Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires...courage.
-
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Our run-in(s) with the 'law'...

Most of you who know me at all probably know that I'm kind of a rule-follower. I am not one who crosses the street when the crosswalk sign says DON'T WALK or who will sled in a park/swim in a lake if I see a sign posted that says it's not allowed. I don't speed, litter, drink and drive, etc. I obey whatever rules/laws there are (even if I don't like them) and remedy the situation as soon as possible if I mistakenly break a rule/law. I make sure that my children follow the rules too. So, it has been quite an eye-opener for me over the last few months during which we've had several run-ins with the 'law'.....the HOA police to be exact. Don't get me wrong, I like rules....I've posted more than once about how I've had to lighten up over the years. If you have ever lived in a community governed by a HOA or know anything about them at all, you will understand that they have LOTS of rules. The purpose is so people who live in the community can come home to a nice, safe, clean neighborhood...I SO get it, I am all for that. However, living two doors down from a Nazi ex-board-member has it's definite drawbacks. Our first week here Logan put out the trash and recyclables (that's been his job for some time now). He put both out on Wednesday and the recycle guy only comes on Saturdays. Karl and I did not realize he had done so or we would have told him to bring them back in. A very short time after Logan took everything out Karl got a call from our property manager, stating that he had "received a call" about our recycle bins and could we please take them back in. (our ex-board-member neighbor) No problem, we don't want them out if they aren't supposed to be. A few months go by....Logan is taking the trash out once again. He is approached by "some man" as Logan described him who asked him "Can I show you something?" Well, even our sheltered, home schooled kids know the answer to that question is a big, fat "NO!" The man went on to explain to Logan that he was placing our trash can in the driveway the wrong direction. Really? I mean, really? Did any of you know that there IS a right direction? I did not. Okay, very strange and annoying but we corrected the situation. From then on our trash can has been positioned properly in our driveway every week. It turns out it was the same neighbor and apparently our trash blows into his yard when the truck picks it up if it's not facing the right way....how he knows this I don't know unless he stands at his window watching everything on the street every day! Anyway, not ones to cause problems unnecessarily, we changed it and moved on. A few weeks later I was leaving the house with the kids, headed to the library. As I pull out and head down our street a lady in a van gets out and flags me down. Huh? She seemed okay, so I stopped and rolled the passenger side window down. She did not introduce herself....she just asked me if I was the owner or renting our home....I told her we are renting and she asked, "Do you know if it's your responsibility or the owner's to fertilize the lawn?" I thought this a strange question.....she went on to say that it has not been fertilized. Hello? How would you know? I actually had to say, "And you are?" before she bothered to tell me she was the president of the HOA....still no actual name, by the way. I'm not sure why she did not just call the owner of the house, but I assured her it was the owner's job and that I would contact him to let him know what she had said. (He takes care of all the lawn maintenance for us.) We went on with our day, and though I thought it very odd and quite rude, I tried to put it out of my mind. We did tell our landlord and he was not very happy about her harassing me on the street. Since that day, we have received several more 'complaints'. I will list them for you:
  • A letter from the property manager stating that we will be fined $50 for each time our trash can is within sight on days it is not 'trash day'. We did leave it out after our vacation to GA because it was NASTY and we still had to buy a hose to clean it. We didn't want it stinking up the garage. Our fault, but I did take it in immediately upon receipt of the letter. We received another letter two days after the first one telling us the same thing, even though it had been taken inside.
  • A letter was received about pressure-washing the roof of the house, or we would be fined $50 if it was not done. Consequently, when that was completed it killed some our grass along the edges of the house...I fully expect to get another letter about the fertilizing of the grass.....due to the dead grass because of the chemicals from the pressure-washing.
  • Also, a letter was received stating that our hedges were too tall and needed to be trimmed....again a $50 fine would be assessed if not taken care of....that was actually the lawn guy's fault. He wasn't doing it each month, I'm not sure why. That problem has been corrected, thankfully.
  • We received another letter telling us that our mailbox needs to be painted or we will be fined $50. Both of these last two things is not our responsibility, but the owner's. Upon returning from a trip to the grocery store a day or two after that, I noticed that each mailbox post actually holds TWO mailboxes. Now tell me how they know it's our responsibility and not the owner of the house next door?! In any case, we will not be getting out the paint and brushes...waiting for our landlord to handle it.
By the way, after the pressure-washing incident, our landlord went by the office and told them to stop harassing his tenants. He's very nice and was really perturbed that they have been hounding us over things that are his responsibility. I don't think they listened....you will not believe what came next, just last week.

