Tuesday, November 14, 2017

HOA STORIES

Oh yes, it's been a while since I've written about my fulfilling and rewarding work on the HOA Board.  (Yes, that IS sarcasm!)


Considering we have just 14 buildings (8 units per building, so 112 homes), there are a lot of interesting and challenging stories.  And background stories.  While I am as compassionate as the next person, if you are blaming your current behavior on your sad childhood 50 years or more ago, I think it's time to move forward and just keep that in the background.  Move on!

We have an Owner who emails one of us and/or the property management company daily.  Usually several times a day.  Telling us we "better remember to do this or THIS could happen" "no one seems to notice these fire hazards except me" "when I was on the Board"  "When I was chair of the landscape committee" and my personal favorite last week "you better notify people to stop using their fireplaces to warm up their condo"  Still not sure why she doesn't want us to use our wood burning fireplace!!! 


Then she emails again in 3 days with the same information ... despite me answering her email explaining that yes, it is being arranged and we will notify everyone when a date is set to have chimney inspections or gutters cleaned or leaves removed ... Now when she sends a repeat, I simply respond "thank you for your email".

From Saturday evening:  Parking has been a problem 3 times this week.... especially tonight.

I saw an older couple putting out signs and caution tape that there have been private parties and the front spaces are reserved? Is this board approved? With the handicapped designation, (which was never supposed to be there until XXXXX put it there), there is no where for our (this bldng) guests to park.

Please let me know. Owners should have priority and this is a new issue of late.

This Owner has lived here for 20 years ... and the "older couple" are the Clubhouse Managers!  Who have to go out in the rain to put up signs so that residents will stop parking in the visitor spots!  They even had to finally CALL two owners to move their cars.

My question is WHY does this Owner think her guests are any more important than the guests of other Owners ... who were parking there????  And ... I personally do not consider her "priority guest" a visitor as he comes over EVERY night.  People!!????  P.S.  There are 8 uncovered parking spots right in front of her building.


(that's me in 5064, just beside the pool)

Saturday's event was also the topic of whining.  Both rooms were reserved for 30+ people.  We have just one kitchen and one resident did not want to share the kitchen.  Said she signed up first.  They also went in the day prior to event to set up all their tables and decorations (did not reserve the room for that).  

The complaining party was in the other clubhouse room ... setting up five hours before the time she had requested the room (we have sign up sheets by each door for that room ....).  And sorry ... yes, I had to point that out to her ....

So really?  It's just the little things.  Apparently these little things really irritate some people.  Actually got a complaint about neighbors setting up "too many" Christmas lights and decorations, and too early (I do agree it is too early).  Unless we get 3 complaints, we are not going to be Grinch and make them shut it down.

Stay tuned.  Some of the issues ARE valid so I'm not poking fun of those.  But these little things ... oh yeh!






Friday, November 10, 2017

THE GOOD, THE BAD and the NAUGHTY

These two boys.

Every day I laugh.  Often my eyes tear up.  This is an amazing relationship that could only happen with intergenerational living.  I'm so lucky ... and thankful.

I get to see and hear the little day to day stuff.  And believe me, I still miss out on a lot!  Conversations when I am not around ... scenarios while they are out with Mom and Dad.

Yesterday Mr. 3.75 caught a wicked cold.  He got up early while Mr. 7 (he now says "almost 8" if you ask how old he is ... Oct 28 birthday) was getting ready for school.  Usually, Mr. 7 is NOT happy to share his Gramma time but knowing Mr. D wasn't feeling so hot, he became the best big brother ever.  He kindly asked little guy if he wanted to come in the bathroom with him while he got ready.  He let him brush his own teeth and comb his own hair (think hair gel ... about once a week Mr. 7 adds a bit of pizazz to his style).  He brought him out to show me and said "Gramma, I think he is ready for preschool now ... look at what a good job he did".  Little man beamed.  Then went to lay on the sofa.

When it was time for me to take Mr. B to school, he went over to the sofa and gave Mr. D the biggest best hug ever.  And then a high five.  I love you and hope you have a good day.  I'll be home before you know it.  (Teary eyes here).

Today was no school and very rainy, so we mostly stayed inside to play.  They played together for quite a while and then played totally separate for quite a while.  And then when I was in the kitchen I hear a VERY noisy Mr. D ... sounded like he was dragging furniture down the hall.  I peered around the corner ....

He was sitting in a Playskool chair, making it go down the hall while very loudly saying "stop it brovver"  "you're hurting me, brovver!" "don't kill me" then fell over with a big plop like a dead body.  Exorcist style playing.  Big brother was in a totally different room.  Dad came flying out to investigate what Mr. B was up to ... but I explained what I saw with my own two eyes!  Where does he get these ideas???  


Mom and Dad know to listen to both boys when one is screaming.  I rush out from my room occasionally because the parents allow them a certain amount of time to work out their own things ... and sometimes it seems too long to me!  I'm very thankful we live downstairs.  And that these condos were built back in the day they are pretty sound proof.  Did I mention Wrestlemania every night on the King bed?  Right before bedtime ...

I hope these little guys remain great friends.






Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Thursday, November 2, 2017

O'Dark Thirty

Gosh I will be glad when our clocks go back one hour this weekend!
  

Not that the little bit of daylight will last very long.  The two little guys were both thinking I was out of my mind when I got Braeden up to get ready for school at 7:15 am.  But it's still night out, Gramma!  Ha!  Don't I know it!

I used to be a morning person.  Until Mr. Ralph retired.  Then we morphed into night owls and slept in until 8 or 9.  Most people thought we were odd ... that old people get up at the crack of dawn, have dinner at 4:30 and asleep by 8.  We did the complete opposite.  And I've kinda stuck with it.

