Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Bloggers In The Hood

After much procrastination I've finally added the infamous Chikat to my links list on the left hand side of the blog.

While we've chatted back and forth via YoChicago, our respective blogs and e-mail, we have yet to actually lay eyes on each other.

They're still a vodka lemonade waiting for you and the hubby, buttercup. The 97% meets 3% dustup is bound to happen one day.

Who knows, we may have been at some of the same place at one point.

Also give a big Woodlawn "whatup!" to the Militant Monk. Another Woodlawner (Woodlawndian? Woodlawn Pimp? Woodlawnite?) who also blogs about our little piece of paradise.

God love him as he live close to 63rd & Cottage and I don't think I could be brave enough to live over in the real hood.

I live in the faux hood as it's still the south side but you gotta trust me on this----it ain't anywhere near the drama that occurs on 63rd & Cottage. After all I can see a golf course from my balcony.

Everyone introduce themselves and play nice.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Extreme Makeover

Pictures of the shower backsplash in my bathroom before and after it's makeover. Can you believe I got the tile on Ebay?

Obviously I still have to paint but a new floor (doesn't the old one look like ass?) and light fixture (Home Depot standard issue---one word---ghetto) is in the works as well.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Happy Birthdays

The past few days have delivered a one-two punch in terms of milestones.

I marked another year of existence last Friday and the blog turns one today.

Funny how time flies, eh?

Friday, August 25, 2006


Well the cat was out of the bag.

My developer was rehabbing a building a mere stone’s throw from our development.

As I was later to discover, it was not the only condo project he had done since he finished our conversion a few years ago.

But that’s neither here nor there.

There he was gutting and rehabbing literally in the shadow of my building---and without permits might I add.

I went and checked the city’s permit database for the address and found nothing.

If my memory serves me correctly my developer conceded in the informal hearing last year that this was his first development and therefore he wasn’t aware of all of the details and ordinances that went into the process.

I would suspect that his excuses would wear thin right about now.

Plus I got a copy of the tape-recorded proceedings just so I could make sure that my memory wouldn’t completely fail me.

How in the world could you either not know or “forget” to apply for construction permits on a building rehab?

Lord forbid that the roof above your head, the electricity within your walls and the plumbing that runs through the building would be safe, up to code and given the official stamp of approval by city inspectors.

Having an occupancy permit to ensure that the whole pile of bricks isn’t gonna cave in anytime soon is also helpful.

While I have my theories, I can’t comment on my developer’s state of mind or actions.

The only thing I could do is alert the Lord High Executioner to these latest developments and wait to hear back.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Keep The Faith

I know my blogging friend ChiKat isn’t too hopeful about Woodlawn’s status as an “up and coming neighborhood” but I say banish those nagging thoughts.

With the University of Chicago is making nicey and the rate of new residential development in the ‘hood, I think Woodlawn will become what the Uptown neighborhood is now---nice enough that the real estate prices are through the roof but still with that funky urban edge.

You see I used to live in Uptown in the late nineties and left in 2001. Note: I loved my neighborhood but wanted more space and knew it was time to move on to greener pastures. Had I stayed my little piece of heaven would have been worth a tidy little bundle. Can you say retirement money and cabana boys?

So nuts to the people who won’t stick it out, nuts to the people who think a neighborhood that’s been plagued by crime and neglect will turn around in a year and nuts to the people who don’t believe in the south side.

Good riddance.

I left Uptown before the Borders, The Uptown Lounge, Crew, Soggy Paws and the Sushi Restaurant took residence. There is not a day I don’t kick myself for not having faith in my good decision to live in what was at the time a “sketchy” neighborhood with beautiful old housing stock.

To the active, community involved urban pioneer go the spoils.

Woodlawn Neighborhood Gardens #2

The faculty, staff and students at Hyde Park Career Academy (formerly Hyde Park High School) contribute to the aesthetic of the neighborhood with a nice garden around the flag pole AND a super hot mosaic around the planter to boot.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Woodlawn Neighborhood Gardens #1

I walk past this zen like garden located in the 6400 block of Dorchester to and from the Metra. Notice the new construction in the background of the second picture.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Pretty Girls

You know the great thing about living around a bunch of attractive women?

Men tend to want to impress the women and tell them things that they have no business telling them in the first place.

That, my friends, is how I found out that my developer started “converting” another building literally right outside of my back door.

But I digress. Let me fill in some of the blanks.

A majority of the unit owners in our building are single women. Attractive single women might I add. Now I’m trying to convey this in the least Angelina Jolie way as possible but I’m sure you get the idea.

Not saying that I’m nothin’ to sneeze at but I’ve long been of the philosophy that I want my female friends and acquaintances to be prettier than me---dare I say supernova hot.

