It's time to go
This weekend one of the neighbors was out doing some minor painting, reminding me I have to do some minor painting to my fence and security gate. Ah, home ownership. When asked about the sprucing up she was doing she confirmed that she is indeed planning on selling the house and moving back to her homecountry. "It's time," she said.
She'd been on the block a little bit longer than I have, by some months to 1/2 a year. In that time she'd done some home improvement, so at least 1/3 of the house is new. She's also been a good neighbor in that she'd taken on the alley cat issue, trying to catch cats to get them spayed and neutered and the kittens adopted. Hopefully someone can fill that role when she does sell the house, and provided it isn't listed at some super high price, it should sell. And hopefully, whomever buys it will integrate themselves into the fabric of our block.
And so another person makes an individual decision that can change the block adding to the dynamic nature of neighborhoods and neighborhood change. Which reminds me of the various reasons people I have known have given for moving, job relocation, family pressures, marriage, house too much of a burden/downsizing, etc. For renters, sometimes the decision is not theirs and is more financial when the owners choose to cash out or fail to keep up with their mortgage. No organized effort here, just individuals, with a tiny sliver of land, doing what they think is best for them.
Support Martin Fundraiser
As some of you are aware Martin Moulton, CCCA prez, and involved citizen, was dragged into court under hyped up allegations by Mr. Leroy Thorpe, as part of Thorpe's on going efforts to silence his challengers. No matter how innocent you are, lawyers still cost money, and so the Long View Gallery is hosting a fundraiser, where 100% of monies raised will go to pay for Martin's legal fees. Anyway here's the info, hope to see y'all there.
Meet your neighbors and help Martin Moulton
Tuesday, January 19
6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Long View Gallery
1234 Ninth Street NW
Friends and supporters of Shaw neighborhood activist and leader Martin Moulton are coming together to help raise funds to pay Martin's legal fees, helping him defend against recent legal actions taken by Leroy Thorpe. Here's a link to recent developments or you can review the official legal docket (Case No. 09 CA 007215) by searching "Leroy Thorpe" here.
Please make checks payable to "Harmon Curran" (the law firm representing Martin) and include "Martin Moulton Legal Fees" on the note line at the bottom of your check. Let us know if you prefer to use a credit card so we can process your contribution without incurring transaction fees.
Thank you for your consideration and we hope you will join us.
Host Committee (in formation): Kari and Jason Beard, Ralph Brabham and Drew Porterfield, Frances Evangelista, Mike Gormley, Miles E. Groves, Suzi Molak, The Hon. Alex Padro, Cary Silverman, Stephanie Slewka, Charles Walker, William Waybourn, Deborah Ziska
Please phone 202.518.2453 for more information or RSVP to email@example.com by January 16th.
Labels: events, neighbors
The kids are alright
One of my neighbors is a good neighbor. His goodness is in the fact that he actively does good, as opposed to the definition of "good" being "doesn't give trouble." He picks up trash on the sidewalk, not just in front of his house but on our whole block. When he is so inspired, he'll take the trash pick up to another adjoining block. He works for a non-profit do-gooder organization, that allows him to go to far off lands to spread the good. This winter he and I shoveled our block. He's a fascinating guy to talk with, good humored and most of the time good natured.
He's mentioned his father, when I've asked or we've talked about why he does what he does, in passing. And one day I came upon one of his dad's lectures on iTunes University, where his father speaks of my neighbor and his brothers as kids. Which is interesting, because many of us come from somewhere else, so we tend to only know our neighbors as their adult selves, with very little knowledge of what they were like as kids, teens, very young adults.
Anyway, my neighbors father is Raymond Bakke
, a professor of urban studies/urban ministry, who has some ideas about city living. One of the ideas (of several) that I found a bit hard core was raising children in a poor urban environment. No private schools, no home schooling. And so my neighbor went to the tough Chicago schools, including High School. Bakke advocates for strong parental involvement. As far as making up for what the public schools lack, he suggests extra enrichment classes. Taking what parents may have spent on private school, he points out, those same funds could go to family trips abroad, books, lessons and other experiences that would enrich their children.
The children that Prof. Bakke mentions in his books and lectures are grown now, and I am honored one lives on my block. My neighbor is a product of urban family living, and it seems that the kids are alright.
... next week more grousing from me about bad teenagers.
Labels: kids, neighbors, schools
My 25 year old cousin is enjoying her stay with me, not so much for my company (I'm sure the familial bonds play a part) but because so much is happening outside. My cousin had been holed up in what she calls a 'housing farm' up in northern PG County, car-less. The house farm has single family home crops, townhome crops, and condo/apartment crops where she could go days without seeing another human, with her parents as the exceptions. Even on days where she doesn't leave my house, she sees people walking, drunk guys screaming, homeless guys pushing things, kids screaming, a whole show of humanity all from her window. Maybe I've been here too long but the screaming people have lost their charm.
For her the neighborhood is wonderful and exciting, for slightly different reasons I find the neighborhood wonderful and exciting. For her a 2 mile walk in any direction is an enjoyable excursion, and the centrality of the neighborhood is an added bonus. For me centrality good, mixed in with several transportation options, but a >2 mile trek better not include huge highways (New York Avenue) and should have places of interest along the way. Also for me the wonderfulness rests on knowing my neighbors, something she's cluing into. A couple of neighbor ladies stopped her on the sidewalk to interview/ interrogate/ check her out and another instance (in the middle of the day while I was at work) where she needed a tool, I told her if she didn't find it, which neighbors were home who might lend her a plunger.
It's been interesting getting her perspective of the neighborhood.
Labels: neighbors, quality of life
I want to thank BACA, Anita Bonds our ANC and my neighbor Brian for making for an awesome block treebox planting. BACA (regular meeting is tonight at 7 @ Mt. Sinai) provided a tree, Anita provided the plants, dirt and mulch and Brian was just amazing. Bri organized the residents, going door to door (if you didn't get the message you weren't home) a week or so before, talking to neighbors about the treeboxes in front of their homes, getting commitments from neighbors for particular tasks (supervising, digging, etc), and picking up the donated material from Bonds and BACA. The result was a fun work filled morning where new neighbors got to meet each other and older neighbors, kids running around, plants getting planted, treeboxes getting built (Thanks John!) and the block being totally awesome.
More pictures of efforts all over north TC at the BACA blog
We did get trick or treaters but not as many as last year. I don't know if it was due to rain, or it being a weekend night or what. We started off with the big gang of 15-20, kids and their parents. They all had barreled out of one parent's house and slowly made their way down the block. Then a few small clusters of families and I swear one drive by... parents in an SUV who saw some candy action, dropped the kids off, got candy and drove off. I shut down about 10 mins to 9PM, when some neighborhood teens who sorta made an effort came by. When I get teens it's time to quit.
