Surviving the Weekend Without Divide-and-Conquer

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

A long weekend could not have come at a better time for me. The yard is a mess, the playroom closet is so full of junk that I can't close the door, the car could use a good cleaning, and we're about a dozen Cheerios away from a bare cupboard.

Once upon a time, my wife and I would divvy up the tasks with great precision, each grab a kid, and each begin an individual march through the to-do list. It was classic "divide and conquer." But about six months ago -- collapsed on the couch on a Sunday night -- it dawned on us that we'd managed to go through an entire weekend without doing much more than crossing paths.

Given the challenges of coordinating jobs, school and the other weekend commitments, the weekends were exactly when we should be spending some family time together. So, for most of the year, we've been making an effort to conquer without dividing.

That hasn't been easy -- getting four people in one car is a lot more difficult for some reason than getting four people into two cars -- but it has made the weekends more special (and it's allowed us to pare down to a single car). It's not even so much that I get more time with the kids (at least one little one was always around for divide and conquer), but instead that I actually get to see my wife.

It's not an efficient way to get stuff done (as evidenced by the playroom), but knowing that we can't possibly do it all is freeing. The list of things that have to get done has shrunk, not because we're any more efficient but because we're better able to set priorities. We don't expect to be able to make the soccer-mall-supermarket-birthday-Target-ballet loop in less than three hours, so it's no big deal if the grass doesn't get mowed one week or if dinner on Sunday is frozen pizza instead of pot roast.

As usual, I'm curious to know how all of you do it -- is divide-and-conquer the only option, or are there other ways to keep the weekends from getting so clogged with errands and obligations that family time becomes illusory?

Brian Reid writes about parenting and work-family balance. You can read his blog at rebeldad.com.

By Brian Reid |  May 24, 2007; 12:01 AM ET  | Category:  Division of Labor
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Ohmygosh -- this NEVER happens in my time zone.

FIRST!

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 24, 2007 12:38 AM

I love this blog topic Brian. It really is all about balance and how do you achieve it and still stay a family and a couple and yourself. we haven't figured out how to do it well yet, but we're trying and I hope to learn something from today's discussions, if it doesn't meander into topics that have nothing at all to do with this topic, or the blog at all.

Oh, and, second.

Posted by: wondering | May 24, 2007 2:33 AM

Weekends are a hard balance for my family. I want to spend time with my 3 & 5 year old, but the door has to be painted, light switch fixed, lawn mowed, gorceries purchased, etc etc. And of course soccer and parties. I don't know if I will ever find balance, but the door will go unpainted this weekend as it has for the last year. And instead we might go mini golfing.

Posted by: Burke Mom | May 24, 2007 6:48 AM

We generally subscribe to the 'divide and conquer' model but every once in a while, we just let tasks go undone and chores uncompleted and go have fun. Mind you we don't do this often enough, but it sure does feel good when we do. Of course the chores are still there, but that just reinforces our decision to take off and do something fun together...the laundry/lawn/kitchen floor will always be there when we get back!

Posted by: ParentPreneur | May 24, 2007 7:01 AM

As I type there is a bathroom floor that has been taunting me for 3 months - I plan to ignore it this weekend yet again.

Posted by: cmac | May 24, 2007 7:19 AM

We divide and conquer. We also have a to do list a mile long. But we always carve out special family time for each weekend. And we always spend at least one weekend, doing nothing except the bare minimum:cooking, laundry, and grocery shopping. As my daughter gets older, I also involve her more in the daily chores. But your kids will be fine if you don't dust all the time. Sit and enjoy watching the clouds. The dusting will always be there.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 24, 2007 7:24 AM

We split the weekend. One day is for chores, one for fun. Usually, we spend Saturday running around in a frenzy to get things done, but Sunday is always a day of rest: church, breakfast out, playing in the yard with the kids, then after lunch, boys go down for a nap and hubby and I have some alone time. It works well for us.

Posted by: Reston Mom | May 24, 2007 7:44 AM

I don't have a playroom, so that's one less room to clean. My kids don't have a lot of junk overflowing closets. They are resposible for taking care of their stuff.

I know how to say No to invitations. I stay away from malls. I get up early and get the work done.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 7:51 AM

Great topic, great suggestions.

When your kids are young it is so easy to get focused on daily survival -- keeping your jobs, stopping the house from falling apart, keeping your bills paid and milk in the fridge. I have a friend with two daughters and a fulltime job whose pipes froze and it took her several months to get them fixed. Balance seems like a joke.

My family does use divide and conquer -- even on vacations. It proved more relaxing than all five of us going together. But now that our kids are a little older, it is FAR easier to do things as a group - a large, loud group, but together.

My husband and I almost always go out together alone on Saturday nights. That's our time. And on Sundays we try to have a big family dinner together.

One other thing -- it is almost impossible for us to have dinner together on weeknights b/c of my husband's work hours and the fact that the kids are starving at 5 pm. But having heard (again and again) how important it is to eat together, now we try to have breakfast together, at the same time, same table.

There's no magic about dinner per se. It's nice to start the day by checking in with each other -- which naturally includes it's share of bickering.

Posted by: Leslie | May 24, 2007 7:59 AM

This is my favorite thing about working part time. There is so much less strain on the weekends. I can get most of the chores done when I am not working during the week and weekends are for family time and the random larger projects. Our goal every week is for laundry to be caught up, grocery shopping and cleaning done by Friday. Just not having to shop on the weekends is a bonus. It is also terrific that a weekend out of town no longer throws off the entire week.

Posted by: Raising One of Each | May 24, 2007 8:06 AM

I think the single best thing that we did with regard to freeing up the weekend was hiring someone to mow the lawn. Last summer, when DH was in charge of that task, he'd spend at least one full day a weekend on yard work -- first mowing and trimming, then working on the "optional" projects that would make our yard nicer. Then he'd be too tired to hang out with the baby while I did the stuff I needed to do. "Free time" didn't exist.

This year, I insisted on getting a lawn service. For $25 a week (which I've effectively paid for by giving up my Starbucks habit), they mow and trim the lawn. It takes them 20 minutes with a ride-on, but somehow we end up getting several hours back. Now yard care is limited to one part of one day, and we're free to do other things.

One thing I have yet to figure out is how to get my own chores done, on the weekend or any other time. I manage to run errands, cook every night and keep a basic level of sanitation in the house, but it still look like a mess. Cleaning during the week is nearly impossible now that the kid has basically abandoned napping. And DH tends not to like being alone with DD long enough for me to get anything of substance done on the weekends. Tell me that it gets better once the kids get older and less clingy!

Posted by: NewSAHM | May 24, 2007 8:19 AM

Great topic, and neverending issue. When my husband and I were first married, after about a year, I realized that our only real time together was at Home Depot and Best Buy. So we decided then to make Saturday chore day and Sunday fun day. Of course, it only got worse when we added the kids (not to mention the old house with bigger yard).

Our approach is:

(1) Outsource the stuff we hate the most (hey, if it's good enough for corporate America. . . .). Cleaning service and lawn service save at least half a weekend day.

(2) Low expectations. Luckily, I have a relatively high clutter threshold, and don't care much about presenting some "perfect" image to the rest of the world -- if lawn's not horribly overgrown, house isn't peeling paint, I'm good. Plus neither one of us really enjoys the shopping process, so we tend to avoid the malls and big box stores or keep it short.

(3) Like we've talked about before, minimize other ongoing commitments. I don't want to spend Sat. ferrying my kids from gymnastics to soccer to swimming any more than I want to spend it commuting from the grocery store to Home Depot to Best Buy. One lesson/class per day.

(4) remember that other people have needs, too -- even little bitty people who can't express them yet. I might want to get the groceries so I can make a pot of chili Sunday, and my husband might need a [insert miscellaneous part name here] for his [insert miscellaneous tool name here]. And since we control the car, it's easy to spend the weekend doing what we want to do (well, not "want," but need to take care of). But there are four of us in this family, not two, and we each have the right to do something we want.

There was one weekend where we spent all our free time running errands, and I looked in the back seat Sunday PM and thought, dang, what a crappy way for my girl to spend her only two "free" days. So I just made a decision not to sacrifice my kids' fun for my own desire to get stuff done. Nothing that I want to do needs to get done so badly that it should require my kids to give up everything they want to do.

So, yeah, there's a lot of stuff that doesn't get done -- finishing the kids' bathroom is sure taking a lot longer than I ever thought, and we haven't even started installing the cabinets in the study (the same cabinets that have been in our dining room since January). But I can live with that.

Posted by: Laura | May 24, 2007 8:20 AM

"Then he'd be too tired to hang out with the baby while I did the stuff I needed to do"

"And DH tends not to like being alone with DD long enough for me to get anything of substance done on the weekends"

WOW, THESE ARE BIG RED FLAGS!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 8:22 AM

We definitely divide-and-conquer, and with one toddler and one baby, I can't see any way past this approach. But we do try and make time on the weekends to spend time with both kids together. I find that one contributing factor to this ability to spend quality time together is that I usually (and am lucky to be able to) leave work a few hours early once every 3 weeks or so to go run some errands that would take twice as long on a weekend day.

We certainly don't get everything done on our to-do lists, and we both recognize that less critical items such as yardwork get shoved far down the list. Our neighbors whose kids are older or who have one SAHP have much nicer lawns and plantings than us, and we're just resigned to the fact that our yard will be "bringing up the rear" in the neighborhood for a few more years.

This is my form of attempting balance.

I have friends that are single parents (both women and men) and it amazes me how they can achieve any semblance of balance. I'm lucky that I have a spouse to do half (ok, nearly half) of the house stuff -- kudos to the single parents out there that are better jugglers than I am.

Posted by: Jen | May 24, 2007 8:30 AM

WOW, THESE ARE BIG RED FLAGS!

Ok, that did look bad after I wrote it. I should be clearer. DH is a great dad and a huge contributor to our household. He moves DD, and is great at entertaining her for a hour or so at a time. He just tends to be bad at concentrated one-on-one time with DD. Whereas I'd take her to the park or the pool or something if we had a few few hours, he'll put her in the playroom, then sit there and check his email while she plays alone. So not only are they still hanging around the house (making it harder for me to clean within DD's eyesight), but she's not getting much in the way of interaction.

Maybe the reason it annoys me so much is that I'm jealous. DD would NEVER let me get away with pursuing my own interests while she plays alone. If she can see me, she wants me reading or singing to her, or otherwise giving her attention. She doesn't seem to demand that from her daddy.

Posted by: NewSAHM | May 24, 2007 8:32 AM

"Cleaning service and lawn service save at least half a
weekend day."

Ah, yes, solutions for the wealthy... hire servants.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 24, 2007 8:32 AM

Oops, I mean he loves DD.

Posted by: NewSAHM | May 24, 2007 8:33 AM

these comments about "lawn care" sure make me happy to live in the city where our "lawn" is little more than a patch of pansies and a couple of flower boxes! I grew up in suburbia and it seemed we were always spending our weekends on yard work-- how pleasant to be released from that burden and instead focus on the parks and museums in our neighborhood.

Posted by: Jen s. | May 24, 2007 8:35 AM

these comments about "lawn care" sure make me happy to live in the city where our "lawn" is little more than a patch of pansies and a couple of flower boxes! I grew up in suburbia and it seemed we were always spending our weekends on yard work-- how pleasant to be released from that burden and instead focus on the parks and museums in our neighborhood.

Posted by: Jen s. | May 24, 2007 8:36 AM

"WOW, THESE ARE BIG RED FLAGS!

Ok, that did look bad after I wrote it. I should be clearer."

The more you write, the worse it looks.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 8:37 AM

These comments about "lawn care" sure make me happy to live downtown where our "lawn" is little more than a patch of pansies and a couple of flower boxes! I grew up in suburbia and it seemed we were always spending our weekends on yard work-- how pleasant to be released from that burden and instead focus on the parks and museums in our neighborhood on Saturdays and church and neighbors and friends on Sundays. Maybe living downtown or at least not having a yard to fuss with is a good way to find balance?

Looking forward to bar-b-queing a whole mess of food this long weekend for leftovers the rest of next week.

