Friday, March 31, 2006

Opening Day is 7 Days Away

Hey Roger's Park Reviewers,

Are you in for Bernie's or what? The Cubs home opener is a mere 7 days away. Can't you feel the promise of another baseball season in the air?

Throw me an e-mail.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Mind In The Gutter

I am haunted by the specter of gutters.

Five days a week I think of nothing but gutters. When will they be done? Will they be able to handle the water runoff?

I am sick of gutters.

Unfortunately the situation is ongoing---the latest wrinkle is that the extra slow gutter guys put one of the gutters on incorrectly. It now has to be taken down, correctly installed and the downspout must be placed into the existing drainage hole.

As it stands, the extra slow gutter guys have the downspout draining next to our foundation and into the alley.

We all know what comes next when water drains to close to a foundation that doesn’t have a downward slope.

Can you say wet basement?

Or in our case wetter basement---we need more water down there like a fat kid needs cake.

My apologies to 50 Cent for borrowing his lyric.

The alley isn’t built to handle water runoff and doesn’t have any open drains where the water could flow away from the building. Additionally the alley would literally turn into an ice rink during the winter.

Mmm…water freezing and melting---cement expanding and contracting. It’s just enough to make you anticipate those costly masonry bills.

The thought just makes my eyes cross.

So now we are faced with two choices: Leave the gutter and downspout the way it is or cough up another $600 bucks to get it done the right way.

I may be sitting in a bus shelter drinking tumblers full of vodka before this is all over.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

For Whom The Bell Tolls

Apparently the gravy train for my winged friends may be over.

Storm Troopers

Doors were being kicked in last Friday afternoon.

One of the tenants of one of our last foreclosures had yet to move and the new mortgage company owner was not happy with the situation.

We all had an idea that the eviction process was grinding its way through the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.

From the stories that I heard, she had been receiving phone calls from the mortgage company or it’s legal representative since early January.

Unfortunately she is in the Section 8/CHAC program which has procedures for receiving a voucher to move to another apartment.

Did I mention that moving or finding a decent place to live without a Section 8/CHAC voucher is difficult enough? I can only imagine how difficult it would be with a voucher.

An open secret in these parts is that if a potential renter has a Section 8/CHAC voucher and mentions it to a potential landlord; the renter’s subsequent calls and queries will go unanswered. If they choose to, the potential landlord will never be heard from again.

Fair housing law my ass.

Nonetheless, from what I understood, the renter in our association was making provisions to move and was days away from receiving her moving papers.

Despite all of the mortgage company’s blustering, everyone was fairly confident that the Sheriff’s eviction crew would not be able to enter the premises.

Our primary entrances are controlled by a buzzer system. There are three ways to get in---you have the key, are buzzed in or know the code.

Since most people work during the day we thought---no problem.

Boy, were we wrong.

One of my neighbors said she was tricked and let the Sheriffs in. She stated that they claimed to be checking the status of the unit one floor above the targeted unit.

Why she fell for this I’ll never know.

That unit had been vacated before the end of 2005 and had been on the market.

Nonetheless, she buzzed the goon squad in and they proceeded to kick in the doors of the third and second floor units of the address in question. Moreover, the eviction crew doesn’t give a rat’s ass about what they damage. As a result we have doors with sizeable dents and damage from the padlocks that were placed on the door.

Oh no---it’s not enough to kick in the door but these motherfuckers have to do it on the cheap and add padlocks instead of changing out the locks.

Unbelievable.

Naturally, I received a frantic phone call from my neighbor who let the eviction crew on our property. Obviously there was little to be done since they had already gained entry.

A full Sheriff’s crew was ready to take all of the renter’s belongings and place them on the street but a twist of fate intervened.

The name on the eviction order and the name on the mailbox didn’t match.

The eviction had to be aborted due to a misspelled name on a mailbox. Frankly, the renter caught such a big break I don’t think she understood the full implication.

The crew did on the other hand, padlock the unit and put a lockbox on the doorknob.

