Monday, December 28, 2009


This is what happens when you're unemployed, have a ton of christmas ornaments and a hot glue gun.

Gardening and crafting?

I'm one cat away from a female middle age crisis.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Things Fall Apart, The Drama

The battle lines were drawn.

Hackles were raised.

It was only a matter of time before a match dropped into this powder keg of hurt feelings and bruised emotions.

Boy howdy, did it ever.

From what I understand thinly veiled accusation were made about the handling of association finances. The bait was taken and that led to a personal attack against the individual who voiced the thinly veiled accusation.

And so on and so forth.

It got ugly. Real ugly. Real quick.

Aside from the childishness of such an exchange, comments like that had (and have) no place in any association meeting.

I get that you may not have the warmest feelings toward your neighbor but if I could sit next to my developer when he chose to come to meetings and not loose my shit; then everyone else can grin and bear it.

Moreover, personal attacks and bickering mean that association business can't get done. If business can't get done we can't move forward on several important topics that need our immediate attention.

Such as a fellow owner who doesn't see fit to pay their assessments.

And when I say not paying their assessments, I don't mean not slowly paying because your unemployed like me.

I mean not paying because they "don't understand what assessments are for."

I'm not sure if it occurred to anyone within this little melodrama that the fires of animosity may be actively stoked to throw the scent off other outstanding business.

And when I say outstanding business I mean delinquent assessments.

What bothers me the most is that a confidence that was entrusted to me was one of those extremely personal zingers exposed at that meeting.

While I don't remember ever repeating this confidence, after the incident was brought to my attention and much thought, it is unlikely that the information came from anyone else.

Plus my name was brought up as the source of the information.

That's how you know this shit is running deep.

I've been privileged to be entrusted with a great deal of information from many people.

And as relationships tend to go, sometimes you have disagreements big or small with your peeps.

But I've managed to keep the lid on where several bodies are buried despite pissing someone off or being pissed off. It's important that people vent. As the saying goes, no man (or woman) is an island.

Unless you're under subpoena, you need to keep the highly personal stuff out of the gossip mill.

That's how crazy all of this has gotten.

Now I'm telling tales out of school.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Never Ending Story

As usual, the trash on the north parkway continues to be a problem.

Why Mt. Carmel can't come up with a workable solution to this issue is beyond me.

It's kind of like knowing that it's going to snow every year yet not having a snow removal plan and salt at the ready.

So I composed and sent the following e-mail to the person in charge of "maintenance" at Mt. Carmel and cc'd my alderman and neighbors:

"It has been over two weeks since I've spoken to you about the trash on the north side of the 65th Street Parkway.

If Mt. Carmel has completed a clean up it was barely noticeable since I've been literally looking at the same bag of discarded trash for the past month. Now more trash has been added to the parkway.

I've been hearing for years how Mt. Carmel is committed to being a "good neighbor." If that's the case, why does there have to be constant reminders about picking up trash and shoveling and salting the parkway? This isn't the first discussion we've had about these topics and based on history, it won't be the last.

Even when the seasonal grounds crew cuts the grass, I've routinely seem them move trash on the parkway into the street and in some cases not pick up the trash at all.

It's difficult enough watching people use our neighborhood as their own personal trash can. My neighbors and I do the best we can to pick up on and around our property and to encourage the culture of not using the parkways, lawns and street as a garbage bag.

Why can't Mt. Carmel do their part without constant prodding? Is this how a "good neighbor" behaves?"

Since I'm confident that they are out for winter break we'll get to look at the crap across the street at least until the beginning of January.

If we're lucky.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Things Fall Apart, The Back Story

Drama has been brewing within our association for some time.

Without getting into any specifics, their was a perception among some owners that communication within the association was sorely lacking.

Moreover, when there was a request for information it wasn't exactly answered in a timely manner.

Now I took into account that anyone can manipulate a story to suit their needs and that I'm sure several key facts were left out.

Nonetheless out of everything that was said to me by several different people, the animosity was always directed towards the same person.

One would think that someone might be trying to manipulate me or maybe I'm just lucky that people feel the need to unburden their souls to yours truly.

Who can tell?

Now there are things you should know.

First, the drama is between a group of women.

Second, it's my opinion that it wasn't so much the lack of communication but the manner in which the inquiries were received.

