Only FOUR (4) More Sundays!!

Please Note: This blog was published before it was completed. I was bloggin’ away and just happened to hit “PUBLISH” instead of “DRAFT”!! (This latter effort freezes and updates each draft — while “PUBLISH” sends whatever’s blogged to that point — to the public.)  This is the second time that this has occurred — and I have not touched the tequila yet today. But, I will now take a sip and re-read this sterlin’ piece of prose — ‘n if you take a-likin’, you might give the ole guy a comment or so — I’m thick-skinned enough to handle it — remember the Alamo — whoops, I meant I now have the tequila!! So, read on ……….

That’s right!! The remainin’ residents at the senior-citizen “independent-livin'” facility at 947 Tiverton Ave in the Westwood section of west Los Angeles — will finally vacate said premises. It’s called The Watermark at Westwood Village, ever since the end of 2016 — but the new owners don’t call it by that name — except on their stationery. And, I can understand why — since our 14-story, ex-UCLA dormitory still has the look and feel of a college-housin’-residence — and accordin’ to the engineerin’/buildin’ inspection reports, it is somewhat of  a “danger-to-residents” — lackin’ earthquake/structural protection and with elevators that need safety upgrades (whatever that means).  Well, within California law — we had a year to pack up and move out — there were 121 residents  at that time (that’s accordin’ to my in-house source who has kept me updated on our “remainin’-number” of very, very, very elderly tenants) — durin’ this period of “wait-‘n-see-what-happens” — to the folks that did not want to — or were hesitatin’ to — locate elsewhere!!

Some wanted to stay close to family — with daughters livin’ only blocks (not miles) away. Some are just enthralled with the location with every type of store for food, medicine, etc., etc., etc. — from Trader Joe’s to Coffee Bean! -from Ralph’s to a RiteAid Drugstore! – and a Target housin’ a CVS pharmacy and a Starbucks coffee-house. Then, there’s the UCLA campus — beginning’ just a half-block north ; and that’s where the wife ‘n the “ole guy” have our doctors — takin’ advantage of their nationally acclaimed Geriatric Division — and top-ranked medical staff in every specialty — affordin’ a great deal of peace for aged minds. And since the two of us are movie buffs — we have walked the 3 1/2 block to the Regency movie houses — recently seein’ “The Post”, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”, “Dunkirk” and are plannin’ to see “Phantom Thread” this comin’ week.  And finally, some us just couldn’t afford to move — the Westwood Horizons senior citizen facility (formerly owned by Vintage) — was a real honest-to-God  price/performer. A comparable facility within five miles would have cost the wife and me close to 2-grand additional — that’s 2000 smackeroos per month!! That’s for the same offerin’s — without location, location, location — so maybe you blog-readers can understand why we did not want to leave our happy home.  Yep, in our case, it was a matter of economics (and for sure, the “location” advantage plays a very huge roll!!)  And I’m not ashamed to say that after servin’ in the US Navy for 12 years and workin’ for IBM for thirty years — personal finances were a huge factor in our decision of “waitin’ out” our new owners at 947 Tiverton Ave in the Westwood area of Los Angeles (now represented herewith as “947-TA”).

So, actually, the residents had a whole year to move out due to the major construction planned — re: unsafe livin’ conditions. (aside: This included financial assistance  and an agreement to move back at the same lease rate under price control. Plus, the ones that moved could return at any time for meals at no cost — which was a generous offerin’ by the owners.)  It is my opinion, that very few (if any) of the extremely aged folks that moved to other senior-citizen facilities will move back. They will become “settled” in their new environment and will not want to leave their close friends — breakin’ up is extremely hard to do — especially,  when one is in their nineties and is afflicted with the penalties of very old age. But back to the situation of us tenants that did not desire to move. Durin’ the summer, the Los Angeles City Housin’ Commission, at the behest of Bet Tzedek (our amazin’, pro-bono, legal advisors) and us tenants, that did not want to move out ever, granted us a change in the buildin’s status — such that there was no requirement for all residents to ultimately move. So, by law, while construction is in progress, the new owners are required to furnish equivalent or better temporary housin’ (with benefts)!! And they have agreed to furnish all the “extras” that are now offered here at “947-TA” — for us very, very, very senior citizens who do not want to leave — for whatever reason — this area — so this will be our final nestin’ place!!

And guess what!! The place we will move to on or before March 1st — is located just across Weyburn Street from where I’m bloggin’, right now — it’s the buildin’ we can view through our floor-to-ceilin’ dinin’-room windows. We will stay in this same neighborhood (HAL-LE-LU- JAH!!) — the wife and I can take the UCLA shuttle to all doctor appointments — we’ll be just a “hop-skip-and nooooo!! we can’t jump — from Trader Joe’s to our buildin’s entrance — and just across the street from that Target which houses the CVS Pharmacy and Starbucks. Yeah, that’s right!! We ain’t goin’ no-where, no-how, no-way!! It’s a very modern apartment buildin’ with a humongous “infinity” pool and a very chic-and-upscale gym — and rumor has it that there are lots of UCLA grad students who live there. What a mixture — millennials and very, very, very ole f**ts — a few of the latter in wheelchairs with care-givers, many with walkers, ‘n the “ole guy with his cane (and/or, a hospital-provided-aluminum walker). There’ll be only about nine of us — the wife and I, bein’ — the only couple remainin’.  Also, we will be the only two folks not dinin’ in a “communal dinin’ room ” — an apartment devoted solely for us Watermark tenants — used as an “activity room”, as well as a dinin’ room. Jeez, it might be so good at The Glendon (its official name)  we ole-timers may not want to move back to “947-TA”!!

So, Harriette and I will take up livin’ and survivin’ the same way we did in Mexico — in San Miguel de Allende, GTO,  where we were residents from October ’90 to July ’14. (We moved to “947-TA” on August 1st, 2014!) As I have previously blogged, the wife ended her cookin’ career in the summer of ’83 — when after only a couple of weeks in Paris, while we were still livin’ initially, and temporarily, at the Paris Hilton. We were in the process of spendin’ “mucho francs” on remodelin’ a very, very, very old French kitchen in our newly-found 3-story apartment — it was at the end of a wonderful Parisian meal at a local dinin’ establishment — she just stood up and announced at the table “I’m not cookin’ anymore — I am retirin’ from the kitchen”! What I have failed to mention is that a young French waiter had just placed a large crock at her end of the table (maybe 18-inches-tall ‘n a foot-in-diameter) and with a huge dipper, he placed a mound of chocolate mousse on her plate.  She meant it, and that’s why — while we lived almost 2 1/2 years in the Paris 16th arrondissement  — the only three items one would find in our fridge were wine (both white and red — the latter should be chilled, too!); fresh ham from the three street markets nearby; and lots of chunks of fresh parmesan cheese (which my Italian co-worker taught us — that it made the best “nosh” when eaten in chunks — at cocktail parties, or just before goin’ out to dine at a Parisian café or bistro or brassiere!!

So, if you are ever in our neighborhood — maybe, just passin’ through — you might see this beautiful brunette strollin’ along Glendon Avenue with — what looks like her “anciano” male escort and his squeaky and  inexpensive walker. They’ll probably be headin’ for the Boilin’ Crab, or Tender Greens — or just maybe, for Mexican tacos with freshly-boiled ears of corn covered with their ever-present, red pepper at PINCHE” Tacos Restaurant. Just give ’em a wave — and they just might wave back atcha!! ‘nuf ………

Post Script: Well, this blog was published — maybe 4 hours ago — and I have just corrected a rather “unappetizin'” error. In the next-to-last paragraph in which I mention the dessert’s name that we were bein’ served — I described it as a mouse — that would have shut down that French bistro immediately. Fortunately as I re-read this blog, I noted my error and changed to the correct spellin’ — mousse!! Forgive me, there will be no rodents mentioned in any of my blogs in the future, especially in connection with a restaurant. Finally, with a nod toward cleanliness and a germ-free dinin’ experience, I’ll end this add-on!! Except to explain to frequent readers of  “ole guy’s ramblins”– that the shortened method of describin’ our current livin’ facility has always been the CAN (Casa de los Ancianos del Norte), but in this blog, I wanted to associate the facility’s title with our current address at Tiverton Ave! Truly, I can do this if I want to, ya know!! Finally, ‘nuf …………

————— Why Am I Puzzled? ————– Are They Really So Mean and Wicked?!!

