Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Cliff Notes, Part II

Now that I’ve been through the basics of what you should be looking for in terms of paperwork, let’s move on to more advanced methods of developer justice 101.

1. Start Writing Letters

The bar to your left has links to most local, state and federal government officials. Let them hear about your extreme displeasure with your developer. I’m sure that he or she is attempting to build or develop other properties in your ward, without your alderman’s say so it ain’t gonna happen. An unhappy alderman is one headache that a developer doesn’t want. Plus with an election cycle quickly approaching I’m confident that your alderman will listen to your concerns.

If you don’t know who your alderman is, find out---and quick. Be nice to him or her and their staff. You do not want to piss them off.

Hopefully at some point all of this effort will blossom into a full blown “damn the torpedoes” campaign to get the laws changed to protect the consumer as far as condominiums are concerned.

2. Be Nosy

The Federal Bankruptcy Clerk’s Office is a treasure trove of information. See if your developer has filed before. It’s public record you know---free and open to all who can pass through the metal detectors and have a picture ID. Be care of the reporters and camera people at the George Ryan Trial. They can be a bit testy.

Click on the link to the left for the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County. Choose the “chancery” drop down and the “defendant” option to see if your developer has ever been in foreclosure. Choose the “civil” drop down and the “defendant” option to see if your developer has been party to any lawsuits.

Enter the legal name of your condo association in the “civil” and “defendant” options to see if you guys are parties to any lawsuits. That’s how I found out that we had open litigation against our association.

Check the incorporation status of your developer’s business by going to the Secretary of State’s website link on the left.

Go to the city and pull all of the open violations (if any) for all of the addresses in your association.

3. Ask Uncomfortable Questions

Do you have your developer’s license?
Did you file a copy of the property report with the city?
(If I understood you correctly) Why did we have to file our own articles of incorporation with the state?
We would like to see the accounting and the assessments that you as the developer paid into our bank account.

4. Be An Even Bigger Pain In The Ass

File a fraud complaint with the Department of Consumer Services. Include as much paperwork to support your case as needed. More than likely the city will tell you that there is nothing that they can do. The laws concerning fraud with respect to condominiums has not yet been addressed and therefore isn’t on the books. But---and this is a big but---in the informal hearing your developer may be cocky enough and stupid enough to incriminate his or herself. Did I mention that the informal hearings are tape recorded?

Best of all you can get a copy of that tape and use it in any future civil litigation. Priceless, huh?

Happy hunting my new condo owning friend, I hope it all comes out in the wash. Don’t forget to apply for the refuse rebate from the city. It sounds like you kids are gonna need the cash.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Reality Check

I just found out that the older gentleman of our three man porch crew died of a sudden heart attack last Friday morning. His son also happened to be on our crew as well. That explained why we didn't have anyone working on Friday or Saturday.

Obviously, the son needs to make funeral arrangements both here in Chicago and overseas in his father's homeland.

Geez, my heart goes out to the family and especially to the son. Burying a loved one is usually one of the hardest things you have to do.

The porches can wait.

Cliff Notes, Part I

My new condo owning friend:

I know the urge to throttle your developer and/or inject damage upon his prized possessions is great, but a cooler head must prevail.

I also must remind you that I am not a licensed attorney, a law school graduate or have applied to or passed the Illinois State Bar Exam.

I have on the other hand been in quite a few bars (of the entertainment variety) in Illinois.

Yes, it sounds like you kids are in a sticky wicket but I urge you to gather together your troops their real estate contracts and closing documentations ASAP. Please do so while everyone remembers where they stuck everything or before Fluffy or Fido scent marks the closing documents.

It is imperative to fully understand what was and what was not promised in writing via the contracts.

Additionally, it would be helpful to find any advertising or promotional material about the offering of your development.

The point is that you need to find something somewhere that lists what your bootleg developer was going to do with respect to the renovation.

Those are just the basics. If you really want to start rattling cages you can move onto some more basic sleuthing techniques that I’ll give you in the next post.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Just Call Me Cliff

I recently found this one in the inbox:


I am a fellow Condo owner and fellow victim of a shitty, half-assed developer.

A sucker is born every minute, right?

My name is XXXX.

Through random googling that included the words "porches, chicago, developer, condo" I found your blog. It has been nothing short of the cliff notes for what could potentially save my condo association $30,000.... I know, I know, Small chump change compared to your building's debacle.

