She's a Handicapper now..and I'm saying "Champagne, Anyone?"

She's a Handicapper now..and I'm saying "Champagne, Anyone?"

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Department of Codes and Regulations in the city of Louisville, more specifically The Division of Inspections, Permits and Licenses has it in for me. A couple of weeks ago, I received a letter from them concerning my rental property down by UofL. It concerned my garage on the property. It was the first garage and house we ever owned. Lived there a good, long time and I have fond memories of that garage, the work I did in there...building it into a structurally sound and functional workspace, storage area and even a place to park a car.

This did not impress the Division. They're more worried about peeling paint and a few stray weeds. The Code Enforcement Officer sent me a two page letter, expressing her disappointment on the growth and paint chips. Gave me a month to square it away before " you will be subject to a citation, including a fine and possible criminal sanctions, as provided by law."

Fast forward to the Kentucky State Reformatory in LaGrange.

Inmate 3047264:  'Whaddya in for, tall drink of water?"
Paulie: "Weed and paint crimes."

I am not ready to spend whatever years I have left busting up rocks with a sledge-hammer and making license plates. I've watched the movie Shawshank Redemption enough times to realize that i probably wouldn't make a great I went about complying with the correction of these dastardly and criminal violations.

The first step was clearance of the weeds. I brought along my organic and plant-growing expert, who doubles as my wife, to survey the situation and "nip it in the bud." Armed with hedge trimmers, hand-held clippers, brooms, rakes, shovels and plastic trash bags...we descended on the blight to society one afternoon...ready for battle and with a firm resolve. Gonna kick some noxious plant growth's ass!

It took about two hours, but we cut, trimmed, swept and raked diligently until the area looks like a promo for Better Homes and Gardens. The Queen Mother would be proud to spend an afternoon picnic soiree there now...with croquet matches and finger sandwiches. Step one...done.

I had a plan for the next step. And a Plan B. I consulted with my renter of the property, showed him what needed to be done and proposed a reduction of rent for the month if he'd do the work. He whole-heartedly agreed at first. Several days later, I got a phone call from him.

"P. That's just too big a job for me. I'm gonna pass on it." he informed me.

On to Plan B. I know a couple of painters. Used them before on various jobs. Loved their work. So, I arranged to meet them at the scene of the crime and get quotes. The first guy spent about 10 minutes walking around the garage, scratched down a few notes and then fire me a price.

After I got up from passing out in shock, I responded with a "seriously, dude...that much?"

"It's a lot of work. I'm pretty busy right now and I'd barely be able to squeeze this job in before the deadline." he blithely informed me. I thanked him for his time.

The next guy had done work at my properties before. He's more of a handyman/hauler type of guy, but he's pretty good with a paint brush, too. Once again, I made the trek to inspect and greet. He walked the scene of the crime, pointed out a few things to me and shot me a price. Higher than the first guy's quote. I tried the bargaining ploy. Got him down a few dollars by offering to supply the paint. Not enough, though. I told him I'd let him know. He emphasized that he "and a buddy" would be able to start on it immediately. I guess so, at those prices.

I talked it over with my wife. She was shocked at the cost, as well. So, I developed Plan C. Do it myself.

Scraping. More scraping. Painting. More painting. Up and down the ladder. I was beginning to realize that for every good intention, comes a bucketful of second-guessing and pain. The job was laborious, boring and tedious. The neighbor down the street, who had received a similar notice of violation about his garage has five boys...all over eighteen. He has a ready-made, home-grown work force and he told me they were going to team up on it on a Saturday and then have a little cookout later that afternoon.

I refrained from scraping and painting him.

My quads and hamstrings will probably never recover. My shoulders and arms feel like I've been in the ring with Mike Tyson for 10 rounds. My feet hurt, my knees ache and I may never successfully get the paint off my fingers, ladder, shoes and forehead.

But, it is done. I have gained a new-found respect for painters. I now realize just what they go through. I'm not considering becoming one, mind you...although a steady stream of income like that would have me eventually on the beach in Naples...pounding drinks with little umbrellas in them and dining on lobster and steak each night.

I have won the battle. I beat the rap and won't be sharing a cell with a guy named Bubba.

But, lord...I am tired.

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