A few phone calls later (by yours truly of course), the code was discovered and contact was made with the property managers of the new mortgage company owners.

I’m so sick of this foreclosure shit, I could just scream.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Donnybrook, Part II

With the amount of pissing and moaning everyone did, you would of thought that my neighbor was asking for a pound of flesh instead of what the procedure was for filing an insurance claim.

Those in attendance should have known that this was going to happen as a result of the recent early spring rains.

Because of the deluge, a few of our owners had water damage in their homes.

Far as I was concerned, rightly or wrongly, the water damage had happened as a direct oversight of the board.

It didn’t matter that the sealing of the roofs and the re-attachment of the gutters was caught and scheduled to be rectified immediately. The water had already been streaming through people’s back windows.

You can’t un-ring the bell.

Of course Caustic alluded to the meeting where she wasn’t allowed to file a claim with the association insurance for water and moisture problems in the basement.

Other unit owners cited that that they didn’t file an insurance claim as they had water damage which came through the roof, dripping on top of their refrigerator.

I reminded Caustic that the potential new claim in question was a direct result of the board’s oversight and that it directly affected the habitability of this owner’s home.

We weren’t talking about a damp basement not being the reason why your unit couldn’t sell.

In the case of the damp basement and the leak over the refrigerator, those were developer issues that should have been taken up with and followed through with him. Unfortunately we inherited a great deal when he turned over the board and discouraged unit owner participation.

Perhaps any existing latent problem should now be called a Knight legacy in honor of our esteemed developer Carlton Knight.

Nonetheless, his legacies have left us at odds with one another when we really should continue to focus on how to best recover the money we spent on the porches.

As far as I’m concerned Mr. Knight owes us $81,000 and some change.

As the volume on voices continued rising and the game of ‘I had to deal with it, so should you” continued to be played, my ire was rising ten fold.

Now you don’t have to agree with me, hell you don’t even have to like me.

But you will not sit up in the home where I pay the mortgage and the utilities and have the stones to raise your voice to me.

That is simply asking for me to give you a fucking beat down.

You will respect me inside of my home on the property where I pay crazy property taxes. If not, get the fuck out.

I calmly reminded everyone to lower their voices in my home and to try and speak with a civil tongue.

That last for all about two minutes with yours truly firmly in the fray.

I was appalled by my neighbor’s lack of empathy or willingness about trying to find a solution. It was very “my way or the highway” that night.

I know that a claim has the potential to raise our rates but holy crap, why should the unit owner who asked this question be frozen out because of issues in the past?

I didn’t think it was fair. Moreover, voices again were raised.

I was so pissed that I said “GD.”

I rarely take the Lord’s name in vain so when I do, you know I’m hot.

Since people couldn’t keep a civil tongue, I told everyone to get to steppin’.

Bird Brained

I’m now all about the Monk Parakeet.

While looking online for information, I happened to find a great resource right in my midst---my boss.

My Boy Scout leading, nature loving, math tutoring boss has an intimate knowledge of a wide range of subjects. When I brought up my discovery of the parakeets he told me that those are the same kind of birds that were sold at Woolworths and Kmart during the late 60’s and early 70’s.

Upon recollection, they did resemble the same birds but I mentioned that the ones sold through retailers were much smaller.

He stated that the retail bird’s size was restricted due to their environment---i.e. their cage. The ones in the wild can grow to their maximum size.

I was flooded with Monk Parakeet knowledge and it felt good

I imagine a kid was at Kmart getting slushies and submarine sandwiches and that their puppy dog eyes finally worked on the parents. Netting him or her the cute little birds they wanted so badly.

A week later amid juvenile carelessness those gifts had flown the coop.

Let’s recap---A non native species that hasn’t caused any discernable harm to it’s new ecosystem, shares it’s nest with other native species (squirrels) and has managed to thrive in an environment much harsher than it’s own.

Did I happen to mention how brightly colored and attractive they are?

With my apologies to Destiny’s Child, now that’s what I call a survivor.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Sundays In The Park

Sundays are the only day of the week that I don’t work at some job.