Labels: BACA, neighbors
Trash and the new people
One tell a tale sign of a new neighbor, should the movements of a house absolutely escape us, is trash.
If you have a big alley, your trash tends to get picked up in the rear of the house. If you have a small (too small for a truck) alley or no alley your trash tends to get picked up in the front. And if you are in a multi-unit building your trash might get picked up by a private contractor.
So when you dump your bags of trash onto the sidewalk, where it awaits the cats, squirrels, and birds to put holes in them, you have revealed that you are new. I'm waiting to see if one of your closer neighbors is going to pin a sign on your pile of trash informing you of the proper trash disposal. Like they did the last time a new person set out trash on the sidewalk.
Labels: neighbors, trash
Community Buy In
If you want residential parking for the block, you have to go around and encounter your neighbors. I don't remember what the percentage, probably 50%, have to sign on to it. Literally sign your petition, with their addresses, to show the city that the community actually wants it. Same thing with speed humps. Walk around, talk to the neighbors, and get the signatures of about half of them. Just a vocal few can't demand it, like some other things, it requires the consent of some of the other neighbors that don't go to the civic or ANC, PSA, or district meetings.
I've remember going around to neighbors to get petitions sign for things I was against, like a zoning variance. A developer can gather the signatures of whomever happen to be around, and in our neighborhood that can include our loitering masses. Fighting it, meant knocking on doors, introducing yourself and talking with neighbors and convincing them that your cause is right and you really could use their support.
There are just some things that you need the community's support and buy in for political cover (particularly for contentious topics where there is a sizable/loud contingent against the idea), and permissions (zoning, ABC licensing).
Labels: city services, neighbors
The new guys
This is one of those posts I fear because as soon as I write something positive, a gang of fire-bomb throwing drug dealing door to door con-artist ax murdering plant thieves descend upon the neighborhood. But here goes....
We are no longer up for sale. To my knowledge all the houses on my street have been bought or are under some serious contract. The New New Guy, as opposed to the New Guy and the Other New Guy, was at his place with a contractor and happy to get the neighbors. We got 3 new guys. I had already met the Other New Guy when he was Potential Buyer Dude, and I was probably a little stand offish early on. Mainly because I didn't know if he was an investor or a person with intentions of living on the block. But now he's the Other New Guy and I've already done the neighborly thing of lending him tools. So for the most part our block (once the two new guys bring in furniture and the other place is confirmed sold) is stabilizing. The old families aren't going anywhere, there are only a handful of houses rented out, and the majority of the households are rainbow collared** middle class.
And Sunday was just a lovely day. The Bloomingdale Farmer's Market was good and I enjoyed the Confit Duck Ravioli from Copper Pot. I bought a bunch of cherries and made several batches of cherry liquor to sit. Got strawberries to make more fruit spread and blueberries for my own yogurt mix in.
Besides the monsoon type rains, the neighborhood looked great.
**Some families are middle class through prudence and good financial habits, some have businesses where they work with their hands and get dirty, not everyone is a desk jockey.
Why my block is cool
I am just now chilling out having been at a neighbor's party for the past 3 hours. A lot of my other neighbors were there, and their kids. The toddlers used their cuteness to get picked up and held by random adults. The 3 to 7 year olds ran in bubble blowing screaming packs. The grown ups drank, ate and conversed. New neighbors were introduced (three new households moved on to our block in the last month). A good time was had by all.
Besides the odd party, a number of us do come together over various things. Just this morning the homeowners of the two houses on the end of the block were cleaning up trash from the sidewalks and gutters. We give advice, exchange information, share garden plants, and lend a hand as well as tools. There are parents who get the kids together. And being so physically close to each other, because our houses are only 12 to 18 feet wide and attached, we are constantly interacting with each other.
Most neighbors, provided they haven't been completely shunned, do get a wave and a nod. And that makes the block pleasant. But what I think makes it cool are these deeper relationships that go beyond exchanging pleasantries. Yesterday I sat in my neighbor's backyard, joining them for dinner, talking about anything from Justice Souter, LEED building, to what exactly is
growing in that pot?
I thought of the party that was to come and the previous evening's dinner when I read this morning's Post's "From Nod and Wave to Know and Share: How to Spark A Neighborly Connection
. It got me thinking about my introduction to the block. It began with two of my neighbors serving as the block's welcome wagon who encouraged me to go the BACA meetings. I met some neighborhood people there. Several people moved in around about the same time I did, so the general curiosity of asking about work being done (our houses were fixer uppers, some more than others) led to introductions. Oh, and the blog helped too. As well as puttering around in the front yard, having roommates who made connections, and seeing familiar faces in places other than the immediate neighborhood (Hey, don't you live a few houses down from me?). And it builds, neighbors who you already know introduce you to other neighbors, breaking the ice and giving you a chance to find common interests.
Also, as noted in the article, there are people who are more private. Then there are those whose lifestyles are such getting to know the neighbors is hard. Or worse someone could get stuck in the middle of a bunch of private, superbusy, or reclusive neighbors.
I was chatting with one of the new people at the party, and he was telling me how he'd asked his Realtor about bars and restaurants in the area to get a sense of the place. Well we don't have any bars and the nicest place to sit down is a coffee shop in the next neighborhood over. But what we do have, few real estate agents would know about and if they did know, they probably couldn't tell you legally.
If you're a friendly sort of person, couple, or family with really young kids and you want want to settle down on my block, and happen to have between $400-$500K to spend on a townhouse, email me. We have an opening, and I can tell you as much as I can that your Realtor can't.
Labels: neighbors, quality of life
Pray for Jennifer
I really hate hearing about these sort of things. Because everytime, I swear everytime, things begin to look better, when it looks like the past has passed, crap like this pops up. I got the following in an email:
I am surprised that there is no mentioned in your report of the assault on Sunday of Jennifer Ragins of ### Bates Street. She was one of the instrumental people that started Bates Street Civic Association. She was attacked by a wantobe thug. This thug blind sided her with punches.
She was taken to the hospital. This thug lives at ### P Street NW.
This is a house that has been raided by the police several times. This 15- year-old thud attacked a person twice his age. He is twice her size and weights twice as much. What African American parent raise a child to seek and attach a grown woman. I cannot say an alleged attack because there are witnesses that saw it and also heard him brag about it.
It was not a robbery because he took nothing. This was a set-up by the drug boys to silence someone who has been instrumental in improving this neighborhood. The 20 years plus I have live here, I have been a mentor and tutored to many young folks. However, there are those that are not reachable and need to be dealt with accordingly. This is one. I hear that a warrant has been issue but he has not been arrested. Where can a 15-year-old go to avoid arrest unless he has criminal help.
