Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Is Support Set Up to Help the Married Couple

I saw a news report recently that was about a married couple who have a daughter that has a rare disease, Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrom, and they have to care for her full time.  The highlight of this article was that the couple was considering divorce so that they could get more financial aid to pay for their daughter.  For the location the father was making a reasonable salary, however after the medical bill, it left them in a very fragile situation.
Investigation, Stethoscope, To Listen
Then there is a couple that I knew from several years back, and that couple had split up.  After the split up, saw a post on Facebook from the ex-wife about how she got her degree, and it was something that her ex-husband wouldn't let her do.  All the while she was still taking care of two kids.  I commend her on getting the degree, but I do wonder if there was financial aid that she was now allowed to get that before she couldn't.  I don't think I'll ever find out that answer, but I strongly suspect that there was because of what my brother has been going through to try and get a degree.
Financial Advisor, Consultant, Brokerage
One of the most dangerous things that our government has set up is the social safety nets.  This is dangerous because all people love free stuff, and it is even better when the free stuff provides you a minimal level for your quality of life.  After California passed a law raising the minimum wage, there were reports of people asking for reduced hours so that they would not lose certain tax credits.  My family members who did work in tax preparation had first hand experience of people asking where their dependents were so that they could get their tax credit (they had no children by the way).
Swimming Pool Safety Net Beach Ball Blue W
Many of the social safety nets are set up to go away after a certain income.  Also they do not always correct for married or not married, or the correction is so small that it is unreasonable.  That is why like in the case of the first story, the couple is considering divorcing.  This is very damaging to our culture because it makes it more valuable to not be married than it is to be married, and results in the children seeing it as marriage does not have the value that it once did.  I do have co-workers who basically live a married life, but they choose not to get married.  Most the time the reason is financial.

Hopefully in the future we will push to have the actual value of marriage recognized and the safety nets adjusted accordingly, but till then, this is what we have.

Friday, September 21, 2018

An Unfortanate Situation for a Cat

I went up to my parents house the start of September, and while I was there I got a chance to get acquainted with the cats that were there.  I didn't get too acquainted with them because I had my dog with me, and as expected they were not too eager to meet Musashi, my dog.  While I was there I ran into a rather unfortunate cat who was called Polio.  I later found out that he was called Polio because when he showed up he looked like he had been a victim of polio.  If not for the injuries he would have been a really good looking cat, much like the one below.
Blackcat Cat Black Pet Blackcat Blackcat B
Polio was a rather sweet cat that was three paws into his death bed.  By the time I saw him, he was already looking for a place to die in comfort.  Everyone who lived there, knew that they should take him in and put him down, but no one had the money or heart to do it.  They all knew this because he was past the point of being able to groom him self, he had a club foot, possibly from being hit by a car, and his teeth were literally rotting out.  Most people knew when he showed up because that was when the flies became more abundant.
Homeless Cat Full Of Fleas Cat Dirty Cat S
While I was there, he did try to move inside once.  I got a few scratches from taking him back outside.  Aside from that, he mainly was looking for attention.  Most of the time he was pushed away because everyone was repulsed at his condition.  However they were not repulsed enough to let him starve.

I asked my mom about his background, and to her knowledge, he acted like he had a home, but was left outside and got injured and was then just abandoned.  He would show up, go away, and then show up some time later.  Eventually he just kind of kept on staying.  Most likely because they were too kind to let him starve.
Stray, Cat, Orange, Animal, Feline
A couple days after I left, Polio disappeared for a couple days.  The next time they saw him was in the backyard in front of the shed, already stiff.  He now does have a resting place, and I hope a better situation than he had before.  Unfortunately reminding me once again about the saying, "pets are here to remind us of our own mortality," I would also add to remind us to love them while we can.  This was my one time to see him, and I am glad that I did, even if he was in a miserable condition.
Pets, Grave, Prayer, Dog, Animal

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A Pleasant Encounter

Some time ago my wife and I went out to a Mexican restaurant and had a wonderful talk with the bartender.  It was a very pleasant because of how well he was committed to his family and also that him and his wife had been together for over thirty years.
Beer, Tap, Pour, Brew, Alcohol, Drink
One of the parts that was surprising was that he had actually met his wife long before they got married.  He would help her grandmother with doing some shopping and had first met her when he was still under ten.  They got married relatively young by most standards, right around 18, and had a child right away.
Wedding Dress Beautifu L Girl Irish Celtic
All the while he was taking care of his family while working most the time as a bartender.  I'm not even sure if you could pull that off starting today.  The two of them did have some misfortune along the way.  There were complications with the second child and the child did not make it.  After this they decided not to try for anymore children.  Along the way he decided not stop drinking.  This was because of all the times that he saw people doing stupid things while working.  Also he encouraged his family to do the same.  They went through their share of other problems like money.  In the end he did say that the hardest was losing the child for them.
By far the best part I liked is despite problems and challenges, the two of them stayed together throughout the entire time.  I have already seen so many of the people I know who have called it quits and gone their separate ways through divorce.  I wish them a many more years together.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

A Trip to Remember

Not to long ago my wife and I went on trips.  She took her mom back to Japan while I went up to visit my parents in Washington State.  My trip went much smother than her's but there was much drama because of her trip.

