B O O. H O O.

Who wants to hear JewelrySlut cry? You do? That’s not nice.

I think I need a new bag. Before last fall, I used to travel with a huge-ass laptop bag. It’s a shoulder bag and has a million compartments. It fits all my crap, but it’s waaaay too heavy. By the end of a week, I’d be in serious pain, my shoulders would be sore and my back would be worse off. It was just not good. So, in September, I got my new Dell from RedCompany and it came with a smaller bag. It only holds the computer, the cables and crap and a file or 2. It’s not too heavy, but not big enough for a week. To get more space, I started carrying my backpack too.

I never carry-on my luggage any more. My new suitcase is too big. I knew it was too big when I bought it, but its size and awesome 4-wheel steering makes it indispensable. So, the 2-bag situation is OK with me. But, sometimes, I’d rather just have one bag. It’s going to have to be a backpack.

This is where JewelrySlut cries.

I may have mentioned this before, but it took me damn near 5 years to buy my current bag. The search for my new backpack drove JewelrySlut to tears and heightened levels of anxiety. The bag needed to be just right…and it is. I have a LL Bean backpack that I found for like $40 at an outlet store. It has a top flap opening (something it HAD to have because I did not want side zipper access) 2 nice side pockets (large enough to hold a little water bottle or a 20 oz soda) and a roomy front pouch. It’s got good padding and lumbar support. I love my bag. It’s got all kinds of sand buried in it from our adventures. In fact, ChurchBomber calls it “the St John bag” because I never leave the house without it when we’re down there.

So, about 2 weeks ago, I announced to her that I needed a new bag. She just put her head in her hands. For fun, I should start chronicling my search. It could go on for roughly ever.
Does anyone have a lead on a good backpack that will hold the following?
A laptop and all the associated cables, wires and power thingies
Let’s say: about 4″ of paperwork
4 magazines
2 books (one hardback, one soft cover)
Keys, pens, pills (I travel with a small pharmacy), sticky notes, EZ Pass, Tide Bleach Pen, change, business cards, napkins, highlighter, lucky penny, drink umbrella, deck of cards etc. (Hey…if I don’t carry it with me, I don’t have it with me. I am a mobile man)

I’d prefer a flap opening and that it not look gay. And, I firmly believe that you can be an adult professional-type and carry a backpack. When Josh pulled it off as Campaign Director for Matt Santos, I was sold.

Anyhoo…

JewelrySlut just told me some super awesome news!

After admitting to being an idiot because she left Shmuppie’s backpack (a theme today) at home, she told me about her morning at school. But, before we go further, a note on Shmuppie:

This morning, like all mornings, she was a pain in the ass. Breakfast consisted of one pancake and about 3oz of juice. It took an hour to eat and drink that feast. So, because they were running late, not only did Frip and the cats not get fed, but the bag got left at home. The kid’s a menace.

Also on the kid: yesterday was her 5-year checkup at the doctor. Having missed years 1, 3 and 4, I decided to go. It went well. We were asked, for her eye test, if she’d do better identifying shapes or letters. We chose letters. They stood her at the right distance and had her read off the chart. Then, I’m assuming to test color blindness, the nurse pointed to a green bar and told her to name the color. “Verde”. The nurse was confused. So, not only are our eyes fine, but we’re apparently also a showoff. Because why answer in your native tongue, when you can answer in Spanish. Where’d she ever get a smart alecky streak like that?

So, back to JewelrySlut and her news. She told me that at school, one of the other mommies approached her. Now, this mommy hangs out with the other cool mommies. JewelrySlut is not one of the cool mommies. Not at all. So, when she was approached by M’s cool mommy, she was nervous. It seems that a few of the cool mommies are throwing themselves a little party tomorrow in anticipation of the end of the school year. JewelrySlut and Shmuppie were invited. The party seems to be invitation only. It seems my little wifey is now in the Pretty Lady Club. I’m so proud of her. From what I can gather, to be in the PLC, you need to show up for school functions in short running shorts and a sports bra. This look says “I’m dedicated to having a fabulous body, but my kid is important too.” JewelrySlut is upstairs right now cutting the legs off of all her shorts. She sooo wants to be in the PLC.

CrazyAnne just came by. She told me last week about a dead tree on the property. I told her to call Carol (property manager) about it. This past weekend, she told me again about the tree.
“Did you call Carol like I told you to 4 days ago?”
“No”
“Why not?”
“You meant that?”
“Since when have I ever told someone to call Carol about something out of my control and I didn’t mean it?”

She came over just now to show me the tree. It seems she called Carol but I needed to see it with my own eyes. Oooohhh…a dead tree. That’s great. She also told me that she as making trouble with some black folk in the court. She’s trying to get a black guy to NOT buy a unit in the court. Because, as we all know, black people are criminals. Right? Anyone?

