Thursday, March 02, 2017

So, I am about to embark on a new adventure that I will chronicle here and on Youtube.  My wife thinks I am crazy.  And I might be. I am going to build a timber frame home on my land in Alaska.  Nothing crazy about that.  But I am going to build it here in California FIRST and ship it North next year.  Next year.  Next year I am going home.  So I have started gathering Douglas Fir beams here.  I bought a 20 foot deck over trailer.  I bought a 1954 forklift for a few hundred bucks.  I rented a space in a timber framers shop for $500 a month.  I can use all his equipment.  We are going to build the frame here and take it north next June and put it all back together.   I bought a small metal detecting wand and I am going over every beam looking for, and removing nails and screws.

It is going to be a 3000 square foot house with an adjoining 40 foot high tower and a two car garage.  I am also going to build a shop with a greenhouse on top.  I don't the money for this yet, but I won't let that stop me.

Is my plan economical?  Hell if I know.  But it's a lot better than watching TV.  Nights and weekends I will be learning how to make scarf joints. Run a Woodmizer.  Make mortise and tenon joints.  I am going to build something like this.  Then, one day, when I am old, I will be able to tell my kids and grandkids what I did: I gathered every piece of wood you see in a place thousands of miles away.  I spent time going over every single one.  Hauling, measuring, planing and cutting.  Then I hauled them North. Put them together with a German timber framer.  This is going to be quite the adventure.....

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

So, time flies.  It has been three months since I have posted.  Wow.  Some things have changed since September.  Perhaps the most exciting is that I have bought land in Alaska!  9.22 acres of land where I will build my dream home.   We had an amazing trip to Alaska at Christmas.  We flew into Anchorage and then took the train up to Fairbanks.  It was an amazing ride and one I hope to do again.  I dressed up in top hat and tails.  The wife was Mrs. Claus.  The girls all dressed in matching red dresses.  12 hours through the prettiest country on Earth. In Fairbanks we rented the Moose Walk cabin, a super neat little cabin in North Pole. The kids played ice hockey for the first time and I saw the Northern lights again. We went up to Chena Hot Springs and soaked in the hot water. We got to go for a dog sled ride (towing a Rhino) and I had a drink at the Ice Hotel. I took the kids to Santa Claus Village where they met Santa and his reindeer. We then went down to Kenai and spent a few weeks at Josh's house. It was glorious to be back. I actually took the family camping on our OWN land in our wall tent for a night. I am now busy designing our new house. On TOP of running everything else: running a few businesses. Having a family. Writing a screenplay. Finishing my remodel here. And so on. Every single day is busy. The firm has started to make some real money and I have almost no doubt that I can leave here in June of 2018 with a few million dollars in my pocket. I am going home! My kids will be Alaskans again.

Monday, September 19, 2016

So.  Ten years ago today I arrived in Alaska.  I will never forget the sense of amazement and wonder as I arrived.  It was, as John Denver sang about, coming home to a place I had never been.  Ten years.  Gone.   I was given some advice by Jeremy the other day.  He said I should learn to appreciate the journey more.  Sage advice.  I am so focused on my return in June 2018 that I often find myself unhappy.  That is foolish.  Like always, I will miss these days when they are gone.  It is true that I am not that interested in being a lawyer much anymore and I feel time pressing on me.  But it also true that being a lawyer has allowed me to come to the US.  And, if all goes well, it will allow me to retire in a place I love at 44 years old.  And that is pretty cool.  Ten years.  But I will be back.  And next time it will be for good.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

So, ten years.  Ten years ago today I left Grass Valley for Alaska.  Just me and 4 dogs (none of whom are alive now).  It remains one of the greatest things I have ever done.  I must admit it has put in a a bit of a foul mood.  The quick passage of time is bad enough.  Ten years!  But what is worse is that I continue to struggle.  Having three kids and one income continues to stretch me.  I have been struggling to find my blessings (which are considerable) today.  It is frustrating to work so hard, and be good at what I do, and yet have to struggle like this.  Of course, I live in one of the most expensive housing markets in the US.  $585,000 for a small, moldy, rat infested house beside a major highway.

So, I need to change the narrative.  Instead of bitching about how far I have to go, I will instead remember one thing.  I AM going home to Alaska in June of 2018.  In about 640 days (plus or minus a few depending on things), I am leaving here for the last time.  If I can go with enough money to live on, I will.  But, if I can't, I will go anyway. On days like today, when it easy to get lost in the melancholy, it is important to push forward. And, while I will have lost six irreplaceable years, I intend to spend the rest of my life doing as I please. While everyone else is at work, I will be on the river and in the forest. I will 'make up' that lost time in grand adventures. After all, I am 4 years into my 6 year term. 640 days. And the next time, I won't be alone.

Friday, August 26, 2016

So, things are slowly getting better.  The firm is now on the cusp of some financial success.  Enough so that I am under contract for a piece of land in Soldotna.  It is almost ten acres and it is stunning.  The picture does not do it justice. I have hired a designer and I going to build the last house I ever hope to live in.  The cases that the firm has been working on for years and now getting ripe.  I have decided to go home in June of 2018 and only death or total incapacitation can stop me.  I am working here to build the wealth that will allow me to slow down. Otherwise, things are fine.  All three girls are in school now and are doing great. Site Meter
I cannot believe how time flies. Ten years ago right now I was feverishly getting ready to move to Alaska. It feels like just a few days ago. That thought motivates me to do more to get back ASAP. My health has gotten a little better as my stress has reduced. I am still mostly broke but that is because we are investing everything back. If this works I can go home in June of 2018 and never have to work again. I will, of course, but not out of need.  That will be a nice feeling. Talking about nice feelings, my trip to Alaska in July was awesome. God I miss the place. Everytime I work on my house or I am at work I think about time is closing in on me. But, for now, that is a good thing. We are going to Alaska at Christmas to take the train to Fairbanks and to visit Chena Hot Springs. I guess I have every reason to be optimistic.