The 40K Canine……#257 (the 90’s)

Sammi – the 40K canine

The 24 ft.Budget rental truck and its wayfarers mission from Orlando to Columbia fulfilled, the lyrics of the familiar Dave Dudley  song  Six Days On The Road sung by band member Kenny Kannada no longer abetting in Gary’s head.   The unloading began, his sister  Nan providing an enclosed area adjoining the garage,  capable of adhering all of the furnishing,  enabling a return of the 24 ft moving appliance to a retail Budget dealer in Jamestown.   The couple occupying what was affectionately called the Sleep Shack,  a two room building with a kitchenette, restroom and sleeping accommodations for friends or family when visiting overnight.

Jamestown Budget Truck Rental

 Gary’s first order of business after returning the rental truck was to retrieve his 97 Buick that remained at his brother-in-law mother’s home in San Mateo.  The second order was not one of self, but one of acceptance by others that his decision to marry was made from the heart and to dispel any doubts about his love for Fran.

54,000 acres of wind farms

The Keller Ave. exit on #580

The Keller Ave. exit on #580

Gary's home as seen from Shone Ave.

Gary’s home as seen from Shone Ave.

Looking up 82nd Ave & its summit

Looking up 82nd Ave towards its summit

  The six lane traffic laden interstate a replacement for the memorable Mountain Blvd,  the two lane blacktop the wandering entry through the East Oakland Hills.   The Buick navigating the Keller Ave. exit, voyaging up the four blocks to Greenly Dr. and over one block to his corner lot boyhood home at Shone Ave then traversing up Shone to its summit where one could look down on the vista of Oakland, San Francisco Bay, the  Bridges and San Francisco itself in the distance.   Gary pointing out the steep incline of 82nd Ave. that dwelled down to MacArthur Blvd and Castlemont high school,  pointing out that the walk to school was always more enjoyable than the return.  Once again continuing on #580 toward the bay,  approaching the toll booths for Bay Bridge, noticing the toll price was $2.00  remembering when it was only .25 cents.

Hills Brother Coffee

Golden Gate Park Amphitheater

Red and White Bay Cruise

Red and White Bay Cruise

The happy couple boarding for a Bay Cruise

 On the San Francisco side of the Bay Bridge one is greeted by a familiar landmark, not the Ferry Building that was built in 1898 but the aromatic bouquet emitting from Hills Brothers Coffee on the Embarcadero below the bridge, a welcoming to the city by the bay.  Gary having found long ago the most direct way to Golden Gate Park was to follow the familiar overhead power  lines  of the No. 5 McAllister electric-powered bus he had taken as a youngster.  The couple arriving at the renowned Park,  with the Natural History Museum,  the Aquarium, and the de Young Museum, the two touring the exhibits, marshaling their time, Gary deciding to move on,  traveling west down Fulton Ave, coming into view were the cascading  white tips of the breakers announcing the presence of the blue pacific.   A brief stop at the ocean having one more objective before returning back to Columbia,  North Beach and  Pier 39,  the traffic laden haven for tourist better known as Fisherman’s Wharf.  The couple enjoying the sundry shops,  the abundance tourist activity,  the showmanship of the street vendors, but before departing deciding to board a Red & White fleet Bay Cruise boat.  The journey out under the Golden Gate Bridge, experiencing the leeward rolling  swells from afternoon incoming tide bucking the boat,  Gary once again as in the past absorbing the sea breeze,  the slight mist and in some way sharing a moment in time like so many before him.   The boat turning about but not retracing its course back but casting  itself towards the infamous  Alcatraz, the island presence still foreboding,  the cruise heading back Gary wondering if others aboard shared thought of another time.

