On buying a house

On 11th February in 2015, I decided to buy a house in Portland.

At the time I was working on my laptop at Hivolt, a coffee shop in New Orleans. I ordered a cup of pourover coffee named Burundi Buziraguhindwa. The menu described it as “natural sundried, juicy, strawberry, raspberry”. Turned out to be one of the best coffees I’ve ever had. It was the catalyst, because a few minutes later I had made the decision. When I told Jenni about it, she started calling it “magic coffee”. I love her.

Fast forward to August. My cross country road trip has ended, and I’m back in Portland. I’ve been talking to friends about buying a house, and looking for an agent. Amber recommends Laurie Gilmer. I meet Laurie and the house search begins. Two weeks later I make my first offer. She suggests I write a “love letter”, so I do. It doesn’t work out.

About two months pass. I see a bunch of houses. I make an offer. It doesn’t work out. Four days later I make one more offer. It doesn’t work out. The love letter is getting better all the time, I think.

Another month passes. Another offer. I really wanted that one. Nopes. Two months pass. I see a bunch more houses. Another offer. I really really wanted that one. Same story.

With every offer I got sleepless nights and elevated stress. Prices of houses in Portland have gone up by 12% over the last year. That trend goes back a couple of years. Each time it didn’t work out, I wondered if I would be able to buy a house at all.

Tick tock. It’s leap day 2016. Laurie informs me of a house that is being prepared to go on the market so we go see it a couple days later. I like it. On 3rd March I make the offer. On the 4th, it is accepted. 😱

Five days ago, on 11th April, I got the keys to the house. I’m so happy and excited, even though I suspect that it hasn’t fully sunk in. I’ve never bought a house before, and except for six months, I’ve never lived in a single family home my whole life. I can’t wait to move in next week.

Photo by Jenni.

P.S. Oh, and by the way, if you know where I can get my hands on some Burundi Buziraguhindwa coffee, please let me know. I have more decisions to make in life. [Update: It is available at Counter Culture Coffee: https://twitter.com/tomburns/status/721458685797466113. Thanks Tom!]

P.P.S. If you’re in a similar boat, I wish you the best, and I highly recommend Laurie Gilmer, Laura Wood, and team at Think Real Estate. And also, Anne Viola at Rose City Mortgage.



This blog is being revived. It has been over five years since the previous post, and at that time it I had been writing here for five years. I don’t know whether it will last another five days or five years. We shall see. For now, consider this a revival.


Today I turned thirty-four.

Here are some personally memorable events since my last birthday post:

  • March – Liz and I spent a weekend at Newport on the Oregon coast. The highlight was the visit to the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Also, after three-and-a-half years at Intel, I left to join Small Society to make cool iOS apps. I started at Small Society on 22nd March.
  • June – While in LA, Liz had to undergo emergency surgery for the removal of her ruptured appendix. She returned home a week after that and has recuperated well. Got an iPhone 4 which has a decent enough camera that for the first time ever I’m comfortable with my phone being the only camera on my person when I travel.
  • July – I had to fly down to LA and drive our car back from there since we flew Liz up to Portland after her surgery. Traded in the MINI for a Subaru Outback. We had to let Yoshi go.
  • August – My parents visited us in Portland and we had a great time showing them around Portland. We also visited Seattle, Crater Lake and Bend.
  • September – Visited Disney World in Florida for ten days. It was a vacation for us and a chance for my parents to meet Liz’s parents for the first time. We all had a great time there. I also visited family in Chicago for a few days.

It was another amazing year and I’m looking forward to the next one.

And lastly, here’s more about the number 34.

Goodbye Yoshi

It was less than a year ago that we said hello to Yoshi. Unfortunately and unexpectedly now it’s time to say goodbye.

Yoshi started to show symptoms of great discomfort yesterday morning and we noticed blood in his urine shortly before noon. We immediately called his regular vet but they were about to close and asked us to go to Laurelhurst Veterinary Hospital (LVH) instead. So off we went. After his examination the doctor informed us that he is having urinary tract issues. He’s had other health issues earlier this year. The doctor informed us that since he is having these issues really early in his life, he will need constant medical attention and care in the future. Their best treatment recommendation greatly exceeded what we can afford right now. Combined with other unexpected financial events from this summer and the expected upcoming travels, it soon became apparent that we would have to make a hard decision. We informed the doctor of our predicament. She offered that they have a process in place to adopt a pet in such a circumstance, to nurse them back to health and put them up for adoption. With great sadness we decided to surrender Yoshi to their care. This way he gets the best, immediate, and adequate care and will find a new home with someone who can address his future needs as well. There are no words for our heartfelt gratitude to the folks at the LVH for adopting him into their care.

Yoshi was my first and only pet. The love that I have for him grew over time, took me by surprise, and has left me with a heavy heart. I miss him dearly and will cherish the memory of the time I had with him.

Hello Small Society

This blog post is long overdue and if you’ve been following me on Twitter of Facebook, this is old news for you and you can just go ahead and skip to the last paragraph.

In March I left Intel to start working at Small Society. This has been an interesting and welcome change in my life and career. I was working on really cool computer security research at Intel Labs. However, on the side, I was gaining strong interest in developing apps with Cocoa on the Mac and iPhone OS platform ever since I started working on that over a year ago.

When I started to look around for a place to work on iPhone apps, Small Society was on the top of that list. Based in Portland, they have created apps for some of the leading brands in the world, including Starbucks, Whole Foods, Zipcar and Obama ’08. In fact the first draft of this post is being written on the iPad using the WordPress iPad app developed for Automattic by Small Society.

It’s been an interesting seven weeks since I joined and I’m thoroughly enjoying the work that I’m doing and the people I’m working with. We’ve just hired two new people this week and are looking to hire a senior Cocoa developer. Check out this job listing on Craigslist for details.