Skip and his family had moved away from the neighborhood when we were real young and I had forgotten about him. But sometime in 1992 he had met some of the people from my neighborhood including Stacy. He and Stacy started dating. He is four years older than she is but her parents both liked him.
Skip's dad and step mom had an espresso shop that was easy for me to get to by bus. Skip worked there so I would stop on my way to the college and would also go down there on days I didn't have anything else to do. One day when I was at the espresso shop Skip's friend, Eric R., came by. It turned out that Eric R. and his girlfriend, Angela and their infant son lived in the same apartments as me. In fact, they lived directly across the courtyard. I lived on the third floor and they lived on the first floor. The day I met Eric R. we decided to go to the bar next to the espresso shop and shoot a game of pool.
Eric's girlfriend didn't like me at first. Not because of something I had done but because Eric R. had a history of cheating on her. I was actually interested in Eric R's younger brother, Mark. But Angela came home one day and I was there with both Eric R. and Mark. She was not happy to say the least. She kicked me out without asking any questions. A little while later she came up to my apartment and apologized. Eric R. and Mark had told her I was there with Mark. Eric had told me prior to that day that Angela had gone to junior high school with me and Travis K. and that she knew him very well. So, I told her her that I knew Travis K. and he knew I wasn't the type to mess around with guys in relationships. The summer after 9th grade Travis K. had dated three of my friends at once plus another girl and I ratted him out to the three who were my friends.
After Angela came and apologized to me we hit it off. I started spending every day over at their apartment. My relationship with Mark didn't last very long, though. We broke up about three weeks after meeting. I swore I was not going to let Eric set me up with anyone else.
Eric R. and Angela had another friend named Eric S. One day Eric R. called me and said, "Hey, why don't come over. I got someone I want you to meet." All I could think was, "Not again."
By this time I had lived with my dad for a year. I met John on July 16, 1993. John had come over there with Eric S. John had Eric S. through John's cousin. I was 21 and John was 30. He has the same birthday as my sister, Kelli, and his family is from North Dakota near where my dad's family is from. He lied to me about his age at first because he was afraid I would date him if I knew he was really 30. He was probably right.
Before we got too serious I told John that I had a kidney transplant and it was in rejection. I went on to tell him that I would need to go on dialysis soon. He looked at me and said, "You poor thing." I started staying at his house a lot after that. I would go back home at the beginning of each month, cash my check, then give my dad the rent money.
I didn't drive yet so I would get rides with either the friends who introduced John and I or John would come pick me up. Stacy would sometimes come with me. I remember one time in particular, when Stacy and I got a ride from Eric. We were on the freeway in Eric's low rider pickup and we had just turned onto the ramp from state route 167 to interstate 405. Just before the Rainier Avenue exit I heard a loud boom and the truck died. We were able to coast off the Rainier Avenue exit and into a gas station. I called John on a pay phone. This was before cell phones were big. I told him that Eric's truck had died and me, Stacy and Eric were stranded. John came and picked all of us up and took us to his house. Angela came to John's and picked Eric up later that evening. John gave Stacy a ride home later that evening.
It turned out that the engine in Eric's pickup had blown. The oil had been leaking out for some time. Eric just hadn't been checking it nor had he been putting any oil in it for quite some time. He eventually got another engine put into the truck. I believe he did that himself.
A month or two later Eric, his girlfriend, their son and their roommate, Carolyn, and Eric's brother, Mark were being evicted from the apartment. John lived in a three bedroom house so he let them move in. By this time Mark and Carolyn had started seeing each other so they stayed in one bedroom and Eric, Angela and their son stayed in another. It was a little awkward having Mark stay with us.
I kept going back and forth to the apartment I shared with my dad until November when my dad finally said, "You know, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for you to be paying me rent when you're always out there." I had been spending nearly all my time there. I officially moved in with John after speaking to him about it.
Around the time I moved in with John my dad filed for custody of Kari and Kelli. They had both asked him to get custody of them because life with out mom had gotten worse after I left. He could not get custody of Karla because he is not her biological father. Karla.
The day my dad had the custody papers served on my mom Kari and Kelli were moving stuff out their bedroom window. They were going to my dad's because they knew our mom would react badly and she did. Kari and Kelli were carrying boxes across the street to Amy and Stacy's house. I was there visiting so my sisters were coming over there to wait for our dad. My mom figured out they were gone and ran out into the street. She started beating on them in the middle of the street and knocked the boxes out of their arms. Amy and Stacy's mom and step dad were outside and witnessed the whole thing. Amy, Stacy and myself also witnessed it. My mom eventually signed custody over to my dad. But not before accusing me, Kari and my dad of stealing checks from her. My mom has never in her life had a checking account. The accusations were just a ploy to try and take the attention off the abuse she was guilty of. She was good at doing things like that! Everything was always everyone elses fault.
I didn't get my license until I was 24 years old. Therefore whenever I wanted to go somewhere I had to rely upon John, friends and family. John had to work a lot of overtime when we first got together. So, I spent a lot of time with my dad. Sometimes we would go visit family and friends, sometimes we would just go for a drive into the mountains or countryside, and sometimes we would just go to his house. My dad had moved into a modular home that had three bedrooms after getting custody of Kari and Kelli. My dad was taking me home after one of these outings one day. We had just turned off state route 167 onto the ramp to interstate 405 and were in the exact same spot where Eric R's pickup had died. Just as we approached the same exit, we ran out of gas. My dad started to put on the breaks and pull over, but I shouted, "No wait! We can make it, I've done this before!" We coasted right up to the pump.
On January 24, 1994 I started dialysis. John went with me for a while because I was so depressed and guilt ridden. I went to the main kidney center at first because they require all new or returning patients to go through educational training. That was where we found out about home dialysis. We went through home dialysis training next and then we did home dialysis for about a year and a half. The roommates had all moved out by then so we were able to use one of the spare bedrooms for dialysis. John was my home dialysis helper. He would put the needles in my arm and hook me up to the machine. He would monitor me throughout my treatment and then take me off and clean everything up afterward. I would have everything set up and ready to go when he got home from work. It gave us more flexibility as far as being able to pack up and go away for a few days. We could rearrange our schedule any time we wanted. After a while it started to wear on our relationship, so we decided to take a little break. I went to one of the kidney centers in Seattle and after a couple months I decided to make it permanent because out relationship was doing much better. I eventually got a spot at a kidney center in the same company closer to my house.
The day after Kelli's 16th birthday, she decided to run away from my dads' home. She had a hard time adjusting to the rules. At my mom's she was always the favorite and got away everything. At my dad's she had rules and curfews. She and my dad got into an argument. Things were said back and forth; she mouthed off and he slapped her. That made her very angry and she ran away. Our dad swore he would never speak to her again. Then after about a year, he began saying that if she contacted him before she turned 18 he would talk to her again.
For a long time I was the only one who would still speak to her. I kept in contact with her and visited her on the holidays and her birthday. I also talked to her on the phone, but I did not see her much while she was not talking to my dad. She stayed with a friend and she stayed in school.