Monday, May 01, 2006

Insult, Injury

Nothing my developer does should surprise me anymore.

The crappy renovation; having my intelligence insulted; sitting in an administrative hearing and having my intelligence insulted; having the association saddled with a fine that was not of our doing---at this point, I thought I had seen it all from this joker.

I found out last week that my heartless, amoral, shifty developer is developing a piece of property that I can literally see from my kitchen window.

I almost lost my shit when I heard the news.

We have worked so hard just to get back to a level playing field after we discovered the shambles we were left with.

Last year was the start of our rebuilding and let me tell you it hasn’t been all shits and giggles down here on the south side.

You may be a little surprised to hear this but it’s somewhat tough to get the love south of Madison Street.

While not a native Chicagoan, I did go to college in the north suburbs and spent the first six of my eleven residential years living on the north side. I never quite understood the north side vs. south side thing.

It soon became apparent when my zip code changed to 60637 that the south side thing was going to figure prominently into my everyday life.

Apparently your I.Q. points drop and your propensity for criminal behavior go up once you move down here.

My friends beseeched me not to go---that I’d be killed, that no one would come to visit---Hell Woody, why would you move down there? You don’t know anyone?

Jesus, I would have gotten less flak for going into the Peace Corp.

But I did it, I made the break and moved into what I thought was my perfect little place.

The discovery of our problems made me resolute. Clich├ęs fell like pearls from my mouth: Tough times don’t last, tough people do. If we all work as a team we can make this happen.

Blah, blah, blah.

Then reality set in ladies and gentlemen. I was a little taken aback to find out that service people won’t come to give us estimates or return phone inquires because of the perception of our neighborhood.

The ones who would give us an estimate tried to jack us so bad that we should have taken that bullshit to the police and had them brought up on charges.

It took us six months to find The Porch People. We should have had contractors lining up to do the job.

Forget about getting a loan from a downtown bank for the work we needed done. It wasn’t going to happen.

We didn’t look good on paper and besides when the address was given during the initial discussion, those phone calls also happened to not get returned either.

The future was not looking bright.

A lot of hard work, frequent calls to my Alderman, the help of a friend who knows trades people and Shore Bank saved our asses.

Making people tow the line when it came to assessments, a special assessment and a couple of liens didn’t hurt either.

We had approximately $1,000-$1,400 in the bank at the beginning of 2005. We have increased that amount to over $28,000 in less than a year.

So much diligence has gone into getting us fiscally healthy; could there be any surprise that I got upset that the developer was still around.

The man that I believe is responsible for a majority of our problems is still being allowed to profit at the expense of our neighborhood.

You see my friends; his involvement in Woodlawn didn’t end when he developed our homes.

He had his sights set on yet another prize.

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