2018 Aug 12 | Ogii's birthday, house hunting

Ogii with her ten presents leading up to her birthday.

We stayed at the Pine Inn Hotel in Carmel on Friday night.

Ogii at the entrance.

Nice sitting room.

Gorgeous steps and plants and small shops outside.

You went out of the hotel and then into our room through this door; it wasn't a room inside of the hotel.

Room number 1.

Very red inside.

Taking a break from a hard day's work.

Nice bathroom.

The skylight is really nice; it lets natural light in. BR>

The tips of the chair arms.

A panoramic view of the entrance to our room.

We walked around downtown Carmel a bit. I wonder how many of these little stores make it.

A candy shop.

A really weird car.

Dinner was at Aubergine.

Five stars.

We had a tasting menu. This was the first item, with food hidden inside the shells.

Course two.



We also got a wine pairing. This one was my favorite of the evening.

As you can tell.

The chef came out to greet us.


Six. Not only was the food for each serving different, so were the plates.

Another wine.

Ogii enjoying the wine.

They brought out the utensils before each serving, so part of the fun was trying to guess what the next item would be based off the utensil. This looks like some special kind of spoon.


Wine and food.

Another wine.

Ah, this one I know: it's going to be steak.


You could pay extra to get a serving of wagyu steak, and I'm glad we did, because it was amazing; it literally melts in your mouth.

Me and the soon-to-be-eaten steak.


Time for dessert wine.

And a dessert fork.

And dessert: ten.

Ogii drinking more wine.

The waiter pouring another wine.

To go with course eleven: a birthday cake.

And chocolates.

Finishing off the wine.

Twelve: one more set of chocolates.

The menu signed by the chef.

We were the last ones to leave because we had a very late reservation. It was nice because there were only a few other people in there with us. One was a family of two adults and two kids, which is kind of crazy considering how expensive the food was, but I'm guessing they were rich. For us it's a huge deal to eat there; for them it's like eating at McDonalds.

Back at the hotel and Ogii opening some presents from Mom and Dad.

All kinds of fun little things.

A card from me.

A card from her coworkers.

Who all wrote nice things.

A lot of traffic the next morning headed south by Carmel. Thankfully we're going north.

I wonder if this person really lives in Colorado or if they just got the plate there because the Californian one that said "Carmel" was already taken.

Some teepees up in the hills.

Some protestors by the ticket office for the Monterey Bacon Festival.

They even have a rather large TV hooked up to an inverter hooked up to a car battery on a trolley. Pretty nice setup, except this girl has to hold the TV. I kind of felt sorry for the kids who had to protest with their parents instead of eating all the yummy bacon.

Bacon everything: apple fritters, ice cream, salads, tacos, shrimp, jalapenos, chimichangas, and beer (which was just a beer with a stick of bacon in it, but it's the thought that counts).


Other food vendors.

Other non-food vendors.

One of Ogii's coworkers was there braiding hair; really amazing patterns.

Live music.

This guy had an interesting outfit.

This poor server was right by the music, so he had to use this loudspeaker to say people's names, and still nobody could hear him.

Applewood smoked, yum.

Lunch is served.

That's a big burger.

There was also a small car show there.

With some nice older cars.


And a cooking stage.

After that we headed to Salinas to look at some more houses.

This one was nice.

Very pretty flowers.

Not sure what these are, but they're really cool.

Bright front room.

A bit different layout.


Back patio.

Lots of doors to the patio.

One of the bedrooms.

Big counter but only one sink.

Master bedroom.

Which opens into a little enclosed patio.

Big closets.

OK shower.

We could plant some smaller trees here, although it might be a problem if they get too big.

House number two.

It looks wider.

Also fake lawn, so easier to take care of but not as soft as real grass.

Front room.

Fun painting.

Living room.

Front bedroom.


Bedroom or other room.

Another bedroom.

Tiny half bath between the main house and the three bedrooms.


From the kitchen to the dining room to the back yard.

Another bathroom with a tub.

Master bedroom in the back of the house.

With a door to the back yard.

Dual sinks.

Decent shower.

I wonder why they put all these wood chips down rather than leave the grass. Might be a nice place to put a garden.

Big back yard.

They started putting down brick in this corner.

Living room and dining room.

There was a lot of ongoing work in the little edges of the house.

Maybe you could fit two cars in here, but it'd be tight. It seemed like an older house that had a lot of additions, and sometimes the oldness of it showed through.

This house has an amazing lawn.

This one could use a lot of work, though.

It seems like most of the houses around $600,000 are selling for about what is being asked or maybe a bit less, although some are even a bit more. Kind of seems like it's at a turning point between overpriced and underpriced.

Houses around $400,000 are usually much smaller. But this one is only 629 square feet; that's tiny.

Compared to houses in the Midwest and the South, though, it's crazy here. Houses we'd want are $600,000 her and under $100,000 there. We thought it'd be a lot cheaper to buy around here than around Los Angeles, but that's not really the case; it seems like we're still squeezed between Silicon Valley and Carmel / Monterey. But even cheaper areas of California, like Bakersfield, are still much more expensive than the central US.

This one in Rapid City is 4400 square feet, which is double the size of what a house with a similar price would be here. Plus, you get to live on Enchanted Pines Dr.

Once Ogii ran the numbers, we realized the cost of buying a house (property tax and homeowners insurance) if we paid it off in ten years was actually more expensive than renting for ten years, at least if we stayed where we are. If we moved to the area we were looking at buying and rented there instead, it would be slightly more expensive to rent, but not my much, and that's not considering whatever money we'd put into house repairs and improvements, so renting would still probably be cheaper.

So then it comes down to do we want to put $600,000 into a single house we live in over the next 10 years or can we put than money to better use elsewhere. While buying a house to rent out can be a good investment, buying a house to live in is not, especially considering housing prices are stil not back up to where they were 10 years ago, right before the last crash. If we buy now and a similar housing dip occurs, in 10 years we'll have made $0 on the house whereas we could potentially make a lot of money in other investments, and it seems like the housing market is starting to slow down; we really don't want to buy at the high point of the market cycle.

Even if the housing market doesn't go down, it's still going to tie up a ton of our money and be very risky if something happens to one of our jobs or if we want to move or who knows what else. It just seems safer to put our money in multiple different types of smaller investments than all of it in a single big one. If we were much richer and could still invest a lot of money into other areas, it wouldn't be as big of a deal, but that's not the case.

Plus, neither of us really gets a lot of personal value out of owning a home. We don't really want to put a lot of work into a house, we work late, and we're gone most weekends. So at least for now we're just going to keep renting. Maybe if the market really slows down and the prices drop considerably we'll think about buying again, but for now we can probably invest that money better elsewhere. Not to mention also have some money left over to spend on things like nice birthday dinners for Ogii.