Presidential Politics

I am the president. I didn’t really want the job, but no one else was stepping up. They told me not to worry, there wasn’t much I had to do, they just needed someone to occupy the spot on the board of directors. It would be easy. My aptitude for (or ineptitude with) being the president aside, I still hold the position with the full support of  50 of my closest neighbors. People who know me well are surprised I took the position. I am more comfortable being one of the people who actually do the work in an organization, rather than the one who presides over it. Nevertheless, I have held the job for a couple of years now. I can’t vouch for my effectiveness, but I’ve yet to hear a call for my ouster.

We are an association has been slow to make decisions. We have been dysfunctional for a long time. We are plagued with non-participation. We have our share of complainers, but they don’t come to the meetings. I understand if a person is physically unable to attend the two association meetings we hold each year. We have an aging population, but the vast majority of residents are perfectly capable of getting their collective ass off the couch and getting to at least one meeting. I’ve been to all of them except one, and I was out of town that time. Yes the meetings can last too long. There is bickering, there is whining, but there is dialog. Decisions actually get made sometimes, too.

So, what brought this up? I received a letter from concerned neighbors, whom I shall call Ted and Alice (not their real names). They live in the neighborhood and sent me a letter? The sent me a letter? It was actually sent to the association, but with my address. We have a P.O. box for association business, but perhaps Ted and Alice wanted to make sure the president read it. I did, and it pissed me off.

I see Ted and Alice walking their dog at least twice a day. I often see Ted walking the dog early in the morning as I go to work. We always smile and wave at each other, but there has been very little interaction otherwise. We just never see them outside at other times. And, I’ve never seen them at an association meeting, that I can recall.

What pissed me off about the letter was that they had many concerns about the condition of the common areas. They felt a neighborhood such as ours should command higher property values, but the condition of the road, the poorly maintained landscaping, and the missing entrance sign (among other things) might put the subdivision in a poor light. Someone (they?) might not get as much for their house, should they put it up for sale. The sad state of the current housing market notwithstanding, Ted and Alice have valid concerns. The association has been slow to act on some issues, but HAD TED AND ALICE ATTENDED THE ASSOCIATION MEETING WE JUST HELD A WEEK AGO ALL THEIR QUESTIONS WOULD HAVE BEEN ANSWERED, DAMMIT.

They might have even been able to volunteer to help keep up the landscaping they feel needs so much work. Ted and Alice, don’t come up with a task unless you’re willing to perform it yourself or contribute in some way. The only people we hire are the ones who cut the grass in the park and plow the roads in winter. Everything else is performed by residents.

I have attended the meetings with basically the same 10-15 people (out of 50 property owners) since I moved here six and a half years ago. The same great grandmother has been the secretary, but she can’t be expected to keep it going forever, God bless her. The same men have done the accounting for years. I think half of this group have already been president. This group cannot continue to do all of the association work, then listen to non-participants complain about the state of things. Just like with our government, you have no right to complain about elected officials if you didn’t bother to vote in the election.

As a resident who dutifully attends all the meetings, I would like to flip Ted and Alice the bird (and dare them to try to sell their house in this market). As president, I have to take the high road, and send out a very tactful response. But I will send it out to the entire association, and lay on the guilt trip. I don’t expect the floodgates to open and see a vast majority of members at the next meeting, but it would be nice to have a quorum before the proxies are counted. For once.

Need a Lift?

Well, I’m not really selling it. As much as I would like to sell my boat hoist, I can’t justify the expense of a new one. I finally got it pulled out of the lake today. This is never a pleasant task, as the hoist is very heavy and unwieldy. Until today, I have had the good fortune to enlist the help of a few neighbors to assist me in either moving the lift into my dock space, or taking it out of the lake in the fall. Schedules are hard enough to coordinate, with fatherly duties (for me) and professional sports (for the neighbors) causing conflicts, and, my neighbors aren’t getting any younger. I could be in better shape, myself, but those guys have have at least another decade on me, and their aches and pains are a little more pronounced. I have managed to avoid serious injury and surgery on various joints through my positive mental attitude and clean living. OK, seriously, there are indications I may have knee joint and bursitis issues in my future, but I am doing well at the moment.

I am grateful to “Big Jim”, an associate at work who lives nearby, for helping me muscle the hoist up onto the beach (the house in the background is not mine, in case you’re wondering). Honestly, Jim did more muscling than I feel I did, though he begs to differ. We brought other means by which to move the hoist, namely some wheels which could be mounted on one end, but we found it just as easy to push it through the sand. The wheels were part of a system that would lift the hoist into the air so it could be rolled around, but it had fallen out of alignment last year when I was trying to haul the hoist out of the water and ended up very bent.

Yes, both the wheel system and I ended up bent. Smartass.

With the wheel lift system functional, two people can easily roll the hoist around, in and out of the water, and my life is less stressed. I am hoping the bent-up brackets can be fixed and improved by a master machinist up north, and I can worry less about scheduling three other sets of muscles (ideally) to move the beast hoist around.

Good Karma Weekend

This has been a good weekend. Maybe not for the Gulf Coast with Hurricane Ike, but for me, things went quite well. Michigan was visited by the remnants of Tropical Storm Lowell Friday, so we were prepared for a rainy weekend. We have been quite dry for the last month or so, so the rain is welcome. Other contributing factors include: one daughter off camping with her Brownie Troop, the other daughter sleeping over at a friend’s house on Friday (and, having stayed up too late Friday, tired enough to fall asleep quickly Saturday night), finally hanging curtains in the living room (almost six years after moving in), and the purchase of a new computer and some furniture for Carolyn. I suppose the furniture is for me, too.

I gave blood Saturday morning and was able to give double reds, after failing to qualify the last two times I tried because I was one day early. With the recent glut of hurricanes and tropical storms, blood supplies are critical, and I am O-negative, which is always welcome. On the way back from the Red Cross I picked out a computer for Carolyn, whose old computer is painfully slow. For the last thirteen years I have been building computers myself and upgrading components as I could. This is the first time I have purchased a computer off the shelf, and I am actually happy to have paid the Geek Squad to set it up for me. It allowed me to get a haircut, go home for a while, and pick up a couple of end tables and a console table before retrieving the computer from the store.

Today, our Church service wasn’t too long or too terribly boring, and I was even able to eat lunch and mow the lawn before the remnants of Hurricane Ike hit us. The low spot in our yard is now under a few inches of water, unusual for late summer. It won’t last too long, but the ducks and frogs will be happy for a while. I am also making headway on cleaning my workshop in the basement, which has been a wreck for a few years. There is much I need to toss.

So, in all, a good weekend where I was able to have extended conversation with Carolyn, donate blood, buy stuff, and check some old tasks off the to-do list. Should have bought a lottery ticket.