Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Smell Test

As promised, the second letter from The Teacher:

"One last thing, I haven't seen this problem in any other of our buildings, apparently the rest of you are lucky to live in a building with clean neighbors. Frankly, I have only seen this problem in nasty buildings with dirty people, but in our building there is a unit owner who leaves shoes and boxes of stuff outside of their front door. Now, on occasion, that is not a problem. But this is a daily occurrence in my building, the owner has been asked in the past to refrain from doing so. It also sinks up the hallway in the immediate area where the shoes are located! I am asking the board to remind unit owners in writing that per the bylaws, there shouldn't be any shoes or other boxes/garbage left out in the common element hallway. Although this unit owner has been told in the past, perhaps placing a fine on it will finally eliminate the problem (also get $ for the board!). It is unsightly, especially when the shoes are cheap, fake, old and wet! In any event, please remind all unit owners this is not a project, or apartment building where personal property is left out in the open. Perhaps that is what they are use to and probably where they come from, but unit owners who leave shoes and/or trash out in the hall should realize that they have moved up in the world to this beautiful Woodlawn condo building! A few years ago, we actually had a neighbor's underwear sitting outside of her door! Nasty people, I tell you! By the way, this is not just a complaint from me, other unit owners in my building have complained about this neighbor leaving trash/boxes/shoes in the front hallway, as it is also sometimes left at the bottom landing of the stairway, yes, right where people enter and exit! Go figure!

Let's remind unit owners to not act like the "cuzins" by leaving junk and person items in the hallways, and to leave shoes/garbage either within their personal unit or in the trash. I know that a year ago someone else volunteered to draft a letter about this, but it was never done. I will volunteer this time to write the letter for the board's review, indicating that there will be a fine for people leaving junk outside of their door in the common area, either in front hallway or back porches. Please make this an agenda item for the next meeting for board vote.

Thank you kindly,"


Wowzy, wowzy woo.

In case you didn't know, that letter is about me.

Once again I'm the bad neighbor.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Spirit of Cooperation

Remember earlier in the month I asked if we could "build a bridge, get over ourselves and be able to conduct association business?"

Judging by the scathing letter sent by The Teacher last night, clearly the answer is no.

This letter was addressed to our association president with most of the other owners cc'd in:

"How soon can we expect the problem to move from "being addressed" to actually "being fixed." I'm not certain if we are talking about the same door, but I am talking about the front door to your building. I'm not sure if you have noticed that it is beyond an electrical issue, the actual lock handle is getting stuck, not the buzzer. I hope you do not tell an electrician to fix it when it should also be a lock repair person who can give you an assessment of the problem and the cost to fix it. I am curious as to who told you it was a weather related electrical problem? Have you gotten a second opinion? If not, you should probably get a second opinion because it is clearly a lock/handle issues also, not just weather related. Last week when the weather got up to the 40's, was it not still stuck? I ask because as a unit owner, I want to make sure my assessment payments are used wisely for things to get done correctly the first time around.

This is not just an "inconvenience," as you describe it. It is a serious fire safety, hazardous issue that must be fixed as soon as possible, especially with children in your building who, on an emergency basis, may need to exit without having a cell phone or access to the back. Please notify me if your repair person does not fix the problem today, as you indicated in the posted sign, so that I can be sure to follow up with you.

Also, what is the status of the Federal ID numbers that you said last month you would resolve? Any movement on that end, it is tax time after all and we still do not have a correct tax #?

When can unit owners expect a meeting again? The bylaws indicate that we should have meet in January, but unit owners have not received anything related to a board meeting. Given that you expressed your thorough knowledge of the bylaws at the last board meeting, I am curious as to why you have not taken the steps needed to have the required January meeting? After all, adhering to the bylaws was a HUGE concern at the last meeting, as you may recall.

I am also wondering what is the hold up with the board supplying the unit owners with an annual budget. I know I typed up a draft for you a month ago and the board reviewed it at the subcommittee meeting. Do you still need more help to hold a meeting to approve the budget for distribution to unit owners? It is also in the bylaws, which you appeared to be well versed in at the last meeting, to provide annual budget for unit owners. Do you need more help with that too? Please let me know.

Also, what is the status of the management company? Unit owners want to know, and need to know, if we are indeed getting a management company. Ironically enough, the people who are complaining about not having a management company are usually the same people who can't even afford to pay their assessments! In any event, I know that having a management company was a huge concern for you, me, and several other unit owners at the last meeting. If I recall correctly, it was you and your daughter who were the most vocal in insisting on a management company. Now that you are the board president, what is the delay with getting a management company?

