Home Archives

As in, my physical domicile.

Learning how to save, twelve (point seven five) years later

You’d think I’d have found time to write this while “snowbound in Tahoe”, but my priorities then were jigsaw puzzling, snowshoeing, and cooking good food from scratch, full stop. In truth, Stephanie did most of the jigsaw puzzle, because I had begun puzzling over something else: where to live once she had chosen Fresno State for grad school.

We’d already surveyed several apartment complexes, so we had a good sense of the quality and price points available. But still I found myself asking the question, what if we bought a place? How would 3 years of rent compare to the costs unique to buying a house (i.e. real estate agent commission, property tax, homeowner’s insurance, closing costs, etc.)?

My simplistic and admittedly flawed analysis (flawed because I assumed both a flat stock market and a flat housing market; also I didn’t foresee the extent of the renovations we’d take on, nor can I predict the impact they’ll have on a future sale) suggested that we’d throw away more money renting over three years than buying, even without any price appreciation. So I started looking at listings, got in contact with an agent, and we found ourselves in contract on a house while still in Tahoe.

The house we bought in Fresno
Our house in Fresno

Continue Reading

San Francisco Sunset

We got to Ocean Beach a few minutes before sunset on our last evening in San Francisco. When we moved from the Mission to the Sunset a year and five months ago, I didn’t anticipate developing such an affinity for the quiet streets and wild oceanfront of the city’s western flank. In search of a change of scenery and cheap rent, we landed there mostly because it was near SF State. Now I joke that I can’t see myself ever living east of 42nd Ave.

Stephanie and Justin on Ocean Beach in San Francisco, CA at sunset on January 31, 2019
Our “last” San Francisco sunset

Continue Reading

Adventures in Real Estate, part 4

The first time we discussed selling our condo with any seriousness was in the middle of our eleven hour flight from Paris to San Francisco. That was Friday, August 18th. I remember feeling nauseous the next day—as we reunited with our home of almost six years after several weeks away—questioning why we would choose to forsake its many comforts, not to mention the dining nook renovations we’d only recently completed. On Sunday, jetlagged and up before sunrise, I wrote down the pros and cons of selling, trying to make sense of my conflicting thoughts.

The list in favor was overwhelming. The tidied up version now appears self-evident; corralling so many disparate emotions to get to this point was anything but:

Continue Reading

Dining Nook Renovations

It was our plumber who suggested off-hand that we think about installing a washer and dryer in the space our old water heater used to occupy—after he had replaced it with a tankless, on-demand model, mounted to an exterior wall. That was back in November 2015. And that was all it took for me to reach out to a designer to help get our dining nook renovations off the ground.

Dining nook before renovations
Dining nook before renovations

Continue Reading

Proud to call California home

…and so proud of Eric Rewitzer and Annie Galvin of 3 Fish Studios.

Eric Rewitzer's California Keeper
California Keeper by Eric Rewitzer and Annie Galvin

Like many of the other nearly 9 million people in California who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, artist Eric Rewitzer reacted to Donald Trump’s victory as if a tornado had swept his house away. “I just didn’t believe he was serious,” says the longtime San Francisco resident. “And I didn’t see it coming.” As disbelief gave way to sadness and then anger, the bespectacled printmaker found himself sitting at the table in the middle of his studio just blocks from the Pacific Ocean. He and his wife are known for their prints of a sweet “California bear,” a version of the grizzly on the state’s flag that likes to give hugs and sells very well at airport souvenir shops. But after he spent 40 hours carving and pressing a giant sheet of linoleum, a vastly changed animal appeared—roaring, teeth glaring, claws out. “You’ve stirred a beast,” says the usually sweet and soft-spoken Rewitzer. “Watch out.” —California Prepares to Resist the President in Uncertain Times, Time Magazine

Also worth reading is the Joint Statement from California Legislative Leaders on Result of Presidential Election from which the quote above comes and Governor Jerry Brown’s 2017 State of the State Address, California is Not Turning Back, Not Now, Not Ever.