My next project here is to boost up the lighting in the courts. Each court has just 3 old-ass street lights. As a result, it gets a little dark. And since he neighborhood African-American criminals blend in real nice-like when it’s dark, we decided to try to do something about it. We’re trying to upgrade all the light poles to look a little less ghetto. Without adding a lot of cost, that will make them look nicer and add light. But, that’s not enough. So, my idea was to get all the owners of end units to agree to help out the community. I want to mount poison detector spot lights (like patio lights) on the sides of the houses. When a darkie walks by, he’ll be lit up like Christmas. This ought to be a good fight.

And, lastly, to address some comments from the illustrious Mr. BoogerFace:
Why do we live here?
Admittedly, it was our Raleigh starter house. Remember, when we moved, I had no idea if I’d have a job for any longer than 8 weeks. We needed to get a place and not have to worry about any bank-related hassles. Oh yea…and…we own it for cash.

The HOA savings account:
Yes, it’s got too much money in it. When I took over, I saw it and asked what it was, why it was there and what it was earmarked for. When I got bad answers to all of the questions, I announced that it was to become the general repairs fund. For years, the other boards seemed to have been in a contest to build the account up. As a result, they did no maintenance around here. I’m trying to see how much we really need per unit to make” emergency repairs” and use the rest to fix shit. But, as I told the group last week, even if we pull out $20K from it, we still need $150K to paint all 3 courts. $20K means nothing on that scale, especially when we need to fix and upgrade the exterior lighting.

So, that’s why we have a large-ish savings account…for now.

One more night of discomfort

It’s been a busy couple of days on the ranch. Work has me busy trying to wrangle a huge print job. this would be, by far, the biggest project I’ve ever been involved with. something to the tune of well over $1Million per month.

Let’s see. Last I was here, I had a homeowner’s meeting to run and A/C was being installed here in the basement.

The A/C is in but not approved by the inspector people. Seems they screwed up a few things. In any event, the weather’s been odd lately so we haven’t needed it yet. It’s quite a dehumidifier though. It pulls water out of the air like crazy. The little pipe outside of the house has a constant stream coming from it.

But, the meeting.
It went about as well, if not better, than I had expected. There was some yelling, but not too much.

BigSexyglen and I went at it; mostly him yelling about the money held in savings and me yelling at him not to yell because I didn’t want yelling at the meeting. Of course, my yelling made the whole point kinda silly. He raises a good point though. It’s just that he does it in a douchebaggery way. We have money socked away in savings, but it’s not marked for anything in specific. For years, the account grew because nobody spent money to repair anything. Now, we’re tapping into it for repairs, but we don’t have a handle on how much we can spend and how much should be held behind.

CrazyPearl yelled about everything. She told everyone she doesn’t like me, that she doesn’t understand what a “term” meant (as in: NoGoodDaddy was elected to a 3-year term), the Board is tying to steal her house, the Board is evil, the Board is racist, she loves cats, she hates cats and some other nonsense. All true of course.

Someone else asked if the HOA would write him a check for water damage in his house. We told him that’s not really how it worked. Then, he sulked.

The Rev (elected VP last May, resigned in December) tried to pick a fight with me. When I told everyone the plan was to paint the houses starting in the fall, he wanted to vote whether or not to do it. I explained that there were no votes at this meeting; it was informational. He persisted saying that he wanted a vote. I told him we’d schedule a meeting. He wanted a date. I told him no. He said I’d obviously picked a date to paint, so I should pick a date for a meeting.

That led to my line of the night “We’re painting in the fall. Fall is not a date. Fall is a season. You want a meeting? Let’s have it in summer. That’s another season.”

We elected 3 new board members and adjourned.

I packed up, went home and opened a beer. Then the phone rang. It was Pam, my Treasurer. She needed me to come over ASAP. I dropped my head in sadness and ran over.

The police were in Court 3. See, when Pearl was ranting, she passed around pictures of evil things in the community. Like; random pictures of trees and cars that apparently represented evil. Well, Pam being the Redneck/Borderline White Trash that she is took the pictures and ripped them up. Pearl, being a lunatic, freaked out. She called the police to report destruction of private property; 6 sheets of paper. Well, the cops arrived and the 2 of them started lying to the police. I had seen Pam rip something up but, at the time, didn’t realize what it was. As soon as I did, I knew this was happening. Well, Pam lied to the cops. I was asked to go back to the clubhouse to see if I could find the papers. Pam then admitted to having them. The sheets were returned to Pearl. Pearl continued to freak out. Pam received a citation for destruction of property. Pam now has to go to court. I told Pam that was her final strike. The next time she did something stupid like this, she’d be asked to resign from the board.