Jennifer needs your prayers and support. I hope that as this crime was occurring, those folks who were aware of it assisted in helping her as I did when a white woman on my street was attached. I did not bother about the color, I placed my self in harms way and I think if I had not she would have received more harm as in the case of Jennifer.
We can not just look out for our clicks or have our private groups. You cannot have an e-mail system or group that only glorify your click. For this community to address these types of criminal elements, all of us need to take a stand.
I've blocked the house numbers for privacy reasons. Jennifer and I don't see eye to eye on the neighborhood's name, and some other things, but she's in need of our prayers, thoughts, and support. Pray for healing and justice.
Labels: crime, neighbors
The new people
My block is special.
About a couple of weeks ago we got two new households on the block. One was a single guy who bought a house and the other was a couple who where friends of another couple who've been on the block as long as I have. There has been a lot of back and forth between J&L and their friends as they help them get settled in. We've left the new guy alone for a week.
Then this wonderful weekend with the weather we've been having, so many of us were out in the front yard. So when the new guy poked his head out to tackle the overgrowth in the front yard we got him. I polled him about paint colors, as I'm repainting my house and asking neighbors' their opinions.* While we were chatting I called over another neighbor who introduced herself and pointed out her husband. Then we noticed another J who was in the middle of running back and forth from the new couple's house and called him over. Then J after some small talk took the new guy over to the new couple's house.
In time we'll see how the new people fit in. I think ours is a relatively friendly street. When the weather is good we hang out in our yards, chat over the fence, give each other unsolicited advice/opinions/warnings, lend/trade/give stuff (tomatoes, tools, etc), and at the very least, we wave hi.
*If you know where I live you're welcomed to give input on the two finalist (there were more) colors. Though I like the lighter color, neighbors have pointed out that it will probably fade. I've been told the darker color is bold, and the darker color is winning the popularity contest. I'll settle on one color this weekend.
Petitions, neighbors, and the long view
I'm supposed to be collecting signatures to try to open the Dunbar High School track to residents. Our Dear Mayor Fenty gets to run on the track in the mornings, it would be nice if residents had the option to do so as well. In a brief shot of energy, as I'm still recovering from a cold, I grabbed the petition forms and hit the block. The first group of people were some neighbors who several months ago had collected signatures for speed humps for our block. It's been a while since anyone has heard anything about the progress of the humps. So that tempers/ clouds my perception of how useful the Dunbar petition will be. While collecting I was able to reconnect with neighbors I haven't seen for a while because in Winter we all hide out, so this was an opportunity to catch up.
So far everyone is still employed! Woot!
However, with the few warm days we've had we've noticed our friendly neighborhood drug dealers (who I thought had left) back scoping out the corners. Looking at it from with a long view, things have gotten better. But not so much better that the block is drug free. It depresses me that there is still something about neighborhood that makes it an environment that the dealers think they can still profit around here.
As a neighborhood we've chipped away at the things that would make it too easy for the dealers. We've gotten residential parking for many of the blocks, which is annoying when you have long term guests and short term roommates. We call the cops. We clean up and eliminated most of the opportunities for dumping, as huge piles of trash make for good drug stashes. We work with the city's elected officials and its agencies. We voted and contributed to campaigns. We turned on our front porch lights to brighten the block and reported street lights that were out so dealers would have less dark to hide in.
Not a credit to the neighbors but a change that makes the neighborhood less welcoming to dealers is there are fewer vacant houses and shells. Despite the slow down in housing, there has been a slight increase in owner occupied housing on my block, with a promise of more owner occupiers to come. More people to fight the good fight, or at least not be part of the problem. Though not so great for affordable housing, the amount of market rate rentals have outnumbered the "Section 8" houses. I hate to say that some of our drug fighting problems can be linked to a few of the "Section 8" houses. There is probably now only one or two houses on the block where the boyz may find safe harbor. It will be a brighter day when that number is 0.
A friend of mine who visits occasionally tell me how the neighborhood gets better and better in little increments. A new paint job here, a cleaned up yard there and fewer dealers on the corner.
Maybe in the near future we'll have our street humps and access to the Dunbar track, and when the dealers come around to scope out the block they'll decide it's no good and move on.
Labels: neighbors, quality of life
B.'s Stadium Book gets WP write up
My next door neighbor/co-worker B
. has his book Capital Sporting Grounds
out now and his book got some love from Marc Fisher
. I just got the book in my hot little hands today, and I hope to give an honest as I can report of it once done.
I'm a bit more interested in Capital Sporting Grounds than the other book
he released last year, because its topic is development history in Washington DC. Also B. gave a pretty interesting presentation sometime back at the Historical Society about stadium development and some of the backroom dealing involved. B. is interested in the story and I look forward to experiencing his storytelling.
Labels: history, neighbors
It started about sometime after eleven-something last night, someone in the alley was calling up to someone. It happens occasionally, and it is the oddest thing where someone is looking for someone who used to live around here. They'll go around back and yell at the house where they think their friends live. However, that wasn't the case last night.
There was door banging. This was a few doors down, but I'm reminded of how small and close our houses are on this row when someone is doing some heavy knocking. When I wandered into the kitchen I could actually hear the name of the person being yelled and realized it was one of my neighbors knocking and yelling to his sister to let him back in.
My best guess, from living near them for so many years, is that the brother was more than likely on the back deck and had been out there when his sister locked up (or he locked up and forgot his key) and went to bed. It happens, I've locked out and have been locked out by roommates too. This is why I have a few people with keys to my house, to help on those occasions, and there have been several occasions, when I've been locked out of my own home.
The yelling and knocking went on for a good while, as he tried both the front and the back of the house. Yes, these houses are just so, and apparently no amount of insulation can block out the noise, so that I could tell, when he was trying the front of the house and the rear of the house. When I decided to get to bed, I poked my head out to ask him if he needed to use the phone. He said he had called but she wasn't answering.
Halloween in the Hood 2008
Tomorrow is Halloween, and yes, kids do trick or treat in Shaw.
Last year Frozen Tropics had some really good tips
for prepping for the day. Also if this is your first Halloween, you may want to check with neighbors to see if there is anyone else giving out candy, 'cause if yours is the lone house, it may decrease the numbers of kids showing up.
Kids have shown up on our block between 5:30 or 6:30 or 7PM and 8PM when some of us stop giving our candy. The sign of when to stop giving out candy is when you've get bands of uncostumed teenagers coming to your door for candy. I stop when the cute kid signal fades out with the crappy teen noise. Then I turn off my porch light, turn off the 1st floor lights and retreat to the rear of the house.
Former Halloween PostsTrick or TreatHalloween RecapI Don't Want to Hear Any Halloween ExcusesReminder: HalloweenHalloween II: Curse of the SignsHalloween III: Death & Candy
- Warning mouse death described.
