Are Home Owners' Associations the bane of human existence? I am not sure if I am ready to go that far, but my HOA really grinds my nerves into a fine paste. Then they take that nerve paste and mix it with lukewarm water to make a remedial glue. I believe at this point they sniff their homemade nerve paste glue and write their newsletters. I know of no other possible explanation.
Do we get a newsletter every month like we should? Of course not. That would be too much to ask. So when we do receive one of these newsletters, it is an event we celebrate with much fanfare. And alcohol.
Previous editions of this newsletter have included a full page calendar of the following two months with the 2 HOA events clearly marked. And, to make things worse, for those bothered by deforestation, yes, the two unnecessary calendar pages were printed on separate pages. We have also been treated to grammatical errors which should be declared crimes against humanity, with wording so awkward it makes your head hurt to imagine anyone who worked on it ever mastered language in the first place. And the punctuation... well, I will be generous and say that punctuation is obviously a theory in which the editors of the newsletter do not believe.
But I shall only focus on the current issue of the newsletter. I am not commenting on the quality of this living location, especially when you consider previous living quarters (see my notice to vacate a previous domicile at http://morrisonrouse.blogspot.com/2010/03/moving-day.html), but only the ineptitude of the HOA.
First, this newsletter was delivered by being hung on my mailbox. Previous newsletters have been taped to my mailbox or placed on my front door stoop. This one was gently placed in a plastic bag and hung over the top of my mailbox. Now, I appreciate the effort to do this, I really do. However, I believe the plastic bag in which the newsletter was placed is insulted that I called it a plastic bag. It appears to be made of some space age polymer that the Pentagon had created as an alternative to Kevlar. Without a doubt it is the most expensive plastic bag ever. Thank God the HOA charges us an exorbitant annual fee so they can pay for the plastic bags for the monthly newsletters we get occasionally.
So this newsletter was dated February 2011. Complete with a little cupid baby at the top so we know it is February. How cute, right? Also on the front page is a three paragraph article about the 2011 HOA dues with the reminder that they are due on March 1, 2011 or else late fees will be assessed. Important information and I am very glad it was included on the front page of the newsletter. Did I mention that we received this newsletter on March 7, 2011? Isn't it thoughtful that our HOA delivered the important February newsletter seven days into the following month?
Knowing that I will have to face this tardiness issue in greater detail soon, I looked over the rest of the front page. Luckily I did, as there was a big article about the HOA garbage can policy. Nothing new about the policy, just that they are going to start enforcing it on March 1. Great. They did have a nice little picture of acceptable screens for garbage cans, in case people can't read, so that was nice. But there was another little piece of clip art with the article that caught my eye. It was a picture of a garbage can with a child inside, peering out. Wait, what the hell? Is this HOA anti-children? Are they saying we should throw all our babies into trash cans? What the fresh hell is this?!?!
Moving on to page 2, there are a couple articles about nothing important. But the biggest article is about parking your cars on the street. In summary, the article says that there is nothing that can be done about it because it is perfectly legal. So why write the article in the first place? Well, without the article, the HOA wouldn't be able to condescend to everyone about how they use their garages and driveways. Apparently, we all should be using our garages as designed. Heaven forbid we do anything as radical as say... using our garages for whatever damn purpose we want! How DARE we!!!
Other page 2 highlights:
- An ad about the spring community yard sale. A yard sale sign with legs is apparently this year's mascot. Perhaps it will be advertised by more than one lonely sign at the end of the community this year. God forbid we actually have people venture into the community to buy shit from our yard sale.
- An ad hyping the Easter Egg Hunt. Specifically, to be on the lookout for the date of the Easter Egg Hunt. Do we have to hunt for the date to hunt Easter Eggs? I am unsure at this time. However, I am sure the April newsletter will let us know the date when we receive it in June.
Page 3 showcases a smiley face wagging a finger at us so we don't forget important things like removal of holiday decorations or playing an active part in the community. However, there was a hit and run in the community on February 19! Big news! The article even had the important headline of "****Hit & Run***" Why four asterisks prior to the "hit" and only three asterisks after the "run?" I do not know, but that question will haunt me forever. But on to the big news. The victim of this hit and run? The HOA community mailbox! Oh no!! Hopefully it will pull through without too much invasive surgery! Where else can we put our fees that were due a week ago???
Page 4 and 5 is a nice little article about Black History Month. You know... February... The month that ended 7 days ago... I am so glad that we got this article in time. It reads like someone's junior high civics paper though, so maybe that explains it. We had to wait for the mean old teacher to grade it and return it to the student so he/she could give it to his/her mom or dad to include in the newsletter.
Page 6 gives us a history of Valentine's Day and traditions! There is also a section about romantic movie ideas and Valentine's Day jokes. Why couldn't we have gotten this information BEFORE Valentine's Day? Maybe then I would have known that it is not very romantic to steal flowers from a cemetery on the way home from renting a fine selection of Charles Bronson movies. Damn you, HOA. You ruined my chance at true love!!!
Page 7 - Two recipes for romantic desserts. Either of them would have gone over better than the half-eaten can of Planters peanuts I scrounged out of the back of the cupboard. How was I supposed to know that she would want to eat?
Page 8 - New laws in the city about securing your dog and tax tips. Yes, eight pages into this newsletter and there is FINALLY something that is important and timely. Hallelujah! It's a miracle!
Page 9 - Crime prevention tips. I believe this is the exact same page that was included in the last newsletter, but since I can not remember when the last newsletter was (and I didn't have a plastic bag from the future to protect it), that newsletter has been lost to history. Therefore, I can not confirm nor deny the existence of this exact page being repeated in two consecutive newsletters.
Page 10 - A page of credits for the newsletter. A copy of three business cards. A picture of the policeman on our beat. A very important reminder to dial 911 for emergencies or suspicious activity. I know it is important because it had the headline of "******IMPORTANT******" at the top. At least there were the same number of asterisks on either side this time. Oh, and emergencies was capitalized. Because, well, why the hell not? I hear random capitalizations are all the rage with the kids these days.
Finally, there is a little cartoon drawn at the bottom of the final page. It is a misshapen heart with an arrow through it. Inside the heart it wishes us a Happy Valentine's Day and has the images of two random people holding hands. These people aren't stick figures, but they are very poorly drawn. In fact, they are both bald and one of them has a head that appears to be the size of a Dodge Durango. Was this cartoon added to fill space? Is it a cute drawing one of the editors' children drew? Is it designed to mock us for living in a community that sends out newsletters late, if at all? We may never know for sure...
In conclusion, I still can not say that Home Owners Associations are the bane of human existence. But they are most definitely the bane of home ownership. And they have officially been added to my list of arch-enemies.