Monday, March 31, 2008

A lady doesn't wander all over the room and blow on some other guy's dice

I'm very forcefully making myself think/write about something other than what I'm now calling "my situation." So, let the frivolity begin. Yay.

I'm probably the least fashion-conscious person I know. Seriously, my idea of a really sharp outfit is something that has only one hole in it. Nonetheless, a co-worker once told me how awesome Lucky Jeans are. So when I saw a pair of Luckys in my size at Goodwill on Saturday, I grabbed them with alacrity. They fit me perfectly. Retail price: somewhere around $100ish. My price: $3.49.

Anyway, I may not know what looks good, but I do know heinous when I see it, which is why I love Go Fug Yourself and I'm really getting into the Fug Madness 2008. I just voted for Sharon Stone over Courtney Peldon in Round 4, not because I could decide which one has a worse fashion record, but because until I started reading Go Fug Yourself I had no idea who Courtney Peldon was (I still don't have any idea what she is famous for, other than wearing bad clothes.)

Anyway, tomorrow in the "Charo Bracket" is going be a face-off between the two worst fashion disasters EVAR (IMO), and I don't know who to vote for: Chloe Sevigny or Bai Ling. Of course, by the logic I used in the Peldon-Stone match I should vote for Chloe, because prior to perusing GFY I had never heard of Bai Ling. (Should I have? Am I just not paying attention?) But wow! Bai Ling really does wear some jaw-droppingly abominable crap! Still, it's very obvious she's doing it on purpose because, well, what else is she famous for? It's like she's thinking to herself: "Batshit crazy, yes, but you're all looking at me, right? And I'm hot, am I not?" Meanwhile, Chloe Sevigny is supposedly a Serious Actress and she sells herself as one of the Fashionista types by going to all the NY Fashion Week things, even launching her own clothing line. And yet she consistently looks like she's styled by Mr. Magoo. So I'm thinking maybe she needs very badly to win this thing. Am I wrong?

Friday, March 28, 2008

It aint so hard to do if you know how

Every now and then I stop whatever I'm obsessing about just to simply listen to some music. Sometimes the music pleases me greatly, so greatly in fact that I must share it with the world, or at least the one to two dozen people who regularly read this blog. Such is the case with a release from Barb├ęs Records: The Roots of Chicha: Psychedelic Cumbias from Peru. Stop what you're doing right now and go listen to it via their web streaming thingamajig. Then you can buy it (if you subscribe to e-music you can make it part of your downloads for the month like I did.)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Someone left the cake out in the rain

MegRNC tagged me with a meme last week, and I'm so behind in my blog reading I just discovered it today. But it's a good thing, because I needed a meme to make me stop obsessing about houses.

Anyway, the rules:
  • Post 10 random things about yourself.

  • Choose five people to tag and a reason you chose them and make sure to tell them.

  • Don’t tag the person who tagged you.

I don't think I've ever done this one before, so here are my answers (the rules don't say they have to be interesting random things):
  1. I cheated at Pin The Tail on the Donkey in kindergarten. I could see right through the blindfold. I won a little plastic jack o'lantern.

  2. I worked at a telephone survey lab for a while in grad school at UW-Madison. We had to call people up and ask them questions about things like their health, how much Great Lakes fish they ate, what drugs they took, whether they got sick during the 1993 cryptosporidium outbreak in Milwaukee County, yada yada yada. I was so good at getting people to do the surveys that I became a "refusal converter," which is what we called the interviewers who called back people who had already said no to convince them to participate (the validity of our data depended on a high response rate).

  3. A "safe sex" store opened across from where I once worked, so I dropped in during lunch one day. There was a reporter and a camera crew there, and I consented to doing an interview. I had no idea it would end up being broadcast on CNN. Several people I knew in other states called me up to say they saw me on TV talking about safe sex.

  4. I can't stand sun-dried tomatoes.

  5. When I was little I carried a blanket around with me everywhere. I called it "bankie". My mother said she couldn't get me to give it up for anything, so every time she managed to get it from me long enough to wash it, she'd cut a strip off of it. It kept getting smaller and smaller, until finally I was just carrying around a swatch of blanket. Eventually I guess it just lost its charm.

