Sunday, April 27, 2008

Guess Who's Coming To Lunch?

Guess which responsibility shirking, dishonorable, deadbeat former neighbor of mine came strolling into my waitressing job on Tuesday with his new wife and baby?

Maurice Cousin.

Hell, I couldn’t believe it so I had to do a double take.

He’s lost some weight so he has the glow of health; so much so that I almost didn’t recognize him.

But you can’t lose the stench of dishonest living---it tends to follow you and permeate your very being.

So he, the new missus and the tot stroll on in for a meal.

The deadbeat and I lock eyes.

After much decision making, the happy family finally settles on the outdoor patio enjoying the spate of wonderful weather we’ve been enjoying lately.

Unfortunately for them that also happened to be the day I was the only server working the entire restaurant for the lunch rush. And while I literally addressed every table in the order that they were seated, I apparently wasn’t moving quick enough.

Because by the time I got to the patio they were getting up.

I apologized for the wait and actually encouraged them to stay. I also told Maurice it was good to see him.

Despite my best---and might I add professional---efforts, they left.


I wonder if it was the wait or was it me me?

I wonder if she knows about his past fiscal irresponsibility.

I wonder if he’s ever settled that $31,000 dust up with his lawyers concerning his dissolution of his first marriage?

Unfortunately I had other tables to serve so my questions would have to wait.

Perhaps I'll see him again so I'll be able to ask.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Well I'll Be Damned

The unimaginable is happening.

The suspect grass seed and foam that was put down last fall when the new sidewalk was completed is actually sprouting.

No bullshit.

If you remember correctly, I wasn't overly optimistic that anything was going to grow.

I woke up the other day and noticed that there was a greenish tint to the ground across the street. When I arrived downstairs for a closer look, I saw tender blades of new grass had popped up.

Yes Ladies and Gentlemen that's what it's come down to---I'm literally watching grass grow.

Damn, I may get my "player card" revoked for that.

Grass may not be as exciting as dishing on my developer or talking about condo drama but with spring and renewal unfolding in front of our eyes, our new grass is kind of a rebirth for this little patch of Woodlawn.

Pictures soon to follow as soon as I figure out how to download them from my Blackberry.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sonic Youth

I'm a little torn on my approaching 40th birthday.

I feel smarter, sexier---bounding with self confidence. And while that hasn't changed, the fact that I'm serving young people that were born slightly before I graduated high school is a bit disconcerting.

It's a little difficult to crack a Blues Brothers joke when the people you're speaking with weren't even born when the movie was released.

Life experience and finally knowing how to put on natural makeup in five minutes vs. the potential and optimism of youth.

Heavy Sigh.

Make no mistake---it's my issue. And I've learned to build a bridge and get over the fact that people born in 1985 can legally drink AND have disposable income.

But the kids I serve at my waitressing job for the most part are okey doke.

And yes, you're a kid if you don't remember the Rolling Stones in their 40's.

But a recent encounter with a 1st year (Freshman) University of Chicago student gave me a giggle.

Her T-Shirt read "If I wanted an A I would of gone to Harvard."


While I can't get into the exact details of my conversation with her and her companions, let's suffice it to say that I let them know that getting older and being a smart woman is not a death sentence.

I hoped that they would grown into womanhood with a little less drama than I did.

Because being 18 and 20 means you have a lot of living to do.

As a matter of fact so does 39.

Friday, April 18, 2008


What’s the story with our non-profit neighbors?

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you know my many tales of the school across the street.

But they’re not the only institution that calls our little patch of Woodlawn home.

The former Christ Apostolic Church was located across the street from our association until they moved into their new home in 2002.

The congregation is now called Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church.

Nonetheless the old building remains—frankly I’m not sure if it belongs to the church or if it’s somehow associated with Rev. Finney’s historic T.W.O. group.

And while it’s a beautiful old building, there has been a marked decline in the curb appeal since the congregation moved.

The words minimum upkeep spring to mind.

Christmas lights from several seasons ago are still in the trees, when a storm blew through here a couple of summers ago the branches and debris weren’t cleared until months later.

Mountains of trash overflowed out of the dumpster until recently.

While all of those things can drive your neighbors to distraction, in my estimation we had bigger fish to fry with impassible sidewalks and piles of garbage across the street.

One thing at a time, yo.

I figured as soon as Mt. Carmel was on track, I’d find out whom to drop a line to so the curb appeal quotient could ratchet up a few notches.

Unfortunately about a month ago that all changed.

I notice things in our little two-block stretch of paradise. Especially since I’m located on the third floor.

So it wasn’t too difficult too notice when every last available street parking space was taken up in the late afternoon on a Saturday night.

It also wasn’t too difficult to notice when about a dozen cars were parked in the vacant lot behind our home.

But it really wasn’t difficult to notice the excessive noise and bullshit taking place on our quiet street as afternoon stretched into evening and evening stretched into the next day.

While I took note of all of this, it was my neighbor Caustic who actually got the 411 on the situation.

Not only did she get the 411 but also dialed 911.

Squad cars and paddy wagon arrived not long thereafter.

It seems that the space is now being rented out for events. Which on it’s face is great, but if you don’t have a special use permit for the space that’s not so good.

