Friday, November 28, 2008


While the turkey never slid off the table at my house, there were quite a few mishaps during my youth.

Don't ask.

Despite what's going on in the economy and this crazy mixed up world, here's to hoping we all have a safe remainder of the holiday season.

Monday, November 24, 2008

State Secret

Now let’s all put our heads together on this one.

Go to the Inauguration---nope, no way.

Freezing my ass off with a crappy view of the action is not my idea of a good time.

I would on the other hand, like to go to a state dinner.

So from now until President Elect Obama leaves office, I’m on a mission to get invited to the White House for a state dinner.

I’m pretty sure I can clear a Secret Service background check. And I promise to act like I have some home training.

Yet I’m not quite sure how I’m going to pull this one off.

Any ideas, folks?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Yes We Can

I have yet to have children.

I do not know how it feels to give birth to another human being and to experience that life long love---that maternal bond.

My friends with kids often remark they'd do anything to protect their children.

Playing devil's advocate, I jump on the bandwagon and ask them if they knew that their child (or children)commited a crime, would they ever turn them in to the police.

Every last one of them has said no.

They couldn't bring themselves to turn their children in---no matter how horrific the act.

I counter with the statement, "So why do you bother teaching them right from wrong and taking them to church?

That one is usually met with icy silence.

I guess it's difficult to turn over one's offspring to the authorities.

That's why this woman not only gets my praise but my prayers and respect as well.

Instead of turning a blind eye, she made a huge personal sacrifice.

She knows that all of the best examples begin at home.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Post Election Reflection

While President Elect Obama’s historic campaign brought out the worst in his opponents, I will say that his election last Tuesday brought out the best in Chicago.

I have never seen that much order and love among a large diverse crowd at a public gathering ever.

Makes you kinda wonder what else Chicagoans could do if we overcame the bullshit and ugliness and came together.

And while we’re on the topic, nuts to those doom and gloom naysayers and scared rabbits that left the city with a quickness on Tuesday.

Those who said that no matter what the election outcome there would still be rioting on the streets.

It’s nice to know that we proved them wrong.

A small aside to my African American brothers and sisters:

While President Elect Obama is an impressive figure, do not place ALL of your hopes and dreams on his shoulders.

While he serves as an inspiration of what hard work and determination can do, he is not the only Black person who can achieve in this country.

Let me reiterate that point: He is not the only Black person who can achieve in this country.

I’m not sure why some of us need this stunning example to underscore this point but hey---whatever works.

You don’t have to give me that look---I know the deck is stacked but like President Elect Obama you’ve got to be three times as good (Read: Extremely Qualified) and run a tight campaign.

Oh yeah---and build a coalition.

On that note I just want to put a few things for your consideration on the table:

Can we start respecting each other and the places where we live just a little bit more? Picking up trash really doesn’t take too much time, really.

Is it possible that we could stop killing and poisoning one another? When I say poisoning I mean drugs and drug dealing.

Now here’s the tough one---Can we start holding community and elected leaders accountable for their actions?

Since Black people were usually on the short end of the stick when it came to inclusion in this country, it seems like we fell for the heady promise of someone who happened to look like us being in power.

From Hatcher in Gary, to Coleman in Detroit, to Barry in D.C.----dreams were realized but at a heavy cost.

Each of those leaders had the best of intentions, but reality was quite a different kettle of fish.

Black folks were a little new to the game. We didn’t know 40 years ago that you have to build coalitions in order to preserve the tax base which in turns pays for the cops, the fireman and the teachers.

But we know that now.

So the moral of my little tale is we have no permanent friends, we have no permanent enemies but we do have permanent interests that have yet to be effectively served by some of those in power.

To that end, call ‘em on the carpet.

Not only the politicians but the absentee land and property owners---one person (or a group of people) can make a difference.

Yes we can.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Teacher Teacher

I should have known what was coming when The Teacher not only knocked on my door one Thursday evening a few weeks ago, but also tried my doorknob.

I mean what’s so urgent that you have to try the knob to your neighbor’s door?

Especially during Ugly Betty.

I thought there might have been an emergency.

But by the time I got to the door no one was there.

“Odd.” I thought.

I proceeded to call my first floor neighbor while I knocked on The Teacher’s door.

