March 29, 2006

I Fought The Pseudo Law

Dear Homeowners Association -

Thank you for your correspondence. Ah, how I live to see mail from your revered committee (Robert Heinlein once stated that "a committee is a life form with six or more legs and no brain." I quite agree and assume that the same holds for an association such as yours.). You'll be happy to know that the majority of issues you mentioned have been taken care of. You see, we have a nice home. We're proud of it. Frankly, we were rather surprised to hear from you with any complaints to begin with. The trim is fixed and painted and, since it looks like we're out of the woods with the white stuff (not cocaine, we try and keep that off our lawn, and, instead, in bags in the attic) for the season, I've moved the snow shovel around back. The only issue left, then, is the trashcan...

As you know, our house is built on a hill. If you didn't know that, your observation skills suck. This makes fencing off the backyard impossible which, consequently, makes it damn near impossible to hold the annual Cactus Summer Orgy and Midget Tossing Weekend, especially after the bust several years ago. It also makes it really tough to hide the trashcan from view. And what do you care? If I'd decorated the trashcan with hardcore porn, I could see your point. But there's no porn. No offensive language. No big-ass metal spikes some innocent, misguided youth could inadvertently run into and lose an eye. It's a nice, harmless, garden variety trashcan.

We appreciated your follow-up phone call as well. It made one thing abundantly clear - you have nothing better to do with your sorry little life. Your argument in favor of building a trash enclosure was convincing. I could see how you'd think that might be our best option. And bonus points for convenience since we'd have to apply, to your office, to actually build said trash enclosure. By the way, what is a trash enclosure?

Here's what I'm thinking. You? Lay off. Go do your inspecting in another neighborhood or I'll kick your ass. Okay, maybe not. But if I get another letter about a fucking trash enclosure I'm going to build one. It's going to consist of a hot pink tarp with a message addressed to yours truly - Suck it, jackass.

Respectfully yours in Christ,

Posted by Chris at March 29, 2006 07:27 AM

Home Owner Associations are filled with people dying to boss others around. These are the same folks who volunteered to be hall moniters as kids. The only real way to fight them is to join. Then you van squish these stupid ideas in commitee. Maybe you could send the bean as your rep?

Posted by: Nic at March 29, 2006 07:35 AM

Nope, we don't have voice mail out here. Nope, we don't get a cell signal out here. Nope, no municipal sewer or water out here. Yes, our road just got paved two years ago out here.

BUT, I aso don't have someone telling me how to make my house a home out here!

I am so sorry for what you're dealining with. I live out in "BFE", but in my book that stands for basically fuckin' easy.

Posted by: Kristen at March 29, 2006 07:37 AM

Ah, life in the 'burbs! If you're looking for poles to use to build the trashcan enclosure, I suspect that some can be found up the butts of your HOA committee members.

Posted by: Amanda at March 29, 2006 07:51 AM

ah yes good old HOA's -we just had a patio poured on Monday without getting it first approved, so I'm just counting down the days until I receive a nice little letter or fine from our HOA. However I dont think our HOA keeps good records, they just want our money every quarter for who knows what... I'm Rockin the Suburbs!

Posted by: E at March 29, 2006 07:54 AM

Damn Homeowners Assn Nazis!!

Hold your ground Rude!

Posted by: Wicked H at March 29, 2006 07:56 AM

I think your idea for a trash enclosure sounds quite classy. Maybe add some artificial flowers around the base of it--even better if they're planted in old tires painted white.

I've never lived in a place with a homeowners association, and I never will. Too much hassle over the opinion of a very few people.

Posted by: Alissa at March 29, 2006 07:58 AM


Please, please, please tell me this was the only draft and that it was's all a jackass wants for CHRISTmas.


Posted by: jackassjimmy at March 29, 2006 08:05 AM

LOL You know, anyone who quotes Heinlein to the Homeowners Association is great in my book.

Posted by: amber at March 29, 2006 08:08 AM

You should ask them if they are going to send lumber and building plans for your said "trash enclosure". If they want it so bad, they can pay for and build it.

