Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Introducing The New Sidewalk

Is this new sidewalk all about the hotness or what? Once the grass seed goes down, you just might think you're in the suburbs.

Disapearing Acts

Slowly but surely the vacant lots are disapearing in Woodlawn. These newly constructed buildings near the south west corner of 65th Place are the newest entries in the local housing market.

The Enemy Within

If you’ve been a loyal and regular reader of this blog, you already know that I have little love for “investors” who buy into our happy home.

Plus it just burns my biscuits that someone makes our home their commercial enterprise.

As an association we’ve had trouble with “investors” before and we’ve luckily got those past issues under control.

Yet there’s always one pain in the ass. One person who has to keep it interesting and not make any attempt to be neighborly or abide by the minimal rules we have around this joint.

Ms. Realtor is that person.

Ms. Realtor is an owner of a unit that she rented out in the past and now has placed on the market

From what I understand she owes the association in excess of $1,000 in back assessments.

I get being a couple months behind---hey, we’ve all been there---but over $1,000?

Might I add she owes us this money AND she had the place rented out for a while. There was no good reason why she couldn’t of paid her assessments.

Moreover getting any type of meaningful communication out of her is like hitting your head against a brick wall.

So if her financial shit was hitting the fan, she at least could of given us a “heads up” on the assessment tip.

We understand that people have drama in the money department from time to time. No one is immune from that.

But from what I understand we couldn’t even get an odd e-mail much less the money that we’re legally owed.

So now it gets ugly.

If there’s not a lien on the property one will placed on it soon enough.

And in the interest of disclosure, one association member even threatened to go to one of the owner’s open houses and let her potential clients know about her deadbeat ways.
I personally think that’s going too far---but she already put it out there.

Why waste your time threatening someone and have a potential trespassing beef to deal with when there are so many other effective ways to get your point across?

I’m sure there’s some type of ethical violation that I’m sure the state real estate licensing board would be interested in hearing about.

But then again, maybe not; who knows? I’m sure someone is investigating that angle.

You see our bills can’t wait until the property sells in order to collect our money.

I can’t speak to Ms. Realtor’s motivation for not paying her assessments but in the past, when we’ve found ourselves in this same situation we’d often get the “We’ll pay when the property sells” line.

Well that’s all fine and well until no one has any hot water to shower with because People’s Energy hasn’t been paid.

But investor’s don’t worry about that because they don’t live here.

Past experience has also taught me that the people who try to take advantage of us usually tend to look like us.

Or at the very least they’re people of color.

Our developer, the deadbeats, Maurice Cousin---all the people who broke dirty with this association happened to be black.

Sorry to get all Bill Cosby and air out our laundry but---if you’ll excuse the pun---let’s call a spade a spade.

While I could go on forever about black on black relations, it’s easier to compare it to Don Imus getting fired for calling the Rutgers women’s basketball team a bunch of nappy headed ho’s and Isaiah Thomas explaining in a deposition when a black man refers to a black woman as a bitch it may be less offensive than a white man referring to a black woman as a bitch.

We’ve swatted down a whole bunch of Isaiah’s in the past, I hope Ms. Realtor doesn’t turn out to be another.

I have seen the enemy and it is us.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Blustery Brit

I have a little spot I frequent to enjoy the odd adult beverage.

The fact that some people tend to find it swanky is great, I tend to like it for its sparkling décor and friendly service.

It’s just icing on the cake that on any given night you can see local, national and international movers and shakers and the odd celebrity.

It makes for fascinating people watching.

I dropped in a few days ago and was chatting with the bartender when a gentleman who has been one of the newer regulars sat down a few stools over.

While I’ve been introduced, I don’t really pay him any mind. He seems to entertain many others so I’m sure the fact that he’s missing my rapier like wit won’t keep him up nights.

He mumbled something in my direction about a bus---but like I said, I wasn’t really paying attention to him.

