Sunday, April 30, 2006

Cinnamon Says...

I wrote a thank you note to Cinnamon from Gaper's Block for the unexpected write up on Friday (4/28). This was her reply:

You're welcome and your writing is news-worthy. I haven't read every post but I came a cross your blog when looking for information about how to handle deadbeat developers. A couple of friends were the first ones to buy a condo in a courtyard development and have had nothing but problems. I thought a few quick searches might find some articles or links where they could get more information about how to handle their situation and your site was at the top of the list. I passed it on to them and realized that there are likely to be many people with similar issues. The real estate market seems to be given safe distance from local journalists and I don't think the industry deserves it.

At our last condo we found out three years* in that the "new plumbing" that had been installed was not installed per city code even though a city inspector approved the installation and it was causing recurring problems when it would rain.

Keep writing, keep exposing, and good luck getting resolution in Woodlawn.

*One correction---the plumbing problem was discovered after 1 1/2 years after buying, not three.

With encouragement like this how can the quest stop now? Bob Goulet in full effect, yo!

If you haven't noticed, Gaper's Block has now been added to the list of Chicago links on the left hand side of the blog.

Chickens Coming Home to Roost

D-Day for one of our former owners is coming on Thursday

That’s the day he has the creditor’s meeting for his bankruptcy. He’s trying to beat us out of the money that he owes.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Last year the realization of our financial state was dawning on us and we knew that we had to go after some of the money that was owed to the association. It was simply too much cash to let go without a fight.

Some of the foreclosures had already gone through but despite those facts, it still didn’t erase the back assessments owed by the former owners.

Our test case, so to speak, would be one of the two owners that had yet to be foreclosed upon at the time.

His name is Maurice Cousin.

We filed a civil lawsuit against Mr. Cousin and received a judgment for $6,417.50.

What makes this particular case among the deadbeats stand out is that Mr. Cousin not only gave us the middle finger financially but the fact that he just did us so foul bears repeating.

A person being in financial trouble is not a new story to anyone. Hell, I’ve been through a few scrapes myself; nonetheless the higher issue is that you eventually pull yourself out of the hole that you dug.

I had to do it---words cannot describe how much it sucked.

It’s still a challenge to stay one step ahead of the bills but like everything in life you make a choice.

Admitting mistakes and poor decisions and then rectifying those mistakes is a part of life.

If I had to do it, why shouldn’t our errant owners “man up” and do the same?

Not Mr. Cousin.

Not only did he attempt to sell his condo prior to the foreclosure sale being final (we had a lien against the property), but when he couldn’t sell it he rented it out to some “friends.”

Kind readers, you wouldn’t want “friends” like this going in and out of your home---trust me.

No one can say for sure exactly what was going on in the unit or who actually signed the “lease” but there did seem to be a great deal of comings and goings at night and when a majority of us were at work.

I know, I know---it raised our eyebrows as well.

When the foreclosure became final and the new mortgage company owners gained access the to the unit there was an unmade mattress and box spring in the living room.

A few condom wrappers were strewn about.

As I stated, no one can say for sure what exactly had been going on in the unit but my neighbor and I viewed the contents of the living room and just shook our heads.

For the record, the bedrooms---where the bed should have been---were empty except for a few personal objects in the closet.

The dining room had a few things scattered about but no table or chairs. The kitchen had old bags of trash sitting by the back door.

The place needed a good cleaning.

How fucking gully is that? Even if you don’t like your neighbors how can you attempt to not only beat them out of cash but to “rent” out your unit.

His filing bankruptcy was only icing on the cake.

I knew that the sum of his behaviors would eventually equal that bitch ass move.

The part I find personally interesting is that a law firm is also suing him for $31,308.25. It makes the mind whirl, no?

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Agape

Yesterday was pretty ho hum---a typical day at the corporate grindstone.

When I went into the blog to check for comments and to tweak my template I noticed a distinct jump in my counter numbers.

I was confused.

After checking my stats---you know I love watching you watch me---I discovered the reason why.

Cinnamon from Gapers Block has found my little labor of love worthy for their discriminating readership.

To say I was stunned would be an understatement.

I Hate My Developer was born mostly out of frustration and partly for my friend’s peace of mind.

People’s eyes started glazing over when I shared the latest injustice to befall our condo association. I figured that if people were so interested in what was going on with that particular slice of my life, they would logon and read.

No matter how much you like someone; there is a threshold for hearing about their problems.

Plus there are far more compelling things to discuss like the recently outed mobster Vito on The Sopranos.

I know it’s fiction and all but that kid is about to face a shit storm that makes our problems look like child’s play.

But I digress.

Welcome newbies. I hope that these posts can inform and make you a smarter consumer with respect to purchasing new construction or a rehab.

