Thursday, January 10, 2008

Homeowner in theory only

It takes me almost half an hour to get home from work--not due to miles, but speed limits. Half of my drive is through neighborhoods and half down Main Street. I spend the time thinking about a myriad of subjects and enjoy the time alone.

Today, as I viewed neighborhoods, wondering how many of their residents had been driven to drink by CC&Rs (refer to The Problem With Perfection), it struck me how little we homeowners actually own.

I have to get approval for every landscape and home-exterior change. I'd love a front porch and a new paint color, but I can acquire neither until the architectural board agrees that I have good taste.

There's a fire hydrant in my front yard. The original owners landscaped around it, hoping to camouflage its presence. After we moved in, a group of firemen stopped by and politely told me it was too well camouflaged. Four less shrubs later and a fresh coat of frighteningly yellow paint, it's not only visible, it might be considered obscene.

We also have a cable box and a large electrical-junction box in the same vicinity. They're dark green though and more aesthetically palatable. However, the city or any of the companies who own said equipment, can at any time, or in case of emergency, tear up our lawn and landscaping to access said equipment.

Obviously, we don't actually own much in our front yard, although we do maintain it for fear of CC&R penalties.

Our backyard landscaping can in no way alter the neighborhood water-flow plan manifested by the developer. We can't dig a pond without contacting the utility companies, and if their pipes are in our way, we're out of luck. I think we own the first couple of feet of earth, but we have no mineral rights and can buy dirt at Lowe's, so I don't think that's such a big deal.

Obviously, we don't actually own much in our backyard either.

That leaves our house--the one that needs a paint job, window repairs, the roof power washed, and who knows what else. My husband and I will do or pay for the work, along with the mortgage payment we make every month.

Obviously, we don't actually own much of our house either.

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