  6. I think I want to be either a volcanoligist or a dolphin trainer when I grow up. Those were never any of the choices offered when we took those "career lab" quizzes in high school.

  7. I'm not very good at making lists. I get a few items written down and then I can't remember anything else that should go on the list. Then I get distracted by something else and forget to finish the list. Then I lose the piece of paper I wrote the list on.

  8. I love sauerkraut.

  9. In ninth grade we went on a field trip to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, where the food carousel in the cafeteria included little bottles of wine. Some friends and I stole a bunch of wine and went into the bathroom and got drunk. This was years ago ... I think they've long since stopped selling wine there.

  10. Every time someone I know gets a new dog I try to get them to name it "The Shizzle." So far no one has complied.


Now I'm supposed to tag five people, but I don't feel like singling anyone out. Most of the people I know would be like "Aw, man, I don't feel like doing your meme." So hey, five of you, do this meme! But not you, Meg, because no tagbacks allowed. There.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Not having to work makes it Great Friday

Had the to day off yesterday. The Pants Mother came in to town, and in the afternoon we went to look at houses. I think I'm going to stop looking until our house is under contract, because I can't make any offers and if I see something I love I know it's not going to be around by the time I can actually try to buy it. Such was the case with an absolutely awesome house on Gresham Ave., which is my favorite street in Northgate Park. The house was listed on Thursday, and when we got there to see it on Friday there was someone else waiting for their agent in front. It would have been absolutely perfect for me, so of course there was an offer on it by the end of the day.

I saw some other houses that would do. But I don't love them. One of them has a fantastic flat, fenced half-acre lot, but the layout of the house is not-so-great. Another one is adorable with a lovely yard, but it's heated with fuel oil, not natural gas. Also, there's no dishwasher and no place to install one, and I'm a little spoiled--I lived in a house in Chicago with no dishwasher, and it sucked. Still another house is cute in a weird way (it looks like a barn) and it's nice inside, but the lot is mostly a big slope. And one more is a nice house in a fantastic location with a big lot, but they're asking too much (for me, at least).

Then last night we went to see the mariachis at Taqueria Lopez. Sarah blogged it first. Mucho fun. I took photos but I'm too lazy to deal with them right now.

Then today I finally planted pansies in front of my house. Every time my agent came by she'd say "You know, you could put some pansies in those pots." And I'd say I know I can, but so could Mr. Pants ... why do I have to do everything around here? I'm tired and busy. But I decided to go ahead and do it this weekend because what else am I going to do with my mom hanging around? So I figured since I'd be digging I might as well see if I had a statue of St. Joseph lying around, and believe it or not, I did. So I decided to give in to silly superstition and bury him upside down in a flower pot. I don't pray, so instead of a prayer I promised to let him out again once he'd found a buyer for my house.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

There's always something happening and it's usually quite loud

I haven't blogged because honestly I have one thing on my mind and I'm just afraid it's getting really boring: where the hell should/will I live? I'm rather obsessed. I'm not going to get what I want because my job pays crap and I have to keep the payments really low. My mortgage broker ran my numbers and presented me with the reality: even if I plow every bit of what I get from the sale of our current house into a downpayment, I absolutely must stay under $150k. Or I could, like, quit doing dogsports because I won't be able to afford them. I think I'd rather try to cheap out on a house.

But in my price range, there is something really wrong with everything I look at. It's tiny, it's hideous, the neighborhood looks crappy and depressing, the yard is tiny, the yard is too sloped for dog training, it will make my commute to work longer ... Or it's fine but unless the owners will take a lowball offer, I can't have it (which is the case with my favorite house which, egads, is also in Raleigh). I'm really depressed. And obsessed. I can spend hours and hours on Trulia or Zillow.