Finally, are you aware if there has been any progress on ANY of the violations? What steps are you taking, as president, to ensure that we are ready for the next court date? Please let me know.

Although we are not on the board, XXXX, XXXX, and I (a few others, too), we have been very active in trying to get quotes for the board. Have you attempted to get any quotes also, since you are the president? Maybe XXXX can help, if she is not too busy? XXXX was very concerned about board issues at the last meeting and maybe that can translate into something positive, actual work with the board, now that you are board president? Maybe, just a thought? In reality, right now, it looks like the board needs all the help it can get, so really, ANYONE who can get a quote would be great. Please let me know.

You now know that being on the board is a constant amount of work, so thank you for stepping up to the plate and being the board president to lead in the resolution of all these problems. Unless of course, if you pass off the work to other people who are not on the board, then that is simply passing the buck! But I am certain you won't make that foolish mistake of passing board work off to nonboard members, because people will complain about it behind your back, as some already have, and start talking about your inability to follow-up. Just so you are aware.

The only other thing I can say is......I sure am glad I'm not on the board, it's too much work! I know that you can now finally appreciate the amount of work it takes!

Thanks again."

Thanks again?


I can't imagine why our condo board meetings are filled with tension and drama.

The Teacher was certainly on a roll yesterday. That wasn't the only thing she had on her mind.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Yele Haiti

This always happens.

Almost every time I call or seek a trades person to give me an estimate on work, I don't receive a call back.

Everything is okey doke and genial on the phone, except when we get to the address part.

Then there's a pregnant pause, a very hurried confirmation, assurances that someone will call me back and a dial tone.

The estimate falls into a black hole.

As a matter of fact, I'm going through this very problem right now.

It's not that I have the money to embark on any home improvement projects right now but it would be nice to have an idea of what it might cost should the funds become available.

Unfortunately as a south sider, things just aren't that easy.

In light of Mr. O'Reilly's comments, he was simply saying what many other certainly already believe.

Why else would you not respond to an inquiry for new business in the middle of one of the worst recessions ever recorded?

Many incorrectly believe that the south side is a shit hole and beyond redemption.

Yet what Mr. O'Reilly and the rest of the south side's detractors fail to acknowledge is that the disinvestment and isolation are just now starting to thaw in our neighborhoods.

It's easy to point out everything wrong with the south side when you don't sit and take into consideration the decades of near political disenfranchisement, severe rationing of key public services, schools with defacto segregation and stark income inequality.

So yes, the south side has a long way to go before she's back to her former glory but the situation is not quite as dire as some would have you believe.

You know what though---I consider Mr. O'Reilly's statement to be more of a compliment than an insult.

Considering Chicago was founded by a Haitian, I am honored as a south sider to be held next to the can do spirit and ever lasting optimism of the Haitian people.

I know few people would could deal with the grinding poverty and lack of opportunities, loose over 100,000 of their fellow countrymen in a devastating natural disaster then summon the strength to sing at their darkest hour.

I am in awe of their resilience.

It makes bitching about getting a someone to show up to give you an estimate look meaningless in comparison.

Yele Haiti.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I received this love note in the mail today:

"Your entitlement to regular unemployment insurance will exhaust in the near future. Upon exhaustion, a claim for 20 weeks of emergency unemployment compensation (EUC08) will be established for you. If for any reason you are ineligible for the 20 weeks of EUC08 you will be notified in writing. There is no need to contact your local office unless you do not receive this notice of ineligibility or a new wage information sheet in the mail within two weeks from the time you actually exhaust your benefits."

There is so much to say about this it boggles the mind. Right now I think I'm going to have a beer and attempt to plot out plans B, C & D.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Night At The Opera

This time I was able to hold my homicidal tendencies in check.

You'll be thrilled to know I did not have a near psychotic break at the Lyric Opera last week.

I blame Puccini's Madame Butterfly.

For a person who is already pissed that she had to pay good money to see the female lead in the opera die, Madame Butterfly was the straw that broke the camel's back.

Anyone who has seen Madame Butterfly will confirm that it's impact could be a little intense for a first timer.

I dare you to add gimpy, menstrual, single and over 40 to the mix.

I'm surprised I wasn't putting together my sniper rifle in the dress circle.