Preface: (My original blog was modified on the followin’ day when an error was identified; it is marked distinctly.)  Please forgive an ole guy for bloggin’ “what’s on his mind”; particularly, if you are one of the few regular readers (if I have any regular readers!?); that is — since I rarely get a comment to give me a “boost” or “whatever”. This blog, specifically, is my response, or reaction, to Watermark’s offer, under California law, to provide equivalent housing for us tenants when construction prohibits remaining in our livin’ quarters — for safety reasons. The law is called the Tenant Habitability Plan (lovingly referred to as the “THP“). Herein, I get down and dirty — into some of the details stated in our contractual agreement which we signed in August 2014. I am forthright in my effort to make the case that they are not offerrin’ us tenants a fair and honest shake — in fact, I think, legally, they are non-responsive. So, if you are still up for it, I’ll try to make this blog interestin’ enough and worthy of  your time. So, read on ……… 

A last phase of our lives — Harriette’s and mine — started on a late afternoon in early July 2014. We had been livin’ in our leased two-bedroom (sorta) townhouse near the center of town in (quaint, picturesque and arty) San Miguel de Allende — a very special town proclaimed a World Heritage City and named the best city in the world in which to retire by a few popular magazines!!  We had chosen San Miguel back in 1990 after retirin’ while livin’ in Westport, CT, to complete a long and very interestin’ career as an IBMer!! We had driven our 2nd-hand Hertz Ford (pastelita de crema or “little cream puff”) through 30 of Mexico’s 31 states and the Federal District (Mexico City) — then even into Guatemala — searchin’ for a place to call our (anticipated) “final” home — and we settled on San Miguel and started Spanish classes immediately (we wanted to get with it!) — and thus it became our home for the rest of our lives — almost!! This last –unanticipated — phase occurred on that fateful afternoon in mid-2014.  I had found Harriette lyin’ face down near our guest bathroom in a puddle of blood — in fact, there were a few puddles on the floor of our guest bedroom. She obviously had not felt good and went into our other bedroom — so that “Dr. Emiliano” was not aware of her condition. Luckily, I had begun to wonder where she was and ……..

Talk about bein’ scared — I thought it was over — but, the San Miguel 911 worked well, and in minutes we were on our way to the hospital, and amigos joined our landlady in cleanin’ the place. The beginnin’ of the end of our  final phase in life had started — unknowingly!  But no bleedin’ ulcer was gonna keep a good woman down — and after a short hospital stay she was back to bein’ that “smilin’ Texas chili pepper” that I had wed almost 64 years earlier. But, that hospital stay had alerted our daughter Susan who had hopped the first plane down — long story short — she shipped the two of us back to the states — to our ole stompin’ ground in L.A. (Previously, Susan had entered 1st grade and graduated UCLA durin’ our 17 years, livin’ in good ole San Fernando Valley from ’66 to ’83!!)  Back in Los Angeles, we had a very hard time makin’ the decision “not to return to Mexico” — and had maintained our leased apartment thru the end of the year. So, in mid-December ’14, Susan returned to San Miguel alone — and gave away all our furnishin’s and her father’s clothes — she packed up her mother’s clothes and the wonderful artwork that local artists had generously given the two of us just for bein’ two gentle ole souls who loved Mexico. (Remember, we lived in a town with lots and lots of artists — they were our amigos! Plus, every restaurant owner, waiter and bartender in town knew Emiliano y Harrieta by their first names!!) Susan shipped it all to Los Angeles!!

In the meantime, Susan had scouted the Los Angeles area near UCLA — she had a plan for the two us in mind (which included UCLA’s Geriatric Medical Division). And, lo and behold, she found the Vintage Westwood Horizons — a few short blocks from the UCLA medical facilities in the wonderful Westwood area — with lots of stores (Target/Starbuck/CVS {all-in-one}, Ralph’s/Starbuck, Trader Joe, Rite-Aid) a few steps away. She made sure her agin’ parents were enrolled in the Geriatric Medical Program at UCLA and we both were blessed that Dr. Patricia Harris was available — and we were all over-joyed with Vintage’s offerin’s. The two of us are old — very, very, very old (93 & 89) –but we were not in need of an assisted-livin’ facility.  And without jumpin’ too far ahead in this tale (of woe), we could begin to hire, as needed, a person to do our laundry on a weekly basis (with washer/dryers available on every floor) — plus assist with the “walk-in” shower, for whomever is in-need.  Actually, we have a care-giver now for a limited time (an hour or so) twice a week. That’s how the Meisel’s are survivin’ today!  (A sorta beginners’ program for assisted-livin’!? This is what has made Vintage Westwood so unique, and so special, for the two of us. And I truly believe — this is why Watermark is havin’ so much trouble in resolvin’ our temporary housin’ — it’s not a facility for housin’ only — and it’s not a full-scale assisted-livin’ operation!! But, I will state there is a similar facility within the prescribed distance from 947 Tiverton Ave!!) Now, let me tell you what Vintage offered us in 2014 (in writin’ — and contractually!!).

But, first: an [aside: I had some health issues that were so serious that they had to be taken care of — in relatively short order. In essence, this was the main reason we did not return to Mexico. (It was time for two very, very, very ole world travelers to pack it in, so to speak!) First, I had a TAVR procedure at Cedars Sinai Hospital, where my long-time cardiologist Dr. Ivor Geft practices in combination with the Cedars “Heart Institute” under Dr. Raj Makkar — a TAVR is a trans-catheter aortic valve replacement — that’s why you hear me moo-in’now and then — the valve is from a cow!! This was followed shortly thereafter, in early 2015, by a double-hernia operation at UCLA’s Santa Monica Hospital (that was with Dr.Chen). And just for kicks (and for more ease in walkin’ around), I had a 2nd lifetime laminectomy in the L1-L3 area at the same hospital (with Dr. Lu, presidin’) — about 6 months later!  Therefore, my home-city will be Los Angeles for the rest of my life — but we’ll always have wonderful memories of Mexico — the place where we were supposed to end our days!!] Now for that signed contract ……..

Note: If you are a regular or casual reader of “Ole Guy’s Ramblins” blogs — please skip the next paragraph — it’s just a list of the contractual elements in our current and valid Residence Agreement — almost all of which are not provided in the current and revised THP offered by Watermark to us remainin’ tenants at the Westwood Horizons senior facility located at 947 Tiverton Ave.

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The Vintage Westwood Horizons signed agreement included: One bedroom fully furnished with bathroom includin’ a walk-in shower and raised toilet seat. Further, in the order described in our contractural document, the following items are listed: Exterminator service; annual carpet-cleaning; light bulbs for ceiling and bathroom fixtures; dinin’ services of three (3) meals a day in the main dining room with snacks to be served frequently in the afternoons in the clubhouse (3-3:30pm daily for ice cream); tray service to the room, especially after a hospital stay (3 days no charge); besides daily bed and room attentionweekly complete housekeeping  with bed linens changed once a week and fresh towels 3 times a week (details not listed herein include some items to be accomplished quarterly and annually); activities are discussed “a wide variety of activities with the goal of enriching and supporting the mental, physical, and spiritual well being of the resident” (these are the actual words in the agreement); Beauty Salon/Barber Shop is available on-site; Transportation is provided within a 7-mile radius (if possible, request 24 hours in advance); Emergency Response indicates they will call 911, assisting in every way; Notices to community (in-house): activities will be posted; and lots of other “rules and regulations” are listed.  Also included, in this RESIDENCE AGREEMENT, are guidelines for EMPLOYMENT OF OUTSIDE SERVICE PROVIDERS, Energy Conservation guidelines, and the document ends with EMERGENCY PROCEDURES. Followin’ is an ADDENDUM coverin’ Motorized Cart Policy, Security Precautions, Respite Residents, and finally (as one might expect) Notice and Refunds upon DEATH. This detailed RESIDENCE AGREEMENT preceded what I will call a “succinct and shortened” Residence Agreement which is also signed and dated by me, my wife and a representative of Vintage Westwood Horizons.

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Now, welcome back, and read on: [aside: It is my understandin’ that this contract/agreement is still in effect, and that may be why Watermark continues to identify this facility in most cases as ‘WESTWOOD HORIZONS” (even though their stationery states: “THE WATERMARK at Westwood Village” with a fancy “W” to the left and inside a circle). I explained in my previous blog — why I colored their name in gold! I titled that blog “Ole Guy’s Retrospective, His Manifesto ……. an Expose’!!]