Labels: misc, neighbors
Haunting the hood
Despite the fact that the individual in question moved, well his mother moved, a month or so ago, he still haunts the block like he still lives there. The individual is a teenager who hangs out with the crowd of other males wandering the streets. Occasionally, they will hang in one spot.
They used to hang out in the yard of the house where he used to live, but the owner put up a no trespassing sign, well something more detailed than just "NO TRESSPASSING" but with the same gist. This helped when calling the cops because before, the cruiser would slowly drive by, look at them, then speed off. Big whoop. Now the sign is there in the window, they don't hold court in the yard no more.
Last night they opted to hang in front of B. and IT's house. I was home playing CIV III when I heard the crowd. I came out because I was concerned. Sometimes B. leaves his bike out on the sidewalk. He locks it, but they were all leaning in the spot where he leaves it. So I came out and decided that my yard needed attention.
I don't care for confrontation, unless you're on my fence then I'll say something, and so I did not speak to the crowd. I just puttered. Visible, noticeable, puttering. If needed, I could have engaged in my impression of loudmouth bubbie lawyer and get on my cell and scream like a crazy person. It is my front yard and I can do whatever the hell I want. Just then some neighbors came walking by, an end to their evening constitutional
and we had a chat while the group of young men sauntered away. Seconds later, another neighbor came out and we gave a friendly holler at each other. We stayed out there till the crowd had settled down on the other, deserted end of the block.
Labels: neighbors, quality of life
Neighbor moved, I think
I want to note it, but I'm not too sure about it. A neighborhood character who I used to call Drama Mamma (then dropped the name when the blog readership when up) moved. I think she moved. There was a U-Haul, and the lights haven't been on for a few days. The landlord has been trying to sell the house and there is little love between him and DM. She may be gone, however, she forgot to tell some relatives she relocated (if she did relocate) and they've been knocking.
Neighborhood characters do make the place interesting. However, sometimes it is a kind of interesting that gets tiresome and occasionally dangerous. We are not out of neighborhood characters on the block, however the adults (kids whole 'nother package of nuts) weren't as out there as she and her associates were. So with the exception of buppie lawyers who like to wildly emote with their cell phones and the screaming kids, the block may get quieter.
Labels: neighbors, quality of life
Neighborhood Character in Post
There is some disagreement between me and my source, but I think I know of the "Derrick" in the article appearing in Sunday's Post article "After A Few Months in DC, It's Not Just The Rental Options That Stink.
" The author moves in a group house on 1st St NW, and though he says it's near U Street, the "Derrick" he meets sounds too much like a Truxton Circle "Derrick" who haunts 1st St. This Derrick hits the author up for a beer so he could celebrate his anniversary with his wife. This was the give away, as there is a TC Derrick who is known for hitting people up for beer and acting like a self appointed street mayor. Yet my source thought 1st Street could possibly have several Derricks, besides the TC Derrick, who is actually named Derrick and may ask for a beer.
So Bloomingdale, y'all got any storytelling beer-mooching Derricks up there?
Anyway, one of the things that made my source doubt that the Post's Derrick and the TC Derrick were one in the same was the rest of the author's story. Apparently, the author moved in without signing a lease. The guy who was on the lease collected the housemates money but never paid the landlord and they all got evicted. Which sounds like the same thing that happened to Nora Bombay's brother in Florida, where the housemate collecting the rent ran off with the money and everyone got kicked out. But then again, that was a case of don't have crackheads for roommates, and especially don't give them the rent money.
I really don't understand. Almost all the places I rented, despite having roommates, I paid the landlord or manager directly. The only sort of exception was when I was renting in DC and had occasional roommates who were staying for a few months, where I was collecting the rent.
A word of advice kids, get on the lease and/or at least have management aware that you have the right to stay there. You never know when you'll get locked out of the apartment/condo and need to convince the doordude that you belong there and he needs to let you in.
Labels: housing, neighbors
Hey Loudmouth Buppie Lawyer Dude
I can't have my windows up because of you.
Yes, yes, you are very important, doing whatever it is that you do. I'm not sure if you were having a one-sided screaming match on your cell for work or pleasure, but you woke me up. On a rare moment when I thought I could feel free to open my bedroom window, let in the cool night air, and give the AC a break, you ruined it. Normally, I'd call the police. As a promise I made to another neighbor, who had the habit of getting loud with the help of electronics and booze, I said I'd be fair and call the cops on you when you got loud. That way, my 311/911 (I'm confused) noise complaint calls would be equal, regardless of class. Yet, the other night I was so tired, the only thing I could manage to do was close the window, collapse on the bed and sweat.
I feel pity for the people who live next door to you. I'm several doors down and I can hear you. I could hear your custody battle screaming. I could hear your gossipy VIPs in the DC government screaming. Please stop. I wish I could not hear you. I don't want to hear you. I want to mind my own business, but that's hard to do when you keep screaming.
My next door neighbor B. has a blog. It's still new so he's feeling his way around. Jimbo
and I have been helping him grasp the concept and purpose of blogging, so when you visit be nice.
The main, and eventual purpose of Bohemian Yankee in the Capital: Salty dog author talks history, sports, queer imagery and urban development
is to promote two books that he has coming out, one on GLBT Hollywood and the other on stadium development in the District of Columbia. Of the two I'm more interested in the stadium book, Capital Sporting Grounds
as it tells of some of the wheeling and dealing of getting the RFK built, and the location of various other sporting venues in the city.
Labels: blog, development, glbt, neighbors
Mojitos & Tater Tots
Friday I was in the mood for some homemade mojitos and store bought elementary school quality tater tots. But I wanted to share this desire & joy with others. So Saturday morning I decided I was going to have an impromptu party.
I've been wanting to do something along the lines of Apartment Therapy's Open Door Family Dinner
idea where there is little to no planning. So I figured on a very simple menu, mojitos (and a lemonade for the kids and non-drinkers) and tater tots. That was it, and that's all I promised the guests when I started calling around noon. I kept most of the guest list kinda close to house as there was an alcoholic small-bites theme, so if someone was really hungry or got tipsy, their front door was only a few feet away.
It was a good neighborly bunch for such short notice on a Saturday night. I invited some new neighbors, as I had been meaning to do something to welcome them for the longest while. I don't remember how many people I called and visited to extend invitations to, but there were 2 kids and 7 adults who came and it was a nice manageable number. The being close to home part was good, as someone was up past her nap time and got a little tired.
I may try the open door gathering thing again. Worrying about everyone's schedules tends to keep me from asking friends out and planning gatherings. I guess if I just leave it up to fate I don't get fixated on trying to get things right.
