Tuesday, May 31, 2011

We are having issues...

...logging into Blogger. Evidently someone did something to the code. I can post entries, but I can't post comments. I expect that they will have it fixed soon. Cookie

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The one in which we get fucked because there was a fire at my Mom's house

As Executor of Mother's estate, I am handling all of her personal business as it results in settling the estate.  If you have never been the executor of anyone else's estate, you should try it - it's a major pain in the ass because it's like running a second life while you are trying to run your own.

You get to do all sorts of stuff for the estate that you should be doing for yourself.  Bills paid? Check.  Households auction? Check.  Write checks to the specific bequests? Check and Check. 

Some thing's don't go according to plan.  Like selling a house.  Having never sold a house before I can tell you that it isn't all fun, and it is EXPENSIVE.  Take Maison d'Mommie.  Mom bought a half interest in my stepfather's home - the one that he bought with his first wife and raised two of three children in.  So I know nothing about this house, other than what I observed when Mom was alive.  It's a nice big "rectangle ranch".  Well kept.  Well maintained.

In Ohio you have to fill out a property disclosure - you have to tell potential sellers about any deficiencies or suspect activities that you are aware of.  Because I don't know anything about the place, a lot of my answers were "I don't know."  My Realtor - who has known me since high school knows that I don't know much about it, as well.

Well, the house went on the market and then went nowhere.  So we dropped the price and got an offer.  This is good.

So the buyer does what any buyer should do and gets it inspected. This too is good because an informed buyer is a good thing to hope for in the Karmic sense of things.

So I get this call from my Realtor, and it goes something like this:

Her: Did you that there was a fire at your Mom's?

Me: Trying to keep from fainting, "Oh God, please no!"

Her: You mean no one told you that there was fire?

Me: No one called - what happened?

Her: No, not now - years ago.

Me: Huh?

Right there was my "what the fuck" moment.

Evidently, there was a fire in the house before my stepfather bought it in 1969.  The news even came as a shock to my step siblings because their father (who was in real estate) would have had a fit had he known.  So when the inspector was clambering around in the attic he found evidence of a pretty substantial fire.  According to the sweet elderly man across the street, who has lived there since 1961, he can recall no fire, either.  With the house built in 1959, this tells us that the fire had to be between 1959 and 1961.

The buyer still wants the house - THANK GOD - but we have to "remedy" the damage.  So we had a carpenter clambering around in the attic doing his thing, we had to have a chimney inspection (cha-ching) and there is electrical work that needs done.  This is where we get fucked, because, once you factor in all these expenses, we are now getting less money for the house than the buyer's lowest offer.

And with all this crazy weather going on, and these storms sweeping through, I just am just praying that we get the deal closed next week.

And if we make that deadline, then I can close out the estate and get on with my life.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Introducing Miss Joan Crawford as DELLA (a TV pilot turned movie, kinda)

Originally conceived as a pilot in 1964 called "Royal Bay", the storyline featured an attractive woman, with lots of money, a big house and secrets.  Well you know where that went.  Unfortunately, the pilot went no where.  Left with a vehicle with Joan Crawford (in a non-horror film role), the powers that be decided to add in some of outtakes and retitled the movie after Crawford's character, DELLA. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

You write the personals ad

Ok.  I found this image on ebay where its been for sale for $6.99 for months.  I wonder why.  Seriously.

This brings up one of my questions in the search for universal truths.  Why do "big butch" men take pictures that run contrary to what they are trying to market, and then slap them into their personals ads?  Or they have body language that is at odds with their outfits.  Or you find a leather biker chomping on a cigar standing in front of lace curtains and a curio case full of Precious Moments figurines.  You know what I mean - you get a big beefy dude, all decked out and there is all this incongruent stuff going on in the background and you just want to ask, WTF?

So, your task, should you choose to take it on, is to write this guy (pictured above) "fictitious" personal ad.  You have the winning text, I will publish it here.  I'll even add you name and phone number if you want. 

I Spy: Gay Things

OK.  I found this picture on ebay and decided that it was too gay for its own good.

