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A random post, just for you.

October 16th, 2007

Is it the cussing? Am I dull as a butter knife and no one has known how to tell me? Pick me! (Jumping up and down, waving her arms around.)

Just for you:

* Last Friday (Oct. 12, 2007) there was another shooting outside of Jefferson High School. Two, in fact. No one was killed. Thanks, Jeebus. We appreciate your attention. (Please send good thoughts to the kids in my neighborhood, would you?)

* In spite of the violence, the tough schools, the white parents bringing their white privilege to the table (“We are here to save the neighborhood! To save you from yourselves! Do what we say!” etc.), the pitbulls, the jerks who look like an angry white mob, with red faces and bulging muscles in their necks at neighborhood meetings re: name change from Intercourse Ave. to Chavez Blvd. (my favorite line in the string of comments on that link was “Wacky Mommy, you ARE wacky.” Yeah, tell me something I don’t already know), in spite of the traffic, in spite of the meth labs and the police with their SWAT vehicles and all of that?

* In spite of all of that, when our (new & improved) realtor told us, “When people think of Interstate Ave. and North Mississippi, they have preconceived notions about prostitutes, drug use, gangs, and whatnot,” (she may not have said “whatnot,” it is just my favorite word lately) all I could think was, “What the fuck do you know, bitch?” and I really wanted to go all North Portland on her ass. Especially when she suggested that perhaps my neighborhood isn’t “all that” and perhaps we should wait until spring to put it on the market? After we remodel the kitchen?

* (I’m fucking not remodeling the kitchen. The kitchen is functional and the lighting is good. Go look here here and here to find out why pigs will need to zoom across the sky before I tackle another big project here. Edited to say: We have since found an awesome incredible painter and no, I won’t give out his number.)

* You know, when my realtor (who is a west sider, by the by) went off about hookers and guns I wanted to say something tactful at that point. Like, “Why don’t you stick it in my eye and then I’ll be able to see that you’re fucking me?”

* I do not feel that she was being positive enough.

* This is a great neighborhood, shootings and SWAT teams aside. Ten minutes from downtown Portland, 15 minutes from Vancouver, Wash. Several schools nearby that, while my husband and I may not always be so keen on them, are loved by a lot of parents, kids and teachers. These are schools, some private, some public, with waiting lists. We have the Mississippi and Alberta “arts districts,” with fancy restaurants, galleries and bars, right up the street. We have fancy-shmancy restaurants and coffee houses right in my neighborhood, up the street. A farmers market within walking distance. Several community centers. A fancy grocery store and a regular grocery store. Yadda yadda blip. And we have a nice house. I am sorry to be a jerk and brag, but it’s pretty, my house. And good-sized. It’s vintage, for pete’s sake — its celebrating its 100th birthday this year. We’ve babied it and it shows.

* It is “Old Portland,” whatever the hell that means. Some people are impressed by it, they’re all “oooooooooh, Old Portland.” But not our realtor.

* Anyway.

* We decided to fix her up even a little bit more, This Old House. Because we haven’t spent enough money here yet. New carpet, maybe some new landscaping, touch-up paint here and there, yadda yadda blip blip, and wait a couple of months “until the market isn’t so smooshy” to list it. My mellow was pretty harshed after we made this decision, especially since we’d already found a really decent house across town and of course in my mind I was there, in my new kitchen, drinking coffee, so I took myself out for coffee to get my mind off things.

* I was reading Andrew Merton’s bio/autobio of Princess Diana — so good, but so heartbreaking, of course — and drinking my boring little decaf. (It may have been caf. You will never know, will you?) These two idiots sit by me and one starts bragging loudly of how he screwed someone on this real estate deal. He wanted this house in my old neighborhood (Rose City/Madison South) and they offered them thousands under what they wanted, and the owner countered with how about this much, instead? and yadda yadda blip and, smugly, “We just out-waited ’em. They finally had to drop the price and ha ha ha! I want them to pay closing costs and ha ha ha!!! I am not fixing the whoozit, they need to pay for that, too…”

* At which point his friend, who may I say to his credit was not being all gleeful and smug, said, “Who much would it cost to fix the whoozit?”

* “Just two thousand, but fuck that! Ha ha ha.”

* At which point of course I rolled my eyes at him and was tempted to crack a chair across his head because next he started bragging about how huge the house was (3,200 square feet). And hello? You just ripped these people off, don’t gloat. Instant karma’s gonna get you, buddy. That’s a sweet deal you got in my old neighborhood. I don’t want my mom to have you as a neighbor, you jerk.

* Then he starts bragging about the East coast, and “Back there it would cost you…” And I’m thinking, dude, pay for the whoozit yourself, you scam artist.

* But I’m glad I ran into him because it made me realize that while I do like getting a killer deal (who doesn’t?) I do not enjoy the gleeful pride of knowing that I screwed someone over.

* So I do want to get a fair shake for our (beloved, beloved awesome pretty) house, and I don’t want to pay tens of thousands more than I should for our new house. But. I do not want anyone coming away from the deal feeling all, nyah, nyah.

*Because that is wrong.

* Really, really, really wrong.