Posted by: Michelle at March 29, 2006 08:24 AM

HOAs are SOBs.

Posted by: mooalex at March 29, 2006 08:25 AM

"... yours in Christ"? Oh, stop, you're killing me!

We have three trash cans in front of our house. It bothers me a little that they're there, in plain view to the street. If only I had someone from a committee bugging me about them, I'd feel so much better about leaving them there!

Posted by: Kris at March 29, 2006 08:30 AM

I am reluctant to move from my old neighborhood where participation in the neighborhood association is voluntary, there are no retrictive covenants, and home owners can pretty much do as they please with THEIR PRIVATE PROPERTY.

Posted by: Allan at March 29, 2006 08:32 AM

Oh I HATE Homeowners Associations. Like we don't have enough laws from the actual government that we need more from people with nothing better to do? Yet another reason I refuse to move to the suburbs...

Posted by: Leah at March 29, 2006 08:40 AM

I love my HOA, every chance I get topiss them off, I go for it.

Posted by: Jeff A at March 29, 2006 08:51 AM

And this trash can thing is enough to constitute a formal letter AND a follow-up call? Wow. Sounds like someone REALLY needs to get a life.

Posted by: Beth in StL at March 29, 2006 08:51 AM

They did WHAT?
About the time they phoned, I'd have probably just blurted out "it's a trash can. Get over yourselves" and hung up.

This has tones of the whole "you have a lot of dandilions" whisperings in my previous neighbourhood. Well, excuse ME for not wanting a mono-culture.

Pink tarps. Yes. Good plan. Let me know if you want help with the red bungee cords.

Posted by: Opal at March 29, 2006 08:56 AM

Yours in Christ eh?

Those are some fightin' words!

Posted by: wn at March 29, 2006 09:01 AM

I could never figure out the point of owning a house if you don't own the house.

I bet you have to pay for the honor of belonging too.

Posted by: ann adams at March 29, 2006 09:02 AM

You tell 'em!

(we all know it is soft core on the trash can, just pictures out of Maxim)

Posted by: Sarah at March 29, 2006 09:04 AM

*rolling eyes* puh-lease

Posted by: kalisah at March 29, 2006 09:10 AM

Good goddamn. A TRASH ENCLOSURE? A FOLLOW-UP phone call? Bitch, please. This is how you know people don't have enough going on in their own lives.

Posted by: Fraulein N at March 29, 2006 09:11 AM

Don't forget to add a few hot pink flamingos around the enclosure just to jazz it up a little more. HOAs love jazzy stuff.
Can I just say I'm glad my closest neighbors are cows, corn and Christmas trees!

Posted by: Traci at March 29, 2006 09:15 AM

I second the plastic flowers in old tires painted white! Add some pink flamingos, or those dumb-ass fake geese or ducks that people get seasonal outfits for...keep the out-of-season outfits on them...oh yeah...

Posted by: shimmymama at March 29, 2006 09:19 AM

My HOA (should be HUA for Head Up Ass) started sending me letters like one day after I got a teeny tiny dish TV satellite dish mounted *on the side of* my house. That's when I discovered the most effective tactic for dealing with those schmucks: Just ignore them; they're too stupid to maintain, and they'll go away. After about a year of weekly unanswered letters, the last one basically said that I have a legal right to purchase the services of public utilities, but would I please please please get their architect's approval on the placement of the dish.
In a word, no.

Posted by: freezio at March 29, 2006 09:31 AM

wow, i wish i was like your HOA member, and had time to worry about my neighbours' trash cans. What an uncomplicated life that HOAmember must have...

btw "yours in christ" just about made me spit lukewarm latte all over my monitor...

Posted by: suze at March 29, 2006 09:32 AM

I live in the burbs, sans HOA, thank God, because we would get kicked out after I called someone a nazi cow for measuring my grass or something.

Whose job is it to stroll or drive very slowly down the street to make sure people aren't leaving their shovels out front? Or is it just 'narc on your neighbor' day, every day?

That's really kind of creepy.

