Until this point I have left my wife Cindy out of this narative, although I first met her my senior year of high school. We were in the same circle of friends then, and during our 2nd year of college we began dating. That lasted a little more than a year until I couldn’t handle the long distance relationship thing and went through a very rough 3rd and 4th year in my Architecture program. After a nearly 2 year break-up, we began growing closer again and got back together during a Chrismas holiday break. After she graduated (almost) from BGSU, she moved from Bowling Green to Cincinnati during my 5th year (6 year program). She actually finished her remaining course(s?) at UC.
When we got back together, we discussed our intentions quite seriously so we knew where we were headed. 3 months after I graduated (almost), we got married. Strictly speaking, my graduation and wedding were both in September of 1992. I had gone through the graduation ceremony in June only to find out I was missing a 200 level elective, which I rectified the following summer quarter with a Shakespeare class. It was one of those super-intense 3 week classes. Talk about a lot of reading!
After college I bounced from job to job, trying to make money to pay the bills and searching for an Architecture job. We moved a number of times, from apartment to apartment, but I was never happy with our living arrangements or my employers. I bought a cheap bike at some time in this period, but never rode it much. I gave it a couple of months of honest effort, but just never got it going.
Cindy and I did make a pretty good habit of camping and hiking for a while so we at least got some exercise together. But for the most part I hated state park campgrounds with all the kids running around, obnoxious people with loud music, etc. We tried going to smaller out of the way parks, but that didn’t seem to help.
The bad stuff
I’m not exactly sure why I am writing this for the whole world to see. Maybe it’s theraputic/cathartic, maybe it’ll help someone who stumbles on it, maybe I’m just an idiot. I don’t know. Suffice to say that from the time I graduated from college until a few years ago, I grew heavier and became meaner, more unhappy, and generally less fun to be around. I struggled with sleep problems, bouts of depression, was constantly reprimanded at work for tardiness and too many sick days, etc.
We bought our bakery and moved to Piqua in late 1997. Being in a small town helped some, but commuting to the south side of Dayton quickly became unbearable, and I proceeded to quit a perfectly good job. I struggled for a while, trying to find something locally, and then tried working for another firm in downtown Dayton. Even though I was up-front about my troubles during my interview and had arranged to work more flexible hours, I still struggled and after a couple years quit.
All this time I had suffered (as did those around me) with what became defined as Intermittent Explosive Disorder: “characterized by specific episodes of violent and aggressive behavior that may involve harm to others or destruction of property. Usually, these episodes follow minor incidents and are out of proportion to the trigger.” Fortunately, my outbursts usually involved destruction of property and occasional road rage, but never harming anyone else. That is entirely luck though. It still haunts me when I think of how many times I could have seriously hurt or killed someone.
I was also diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, essentially manic-depressive, and went through a period of counseling, numerous medications, etc. Very expensive and largely unsuccessful, it got to the point where I was sometimes afraid to leave the house.
Enough of this… you get the point. From here it gets better. Trust me.
Proceed to Decisions