You see not everyone has control of their temper.

When the manner of how you conduct association business is questioned and probed by people who really haven't stepped up to the plate, yeah you're gonna be pissed.

Trust me, I know.

Add that to a potential bad day AND a temper and you've got the beginnings of an in-house fight.

Since I myself have seen the "Mr. Hyde" side of this individual's personality, I never thought it out of the realm of possibility that others may have felt it's wrath.

So let's recap:

We have a bunch of women in a condo association with hurt feelings, misunderstandings and animosities between them.

What could possibly go wrong with that scenario?

Moreover who would attempt to capitalize on this chaos?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Things Fall Apart

Drama is afoot within the association.

While I've seen infighting before, it has now reached such a vitriolic levels we can't get any business done.

Which isn't good when you have important business that needs to be conducted.

And when I say vitriolic I mean highly personal attacks during condo board meetings.

Highly personal.

So feelings have been hurt and lines have been drawn.

Since I haven't been to a single meeting in quite awhile I'm going on what has been communicated to me by others and by those who send me e-mails.

Because as I'm sure you all remember, I decided to absolve myself of helping with any condo business partly due to nasty confrontation with a neighbor last year.

But that wasn't only the straw that broke the camel's back.

Mostly the apathy of most of my fellow owners pissed me off to no end. Everyone wants everything done yesterday but isn't willing to truly commit to the effort.

So fuck it.

I'd never asked for a dime of payment for my efforts but being taken for granted and then being told that you're a bad neighbor was just too much.

I rarely get too emotional. I'm not a yeller or a screamer by nature so often people mistake me looking at them like they're crazy as a sign of passiveness.

Losing ones cool often leads to larger drama and who needs that?

But once you're on the list---once you've reached my limit---game on.

Then it's scorched earth.

I'm not proud of that personality trait but I realize that I fall extremely short of God's grace.

It wasn't until a few days ago that I didn't understand how far I'd fallen.

Friday, December 11, 2009

One Track Mind

Unemployment is clearly a cash cow.

Trust me, I was just as shocked as you when I found this out.

Unfortunately the big bucks that I pull in from unemployment disqualifies me from receiving any type of assistance from LIHEAP or a Link card.

What kills me is that when I explain my basic monthly outlay to keep a roof over my head and the lights on the reply I receive is "We don't take your bills into account. That's not how this program works."


For a family of one (the cat doesn't count)can only have a gross income of about $1,100 a month to qualify for the Link card. For LIHEAP the most you can only is $1,354 a month.

I completely understand why many are just pissed off.

No one will help you despite the fact you've been a good egg and paid into the system.

Most homeowners with equity in their homes will not be helped by the Obama Plan.

Most single people can't qualify for a medical card or the Link card from the state.

One would almost think that the social service system isn't designed to help the middle class. You might also be tempted to think that the once you qualify for any type of help, that the system is designed to either keep you impoverished or make you lie to keep your benefits.

I'm done. I'm totally absolutely done.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

C'mon Son!

I was in the middle of watching Law and Order Friday night when the picture went out.

Since I have Dish satellite for cable this isn't an uncommon occurrence.

If the wind blows too hard or the weather suddenly changes the dish won't pick up the signal.

Usually you give it a few minutes and the picture comes right back in.

Except on Friday.

I waited and waited and my picture never came back.

The weather seemed clear and I performed the diagnostics but no dice.

Since I had plans, I decided to pursue remedies when I returned later that evening.

When I did get on the phone with the Dish customer service representative we ran through a few more diagnostic tests with the same results.

So a service call was scheduled for Saturday.

When Luis the service technician came out he climbed up to the roof he quickly and efficiently diagnosed the problem.

My satellite dish was gone.

Some trifflin' ass motherfucker climbed on my roof---directly over my head my I add----on a dark, cold windy Chicago night and STOLE my satellite dish in the middle of Law and Order.

Ain't that a bitch?

I was completely undone. It took a day for me to calm down.

Who climbs up on your roof at night to take a flipping dish?

It turns out that despite a majority of the dish being plastic, there are some metal components that can be worth up to $15.00 on the street.

So does that mean that the thief goes around collecting dishes until he (or she) has enough scrap metal to make decent money?

