Monday, April 30, 2012

The Last Slice

It's hard to find a local where I live. A place you can walk to and become a regular. Be it a bar, which there are none. A grocery store - there is a sad IGA down the block where a girl got shot in the face a few years ago. The carry out three houses from me does not offer much either, a place for a soda or a 24 ounce can of Genny Cream after mowing the lawn. There used to be a pizza place, The Pizza Chateau, behind the carry out but only an aging sign remains.

These guys are down the road from us. They do not make the best pizza in Columbus, but they make a decent enough pie for me to come here 3-4 times a month. They've been around for years. I call, they know my number and are now asking if I want my pizzas pie cut. I'm East Coast, I hate pizza that comes in squares. They know me now as Pie Cut Plunkett my wife tells me. Been going here for about nine years.

This concludes my April Project of Infamous Places I've been in Columbus. Hope you enjoyed the ride. Normal blogging resumes tomorrow. Thinking about another project, which would digitize some stuff I did in the nineties and put it here. We'll see.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I love to watch him swim

He has had very little fear of the water since he was first in the pool, over two years now. Flotation devices were quickly discarded as his ability to tread water on his own was determined.

He's still hesitant to jump in on his own, but he does love being thrown in.

Swimming underwater is his new fun, he's even trying to sit on the bottom (of the shallow end) for a few moments. He's still not interested in being on his back in the water though.

It's a passion, confidence and strength he has developed on his own. He shouts with joy when he's in the water. I'm proud of him.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Beautiful Ohio

Going into this exquisite theater is one of the best things about living in Columbus.

Originally built by the Lowes Theater chain in 1928, it was saved in the late 1970's by people with insight instead of destructive minds. It's been impeccably restored. I've seen a handful of concerts here including Brian Wilson, Yo-Yo Ma and Peter Serkin, but the main reason I go here is CAPA's Summer Movie Series.

The Mighty Morton Organ is brought up from the depths and these days is played by Clark Wilson. One of my memorable film experiences is seeing Four Horseman of the Apocalypse screened with the great Gaylord Carter playing his own, original, score. The theater was also home base to a Laurel & Hardy convention, where hundreds of convention goes all sang along to Sons of the Desert. It's always fun to see a Hitchcock film shown, where those in the know all cheer when the director makes his cameo.

It has been difficult for CAPA to assemble a quality series in recent years, with the studios reluctance to release film prints, but they do their best. The theater survives, and it's a wonderful experience.

Friday, April 27, 2012

This Place on 5th Avenue

She needed a place to stay. I think she found it through Trip Advisor. I'd driven by it hundreds of times without a second thought.

The owner saw the child's seat in my car but did not mention it until a couple of days until her stay. She is a paragon of discretion, so much that Emma chose to stay again on a second visit.

Even after she was not required to stay there anymore, we all became friends. The B&B owner's friendship became so important that we asked her if we could be married at her business. She agreed to allow a group of people from all over invade her livelihood for a weekend, somehow we all survived, despite my tumble down the porch stairs during the reception.

If you're staying in Columbus, want a place a bit different, central to the cool stuff, a great front porch for people watching and want an excellent breakfast in the morning with a fridge full of wine, stay here. You will make a friend for life.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dessert is not just on the table

If there are no thoughts of having sex with your dinner companion during a meal here you are dining with a blood relative.
I've had a couple of memorable experiences here. None could match up with the first. Never have I experienced such a thick sexual tension. It was during that odd time in which it was not supposed to happen.

I do not know what Alana puts in the food, but it's damn good. It's not cheap, but not ridiculously priced either. You get what you pay for, and then some.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

An admission that I was wrong

This place opened up in the Short North sometime in 2006, I think. Used to go there quite frequently. It was a place of Live Journal meetups, crying waitresses, first time I love you's and other awkward social situations.
I did not think they would make it. Usually we were the only people there, and they did not have what was ordered. Happily now, they're thriving, and have added an east side location. A downtown spot has been planned for years. They have a great brunch on weekends, this might be a good one to make a return. Last week I made an appearance on the radio show Speaking of Poetry. If you did not hear it and are interested, here is a link to the podcast. It was a good hour of radio in which we had a lively discussion of autism.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What I'm Drinking - 14

At least one room has a good view

It's a building I've only been inside of five times in my 22 years in this city. Yet, it remains significant.
Divorce hearing. Divorces. Two marriage license. I do not want to go in here again unless someone gives me a seven figure check upon exit.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Tenth Job

To say it has been a relief working behind the scenes instead of the front lines is an understatement. Twenty five years of direct customer contact left me more than a bit shell shocked and defensive. It's been a different experience, first sharing an interior, windowless room, with three diverse people, now in a bit more of an open space with occasional explosions of activity around me.
But when I turn right, there is light, a western exposure, a parking lot I'll happily look at every day instead of a circulation desk.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The top of the cone

Jeni's is now a destination. I worry that Jeni's has expanded too much and we'll see a quality drop. Jeni's is, hands down, the best ice cream in the world. I will fight you over this fact. One of the first places I took my Scottish Wife in daylight after we met the first time was Jeni's. Not this one, but the one in the North Market. I'd been touting it to her as Mecca for months, because it is, and everyone is allowed.
But I go to the Grandview location most, because it's easiest to get in and out of. Most of the time, there is a line. All of the time, there are smiles. Why? Because people know they're about to have the best ice cream in their lives, or, they're about to for the first time. If Columbus is the Ice Cream Capitol of the World, and I'll tell you anytime that it is, Jeni's is the flag flying proudly from the top of the dome. Yes, it's expensive. But do you eat caviar every night? Drink Bollinger Champagne for breakfast daily? (let me know if you do, I'll bring the toast), go to your luxury box at the opera every night? It's worth every penny. Now if you'll excuse me, there's some Roxbury Road in the freezer that needs my attention.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Phone Calls Never Received

