Friday, November 30, 2007

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

I don’t know about your own private Idaho but around here the neighbors always keep it interesting.

The Good
My new downstairs neighbor had her music up a tad too loud during the evening hours on Tuesday night. I knocked on her door and asked if she could turn it down and she promptly complied---end of story, right?


The next day when I open my front door to leave and a brief note of apology with a loaf of zucchini bread were on my doorstep. What type of love is that? I knew this kid would be okey doke.

The Bad
Not only do I have new neighbors across the way in the building next door---which now forces me to close my dining room blinds---but someone who lives in my building threw out what appears to be some type of mortgage application in the common trash bin in our hallway.

Now anyone who has half a brain in their head wouldn’t throw out an application that has a name, address, social security number AND (wait for it…) a complete bureau copy of their credit record along with FICO score.

Holy crap, the lady on the application has better credit than 99.9% of most Americans. If I were her and found out about this breech of security, I’d hand someone their ass so they could were it as a hat.

God I’d be pissed.

Now anyone could of thrown that documentation in the trash but I have a sneaking suspicion who it may be. Remind me to thoroughly question the sensitive information disposal tatics of any realtors or mortgage people I might patronize in the future.

And just in case you’re wondering, yes I’ll go ahead and tear up the application is tiny little pieces before I throw it away.

The Ugly
If you think on a larger scale, you could say that the entity of the City of Chicago is all of our neighbors.

That being said, the city finally completed the parkway project and finally put down the neon green spray on grass on Wednesday. Picture the relish on a traditional Chicago hot dog and that’s the color of the spray on goop.

It’s not pretty but I hope that with a great deal of prayer and people not trampling it, the seed will take and we’ll have grass next year. Naturally that’s easier said than done.

Mere hours after the grass was laid I saw a woman tromp through the dirt and goop in her finery, then worry aloud if the green was going to permanently stair her shoes and pants.

Now the city worked really hard to put in a nice new sidewalk complete with ADA compliant corners. It would of taken two extra seconds for her to walk on the sidewalk instead of walking through the parkway and the newly laid seed.

I hope the cuffs of her pants are ruined. Serves her right.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Good Vibrations

I still haven’t got this sidewalk thing figured out yet.

Our new sidewalk across the street was poured over a month ago but another crew came out and put in the corners.

While I know the corners have to be ADA compliant, why couldn’t the same crew do the corners at the same time?

Considering the south side usually gets the shaft, I guess I should be overjoyed that we got a new sidewalk to begin with.

I guess the old adage is right, never look a gift sidewalk in the mouth.

Nonetheless there is a crew outside right now breaking up concrete and setting up the molds to pour yet another set of corners.

Personally speaking, that jackhammer vibration---if applied in the proper situations---could be a good thing.

Speaking of a separation of duties, yesterday while I was setting up my Christmas tree on the balcony I saw a crew spreading grass seed just on the corner across the street from my place.

Yes, I have a lit Christmas tree on my outside balcony. That’s how I roll.

I don’t think my neighbors like the pine needles I’ve left in the hallway but I’ll deal with that tonight before Charlie Brown Christmas comes on at 7:00.

Anyhoo, I ran downstairs to check the view of the tree from the street and asked the nice seed spreaders if the seed needed to be watered.

They told me that the seed was the winter variety and it should be fine throughout the cold months.

Okey dokey.

What struck me as strange was that they told me that another crew would be out seeding the rest of the parkway with for all intensive purposes is “spray on grass.”

Now why would the city send two different crews to apply two different types of seed to the same parkway?

As I said earlier---we’re getting our due, perhaps I should shut my yap and say “Thank You.”

Monday, November 19, 2007


You know what's worse than being unemployed?

Being unemployed and not being able to get a ticket to Oprah's favorite things holiday show. If anybody deserves (more) free stuff right now, it's your's truly.

Trying to get through the phone lines is next to impossible. I doubt that there will be another time in my life when I can just go to an early morning or afternoon taping without worrying about my job.

Oh well, it seems like I'm watching all of that loot go out the door to someone else---again.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Is It Just Me?

It seems the most dangerous things to be in the Chicagoland area these days is a woman.

Disappearing wives. Strangled, burned bodies. Husband’s pulling off the road and murdering whole families.

It just doesn’t pay to be a broad these days.

It kind of makes you long for the good old fashion conflict resolution of my youth---it was called divorce.

If it was good enough for my parents, I’m sure it would have been good enough for the gentlemen who’s wives just “leave” and are never heard from again.

But time will tell. Nothing stays buried forever.

Now I know the knife cuts both ways. There have to be some family annihilators who happen to be women.

Perhaps their stories don’t get as much coverage as when men murder their whole families or when their wives “disappear.”

But it seems around these parts women are disposable.

Nothing underscores that point than the two burning bodies that were found in dumpsters around the south side.

Jesus take the wheel.

Naturally when the body of a pregnant young woman is found less than a mile from your home, you sit up and take notice.

You also tend to take notice as a single woman who takes public transportation and tends to be out when it’s dark.

In order to survive as a woman in Chicagoland you apparently have to fear both persons known and unknown.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Young Mr. Whitefolks' Delivery Dilemma

I saw Young Mr. Whitefolks recently and he was a little confused about why it was so difficult to order a meal to his home.

