Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Home Owner's Association President

In 1999 I bought a house on a cute little dead-end street. I was so excited, it was my first house and I was going to paint all of the rooms exactly how I wanted and do all of the other stuff that's against the rules when you live in an apartment! I also loved the layout. It had huge vaulted ceilings, some were almost 30 feet high, an open kitchen, a loft style master bedroom and the master bathroom had a giant jetted tub with a large skylight above it and a spot for a TV! It was the perfect size for me. It had three bedrooms, one for me, one for my home office and one for my cats!

I didn't know much about the neighbors when I moved in, but hey, I'm a friendly person and I figured I would quickly make friends with them. After I moved in I realized that at 19 I was the youngest in the neighborhood by at least 50 years. Ok - I can work with that, old people are usually nice. So I was now living in an unofficial retirement community! Awesome. My own little Leisure World, Geezer's Palace.

It was a small neighborhood with only 9 houses. One of the neighbor ladies came over to welcome me and told me that she was so excited to see that a single young woman had moved in. I thought this was a strange thing to say, but whatever, she's old so I should cut her some slack. She proceeded to tell me that all of the 9 original home owners were single women and that within a year of each one moving in, they were married. They had nicknamed the street the "Nuptial Neighborhood". Oh that's just fucking great! You try to avoid catching every damn bouquet thrown at every wedding you have ever been to and then you are unknowingly cursed because of the house you just bought! Damn it, why don't they have a return policy on houses like they do on other stuff?!?!? This was exactly what I need, a bunch of old ladies spying on me to see how I was doing finding a husband, or GOD FORBID trying to help me find one! Breath, breath, make the best of it. When life gives you lemons, squirt them in your enemy's eye... oh, that's not how it goes is it?

The q-tips were actually quite nice at first. I was traveling a lot and my older brother T moved in with me. The neighbors liked having the youngin's around because we could lift heavy shit for them and we thought they were ok too. We never had to worry about anyone breaking into the house because they were constantly keeping watch over the neighborhood while we were at work. This might work out ok. WRONG! I was in Mexico for a few weeks and I was going to miss the Home Owner's Association (HOA) meeting. I decided to send T as my representative because I had no idea what would take place and perhaps there was some useful information that I would need to know. WRONG AGAIN! I guess the old ones don't take kindly to people who choose to vacation instead of honor their duties as home owners. I was a marked woman. At this meeting they elected me as the freaking HOA President! T didn't even decline the nominations for me! I got home from Mexico all relaxed and tan and found a box of files sitting on my kitchen counter dating back to 1986 (I was in first grade that year) about worthless bullshit that I could never possibly care about. Now I would have to host all of the HOA meetings in my house. Shit!

By the time the first meeting after my election came around I was getting used to the idea of being the President. Then one of the old ladies called me to tell me that I HAD to provide beverages and cookies for the meeting. So let me get this strait. You are coming over to my house for a meeting and you are telling me what to serve? Nice. I was already planning to provide refreshments and snacks, but to have someone tell you that you HAVE to do it is rude. So I buy the cookies, cheese and crackers, soda, tea, bottled water, etc. and guess what? No one except the old single guy across the street ate or drank ANYTHING! Not even the old bat that told me I HAD to buy it!

Here are some of the interesting things that went on at the HOA meetings.

The old people spent an entire hour arguing over how to say in the Covenants, Codes and Regulations (CC&R's) that your pet cannot pee or poo in anyone else's yard. Are you fucking kidding me? Just write "Your pet cannot pee or poo in anyone else's yard"! Done, and it only took 5 seconds! We're not trying to win a Pulitzer Prize here; we just need to get the god damn point across in plain fucking English! I later avoided this type of time wasting crap by providing a detailed, printed agenda at the beginning of the meeting with only 15 minutes allotted to each discussion item. They learned really quickly to get to the point because once the 15 minutes was up for that item, they would have to wait 6 months for the next meeting to blab out it some more! He he heeeee! ;)