It’s rare “me time.”

I do pretty much anything that strikes my fancy, which can range from actual chores to meandering over the Sunday Trib.

All and all I get to rejuvenate my weary work ridden soul.

Last week I told you of the sights seen as I took the CTA to pick up a few groceries.

This week’s Sunday adventure took me through Woodlawn, north to Hyde Park then west to Washington Park.

I have the luck to live in-between two of Chicago largest parks---Jackson Park on the east and Washington Park on the west.

I can see Jackson Park and golf course from my balcony. Washington Park is a jewel that I don’t get to visit too often.

Since I had plans on visiting friends that lived on the northeastern edge of Washington Park, I decided to take a rare walk instead of taking the bus.

Ever so often you need to take a two and half mile stroll to get the juices pumping.

So off I went and in about a half an hour I was crossing 60th and Cottage Grove about to enter into Washington Park.

It’s easy to forget what a wonderful city I live in but also what jaw dropping, interesting cultural and civic jewels that are within walking distance.

This is what I saw yesterday:

The amazing “Fountains of Time” sculpture whose reflecting pool is finally being renovated

A statute of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing by the Dusable Museum

A community of the chatty and brightly colored Monk Parakeets at the corner of 54th and Cottage Grove

I stood there and watched our feathered South American imports talk amongst themselves and fly between their huge duplexed nests.

I hate to sound like a dork but it was so cool.

Think about it---birds that lived in South America got out in Chicago almost 40 years ago are somehow able to survive and breed in a completely hostile climate.

From what I could tell they have communities within the Monk Parakeet community.

There were groups of nests at 54th & Cottage, then another group at 52nd and Payne.

They are relatively easy to spot with the leaves not on the trees. Look for huge nests---you can’t miss them.

Another interesting fact in that the parakeets can mostly be found in Chicago at Washington and Jackson Parks. They don’t seem to want to branch out en mass too far from the south side.

Perhaps the realtors selling condos should adopt a new slogan: The south side, it’s for the birds.

You can’t fool Mother Nature.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Donnybrook

Ever so often we have a good old fashioned, finger pointing, sista girl neck swerving shouting match at our monthly association meetings.

Getting a bunch of women of color together with strong and varying opinions is at best a risky proposition.

This meeting proved to be no exception.

I usually can hold the bile down when I have to be in the same room as Caustic. I mean, Christ if we only had to deal with people that we liked, we’d never go to work. I’m an adult; I can deal with a few hours of self absorbed bullshit.

Things went generally well until two topics came up: Raising assessments and the filing a claim with our insurance company.

Personally speaking I can’t even begin to financially absorb a hike in the assessments during this calendar year. It’s difficult enough for me to pay my monthly assessment as well as the special assessment for the back porches. A significant increase---even $50 dollars is significant---would not be welcome.

And I made my feelings known to the assembly.

Our treasurer made a valid point about a budget shortfall that the previous board (of which I was a member) overlooked. While the important issue was that we be able to continue to aggressively pay down our porch loan, we do have to address this shortfall.

The most obvious way is to raise assessments but I countered we shouldn’t be having that much of a shortfall as we now should have every unit in the association paying their monthly assessments.

Then our treasurer dropped the bomb----three of our four foreclosed upon units hadn’t been paying for quite a few months.

With the subtle finger pointing at the old board for the shortfall and just now finding out about the foreclosed upon units not paying; I started to get pissed off.

I could feel my temper starting to get the better of me.

Being on a condo association board is a great deal of work. Those of you who have been reading this blog from the beginning know how much time I put into the management of our home.

And I’m just a member---I don’t have any “official” duties.

Nonetheless if you take on the responsibility of a board member position then get ready to live it until you either resign or your term is up.

It’s a business, shit can’t wait until you’re ready to crack open the work and get to it---things must be taken care of in a timely manner.

That kind of inattentiveness is what got us in our screwed up situation in the first place.

I happen to do a majority of my work Monday through Friday, during normal business hours. Since that’s when most of the world works, that’s when I stand my best chance of reaching people and getting things done.