If you do not turn left a very stupid consequence can happen at the end of a 1.2 mile stretch of straight road. Two and a quarter tons moving forward into a November night.
An untried conclusion staked out the way a field goal kicker sees between the uprights before taking the kick with two seconds left. Accelerator pressed so hard you hope your feet do not go Flintstone, or the engine does not throw a rod. You wonder about the safety record of Volvos as a long scream is breathed out during the last quarter mile. Hands off the wheel at the last possible moment. The final surge of adrenaline. A brief flight over a ditch. Plastic and metal, Swedish steel, shred flimsy chain link before slamming into bark and maple bordering a cemetery. The car too old for airbags, only the headlights remain on - shining through a ghostly mix of steam and smoke, as multicolored fluids leak out from torn hoses and broken reservoirs
Passwords are left in prominent place in a notebook at home. Sealed letters in the back seat. God, you hope the car does not explode. An ID left in a conspicuous place. Seat belt left unbuckled. Final songs blasted out of unaware speakers. How fucked up is a life for it to reach this point. How broke do you have to be. How broken is a marriage that you want to break your body, make it irreparable. How much do you have to hate your job to manufacture long distance grief? Leave your family and friends to pick up the pieces of your mess from afar. None of them capable of understanding any of the failed puzzle you kept silent. You watch the tachometer rise and fall with the car still in park. You wait for your hands to stop shaking avoiding touching the wheel before turning away. The best act of cowardice complete, letters are ticker tape in the Scioto. A few minutes later you pull into a driveway of debt and consequences and start a fight in the kitchen about an affair that has not even happened yet - but free to continue being human, making mistakes. No, not that one

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Night Cory Lidle Died

The aftermath of what happens when the poles of your world shift just seeing someone on the other side of baggage claim. No, it was not supposed to happen. It was not allowed to happen. None of the aftermath was. But it did.
I admit it was me who asked for the goodbye kiss. The first, last, and only one it was, except that it was not. We were not supposed to see each other again. Obviously it did not turn out that way, either.
Then it was fifteen months of crazy. The whole thing got written up on Live Journal and I regret making too much of it public. A weekend in October 2006 was a pivotal moment of timelines. Already broken, I did manage to survive it. Hindsight is a moot point. Love is one of the most inexplicable things in the world to explain. The woman who loves me is among the bravest.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

What one night in March 2006 did

After years of thinking about it, getting up the nerve, vetting live journal accounts of people involved to see if they were decent enough to deal with, I finally got over myself and went to an open mic night in Columbus.

It was Writers' Block. Six years ago they were located in the Columbus Music Hall in the Olde Town East area of the city. A night, and a time that my life changed. I was pretty hooked from the beginning. Had some good and embarrassing experiences on the mic. Never once have I felt unwelcome.

Later that year, for numerous reasons, including the Music Hall owner's retirement, Writers' Block moved to Kafe Kerouac, and it's been there every Wednesday night since.

It's been a scene of breathtaking poetry and hilarity and I thank everyone who has organized and participated, you keep me from passing the open windows.

Time for a couple of personal plugs. This Friday, tomorrow, I will be on internet radio. Live, at 6PM EST I will be on Speaking of Poetry. Vernell, Izetta and I will be talking about Autism Awareness Month and combining it with National Poetry Month to create a lagoon of happy tears. Here is a LINK to the website. The show streams live, but may become a podcast in a couple of weeks.

This coming Saturday, I will be doing a feature at Westgate Park. The NaPoWriMo Poetry Showcase starts at 2PM and runs for a couple of hours. A number of local poets will be reading. Oh heck here's the whole list: myself, Kinsey Laine Kistler, Alexis Rueall Mitchell, Louise Robertson, Joe "Atticus" Inch, Taye Lamar, Ara Harris, Hanif Abdurraqib. It's in the park's rec center. Admission is free!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Abode 3, House 1, Years 9.5

I do not recommend closing on a house when your child was born premature and is in the NICU. We had been looking throughout the pregnancy and might not have made a decision on this place. Then my son jumped out at us all. We could have kept looking for another month. Desperation makes people do desperate things. Our landlord was being an unsympathetic ass. There was another house we did like, a bit further east of where we are now. The house was brick, on a quieter side street, seemed solid and the basement was more usable. But flaky owners jacked up the price at the first sniff of two potential buyers.

So we ended up with this one instead. Close to where I worked at the time, there's nothing else around, really. There's a sad Kroger that way, and a sadder IGA where a girl got shot in the face the other. It could have been worse. That whole time was a blur of emotion and stress. There was too much crap, and all of her crap brought to our old apartment weeks before were supposed to move in here did not help next to all of my crap. My parents and sister came to help, they wanted to kill me for having too much crap. I did not feel to good about me either.

Then there were the twin ugly QVC rocking chairs that broke less than a year after we had them. Thanks for adding to the pile of junk. Gosh, being a first time parent was starting out so well.

Yes, it was a mess. And I won't even mention the killer ceiling fan incident.

I got this 82 year old house in the divorce, refinanced it a couple of years later and am now trapped here, underwater. At least the reassessment lowered the value of the house considerably, taxes are incredibly low. There, one advantage. And there is a roof over our heads that does not leak the way the toilet now does, again.

So this is my Scottish Wife's mansion. She's done a great job cleaning up my crap and making it a lovely home. She gets it when I die. The streets of America are truly paved with gold.

No, really. Can I win the lottery and give this house to the first taker?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Love and Light

Levon Helm's family is reporting he's nearing the end of his journey.

Nine and a half years later

It was where my son spent the first fifty eight days of his life. No, I was not ready for his arrival. No one was. He was twelve weeks early, kicked his way out of his mother and has not slept since.

One of the early pictures.

We took a tour of the facility and birthing area and were supposed to start lamaze classes three days after he was born. Little of it made any sense to me at the time. He was not supposed to be done until Thanksgiving.

The one thing I was sure of, along with his mother, is that he was going to be ok. We had some rough patches in there, seeing him on the c-pap was very traumatic, but we knew we'd all come out of there at some point. And the nursing staff was wonderful, except for one of them. He did have quality care when he stopped breathing at 3AM several times during his stay.

It's not a place I want to stop at red lights, look in all directions, then plow through to get to at 1AM ever again. I do not want to run through the parking garage, be out of breath by the time I tell security what's happening as they send me through. An NICU is not a place I want anyone I know to ever be, unless they're taking their healthy child home.

A quick update on his eating: Last night I crumbled up half a graham cracker in my son's pudding and used the iPad as a reinforcement. For every bite he took, he would get some time with the iPad. He was not happy, tried pushing the bowl away, protesting but he did not turtle or stop eating. He finished the pudding. We did this last week in OT and I was stunned that he ate the pudding. It was the most solid food he's ever eaten. Last night was the first time it happened at home.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Job Number Nine

Spent six and a half years here, the longest I've ever worked anywhere to date.

