??Empty Nest??

Joyce and I found an apartment in Brown’s Addition and I started looking for a job, again. That Thanksgiving Mom came down with Pancreatic Cancer, so I was spending a lot of time in Sequim helping Pop until she passed away in January of 1990. In a short time we also lost Oscar and Uncle Alva. I returned to Spokane and a position in Customer Service with Northwest Telecommunications became available. Really thought that this was going to be my next retirement job.  Shortly after starting work, our lease on the apartment was coming up for renewal with a substantial increase in rent.  We had been complaining about a noisy young man that had won an insurance case and was loaded, living above us.  Management wouldn’t do anything about him, so we decided to look for another place and found a duplex on 15th.  While there I was a part time maintenance man for the complex, three duplexes together.  Joyce and I had discussed the possibility of purchasing the complex but decided to look around.  That’s when we bought the house on 29 E. 39th.  Shortly after, my dream of Northwest Telco being my last job, took a turn.  LDDS purchased NWT and they started letting people go.  I stayed on a while as a customer service  representative but their service wasn’t the same as before and I quit.  It didn’t take long, Sprint was opening a Cell Phone Store.  I interviewed and was hired.  During the interview they actually encouraged me to apply for manager but I didn’t feel comfortable, not knowing anything about retail.  Sprint sounded like an ideal company.  They promised to be very employee and customer oriented.  For nine weeks we were flown to Dallas Texas for classes during the week at the Delta Airlines campus and home on weekends.  One weekend, I transferred my round trip ticket to Joyce and she flew down for the weekend.  Spokane had an ice storm while I was  home from training and we lost power.  The neighbors tree actually lost a limb that pulled the cable from our house.  We ended up getting a room at Inn at the Park.  I had to fly back to school and Joe stayed with Joyce until electricity was restored to his house.  I came home later and arranged to have power reconnected to the house.  When school was completed, we returned home and got our store opened.  It was the first Sprint store to open.  The only problem working at a retail store was not getting our work schedule for the week until the Friday before.  I made a number of suggestions to improve that but they got turned down and the promises they made in the beginning went by the wayside.  Sprint needed money, so the employee support and customer service got lost.  The store had been opened about a year and Sprint sold the building.  A number of us, the higher paid ones, were let go.  I was still in contact with some of the employees working there and one of the women told me of an incident that happened when she was on a business trip with the District Manager and one of the commercial salesmen.  I recommended she take it to HR and make a complaint.  I was contacted by an investigator and she won her sexual harassment suit.  I did send out more resumes.  After most of the interviews I went on, I was usually told I was overqualified for the position.  I pretty much gave up.

Mike’s family moved in with us and lived in the basement for a while.  It was actually pretty fun, we had the kids visiting upstairs quite often.  I started getting into meditation and a group I was with, the leader was a Native American.  It was an interesting group, one of the participants claimed to be able to read past lives and it turned out I had been an Indian horse trader and she had been my daughter.  Another interesting episode that took place was when our leader brought her Peruvian Whistles to a gathering.  They were placed in the middle of a circle we formed, and if you got the urge, you picked one up and blew into it.  Soon you could hear music and singing and weird things and visions started happening.  Our leader taught Reiki and I eventually took classes and got my certificate.  Thinking about opening a Reiki business, I learned you have to be a nurse, a licensed massage therapist or a minister to touch someone.  Taking the weekend, on line test to be a minister didn’t appeal to me so I decided to become a massage therapist and signed up at Noetic School of Massage.  To start classes you had to have a massage and I got my first at age 63.  I really enjoyed the classes and working with the other students.  One of our classes was a trip to WSU, where we studied cadavers.  Another was to EWU, offering free massages to students.  On the way back from Cheney, one of the massage tables blew out of the back of our instructors pickup.  Another car of student and I stopped, it was dark, and one of the students was going to go out into the middle of the road to get the table and I pulled her back, just as an eighteen wheeler came along and hit it.  There was nothing to pick up after that.  Close to graduation we went out to a local ranch for a weekend.  One of the students was an Iroquois Indian from Canada.  We had a ceremony out by a bon fire and she gave everyone an Indian name.  Mine was Brave Buffalo, Ohitika-Tantanka.  After graduation I set up an office at home, Stone Shadow Massage, and at a local tanning salon.  I wanted to have more available for mu clients.  A woman I had met, Jenny Ray, was giving a class on hot stone massage up in Canada and I signed up.  She is Native American, Sioux, and started each day with ceremony of stone pipe outside to the four directions and sagging and drumming indoors.  The class lasted two weekends and at the end she had a naming ceremony and gave me Sacred Buffalo, Wakan-Tantanka.  Since I was given two names I can combine them, Brave-Sacred-Buffalo, or, Ohitika-a’-Wakan-Tantanka.  I had been doing massages a few months and injured by rotator cuff and had to have surgery.  Somehow during the surgery nerves were injured in my right arm and I ended up shutting down my massage office.

Around 2004, Mike and the kids moved back in to the basement.  It was fun having the kids in the house again.  Then around 2006, I ended up in the hospital with walking pneumonia and a bleeding ulcer.  Pop had found a girl friend, Thelma, when he was attending an annual BBQ in Anacortes, the trucking he had worked had.  She was from Houston Texas and Pop drove down to be with her in his motorhome.  She didn’t like motorhomes so Pop sold it down there.  A few weeks later, there is a knock on our front and there is Pop.  He had had an argument with Thelma and moved out.  We set him up in the front bedroom.  A couple of months later, took off back to Houston.  He spent a couple of months there and came back to Spokane.  We shifted things around again.  After a few calls, back down he goes.  A couple times, I tried to get him to just get a motel for a few days. His excuse, “You can’t argue with those damn Texans!”  I’m not sure how many times he disrupted our lives moving in and out.  But the last time we said no.  When he came back we told him he had to find another place to live.  He and I found a retirement home about a mile from where we lived.  He wanted a motorized two wheel scooter that you stand on for going around the retirement home but they said know.  So I went on line and found him a three wheeler that he really liked.  He lived there for about three months or so and asked if he could come live with us and we relented.



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