If I have to sacrifice a lunch hour, then so be it.

There was no excuse that we as an association was just now finding out those units weren’t paying their assessments.

You could have poached an egg of my forehead I was so pissed.

Yelling and carrying on about the timeliness of this announcement wasn’t going to solve the problem so I calmed myself down and went over what needed to be done to bring those outstanding monies into our coffers.

All was well until another one of my neighbors asked about filing a claim with our insurance company.

Then the room went up for grabs.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Erin Go Black

I don’t know if it was because of the St. Patrick’s Day spirit or the fact that I hadn’t consumed any spirits.

I don’t know if I had just reached my saturation point with the litter.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m premenstrual.

I do know that I simply couldn’t take one more day of looking at a still life of pre-urban renewal so I grabbed a bag and began picking up trash.

How could I not? You all saw the pictures of the "Pretty" post.

Folks, picking up empty bottles is one thing. I live in a neighborhood that is renewing itself after decades of decay and neglect. Trust me, I ain’t living la vida loca in some posh neighborhood. I knew when I moved down here what I’d be in for.

As long as I could walk to public transportation unmolested and no one broke into the crib, the rest of the stylish neighborhood accessories like stores, laundromats, and dry cleaners would eventually follow.

Sidebar: You may consider stores, laudromats and dry cleaners as staples but trust me, down where I live they’re accessories. I don’t live within a mile of any of the above businesses.

Nonetheless, I try to do my part for civic pride and the overall aesthetic of the ‘hood by picking up when the trash gets ridiculous. The following is a partial list of what I picked up this last time:

Glass bottles (beer, liquor)
Political signs
Assorted paper
Motor oil containers
Women’s underwear
Fast Food Bags
A woman’s ruffled skirt
Aluminum cans
Hair extensions
Braiding hair

I filled up 4 ½ 30 gallon bags in a little less than an hour and a half. Frankly I consider my impromptu clean and green a success as I didn’t pick up and crack pipes or used condoms.

Trust me, I wish I was making that up.

Apparently that crowd is starting to get the message that those activities aren’t welcome in this little piece of Woodlawn anymore.

Anyone with cash can move into Lincoln Park, The Gold Coast or the new Trump Tower---there’s no trick to that. If you gentle readers don’t mind me saying so, it takes vision and commitment to move to Woodlawn.

I tend not to follow trends---I’d rather set them.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Decadence

The pleasure of Oliver Martinez’s company for a weekend
Several Magnums of Veuve Clicquot
The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City
A good pedicure

And my new favorite…

Reese Peanut Butter Cups with Caramel

Is it legal to make something this good?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Gutter Ball

I never knew it took so long to seal roofs and re-attach gutters.

These guys have been at it since last Thursday and the only progress I can see is the roof line has been trimmed back on all three buildings and the board has been attached right under the roof line on one building.

Perhaps because we're so eager to be 95% done with the project (we still have a lighting system to reattach) that it seems that progress is crawling at a snail's pace.

I just hope that all of this work can be done prior to the next deluge from the heavens.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Sights Seen

Sunday when I was out getting a few groceries I a few things that caught my eye:

Two guys decked out in the latest urban gear replete with wool stocking caps and menacing looks, in a low rider car bumping tunes with a baby seat in the back and a gay pride rainbow flag on the bumper.

Now that’s diversity.

A young man on the bus wiping his red swollen face---I later found out that he had just been maced by a family friend seemingly for no reason.

He said he was going to cut her head off. Personally I don’t think he literally meant it. If I were her, I’d watch my step.

Young, tall, freshly scrubbed, milk fed Mormons giving witness about their faith.

Now either we’ve come up as a neighborhood to have Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses come through or we’ve fallen as I only thought Mormons spent their mission year in ravaged third world hell holes.

Either way you can’t beat a pair of stary-eyed optimists walking the streets of the south side talking about God.

The irony is that there is a seemingly a church on every corner so apparently there isn’t a lack of faith in these parts.