As a bonus for reading the post here is the recipe for the party itemsTater Tots
Store bought tater tots
Buy bag from Giant.
Follow directions on bag.
Serve in big bowl with spoon and have squeezable ketchup on the table.
Big bunch of spearmint (about 1 cup or more)
1.5 cups of sugar
1.5 cups of water
1/2 cup or more of white Rum
Splash of Meyers Dark Rum
1 bottle of Tonic Water w. Quinine
1- On stove top mix the sugar and water in sauce pan, stir on mid/high heat. Let boil for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. This is your simple syrup mix.
2- Squeeze the juice of the limes in pitcher or other container.
3- Toss in mint
4- Muddle mint with wooden spoon or a proper muddler (you might want to remove the mint after this, something I failed to do, but whatever...)
5- Pour in rums
6- Pour in simple syrup (the sugar water mix). Make more if needed. Depending on taste.
To serve in glass, put in ice cubes, pour in mixture up to halfway, fill with tonic water.Organic Strawberry Lemonade
Organic Lemonade (you may find it at Whole Foods or Timor)
Strawberries from Bloomingdale Farmers Market
1-Hull strawberries and place them on tray where they are not touching each other.
2- Place in freezer and freeze
3- Take frozen strawberries and place in pitcher 1/4 of the way
4- Fill with lemonade
5- Sit in refrigerator covered with plastic wrap (if pitcher has no top) until guests arrive.
Strawberries act like ice cubes and as they melt, they release their juices into the drink.
Jolly's Mommy in the Post
If you knew Jolly, he was the wheezing slow walking chicken bone finding beagle of Richardson Pl. Well his mommy (who is also the mommy of a child and another child to be) got featured in the Post
magazine. I'm trying to figure out how I missed the article completely, so thanks Scott Roberts.
Though the family has just recently relocated for a great new job for Ben, Lyric is still running her house staging business Red House Staging here in DC. Lyric loves what she does, and it is wonderful to see that it is possible to create a career that brings you joy.
Labels: business, houses, neighbors
Degentrification, gentrification and something to think about
Frozen Tropics pointed it out
and Richard Layman did too
, the NY Mag article
about a neighborhood that seemed as if it was going to get gentrified, but is now heading in the opposite direction. I enjoyed reading the article as well as the comments at the Curbed blog
that shed some light on the Red Hook neighborhood.
I can't really talk about a neighborhood I know nothing about, but the idea of de-gentrification is curious. Of course, the question is has gentrification occurred in the case of Red Hook, or was it really strong wishful thinking? And if a neighborhood is gentrifying
and then the process is stalled indefinitely, is that de-gentrification, or does it only count if the neighborhood reached a gentrfied
point? To me degentrification seems to hint at disinvestment, but reading the NY Magazine article, they appear to define it as something else.
Today I got an email from the folks over at Neighbors Project
with their 7 Rules for Talking About Gentrification
and they make some excellent points. I especially like #2. Get your history right. I'll call Shaw an historically Black neighborhood, mainly because it a) in it's most recent history been predominately African American, and b) the history bonus points of notables come from the Black History basket. Yet I will totally acknowledge that once you go further back than 1930, Shaw is mixed, if not white.
Flipping around on their site I found a link to some Instructable guides
they produced. Some are so simple that it should be like 'duh', such as "How to Pick Up Trash In Front of Your Home."
But I guess if you lived somewhere where this was never an issue, then a how-to is in order. (My excuse for not cleaning up in front of my house, I'm just lazy) They have some other guides like "How to be a trick-or-treat stop for apartment-dwellers
"; "How to Shop at a Downtown Farmers Market"; and "How to say hi to a stranger on the street
". These guides, though a little dorky, can help people integrate into the neighborhood and foster neighborly-ness.
Check out their 7 Rules, what do you think?
Labels: gentrification, neighbors
Road to Hell: DCs renter protection laws
I've been meaning to post something about the problem with nuisance renters, the neighbors who have to put up with them, and the landlords who can't get rid of them. And then I spot this on the 5D listserv:
I live in a privately-owned 2-story (total of 4 units) apartment building in Ward 5. It is a relatively quiet block. However, one of the residents has blatantly moved in other people, and refuses to pay rent (not since July). That is not my battle to fight (NOTE: The property owner, a federal government retiree/widow, recently went to court to get an eviction order); however, there is constant 'traffic' in and out the building at night...for quite a while now. Often, the exterior (front and rear) security doors are left unlocked - an obvious security issue/violation. We suspect that the rear exterior door lock has been 'jimmied' to allow 'anytime' access. Do I suspect illegal (drugs?) activity? I don't know what to suspect anymore. I know that it's not NORMAL to see someone (female) walk out of the building at 1:30am to an awaiting car, stand at the driver's side window and talk for 2-3 minutes, get into the car, and 20 minutes later, she is being dropped off. YES..I stayed up that late to observe that happen. In particular, there are at least two cars (a dark green Cadillac-MD tags driven by a black man with thick long braids) that come and go as much as the building residents. This would not be a problem except that at one point, he obviously had his own set of building keys. I understand that he has a lengthy criminal record - as well as some as the others that come in as late as 11:30pm and may not leave until 5 or 6am. The building owner has expressed her frustration at not being able to legally remove this resident (who, incidentally, moved a girlfriend in, but denies this fact when confronted about it, and has refused to have her name added to his lease). She/property owner has been told that the Marshall service will not be able to serve the eviction order sooner than 60-90 days. Keep in mind that she has not seen any rent from this tenant since June. I've often heard how difficult it is for landlords to evict tenants; therefore, tenants can 'live for free' for months at a time....until they are forced to move on and inflict the same thing on another unsuspecting landlord.
[SNIP]Our sense of safe and security is gone. We don't know WHO and WHAT is living around us anymore...and for those of us not yet retired, heaven only knows what goes on in the building while we are at work.
At the last BACA meeting the DC Attorney General (I think that was her title) for 5D mentioned that dealing with nuisance renters who endanger the safety of neighbors is 'challenging'.
I am not attacking the good intentions and the desire to save DC renters from unscrupulous landlords. However, the neighbors who get terrorized by bad renters have little recourse it seems. I know of a situation where crackhead renter blasts music so loud that it shakes the neighbor's wall among other things. The neighbor has been told that landlord is sort of making the attempt (maybe, this was mentioned a good while ago), but in the meantime there is calling 311 or 911, police maybe showing up to quiet things down, and repeat.
Labels: drama, neighbors, quality of life
Well it got to a slow start. 5pm, nothing. 6pm, nothing. 7pm, kids on the block hover on one side of the street and costumed relatives driven in hover with them.