As I said in a previous post, I am spending a lot of time trying to get my mother in law back up to good walking condition.  We use a chair to assist her in moving around for longer distances, but that is only good in places where there is a long distance to navigate, and they let you take the chair.  This led to the first and most time consuming part of her stressful trip.  While on the plane, my mother in law fell down and broke a couple bones.  Fortunately there was an ex Emergency Medical Technician on board and was able to help her.  Also this got her a free upgrade to business class from some generous passengers, free as in at the expense of her arm.
Along the trip, the super typhoon Jebi was present almost the entire way.  So this resulted in very little calm flight and much rain.  She had to work with the lawyer about meeting times because her mom was in the hospital.  While she was there in Tokyo, the next part of the trip was put in jeopardy because of the largest recorded earthquake in Hokkaido.  A day and a half before her flight to Sapporo, New Chitose airport was reopened.  Up till then the two of us had been talking about how to go about rescheduling and if the airline would recognize a natural disaster as a reason to need a reschedule, especially if it is on a flight not attached to the first ticket.  Fortunately we did not have to find out.
Image result for typhoon jebi
All this while my in laws were in Sapporo without utilities or water for three days.  Fortunately they had a supply of bottled water.  On a previous trip I had gotten frustrated at the lack of a working flashlight.  This light was the only working light they had for the three days without power and water.  Also found out about a cool lantern trick after the fact.  Place a water bottle on top of a flashlight to get it to act like a lantern.  My wife made it to Sapporo, and my mother in law also made it.  Luckily there in Sapporo not much stuff got knocked down so there wasn't any cleaning up for them.
Image result for hokkaido earthquake 2018

Monday my wife made the trip back and I picked her up in Portland.  Something I had not been paying attention to, but it was still happening in the background was that the Shasta area of northern California was burning.  We missed that by half a day.  The I-5 was reopened the morning before we went through the area, and the only restriction was no trucks with flammable loads were allowed.  While passing through we got several great pictures of the burned out forest.  All the while our dog patiently waited out the trip sleeping in thee back seat.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Not All Cultures Are The Same

I was fortunate enough to find a wonderful woman while I was travelling abroad.  I was working in Japan for two years and met her after being there for a month and a half.  We dated for 14 months and she moved in after 4 months.  We got married a year and a half after I got to Japan.
During the time that we were dating, she was a professional woman.  She worked as an executive assistant and because of the number of foreigners working in Japan is a very required position to help out with some day to day activities.   After I came back to the US, she stayed over to finish the year and joined me after that.  

When she did get over here she spent a fair amount of time trying to get a new job.  The American job market is considerably different than in Japan.  Many of the companies don't make use of administrative assistants or executive assistants like over in Japan.  Initially she was able to get some temporary jobs through a recruiter office, and eventually she found a more permanent job.  Here in the US though, the value of that position was much less than over in Japan.  While she took the job very seriously and worked just as hard, she never did come close to her Japanese salary.
One of the earliest differences she had to deal with is the change in transportation.  In Japan, she had access to a full amount of public transportation including rail and bus.  Now in the US, she gets to get a driver's license and has to drive everywhere.  In Japan the company was allowed to cover the cost of the employee to go to and from work, so the company would cover the cost of the rail tickets.  Initially in her visit she was sure that she would be able to use the public transport, boy was she mistaken.
After a while we had to receive packages and had to have service calls to the house.  Over in Japan, the shipping companies would give a relatively tight window.  Here in the US, the companies would give a 4 hour window.  Many of the service companies would give a window, and to date most of them would show up after the window.  For her this indicates that the companies don't value your time.  Over in Japan, if the company was late, it was very common for them to call and let the customer know.  This has not been her experience here in the US.
The final difficulty that she has encountered is the language barrier.  She has had to switch to using English for almost everything.  Japanese is not as high of value for language as other languages are in the job market.  After a while she has been trying to learn some businesses to work from home, but again, none of them have Japanese speakers as teachers.  Because of that she has been heavily relying on me to help her through the course material.  Even though the courses are equally applicable in both the US and Japan, there is just no desire to provide that language for the courses.  This has made it very difficult for her to find something other than just being a worker.

Diet and a Happy Marriage

One of the items that my wife and I have talked about a lot is our diet and fitness.  These are items we talk about because early in our ma...