AIMCO Columbia Village Office

With their stay at his sister’s in Columbia, Gary becoming keenly aware of his employment status keeping abreast to  opportunities in the Sonora Union Democrat, hesitant about returning to a EMT or  hospital contingency but still willing to allocated his maintenance experience.  Noticing in the paper the woodland Columbia College was in search of a full-time maintenance person,  decided to investigate, submitting a brief resume’ being informed he would be contacted by phone.  Being summoned to the college campus just over a mile from his sisters,  on arrival being directed to a small frame conference building off a tree-lined path, the setting was unexpected as was the academic committee who was assembled for the interview.  While waiting, the 58-year-old couldn’t help but notice that he was much older than the other applicants, during the interview he found the job wasn’t for a maintenance person but for a on-call custodian who would do routine cleaning and set up chairs for school activities.  Receiving the perfunctory phone call the position had been filled he continued to monitor the paper,  noticing  the Columbia Village Apartments having placed an ad accepting applications for a management position in a soon to opened AIMCO complex.  (AIMCO),  Apartment Investment & Management Company being the largest owner-operator multi-family apartment housing company in the country.

Apartment Investment & Management Company

   Gary approaching Fran with his recent discovery, pointing out that with her bookkeeping and business management skills,  his maintenance experience  they would make an ideal team for the position.   Fran somewhat hesitant then agreeing,  the couple setting about documenting their resume’, Gary traveling to the Columbia Village location just over a mile east them on Parrotts Ferry Rd leaving the resumes’ being told he would notified.  The couple expecting a long wait, but to their astonishment receiving a phone call the following afternoon asking them to meet with the complex manager for an interview.  Gary and Fran arriving,  the interview going well but as expected the result was indecisive, informed there were other applicants but  they would be notified as to a decision.  The phone rang and it was the expected call,  requesting the couple meet again, this time scheduling a meeting  with a corporate representative at a recently opened AIMCO Apartment complex in Sonora.  An ensuing  evening trip to Sonora, their AIMCO host began by providing information about the responsibilities and duties of facility manager,  the security of the building and residence, questioning Gary about his maintenance capabilities and referencing the company’s belief  it was  beneficial to have a husband and wife team with both fiscal management and maintenance skills.  The interview was completed, the couple leaving  but still no employment confirmation.

The following morning the couple received their third phone call from AIMCO  notifying they had been accepted for the position and to meet at 2:00 p.m. that afternoon at the Columbia Village office.  The afternoon arrival  finding a conjugal hostess introducing  them to the paperwork that accompanied new employees and handing them an itinerary for a two-week training course that was to begin in three days.  Gary was about to mentioned  fiscal compensation when the lady  brought up the subject, their position  would of course provide an apartment and monthly salary, their total employment package in excess of $47,000 per year.   She continued that their new working environment would not be in Sonora or Tuolumne County,  but a new complex in Roseville,  18 miles northwest of Sacramento, it was about to inaugurate a Grand Opening and there would be an influx of new tenants.  The drive back,  Gary elated,  he and Fran having found a once in a lifetime opportunity where they could both work together and begin a substantial life.

The schedule was set for the training sessions to begin,  Gary making a phone call about their first session time, Fran asking him to  inquire about pets at the new facility.  Gary interjecting the question during his phone conversation, being told that upon initiating a new opening the policy was no pets allowed.   Upon hearing this, Gary knew Fran’s response,  Sammi being her companion for several years there would be no way Fran would give up Sammi for an employment opportunity. She was ironclad in her disposition about Sammi, Gary was shaken with the loss of opportunity, but having been through many disappointments in life, had learned something more meaningful than disappointment, that was understanding.  Gary thought it best to drive to Columbia Village,   giving an amazed management the explanation that they would have to decline the $47,000 position because of the corporations pet policy.

Fran’s cousin Rhoda Turner

Gary noticing that a hint of animosity beginning to build between the couple,  not serious but problematic because of the lack of intuitiveness and their failure to obtain a mutual goal.   Fran needing some free time from the confines of living in Columbia, deciding she would like to visit her cousin Rhoda in New Jersey,  Gary agreeing that it might  give the couple time to recoup from this their first constricted altercation.  With a one way airline reservation obtained, they made a late afternoon drive,  the two spending the night in Oakland rather than San Francisco for the early morning flight east.  The return drive home was an enduring one for Gary, questioning himself about his actions and feeling a sense of lost opportunity, but still a hope for the future.

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