Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I recently attended my first HOA annual meeting. For those of you who do not reside within the hallowed perimeter of a gated community, HOA is short for Homeowners’ Association. What is an HOA? In a nutshell, it’s a quasi-governmental body that polices the gated community by enforcing a litany of by-laws designed to keep the neighborhood from looking like a microcosm of Nogales (i.e. South Phoenix). For this privilege, I pay a monthly fee, get full access to the clubhouse and community pool, and get invited to the annual meeting.

After wolfing down a half-tin of Costco brownies and a half gallon of bottled water (no milk – watching the waistline) during the Meet & Greet, I took a seat. Following a brief preamble, the HOA board presented a recap of the past year, an agenda for the year to come, and opened the floor for Q&A, which given the ensuing discussion could have been aptly short for Quarrelsome and Asinine. Within minutes, I became convinced that I had plopped down smack-dab in the middle of what appeared to be my first student government forum in over 10 years. Here’s a quick rundown:

Several questions were posed to the board officers by residents regarding the HOA’s handling of rude pet owners who refused to scoop their dogs’ shit off the otherwise pristine sidewalks. The answer: If you catch someone leaving dog shit on the sidewalk, call Dawn, the community manager, to complain.

Several questions about dust in the air. Answer: You live in the Sonoran Desert, which is primarily composed of dry dirt. Dust in the air is inevitable given that the HOA has no control over the gusting winds which occasionally sweep through the Valley. Also, ongoing house construction in the area will result in turned soil, hence the possibility of additional dust-ups. Live with it, otherwise call Dawn, the community manager, to complain.

Several questions about litter and its possible origin. Answer: Again, you live in a construction zone. Bits and pieces of packing material and foam will eventually get caught by the wind and drift into the gated community. And again, the HOA has no control over wind gusts. If you believe the HOA does in fact have some role in determining weather patterns, call Dawn, the community manager, to complain.

Several questions about whether or not the Albertson’s/Osco drugstore around the corner might close given the recent merger activity. Answer: Nobody on the HOA board sits concurrently on the board of Albertson’s Corp., so who knows? If you are concerned, call Dawn, the community manager, to complain.

Several questions about the grizzly looking man who holds up a sales sign in front of the neighboring gated community on the weekends. Answer: The HOA board does not know who the grizzly looking man is since he is under the employ of one of the builders in the neighboring gated community. If the man is far too grizzly for your liking, or you are concerned that he may be an unregistered sex offender, or possibly a child molester, call Dawn, the community manager, to complain.

Being strangely compelled to add my two cents to the lunacy, I was tempted to harness my inner smart aleck and ask if I should call Dawn, the community manager, to complain about illegal immigration or to share my concerns about future terrorist attacks on US soil. I demurred, as the Q&A was suddenly sidetracked by an extended discussion of ladybugs (yes, ladybugs) that set the whole room abuzz.

At this point, I looked down at my watch and realized that I was missing out on something far more important than this “Annual Meeting”, namely another episode of American Idol, Season 5. In the midst of the ladybug frenzy, I stood up, walked casually to the refreshments table, pocketed two handfuls of Costco brownies and left.

Looking forward to next year’s meeting already…


At 3/08/2006 12:27 PM, Blogger azgopbabeval said...

My side hurts from laughing so hard. That is amazing.
I wish you would have gone into more detail on the ladybug debaucle.

At 3/08/2006 12:48 PM, Blogger Ace said...


Apparently, ladybugs are very efficient eaters of a certain type of vegetation that many HOA members find offensive. Don't ask me what or why, all I know is the residents don't like that particular plant. Anyway, this led to a broader discussion of how neat it is to witness the release of thousand's of live ladybugs. The room was all aflutter at this point, and I was suddenly overwhelmed with an urge to flee from these lunatics.

At 3/09/2006 8:07 AM, Blogger BACdanielle said...

Ha ha! I was subjected to the Canadian Snowbird version of the HOA meeting last week! It's not like I could avoid it either, the meeting was on the patio right outside my front door.
For my trouble, I was elected secretary of the HOA, as I am one of 4 full-time residents at the Maryland Royale. Woo hoo!

At 3/09/2006 9:08 AM, Blogger Ace said...

And probably one of 4 residents whose handwriting isn't illegible due to Parkinson's.

At 3/13/2006 7:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, how sad, but very true. My HOA is a combination of trying to run a trailer park in the deep Ozarks, and an Assisted Living Facility...and I live just down the road in Scottsdale:)


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