“I looked up restaurants that Grub Hub said deliver to my neighborhood but when I call to place an order they tell me that they don’t deliver to my address.”

“Does that surprise you?” I asked.

“Yes---if the restaurants don’t want to deliver to my neighborhood they should just say so.”

God, I just love this kid.

He further stated, “Why don’t they just say that they won’t deliver to 35th & King?”

Welcome to being black, dearest. Rather I should say, welcome to living with blacks, baby. You’re one of us now.

“It’s so frustrating. I only want food.”

At this point all I could do is give him a look of sympathy. He truly didn’t (and doesn't) know the totality of moving into a black neighborhood.

He didn’t know that in order to subsist, you have to go out and get the things you need. The luxury of having things brought to you other than the mail, UPS & Peapod is a rare occurrence.

But that wasn’t all Young Mr. Whitefolks had to say.

He also noticed that when he went to fast food restaurants that on more than one occasion he couldn’t order food that was printed on the menu boards.

“Dearest why would you expect to be able to order items that are advertised for sale?” I asked.

He looked at me like I was nuts.

Now I’m sure this isn’t a south side thing or a black thing but rather a bad service and not watching the stock thing. If your tastes tend to run towards fruit and yogurt parfaits and salads rather than burgers and fries you’re kinda out of luck.

You’ll either have to wait for your food or just be told that the restaurant doesn’t have what you want.

Apparently Young Mr. Whitefolks is used to being able to order whatever he wants off of the menu.

What a precious pumpkin.

In both cases, I strongly suggested that he put pen to paper and let the powers that be know about the lack of services in his neighborhood and to carbon copy everyone he could think of from his Alderman to Oprah.

He waved me off.

Not only did I tell him that the squeaky wheel gets the grease but he and his immediate neighbors will continue to be ignored and their hard earned money disrespected until they advocate for change.

Or in other words, attitudes won’t change until you demand that they change.

Companies also tend to think that if one person is concerned enough to put pen to paper, that a great many people may carry the same sentiment as well.

He was then amazed that other people were amazed at how livable his neighborhood was.

When cab drivers would reluctantly take him home from his late night job they were shocked to find a wide, green tree lined street instead of some languishing ghetto.

The drivers were concerned about his safety if they dropped him off on the south side. Apparently his statements of “I live in this neighborhood” did nothing to assuage their fears.

Go figure.

I told YMWF that some people’s perceptions of the south side may never change. You just have to look at them like they’ve lost their minds when they speak such foolishness.

It’s not our fault that they haven’t received the memo about the hotness of the south side.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Media Darling

I know I have people who read the blog---the counter keeps on ticking upward everyday.

What surprises me are people who actually make legal money from journalism who give me a tap now and then for my opinion or point other readers to my humble offerings.

It’s extremely validating and flattering in light of the fact I started this blog in order to channel frustration from our association’s dismal state at the time.

Trust me, I know I’m not alone in my condo drama out there. I’ve received enough e-mail from you fellow condo cowboys and cowgirls to continue to fight the power.

Yet when the peeps from Yo!Chicago, Gaper’s Block, The New York Times and the University of Chicago Maroon come calling, it’s an unexpected treat.

I was recently made aware that I Hate My Developer made the Chicagoland blog roll in The Reader.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with The Reader, it’s an alternative newspaper that’s been around for years. Hell I remember first picking it up when I was a wee baby in college.

Aside from helping you keep your entertainment schedule up to date, those kids do some damn fine reporting.

Discussion about the infamous Reader personals section is for another post.

Nonetheless, Whet Moser has seen fit to include my musings in the roll with a long list of amazing local blogs every Chicagoan should have on their reading list.

Does this mean that my Christmas card list will be getting larger? Am I going to have to buy a couple more bottles for the Christmas party?

Only time will tell.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Child, Please

Frankly folks it’s pretty simple.

If I don’t bring my drinking buddies to your kids’ play dates, why are you bringing your kids to my bar?

And, for the record, I don’t care if your European and this is standard operating procedure in your homeland.

Yesterday I witnessed what's becoming more and more prevalent in my neck of the woods---bringing kids into a bar.

The rare exception to this rule is if the tots are in the bar during a more family friendly hour (before the sun goes down) AND they’re sitting at a table.

But don’t expect your average patron to alter their behavior because your child happens to be at the bar. If they get smoke blown in their face or hear and see adult things---that’s your fault.

Jesus take the wheel.

This group of people not only brought three small children into a tightly packed bar, but a sleeping baby was wheeled off in the corner.

Classy huh?

Then to make it even better, they were blocking the only available narrow entrance and exit for other customers and staff.

If people keep on having to say “excuse me” perhaps that’s your clue to get out of the way and stop blocking the aisle.

Nonetheless, these future Darwin Award recipients didn’t catch the clue and continued to drink martinis and smoke around children that were clearly bored and fidgety.

I don’t blame the kids one bit---let’s make that clear.

I blame their booze hound parents who needed a drink so bad that they had to have their kids out after 7:00PM on a school night.

If you need a drink that bad perhaps you should check into being a friend of Al’s.

So if you happen to be in a smoky bar swilling down martini’s like you were 23 in the presence of your kids and you see an unsmiling black woman staring at you that’s your overt clue to go home.

Don’t make me have to say something.