Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Annual Meeting

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 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.


beckiwithani said...

I'm always amazed at people who make public spectacles of their anger like that. That is just so NOT how we were raised. (Sad to think of the home where that guy must've grown up ...) I actually totally get where he was coming from -- this is his business we're talking about, and it'll probably be very pricey for him to find an alternate place for the trailer -- but what an immature (and VERY ineffective) way to deal with it!

C. Beth said...

I saw him today on our walk. (He happens to be outside getting ready to leave for work, while we walk by, about once a week.) As we often do, we exchanged a few friendly words. He talked about the meeting. If he could have spoken there in as friendly of a way as he usually does to me, it would have been so much more positive (though the result probably would have been the same.) He said the trailer is staying in the garage now, so I'm glad he doesn't have to pay for storage. Apparently he lived on a ranch before purchasing this house, so he's not used to the restrictions. I feel bad for the situation he's in, but I also believe this type of rule is really important from a real estate standpoint (keeping property values high.) And you really can't easily differentiate (in the restrictions) between a gorgeous, classy trailer like his and a rusted piece of junk.

Kristi said...

LOL! Adult tantrums are the best, right? :) I see where his anger is coming from, but I'm pretty sure he knew the rules before he moved in. Seems as though he was trying to get off the hook based on the fact that his trailer isn't "unsightly".

Unlike discussing what "yield" means (too funny!), how about my cousin's HOA (neighborhood right down the road from us) paint their ENORMOUS speed humps so people can at least see them coming?? Even driving at the posted 20mph will have you catching air and bottoming out! I know first hand as I've done it several times. I even know they're there! I can only imagine what it's like for unexpecting drivers. :-0

Oh, and speaking of adult temper tantrums, remind me to tell you about my shameful "Mommy Dearest" moment from yesterday. *sigh*