Sometime between 7:30pm and 8:10pm an impromptu costumed block party breaks out, with blond little tykes in too cute costumes(with parents), running up and down the sidewalk around with black princess fairies, as teens in Scream/Jason masks gossip and josh around, while semi-un-costumed adults of the whole diversity rainbow give out candy and flit back and forth across the street. Passing slowly by twice was a police cruiser, whose occupant added to the festive spirit by giving a ghoulish laugh over the car's loudspeaker. A few Latino trick or treat families stumbled on to this scene and one woman giving out candy had her costumed kids take pictures with the passing kids.
My favorite costume was the bloody skateboarding doctor. A kid/young adult went house to house on his skateboard and he had a blood splattered lab coat, face shield/mask, and a stethoscope. A few others on my block got a kick out of his get up as well.
Then the uncostumed gang of teens started showing up, and that's when I turned out the lights and walked a few doors over to crash the Halloween party for parents. It was breaking up when I called it quits a little before 9pm. When enough big slovenly teens start running around and the cute kid numbers are nil, it's not fun anymore.
Labels: misc, neighbors
I can tell when people are not ready for true urban living. They've never seen people selling drugs out of the car in front of the house. Or people running down the street with guns in their hands. You will see that here. You will see grown men pull down their pants and take a poop in front of you. You will see that here. I hate to see people move in and get terrified. Maybe it is best you don't move here.
-- Scott Roberts, as quoted in October 3, 2007 Washington Post article
This reminded me of something said amongst a gathering of TC residents, that some folks (and at one time they themselves) are a little naive about living over here. Some folks are cut out for it, some aren't and it is a pity when you've bought the house or sign the lease to find out that the handful of urban things you thought you could deal with, you can't. Maybe you came from a place where the police come quickly when you call. Here, they might come, but you call anyway, 'cause you never know.
There are also assumptions, points of view regarding how to live and expectations that aren't met. The police thing is one. Litter is another, kids and adults will toss trash on the ground like it's nothing. I'd like it if the elementary kids would keep their language PG, I know I need to lower my expectations, but I just can't.
But it all isn't that bad. I and some of my neighbors have some kick a$$ commutes, with no bumper to bumper anything. Within a two mile radius there are about a hundred arts/ cultural events going on. And in this neighborhood, like the neighborhood I grew up in, I know my neighbors, I know people in my neighborhood and there is a genuine joy I feel when I bump into them on the street or elsewhere in the city.
Labels: neighbors, quality of life
Ugly naked man
The azzh*le across the alley from me decided to show off what he was. For some odd reason, but in line with his periodic jerky behavior, had his rear deck doors wide open and was running around buck naked, showing off his rear. I'm almost convinced that he was doing it on purpose. Not knowing where I put my camera, so I could post the fat chunky dark side of the moon for your enjoyment, I just called the cops. More accurately I called Dispatch, who then called me back 30 minutes later, asking if I wanted to talk to the police. By then he had already blasted 3-4 songs from his stereo (I decided to let someone else call the cops for that), closed the doors and abandoned his large dog on the deck.
I and B. feel bad for the dog. Poor thing howls constantly at night and doesn't appear to be properly socialized. B. is wondering when I'll call the city to investigate the dog's care. I don't know what exactly the jerk is doing that is illegal, cause ignoring your dog, not illegal. No, I'm not going to call the city. Not until he starts leaving the poor puppy out in bad weather, again. And I couldn't tell if the dog was left out in last night's rain, as it could have just wandered under the deck.
Labels: crime, neighbors
I handed the keys back to Matt, because I finally got all my crap out of their house. On the way there and on the way back to my own house I had to deal with the 'characters' that populate Scott & Matt's block. Anyway, during my stay over in the center of the TC I noticed the amount of 'commentary' from the characters I had to deal with was high, or higher than over on the western end of the TC.
What was said, voiced, whatever ranged from a general friendly hello to, depending on the situation, like on my bike, 'hey can I get a ride?' I didn't find any of this stuff threatening, just annoying, particularly after the 3rd character. My only danger, I felt, was from spraining my eyes from them rolling in the back of my head. Maybe it was annoying since it was all male commentary. I'm wondering if the women I passed by were just as friendly, would it take a different spin or interpretation. Also maybe if the stupid commentary, with no baby/honey/ boo crap, was rare and there was more of the simple friendly acknowledgement of 'hello', I might have viewed it a different way too.
Staying in another part of the TC was informative. Each block is different with its own set of pluses and minuses.
Labels: neighbors, quality of life
A Rose by any other name can stink when it hits the fan
While I was away this weekend, mourning the death of my grandma, the whole what's the friggin name of the neighborhood
blew up. As far as I've been able to grasp it, a vocal party in the Bates Area that is opposed to the name Truxton Circle penned a few letters to various city officials expressing their opposition to the name. However, one of those letters was to DDOT requesting "an immediate stay on the grant application for a Truxton Circle Banner pending further review." Considering that city grant money may be harder to come by in the future, and that it is easier to get grants once you've gotten one, our little disagreement about the name of the neighborhood has gone too far.
I had not seen the letter that started it when I had seen the Truxton Circle dot org's Daily (somewhat weekly-ish) dispatch in my inbox on my cell phone. I read the dispatcher's letter, which expressed anger and irritation, leaving me to wonder WTF? It wasn't until Sunday night when I read the offending letter and got a fuller account from the co-founder of TruxtonCircle.Org
I respect the right of my fellow neighbors to disagree and go into the public sphere to express said disagreement. Regarding the name and history of the neighborhood, I welcome any research that others bring forth. The problems in the offending letter were a few statements and one poor citation. Let's review:
Specifically, the Hanover project grant states that the Hanover neighborhood is "bounded by P Street NW, North Capitol Street, New York Avenue NW and 1st Street NW". This is inaccurate. According to the Shaw School Urban Renewal Plan, the historic borders of the Hanover Street are limited to Hanover Street.
I haven't seen anything in the SSURP defining smaller areas, but then again, I haven't seen the SSURP in its fullness. But the borders cited by the Hanover people are the same borders they've been citing for the last 5-6 years as their section of the TC, as opposed to the Bates Area. I'd hope that if we went hunting for grant money for just BACA it would not be limited to Bates Street and denied to Q, R, 4th, 3rd, 1st and North Cap.
Therefore, the grant applicant's request for a Truxton Circle banner on 1st NW is inaccurate. According to the text "Washington DC, Past and Future " the former Truxton Circle was located at the 1600 block of North Capitol Street NE, not in Old City, Bates Shaw East community. Additionally, there was not and is not a neighborhood called Truxton Circle. It was a landmark, not a neighborhood.
I already did the when the TC was a neighborhood and not a landmark or a post office in another post
. And I can't find Washington DC, Past and Future
in Amazon or Half, nor is an author cited. I did a Google search and came up with nothing, which leads me to think this might be an article, and if that is so citing the journal would be nice.
