Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Boo! The Scary Renters

Some scary new developments have been happening around the association lately.

The first has to do with my new neighbors downstairs.

Apparently playing loud music in the early morning hours, “smoking” until my unit smells like an “ashtray” and propping the door open for visitors is how things were done in their last place of residence.

I cannot stress how much we don’t roll like that over here.

But such is the life when you have rentals in your association.

Yeah, yeah---I know not all renters are bad. Blah, blah, blah and cry me a river.

And I have to agree---not all renters are bad.

But I will say, you tend to be a tad on the persnickety side when you realize that a thoughtless act such as leaving the door opens could ruin everyone’s day. Hell, it could even lead to a possible home invasion.

I suspect that my new neighbors don’t have their phone line hooked into the intercom system yet or don’t have a land line.

They will either have to get off their asses to let their guests in or work with their landlord to get the front door intercom situation resolved.

‘Cause I ain’t trying to look up and see one of those Jenkins Boys standing over me as I sleep.

Speaking of being watched…

Another one of my neighbors reports feeling an other worldly presence in the unit that she rents.

Reportedly, she believes that a spirit resides with her.

The more interesting part of the story is that her baby is woken up by the presence and has allegedly reached out to be picked up as if someone is standing by his crib, yet no one is there.

When the nice renter neighbor---we’ll call her Boho----asked our other neighbor (and her good friend) if she had any similar experiences, she replied yes.


Apparently our spirit visitor has sat on the bed while my other neighbor sleeps.

Now I know all of this sounds far fetched but I don’t disbelieve anything both ladies have to say. In fact, I wouldn’t doubt that a building as old as ours didn’t have a few visitors who are not of this world.

Now I’m no expert but all of the supernatural stories I’ve been seeing on TV the past few weeks say that spirits tend to stay with a location and not with a person.

The stories also went onto say that usually they stay on the earthly plane because an attachment is preventing them from peacefully passing into the next world.

That attachment could be to a person that may need their help or a distraught relative. A pursuit of justice or plain old unfinished business---some of us just aren’t ready to leave this life and move on into the next.

Boy howdy if those walls could talk, I’m sure they’d have some stories to tell.

The odd thing is that when the actual owner lived in the unit, she never experienced any encounters of the supernatural.

I honestly think that some of us are more attuned to the spirit world than the rest of us dunderheads. I believe my neighbor, Boho, is such a person.

I will tell you this: On occasions, I get a little goose in my side when I’m washing dishes or standing in the bathroom.

This doesn’t strike me as odd as I believe that my dearly departed mother was to blame for the shenanigans.

While she hasn’t been walking with us for almost seven years, I know she has to watch over me as I wander about through life’s journeys.

How do I know this?

‘Cause I have the knack of getting out of some fucked up situations that I have no business getting out of.

If I started telling you the stories, you’d call me a liar.

But I won’t quibble with you gentle readers. It enough that I believe---you certainly don’t have to.

Nonetheless, my mother always knew that I hated---and I mean hated---to be goosed.

So if that’s her doing it I tell her that I still don’t like it and to stop.

Nothing’s changed.

Now if the theory holds true and spirits stay with a place and not a person, why would she give me a goose in my “new” place?

While I’ve been living on the south side for close to five years, my mother wasn’t alive when I bought this place in 2001. In fact, it was coming up on the second anniversary of her death.

So is mama stalking me or is someone else mixed up in the fray?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Here We Go Again or Is The Grass Really Greener?

Persistence pays off---or at least that what I hear.

The saga of the crappy looking parkway and grass across the street from me is a regular drum I beat around here at I Hate My Developer.

The fact that it’s being cleaned is great but I want my hoody hoo to look top notch.

Cracked sidewalks, weeds and misplaced asphalt isn’t exactly going to win the neighborhood any gardening awards.

As a matter of fact, it looks like ass.

Our friends, the school across the street, will either be trying to go for a grant to get the work done or will somehow find the money to make the magic happen.

After all, at least a block of the two block stretch of my street was supposed to be done before the fall.

It’s now October 30th and I’m still looking at assphalt.

I’ll be putting in a call to the Fresh Faced Youth to remind him that the 2007 community grant applications will be mailed shortly.

You see we’re gonna put our heads together and see if the both of us can come up with a winning proposal.

I feel like I’m at a metaphoric craps table looking for a score.

Mama needs some new green space across the street---big money, no whammies!

Methinks the larger question is what happens if the school doesn’t get the grant? Will they attempt to leave the parkway on the south end of their property in its current condition?

The school’s actions in this matter will be of interest to many.

If I were a betting woman I’d put my chips on black.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Young Mr. Whitefolks

Two of my favorite bartenders have taken the leap and will be moving to the south side prior to the holidays.

One gentleman has purchased a three flat not too far from me while the other will be nestled in bosom of Bronzeville.

Mr. Three Flat is a cuter version of Tiger Woods. I’ve seen people literally stop and stare at him behind the bar. They think that Ashton is around the corner and that everyone is about to get punk’d.