Posted by: Contary at March 29, 2006 09:35 AM

oh good grief, you MUST paint polkadots or plaid on your trashcan - or perhaps your mailbox needs a tidy new coat of gaudy paint?

Posted by: Betti at March 29, 2006 09:53 AM

I was so laughing! This reminded me of the letter we got the HOA that we don't even belong to, telling us that our patio furniture couldn't be on the patio... it made it looked cluttered... We had 2 freaking chairs, a table and a planter. We have since added a bench, and a cooler, so when we sit on the cluttered porch, we can drink cold beers, and flip of the HOA!

Posted by: Karen at March 29, 2006 10:18 AM

LOL. Yup, busting out the Heinlein, the gloves are coming OFF!

Our HOA also seems to have nothing better to do than to worry about everyone hiding their trash cans within 24 hours of pickup. Well, and we also got a nasty letter for "making an unapproved change" to our front yard more than 6 months after moving in (ripping out the dead sod and putting in plants that would actually do well there). Um... gee, sorry for waiting for it to stop raining every day...

Posted by: Kate the Shrew at March 29, 2006 10:22 AM

Start covering your front yard with lawn gnomes - start with two and then add one or two at a time every other day - when the HOA complain, hold up your hands in frustration and say, "I don't know what the hell is going on - they're like Tribbles or something!"

Posted by: Mr. Big Dubya at March 29, 2006 10:22 AM

Hahaha!! this is unbelievable. These people need to get jobs (or real ones). I hope you did send that letter ;)

Posted by: Ava at March 29, 2006 10:26 AM

Actually, maybe your White Trash Neighbors (WTN) can help out - do they have a refrigerator or two just hanging out somewhere? Maybe a rusted out Ford up on blocks? I don't know - just something that screams F' you to the HOA.

Posted by: Mr. Big Dubya at March 29, 2006 10:28 AM

AND?? Tell them that if they persist in harassing you that you will have an unsavory element start hanging around said trash can enclosure. That you will have "Real" Mexicans ::me:: start coming by your house wearing peasant shirts and tacky colored skirts WITH sombreros! YEAH!! It's like that! =)~~~~

Posted by: Lauren at March 29, 2006 10:37 AM

seriously? they are seriously upset that they can see your trashcan? man, my trashcans are in plain sight. no one cares. they are just happy that i put the trash in it instead of just on the ground.

Posted by: jodi at March 29, 2006 10:39 AM

I *love* homeowner association nazis...we've currently got a psycho fascist in charge of our neighborhood, too.

Posted by: Ginny at March 29, 2006 10:41 AM

Have we lived in the same town all this time and not known it?

When we first moved in this house they got us for the same thing: our trashcan. And I was so pissed because I got one of those HUGE trashcans from Home Depot with the wheels and the big, rubbery, comfy handles that costs 65 friggin dollars - and damnit! if I'm spending 65 friggin dollars on a TRASHCAN, then I'm going to show it the hell off.


Posted by: RockStar Mommy at March 29, 2006 10:55 AM

ahhh dont you love life in suburbia... I dont but I love you and that is enough for the giggles :)

Posted by: stinkerbell at March 29, 2006 10:58 AM

Respectfully yours in Christ - best part. I'd tell them to suck it too. What busybodies. At least they're not like my parents' creepy neighbor whose yard is where pets go to disappear - if they step foot in her yard they mysteriously never come back. As kids we were terrified of what would happen if we accidently set foot in her yard. Unfortunately neighbors are a reality no matter how much we wish we didn't have to deal with them.

Posted by: Jessie at March 29, 2006 11:17 AM

We used to get hate mail from our HOA because there is a dent in the door of our mailbox. They wanted us to replace the ENTIRE BRICK MAILBOX because of a dent in the metal door. We suggested that they could forward this request to the person who backed their car into our mailbox the day after we moved in, and we haven't heard from them since. Said dent is still there.