It’s also important to me to underscore the fact that you can make a difference against adversity. I know it sounds hokey and clich├ęd, but it’s true. Perseverance, patience and documentation are the key.

You don’t have to play the bitch unless you want to.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Grubby

Our grass has an STD.

The bane of suburbia has reared its ugly head on the south side. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have grubs.

I’m sure they emigrated over from someone else’s crappy lawn and now our little patch of heaven looks like a bag of ass.

It’s kind of like finding out that the neighborhood mut defiled your beautiful pure breed bitch.

The irony is that well tended and watered lawns are at a higher risk for grubs than one that isn’t watered as fastidiously.

Ain’t that a bitch?

The lawn has been raked out and we have some grub control granules but it’s not looking good. I’m hoping we can catch this in enough time so we don’t have to resod.

So for the record, it wasn’t the unfortunate fertilizer incident last fall that made the grass turn brown.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Stop The Presses

Guess who got quoted in an article on condo buying/living in the upcoming June issue of Consumer's Digest?

Run to the newstand and pick one up.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Asking Questions Again

Through some hard work and a meal with the Mayor, I happened to reach the top of the food chain at CHAC.

Introductory phone calls were made and in a matter of hours I was talking to someone who actually had some pull.

It’s amazing how that works, huh?

Curiosity had set in about a few things and was hoping this individual could at least shed some procedural light on the whole CHAC process.

I wanted to know how a landlord could be in the foreclosure process and still manage to get paid for the same subsidized housing that is being foreclosed upon?

Now I have a pretty good idea that a landlord in the CHAC program can continue to get paid as long as he or she is the owner of record.

And if that’s the case, it’s time for the system to be overhauled. That loophole is so glaring it simply rolls out the red carpet for potential fraud and waste.

While there are procedures in place to check if property taxes are being paid, mortgages and assessments payments---not so much.

So to recap---CHAC basically gets swindled, condo associations left holding the bag for the back assessments or single family homes eventually go vacant and decent hard work families run the risk of getting evicted.

Quite a trifecta, no?

In light of this information I penned the following letter:

XXXX,

I have a few suggestions that should serve the best interest of tenants and associations with respect to CHAC rentals in condominiums. Hopefully these should be able to past legal muster and will require only policy and language changes.

As a part of the property certification process, the landlord would identify the building as a condominium.

He or she would also submit a copy of the condominium association's non profit good standing with the state. Such documentation can be easily obtained from the Secretary of State's website.

The applicant landlord would also sign-off on a form stating that he or she had read the declarations and bylaws of the association and will abide by all current and future adaptations of the document.

The applicant landlord would submit the names and contact information for all of officers of the condominium association which will later be verified by CHAC. The submitted information must match the information provided by the Secretary of State.

A clause should be inserted in stating that if the landlord falls 60 days behind in assessments to the condominium association or goes into foreclosure, their CHAC payments may be delayed and/or they may be suspended from the CHAC program.

My hope is to close the loopholes that allow irresponsible owners to financially devastate condominium associations as well as put the homes of your hard working clients at risk.

I welcome your feedback from my suggestions.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Access

If you’ve been a faithful reader of I Hate My Developer you also know that I’m not a big fan of four of our former owners.

I refer to them as the deadbeats.

In the past I’ve talked about their slow assessment payments, non-assessment payments and foreclosures in great detail.

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they know about and read this blog.

Like I care.

Their foreclosures (and now bankruptcies) are public record.

Moreover, all of them still owe us quite a bit of money. Their debt hasn’t gone away so neither will we. No amount of time or foreclosures will change that.

You would think that in order to let everyone move on they’d go ahead and find a way to contact us, ask how much they owe, cut a cashier’s check and call it a day.

Oh no, it simply can’t be that easy. Everybody wants to be a big baller, shot caller.

Fuck the condo association where you made money. It’s not their primary residences so why should they care?

These experiences got me wondering, “Why are irresponsible landlords in the CHAC program allowed to feed at the public trough at fellow taxpayer’s expense?"

The ultimate loser in this high stakes game of lord of the manor is the renter who, at least in our situations, doesn’t find out about the foreclosure until it’s too late.

Basically there is no allowance or consideration in the CHAC rules for landlords who don’t pay their association fees.

CHAC aggressively monitors the property owners in its program to make sure that they’re paying their county property taxes but not so much for foreclosures and non-payment of assessments.

What that could hypothetically mean is that you could be in foreclosure and behind in your assessments and unless someone reported this to CHAC, they would be none the wiser.

Naturally it wouldn’t take long before someone recognized this little discrepancy and started asking questions.

It was just simply a matter of time before those high enough up on the food chain heard those questions.