I wonder if the Jehovah’s Witnesses will be pissed off that the Mormons are edging in on their turf.

Jets and Sharks indeed.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Pretty





This is what I have to look at across the street until the sidewalks and sod get replaced.

...He Did It Again

The fact that Saphire (sic) Place is about to get permanently stuck with my developer’s fines from the city must be a mere oversight.

Frankly since they are doing business at Three CD Mngmnt it very well may be his own company.

In my association's situation, the story is quite different.

When both my developer and I were in the Department of Consumer Service's hearing a few months ago, he blamed an errant employee for the fact that he never knew about the registered mail that was being sent to his address.

Or was it that he had a family emergency?

Oh yeah, it was both.

You see his business address was also our "official address" with the State of Illinois and Cook County as my developer was our registered agent. When mail was being sent to our association it went to our developer first.

Frankly, I don’t care what the situation was that prevented him from addressing his responsibilities; I’m just concerned that we as an association have to bear the brunt of his irresponsible business practices.

Did I happen to mention that the only way we found out about this issue is that I happened to enter our name into the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County's website and there we were.

Nice, huh?

The important issue is that a behavior pattern is emerging.

He’s either so busy, has the worst employees or never reads his mail as he doesn’t know when he has an administrative hearing with the city.

Moreover, the crux of the issue is that buildings that his property management company oversees aren’t being properly maintained. There are people living in dangerous and substandard conditions with little immediate recourse to change their situation.

And the cherry on this sundae of a story is that others have to clean up the mess that my thoughtful gem of a developer made.

He’s known about this issue with our association since last fall and has made feeble attempts at best to remedy the situation.

When he was in the administrative hearing, he stated that his relationship with the condo board had become adversarial.

If by adversarial he meant that we as an association didn’t take any of his utterances at face value and that we decided to stand up for ourselves, then yeah---for him I guess it did become adversarial.

Self empowerment is a motherfucker.

Nonetheless, I’m sure these two situations are completely isolated and a definite misunderstanding. My developer will pay his fines to the city or cut a check on behalf of the third party defendants to clear those debts just like that *snapping fingers*.

Perhaps he’s already cleared a majority of his debts with the city as he alluded to in the administrative hearing.

Then of course, I am talking about a man who stopped payment on escrow funds that rightfully belonged to the association and made a very nice woman go through some very complicated processes.

Is it possible that the city is going to give (or has given) someone like that a developer’s license?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ooops...

It looks like the Saphire (sic) Place Development LLC---doing business as Three CD Mngmnt---will be the latest recipient to bear the brunt of my developer not settling his judgments with the city.

A Department of Administrative Hearings violation dated 3/16/04 found my developer liable for 1 count of violating a smoke detector municipal code and 2 counts of not providing adequate heat in a dwelling unit(s) from September 15th to June 1st.

The fine levied was $1,025.00

My developer is listed as the registered agent for Saphire.

Per the paperwork, I it seems that the City of Chicago thinks that registered agent equals = employee.

Who knows, he very well may be.

Nonetheless, what the court documents show is that Saphire Place Development will soon be legally saddled with the debt of my developer.

Just like we are.

As of last week, I couldn't find any supporting evidence that this issue has been cleared up. As a matter of fact, there was a filing as recent as 9/22/05 for an affidavit for wage deduction order issued to Saphire Place.

If they don't respond in a certain amount of time, they are toast.

By the way, the initial $1,025.00 debt has now increased to $1,367.56 (as of 9/22/05)

It's all a matter of public record---take a look.

You'll only get an online snapshot. If you want to see all of the paperwork, go downtown to the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court's office in the Daley Building and pull it like I did.

A very compelling story, indeed.

Deluge

Who knew not having gutters would be such a pain in the ass?

With our recent spate of snow melts and early spring rains, our gutterless association is taking a drubbing.

While some of us aren’t affected by the recent soggy weather, some of my other neighbors are being soaked to the bone.

Why? Since there are no gutters to catch the run off, water is streaming down the building and in some cases through my neighbor’s back windows and into their units.