Also, I've become obsessed with cleaning. I never know when someone will be coming through my house, so I have to keep it spotless. That's not easy when you have dogs, especially when one of them is still a puppy who likes to shred her toys. Or sneak a stick into the house from the yard and then chew it on the carpet. Or dig in the backyard and then track dirt and leaves into the house. Then again, I harbor the hope that even after we're not showing anymore I'll retain my neat-freak habits and my next house will always be pristine ...

Anyway, gotta go make a spreadsheet comparing and contrasting my front-runner houses ...

Monday, March 10, 2008

They always find someone to take my mind away

Exhausting weekend. Apparently the open house was very well-attended, and the cookies I baked were a big hit. Also, rumor has it the people who came in to see the place before the open house liked it quite a bit. Yes indeed ... but I'll wait to see if that chicken hatches before I count it.

The whole day Sunday started with a snafu--I had completely forgotten to set my clocks back Saturday night. I had been too exhausted to remember. So Sunday morning, la la la, I'm puttering around vacuuming and spiffing up the joint thinking I have oodles of time ... then I stopped to check e-mail and the clock on my computer said "11:50 am." Yikes, think I, those people could be here in 10 minutes!! So I quickly hide whatever clutter needs to be hidden (I only hope I can remember where I've put everything over the past few weeks), stash the laptop and grab Pinky's crate. It was not a moment too soon--they were coming up the walk right at the stroke of noon. So I went out, apologized and asked for another minute while I got the dogs on leash and into the car (with Pinky practically strangling herself trying to go meet the new people). We then headed out to Northgate Park for a bit of a walkabout.

Then I came home and baked up the cookies (I carried the fresh-from-the-oven baking sheets around the house to spread the smell!), placed them alluringly on the table next to a put of mums and the listing sheets, and trundled the dogs into the car again. This time we headed down to Forest Hills Park, where Lucy taught Pinky how to flush a rabbit from the tall grass. A good time was had by all. Except maybe the rabbit.

I still had more time to kill, so I decided to go drive by some houses. First stop was Woodcroft, where there is a house just over my price cutoff, but I wanted to look at it anyway. I don't really feel like a Woodcroft type of person, but the miles and miles of walking paths make it seem like it would be a great place to walk dogs. Plus it's very close to my dog training place and a quick hop to I-40. But I can't really afford anything but a condo there, and I don't want a condo.

Then I went to Hope Valley North, where there are two "contemporary" houses at the top of my range. As luck would have it, both were having open houses. I found shady spots for the car so the dogs wouldn't fry and went in. I really liked one of them, although the yard was too "natural" (i.e., overgrown with brush) and so not only would I have to fence it, I'd have to clear out a lot of stuff to make it usable for my purposes. Plus there was too much carpeting inside the house. I prefer wood or even laminate flooring to carpet.

I was finally allowed home, but left quickly again to go looking at houses with my agent. We started with a house on Woodland in Trinity Park. We didn't get very far inside before turning around and leaving. It looked like it would need another $100,000 just to make it livable. The same was true for a house on Glendale in Duke Park--it almost made me want to cry.

I cheered up a lot upon visiting a place on Englewood ... the drawback being that it's in Walltown. The house is newer construction (2004) that's designed to look like the existing bungalows, and I prefer older houses. Plus it's got vinyl siding so I wouldn't be able to paint it in some kind of wild color scheme (chartreuse-and-grapefruit, maybe?). But the house is really nicely laid out inside so that it feels spacious and airy. The back yard, while not huge, is nicely flat and open--I'd just have to fence the sides. Still, I'm trying to decide if I would really feel secure living in Walltown.

I also looked at a couple of places in Lakewood on on Huron Street. Lakewood is a spotty neighborhood with a few scary/depressing areas, but Huron Street is really lovely. Like, "I can hear the mariachis" lovely. I liked both of the houses I saw, but they're just over my cutoff (one more than the other). I can always just try making an offer, though ... one of the listing sheets says "bring offers" which I think is real estate agent code-speak for "we know we're being ambitious in our price here ... let's make a deal."