It boiled down to introductions and access.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Unintended Consequences

I was in quite the foul mood today.

Association work had not been properly done, the lawn has a devastating grub problem, queries had not been answered and I found out that my evil developer is “renovating” another property that I can see from my kitchen window.

Pigeons, it was an Excedrin kind of day.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me recount the unintended consequences of that fateful breakfast meeting with the Mayor.

Believe it or not, a phone call came from one of the Mayor’s aides two days after the breakfast.

He was a nice enough man who patiently listened as I recounted the three most egregious issues (at least in my opinion) facing our association.

I mean, deadbeat former owners, third party defendants and crumbling porches is enough to start a conversation dontcha think?

Now that I think about it, I commend him for his fortitude.

Like the breakfast, I stayed focused and briefly recounted our issues. I followed that up with a binder full of supporting material two days later.

Working in close proximity to governmental officials does have a few perks. The pros are that it saves you ass loads of time checking things or running documents over to various departments.

The cons are that you may be target practice or mantra fodder for either homegrown crazies or the kind who seem to want to inflict large civilian casualties on our population.

Anyone who takes too many pictures of the Sears Tower gets the stink eye from this Chicagoan.

I can get gully if need be.

The binder was delivered and I gave the nice mayoral aide a few days to leaf through the raft of documents that I had just laid at his doorstep.

I decided it might be better if I took all of this on one issue at a time.

First on the list---CHAC policies relating to condominium associations.

The Fine Print

You'll start to notice little things popping up in the sidebar that I'm putting in the blog to inform and make your lives easier.

Late last week I put in the bloglet subscription service. Bloglet allows you to sign up to have the hottest, freshest posts from I Hate My Developer sent directly to your e-mail.

That way if you miss a few posts and I'm in the middle of a writing frenzy, you'll be able to read what you missed without having to access the archives.

See how I'm always thinking of you kids? Feel the love.

The other slight change will be the posting of the copyright notice as soon as I figure out how to insert the text.

It's not that this applies to 99.9% of you or that I think that highly of my blog but it never hurts to have things all properly tucked away and legal.

You know what I mean?

Now back to the continuing circus that is my condominium association.

Mr. Munch


Note: The above picture is an accurate portrayal of what I want to do at this exact moment. I have many true tales to tell. Stay tuned for the posts.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Meatloaf Beat Down

I always thought pretty highly of my meatloaf skills.

It’s moist and flavorful. It holds its shape. I’d never ever had nothing but raves about my meatloaf.

That is until the ultimate meatloaf death match championship of 2006.

A meatloaf cook off was held to determine whose meatloaf would be served at this year's incarnation of my almost annual Soul Food Brunch.

My meatloaf got its ass soundly kicked.

My meatloaf became the bitch to the much more flavorful meatloaf of my friend.

Jealously and envy set in quickly.

I don’t so much mind losing---in my book losing equals learning. What chapped my hide is that I knew I lost when I took a bite of his creation when we were plating the food for our taste testers.

Defeat never tasted so good.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Trashy

According to my contact at the school across the street, the trash on their parkway will be picked up today or at the latest tomorrow. As if that weren't enough, the weekly maintenance schedule will be effective Monday, April 24th.

That means the two block stretch of parkway on the north side of the street will not look as ghetto.

It won't look ghetto at all when they finally lay sod and repair the curbs and sidewalks.

I'm sure the Jenkins' Boys will be disappointed.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Cough and Turn Your Head

Apparently the mortgage company owner of one of our foreclosed upon units finally understands that we mean business.

The arrival of a lien against their property has loosened the proverbial purse strings and a check for the full amount is forthcoming.

Our association lawyer just called me and broke the good news.

So much for the property manager's explanation of this type of thing is usually handled at the closing table.

Our bills can't wait until the closing table.

Why do they make us pull out the legal bitch slap? Why do they make us become unpleasant to defend our financial interests?

We try to play nice but then they don't take us seriously.

Methinks they'll be taking us seriously from this point on.

When E.F. Hutton Talks

The mayor was amazed about how much subsidized housing money was being forked over for very meager dwellings.

Recent murders of a two young girls in the Englewood neighborhood brought the situation on his radar screen.

The mother of one of the young murder victims still had not had the window repaired where the bullet smashed through and killed her daughter.

Mr. Daley found this reprehensible.

Now I could be reading more into his comments than he intended but it seemed that the icing on the cake of this tragedy is that the rent on the home where the drive by occurred is $1,500 a month.

More than likely the head of the household is paying a small amount while CHAC subsidizes the lion’s share.

As a slight aside you need to know that Englewood really isn’t the garden spot of Chicago.

In fact, its high crime rate and rampant shootings makes it one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city.

Anyone who charges $1,500 for rent in Englewood should be drawn and quartered.