Basically, the reason I'm writing is to thank you for caring enough to put your biz out on the web for others to share in and learn from. And also to ask you a few questions.

If you have a minute, I'm going to give you a crash course in my situation:

Spring 2004 : XXXX Developer is selling condos at "pre construction" prices in west Rogers park. My wife and I see a great space gleaming with potential that is supposed to updated for "today's living" and is gutted to the studs.
We go under contract.

Late Summer 2004: we are the first unit to close. We, like you, went to our final home inspection with a seriously deficient unit. No fridge, no stove, no HVAC, etc, etc, etc..... We had to close for a variety of reasons and we did. We held money in escrow and got things completed. Things seemed good.

March 2005: With all of the units closed, the developer and his partner turn the association over to the residents (12 units). I am voted President, and having NO IDEA about the shitstorm of work that is about to hit me, agree. Thankfully, we were had some residents with some previous condo experience, and they guided us through filing with the state as an association etc...

November 2005: Everything seems to be going along fine. The last utility accounts are getting turned over from the developer. The developer even followed through on some additional repairs to common areas that he never go to in the rehab process. Then a "notice of violation" shows up in my mailbox from the city. It turns out that our porches (2 of them total) and some other small building things are in violation. HOLY SHIT!

January 2005: We appear at our court date, sans attorney, and ask for a continuance. we are granted one. In the mean time, I have asked the developer for the ever famous "property report" which he cannot provide. All he can give me is the "certif. of occupancy". And swears up and down that "inspectors were all over that building including the porches" and denies responsibility for repairing them. The city building court could give a fuck about the certificate and basically tells us to get the ball rolling on the repairs.

To make a long story even longer, We have collected a "developer's warranty's" from the 2-3 people that closed last spring and still are under the one-year grace period that these warrantees cover. We have talked to a private attorney about a litigation against the developer in hopes that he will pay for the porch re-build that architects and the city told us we needed to have.

So to get to my question : I am aware that you are not a lawyer, but do you think we have a fighting chance at this???? Any info or opinions you can offer up would be as good as gold at this point.

I am young, 26, and new to this whole world of home-ownership and condo-board stuff. From reading your entire blog, I have gathered that things could be much worse for us than they currently are, but 30 g's it just that. A lot of effing money. If we can stick it to this asshole, we will. Also, since I am such a novice at this, is it OK if I contact you with future random questions about condo board stuff? You seem like a wellspring of knowledge!

Thanks for anything and everything you can offer,

I thought the situation had merit and could help others in a similar boat. I'll post my response to my new friend and fellow frustrated condo owner in the next post.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Done and Done

It's official.

Our condominium association is officially out of the foreclosure business (for now).

The last two foreclosures happened this month. One I wasn't aware of until I checked the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County's website today for further information.

Now we just need to get these bad boys sold so our property values stabilize.

Yippee! This is the beginning of the end of our immediate money woes. All 18 units will be paying assessments which in turn will lead to increased revenue across the board.

Diligence trumps deadbeats any day.


One of my neighbors is an honest to Pete pain in the ass.

A number one bona fide negative, it’s my way or the highway, piss and moan until I get my way, high maintenance individual.

Needless to say I find it difficult to be in the same room much less sit in a meeting with this person. But as luck would have it I have to do just that.

I’m sure God is punishing me for a number of past transgressions.

If I would have known that raising my skirt to show one of my kindergarten classmates my hoo-ha was going to get me to this level of Dante’s Inferno, I would have left well enough alone.

Well I’m not sure that the kindergarten episode was the push over the edge, but I’m sure it didn’t help.

This neighbor, who for naming purposes I’ll call Caustic, seems pleasant enough when you first meet. Caustic is attractive, outgoing, smart as whip and has seemingly endless good neighbor potential until a conflict arises.

Holy Christ.

The pissing and moaning Caustic does is legendary. Let me count the ways.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Ties That Bind

Emotions are a powerful force.

There is no greater evidence of this than the contempt most of my fellow owners have for our developer.

How else could you explain the fact that a group of people with such strong personalities and opinions could come together for the sake of our home?

All of this despite repeated attempts to thwart the porch construction and the levying of the special assessment by our developer.