Posted by: SMIT at March 29, 2006 11:18 AM

HOAs are the root of all evil! The HOA at my friends house tried to TOW MY CAR that was parked in front of her house. There is a sign in front of her house that says NO PARKING BEYOND THIS POINT and I was parked a good foot in front of THIS POINT! We didn't even know they were towing me (we were all home at the time) until her little brother came busting in saying THEY ARE TOWING AMYS CAR!!!

My friend stood in front of the tow truck and rufused to let them leave until he let my car down. He claimed he couldn't put my car down unless we paid $365.00 The neighbor came out and walked down the the house of the president to tell him how ridiculous this was- and he refused to answer his door but eventually- after about an hour of this the tow truck driver dropped my car without the fee.

They claimed there is NO STREET PARKING AT ALL in the whole division (if that is the case- why the stupid no parking beyond this point sign?)- but they provide no guest parking at all..and there is no parking on the street outside the are we suppose to park at the shopping center a mile a way and walk in.

can you tell I hate hoas?

Posted by: Amy at March 29, 2006 11:20 AM

The "in Christ" part at the end was a lovely touch. Would hate it if he thought you might not be genuine. The pansy-assed bastard might could get a hobby or something. Or surf the internet all day, like the rest of us do.

Posted by: Queen of Ass at March 29, 2006 11:30 AM

That is exactly why I'll never live in a Home Owner Association area. Shit like that. I hope you really sent this letter to them! Love the In Christ part. That'd freak the shit out of 'em.

Posted by: Sabrina at March 29, 2006 11:58 AM

Wait! I thought the midget-tossing was reserved for weddings!!

Posted by: GranolaSpice at March 29, 2006 12:13 PM

if you don't hide your trash cans, the terrorists win.

freedom hater.

Posted by: kara at March 29, 2006 12:19 PM

Thankfully, I have no HOA to deal with. There's a Neighborhood Association, but they just organize things like trick-or-treating and Easter egg hunts in the park, and no one has time to complain about anyone's trash cans. Not that it wouldn't be a bad thing, sometimes, because my white trash neighbors occasionally leave theirs out for 3 or 4 days after trash day. How hard is it to return it to the back of the house?? But, then again, they don't complain about the pile of brush that was in front of my house for three weeks last summer when the city took their sweet time getting rid of it. Not that I had any control over that one...

"Yours in Christ"? Thanks. I needed a good laugh.

Posted by: Jen at March 29, 2006 12:26 PM

Ha--I see my husband already posted about our lame ass HOA that does nothing but collect dues and NOT prevent people from leaving their rusted out pickups (only one, fortunately) parked on the curb right at the entrance to our neighborhood, allow people to grow huge wildflowers on many square feet of their front yards, and NOT plow or salt the streets when it snows. A local radio station here in Denver started a club against HOAs called "CHOAD"--can't remember what it stands for though, so that pretty much takes the point out of my comment.

Posted by: Liz at March 29, 2006 12:55 PM

I can't believe they wrote and called you about a trash can. Glad I don't live in an HOA. Although, my neighbor only remembers to put their trash cans on the street every third week, so we frequently have to pick up their crap off our lawn. Maybe that wouldn't happen if we lived in an HOA. Can they fine you for your trash can being in view? My uncle was fined for parking in his own driveway and not in the garage. How come you've never told us about the "Cactus Summer Orgy and Midget Tossing Weekend"? Sounds like an interesting post.

Posted by: at March 29, 2006 01:28 PM

Sorry, that last comment was me. I forgot I have to put my info in at home. I normally comment from work. Sorry. :)

Posted by: Melissa at March 29, 2006 01:29 PM

Jumpin' Jesus! That's an ass-chapper! Maybe you should just send them some pics of the devastation still obvious in Louisiana and Missippi...places where people would have really LOVED it if their garbage cans had just sat politely in front of the house like yours instead of doing the fucking BACKSTROKE down the flooding streets until it winds up inside someone else's living room where it deposits old Pampers and banana peels all over the place. Then remind him of how totally unimportant one sweet little trash receptacle really is.

Posted by: wordgirl at March 29, 2006 01:39 PM

I can't believe I just left two really important letters out when I spelled MissiSSippi.