So we're going to play a game of I Spy.  The game is simple enough.  You look at this picture and try and find as many gay things as you can - because there is a lot going on here.  You must name the things you see in your comments.

I can find five.  Try and do me one or two better. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

It is a dildoery!

The Clintonville neighborhood of Columbus has one of the highest per capita rates of lesbian couples in the United States according to the HRC. And now all those lesbians are "buzzing" because they have their very own Dildoery, aka Hustler Hollywood, coming to the neighborhood, according to reports from Columbus Underground . 

And the Columbus Dispatch reports that Hustler CEO and former Columbus resident Larry Flynt himself even came to town to inspect the ADA accessible location, and then stopped off at Mozart's Pasties, I mean "Pastries" for something hot and black (a cup of coffee) before fingering something fresh and sweet to eat, and that he did so in his gold plated wheel chair.  Luckily, said Dildoery (which I like much better than "sex shop") is in Clintonville and not in our area - we were saved but by a mere 100 feet!

I'm sure that this sent our neighbor who had her war chest of dildos and vibrators stolen from her house a few years ago into spasms of joy.

Would you buy a pizza from this guy?


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chagrined that you can't find Kinsman Road?

If you were thinking about going to the House of Hair Fashion, or The Red Rooster, or Howard's Mens Clothing on Kinsman Road in yesterday's Shaker Heights, you'd be out of luck.

Not only are they out of business but there is no street, road, parkway, boulevard or lane in Shaker Heights named Kinsman Road. And there is a story behind where it went, and it based on race and crime and it ends in an ironic twist of hidden meaning.

One of the main east-west thoroughfares in the south part of Shaker Heights was once known as the Kinsman Road because it was the road that connected the village of Kinsman in Eastern Ohio with the town of Cleveland Ohio in the 1800's. As Cleveland expanded eastward, Kinsman Road became a main mode of transportation between the eastern townships and the city of Cleveland, and by the end of World War I and the development of East Boulevard as residential neighborhood, Kinsman Road evolved into a commercial strip and center of commerce at the junction of Kinsman Road and Union Avenue.

While the neighborhood was primarily working class white, eastern European families seeking to get out of the inner city and up into the Heights - a plateau that was home to various Heights neighborhoods of Cleveland, also made a home here on the south side of Kinsman Road. This included blue collar and skilled tradesmen Jewish families who found that the rents were affordable in the less desirable blocks further south. My grandparents were one of those families, first renting "on 144th" (Street) and later buying their first house "on 140th" (Street).

While Kinsman Road was one of the gateways into Shaker Heights - a community of great wealth, but restrictive property covenants. The first black families into Shaker proper didn't attempt to buy into Shaker with any luck until the post World War II era. But the ethnic white families that had called Kinsman their home in the up until the war left for places like Highland Heights, Parma, Middleburg Heights and Richmond Heights, this left a housing vacuum, and the neighborhood quickly became a haven for black families who wanted out of Hough and the rougher areas of Cleveland and into newer housing.

As the neighborhood changed, it accelerated the "white flight" in the 1950s, both in residents and in businesses. My own grandparents finally left in 1959 or 1960, buying a substantial brick duplex in Shaker that was disguised as a single family house as are all duplexes in Shaker are designed.  Things were so bad in the area that the family never referred to my grandparents moving as "moving" or "moving into a new house on..."  The event was simply known as "Thank God Mom and Dad got out of 140th and Kinsman when they did."

What was left of Kinsman Road in Cleveland went into a steady and speedy decline. By the early 1960s, crime was commonplace and if you lived in Shaker, you didn't go west of Menlo Road unless you had a reason for going there, period. And there was no reason to go there because most of the storefronts were empty. The problem of serious crime got so bad that property in Shaker alone Kinsman Road started to take a tumble as families and renters didn't want anything to do with the middle class neighborhood.

To remedy this, the powers that be decided in 1959 to end Kinsman Road at the Shaker border and rename the street "Chagrin Boulevard" through Shaker and the neighboring communities of Beachwood, Peper Pike, Orange and other points east. 

Now Webster defines "Chagrin" as "distress of mind caused by humiliation, disappointment, or failure..."

