Wednesday, August 30, 2017

AWKWARD BOARD CHAIR

Tonight is the first Board meeting since I became the Chair.

Our first item on the agenda is always Open Forum.  This is the time to speak up if you have a question or concern.  The underground connection is telling me to brace myself.  The mean girls are going to lay it all out for me!

Some exciting topics:

  • We want to elect the Landscape Chair ... not have the Board appoint one (as specified in our ByLaws and as we have done for 500 years). Because they want one of their cronies in that coveted position ... one who will not work within the budget.
  • We want to purchase bark mulch for $35,000 although our budget is $15,000.  And it will be 1.5 inches thick rather than our Landscape vendor suggests 3 inch minimum.

  • We want to fire the Landscape vendor.  Even though we have not vetted any replacement vendor.  Because THIS Vendor really does take direction ONLY from the Landscape Chair or a Board member.  Not their every little whim.  (How rude!)  But we can't have 112 people asking them to do "just this one little thing for me".
  • We want a phone and address directory of our community.  So we can send unwanted political dissertations (a past Chair used confidential email addresses that were for Board eyes only) and news about our upcoming productions (for our one thespian Diva).  Too bad if people want their privacy!  We may email all Owners and ask them if they want to opt in to such a directory?  That seem reasonable? 
I am also going to resign from newsletter production.  Mainly I'm tired of doing it (after 7 years) and it's like pulling teeth to get committee updates or ideas for articles.  My buddy, and former chair, is the only one who thanks me more than once a year.  Most of all, it seems like a conflict of interest for the Chair to be in control of communication.

Earlier this year, when we had such a complaining neighbor (Poopy Patty), I made up a pretend newsletter .... oh how I would love to do the final issue like this!



















 









Friday, August 25, 2017

Let the Whining Begin

I was elected (barely) to our Condo HOA just one week ago.

So far, I'd say 22 phone calls and 100 emails.  It's hard for me to imagine being so upset that someone cut through the landscaping (old bark chips) "TOO CLOSE TO MY WINDOWS" (about 6 ft away) instead of using the sidewalk.  The complainer has "serious heart trouble" so this better get remedied quickly.  (I don't have much sympathy as MY sidewalk is just 3 feet from my window ... and my landscape currently looks like this:
(a lovely crop of weeds!)

Yeh, the former Landscape Chair (who lives in my building!) had the grass removed, rocks and bark dust to replace it.  And those scraggly shrubs are to block our view of the parking lot!  I tried to explain (I was on the committee at that time) that the landscape workers would just blow all the bark chips away before the year was up ...

The Chair of a committee recently quit in a huff and now wants the position back ... for the good of the community.  And is irate that I asked for all binders and documentation to be returned for the next committee chair (and no, I don't think this Board will have the person back).  This is not Junior High where you can stomp your foot, gather up your toys and huff on home.  By the way, this person did a lot of backstabbing and gossipping in our 45 minute call.  Fortunately, just listening and not saying much of anything worked wonders.  We all just need to be heard?

Our annual community picnic is Sunday and the outgoing chair invited some people who no longer even live here (because SHE likes them!).  Sorry!  Next year it is CURRENT residents only because that outgoing chair is continually grumbling about the cost (I spent $32 on decorations).  She hired BBQ ribs to be delivered ... instead of hamburgers and hot dogs cooked on the spot by Board members)(which is a GOOD thing as it is supposed to be 97 on Sunday!)

There are just 112 condo homes here.  Already I can see what I previously assumed ... 5% of the people make 800% of the complaints.  Most households are older single ladies.  Methinks they have too much time on their hands!  

This volunteer position is really exhausting!

But enough of my whining!  I'm getting to meet more residents and I am taking walkabouts several times a day.  Started doing the walks for knee exercise, and am delighted to greet people on my little journey.  Everyone has something to tell me.  I always ask them to email me as I am not able to write it down while I'm out for my walk or on my way to a meeting ... and I usually have a grandson with me.  I think I use the boys as protection from anyone getting angry at me ....

Interestingly, most people put aside their differences for the potluck so stay tuned.  I am bringing semi-homemade potato salad.  Bought it at Costco then put it in a nice serving bowl (ten pounds of it!), add hard boiled egg slices, paprika and some fresh parsley!  Most people assume I made it all myself ... but if they ask, I divulge my secret recipe!



Sunday, August 20, 2017

CARBIVORE

I'm considering starting a 12 step program for those of us who are addicted to carbohydrates.  


Pasta.  Pizza.  Warm bread.  Creamy soups.  Potatoes.  Corn on the cob.  Rice.  Noodles.  Potato chips.  Crackers.  Thanksgiving Stuffing.  Gravy (or sauce of any kind)

Even though I know the evil effects, I find myself drawn to carbohydrates.  Especially with little boys in the dining picture.  I made chicken and noodle casserole with potato chip topping the other night and there were NO LEFTOVERS.  I often choose restaurant meals based on the sides that accompany the protein.  Or ask if I could have the garlic mashed potatoes instead of the steamed greens.  I'm so bad, I often talk my salad eating friends into sharing an order of fries with our salads!  

But now that I can walk and exercise, I need to change up the eating habits as well.  I did join my local Adult Community Center and have been riding the exercycle at least twice a week.  My Yoga Where You Don't Have to Get on the Floor starts in two weeks.  And school starts on August 29, an hour earlier than last year.  I will be driving him TO school (so he gets that extra 30 minutes of sleep) and after I drop him off at 8:30, I can go to exercise right after.  Surprisingly, there has never been another person in the Fitness Room while I have been there!

Any suggestions on delicious substitutions?


P.S.  Yes, I do love zucchini noodles ...


Friday, August 18, 2017

LET THEM EAT CAKE!

