walked out.

I was flabbergasted and knew I had a lot of stuff to do. First off – call the housing office on Monday morning and put my townhouse on the market to be sold. This housing unit was a series of townhouses, 2, 3, or 4 bedroom units – all with fenced back yards and parking out front. None of it was covered parking. To live there, you had to pass a credit check, make a minimum amount of money, but below the maximum amount for your household size. You had to buy the equity from the person whose townhouse you were purchasing, and you built up a small amount of equity each month. Any improvements you made to the unit, such as carpet, paint, updated fixtures, etc. came out of your own pocket and not reimbursed by the management. But, you could pass these improvement costs down to the next person (within reason, of course). I had only lived there about six months but I had painted, put down carpet – that I got for free, no pad and not permanently installed. It was just “down” on the hardwood floors. I added the “cost” of these items to what I had paid six months earlier and presented my asking price to the management.

My parents thought I was nuts. I said if this was really what God was telling me to do, then it would happen in His time. The first person who looked at my townhouse bought my equity – and gave me $100 cash as down payment. This down payment came two days before I needed to put $100 down to reserve a moving truck for the weekend that I was moving. That was confirmation number one.

Confirmation number two was a bit slower, but it did come. My younger brother and his (first) wife lived in Wichita at the time. He worked at Boeing and she worked at a nursing home on the west side of town. They lived off Oliver, a bit south of Harry so she had a bit of traveling to do. I left my kids in Kansas City with other relatives and I headed to Wichita the Sunday before I was to report for work. Every night during that first week, my brother and I tried to find a place for us to live. If it was something that I could afford (my maximum was $325 per month), it was not in an area that he wanted me to live. If it was in a better area, either the price was too high or we wouldn’t fit. The second week, we did more of the same.

Finally, Wednesday morning came and I was scheduled to move in three days. I was reading the newspaper and came across an advertisement for an apartment complex at Tyler and Maple. $50 deposit – move-in special; large 2 bedroom on the ground floor - $305 per month. It had all of my pre-requisites. I called my sister-in-law and asked her if she knew where they were. She did, so she said she’d go check them out on her lunch. I told her that if she thought we’d fit (the kids had to share a room so it needed to be a good size) and if they still had ground floor, tell them I’d take it. She said, “Don’t you want to see it first?” I said no, since I was picking up the moving truck in three days – I’d take it sight unseen.


Kathy's Klothesline said...

This turning into a novel ..... keep going.....

va spillman said...

and...??? lol I am ready to hear the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey used to say! lol :) great read!

Pat said...

This is so interesting. It's like looking into your life with a microscope!