Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Don't Judge Me By My Yard

Who among you have received 'love letters' from your home owners' association (HOA)?  Please raise your hand.  And by 'love letters' I mean 'notices of non-compliance' to some rule or regulation in your subdivision; letters informing you of a violation.

Well, we have and apparently, we are not maintaining 'proper landscaping'. Our grass has become too tall for their liking and the weeds in our backyard have probably become an eye-sore to them.

If I declared that my yard is haunted, do you think that's an excuse that would fly with our HOA?  Would that be reason enough to explain why grass and weeds just miraculously grow at a rate so alarming we just can't keep up with it?  Is it compelling enough to make them understand why we let three weeks pass without mustering the courage to step out and do yard work?  

I hate myself for allowing to be shamed by my own yard.  I was talking to a neighbor a few days ago and when he asked me which one my house was and I pointed, I could almost see the judgement in his face when he glanced at my yard.  I didn't know which option was better at the time --- be swallowed by the earth right there and then, or growl at him and scare him to death.  As they say, it's always between fight or flight.  

I also hate the HOA for insisting that they sent us a 'Courtesy Notice' when there hasn't been any, and then sending a second notice with such an annoying tone to it.  (Yes, no one, especially me, loves to be told what to do and be made to feel inadequate!).  

I hate the super disciplined homeowners even more, with their perfectly maintained grass, all trimmed and oh so green, making ours stand out even more as a 'not-so-pretty' yard.  Don't these people have anything else to do but plant and mow their lawns?  Or throw money at lawn maintenance people to care for their yards?  

File:Rotten trunk in front of an old house overgrown with grass.jpg
No, this is not our house and it's not this bad yet!

I never denied that I'm a generally anxious person.  And frankly I don't need this kind of anxiety, wondering if our 'lawn guy' would show up today or not because of the weather.  And if he doesn't show up to mow our lawn, the deadline that our beloved HOA gave us for mowing will pass and we could expect 'further action' from them.  (Don't you just love those threats?)

It's during these times when I get so tempted to just either pour concrete all around our property, or put down synthetic grass...(yes, cheesy, yet practical!)...

I often wonder how expensive some of my neighbors' water bills are.  I see some of them turn on their sprinklers regularly and I consider it almost immoral.  I wonder if they think of the environment.  I wonder if they are aware of the threat of a global water crisis.  Seriously, it's not like our property resembles a forest.  And although I do acknowledge the need to look pretty and presentable in order to preserve property values, in the grand scheme of things, are perfectly cut and green grass, and amazing landscaping more important than saving water and spending your money elsewhere?  Just sayin'.....

No, I'm not suddenly invoking my socially aware and environmentalist self just because it's suddenly convenient, just so I can justify a less-than-ideal yard and our failure to mow every single freakin' week.  We do take responsibility for it and acknowledge that we dropped the ball somewhere, somehow.  I just really needed to vent and say that I detest the irony in all this.  We spend our whole lives wanting to be adults so we can do what we want and not have people control us.  And, at least in American society and most other cultures, home ownership is seen as the ultimate rite of passage to real 'adulthood' and independence.  And yet in most cases, we find ourselves enslaved by our own homes, with its demands and the inevitable responsibilities that come with it, HOA membership included, that always dictate what we can and cannot do. What painful irony, isn't it?  I suppose we need to teach our children early on in life that 'adulthood' is much like 'superheroship'...that "with great power comes great responsibility"....and an almost inevitable relationship with an HOA.  *sigh*

Have you ever been in violation of an HOA rule?  Are there any rules where you live that you think are simply absurd or borderline oppressive? Please feel free to share and / or vent!   


  1. I hear you! Got two letters from our hoa so far.. One for having a pile of newspapers in our porch ( forgot to tell our newspaper guy to suspend delivery because we're out of town) and the other for a busted light. At first I was so annoyed too but I guess that's part of the package. So be it..

  2. I understand where you are coming from. Some people simply have too much time on their hands. We have similar associations over here. Whenever you change anything, they complain. Maybe they just don't want to change!

  3. It can get so overboard. We are luckily exempt with our lot in the neighborhood, but they all still pay attention, and comment...just because they can;) It does keep values up though on the other side of it.

    1. Courtney, I love how you said it..."just because they can" true. Oh well, not much choice for us. Anyway, thanks for stopping by! Have a good weekend!

  4. Our HOA sucks! No basketball hoops among many other annoying rules. Which of course we have. Lucky for us we live on a flag lot. Which means our house is behind another house. Thank god. Because we don't follow the rules.


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