Regardless of who’s paying, for $1,500 a month the mayor feels that you shouldn’t have to look at the bullet hole in the glass that took the life of your child.

I whole heartedly agree.

I also saw an “in” to start a dialogue about the multiple problems within our condo association so I raised my hand to speak.

I remained focused and to the point---“Why are landlords in the CHAC program still being subsidized when their properties (or properties) are in the middle of the foreclosure processes?”

“It seems to be a waste of money, sir.”

I further went on to explain our situation and how I strongly believe that the landlords were getting paid literally until the day the foreclosure became final.

His eyebrows flew up and he exclaimed, “That’s ridiculous!”

Once again, I whole heartedly agreed.

He assured me that he and his staff would look into this matter and he’d get back to me.

Now I just didn’t take that for the normal level of bullshit that politicians give you. If Mr. Daley wants to ignore you---you are immediately persona non grata. He did seem really concerned so I took him at his word.

By the time everyone had said their piece, it was time to wrap it up and hit the road. It left little time to do a post mortem with the mayor or any of his aides.

I did have to go to my second job and daylight was burning.

So I’m sure you could imagine my surprise when I got a phone call from city hall a few days later.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Hizzoner

Breakfast with the Honorable Richard M. Daley was quite the event.

Rolling out of bed at 6:00 AM on a Saturday morning---not so much.

Conventional wisdom said get up, shut up and act like you have some sense. Quite frankly something either my mother or grandmother might have said.

I decided to follow that conventional wisdom despite my aspirations of flashing a pimped out grill to the mayor.

The process of going to an event with the mayor is fascinating. Since the overall group was going to be around 20-25 people we had to go through a vetting process of sorts.

That actually makes sense as you don’t want any loons getting to close to Chicago’s chief executive.

Then of course if one was foolish enough to attempt to do the mayor harm, the large and very menacing looking Chicago police officers that are his bodyguards should do enough to discourage the notion.

They are literally by his side (and outside his house) everywhere he goes.

Now I’m not sure if you good folks are familiar with the reputation of the Chicago Police Department but let’s just sum it up like this, the spirit of the ass kicking and name taking at the 1968 Democratic National Convention is still very much alive.

You do not want these ladies and gentlemen to take a professional interest in you. Trust me.

We were instructed to arrive around an hour prior to the start of the breakfast as the mayor had a tendency to arrive early.

We were seated and started in on the delicious food provided by the Five Loaves Restaurant when the mayor arrived.

My alderman introduced everyone individually to the mayor, a few brief remarks were made and we got down to the serious business of eating.

The food and the company were so good that I almost forgot that the mayor was sitting just one person over from me.

Not only did I have to act right but I also had to mind my table manners, so much for busting that toothpick out at the table.

Eventually our stomachs got full, the beverages were refilled and the mayor made his remarks.

That’s when it got interesting.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Last Weekend---Friday, Part II

Now what are the odds of meeting two wine distributors with season tickets to the Cubs, boats on the lake and access to the new Veuve Clicquot non vintage Rose while looking for fellow bloggers I’ve never met before?

I felt like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. Was this really happening?

Did I mention that one of the wine distributors was single?

When does this ever happen to me?

Actually, truth be told, this type of thing happens all of the time.

I always find myself running into some of the most interesting people in the most unlikely places. I guess last Friday was par for the course.

While double fisting at the front bar of Bernie’s watching pre-game, a nice man just came up and started talking to me.

He had that “married” look and seemed nice enough so we engaged in some back and forth baseball banter. After about a half an hour, his work friend came and joined him for pre-game libations.

It turned out the friend went to college in my home town so we debated the merits of town vs. gown and all that jazz.

Other topics ran the gamut from pissing and moaning about work, to where their other buddy might have wandered off to.

Somehow during the course of the multiple conversations, ice cold unopened beers** (Sam Adams, thank you) kept on being shoved in my hand.

God, this was a good day.

It was at this point the heavens opened and it’s as if God give us single women a little glimmer of what a good marriage looks like.

The first gentleman told a story of how he went shopping with his wife for one pair of shoes and she came out with five.

Not only did he NOT complain but he paid for all five pairs and understands why we need so many shoes.

I almost hugged him.

And yes before you ask, he was straight.

A nice man with a boat, who buys shoes and has access to good hooch---you must be shitting me.

I wasn’t aware such a man existed.

If I were her, I’d never let that dude out of my sight. You know how some broads get.

While his single friend was a bit easier on the eyes and had a rockin’ body, you could smell his commitment issues a mile away. It’s not that his looks and charm are wasted on me; it’s just that after a while you just understand that a leopard doesn’t change his spots.

In short, he ain’t the marrying kind.

