Tag Archives: HOAs

My Big, Dysfunctional Family

Our little neighborhood in Oregon is a magnet for drama.  To paraphrase the wonderful Alexander McCall Smith, “When people don’t have enough to do, they turn on their neighbors.”*

This community depends on its owners to run things, which might be ok if we weren’t a bunch of amateurs — some well-meaning; some self-serving. Many are retired executives who haven’t quite grasped that nobody here actually works for them. This leads to micromanagement, incompetence, and finger-pointing. Our motto should be “Once burned, twice shy” because we put a big bullseye on our backs the moment we volunteer.  After doing your bit, who needs more aggravation unless you’re a certified martyr or control freak?

The problem is that we’re all part of an extended “family” living in close proximity but connected only by the circumstance of choosing to live in the same neighborhood and, otherwise, having little in common.

Were this a Regency play, the cast of characters might read as follows:

Sir Bluffalot: “Whenever I’m wrong, bullying has always worked for me.”

Mr. Bragalot: (Bluffalot’s illegitimate brother) The self-styled expert on everything, no matter how trivial.

Our Lady of Perpetual Discord: Creates conflict so she can swoop in to solve it, ignoring pesky facts that might contradict her cast-iron assumptions.

Saint Gossipus: Want everyone to know your dire financial situation? Tell Saint G.

Aunt Sweety: A beautiful soul who sees the good in everyone.

Cousin It’sTheirFault: She takes no responsibility for her part in events since it’s much easier to blame others.

Uncle High Dudgeon: No issue is too small to overreact.

Miss Representation: Loyal subject of Saint Gossipus, the truth is a pliable commodity.

The Twins, Pitiful Pearl and Timid Timmy: “Please, someone else, solve my problems for me.”

Lord Blinker: Storms into battle for the woman he loves, armed only with outrage.

Sister Sycophant: “I can’t be bothered to find out anything, so I’ll just mix up a big batch of Kool-Aid and pass out the straws.”

The Moral of the Story: Hire professional management. If that’s impossible, avoid all meetings, curl up with a good book, sleuth out some trustworthy friends, and enjoy a nice glass of wine.

Cheers!

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Photo by Posawee Suwannaphati on Pexels.com

*”If you don’t have things to keep you busy, you end up starting fights with your neighbours.” — The Second-Worst Restaurant in France

 

Small Town, Big Drama

bubble-2022390_640What is it with people who continually need to stir the pot? As one friend says about our coastal location with its dramatic cliffs and sweeping ocean views: “We live in paradise … what do we have to complain about?”

And yet.

I get it. We’re all stressed, stir crazy, and a little crazy-crazy. But oh, am I tired of people lashing out. We have a worldwide health crisis, rising unemployment, an unpredictable economy, and a significant lack of leadership. Do we really need to make things unpleasant in our own communities?

Let’s see.  We have one neighbor threatening to sue another because they had the audacity to build a home on the empty lot RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM. She couldn’t have predicted that this might happen eventually? Or that no design in the world would make her happy?

Meanwhile, “Joan” — who is in charge of a lot of things although not actually everything — has been lobbying to get “Margaret” on a committee that already has enough members, claiming that she’s wanted to join for months. Mind you, Margaret has never directly asked anyone ON the committee about participating. But Joan decides to tell her she’s “not welcome.” What could possibly have been accomplished by hurting her feelings?!

Last week, we had a neighborhood brouhaha about a request from one neighbor to have some branches trimmed from a tree that blocks their TV satellite reception. From one guy’s reaction (“I’m shocked, appalled, aghast!”), you’d have thought someone was suggesting butchering his firstborn child.

I like trees too. But I’d likely run screaming into the abyss if I didn’t have the distraction of a few good TV shows.  I wouldn’t wish “no TV” on my worst enemy.

The latest is “PooGate”. “Tim” complained to the president of our board of directors that there’s a pile of dog poop where “Phil’s” lot borders theirs — the implication being that it’s Phil’s dog’s fault. Sure, that’s unpleasant. But couldn’t Tim simply point it out privately to Phil? And maybe it’s not even dog poop, since who’s knowingly going to leave it sitting ON THEIR OWN PROPERTY?!?! After the entire neighborhood has been alerted to Phil’s “transgression”, it turns out that they were merely dirt clods from construction across the street, and the totally unrelated odor was wafting over from a nearby sewer plant.

Can’t anyone just calm down?

Sigh.

 

Pet Peeves

Our small homeowners’ community in Oregon is currently debating what to do with our uncovered tennis court, which few people use and which needs to be either repaired or replaced with something else.

Several neighbors have suggested turning the area into a dog park.  We don’t have a dog so I haven’t had strong feelings either way. But when I read this article about rude dog owners and proper “pet-iquette”, it gave me paws… er, pause.

Major no-no’s include: not cleaning up poop, not disposing of it properly (hint: your neighbor’s trash can is not one of those places!), letting your dog pee on private property, dogs that are overly aggressive OR overly friendly, excessive barking, jumping on people, and so on.

A well-mannered dog is a joy.  A clueless owner? Not so much. Bark twice if you agree.

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Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

 

 

 

 

 

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Have you ever regretted volunteering for something? That’s the position in which I find myself this week.

As a member of the homeowners’ association board, way too much of my time is currently spent trying to navigate the petty disputes that constantly crop up between neighbors.

While I’m sympathetic to the concerns being raised on both sides of the latest kerfuffle (and deeply grateful to my fellow board members who share this thankless job), I am bone-tired of trying to be mom/cop/shrink/legal interpreter to a bunch of adults acting like whiny children – especially since I’m only actually qualified in the first category. Arrgh.

In between e-mail barrages, phone calls and meetings, I’m putting the stress to more productive use by pounding some dough.

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My weapon of choice!

Current baking challenge: the definitive buttermilk biscuit. Two recipes down so far, each pretty good but in need of adjustment.

Plus, more decisions to make: Cookie sheet or cast iron skillet? Butter, shortening or a combo? Baking soda as well as baking powder? Rolling pin or flatten by hand?

At least they don’t talk back.

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If anyone has a recipe they love, please share! xxxx