Posted by: Jen S. | May 24, 2007 8:39 AM

GREAT TOPIC!! I love reading all the solutions!

Laura, I hear you on the bathroom! What used to take a few weeks now takes a few months! The solution, which we haven't set into motion yet: DH and his pal finish it one weekend while me and DD and pal's DW and DS hang out. Everyone feels happy, and it's only one long weekend.

NewSAHM, My DH does the same thing with DD! I like every moment to be enriching, he figures if she isn't crying she's fine!

Our balance is like everyone else's: Sat is for work and chores, Sun is for family. We pass the baby back and forth on Sat. The house is juuuuust this side of dirty, but who cares? We have 2 cats and a dog, so even if we vaccuumed twice a day we'd still all be covered in hair.

Posted by: atb | May 24, 2007 8:40 AM

I don't think splitting up the kids is very efficient. We usually have one parent take the kids someplace for about 2 - 3 hours on the weekend. If we need groceries, the parent with the kids takes care of that. With no kids to worry about for 3 hours, you would be amazed at what you can accomplish with regards to cleaning and repairs etc. After the 3 hours are up, everyone regroups and the weekend begins. If we have sporting events or other activities we need to attend, one parent goes while the other stays home until the chores are done...or the 3 hour maximum we allow, whichever comes first.

Posted by: Tillman | May 24, 2007 8:41 AM

"Looking forward to bar-b-queing a whole mess of food this long weekend for leftovers the rest of next week.
"

No dead animals, I trust!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 8:42 AM

We have hired a cleaning service, and I credit it with keeping peace in my marriage (I'm a cleaner- he's not; therefore, guess who always felt resentful and exhausted?). The comment above about using a service being "for the wealthy" is obnoxious. While it's not for the destitute, to be sure, I see many families who say they "can't afford" cleaning or mowing service but have two expensive SUVs/cars, buy baby clothes at the Gap or furniture at Pottery Barn Kids, etc. I never go to Starbucks, I drive a used Volkswagen that costs me about $200/month, and I pay for cleaning every other week. It's all about trade-offs if you are of reasonable means.

I recommend cleaning service to anyone who is struggling with this and who has reasonable means because it essentially clears a whole day for me a week for someone else to scrub the toilets and floors, etc.

Posted by: Trade-offs | May 24, 2007 8:44 AM

OOOO... How do you all handle meals? I cook like crazy on Sat so I don't have to do much more during the week than throw together a salad. I've found it's not the cooking time that's so consuming, it's the rotten clean up. DD naps until 6:00pm, then is up until about 8:00pm, the prime cooking and eating time. Then once she's down for the night we spend what's left of the evening together, and the clean-up really take a bite out of that time.

Posted by: atb | May 24, 2007 8:46 AM

"WOW, THESE ARE BIG RED FLAGS!

Ok, that did look bad after I wrote it. I should be clearer."

The more you write, the worse it looks.

Posted by: | May 24, 2007 08:37 AM

Who died and made you god?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 8:46 AM

Sorry, the word obnoxious was a little strong. I disagree with the post, that's all.

Posted by: Re: Trade-offs | May 24, 2007 8:50 AM

I am with Laura, I like the idea of outsourcing tasks. We have a cleaner and a lawn service, which hopefully we will be able to keep once we have kids. I would rather go out less and have more time with my husband on the weekends than do the work myself. We both work very long hours so we are really 2 ships in the night during the week. I love to have long breakfasts on our patio with him on the weekends. (Which will obviously notbe as long or relaxing once the little ones come!)

Posted by: Thought | May 24, 2007 8:51 AM

"OOOO... How do you all handle meals?"

This is where "divide and conquer" works for us, and it's made easier because I don't work. I feed DD her dinner around 6:30, DH gets home around that time and unwinds, changes, etc. while she finishes eating. Then he takes her and giver her a bath while I do dinner prep. I get her in her pajamas and say goodnight, then he puts her down while I cook. We usually eat at 8-8:30, depending on how long it takes to get DD down to sleep.

Posted by: NewSAHM | May 24, 2007 8:51 AM

We try to pare down activities on the weekends. Oh, we do the obligatory ball game(s), and one kid & I cross our fingers and hope for GURPS, but other than that...nothing much.

Cultural tidbit for today:

Euge, enervate eunuche! Ingredere in orbitam meam prae me, tum reprime cursum biviali lucernae approprinquas.

Muliercula, si vis ibi sedens garrire totum diem in Nokuam tuam, quidni rotam adfigens guvernalem ad murum conclavis domi maneas?

Go on, guess how my day has begun.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 24, 2007 8:52 AM

Father of 4

"Ah, yes, solutions for the wealthy... hire servants."

Didn't you recently buy a top of the line washer & dryer set?

Didn't you give a top of the line breast pump as a baby shower gift?

Pot meet kettle.

Posted by: Madame X | May 24, 2007 8:58 AM

To Tillman -

Perhaps splitting up the kids is not very efficient for YOU because you can have one parent take both kids out for 2-3 hours on the weekends. I suspect your kids are older than babies/toddlers. But if you have a toddler and a baby (both needing naps at different times of day), this approach is nearly impossible. Also, what would you suggest doing with a toddler and a baby for 3 hours out of the house?

On a related note, I struggle when grocery shopping with both kids, as the toddler takes up the whole basket part of the shopping cart while the baby sits up front. Maybe one day stores will have shopping carts that have two seats up front. I can't imagine what parents of young twins do while (grocery) shopping.

Posted by: Jen | May 24, 2007 8:59 AM

"are there other ways to keep the weekends from getting so clogged with errands and obligations that family time becomes illusory?"

Nope, we're screwed. The hydra list just grows twice as fast when you start chopping things off it! Especially when you try to take a breather or a "day of rest." Oh well, such is life.

Posted by: Chris | May 24, 2007 8:59 AM

Jen,

Any chance you live somewhere near a Kroger? They do have shopping carts with two seats in the front.

Posted by: NewSAHM | May 24, 2007 9:01 AM

Jen: Costco has the carts where two preschoolers could ride up front. I think Target has some for an older child and a younger child as well.

Posted by: fomagnome | May 24, 2007 9:02 AM

We usually tackle chores together. It's mostly because I think it's time to clean, and I don't want to do it mysself, so I say "We need to clean. You sweep and mop and I'll do the bathrooms." When it's lawn time, he weed whacks while I mow.

We do split the errands, though. I usually end up with running most of them because he hates "running around" on the weekends. But that works for me because I'm not a homebody--I have to get out of the house.

Dinner for us is easy. I make about four meals a week and we have leftovers the rest of the time. With only 2 people, leftovers last forever! I cook the majority of the time and he cleans up. It's the one chore I almost never do and I'm thrilled with it.

Posted by: Meesh | May 24, 2007 9:03 AM

To 8:42 AM, who wrote: "No dead animals, I trust!"

Shhh! We've been admonished not to use the D-word anymore, as it offends the sensitive ears of a meat-eater. So, in the interest of a form of Political Correctness, the synonym for meat will be:

"Animals who[sic] have passed over to the big feedlot (or barnyard, stream, lake or ocean, etc., as appropriate) in the sky."

In the alternative, such animals can collectively be termed "life-challenged."

Posted by: catlady | May 24, 2007 9:04 AM

We almost never split up on the weekends. With two boys under 2.5 years, it's hectic, but we like doing things together mainly so that we can be together and have the back-up/support of each other while we're doing whatever we're doing. This will probably get harder as they get older, but so far it keeps us feeling like a couple and a family. Of course, we have relatively low expectations of what we need to get done on the weekends, so that helps.

Posted by: Momof2toddlerboys | May 24, 2007 9:05 AM

Either way works, as long as you only use half of the time you are awake for the to-do list. That way you can have the family time everybody needs and not be too exhausted to enjoy it.

I have 13yo son who is trying to be 35. Mention family night and the moaning and groaning starts. But when we pull out a good DVD and make some popcorn he is the first to take a seat and get comfortable.

My wife and I work as a team, and that includes occasional reminders to each other about why we are doing the work ... for the family.

Otherwise, why bother?

Posted by: SoMD | May 24, 2007 9:05 AM

We didn't have to do much divide and conquer on chores when STBX & I were together -- our separate time came during sports. I took one to his game, and he took the other, and we switched the following weekend. I preferred taking son #1 -- he was an average player, and I could grade papers and not miss much. Store runs were made on the ride home from a game, and the house and yard got dealt with early in the morning or later in the evening on Saturday.

Oh, BTW:
*which naturally includes it's share of bickering.*
Unless the writer actually means "includes it is share of bickering" instead of "includes the share of bickering belonging to the weekend," the word should be ITS. I just graded a pile of possessive pronoun review quizzes last night, so this mistake really jumped out at me today.
Not that my students read this blog -- but how am I going to convince them that grammar matters when professionals (and this blog attracts a lot of educated professionals, even if they're not making money right now) make the same mistakes that I'm teaching them to avoid?

Posted by: educmom | May 24, 2007 9:06 AM

educmom: "its" generally not out of ignorance, "its'" typos!

Posted by: atb | May 24, 2007 9:09 AM

"I can't imagine what parents of young twins do while (grocery) shopping."

I always did the grocery shopping while the children were home with DH. It wasn't unusual to find me starting the shopping at 9:00 pm. DH is the one who stops and picks up a few things on the way home from work, and I'm the one who does weekly or bulk shopping.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 9:09 AM

Unfortunately I'm closest to a couple of Safeways (no Krogers nearby). One of the Safeways does have the shopping carts with a "car" in the front that toddler can sit in, but I find those things impossible to steer (and also then have to fight to get her out of it when shopping is done). The nearby Target seems to have the double seat solution for older children, but then you don't have the "baby" seat in the front of the shopping cart. I know this is only a short-term problem for me... so I'm trying minimize grocery shopping with both for a few more months! Thanks for the suggestions though, much appreciated.

Posted by: Jen | May 24, 2007 9:09 AM

"It may be hard for you to understand but when you have your kids, those sacrifices won't seem as bad and your interests won't seem as important"

Mona,

Not everyone morphs into mindless mothers. Some of us still remain people with minds, interests and activities that are more stimulating than diaper-changing, nursing and cooing.

Babies travel. Chores get done. You'll be tired & sore for some time, but you will adjust. In time.

Some things may be shelved for awhile, but you do NOT have to sacrifice yourself on the altar of motherhood.

There's another reason why "sacrifice" when used about parenting is a bad idea. Sacrifice implies an homage to a deity, and as such you are elevated above and beyond others. It's automatically an ennobling thing to do.

Posted by: Lisa | May 24, 2007 9:10 AM


"Costco has the carts where two preschoolers could ride up front. I think Target has some for an older child and a younger child as well. "

Thanks for the warning!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 9:11 AM

There are those of us who actually enjoy mowing the yard. The sweet scent of freshly cut grass is one of nature's delights (Sorry for you hay fever sufferers)

And Md Mom, The Cultural Tidbit of the Day is my trademark, copyright or whatever it is. Please refrain from using it or rephrase yours as not to impinge on my rights. (Also give us a translation!)

Posted by: Fred | May 24, 2007 9:11 AM

Maryland Mother,
I managed to avoid Latin, but from what I know about word roots, I'm guessing you had to drag your kids out of bed and tell them the sun's up, they overslept, and they had to hurry up, get their stuff and get in the car...? Am I close?

Posted by: educmom | May 24, 2007 9:12 AM

Lisa,

I didn't get a chance to post again on yesterday's post, but I wanted to thank you for your suggestions about keeping up with my profession while I'm not working. I will definitely be trying some of them.

Posted by: NewSAHM | May 24, 2007 9:13 AM

Brian,

Great topic! I'll add a few of the solutions that have worked for me.

After too many weekends where I was in an exhausted frenzy by Sunday evening trying frantically to get the rest of what needs to get done, done...I devised a few solutions:

1) Nevermind "divide and conquer" just divide. I now do the laundry twice a week...once during the week (in the evening), and once on the weekend. That way I don't have a HUGE pile facing me Saturday morning.

