Wednesday, July 30, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Green

I went to my first Homeowners Association meeting last night. It was the biggest turnout they've had and there were 10 people there.

Our neighborhood is old. I was 5 years old when it was built, so when I say "old", obviously that is relative. 1986 might be the year you had your first child or your tenth grandchild, but for me it was two years before I turned 7, and everything I remember about my childhood didn't happen until I turned 7.

For the most part, people in our neighborhood keep up with their yards. Sure, you get the occasional person who hasn't painted their house since it was built or the renters who never mow their lawn or trim their trees, but we actually live in a very nice, homey community. The HOA is very hands-off in our neighborhood which is not what my husband is used to. He came from a condo complex where the board consisted of crotchety old women who wanted to write letters and bang on peoples' doors if someone left their Christmas lights up past January 1. Yes, sometimes it got political and people got their undies bunched, but for the most part things got done. The condo community looked very nice and, since dues were over $220/mo, they had a nice reserve fund and took care of things right away that fell into disrepair.

Every house in the HOA (and there are blocks of them) pays $90 per year for HOA dues. Basically, our HOA doesn't have money to plant a flower bed, much less rent a room at a library at which to hold our meetings. Hence, the reason we stand in what is known as "the common area". It's literally a patch of grass that maybe one home could fit on at the T in the road. Renton hasn't seen rain on July 29th in years and last night it decided to rain. So, there we stood, all 10 of us, umbrellas in hand, talking over the sound of rain and the occasional car passing by.

I'm boring you. I'm sorry. There's just too much backstory.

Anyway, I went there with a little tiny bit of an axe to grind because we have 2 of the very few renters in the HOA living in our cul de sac and they are "typical" renters. I hate to use a generalization like that but let me explain. They don't maintain their yards very well. Dandelions reign supreme. Their trees virtually touch the sidewalk for lack of trimming and weeds sprout up in what could be considered a flower bed in high desert. I'm not a fan of this, especially considering the amount of work my husband puts into making our yard look nice. However, what bothers me the most (call me petty, I don't care) is that they use the front of our home as their personal parking lot. There are at least 2 cars parked in the front of our home at all times. It bothers me. A lot. Especially since their driveway is never full and they could park there if they were being thoughtful about the situation. Their house is even located on the opposite side of the cul de sac.


You're going to park in front of my house and then walk clear across the cul de sac to your home?

I put a picture of our house to the upper right. You can't really tell from this picture, but if you look closely you can see the sidewalk that curves around the front of our house. That is the curb on which they choose to park (notice the car parked there now). Please don't judge us based on the dead grass of our neighbor. That strip is not ours and the neighbors virtually refuse to maintain it. My husband is this (--) close to ripping up the grass and laying in mulch or gravel. Anyway, back to my boring point. The renters park directly in front of our home constantly - and they park at least a foot off the curb. I've seen them and I know they're just a bunch of young guys who probably were never taught any better, but I think about what I would do if I were them and I wouldn't park in front of someone's house every single day.

The HOA can't/won't do anything about the parking issue and I can't say that I blame them. It's public property. I don't, however, see an issue with them sending the renters a nice letter asking them to stop making our cul de sac their personal parking lot (a couple of other HOA members agreed with me). If you have more than 4 cars to park, clean out your garage. If you have more than 6 cars to park, move to the back 40 and park them in the grass. It just makes a neighborhood look trashy to be littered with so many cars.

:::back from lunch, 2 hours after starting this blog. boy, do I sound lame with all my complaining:::

Enough of that. I have some positive news. I finally met the girl who lives in the house around the corner from us. I knew that around the time we moved into our house a young couple moved in to that house but I never got the guts to walk over there and introduce myself. She became a Member-At-Large on the HOA board as did my husband so he's been going to the meetings where she has been going with her husband for a while. I usually have better things to do than go to some HOA meeting. BOH-RING. Ok, not really but I'm usually cleaning the kitchen after dinner (the meetings are at 6pm, for crying out loud) or sitting on my bum eating ice cream. Anyway, she is very sweet and they have a really adorable little 18-month-old boy who was so patient while his mom and I chatted away. I'm always excited to meet new people since I still don't know too many after relocating to Washington 4 years ago. I know, I'm lame.

In other news, last night when my husband let the dog out he saw this little guy hanging out on our front door. Meet Kermit.
Since these shots were taken through glass and I don't have the steadiest hand in the world, they're not the best quality. But he sure was cute. Very, very small. Maybe the size of a couple of grapes. I wonder if he'll come back. I don't know what was going on with the fuzzies hanging off of his sticky self. Anyway, he made me happy when I saw him last night and hopefully he isn't scared to come back.

I'm going to try to get outside tonight and take some pictures of the beautiful blooms in our backyard. I also have to work on designing business cards for the Kent coC.

I Grocery Game'd last night. Only saved 43%. Oh well. I'm trying a new drink. They were 10/$10 at Safeway last night so I picked up a few. This one happens to be a Snapple Noni Berry metabolism juice drink. Ok, whatever. It tastes good - real good.

Let's see - 20 Calories, 0 Fat, 2 Carb, 2 Sugars for a 17.5oz drink. Not bad!

I'm starting an exercise routine on Friday. $2.40 of my hard-earned money depends on me working out at least 20 minutes every day. It was a friend of mine's brilliant idea to take $2.40 of all of her friends money and pool it together. Whoever is the last exercist (ha!) standing wins the pot! I can only miss one day - never 2 in a row. Oh boy, what did I get myself in to?

I got the nerve to walk over to the guy who hacks loogies all day in the cube behind me but I didn't say anything. I'm such a weenie.

5 comments commented:

Liz said...

Yikes. We live in an older neighborhood too (1950'ish) and like all neighborhoods over 20 years old, we have our share of renters. The house right next door is a rent house, but luckily we know the girls that rent it and they're lovely. I dread the day they leave. :(

Sarah said...

Hey Jamie, sorry to hear about your neighbors...what a pain! On another note, I think that you should convince your husband to get you that bowl...hope you like it!

Tifani said...

Hey there, Jamie. I don't have your email address, so I'll just leave a long, rambling, unrelated comment instead. Thx for the comment on my blog. To make the heading, I downloaded some free digital scrapbook elements (example below), cropped and arranged the elements in MS Publisher, saved it as a JPEG file, then uploaded it in place of my heading. Does that make sense?

Mainly a midwife said...

What is Grocery game'd??

Mainly a midwife said...

What is grocery game?