But for this Puccini opera, things went much better.

As a matter of fact, you'll also be pleased to know that despite the fact that the heroine dies at the end, I really didn't have a problem with that.

But I digress.

Last week's offering was the moving Tosca.

Tragic story. Beautiful music. All the elements you come to expect from the master.

Knowing my abhorrence for the female protagonist dying, my opera buddy warned me that it wasn't going to end well for the prima donna.

"But not in the way you expect." He said.

"Let me guess, she kills herself." I replied.

He complemented me for my perceptiveness.

"Duh." "How else is she supposed to die in an unexpected way?"

Luckily the Lyric not only has English subtitles but an awesome program that steps you through the story of the opera.

So I usually go through the program and take a look before the lights go down.

It was all pretty standard stuff.

Jealousy, political prisoners, deception, love, passion.

And lust---lots of lust.

But here's the thing that chapped my hide, Scarpia---the bad guy---toally played Tosca the heroine.

For a saucy broad like Tosca, you would think that she would know the reputation of a player like Scarpia in Rome in 1800's.

They ran in the same social circles. How difficult would it have been to pick up on what a dog he was before she listened to anything he was dropping in her ear about her boyfriend.

That Tosca was a jealous one.

Furthermore, why would you ever listen to a guy who has to announce his importance to everyone by wearing a sash AND a cape.

One or the other would have been sufficient.

That's like the rich guy who wears the bespoke suit, drives the Bentley AND flashes the Amex Centurion. One of the three is enough to let us know we clearly aren't in the same tax bracket.

So just like a guy who must wear either his money or station on his sleeve, naturally he had designs on Tosca's goods.

He threatened her boyfriend with bodily harm so she would beg him to save his life

Scarpia wanted her honey pot. He's a low life, that's what they do.

Because Tosca's jealousy boxed her in a corner (she also unknowingly led soldiers to her boyfriend's hiding place), she did what desperate people tend to do when they're in a tight spot, she acted rashly.

And when I say rashly I mean she stabbed a fool.

And when I say fool I mean Scarpia.

So the die was cast. The table had been set. We all knew how this was going to end.

The boyfriend was killed, Tosca was devastated.

Her murderous ways are discovered and she's literally cornered.

Except she wasn't going down easy.

Instead of being taken alive she does an operatic "Top of the world, Ma" and throws herself from the castle rampart.

I would too if I just got played by a guy in a sash AND a cape.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


When you're unemployed, you have to make sure you cover all of your bases.

Since I don't know if I'll qualify for an extension of my unemployment benefits, I've hedged my bets and took the census taker test.

Seeing that the private sector isn't exactly clamoring for my particular set of job skills right now, I thought it might be a good idea to try my luck with the government.

So a tad before Christmas I went online, downloaded the practice test and found a testing facility.

I took the test along with about 25 other people, some of which were taking the test again to raise their scores, then was told to call a toll free number in a few weeks to receive the results.

Now let me emphasize a few things.

The census will start calling qualified individuals in early February based a number of factors besides your score.

What are the needs of your particular census zone? Do you speak another language? Are you a veteran?

Nonetheless, the higher your score, the better the odds that you'll get a phone call for an interview.

A passing score on the 28 question, 30 minute exam is 70%.

Please take into account that this isn't exactly the Jeopardy qualifying test and you can download the practice test prior to taking the exam.

So it didn't come as a surprise that I scored 95%.

Personally, I was kind of pissed I didn't score 100%.

I probably misspelled my name.

What struck me as odd was the air of amazement that someone could do so well the first time out.

The woman I spoke to over the phone about my score was positivity giddy that I scored so high.

So does that mean that I'm surrounded by a bunch of dumbasses in my zip code?

The test was basically sign your name, count to 100 and recite the A,B,C's.

Or has honest to pete reading, writing and 'rithmitic gone so far down the tubes that when a college graduate gets a 95% on the equivalent of an adult basic skills test, she's lauded with praise?

Jesus take the wheel.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Best Kept Secret

I discovered late last night that "I Hate My Developer" is a finalist in the "Best Kept Secret Weblog" category for the 2010 Bloggies.

I almost plotzed myself.

I'm really honored that voters thought enough of what I write to offer it up to everyone else for their final consideration.

For those of you who are coming to my humble little concern by way of the Bloggie website, welcome.

