Friday, May 15, 2015

Mil Muros 2.0?

Hummm I never did write about our 24 hour painting, and it certainly looks like I'm not going to right now - who has time to write anything anyways?  But I will post a photo:

I will let you guess which part was my contribution.  Cool project, except for the dubious anatomy and the hideous faces on the principal characters, but I wasn't going to write about this was I?

Instead I will write, briefly, about the fact that it appears I am moving the store.  This just after I got written up in the magazine Muito, which is included in the Sunday edition of the local paper A Tarde.  Kinda like getting written up in the New York Times Magazine, except that A Tarde is not the New York Times, just like Salvador is not like New York, just like Largo Dois de Julho is not the East Village, as much as I might wish it was.  Here's a picture of the article:

Somebody told me a full page ad in this magazine costs 10,000 reais although I have not been able to independently confirm this.  Goody goody for me!!!  They sought me out to write the article.

So what am I doing right after getting this great free publicity?  Well, it looks like I'm moving the store about a kilometer away from its current location.  Why, you may ask?  In short, because the people who run the building where the store is currently domiciled are idiots and assholes.  They are bloodsuckers, incompetents, and shysters.  They are morons, sycophants, and carpetbaggers.  They should go bankrupt and then they should go to hell, in that order.  I hold them in low regard.

Here's the deal: the only good thing about where the store currently is is that it's cheap.  Quite cheap.  It's hidden away in a basement and nobody can find the place, the building gets no maintenance and we don't even have anyone to clean the bathrooms.  The owner basically bleeds off the rent that comes in and ignores everything else related to the building.  The stores are bad, and apparently the apartments upstairs are worse.  Yesterday, the steel staircase that leads down to the dungeon where the store is located finally rusted through one of its primary rails; collapse was imminent, until I shored it up with a piece of wood.

But you want to know something interesting?  According to the 'super' of the building, these problems are our (the renters) fault and responsibility.  Apparently they did a big renovation about 10 years ago and we didn't do our part to maintain the building.  Their solution?  Charge us for the overdue maintenance.  To the tune of 1500 reais each.

There are some shared bathrooms in the building for our use.  The doors to these bathrooms are literally falling apart as they are completely infested with termites.  They have holes in them.  From a conversation with the 'super' on the topic:

Me: "You mean to tell me that we, the tenants of the building, are responsible for replacing the bathroom doors?"

'Super': "Yes!"

From a subsequent conversation last week:

Me: "Have you spoken to a lawyer about what you're trying to charge us for?"


Me: "You're going to lose me as a tenant over this."


'Super': "Well if that's your attitude, I suggest you start looking for another place."

Me: "I already am."

Did I mention there are three empty stores in the building that they have not bothered to try to rent?  I tried to move into one (more expensive than my current store) a year or so ago and I was informed that "The owner doesn't want to rent it at this time, she'll let you know if she changes her mind."

Whaaaat?  And you're complaining that you don't have money for building maintenance?

Dude, I'm a hothead at times, and this was one of them.  I wanted to move out this year but decided not to because the current political crisis was just beginning to unfold.  I started to change my mind a couple months ago when this bullshit started to manifest, but I still owe a bunch of money from our graffiti event and didn't have anything in reserve for a move.  But last week, when the 'super' showed up with a notice that they'd start charging for the 'maintenance and conservation' of the building I decided it was time to go.  I got all charged up and started taking the first steps: finding a new space and scraping the walls.

Scraping the walls?  Well, for the last three years I've been letting my clients write on them, and I have to return the store in the condition I received it to get my security deposit back.  I decided to make a game out of it:

As you can see it's not just my clients who contribute to the walls.  It's actually been a pretty cool collaboration between me and my clients, and I wish I'd documented it a bit more carefully.  Now my son has decided he's going to do the scraping, as I told him he could earn 50 cents for each tile he cleans off:

He's hoping to earn enough to replace his cell phone that just was stolen, but that's another story.  Special thanks to my second oldest brother (you know who you are) who provided the scraper which is being put to most vigorous use on this project.

I found a space, in a small shopping center not far from here.  It's smaller and more expensive than my current space.  But it's easy to find and it has a window.  And there's a full time employee to do cleaning and maintenance.  And the super is actually a super - she's responsive, pleasant, and actually shows up from time to time at the shopping center.  I expect most of my clients will follow me there, although I will certainly lose a few.

Now I have to wait for the !@#$ local bureaucracy to approve my change of address.  This, apparently, can take up to 45 days, during which I'd basically be a fool to move although I may do so anyways.

Last night I lay awake in bed listening to the rain and wondering if I hadn't made an impulsive, expensive miscalculation.  It's going to be a lot of work to move this damn store, and to a spot that is about half the size and almost twice the price?  I don't know.  But the wheels are in motion.

And here I was thinking I'd spend ten minutes on this post, over an hour later.