I looked at a place on Bivins Street that had a chained dog next door and junky neighbors on both sides. Do Not Want. Another place on Hillcrest (the street behind the Broad Street Rite Aid--in what I call "Interstate Heights" because it overlooks the newly-broadened I-85) had a washer and dryer serving as kitchen countertops on either side of the stove. Do Not Want.

There are still lots of places to see, and I can't even make an offer until my house goes under contract (hatch already, chicken!). My agent keeps assuring me that I'll have a lot more to choose from in another month as the spring housing market blossoms. But I'm starting to get tired of this whole thing--selling a house, buying a house. Bleah. I just want to lie on the sofa and watch movies now.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Dance to this fix and flex every muscle

This blog entry is brought to you by the number three. Three showings on the house today, three yesterday, in fact three every day. I just made myself and the dogs scarce for three hours. I took them down to PBH and did some training (Pinky) and practice (Lucy) for a while and then let them run around, and still I had some time to kill. How do you kill time with dogs in the car? I couldn't really go anywhere because the sun kept coming out and I couldn't really leave them in the car. So I decided to drive around Parkwood for a while.

I sort of understand what my agent is talking about now. Because while Parkwood looks like a place I'd be perfectly happy in, I can see where (at least in the older sections, which are the parts I can afford) the houses might not sell very quickly or hold value well. There are smatterings of houses in ugly disrepair, some houses with ten cars and an old ice cream truck in the driveway (OK, only one with an old ice cream truck, but plenty with cars that have obviously been sitting there for a long time), and a lot of little signs that some people are really letting things slide. I personally don't get uptight about everything not being pristine, but how the neighbors keep up their places does affect one's property values. So Parkwood really doesn't show well. There's even one burnt out house on McCormick that my friend says has been there abandoned for a while. The really puzzling thing is that Parkwood has a neighborhood association with mandatory dues and everything (which is a negative point against it, IMO). I always thought that the whole purpose of a neighborhood association was to browbeat homeowners into keeping their property looking spiffy, but that doesn't seem to be the case in Parkwood.

It's really a pity because it's in a great location for a lot of people, situated between RTP and Southpointy. Or, in my case, close to 40 for a commute to Raleigh and less than 10 minutes from my dog training facility. Plus the lot sizes in the older parts are incredible and there are lots of trees. But since I'll be sinking a lot of dough into whatever I buy (no sub-prime mortgages for me--I'll be making a hefty down-payment!) I need to look at it from an investment perspective. So maybe Parkwood's not the place for me.

Tomorrow I'll have some time to kill as well, as I need to make myself and the dogs scarce for the open house. Not just that, but some agent wants to show the place from 12-1 (before the open house), so I'll have to make us all disappear twice. It sort of ticks me off that people want to schedule something before the open house because, hello, OPEN HOUSE! It means come on in and see my flipping house, doesn't it? Perhaps these people think they are too good to rub elbows with the hoi polloi. So I told the scheduler to put a note in the file asking all other agents who want to show it tomorrow to just come to the dang open house, please. Anyway, so now I've got to take my dogs out for an hour and then come back and really, really quickly bake all the dang cookies (slice-and-bake, of course) I was going to make to fill the house with subliminal olfactory messages to buy stuff. No, I'm not going to bake the cookies before the 12 o'clock showing--if they want cookies they can come to the open house like everyone else!!

Then, after the open house my agent is going to take me to see some houses in Derm. I hope they aren't too depressing.

Friday, March 07, 2008

You people rock ...

Damn, how can I even think of moving to Raleigh when my Durham friends are the coolest people on earth? Shortly after posting that maybe I should just rent while I look for the right house, I have an offer of a dog-friendly, month-to-month room to rent! In Northgate Park! With my pal ... well, I will respect his privacy and just call him "the historian."

Also, in completely unrelated news, certain people on the Trinity Park listserv are being moderated, and of course the moderator doesn't tell you who you are until he rejects one of your posts. So I was asking him why he rejected on of my posts, and by way of telling me he thinks I'm a pain in the ass, he said "I'm well aware of your history on the Old North Durham list and on this list." Huh? Wha? Old North Durham? That's really interesting, because I've never been on the Old North Durham list. Can someone please tell me what I've been posting over there? Maybe I'm like the chupacabras and there are now unconfirmed sightings of me everywhere ...