Plus it seemed like he has a few too many already. Frankly speaking that’s not too unusual for this guy.

If the scuttlebutt is to be believed, he’s a mean and crass drunk.

Since he got no reaction from me, he turned and said, “You can’t afford to drink here.”

Taken aback, I asked him what he was talking about.

He repeated himself and said, “You can’t afford to drink here.”

Now it was my turn to repeat myself.

He went onto ask how can I have a $15 glass of wine in front of me but take a $2.00 bus ride home.

And for the record, the glass of wine wasn’t $15 dollars. It was way less. I also reminded him that I took two buses to get home, not just one.

I asked him why he cared?

The Blustery Brit replied that he didn’t care but he just couldn’t figure it out. It just confused him.

He further stated that he hadn’t been on a bus in 50 years.

Well ladies and gentlemen you have your gold standard. The mark has been set.

While my memory is a little foggy of what I said to him (I was drinking after all), he said something about “Not getting into nonsense” and huffed out of the bar.

As a black woman you tend to get used to people making erroneous judgments about you based on appearance and gender.

But this has to be a first.

I’ve never had someone give me the what for’s due to the fact I’m an active public transportation rider.

Usually I shun the CTA, now I’m proud to have it as my badge of honor with this jerk off.

But now comes the interesting part.

I mentioned this little episode to other friends in the hospitality industry.

The gossip is that the Blustery is a bit of a flim flam artist, a con man, a charlatan.

My little spies tell me that their law enforcement friends tell them that Blustery had to quickly pack several times (and in several countries might I add) to make a quick get away from several “business deals gone wrong.”

That was their nice way of saying he had to leave because he was about to be picked up by the law from scamming people out of their money.

Well go figure.

Come to think of it, I had never seen him before last winter and he did appear out of nowhere.

Then of course this could all be malicious gossip. Who knows?

But it does have the sheen of truth to it, no?

Those who try to belittle someone are usually hiding a secret or two of their own.

Sights Seen

I saw a hearse that was a hybrid between a normal Cadillac and an El Camino with a ragtop.

It was super fly. All it needed was some spinners.

I was crossing the street today near the intersection of 63rd and Langley when I spotted the vehicle outside of a church.

I wanted to do a closer inspection but didn’t know if anyone was inside and didn’t want to be questioned about why I’m giving a hearse the once over.

From the front it looked like a normal Caddy---wide, black, shinny. It even had Illinois plates indicating that the vehicle was owned and used by a funeral home; but that profile screamed El Camino---or at the very least Subaru Brat.

A hearse with a ragtop and a cut-a-way profile---I dare you to find something that unique on the north side.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Enough Already

I’ve planted (most of) the free perennials the association received from the city.

I’ve revived my social life.

I’ve watched every “judge” show on the airwaves and can tell time by “Fraiser” and “Will & Grace.”

I am now officially addicted to “Cheaters.” That Joey Greco is the living end.

This unemployment thing is starting to wear thin. I hope the job search doesn’t take much longer.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hubris or God Bless San Bernadino, Harvey & South Shore

This copy was taken directly from The Knight Company's website:

Real Estate Development and Property Management

The Knight Company has developed over 60 condo units and is currently involved in the construction of 18 townhouse units in San Bernadino California, 30 single family homes in Harvey, IL, and 132 condo units in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago – becoming the first high-rise on the south side of Chicago in over 50 years, in addition to the development of 150 condo units in the Lake Meadows neighborhood of Chicago.

The principal, Carlton Knight, has more than fifteen years experience in the condo conversion, acquisition, development, construction and management of rental property and he has completed the renovation of over 200 units. The management arm of the company currently manages over 150 units. He serves as the managing director, and is involved in all aspects of the operations. He has a hands-on and proactive management philosophy. The organization has an experienced property manager on staff to augment the talents of Mr. Knight.