Then I went home and I cried.

But, I lived and that’s a good thing. Several people did come up and thank me or CrazyAnne for all the work we’ve done.

That was nice.

Since we hadn’t spent enough money on A/C for the basement, we bought a new bed on Friday. We’ve had our bed since 1994 and it’s old and tired. We used to love it. We no longer do. We wake up sore and sleep like shit. I can only sleep when I’m at a hotel and that’s not right. Tomorrow, we’re getting our new bed and we’re quite excited. It’s a pillow top and has all kinds of support and loveliness. A good night’s sleep is something I think I deserve.

That’s all for now. Hopefully, this week will be painless. We’re off to NJ on Thursday evening for my reunion.

Hear Ye…Hear Ye

Big meeting tonight. I get to preside over my first annual Homeowner’s meeting.

And, boy, am I excited.

I’ve done my homework; I have big printouts of a presentation deck I put together. I’ll be showing what we’ve done in the past year as well as what’s next.

And, I expect to be shot at.

Yesterday, the former president, still bitter if you ask me, emailed me to let me know that the community bylaws state that the annual meeting is to be held on the 2nd Wednesday in May. Today, being a Tuesday and all, could render the meeting void. I chose not to respond. I let Pam, my pit bull handle it for me. I hope he mentions it tonight. I picture it going like this:

Burt: You know, the meeting should be the 2nd Wednesday in May
Me: Burt, I’d like to thank you for bringing this to our attention the day before the meeting and not a month ago when the announcements went out. I’d also like to take time to ask the group if they’d all like to come back tomorrow so we can make Burt happy. No? OK then, let’s call this to order.

Then, we have the ongoing antics of our 3rd Court. The people there are trying to give me a stroke. Remember, Court 3 is where Pearl lives. We all know Pearl; the crazed lady who hates cats, runs a daycare center in her home and refused to throw garbage in the dumpster. Yea…she’s been on a rampage lately.

2 weeks ago, a woman in Court 3 had her grandson over at her house. He opened a door and her cat ran outside. They took chase, grabbed the cat and put it inside. Pearl called Animal Control and sent them out because there was a loose cat attacking her.

I’ve also heard that Pearl has taken to walking the property with a note pad and a camera. She’s apparently documenting something. I’ve been warned that she intends to talk tonight.

One problem. She doesn’t own her home. She’s not on the deed and thus, not allowed to talk. And if you don’t think I’ll say so, you don’t know me. A few months back at a special hearing about her, I told her and her mother Pearl Bull (scroll a bit for the good stuff) to stop talking and let me run my meeting; that I’d heard enough of their noise and was going to take control of things. When I was told not to speak to them in such a tone (They seem to think they’re African royalty), I told them they were at my meeting with my board and I’d talk however I wanted.

This is how I expect it to go tonight:
Crazy Pearl: JibbaJabba JibbaJabba JibbaJabba Cat JibbaJabba JibbaJabba Diaper JibbaJabba JibbaJabba Africa JibbaJabba JibbaJabba Cat Cat Cat

Me: Pearl. This is not the time where you get to talk.

Crazy Pearl: JibbaJabba JibbaJabba JibbaJabba JibbaJabba JibbaJabba JibbaJabba

Me: SHUT UP!

It will be fin when I get to the point in the presentation when I show people how much money it’s going to cost to paint the buildings. I’m raising dues $40/month for the next 6 years to pay it off. They’ll love that to death. I expect stones to be thrown.

What I really want to see is how everyone responds. For the few people that I get the feeling hate me, I think there are a lot who either like what we’re doing or tolerate my madness in the name of progress.

Today, we’re having A/C put in down in the basement. We got a cool little mini-split system. There are no ducts. Just a blower thing mounted on one of the walls of the playroom. In theory, it’s enough cooling power to hit the whole basement. WCG can attest to how the basement gets when it’s either hot or damp.

Any way…I was down there standing outside talking to one of the guys when CrazyAnne came by…yelling.

CA: NoGoodDaddy! NoGoodDaddy! (But it’s more of a Daahdduh sound on the end). You there?

