7/28/11

Jen Lancaster May Improve My Neighborhood

I accidentally discovered a new author based solely upon her opening line:

'Nothing Feels As Good As Thin Feels'- A Weight Watchers Axiom
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'Weight Watchers can kiss the fattest part of my @$$' - A Jen Lancaster Axiom
Upon reading that page, I felt an immediate kinship and hoped that we were long-lost sisters separated before our memories started.

In this book, Such a Pretty Fat, Jen talks about sending a letter to her neighbor under the guise as the president of the Homeowners Association. I won't disclose the exact details here as to whom she wrote and why, because I want you to buy and read Jen's book(s) so that she will continue to receive royalty checks, keep writing, and realize that perhaps I helped in the cause, find my blog, and contact me so that we can have our Lifetime family reunion moment in a Chicago airport and then immediately take off for a fabulous lunch at Olive Garden. Or maybe she'll just tweet me.

I just hope my other BFF, Jennifer Weiner, doesn't feel jealous or hurt. I still love her, too.

Gray winter house with a white picket fence, San Mateo, California, USA
Not my house. Obviously.**
Later the same afternoon I read about the fake-yet-effective letter to the neighbor, I was pulling out the of driveway and my eyes immediately went to the algae/moss crap that needs to be power-washed off the side of the north side of our white house and white picket fence.* Granted, I should probably call someone and get them out here to get the house washed, but the exterior of the house is supposed to be Manland and is out of my jurisdiction.

I wished "I" could send a letter to us when I needed/wanted things to get done outside....

"Honey, look what came in the mail today. Can you believe that Becausewesaidso Homeowners Association said that we are violating Article x, section 2 of the bylaws? 'Pull the weeds that have grown up around your dead riding lawnmower.' I mean, who do they think they are? I tried to call and reason with them, but it looks like our hands are tied. We wouldn't want to be in violation and be subject to fines up $100 per incidence."

But then I remembered; we were fake-homeowner association-lettered when we first moved into this house.(This was orginally posted in the now defunct AOL Journals June 16, 2006 It has been revised for content, a couple of grammatical errors, and to fit your screen. )

Darrin brings me the mail. I am talking on the phone to my mom. Amungst the community paper, coupons and bills, is a letter. It's addressed to  (Name of subdivision) Neighbor, with our physical address. Return address is (Name of subdivision) Neighborhood Association. No physical address, only the name of the town and zip.
I open it up. First sentence in the letter dated May 27th,
"Your neighbors are pleased to welcome your family to the neighborhood."
Oh, that is nice! The housewarming gifts are going to start pouring in. ;)
"To help ensure this Subdivision maintain a respected character, restrictions were placed on the lots prior to any being sold; however, it has come to our attention that some of the covenants are not being upheld at your residence."

:::Sound of a record screech:::

"In accordance to the rules it is requested that cars are neither parked on the street overnight nor  the yard. This presents an unpleasant curb view for anyone entering the neighborhood. See Article 5 of.....".
"As stated in the ___________ covenant rules there should be only one family living in each home. See Article 1...."
I start mentally making my plan:
1) There is NO neighborhood association, homeowner or otherwise. That was one of the attractions to this subdivision. We don't need, want or desire some big shot to tell us we can't have a pink and purple outbuilding with orange polka dots. (Not that I want that, I just like having the option.)
2)We are HomeOWNERS. Not renters in an apartment complex. The name on the mortgage, yeah, that's ours. The name on the mailbox, oh wait, again... OURS!
3) Whoever this person/people are, are hiding behind a letter. That's not the way to talk to someone. If you have to write a letter, at least have the cajones to give a return name and address.
4)Where was this said "association" two weeks ago? You know, when we moved in? Had they given us the literature on the "expectations" of the neighborhood then at least my husband would have something to read in the crapper.
5) And the biggest point of all.... THE LETTER IS DATED MAY 27.We didn't move in until...wait for it...June 1.
Some neighborhood association. They don't even realize all the cars that were here that weekend was the SELLER MOVING. Hey "association" people, maybe take a look around, the SOLD sign in the yard should have tipped you off!
I waited until around 6 and called one of my neighbors across the street. There were a few reasons why I picked this particular neighbor:
1) If she knew about an association, she would tell me.
2) If it was her behind it, we can get this over quickly.
3) If it wasn't her, she would spread the word through her little circle, who I have come to know as the "gossips" and it would end there.
I get her on the phone and ask her if she knows of the asscociation and who I could get into contact with. She tells me there is none and, why do I ask?
I give her a brief description of the letter. She just busts out laughing, saying that is the craziest thing she has ever heard. We chit-chat a few more minutes and I sort of let her know that I don't like the letter, even though it has nothing to do with me, and "I wished the author would come over." Needless to say, she said that I had nothing to worry about, and it looks like I already nipped that problem in the bud (still don't understand why she said that). She also mentioned that she had heard that when this subdivison was first built, there was some sort of stipulation that the houses and driveways had to face the street they are address. Mine is the only one in the neighbor that faces the cross street.
Leave it to me! I knew I loved this house the best. I have to be different...I like to see them complain about THAT one.


While I obviously can't fake letter my husband to get my way  encourage proper care and feeding of our home, I could probably send one to the other people in the 'hood that bug me with various and sundry items in their yards. Like my across-the-street neighbor.

I'd start his letter with," ...in the interest in keeping a family-friendly atmosphere, we discourage removal of clothing while attending to your yard chores..."

Unless my neighbor was Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Affleck, Ryan Gosling, or even Justin Timberlake. Removal of clothes would be appreciated and even encouraged.  I'd even overlook  leaving the grass clippings in the street.

Do you have a Homeowners Association? Would you fake one like Jen Lancaster in order to clean things up? Spill the dirt, people. But neatly. 



*With the dream of a white picket fence comes a lot of bleach and repainting every other year. In other words, be careful what you wish for.


**And no, I am not posting pictures of my nasty house.

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