Now he’s the "date awhile" kind and the “I can’t believe what I just did” kind but marriage? Nope. Nada. Nein.

A hoot and a holler nonetheless; thoroughly entertaining.

After a few more beers I asked them specifically what they did to procure legal currency and that’s when they dropped the bomb:

“We’re wine distributors.”

I think someone caught me when I swooned.

I was brought back to consciousness with another beer.

Life at that precise moment was as good as it was gonna get. Unfortunately after a brief chit chat about the wine business the guys had to posse up and head to their dugout seats at the game.

Seeing that I didn’t have a ticket to the game, the gentlemen loaded me up with sympathy beers and flew the coop.

There was a ward breakfast with the Mayor the next day and had to at least be able to put a sentence together.

I came, I drank, the Cubs conquered.

Rogers Park Reviewers, you missed a good time.


**As a general rule never accept drafts, open beers or cocktails of any kind from anyone you don’t know.

Last Weekend---Friday, Part I

Other than being the trash police, last weekend was fun but chaotic.

Friday the 7th was the Cubs’ home opener. The usual baseball lovin’ crew was in full effect but as to be expected, I made new friends along the way.

For those of you who have never experienced a Cub’s home opener, let me advise you that if you ever plan to dive in I suggest getting a good night’s sleep, bringing a great deal of cash and getting started very early.

Believe it or not, most of the bars in Wrigleyville, the neighborhood surrounding the ballpark, open at 6 AM.

You heard me 6 AM.

Note: Gates to the park opened at 11:20 AM. The game starts at 1:20 PM.

If you’re young, an inexperienced drinker or just a plain old dumb ass you could seriously hurt yourself.

Think about it, seven hours and twenty minutes of drinking---in some people’s cases, pounding---until the first pitch.

You could easily drink yourself into a coma.

Luckily I’m old enough, smart enough and have made a requisite opening day mistakes to know better.

Plus I had the ward breakfast with the Mayor on Saturday so I couldn’t show up looking like a bag of ass with a face on from the previous day.

Condo business with the lawyer delayed me so I didn’t wind up at Yakzie’s until about 9:45 AM.

Frankly that’s a respectable time to start drinking on opening day.

Despite the fact, I didn’t have a ticket I still like the event that opening day has grown into for the Cubs.

Hope for a playoff run and joviality rule the day. Naturally drinking was a touch heavier this year than last as Cub fans attempted to erase the memory of the White Sox winning the World Series.

As the kids bundled up and struck out to there seats, I thought it might be a good idea to bounce over to Bernie’s to see in any Rogers Park people took me up on my invitation.

Sadly I didn’t find any Roger’s Parkers but I did manage to run into some fine wine distributors.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Officer Krupke

The cat is out of the friggin bag.

According to Caustic, there are many things wrong with me. Let’s tick down the list, shall we?

I am the trash AND the policy police.
I have little empathy for others who make mistakes.
I am passive aggressive.
My e-mails were inappropriate.
I am threatening.

And my personal favorite from all of the fur flying yesterday:

“XXXX, I am very happy with the work you have done for the building and association but their is a certain line that you have crossed before and you have crossed with me...again and i am finally letting you know i don't appreciate it and am not afraid of you and will stand up for myself. I would appreciate it not occurring again.And XXXX I have nothing personal or private to discuss with you. This is a non-issue. If you have serious business, fine, include EVERYONE on it. But don't bother me with this type of BS again."

"Ever.”

Its official kids, I’ve been given an ultimatum AND been called a line crosser.

So much for Caustic becoming a member of the Woodlawn Wonder’s mutual admiration society.

Can’t you hear the resounding chorus of oooooo’s from the crowd of fifth grade girls circled around us?

I mean honestly, can you believe this shit?

Let’s not beat a dead horse by hashing over why Caustic blew this thing up to the stratosphere. Even if my initial e-mail was out of line---which it wasn’t and even if I were dead wrong---which I’m not; dragging everyone and their mother into our little dustup was unnecessary.

Quite frankly it’s a desperate attempt by someone who can’t adequately defend themselves or their actions to gather allies and sympathy.

Much like the commercial that is being fed to the kids these days, I can stand as an Army of one.

Unless it’s a legal or professional situation, I rarely need others to agree with me when I know I’m right.

That way if I’m wrong, it’s only me who sinks---not the rest of the crew.

‘Cause that’s just the type of stand up broad I am.

Nonetheless, I still have to deal with Caustic as secretary of our condo association.

Since everything’s on the record these days, let me respond---if only to you kind readers---to Caustic’s baseless accusations.

I am the trash AND policy police.
A lack of standards and rules got us into trouble as an association in the first place. If a board member can’t query someone about a blatant rule violation, who can?