This doesn’t bother me in the least little bit.

Conventional wisdom says that if a guy wants to meet one of my ridiculously hot friends at a social gathering, I by default get my drinks paid for as well.

Not only does that curry favor with the friend but I am placated with drinks and (at least in the guy’s mind) am less likely to “cock block” any of his moves.

When you have a popular sister in high school you learn to either face down your insecurities or use them to your advantage.

I’ve perfected the art of being the third wheel.

So this little skill comes in handy as some of my developer’s workmen may not say “boo” to me but they will talk to some of my attractive neighbors.

It’s a great way to find out who’s who and what’s what.

So you can imagine that after a bout of hair flipping and eye batting one of my neighbors came over and dropped the bomb that our developer had the gall to actually “convert” a building two blocks south of our association.

Madder than a wet hen didn’t even begin to describe how I was feeling. I knew my Spidey Sense was tingling for a reason.

But then I built a bridge and got over myself.

I thought, “Maybe he’s done this development right this time. Perhaps he cleaned up his act.”
I thought I should give him the benefit of the doubt but still nose around and verify.

Good thing I listened to the “verify” portion of that thought ‘cause a leopard don’t change his spots ladies and gentlemen.

And it seems like my developer isn’t in any hurry to change his either.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

So Did I Mention...

Ladies and Gentlemen did I mention that my developer is converting a building into condominiums that is literally so close to my back door, I can see it out of my kitchen window?

Perhaps it's time to explain why you haven't been hearing alot lately about my developer's latest construction hijinx. Just because I haven't been posting doesn't meaning I and my neighbors haven't been working---and watching.

Friday, August 04, 2006

It’s A Great Weekend To Be A Chicagoan

For those of you not as fortunate to live in the city let me in on what you’re missing this weekend:

Kayne, Common, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Matisyahu AND the heat wave has broken. Why wouldn’t you want to be here?

Tall Ships Chicago
It was super awesome to watch them come into Navy Pier yesterday. I walked around saying “Aaargh” all night. I also had an overwhelming impulse to buy a parrot.

North Halsted Market Days
Gay, Gay, Gay, Gay, Gay. But there’s (literally) something for everyone at one of the largest summer street fairs in the city. Since the neighborhood is rapidly gentrifying young families with children are now more than ever in the mix. Market Days usually means I need to start shopping for winter hats (don’t ask)

Retro on Roscoe
Street fair extraordinaire in the Roscoe Village neighborhood. You know how we live for our street fairs here in the city.

Did I mention that the heat wave broke and now being outside is much nicer?

The Barbeque

Once a summer, we as an association pick a date and have a barbeque in our back courtyard.

It’s a great opportunity to sit down with the neighbors and chat.

Everyone is usually going in so many different directions that we rarely see each other.

The barbeque was discussed at our June meeting and boy were the plans grandiose.

Flyers were supposed to go up to notify everyone in our association in plenty of time. Plans were made to invite other condo associations in the neighborhood.

For whatever reason none of that happened.

So as usual, no one knew if the barbeque was still on or if it had been postponed. Different people were giving different answers.

Actually that’s not entirely true.

Our association lawyer received an e-mail letting him know that he was invited to the festivities.

The rest of us got no notification whatsoever.

Okay, fine---that’s par for the course with my condo association.

That wasn’t the kicker---the kicker was what one of the board members had to say to me.

Board Member: “You said that you’d take us out for dinner if we ever got money out of the (real estate) management companies.”

Me: “I did?”

Board Member: “Yes you did.”

This person went on to talk about how much money has come in from the real estate management/mortgage company owners of the foreclosed upon units.

Insinuating that I basically quit the board for no good reason and I had no idea what I was talking about.

I just looked at this individual like they had a third eye in the middle of their head.

I let them prattle on but managed to insert a one question:

Me: “So you’re telling me that the real estate management/mortgage company paid all of the back assessments owed for the unit(s)? Even the portion they were responsible for?”

Board Member: “No.”

Me: “Oh, I just wanted to be clear on what you’re telling me.”

Selective memory is a bitch in this heat so I’m sure this person failed to remember this little ditty I sent upon my resignation.

I never said that as an association that we weren’t going to collect any money, I said that it was unethical to attempt to stick someone with a bill that’s not rightfully theirs.

Moreover the execution of association financial business was astoundingly slow.

But don’t get me started down that road.

Instead referencing the facts and mucking up this person’s reality, I tied up the conversation in a nice neat bow by saying:

“Well I think it’s just great that we’re on firmer financial footing. Money coming in can never be a bad thing.”

Now wasn’t that so good of me? I didn’t even break a sweat.

I turned to the person next to me and engaged them in conversation. All the while sipping on the champagne I brought with me for just such an emergency.