March 2, 2023
NOTE #1: I absolutely understand the original logical WHY for Home Owners Associations (HOAs). I also understand WHY they have become easy “punchlines” for smart alecks with their own websites … like me.
NOTE #2: Are HOAs a microcosm of what “America” has evolved into … a nanny-state ruled by meddlesome gavel-wielding bureaucratic nabobs?
NOTE #3: I already posted my recent HOA experience to my legion of Facebook disciples. If you double dip on BLSays … chill, there is a lot of new stuff here.
On Tuesday last, I HAD to attend “a neighborhood meeting”. I stress “HAD to” because I don’t normally “do meetings”. I avoid them like the mainstream media avoids “Truth”. Legally, it was not an “HOA” but close enough for this insight into why America teeters on The Abyss … like you really need more such insights.
It involves a 7-acre neighborhood lake that requires a paltry $50/year membership. I normally just trespass to fish on such lakes using the time-tested “act like you belong” strategy; but $50/year is so paltry why not play by the rules for once. I digress …
The meeting was suppose to be 6:30 – 7:30 on the back deck of a neighbor’s house. I only knew one of the 15 attendees … my fishing buddy Philip. I had told Blondie to hold dinner since I should not be very long. Silly me …
I am not “on The Board” … simply a lowly association member.
Of the 15 attendees … ONE was wearing a Fauci mask. Guess which one was the chairperson of the little neighborhood lake association.
I would learn later that she rose to her position thru her advanced degrees in Parliamentary Procedures and owning her own little gavel.
As masked Madame Chairperson called the meeting to order and her able assistant passed out copies of “the minutes” of the last meeting and the night’s agenda; I texted Blondie … “Forget 7:30 … it’ll be 8:30 or closer to 9:00.”
With several board members opting to Zoom the meeting there was a 10 minute delay to locate the correct “dongle” to zoom them in. Then another delay to discuss if the type size of the minutes / agenda should be increased a few points. You think I’m kidding …
Yadda yadda blah blah … you can imagine how the next hour plus plus proceeded. Me … I was B’rer Rabbit … having fallen into a briar patch of column fodder.
The 20 minute discussion of whether dock repairs should be done using nails or screws was scintillating. The “screw side” emerged triumphant. I agreed although I had no vote.
I have been a member of “the lake” for going on three years. Until a few months ago it was “idyllic”. Only a handful of us actually fish. Another dozen or so “walk their dogs” around the lake. Why the other 50 or so families even bother to ante up the $50 is a mystery.
All of us 6-7 fishermen are “good guys … all hail fellows well met”. If there was storm damage or other “stuff that needed doing” we just did it. Too good to be true, right.
“Idyllic situations” invariably attract Punchbowl Pissin’ Jackasses (PPJ) – a term I employed to the “OMG, did he say …” astonishment of several attendees. Exactly what I was going for …
In this case a homeowner of one of the 5-6 lakeside lots. “Our PPJ” is a serial-suer … his kick is filing frivolous lawsuits. A record-check revealed he’s done them wherever he’s lived around the county. I bet you know the type.
As a result of his frivolous lawsuit the lake’s liability insurance increased from $300/year to $3300/year … against an annual revenue of 80 x $50 = $4,000; effectively changing the twice annual weiner / marshmallow roasts to BYOW&Ms.
So we’ve got Madame Masked Chairperson & a Punchbowl Pissin’ Jackass … an elephant, a juggling midget on a unicycle and three Lithuanian acrobats short of a for-real 3-ring circus. Yeeeee Ha!
The highlight of the evening other than the three times I blurted out “Punchbowl Pissin’ Jackass” was when my buddy Philip was chastised by Madame Chairperson for replacing a rotting board on a dock without the approval of the Maintenance Committee which has never met and members of which no one seemed to know.
I counted SIX different committees … with God knows how many subcommittees.
Philip is a very cordial fellow. He likes everybody … Except Donald Trump who he despises. But I’m his BFF … go figure.
I’ve never seen the pissed-off side of Philip … until he was chastised. I was proud of the ol’ boy as he and Madame Chairperson glared daggers at one another. Several attendees were uneasy as a violent confrontation loomed but was averted by a barking dog.
I finally got home around 9:15 for the warmed over quiche Blondie had set aside. Two and a half hours for some pretty darn good column fodder. It was worth it.
Oh. Did I mention the 30 minute debate over minimum and maximum length of required dog leases? … or the $$$ penalty if one is caught on video digging up a fern.
Back when silly me harbored delusions of being a raconteur, I did a bit about HOAs.
The Scene: A Hilton Head / Kiawah – type community with literally volumes of Dos and Don’t HOA Rules for Luxury Homeowners … heavy on the Don’ts.
A retired military officer – maybe a Bird Colonel or One Star – 30 years of tours in hell holes all over the globe doing what has to be done against for-real bad guys with evil intent involving mud and blood and IEDs et al. Sending too many young men home in boxes. A for-real Warrior …
Warrior and his wife purchase their dream retirement home … for a relaxed no-hassle life of cocktails … maybe golf with his buddies … maybe some fishing … visits from the grandkids … a well-earned reward for a career of service to a grateful nation.
The doorbell rings. Warrior’s wife answers …
There stands a 5′ tall she-troll wearing a pith helmet, a safari jacket and tactical boots… carrying a clipboard and a tape measure … with a name badge – Mildred: HOA Inspector.
“I’m Mildred with The HOA Enforcement Dept. Your mailbox needs to be moved back 18″ from the curb … and your front door is the wrong shade of beige…”
Warrior’s Wife turns and calls out to Warrior enjoying a MaiTai on his back deck.
“Honey, it’s a 5′ she-troll in a pith helmet saying our mailbox and front door are in violation of some sort of rules …”
30 seconds of silence … broken by the unmistakable sound of a shell being racked into a short-barrel Mossberg 12 gauge.
Wife turns back to where Mildred WAS standing … Mildred’s ample backside is visible scurrying down the sidewalk with pith helmet and clipboard aflyin’.
I “get it”. To maintain harmony …
… in any communal living environment there needs to be a universal “common sense” understanding and “limits” to what extremes residents can go to express their individuality. IF residents know those limits before they complete the purchase process and agree to them in writing … it is a caveat emptor situation.
The best examples are purchasing a home on a golf course then complaining about wayward golf balls … or buying in a subdivision on an airport take-off / landing path and complaining about the noise. Nitwits do both of those things every day.
Nitwits who wear useless Fauci masks while showering … or file frivolous lawsuits. Aaaiiieeee.
My friend Michael is currently chairman of his HOA in Durham. He has been active in previous HOAs over his career. Michael may be THE most amicable decent human being I know … his successful sales career is testament to his ability to deal with a broad range of personalities. I am certain his HOA – under his wise Solomon-esque guidance – is the antithesis of the YAHOO stereotype I’ve described above.
I fear that my Masked Madame Chairperson w/ her own gavel and “Mildred” are the rule in America 2023 … and Michael is the exception.