  • Thursday, the moving truck from NY arrived with the remainder of our things. They were here about three hours unloading boxes and putting together a table, etc. The entire time, cars and trucks passed by, neighbors were outside occasionally, but no one stopped by to find out what was going on.....were they getting a new neighbor, were we leaving? No one cares, I guess. Apparently, that's untrue. About 30 minutes after the truck left there was a knock on the door. When I opened the door the lady informed me of her name, saying she is the new property manager. (Karl had just been by her office the day before to complain about the constant letters, asking her to call our landlord....AND she had actually just been on the phone with him about his complaint before she came to our home) She told me "I got a report that there was a moving truck here..." I confirmed that, and she said that someone told her "another family was moving in." WHAT!? I assured her no other family was moving in, its just us. I went on to tell her I didn't know who had a problem with us but that it is very disturbing that we keep getting all these letters, etc. Anyway, she said, "Well, when I get a call like that I have to check it out." then went on her way. I was, and am, offended by the entire incident. Karl went back to the office Friday to tell her to call him anytime she gets a call about us...to please leave me alone....did she "really think we were harboring illegal aliens?" Hopefully she will do as he asked. The real 'kicker' is this.....whoever called told her that they had been over and asked about this 'family' and that we told them "they're only going to stay a few months." WHY would someone want to spread lies about us? I have no idea what the deal is...we stay pretty much to ourselves, not bothering anyone....
Needless to say, I have so had it with this place. It's nice, but I am over the whole HOA thing. I am praying that God will lead us to a home, a SAFE place that we can afford, but that IS NOT in a HOA. Will you pray with me? I have not had to deal with such childishness since I was in middle school. Seriously. I won't do it, but it makes me want to start making 'reports'....like about the guy who is having a party tonight and has about 30 cars parked up and down the street, across the sidewalk, etc.....but it doesn't bother me as long as they're not in my driveway. The only thing that does bother me is that someone is choosing to cause trouble for us...so maybe pray about that too, that it won't bother me so much and that they'll just stop.

All right, I'm gonna stop my rant, get off my soapbox...I just had to share this with all of you. I'm sure you're just as amazed as I am....

8 comments:

Kara said...

Sorry you're having so many problems with your HOA. I always said I wouldn't live in one, but I do. For the most part, we don't have any problems, it is a very rural neighborhood, but we have had our drama within the neighborhood. People can be so childish. It's amazing how many neighborhoods have a nazi-neighbor in them. We've used that term for neighbors before. My mother currently has one living on her street. She just doesn't have an HOA to call, so she calls the police. So pathetic. Hope you do find a nicer neighborhood someday. And until then, I pray they will stop harassing you and mind their own business.

Navy Chief Family said...

so sorry you have to deal with this and being pregnant...aren't people sympathetic or mine their own business...I will pray that you find your forever home without all the harassment. It's the last thing you need...Isn't this suppose to be a happy time?
Chin up Wendy, it will get better..

Anonymous said...

oh Wendy, I'm sad for you that this trial is at your doorstep-literally!! I will pray for you and your neighbors. I pray that someone in the neighborhood stands up for your family and that your faith will be evident to those around you and will lead to a real witnessing encounter with someone near you there. Keep praying and leaning on us for support so you don't get drained over all of this :-)-fb or email me anytime you need to vent! Erin

D & J said...

WOW! This is all craziness and childish indeed! I am so sorry you are all going through this. Will be praying for you and your "spies/tattletales/liers/immature people" AKA: your neighbors

StacyB said...

I am sorry you are dealing with all that crud!! You are confirming, however, what I have always believed about HOAs... My attitude is ... "THIS IS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! Leave me and my FREEDOM alone." I could go on and on... but I won't. I'll just pray for God to shield you from more attacks.

mimi said...

I agree with everyone...I'm so sorry that you have to deal with this. People amaze me, I mean..seriously?!!

I'm looking forward to your new digs...soon, girlfriend, soon!

*I know, my grammar and puncuation is atrocious in this post ;)

Anonymous said...

Perhaps, these people are offended with large families. My sister in law has 6 kiddo's and 1 on the way and they homeschool and have been harassed much by their neighborhood as well.
Hopefully you won't get harassed for homeschooling your kids! Read up on your rights on HSLDA.
Through all this I pray that the Lord will give you grace and strength to be an excellent witness to your neighborhood of kindness. Read Matthew 5:44 and pray, pray, pray!

Wendy said...

That's possible...I'm constantly amazed at the things people are offended by and take action against....basic freedoms. They don't have to give birth to, pay for, or raise my children, nor do they have to foot the bill for their education. I DO have to help foot the bill for their kids' educations even though mine do not attend the local schools. You may be right....homeschoolers are terribly 'offensive'...and having a large family? Forget about it! ;)