Utter contempt is such a unifying power.

That’s not to say that there isn’t a rat in the woodpile.

Maybe that’s the wrong way to phrase it---rat has so many negative connotations. Perhaps the way to phrase it would be that my blog has been the subject of conversations from someone who knows about it to other interested parties.

While this blog is no secret to most of my neighbors, someone’s been talking. But then of course, I knew that was going to happen. I counted on it happening.

I could truthfully give a rat’s ass who spilled the beans. You can’t put out a blog on the World Wide Web and not expect others not to eventually find out about its existence.

This blog receives hit from people---how shall I put this---who don’t necessarily have the association’s best interests at heart. Deadbeat former owners, the infamous "Attorney At Law" and our developer’s lawyer all may be popping in to take a peek ever so often.

No worries, all are welcome. As a matter of fact, I’d like to give those cats a big Woodlawn “howdy” from me to you.

You know how they say the truth will set you free? The truth, especially a well documented one, also happens to be an absolute defense. Funny how that works, no?

But I digress…

Wading through the delights of condominium building management this past year has at times brought out the somewhat crabby side of all of our personalities.

Nothing too serious----pissing here, moaning there, spirited meetings, a few raised voices, eye rolling, a tinge of attitude. Despite that everyone knew that in order to get financially healthy, we were going to have to dig down and bite the bullet for at least two years. The first year was going to be the toughest but afterwards it would start to get better.

Just think of two cats spitting and hissing as they circle each other but neither is seriously interested in fighting. That’s pretty much how it went.

Until now.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

One of Three

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a porch.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Bob Goulet

There are times that I feel like I’m doing my best Don Quixote imitation; tilting at windmills, fighting giants that aren’t there.

Blinded out of my sense of justice to the stark reality of our situation.

To be told by not one but two governmental agencies that my developer has not broken any laws. Wading through the indifference of neighbors who are either too busy or too lazy to take the time to mount a campaign or file a charge in their own defense.

Daring to question and take on my developer who has seemingly played this game before.

It’s enough to wear a normal sister out.

Luckily for me I’ve never been described as “normal.”

Let me give you good folks a personal observation then a story:

Do you know someone who literally has everything dropped in their lap? You know the type of person who puts a quarter in the slot machine and hits the jackpot. The person whose fortune always happens to put them in the right place at the right time; the individual that always comes out smelling like a rose?

I am not that person.

Rather, I am the scrapper---the person who always had to work a little harder to keep up and exercise a considerable amount of effort to succeed.

And trust me; it hasn’t come at the cost of many mistakes. I’m just as much as a dumbass as the next person. But I do try to learn and not make the same mistake over and over. Twice usually does it for me.

Then of course no man (or woman) is an island. I have a select group of people who I count as friends and more importantly if gloves have to come off will be there for a sister.

My point is I have no choice but to work hard for what I have. Shit just won’t fall in my lap because that’s my most cherished wish. Get in the mix and make it happen. That’s how I was raised.

That’s why this whole bootleg developer thing bothers me so much.

It was never a case of asking above and beyond what was expected but rather what was fair. If my developer and I were in front of Judge Larry Elder in Moral Court, I’m sure I would win.

Now there’s an idea. Perhaps I should get to work on that.

Lying in a bed I didn’t make is not in my nature. No one will stand up for you if you don’t stand up for yourself.

O.K., I’m finished with the insight, now for the story.

From my freshman to senior years in college I applied every spring for an internship with the Chicago Cubs.

Every year I was shown the door; except for my senior year.

After much persistence and showing up every year like the swallows coming back to Capistrano, I finally secured an internship in the marketing department.

I had an amazing summer, made some great friends and had an experience that some people would kill for----to get an intimate business view of a Major League Baseball Team.

Straight, no chaser within a storied franchise no less. That’s about as baseball as baseball can get.

The moral: Don’t accept the first, second or even the third no as a final answer. I still have to remind myself of that from time to time.

No laws to address shoddy development? Bah, I’ll start a grassroots effort to get them changed.

Disinterested neighbors? I should be thankful for the ones who are in the good fight with me.

But if need be I’ll stand alone tilting at windmills singing about my impossible dream.

It's All In The Details

It’s always the little things that escape notice.

Why should this porch project be any different?