That blog was my response to Watermark’s first THP. And, yes, we just received their second one called “a revised THP”! Their original THP was denied!! The new cover letter is dated December 18, 2017, and the first 4 pages appear to be the same (updated for dates, etc.) as the original. The 5th page indicates it is for: Emiel & Harriette Meisel – #430 followed on the left of the page by some descriptve info: One Bedroom – (1)3/4 bath; 450-640 Square feet; No Kitchen; No In-Unit Laundry. On the right side of the page is printed in bold letters: APARTMENT AMENITIES; and the first line states: Guaranteed-One Bedroom One Bath 738-834 Square feet!!!! (Stop, stop, stop!! What size apartment are they offerin’ the wife and me? Right off the bat somethin’s wrong!!) [aside (next day): Yep!! Somethin’s wrong and guess what!!?? It’s the ole guy who is wrong, this  time!! But, this just proves that the simple, one-pager describin’ The Glendon — managed to confuse your blogger. When they put our names in bold black letters and listed a one-bedroom with some descriptive phrases beneath it — in my suspicious mind, I thought that was the “cell” we were bein’ assigned (see what they have wrought!!) — know what?? — my Bet Tzedek amigo quickly explained “that is the one-bedroom you are currently residin’ in at 947 Tiverton Ave!!” Well, I told you their revised THP was confusin’ — and I guess I proved it!!]

The multi-colored document goes on to elaborate about all the great amenities in the apartment and in The Glendon community. But, the coup-de-grace is the beautiful multi-colored photo (I’m sure from The Glendon’s advertisin’ portfolio) which shows a splendid “infinity pool” on the left — and on the right — wow!! — that’s somethin’ a 93-year-ole handicapped geezer like me really wants to use daily — a very complex strength machine!!  Why am I goin’ into such detail — this package that Watermark has produced as a 2nd THP — must have been done in quite a hurry without too much time to edit nor to consider the “patient” — it has other significant errors in ours — the wife’s and mine!! The last THP had a multi-page brochure individually produced for each tenant — maybe they had a deadline to meet to rid themselves of their very, very, very elderly tenants — the package handed to me by some stranger on Monday afternoon is certainly not up to snuff — for the Watermark brand!!

As I have stated in that earlier blog, Watermark’s THP offerin’s are nothin’ more than  eviction notices. Recall our first meetin’ with the Watermark President/CEO — over a year ago — when he knowingly gave our extremely elderly tenants “120 days to vacate the premises” (with notices posted on all doors on the followin’ day).  It took me, personally, 5 more days to read the fine print — when it dawned on me in the middle of my blog “Ole Lives Matter!! or do they??” that we had a whole year to vacate the premises under California law — because we were all over 62 years of age (the Watermark CEO had purposely scared the daylights out of us very, very, very ole folks).  That same day we had “protested” the 120-day eviction notices with a march (really, a stroll with walkers and canes and wheel-chairs and care-givers) proudly carryin’ those signs — “Ole Lives Matter” — and Angie Crouch, the Channel 4 TV reporter extraordinaire, made sure we were on the local NBC evenin’ news!! We were a proud bunch and loved to put the “finger-in-the-eye” of the new owners who were evictin’ us.  And that was just about the time that the Bet Tzedek organization took notice by comin’ to our rescue with their legal prowess — really, though, it’s a re-enactment of David and Goliath — ‘n we very, very, very ole folks (with the BT legal team) represent li’l David!!  And it’s a reasonable comparison since Watermark Residential Communities (40 nation-wide facilities) is controlled by The Freshwater Group of Tucson, AZ, about which a quick google will inform you about them: “Bringing the mastery of 25+ years experience to craft better senior communities.” And their major financial supporter is Kayne Anderson Capitol Advisors, LP . located right here in Los Angeles. ‘nuf ………

Post Script: We plan to appeal the revised THP offered by Watermark for the wife and me, which calls for our spending a minimum of 16 months in The Glendon Apartments, with its long, dark hallways, with no handrails. A current Glendon tenant, a younger active person (81 years),  who formerly lived at our location, advises us that there are no neighborly folks there — everyone, even in the elevator, all together, are lookin’ down at their cellphones. The place is known for housin’ UCLA grad students. She constantly complains about the outside contractors who are available for a monthly house-cleanin’ !! It is an extremely large and cold complex (people-wise) with apartments on both sides of Glendon Avenue — a spectacular location, but …. not for us !! We would not be physically safe at our ages (as I have mentioned before, falls are the quickest way to end ole people’s lives). We would have to eat out at least two times a day and both the wife and I have trouble maneuverin’ even now to purchase necessities — we choose Ralph’s because it’s less than a half block away, and I can support myself on their large carts. Eatin’ 3 meals a day within our facility is one of the highest priorities the two of us have! Daily maid service is also a must — the maid has to check to make sure we are both still alive. Our doctor states that a transfer bench is unsafe, even with a care-giver — so, we must have a walk-in shower. And what about those activities for mental, physical, and spiritual well-bein’ in our agreement???

There is a solution within the THP — and I quote: “the landlord and the tenant may mutually agree to allow the landlord to pay the tenant a per diem amount etc., etc., etc.” There is a suitable location within the prescribed radius which provides an equivalency — and that is the solution — if they are concerned at all in the well-being of the tenants remainin’ here at 947 Tiverton Ave in Westwood. Or, as this blog’s title states: are they just wicked folks and not concerned with our well-bein??!!  I’ll leave you readers with that thought!!  ‘nuf ……….

 

Confessions of a Very, Very Ole Guy!! subtitled: “Red, White and Black”!

Preface: When I started bloggin’ in early ’16, the news was that the comedy sitcom genius Norman Lear was peddlin’ a couple of ideas for new offerin’s. One was a latino version of “One Day at a Time”, which came into bein’ earlier this year. The other was “in the can” (that’s television-speak) about life in a senior citizen livin’ facility — just like ours — titled “Guess Who Died”.  This led my admistrator-daughter to sub-title this blog “comedy about life in the geriatric facility” — and I have referred to that descriptive passage often. Any frequent reader knows it has been far from a comedy since the end of last year with our new ownership with that eviction notice and such. But on occasion, I have blogged about “life in the geriatric facility” attemptin’ — in a comedic fashion. I offer this blog in that vein — even if it’s not all that funny!! You be the judge and read on …….. 

When you are a married guy — livin’ in a senior citizen facility — and the number of women out-number us ole male geezers by a factor of about 5:1 — what’s an ole guy’s relationship supposed to be with these other single (?) females — remember I am a married man — the wife and I are two “peas in a pod“!! As I have reflected many times — back on the days when there were over 120 very ole souls livin’ here at the CAN (Casa de Ancianos del Norte) on Tiverton Ave in the Westwood section of Los Angeles — I realized there was an “underground” kinda club. All the younger husband-less women would typically sit together and chat away — not in one large table but, four here — and four there — and maybe two of them joinin’ a married couple,  etc., etc., etc.  I use the term “husband-less” because these gals have typically outlived at least one fella in marital bliss (There were one or two, or possibly more, who were never married, however!!).  And I use the term “younger” to mean they are in the 85ish age-range — and at the CAN —   85 is still a youngster!!

There’s a much older bunch of females, currently — about 8 or so — with care-givers — most are wheel-chair bound and some are not completely on top of every-day issues.  I have not counted noses; so all these numbers are estimates — but there aren’t too many of us senior citizens left here at the CAN — about 27 or so. And, I just heard that one of the wheel-chair gals will be leavin’ next week, along with three other tenants that have been on another location’s wait-list. [aside: But, there are 3 wonderful, intelligent women here who I have frequently blogged about — they are Sadie Smolev (102), Lillian Koslow (99) and Dorin Mathis (92) — Dorin is the only one who is wheel-chair-bound — but she is not included in the group previously mentioned — Dorin has all her faculties and as previously blogged — a fav lady of mine —  and she’s also a Holocaust survivor!! The older two, Lillian and Sadie, use there walkers and act as young as the rest of us — they’re only 99 and 102, respectively.  So, when you include the wife — these four women are not to be included in any of my descriptive offerin’s herein! So, please read on …..]

