Cleveland Housing Affordability

Monday, 28 April 2008

There are some good in­ter­ac­tive util­i­ties out there for de­ter­min­ing hous­ing af­ford­abil­i­ty based up­on var­i­ous met­rics. The Center for Neighborhood Technology has a Housing + Transportation Affordability Index and the New York Times has a cal­cu­la­tor that de­ter­mines whether it is bet­ter to rent or buy based up­on se­lec­table cri­te­ria. There’s al­so WalkScore, which de­ter­mines the walk­a­bil­i­ty of your res­i­dence to ba­sic needs. My place gets a 68100.

Before the hous­ing dis­as­ter­ba­cle here in Cleveland, af­ford­abil­i­ty based up­on the NYT cal­cu­la­tor would have been giv­ing me re­turns on home-own­er­ship af­ter 3 years. Who knows how that’s changed. The Housing and Transportation vi­su­al for Cleveland ba­si­cal­ly fit what I ex­pect­ed. The poor­er ar­eas with low­er prop­er­ty tax­es fit the cri­te­ria for af­ford­abil­i­ty, while the nicer ar­eas [out­er rings, non-Cleveland-in­cor­po­rat­ed] are over the sug­gest­ed bench­mark. Of course, the map just pro­vides ba­sic da­ta, there isn’t much in­ter­pre­ta­tion go­ing on in terms of sta­tis­ti­cal com­par­isons of oth­er da­ta as­so­ci­at­ed with our area. The ad­vanced menu is a bit more in­for­ma­tive.


I don’t know why this wasn’t pub­lished a cou­ple of days ago. The new ver­sion of WordPress has some weird bugs in it.

Life at home this week has been a flur­ry of task-drag­on slay­ing. Every Thursday I clean a bit of the shed out back, pil­ing up tow­ers of junk on the curb for scrap­pers and the fan­tas­tic Cleveland Waste Management fel­lows to take care of. I’ve been clean­ing and prepar­ing the up­stairs unit for a ten­ant, which re­sults in mul­ti­ple bike trips to Home Depot each night. I’ve been tag­ging some of my per­son­al junk for a yard sale I’m go­ing to have On May 24th. I had an idea to make it a Punk Rock Flea Market in hon­or of Punk Rock Softball, which I’m go­ing to have to miss this week­end. It’d be sweet to have a bunch of Cleveland rock­ers show up and browse each other’s in­die crap they don’t want any­more. Grills and beers and in­for­mal­i­ty.

Sorting through all of the stuff up­stairs has been an ad­ven­ture, and it will be nice when the sec­ond half of the down­stairs is com­plete, so that Debbie and I can arrange our stuff in some sem­blance of fi­nal­i­ty. It’d be nice to have space for the kid when he shows up too. There’s a ton of work that needs to hap­pen there in prepa­ra­tion as well. I’m wait­ing un­til af­ter the ba­by show­er to ramp that up.

There’s so much go­ing on, and I feel pulled in so many di­rec­tions, that I’m al­most shack­led by in­de­ci­sion. Back to work.

Weekend Update

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Yesterday was a bit of a wash in terms of ac­com­plish­ment. I had some ap­pli­ances de­liv­ered ass-ear­ly in the morn­ing, which turned out to be ex­cel­lent, be­cause by 9am I was at the hos­pi­tal with Debbie. She’d been hav­ing er­rat­ic con­trac­tions all night and since she’s 32 weeks along Colleen our mid­wife had us come in for a check­up. Turns out Debbie’s cervix was 75% ef­faced, in prepa­ra­tion for la­bor. I was an ear­ly bird and it looks like the kid will be too. But not quite yet. They gave Debbie a drug that was orig­i­nal­ly used for asth­mat­ics to stop the con­trac­tions, 2L of saline and a steroid shot for the kid to help de­vel­op his lungs in case he does come ear­ly. Apparently male lungs de­vel­op slow­er than fe­males. Debbie had to go back to the hos­pi­tal for an­oth­er steroid shot to­day and she’s on 3 weeks of bed rest. Gotta keep him in there as long as pos­si­ble

We were at the hos­pi­tal for 6 hours, so I didn’t get to ac­com­plish all the things I want­ed in the morn­ing, in­clud­ing hav­ing my friend Chris come and in­stall a faucet, Punk Rock Softball, and hang­ing out with Rafeeq. Instead, it was time to clean and or­ga­nize. I was emo­tion­al­ly and phys­i­cal­ly ex­haust­ed so I crashed at 9:30 and didn’t wake up un­til 8:15.