Since there's no pressure to go through all of the 650+ posts (unless you really want to), if you scoot down the left sidebar you'll see a section labeled "Essential Posts" for your perusal.

'Cause from time to time people want to know how I came up with such a catchy name for the blog.

Nonetheless, lets get down to the important stuff.

Where's the swag?

It's awards season and we all know that with all of these ceremonies and the hoopla there's usually some type of free stuff from luxury purveyors.

They want high profile peeps to be seen in their stuff.

Yet for some reason I don't think that Rolex is clamoring to get the watches on the wrists of Bloggie finalists.

But wouldn't it be a better world if they did?

So in the absence of crazy swag, I'd appreciate your vote.

And the votes of your friends.

A Bloggie may not solve my unemployment issues or help me figure out how to keep my utilities on but it will reinforce that my writing for the past four years has been valued and appreciated.

Frankly speaking, I could use a little bit of both right about now.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lake Meadows

It was with great interest that I tripped on down to the Daley Center to take a gander at case number 2009-M1-716905.

Apparently Carlton Knight established a new real estate business venture named Real Dealz.

Unfortunately it seems that things weren't going so well for this new enterprise.

According to court documents, Lake Meadows Shopping Center is in the middle of legal action with Mr. Knight arising from non payment of rent from August of 2008 to July of 2009 for space C-3 located at 3357 South King Drive.

Those same documents allege that Mr. Knight doing business as Real Dealz, owe Lake Meadows $19,229.00.


While it appears that Lake Meadows took back possession of the unit on October 9, 2009; the money damages portion of the court order was continued until October 14th.

Let that sink in.

They got back possession of their property but don't (according to the court documents) have their money.

Perhaps the good folks at Lake Meadows need to confer with the nice folks at Inland Bank so they'll have some idea of how quickly their money will be forthcoming.

I'm sure that would be an interesting conversation.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Real Deal

Look who has another real estate based business venture.

Scylla and Charybdis

For those of you whose mother didn't make them take two years of Latin, Scylla and Charybdis are the original "rock and a hard place."

Kinda like that calf between the crocodile and the pride of lions.

Early last week, I felt like that calf.

With this being my second round of unemployment, I have a very good sense on what to do and how to handle most situations.

But as many of my fellow unemployeds know, oft times your best efforts aren't good enough.

So then you switch tactics and network.

And then you network some more.

Then you leverage friendships to see if you can navigate the HR black hole that your resume is bound to land in if you don't make some type of effort.

But your efforts wear thin and erode your self esteem.

I have never been one of those people who's identity is closely tied to their work.

I now realize that while I crave stability I get easily bored with sameness and repetitive actions.

So when I had a job I obviously liked the financial stability but the repetitive, never changing nature of what I had to do, was slowly killing my soul.

But a sister has bills to pay.

And speaking of bills, I'm sure you can imagine the number my second tour on the dole is doing on my FICO score.

I am a living breathing embodiment of the term, "Rob Peter to pay Paul."

Rock and a hard place.

Besides the fact that I hate not being able to fully pay my bills, I still owe friends a considerable amount of money.

I really hate that. I really, really, really hate that.

But that's for another post.

So on top of worrying about covering bills and the job hunt, when I do finally make it past the HR and hiring manager gatekeepers will my FICO score be an issue?

Rock and a hard place.

Let's not discuss SPS and my mortgage.

Yet before this dissolves into a complete pity party, the great thing about The Battle at Krueger is that the rest of the buffalo come back for the calf.

Despite the fact things look pretty bleak, his clique rolls up and chases off the lions.

They rescue him from his rock and his hard place.

It always seems that help comes when you most need it and you least expect it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I swear that I felt like this calf yesterday.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Good Hair

Most people know that change can be difficult.

Which is why I started my mini self improvement kick with an easy task. How difficult is it to get rid of a movie club membership?

The next task was going to take a little more of a gut check.

I have been wearing hair extensions---or my weave---off and on for about 12 years.

For those of you who aren't familiar with weaves they range from either synthetic or human hair on a weft to mini wiglets to the ever popular lace front.

And make no mistake, you get what you pay for.

If you want people to exclaim "I didn't even know that wasn't your hair!" odds are that you or your hairdresser has a hella hookup to a supplier who can get their hands on amazing human hair.

As Chris Rock pointed out in his movie "Good Hair," the epicenter of the human hair business is in India.

For brevity's sake, see or rent the movie for the full explanation.

I'm black. I already know how it works.