I mentioned a slight wrinkle in the Nirvana post a few days ago. Well that slight wrinkle turned out to be the roof and the gutters. We---and I mean that in the collective sense---completely spaced the additional cost to re-seal the roof and to re-attach or purchase brand new gutters.

The recent spat of inclement weather has reminded us of this little oversight.

There’s nothing quite like seeing a sheet of water go past your window and collect in the entryway to the basement to remind you of what slipped your mind. There was so much water down there I saw animals lining up two by two.

That is never a good sign.

The water threatened to overrun the threshold to the basement and start ever so slowly seeping inside. Mmmm…let’s make a dank basement even danker.

I don’t even know if that’s proper English but I’m sure you good folks get the point.

The improper use of water is every homeowner’s enemy. It doesn’t matter if you live in a single family home, condo or a town home. Water can not only cause serious damage on it’s own but it can also lead to mold and mildew problems. Trust me when I tell you that the only thing you want to happen with water in your home is that you want it to be clean when it comes out of the tap, hose or into the washing machine and go away down a drain.

Anything else will lead to drama.

To protect our porch investment as well as the roof and the bricks on the back of our building, a decision on what to do will have to be reached before the end of the month.

Do we go out and find other contractors or do we accept The Porch People’s estimate?

Whoopee more decisions.

Of course now the finger pointing has started.

I readily admit that I personally dropped the ball on this one. But I wasn’t the only chef in the kitchen. The other former board members as well as any one else who had a copy of the proposal missed it as well.

Naturally people are concerned---we don’t exactly have coffers overflowing with cash---but one person’s objections and strident opinions stand out head and shoulders among the rest.

No one every said having 17 other neighbors was easy. Then of course I don’t remember who died and gave me the title “Easiest To Get Along With.”

I can give as good as I get but for the most part we all build a bridge and get over ourselves as all of our fates (and fortunes) are tied together by a little thing called our condo association.

Nonetheless a major personality conflict was bound to happen. It was only a matter of time.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

No Sugar, No Cream

My coffee gesture was not a big hit.

I went downstairs to collect the urn and the contents were barely touched. One of two things may have happened---either they were too busy to drink the coffee when it was hot or coffee making is not one of my core competencies.

At least I tried.


Construction on the first porch is almost completed.

The decks themselves are finished and the crew are presently errecting the banisters and railings. Chicago had a bit of a snowstorm Friday night and the gentlemen were here bright and early Saturday morning---go figure.

They're so close to finishing the first porch that they have already demolished the second porch. It's nothing but a great empty space and a pile of rotted wood. I've been taking pictures from day one so as soon as I can get them developed and on a disk, I'll post them.

Naturally a project of this size is not without a few miscalculations. A slight wrinkle has surfaced on our association's way to porch nirvana.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

My Response To The City

January 17, 2006

Barbara Gressel
Department of Consumer Services
Richard J. Daley Center
50 West Washington Street
Room 208
Chicago, IL 60602

Re: Case #XXXX

Ms. Gressel:

It was with great disappointment I received your letter dated January 12, 2006.

I appreciate and thank both you and your staff for the extensive review of the fraud complaint I filed against XXXX with regards to the XXXX Condominium Association.

I am curious about what document(s) or burden of proof one needs to file to successfully prove a violation of the deceptive practices ordinance? Further clarification would be gratefully appreciated.

Lastly, I recently found a copy of a newspaper ad that ran in the Chicago Sun Times advertising the sale of the XXXX Condominium Association and have included a copy for your records. Above the starting price of $99,500 reads a tag line that states “Fully renovated 1, 2 and 3 bedroom units…”

If the words “fully renovated” don’t imply or indicate that the home that you’re buying is free from latent defects, poor workmanship, unheeded code violations and third party lawsuits then the laws and ordinances of both this city and state need a major overhaul.

Once again, thank you for you and your staff’s scrutiny of my complaint. I look forward to receiving your answer about my deceptive practices question.


The Woodlawn Wonder

Cc: XXXX, Attorney General’s Office, State of Illinois

Alderman Leslie Hairston, 5th Ward


I took hot coffee to our porch crew this morning.

I don't know about you but I want people working on my home to be fully alert and caffeinated in this crappy weather.

Plus since I don't drink coffee and only have it for guests and family, I get to improve my coffee making skills.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Ain’t That A Bitch

I just solved a mystery.