Obviously we need to seal the roof from where the porch roof was taken away and reattach the gutters. All of the remedies have been set in motion to make this happen as quickly as possible.

The other important point that this brings to the forefront is the poor quality of workmanship performed on our building during the “rehabilitation.”

There should be no reason for water to come pouring into and around a window frame if the fa├žade of the building and the window was installed properly. Perhaps it may also be a tuck pointing issue.

All I know is that you should not be greeted with buckets of water pouring into your home at 1:00 in the morning.

Monday, March 13, 2006

My Alderman Can Kick Your Alderman's Ass

This is why my alder(wo)man kicks so much ass.

Click on this link and enter in the name Leslie Hairston. Then click on the "Luring Retailers" story

Perhaps in a few years I'll be able to do most of my shopping within a two mile radius of my home

Dare to dream.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Finished

Finally.

The first sale of our foreclosed upon units finally closed on Friday. Thank God!

One down, three more to go.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Who's In?

Well I’ve apparently made some new blogging friends up on the north side.

Their super awesome blog seems to be the definitive source for all things Roger’s Park. It seems to be a good mix of commentary, information, activism and good old fashion ass kicking.

Don’t be put off friends; it’s what you have to do in Chicago. This city ain’t for bitches. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Nonetheless, a few friendly comments back and forth brings us on the verge of producing a north side/south side social.

Hell I’ll even give ‘em the benefit of the doubt and kick the party off near their digs.

While we’re at it, let’s incorporate baseball.

Now mark this down on your calendars and make sure you either take the day off of work or lay the groundwork so you can call in sick.

Friday, April 7th. Opening day for the Cubs. Bernie’s back bar.

I don’t have a ticket to the game so we’ll be able to wait until most of the boozers go over to the stadium so we can belly up.

Who’s in?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Rounding Third

We’re $3,300 to the good.

At least $3,300 to the good as far as the porches are concerned.

The third porch is up and relatively speaking only nominal work needs to be completed. But if you’re an avid reader of this blog, you realize that not only is it all in the details but those details, or rather the lack of management of those details have come back to bite us in the ass in the past.

While this time was shaping up to mimic the our recently history, we finally broke with tradition.

As the final preparations were being made for cutting the final check to the Porch People for constructing our porches, a thought popped into my little head---review the contract. Make sure we’re getting what we’re paying for.

Sure enough, there was a big inconsistency.

Per the contract we’re being charged a set amount for twenty-two footings of a certain construction. I only counted that sixteen of those footings were constructed per the contract.

Six of the footings were not constructed per the contract and thus I didn’t understand why we were being charged the full amount.

I made sure that our project manager knew about my concerns.

Less than three hours later, we had a $3,300 credit.

Of course I was reassured that despite the six footings not being per the contract, they were still code compliant and structurally sound.

You know I’m going to try and get that in writing don’t you?

Protest

I wonder if the geese will be amongst the estimated 25,000 marchers for the protest against H.R. 4437 this afternoon?

Federal plaza is gonna be a mess. I have to find another way home from work this evening.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Still Looking For Those Righteous

Well I found the evil.

Every time I think we have it tough, I find someone who has it worse.

I've previously stated that I wouldn't wish this on anyone but it's somewhat comforting to know we're not alone in the crappy developer department.

Click on the link below to be redirected to the story.

Granville Condo Nightmare Not Over

Factoid #1

Did you know that in the Illinois Secretary of State Corporation & LLC database, you cannot cross reference the filings by agent name? Only by registered name, key word and file number?

"So what?" You ask.

Well my friends if someone wanted to start more than one corporation or LLC in the State of Illinois, they could do so and no one would be the wiser.

"And?" You sigh.

Patience, people---patience. All will be revealed in short order.

A Few Righteous Amid the Evil

I'm sure by now everyone knows about the highjinx my developer has pulled.

I've even heard from a few of you about your own developer stories.

Nonetheless, the larger question remains---are there any good reputable condominium developers in the Chicagoland area?