I have little empathy for others who make mistakes.
Ha! Apparently Caustic does read my blog and didn’t read this post.

I am passive aggressive.
People mistake fair & calm fighting for passive aggressive. Just because I disagree with you doesn’t mean I have to swing on you.

My e-mails were inappropriate.
Of course they’re perceived as inappropriate when people get called on their shit. If that’s my cross to bear then so be it.

I’m threatening.
Ladies and Gentlemen, rest assured that when I threaten you---which rarely happens by the way---you’ll know. Presence and confidence are often mistaken for threats and arrogance. There is a marked difference. Don’t blame me because I’m almost six feet tall and DON’T fit into a size six. I’m a lover, not a fighter.

But don’t think I won’t put a size 11 up someone’s ass when the need arises.

Does anybody want to take bets on when the next brouhaha will be?

Monday, April 10, 2006

...Match

I couldn't pay someone to make this stuff up? Isn't Caustic priceless?

What can you say to such nonsense? Sniping back in forth in a very public forum would never make poor Caustic consider anyone other than, well---Caustic.

I took it upon my self to continue to maintain decorum and attempt to have as clean of a disagreement as possible

It was best to attempt to end it with this:

My condo association? Passive-aggressive? Threatened? Caustic, I'm flattered. As you stated, problem solved. Now let's move on.

Oh no, she could not be one upped and let me have the last word. Even though that last word was sent to her and not to the beleaguered group at large.

She so considerately took my private post and e-mailed it to the board.

Big whoop.

I usually assume that most of what I write in e-mail is going to be sent to someone else or that someone other than it's addressee will see it at some point. That little stunt didn't both me in the least.

In fact I wrote and told Caustic as much:

By all means, send the e-mail to whomever you'd like. I stand behind my words. If you'd like to make our conversation public, be my guest.

All I can do is shake my head.

I'll post another follow up to Caustic's blog fodder tomorrow. I mean, cripes---I haven't even told you about my weekend yet.

Soap opera indeed.

Game, Set...

After the public & private e-mails landed in Caustic's court with a resounding "thud," I received this volley from the baseline:

I am having a wonderful morning, don't act like i'm stupid and quit playing that oh, i didn't know i was being passive aggressive crap with me. You know exactly what you're doing and I do too. I found your email to be wholly inappropriate and shouldn't have to 'answer for the record' to you, which is why i replied to ALL.

For the record, to ALL: Housekeepers cleaned my home and left the bags, XXXX was supposed to take them to the dumpster, obviously WE forgot. And i claim full responsibility for the mistake. I don't need to be threatened by a fine, if it is appropriate, I'm ok with that. Shit happens it was a mistake and will be taken care of today. Had SOMEONE who complained asked or informed me directly I would've been able to take care of it sooner and no one would've had to look at my trash, i honestly was completely unaware it was still out there. I would not of been angry, i would of been thankful that someone was being HELPFUL and alerted me, rather than undermining and conniving which that email and your 'investigation' were.

If you were really trying to be helpful XXXX, you would of knocked during your 'investigation' and asked if I was aware, left a note, or called my cellular to inquire which you do about everything else when you are genuinely trying to accomplish something and that is OK and always has been, and yes I want ALL to hear that. That's what neighbors do. Just like i'd call XXXX if i noticed her bike cover flew off, or I'd call XXXX if i saw someone prowling around his car. We are neighbors, not the policy police and you might keep that in mind the next time you investigate.

Board. If a fine is in line. Save your paper and your time and i will add it to my next payment. Problem solved, an error occurred, my trash is on my porch, i should not receive special treatment, but what i don't need is an email from a board member on behalf of a neighbor asking me something 'for the record'.

I also was not aware that i lived in the XXXX Condominium Association and could be threatened with a fine from her directly, any responses from the board?
So, since I was being 'disrespectful' to XXXX, go ahead board, FINE ME...that is what you said...right?


"Based on your response below, respect seems to be in short supply. Should we assume that an additional $25.00 for the trash fine will be included on your next assessment payment?"

How about this, why don't you fine me an additional $25.00 because you're certainly not going to like this reply either.

XXXX, I am very happy with the work you have done for the building and association but their is a certain line that you have crossed before and you have crossed with me...again and i am finally letting you know i don't appreciate it and am not afraid of you and will stand up for myself. I would appreciate it not occurring again.

And XXXX I have nothing personal or private to discuss with you. This is a non-issue. If you have serious business, fine, include EVERYONE on it. But don't bother me with this type of BS again.

Ever.

Public and Private

Whooo doggies!

My trash query sure raised Caustic's hackles.