It seems that the electricity in the basement of my building may be directly tied into the electrical circuit for my unit. I may be wrong but I strongly suspect this to be the case.

How do I know?

Today when the porch crew’s power tools tripped the electricity and shut down the power to my laundry room and to the refrigerator’s outlet; flipping the switches on the main circuit breaker panel produced zero results. I flipped the switches on the circuit breaker panel that controlled my unit and voila---we had power back in the basement and to my outlet and laundry room again.

I am so pissed I could spit nails.

No fucking wonder my electric bills have been so consistently high. At first blush, it would seem that I’ve been paying for my building’s basement electricity. Every time someone leaves the light on downstairs, it’s money out of my pocket.

Now ain’t that a bitch.

Construction Progress

As I write this post, the second story of the porch is being nailed down and the base of the stairs are being erected and fleshed in.

On Saturday the work crew began pouring concrete at the base of the footers. I'm assuming that the rest will be poured at some point but from poking my head out the window to gauge progress and the multiple pictures I've taken, construction seems to be going along swimingly.

I hope the weather continues to hold and our workmen continue to be safe and speedy.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The City's Response

January 12, 2006

Re: Case #XXXX

Dear XXXX,

The Department of Consumer Services has completed an extensive review of the complaint you filed against XXXX. The legal staff examined the douments submitted by you and by Mr. XXXX, and reviewed the testimony from the informal hearing held December 7th 2005. This department is unable to proceed on your behalf in this matter.

The department is limited to issuing citations for violations of specific ordinances such as a business obtaining the required city license(s) and providing mandated documents for home repair contracts. The department does enforce a deceptive practices ordinance, however the documents do not show that a violation of that ordinance has occurred.

The latent defects that exist in your condominium unit and in the building's common areas may be actionable in another forum. I urge you and the condominium association to contact a private attorney to discuss your legal rights and options.

Your case is now closed. Please contact this office if we can be of service to you in the future.

Sincerely Yours,

Barbara Gressel, Attorney At Law
Department of Consumer Services
Richard J. Daley Center
50 West Washington Street, Room 208
Chicago, Illinois 60602

Friday, January 13, 2006

Rain, Rain Go Away

Rain + No Construction = Lost Time

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


When I get up in the morning I attempt to do a chore or two before dashing out the door.

Laundry, scrubbing out the tub, loading the dishwasher; whatever---just as long as I have one less task to do when I drag my ass in from a long day at work.

I had finally finished washing the cat’s bedding and popped it and an entryway rug in the dryer. It was getting close to the time I was supposed to leave so I started grabbing food from the fridge.

An odd thing happened, though. The refrigerator light wasn’t coming on.

Well I suspect after four years the bulb should burn out so I didn’t think it was a big deal

When I got back home last night I realized that yes, it was a big deal.

Everything was still cold but my ‘fridge seemed out of whack.

I couldn’t put my finger on it so I checked the freezer. My ice was still solid but the telltale heart of a ‘fridge and freezer is the ice cream. My Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches were beginning to melt.

Fuck that.

At $5.79 a rip for six of those tasty treats I wasn’t going to let them melt into a puddle of goo without putting up some resistance.

Because of their lofty price I rarely get them but Jewel was having a buy one get one so how could I resist?

I started doing some basic troubleshooting.

I attempted to flip on the light in the laundry room and start up the washer and dryer. No go.

I called my neighbor Tony as extra muscle might be needed. I then pulled the ‘frig out from it’s nook to see if the issue was the appliance or the electricity. After attempting to plug in and activate my curling iron, the electricity seemed to be the culprit.

The rest of the lights were on in my unit so the problem had to be a blown fuse or a tripped circuit breaker. That meant that I had to go downstairs.

Now I was pissed.

Our circuit breakers are located in the creepiest basement of all time. It’s dark, dank and also has that Texas Chainsaw massacre vibe that I just despise---all and all a treat.

Did I mention the dead bird that’s directly underneath my circuit breaker box?

Fun everywhere you look.

Tony found my circuit breakers and began to flip them in an attempt to see if the power would come back on to the laundry room and the refrigerator socket. I thought I had left the light to the on position in the laundry room so if we hit the right switch we wouldn’t have to employ any guess work.