Me: (Rolling eyes) yea.
CA: What’s going on? You getting’ Air CONditioning (I’m going to try to spell in her accent)? Because whah (why) you need that?
Me: It’s…
CA: Don’t you have air? What’s going on?
Me: I…
CA: Is this for the basement? The General, or LT Colonel, or whoever he was didn’t have Air. (The former owner was retired Navy). But, he lived in Puerto Rico forever so what did he know?
Me: It’s for the basement only. The rest (pointing to the huge A/C compressor on the patio) of the house has air. This is for me.
CA: Oh yea. So, I want to buy a hanging basket and get a hat and put names in it.
Me: ?
CA: For tonight. We can give it away to someone.
Me: ?
CA: To keep people from leaving early and to make them happy because they sound pretty ornery lately.
Me: O…K… Keep the receipt. I’ll pay you back
CA: No need (walking away)

The A/C guy just looked at me. I told him I was HOA president and he laughed at me.

Yet another reason to do so.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about tonight’s events.

Wait: I forgot. Before the meeting at 7:00, we have a hearing at 6:00 for another resident who won’t take the crap off his lawn. This is despite several letters asking him to do so and an offer to walk him through the procedure to allow such crap.
Wanna see how that will go?
Me: TAKE THE FUCKING SHIT OFF YOUR LAWN BEFORE I WRING YOUR FUCKING NECK!
Then, I turn and walk out the door and prepare for Armageddon (the end of the world, not the movie with Bruce Willis)

One more thing.
Thank God

On my 5th birthday, I’ll be 5

(PS: I will be using images in this post. If the text goes to shit, don’t blame me)

What a weekend.

Saturday was Shmuppie’s 5th birthday. We had a party at a local Carvel (an ice cream shop to the uninformed). It was especially super fun because on Tuesday, JewelrySlut had gotten a call from the owner informing us that they were closing the store immediately. They’d honor the reservation, but the store would be closed. OK then…

We took our usual trip to the Farmer’s Market, Shmuppie in her birthday hat, and she got her gift form the Piggy Store Ladies.

We went home and got ready for the party. Zero hour was 2:00.

We got there and the store kinda smelled bad. Bad, as in “We emptied and unplugged the freezers and now they smell like funk” bad. The kids started arriving and immediately launched into a balloon battle royale. They did a little tour of the store, got to assist in making ice cream cakes, watched them get decorated, and had sundaes. I entertained the crowd by walking around with a bottle of whipped cream, shooting it into the mouths of unsuspecting children. There were around 15 kids and they all seemed to have a blast.

Shmuppie got a bunch of good stuff; games, books, art-related supplies. She seemed quite happy.


Birthday Girl


Then, my parents came over for dinner. It went well, but it was interesting watching my father pound beer back like it was his job. Drink like a champion, dad.

Sunday dawned with a sense of dread in my heart.

I busied myself after breakfast down at the clubhouse. I had to change locks on the doors and check the progress of my drying project. See, it seems that someone (not me) left the water on to the building all winter. And, a leak started in the upstairs bar sink. I was showing a contractor around on Thursday and we noticed how wet it was. Well, the ceiling in the ladies room downstairs collapsed from the weight. So, I had my dehumidifier running in there to fry it out enough so they could rebuild the ceiling. I love being President.

Anyway, I changed the locks and hauled out the deck chairs.

Then we went out. Stalling, I took us to buy a new computer monitor. The old one was whistling and making my brain bleed. We now have a sweet 20″ flat screen.

Then, off to Pet Smart we went.

See, a few weeks back, we asked Shmuppie what she wanted for her birthday. After announcing that she wanted a trumpet, a guitar, a violin, the Boston Pops and a pipe organ, we asked her again what she wanted.

“I want a little bird who will sit on my finger”
JewelrySlut: We can do that.
Me: WHAT!

Me and birds don’t get along. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been shat on, pecked, eaten, flown at, crashed into, and everything else short of raped by birds. We were to bring one into our home?

Yes we were.

Meet Frip:


Frip


Yes, Frip. That’s the bird’s name. Why? Because Shmuppie says it is. Frip has a little cage and assorted foods and toys. Frip also shat on me as soon as we took him from his little box.

A bird.

Named Frip.

Great.

Having settled Frip into his cage, we went about our work for the day. CarzyAnne came over because she wanted to go clean the deck chairs. So, we did.

Then I got to play.

Last week, I bought a reciprocating saw on Overstock. I was planning on tearing apart our lower floor deck. It’s all warped because BigSexyGlen has a huge tree in his yard. It’s roots are warping our deck. The deck was unusable and he refuses to cut the tree down, so we took matters into our own hands. The plan is to make half the yard into a garden for JewelrySlut and her plants. So, I cut up some decking. It was sweet. Did I mention that I also tore up a bunch of the roots from said tree? Oh well.


deck
I bent my saw blade, so I had to stop there. Later this week or over the weekend, I’ll go back to work. 6 more boards worth at least need to come up. It’s going to take us all summer to repair it all, but it should be fun.

Tomorrow, I have my annual meeting. I’ll practice my script on you folks beforehand.