You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2008.

Really, really cold. Below zero cold. It has been for two weeks — except for a teasing two days of springlike 40s, which only made me feel worse.

I know I’m a Minnesotan. I’m supposed to be hearty. But it’s starting to get to me. I’m irritable with Ed, with the kids, with my mom. I don’t feel like doing anything except pulling the covers over my head and sleeping until it warms up.

When I left work last night, my nostrils instantly stuck together, and the wind felt like a thousand stick pins were being hurled at my face. Our less-than-two-year-old car groaned like me in labor when I started it. The tires crunched over icy patches, and the joints of the car creaked in the silent air. Freezing cold air makes everything sound louder, even my internal screaming, which is getting closer to becoming external with every frigid day.

I’m sapped of creativity, energy, motivation. I feel horrible because it’s Ed’s birthday (happy birthday, hot stuff!) and I haven’t done anything to make it special. But I swear I’m gonna suck it up and get my shit together Saturday, which is when we’re celebrating.

The only thing that is going to get me through the next 20-some days is the fact that I just booked a plane ticket to see a dear friend in San Diego. I need to feel the sun on my skin and breathe in air that doesn’t make my nose bleed. And spend some time with my girls — the ones who know me so well I never have to apologize for being me.

Even if that me is a cranky, exhausted, incoherent mess.

Ed thinks he just heard one come from the neighbors’ house — right after he watched a van slowly back into their driveway. It peeled away right after the bang.

The cops drove by a few times, but I guess they didn’t see anything.

Fuck.

First, just let me say, AAAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!

That felt good.

Juan and Laura stopped by after their hearing today. First of all, due to one bureaucrat or another fucking up, the court never got the documentation that someone had served eviction papers on ghetto mama. I’m still working on straightening that one out.

Despite that, the hearing happened. (Which, a court clerk informed me, is unusual.)

At the hearing, as far as I can discern from Juan and Laura, things went down like this:

Ghetto mama shows up. The papers aren’t there. The judge inquires as to the whereabouts of the papers. Ghetto mama catches on, then says she never got the papers. I would have loved to witness how the hell she talked her way around knowing when the hearing was in the first place. For so many reasons, I really wish I would have been in that courtroom.

Anyway, the judge points out the lack of rent and utilities payments, and ghetto mama has the cajones to say she has paid rent all along. That Juan is a liar.

Apparently, that’s the one thing the judge got right. She asked for proof (imagine that!) and, of course, mama had none. Not to be deterred, queen of the delinquents shifted gears. But, but, I fixed the roof, she yanked out of her ample ass.

I will say that we witnessed a group of juveniles on the roof at one point this fall. As a matter of fact, my good neighbor called the cops on one of them for pulling down his pants and gyrating at her. But I digress.

Apparently, the judge bought her story. (Juan and Laura flatly deny ever asking them to fix anything.) But the judge decided the work they did wasn’t worth quite $5,000. In order to stay in JUAN’s house, they have to pay $1,400 by next Friday. Or they might get the boot. That is, if someone finds the papers that got lost. Lost by either the cops or the court, the people I thought were supposed to be protecting the rights of those of us who actually abide by laws.

We can, and will refile papers if they are not located by next week. But we’re not allowed to get duplicates until next Friday. Which means if the papers are lost, the judge won’t issue the order to kick out the hoodlums, even if they haven’t paid. How’s that for a Catch-22?

I’d love for someone to disavow me of this notion, but given the information I have, I’m convinced this is a racist decision. Had it been a white landlord looking to evict Hispanic tenants, I think the landlord would have won. To make matters worse, Juan and Laura speak choppy English at best and probably were not able to convey their side of the case properly. Hence, my wish that I’d been in the courtroom.

And I know you’re all going to tell me I should stay out of it, that they’re bad people and I shouldn’t get involved. But like it or not, I AM involved. And I can’t help but thinking that if I’d been there, I could have provided the missing pieces the judge would have needed to give the assholes the boot. As it turns out, I have a feeling we’re going to be putting up with them for some time to come.

The neighbors have an eviction hearing on Friday. I have not seen them packing or moving anything at all.

Which makes me wonder — are they planning to fight this thing? Because I can’t really think of a plausible argument for paying one month’s rent then just NOT PAYING AGAIN. They owe Juan more than $5,000. Are they going to crap out all that cash? And if so, why haven’t they done it before now? I would really love to be there and hear what they have to say. That is, if they show up. And if they don’t: The sheriff can remove them the next day. Which is to say, by next week, we could be living gangsta-free.

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Why is it, that at a few days less than two years old, you have decided you are against napping?

Take it from me, naps are glorious! There’s nothing like a good afternoon snooze to send your subconscious into overdrive, and waking up with drool on your pillow is a blessing.

Please know that you are making me wish more than ever that I worked during the day and your delicate daytime sleep was someone else’s problem.

Love,
Mama

P.S. Plastic cement mixers to not make cuddly bedmates. I’d gladly swap you for a soft teddy bear if you didn’t commence screaming “tuuuuckkk” at the top of your lungs as soon as I remove the foot-long vehicle.

