When I lived in the duplex, I had become very active in the local neighborhood association. Portland gave much discretion to these organizations, allowing them to comment on zone changes, design guidelines, and development plans. I had always been interested in city planning, but I mainly joined the association because I thought it would be a good place to meet men. It was, but they were all married. I guess no single men thought that it would be a great place to meet women!
I had gotten to know a real firebrand in the neighborhood, Dale, and when I bought the single family house, I moved next door to Dale and his wife Alice. Dale headed the maintenance department for the local medical school-hospital complex, so he knew how to fix everything. In the years before Charlie, Dale was a life saver for me.
I first called on him when my lights went out. I needed to understand the fuse box and how to identify which fuse went with which circuits. When Dale arrived, he opened the box and gasped. Apparently, someone had left a wire exposed and I could have easily electrocuted myself. Fortunately, I had called him first when I was perplexed at the array of fuses. Since his first trade was as an electrician, he repaired it in no time and then explained how to identity circuits and what size fuses to buy.
And in the 18 years that followed Dale and Alice would be instrumental in our lives. Stories to follow!