Our number at the CAN will be down to 23 by Thanksgivin’ — God willin’ ‘n we all stay reasonably healthy!! [aside: Lillian has had a health issue recently, and she won’t permit anyone to share her table until the issue is cleared up; so the wife and I are now — normally dinin’ alone. Her son-in-law and grandson are doctors at Cedars — and we’re countin’ on them to make sure she licks the problem soon.]  But, back to our dwindlin’ population here at the CAN — as mentioned, there will remain — 23 hearty souls. And when that occurs — I will finally be rid of the three females which the ole guy has had — let’s say — issues — maybe even very mild confrontations. I have previously mentioned one or two instances in past blogs.

I guess one might consider the fact that a 93-year-ole fogey such as me — havin’ confrontations with some younger female tenants — sounds a bit stupid and silly — but, I just don’t like the prissy type, nor the clingy type of  woman (two are prissy and one is clingy) — and all three sure don’t like me!! Two of these females must be extremely well-off, if you know what I mean — they must be endowed with considerable worldly goods; but worldly goods just don’t mean too much at our stage of life. Here at the CAN, we’re all treated the same. To net it out, all three appear to be man-hungry — two like the soft and clingy male — not an A-type — and with the third — it just has to be a man. [aside: As I am  bloggin’ — I realize I am confusin’ — just stick with me — I will identify these 3 females as Red, White and Black. (It should be noted — this is not the color of their skin!)  I am also wonderin’ if I will ever publish this blog — or will it be set aside to join a few other partially finished blogs!! I guess that’s another “vamos-a-ver” situation!!  But, as I think about some of my blog readers — they must be sick and tired of the ole guy’s blogs about Watermark, evictions, appeals, etc., etc., etc. — and they probably want some meaty, humanistic  stuff– in other words, gettin’ down-and-dirty (more like Norman Lear)  — well, maybe not too far down and only somewhat dirty!!] So let’s get started with my tales of woe!!      I will refer to them in accordance with that color scheme!!

First, there’s Red — the wife and I actually met her in the dinin’ room at lunch one day. So let me get started.  It all began thusly: We were dinin’ alone when a separate female — who was within a few day of leavin’ us for another senior facility — and who had  actually played bridge with the wife only the night before — in a friendly manner, asked to join us at the table. As the three of us began to dine and chat,  Red arrived on the scene and asked our  dinin’ partner if she could join the three of us. To which this lady agreed — and the wife and I made no comment. I was half finished anyway — but the first words out of Red‘s mouth were to discuss a recent death of a female resident (which had occurred  a few days earlier at our residence). Well, after about 3 or 4 minutes of chatter from these two females — involvin’ that dark subject — I injected myself into their tete-a-tete — (re: death) — and said it was not a subject that I cared to listen to while dinin’ — and that it was a bit unseemly to sit with people you don’t know and a start discussin’ someone’s unfortunate demise. After my leavin’ the wife at the table,  Red immediately asked her how long she had been married to that guy — to which Harriette answered that it was a very long and happy time — thence, she immediately left the two women — and her unfinished lunch. [aside: That’s why I married this cute yellow rose of Texas!!]

A few weeks later, the wife and I and a friend attended the regular Thursday Happy Hour. We regularly sit at the far end of our Clubhouse — and actually, adjacent to the floor space possibly to be used by an entertainer– which is a very rare occurrence at Happy Hour. On this particular day, there happened to be an entertainer — and that’s a miss-use of the word — it was a female who attempted to sing and wiggle around in the small space relatively close to our table — to put it mildly — she was terrible! [aside: I do not go to many events in the clubhouse — this was the first entertainer that I had ever witnessed. The wife assured me that the normal entertainment is very good — this was well outside the norm.] So, as one might imagine,  our table completely ignored her and continued our Happy-Hour-conversation. Shortly, we heard a voice at a table in front of the entertainer not too far from us — remember, we were to the side in a corner — and rather than a voice; it was a ‘shush’ — and upon lookin’ up — it was Red with a finger on her lips. Well, you can guess my instantaneous reaction — the ole guy flipped her the bird!! And I was thrilled with her astonished reaction — and our relationship was thankfully doomed forevermore.

I have purposely left out an event which had occurred in between the lunch and the “bird-flip“! I infrequently attend clubhouse speaker/sessions — but when a retired Los Angeles Times columnist was to talk about the upcomin’ election (it was late summer in ’16) — I was in the audience. Durin’ his presentation, he had asked for  show of hands — if you were plannin’ to vote Democratic!! All hands were raised.  (At least I thought all hands had been raised???).  For when he asked for Republicans — one hand happily went up and there was a very broad grin on her face — I’ll let you guess whose it was — and — I just might bet you just forgave an ole guy for “flippin’ the bird” to Red!!

But what she had in common with the other 2 gals on my list — well, I really didn’t make a list — she was after a man. And she caught one before he left for another senior facility. He is our 100-year-old Holocaust survivor who is probably in better shape mentally and physically than most 60-year-old Los Angelenos!! And he was pleased as punch — he did not care who she voted for, she wore a skirt and whispered sweet nothin’s in his ear. They started dinin’ together at every meal — she had found a guy.  And that is what all 3 women — Red, White and Black — have in common!! All three most definitely wanted a man — and would move heaven and earth to get one — and truth be told,  in each case they found one  — here at the CAN!! ‘nuf …….

Post Script: When I started this blog, I hesitantly began to describe what I thought would be some interactive issues that the ole guy has had with three women here at the CAN — but as I became so carried away with one — I decided to forego — rationalizin’ my involvement with the other two.  My dealin’s with Red places me in a better light than it would with the others (in my humble opinion) — so I will refrain from discussin’ my relationship with White and Black!!  These latter two just pissed me off —  but I honestly feel they had some issues with a guy like me — and with a few other things too — if you get my drift!!  And since I am in a glass house — I shouldn’t throw too many stones!!  ‘n surely, that’s ‘nuf …….

 

Two Full Days Without A Meal!! …… (well, maybe not quite … but almost!!)

Preface: Our kitchen at “947 Tiverton Ave” was shut down by the Los Angeles County Health Inspector on the afternoon of November 7th — and remained closed until dinner on the 9th. I herein express my personal opinion of — the what and why and wherefore!! So, if you are interested, read on ………

What happens in a large dining room kitchen — one set up to feed well over a hundred souls for every meal?? What happens if the numbers begin to grow smaller and smaller — and finally there are only a fifth of the original consumers — the very, very, very aged diners who are residents.  Things might become a bit lax — ya think?  You  might think that the ability to keep a kitchen immaculately clean would get easier if you were preparin’ food for — say 25 rather than 125. It’s the same kitchen — the cookin’ time may not change too much — but the prep time and the clean-up followin’ the meal — well, one would think it would be quite a bit less and easier to handle by the same kitchen staff.  Secondly, when preparin’ food for very, very, very  senior citizens — really an ole bunch of mostly Jewish fogies who can be “picky and particular” — especially, when it comes to food –well, one would think that the cooks and bottle washers would be even more attentive and careful, ya know!! — the rush and chatter in the kitchen should be less — and any complainin’ and re-orderin’ from the diners would be so much less also. But I guess, human nature is funny and predictable — as your clientele is reduced in number — and you have a bit more idle time — I would imagine — one just might become a little careless. Anyway, I do believe the latter is possibly a significant factor in what has occurred here at the CAN (Casa de los Ancianos del Norte).

But wait — somethin’ else and very serious has happened here where we live —  and any follower of my blogs realizes that new ownership took over last October — that’s 13+ months ago. And the intent of the new owners — Watermark Residential Communities — is to make our over 50-year-old ex-UCLA dormitory into another one of their “jewels” — in their very large portfolio of senior-citizen, mental-care facilities.  But, in order to perform the necessary repair and construction to transform this 14-story building into a top-rate facility for the aged and the infirm — all the current tenants will have to be removed — not completely displaced — but placed in another housin’ facility!! [aside: The new owners have tried the “displaced idea” with a 120-day eviction notice within a month or so after purchasin’ our residence. Fortunately, it did not work for a lot of us — because we screamed and yelled and protested — that’s right, we extremely old Jews, includin’ 3 Holocaust survivors — carried signs readin’ “Ole Lives Matter”, and marched with walkers and wheel-chairs and “limps” — (the latter  was yours truly — the ole guy — with his cane, who was limpin’)  –while the cameras were rollin’ for the NBC nightly news!!