Not going to recap it much. That all went into my live journal, probably a bit too much of it went there. The great difficulty of the last few years were scarily detailed, when I tried getting ahead in the system and his the glass ceiling repeatedly.

Saw so much theft and lying, and people getting away with it on a daily basis. Learned too late it's not what you do wrong there, but who you are doing it. The place was crazy. A corporate culture of fear became predominant, and that came from management. A lot of people with serious problems would come in, and expect us to heal their woes. Many of the librarians were more like social workers who were skilled in calming down people who acted out continually.

I think this little rant summed up this experience best of all. We got this memo from the boss.

"Hi Staff,

I want your quick feedback on this...What is [workplace's] personality? What does it feel like? What does it look like? How would you describe it?

Please have your feedback to me..."

Naturally, being the obedient drone, I responded

"[workplace] is like the cool college professor you had. The one who would encourage open discussion on many topics without bias, but kept the conversation flowing and made the class safe and interesting. Everyone wanted to attend his classes. There were waiting lists every semester.

Until, seemingly overnight, the professor changed. Discussion was no longer encouraged. Busy work was assigned during class time that took away from the now infrequent open discussion of topics and ideas. Dissent of any kind was frowned upon. Class attendance dropped. Grades were now given by taking tests on opscan sheets instead of creative essays. Then, one semester, the professor disappeared, and no one knew where he went."

And I wondered why I never got that promotion, nor a reply.

The last straw was when HR spelled my name wrong on the memo they sent that told me I was not even going to be considered for an interview for a specific position.

Getting on the escape committee was hard though. In the end, it was a relief. I no longer wanted to be there. I'm sure my attitude was not great. It was best for everyone: myself, my coworkers and the customers. I rarely go in there anymore. The last few times there were people screaming at each other in the parking lot. A child was raped in the bathroom. Another kid was followed out of the building then robbed of his laptop at the nearby bus stop. It's not a safe place. I worry about the people who continue to work there.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Marriage the Second, the Parts that Melted

Somewhere in here I got married for a second time. My soon to be mentioned that a certain Saturday in March also fell on St. Patrick's Day. I thought it was a good idea too.

Finding a venue was tough, but in the end it worked out ok. It was close to the airport for our out of state guests. There was a shuttle and that seemed to work well.

The officiant was wonderful, the theme obvious. Too bad there was a stupid sum of money wasted on an ice sculpture of a Claddagah.

The motel was a spacious Holiday Inn Express, but not anymore.

Does not even look open anymore.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Eighth Job

In the autumn of 1999 I became a civil servant. The job was assistant manager at the gift shop in the Ohio Statehouse. The location was awesome. It was a charge working in the basement of a 150 year old building that had plenty of history.

That was the original location of the shop. It was a fascinating place to work. People from all walks of life come through here, everyday. I learned a lot about Ohio politics, and that republicans are people too, for the most part. The Governor came in every few months, friendly enough but a doofus. I met Doris Kearns Goodwin when she researched Team of Rivals. Found the officiant for my second wedding. Great man who was one of the volunteer tour guides. All kinds of tour groups came through from all over the state, even the world. Have to say it was easily the best place I worked, but not the best job.

The work itself, was alright. Trinkets, tschockes, Ohio made crafts and other assorted stuff. I screwed up the data entry on inventory and never heard the end of it. Big mistake, yes, but the boss could never get over it. A year and a half in there was not much point to working retail anymore, and I found another job.

A couple of years ago the shop moved, here's a picture of the new location. It's a few dozen feet away, but in a much smaller space. Never was much of a money maker.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The 6 1/2 - 7 Job

The job at the campus bookstore may have been full time with benefits, but the pay was not very good. To supplement my income, and to keep myself busy during a lonely, depressed time I looked for work elsewhere. I managed to get a job here.

The work was part time, mostly nights. It meant quite a few late night walks home. It kept me active and current. For the most part my coworkers were bright and easy to get along with. There was one manager during my first stint there who was deliberately a dick. He'd keep us late after closing past the time the last bus went to campus. He'd knock books on the floor and announce on the store PA that there were books on the floor in the department. He'd schedule you so you work late, have a day off, then come in to open on the day after your day off. A petty tyrant, and he was the reason I left the first time.

I was making better money at job 8 (next post) and really did not need the money, but the store discount was very generous. I resigned.

A few years later, I needed the money after my son was born and applied here again. One of my old managers was still there, called me up and I started again.

The pay was never good, but again, the discount was excellent. For the most part the working conditions were good, especially the second time around when I rarely worked the cash register. I lent a pen to John Glenn, steered an under siege governor to pick up his reserve at the cash register and watched a smug Secretary of the State of Ohio pick up a bunch of copies of the New York Times because his picture was in it.

Left again, on good terms. Was here on and off from 1999-2007. The book business has changed so much in the last five years. I doubt I could go back.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Getting My Bell Rung.

Cooper Stadium was built in 1934 and until 2008 was the minor league ballpark of the Columbus Clippers. At the time of its closing it was the oldest operating facility in the minor leagues. It was a lovely, intimate setting to see a baseball game.

We first saw a game there in April of 1990, it may have been Easter Sunday. We arrived early and I bought a program from a very friendly vendor. Turns out, she sold me a program with a winning number enclosed. We won a welcome wagon pack from a realtor. It was the only time I won any of their contests.

Over the years we saw a lot of good baseball there. We had a friend in the box office who always set us up for tickets. The Clippers were the AAA year of the Yankees. Many great players came through on their way to the majors. Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter to name three.

We also saw Deion Sanders, Hideki Irabu and Rey Ordonez, whose throw from short to first hit the first baseman's glove with the most explosive pop I've ever heard.

In the stands I saw Dick Williams and Graig Nettles scouting and one memorable time, Mr. George Steinbrenner himself, who was putting ketchup on his own burger. Really. I guess he trusted no one to do it for him!

Never had a bad time at a game. Saw them win two Governor's Cups. Went to many games in the 1990's then as depression and a new life came along, started going less. It's a shame I did.

In 2008, the last game was played there and a new downtown stadium was built. Hunington Park is perfectly fine. A great place to see a game, but I miss being just two miles down the road from baseball.

Went by there a couple of weeks ago and took these pictures. It's very sad to see how this proud facility has been neglected.

