Our neighborhood quarterly newsletter arrived yesterday, and I confess, I thought of little else last night.
This is the 5th house we’ve owned—we’re not novices—however, our present CC&Rs are daunting. They're many pages long, and the board spent a lot of money last year to ensure board-interpretation rights. Below are a few examples:
- No trees higher than your roof line.
- Trashcans screened from view in front and back yards. However, many board members own mammoth motor homes--the screening requirements are less stringent for those.
- No weeds, no dead flowers, no dirt showing in flowerbeds, etc, etc, etc...
- Lawns must be healthy. Personally, I consider this open to interpretation...
When we moved in seven years ago, the newsletters contained friendly tips regarding yard care, community activities, neighborhood goings on. As the years have progressed, complaints and CC&R violations have become the main focus.
What does CC&R even stand for? I know one C is for covenants and the R is for restrictions. Covenants….Covens….witch hunts….I see a disturbing pattern here.
My point is, and I do have one--when we seek perfection, the more imperfection we see.
For example, years ago my husband told me that it was OK for our house to look lived in--I was slightly obsessive about cleaning. Anyway, I realized he was right, and much to his regret, he's never had cause to repeat those words.
Applying this wisdom to my neighborhood...it's beautiful, and I defy anyone driving through to think otherwise. Yards are well-maintained and artfully landscaped; virtually everything is in its proper place.
BUT, as I mentioned, perfection makes imperfection visible... So yes, I break into a sweat when the newsletter arrives--is my new lawn chair an acceptable color, did I miss a branch when pruning my tree?
Two retired women walk through our neighborhood every day, rain or shine. I’d like to think they're health-conscious, but I'm pretty sure they're the CC&R patrol. Don't they know about the local Bingo hall?
As our neighborhood becomes increasingly insecure and hostile, I hold onto the hope that we'll help each other in times of need.
I can hear my neighbor now, “Thank God the fire wasn't more serious. By the way, as long as you’re making repairs… When I lean to the far right of my bedroom window and cock my head 180 degrees, I see the trash cans in your backyard.”