But, it did scare off well over half of the aged population because their “60ish- to-70ish”-year-ole kids did not need this in their lives — and understandably,  they wanted their aged parents to be happy, contented and relaxed in a “final nestin’ place“!!  And as pointed out earlier, our numbers now are about a couple of dozen elderly and frail Jewish seniors — some in body, some in mind, but never, never, never — in spirit!! And considerin’ this reduction in numbers — one would expect that it would be easier to keep the kitchen spotless and tidy and “germless” but that’s not what happened here at 947 Tiverton Ave in the Westwood section of the city of Los Angeles, California, on the afternoon of Tuesday November 7th, 2017!! The Los Angeles  County  Health Inspector declared the kitchen unsuitable re: cleanliness and health safety. Damn-it!! He closed it down!!

The definin’ lax issues — passed along to me — and I repeat, I have not been able to view the actual report online [aside: Let’s just admit that the ole guy is not completely computer savvy — and he depends on his daughter, who has been trained by her extremely sharp hubby in the arena of TECH!! But, I’m the one who has the degree from MIT in electronics engineering and am a member of Tau Beta Pi — the engineering “honor” society!! Go figure!!]!! Reasons posted: (1) Holdin’ temperatures unsat; and  (2) Contact surfaces not cleaned and sanitized; and lastly — {“hold your noses for this last item, please!!”} (3) Some form of rodent, insect, bird, or animal droppings were present. WOW!!  And there are maybe only 30-ish folks dinin’ in our residence at one time (countin’ the care-givers and visitors).  This same kitchen always received an “A” for years, and years, and years, when it operated under the management of our former owners. In fact, it has been recievin’ an “A” up until our numbers had dwindled down from well over 100-ish to a measly 25-ish!! What could have caused this laxity — this unbelievable situation in a home for the agedsimply lack of management attention and possible laxity among employees whose jobs just might be in jeopardy.

[aside: I am not privy to what Watermark management has advised their employees at “947” with respect to the lengthy time they will close the facility down for total repair and construction — includin’ the kitchen.  At any rate — all employees realize that their jobs and life will change durin’ the construction period– what job security the future holds is, just maybe,  “up for grabs”!! This has to affect attitude and drive in some manner. But, there is an overridin’  reason that I personally feel that the kitchen crew — whom I respect and admire!! Personally, I have befriended all three sous chefs de cuisine — namely, Benjamin, Enrique and Arturo!! I will guarantee you that no other tenant — even when we numbered over 120 aged souls — would know these three fantastic chef’s (cocinero’s) names and how to pronounce them in Spanish — and that is very understandable. I speak Spanish and I am an amateur cook (as frequent blog-readers are aware)!] I have made a personal effort to befriend all the dinin’ establishment owners, chefs/cooks and waiters in all of our travels within the U.S., Europe and Mexico. It was always a “first name basis — re: Emile and Emil and Emiliano!! Quality and service was ever-present in our travels. Therefore, I do not fault the kitchen staff for the kitchen closure.! (period. exclamation point!)]

So, let me backtrack to a time — many, many months before Watermark purchased our senior-citizen facility while we were still livin’ at Vintage Westwood (our previous owner)! There was a Ukrainian chef and a latino dinin room floor manager — Vlad and Jorge!! One day suddenly they were released (or fired) — I am not completely privy to the circumstances but negative rumors were flyin’! Shortly afterwards, an Executive Chef was hired by the our facility manager/director. I believe the two had worked together under earlier circumstances. This new kitchen/dinin’ room boss had lots of experience and I, personally, befriended him — even sharin’ some of my favorite vaunted recipes. Get the picture — I liked and respected him; and he “endured” me!! It was mutual respect when it came to food quality and variety. So, let it be known, that I felt we have a reasonably friendly relationship. So, what I am about to state — does not come from any past conflict — nor negative isssues — that I have personally had with this Executive Chef. But, at the time that Watermark purchased this property from Vintage in October ’16 — their nearby property, Watermark Beverly Hills — was without an executive chef. Maybe they never employed one before — I do not know! Immediately, our wonderful and personable Executive Chef had a dual responsibility.  And in recent months, I have noticed that instead of spendin’ half his time at “947” — we “hangers-on” here only saw our fav chef on very rare and limited occasions. Actually, he may have been in his office here at “947” — but the frequency of runnin’ into him on-site had dropped much, much, much more than half. Result: Absence may make the heart grow fonder — but when your boss spends a great deal less time in overseein’ his responsibilities — well — it may just mean your kitchen grade will drop from an “A” to an “F”.  Ya see, I was always a touchy, feely kind of manger in IBM — and that’s why I got promoted — and on one occasion was honored as an outstandin’ manager in our Western region — and received multiple promotions in a company known for excellent management style. So, at least, I have a background in management — and absentee managers are never successful — but they bear the responsibility of “failure” — that  should go without sayin’!! I guess I have done enough damage for today! ‘nuf ……

Post Script: (Same day, post-lunch) I posted this blog before the wife and I went to lunch.  Then, seated in the dinin’ room, we ordered a couple of Arnold Palmers and two cups of split pea soup.  The Arnold Palmers are served in a tumbler-type with a tiny neck at the bottom. The soup is served in soup cups — the wife actually has hers in a coffee-type cup. Why all the detail, one might ask. Well, the green split peas soup was exceptionally hot and our young waiter brought the 4 items, simultaneously — jugglin’ them in his two hands. I said nothin’ and was a bit squeamish as he put the steamin’ hot soup down in front of the wife while still jugglin’ the 2 drinks and my cup of soup. I waited a short time, before callin’ him over and told him how dangerous it is to handle all four items at the same time — especially when two are extremely hot!! An accidental trip or spill on any of our very old tenants would cause a catastrophe. [aside: When we were here a few short months, one of the male waiters would run sometimes between a hot tea/coffee station and the diner who he was waitin’!! I went over to him upon departin’ the dinin’ hall and told him that he should not run with  the containers of very hot coffee or water for tea. His response was a bit arrogant and negative and from that day to now — this waiter does not serve our table and the entire staff knows it. Runnin’ with or bein’ careless with hot liquids in any restaurant or dinin’ room is dangerous and unacceptable. And no one will dispute that fact. I wonder if the management have ever cautioned our wait-staff accordingly?? nuf’ already ……….

……….. To Whom It May Concern ……… ……….. The Ole Guy’s Statement!! ……..

Preface: I have blogged recently — on two occasions — about our current situation here at the CAN (Casa de los Ancianos del Norte) — re: the Tenant Habitability Plan (THP) — a temporary housin’ proposal, legally required — while major construction is carried out at our home residence — our senior citizen facility at 947 Tiverton Ave in Westwood, CA . This plan for necessary alternative housin’ was offered to us by our senior citizen facility’s owner — Watermark– and approved by the Los Angeles Housing + Community Investment Department inspectors.  Yes, they are plannin’ significant remodelin’ and repair to this 50-year-old residential building dedicated to and for senior citizens.  On the followin’ day, after a meeting with all parties, I blogged:  “Hola Mayor Garcetti!! … Hello Councilman Koretz!!” — and then again —  (after a few days of dedicated  thought)  “Ole Guy’s Retrospective, His Manifesto ……… and Finally, an Expose'”!! Needless to say, we tenants are pissed — the temporary housing offered is NOT senior-citizen-oriented in fact, it would be very dangerous, both physically and mentally, for my very, very, very old, frail — yet strong-willed cohorts — here at the CAN.  So, herewith, I have a few additional comments to make; so read on ……….

A key point to be made up front — here and now — is that the building we live in is a 14-story ex-UCLA dormitory that was converted many, many years ago for senior-citizen-living-accommodations!! These changes were necessary and required for the safety, health, mental stability, etc., etc., etc. for the clientele who would inhabit the newly created livin’ quarters!! How many more words or phrases, need be written, to explain — MY GOD!!the folks livin’ here are very, very, very old and frail people. Maybe I’m not so frail — but I sure am old — turned 93 last month and shared our 67th anniversary with by bride Harriette on Sunday last — she’s a very, very, very young 88 (pssst! she’ll hit 89 in a couple of weeks!! These ole ladies brag about their ages — it’s a different world here. Not sure that the wife has  bought into that philosophy — yet. So, I won’t tell her what I said, if you won’t!!) 