2) I plan my meals for the week, make my list and shop--that way the rest of the week is a no brainer. (Although I keep saying I'm going to pull out the crockpot and never do. OH...another thing that works is The Food Network has a great show called Quick Fix Meals by Robin Miller. It's on at 3:30 in the afternoon...so I don't watch it (I'm at work). But I do go to the Food Network's website and get the recipes.

3) Do errands during lunch...stores are much less crowded mid-week, and then it's not left for the weekend.

Now...what do you do when your children's lives on the weekend get overcommitted? Meaning, there's a T-Ball game, scouting activity, religious school, etc., etc. Do you allow them to skip some of it so they can have much-needed weekened downtime?

Posted by: kattoo | May 24, 2007 9:14 AM

One couple we knew with small children arranged their weekends so that one morning the husband got to sleep late while the wife took the kids, then the other morning the husband took the kids so the wife could sleep in -- worked for them.

Posted by: catlady | May 24, 2007 9:14 AM

atb:
I suppose...but it's (haha) still one of those little things I notice.

Posted by: educmom | May 24, 2007 9:16 AM

Jen: I have a 6, 4 and not quite 2-year-old. We do this in the morning, before naps. As for shopping...one kid walks, one in the buggy, one in the seat. What can't be fit in the cart because of the kid, gets put underneath.

Posted by: Tillman | May 24, 2007 9:17 AM

"That's it, numbnuts. Pull out in front of me, then slow down when you get to the light."

"Lady, if you're going to sit there all day yakking on your mobile, why don't you stick a steering wheel on your living room wall and just stay home?"

I live to bring culture to others. ;-)

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 24, 2007 9:18 AM

"OOOO... How do you all handle meals?"

atb, I do the same thing -- except for me, Sunday is cooking day, because it gives me an excuse to spend 7 hrs watching football. Though that was a LOT easier before we had kids!

Trade-offs: don't worry about calling F04 obnoxious -- I suspect he would see that as a compliment. :-) Although I agree with you. My VLIs aren't "things." I don't want more crap in my house (just more to pick up), or a $50K tricked-out Escalade to make the exciting 16-mile daily loop from home to daycare/school to office (just more worry about gas prices and dings in the parking garage). What I do want is more free time, especially more freedom from boring drudgery. So that's where I spend my extra money. Now if only I could find someone to do the dang laundry, life would be great. :-)

Posted by: Laura | May 24, 2007 9:19 AM

Oh, by the way, Fo4, you may be able to circumvent the whole thong issue with the following:

www.bodysuit.com

She can have the thong, but this way you won't be entirely horrified by it, nor will it be quite as graphic if her pants do slip on her hips a little bit.

Besides, she may discover that she hates thongs.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 24, 2007 9:21 AM

Tillman -- I look forward to the time when my kids' naps no longer span 9am-4pm, and when both can walk so playgrounds and that sort of outing will become possible. I suspect I'll be closer to your weekend approach once my kids are older, but for me right now, divide-and-conquer is the only thing that works.

Posted by: Jen | May 24, 2007 9:24 AM

This is a good topic and definitely something we struggle with. Usually on Friday night, my husband and I talk about what we must and what we'd like to get accomplished on the weekend. Then we figure out how to make it happen...sometimes we divide and conquer, sometimes we figure out how to get the task done during the week. For example, I go grocery shopping around 8 p.m. one evening. It usually takes less time since the store is less crowded. My husband cuts the grass on Monday evening instead of Saturday morning. We work on laundry a little bit at a time all week. We always set aside at least 1/2 of one weekend day to do something together as a family. We probably are more tired during the week but we get more recharged on the weekend than we used to. Some projects just never get done...our deck has needed a fresh coat of stain for at least 2 years.

Posted by: Momto3 | May 24, 2007 9:24 AM

Does anybody seriously consider watching the idiot box with your kids "family" time?

Whatever it is, it certainly ain't "quality" time.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 24, 2007 9:25 AM

Time-saving laundry tip:

Buy a laundry sorter and keep it by the washer. Put the dirty clothes in the sorter instead of a hamper (you may have to spend a minute at the end of the day double-checking the sorting). When one bag is full, wash it. I haven't been really behind on laundry ever (and I am behind on almost everything else).

I think this is going to start looking like Hints from Heloise very soon -- not that there's anything wrong with that.

Posted by: educmom | May 24, 2007 9:25 AM

Lisa

"There's another reason why "sacrifice" when used about parenting is a bad idea. Sacrifice implies an homage to a deity, and as such you are elevated above and beyond others. It's automatically an ennobling thing to do. "

And you get to play Madonna Martyr for the rest of your life!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 9:30 AM

Thanks for the culture!

I'm guessing enervate eunuche is numbnuts. I WILL be using that -- just not in front of my dad, since he took Latin in grade school, high school and college. On the other hand, he might be amused if I use that term in reference to STBX...

Posted by: educmom | May 24, 2007 9:32 AM

I don't think I could hire a cleaning service after reading Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich. If I felt I needed to hire someone to clean, I might consider someone in business for her/himself. Of course, I do still eat in restaurants occasionally, and I know that those working conditions can be pretty bad too. Reading about the conditions in a Molly Maid type service was a real eye-opener though.

From her website:

Ehrenreich moved from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, taking the cheapest lodgings available and accepting work as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing-home aide, and Wal-Mart salesperson. She soon discovered that even the "lowliest" occupations require exhausting mental and physical efforts. And one job is not enough; you need at least two if you intend to live indoors.

Posted by: Marian | May 24, 2007 9:32 AM

You're way too uptight about your kids' naps. The kid won't die if it has to, say, take a quick nap in the car or the stroller or wherever. What do you do - aim at being at home with whatever kid needs its nap at whatever time of day, only running out for short stretches of time in between naps? That's ridiculous.

Posted by: To Jen | May 24, 2007 9:35 AM

Oh, yeah, a couple other things kattoo reminded me of:

I tend to do laundry piecemeal -- throw in the load on the way down from tucking kids into bed, put it in the dryer on my way up to bed. And never, every buy any wrinkly fabrics. Kids have clean laundry in the morning, I don't have to deal with a multi-hour laundry marathoon on the weekends, all good.

Tend to also do quick errands here or there during the week. Almost always do grocery shopping Monday nights on way to picking up kids -- fewer people in store, plus I putz less knowing I need to get out. And Safeway is next to Target and Old Navy and Barnes + Noble, all 1/2 mi. from girl's school -- easy to stop in for tights or b-day party presents or light bulbs.

Finally, suck it up and do convenience store as necessary. Boy goes through more milk in a week than we have storage space for, and sometimes I don't have time for the grocery store run. So if we run out, well, CVS may cost $1 more, but it's only 1/2 mile away.

Posted by: Laura | May 24, 2007 9:35 AM

I agree with you on the cleaning service. But why not hire an individual person as your cleaning-lady, paying her decent money?

Posted by: Ajax | May 24, 2007 9:37 AM

Father of 4 wrote: "Whatever it is, [watching TV with one's kids] certainly ain't "quality" time."

Well, yes and no. A valid point can be made about the value of spending QUANTITY time with children, too.

Some would say it depends on what programs you're watching. And if kids are watching TV with one or more parents, at least the parent knows: a) where the kids are; b) what they're doing, and with whom; and, c) the parent has at least the potential to control the situation -- not to mention the remote!

Posted by: catlady | May 24, 2007 9:37 AM

Great topic, Brian. Lately in our house, we've been joking that my husband is married to his lawn and having an affair with me. We find ourselves making lots of snide comments about how he spent all weekend with his "other wife" (the lawn) and virtually ignored me.

Our big treat in the summer is about once a week we order a pizza delivered to the pool for dinner and swim for several hours.

And I don't know about you all, but any 'extra' money I might have had for a cleaning service is now being sucked into my car's gas tank instead. Has anybody had any luck in truly combining errands, carpooling, etc to reduce gas consumption? I'd love some tips.

Posted by: Armchair Mom | May 24, 2007 9:37 AM

"You're way too uptight about your kids' naps. The kid won't die if it has to, say, take a quick nap in the car or the stroller or wherever."

Aw, lay off Jen. Sure, the kids won't die, but they may make their mom wish she had. Different kids need different schedules, and some kids are a mess if they don't gte a good nap.

FWIW, I and pretty much every mom I know arrange our days around naptime. Yes, it's a pain when they're little and napping every few hours, but you can make it work.

Posted by: NewSAHM | May 24, 2007 9:40 AM

Blah, blah, blah, me again.

One more question: I'd love to hear what tasks people let their kids do and which ones they insist on doing themselves. The big debate in our family right now is how old a child has to be to use a power mower. We have neighbors who let their 7-10 year olds use both ride-ons and power push mowers and as much as I would love for my son to help with the lawn task, I worry about safety. Any advice?

Posted by: Armchair Mom | May 24, 2007 9:41 AM

Armchair Mom, is biking an option for you? I haul one of my kids to daycare by bike.

Posted by: Ajax | May 24, 2007 9:41 AM

Great topic. We don't really get weekends in the same way as everyone else 'cause my husband often works overnight Fri and Sat and then has to sleep Sat and Sun (obviously), but the hours that he is awake sometimes feel chock full... and that's not the 'regular' chores but the repairs/stuff we need to do together/etc.

I do find with chores the trick is to get as much done as you go along, tiny bits in small chunks. I haven't quite managed that this week, blah, but when we do it's great. My toddler likes to "help" as we go so it's sort of like playtime as well. The lawn is the trickiest 'cause I'm a bit worried about him being close to the mower. I know that's probably paranoid.

To to Jen: I often took my toddler in tow with me for naps, and then I read Sleepless in America and realized he was a little sleep deprived. Now we come home for a good nap almost all the time (not totally inflexible), and both his behaviour and his sleep have improved one hundred per cent.

Some kids may be totally fine on the go, but mine is not one of them. Every kid is different!

Posted by: Shandra | May 24, 2007 9:43 AM

To 9:35 am - You're right, I probably am a little uptight about my kids' naps, because they're both happy and well-behaved when in their routine. Sure, if I have a commitment of some sort, my kids have to deal and nap on-the-go. But if I have 3 errands (Safeway, Target, and post office), I find it pretty difficult to try and drag one or more kids on 3 errands (where the longest catnap in the car would be 5-10 minutes between errands) in the middle of what is their normal naptime. That's why divide-and-conquer works for us, as one of us is often home while one kid naps. Or, if I am alone with both, I try and run errands early in the morning or late in the afternoon so as not to interfere with naps. Is that really so awful? I also find that there is a plus to this, as I am likely to be home during the bulk of the day, so I can (a) get non-errand items checked off on my list and (b) spend quality time with the awake kid(s).

Posted by: Jen | May 24, 2007 9:46 AM

armchair mom,

My daughter is three and she sets the table, picks up her room, and brings her clothes in her sponge bob hamper to the laundry room.

Posted by: scarry | May 24, 2007 9:48 AM

Great topic.

I'm all for divide-and-conquer, and I see no other way. My wife was out of town last weekend, and life came to a screeching halt. I was on the go the whole time with two kids, but when you can only be in one place at a time (as opposed to two when she's here), it's tough to get everything done and get to the birthday parties and soccer games. And yes, the moment she got home, I mowed the lawn.

Despite the weekend craziness, I feel like we all come together for dinner and church on Sunday. Plus, my wife and I have that wonderful time together after the kids to go bed. So I don't feel completely 'divided' despite my 'divide and conquer' life.

Also, I'm all for being uptight about naps, at least from the ages of 1 to 3.

When baby #3 was on the way, despite my opposition to this extravagance, we finally got a cleaning service to come every two weeks, and it's taken a huge burden off of both of us. A very good decision for our family at this point in out life.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 24, 2007 9:48 AM

I entrusted my 20K tractor to my 12 yo. Did a good job of mowing, too! Admittedly, I was in an adjoining field, battling the hedgerow so I could supervise. Wear seatbelt.

This child is also responsible for dishwasher duty, doing own laundry, tidying own room, dusting (I HATE dusting!), dogs in the p.m., escorting younger sib to bus stop in a.m., practicing instruments & doing homework. Sometimes makes dinner without being asked. Has been asked to make dinner periodically, but not regularly.