Furthermore, if the people you’re renting the space to are either knuckleheads or disrespectful of our neighborhood---that’s a problem.

There are so many “what if’s.”

What if a promoted event exceeds capacity?

What if an emergency happens inside of the building? Do people know how to safely exit?

Those are just the first two questions in the front of my mind. Of course just by asking those questions others such as private security, rental guidelines and community standards pop into my head.

It appears that, at least on the surface, that the rental guidelines may need some tightening.

Now I loves me a good party. Hell I’ve been known to throw a few.

But I maybe have three or four a year---that was before I got laid off ---I always notified my downstairs neighbor in enough time so if they didn’t want 40-50 people walking over their heads they could make other plans.

Plus if you’re a guest in my house, you know you better act like you got some sense or a beat down will be coming your way.

I have to take too much shit outside of my home to put up with any foolishness inside my walls.

From what’s been seen so far, we’re not optimistic about the quality of events that may be held in the future.

So as a service to the decision maker(s) who green light the event rentals, you may want to use the few examples below as a guide:

Drop it like it’s hot rump shaker contest---No.

Eastern Star Five Point Tea---Yes.

Traveling male strip troupe featuring “Chocolate Thunder”---No.

State convention of the Missionary Society---Yes.

Any event that’s promoted with the phase, “Dress code strictly enforced, no hats or gym shoes.”---No
Community Meetings---Yes

With all of the foolishness that’s been going on lately, who wants to rattle the Tiger’s cage?

Let’s keep the warm weather months as drama free as possible.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Apparently someone has heard our cries in the food desert.

Woodlawn is getting it’s very own Farmer’s Market starting Saturday, May 17th at Experimental Station home of Blackstone Bicycle Works.

So I’ll be able to walk to purchase reasonably priced fresh produce AND shop for a reasonably price eco friendly, weight controlling form of transportation.

Note the emphasis on walk, reasonably priced and fresh.

AND they’ll take the LINK Card. Not that I have one or anything. Apparently I made too much money when I was on unemployment.

It’s too good to be true.

But Woodlawn isn’t by itself----Bronzeville and Englewood are getting their own farmer’s markets as well.

Because we’re on the south side it wouldn’t surprise me if the markets were sponsored by McDonalds.

I predict that many poorly stocked, high priced corner grocery stores and mini marts will be feeling the pain of reduced business.

I’m very interested in seeing the selection of produce we get in the ‘hood. Since I’m a big fan of the market at Federal Plaza I have a pretty good idea what’s what.

I am beyond thrilled with this---see how the squeaky wheel gets the grease when enough people question the status quo.

South Side stand up.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


Yes, I’ve been missing lately. Please excuse my absense.

After all, waitressing and working seemingly every part time job possible can take a toll on a sister. It took about three weeks for my feet and back to stop outright throbbing.

Methinks that I can now run a marathon in heels.

Just because I’m working day and night to make ends meet doesn’t mean that I don’t have stories to tell.

The latest involves why you should always make sure that you have a legitimate developer who has obtained all of his or her legitimate licenses regarding your building.

Note I said legitimate licenses.

Carlton Knight obtained “licenses” but they were to replace walls and to erect a fence. Trust me, I have copies of the permit applications.

You want to make sure that little things like the plumbing and roof have been covered as well.

But I digress.

After many years of having their low-end laminate kitchen cabinets, my next door neighbors decided to upgrade and get new cabinets.

They shopped, saved their money, made their purchases and set an installation date.

The appointed time came and the workers started to rip out their old cabinets.

But a small wrinkled developed.

The “T” drain that funnels water from the kitchen of both of our units was damaged when the base cabinets were being moved.

As I’m sure you know, most bathrooms and kitchens in a development are placed in generally the same place so the water and drainage lines can be in the same location.

You see my friends, when our developer “rehabbed” our units he merely made cosmetic changes.

If you’ve been a long time reader of this blog you’ve read the stories.

But this time the “T” drain in the kitchen of my neighbor’s unit was being held together by insulation foam resting on the base kitchen cabinet.

Did I mention that the “T” drain was completely rusted ?

Now I’m not a Rhodes Scholar, but I’m confident that if the plumbing was updated when all of us first bought into this development over six years ago it wouldn’t of rusted.

Hell, can you even put metal pipes in buildings anymore?

Ironically, when my neighbor directly below me rehabbed her kitchen, she didn’t have any problems. And might I add her new kitchen is the shit.

Hotness personified.

Nonetheless because the drain runs between both of our units, I couldn’t wash the dishes or run the dish washer.

Like I need an excuse to not do housework.

Unfortunately my neighbors had to pay over $700 to get the “T” drain fixed. If they didn’t any kitchen water both units would of run would of gone directly into the walls.

And we all know that water is a home owner’s worst enemy.

The moral of this story is that when you’re looking for a condo and you get that funny little feeling about the things you can see, be very concerned about the things you can’t.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Just When I Thought I'd Seen It All

Help Me Jesus.

Just when I thought my developer was---oh how shall I put it?----horrible; along comes this joker to win the sleazy developer of the year award.

My heart goes out to this person’s business partners, employees and most of all anyone who put down escrow money on a new unit.

As if times aren’t difficult enough for folks without this shit happening.