I’m uncomfortable being a meanie


I’ve been in a posting rut for a few days. Not because I’m lacking things I want to ramble about. Something difficult is freezing me. It all stems from the fact that I’m uncomfortable being a meanie.

If I was to analyze the most paralyzing reasons why I procrastinate, being a meanie would be at the top. It’s not conflict, per se, I try to avoid, it’s having to adopt a harsh or hostile aspect.

Where is this all stemming from? Good question. If you’ve been following along for a while now, you know I have issues with my homeowner’s association (HOA). Incredibly, they are all tree-related.

Even this might be preferable to my stupid tree

For example, 17 years ago, I had a battle with them over a Java plum tree in front of my house. The issue was only reconciled by my becoming threatening towards the association.

Then, Wilma hit and the large tree behind my home savaged my roof. Then there was the root issue (detailed in the link off to the right) with the same tree.

Finally, there was Irma, the hurricane from last year. She came through and looked around and saw that self-same tree in the back. Thanks to Irma, not one, not two, but three tree limbs clobbered my and my neighbor’s roofs.

Hey look, you can almost see our houses!

The damage was expensive. It was also avoidable. Prolonged discussions with the HOA about removing the tree had previously proved fruitless. After Irma (and $3,400 of roof repairs), I reopened the discussion with the HOA about the tree.

I apologize. I chose the wrong word. “Discussion” implies more than one conversant. What I got in reply to my entreaties was silence.

No reply whatsoever. Not to emails sent since last September. Not to several phone calls.

One time, I actually got the association manager on the phone (he must not have recognized the name). He actually agreed with me about the problem and claimed he was taking it to the board.

That was back in November. No further word has been received via phone or email.

During this entire period, I have been polite and respectful in all communications. I have shelved my famous sarcasm and kept the tone direct and courteous.

My neighbor who had her roof co-damaged told me I should get mean. My other next door neighbor, upon hearing my tale, told me I should get mean. Even my family and friends told me I should get mean.

I don’t like being mean.

So, I sat, frozen, for the first week of January. I knew I needed to follow up on the issue, but I couldn’t bring myself to write nasty. Even though polite has gotten us nowhere.

Finally, this morning, I sent another email. It was polite, but cold. It also carried an implied threat: ignore me once more and I will take it as the HOA’s position that they also think I should get mean.

I can do that. After all, I worked in Corporate America; in management. Being a meanie is in the job duties.

I’m just uncomfortable being a meanie. It’s why I could never advance beyond a certain level in Corporate America and why I was frozen for the first week of the year.

But, I’ve laid down my “gauntlet”. I’ll throw another phone call at the HOA later this week and then I’ll move on to meanie.

Beating an HOA is nearly impossible. That’s not even part of my “meanie” plan. But I don’t need to “win” to claim victory in this battle.

I only have to be a meanie.

4 Responses to “I’m uncomfortable being a meanie”

  1. Eric

    Jeff, perhaps you should contact an Ent or two in order to convince the offending tree(s) to ameliorate the problems on their own.

    Or, you can go all Gandalf the White, who became somewhat more resolute following his initial demise during the confrontation with the Balrog.

    Either way … I’m in your corner on this one.

    • JMD

      Sadly, fantasy is about the only time one can “defeat” a homeowner’s association. The courts have almost always sided with the HOA. In keeping with the literary reference, it’s like facing a combo of Sauron, Darth Vader and IT while armed with a marshmallow.

      Nevertheless, I will sally forth unto the fray.

      • Eric

        You forgot Khan, Voldemort, HAL, T-1000, Ultron, Loki and Satan. I believe they are the remainder of members of the HOA Board.

        • JMD

          Satan may be otherwise occupied, but out of respect for you, I’ll not pursue the thread…


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