Younger child has to make bed, feed cats, tidy room, put laundry into hamper, do homework & practice instrument and NOT be obnoxious and obstinant about it. Also enjoys vacuuming (have at it!) and will do it if asked. Does a passable job, but don't look under the sofa wear the dust whistle-pigs lurk. Kind of scary. I don't want to insult the child by doing the job over, but I do sneak in a good vacuum once a week or so.

They also use the loppers and trim the hedge once in a while. Not the mechanized kind. I worry they'll lose a finger.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 24, 2007 9:50 AM

catlady

"And if kids are watching TV with one or more parents, at least the parent knows: a) where the kids are; b) what they're doing, and with whom; and, c) the parent has at least the potential to control the situation -- not to mention the remote!"

The poster was taking about HUMAN children, not pets.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 9:52 AM

My single mom friend does her shopping at those 24 hours open stores like Kroger and Wal-Mart after her work shift is over, usually after 11:00 pm.

That always bothered me (not many people out at that time except the ones looking to cause trouble), but she pointed out that she can park right next to the store, she was a 'regular' so the staff kept an eye out for her, and there were also plenty of nurses, etc, getting off shift at that time so there were more customers there than I'd expect.

On the weekends her baby's dad is there to watch her, so she can spend time with her middle daughter and go off on shopping trips with her before going off to work in the evening. She told me recently she and her 11 yo daughter have started running on a 2.5 mile path around a nearby lake, and she was really glad her daughter had actually suggested doing this together.

Posted by: John L | May 24, 2007 9:52 AM

To 9:35 am - You're right, I probably am a little uptight about my kids' naps, because they're both happy and well-behaved when in their routine. Sure, if I have a commitment of some sort, my kids have to deal and nap on-the-go. But if I have 3 errands (Safeway, Target, and post office), I find it pretty difficult to try and drag one or more kids on 3 errands (where the longest catnap in the car would be 5-10 minutes between errands) in the middle of what is their normal naptime. That's why divide-and-conquer works for us, as one of us is often home while one kid naps. Or, if I am alone with both, I try and run errands early in the morning or late in the afternoon so as not to interfere with naps. Is that really so awful? I also find that there is a plus to this, as I am likely to be home during the bulk of the day, so I can (a) get non-errand items checked off on my list and (b) spend quality time with the awake kid(s).

Posted by: Jen | May 24, 2007 09:46 AM

You aren't uptight...you're SMART! When my son was young enough to nap, I would much rather have him do it in his own room and get time to myself!!!!

Posted by: Kattoo | May 24, 2007 9:54 AM

Jen, don't let them beat you up about the naps. Naps were sacred in my house and sleep still is. When they are little, they grow so much that they really need the sleep. You wouldn't have them skip a meal for convenience so why skip a nap. A well rested child is a child who can learn and enjoy their day. I always felt that the reason I was home was to enable them to nap well etc... You know what's best for your kid. They will grow and stop napping soon enough.

Posted by: Moxiemom | May 24, 2007 9:57 AM

Jen, I agree with all the pro nappers. DD naps much better in a nice bed then between errands. I think parents know their own child best. My three year old still naps.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 24, 2007 10:00 AM

We do both. Sometimes one of us takes one and the other takes the other kid, it just depends on the weekend. Sometimes someone gets both kids alone, but that's not often.
We cook on the fly during the week. Not my preference, but my dh will do nothing and I kinda get tired of it so we are passive. We joined a somm supported agriculture group so we get a share of fruits and veggies each week and have started to have to figure out how to cook that stuff (mostly greens so far: endive, bok choi, kohlrabi , romaine). It has definitely cut down on the grocery shopping. One os us (usually me) will go during the week sometimes. My 5 yo enjoys going so I'll ask if he wants to go after dinner and he will most of the time say yes. If not taking a kid, I will go after they go to bed (about 8)-only so I get more time with them.
We have someone who comes and cleans every other week-a godsend. Got her when I was a sahm. What my mom always said to*her* mom: I wouldn't buy the house if I couldn't afford to have someone clean it. And after no 2 came, dh realized mowing the lawn was too much, so we have someone come and do that during the warm months. Works out well. If we couldn't have these vli's, we would move to a smaller house or something.

And in *great* news: for our balance: the new au pair arrives tomorrow. We are *so* excited.

Posted by: atlmom | May 24, 2007 10:02 AM

Armchair Mom, my son has been mowing the lawn since he has been 9 years old, which I think is pretty young to be doing this particular task. Last season, he ran over his sister's bicycle handlebar and bent the blade. What a punk!

Last month, I had my oldest daughter (15) fertilize the lawn. There is a problem with the adjustment on the spreader or she didn't read the directions on the bag right. She went through the whole bag on the front lawn alone.

We have the greenest, lushest lawn in the entire neighborhood! It's a little embarrassing, in fact.

And it groes about 2 inches a day.

Yesterday, my 4 year old got out the hand (manual) mower and did figure eights and made twisted and turn patterns all over our front lawn. Hilarious!

Things that happen when you leave the kids with dad...

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 24, 2007 10:03 AM

To 9:52, who wrote: "The poster was taking about HUMAN children, not pets."

So was I. Pets generally just sleep through TV shows, which may lead some to suspect that they're actually smarter than humans ;-)

Posted by: catlady | May 24, 2007 10:07 AM

Ajax, I'm guessing your question was directed at me? That would be my preference -- we had a great lady once who ran her own company with her sister, did a great job, and charged a reasonable rate (not cheap, but good value for the $$). But then we moved (sigh). The problem is just finding the right individual -- haven't been able to get recommendations from people, not going to call someone off of a number on a phone pole, and only have so much time/energy to devote to the search.

Until we can find that again, I have hired a local company -- it's not quite my former situation, but there's less overhead, so I hope more of what I pay trickles down. I also leave a decent cash tip for the woman doing the work. It works out to about $3+/hr, which isn't huge, but is probably almost 50% of what she's getting paid by the service.

Posted by: Laura | May 24, 2007 10:07 AM

My DH works 6 days/week and several evenings, and does not do chores, plain and simple. Therefore, we have always paid someone else to clean and also to do the basic yardwork (spring/fall cleanup, mowing). The biggest improvement this year is that I got a real "cleaning lady" (not a service) who also washes, folds, and puts away the linens. What a relief! As to laundry in general, I'd rather do it a little at a time on weeknights that have a big pile for the weekend. DD is starting high school in the fall - I will be showing her how to do her own laundry :)

Errands with little ones are always tough. Everything takes at least twice as long... I frequently did grocery shopping at night once kids were in bed.

I agree with those who do errands one day and have family time the other. In our house, because we're Jewish, it's the other way around... Sun is errand day. Sometimes it's just not feasible to have a whole day for fun, but we try.

Posted by: Loren | May 24, 2007 10:08 AM

I know this was mentioned a couple of times yesterday without much discussion, and doesn't have a lot to do with today's topic, but I think that Carolyn Hax's column yesterday
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/22/AR2007052201554.html?hpid=smartliving
was a vary salient piece to this blog in terms of elucidating why balance can be so hard to find. I was expecting to find more discussion of it here - surprised not to.

Posted by: wondering | May 24, 2007 10:10 AM

Living downtown is a big one for me: my "yard" contains no grass, only some pretty groundcover which requires no watering and only a little weeding. Also, I don't need to do huge grocery shopping trips every weekend, since there are several small markets along my walk home from the office. In turn, Mr Bee, who has to drive, handles the suburban shopping such as Home Depot on his way home from work. This means we don't have shopping to do every weekend. We try to keep the kitchen clean throughout the week; we use the washing machine on a timer to put in a load before we go to bed and hang it out in the morning before leaving for work, instead of doing all the laundry at once on the weekend.
Instead of dividing the tasks between the two of us we end up dividing the tasks into small pieces in order to conquer.

Posted by: worker bee | May 24, 2007 10:10 AM

We are very lucky in that one of us (me) works part-time, which means that at least one afternoon per week, the younger kid and I try to stuff all of the week's errands in: food shopping, hardware store, whatever. To make it more fun, we walk (whenever possible) or blast the music in the car and stop for a fun snack somewhere on the way.

This Friday errand-running frees up hours of the weekend for family activities. We also try to include the older child, whenever possible, in around-the-house projects. It slows things down, but she is now an excellent cook and a budding craftsperson. Also--and this is a big one around here--we politely decline at least half of the birthday party invitations for each child. For those that one of the kids does attend, we have a stash of about 10 standard presents ready to go, so that there's never any shopping to be done pre-party.

Posted by: metro dc | May 24, 2007 10:11 AM

If you have a child over 8, they should be doing chores. They help make the carpets and furniture dusty. They may not do the best job, but it helps. I'm shocked to hear about middle schoolers who don't know how to do laundrey! It's not hard! I started doing laudrey in elementary school. And I packed my own lunch, without junk. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's weirded out by kids who don't have to contribute to the household work.

Posted by: atb | May 24, 2007 10:14 AM

With four kids, "Divide and conquer" has always been the way to go. Now that the older three are teenagers it's a lot easier, but we still figure out the chores and split them up.

The trick is to make sure that the chores are done in time, so you can still have "family time" or "couple time" every weekend.

Okay, I'm an engineer so I'm just built this way, but it's usually:
- sort all the laundry early Saturday morning. Throw the first load in and get it started. Then move on to the chores.
- I usually do all the grocery shopping since (a) I do most of the cooking anyway, so I know and we need; and (b) I do "guy shopping" - get in, get what you need, get out and nobody gets hurt. DW would love to spend an hour or two browsing all the specials, etc. We ain't got that kind of time!
- DW usually does the dog stuff, the dry cleaners, post office, etc. - the miscellaneous chores.
- Get back home in time to take the clothes out of the washer, put them in the dryer or hang them on the line, get the next load started...
- When the kids were younger and it was yardwork season, I'd go start mowing the lawn. Now, I have a "kick-start mower". I kick my 16-year old son until he starts mowing. (That's a joke, for the humor-impaired who are about to accuse me of child abuse.) (The kids started mowing with the power mower when they were 13, in response to Armchair Mom's question up-blog.)
- Come back in, get the next load started, etc. Repeat throughout the day until done.

Saturday nights are usually for going out as a couple or as a family.

Sundays are for family-going-to-church together, then either going out to brunch or getting bagels, donuts or whatever to bring home. Doing any other chores that remain from Saturday, and spending time together.

The big meal is Sunday night; usually steaks, a roast, a rotisserie chicken, or whatever I feel like cooking. (But almost always involving both deceased animals and deceased vegetables, especially if the vegetables come from my own garden. Yummy!)

Okay, during softball season it's different because I'm at the ballpark almost all day Saturday, but then we just do the shopping, etc. on weeknights.

Posted by: Army Brat | May 24, 2007 10:17 AM

A family that plays together - stays together. A lot to be said for that!

Doing the "review/rewind" of my life with kids I would have spent the money on a cleaning service; we coulda' dug it up somehow with two incomes. And I would have minimized clutter coming INTO the house. The kids don't need so many toys, etc. Simplify is my motto today!

Do as many chores as you can during the week to free up the weekend.

And spend the money to hire folks to do repair work around your house. Can't afford it? I went from a two income to one income household (same house) and let me tell you - you can figure out a way to afford it. It is so PLEASANT to hire someone to do work around the house. You schedule it; they do it; you pay them. The work gets done. You feel good. No aruging. No feeling of pang of guilt due to procrastination in getting projects done.

Posted by: C.W. | May 24, 2007 10:18 AM

Does anybody seriously consider watching the idiot box with your kids "family" time?

Yes.

Posted by: xyz | May 24, 2007 10:18 AM

I have trouble with the word "laundry."

Not to be snarky, but I have a hard time understanding how keeping up with the house, etc, is hard if you don't have kids. We managed to remodel a kitchen and bathroom, keep the house clean, and cook our meals (until the kitchen disappeared), all while working full time, with little problem.

Posted by: atb | May 24, 2007 10:19 AM

A cleaning service is out of the question for me. I feel very weird about having people in my home when we are not home. Anyone else have this problem?