I forgot to leave the switch in the on position.

Naturally, nothing happens as Tony is flipping switches.

I cursed loudly.

Thinking that this might work better with me upstairs in my unit and him downstairs flipping switches, I go back up grumbling all the way.

Apparently Tony must have done something right as I tested the old curling iron again and I had power to my refrigerator’s outlet. The laundry room’s electricity was okey dokey as well.

The Skinny Cows were saved along with $300 worth of other assorted frozen and refrigerated foodstuffs.

I vaguely remember hearing someone say that the electricity problem couldn’t be as dire as the professional evaluation made it out to be as most of us have been living in the buildings for several years and have yet to have a major problem.

I beg to differ.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Rip It Up

The demolition crew is almost finished tearing down the first porch. They started tearing down the roof to the porch around 9:30 AM. It's now a tad after 1:00 P.M. central time. Those cats are ripping through the demo.

There's something a little surreal about seeing your back porch being dismantled and flying past your window.

A Piece Of The Puzzle

It occurred to me that I’m leaving an important part of the porch story.

Let me give you kids some perspective.

Now this may not be true for everyone who lives on the south side of Chicago but I’ve found it to be true based on my four scant years down here.

It’s easier to find a senior class virgin in a Chicago public high school than to get fairly priced, quality contractors to bid on any type of construction projects on the south side of Chicago.

I only wish I was exaggerating about this.

You can speak with people about estimates and the like but the moment you give them your address either they don’t show up or all of a sudden their schedule “is full.” The unfortunate side effect of these actions are that if you live on the south side and don’t have access to people that know others in the building trades---you’re left at the mercy of “contractors” who generally advertise on telephone poles.

In short you’re screwed.

I’m not saying that contractors who advertise on telephone poles (sometimes with hand printed signs) are any less qualified than contractors who you find from friends or in the phone book, but it’s been my experience that it’s difficult to check references, licensing and possible litigation with the telephone guys.

That goes ditto for those jokers who pester you in the parking lot and the store at Home Depot.

“Excuse me Miss, do you need a reliable contractor, carpenter or painter? If so, I’m your man.”

So why exactly would I let a man into my house that I don’t know to do work that he may or may not be qualified to do? Can you spell dumbass?

A friend that works for the local phone company tells me that he knows several trades people who won’t even take estimates or bids in the city, much less the south side, because they’ve had bad experiences getting tools or vehicles stolen. He also cited several incidences of workpeople being assaulted.

In short we got quite the bad rep down here in our little slice of the world.

To underscore this fact, I tried to have a contractor give me an estimate to replace my tub and shower backsplash with this super groovy glass mosaic tile sometime this spring. After two appointments, no one from the company showed up. They didn’t even bother to call or anything.

Now that would only be par for the course around here but this lead came from a client/contractor matching service that I’ve belonged to for several years. All of my information, including my address, was already a part of my profile. If they simply didn’t want to come to the city or the south side all they had to do was not to respond to my call for contractors.

Pretty simple concept---jackasses.

While the Porch People have been great so far in terms of responsiveness and price, I will continue keeping my fingers crossed until the last nail has been hammered.

Nonetheless man about town, marathon runner, devoted husband and real estate professional James Lackland goes on the list of “peeps with props” who’s advice was instrumental to me in this whole porch process.


Today is the day.

Demolition on the north porch, the first of our three porches, starts this morning around 8:00 A.M.

Keys have been made, a (huge) check has been cut, the building permit is ready to be posted and in about an hour or so a work crew and a big lumber truck will leave the north side winding their way to our place on the south side.

Unfortunately due to allergies that have decided to show themselves at this advanced stage of my life, I may not be able to see anything that’s going on today.

Last Thursday while I was at work, my right eye started to itch. I really didn’t think anything of it as the weather changes here in Chicago almost on an hourly basis. My skin has never taken kindly to such fickle weather so I just thought it was voicing its displeasure the way skin normally would, by getting tight and itchy.

When it didn’t go away when I put a medicated ointment on it, I knew what I was in for.

I didn’t feel the swelling right away but I knew it was there. When I looked in a mirror, underneath my right eye was bright red and puffy.

In a half an hour my upper lid matched the bottom.

In another two hours my eyes were swelling shut at work.

