My friend Ron once made a wise statement about neighbors that’s stuck with me for over 20 years now.
“I want a house that’s far enough away from everybody that I can mow the grass naked if I want to.”
Ron obviously followed his own advice. His family lives way the heck down a dirt road, almost to the Oconee River in Johnson County, GA. Deliverance music starts to play out of nowhere as you approach his 1800’s era house. He can indeed mow the grass naked if he wants. (I’m not sure if he does and I doubt I’ll ask.)
Sadly, James and I didn’t follow the “mow naked” rule of thumb last year while shopping for a home here in Virginia. We bought a house in a huge development called Woodlake on the Swift Creek Reservoir. We were taken in by its resort-like amenities.
“It’ll be like living on vacation!” I boasted cheerfully….naively.
There was one huge element of this “resort living” that we underestimated.
The Homeowners’ Association. (cue the shower scene music from the movie Psycho.)
Not only is mowing the grass naked strictly prohibited. It says so in section 483, chapter 19, page 72, line 569F of the HOA Guidelines Manual. Having pretty much any independent thought is also prohibited. And I have to get approval from the board of directors on what shirt to wear each day (practically).
It all started with James’ utility trailer. He made the mistake of parking it under some trees next to our house, pretty much out of sight…unless you’re a freakin’ busy body neighbor with NOTHING else to do with your time except volunteer as an HOA Gestapo member.
After only five days, we received a polite letter from the board asking us to move the trailer inside the back fence.
James complied, spewing a cloud of curse words that hovered over our neighborhood like creative air pollution.
That was a few months ago.
Up until last week, he had a camo painted golf cart parked amid a thicket of trees, right next to our fence. ON OUR PROPERTY. You’d have to really look hard to see the thing.
And yesterday we received yet another polite letter from the HOA saying that a neighbor “just happened to be walking by on the back trail and noticed it.”
Yeah. RIGHT. They just happened to be walking by. Walking by with a pad and pen, taking note of any potential violations to turn in to the board.
I can assure you, they didn’t have to walk far at all. Do they get freakin’ commission for this stuff?
The letter suggested that we cover the golf cart (that’s already camo, mind you) with a camouflage tarp. Wouldn’t a large, random tarp be more of an eyesore than the golf cart itself? WTH!!!!!!
I’d also like to be able to paint my front door, but we have to submit our color of choice along with a urine specimen for approval at the next board meeting.
And the politics! I swear it’s worse than the federal government. After running the last HOA manager off with torches and pitchforks, the board finally hired a new one. And now all the tightly wound “panties-in-their-crack” housewives are freaking out on Facebook because this new manager is a prolific adult sex novel writer with a huge following of S and M and spanking fans. They’re calling for the resignation of whatever board member signed off on her hiring.
(Everyone grab your torches and pitchforks again!!!! We’ve got another career to ruin!)
With our new black lace wearing manager at the helm, it ought to at least liven up the board meetings. Maybe she’ll use corporal punishment for homeowners who violate HOA codes.
Yep, today marks a year that we’ve been Virginia residents. I miss Georgia where everyone minded their own freaking business.