There's all kinds of talk going on about what to do with the site. A racetrack being the main topic. I'm not sure about that, having grown up next the noise of Islip Speedway as a child. But what can be done with a site that is bordered by a highway and two cemeteries? I'd rather see something in there and revenue generated that what is happening in the pictures above.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Never Drove the Zamboni

Around 1995 that a new sport came into our lives.

It was sometime in 1990 or 1991 that we took in our first Ohio State Hockey game. They were playing Michigan and neither team, especially the Buckeyes was very good. The old ice rink was sold out and we ended up in the standing room only area behind the north goal. Ohio State got beaten rather convincingly. For whatever reasons we never went back.

Fast forward a couple of years and my wife has a couple of the players in one of her classes, including the team captain. We end up going to another game, and the team has deteriorated. The coach's contract was not renewed and he resigned. The interim coach, John Markell, was trying to turn the team around and become the permanent coach.

Somehow my wife landed a position writing about the team for a Michigan hockey publication and leveraged her way into writing about the CCHA for a national college hockey website.

I started going to the games as my work schedule allowed and watched John Markell turn the team from a horribly coached team into something slightly short of mediocre to a league upstart in the matter of two seasons. The ice rink began filling up, the pep band played in their corner and the little rink rocked. It was a dump, but it was our dump. And the team was going to be moving out into the newly built Value City Arena in early 1999.

I think the best game at the ice rink was in 1998 when number one ranked Michigan State came to town. The building was rocking and Todd Compeau added to the atmosphere when he scored less than a minute into the game. He also added the game winner on a sweet feed from Dan Cousineau that I caught on a crappy camera.

This was the magical season the Buckeyes went to their first and so far only Frozen Four in Boston, only to lose to Boston College in the semi-finals. About all my wife and I had left was my crappy work situation and this hockey team. So when the season was over, there really was not much of anything left. The marriage officially ended in the autumn of 1998, but I still went to the games, including the last one in the ice rink against Notre Dame.

The team's first game at the Schott was in January of 1999. I was supposed to bring a date, but got stood up. It was for the best. I ended up taking this picture, had it blown up to poster size and signed by the team. They loved it and one of the player's parents asked for the negative. I gave it to Ryan Skaleski's parents and have not seen it since.

The old ice rink had some seating taken out to finally make the ice regulation size (it was fifteen feet short) and now houses the Women's Hockey Team.

Got to know a few of the players a little during this time. The first athletes I met who were not interested in throwing me into a locker or deliberately trying to break my glasses during dodge ball. Good kids. Fine, respectful young men. Their parents are devoted, they get that way through taking their kids to practice at 5AM. You get a few stage parents, but they're rare. One Dad would sit in the end where the opposing goalie was, to see his kid try and score goals. He'd switch ends between periods. Other parents would let the refs hear it, and not just when their son was hit. One hockey mom called the Athletic Director during a road game, demanding the coach be fired.

Like the fan dork I am I have a couple of old, game worn jerseys from this era. Because of this experience my respect for hockey players and what they do increased a hundred fold.

Hard to get to many games these days. I go when I can, the team has been through some changes. Markell was relieved of his duties, the new guy had an epic collapse in the second half of this season, but that's hockey.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Sixth Job, or, How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

It's always a risk to quit a job when you do not have one lined up. There never was a lot of money being brought in so it was time to look for work as soon as I left it. Do not remember if I took a day or two to sit around and mope. I certainly was not getting any calls from other wine retailers for my services. Applied at one of the big campus bookstores and got a call back a day or two later.

Interviewed for a part time cashier, got the job. The pay was crap, but it was to keep my slightly busy while I applied for full time work. Have to admit I thought I was cursed as one of the store managers died of a stroke a couple of days after I was hired. I never met him. I also saw the store owner, the ubiquitous Doc in the store just once the entire time I was there. His health took a turn for the worse shortly after I started.

The head cashier, the woman who hired me, was one of the oddest people I ever worked with. A tiny Italian woman whose only version of fun was reading Vogue. About a week into my time there, she asked if I wanted to be full time. I said yes. For the first time I had health insurance.

The work was not horrible, but weird, especially with the crazy head cashier moving people around stations like chess pieces. It certainly was a busy place. One morning a well dressed man was looking around the clothing. He looked like I'd seen him before and I asked him why he looked familiar to me when I rang up his OSU sweatshirt.

"I am," he said, extending his hand "Senator Bob Kerry."

"Dude, you nailed Debra Winger when you were Governor of Nebraska!"

Ok, I did not say that. His aide sidled up to me a couple of minutes later and said the Senator was impressed that I knew who he was.

Back to the head cashier though. There are a lot of stories about her, none of them particularly flattering. She drove a lot of good people away with her crazy tactics of management. I have to admit to taking pleasure, years after I left, when I heard that she was finally let go. It was decades too late as far as I'm concerned.

I took advantage of a person quitting their job to get away from cashiering and into the stock room. It was different work for me, unloading a truck when the bell rang. Textbook boxes are heavy!

During this time my first marriage was falling apart. I went to the doctor and left the office with a diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and a prescription for Zoloft. Came home to my wife telling me she was moving out.

Was doing inventory during this time, counting hats in a third floor stockroom trying not to completely fall apart. It was rough, but I managed to get through it by stupidly throwing myself at women who were too young for me. My drinking had diminished quite a bit, and I lost 25 pounds. One side effect of the Zoloft was excessive sweating. Thank you SSRI!

A guy I worked with in the stockroom kept me a lot saner than he realized. He'd sit around and draw during downtime. He was/is a talented artist. When I left I asked to buy one of the pieces he hung on the wall. He gave it to me with his compliments.

We'd listen to Jim Rome's talk show. He was a huge baseball fan. The Cardinals, and I liked to mention the Keith Hernandez trade whenever I could. For the most part, it was an ok place to work. My coworkers were a good group.

There was no room to move forward at this job though. It was a dead end. Nepotism was its religion. I had a bizarre evaluation in which things I had done wrong months ago were mentioned, even though they were never brought up at the time. It was time to leave Even the store GM thought this process was a crock of shit. He was always fair to me, and said he gave me a fair recommendation for my next job.

After Doc died, the store went into a bit of disarray until it was bought by Barnes and Noble. The store moved from it's longtime location to where it is now. The Campus Gateway. The store sits vacant, waiting for…something. It should be torn down, eventually, and whatever goes in will be an improvement. Despite the store being in that location for many years, there is nothing architecturally or historically significant about the space.