Ding dangity darn

By the time my agent called to get me an appointment to see the house in Duke Park, it was already under contract, after less than a day on the MLS. I guess I'm not the only one who heard mariachis when I saw the listing. Oh well, I couldn't have made an offer yet anyway, because my house needs to be under contract first. Maybe I should just start hunting apartments instead. Anyone know of a place that allows both pets (two small, neat, mostly well-behaved dogs who don't shed much) and month-to-month leases?

Also, our house showed three more times yesterday. We have showing instructions for people to give Lucy a treat (from a jar by the door) when they come in, because then she'll leave people alone and go sit in one of her chairs. I need to get this place under contract before she gets fat!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Every time a car drives past I think it's you

Ooh-wee, brand new listing in my price range in Duke Park! of course it's not on the most posh street, but still, Duke Park! I'm going to see it this evening. I e-mailed Barry to ask about the street, and the verdict seems to be ... well that it's alright, mostly. Anyway, the house is cute.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Let's ride the tiger down river Euphrates

We had three showings on our house today, which is pretty good considering it just appeared on the MLS yesterday. My lovely neighbor M. sent me a link to this Trinity Park House and said it's only been on the market for two days and there's a bidding war going on. Wow, two bedrooms and one bathroom for $329,000 (or more, as it may turn out). Look what a bargain my house is.

Anyway, I feel like I really need to get on the stick and figure out where I'm going to live. I was thinking about the distance I drive to work and I realized that a normal person in my circumstances would probably just move to Raleigh and cut the commute each way from 35-40 minutes to 10-20 (and save a lot on gas). It would be a longer drive to the dog training facility several days a week, and I'd be a lot farther from most of my friends, who all live in Durham, Chapel Hill and Carrboro, but I'd probably end up saving much time and money. I really hate my daily commute.

But the question is, which do I hate less, the commute or Raleigh? I'm really not that into Raleigh. It seems too big and congested and just not friendly or charming at all. Durham feels cozier, welcoming (well, except for that hysterical mob of Trinity Park bigots) and comfortable to me. I suppose I could decide once and for all to give up the secure state job with the pension that looks better every year I work there and get a job in Durham.

So right now I'm just trying to keep an open mind and thinking that I'll look at houses in both places and at some point the universe will hit me with a bolt of lightning or something when I find the place I'm supposed to live. Well, I hope it's a little gentler than lightning, like maybe a mariachi band. (Speaking of mariachis, there will be some playing at Taqueria Lopez on Friday night. Anyone up for it?)

So then yesterday my agent called and said there will be a house coming on the market in my price range any day now on Powell Dr., which is just off Western Blvd. near the fairgrounds. I drove by it and it's nothing special to look at, but it is in a part of Raleigh I would consider ... i.e., close enough to 40 to get to Durham quickly. Then she sent me a listing for another one just off Buck Jones Rd. in the same general area. I drove by it and it's not bad. I'll have a look at both of them.

I also drove through Brentwood during lunch because a co-worker lives there and loves it, and there are a few eligible house there. It's really cute, actually. Or rather, the western half, where the houses are all '50s and '60s ranches and split-levels, is cute. The eastern half was built in the '80s and '90s and it's a little depressing. It's also a really quick commute to workby car, and on a bus line that goes straight into downtown (as a state employee I can ride the CAT buses for free). But it would take me longer to get to Durham/Chapel Hill.

Then again, there are still places I need to look at in Durham, so maybe I'll bag the Raleigh idea and stay right here. I'm still very interested in Parkwood, because I have big-yard envy and the older homes there all sit on decent-sized lots. My agent makes a little face every time I mention Parkwood, but I'm going to drag her ass down there anyway.