But it seems I am becoming more like the animals that get up with the sun and go to bed when the sun goes down.  I prefer to get 9-10 hours of sleep.  Getting up at 6:30 am on school days to help out the parents (who ARE late night owls) gets harder and harder by Thursday.  Finally, I asked for Wednesdays off!  Kate has the day off (she has Mon/Tues/Weds off from work) so she can give up one sleep in day.  It felt so amazing to sleep in ... I might just have to get a tiny coffee maker for my little room!

(Yes, I sometimes use rollers!)

Once I am home in the evening, I'm not so good about being spontaneous and going out for dinner.  Last night I was in my jammies at 7:30!  Hoping to stay awake longer than the children.  I had to turn on all my lights and get up and down a lot just to make it til 9pm.

How about your schedule?  

My buddy, Grandpa George, was about 80 when he started to set his alarm for 6:00 am.  My parents also set their alarm clock (7:00 am for them).  They just didn't want to miss anything!  I hope I don't set my alarm for no reason.  Listen to your body and get up when you wake up!!!




Monday, October 23, 2017

SOUP SEASON

Mmmm.  Soup!  It's that time of year.

Unfortunately, my grandsons are not big soup fans, so I've been treating myself to some upscale Campbell's soups.  Soup is a great lunch for me ... or a late dinner when the family is having chicken nuggets and fries.  Portobello Mushroom Bisque with Madeira is my favorite so far.  It's hard to find mushroom soup for eating ... and trust me, I've tried them all.  

I broke down yesterday and made Hungarian Mushroom Soup.  A neighbor/friend had me over for such a creamy delish dish a few years ago.  Portland had a restaurant close who made THE best Hungarian mushroom soup ... and they shared their recipe.   I had tried to turn my neighbor on to my new discovery of Campbell's but she did NOT like it at all.  Marge is a bit older than me and at the time, she still loved to cook.  She is having some health issues now so I felt like I owed her the real thing, especially after getting her hopes up about love in a can.

I spent countless time on the internet trying to find the BEST recipe.  Ina Gartner.  Food Network.  Bon Appetit.  New York Times.  Silver Palate.  I finally settled in on the The Moosewood version with a few alterations.  I used half and half instead of milk, 4 ounces more mushrooms (for my convenience as sliced mushrooms come in 8 oz containers and the recipe called for 12 ounces), half the amount of onion and chicken stock instead of vegetable stock.


I had my first bowlful last night for dinner ... she is having hers for lunch today.  Stay tuned.  Next time I think I will add a few wild mushrooms and a few tablespoons of sherry.

Very yummy!  And I forgot to add a plop of sour cream to my bowl!  Mmmm ... I'm looking forward to tonight!


Thursday, October 19, 2017

THE WHIRLWIND

My favorite sister and her awesome hubby came for a short visit last week.  We text or email or talk several times a week but it was great to have real, in person hugs.  And they hadn't seen the grandkids in person for two years!


I picked them up at the airport about 1pm on Saturday.  We went directly for a late lunch at a favorite vegan restaurant.  I was pleasantly surprised that they serve brunch all day on weekends.  The food is delicious and there is always a bit of a wait.  My daughter works just about a mile from there so we went over for a surprise visit.  They chose a gift for their dog and I bought a get well catnip toy for my friend who was in car accident that morning.  
We mosied over to the infamous local ice cream shop, Salt and Straw.  Which is now branching out into California.  They make the most unusual flavor combinations, some of which sound dreadful but taste so yummy!  Olive oil ice cream?  YES!  Honey with lavender.  Strawberry honey with balsamic vinegar.  And some pretty delicious more traditional flavors.




Saturday evening we weren't really very hungry so I had some cheese, fruit, crackers and wine awaiting in the guest suite for them (we have an awesome amenity of a guest suite with two queen beds, living room, kitchenette and HUGE bathroom, cable TV and wifi .... for just $50/night!),  So convenient to have guests just a building over from me.  And I joined them!


Each morning they would get up and go for a brisk walk then we would meet for coffee about 8:30.  Sunday we went to the Portland Art Museum for a great, short visit.  Janet is a docent at her art museum in Louisville.  They often plan their vacations around visiting art museums.  
I am not into cultural things but they convinced me to accompany them and it was fabulous!  I think I will go at least once a year ... and may take the whole family.  Quite a few youngsters and it was so interesting to hear them ask questions and give their opinions.


We came home and played with the boys (they brought them each a book!).  We took them to see Jesse's farm (they are avid gardeners and avid veggie eaters!)  Sunday evening we went to a newer restaurant with my friend Mary Beth and her boyfriend.  It is called Quaintrelle whose meaning is explained on the wall in the entry ... A woman who emphasizes a life of passion expressed through personal style, leisurely pastimes, charm, and cultivation of life's pleasures.  The food was good but not iconic (at those prices it should have been iconic!) and we learned about several new foods!  

Spigarello, more properly called Cavolo Broccolo a Getti di Napoli, is a leafy green that tastes a lot like broccoli. But unlike broccoli, you eat the leaves instead of the flowers.

Monday was coffee, then lunch with the little family (except Braeden who was at school) then walking and hiking and just being with little men in the great sunny outdoors!  Dinner at our local Italian place which was a big hit.  The five of them walked home while I got Deacon ready for bed and reading books.  

Tuesday was coffee, then packing then off to the airport.  So short but very very sweet.  We miss them already ...

Braeden showing Dr. Uncle how to play Minecraft ... he didn't really expect Dr JEH to get it right away ... he's merely a neurosurgeon ...

P.S.  The rains STOPPED and the sun was out for their entire visit