After a year and a half, it was a relief getting out of there. The pay where I was going was much higher. I had a girlfriend who I'd marry. A new millennium was coming. Things were looking up, right?

Monday, April 9, 2012

What I'm drinking - 13

The Fifth Job

"This is what I remember, and how I remember it." Mike Doughty

It was a business recently purchased by the owner, S., who had managed the store for years. One of the other employees, C., had a financial stake in the business as well. It was a larger shop, with a beer cooler you could park a car in. Another major draw to the shop was an extensive selection of beer and wine making equipment and supplies. Home brewing was an up and coming hobby in the spring of 1994, and there were only two places in the city that had any selection.

I had a lot to learn about the process, eventually I would make my own beer and wine, to mixed results, but that is another entry for another month.

About a week after I started, I was playing in a softball league in Berliner Park. From my position in right field, I was closing in on a pop fly when I ran into a hole in the grass, my glove defended, the ball did not and hit me square in the right cheek. Really messed up my face and not the best way to introduce myself to new bosses and customers.

A few months into my employment, there was an opportunity to move the business from a dying strip center east of Worthington to an exciting, high traffic storefront in Grandview Heights.

This is the location of where the store used to be, before the move. The Domino's has not changed it's spot in the center.

I'm guessing the business was successful enough so that there was enough money to cover the expense of the move. It took a few months, a bit of pressure and moving related stressors that were typical for a major upheaval. The windows of the new place were papered over in preparation for the opening.

One night, after an afternoon of heavy lifting and dirty work, S. decided it was time to open the doors. He went to the restroom and came back cleaned up and in a suit, leaving C. and I in disheveled work clothes, unable to change into something decent. This was the start of the down turn.

In the new space, there was not as much room for the home brewing supplies, and regulars quickly started noticing. Plus, S. was not purchasing the supplies we needed for even basic starter kits. The profit margin on this stuff was excellent, but money was going into purchasing some very unexciting wine.

When he bought cases of mediocre and pricey French Burgundies, stacked them by the cash register and expected C. & I to sell them without even trying them, something was up. This was a lot of money sitting on the floor, not turning over, while we were turning away home brewers. It was getting depressing to send people away. Then the paychecks started being late.

Cash flow was tight with any accumulated reserves going toward the move, crappy wine and a higher rent. The home brew side of the business was slowing down because there was little product on the shelves, and the wine business was not where it should have been with the product mix going toward higher end wines that were not selling. We probably had one of the better beer selections in the city, but there is not much profit in retail sales of beer. There was also a small wine bar that was breaking even at best.

The bar was a plus, a good way for groups of customers to come in and try new beer along with us. They even brought some of their own rare ones for everyone to try. Ok, that was not legal, but it happened. This was a time when high alcohol beer was not available in Ohio. Our good customers traveled, and they generously shared their purchases. Often. There were also wine tasting and classes that brought in customers. We partnered with the restaurant next door for cooking classes, which should have brought in even more customers.

The constant saying no to people who wanted to get involved in home brewing, the late checks, did not help my attitude. I could have done better, but once again found myself in a situation where I thought I had nowhere else to go.

Eventually the late paychecks and lack of input drove C. out, along with his lost investment in the business. A good guy, T., who had worked in the old location helped us out part time. He was an artist, a woodworker, who used to carve in the store to keep his brain occupied. T. also was a great home brewer who made a tangerine mead that is one of the best beverages I've ever had. He also enjoyed blending wines, especially after tastings when small amounts of wine were left in the bottle he'd find the positive elements and put them together. Another time C. brought an old bottle of wine from his father's basement as well as an extraordinary bottle of Beringer Reserve Cabernet. The old wine we wanted to like, but it was past it's prime. I had a glass of the old wine and dropped a sip of the Beringer Cab into it. The old wine blew up in flavor like a helium balloon. We'd have been doing back flips down Grandview Avenue if that's how the wine was out of the bottle.

In other words, there was some fun there. My wine education got more extensive. I paid attention when S. taught wine classes.

The situation leveled a bit after C. left but the business could not grow. The home brewing side was not improving. Christmas of 1996 had a number of people shut out of supplies and starter kits S. had promised. It was getting grim. There was too much drinking done at work, and none of it was helping at home.

S. was alienating sales representatives, a number of them requested they no longer sell to the shop because of S, and more importantly, diminishing commissions. A couple of them had a pool going about when the store would close.

Another series of the Introduction to Wine Course had started. It was a six week class and a financial commitment. The first week was over, and right before week two S's wife A. had some horrible news. There was an attempt at self harm.

Friends of S. gathered in the temporarily closed shop to look at the finances. Things were very bad. Debt, unpaid taxes, late bills. Quite the mess. S. was not going to be around for awhile. A. stepped up. T's hours increased. I tried getting merchandise in. Called everyone in the wine class, told them S. was ill and unable to teach the class, said I'd teach the class but would offer them a refund. No one asked for their money back, which was how I taught an introduction to wine class, and did it rather well under unfavorable circumstances. I even enjoyed it.

There were attempts to increase business through a massive in store tasting I organized. The wine reps came through with their time and samples. We had about 100 everyday and reasonably priced wines to taste at a fixed price. A good crowd came in. The business was still hanging on, but this was not going to work.

Another class was set to start, and S. was going to teach it. I do not remember if it was the first class, or one of the later ones, but he came in barely on time, leaving me to set up, taught the class and left me to do all the clean up without any help or thanks. He was almost out the door when I laid into him.

A few years of pent up frustration and anger were released, he knew it and let me finish. I said a couple of things I would have liked to take back, a few things I'm not proud of, but it was all out in the open. S. was ill, very much so, in hindsight I realize that even more but I was fed up of running a store did not have my name on it. I told him he was in a position where it was impossible for him to remain open and impossible to shut down. In a sick stroke of bravado I said I'd try to buy him out. Enter K.

K. was a person I met through a wine tasting group. He liked wine and making money. We talked about buying the shop and claimed to have the resources to accomplish this. We spoke to the landlord, who was impressed with our plan. The Landlord found us someone to broker the deal with S. All was going very well. I thought a deal was in place as did our broker and S.

At the last minute K. backed out of the deal. He gave the broker, S. and myself three different reasons as to why he was pulling out. K. and I have not spoken since. There was no backup plan.

