Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Help put a murderer behind bars

Although not house related, the seriousness of this warrants mention. The father of a good friend of my friend was brutally murdered in his office, (and found by his daughter). They have now found the murderer who escaped the country and is now claiming French citizenship. I beg of you to take the time to e-mail the following to your Congresmen/women. This family deserves justice.

Dear Respected Official:

I would like to bring to your attention and seek your support in obtaining American Justice in the tragic death of Dr. David Cornbleet. Specific details on the case are available at: &

On October 24, 2006 the beloved father, husband, doctor and friend to many was found by his daughter, tortured and killed in his downtown Chicago office. Stabbed over 20 times, Dr. Cornbleet was brutally murdered and left for dead by a former patient named Hans Peterson.

After committing this horrendous crime, Peterson fled to and hid in the French portion of St. Martin. Before confessing and turning himself into French officials, Peterson applied for and was granted French citizenship merely based on his mother’s nationality. Even though he was born and raised in the United States and filled out his French citizenship application after committing the act of murder, France granted him citizenship in May of 2007 based on the fact that there is French blood in his lineage. As a French citizen, France claims that he is protected by their laws and has refused extradition. If he is ever tried and convicted, under French law at most he will face 20 years in prison, what the French consider being “a life sentence.”

As an elected official it is your responsibility to protect your constituents from criminals. Even when dealing with domestic criminals, this responsibility cannot end at our country’s borders. In this situation, by failing to force the hand of the French government to extradite this suspect, a template is created in which all domestic criminals may operate. A loophole within our legal system has been found, and any domestic criminal, no matter their location, can strategize a full proof plan to escape American Justice.

The Cornbleet family deserves an American court to adjudicate this crime under American law. Hans Peterson sought French citizenship as a criminal and his application is solely for the purpose of bypassing the American justice system. We cannot allow American criminals to pick and choose which country’s law should apply to them!

As a “Friend of Dr. David Cornbleet” I plea to you to put continued pressure on both the United States and French governments to bring this cold-blooded murderer back to the United States to face trial for the vicious and unjust murder of Dr. David Cornbleet under American law.

(Provide your name)

All good things must come to an end....

For the past month, we've been getting rent and the tenants have stayed away. (Love that arrangement!) There's been a slow moving in of furniture, repair/upgrade requests, but we've basically had the run of This Old Chicago 2 Flat. (of course, we honored their tenancy and weren't hanging out in their unit, but the laundry room, front hall, etc. were all ours. I didn't have to pay attention to whether I was calling for Glenn in another room, wearing my shoes over hardwood, stepping on creaks...)

Well, last night the two tenants took up permanent residence. One (I'm assuming) arrived late late at night from California. (we still haven't met her, but will do so tonight). Her flight was supposed to get in after 11 and we were long asleep.

I'm really hoping that it all works out. Fingers crossed.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Iron Contractor Status

All is good and done that we came up with a design but we are still on the hunt for a contractor. The contractor (dentist) who came down on Friday was supposed to drop off an estimate on Monday. Never received it.

Then, we were supposed to have someone call us between 8 and 10 a.m. on Saturday about stopping by, and noone did.

Servicemagic sent out our request (including a contractor in Georgia-go figure) and no one was interested. (what a surprise!)

Finally, I saw our neighbor on Sunday, mentioned the flower pet thefts, and she said "oh, you need a gate." Which, I responded, well, yes, I've been trying for 4 years and noone has been showing. She was able to give us a card of someone who she thought could help. He's in the suburbs.

I call the neighbor's contact on Monday morning(who had been told about the flower pot incident) and he said he'd come by that day, after lunch. Fast forward to 5:30 p.m. and I get a call saying he tried to call but no one answered (leave a message!), then that he'd be over after 7 definitely wants to get there today.

Fine. So, finally he shows up at 7:45. (right when Glenn gets home)He mentions some concerns which are valid (ie. the size of the door opening). Says he can do the work this week and he'll give us the estimate today.

