Month: January 2017

Good-bye 16, Hello 17

I was just commiserating about what a crappy year 2016 was and replaying everything that did not go quite my way.  But the more I look at it, it was not such a bad year.  2016 was filled its blessings.  I got to see my son and his wife here in the US.  Somebody decided to hire me.  I am blessed with good health.  Some of you might have known that my health condition at the end of 2014 when I left Japan was quite perilous.  I have good health insurance, actually two one through the VA and the other through my municipal employer.  Finally, I can address and manage my health.  It is important that I manage my environment well and I have succeeded in staying healthy and have not missed even a single day of work since I started working in early 2015.


My candidate did not win the US presidential election and neither did my runner-up.  Thank you very much, Donald, you damn dynasty destroyer!  You knocked two families down and simultaneously exploded both the Republican and Democratic parties like a jiffy pop popcorn.  But being a good American comes first and the Donald is my president.  Reality and acceptance.  The majority has spoken.  I hope he succeeds.  We have to come to together as one people until Kayne does his 2020 thing.


In April, I left my job a Lowe’s.  It was my second time to work for Lowe’s.  I worked for the distribution center in 2007 and 2008.  This last time, I worked for the store on State Street.  95% of the folks I worked with at Lowe’s were great people. The store manager was a bit of an asshole and told me I would be out of job if I leaked a puddle out of my zamboni machine once.   I knew then I was out of his league and didn’t see much future there. I was kind of custodian with a fancy facilities service title.  It is a good company but not really a good place for the over 40 worker.  I really liked my immediate supervisor, Emily.  She was sharp and treated the older workers with respect.  So, the 14 months with Lowe’s was overall a positive experience.

I went to work for the Freeport School district part-time. Part-time job, full-time benefits. I get insurance and can also pay into the state retirement system.  I really love my part-time job with the school district.  It may surprise people to know that I am not in the classroom.  I think that it would be too much stress at this point.  I hope to teach again in the future, though.   In fact, I am a school bus driver.  My bus is good old #41.   I think I will nickname my bus the big George after HW.

Real Estate is presumably my full-time job but the busy transitions have not allowed me much time to optimize my sales.  The transactions I was able to close allowed me to work with great homeowners and they kindly gave me good reviews.  My decision a year and a half ago to give up my own shop was a good one.  Working for Morgan Realty, Inc has been great.  It is great brokerage to work for and Don is very supportive.  I need to bring him some more successful closings.   I look forward to 2017 to really spill some ink get a lot more happy homeowners.

My father is still hanging on strong.  I moved from Rockford this summer to a nice home on Benson Blvd in Freeport that is wheelchair accessible.  We had been looking for a rental home with 2 baths but could not find one suitable. My own home is in Lake Summerset, far from shopping, medical facilities and work.  Additionally, it had too many stairs and is rented out to a great family going on 7 years.  My mother ended up purchasing the Freeport home that’s in a great neighborhood close to my work.  The home needed some attention right away and we put a new roof and siding on.  On June 23rd, my father’s condition deteriorated so badly that he was too weak to get up and got stuck in the narrow bathroom of his Rockford home.   I am only 170 pounds v. his 225 pounds and I could not lift him even an inch.  He was in such bad condition that I had to call the ambulance to take him to emergency room.  It took 2 emts, 3 firefighters and a sheriff’s deputy to take him out.  He spent a couple of weeks at Swedish American Hospital and then another month at Alden Debes rehabilitation center.  We made the decision not to allow him to return to the 20th Street farmette which was deemed unsafe.  When he was released from the rehab, we moved him home to Freeport.

My son, Kevin and his wife Manami came to the United States to visit over the summer and got to visit with my sisters Susan and Diane.  It had been many years.  I still need a lot of prayers for my family in Japan.  My wife is going through a frustrating time and I hope she finds her silver lining through the clouds.  I greatly miss my precious daughters who are 14 and 7.  Kristen Ai has special needs and struggles with adapting to school but has had marked improvement in her emotional stability.  Maria is very active and enjoying first grade very much.  It is my goal to have Kristen Ai here in Freeport during spring break to visit with us.  I miss my kids and wife a lot.

I am doing fine overall.  I am living the American dream.  I am driving my 15-year-old Chevy pick up, have guns in my gunsafe, tools on my workbench that I don’t know how to use and reconnecting with my hillbilly roots.  Wishing all a prosperous and happy 2017.