Do Not Leave Your Wife Unattended

Earlier this week we had our homeowners association annual meeting, the second since we moved in to our condo. Janie was working late so I was forced to attend solo. We met in the pool house and members from the other units made it safely across the parking lot where there seemed to be a sudden blast of snow, which was ridiculous because this past weekend it was beautiful and sunny and kind of warm.

The only real lesson to be learned at these meetings is that elderly people can talk about nothing for extraordinary lengths of time. I think we spent 45 minutes debating whether or not to send a letter to somebody. A LETTER! TO SOMEONE ACROSS THE STREET! The conclusion? Yes, we will send that letter. So worthwhile.

If you’ve never been privy to a home owner’s association meeting, let me sum it up for you: introduce the newbies, bitch and moan, elect the board, go home.

Since we are such a small building – only 8 units in total – these things should be speedy, but we have several members who are very old and who like to talk a lot about shit that’s not important, like hey – let’s talk about this $7.00. Time is money, people! Time is money and your chit-chat about $7.00 is eating into my time allotted for watching America’s Next Top Model. I’m going to have to charge you my Eliot Spitzer’s prostitute’s hourly rate. You owe me $50.00 $5000.00.

Our Secretary/Treasurer is retiring from his duties after 30 years of keeping the HOA books because he’s moving into retirement housing. This was his last meeting and maybe because he had a wild hair knowing that 30 years of reconciling bank statements was finally over, he decided not to wear his hearing aid. While we were engaging in serious HOA business conversation, someone was talking about shoes and our outgoing Secretary/Treasurer yelled “YOU WANT TO RAISE THE DUES!?” all incredulously because we’d just spent 20 minutes hearing about why we didn’t need to raise them. He was indignant, “I already said that we don’t need to raise the dues!” When someone corrected him he acted like it was everyone else’s fault, “I didn’t wear my hearing aid and I just can’t hear you people with your voice going up and down like that!”

After we finished up two hours worth of discussions on important issues like, “What happened to that guy we pay to vacuum the stairs?”, “What if we just walk across the street to talk rather than sending that letter?and “Look at how Linsey drools when she sleeps!”, we elected board members. Since our Secretary/Treasurer was being replaced by the current President of the board, we needed someone new to fill his spot. The remaining board members were re-elected and the crowd was polled to see if there were any nominations or volunteers. The loud-stomping neighbors above us used the opportunity to raise my hopes by telling us they were going to retire and move to Oregon by the end of the year, so they couldn’t volunteer. Since there were already people from three other units on the board and two others being vacated in the next year, the only possible choices were the woman living next to us, the new guy two floors above her and me.

The woman living next to us flat out refused, maybe because she’s needs all her free time to practice for her role as Christine in Phantom of the Opera. I only guess this from the very loud renditions of Angel of Music coming from the other side of that brick wall. The new guy brought a binder filled with the condo bylaws and documents and had been attending several community meetings regarding the issue to be addressed in the letter, so he seemed the likeliest candidate to me. That’s why, when everyone was staring at me to volunteer, I pointed to him and said, “What about him? This guy has a notebook!” to which he responded, “Oh, uh, well…it’s just a binder!” I don’t think he cared for my keen observations about his organizational skills and, I’m sorry to say, it seems unlikely he and his wife will be inviting us over for dinner anytime soon.

He declined my heartfelt nomination saying that he thought he was too new to participate, so the others mumbled and started looking at me again. I asked what the position entailed and instead of answering me with real words that meant something I got a general “not much.” It seemed easy enough. If George Bush could do it, I thought I could. So, I volunteered and that’s how I was voted onto the board.

After we adjourned, I was asked to stay behind for a special meeting of the board. I felt cheated because “not much” didn’t seem to me like it meant stay here longer to talk with 80 year olds about the P.O. Box, but I did stay and it was during those 15 minutes that some very important things happened.

As the others filed out, I started to think about the presidency I’d just inherited. I thought about crumpling up that letter we’d been arguing about and, instead, declaring war on the building across the street. We’d take it by force and we’d let the surrounding buildings know that the choice was theirs: you’re either with us or against us! About two seconds later, the V.P. swept in and decided he’d be President “because I’ve done it a couple of times before.” I though there were rules! You don’t get to be President a couple of times and then when someone who hasn’t done it before gets the job TAKE IT AWAY FROM THEM. I mean, if that was how it worked in this country then the last eight years would never have happened and we’d be back living in a world where Clinton was in the White House insisting that definitions of sexual acts were too vague and Janie would take her shirt off every time I asked her to. But we all know that’s not how the world works!

As we sat around the table and it was decided I was going to be Vice President with still no idea as to what it entailed, the outgoing Secretary/Treasurer looked at me and said “Well, now we need to get you signing authority on the checking account.” I had not even thought about that, about accessing tens if not hundreds of dollars for a campaign to overthrow my nemesis! As evil machinations swirled in my brain, the outgoing Secretary/Treasurer yelled out, “I will try to get my name off the authorization, but they still haven’t removed Robert and he’s dead!”


  1. Robin O
    March 28, 2008

    Situations like this, and my vastly lesser ability to contain my annoyance during them, are why I am no longer fit to have a “normal” job.

    To my mind, most office situations are like this to some extent. They act like that, I get cranky, eventually they hate me for giving them the evil eye whenever they open their mouths. The End!

    But you so funny describing it.

    BUT HEY, now that you’re Their Leader, you could make laws impacting that cat that was bothering you. “All residents must practice considerate feline containment . . . ” Or a severe financial penalty will be assessed. Then deposited into that account you’ll have control over! Whee!

  2. LizzieLou
    March 29, 2008

    If you start to miss your brief stay at the top of the HOA power pyramid, you could perhaps find some sex scandal in the new president’s history and bring his administration to a crumbled end. Then You can be the HO-in chief.

  3. March 30, 2008

    >>The only real lesson to be learned at these meetings is that elderly people can talk about nothing for extraordinary lengths of time.

  4. March 30, 2008

    Am I dreaming or did half of my comment get eaten?

    After what it says above I wrote something like:

    Too funny. I was once in charge of an organization that could argue for 4 hours about what color napkins to have at a party. When I took power I told the committee chair to pick the color and announce it at the meeting. There would be no discussion. The meetings took 20 minutes and I was a hero.

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