Since November of ’92 I’ve had a series of part-time jobs that net me enough money to get a green rattle-trap mid-70’s Ford LTD station wagon.
I’ve been using my ‘handyman’ skills to keep busy using the help wanted ads – so I’ve been doing things like fixing windowsills, concrete work to support plumbing upgrades on office rework, and over the holidays I was driving around installing commercial holiday decorations like those giant light up wreaths you see at strip malls.
On January 20th Bill Clinton replaces George Bush.
The economy and the job market are starting to improve and I’m getting more and more nibbles on my admittedly crap resume…
Mid March is the “Blizzard of ’93”. Work kinda dries up so I spend a couple of weeks working on my resume in the hopes of landing a full-time job.
It’s now early April of 1993 and my ex has managed to get ahold of Robin and explain how distraught she is; they ran out of my money and have been holed up in some flea trap motel in Barstow California for a couple of weeks now, and her glasses broke and she can’t afford her contacts, so she’s effectively blind.
Robin agonizes over even telling me because she knows I’ll grab my sword, jump on my horse, and ride off to rescue my ex yet again – but she eventually does, and I do…
My LTD won’t make the trip, so I borrow a friend’s newer Hyundai Excel and make for Barstow. I arrive, collect my ex and what few things she still has, and head back to Colorado.
On the way back the Hyundai dies – it throws the timing belt on the long I-15 hill out of California into Nevada, and we become stranded in the parking lot of Buffalo Bill’s Casino in Primm Nevada.
Robin comes and rescues both of us, we abandon the Hyundai after cleaning it out and I add “replacing a car” to the growing list of things I need to do.
In May I land a maintenance position with D.C. Burns. D.C. Burns is the company who owns Townview Plaza – a 120-unit collection of low-income 1, 2, and 3-bedroom apartments at the corner of Colfax and Federal in Denver. Part of being a building manager or maintenance is actually living on the property, so I move us into a third floor 2-bedroom apartment at 3131 W. 16th ave.
Things at Townview were pretty nice, even if I was extremely overqualified to be replacing burners on thirty-year-old electric ranges and swapping worn faucet seats. I wasn’t making much money, but it was enough to get some nice new furniture and whatnot – and the rent was part of my pay, so that wasn’t a worry any longer.
I’d also made friends with the owner of the towing company we used to remove illegal parkers for Denver Bronco games that took place just to the east at Mile High Stadium. The guy who owned the towing company also owned a used car lot just south a bit on Federal. This friendship eventually led to me being able to pick up anything off the lot for what he had in it.
This led to replacing the Hyundai that died rescuing my ex, and me eventually ending up with the Fiat X-1/9 I drove for a while.
But as everyone (but me of course) should expect by now, life was improving therefore things had to go south with my ex again… In September she got into marijuana…
And by October had started seeing her supplier; a psychology student at DU.
My ex is out all the time with her supplier, so I get into the local BBS scene and land on “Empire of the Dragon” run by Matt.
I was still using the Amiga 500 I bought back in New London, but due to all of the work I’d done to it over the years it was known as the “Franken Amiga”. I’d upgraded the CPU, added extra chip and fast memory, bodged a hard drive controller and 40meg HD into it, added a higher density floppy drive, installed the ‘fat’ Agnes chip for improved graphics, etc, etc.
My ex moves out to go live with her supplier in an apartment on Havana and Mississippi.
January – February 1994
I visit my ex a few times, and things aren’t going super well with her supplier, but I finally wash my hands of the situation and leave her to her own ends.
The Fiat becomes too unreliable, so I trade it for a burgundy ’84 Mercury Marquis.
A friend of mine named Ken had lost his job in May and had just lost his apartment too, so I invite him to take over the spare room at my place.
Within a couple of weeks he’d located a third-shift assembly job at a place called Intelligent Electronics (I.E.) in Commerce City…
There’s a story here about my cat deciding to pounce on Ken’s face while he was asleep, a scream, and the cat being shot-put across the room…
Over the last few months my work hours have been getting longer and longer but I’m still making crap money. So taking a cue from Ken, I apply at I.E. as well.
And a week later I had a job there.
I turned in my two weeks notice at Townview – which meant I needed another place to live as the apartment was conditional on the job…
After looking at a few apartments over in Aurora with Ken, I find a rent-to-own 1-bedroom mobile home in Aurora, which was an hour closer to I.E., have moved across town – and started over.
September – December 1994
The remainder of 1994 would see me rise through the ranks at I.E. from 3rd shift assembly to line supervisor, to Q.A., and eventually into I.T.
The first thing I did was sell the Mercury Marquis I had and pick up a white 280Z. The 280Z had a busted differential though and it didn’t last long until it was replaced with a ’68 VW Beetle.
Ken Stanley, my roommate, was splitting the “rent to own” on the trailer with me. Once again I was occupying the living-room as a bedroom and my roommate had the bedroom in the back. This arrangement was good for freeing up funds for high tech toys though… One such toy was the first TV I had since leaving New London, and I promptly caught up on “Babylon 5” which was in its second season.
I was also getting into some rather esoteric computer systems now that I.E. was helping me foot the bill for them. My living room / bedroom was full of odd machines like an SGI Indy, a Mac Quadra 800, and even a DEC Alpha. I was also running a BBS called “Silicon Psychosis” on six phone lines.
I also started the groundwork for “Infinity Web Design”, where I was going to take my art and tech skills online as a part time gig.
I just needed better bandwidth for it and the BBS…
And for the first time in several years – I had a nice Christmas holiday.