I'm not talking about you shooting a company down because you got bisque paint instead of sand or the end caps weren't put on your marble countertops.

I'm talking about a developer who has always been a joy to deal with from day one until (most) everything was finished.

I know I may be asking for a tall order but I refuse to believe that EVERY condo or real estate developer is a number one asshole.

There must be a good developer that I don't know about. If so, I'd like to know who this person or company may be and then confirm their existence.

Drop me a line at the e-mail address under the "About Me" section on the left hand side of the page.

Good developers are like unicorns; you always hear about them but somehow just seem to miss seeing them to actually believe that they walk the earth.

If this company or person exists and I can fully vet them, I may add a link for a limited time to any current offerings they may have.

After all if you want to avoid my own private Idaho, you'd do best to stick with a reputable developer when purchasing your home.

So send 'em if you got 'em!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Foreclosure Follies

When it rains it pours.

Recently, I wrote that we as an association are out of the foreclosure business. While that statement on its face is true, that still doesn’t mean that we’re still not dealing with the aftermath of the foreclosures.

It’s a complex soup my friends, one that I hope none of you have to go through---ever.

So here’s the latest.

A tenant who resides in one of the foreclosed upon units is being harassed by the new owners to move immediately.

Quite frankly I think they’re acting like supreme assholes.

Another new owner hasn’t received all of the paperwork concerning the property so they’re dragging their feet on securing the unit and paying assessments.

Here’s my favorite quote, “Send us the paperwork for the assessments and we’ll make sure it gets routed to the correct department.”

That really means, screw you---throw a lien on us if you want to see any money.

Oh, and by the way, all of the new owners of the foreclosed upon units are the very mortgage companies that the deadbeats stopped paying.

So we have the privileged as an association to be dealing with four separate financial institutions and their bureaucracies.

Did I mention that I have two jobs? Well this is my third.

And I hope you’re not under the impression that the mortgage companies are paying us because they’re such stand up, civic minded individuals.

They’re paying us because they’re legally bound to and more importantly because I personally tracked each foreclosure and located the contact person or property manager for each mortgage company.

Friends, that is no small feat.

This will be the first year that as an association all 18 units will be paying their assessments.

It’s a proud but poignant milestone.

Almost four friggin years of missed assessments from the deadbeat owners? I can’t believe we didn’t become insolvent.

Frankly it has to be through the grace of God. You know he protects babies and fools as the old folks say.

Oh yeah---we also have a pending closing on one of the foreclosed units. Our first of what I’d like to term as the “fire sale.”

It’s not only important for us to collect assessments from the current owners of the foreclosed units but it’s so important for our property value to get these units sold so our values will continue to rise.

I know property value is a dirty word. No one likes to make it about money but less face facts, at the end of the day the average Joe’s most valuable asset is his home.

We’re no exception.

When you live an emerging neighborhood that has a pattern of mortgage fraud AND four foreclosures, you’re thrilled when you get nibble on the real estate tip.

It appears that it’s (almost) one down and three to go.

Let’s hope that the other three fly off the market this spring/summer.

I’ve already pleaded for you all to be my new neighbor. I don’t know what more you want me to say?

We’re getting new sidewalks and a parkway across the street. It’s gonna make the neighborhood look even prettier---honest to Pete.

As long as you promise to be a resident owner, have basic social skills, a job and pay your bills I wouldn’t care if you had a third eye in the middle of your head.

Hell, Republicans are even welcome.

But let’s keep the wild parties to nil, okay?

Monday, March 06, 2006

Them Jenkins Boys

I have several names for rock heads that generally---well, act like rock heads.

My nickname for them is “the Jenkins boys” or “your cousins”.

It’s about the safest way to refer to a complete dumb ass around other people without tipping your hand to the true identity of who you’re talking about.

In the event you do actually have someone with the surname of Jenkins within earshot you can easily switch over to “your cousins.”

Plus I think they are delicious metaphors.

For example: "The Jenkins Boys acted like asses again and got tossed out of the bar." Or “Didn’t I see your cousins' selling laptops in the parking lot of Home Depot?”