I wanted to make sure everything was alright.

That’s when my neighbor, The Teacher, lost her fucking mind.

I have never---not even once----attempted to shirk my fiscal or personal responsibility to my condo association.

For her to accuse me of “being a bad neighbor” is absolutely ridiculous.

Moreover, it’s completely unfounded.

An employment and cash flow hiccup---well perhaps we can call it a burp as I was unemployed for 11 months---cannot compare to the benefits MY efforts have brought to this association and our neighborhood.

So apparently she didn’t consider that while she was bumpin her gums attempting to bully me into paying money I don’t have.

But I tend to call that the Janet Jackson consciousness---The “What Have You Done For Me Lately” attitude.

Furthermore her husband, our association treasurer, fell derelict in his duties by letting so many owners get so far behind in their assessments.

And when I say behind, I mean to the tune of almost $10,000.

That’s ten grand. Ten large. Or to put it another way, a dime to those of you who speak Soprano.

So I wonder what it was about the mounting arrearage that didn’t set off the alarms in his head.

One may never know.

But I do know that the both of them have been lobbying for some time to be paid for their efforts.

Then of course I performed my contributions to our associations while working two jobs. Never asking for, nor expecting one thin dime for my quantifiable results.

Nonetheless, I was the recipient of The Teacher’s rage that fine Thursday evening.

Despite my efforts to make this a civil conversation I was called and or told the following:
I am a bad neighbor.
I am a deadbeat.
I’m hurting the association.

But the last three comments in this bitch session were priceless.

This woman had the stones to question me about the packages that were being delivered to me. Her inference was that I had money to buy things so I must be able to pay my back assessments.

Not that it was any of her business but I did celebrate a milestone birthday in late August and decided to use some of the gift cards that I had received.

You know---the ones you can’t turn in for cash.

Oh, but she wasn’t done by a long shot.

“You know if I had a storage room full of things in the basement, I would sell them----sell anything I had not to be in debt.”
I looked at her like she had just spoken to me in Klingon.

I remember thinking that she had to have been smoking something to come up with that one.

Can you believe the audacity?

No doubt she saved the best for last.

After all of this (and missing the first 10 minutes of Ugly Betty) I asked her a simple question: “Do you think I’m the type of person who would leave my neighbors in a lurch? Do you really think that I would leave you guys holding the bag?”

Without missing a beat she said “Yes.”


Well there it is.

All I was initially seeking was an accurate accounting of my back assessments. Instead of our treasurer sitting down with me and making me understand his numbers he left his duties up to his wife.

What more was there to say?

I bid The Teacher and her husband good night. I turned on my heel and went back to my program.

Yes there was another knock at the door and yes I saw my treasurer on my doorstep. The association’s books in his hand, but I had more pressing matters at hand.

Betty was trying to figure out who pushed her best friend down the stairs.

I was done.

Absolutely, positively done.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Bad Neighbor

I am a bad, thoughtless neighbor.


Or at least that's how my fellow board member who also happens to be my treasurer's wife sees it.

My 11 month unemployment jag was no secret.

And while I've been working for a little over three months, playing catch up on debt is a bitch. Frankly speaking, I knew that it would probably take six to nine months to get back to zero.

And yes, I am behind on my assessments.

Note: When I say behind I mean BEHIND.

I, of all people, know that good intentions don't pay a condo association's bills. Moreover I was one of several board members who voted for tougher rules on owners that fall behind on their assessments.

Irony is a motherfucker.

Like it or lump it I was (and am) behind in my assessments and had have limited e-mail conversations with our association treasurer about the actual amounts that were owed.

He said it was one amount, I disagreed and said it was another.

Because how can I start to formulate a repayment plan when I didn't have a starting out figure?

In all honesty our treasurer wasn't too swift about getting back to me and I was too busy trying to figure out how to keep a roof over my head and my utilities on.

Then I got my current position and set about making nicey with ComEd, Peoples Gas & AT&T.

But guess what happened?

Our treasurer's wife, let's call her The Teacher, jumped in the fray.

At first she called and stated that a lien could be placed on my unit.

And while I assured her that I would pay up as quickly as possible, at least things were somewhat cordial.

That changed a few weeks ago.

'Cause The Teacher took it from business to personal.