Today I just went ahead and in­stalled the faucet my­self. It took a cou­ple of hours, but I did it well, and now the up­stairs is ready for renters.


Monday, 21 April 2008

Forked over for some plant life this week­end. For the most part my yard takes care of it­self, daf­fodils and tulips bloom­ing every­where and the ros­es start­ing their warm-up set. I had to re­pot some sort of suc­cu­lent that I pur­chased in the depths of win­ter for my of­fice, it is do­ing much bet­ter split be­tween two pots 4 times the size of the orig­i­nal.

Peach BlossomsMy 4 peach trees are in full bloom [pic­tured], but I don’t know how to take care of them. The fig bush died from ne­glect, since I didn’t wrap it up dur­ing the win­ter. I need to dig up a peach tree too. The pre­vi­ous own­er re­moved their api­cal meris­tems, so they on­ly grow out, not up. Like I’ve been do­ing late­ly. The whole back yard needs tilled and lev­eled, but I won’t have time this year. Maybe this fall…been re­mov­ing all of the dec­o­ra­tive brick which was slow­ly sub­merg­ing. Free bricks, come and get ‘em.

Dug up a yew bush old­er than I am. Neighbor across the street said they’d been there as long as she’d lived there, over 30 years. Planted a lilac bush in its place. Got some sort of yel­low flow­er­ing peren­ni­al, some Gerber daisies, some om­nis­per­mum and gift­ed cro­cus and hy­acinth bulbs from Sandy.

All the grass in my front yard is dead.

This Dominion

Saturday, 19 April 2008

I evict. The most I must
kill is a mouse. A rat.
Just a tray of
clear glue. And then


It is said: dirt is matter out of place.
How long did it wait, unknowing, for
me? Unable to free its

I need pliers to clean
it. Reset
it. It
squealed. It took

three blows of
my hammer.


Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Apparently, if I be­have my­self, I’ll be al­lowed to catch the kid as Debbie push­es him out. I’ve been prac­tic­ing. A few weeks ago I bought a catcher’s mitt; I’m soft­en­ing it up with mink oil and keep­ing it wrapped around a soft­ball to get a nice pock­et cre­at­ed for the kid’s head.

Catching my son will be the best thing to ever hap­pen to me.

Lottery League Recap

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Lottery LeagueTo all those who have negative things to say about the future of Cleveland, I submit the Lottery League.

I showed up to the Beachland about 20 minutes before the show started and stayed for the duration. The ache in my feet and knees today is a testament to the fact that I'm not as young as I used to be. However, the beer flowed like wine and I started out with a triple shot of Cuervo to get drunk as quickly as possible. I knew I'd have to be sober 7 hours later when the show ended. The tequila needed some playmates, so I had 3 Straub to balance things out. Then, they ran out of Straub. Straub is, I think, the cheap beer of choice for Cleveland rockers. Anyway.

Nothing cooler than last night is going to happen in Cleveland this year. Over 150 local musicians were randomly shuffled into 33 new bands; these bands had six weeks to make music for a 10 minute set at the Beachland Ballroom. The resulting music was an outstanding inversion of Sturgeon's Law. There was a bit of everything from, Japanese pop [Dr. Widget] to death metal [Born Raped [OK, no one else probably thinks so, but I do.]] It was obvious that some bands took their League status very seriously, while other were out to have a fun time. Yeah, a few of the bands sucked, but then there were bands like Free Moments and Postcards From Foreign Shores who sent me shrapneled in different musical directions. The first few bands had shows with their official bands later in the evening [Hot Cha Cha was playing in Detroit, I believe] and the last few had the tough job of pumping up the music-wearied masses that came to The Big Show.

The ballsiest band, in terms of their angle, was Semper Fi. A bit of performance art punk rock that involved Abu Ghraib references and Nazi salutes. I don't think anyone knew what to make of it, but thankfully there was The Big Show mascot rambling around variously as a bear, a parrot, and a crocodile [at one point the crocodile suit was on backwards so the tail became an engorged reptilian phallus.] One of the bands had a dude in a panda suit. Secret Cleveland Furrys?

There was also plenty of swag, well made T-shirts, programs, tickets and the greatest collection of local music for sale outside of Music Saves. The sheer collaborative momentum behind the event is a testament to what Clevelanders can do when they believe in something. I talked about this with several people throughout the night, but most notably, Pat from Pat's in the Flats. The Cleveland music scene doesn't compete, they cooperate, and all are better for it. That's why we get to have awesome events like the Lottery League and Straight Outta Compound.

Of course, I took some video. Swayze All Over:

and Postcards From Foreign Shores:

More on the Lottery League: