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John & Leslie

Another fun story, at least to me it is.

One night in the spring of 1998, Cory Dilts came over and basically threw me into his van. It wasn't that I was incredibly anti-social, I just didn't want to be around people. But he promised me a chance to relax and have a few drinks and this basically coerced me into going along for the ride.

Unbeknownst to me, Tracy Tholin was doing more or less the same thing to Leslie at about the same time. Apparently, Cory and Tracy just wanted to hang out and wanted to drag as many people as they could to do the same.

Little did any of us know that the two of us would hit it off. We walked around all night talking about stuff we had in common - we've lived in just about the same places at around the same time - and just general conversation.

Despite Tracy constantly warning me to stay away from Leslie (apparently I'm a bad influence...heh) I eventually got a hold of Leslie and we started going out. She can add more to that if she wishes but I'm editing this now and I'll leave out all the parts embarrassing to me.

Then begins the fiasco of trying to get in the same place.

I took a job in the Quad Cities to be closer to Leslie for the rest of her senior year. That is what got me signed on at Casino Rock Island and its merciless schedule in early 1999. Leslie had pretty much decided at this time that she is going to go to Japan to teach English with the JET program. So, she's in the village of Tanigumi and I'm working 80 hours a week on a boat going "What happened?" We decide that she may try to go to school in Arizona. So I use my gaming contacts and get a job with CDS in Las Vegas thinking, heck, its just an hour's flight away.

As most of you know, the Arizona school concept doesn't work out and Leslie gets accepted at Oklahoma State for her master's program. After a year of a couple mere visits and a lot of phone calls across various time zones, we decide enough is enough and start doing the math about what is economically and educationally/career-oriented feasible for the both of us. Thus I take another Budget rental truck and head most of the way back I came the year before to Stillwater, Oklahoma in May of 2000.

Surprise! We get married in a tiny civil courthouse ceremony and move into an apartment on campus. Leslie has her rewarding but time-consuming job at the Family Resource Center and I learn about the frustrations of government jobs working for the College of Agriculture/Information Technology departments. My job there was mostly stress-free, just tied up with budget cuts and red tape. Leslie had the harder job of convincing people that the things she wanted to do were not only necessary, but good for the campus too. She won a few key fights and got more or less what she wanted for her students and the community we lived in. I got to pick up some contracting tips which have lately come in handy.

Now we have come back to Las Vegas (its a return for me anyway). We've gone through our first few years of marriage without anything being thrown at my head so I think I've done a good job. Leslie has been great, but you already assumed that.

Granted, this is a skimpy run through, but I will try to add on things as I get the time and inclination.

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