Let’s go on a “walkin’ tour of our quarters here at the CAN. But, first let me explain a necessity in our own livin’ quarters. We mut have a “walk-inshower. There’s no way that we would feel safe if we had a tub/shower combo. Steppin’ over the tub’s side (even with a transfer-bench) would actually be very dangerous — if you don’t know it, “falls” are a main reason that leads to “shortened lives” among ole folks!! Even a walk-in shower for many very aged individuals is still an issue — showerin’ alone is a possible safety issue for the elderly — that is one of the first issues or situations for which many old-timers require a care-giver. Bathin’ oneself requires some maneuvers with which we ole folks have difficulty  — so, at minimum, a walk-in” shower is a must.! (period. exclamation point!) And, before we exit from describin’ our own one-bedroom apartment, I must add that we require daily maid service. On a daily basis here, our beds are made and waste-baskets are emptied — and a general-look/see-check is made!! (Are the two of us still a part of the livin’?? — we have not “passed on”!!)Actually, some of our friends’ passin’ have been discovered initially by a maid’s basic daily room-check. This fact is extremely important and somewhat overlooked.

As we leave our apartment, the hallway floor is carpeted — and there are handrails along one side of all hallways in our building. We changed our apartment twice when first arrivin’ — the first time, to be more financially-conscious — and the second time, to be closer to the elevator. Yes, even in this senior-citizen facility, there can be a long trek from room-to-elevatorCurrently, we are only about 25 paces from the elevators — three of them normally — there’s absolutely no way that I can manage stairs — never more than two or three anymore. [aside: On one occasion since we have lived here, all three elevators were inoperative simultaneously — yes, it happened one morning — the wife and I managed to go down the 3 flights of stairs (each holdin’ on to the rail and to each other)– but, if they were not put back in service — I would have spent the night on a lobby couch.]

Enterin’ the lobby from our elevator, we can check our mail and a list of our daily activities. At this writin’, the wife is at the movie in our clubhouse — it’s “Annie Hall”, and I almost joined her — but I was deeply involved with this blog.  They usually show a winner — an oldie, but goody — movie nightly. Most of the folks never miss a single one — and they have their special seats — one friend arrrivin’ early — will save one or two for late-arrivin’ buddies.  It’s amazin’ how many see the movies and forgo watchin’ TV — even movies on TV — it’s literally a “nightly social event for these residents”!! Remember, we are very, very, very ole folks and we thrive on companionship — only a hermit likes livin’ alone!!

Unfortunately, I have gained about 30 pounds since we arrived at “947 Tiverton Ave”.  That’s a little under 14 kilos — doesn’t that sound a lot better! It does to me — and that’s the way I would have described it while livin’ the good life in Mexico. Most of you know that we lived in San Miguel de Allende for 24 wonderful years — and only returned to the Los Angeles area due to our failin’ health. Since arrivin’ here at the CAN, I have had a heart valve replacement (it’s from a cow), a laminectomy in the upper lumbar region (a 2nd time, in my life); and I even hate to mention it — but I had a “double hernia” operation (one of the penalties of age).  I walk with a cane “in-house” — but this afternoon, when I had a manicure, followed by a haircut (quit laughin’, my fav barber shaves the head every 3 weeks) — well, I use my hospital-purchased walker for stability and support.  Upon return, it took me 30 minutes — seated, and restin’ in front of our facility — to manage to head up to our room after my “outside” foray. [aside: I made a stop-over at Target for a couple of purchases and a hot mocha while seated and restin’ at Starbucks. Waystations are important when I go over a block or two — and darn it, they removed the benches in front of Target — I think the homeless had taken over — but there had always been a place for me to rest a bit. I can only make a trek to a local establishment a couple times a week — and normally, it’s Ralph’s — it’s a short half block until I find a supportin’ cart — and they do have almost everything we need. It’s just not easy to walk any distance at all — for either the wife or me!!]

I mention Ralph’s only to point out that we buy only necessities and maybe some fresh fruit for the room. We do not use our in-room microwave at all. We have three wholesome meals a day in our dinin’ hall — remember we live in an ex-dorm, and the three-meals-a-day furnished here are a “must”!  Even though I became a “chef extraordinaire” in Mexico with my “World Famous Matzo Ball Soup” and that “Cajun Meatloaf” — my back now prohibits further standin’ in front of a stove (even with my fav tequila nearby).  Yes, I was the chief cook and bottle washer in Mexico — the wife retired from cookin’ when we lived in Paris — once, for dessert, they plopped a huge caldron of “chocolate mousse” on the table — she just flat  stood up and said “I quit”!! And she meant it!!  Our fridge in Paris held 3 goodies — white wine,  fresh-cut ham — and large chunks of aged Parmesan cheese. (While in Paris, we had three open-air street-markets within a few blocks in 3 different directions; we’ll never be able to thank IBM enough for sendin’ us there — it was a dream come true for the two of us!!)  [aside: If you have never had chunks of Parmesan for hors d’oeuvres — you have not lived!!  My Italian buddy in Paris (the one that lives in Milan) taught us how to enjoy fresh Parmesan cheese with a dry white or kir — while one is chattin’ before one takes one’s seat to dine. And you can take that to the bank!! Quit it, ole guy — and get back to the business at hand.]  I firmly state that we have to live in a facility — a building — that serves three meals a day — there are no if’s, and’s nor but’s — and with that statement, I’ll end this blog. ‘nuf …..

Post Script: (Special Note to the Appeals Officer) — Harriette and Emiel Meisel declare herewith:  We require —  (1) three 3 meals-a-day, on-site, in any temporary location; (2) bath & toilet facilities for the elderly; (3) daily maid service with a weekly change of linens; (4) carpeting and handrails in all hallways;  (5) shuttle-service to doctors, dentists, shoppin’, etc.; (6) activities for mind and body stimulation which should include nightly on-site movies, frequent interesting speakers and/or  entertainers, and finally — “ole-folks” exercise and balance classes!! In other words, the Tenant Habitability Plan (THP) should provide the same equivalent facilities and offer similar  services that Watermark is currently furnishing on-site to all senior  residents still livin’ here — us very, very, very senior citizens. I would call their plan a joke — but they actually mean it!!  Anything less than what I have proposed herein — can be considered dangerous to the health, security and well-bein’ of our extremely-aged current tenants!! Finally, if they cannot provide such temporary quarters for us — the THP (the law) states that they should provide a per diem (dollar amount) to cover satisfactory and safe livin’ facilities in a comparable location!!  So, ‘nuf already …….

Ole Guy’s Retrospective, His Manifesto ……… and Finally, an Expose’!!

Preface: Unfortunately this blog is a bit longer than usual — but when an ole guy spills his guts …… it ain’t gonna be the quickie/short version!! So, please, read on …….

I have three partial blogs just sittin’ there!! Each is about half-finished — re: my habit of only publishin’ when there’s over 1000 words. I have read lots of other people’s blogs which are 2- to 5-minute reads that are much shorter — but I guess I like to cover more ground — more experiences — a bit more stuff in my blogs!!  The titles might give you some idea where the mind has been durin’ the past week or so. They are, with most recent first,“In Retrospect — two birthday parties!” — “Sen-ile Senate ‘n House of Re-tards!!”; and from over a month ago — “An Impeachable Offense”.  That’s two (too)political titles — and a very personal one. But this Sunday mornin’ — after the relief of “no complete failure” by my beloved Dodgers!! [aside: They (We) won game #4 in the World Series to even the count — it’s now 2 out of 3 with the last two games in L.A.; and in tonight’s game, even though in Houston, we’ll have Kershaw — our well-rested Hall-of-Famer — on the mound. Remember: this blog was started Sunday morning and was delayed — by Game #5. You know the situation as of Monday mornin’ — and I’m too perplexed to discuss baseball at this moment!!]  So, on Sunday, my mind regressed from birthdays, and politics, and our absolutely ill-prepared and ill-mannered POTUS — to our current always hectic situation — here at the CAN (Casa de los Ancianos del Norte) — our current “senior citizen” residence!!

