10 November 2008


...meanwhile, in Portland Oregon....our trusy super hero "Malcolm Man" is faithfully guarding truth, justice, and the very silly way.
From left to right are Sue, Mike, and Dave.

Dave and Mike...making sure the Turkey doesn't "try anything funny."

Sue and Malcolm...who is getting so big, so fast. We are hoping Mike, Sue and Malcolm can make it to Los Angeles at some point...because there are so many things we want to show Malcolm before he slips into "young man" phase.

There he is....my big brother Dave....showing that bird who's boss. Get em bro!
It's too bad the Murray family is scattered so far apart.

Thanks Giving 2008......here in Los Angeles. A bit different from Portland/Seattle....70 degrees and sunny...as usual. Not exactly most people's "Fall" weather.....so I capitalized and did a long bike training ride with a Pilot friend of mine. "Burn it...earn it....then eat it." Pictured from left to right is George, Kyoko, and Glenn. It's rare to get everyone together at one time....and Colleen came through with a kick ass meal. While so many people world wide have nothing...I truly felt blessed this year.

Colleen with Michelle... a long time friend of many years. Michelle is close to adding an MBA to her accomplishment list....and she is proof that there are truly exceptional people out there...who never complain and never wallow in self pity (or blame everyone else for that matter). If we could just clone Michelle....the U.S. would be a much better place to live.

Colleen attended a three day class in San Pedro California. She said it was a great learning experience and she learned a lot of new craft and sewing techniques she will be able to use in her future projects. Pictured are some of her fellow classmates during a brief lunch break on day two.

The perfect buying storm...I had to pull the trigger on a few properties I have been watching for a long time. The buy prices have declined to that which is actually less than the build costs...so I jumped in. This is the Houston Town home...three bedroom two bath two level 1500 square feet. The complex is brand new (July 2008) and it is only 2 miles from down town Houston.

Living room of the town home. I also bought a two bedroom two bath single level condo. The complex has a waiting list because mortgages are out of reach for many more people now (due to the economy and new lending standards)....no one has $40,000 cash for down payments these days... and this developer incorporates a "rent to own" clause if they choose....bypassing the cash down requirement, thus opening the door to ownership for many who would not otherwise be able to own at all. I used my IRA through a self directed custodian to buy both units all cash...no loans. Cash rents are guaranteed by the developer (who has been operating for 25 years under the same name and has not ever missed a payment to 3100 investors...totalling 77 condo coversion projects...and is BBB listed all 25 years)....no management, vacancy, marketing, legal exposure, maintenance, or tenant interaction worries.

Three total units....two in Houston and one in Phoenix. I had also looked at a San Diego unit but the HOA financials failed inspection (they claimed they were solvent but I had a CPA go through their statements and found them to be just the opposite)...."caveat emptor."

The Houston complex is right in the center of the downtown urban high density zone...surrounded by New York Stock Exchange listed retailers, and the demographic is driven by a wide variety of industries, including petroleum, health care, insurance, and finance. Two bedroom two bath condo in Houston. My long time friend (from active military years), told me about the developer's condo conversion plan in 2006....and I have been following it ever since. Recently the prices for both units got so low I couldn't pass them up.

This the Phoenix Arizona complex...a golf course community two bedroom two bath condo coversion project (just like the Houston community). All three units (Houston and Phoenix) are brand new...purchased all cash...and I plan to hold them indefinitely as a source of cash income during retirement. More or less a passive, long term, hands off, back ground assets.

This complex is also brand new (converted March 2008)...and I visited it frequently while in college in Arizona. After I learned it went "condo" I started tracking it. I loved it when it was apartments, and I know the area well.....right near down town, adjacent 18 hole golf course, major NYSE listed retailers next door, high ranking school district (family renters - owners), close to Scottsdale boundary, diversified employer demograhic, expanding population, high density area, mass transit..etc etc.

Colleen with Trixie....who strangely enough wraps her paws around Colleens' hands when carried...not sure if that's affection, fear of falling, or a combinatio thereof. Trixie is doing much better. As you already know from previous posts, Trixie comes from many years of abuse, dire conditions in a puppy mill, and mistreatment. [She] has improved dramatically to date, and is slowly showing more and more affection over time...as her trust in us develops.

Kody is now the "veteran" and "original rat pack" mutt. He is starting to show his old age now, and we notice he is slowing down on many levels.

Now you see when we call him "Joker" some times....it looks like he's either high on laughing gas or mocking you.

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