I was nominated for our condo HOA Board, got a one year term (by one vote) and was chosen to be the Chair.  I'm still settling in on an appropriate title ... but will answer to most anything and it is usually BJ (instead of JB).  No worries.



Two members left the Board with one year remaining of their two year term.  Each had completed a previous two year term and Meagan and her three children under the age of 5 bought a house a moved out of their two bedroom unit here.  And Gary is still working pretty much full time but mostly didn't enjoy knowing any disparaging things about his neighbors.  He's a friend to all and knows everyone (who has lived here more than two weeks) by name and facial recognition.

I have been here seven years and personally know maybe 20% of our Owners.  My goal is to visit each household and explain that I am very approachable, even though I mostly keep to myself here.  Mary Beth (past chair for four years) was also elected for one more year but mostly to train all of us newbies.  

She has been a mother hen for 17 years.  If someone calls her at 10pm to say their kitchen sink is blocked, she walks over to at least be moral support.  Your cat not return home at midnight like usual?  Call Mary Beth, she will go out with you while you call his name.  That is just her style (although not with me, for some reason!).  Probably because I have never called on her for help!!  If my sink plugs up, we call a plumber!  So I'm glad she is still on the Board and hope she gets re-elected for another two years.  People just know and trust her ... which is such a good thing.

She always listens to each person's situation, nodding at the right moment.  Then moves the meeting on.

The hardest part for me will be sitting in front of the room and public speaking.  I blush easily and I'm sure my facial expressions tell everyone what is going on in my head.  I may have to feign hot flashes and use a paper fan to hide myself!


For me, I prefer email so that there is a paper trail when we get to resolution.  Or send it on to lawyers.  Fortunately, lawyers only get involved every other year or so.  Currently we have a hoarder whose treasures now extend to the deck and all the way down the communal stairway.  I think a lot of residents here prefer phone calls but the boys play games on my phone a lot and I don't answer if I'm with others or driving.  So we will see just how this best works.

Stay tuned as to how this new volunteer position fits into my little old life!  And Long Live the Queen!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

THE AGING STIGMATA

I think the media has taken an insulting stance of stereotyping "old" people. When I see an ad for assisted living ... the people look about 50 at most (although with grey or white hair).  Dressed nicely, slim and fit, with accessories as well.

And the Help, I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up ad for instance.

I guess maybe they are hitting below the belt to get us youngsters in their midst?  Could be.  She just looks so youthful ... great (ironed) outfit, perfect hair, fabulous makeup and just a touch of jewelry.  This MIGHT be me....  if I were on my way to a wedding!

Maybe I'm just being crabby.  I don't watch much live TV (because I hate commercials) so when I do happen to see a commercial for a pharmaceutical company's wares for elders ... it is just so noticeable that the Grandma and Grandpa are way too young for that product.  Now that we baby boomers are tipping the count for age brackets, I would be more apt to buy something if I saw people my age using it.  Especially clothing!  I want to look 65 not 45.  I don't wear heels so please make snazzy shoes that reflect how I really live!

To be fair, when you advertise to "old" people, insert people in the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and each decade thereafter.  Old people are always at least 20 years older than me!  And that's a moving target!!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

HOW RUDE!

I don't know what it is, but more and more people are being outright RUDE.  Driving and/or parking ... as well as being distracted.  Even distracted as pedestrians and almost getting themselves hurt.

For some reason, last week was excruciatingly rude.  Our City park just two blocks away has free outdoor summer concerts on Wednesday nights in July.  Last week it was too hot for me, so I parked myself in our Library to putz on the laptop.  It's a great place for people watching since the Clubhouse is right at the entrance.


Despite a huge sign placed at our entrance (by the City) asking people to "Respect Our Neighbors - No Concert Parking" a Jaguar parked smack dab parallel to where I was sitting!  I gave the driver the benefit of the doubt thinking maybe she was picking up one of our residents who would just meet her there (quickly).  Nope.  She got out of her car, decked to the nines in the perfect little summer outfit with designer sunglasses and a straw hat that was to die for.  

I walked out as she was done primping and locking her car and nicely said "Oh, sorry!  No parking here"

"I'll just be an hour or so"

"Not even five minutes of parking is permitted.  See the red curb?"

"Oh, the Fire Department won't be coming, I'm sure.  I'm just walking over to the concert"

"Then you probably noticed the large sign at the entrance right there ... no concert parking"

"You have plenty of room to get in and out if I park here"

So I took out my phone, walked down and took a photo of her license plate.  Then I pretend made a phone call all while she is asking what I'm doing.  (I explained that the City and the Police Dept work very closely with neighbors of City Parks so that they can continue to host events).  And then said into my fake phone call "Oh, sorry .... Non emergency services, please".  She was very haughty but did pack up and leave.


The very next day, I went to our 365 Grocery Store.  There are two handicap spots near the front door and someone was stopped in front of both of them, obviously using their phone.  I lightly beeped after having my turn signal on and waiting.  Nothing.  Then I honked.  Nothing.  I parked in a different spot, got out with my cane (just for show) and walked over to knock on her window.  She would not open it (I don't blame her ... a cane smack across the face might hurt) ... yet she continued to stay right there!  I explained she was blocking the only two handicap spots in the entire parking lot.  

What is with people?  Geez I would feel horrible if someone had to limp over to ask me to move away from the handicap spot!  


Last, but not least, there is a traffic light from our condo complex at the main little street in Lake Oswego.  Cross walks on the north and the south, with pedestrian signs.  A young woman was so busy watching her device that she didn't look to see that the crosswalk was closed, blinking RED ... do not walk.  The person in the car who was turning left, had a serious case of "pedestrian rage" and honestly almost ran right into her, then blared the horn.  Almost a complete cat right in the middle of the four land road!