Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Unpaid Work

When we moved from Marin to Arizona, I vowed that I would no longer give away my work.  If I picked up a chore, I would be paid for it.

That didn't last very long.  I took on the newsletter for The Happy Ladies Club after a lengthy skirmish over attending Board Meetings.  There was no one else.  Please?  Pretty please?  Pretty please with sugar on it and a cherry in the middle?  I was incapable of resisting the request.  The job was a pain in every body part, from my head through my heart to my butt, which grew tired of sitting while I formatted something that could be both digital and hard copy.

I created and took on the Happy Ladies' care committee after I was perforated in 2011.  They were so good to me for 14 weeks, I felt an obligation to return the favors.  Over the last decade, though, setting up Meal Trains and sending condolence cards has become rote rather than rewarding.  There are others in the group who are looking to help out.  I am on the cusp of giving up that role.

When the Neighborhood Association needed help with landscaping, I took on that role, too - after making it perfectly clear that I Don't Do Meetings.  That worked until the whole Board quit (lies, deception, temper tantrums.... the usual for HOA's, it seems) and there was a need for someone to take charge.  I connived and inveigled and coaxed and coerced and got Fast Eddie onto the Board and then into the Presidency.  

When he called and asked me to come to his first meeting, I couldn't really say no.  He was stuck in that job because of my handiwork.  It would be cruel to abandon him.

Once Pandemica set in, our meetings were Zoom calls.  I could sit at home in my pj's, crocheting to my heart's content, listening and commenting without the video function enabled.  We made plans and set agendas and did what we could.  I fired one landscaper and hired another but otherwise didn't have much to say about anything.  Parking in the driveway is prohibited by our CC&R's; arguing with violators was never something I was interested in doing.

I listened and I supported and I was always on the outer edge of the issues..... until last week.... when a neighbor decided that the landscapers needed to be discussed.  Why did we change when the work was being done?  (The work wasn't being done.)  What's the price differential?  (There is none; the new company is doing more for the same price.)  

My answers weren't enough.  He replied to my let me know if you have any other questions with YES, I have more questions.

My mother would not have approved of the language I used when I read his lengthy screed.  Were we insulated from lawsuits?  Did they have the proper insurance coverage?  Was the HOA specifically named?  Did they have Worker's Comp insurance?  He needed the documents and there he was, making a formal request as a homewowner.

I spent half an hour taking the snark out of my response, then sent an I got your email and I'll deal with it reply.

What happened next made my heart sing. The men on the Board were furious - on my behalf.  They approached Fast Eddie, encouraging him to spank the complainer, defending my excellent work (they really do like the job the landscapers are doing), and worrying about my psyche.

Fast Eddie just laughed.  She's no shrinking violet, you know.  They wanted to knock on the offender's door and explain to him, in no uncertain terms, that attacking me was a non-starter, and certain to have consequences.  The only thing scarier than us going down there, he said, would be if we sent HER to his door.  

I'm smiling again as I type this.  That my neighbors have my back was a given - that they would be so outraged on my behalf was a complete surprise.  Fast Eddie received compliments on my accomplishments and concern for my well-being.  For someone who disdained meetings, this was an unexpected benefit of that which I had scorned.

Today I sent the requested documents to the annoying neighbor.  I also sent a thank you note to my fellow Board members.  They may make me rethink my aversion to seeing them in a group, in person, on a regularly scheduled basis.


  1. I volunteer for several organizations but after three months of the landscape committee for the HOA I have firm resolve to NEVER, EVER have anything to do with an HOA again in my life. I think you must be made of firmer stuff than I!

    1. My resolve held for 14 years. I cannot wait to get rid of the job!


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