Naturally I replied---one went to the association board that had been cc'd on the response. The other went to Caustic directly:

The Public E-mail:

XXXX,

It seems like you have had a rough start to your morning. To spare everyone else my reply to your comments and concerns below, I will e-mail you about this privately.

I could be wrong but I thought I e-mailed you---and only you---about this Saturday. I chose not to inform or include everyone else as I believed you at least deserved the respect to answer a question about a rule violation without the whole association being copied in.

Then of course I'm not at home and don't have my original e-mail in front on me so if I didn't give you that common courtesy, I apologize.

Based on your response below, respect seems to be in short supply.

Should we assume that an additional $25.00 for the trash fine will be included on your next assessment payment?


The Private E-mail:

Your response is consistent with the level of disregard and selfishness that permeates your behavior towards your neighbors.

I shouldn't be surprised by this latest in a long line of childish outbursts, caustic behavior and fit throwing. You look and sound ridiculous. Is it a wonder that the "neighbor in question" wouldn't want to ask you about your trash? I can only assume that they would not want to be the target of your ire.

I personally don't care as I could give a flying fig about your tantrums whether they're in person, at a monthly meeting or via e-mail.

Everyone else gets called on their infractions, so join the club. The fact that you made a private query a public issue continues to speak volumes about your "me first" attitude. The only person you succeed in making look foolish was yourself. The fact that you did it in print (again) only bolsters your already stellar reputation.

Personally speaking, you need to reside in a single family home. You are obviously not cut out for association living. It is my fervent wish that you are successful in selling your unit so you can finally move on and continue with your life. That way you can make only your (future) spouse and immediate neighbor's lives more difficult instead of my own.

I find it ironic that the person who wouldn't even say something to her own neighbor's about the volume of their children playing in the back courtyard now wants to stand on protocol about neighbor's confronting each other.

My suggestion is this: Shut up & pay up.

...If you'll excuse my French.

Iverson

In the previous entry I posted a question I posed to Caustic about the trash that was sitting on her back porch.

Boy oh boy did I receive an answer:

OK. Ms. Trash police.

1. I don't appreciate the tone of this email.

I had cleaning people at my house, XXXX was supposed to take the trash to the dumpster. I haven't been on my back porch and had no idea the bags were there, shit happens.

I do "abide" by the rules, as you can see from my reply it was a mistake and will be taken care of immediately.

So for the record---why do I have trash outside my door on the back
porch after the posting of the signs about not leaving it in common
areas?

Because I was on an absolute mission to piss off all the other residents of the XXXX condominium and make it a point to blow off rules and regulations on a regular basis in order to inconvenience and annoy my neighbors.

And to whomever brought this to your attention. Thank you. But they can leave the 'cattiness' out next time. I don't need this. We are all adults and should be able to act accoringly.

You all know that i had hip surgery and 1...can barely get up and down steps on my own pain free and can't cart my trash down the steps and am reliant on others for assistance.

So little miss or mr. bitchy needs to get off my back. All someone had to do when you were doing your 'investigating' is knocked and asked.

So. I am SOOOOO sorry for making a mistake...if any of you know what that is. Or are you XXX, and the unnamed neighbor too perfect to have those occur in your life.

Get off my ass. I don't need this shit, especially not now. Excuse my french and leave me the hell alone.

I Asked A Simple Question...

I really try not to antagonize my neighbors.

It's a no win situation when you piss off the people that live around you. Obviously it's inevitable that there will be a conflict but for the most part friendship---or at the very least tolerance and common courtesy usually rule the day.

Yet Caustic pushes me to the very limits of the manners that my mother worked so hard to instill in my some times hard head.

Ladies and Gentlemen I asked a simple question via e-mail. The text of that e-mail is below:

It was brought to my attention that you have trash on your porch.
When I went to investigate, you had two bags outside your door at
approximately 8:30 AM this morning (Friday) and it was still there at
9:30 PM.

The individual who brought this to my attention made a point of asking
why should the rest of the association abide by a well publicized rule
when a board member isn't. I couldn't give them an answer.
So for the record---why do you have trash outside your door on the back
porch after the posting of the signs about not leaving it in common
areas?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Futility

Hope springs anew for us suckers...er, ah, I mean Cubs fans. Happy Opening Day everybody!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Activity

Some wise old person used to say, "A hard head makes a soft ass."

Their obvious meaning was that stubbornness and stupidity will continue to bring trouble your way; hence a "soft ass" from it getting kicked so many times.

Apparently one of the mortgage company owners doesn’t believe that we mean what we say.

They'll be believers when they receive notice of the lien our lawyer is placing on their property.

Then of course they're shooting themselves in the foot by not paying in a timely fashion. Not only are they getting socked with late, legal and filing fees but they contribute to the assessment delinquency rate.