Maybe he was not impressed with my commitment. Maybe he was not impressed with my stability, I still was drinking rather heavily during this period. Maybe it was something else, but a few days later I told A. & S. that I could not take it anymore and quit. I got tired of saying no to customers over and over, it really fucks you up seeing them walk out empty handed when any normally run business would have the merchandise.

I'm not sure what happened to the store next. S. was pretty ticked at me for leaving so quickly, along with discarding a "tab" I chalked up to unpaid vacation and combat pay. Again, something I'm not particularly proud of, but they happened. Also the night before I left, T. gave me one of his pieces that I watched him carve from a block of cherry.

T. remained, sided with me whenever S. whined about my actions. Life went on there until the owner of the restaurant next door bought what was left of the business. It's been there for almost fifteen years.

I've seen S. once since, and he tried to apologize. I halfheartedly accepted it. A. I ran into a couple of years ago at a library poetry reading. She snubbed me. C. and T. I still see on friendly terms from time to time. The store and the way it was run helped ruin lives, careers and eventually three marriages. It did get me out of the wine business for good.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A moment of quiet

After the intensity here the past couple of days, it's time to chill. One of my favorite places in the city is Greenlawn Cemetery. It's become a bit run down and neglected, but it's still a peaceful place.

I have done a lot of writing on that bench. The view of the pond has become partial due to the overgrowth that has not been address, but it's still a place of calm.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Of course there was booze involved

When you're in the wine business, one tends to drink. Usually quite a bit. Drinking happens at work when salesmen bring you samples, maybe even a winemaker comes with them. You talk wine, you drink wine. There are trade tastings, which can be bacchanalian affairs with tables full of wine, all of it for free.

At work, I drank. At home, I drank. Socially, I drank.

One thing my wife and I did in that small apartment was throw a good party. Again, it was great that our downstairs neighbor slept like the dead.

And we were also invited out for the occasional party. This particular one was at the rented house of my wife's colleagues.

I'm still trying to remember exactly when it happened. I was working in a wine shop, but can't remember which one. All I know is I got seriously drunk and I started talking out of both sides of my ass.

This part is not my story to tell, so I'll omit those details. It was about an incident that happened to my wife at her work. It involved a hearing that became very Kafkaesque. My wife's accuser may also have put some offensive graffiti in the hallway of our apartment building. The outcome was not favorable toward my wife.

This did not happen to me. But it felt as it did the way my wife battered me with every single detail of every step of the process. The same way she would hammer me with every single detail of a person who cut her off in traffic, who gave her slow service in line, anywhere. The moment I stepped into the apartment, or the car, I would be hammered with her anger, with every outrage she had. This went on for a long time. And it got to me, what happened to her made me very irate, especially with all the crazy shit I was dealing with at my job. I could barely get a word in.

So at the party we were talking about their work, it was always about their work. Little else existed outside of their work. I found that one of the important faculty where my wife worked was there, and I called him over and probably said some very disparaging things about his workplace, the fascist judicial system they had in place, and academia in general. To the person's credit, they walked away from a drunk idiot. I deserved to be punched out. Hell, do not even remember the person's name.

An embarrassing moment in a lengthening line of embarrassing incidents caused by my drinking. Had to call the hosts the next day and apologize. One of my wife's friends called my behavior "magnificent" then changed the verdict to "rude and arrogant" after my wife moved out. We were not invited out much after this particular night.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The fourth job

This entry is a long one, painful to write at times. There are a lot of stories from this period. I'm not sure I remember them all properly anymore. I'm not sure I want to say everything I do remember. This period of my life changed me profoundly.

After about a month of unemployment, and Germany advancing in the World Cup, I found an ad for a wine shop manager in the Dispatch. I called and asked to speak to the manager, who I was speaking to. Asked about if I could interview, "I need a time" was the first of many strange things he would tell me.

Got to the shop, which was divided in two. One side the retail, the other a bar. A toothless drunk behind the bar says aloud to everyone and no one that her replacement is here. I don't even remember her name.

Chris, the owner arrived late. I recognized him from a vendor tasting I went to when I worked at the French Market. Time has erased what we spoke about, but it was lengthy and filled with interruptions. It was a couple of hours before I found out if I'd got the job. I have a feeling it was a given the moment I walked in the place. Meanwhile, my wife was waiting in the car. This did not help matters.

The business had been a wine shop since the early sixties, before that it was a gas station. It was run by the owner's Grandfather, who also owned the property and he passed it on to Chris giving him a lot of advice (and no rent) little of which took for he was a very irresponsible kid. The Grandfather died a few years before, leaving Chris to look after his Grandmother, who did not drive. She was also extremely wealthy.

The wine shop was a potential gold mine, at the time it was one of the few on the east side and sat right on the edge of the wealthy enclave of Bexley. They liked good wine in Bexley, and bought it too. It was a bit of a haul, since I still did not drive. I got to know East Main Street from my seat on the number two bus.

On one side of the building, sat the bar. A money pit of theft, drug dealing and other illicit behavior. Prostitutes met their clients here, strange things happened in the parking lot day and night. How it did not get busted is beyond me.

The bar itself was lovely, dozens of etched wine crates covered in layers of polyurethane lacquer. The back bar was a 24 bay Cruvinet, a wine tap system that worked as often as a 1968 Jaguar and was a pain in the ass to maintain. I hated it because it wasted money and attracted even more cockroaches. The clientele was diverse, a Columbus Municipal court judge was a very regular customer. Nice guy, but dying of emphysema, chain smoking unfiltered Lucky Strikes and the booze did not help. The man could fall asleep standing up, a talent we were all impressed with.

In the midst of all this I became trusted to do the ordering for the retail side and had little responsibility in operating the bar, this was good for everyone. I did not like the bar, the smoke and some of the people who came in there. I did not like serving cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon (this was before the hipsters embraced it) at 10AM, one bigot stared out the window and exclaimed, "You know, ten years ago, you never would have seen a nigger in Bexley, now they're everywhere."

I still have no real idea what went on in the bar at night. There was a lot of stealing. Friends of Chris were robbing the till constantly. He was too messed up to do anything about it. There was a lot of drug use. Chris left a substantial bag of pot in the middle of the retail counter one night for me to find when I opened. I just had to laugh. I guess people expected me to freak out. He asked me if I found an item that was, "indiscriminately left on the counter overnight." The drinking and the pot use did not bother me, it was the crack and harder stuff that ended it all.