Posted by: wordgirl at March 29, 2006 01:41 PM

They should redirect their energies toward your white trash neighbors.

p.s. your trash can is so, so pretty!

Posted by: Vaguely Urban at March 29, 2006 02:28 PM

Oh, that's Terrific!! How's this: I live in a trailer park, with some very old trailers (mine is 35), and we have "rules" about cutting the grass, no dogs in the yard, no more than 2 cars, & etc! And, they Actually DO "fine" people who don't follow the rules! I mean, COME ON, it's a freakin TRAILER PARK! (BTW, I'm not happy/proud to live in a trailer park, I'm just a college student trying to get the heck out of here with minimal expenses!)

Posted by: Celina at March 29, 2006 02:46 PM

A toast, to our brother in Christ! And to the members of the HOA getting crabs so that they might have something ELSE to do with their time.


Posted by: Pammer at March 29, 2006 03:45 PM

Oooh, oooh! Place a discarded toilet just to the side of your trash can and when they bitch about it, tell them that it just won't fit into the trash can OR the trash can receptacle. It'll fit right in with the plastic flowers/old tires painted white, etc.

And, just for shits 'n giggles, go out and have a seat on said toilet with a newspaper or magazine... just for a change of sceenery while reading.

Posted by: ironic1 at March 29, 2006 03:51 PM

They bitched about a TRASHCAN?! Oh, please.

Posted by: Emily at March 29, 2006 03:58 PM

Our HOA tried to tell us where, what color and what type, i might add, of flowers i was "allowed" to plant in my yard. LOL. I don't think so. :) My Yard! My Hardwork! My Plants! Green, brown, dead or alive. lol I even have *gasp* yard art! lol

Posted by: Paige at March 29, 2006 04:32 PM

Boy o boy, this topic always gets my engine revving. Our old neighborhood was like that. If we had a car parked out on the street overnight, we would get a nasty letter a week or so later. A whole lot of good that does! Plus we were paying these guys $200 a quarter to do this!!!

Now, our homeowner's association in our new house is a bit mature in that the neighborhood has been around for 30+ years. I have yet to get a letter.

But they did take their sweet ass time getting our landscaping plans approved. Hate.

Posted by: melati at March 29, 2006 04:54 PM

I say it's time to break out the plastic pink flamingos and see what they have to say about that!

Posted by: Jodi at March 29, 2006 05:02 PM

I don't understand crap like this. I figure you paid for the can do with your trash cans as you like.

This is still America, right?

Posted by: Isabel at March 29, 2006 05:47 PM

Uh oh, it's the Stepford Home Owners Association!

Posted by: Gavin at March 29, 2006 05:52 PM

My respect for you just went way up, due to the fact that you mentioned midget tossing and "respectfully yours in christ" in the same entry.

Posted by: statia at March 29, 2006 06:48 PM

omg, i HATE the suburbs!!! that is precisely what we LOATHE about our subdivision. good lord.

love your response to it. ;)

Posted by: Sarcomical at March 29, 2006 06:49 PM

"Respectfully yours in Christ"

Posted by: HipMamaB at March 29, 2006 07:04 PM

Is this a Virginia thing? Our HOA is ruled by people with serious control and power issues. In fact, two of the people on the board have made it their job to sift through people's trash to see who is putting out their trash cans too early. So, I put out my dirty cat litter early. Let them sift through that. Oy! Tell them to let it go, or you will paint your hou

Posted by: Nicole at March 29, 2006 07:59 PM

(stupid computer) your house purple with yellow polka dots!

Posted by: Nicole at March 29, 2006 08:00 PM

Oh dear.

Our alley would NEVER ever ever pass inspection because people are JACKASSES and leave their random garbage everywhere. I think you should totally decorate your trashcan with hardcore porn....see if you get a follow-up phone call THEN! (just don't let Mia see it)...

Posted by: carrster at March 29, 2006 08:14 PM

I am bowing before thee. That was the best letter. I wish you'd send it and then there'd be a camera somewhere to catch the looks on their faces.