So, under normal circumstances I might write the guy off for not calling until 5:30, and coming 45 minutes later than I anticipated. (always wonder if they can't show up for an estimate-will they show up for the work?) But, under the circumstances, if the quote is reasonable, we'll probably go with him.(oh, and if we get the quote).

Another little concern I have is no photo of the lintals. He drew a rendering real quick, but I'd fell more comfortable if the person actually doing the fabricating has a plotted picture. I think if we get to a contract, I'll ask for a clearly drawn picture or do one myself.

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Gate Design and Plant Security

We may be one step closer to having a front gate. In connection with actually trying to get people here for an estimate, to get an estimate and maybe one day someone to actually work, I've been trying to figure out the actual design.

Maybe I'm the only one who sort of stresses about this. It's just so permanent. You put a plant in, and don't like it, you can move it. (or inadvertently kill it) Don't like the fence color? Paint over it!

A gate? I guess in theory I can just drop a whole lot of money on new ones, but that's not too realistic.

So, as a reminder, here's our house:

We originally wanted to put the gate at the front of the fence, but that would only leave a 28 inch opening which wouldn't be practical for moving things in and out. Now, we are going to put the gate at a little in more at the end of the fence. (so in effect there'd be an entranceway). We will also add some spindles on the sides to prevent large animals from coming in and using the restroom. (and also bump up the security component. I'll also need to plant more prickly plants on the sides to hopefully increase the security more.

Of course, this isn't fort knox, which in keeping with the design of the fence, and house, would not be feasible. (8 foot fences with barbed wire would not look too nice!)

Having the gate look like part of the house was extremely important. To do this, we decided to pull out the scroll work in the lintals and the basic shape of the lintals. I'm hoping it comes out as planned.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

A Perk of Tenants

We share a DSL connection with our tenants. Imagine my surprise when all of a sudden I had access to 3200 more songs on itunes. Apparently, my tenant has clicked "share songs with network" clicked and I have "look for shared songs." Do you think I should now include a music interest question on my application?

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A contractor showed!

Sure, he's a dentist, and came in scrubs, but we had someone come to give us an estimate on the gates. I found this guy in a google ad. The first question I asked, of course, when he came was "so, are you looking to switch careers?"

Apparently, the business was his uncle's. He has work people who know what they are doing. Let's see if we get an estimate...

As for everyone else-the guy I contacted on Monday, then again yesterday morning, never called. I e-mailed someone yesterday-haven't heard anything. I'm supposed to have someone come by tomorrow. I've heard nothing from Servicemagic.

I think I'm going to call a few people from Angies List. (I called everyone on there on September and never heard anything).


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Groundhog Day

You know the movie? I feel like I'm living it. Yes, back on the search for an wrought iron gate contractor in the city of wrought iron gates. (seems like everyone has one, or a fence). The first time I looked (way back in September or so 2003) our neighborhood guy said he'd stop by. Never happened. Called a couple other places, noone stopped by. Put it on the back burner.

September 2006, after the air compressor theft, I went back to the drawing board. I called every iron worker in the phone book. (7-8 people). One person came by, gave an estimate. (whose name I forget). Never got another estimate, and got distracted with getting our radiators sandblasted.

August 2007, after the flower pot incident, back to the drawing board. Called the local guy after someone else recommended him on Monday. The guy said he'd send an estimate.....Today, I call back and say "hey, didn't get an estimate yet, but wanted an idea on timing for the estimate." I was told someone would call me today. calls.

So, back to the drawing board. I did service magic, googled a bunch, clicked on a google ad, and supposedly someone should be by tomorrow and Saturday for an estimate.

What are the chances?

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Current Projects

For the past few weeks or so, we've been largely doing maintenance related work. We've had to do some minor things to the rental after one of the tenants took their keys. (I'm hoping that the requests will dwindle one they are here full time-we'll see).