In the midst of the chaos, I was learning a lot about wine here, especially the Germans. Despite his reputation as a burn out Chris knew his wine and I got a solid education. Learned to love Champagne here too and selling the stuff was quite a pleasure. One Christmas, I was interview by The Dispatch about an article they were doing on Champagne sales. One prominent local retailer said that sales, "were flat," while I said they've never been better.

It was depressing to watch his deterioration because of the cocaine. His family tried interventions, he was going through a divorce. Nothing worked. He was on his own road, riding his motorcycle drunk, or driving his Grandfather's Cadillac or partially restored vintage Mustang and excessive speed. It's a good thing he never made it to the cell phone era, more people would have been hurt with his attention span while driving.

We did have our fights, mostly about how the bar was being run as it took profits and customers away from the business. The theft from the bar was amounting to thousands of dollars a year. A grand a month, probably more. People were put off by some of the unsavory characters and excessive cigarette smoke that permeated the walls. the smell is still there, to this very day. I notice it.

Near the end, he was rolling with some very questionable characters, a few of whom were carrying briefcases full of what may have been cash and needles. They went upstairs to do their business, I never saw the bloodstains on the wall. I never would have cleaned those up. Why didn't I leave? I had nowhere else to go, so I thought.

He looked horrible the last time I saw him. Unwashed hair, dirty clothes, I think his belt was a piece of rope. He was taking beer out of the cooler, for himself and his buddies. He always called them buddies. I think it was a Tuesday.

Wednesday night, I think, my wife and I got home from whatever we did that night. I had just gone to bed when the phone rang just after ten. She answered it. One of his girlfriends who was now running the bar into the ground said that he died.

I did not know what the Hell to do so I went back to bed for a few minutes then asked if we could head to the house behind the store, where he was living, to find out what was going on.

When we got there, the house was empty, the bar was closed. It was about 11:30PM. I suggested we go to his Grandmother's, maybe something was happening there. The lights were on.

My wife tells me that when I walked into the house and saw his body on the floor of his Grandmother's living room I immediately went completely pale. She was right. His body was face down, covered in a sheet, and his mother was kneeling over his body. Did not expect to see any of this. I was not the same person after this moment. His dead body was the first I had ever seen. Not a body that expired because of old age or disease but a sudden overdose. I thought he died at the other house. His Grandmother was ill and living in an assisted care facility at the time.

About the only other thing I remember from this scene was when the coroner came to pick up his body. When he was lifted his arm fell, and not an a 90 degree angle, but more like a 30, because rigor was setting in. His skin was a mottled green and bruises and the image has never escaped me.

I went back to the bar and my wife called one of his other girlfriends, one of the better ones he had, she came over and we drank more than our share. I took all the money from the building just in case. I was worried about serious theft. We went to breakfast at Tee Jay's and got home about six in the morning. About two hours later, Chris' brother, Scott called.

His brother got out of Columbus and was living in Dayton with his wife and kids. He was an attorney. I ended up headed back over to the store, on about two hours sleep and hung over to talk.

He was not a bad guy, at all. He lost his father and now his brother due to drug addiction and he felt the need to be responsible for Chris' young son.

The wake and funeral were held, both very sad events. The store closed for a few days while Scott and I sorted some matters. The bar was closed, and stayed closed. I ran the business solo, for about a year. A very hard year.

How do you tell people a 33 year old man died when his aorta exploded while he was smoking crack? That's the ghost I was left with for weeks after as the news filtered out. I also had to tell people that their precious bar was closed, and would remain so. People were not happy. And why would they be, their route to free drinks and drug access had just been cut off. There were rumors, I do not think he was alone when he died, but I do not think he was murdered. I think they were doing drugs, Chris collapsed and died, the other guy, or guys, panicked and left.

Store hours were cut drastically, the business was to be sold as a going concern once the legal details were sorted out. Naturally, Chris left no will. This was going to take some time.

I had help during the holidays. My wife was an asset. A good man named Mike, who was one of the better and more responsible bar regulars assisted during the holidays and times I needed a weekend off. He died a few years ago. At his service were pictures of him with large bottles of wine. His daughter told me it was me who gave him the wine bug. A colleague of my wife's helped out as well. This could not sustain itself though.

The bills were being paid, the store was well stocked, Chris' debts were coming down, all due to one guy running a shop right. I'll concede there was no rent to pay, which is a huge expense the store did not have. Scott would frequently check in, ask how things were doing, how I was. "Better than Kurt Cobain," I replied on that day eighteen years ago. I know the cut in hours lost a lot of business, but things had to stay tight, and losses were kept at a minimum.

Vultures would come in, expecting they were going to come in and take the place at a steal. Scott was a but more realistic. I remember one potential buyer praised my merchandising, saying it looked like a New York Wineshop, and it for the most part, still has the same layout. If I remember right I pulled in a quarter of a million in sales, by myself. A drop from previous years, but still an impressive amount of money. There was no way this place, if run well, could not take in at least half a million. In the best year when I was there we came close to four hundred thousand in sales.

About a year after Chris died I got a phone call from the owner of another wine shop, he wanted to hire me. We talked terms. I talked to Scott, who wanted me to stay a little longer, but the ghosts were too much, especially during the down times when no one was in the store but me, and a lot of alcohol. I think we parted on good terms. He sold the shop to a man who had a store on 5th Avenue, who still owns it. I'm not sure of his level of involvement as he's had the same person managing it for years.

I had worked at this place from July of 1990 to April of 1994. I had no idea I was going from one form of retail Hell and straight into another.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Home Number Two

With yesterday's post about Schiller Park, it may be a good segue to post about my second abode in Columbus, which was a short par 3 from the park. Lived here from March of 2000 to October of 2002.

The wedding date was 3/17/01 and we had been looking for places to live in the Victorian Village, Grandview and German Village areas. Nothing really stood out until this one.

It was the left half of the house, with the other half lived in by a ninety plus woman who was more or less deaf. I was lucky twice in a row. She was a very sweet woman who lived there for over thirty years, saw the house built when she was a child.

The apartment had a small living room with built in bookshelves than went into a dining area. The kitchen had decent size. There was even a portable dishwasher, which was used rarely but good to have. It was one of those dishwashers you had to attach the hose to the faucet in order to use, roll it by the sink, and start. A bit of work!

Upstairs was a tiny bathroom, two small bedrooms and a large front bedroom. The back bedroom opened up to a small private second floor balcony. Had I wanted to, I could have sunbathed in the nude.

