Chapter 4: The Beginning of the End
Copyright© 2015 by Jake Rivers
Things moved fast right off the bat and I didn't have time to think much about anything. I met with our engineers that were onsite at customer installations and let them know they would be based on the customer site or in the new building, however they wanted it. I met with a Real Estate Agent and went over our needs. He told me he would have some sites to look at fairly soon. Our customers were all government agencies and based at Pearl Harbor, or near there.
In the event we found a new building slightly larger than we were looking for, but in a great location. It was in Waipahu, just west of Pearl Harbor and just north of Ewa Beach. This steered me to look around a house near where I had stayed before. I thought maybe I'd try to rent the place I'd been in for a couple of months, the Ala Moana was just too far away. I drove by and found it was empty. There was a sign "For Sale by Owner" and the phone number was from the woman I'd leased it from.
She lived about a mile away so I drove on over. She was surprised and happy to see me. We talked for a few minutes then I asked her why she was selling.
"We thought we would be here forever. We own this house, the one you were in, and a larger house near the University. When we moved our kids, Judith and Robert came out fairly often and always had a lot of fun. They would come every Christmas and for a couple of weeks in the summer. Now they are so busy, Judith is a professor at Arizona State and Robert works for a bank in downtown Phoenix.
"With their kids in school and their work, more often than not we fly back there. Finally we decided to move back. We already have offers for this house and the larger one. But I love that little house on Ewa. That's where we stayed when we first came out. I don't want to sell it to just anyone. If we don't find someone we like we will keep it for a vacation house for the kids and grandkids as they get older."
I told her about my new situation, and said "Actually I came by to see if it was available for a couple months while I look for a house to buy."
"Well, we never leased it after you left. It was so spotless, and you fixed so many things, we wanted to keep it looking nice. I guess it would be alright if you stayed there for a month or two. We wouldn't even charge you as long as you kept it nice."
My brain grabbed my attention by hitting me over the head with a baseball bat. An idea popped out before I could even think about it. "If I could buy that place it would be perfect. I love the house, the location is great. I just don't know if I could afford it."
I had another great idea. I told her about the cabin, what and where and all that. "If you could cut some off the price of the house I would give you a lease, say for fifty years, that anytime myself or my sister's family weren't using it, you and your kids and grandkids could use it whenever you want. It's a beautiful country with lots of trails and fishing and hunting as good as it gets."
So we worked out a deal, I used the same agent I was working with on the new building and things came together quicker than I would have believed. The company was paying one third and I had to sign an agreement to stay with the company at least five years. For each year I stayed I would accrue twenty per cent of the amount they paid.
They had offered to let me move in at once, which I did. I remembered my grandfather telling me, "Jerry, if you need more than a handshake to seal a deal, just walk away from it. Without trust there is nothing."
A vision of Angie walking with me on a soft island evening came to me, of how her beauty and our feelings made it a perfect evening. I had trusted her with all the commitment love could bring. I confess to a bit of bitterness as I realized there would never be another perfect evening unless I let the pain and hard feelings go. Trust!
That aside, things moved fast and in a fairly short time I had a new house. Well, not new, but nice. I settled in to work and made steady progress. I had full support from the home office and a good relationship with the customer. Yeah, they trusted me.
The house came fully furnished which was part of the deal. Most of the stuff was fairly nice, but I changed a few things like adding a comfortable red leather recliner, new mattress, and added a dishwasher. The floor was bamboo but it needed the refinishing I gave it. Adding a new paint job inside and out pretty well wrapped up things. I did most of the work by myself, but hired a local guy I met on the beach to do a few plumbing things and redo some of the wiring.
I was lonely—how could I be lonely in the middle of paradise?—but busy. I tried surfing again but got tired of falling off the board. Mostly I did it because there seemed like a lot of bikinis involved in the sport.
There were much better results with running. I'd done some at the cabin but never really got into it. This time I stuck with it and made steady progress. I found a place I really liked: I'd start at Kuhio Beach Park, run through the zoo and Kapiolani Park and around Diamond Head to the far side. There was an entrance to the center of the old volcano and I run around that a few times and back to Kuhio.
I adapted to the warm temperatures and the humidity and gradually increased my pace. At the end of each run I'd jump in the ocean and swim vigorously for about ten minutes, then easy for another ten. After a few months I started entering some local five and ten kilometer runs and did better than I expected. I found a competitive streak I didn't know existed.
Finally I let myself get talked into running a marathon. I bumped up my mileage and felt ready for the big day. My goal was three and a half hours and I had my pace all figured out. The first few miles I was running a bit faster than I had planned, worried about it for a while, and then said the hell with it. I could always drop out.
I was feeling the pain but in (what seemed) no time I could see the finish line ahead of me. I picked up the pace but nothing close to a sprint. Suddenly a guy cut in front of me, causing me to trip and make a very ungraceful fall about ten feet from the finish line. Knees and hands skinned, a painful ankle and a gritty determination to finish lead me crawling the final few feet. As I crossed a huge cheer roared for me: a combination of recognition of my pain and in breaking three hours by less than a minute!