1. Days of Our Lives. It all started when I lived with the sorority-types on campus. They’d schedule their classes around it. Me, I tried to keep mine in the afternoons because I thought it was best to rise when breakfast was no longer required. (Saved calories!) So there I’d be, eating my grilled-cheese sandwich, stuck in front of the rabbit-eared, 19-inch tube, watching Diedre Hall and Drake Hogestyn duke it out in a contest for worst acting. Soon, I was the first one to turn on the TV, eagerly awaiting Sami and Lucas’ shenanigans and Stefano’s bad accent. It was bad television at its best, and I was hooked.

2. McDonald’s french fries. Crispy, greasy, better slathered with ketchup. Not apologizing.

3. Googling Britney. Oh, go ahead, judge me. But really it’s fascinating watching a train wreck in progress. And a trailer trash wreck at that. Whee!

4. Idol. Paula’s incoherent rants. Simon’s chest hair. Counting how many times they say “bad karaoke” in a show. Oh, Idol, how you make the cold winter nights worth living.

5. Peering at the neighbors. They have a blanket covering their basement window, but it hangs down about 5 inches. I often stand in the shadows of my dark dining room watching them pace, argue, and obsessively rearrange trinkets I can’t quite make out. Part of it is because I think they’re up to something, but the other part is purely voyeristic. I have actually used Myles’ spy kit to try and make out what the papers on their table say. Damn spy kit. What do I expect for $20?

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Just got back from the amazing Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Walker.  I wanted to stay longer to stare at lots of the paintings, especially this one, but it was too crowded. That’s what we get for waiting until the last minute.

However, being in the presence of such strong, fearless work made me wonder: Would I have had the courage to swim against the mainstream if I were born then? I like to think so, but honestly, I feel grateful to live in a time when it’s acceptable to be a strong, creative woman who doesn’t exactly fit the mold.

OK, all you sweet, sweet men. I called the cops. They came over. They wouldn’t let me go over there either. So you can rest easy.

The papers have been served!

Now I just have to figure out how to fill out the paperwork, because the cop didn’t want to do it.

I have to go to work in a few minutes — just wanted to say that I get to serve eviction papers on the assholes next door.

But not until I have a proper police escort. For some reason, my husband won’t let me do it alone.

I pull into my driveway to find Juan and Laura, the owners of the house next door, walking up my driveway. They are all smiles, as usual.

I genuinely like these people. They are hard-working recent immigrants who probably didn’t know what they were getting into when they decided to rent to the idiots next door. The housing market is rotten, and I can’t blame them for not putting the place on the market. I just hope they learn their lesson after this fiasco.

They wait for me to get out of the car, then ask if they can come in and use my phone. “Of course,” I say.

They grab the handset and step out onto the back porch to make their call.

When they come back in, I ask them what’s going on.

“Um, we call the police. And they want us to wait for them. Can we wait here? They said only a few minutes,” Laura says.

“Yes, of course. Why’d you call the police?”

“Our, um, tenants — is that how you say? — they won’t pay rent. They no pay for two months.”

I had weeks earlier given Juan an accounting of seeing the kid in the back yard with a gun and told him the police were looking for him, as the owner. Told him they wanted to ask him some questions. Honestly, I’m not sure how much of that he understood. But Laura speaks better English, so I’m eager to give her all the sordid details. But I bide my time.

“Huh. That’s really interesting. On top of all the police calls — for which I’m sure you could evict them — they decide not to pay their rent.”

“Police calls?” Laura looks at me, hard.

“Yes,” I say, “Didn’t Juan tell you? There was a pizza deliveryman robbed at gunpoint right outside your house. The police have been questioning your tenants.

“Oh yeah, and I saw one of the kids who lives there running through the back yard with a gun.”

“You SAW the gun?”

“Yep. Police were here most of the day questioning me and them. They eventually took the guy in, but he still lives there, so I guess they never charged him.”

“Well, we want them out of there. We have to get them out of there. When we go there, all these young boys are in the house, and the woman’s daughter is there with them, but they say she not there. And they won’t let us in the house.”

“Did you know there’s gang graffiti all over your upstairs walls? They recently covered the windows with a blanket, but before that, I could see in there. They wrote all over your walls with a big, black marker.”

“Wrote? On walls?”

“Oh, yeah. And on your garage door. Did you see that?”

Juan looks out the window, then hangs his head. I feel bad, because I know he’s feeling very guilty about now. But he has to know. He has to make them go away.

We chat about our kids for about 20 minutes. Finally, a police car drives up. Juan and Laura hurriedly put their boots on and go outside.

They talk to the cop for a while, then come back in.

“So?” I ask.

“The policeman say there’s nothing he can do right now. That we have to go file papers in the court.”

“Well, good luck,” I say.

“Thank you so much,” Juan says.

“Goodbye, baby!” Laura says to Simon, who is milling around her legs. She bends over and kisses his cheek.

I just hope they remember their nice, friendly neighbor and how she’s being tormented by their bad decision when they are in that courthouse.