The location was ideal, her Grandmother lived on the street behind us. We were within walking distance of the park, a good bus line, all the cool stuff in German Village and a grocery store. Should have been great. Maybe the car that crashed into the house next door a month after we lived there was an omen.

Had to move when she became pregnant. We could not afford the reasonable, but higher costs to rent there. Our hand was forced even more when she gave birth to our son three months early. The landlord was a bit of an ass and only returned part of our deposit. Still, I miss the location.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Making a forward leap

My favorite park in Columbus, which has several wonderful ones, is Schiller in German Village. It's relatively quiet, has a nice playground and a tennis court for my son to do laps around. I lived down the block from here right after marriage two and really loved the neighborhood.

Even when I did not have a car I liked to come down here and chill. Good place for a picnic. Not sure how it is for first dates though, back in the summer of 1998, it left me a bit dazed.

All I'm saying is that boasting about fellatio skills on a first date is not the best idea, nor is looking for someone whose lap you can sit on and call him Daddy. After being out of the dating scene, first one back out of the gate was a theater major. My kryptonite. That was my fault for not recognizing the sign of the Drama, among other things.

Nothing happened. It was all for the best. Big River was being performed by the Actor's Summer Theater that night. I think she's tried to find me on MyLife. I'm not hard to find.

A few months later, on the day of my first divorce, I burned the marriage license and gave it a Viking funeral in the pond. What the Hell is it about me and silly rituals?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Where Everybody Knows Your Game

Going in exact chronological order with this project is not going to happen. I may come close, but I'm going to jump around a little.

It was sometime in late August, early September of 1992 during a rain delay at a Columbus Clippers game when my wife approached a man wearing a Buffalo Bills hat. They got to talking about how it was hard to watch the games in town.

Back then, satellites were rare, Direct TV was not around. What we had to do to see regular season Bills games during the season was find a Buffalo friendly sports bar, not the easiest thing to do in Bengals/Browns country, and hope they'd put it on the screen for you.

We got lucky with a Damon's out in Pickerington, but that was a bit of a haul.

The guy she was talking to mentioned Michael Dominic's, a restaurant in Worthington that was owned by a guy from Buffalo and they showed the games on Sunday. She called and confirmed that while the place was closed on Sundays, it was open for Bills fans to watch the games on his satellite.

Our first Sunday there, we found home.

This was right in the middle of the four season Super Bowl loss streak. The team was great during the regular season. Crowds began forming as word of mouth grew. Eventually it seemed the place was busier on Sundays than it was during the week. Michael would serve chicken wings, Sahlen's hot dogs, beef on weck and other Buffalo food that was not on his steakhouse menu.

The Central Ohio Bills Backers were formed and organized bus trips to Indianapolis and to the Thanksgiving game in Detroit. Great times, despite the loss in Detroit.

The greatest day there remains January 3rd, 1993. A playoff game against the Houston Oilers. The Bills were down 28-3 at the half and 35-3 early in the third quarter. By this time I wanted out, but for some reason my wife wanted to stay.

We all cheered mockingly when the Bills made it 35-10, and said it was not going to be a rout when it became 35-17.

But when Frank Reich threw a touchdown pass to Andre Reed, it became 35-24, and it was game on.

The bar was chanting "D-D-D" People were screaming in all the rooms, running back and forth giving out high fives to everyone. When it became 35-31 people were getting body slammed. Bear hugs. Chest bumps and room spins. The craziest and most intense viewing of a sport on television I have ever been a part of.

The Bills went ahead, briefly and chaos ensued. Houston got a late field goal to sent the game into overtime, but we knew. We knew the Bills were going to win.

On the first drive of overtime Warren Moon threw a pass that Nate Odomes intercepted and a couple of plays later Steve Christie kicked an easy field goal.

I was bruised the next morning. I still find the highlights of the game on Youtube and watch them.

We still had two, sad, Super Bowl losses to sit through. There were still crowds. One of the local stations did a live broadcast of its pre-game show from the bar. The Dispatch came and took pictures. I was on the cover of the metro section, probably a bit drunk with a few other fans. The second Super Bowl loss to Dallas took a lot out of people and their commitment to the team, and going out on Sunday afternoons. After that, the team's run of success came to an end. Attendance diminished. Michael closed the restaurant to move someplace else, and that did not work out.

That's the location of the restaurant today. A strip center 90 degrees off kilter from the entrance. It was a bit unsettling to see the building gone. I spent a good 4-5 years of Sunday's there. The Bills Backers meet at a bar in Dublin now, it's fun, some of the same people still go to the games, even though they have dish network. Others have kids, like me, or have retired or moved on and do not have the investment in the team they way they used to. Maybe this year, with the new signings, and hope of an 0-0 record, I'll go back more.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The First Home

We first came to Columbus in late October of 1989. My wife had been accepted to Graduate School at a major Midwestern land grand university and we had a limited time frame to look at the city a little and find a place to live.

It was a freakishly warm weekend. I know we had lunch outside on the patio of A La Carte, which is now Alana's. We looked through the Dispatch for apartments with little knowledge of any of the neighborhoods. We found an apartment that sounded decent, by the ad, and called them from our hotel room.

This was the first place we looked at. The upper right hand apartment. Walking in we both had an instant feeling this was the place. It was not large, but looked comfortable. A decent sized living room. Functional kitchen. Two bedrooms. Basement storage. We wanted this apartment. We had appointments for two other places, but after driving to them we realized we did not even want to look at them.

Luckily we got it.

I lived here for over ten years, she moved out after eight.

It was not a horrible place to live. A bit small for two, especially when times were rough. We did have a few memorable parties. It was not air conditioned and we broiled in the summer. Opening the front windows did not provide much coolant, and the noise from the busy street did not help. The windows were casement, so finding a decent air conditioner was difficult.

The location was decent, just a short distance from campus. Relatively safe. We never had a problem, but our downstairs neighbor was broken into and had her car stolen. Right on a major bus line, close enough to shopping. Because of the street noise, I do not miss it.

It had a backyard that backed up to a ravine, so we had families of raccoons and other assorted critters visit all the time. Our downstairs neighbor had lived there, and still does, for over 40 years. She was nearly deaf so our noise never bothered her.

I finally moved out to live with wife two. I'd been there for ten years and four months. I'd worn of the place and it showed. The landlord was generally attentive, and I got my full deposit back.