Posted by: nona | May 24, 2007 10:26 AM

As for laundry-i throw in a load in the am, then put it in the dryer when I get home or the kids go to sleep. I am not crazy about laundry-i know people who won't let anyone else do theirs-but I don't care who does it. As long as it gets done. My 5 yo puts his laundry away, so sometimes it sits out, but really who cares. He sets table for he and his brother, puts away his dishes and cups (the plastic stuff) and helps to load and unload the dishwasher with what he can. We try to have him do more and more.

As for naps, those that think it is restful to sleep in a shopping cart- it is not. My kid slept about what seemed 20 hours a day at some point (literally til 11 and then took a 2-3 hour nap in afternoon. He needed it. Another mom I knew thought I must be doing something wrong but he needed it-he was early and small and I guess it was his way of catching up. He's still a great sleeper. As the youngest of three, I never slept well my whole life and now that I'm a mom I think it has to do with being schlepped around when I was young.

And my typo up top should read *community* supported agriculture (it's organic too!).

Posted by: atlmom | May 24, 2007 10:27 AM

"Does anybody seriously consider watching the idiot box with your kids "family" time?"

Every sunday night we take our clean kids from the bath, cuddle on the bed and watch America's Funniest Home Videos. We laugh and have a great time. Its a fun break from our normal reading routine and a nice way to end a tiring weekend.

Posted by: Moxiemom | May 24, 2007 10:28 AM

Fo4: Does anybody seriously consider watching the idiot box with your kids "family" time?
_____________

Depending on what you're watching, yes, absolutely.

I highly recommend getting a copy of "Bill Cosby, Himself" and watching it with your teenagers. In addition to all of you rolling on the floor laughing, it will give you plenty of material to talk about for weeks. The opening riff on going out and getting drunk on the weekends is priceless; the material on "the informant" is relevant (each of my kids accused a different one of fitting that role), etc. etc.

Posted by: Army Brat | May 24, 2007 10:28 AM

TELL ME ABOUT IT ®

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/22/AR2007052201554.html?hpid=smartliving

Carolyn:

Best friend has child. Her: exhausted, busy, no time for self, no time for me, etc. Me (no kids): Wow. Sorry. What'd you do today? Her: Park, play group . . .
Okay. I've done Internet searches, I've talked to parents. I don't get it. What do stay-at-home moms do all day? Please no lists of library, grocery store, dry cleaners . . . I do all those things, too, and I don't do them EVERY DAY. I guess what I'm asking is: What is a typical day and why don't moms have time for a call or e-mail? I work and am away from home nine hours a day (plus a few late work events) and I manage to get it all done. I'm feeling like the kid is an excuse to relax and enjoy -- not a bad thing at all -- but if so, why won't my friend tell me the truth? Is this a peeing contest ("My life is so much harder than yours")? What's the deal? I've got friends with and without kids and all us child-free folks get the same story and have the same questions.


Tacoma, Wash.

Relax and enjoy. You're funny.

Or you're lying about having friends with kids.

Or you're taking them at their word that they actually have kids, because you haven't personally been in the same room with them.

Internet searches?

I keep wavering between giving you a straight answer and giving my forehead some keyboard. To claim you want to understand, while in the same breath implying that the only logical conclusions are that your mom-friends are either lying or competing with you, is disingenuous indeed.

So, since it's validation you seem to want, the real answer is what you get. In list form. When you have young kids, your typical day is: constant attention, from getting them out of bed, fed, clean, dressed; to keeping them out of harm's way; to answering their coos, cries, questions; to having two arms and carrying one kid, one set of car keys, and supplies for even the quickest trips, including the latest-to-be-declared-essential piece of molded plastic gear; to keeping them from unshelving books at the library; to enforcing rest times; to staying one step ahead of them lest they get too hungry, tired or bored, any one of which produces the kind of checkout-line screaming that gets the checkout line shaking its head.

It's needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15.

It's constant vigilance, constant touch, constant use of your voice, constant relegation of your needs to the second tier.

It's constant scrutiny and second-guessing from family and friends, well-meaning and otherwise. It's resisting constant temptation to seek short-term relief at everyone's long-term expense.

It's doing all this while concurrently teaching virtually everything -- language, manners, safety, resourcefulness, discipline, curiosity, creativity. Empathy. Everything.

It's also a choice, yes. And a joy. But if you spent all day, every day, with this brand of joy, and then, when you got your first 10 minutes to yourself, wanted to be alone with your thoughts instead of calling a good friend, a good friend wouldn't judge you, complain about you to mutual friends, or marvel how much more productively she uses her time. Either make a sincere effort to understand or keep your snit to yourself.

Posted by: Hax's column yesterday | May 24, 2007 10:29 AM

Sidebar- Four people in one car may be more hectic than in two cars, but it is better for the environment! Everybody wins! :)

Posted by: CD | May 24, 2007 10:34 AM

Sidebar- Four people in one car may be more hectic than in two cars, but it is better for the environment! Everybody wins! :)

It may or may not be better for the environment. If the same total number of miles is driven, it really doesn't matter if it is one car or two.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 10:39 AM

re: idiot box

Since Jorden is our new Anerican Idol, it's time to cancel cable. although I enjoy that one program, I think the overall quality of life for my family has gone down since piping in cable a few months ago.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 24, 2007 10:39 AM

Can't you get network TV reception without cable?

Posted by: To Father of 4 | May 24, 2007 10:41 AM

I'm starting to think maybe I should take a side job doing other people's laundry!

No dividing here - but I also think that my chores are proportional. I agree with the suggestion to avoid shopping on weekends when at all possible - I try to do my shopping in bits during the week at my lunch hour. I hate spending my weekends doing errands, so I get most of them done during the week, but we do a fair amount of running around for "activities" - but when it's a sports event or a parent-led activity, I consider it family time.

The comments about extensive yard work are making me a little bit nervous. We have always lived in apartments and never had to do any yard work, but we are moving this summer and I've been looking at houses and duplexes because I WANT a yard - but definitely don't want to become married to my mower! :)

Posted by: TakomaMom | May 24, 2007 10:41 AM

I'm really not sure why this is such an issue. Even if you have a soccer game, a birthday party, and a couple of errands, we're still only talking about a few hours. And if you do a modified divide and conquer with both parents going to the soccer game and one parent to the birthday party (assuming the child is young enough that he/she needs you to stay at the party) while the other parent runs the errands, it's even less time. That leaves the other day and a half for lazing around together or mowing the lawn or cleaning the bathroom or whatever. What's the big deal?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 10:47 AM

Nona: I do know people like that. A friend of mine went thru three cleaning people and she thought they all stunk (her ocd/nobody does anything else right attitude). So she ended up keeping the babysitter a feW extra hrs and did it herself. She's exactly like monica in friends.

But to answer your question (cause I don't knwo you- so how could I say anything?): I have someone who has been cleaning in my house for us for years. In the beginning, since I was a sahm, I was around. And she was recommended by a friend. So I am completely comfortable with having her clean my house. Of course I was also comfortable with having a full time nanny at my house and our live in au pair will be staying with us starting tomorrow. So it's different for everyone.

It's a trust thing.

Posted by: atlmom | May 24, 2007 10:47 AM

to ATB: Regarding keeping up a house without family obligations, I think that it really depends on what your priorities are. My parents are currently remodelling their house and yes, they are working full time, keeping the house clean, and cooking their own meals while still having some time to relax.....BUT, they're NOT going on many 20-40 mile bike rides, which they used to do twice a weekend (the bike trails are ~ an hour away from their house, so a bike trip takes up a good part of the day, especially if you stop for lunch 1/2 way). I know that my dad really misses these rides....and it's one of the reasons that I'm not in any great hurry to buy a house. I'd much rather spend my free time hiking, biking, or kayaking than mowing the lawn and fixing up a house (especially if I don't think that I'll be in that house for the next 20+ years).

I've noticed that in all of these responses posted so far, the most that people are carving out for family recreational activities seems to be maybe a Sunday afternoon after church. That just doesn't seem like much time to me. Is that because most of the posters have really little ones at home, or is it because that's all the time that's left over when both parents work full-time? I don't ever remember my parents doing major chores during the weekend when I was a kid (except cutting the grass) - we always went biking or canoeing or something like that either one or both days of the weekend. These were usually 6-10 hour trips - when we'd get home we'd light up the grill, eat, and then have just a couple of hours until bedtime. Maybe it's not possible to do that anymore.....

Posted by: notyetamom | May 24, 2007 10:50 AM

"I've been looking at houses and duplexes because I WANT a yard - but definitely don't want to become married to my mower! :)"

You can always tell the guy who really doesn't like his family because he spends all weekend on his mediocre yard. This person is separate and distinct from super, perfect yard guy, who may or may not love his family, but definately loves his yard.

Posted by: Moxiemom | May 24, 2007 10:51 AM

I haven't read all the comments, but I'm amazed by all the comments about yard work being such a downer on the weekend.

We love spending the weekend working in the yard and garden together. We got an old-fashioned push mower (I guess they're called reel mowers), so there's no noise or testy motors to contend with, which to me makes it a very pleasant task. It also makes it more sociable - while we mow the lawn our son pushes his toy mower behind us, or one of us digs dandelions with him (which he also loves to do - "look mama, I got the roop" as he says instead of "root" when he pulls up a random peice of grass). We've started a vegetable garden which we're really excited about.

Housecleaning, on the other hand...ugh. I usually try to get at least one major housecleaning task done early Saturday morning - vacuuming or mopping or cleaning the bathroom. Then that's usually it. I'm better in the winter but in summer I just want to play outside.

Usually we split who gets to sleep in - on one morning I'll take my son out to breakfast and let my husband sleep, and often we'll try to get an errand it too before coming home to give him more time. On the other day I'll sleep in while they play outside. Doesn't always work, but that's what we shoot for.

Posted by: Megan | May 24, 2007 10:52 AM

TakomaMom, we have a townhouse with a public park right across the street. We get the fresh cut grass smell, space for sports and running around with dogs, etc. without doing any of the upkeep. the playground is the best place for meeting up with other neighborhood families-- the kids play while the adults talk and no one needs to tidy up the house (or fret that it is too small-- our houses are much smaller I'm sure than typical houses in this area) before folks come over. More relaxed environment for everyone.

Posted by: Jen S. | May 24, 2007 10:52 AM

One thing I really try to do is NOT overschedule our weekend. I think it is very easy to spend the whole weekend on meaningless chores and miss out on the time away from WORK. Most of the time those chores will wait. It is easier though to get something done with one kid, rather than all four. Seems like a fun outing with one and a beating with both kids and both parents.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 10:53 AM

"Can't you get network TV reception without cable?"

Yes, but it's very, very poor except for 1 channel. Not that this bothers me unless the sound is affected. Of course, if I want to watch American Idol with my family, I got to get the TV from snowing all over the place.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 24, 2007 10:57 AM

I don't know-the kids are exhausting. No question. So even if we have 'fun' the whole weekend with no chores or parties or whatever, we're certainly not spending the days at home. We go to the park or see music at the park or festivals or the zoo or the museum. By the end of the weekend, I'm pooped.

Posted by: atlmom | May 24, 2007 10:59 AM

"You can always tell the guy who really doesn't like his family because he spends all weekend on his mediocre yard. This person is separate and distinct from super, perfect yard guy, who may or may not love his family, but definately loves his yard."

Moxiemom, that's a riot. One of our outdoor projects is taking out the bluegrass lawn in the front and replacing it with xeriscaping (low-water plants/landscaping). So we turned off the sprinklers in the front, letting the grass die off while we work on this. Apparently last summer this caused great consternation among some of our neighbors, as the previous owner was a "super duper lawn guy." Although this summer, now that some of the plants we put in have grown and are flowering and it's more clear that we are not just letting everything die, they seem happier about it.


Posted by: Megan | May 24, 2007 11:00 AM

We did give up a lot of weekend fun to do the remodeling, but we had had years and years of fun, and we still put down the drills long enough to see the sun every weekend. Incidently, I think that's why yardwork doesn't seem as "worky" as dusting and laundry. With a baby we have a few enforced playtimes, which we didn't have when we were childless: Friday night date and Sunday no work.

Posted by: atb | May 24, 2007 11:00 AM

I am a long time single mom who used to post under the name Dignity for Single Moms. I thought I'd use Kate H instead.

