I left the kiddos with The Engineer last night so I could attend our Home Owners' Association (HOA) annual meeting. This being our first year in the house, it was my first meeting.
It was the perfect balance of boredom and entertainment. I've heard about the drama of HOAs and experiencing it for myself was actually kind of fun.
Items of business included...
1. What a yield sign means at those darn traffic circle roundabout things. (It means yield.)
2. Why your teenagers can't play at the lifeguard-less neighborhood pool by themselves. Even though you do think that middle school-aged kids are better-behaved than 18-year-olds.
3. Why one person can't have a commercial trailer at his house no matter how pretty it is.
This last item was the most dramatic. Here we go.
We were discussing the various violations of deed restrictions (such as unmowed lawns, unapproved basketball hoops, etc.) There is a neighborhood homeowner--we'll call him Ron--who has a mobile car detailing business and also a fence power washing/staining business. In fact, several weeks ago he gave us an estimate on staining our fence, but we decided to do it ourselves and save the money. He has a very attractive red trailer that has his equipment on it such as his power-washing tank. It's really nice looking but is clearly a trailer.
Ron raised his hand and started asking about the letters he's getting regarding his violation of our deed restrictions. Apparently his letters have referred to this portion of our restrictions: "No article deemed to be unsightly by the Architectural Committee shall be permitted to remain on any Lot.... [T]railers...shall be kept...in enclosed structures or screened from view...."
As Ron described the letters he's receiving, his feelings became more than apparent. "So I'm getting these letters about my trailer being 'unsightly,'" he said in barely repressed anger. "This trailer is stored on my lot but is moved all the time because I use it for work. It's a very nice trailer--It's been featured on ESPN!"
One of the meeting moderators explained that the restrictions don't allow trailers and that's why he's getting the letters. They didn't argue that ESPN has no input into our neighborhood restrictions though I think that would have been a valid point.
Ron turned to his wife, seethed, "Let's go!", and he, his wife, and their preschool-aged daughter left their seats. In his hand Ron had the paper handouts we'd all been given, and he angrily threw them over a table and into a trashcan. Some people know how to make an entrance. He knew how to make an exit.
My first thought? "I am SO glad I didn't give that guy my business." So not only did Ron fail to get the answer he wanted; he also lost a potential customer--and I'd wager he lost the respect and potential business of many others in the room too.
Next time I want to shoot my mouth off about something I'm angry about, even when it's just with my husband or kids, let me remember Ron--and let me remember that being unreasonable and having an adult temper tantrum always has negative effects.
As entertaining as the meeting was...I may send The Engineer next year. After all, if we discuss what the eight-sided red signs in the neighborhood mean, I want to make sure he's there to get that important information.