But the word Chagrin, in our instance is a native American name (Americanized, of course) is taken from the river that flows through the Western Reserve and eventually connects with the Cuyahoga River. Settlers to the region built a community at the point where the river falls, namely Chagrin Falls, a sleepy bit of old New England in the heart of northern Ohio.

Chagrin Falls most famous favorite son is comedienne Tim Conway. Conway would often say that the name was Native American, and that the "indians" would canoe down the river until they found themselves confronted by the falls, and were "chagrined" as to their plight.

And that's kinda the irony behind Chagrin Boulevard. If you didn't know where Chargin Boulevard started, you'd be chagrined to find yourself on it. It just begins at a city line, no signs, no fanfare, it just stops and the golden city would begin. And it isn't a boulevard in the traditional sense - there is no grassy median - its just three to five lanes of conjested traffic.

And sadly, it's name given to bury the negative connotations of race and racial crime. It tooks time for Shaker to realize that racial harmony is only acheived by economic good for all.

Forty years after Grandma and Grandpa "got out of" 140th and Kinsman, I took my two nieces down to the neighborhood to find the house that they so proudly called home in the twenty plus years they lived there.  We were all a bit taken back by the place because it didn't look at all like the pictures we had seen taken in the front yard.

The neighborhood was strewn with trash, weeds and delapidated cars.  Someone was living in both the upper unit and the bottom unit, but the aluminum siding was in disrepair and several windows were broken, borded up from the inside. It looked like every house around it.  And we left, leaving a part of our family history behind and "got out of 140th and Kinsman" - much like my grandparents did all those years ago.

But for better or worse, Kinsman is a name that endures in Shaker Heights, whether it is the name of a ghost road, or in the memories of the families that live now in Shaker, or in the history of racial tension in Cleveland and how one community simply wished, chagrined or not, the name away and with it, all their troubles that couldn't be kept west of an imaginery line drawn in the sand.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Floor Saga, Week Two: DANGER WILD WOMEN inside

So over the weekend we played refugees' and left the house totally.  Mr. Rocky McDogDog went to the spa and we camped out at the new Cambria Suites at "Polaris, Centers of Commerce and Fashion."  Sounds impressive, eh?

Actually we did a lot of shuttling between the house and the hotel, which we were genuinely impressed with - everything was nice and shiny and new, well appointed, comfy and surprising spacious.  After a week packed like sardines up on the second floor of our small house, the husband and I could be in the same room with one and other. 

This sudden spaciousness created a new host of problems. 

Instead of the wiggling our way through the rabbit warren of paths and squeeze past boxed posessions that belong on the first floor- it was so tight we were unable to even eat in the same room (he ate in his home office, I ate in mine, but we could sleep in the same bed) - we sat in the suite's lounge area and looked at one and other from afar.  

Yes, we were in the same room (hooray) and could re-accustomed ourselves with each other, but we did it while sitting in different parts of the room nursing our bruised concepts of personal space.  Not that we don't like each other - in fact we're still ga-ga for each other after 14 years. But try spending a week in your house with only two rooms accessible and little tiny paths between points and then being thrust into unlcuttered splendor - it creates the most interesting of conflicts.

We agreed that after living with all that clutter and being unable to find anything that we could normally just find at the drop of a hat when things are put away, we have a new respect for hoarders and a new understanding of their plight.  The respect is all about how they can live with that crap around; the understanding is how all that crap laying around drives them mad.  We simply don't know who they do it!

Anyway, back at the Cambria suites in the TOWER ROOM (yours for a modest up-charge, and offering superior privacy and spaciousness), next door to ours, something completly different was happening: 

The seen of the crime, and why were we not invited?

I think that the kicky crime scene tape warning us to USE EXTREME CAUTION...BACHELORETTE  PARTY IN PROGRESS and DANGER: WILD WOMEN was a portend of the night to come.

Alas, there were no male strippers running through the halls, or drunken cat fights to watch.  If nothing else, we slept well.  It must have been a Mormon bachelorette party with devotional readings because it was really calm.  Yes, we awoke refreshed, but we also felt cheated. 