And don't pepper me with questions. I'm not the friggin black hair care encyclopedia. You've got access to the internet, look it up slakcers.

As a small aside, if I were an Indian girl with long beautiful hair you should be concerned if you're being followed by a group of black women.

It just might be a little suspect.

Mr. Rock's movie planted the seed that bloomed to the idea for me to start wearing my natural hair---again.

Aside from the cost (don't ask) I have a problem putting money into people's pockets who do very little for the community that enriches them.

Or at least that's my perception.

Another small aside for those of you who don't know---It would be ill advised for you to approach any black woman, even if you know her, and ask her about her hair.

Don't ask, don't touch and you'll come out alive.

If you ignore these rules, and make no mistake these are rules, I cannot be responsible for what's going to happen to you.

I'm just trying to look out for you all.

So if you happen to see some hair challenged woman around Woodlawn, try not to snicker too loud.

I'm getting reacquainted with myself.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


As 2009 came to a close, I decided not to make any new year's resolutions.

While there's a great many areas where I can improve, I decided to think about 2010 in another way.

I wanted to be a part of the solution.

Pretty lofty ambitions for a 40 something unemployed IT worker.

I will say that having free time on my hands has given me time to really think about my life, how I live and what's important.

And while I don't expect my decisions to have an immediate impact on my little corner of the world, I can at least make an effort.

With that basic premise in mind, I set out to take small steps to align my some of my living with my beliefs.

The first step was the easiest.

I cancelled an online movie subscription a few days before its quarterly renewal.

The company not only had a new billing vendor but the vendor was located out of the country and due to that we the customers were being charged a foreign transaction fee.

Yeah---I don't think so.

While that may seem small, I do get over $100.00 a year back in my pocket.

Unemployed or not, $100.00 bucks is $100.00 bucks.

It's not the big things that take you're money but the small ones that bleed you dry.

And while I was gladly paying the money every month, it was that little foreign transaction fee that gave me the push I needed to say enough---no more.

One phone call and it was done. It was easy.

Unfortunately my other personal projects required a little more of a gut check.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Things Fall Apart, The Chickens Come Home To Roost

One afternoon there was a knock at my door.

Imagine my surprise when I saw The Teacher on the other side.

Neighborly feelings have been in short supply since the bad neighbor dustup in the fall of '08.

While I was sorely tempted to walk away from the door, I answered it with a noticeable attitude.

And before everyone gets pissy, please note that I've gone across the hall and knocked on my neighbor's door only to hear someone come to the door, see them peep out the peephole and hear them walk away.

I'm just trying to give you all some background, but I digress.

So there we were, face to face.

The Teacher proceeded to briefly tell me what had been said in the condo board meeting; some of which was directed at her.

I was taken aback not only at the highly personal nature of the barb but the fact that since I was only one of two people who knew about the revelation, the information more than likely came from me.

Understandably the verbal attack upset her and as she was telling me this story, she started to cry.

At the time when I was talking to her I told her that I didn't reveal the information but as I sat and pondered afterward, there is no way that the information didn't come from me.

And that was some low down gut bucket bullshit.

My mama taught me better. There are no excuses for my actions.

Then I started to ponder a little bit more.

I was (and am) totally in the wrong.

But I get a knock at the door when her feelings are hurt? Hot tempers and words said in haste are of importance only when they're directed at her?

I felt a bit of manipulation rising to the surface.

While I don't doubt that her feelings about the comment were real and sincere, don't go getting all concerned about civility when some of the shit you've been throwing at the fan splatters back on you.

Clearly the animosity directed toward her by some members of our little association wern't by accident.

When you talk crazy to people and let your temper get the better of you, that's bound to have some ramifications in the long run.

My question is can we build a bridge, get over ourselves and be able to conduct association business?

Only time will tell.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

The Bloggies

Ladies and gentlemen the nominations for the 2010 Bloggies opened on the first.

If you're not familiar with The Bloggies, they are the preeminent and longest running awards for bloggers.

And I want you and your friends to nominate this blog in the "Best writing of a weblog" and "Best kept secret weblog" categories.

You have to nominate two other blogs for a total of three nominations in each category so make sure that you nominate other well deserving blogs besides yours truly.

So wake the kids, tell the neighbors, send an e-mail to all of your friends to nominate I Hate My Developer.

If I make it to the finals you can look at the newbies to the blog and tell them that you've been reading since the great porch project of 2006.