Any knowledgeable potential buyer will be asking about the assessment delinquency rate as well as other business based "hard questions."

We tried being cordial yet firm. Now the time for talking is done.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Breaking The Fast

I received a phone call from my Alderman's Chief of Staff asking if I am free on Saturday to have breakfast with the Mayor.

It will be a small thing with about 25 people in attendance so it ought to be interesting.

Apparently the mayor wants to know what's going on the in the city and has a sit down in each of Chicago's 50 wards about once or twice a year with us "normal" folk.

I guess my alderman thought of me as I talk to her staff as much as I talk to my sister.

Note: I talk to my sister at least four to five times a day. Seriously.

I joked to my Alderman's Chief of Staff that I was going to walk in late adorned in a pink and teal suit with a monster easter hat and a toothpick hanging out of my mouth slap the Mayor on the back and say, "How you Doing?"

I should think bigger and bolder.

Perhaps I should start cracking Nasty Canasta jokes to see how down the Mayor is with his classic cartoons.

Better yet, I'm gonna Paul Wall up the joint.

While the possibilities to make an ass out of myself are endless, perhaps I should stick with the under the radar route.

I don't think anyone wants the Mayor to remember them in a bad way.

Brightest Bulb

After the little storm trooper incident of a few Fridays ago, the renter in the unit moved out the next day.

Why would I expect her to be responsible enough to leave the lock box on the door instead of packing it away with her belongings?

For those of you who don’t know, a lockbox is kind of a large lock that has a compartment inside to hold keys. It’s used by the realtors to allow showings of properties at any time without the listing agent being present---it allows more flexibility in the coordination of schedules.

When I called the tenant yesterday to inquire whether she had fully moved out and the whereabouts of the lockbox and the key, she told me that the lockbox got thrown in a box in the flurry of moving.

She now has to go to storage and dig through her boxes to unearth it and return it to her former residence.

I would imagine that we’d be charged for the loss of the box if it were not returned. Moreover, who wants to be responsible for the key until another lockbox can be placed on the door?

Don’t we all have enough to deal with right now?

Frankly as an association we’ve been very accommodating trying to assist this young woman with this whole process.

After all it’s not her fault she had a shitty landlord.

At some point though, you have to show some forethought and responsibility.

We did extend ourselves to find out the combination and pass it along to her. Giving the lame excuse that you can’t find the lockbox because you packed it away ain’t feeding the bulldog.

Find it.

I sensed her reluctance against digging through all of her stored away boxes when she asked how much a lockbox costs. I guestimated at least a couple of hundred dollars---maybe even more.

The hemming and hawing ensued.

I told her that I would call her on Friday to check her progress. We need everything back by Sunday.

See what happens when you try to be a decent human being and try to help someone.

I’m getting cynical in my old age.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Pay What You Owe

Through the course of this blog I’ve documented my feelings about non-resident owners.

In the scant time I’ve lived in this association we’ve gone through foreclosures, deadbeats and a variety or renters.

Even though I can’t get into specific details, let’s suffice it to say that matters are being handled and old business is being taken care of.

But that leaves us with the current crop of newly minted pain in the ass owners who purchased the foreclosures.

They’re otherwise known as mortgage companies. Their local minions are known as property managers.

So now we’re doing the “pay your assessment” dance with the property managers.

Dig this---we’ve now got one of the mortgage company owned units that now owes over $2,200 in back assessments and late fees.

Trust me, my jaw was on the ground when this little bombshell was dropped.

Seeing that I thought we had a strict 45 day delinquency policy regarding assessments I wasn’t quite sure how the total got to be so sizeable.

The ball got completely dropped on this one.

Naturally, I informed the property manager about this arrearage and forwarded them an e-mail detailing the breakdown. When I called to follow up on when we would be receiving payment, I received a non-committal “I don’t know.”

I wanted to make sure that the person I was talking to and her boss understood that if a check for the full amount isn’t received by April 5th that a lien would be placed on the property.

Not only did she tell me that she understood but proceeded to tell me that “usually these things” get settled at the closing table.

I explained to her that our bills aren’t on Litton’s (the mortgage company owner of the unit) time table. They are quite real and have to be paid in a timely manner by or before their due date.

The only response I received was, “We can only pay what the client authorizes us to pay.”

Whatever, sister.

I promise you good folks this, if our association treasurer doesn’t see a check for the full amount on or before April 5th, this matter will be referred out to our attorney.

Once it’s referred out---it’s a done deal. You’re getting a lien slapped on your place.

And that bad boy ain’t coming off until someone coughs up some cash.

Sheesh...

The clocks sprang forward an hour, a pounding cold rain is ushering in the work week and the White Sox did a little World Series chest pounding yesterday at their home opener.

God, could this day get any more annoying?