There was some other stuff, but to go over them would be nitpicky. We're all human and prone to error. One of the undersigned in the counter grant letter had nicely pointed out a typographical error on my main site. I am thankful for that correction and in the same spirit of neighborliness, while having differing opinions, I suggest that in this public sphere argument, stronger citations and proof be brought forth. Meaning, if you are going to cite a source if it is a book or article cite the title and author and journal if applicable. If it is an oral history, interviewee, interviewer, date and repository where the interview is housed. And if anyone has a question about any of the sources I cite or use when asserting a statement as fact contact me if you feel that my bibliography or citations are incomplete. The idea is to let you the reader and member of the public review the research for yourself (should you decide to drag yourself to the MLK or the historical society's library) and decide.
Labels: neighborhood history, neighbors, Truxton Circle
Celebrate new homeowners
I'm so happy I don't know where to start.
A little while after I moved, in a couple from Chicago moved in down the block. They were renting the house from a friend of theirs and immediately they integrated themselves into the community. The husband regularly (when he's not out of town for work or sick) cleans up the block with a little broom and a trash can. This supplements the work of alley cleaning man. In winter he'll sometimes borrow my snow shovel when there is snow and clear the sidewalk for 1/2 of our side of the street. He's also willing to talk with the "kids" that hang on the block when there is a point that they need talking to. The husband is also an artist of the woodblock variety and adds to the number a artist-type people in the area and when you have IT, that makes 2 artists on our side of the street.
Well the house they were renting got sold to another person and sometime after that the couple started to consider buying a house in the neighborhood. They really like the neighborhood and particularly our block. However the guy who bought the house, understandably, wanted to make a profit from his purchase and they were non-profit people (there are many non-profit org workers running around the hood), so they weren't exactly rolling in dough. But somehow, they closed this week. Maybe the fact that the house needs a boatload of costly repairs might have something to do with it.
Boat. Load. The house has serious, serious problems with water. Mainly the keeping water out kind. The current problem de jour
is a leak, or something, somewhere, has water going down the side of the interior wall when it rains. And I don't know if the problem with the sewer was fixed. And the husband mentioned something about the foundation.
It seems they got to work on the house minutes after closing. We engaged in the common bonding experience on our block, the watching construction work. One of the block's contractors was working on the outside of the house while 2 other construction employed residents, the new owner, and I stood around making commentary about the work. Including myself, there are at least 3 people on the block having work done on their house. And usually there is at least one person at any one time having something done in the 6 years I've been here. So there is usually a 'show' where you can stand around, and make commentary.
Labels: housing, neighbors
When chatting with some folks this weekend the question came up: What do you do when you notice your crackhead neighbor has stolen something from your yard and placed it in their yard?
A. I was shocked (shocked I say) that someone would take something and blatantly display it in their yard.
B. Then I played the devil's advocate saying it may
have been a visitor's doing, they borrowed and forgot to ask, blah, blah, blah.
C. Suggested going over and asking for the return of the item -OR- calling the cops and having a report filed.
Labels: crime, neighbors
Poverty up close and personal
I was chatting with another DC resident & gentrifier (let's call him "Bob") the other day about an aspect of living in a "transitional" neighborhood, the poverty. It is one thing to see the poor and the homeless on the street day to day, it is a whole nother ball of wax to live next door to people who are a mini-disaster away from homelessness.
Bob and his wife live next door to a Section 8 house and have experienced a series of troubled residents. "I'm tired of the crack heads yelling outside," he moaned, regarding the current neighbor and her visitors. Besides that, he and his spouse have maintained a working relationship with the Section 8 neighbors. The ones before the current one, he suspects there was abuse and drug use. They were a nice enough family, but the husband would come back from the local liquor store with a bottle in a black bag and later that night there might be a ambulance to take away the father-in-law. The family would say it was the FIL's health but Bob suspected elder abuse at the hands of the drunk husband. Then there were other things. When they family members hit Bob & wife up for money. At first it was small change that was quickly returned, then it became $10, $20, $30 and so on, that was never returned. So Bob decided to not lend them money because the excuses/lies were getting kinda blatant. He felt bad for the family, but he didn't want to become an ATM either.
This whole living next to poor people is really new for him. He and his wife had your typical American middle class white suburban upbringing, where poor people were distant. In recent years he's becoming more familiar with the poor's plight but also their failings (okay maybe living near crackhead Section 8s not the best way but that's what he's got). Sympathy mixed with a load of frustration and downright annoyance.
This is poverty. Up close, and personal. It is next door. You can't just pass it by on the street and think nothing of it 10 seconds later. It is there, where you live, and there is no escaping short of moving out. Second hand you experience the problems of poverty and there is nothing you can do to take your neighbors out of their predicament, and you know it. *sigh*
Labels: economic/money issues, neighbors
This IS a great neighborhood
Once you get past some of the houses and some of the people with chemical problems, and you stick around a while, you will discover that this is a great neighborhood.
The people. People make a neighborhood all worth while, of course a good coffee shop or other neighborhood hang out helps too.
I'm in this I love my neighborhood mood because something dear has been returned to me, my palm pilot. I lost it on the street, my street, getting out the car. Apparently a fellow named Larry found it. He contacted some of the people in the address book (note: remove some people) and one was a neighbor who picked it up and returned it.
The palm wasn't the first thing I lost around here. I have lost my wallet a couple of times. Once the wallet was returned to me by a kindly old lady who lived on 5th Street, showing me the importance of having your business cards in your wallet is a good thing.
I need to learn to keep up with my stuff better.
Or I could move
My architect neighbor, who I admire and adore, and his partner came over for dinner. The purpose besides neighborliness was to talk about possible additions to our homes. These additions would not show up until well into the future (ie when we pay off our second mortgages).
We were talking and though it I believed I heard their concerns. From what I heard I understand it would be preferred if I didn't build to the property line. Ok. Well I guess I have to scratch a certain idea. Oh well.
The thing that got me was the ballpark figure given for what I'd like to do, with smaller footprint. $300,000. Dang. For that amount of money I could move. If it does cost that amount I would move into something newer and roomier. I was thinking $100,000 and that's taking in cost overruns and working around the kitchen. The price I heard for some other neighbors to put on their addition, $35K, maybe I could do it in my range.
He did suggest something I will take into consideration, doing one side of the house. The additions I want would be for the back of the house. He suggested doing what I need to do to the front of the house first. Fixing the windows and doors and expanding the space of the bathroom. Ok. That sounds do-able.
Labels: neighbors, renovation
Crime prevention & DM noise update
Walking around I noticed something in the alley, the developers/contractors finally put bars up behind their house.