Sunday we went to Mother's final resting place and planted a geranium (hot pink and magenta) on her grave.  I also planted the same on her mother's grave (Grandma), on her sister in law's grave (Aunt Anita), on her grandmother's grave, her great Aunt Eva's grave and her great grandmother's grave. I think for this year, come Memorial Day we'll add more.

And yesterday Zane the Magnificent laid the final coat of finish on the floor and reader, it is STUNNING.  So we move us back in this morning. Now I have to invest in a air purifier and that the husband and I have to dust and washing everything down, because I am hacking up sawdust dust. Ick. 

I'll post pictures when we're done.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Floored, The Saga Continues: Week 2 begins.

When we last left Cookie and his dashing husband, there were hopes that the floor in their 1916 house would soon be done (que the soap opera organ):

Me: So when will it be finished and we can walk on it?

Zane, the Floor Svengali: Well, that depends...

Me: "Depends?  Its been over a week!"

Zane: "I could rush it, but..."

Me: "No, you know what is best..."

So here we are on day 8 of the saga of the Red Oak Floor and we are happy to report that a significant milestone has been reached. 

The last oak plank was laid in place this afternoon, the toe kick is in place, and the orbital sanding along the base boards and the floor grates is complete.  As I type this, Zane is vacuuming the whole first floor.

And what will tomorrow bring?  They bring the big sander in and take two passes, sweep everything up again, and then they put down a fast drying sanding sealer and the first coat of polyurethane.  And we're done, right?


And Sunday?  Well, since we want it DONE, Sunday is also a day of buffing, then the second layer of polyurethane.  And we're done, right?

Wrong again.

And Monday? More of the same and the final coat of polyurethane.

And Tuesday?  Tuesday is the day of rest. as we gear up for Wednesday, the day our furniture arrives home.

And Thursday? I feel a sick headache coming on and day of rest in our house may be the best tonic...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Word on the street is "sex shop"

Here in Ohio, Mother Nature has canceled spring and instead has bestowed upon us Monsoon Season. We should be out in our yards planting for Mother's Day, but the rain is unending and its beginning to take a toll on people.  One of my bosses has become very crabby, while the other one has taken to resembling one of those character actors in jungle movies who clutches a bottle of rot gut booze while moaning about "the rain, the rain...my God the rain."

Its so bad that our dehumidifier has shut off in three weeks, and I swear that I am showing the signs of a mildew problem on me.

On Saturday we had a break and the sun almost came out in the sky and with all the warmth of an old maid New England librarian, mad us feel that maybe we would have spring.  So the residents of our street did Sunday evening what we do most summer evenings, we convened in the middle of the street and caught up with one and other and then we gossiped.

The buzz in the neighborhood is that down on High Street a "sex shop" is opening up on the first block of Clintonville.

"Is it really a 'sex shop' or is it just naughty lingerie?" asked one of the "womyn" on the street.

"Will they show dirty movies and have dancers in a peep show?" asked another neighbor who resembles Holly Hobby.

Oddly, though, no one seemed out raged, but were more bemused. 

"Where will it be?" asked the guy down the block.

When I told him it will be down the hill, near the arch over High Street - the one that reads "Old North Columbus", he wanted to know if it would be called, "Ye' Olde Sex Shoppe".  Doubtful, but you never know.

Columbus, which used to be the home of Larry Flynt's original sex empire and Hustler Club, has an odd relationship with adult businesses.  They are tolerated until they become tiring and then they get shut down.  This one could last a week, or ten years.  But none of us think it will be for very long.

But what we all want to know is, does it have something to do with the cruel Fillipina Dominatrix that has moved in across the street.  The woman who at various times lives with a young man and then a player to be named later.  She owns a business that develops tapes to help "you achieve those things that you thought were impossible.  Overcome fears.  Take your life to the next level!"  She also was running a business out of her house until the neighbor next door called in the police.

So for now we wait, for another day when it doesn't rain, and another evening when the setting sun gives off its radiant warmth and for the next pastie to drop before we know what kind of sex club it is, indeed.