Not in a nice swelling type of way but in a Quasimodo, climb the bell tower and scream “Sanctuary” type of way.

If my co-workers---and more importantly my boss---had not been there to see it, I’m sure they would of thought that I made such tales up when I want to take a sick day.

I could still see but my field of vision was shrinking. Nonetheless, I could see the looks of abject horror on their faces that was mixed with pity. I could almost hear them thinking, “God, that was so quick.” And “How can she live like that, not knowing when any of this will come on?”

We all have our crosses to bear, right?

The onset of my allergies in my 30’s is somewhat of a mystery but on the upside it has forced me to become a much cleaner person as I don’t want my skin to crawl and to sneeze all over the place.

This from the person who didn’t get chicken pox when she was put in the bed next to other children that had active itchy cases of chicken pox.

So much for that invincible immune system.

So when the work crew gets here this morning I’m glad that another board member has taken the day off to make sure the crew and the foreman has all of the access they need and to be here to answer any questions.

My eyes are itchy.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Porch demolition and construction will start on the north porch on Monday, January 8th. Holy crap I can’t believe this is finally happening.

The people in the affected buildings need to be notified, notices need to be hung, keys need to be given to our porch vendor.

I’m sure they’ll also want some more money as well.

If we get lucky and the weather holds (just enough), the first of three porches may be built and waterproofed before February.

Everyone keep their fingers crossed.

Crappy New Year

I am an insensitive ass who sends offensive e-mails.

Or at least that’s what I was told in so many words by one of my neighbors late last week.

The bone of contention seems to be the ever-popular maintenance schedule.

One of my neighbors dropped me an e-mail last week stating that she had been cleaning her hallways and she wanted to know if the maintenance schedule had been adhered to. I replied to her original inquiry plus added in a few more tidbits for future reference.

Perhaps that was the problem---I should have answered only the question(s) that was posed to me.

If you’re on a witness stand and offer any more information other than a truthful answer to a question, you’re more than likely to get yourself into a heap of trouble.

I should of stuck to that rule. I’m such a dumbass.

In return I got a concise dressing down about my offensive e-mails.

That right---emails---as in plural, as in more than one.

This was all news to me.

I replied back to my neighbor---a person who I’ve really had no problem with until now by the way---that I didn’t quite know what the issue was but I answered her question with facts and didn’t quite know how she misinterpreted my message.

I backed that up with a call inviting her to discuss this if she felt the need.

Now that ought to be an interesting phone call.

For all intensive purposes I’m done with it---I said what I had to say. If we both need to talk about it at a later date, I’ll be game but it’s not tops on my “to do” list.

So I guess I won’t be nominated for neighbor of the year. Oh bother.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Back To Work Checklist

Now that the flurry of holiday activities have come and gone, I realize that I still have some outstanding business to wrap up from 2005.

I never got my initial fraud complaint to Representative Bobby Rush, State Representative Barbara Flynn Currie and State Senator Kwame Raoul. Their offices are located on the south side and it’s difficult for me to get the mountain of material that I’ve amassed to them during regular business hours. Sometime this month, I’ll take a day or two off and play mailperson and finish what I started.

I also am thisclose to finishing a do-it-yourself website for the association. Since we still have a cadre of non-resident owners, it makes sense that they should be able to access old meeting minutes and financial records. Hopefully we’ll be able to hold virtual meetings at this website so we won’t have to worry about finding a physical spot to meet each month. I also think it’s important to have a virtual repository for important information and documents in the event of a fire.

The great thing about the website is that the information can be seen only by invited members who complete the registration. While I pitched this to the board last year and received approval, I have yet to bring it up to the current board. Then of course we have yet to have a meeting in 2006. I don’t anticipate anyone having a problem with open communication among a pre-approved membership.

We also need to make sure that we file our non-profit annual report with the state as well as prepare to file taxes.

Lastly, I think we need to prepare some kind of comprehensive report for 2005; a document highlighting the significant progress in the management of the association.

It never hurts to do a post mortem on what ideas work.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year

You may have noticed that I've changed the template here at I Hate My Developer.

The green templates' time had come and gone. Change was afoot.

Unfortunately I didn't completely realize that once I changed the template that I would also lose all of my links and my counter. One by one I'll eventually put them back---I want to make sure that you good folks can get information at the click of a mouse.

By the way happy 2006.