The problem was the rear of the house had an unsecured entry from the alley. So I'd see kids, teens, bums going into this house's alcove to do whatever. The slow progression of the owners 'getting it' probably started when they found people in the basement, which was open to all from the alley. Developers of Shaw, just because it isn't visable from the street at 30 mph, doesn't mean anyone isn't going to notice that the door doesn't have a lock. So over time I noticed damage to the building as it was undergoing stop/start contruction. The back door had a broken window, and so that got boarded up. I'm going to take a wild guess that there were break ins. I know, the house is empty why break in? Shelter. Contractor tools. Building materials. Later the basement got closed off. The alcove, however remained open so it could still provide shelter to a homeless person, or temporary office for a hooker. Now finally, that is closed off and teens and crackheads can stay out.
Thinking of crime prevention I always thought we could do with these signs I saw in London. Well the Kew Gardens section of London, because they weren't in Wimbinton. Simply reminding people to not leave things in cars. I so wanted to steal one of those signs and take them back to the States, but figured it bad form to steal a crime prevention sign.
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\The music ended about 8:30pm. I did not call the cops.
Labels: crime, neighbors
Confession time: I used to be a registered Republican. There are moments I feel that I have that are purely Republican moments in Shaw. Usually they are summed up as, taking matters in your own hands when you don't believe the gov'ment won't do it right/at all/ on time/ etc.
I have these feelings during community meetings when folks demand that DPW clean the alleys and the sidewalks and other littered areas and keep the bums off their property. With all due respect to the city government of the District and it's many departments, the City can be disappointing. Yet on the other hand, citizens really need to take some responsibility and take on some burdens to improve their environment and not wait for the government to do it for them.
Now, I am not advocating that people break the law, endanger their lives, or encroach on others rights and freedoms. There are things that only the state/govt has the right to do, such as arrest, tax, and transfer rights and freedoms. No citizen has that right or should. No. What I want people to do is salt their sidewalks when it snows. I want them to volunteer to clean the street gutters when the Weather Service says there might be flooding. I want them to take responsibility for their children and property. I want them to consider working together, neighbor to neighbor, on a one block level to tackle problems and concerns.
I love my block because people do things that others may believe is something for the government to deal with. We have alley cleaning man. Who is he? I dunno? But he takes it upon himself to sweep up the alley, post no dumping signs, and clean up the alley. B. cleans the sidewalks, whenever. Maybe once a week, a month, a quarter, but he helps keep the neighborhood nice. Lem, is the handyman who (possibly with marketing in mind) keeps an eye on repairs that need to be made on the block, helping with the upkeep. For a while the block had an informal Welcome Wagon to help orient new homeowners, providing community information. For my own part I patched a fence of a vacant property to keep out the illegal dumpers. With a neighbor we (I don't recommend it) confronted a crackhead about smoking in a backyard. Some deal with trees, planting and trimming, things that with the patience of Job, one could wait for the city to do. Some help with enforcement by gently reminding neighbors of infractions. In winter, B. and I shovel, salt and sand the sidewalks.
Now we don't take on large tasks by ourselves. Just small ones, that add to the livability of the block. So when I hear complaints from folks in other parts of Shaw complaining that the city should do this, or the city should do that when this and that are things a civicly minded citizen could tackle. Citizens should empower themselves, even if they just limit themselves to caring for their little section of the block, they have done a lot.
So if you can, maybe this weekend or next....
Clean out your treebox
Pick up some of the sidewalk litter
Tidy up the front yard
Secure your property
Talk to a neighbor
Check on the elderly down the block
Engage a conversation with some of the neighborhood youths
Try to find the owner of the vacant house on the block
Not the whole list. Pick one. And do it.
So I'm outside staining my fence. I tried using the pressure sprayer, but I think I ruined it since the stain protectorant is too thick. I had to use the old cup and brush method.
The whole time I'm out there doing 2 panels worth, from 5:30 till after dark, the house across the alley is nothing but screaming. She's screaming at her, someone screaming at the kids, loudness, agruing and being very vocal for about 2 hours straight. I hear threats "What you going to throw at at me?". I hear commands. I hear declarations. I hear cursing. The whole gamut. If there was a murder and the cops were to ask me, what were they fighting about? I would have no clue. About a guy someone was dating? Getting the kids to eat? There was no singular topic.
It's not really worth noting except I was out there for the whole time. Normally I hear the yelling and screaming. But I don't stick around long and I'm back in my own environs with the window shut and the sound of the neighbor's spirited discussion muted.
Labels: drama, neighbors
I told my neighbor I wouldn't tell anyone how much she's selling her house for, so I won't. But it is a sh*tload of $$. She deserves every single cent of it. She lived in the house for a little under 9 years. She's going to trade in a townhouse with leaky basement and no parking for a house with a yard and a garage in BFE Maryland. All the cool stuff in the city that is attracting people means nothing to her. She has a car and kids. Metro and clubs don't mean squat. Good schools and no shooting and no (as my Daddy would put it) dumbas$ n*ggas hanging out, that is what she wants and needs.
At the price the house is going for apparently only whites can afford it, so the demographics of the block will head in a particular direction. Called ET and told her to score one point for her people. Last month a white couple moved in on one end of the block, changing the trend of houses on the north end changing demographically from black renters to white homeowners and renters, so now the Euro-Americans are coming from both ends.
I am so thankful she did not decide to rent the house out to get Section 8 money. I pray to G-d above that Mr. Mesfin will sell his house too. Last I spoke to him he STILL had not decided if he was going to rent or sell. I hope he sells because I can tell he's cheap and will be a slumlord.
Labels: housing, neighbors
Pam, my next door neighbor has been saying she's going to sell/rent and move away for a while now. I saw her husband chatting with Sonny (evil, evil, evil African contractor) and I knew, they are serious about selling now. She wants more space, a yard for the kids to run around in, and she wants to get John, who is such a good kid, away from these bad chullun (children) who take advantage of John's goodness. Yup, no doubt, the kids around the neighborhood act like they have had no home training. Kwan, trouble finds that kid. I have had to pull him out of a fight and have observed him doing wrong. When I call him on it, he pulls the angelic act out and claim it wasn't him.
I hope they do not sell to an investor. I surely hope they don't rent it out to Section 8. I hope she doesn't rent it out, and hopefully she won't cause she was going off on Section 8 people, about how Drama Momma only pays $30 for rent, and how the children there misbehave.
Of course, the way things are going if she does sell it, most likely a white couple will move in. We have 6 white households on our side of the street already. One Hispanic family, one Howard University student group house with a range of minority students (if we become a student ghetto, I am soooo outta here), one bi-racial household (friends? Lovers? I have no clue), 1 African/Nigerian household (when he's in the country), and 8-9 African-American household, 2 of which are section 8. I love the diversity.