At some point the noise from my garage that we had converted into a personal bar/adult rec-room came up. The two oldest ladies (in their late 80's) were concerned about the sound of the pool balls clicking together, (no joke) and wanted to impose a neighborhood noise ordinance in addition to the city noise ordinance. I knew this was going to come up in the meeting because as the HOA President all complaints needed to be forwarded to me, even if they were complaints about me! Before the meeting I had contacted the police department and obtained the written noise ordinances. The old ladies LIED and said that they had contacted the police and that there was a city-wide noise curfew of 8:00 PM for any type of noise. I immediately called them out on it and told them that I had the real city noise ordinances and they say no such thing! Then I passed the paper around the room for everyone to see. YOU ARE SO BUSTED BLUE-HAIRS! The city noise ordinance is divided into different categories including amplified, non-amplified (voices, etc.), sports, and construction. Pool is a sport and there isn't a cut off time for sports related noises! Ha ha haaaaa, got 'em again! The old ladies then proposed creating a neighborhood noise ordinance. The wife of one of the nice old couples piped up and asked in her sweet little grandma voice "If we do impose a neighborhood noise ordinance and it is summer time and Bob* and I have the windows open and are DOIN' THE NASTY, would that be a violation?" My jaw dropped, oh my god, did she just say "doin' the nasty"? Holy shit, your rock old lady! :) They were my favorite of the neighbors. The proposed neighborhood noise ordinance was struck down and all was peaceful again in my life. (*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the old and horny.)

Since we were the only people in the neighborhood that still worked everyone was in the habit of bringing their garbage and recycle cans in promptly on garbage morning. There was no way that I was going to leave work at 10:00 am to come home and put the cans in. One of the neighbors would roll the cans from the street into my driveway, blocking my parking spot. Very fucking rude! I got so sick of coming home after work and having to park my car on the street, put the garage door up, get out of the car, put the cans in the garage, get back in my car and then park in my driveway. The solution you ask? Just put the garage door up and ram the empty cans into your garage with your truck!

I also love having garage sales. Just once a year, not every freaking weekend. You get rid of all your old shit and make some money too! One of the neighbors wanted to add to the CC&R's that garage sales weren't allowed. Why you ask? "Because it brings the Mexicans into the neighborhood to case our houses to rob later". Alrighty then, thanks for sharing dude. Thankfully, that brilliant idea was struck down too.

When I put the house on the market in 2005 the crazy old lady next door decided to ambush one of the agents who came to see it. She ran up to the agent as she was leaving as said "I'll sell my house for a lot less than she is selling hers for!" I heard all of this so I walked up to her and told her that if she wanted to put her house on the market she was of course welcome to do so, but that she was not allowed to talk to anyone coming in or out of my house. She assured me that I misheard her and that she was absolutely NOT going to sell her house. I knew she was lying. A week later she put her house on the market. LIAR! It actually worked to my advantage in the end because her house was such a stinky, cluttered, nasty dump, it made my house look like a gem! I sold mine and moved and she took hers off the market and stayed. She was determined to make my life miserable until the moment we drove away in the moving truck.

The moral of this story is to never buy a house in a neighborhood with a Home Owner's Association.


Nuclear Toast said...

Ok, the part that caught me completely by surprise and had me laughing out loud was when you collectively referred to your neighbors as "q-tips". Ha ha ha ha!

Ash said...

Nuclear Toast - Oh yes, q-tips indeed, many of them have puffy white hair!

Ash said...

I would also like to add that one of the old men was senile would say strange things to me when I would walk to the mailbox, like "You would look really good in a swimsuit!" I would just smile and say "That's sweet, thank you!" Because he didn’t know any better at that point and frankly it was a flattering compliment even if it was coming from a senile old man in his late 80’s! :) (Ok - I am waiting for someone to reply with the burn "was he losing his eye sight too?!?!" So there - I beat you to it and it wouldn't be funny if you said it now!)

Once when T was getting the mail the old man said he was going to call the cops because T didn't live there and he was stealing my mail.

Bri said...

It also was funny when your neighbors would spy on us tp'ing your own house. Fun times!!