And I highlighted senior citizen in describin’ our home here in the Westwood section of Los Angeles, buttin’ up against the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) — an absolute perfect location for seniors because that is what it is!!  We residents are very, very, very old people!! Yet, on two occasions, Watermark Residential Communities — our building’s new owner, the supposed epitome of Senior Residential Communities [aside: They own and manage some forty (40) senior residences nationwide — yes, I said “four oh” homes-for-the-aged — those incapacitated old people (in mind, or body, or both) — whose families want to give their parents a wholesome and decent place to spend their final years!! All of Watermark’s clients are over 70 — at our place, half are over 90 years of age and none below 80 — with a few lookin’ back at their 100th birthday. I hope the reader gets the picture — we folks livin’ at 947 Tiverton Ave — in a converted (for seniors) ex-UCLA dormitory — are a bunch of ole fogeys, some wheel-chair-bound; some with walkers or canes — a very, very, very few maneuverin’ the hallways and the pathways to our local food and prescription drug establishments without some supportin’ device. You get the picture — almost all have physical frailties and many have the mental kind. Some might even say the “ole guy” fits into both categories — especially the folks who run the place from Watermark’s headquarters in Tuscon, AZ. I have run into their two top execs on a couple of occasions — and both times they were tryin’ to “evict” us (last December and now). Let me explain — even if I repeat the info from some earlier blogs. My main objective — up to this point in this blog — is to make sure that the reader realizes the nature and condition of the tenants at the CAN — many are frail, “extremely old age” (ala constant worriers), incapacitated, handicapped, etc., etc., etc. (Case closed!!)

As is well known at the Los Angeles Council and in the Mayor’s office, as well as the Westwood community, when Watermark purchased our structure at 947 Tiverton Ave in late 2016, on the first day their President/CEO visited our location — to meet with the aged tenants — then and there, he declared that we had to vacate the premises in 120 days. He well understood the California law — that folks over 62 years of age had a whole year to vacate their home/appartments — if major construction was to be performed — so, in fact, initially, 100% of the tenants had until December 1st, 2017 before they had to leave and find a new home. [aside:The departees have the right to return at the same rental rate when the construction is completed. Realistically, however, when you are in your 90’s (as I am), one move would be enough and considerin’ our ages and physical impairments — truthfully, we may not live long enough to return to a totally refurbished The Watermark at Westwood Village” — the ultra-fancy new name for our facility. I did my best to color that title as gold! Later, in this blog you will see why!]

Mind you, their President/CEO claims (to anyone who will listen) that he did not state that we tenants had only “120-days-to-vacate”. He has even been quoted in our own local “Westwood Patch” news organ to that effect (to which I wrote a letter-to-the-editor and specifically requested their PR lady — to withdraw that falsehood). Even at our recent meeting here at the CAN, that same exec corralled me for a sec — and stated that “I did not tell you folks you had to leave in 120 days” — he must keep repeatin’ that phrase over and over again — in the hope that the fact that he said it will go away. [aside: The Chairman of Watermark came a month later, in early ’17, and tried to patch over what the CEO had said, with the latter standin’ next to him, rockin’ back and forth, appearin’, at that time, to be apologetic.] So, when he continued to claim innocence, my simple dramatic response to him at the time was “I will take the 120-day statement to my grave”!  I guess I can get dramatic at times! Needless to say that there were probably 100 elderly tenants in the audience when he said it — and all 100, or so, tenants can’t be wrong — even if they are quite elderly and a bit “whatever“!! Recall — that we “protested with signs in front of our building — many times”, and on occasion, in front of TV cameras — and one time, even in front of the offices of Watermark’s financial backer, located here in Los Angeles — Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, l.p.  By these actions and with the support of our pro-bono legal advisors at Bet Tzedek, we were able to establish a legal solution that prevented our “eviction“!! Hallelujah!!

Now let me tell you the story — behind the story!! The Watermark execs knew that every tenant was over 62 — and knew full well that the tenants had one whole year — 365 days — in  which to find alternate housing. However, the result of their deceitful tactic to scare the tenants with that “120-day” dramatic statement — mostly,  fulfilled their goal! [aside: In past blogs, I have estimated the number of tenants livin’ here when Watermark purchased our facility in the Oct/Nov 2016 timeframe — as close to 150 — I even stated it as 175 once — wow! was I wrong. I checked with my official source — our kitchen keeps tab of the number of tenants on a daily basis — and I only realized that I could obtain an accurate number recently.] At the end of 2016, at the time of the purchase, the number furnished to me was   121. Sorry, for the over-statement — but the total number is not the issue! The fact is that their “scare tactic” brought our number down to a range of 5o tenants (+ or – whatever!) by spring.  One must understand that the decision to leave, in the majority of cases, is that of the children — yes, the offspring of our former neighbors — they  have to live and lead a life of their own! I am sure that in most cases they want their parents “settled” — and our whole “eviction affair” was extremely unsettlin’ to everyone — in the least. And recently, this 50 or so — had been reduced to about 35 by early September.

As of today’s blog and accordin’ to my sources, we number 29 remainin’ tenants. And whether one might realize it or not — the Watermark folks have just given us another eviction notice — that’s #2!! We’ll lose 4 or 5 tenants in the next week or so who are movin’ to another senior-livin’ facility! So our official (?) number will be 25 souls. So let me explain our 2nd eviction!The current situation is this!! Even though our owners are prohibited from “evictin'” us (again) — their plans have always indicated a major construction effort for our residence. Under California law, they must offer us a Tenant Habitability Plan (the THP) approved by the City of Los Angeles Housing & Community Investment Department. Watermark gave us tenants their “plan” on October 10th — with an ability to appeal within 15 days — which most of us accomplished — I mean that we appealed the plan!! Why did we want to appeal, you might ask!! The two locations that they are providin’ under the plan are not — I repeat NOT — senior-oriented.  They either have stairs to climb or long, somewhat dark halls to traverse to enter and leave your room or facility. Secondly, there are no seniorized bathrooms (every tenant requires a somewhat spacious walk-in shower for safety). Both apartment complexes are designed for a much younger clientele — one is known to rent to grad students from nearby UCLA primarily. The location of the this larger complex is across the street from the CAN — but the second facility is a few blocks away from our normal shoppin’ area. And just a few blocks — with busy thoroughfares to cross — is not safe, nor satisfactory. Both locations offer modern kitchens; but presently we are furnished in-house dinin’ — 3 meals a day (always required and  furnished for senior citizens in such facilities) — in our rooms currently, we get by with a small fridge and microwave — but we need our 3 meals on-site as is provided in all senior facilities!! At both locations provided by the THP, there is a modern gym and fitness center, which would go unused by our group. Simply stated — neither location provides a space satisfactory for the aged tenants here at 947 Tiverton Ave. Yes, we all have appealed to a “hearing officer” — in essence, the Tenant Habitability Plan offered by Watermark is a second “eviction notice — I am not exaggerating — there is not a single resident here that would be able to “manage” — livin’ in either location that has been offered in the Tenant Habitability Plan.

I have not yet mentioned the services/activities furnished at our current location. Each day of the week, we are offered from four to five activities/events includin’ senior daily exercise classes, a weekly visit to a place of interest, bingo/keno/rummikub, either a daily speaker or an entertainment group, and always, an evenin’ movie. This is what our monthly lease/rental fee calls for. These activities are provided by all senior citizen facilities — and I must presume they are offered by every one of the 40 country-wide Watermark “communities”. Let me digress, for one moment, and restate what can be found by “googlin’ ” Watermark at Beverly Hills” — a neighbor senior facility. My findin’s follow:

“The Watermark at Beverly Hills ……………….. Botique Assisted Living Whatever you need or want, day or night, we’ll deliver it right to your door. …”extraordinary care tailored to your preference”.  Just imagine your fine boutique hotel, then add extraordinary cuisine, fun events, interesting classes … your experience is unlimited. … With all the amenities and services … you’ll feel like you are living in your favorite resort. … Replace uncertainty, worries, and fears … outstanding dining, unsurpassed personal care,  a concierge who anticipates your every need and a solution for every concern.”

Wow!! And all we ole folks want is a simple, comfortable place to live with senior citizen necessities, 3 adequate and healthy meals a day, transportation to doctors or shoppin’, and finally, some daily activities (they don’t have to be — all that much fun and/or interestin’) — just enough to take our minds off our frailties  — we want this while Watermark refurbishes our building — and in the words of Henry Ford — it can be “Escort” quality — we don’t need the “Lincoln Continental” version!! ‘nuf ………

 

 

Hola Mayor Garcetti!! … Hello Councilman Koretz!!