Posted by: Lisa B at March 29, 2006 10:56 PM

And here I thought they were going to be complaining about that street fight you started with BAN Dad. I have to say that I laughed so loudly at your trash enclosure visual that I scared the cats!

Posted by: Cassia Zoe at March 29, 2006 11:03 PM

You have to love any letter where the line "suck it, jackass" is immediately followed by "respectfully yours in Christ".

Posted by: fauve at March 30, 2006 07:44 AM

And how much are you paying this association to send you nitpicky letters and phone calls? What other great services do you get from them?

Posted by: Anne at March 30, 2006 07:58 AM

I really hope you sent that letter. That's great.
You kill me.
I think you should do the following:
1. Write in spray paint on your lawn -
"Look at my trash can!" OR
"Does my trash can bother you?" OR
"I like my trash can. Don't you?" OR
"HOA thinks I need a trash can enclosure."

That's what I would do. The grass will grow and it'll be gone in a few weeks.

Or you could write in chalk on your driveway too.

I want to see pics of this *eyesore* of a trashcan and it next to your house.

Posted by: at March 30, 2006 08:35 AM

BTW - the spray paint sayings on your lawn was my idea.

I think it's a good one.

Get'em Rude!

Posted by: Jay Wilkins at March 30, 2006 08:36 AM

Sigh. Our latest letter from the evil HOA empire said that our brick mailbox must be pressure-washed because it has mildew growing on it. Imagine that, mildew growing on bricks in rainy, moist North Georgia! The HORROR!! (By the way, we too live on a hill, with our trashcan in plain view--another violation. Our only saving grace is that our driveway levels off at the top, and our jackass inspector must have a small car and just can't see the trashcan from his/her vehicle. Idiots!!)

Posted by: Niki at March 30, 2006 09:28 AM

A further thought....I was in Cooperstown, NY recently and saw the most colorful house I have ever seen. Seriously. Turns out the guy who owns the house got tired of dealing with the village's pissy historical preservation committee which told him that since his house was an old victorian (typically called a Painted Lady, I believe), he could only choose paint from their approved paint colors list.
So he did. And he used every last color on the list. I think I might love that guy!

Posted by: Traci at March 30, 2006 10:21 AM

I have been the manager of many, many homeowners associations. It only reinforces my belief that everyone needs something to bitch about.

My two favorite residents were the 1 resident who called for maintenance every half hour until someone came. She was older, and couldn't do anything pysical, so she would call about the most ridiculous things - the Day of the Tissue On Her Lawn was one I will never forget.

The 2nd resident took issue with people who do not pick up after their pets. He spied all over the 100+ acres, constantly skulking, and putting (his own, personal) little flagged stakes at the site of each "Offense". At the end of the week he would present me with a list, copied from his notebook, of the date, time, and owner of each offense so that I would fine them.

Funny as this is, what I find most amazing is how HOAs mimic real life - the people in charge are crazy, anal retentive, and representative of a thin majority of people. But people buy their houses KNOWING they are automatically subject to these rules, dont read the rules, dont vote, dont go to meetings, and bitch when they get fined/a letter.

Some of them become converts, and care, but get frustrated that no one else cares (until THEY get a letter).

And, no, Im not pointing the finger Chris, HOAs for single family homes have typically less legally binding rules than the HOAs Im talking about.

People will always try to take control of your life if you let them!

Chris, Mr Big D, thanks so much for the laugh and trip down memory lane.

Posted by: That Girl at March 30, 2006 11:47 AM

OMG!!!!!! I, personally, LOVE your letter!! Hehee. I've had my own share of dealing with a HO association and your right.. they're usually people with waaaaaay too much time on their hands and they tend to complain about the dumbest stuff.

Posted by: at March 30, 2006 11:48 AM

Might help if I filled in my name, lol I am DORK hear me ROAR! LOL

OMG!!!!!! I, personally, LOVE your letter!! Hehee. I've had my own share of dealing with a HO association and your right.. they're usually people with waaaaaay too much time on their hands and they tend to complain about the dumbest stuff.

Posted by: Tammy at March 30, 2006 11:49 AM