All I can say is----wow. I'm rarely at a loss for words but---wow.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Only In New York

Only I could be sitting in a bar, meet a complete stranger and walk out of the bar with this as a gift.

No I didn't get the bling---just the simple mother of pearl face.

Whack-a-doodle, huh?

Nothing untoward or crazy went on, he was a complete gentleman and it was an unexpected surprise.

We were sitting there chatting; he went out for a cigarette and when he returned he brought me back this beautiful watch.

I can’t even begin to make this stuff up.

Now I have even more of a reason to love the King Cole Bar.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Deadbeat on Deck

I saw him across the bar and couldn’t believe my eyes.

Unless the Stoli was playing tricks on me, I saw the one and only Mr. Maurice Cousin at the opening of the Stoli Hotel in Chicago.

No there isn’t a real Stoli Hotel but rather a slick, big bucks promotion to re-brand and re-introduce Stoli to the national market.

You know the type of party that has all of the arbiters of cool. The hipper than thou.

So I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “Why was Woody there?”

Hell, I was asking myself the same question.

While I’m the eternal dork, I do have friends who aren't. They're my entrée in the club world.

Plus I stopped believing in paying cover years ago.


There I was at the bar and Mr. Cousin walks up and orders a drink across the way.

You know how someone gives you the “Don’t you look familiar?” look.

He gave me that look.

When I didn’t look away and continued giving him a stare that went from uncomfortable to downright hostile I think it might of jogged his memory.

Deadbeat motherfucker.

The only reason why I didn’t go complete sista girl on his trifflin’ ass was because my friend was at a work event.

Albeit a work event with pretty people and flavored vodka.

Despite my longing to cause a huge public scene I kept my karma mantra in mind.

The dirt he’s done will (or already has) come back to haunt him.

You don’t stiff your former neighbors for $7,000 via bankruptcy not get some type of metaphoric payback.


The blog has finally reached the 10,000 hit mark. Whee!

Now I know that may not be earth-shattering news in the blog-o-sphere, but it's quite an achievement for a little blog that isn't about sex or celebrities.

I'm just here to keep you kids one step ahead of the game.

It also doesn't hurt that I find this little exercise extremely theraputic.

Onward and upward---to the next 10,000 hits.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Indecision '07, Part II

I think the official logo for our condo association should be an ostrich with its head in the sand.

Because that seems to be the manner that some of my fellow board members choose to deal with association business.

I sent an e-mail last week to the board concerning the pack rat like habits of our handyman and a few suggestions to make sure this topic doesn’t become an issue in the future.

Do you know how many board members sent a response?


One person out of four took the time out of her day to lodge her opinions and concerns about the safety and security of our home.

That’s just pitiful.

But I decided to take the high road. I decided to send out a second e-mail concerning the subject last weekend and still have yet to hear back from the three who did not respond.

Now we’ve gone from pitiful to trifling.

One of two things is going on: Either I’m held in such low regard that I can’t even get a return e-mail or these three people are just so busy with their lives that they just can’t manage to squeak out an e-mail concerning association business.

But I’ll bet they’ll be the first to piss and moan the minute someone gets broken into.

Or the first to wonder, “How’d that happen” when someone accesses our building with a random front door key or code given out by a former renter.

Like I said---they’re a reactive bunch.

So what do you do when ¾ of your association ducks any type of responsibility for their home and the ones that serve on the board are lazy or so burned out that they don’t give a flying fuck?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Indecision '07

Trying to get my fellow condo board members to run this association like an actual business is like pulling teeth.

I am so sick and tired of reactionary governing but then I’m putting the cart before the horse.

For those of you who’ve been reading this blog, my woes with my past and present board members should come as no surprise.

In my opinion there’s been questionable dealings and of course the mainstay of any condo association---infighting.

I don’t mind people that don’t take my point of view but you have to be a bit more of a critical thinker when dealing with the homes of those around you.

More importantly you also need to effectively communicate with not only the general membership but with your fellow board members.