This past weekend, Glenn had to replace one of the circuits in our kitchen (for our refrigerator). The circuit just plain stopped working. (after ever increasing times of failure).

In light of the flower pot robber, I've renewed efforts to locate a contractor to install a couple front gates. I'd like to keep the front gate (when installed) locked at night. But, locating a contractor is easier said then done. There are not enough iron gate contractors in Chicago! i've gone back to the drawing board calling contractors who I've called in years past but never showed up. This is not soemthing I like to do-but one was recommended by someone. It's quite frustrating.

We are also trying to figure out how best to secure the pots to protect against the lowlife who goes around and steals other people's flowers. Ironically, if I google flower pot security, alarm and the like I come up with flower pot safes. It would be nice if we were able to just stick tracking devices in the flower pots. (then I can catch the $%$^$#%$# too!) Optimally, we'd have an aesthetically pleasing security system on the pots that either would (1) secure the pots and prevent a theft (2) scare the perpretrator through sound/light (and my favorite, mace) (3) act as a deterant.

The hurdles to cross with the security are (1) the pots will be wet, or might have standing water in the dish (2) the pots need to sit flat (3) the pots are full with flowers now and can't really be emptied then replanted (4) the pots are a mixture of ceramic and terra cotta so risk breaking.

We've been brainstorming. One idea I have is a steel cable rope lock that would connect the pots. However, the locks would need to be affixed to the pot in some manner-either glued (with a glue that would be strong enough to withstand the lock as well as the moisture).

If anyone has any suggestions that work and are aesthetically pleasing, we are open to suggestions.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

The $%^*&#@*& Stole Another One

I brought in the 4 smallest pots yesterday, and overnight, someone came and stole one of the larger heavier ones. I'm so discouraged. It really upsets me that there's someone out there who thinks so little about other people's possessions. I'm sure that whatever jerk who took them have them in their back yard and is not from our immediate neighborhood. The pots have been out since May without incident. I kept whole flats of flowers out without incident.

I'm just extremely disappointed with society and people in general today.

Here's a photo of the pots from a few weeks ago:

They were bigger. The front two pots, and the one on the back step on the right were the ones stolen.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Criminals Stink

Overnight, someone stole 2 of my flower pots. (I had a total of 9 on my front porch). Needless to say, I'm in a bit of an aggavated mood. We've left potting soil out front, flats of flowers, and they've survived on evenings past. We've been here 3 years, and this is the first time that happened. The pots were cheap terra cotta ones.

I don't know who would do such a thing. It's quite upsetting.

Now, we're trying to figure out what we can do to protect the pots while not subtracting from the view.

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Hazards of Summer Vacation

I just returned from a week long trip to Wichita, Kansas to visit my Grandmom, various aunts and uncles, many cousins, and my mom (who also made an appearance). Glenn stayed in Chicago. I was a bit worried when I left town as there's a lot I do in the garden on a daily basis that get done, but Glenn might not see. The big one, of course, is watering. The first couple times I spoke to him when I was gone, I kept on asking "did you water, what about X plant, what about that one."

He had a really busy week while I was gone. For the most part, he did okay. The vast majority of our plants were looking relatively happy when I returned. One rose bush actually grew a lot under his care. The troublemakers of the bunch were plants that had been struggling a bit before I left. One new rose bush that we planted, consistently struggled, but flowered while I was away. (its last hoorah before promptly shriveling up and dying before my return). I'm thinking sunlight may have been a problem.

The second casualties were our tomato plants. For whatever reason, they have consistently been unhappy and migrated over to despair while I was out of town. A couple waterings may have been missed, and now, every branch looks dead. Overall, I'm disappointed that this was such a bad season for tomatoes. Our peppers, on the other hand had been doing well before I left, and still are.

I'm thankful though that Glenn was around to do a bunch of watering because otherwise I'm sure there would have been a lot more casualties. Everything that wasn't already struggling survived without issue.