Anyhoo, I don't have a boyfriend or hubby to share the relationship juggle with, but seeing my kids in a low-obligation environment is key to me, particularly since I own and run a retail shop and when they're there, I can answer questions and such, and there's good moments, but it is in a setting where professionalism comes first.

Ultimately my strategy has become to purge as much extraneous stuff from our life as possible, including perceived shopping chores, so that there is less and less to juggle in our physical space and with our time. Give me three more years and I will be a true minimalist.

Its harder with the kids' stuff, because people give so much to us, but they've learned that what they don't take care of gets one chance in the "neglected bin," and then it can come out again. But twice neglected means it goes into the purge bin. Less to clean equals fewer around the house chores, and voila, more time on our hands on the weekends.

As for groceries, I've learned to appreciate the ammenities of my small town offerings (Crozet, Va.) in lieu of trucking into Charlottesville for bigger box options. I ask myself whether the time and gas money of a trek where I may or may not get my desired object is worth it? Generally I've learned to be satisfied with our local library, hardware store, pharmacy, 2 pizza parlors, three good restaurants, natural foods store, second tier grocery, gas station and bank. (And heck, a big grocery is coming in 18 months, woo hoo.) What more do I need? Want? Different story, perhaps. Need and within my means without amping the debt load? Very little. So I hit the local natural foods shop a couple times a week instead of trucking through traffic after work the 12 extra miles to Whole Foods, and I'm set--- back from work (within 8 miles of my house) and back from the store (within 1 1/2 miles of my house,) and home a few minutes after work.

As for yard chores, I try not to obsess but to be acceptable to my neighbors.

My advice is always, be late home one night a week after work and spend the entire weekend going nowhere, unless its a truly desired social gathering. Less gas spent and less pollution, and more time doing what we really should be doing during this short time we have on earth: enjoying meaningful, non-consumer based time with the ones we're sharing life with. Less is almost always more if your consciouness is in the place to support that.

Warmly,

Kate H

Posted by: Kate H | May 24, 2007 11:02 AM

"Ah, yes, solutions for the wealthy... hire servants."

My housecleaner and handywoman is a personal friend that wanted to leave the stress of corporate life and work for herself. We both consider it a mutually beneficial relationship. I can just picture her reaction when I see her next and refer to her as "my servant!"

Posted by: CJB | May 24, 2007 11:03 AM

"Although this summer, now that some of the plants we put in have grown and are flowering and it's more clear that we are not just letting everything die, they seem happier about it."


UGG, your neighbors probably despise you, I would. That probably looks completely out of synch with your neighborhood. You are lucky to not belong to a strong Homeowner's Association. Your trendy project would probably come to a screeching halt.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 11:05 AM

"I don't ever remember my parents doing major chores during the weekend when I was a kid (except cutting the grass) - we always went biking or canoeing or something like that either one or both days of the weekend."

That's funny, notyetamom, because my memories are exactly the opposite. My folks were always either grading papers, cleaning the house, or doing yardwork -- ALL weekend. We very rarely went out and did stuff like hikes or canoe trips; after I did my share of the chores, they expected me to entertain myself. So now I think more about finding fun things to do together, because my "default" is just putz around the house or do errands all day.

TakomaMom, don't fret too much about yardwork -- it will expand to fill as much time as you feel like devoting to it, and shrink to an absolute minimum when it has to. We inherited a great yard from the prior owner (first spring was a nice shock, to see ALL the bulbs come up everywhere). But all I did was weed the front planter periodically when it got too overgrown. It took me three years even to notice that one of our trees has vines growing up 30 feet into it, which I guess I'd better do something about. Now, suddenly, this year I'm getting more into it -- am weeding planter and garden weekly, working my way through other flower beds to get weeds there under control, hacking out vines, etc. And I'm finding it's actually fun to get out there with the kids for an hour or so on the weekend, alternate between throwing a ball to the toddler and yanking weeds. But that's my choice -- yeah, it looks a little nicer now, but it really didn't look THAT bad before.

Posted by: Laura | May 24, 2007 11:08 AM

Hey, pATRICK, I thought you believed in individual liberties ;-) Megan's yard solution of xeriscaping falls well within that ambit, while still aiming to be an attractive alternative to the traditional lawn.

Posted by: catlady | May 24, 2007 11:09 AM

"That probably looks completely out of synch with your neighborhood. You are lucky to not belong to a strong Homeowner's Association. Your trendy project would probably come to a screeching halt."

Aaah, pATRICK, you can never resist lobbing half-informed criticisms, can you?

1)- It's not "lucky" that we don't belong to an HSA, it's intentional. I despise HSAs and would not buy a house that was covenant restricted.

2) - Many houses in this neighborhood have a lot of xeriscaping because we live in a very arid climate where keeping a bluegrass lawn alive is expensive and wasteful. There are at least four other houses on my block with extensive xeriscaping, and they look great. It just takes a while to get there, unless you have a ton of money to buy full-grown plants and put them in all at once. And our neighbors who are selling their house across the street from us told us flat out that last summer they thought we were nuts but now they're really pleased because it looks so good.

3) - Xeriscaping isn't really a "trendy" project, it saves time, money, and resources, is fun and looks good. But I know you would never believe something so simple as that...

Posted by: Megan | May 24, 2007 11:13 AM

Hax's comments are on the money. Every childless friend of any mother, working or stay at home, should be forced to read this. And a lot of father's as well, unfortunately. But that is the most succinct perfect description of motherhood that I've read in some time.

Posted by: love it | May 24, 2007 11:13 AM

I've noticed that in all of these responses posted so far, the most that people are carving out for family recreational activities seems to be maybe a Sunday afternoon after church. That just doesn't seem like much time to me. Is that because most of the posters have really little ones at home, or is it because that's all the time that's left over when both parents work full-time? I don't ever remember my parents doing major chores during the weekend when I was a kid (except cutting the grass) - we always went biking or canoeing or something like that either one or both days of the weekend. These were usually 6-10 hour trips - when we'd get home we'd light up the grill, eat, and then have just a couple of hours until bedtime. Maybe it's not possible to do that anymore.....

Posted by: notyetamom | May 24, 2007 10:50 AM

notyetamom,

I'm going to toss out a variety of explanations for how it might occur that we have less time than you recall from your childhood, including the obvious one -- maybe you are not recalling the past accurately. I don't mean that to be snarky, but merely something to consider, since many kids are self-centered enough that they are not always aware of how each parent is spending his/ her time.

Our kids are 7 and 13. Both parents working does mean that all household and personal tasks, including working out at the gym, are pushed to nights and weekends. The length of each person's commute, and each child's bedtime, determines the length of the weeknight hours. Weeknights are a combination of consuming dinner, doing & supervising homework, instrument lessons, routine household chores (update checkbook software, dishwasher, laundry, returning personal phone calls), bedtime stories / one-on-one time, and trying to get one or both of us to the gym.

Maybe your house was new growing up. Our house is 20+ years old and household repair and remodeling is a constant. The banister's loose. All rooms need to be repainted. There's some spackling to be done in many places. We have some rotten wood on the exterior that needs to be replaced. The dogs have dug a few holes we need to fill. Life is like that. One example: for 4 months, we have had a hole in our living room ceiling from a leak caused by an upstairs shower. Repairing the shower means replacing the shower, the tile, and reconfiguring the master closet. We cannot afford to have someone else complete this project top to bottom. We are trying to do the 60% we can do ourselves. This project has to be divided into 2 hours here, 3 hours there, in order to get done at all.

Other than once-per-week instrument lessons, we make weekend commitments to sports teams. The kids prefer weekend practices and games to after school, and the scheduling is less anxiety-producing for us. Each has practices on Saturday and one child has a game every Sunday afternoon. We tend to divide and conquer so that our kids aren't sedentary - otherwise one child sits around during the other child's games or practices.

We are active in our church and one of us is at choir practice each Wednesday evening, arrives early and leaves late on Sunday.

Our families live hours away. In order to see them regularly, we are out of town not less than one out of every 6th weekend. We maintain close friendships with two other families from whom we've moved away. We travel to visit them as well, or they travel here. Either way, our personal tasks that ordinarily would have been completed on those weekends fall to the subsequent weekend we're back in town.

My best workouts are on the weekend, so if we're in town, I might be at the gym or traveling to and from the gym for 2 - 2.5 hours each day.

We do NONE of the big-box shopping people describe above on the weekends. If we are doing a home improvement project, we handle picking up lumber, etc. after work. We shop for groceries, as necessary, during the week as well. We buy anything else we need over the internet. We don't have a cleaning service and we don't prioritize housecleaning. 'nuf said.

Like anything else, it's about priorities, but your choice of housing, your proximity to your families, and how social your family is, generally, play a big role in how your weekend is structured.

Posted by: GA mom | May 24, 2007 11:14 AM

"Has anybody had any luck in truly combining errands, carpooling, etc to reduce gas consumption? I'd love some tips."

This may not be possible for some, but I walk. Safeway is across the street, Giant, B&N, Target, liquor store, Old Navy, Marshalls, etc. are 1/2 mile away. Beer store is next door and 7-11 is a block away. Metro is a mile away. And my jeans fit better. Naturally I don't do this year-round, but I do it when possible. Who knows if I can do it when I move to the burbs for the summer, but after I move to CA for school, I'll be car-less anyway, so I'll bike or walk to where I'll need to be, and I'll buy one of those old-lady handcarts for grocery shopping. And when people laugh at me, I'll smile inwardly at the extra few hundred I save per month in car payments, repairs, gas and insurance. ;-)

Posted by: Mona | May 24, 2007 11:15 AM

another thing- the whole idea of 'free' time is so recent-and only for some of us. Believe me, my grandmother didn't spend her time leisurely at the park with the kids. There was food to buy and to cook clothes to make or mend, apt to clean, etc. The whole idea of leisure time is quite a new invention.

Posted by: atlmom | May 24, 2007 11:15 AM

Gardening and flowers I love, so that won't be a chore, and I admit that I am already planning on turning over mowing duty to my son - my brothers (and sisters, actually) did all the mowing when I was a kid - I am hoping that since a yard will be just as exciting for my son as it will for me, he will not grumble TOO much about helping with that part. (ha, ha - don't worry, I'm not holding my breath)
It would be wonderful to live across the street from the park - actually, one of the houses I saw listed was in such a location, but of course it was rented before I even called on it - I will have to watch the ads like a hawk!

Posted by: TakomaMom | May 24, 2007 11:17 AM

"Can't you get network TV reception without cable?"

Yes. I lived without cable for four years and still watched too much TV. I recently gave up TV and am very happy and much more productive. I also get more sleep at night. I thought I'd spend more time goofing off on the Net, but it ends up being about the same. Now, if there is something I desperately want to watch, it's online the next day, or I can get it on DVD later. One thing I've learned is I'm not as interested in whether or not Meredith and Derek got back together now that I have to make a real effort to find out.

Posted by: Mona | May 24, 2007 11:23 AM

I would pay extra money for a house that isn't part of a homeowner's association which pretty much defeats the purpose of a homeowners association in the first place.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 24, 2007 11:25 AM

Megan - your yard sounds great! I always like the yards that don't have the standard suburban landscaping package. The beauty of gardening is that it is an exercise in patience and a continual learning experience. We don't water our lawn (1 acre) so when it dries up, it dries up. Most of our neighborhood is that way so that the houses with the uber lawns actually look funny in August.

Posted by: Moxiemom | May 24, 2007 11:27 AM

And while all the mommies here are blogging about how to free up time to spend with their families, the husbands are blogging about how to get more time on the golf course! :-)

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 11:31 AM

Cleaning service and lawn service save at least half a
weekend day."

Ah, yes, solutions for the wealthy... hire servants.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 24, 2007 08:32 AM


Right. Why do that when the wife can easily do it, AND have dinner on the table at the time you deem it be ready. Her reward? Fifteen seconds of pure pleasure (for you) in hopes that will result in another kid to add to her juggling mix.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 11:35 AM

takomaMom, if there is an area you really like, one possibility is to directly speak with the residents-- or have your agent do it. Or hang up a flyer in an area you are really drawn. "HOME BUYER SEEKING INFORMATION ON HOMES FOR SALE IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD--PLEASE CONTACT WITH INFORMATION." That could work, sort of make people start thinking about selling when they otherwise may just put it off so they don't have to deal with selecting an agent, etc.

