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.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

So, what's new?  The biggest thing is that my health has declined.  Badly.  I am in constant pain.  That's the bad news.  I went to see a doctor and there is nothing 'obvious' wrong.  'Just' stress he says. But it sucks nonetheless.  Its horrible.  This practice never stops preying on my mind.  So I have made a decision.  Whether I make the money I expect or not, I am leaving here in June 2018.  We are going back to Alaska.   In 17 days I am going to look at this property.
  It is remote...near Copper Center.  I am thinking about this a lot.  What do I hate?  The Government. Taxes.  Being told what to do.  This property is in the 'Unorganized Borough' of Alaska, one of the few places left where that sort of nonsense is minimal.  Of course, it is hours from anything.  There are no emergency services.  Nothing for the kids to do in the traditional sense.  I'm not sure about it yet but I'm leaning this way.  As for the firm, it is trucking along.  I just hope it starts to produce some real money, instead of just investments.  I need to do something different, and fast.  It all boils down to what the firm can produce in the next 18 months or so.  I have been remodeling my house since last September and, barring another economic collapse, I should be able to put $300,000 or even $400,000 in my pocket from that.  The kids are doing well and enjoying their summer vacation.

As for me, I have to remember these days.  Some folks think I will be 'bored' if I actually get to retire at 45.  Hardly.  It is Sunday and I am at my desk again.  In pain from stress.  I'll go look at this land and see what I think.


Monday, April 25, 2016

So, happy birthday to my AJ! 8 years old already. Wow.  Of all my children, she is by far the biggest ham.  She loves to dance and to be the center of attention.  She cracks me up.  I'm so glad that my kids are getting a little older. I don't like being older mind you.  But the time is coming when we can really start to get out and do some things.  We are moving back to Alaska in June 2018.  I can really smell it.  I am starting to prepare now.  For the first time, I can see a clear path forward.

Friday, April 22, 2016

So, happy TENTH birthday my number one monkey. I cannot believe that ten years have gone by. Its remarkable. We had a quiet day. I had to pay over $60 for her to have halibut for dinner. I promised myself that was one of the last times.   Soon it will be fish caught by us from our own boat.  She's grown into a remarkable young woman.  Yes, she drives me crazy with her pre teen drama sometimes but she is crazy smart and a lot of fun.  I've never seen someone with perfect grades across all subjects.  My main goal right now is to give her and her sisters a great childhood.    

As for me, I have busy. Its that simple.  We are actively remodeling our entire house.  The real estate market here is insane and, for once, I may get a break.   I can probably make a couple hundred grand. I intend to sell it and use the money for new toys in Alaska.  I have set a date of June 2018 for our return.  That means I will have been away for 6 years.  Besides remodeling the house, I am beyond working full time.  Our firm is finally starting to make some real money.  Yesterday, I paid off the last credit card.  Now, other than the mortgages, for the first time in my adult life, I am debt free.  Now I can start saving for Alaska.  We will probably buy land and build the house as we want it.  I just need to make it to the end of this year.  Our civil caseload is probably worth about $7,000,000 right now and we just need to grab that money.  I'm tired of criminal defense and 80 hours a week.  Im lucky enough to spend most of my time on cannabis compliance now but I can't wait to do just that and help manage  This is our nationwide personal injury and mass tort law firm.  All in all, we are doing well.  I miss Alaska but, for the first time, I see a clear path to return.  

  I do feel guilty for letting this go.  I will do better. I would love for the kids to see their whole lives.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

So, to not write since July is unacceptable.  I have decided to make my blog public again.  Not because I think anyone will actually read it, but because I want to make it accessible to my kids if anything were to happen to me.  Also, I intend to chronicle my life more on this again.  I'd like to say that a lot has changed since I wrote 5 months ago, but that would be a lie.  Granted, things have improved.  We bought a house.  Its a shitshack but its ours.  It is 1588 square feet, was built in the 1970's and never updated, has a rat and mold problem.  BUT, assuming the economy doesn't collapse, I can probably build a few hundred thousand in equity.  I've decided that, barring death or total incapacity, we are going back to Alaska in June of 2018.  That seems like a long way off, but it isn't.  Granted, my finances currently do not support such a move.  As always, I am broke.  Supporting a family on one income in a place with incredibly expensive cost of living doesn't leave much.  Plus, we are still plowing everything into the firm.  I am super optimistic though.  My work in the Alaska marijuana industry didn't pay off but I got to go home a lot last year.  Jeremy and I went to Tustumena in October and the family went to Soldotna for two weeks at Christmas.  Really, the point of this post is to remind myself to start doing this again.  Just for me.  And maybe my kids one day.  The last three years have been hard on my health and my heart but I can sense that major changes are coming and I'm glad.