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Apparently, I should be an Econ professor. Or the condo board president.

11 Mar

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I’ve purchased two homes in my life. In both cases, they were condos, and that was a deliberate decision. I find no joy in my weekend being consumed by landscaping and home maintenance projects. Oh, I’ve done it (and I’m pretty sure it accelerated my break-up with my ex) but I don’t like it.

I like my responsibilities to stop at decorating and cleaning. Let someone else worry about the other bits. And by “someone else,” I don’t mean Alan. I’d rather spend my weekend hanging out with him than watching him execute home improvement projects.

My home-owning friends wag their fingers at me. “For the amount of your condo fee, you could pay someone to handle the maintenance on your home.” Perhaps, but I’d rather cut a monthly check and leave the planning and worrying to someone else.

Imagine, then, how annoyed I was to receive a certified letter from our building’s management association, informing me that each unit owner is responsible for having the exterior of his or her windows painted every five years. (Did I mention that my building is five stories tall? And historic?)

That’s right. Rather than bid out the entire building as a project and divide the bill among owners, the Board decided it would be best if each owner went to the city and requested a permit for exterior work, then found a company with the proper insurance and equipment, to paint his or her windows.


Image Source: The Daily ShowI’m sorry. I thought I lived in DC, where 53% of the adult population had a college degree. Apparently, my building’s condo board is made up of either the 47% who didn’t go to college. Or if they went, then they clearly skipped ECON-101 and the lesson on “economies of scale.”

So I read my certified letter, in which I was told that I must have my windows painted by July 1 or I would face a fine of $500 and an additional charge of $5 for each day beyond that until I got my windows painted. And I fumed.

Then I did what any OCD person would do: I bit the bullet and added it to my “to do” spreadsheet, calling the recommended painters listed in the letter first thing Monday morning.

The challenge was that each painter responded the same way. “Sorry, we only bid out a job like that for the entire building. There’s no way we’ll come out and erect scaffolding just to do your unit’s windows.” Um…

By the time I exhausted the list, I was ready to deliver some kidney punches to the board. Instead, I dashed off an email to my upstairs neighbor, who is on the board. “Have you figured out how you’re going to get your windows painted?” I wrote, “Because I’ve hit a wall.”

Image Source: that I kept it productive, stating, “I’ve hit a wall,” instead of, “I’m going to hit your abdominal wall. Until you pee blood.”

He wrote back a few days later, saying, “Hey – that letter was poorly worded. That only applies to the people on the front of the building, whose frames are wood. Ours are metal, so we don’t need to do this.”


I’m sorry, I didn’t mean I wanted to punch YOU. That was a figure of speech. We’re good.

But I’m still left with a few questions:

  • How are the people on the front of the building going to get their windows painted?
  • Why did the Board spend $6 per owner, sending certified letters to ALL units in the building rather than simply those requiring action?
  • What percentage of my building’s residents have college degrees?
  • Why don’t more people put me in charge of things?

Sigh. I guess I’ll just rejoice that I don’t need to hire a cherry picker to paint my own windows next weekend. Because that would suck.

Let me check my ticket; I didn’t realize YOU were the headliner.

19 Oct

Monday I saw the author Bill Bryson give a talk at the Sixth and Eye Synagogue in Chinatown. Only a few blocks from my office, Sixth & Eye is becoming my favorite entertainment venue because I am a nerd. And Bryson, whose humorous travel books have served as my travel companions in many countries, was as delightful in person as he is on the page.

By way of contrast, do you know what is NOT delightful? The people who queue to ask questions after the talk. With the exception of the rare person who has a succinct and relevant question, there are three general archetypes:

More Tips: How to NOT Get Kicked to the Curb Before You Even Interview

7 Jun

Shockingly (to those of you who ONLY know me through this  blog), I have directly hired (and, sadly, fired) a not insignificant number of people in my day. (By which I mean more than 50, and fewer than 100. Probably. But I’m too lazy to do the math.)

If you are currently looking for a new job, this is your lucky day. Because you’re about to receive valid advice from a REAL PERSON (one who swears, eats at food trucks and mocks people for farting in yoga), as opposed to some SHRM-bot that only gives vanilla tips for getting hired.

For background: I’m currently looking for a salesperson with almost ten years’ strategic sales experience and a strong book of contacts in a specific industry. And yet…

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Rules: If you are in front of me in a line…

12 May

If you’re in line to pay for something:

  • Organize your items on the conveyor belt so that people behind you with heavy baskets can set their stuff down too.
  • Don’t judge my purchases. I’m not laughing at you for your ExLax, so don’t look repulsed by my assortment of TGIFriday frozen foods.
  • If you’re browsing a magazine, you still need to keep one eye trained on the line and move appropriately. (Don’t make me nudge you.)
  • How about finding your wallet BEFORE you get to the register. And even better, have your credit card out.
  • For the love of small puppies and all things holy, don’t even think about writing a check. Who even uses those any more?
  • If you want to dispute a price, the difference better exceed 20 cents. Otherwise, I’ll give you a quarter and we’ll call it a day.
  • If your can has a dent in it, tough shit. You should’ve noticed that when you took it off the shelf. Not now, when there’s a line of people behind you.
  • Please don’t act as if you’ve never used a pinpad to complete a transaction. You should know where the debit/credit button is and how to slide your card. If you don’t, you should only function in a cash-based world or order from Peapod.

If you’re in line to use the bathroom:

  • First off, you must be a woman. I’ve never seen a man in a line for this.
  • If you ARE a man in line for a bathroom – go outside. It’s faster and we women need your bathroom.
  • Be alert. When a stall opens, make a break for it, or I will.
  • This isn’t a time to be fickle. If you don’t like the looks of your stall, don’t stand there contemplating it and praying for another one to open. If you do, I will shove you out of the way and use it. You’re squatting anyway, so unless there is a turd sitting on top of the toilet paper dispenser, I think you’re good.
  • I’d actually appreciate it if everyone in line started unzipping, unbuckling and unsnapping while still in line. We could speed this whole thing up if everyone did a bit of public prep work.

What do you think? Am I way off base here?