Celebrity look alike + liquor = hilarity

My other bartender friend is a tall drink of water with an affinity towards DJing and a easygoing demeanor.

When he told me that he and the wife were putting down roots a tad north of me, I was thrilled but concerned.

While some may disagree, as minorities in this country we’ve always had to straddle two or three cultures in order to negotiate our day to day living situations.

Knowing that you don’t want to purchase any loose squares (cigarettes) at the entrance to the “L” and being able to discuss the fact that Wagner must have been on crack when writing his Ring Cycle can come in handy.

Even when things were segregated we all knew that we didn’t like in a completely Black world. In order to get by we had to know something about the dominate culture.

It was (and is) a matter of survival.

While much has changed in the last 60 or so years and Black culture has been incorporated into the mainstream, I am still amazed at how much some White people don’t know about Blacks and other minorities.

Then of course I was thoroughly confused at the bi-racial, Mexican Catholic wedding I was at a month ago so I guess that knife cuts both ways.

In short we could all stand to go outside our usual comfort zones to experience other people’s cultures.

Nonetheless my tall bartender friend, I’ll call him Young Mr. Whitefolks, probably hasn’t had the pleasure of being one of the few people that look like you where you live.

Or maybe he has.

Maybe he’s been in the Peace Corp and I’m talking out of my ass.

I doubt it though.

Because he’s so tall and solid, I doubt he’ll have any trouble once the neighborhood gets to know him and the lovely Young Mrs. Whitefolks.

From what he’s been telling me, she was the one who recognized the beauty and value of the south side.

Obviously this young woman has an eye for real estate and is good with a dollar.

But I think the both of them discovering south side culture, particularly Black culture, is going to be a hoot.

Perhaps they should start reading ChiKat’s blog.

Young Mr. Whitefolks didn’t even know he is directly on the route for the Bud Bilikin Parade.

It’s only like the second (or third?) largest parade in the nation and if memory serves me correctly the largest parade in the city.

Saying that everything shuts down on the south side on parade day is an understatement.

I’ve already advised him to purchase his collard greens early.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Revenue Review

I’ve submitted all the papers I have to the proper authorities.

Now all I can do is sit and wait---again.

The ongoing saga of our developer’s administrative fine becoming our problem was chronicled here and here.

I know you all are thinking, “Hasn’t that gone away?” “Wasn’t that settled?”

In a phrase, no it wasn’t.

For the record, Mr. Knight didn't list us as his employers, the city assumed that because he was listed as our registered agent with the Secretary of State's office that he was our employee.

See my little dumplings what happens when you assume?

If memory serves me correctly, when Mr. Knight, was informed of the debt last year he wouldn’t cut us a check so we could go settle the matter with the city. At the time he wanted our attorney at the time to see if the debt could be transferred back into his name.

If you think father time isn’t kind to most things, you should try attempting to resurrect a four year old administrative fine and persuading the city to undo everything it’s already done.

Even though everything they did was by the book.

It’s not the city’s fault that Carlton didn’t inform the members of the board that wage deduction orders were piling up in his office.

The association would have a great civil case against him but for one small thing---he has made it a little tough for most people and governmental entities to find his money.

I’m not saying it can’t be found but it’s gonna take some kind of municipal or federal firepower to make that happen.

Firepower, I’m sorry to say that our condo association doesn’t have.

So why in heaven’s name would the association pursue a lawsuit with the expense of lawyers and the like when we’re fairly confident that we’d never see a dime of the money?

Then we’d still have to pay the money owed the city---the debt grows .64 cents a day---AND would be out of some major scratch for a lawyer to sue Carlton Knight

That my friend is called a pyrrhic victory---as I’ve found out from dealing with Mr. Knight, right doesn’t equal might.

So what to do?

Back when I first met the Lord High Executioner (LHE) I bounced this little head scratcher off of his noggin’ to see if he might be able to shed some light. Due to the age of the matter, there was little he could do from a law department perspective.

And at the time, we were frying other procedural fish concerning loopholes in the developers licensing registry and the granting of permits.

Prioritization is the key.

Nonetheless, once all of that hoo-ha was dealt with, there was still a little matter of the ever growing fine. A fine that no one who originally bought into the association or has since moved into the association is responsible for.

The LHE referred me to a contact in the Revenue Department.

The best analogy I can make to the Revenue Department is this---If the Law Department is Tony Soprano, the Revenue Department is Chris Moltisanti.

You do not want to have Christopher knocking on your front door. You do not want him looking for you.

Your day is going downhill fast when Chris or the Revenue Department has you in their sights.

They don’t play.

After a round of phone tag I reached the LHE’s contact and attempted a brief explanation of the problem.

He suggested that I gather up all of the paperwork, write a letter of explanation about the situation and fax it to his office.

I did just that but instead personally walked all of the paperwork in to his assistant on my way to work last Friday.