Oh yeah, and if I wanted to stay in Trinity Park there's a tiny, ugly little house without much of a back yard on Woodland Ave. that I could afford.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

You're nobody 'til everybody in this town knows you're poison

Yeah, I'm posting a lot, aren't I? I do that whenever I see bigotry and crap. I'm fierce like that ... it's one of my superpowers.

So my very sweet neighbor, whom I will call "M," was one of about three of us who objected on the 'hood listserv against the request for neighbors to call the cops on all minorities. Like Mr. Pants and I, she was roundly castigated and reviled by the howling "we are SO not racist!" mob of Trinity Parkers. This was her first experience at the receiving end of the listserv vigilante gang, so she was a bit bewildered. She e-mailed us asking "What is happening? Why are we being ostracized for reacting strongly to a racist statement?"

And of course Mr. Pants had a fantastic reply:
These things really run deep. The fact is that most in our neighborhood fully understood why D____ [dude who wrote original post] made the request he made. They themselves would've been more tactful, but that doesn't change the fact they agree with his way of thinking. They defend him, because in doing so they defend themselves. They now circle the wagons and find solace in their numbers.

Bigotry is understandable when your house is robbed, because they would've and have felt the same way. Our neighbors will pat themselves on the back and talk about how enlightened and progressive they are. They'll prove they're not racist by supporting Obama etc. They may even have a few black or Latino friends that contribute to their self assurance that they aren't racist. This all works well until there is pressure applied. When that pressure (like being robbed) is applied, base instincts and true tendencies come to the foreground.

Notice how they continue to feel very strongly about the fact he was robbed and therefore a victim. They strongly identify with him. They can't identify with the people who would be affected by calling the cops on minorities. That is a foreign concept to them, these people are the "others" who merely exist on the margins of their civilized lives. Now being robbed that's a real crime, and a crime they can identify with. They can't identify with being stopped by the police for absolutely no reason, because of the neighborhood you find yourself in, because it hasn't happened to them and they can't imagine why it would. I stopped giving a shit that the guy was robbed when he revealed himself to be a bigot. Anyone of these folks who say that their mental response would be the same if they were robbed by a black person or a white person is just not being honest. It's far more frightening when the others cross the line.

I'm not suggesting everyone is a racist, but we all have prejudices. When those prejudices are acted upon to affect reality/policy they become racist. When D____ requested that his neighbors call people with guns to deal with any minorities near his house he became or demonstrated he was a racist. If he simply gets scared when he encounters black people on the street that may just be prejudice and I don't care much about that.


In other news, several neighbors have reported that the alleged noose isn't really a noose at all but just a loop of rope, not tied into any sort of hangman's knot. If I had stumbled upon it you know I would have taken a picture (if it looked at all noose-like), so we can only speculate. I hope it wasn't actually a noose but if it was you know what? It seriously would not surprise me at all for such a thing to happen in Trinity Park

God I love having a blog ...

I get to post, post post to my heart's content ... And I'm really on the "What the hell is wrong with people" topic today:
So I got an e-mail about a stolen APS Foster dog (Info is here), so I cross-posted it to the Durham Dog park list. The email said
Gizmo, a 12 year old deaf pekingese (an APS of Durham dog) was stolen from her foster home in Durham on Friday 2/29. We are all sick with worry about her. Will you please join our effort to find her by posting flyers as widely as possible. Here is a link to her poster. http://www.jane3dog.com/gizmo
In response to my post, some coward who didn't sign his/her real name to the e-mail (just the yahoo ID "kerumbo") sent a response--to the dog park list!!--that said
Don't mind Lisa. She was recently and rightfully smacked-down by a number of her neighbors who resented her race-baiting reaction to a recent complaint by a burglary victim, and she is still smarting.

Whoever allegedly hung the alleged noose is obviously an idiot, but we have no evidence that it was not done by someone exactly like her, rather than by one of her phantom "racist" neighbors.

I am sorry if this group of good people, and the grieving owner of a lost dog, have been further stressed by Lisa and her evil imaginings about the ill-will of everyone except herself and her own closed circle.

Christ on a cracker, what the hell goes through these people's heads? I truly am completely surrounded by crazies and morons and crazy morons.

