Category Archives: Personal


I’m back home from the worst trip of my life, still not feeling well. The last few months have been a roller-coaster, with changing jobs, getting approved for the new home purchase and then turned down for a loan, and getting sick.

The new job is great. I really like the company and the product (which I can’t mention due to NDA). All I can say is it’s fitness-related. I’ll be able to continue working from Florida and only go to the office when we have a big push.

My moving plans are on hold indefinitely. Although I love San Francisco, I don’t want to leave my friends here, who are almost like family. At this point I have too much here to pack up and start fresh in a different city.

An inauspicious start

I flew in to San Francisco this week to work on site with my new job.

I wasn’t feeling too well Monday before I left, which I attributed to just nerves. On the flight I started getting stomach cramps & I could barely sleep that night. I made it into the office as scheduled on Tuesday, and after 2 hours I was doubled over in pain from not being able to pee, so I had to be rushed to the hospital, where I remained until today.

I had an e. coli infection in my bladder, so they put me on intravenous antibiotics until my fever was down and no sign of infection remained. I also needed a catheter, which I still have until next week. Getting it was one of the most uncomfortable & embarrassing experiences ever.

On the plus side, my room at UCSF Medical Center had a beautiful panoramic view of the city, the staff was very nice, and the food wasn’t terrible. The chicken curry I had last night was actually good.

The CEO of my new company has medical training & knows people at UCSF, so he was very understanding about the whole mess. Unfortunately this set the project back a week, so I have to scramble to catch up.

In other news, I wasn’t able to get a loan for my new condo despite having excellent credit, thanks to changing jobs & taking my new job as a contractor, so I won’t be moving to San Leandro. Instead I plan to keep my place in Florida (which is nearly impossible to sell due to all of the foreclosed units selling very cheap) as my primary residence, find a roommate, and rent a place in San Francisco for when I need to be here.

I have the greatest friends in Florida who are almost like family, so I’m glad that I won’t have to leave them. My best friend, whose watching my cats while I’m gone, called me every day at the hospital. I do the same for her when she’s away. She became friends with my late mother because they shared the same birthday & she was the last person along with me to see my mother alive.

An Update

I haven’t posted too much recently because I have a lot going on.

I can’t say anything about it, but I started a new job involving iPhone development this week. I have a lot of work and I’ve been pretty much working on that project from the time I get up until I go to sleep. Next week I’ll be in San Francisco to work onsite.

My purchase of the condo in San Leandro was approved last week, but I ran into problems with the financing due to me starting the new job as a contractor. There’s a very real chance I might not be able to move because of that.

With all of this, the next month or so will be very hectic & stressful, so I probably won’t be posting or tweeting very much.

A big change

As of Aug. 6, I will no longer be working for Absolute Software. I’m now looking for iPhone & iPad related contract work.

Offer accepted & contract signed

My offer on the condo in San Leandro was accepted and I have a signed contract with the seller. Since this is a short sale, it will take at least 6-8 weeks for approval and it still might be rejected, depending on the appraisal. The place won’t be ready for move-in right away, since the current owner is taking the appliances.





New Condo

I bought a bank owned unit in my condo development for $39,000 & closed on it today. We don’t have as many foreclosures as a lot of other places do, but prices are still low, although this is way below the current market value. Since it’s smaller than my current unit, I plan to rent it out for a few years until I can sell it at a good price.

The unit is in pretty good condition, with new tile floors, fresh paint, and an enclosed patio, although every switch & electric outlet was removed and the wall is damaged in a few spots from mirrors being removed. I already have someone interested in renting it, so I’ll be busy the next few days fixing it.

I took some pictures of it, which I posted here.

I bought this!.jpg

Back Home

I got home after midnight last night and I’m still feeling pretty tired, plus I still have a cold with an earache.

This trip was the closest I’ve come to an actual vacation in about the last 10 years, since I didn’t go to a conference or do anything work-related (except for one meeting).

I saw a few places I really loved, but most of them were way too expensive. Even a 1 bedroom unit in one of those condos cost more than twice what my 3 bedroom would cost even now. It looks like the real estate bust hasn’t hit the bay area.

I did see some very nice, new townhouses built in 2002. It’s a row of 8 homes in a little cul-de-sac, at least 4 of them are foreclosures or short sales for well under $100k. Unfortunately it’s in a pretty bad part of Oakland. The places I looked at in the Peninsula were a lot nicer, but also a lot more expensive and didn’t seem very pet-friendly. One of them even had a shuttle to the Bart station, which would make it easy & cheap to get into the city anytime I want and not have to worry about parking.

Where I’m living now, I’m very financially secure. I owe about half of the current value of my condo and my mortgage payments are only about 5% of my income, so I pay about $200-300 extra principal every month to pay it off faster. This gives me a lot of freedom, and I can afford to take chances. If I moved into one of those places, my finances would be a lot tighter. I like the freedom of living beneath my means.

There are some units nearby that are cheap enough that I can pay cash for, and after flipping one of them I can easily pay off my remaining mortgage, which would put me on my way to buying one of those condos in the bay area. It looks like I’ll have to delay my moving plans for a year or so.

California vs. Florida real estate

I’m taking a trip to San Francisco at the end of this month to look at some homes. I’ve already been talking to a realtor and browsing the MLS listings. What I’ve seen isn’t very encouraging.

I currently own a 3 bedroom 2 bath 1130 square foot condo, which I paid $95,000 for in 2003 (which was below market value at the time). At the heights of the real estate boom, it would have sold easily for $230,000. Now I’d be lucky if it sells for $170,000. Although there aren’t many foreclosures in my complex, the one next to me has almost 50% foreclosures, with many of them selling for $45,000 or less. Of course that brings down prices for the entire area.

In most parts of Broward County I can easily buy a nice 2 or 3 bedroom condo for a lot less than $300,000, but in the San Francisco bay area, I’m lucky if I can even get a small 1 bedroom unit for that price.

Mother's day

Mother’s day still feels very weird without my mom, even 4 years later. When she was alive, I sometimes took her for granted, now I feel like a part of me is missing. I miss being able to have a talk with her, and I wish she was here to see some of the great things that have happened since she’s gone, like Obama getting elected.

RIP Evelyn Cohen, 1919-2005

Big Moves

When I live in a city for 10-12 years, I always start to become disgusted with it and I feel the need to move elsewhere. That has always made it difficult for me to settle down.

I’ve made several big moves in my life. My first was from New York City to Los Angeles, when I left my parent’s house and lived in my own apartment for the first time. Since I don’t enjoy driving, I was never really happy there.

During my time there, I had started a Macintosh consulting business. Eventually my business partner got the idea to move to Casper, WY. I never liked it there in the first place so I only lasted a little more than a year before I wanted to leave.

At that time, my mother got sick, so I moved to Florida, where she moved after my father died, to be closer to her. Now I’m starting to get disgusted with Florida.

I feel completely out of place here as the only computer geek, and I find Florida politics especially vile. I really hate one of my neighbors in particular, often known as “big bird”.

This time my move is complicated by the fact that I own my condo and I’ve accumulated too much stuff. I also have two cats now, which I didn’t during my previous moves. Luckily I bought my condo at a good time, so it’s still worth more than I paid for it and much more than I own on my mortgage. Since my car is leased, I’m not sure what my options are with it, and whether I can return it in a different state.

I don’t think I’ll be able to move again after this one, so where I move this time is probably where I’ll spend the rest of my life.

I’ve been browsing a few places in San Francisco and I’m planning a trip there around the end of this month to look at them and maybe find a place I can buy.