Preface: This blog is written specifically for Eric Garcetti, our Jewish Mexican-American mayor, who earlier supported our claim ala “Residential Hotel” — and for our City Councilman Paul Koretz, who tirelessly worked and came to our rescue after that horrible “120-day-eviction-notice” situation last winter. However, in addition, I am writing this for public consumption, so that our friends — such as, Steve Lopez, the L.A. Times Pulitzer-winnin’ columnist, who featured the “ole guy” and a couple of other tenants in a January column — and Angie Crouch, the NBC Channel 4 intrepid reporter who made sure that our first “protest” march ( re: that awful 120-day notice) — was “live” on the 5 o’clock news — and our not-to-forget editor of the UCLA Daily Bruin (we made the front-page, no less!!) — Emaan Baqai, who has since graduated. There are others, besides our families, who are unnamed and have supported me, my wife and our fantastic aged co-inhabitants, here at our ex-UCLA-dorm residence. So, please read on ……..

Wasn’t last night a “lola-palooza” — it was Game 5 with Kershaw on the mound — and that young Puerto Rican Dodger outfielder Kike Hernandez — who made the evenin’ so much fun with his 3 — yes, I said three — home runs; two with a man on base and then one in the second innin’ — a grand slam (those totaled 9 ribbies!!). And the latter situation is the lead-in to my plea to you both for support — Mayor Eric and Councilman Paul!! You see, we had a very important meetin’ here in Westwood at 947 Tiverton Ave, which I have previously nicknamed the CAN (Casa de los Anceanos del Norte). Your representatives from the Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department (HCID) — Messrs. Galardi and McDevitt — had called the meeting to explain their acceptance of the Tenant Habitability Plan (THP) which had been developed with the owners of our building — Watermark executives from Tuscon, AZ. I’ll mention an interestin’  and perplexin’ item upfront!! this plan was developed without any apparent awareness or knowledge of the needs of the very, very, very aged and incapacitated tenants at the CAN!!

We tenants had been given a document package containin’ the two THP alternatives on October 10th; and here we were on the 19th — an audience of extremely old-timers in wheel-chairs, or with walkers, or usin’ canes — bein’ told that we had only two options — i.e. two possible places to reside while our former UCLA dorm was bein’ renovated — mind you, these two nearby apartment buildings were selected by our building’s owners without any input from our aged group of tenants!! Needless to say, this did not go over to well with our impatient group with all our children also in attendance.  Mind you, we are bein’ instructed to move out durin’ construction without any apparent consideration of the physical limitations of the tenants. One of the locations is at 888 Hilgard, if you google, it shows an entrance with about 10 steps to the lobby — jiminy, with my cane I can barely manage the entrance to our RiteAid Drugstore with its stairs — they have a senior citizen conveyance at the store, which I use — and maybe the Hilgard place has a “seniorized” way to enter, but it was not so indicated — and why do they show, in their THP photos, that they furnished us — in 2 out of the 5 photos — a very, very, very modern gym — somethin’ most necessary for our inactive (??) group that have trouble steppin’ off the sidewalk while crossin’ the street. I guess they would hold daily exercise classes — but this was not mentioned in the THP document — and I am bein’ a bit facetious!!

The other apartment building in the plan is The Glendon (note: “The” is capitalized and always used in the building’s title), actually a very nice up-to-the-minute place with most rooms recently completely modernized and youth-oriented — and it’s home to lots and lots of grad students at UCLA with their fantastic fitness center, edgeless infinity pool, executive business center and rooms with gourmet kitchens. Gourmet kitchen?? — that’s what a 93-year-ole codger like me needs in my old age. I retired from cookin’ when my back gave out in 2011, while the wife and I were enjoyin’ our lives as ex-pats in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (there for 24 years, mind you!). [aside: The wife retired from the kitchen in ’83 — after IBM had promoted me to a directorship in Paris, France. Even though we had spent a few thousand dollars to modernize an ancient French kitchen in the 16th arrondisement, she stood up at our table at a local French eatin’ establishment — when the waiter placed a huge crock of chocolate mousse for dessert on our table– statin’ emphatically — “I am retiring from ever cookin’ again!” and I can guarantee to this day — that she meant it.]

In Mexico, I had turned our kitchen into “Emiliano’s Cocina” — Home of the World Famous Matzo Ball Soupand you would have been amazed at the number of deliveries that we would make before breakfast — there were lots of good stuff besides that soup on our menu!! Stews, other soups, Cajun meatloaf, and finally, “addictive” toffee-like cookies (all recipes, upon request)! And, we only returned to Los Angeles — so that I could have a laminectomy (L1-L3), a double hernia operation, and finally, a cow’s heart valve put in place. Take that, Father Time!! I am just one of the examples of our walkin'(?) aged group challengin’ this ridiculous THP — but, I can at least maneuver enough to shop at the next-door Ralph’s, or the nearby Target, RiteAid, or Trader Joe’s!!  The Glendon was where the wife, daughter, and I had considered when the Watermark executive tried to challenge us with his 120-day eviction SCARE!! I defy anyone our age to continuously walk the unbelievable lengthy and dark hallways from elevator to rooms — it is absolutely no place for our 85 – 104 year-old constituents to be housed — even temporarily — but never for an anticiapated (?) 15 months or more. And, I have not mentioned the fact that when I requested The Glendon management to “senior-ize” the bathroom … ala make it a “walk-in” shower — they refused!! Nothing was mentioned, in the THP, about changin’ the bathrooms for our aged community.

 Dear Mayor Garcetti and Councilman Koretz — excuse an ole guy with his unlimited ego — for publicly expressin’ his personal (and I am sure — that for 100%-of-our-other tenants) disgust with the California Tenant Habitability Plan as furnished to us by your employees at the HCID, solely from the input of the Watermark management and legal team — with not one iota of input nor investigation of the population residin’ here at the CAN!! What made last night so interestin’ — and somewhat terrifyin’ — was that besides the Watermark Chairman David Freshwater and President/CEO David Barnes — there were two outside attorneys representin’ different upscale Beverly Hills law firms. I guess a bunch of aged Jews, still includin’ one of our remaini’ Holocaust survivors, Dorin Mathis, are a fair match — I sure hope so!!  And there were maybe 3 or 4 other Watermark employees and/or attorneys (of lesser stature) in evidence. Forgive me for each of these outsiders may have been introduced at the outset of the meeting. Remember, I was upstairs, in Apartment #430, watchin’ the NLCS baseball game, and I didn’t leave my room until after Kike’s 2nd home run — that 2nd-inning grand slam — that put our beloved Dodgers ahead of the Cubbies and defending World Champions — by the ridiculous score of 7 to 0!  Upon entering the meetin’ room, I reported this to the seated audience, temporarily interruptin’ Mr. McDevitt!! !Wow!!  What a way to end my request for  support, if needed,  from you two fair-minded Los Angelenos!!  ‘nuf ……

Post Script: I have only hit upon a few issues — and tried to stay away from the emotional “human” side. One item, though, most important is the fact that we dine together — our three meals a day — in our large dinin’ hall. The THP gives us each some dollars for meals. Remember, the CAN is a former UCLA dormitory and has that same feel of “togetherness” that it was meant for. When they bring high-powered lawyers to the meeting — it isn’t a form of togetherness — but here, where we live there is an essence of fraternity (probably, it’s really sorority) — and I have dubbed it camaraderieparticularly among these aged women. Whether it’s Bingo, or Rummikub, or “what’s the movie tonight?” — there’s a bond that these women have — like no other!! Is it the feelin’ that this is their last nestin’ place? Believe me, it’s a sisterhood — one of the other Holocaust survivors — Martha Kiss — left us a month or so ago to join three other ole gals at nearby Sunrise — she was the long-time “4th” in their ‘Rummikub’ game!! I think these last 20 or so remainin’ women here — have a bond, and that’s a key reason they have not left to go to another senior facility. This is their home — it provides their togetherness — their camaraderie. And the final point I want to make is that the Watermark organization manages about 4o senior facilities — and it would seem there would be some humanity evident in their corporate management — there’s none.! (period. exclamation point!) — for last evenin’, when the Watermark Chairman gave his card to my 99-year-old dinin’ mate — Lillian Koslow — he gave her the one for his financial organization. David Freshwater is President of The Freshwater (Financial) Group, and he is the founder of Watermark Retirement Communities, Inc (some 40 senior facilities in the U.S.). He gives my buddy his “financial” personal card — not his “humanity” personal card — he runs lots of senior citizen facilities.  It’s like my son Gary always tells me: “Dad, you have too much heart to be a good businessman”. Ya know, these folks have hearts but they are made of stone!! Mine will be 93 years old on Sunday — and it goes “moo”! Finally, ‘nuf ……..