As I’m sure you can imagine there are many Jenkins and sets of cousins roaming in and out of my life.

God knows there are always fuck ups everywhere you go.

I think the great thing about this metaphor is that Jenkins/cousin’s behavior can pretty much fit everyone. History has proven no one nationality, race, gender or social class has a lock on being a complete idiot.

Some are in business suits, some are related to you, some you go to school with and in my particular case some of these fuck ups throw trash out of their car onto the parkway.

Then of course when I first moved to the neighborhood, I used to pick of things a bit more disturbing than empty beer and liquor bottles. So at this point the bottles are an improvement.

Apparently It's Not That Hard

You have to realize how great of a country we live in when the Three 6 Mafia can win an Oscar for best original song.

While they were singing---excuse me---rapping on how "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" apparently the game has changed. Perhaps it's not so hard once you've won an Academy Award.

Go figure.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Quotable

"How do you know where the line is if you don't cross it?"

--Dave Chappelle on Inside the Actors Studio

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Done and Done, London Edition

My friend Abby and her boyfriend Pete were just the perfect hosts.

They gave suggestions without being tour Nazi’s and allowed “me time” while they ground out a living during working hours.

Maps and specific directions were left, day passes bought.

Abigail---that’s the name everyone other than me refers to her by---was even kind enough to prepare a fabulous basket for my room chock full of goodies. Let me tell you that the bottled water came in particularly handy when I had a bad case of dry mouth one night.

All in all a collective hoot and a holler.

But I can’t end my tales of London without giving a snippet of Abby’s beloved, Peter.

I had the pleasure to meet Peter about two years ago when he first came over with Abby. He’s quite everything you’d imagine a Brit to be except taller and more striking. I have to admit, the Brits I’d seen in person up to that point weren’t very physically impressive.

Wan and slightly malnourished may have been the look those kids were going for.

Then of course “heroin chic” might have been all the rage at that time.

Personally, I wanted to feed those bastards a meal and give them a blood transfusion.

Thank god Peter put all of those misconceptions to rest.

During my visit to London, Peter and I had a give and take about current goings on, American foreign policy and how to drink proper ale.

He is the one who branded me a heathen for liking all of my beer cold.

While I’m sure it’s easy to bait most people in a heated discussion, Peter simply didn’t know me well enough to get me on my soap box.

The ensuing conversations were nothing but agreement after agreement. Lots and lots of head nodding in the affirmative.

When we did disagree about something i.e. banning organized religion how to drink a beer and de-clawing cats I just looked at him and gave him my opinion.

There was no backing down on either side but then of course there wasn’t a knock down drag out either.

I’m so used to having people in my life whose opinions and choices I don’t agree with, it doesn’t even faze me anymore.

Unfortunately respecting the right to dissent in these trouble times usually reads as disloyal.

Whether your dissent is in the political, religious or our constitutional spectrum if you don’t tow the party line then you’re not a true believer.

I mean I’m not going to go up and nail 95 issues on the church door but I think we can all show basic respect when opinion collides.

Peter was no different. Plus Abby wouldn’t let us “discuss” anything controversial at length.

That Abby, always trying to put out a fire before it starts.

Then of course I never argue with people when I know I’m right. It simply leads to wrinkles.

I will say this about Mr. Pete---I suspect that there’s a bit of a temper under there. I just haven’t seen it off the leash yet.

As I stated previously he’s a thinking Brit through and through. Tall, tweedy and terrific.

Anyone who breaks out Port after a night of drinking truly has much more to offer than they’re letting on.

Nonetheless I feel that kid would throw some R’s and L’s on you if you pissed him off.

The barely perceptible ghetto side of his personality may come out if you fall on the wrong side of his temper.

Due to this (and plus it just sounds so fly), I’ve re-christened him Petey Pablo.

Plus the initial irony is just too delicious.

A Brit and a southern rapper? Honestly who could (or would) put it together?

Both Abby and Peter are a hoot. I can’t wait til they come back my way.