Strange fruit in Trinity Park

A dog walker in Trinity Park this morning found a noose hanging from a tree near Watts and Minerva. It seems that some people aren't satisfied with the thought of just calling the police on "minorities" in our hood ...

Of course, I'm sure very few of the vehemently-self-proclaimed-non-racists in Trinity Park will understand the connection between advocating all "minorities" be deemed "suspicious" and the direct threat implied by the appearance of a noose. Oh, maybe it was just children playing ... play-acting the attitudes they see around them in a neighborhood where suspicion of anyone who isn't white runs deep, and even occasionally gurgles out into the open.

Oh, and it seems that the Trinity Park e-mail list, or perhaps just certain people on it, are now on "double-secret probation." My neighbor posted something regarding the recent brouhaha and it was sent back to her as rejected with a note that the topic has been given a "cooling off period."

Little Trinity Park of horrors

OK, I just have to update yesterday's post to note that there was a huge outpouring of defense for the guy who posted the "call the cops on minorities" thing to our listserv yesterday. Yep, it seems that Trinity Parkers by and large have no problem with someone calling for "minorities" (in this case that should be strictly interpreted as "black people") to be automatically treated with suspicion in Trinity Park. Not only that, but Mr. Pants, who knows first-hand what it's like to be stopped, questioned and searched by cops because someone called in a "suspicious black man" report, has been labeled a bully because of his remarks. Well, OK, the guy who said that is one Jon Ham, who is always posting his barely intelligible nutbag rantings on the TP list and can very safely be ignored.

Oh, and I stridently defended Mr. Pants so now I'm a bully, too. And when I mentioned that black people actually live in the neighborhood "much to the chagrin of some of you" another neighbor wrote to me and said she was upset that I was attacking her personally. Well it's not really for me to decide how well that shoe fits you ... (Part of my reply to her: "While you people live in fear that someone will call you racist, I've lived in fear that my husband will be beaten by some overzealous cop just for existing in Trinity Park in his black skin.")

And this brings me to another point: the really funny thing is that neither Mr. Pants nor I used the word "racist" to describe the original poster, but the thing that he and his defenders seem most upset about is that someone called them racists. Yes, to these people, the idea that someone may think they are racist is the most frightening thing of all. To them, the idea of calling the police on all "minorities" is a very logical response to a break-in in which the perpetrator was allegedly a black guy. So if he was a white guy, I suppose their response would be "call the police on all white people?" Why that would just be silly, wouldn't it? But no on seems to get that, least of all the guy who originally posted, who is very indignant that anyone would think for a moment that he's racist.

Meanwhile, who wants to buy a cute little bungalow in Trinity Park? There's going to be an open house on Sunday. I should note that the people on my street are very, very nice, except for that one house full of Duke soccer players (or something, I'm not exactly sure what their sport is), who are assholes.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Bring dynamite and a crane blow it up and start all over again

I'm going to miss my cute little orange house when I have to move, but I don't think I'm really going to miss Trinity Park that much. The TP listserv has been very quiet except for lost/found dog and "please recommend a good _____" postings, but today another one of my idiot asshole neighbors posted something that demonstrates what kind of mentality one often sees in Trinity Park (I should note that based on his address, the guy is probably a renter. That makes it very likely that he's a Duke student of some sort, so maybe it's not fair to classify him as a normal Trinity Park resident. We all know that an institution like Duke will bring its share of undesirables into a 'hood.)

Apparently some guy, identified by a neighbor as "black" and "wearing a parka" kicked in dude's air conditioner and ripped off his apartment. So dude, in his e-mail to the listserv, asked people to please call the police if they see any "minorities" near his particular address. (The fact that someone is enough of a moron to send a comment like that to a public listserv is further evidence that he probably goes to Duke.)

Of course I responded immediately: "ATTENTION WHITE FOLKS: feel free to rob [dude's address]--apparently they only call the cops on "minorities. " Woo!" (The moron emailed me back privately and replied "No, it just seems that 'white folks' have never been visually confirmed but thanks," a lame-ass reply that demonstrates how he really doesn't get it. So I wrote back and told him he was a moron, because I think he needs to know. Maybe it will get me banned from the TP list, but fuck it, I'm moving.)