* So now I feel more okay about the whole thing. We’re still selling, just not this weekend. Because that smug guy? The thief? He’s that way, but you and I are not that way, savvy? Are you with me on this, Internet? I know my readers, I know you’re decent people. The housing market is in a little slump here, and there are way too many “PayDay Loan”-type home foreclosures going on because some loaners are opportunists and jerks. People’s lives are getting ruined because of it. Which is messed up and not fair to anyone. Is that instant karma? No, not usually. It’s usually someone who desperately wants to own their own place, and housing prices here can be pretty intimidating, and even though they can’t afford it, the loaners are all, “Suuuuuuure you can, sign your life away right here and I’ll go ahead and keep two of your kids.”

* I have karma on the brain today. Then when I got home, my favorite guy next to Hockey God stopped by: the UPS Guy! He brought me Sharon Stiteler’s book, “Disapproving Rabbits.” It’s all pictures of rabbits! With funny captions! Man, oh man, did I need this book today. And he also brought…

* Richard Avedon’s “The Kennedys: Portrait of a Family,” with seventy-five images from the Smithsonian Collections. I just glanced through it — it’s spectacular.

* So more later on those three books.

* Let’s not crack open any heads out there, okay people?




  1. Mallory says

    I hate how people perceive NoPo. I have never ever seen a hooker here, I don’t see drug dealers on the corners, it is hardly The Bronx. And yes, some of the schools have problems, but there is also Cheif Joseph “The Jewel of The North” and Astor and some really great innovation going on. There was a shooting at Grant a few years ago too. And look at Columbine, that was in a ritzy suburb. Crime is everywhere, but I didn’t feel like it was worse in NoPo. I do not forget that it was racist realtors who segregated Portland in the first place, by only showing White families houses in White neighborhoods and doing the same to people of color.

    October 16th, 2007 | #

  2. laurie says

    When I think about Mississippi Avenue and Interstate Avenue I do not think of hookers and drugs. I think of New Seasons, Overlook Park, Keiser, the back way to IKEA, Interstate Rentals, etc. When I was getting ready to sell our old house, the people across the street were fixing up there rental to sell, and their comment was, “Well, we’re going to sell for at least 250K, we’re from West Lynn.” (Imagine that quote in Italics, it’ll make more sense). They painted the 1920’s fireplace brick mauve. Do get what I’m saying? They covered all of the original hardwoods with beige carpet.. In front of the fireplace… Who does that? I’m tellin’ ya Wacky, I got one hell of a North Portland Realtor for you. Tell West side to pack up and call me.

    October 16th, 2007 | #

  3. Dawn says

    They say it’s supposed to cycle every 6-8 days, I think this last one was 10 for me.

    October 16th, 2007 | #

  4. BlackFriend says

    I think of all of it. Because it’s all there. I think of people trained as EMTs running out of the Florida Room to see if the kids were okay last Friday. I think of not letting my daughter walk down K’sworth and having neighborhood parents call me if they see her anywhere she shouldn’t be. I think of all the crafts she’s made upstairs at the North Portland Library. I think of the shooting in front of that same library that spring. My dawg was a witness and he ain’t talking. I think of every brown kid that does wrong being labeled a Jeff kid, even though many left school before ever crossing its threshold. Some are POIC kids. I think about Ockley Green. And the bowling Alley. And the Palms and the Knickerbocker (see, I’m not a newbie anymore) and being solicited for sex at the 5 Interstate bus stop when I first got here. And wok bowls at Arbor Lodge.

    I love my neighborhood (even after being rolled up on by some middle school eninem-wannabee types smoking cigarettes in front of the Tin Shed Sunday night) and I hate it. I mean, how can the kid get where she needs to go without crossing Albina/Ksworth.

    October 16th, 2007 | #

  5. J. Lynne says

    I’ve been thinking about you the last few days. I’ve been listening to “The Land of Lincoln” by Andrew Ferguson on audiobook. For the most part it’s about how Lincoln and his actions have influenced the U.S. today. I was mostly thinking about your posts involving the not-so-hidden racism in modern day Portland, Ore as I listened to the first chapter about the controversy over putting up a statue of Lincoln in Richmond, VA. It was bizarre how the Sons of the Confederacy made the argument that Lincoln was a racist and a hypocrite and that their hatred of him had nothing to do with that.

    Sometimes I wonder if we are a product of our environment and generation and each generation will grow a little more colorblind, and then I read posts like yours and hear things like the Sons of the Confederacy and I think that it’s never really going away, it’s just hiding better.

    October 17th, 2007 | #

  6. WackyMommy says

    J. Lynne,
    Hockey God and I were watching the Saturday Night Live retro and there was that intense skit included, where Chevy Chase plays the interviewer and Richard Pryor plays the job applicant, and Chase does a word association psychological test with Pryor. (Chase: “Like if I said dog? You’d say…” Pryor: “Tree.”) You know this skit?


    It’s racial insults, back and forth, Chase: Spear chucker. Pryor: Honky. Chase: Jungle bunny. Pryor: DEAD honky.

    I was laughing so hard I got tears in my eyes because how messed up is that that we were more “out,” talking about race, dealing with class/economic issues then — 32 years ago — than we are today.

    October 17th, 2007 | #

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