Posted by: Jen S. | May 24, 2007 11:40 AM

TakomaMom,

Having a yard can be both a blessing and a curse, depending on how much time you want to put into it. I used to be the "keep the grass green and thick" guy, until one hot summer I got my water bill and realized I was just throwing money away for my neighbor's benefit.

So, this year I've taken the benign neglect tactic with the yard. I didn't reseed it last fall, don't plan on watering it this summer, but I did add extensive flowerbeds and trees over the years.

Now, when I do mow the yard, it takes less than 30 minutes. No it doesn't look like the immaculate, lush grass landscapes on either side of me, but so what? I have flowers in front, tomato and pepper plants in vegetable gardens to the side of the house, and a thick forest in back.

All that time (and watering money!) I'd rather have for other, more interesting projects, such as my woodworking or just spending time with my wife.

Posted by: John L | May 24, 2007 11:42 AM

Moxiemom - thanks! I love gardening for the same reason - I find it very relaxing and I like it when all of us are working on the same project, it's very fun. I like the way your neighborhood sounds! There's one guy on our street who has this lawn painting service come - I kid you not, they spray the lawn to a jewel-green color, it looks so strange.

This link to High Country Gardens has a lot of the plants we put in last summer - the picture on the upper left is basically what we're doing, more or less:
http://www.highcountrygardens.com/catalog/product/99503/

F04 - Exactly! They've started calling them "covenant protected" neighborhoods here instead of "covenant restricted" here which cracks me up.

Posted by: Megan | May 24, 2007 11:42 AM

Anon 11:35, I have 4 servants. They work for food.

I also want to let you know that sometimes, though rare, I get off the Master's chair to get my own beer.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 24, 2007 11:45 AM

To 8:42 AM, who wrote: "No dead animals, I trust!"

Shhh! We've been admonished not to use the D-word anymore, as it offends the sensitive ears of a meat-eater. So, in the interest of a form of Political Correctness, the synonym for meat will be:

"Animals who[sic] have passed over to the big feedlot (or barnyard, stream, lake or ocean, etc., as appropriate) in the sky."

In the alternative, such animals can collectively be termed "life-challenged."

Posted by: catlady | May 24, 2007 09:04 AM

Or you could just call it meat! ;)

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 11:45 AM

"Not to be snarky, but I have a hard time understanding how keeping up with the house, etc, is hard if you don't have kids."
Posted by: atb | May 24, 2007 10:19 AM

atb, I always wonder how people with kids do it, when I find it so hard even with just the two of us!

Mon-Fri we get up at 6:30, leave for work by 8, get home at 7:30, make & eat dinner, and then have from 9 onward to do chores and/or relax. In addition, one weeknight is spent at the gym, one is spent seeing our counsellor, one is spent seeing friends. That leaves two weeknights of 3 hours each, and we can't do loud chores after 10pm.

Weekends, we're seeing my parents every 3 weeks or so, his parents once a month, both requiring out of town trips for the whole weekend. One weekend a month in summer is spent on business travel or fun travel. That leaves every third or fourth weekend at home to catch up.

Not complaining, as these are choices we've made. But I really don't think this life is compatible with either a superclean house, or the addition of kids. That's why I visit this blog, to get a sense of how others do it.

Posted by: worker bee | May 24, 2007 11:45 AM

We divide and conquer more than the average family because my husband works
weekends in retail.

Sunday mornings are laundry. Sometimes he does errands during the week but I do most with DD.

Especially on a nice weather day I will blow off non essential chores and play in the park or pool (opening on Saturday).

Posted by: shdd | May 24, 2007 11:46 AM

We divide and conquer more than the average family because my husband works
weekends in retail.

Sunday mornings are laundry. Sometimes he does errands during the week but I do most with DD.

Especially on a nice weather day I will blow off non essential chores and play in the park or pool (opening on Saturday).

Posted by: shdd | May 24, 2007 11:46 AM

You're way too uptight about your kids' naps. The kid won't die if it has to, say,
take a quick nap in the car or the stroller or wherever. What do you do - aim at
being at home with whatever kid needs its nap at whatever time of day, only running
out for short stretches of time in between naps? That's ridiculous.

Posted by: To Jen | May 24, 2007 09:35 AM

While that might work fine for you, that doesn't mean it works fine for EVERYONE. I have 2 girls (1 & 6) and they both NEED their sleep! A shortened nap means a cranky kid for the rest of the day. If I have to give up an hour of time to ensure the rest of my day goes smoothly, that's a tradeoff I'll GLADLY make!

Posted by: ATL DAD | May 24, 2007 11:53 AM

"Aaah, pATRICK, you can never resist lobbing half-informed criticisms, can you?

1)- It's not "lucky" that we don't belong to an HSA, it's intentional. I despise HSAs and would not buy a house that was covenant restricted. "

I disagree, without them you may find your neighboor working on his old junker in his front yard or this ( which I did experience) A neighboor who decides to use his residence for a landscaping business complete with laborers who spent the night and left junky cars all over our street. Ill informed? I think not.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 11:53 AM

"Not complaining, as these are choices we've made. But I really don't think this life is compatible with either a superclean house"

LOL, worker bee, you hit that spot on. My guess is that people who feel strongly about a superclean house make it happen, whether they have kids or not. Those of us who don't feel strongly, just don't - kids or no. My house was never superclean before - there were just too many other things that were more important, and it's the same now. The only time my house has been particularly clean was during the crawling stage, when it grossed even me out to let my son crawl around on an unclean floor. Once he started walking, it was back to the norm.

Posted by: Megan | May 24, 2007 11:56 AM

pATRICK wrote: "neighboor"

Paging Dr. Freud...

Posted by: catlady | May 24, 2007 11:58 AM

pATRICK wrote: "neighboor"

Paging Dr. Freud...

A typo response, CATLADY? Please! you can do better than that.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 12:00 PM

pATRICK, Actually I thought you might've done it on purpose, as a pun of sorts ;-)

Posted by: catlady | May 24, 2007 12:03 PM

Megan, you wrote "when it grossed even me out to letmy son crawl around on an unclean floor."

That's for the first kid. By the time a parent is on their 4th child, it's like "Ah well, let them eat dirt. It's probably healthy for them"

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 24, 2007 12:04 PM

Only if they have a mineral deficiency.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 12:06 PM

More on the debate about stay-at-home moms returning to work -- and why the media doesn't report the good news:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/theblog/

Posted by: Leslie | May 24, 2007 12:07 PM

I may backtrack a little but not much for MEGAN. If that is the norm or not outside the norm for her climate then maybe ok. If it clearly is out there than no way. I still will never, ever live somewhere that does not have a Homeowner's Association. Watching those laborers lay on his yard and drink beer, still makes my blood boil.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 12:08 PM

Megan: I knew my floor was getting really bad when one of the cats spilled his food over the side of the dish and then wouldn't eat it off the floor!

Posted by: worker bee | May 24, 2007 12:08 PM

You do know that there ARE people in the US that do EAT dirt as part of their diet?

Posted by: Fred | May 24, 2007 12:09 PM

pATRICK, disagree all you want - the point is that we didn't somehow luck out that the HOA wasn't on our backs. It's a conscious choice we made.

You know, I think if you could get past the demogaguery, you would find you and I and many of the "leftists" you so abhor have more in common than you think. I've seen posts from you that criticize greed, talk about the value of community and family and the importance of spending time together. Why do you think I like having a vegetable garden and doing this xeriscaping project with my family? Can you not see that this is a way of spending time together as a family that we enjoy while also reducing our consumption - the flip side of greed? Or is the term "xeriscape" just too "enviro-lefty" or what?

Posted by: Megan | May 24, 2007 12:10 PM

"I disagree, without them you may find your neighboor working on his old junker in his front yard"

Hmmm...I think that my family's cars probably would have been outlawed by an HSA, so it's good that we never lived in that sort of community. (but it was my mom who did the car repairs in our case). Eventually the time came to finally sell one of the cars - a yellow pontiac with brown spots all over it (rust protection paint, but it kind of looked like chicken pox). Our neighbor wouldn't allow his teenage son to purchase it, since he was too embarrassed to have it in his driveway and so we eventually sold it to a man looking to buy a car for his wife to drive. I very distinctly remember the couple coming to pick up the car, the wife taking one look at the pontiac and then sitting down in our driveway and crying; but they took the car (I was only 10 or so and kind of thought that marriage might have had some issues that they needed to resolve).

I have inherited/learned the tendency to keep cars until they can't be driven much longer - it's not so good for my social standing, but great for the pocketbook - and I never have to worry about parking my car in sketchy neighborhoods since almost every one else's car is more desirable than mine!

Posted by: notyetamom | May 24, 2007 12:12 PM

ahhhh, for the days when my kids took naps thereby enabling us to have alone time. Nowadays, they stay up later than I do. There is no alone time with teenagers in the house. Especially on weekends. As for chores, there is no divide and conquer with the kids, it is divid and conquer the jobs...and the kids have jobs (mow the lawn, etc.) so I guess there are good and bad things with having teenagers. Good: they can do jobs. Bad: there is no alone time!

Posted by: dotted | May 24, 2007 12:14 PM

"...never have to worry about parking my car in sketchy neighborhoods since almost every one else's car is more desirable than mine!"

Yes, I take the creepy van fearlessly into any parking lot, anywhere!

Posted by: Fred | May 24, 2007 12:15 PM

"Is that because most of the posters have really little ones at home, or is it because that's all the time that's left over when both parents work full-time?"

In my case it's because both parents work full-time.

IMO, there are people who think that their children should have extensive interaction. Someone above mentioned that hubby let child play alone on the floor nearby while he checked email, rather than interacting with her. In my experience, those who value interaction over independent playtime with minimal supervision tend to have less time available to tend to other things. You can choose to clean the kitchen while child is coloring, or you can choose to sit with child while she is coloring and find a different time for kitchen cleaning.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 12:17 PM

pATRICK, as often happens you're giving me a window into a mindset I never understood before. I always wondered who wanted to live in those identical houses with the plain grass lawns. I really like the unpredictability of the city myself--neighbors with everything from rose gardens to scrap metal sculptures--but it does reassure me to know that people living in the very cookie-cutter neighborhoods actually planned it that way, instead of being unwilling prisoners to it!

Posted by: worker bee | May 24, 2007 12:17 PM

NewSAHM: The reason your DD craves your attention and lets your husband do his own thing is because that's what you've taught her to expect from you both. If you worked consistently on switching off, the husband consciously working to spend alone time with the girl and you consciously getting her to do stuff on her own, you'd likely see a shift in her expectations.

Armchair- Depends on the kid. If this is a kid who has been around machinery like that, has been doing tough chores for awhile, I can see someone as young as 9 or so operating those mowers. I'm not sure I'd be comfy about it myself, but I think they could be taught and capable enough.

For me? Well I'm not a parent, but I do crave my fun time. I do a mix of getting errands done during lunch and after work, planning out the week in advance so I know what chores are coming up, having a rotational schedule of what gets cleaned AND once I do a major clean up, do a 5 minute pick up every night to reduce the clutter.

I'd imagine once the kids are 5, only the big heavy chores have to get done by the parents, and once the kids are 12, everyone can help out with everything and really reduce the load. If they are taught and have such expectations on them.

Posted by: Liz D | May 24, 2007 12:18 PM

Little Boxes, by Malvina Reynolds

Little boxes on the hillside, Little boxes made of tickytacky
Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes all the same
There's a green one and a pink one and a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses all went to the university
Where they were put in boxes and they came out all the same,
And there's doctors and there's lawyers, and business executives
And they're all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same.

And they all play on the golf course and drink their martinis dry,
And they all have pretty children and the children go to school
And the children go to summer camp and then to the university
Where they are put in boxes and they come out all the same.

And the boys go into business and marry and raise a family
In boxes made of ticky tacky and they all look just the same.

Posted by: In praise(?) of HOAs | May 24, 2007 12:22 PM

Well, yes and no. A valid point can be made about the value of spending QUANTITY time with children, too.