Apparently this seems to be a problem with our association.

But to the matter at hand.

Ladies and Gentlemen we have a handyman who gives practically every last woman in this association a severe case of the creeps.

And when I say severe---I mean severe. The great thing about growing older and more secure in your womanhood is that you give that “inner voice” way more play in the decisions you make.

Men tend to want to quantify their feelings---if it doesn’t make sense then they tend to ignore it.

Women just know---you know?

He does a great job cleaning but it came to quite a few owners’ attention that he was hanging around at inappropriate hours (read: Late at night) and was also storing personal items in our basement.

Naturally this wasn’t going to fly.

This topic came up informally between a few of us but nothing formal was decided.

He continued to skulk around; bringing “things” in and out late at night and during the day when he thought no one was around.

But the straw that broke the camel’s back happened about a week and a half ago.

I was returning home late one night when I happened upon our handyman.
It appeared to me that he was bringing two dismantled bike frames up to our building.

When I confronted him about the storage of his personal items at our home, he said that the bike frames that he had just arrived with were actually being taken from the building.

Yeah, right.

I let him know that we were starting the process of cleaning out the basement and that if his items happened to be down there when we started that he shouldn’t be upset if his things got thrown out.

He just looked at me said that he was aware of the risk, I said “ok” and went inside.

Now I believe that was on a Wednesday. When I still saw his items junking up our basement late last week the cleaning bug hit.

Round #1 went out to the trash last Thursday.

Round #2 went out yesterday.

While I don’t necessary fault our handyman for his assumptions---after all people will continue to take advantage of you until you stop them---I fault the fact that we as an association never established proper boundaries and procedures.

Attempting to correct these oversights with a group of people who react to emergencies instead of anticipating and planning for the unexpected.

Like I said, it’s like pulling teeth.

So Far, So Good

I can't tell you how refreshing it is to wake up to the smell of strong coffee coming from downstairs rather than cheap pot.

For the first time in almost two years my house doesn't consistently smell like day old bong water or a dirty one hitter.

My new neighbor might just be okey doke.

This could be the beginning of beautiful new relationship.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Nearing The Finish Line

In July of 2005 our association leveled a special to pay for the construction of our new back porches.

Each two bedroom in the association was responsible for a $3,976.00 assessment.

Some people paid in chunks, some paid monthly---I'm in the later group.

After 28 months of payments I'm thrilled to report that I have paid $3,108.00 of my total special assessment. That leaves $868 left to pay.

I'm tempted to pay it off in one fell swoop but since I don't know when I'm going to get a job, perhaps it's just best for me to continue paying it off in addition to my monthly assessment.

I'm under $1,000. This milestone has been a long time coming.

The Desert Gets Drier

I found out that the owner of the Stony Island Food Mart at 83rd and Stony recently died and his family closed the store about a month ago.

My condolences to the family on their loss.

It’s bad enough to lose a dedicated small business owner but it really hits home to lose one of the few grocery stores serving the south side.

If memory serves me correctly an independent, black owned business at that.

It makes you wonder what’s next for the shuttered grocery store.

Anyone have any news or information?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Audacity Of Hope


Obviously the Cubs can’t catch a break.

As a long-suffering fan I should be used to this outcome. Nonetheless that doesn’t take the sting out of a sweep by the Diamondbacks.

It’s hard enough taking shit from the Sox fans that live among us. In case you’re new, there are some Sox fans that absolutely live to see the Cubs fail.

Naturally a World Series title in the last century seems to bolster their notion of superiority.

But to take shit from people who make their home in a desert? Apparently we truly have done something to offend God.

But in the ever optimistic “Wait till next year” mode I offer this reflection----Even the good Lord let the Israelites reach the promised land---eventually.

100 years?

I’ve given it to Jesus but I also realize that God helps those who help themselves or at least those who can hit and provide run support to their pitcher.

***Heavy Sigh***