So I’m hoping that we’ll get extracted from this mess and that the debt falls squarely back onto the shoulders of Carlton Knight.

‘Cause from where I’m standing that’s where it belonged in the first place.

Friday, October 20, 2006

I Have Got To Meet This Girl...

The lovely Chikat posts another blurb about south side living that is laugh out loud funny.

She and the Mr. are getting ready to jet off to China---lucky ducks. When, oh when, will I ever get to meet this girl?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Rules of Order

If you remember my “Dropping The Ball” post, it seems that the DCAP, The Revenue Department & The Department of Buildings didn’t quite know their head from their ass.

My questions and concerns prompted a flurry of e-mails. I also learned a few things in the process.

In fact those departments, do know their heads from their ass. Moreover, now that the oversight(s) has been uncovered, steps are being taken to correct the issue.

The e-mail below is the initial one sent by the Lord High Executioner (LHE):

It has come to my attention that developer's who fail to get licenses are still being allowed to get permits. As I understand the code requirements, developers must get licenses in order to receive permits.

I have a couple of questions.

First, is there any process that prevents permits from being issued to developer's who fail to get licenses? (DCAP?)

Second, if the City becomes aware that a developer lacks a license, is there a mechanism to revoke/suspend the permit that has been issued? (DCAP/DBAL?)

If we have a requirement that developer's must get licenses and they fail to do so, there should be some way to keep them from getting permits or, at least, punish them once we find that the permit has been issued.

I have a specific example where the developer has received a permit (after three previous stop work orders for not having the proper permit) has sold units and is selling more, and never received the required developer's license.

Should he have been prevented from getting this permit? Now that he's received it, can we take measures to revoke it?

(I) Would appreciate your thoughts on this.

And the response…

Currently, we have a process in place that prevents a non-licensed General Contractor from obtaining a permit. We cannot do the same with a Developer because the definition of a Developer is someone who will buy, fix & SELL the property. I can ask someone if they plan on "selling" when they apply for a permit, but if they say no, there is nothing I can ask for to prove otherwise.

I can though revoke a permit or void a pending application if DBAL tells me that the property owner was required to obtain a Developer's license. DBAL would only be able to prove that a property owner should have been a developer when the property owner, in fact, attempts to SELL. We spoke of this briefly yesterday during our meeting.

Just last month, DBAL sent me a list of property owners who had obtained permits, not obtained their developers license, and are now in the process of "selling". I've since voided all of their permits and sent them, & XXXX correspondence indicating such. DBAL has also issued "cease & desist" orders against them.

So, in summary . . . is there a process to prevent a Developer from obtaining a Permit if he/she has not obtained their license? No. Is there a process that allows us to revoke a permit once the "intent" to sell is proven? I believe we've just created one as of last month. Can we fine them for allegedly lying? We could probably pursue a "false statement" action, but I would ask if reference to such is made on the developer's license application.

Methinks a major announcement from the city about residential development may be on the horizon.

Friday, October 13, 2006


And I thought our association was getting the business from our developer---check out this story of woe from our friends at Chicago Magazine.

By The Way...

The Champion Cobalt is on the bathroom walls and I must say that it looks outstanding.

Bob the builder illustrated why my painting skills are far inferior to his. Big ups to curly top for painting the bathroom.

As soon as I can get the floor done and the accessories up, pictures will be posted.

If it took me this long to make decisions about the bathroom, can you imagine how long it's gonna take on the rest of the house?

Big Daddy Speaks

The principal of the school across the street called me at work about the latest parkway issue.

As we spoke, I assured him that I believed that the fresh faced youth was doing all he could to make sure that the maintenance policy was being adhered to.

After all I didn’t want to get him in trouble with his boss.

But---a deal is a deal.

The school across the street needed (and needs) to consistently keep up their commitment to keeping the parkway clean.

The next day it was as if magic elves appeared. The walkway was as spiffy and shiny as a sidewalk can get in the city.

When Big Daddy asks the kids over there to jump, the appropriate response is “How high?”

My only question is how long will it be before the maintenance staff forgets and the trash starts piling up again?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Stinky Girl Candles---Affordable Luxury

When it happens that I'm over in the Bucktown/Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago I like to stop in a little store named Tatine.

They make stinky girl candles and all of the accompanying ilk that us broads like to snap up for our homes.

The owner and staff and incredibly helpful and have items at all spectrums of the price range. This is especially helpful to those of use who can't blow hundreds of dollars on home scents and bath oils.

But oh that I did...

Anyhoo---I popped in yesterday and found my newest affordable luxury: Lemongrass coconut scented votives at $1.75 a piece.

Not only do they smell wonderful but the owner makes all of the candles in the basement.

Everyone wins on this one---I'm supporting a locally owned female business; I get to purchase stinky girl candles and don't have to take out a second mortgage; my house smells good but not like every other woman's house that buys a candle from Bath & Body Works or Banana Republic.

Stop by and see the ladies when you get a chance. The holidays are coming and I'm sure some of their wares would make great gifts.