But soon-to-be-ex-Mr. Pants (who, in case you're new here, is black) beat the crap out of my flippant little post reply with his own:
D____,

I often walk down your street. Will the neighborhood be issuing special passwords or ID cards or passes for the good African Americans? I hope they're not too expensive. Now I'm a homeowner in the neighborhood, but I've also hired other African Americans to do work on my house. They may also walk down your street, so I may also need passes for them.

On a side note, a strategy that I've found effective is to actually lock my windows. You can also buy a cage for around your air conditioner if you must have one. I'm not exactly sure why you would have an air conditioner in place during the winter. I've got be careful here, perhaps the reason my house has never been broken into is because it's so easy to break into yours.

But I stray, you're correct having every black person who steps on your street or in our neighborhood harassed by the police is a lot more simple than you exercising common sense.

Good luck!

M____


In other news, I had a little time yesterday to do some recon on the house hunt--that's where I drive by places to see if if scheduling a showing would be a waste of time. I checked out some places in the Lakewood/Lyon Park/whatever it's called neighborhood. The places I could afford in that neighborhood are really depressing ... and you bet your ass I'll move to Parkwood before I'll live there, no matter what my agent says. There were a couple of places in Northgate Park that look OK, but they're really close to Roxboro Street, which doesn't thrill me. I'm not really terribly cheerful about the house hunt right now because it's really looking like I'll end up in the ghetto no matter what. Or in a place like this. Shit, maybe I'll move to Wendell or someplace where I can afford an acre or so and just put in my own agility field so it won't be so bad not being close to my training center in Chapel Hill.

But there was one bright spot: I could own a house that has a tobacco barn in the backyard! I drove by it yesterday, and of course I had to slow way down and try to discern how much agility equipment I'd be able to fit in the back, when I noticed a strange structure. "Surely that's not a tobacco barn?" I thought. I re-checked the listing when I got home and yep, it is. But come to think of it, I don't really want a tobacco barn right in the middle of my back yard. I wonder if I could Freecycle it and give it to someone who does want a tobacco barn? Anyway, if you're looking for a house with a tobacco barn, I know where you can find one.

Our house still hasn't appeared on the MLS yet. There will be an open house on Sunday. Time to bake some cookies, I guess.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

/sputter

The house cleaner I complained about yesterday made me whole, and I now recommend her wholeheartedly. She came by and I showed her the places that were still dirty (basically about 85 percent of the baseboards and some windowsills). They really were still dirty--I wasn't being anal retentive, I swear. She agreed and cleaned them. She apologized and said that her son had come along to help and she assigned him to baseboard duties ... the explanation fits because when I looked around at all the baseboards I thought to myself "These look like a dude cleaned them!" The big egregious places had been cleaned, but the rest (especially any part that was behind anything) hadn't been touched. That's how dudes clean. And of course since Mr. Pants was the one to inspect the house and pay the cleaners, he didn't notice either because the big obvious places that scream "hey, we're filthy" had been cleaned.

If I knew for a fact that the only people coming to look at our house would be typical guys, I wouldn't be fretting so much about the baseboards because they just wouldn't notice. Why is it that guys don't seem to notice dirt? I am generalizing, of course, because there are a few who do, but they are in the minority. I wonder if anyone has studied this phenomenon scientifically? I know there have been studies showing that women just notice more details in general, so maybe the dirt phenomenon is related.

And I suppose I'm a fine one to talk, because if I had been a better housekeeper myself I wouldn't have needed cleaners to come in just so I could show the house. But rest assured that I have been keenly aware of all the dirt on the baseboards for a long time. I was just too lazy to do anything about it.

At any rate, there is a "for sale" sign in front of our house, although I think it won't officially be in the MLS until tomorrow. Know anyone interested in a cute little bright orange 1925 Trinity Park Bunglaow? Did I mention it's orange?