Clearly we're not out of this recession if people are roof surfing for cable satellite dishes for scrap metal.

It's like I had my own personal "C'mon Son" moment.

Your ass is such a bootleg, ghetto ass criminal that you have to risk life and limb to grab dishes off peoples roofs.

Damn, player.

Normally during this time of year it's the beginning of the "jacking season."

The jacking season usually lasts from the holidays until after the tax refund anticipation loans stop.

They'll jack you for your Christmas gifts. Your purse will get cut while you're in a large crowd.

If you're foolish enough to get your taxes prepared at a Currency Exchange don't be surprised when someone sticks a gun in your face as soon as you exit.

People usually become extra cautious and take care to not draw attention to themselves.

Most people exercise using common sense and street smarts.

And until yesterday I thought I was one of those people.

Little did I know that jacking had gone three stories up.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Kool Aid

On occasion my neighbor Erin and I have serious discussions on what's wrong with this country.

While she sites Maroon 5 and Nickelback as prime causes, when I saw her yesterday I brought up a far more sinister force that is permeating our way of life.

Ladies and gentlemen, resist the Snuggie nation.

Billing itself as a blanket with sleeves, the American people have fallen for this ruse hook, line and sinker.

These abominations unto God are flying off the shelves like hotcakes.

At first I could ignore it like any other bad trend. Then recently I saw this horrific display in the front of the Walgreens at 67th and Stony Island.

Even Black people have taken a big gulp of the kool aid.

To quote Florida Evans, "Damn, damn, DAMN!"

When I asked the security guard if the evil Snuggies were selling briskly he said that they were. He even commented that he was considering getting one.

I guess the look on my face told him otherwise.

"So I shouldn't get one?" He asked.

"Ummm, no." I replied.

I then asked him what was wrong with the blankets that he already had at his house? He replied "But this is a blanket with sleeves. It's like I have a blanket on but it won't slip off when I walk around."

Damn player. How can you even begin to debate that slothful logic?

We're so lazy as a culture we can't even cover ourselves with a blanket. Now we have to take them everywhere?

I will say that if he expects any heat in the romance department, he best not be walking around in a Snuggie when his significant other is around.

'Cause if some man tried to rub up against me in a Snuggie I would inform him that until that thing is burned at the stake the candy store is closed.

Hell, the friction of all of that attempted rubbing might cause a spark which in turn would engulf the offending garment in flames.

Those things don't look too flame retardant.

Like all of the things I've instantly hated throughout the years----Pete Rose and Milli Vanilli just to name a few---I hope America wakes up before it's too late.

The Snuggie is the garment equivalent of having way too many cats.

You've been warned.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Beating A Dead Horse

It shouldn't be a shock to anyone that irresponsible absentee landlords own properties on the south side.

But celebrity irresponsible absentee landlords is somewhat of a news story.

To be accurate I should correctly state that Antoine Walker is not an absentee landlord but rather a celebrity investor or principal in two real estate investment companies.

Mr. Walker has had a rather tumultuous year.

It appears that his financial troubles have continued to reach into the Chicago real estate arena.

According to the Chicago Tribune Mr. Walker is "the target of more than a dozen lawsuits alleging poor management of numerous properties, unpaid debts and damages caused by shoddy repair work. In one case last month, the city won $950,000 in court-ordered fines against Walker Ventures."

The article further states that most of the legal issues stem from the alledged day to day mismanagement of the properties.

One of the self described "managing members" of the companies is also accused of "fraudulently collecting $10,000 in federally subsidized rent payments, though those actions are not connected to Walker Ventures or AW Realty."

Unfortnately this is nothing new to those of us who live here.

What stands out to me are two glaring issues.

It saddens me to see Black people victimizing other Black people yet again. But it easiest to make money off of those who are less likely to manipulate the system in their favor.

While race may play a roll in this, it's probably more of a class thing.

Who cares or pays attention to poor Black people?

Secondly, when are CHAC & HUD going to stop serving as piggy banks for anyone who signs up for the program?

It seems that once you pass your initial and annual inspections you have little reason other than money to keep up with the maintenance.

But yet the payments still continue.

Because until CHAC and HUD tighten up their policies, especially concerning condominium developments, the cash cow will continue.

And nothing will change.

But the south side will continue to get more of the same.