When you live in a planned retirement community, all the houses and yards are almost fanatically groomed. Not because people are in accord about how homes should look, but because they are all in the clutches of the evil HOA (Homeowners' Association.) If you live or have lived in one of these places, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, you might want to talk to a LOT of people before you consider it.
The rules are strict here. I like the uniformly maintained landscaping and not having cars parked on the street at night. I like that everyone else has to comply, of course, but I'm so darn perfect I can't understand why they want me to follow some silly rules!
For instance, yesterday it was HOT outside and I came home exhausted. There was an envelope in my mailbox from the HOA telling me I have to paint my shutters to maintain uniformity in the complex, and a separate letter telling me I have to replace the bulbs in the placket around my address. And I must do this things in 15 days, OR ELSE! (Or else what, I don't know--but I suspect it has something to do with citations, fines and possible property liens.)
I want very much to be a good citizen (a good citizen with no citations, fines or possible property liens), so I visited the HOA office and asked what manufacturer made the lovely teal paint for my shutters. One of the office Administrators looked up my model and shutter color (green), and told me I need Frazee's Strong Hunter color. "That can't be right, I said. My shutters are a lovely teal color."
The ladies in the Homeowner's Association office looked at me with pity. "Your front door and your shutters are supposed to be Frazee Strong Hunter." (What? That dark color associated with British hunts and sports cars?)
"Yessss," I said, the door IS hunter green, but the shutters are...my voice trailed off as I realized the front door is in the shade but the shutters are in the sun. I suddenly got a mental image of what color Strong Hunter wooden shutters would be after five years of baking in the desert. They would probably be...teal. I got the mental picture at the same time that the HOA ladies started laughing.
"Sorry, honey, your lovely teal shutters probably started out as Strong Hunter, and you're going to have to paint them that color again," said the manager.
I wonder what would happen if I pretended I hadn't asked. If I just go to a paint store and get some teal paint. (Citations, fines and possible property liens, probably.) Ah, well. All I have to do is stick it out for another five years and I'll have lovely teal colored shutters again.