Some would say it depends on what programs you're watching. And if kids are watching TV with one or more parents, at least the parent knows: a) where the kids are; b) what they're doing, and with whom; and, c) the parent has at least the potential to control the situation -- not to mention the remote!

Posted by: catlady | May 24, 2007 09:37 AM

And you get to watch cartoons without feeling guilty! ;)

I agree with catlady. (what did I just say?)

c`) There is always something to talk about when you watch TV with you kids. You learn what they like and don't like. You learn some of their culture. You can find out what shows you shouldn't let them watch. You find out that the vilians in Scooby Doo are real now (WTF?). TV is part of their (our) world, how can it not be quality time if you use it right.

Posted by: devils advocate | May 24, 2007 12:28 PM

DH works many weekends, but he's off a lot during the week, so we often divide and conquer without missing out on our time together. Yesterday, he did some filing and housekeeping while DD was at school and I was at work. He'll be working the long weekend, but I'll be home to do the grocery shopping and laundry, plus (if I'm lucky, LOL) more housekeeping.

DH handles a lot of the errands during the week for me if he's not working, which makes the weekend easier, but I do find that unless I'm organized, DD and I could spend a good chunk of weekend in the car. The last couple of years I've made a conscious effort to bundle my errands. So, once every 6-8 weeks, we'll have a full Saturday out running errands. On those days, I always try to throw in something fun for DD (a trip to the bookstore, lunch at MacDonald's, ice cream, etc.) so that she doesn't feel like the whole day was about my errands. The other Saturdays, we usually just do dancing lessons and a soccer game (during soccer season) and grocery shopping. That usually leaves her the full post-lunch afternoon to play with friends, work on a craft project, watch a movie, ride her bike, etc. Especially right now, when it's light outside until almost 8pm, that's a lot of free time.

Sunday afternoons are almost always free time. It's very rare for us to run errands on a Sunday, although we do usually work around the house/yard and try to cook a big dinner so we have leftovers for the week. After church in the morning, we try to keep the day pretty free and relaxed for DD. If we're both home, DH and I chat while we do chores together or check in between laundry and lawn-mowing.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 24, 2007 12:30 PM

"The reason your DD craves your attention and lets your husband do his own thing is because that's what you've taught her to expect from you both."

You don't say. I guess it's true that there's no better parent than someone who doesn't have kids. :-)

Actually, I think there are a number of reasons DD is the way she is. For one thing, she is by nature a child who demands a lot of attention. When she was tiny, I used to call her Barney (short for barnacle), because she wanted to be held all the time, even when she was sleeping. It's a pattern that's continued.

Second, I think her attachment is partially a function of the way we divide childcare. She is used to me being around all of the time,and now takes it as her due. Conversly, she's not used to having Daddy home, so I think she's content just to have him nearby. She knows it's more than she usually gets.

And yes, you have a point about conditioning. I know I could let DD scream for an hour while I got my chores done, but I don't see the point in doing so. It only makes us both unhappy. If it means that I spend the next year or so reading Sandra Boynton over and over again on my unvaccuumed carpet, then so be it. There'll be plenty of time to clean when DD is older.

Posted by: NewSAHM | May 24, 2007 12:34 PM

12:17, very well said. Learning to let my son play independently, and also to spend time together doing projects, has added a lot of balance to my life. My son loves "helping" clean and cook and garden - it makes things take longer but have a lot of fun, and I don't end up feeling like I'm not getting things done that need to be done.

On TV, we don't get cable or network TV, but there are times that I do enjoy watching a movie with my son. There are times when one or both of us just needs some zone-out down time - sitting together watching Cars and snuggling a bit is much nicer than trying to do something else and being cranky.

Posted by: Megan | May 24, 2007 12:35 PM

Vega Mom wrote: "I do find that unless I'm organized, DD and I could spend a good chunk of weekend in the car."

Along the same model as watching TV with your child, while you're actually in the car (as well as part of the time while running errands) you have the chance to communicate, to find out more of what your child is thinking and to impart values.

And Devil's Advocate may even agree with me on this one, too!

Posted by: catlady | May 24, 2007 12:38 PM

I really like the unpredictability of the city myself--neighbors with everything from rose gardens to scrap metal sculptures--but it does reassure me to know that people living in the very cookie-cutter neighborhoods actually planned it that way, instead of being unwilling prisoners to it!

Posted by: worker bee | May 24, 2007 12:17 PM

not so fast, worker bee. Sure, there are some like pATRICK who are more concerned about limiting their neighbors' freedom than maintaining their own. They are often people who've watched their investment in their own house drop through the floor because the next door neighbor painted his house purple and started painting cars in his garage.

That's not why we live in a hated HOA community, though. In some communities, like ours, the only way to live in a neighborhood that has access to a pool to which my kids can walk, is to suck it up and pay the HOA and live with their rules.

We hate HOAs, in principle, but it was important to us that our kids not have to beg us to drive them to a pool or to have to pay a pool membership fee (around $600 per summer here). Also, the greenways and large parks here are surrounded by HOA-only neighborhoods, and we wanted our kids to go out and play, and explore on their own. We wouldn't feel sufficiently safe sending them out to ride their bikes, go to the pool, and potentially get bitten by snakes if we lived on a country road with no sidewalks in the middle of nowhere. That's the alternative here.

Posted by: MN | May 24, 2007 12:41 PM

Megan --

Xeriscaping here in the desert is highly encouraged and, if done correctly, is very attractive. I hate the folks who throw out gravel and a couple of cacti. That's not what desert landscaping is about. There are lots of attractive desert plants and you can have a very colorful yard. We used desert landscaping in our previous home and the water authority out here is offering a mightly big incentive to homeowners if they get rid of their grass -- $2 per square foot! Even pATRICK might be tempted!

However, we do have grass in our current home. We moved in when DD was 4. We planned originally to pull the grass up in the front yard, but noticed that all the kids in the neighborhood tended to congregate in our yard (with DD) after riding bikes because we had cool grass to flop down on. Most of our neighbors had gotten rid of theirs. So, we pulled out some of it, but left a big enough chunk for the kids to play on. We've also left the grass in the backyard for our dogs to keep cool.

However, the dogs are senior citizens and DD is almost 9, so in a few years (when it's no longer being used) we plan to start ripping up that grass!

Oh, and I'm with you on HOAs. This is my property and I don't want anyone telling me what I can and can't do with it. We purposely avoided houses with convenant restrictions/protections when we moved.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 24, 2007 12:42 PM

"Conversly, she's not used to having Daddy home, so I think she's content just to have him nearby. She knows it's more than she usually gets."

WOW! ANOTHER BIG RED FLAG!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 12:44 PM

Hey, quit using my name!

Posted by: BIG RED FLAG | May 24, 2007 12:45 PM

And yes, you have a point about conditioning. I know I could let DD scream for an hour while I got my chores done, but I don't see the point in doing so. It only makes us both unhappy. If it means that I spend the next year or so reading Sandra Boynton over and over again on my unvaccuumed carpet, then so be it. There'll be plenty of time to clean when DD is older.


Posted by: NewSAHM | May 24, 2007 12:34 PM

Or you can work on gradually changing this behavior... if you want to. Encourage daughter to play independently for a short period and gradually lengthen it. Even if you have to start with only a two minute period when you're not constantly with her. You don't have to jump right to letting her scream for an hour as the only methodology for getting things done. It doesn't have to be black and white. There's lots of grey out there.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 12:46 PM

"Along the same model as watching TV with your child, while you're actually in the car (as well as part of the time while running errands) you have the chance to communicate, to find out more of what your child is thinking and to impart values."

And cause an automobile accident while you are yakking away with your kid.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 12:46 PM

No conversation in the car? You probably don't play the radio, either?

Posted by: catlady | May 24, 2007 12:50 PM

"not so fast, worker bee. Sure, there are some like pATRICK who are more concerned about limiting their neighbors' freedom than maintaining their own. They are often people who've watched their investment in their own house drop through the floor because the next door neighbor painted his house purple and started painting cars in his garage."

Sorry, I am not concerned about limiting people's "freedoms". I am concerned about limiting idiotic people from destroying the value of my biggest asset. I have seen pink and purple houses, junky cars parked in lawns and people who don't want to water their yard because they are too cheap. Our neighborhood does not have cookie cutter housing and I enjoy having a nice lawn to play with the kids on. Our homeowners is actually pretty easy, cut your yard ad maintain your property. HARDLY draconian.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 12:50 PM

MN, that's really interesting--I didn't know HOAs were so widespread. It sounds like they are sort of holding you hostage. I was assuming people would have a no-strings choice to live in such a neighborhood or not. What are your options for loosening/changing HOA rules? Do you have any options? What if the majority of people in the neighborhood really don't care that much about a purple house?

Posted by: worker bee | May 24, 2007 12:51 PM

And cause an automobile accident while you are yakking away with your kid.

Posted by: | May 24, 2007 12:46 PM

do you, 12:46, drive in stony silence in your vehicle with nothing but TomTom to interrupt your santimonious thoughts? I pity your spouse or significant other.

Posted by: Yackety Yak | May 24, 2007 12:53 PM

Ok, anonymous poster. If you're going to be throwing bng red flags all over the place, then you may as well say what you think these are flags for.

Posted by: NewSAHM | May 24, 2007 12:54 PM

"I am concerned about limiting idiotic people from destroying the value of my biggest asset."

Interesting, my ass is my biggest asset!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 12:54 PM

"Not to be snarky, but I have a hard time understanding how keeping up with the house, etc, is hard if you don't have kids."

I personally don't know how we run out of time either, but we do. The difference is that we have the luxury of doing more stuff that we want to do. Sure, we could not have brunch with our parents or not take that fun cooking class together, but we don't want to base our lives on chores. So we fill up our time with fun things and out off the chores.

I'm sure if you were asked pre-kids if you had plenty of time to get everything done you would reply "No way!"

Posted by: Meesh | May 24, 2007 12:55 PM

Vegas Mom - wow, I wish we were getting that kind of incentive from our water authority! Actually, I haven't looked into it, maybe they do have something...

I hate the gravel/cacti look too. There's one house that has done a very desert look landscape, but they've done a great job with it - there's some cacti but lots of other beautiful desert plants. I think we're going for more of a high plains than desert, we'll see how it evolves. I'm so excited that our plants are blooming this year - we weren't sure if they would be established enough but we got a lot of snow this winter which I think helped.

We are keeping our backyard in grass - it's a bluegrass/fescue mix, so it's not as water intensive, and I want our son to have a place to play outside. We're hoping to mix in buffalo grass over time to make it even less thirsty, but that can be pretty pricey, so that'll come after we finish the front. We will also leave some patches of turf in the front, which we'll probably put in buffalo grass, so that there is a place to sit in front - I think it is nice, as you said, to have a place to be out in front and part of the neighborhood. Also, a lot of the landscaping/xeriscaping books point out that breaking up the flowers and perennials with grass looks nicer and allows for some design options. It's a fun project.

Posted by: Megan | May 24, 2007 12:55 PM

There are HOAs with minimal, reasonable standards for home and yard maintenance.

There are also HOA nazis who won't let you repaint your house without prior approval, even if you plan to repaint it the same color.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 12:56 PM

Father of 4 -- Cable television can have benefits for children!

DD and I love to watch HGTV on the weekends. Her favorite show is Mission Organization.

After that show, she scrambles for boxes and bags and cleans out her closet into containers marked "Save" "Donate" "Trash".

You just gotta know what to watch!

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 24, 2007 12:56 PM

"Or is the term "xeriscape" just too "enviro-lefty" or what?"

MEGAN, did you read this?

I may backtrack a little but not much for MEGAN. If that is the norm or not outside the norm for her climate then maybe ok. If it clearly is out there than no way. I still will never, ever live somewhere that does not have a Homeowner's Association. Watching those laborers lay on his yard and drink beer, still makes my blood boil.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 12:59 PM

Online grocery shopping helps us out a lot! Safeway has a web site where you can pick out your groceries and they deliver 'em (for free if over $50, which our shopping list ALWAYS is). We still buy fruits and veggies at the nearby farmer's market, but it still saves sooo much time. I suppose it's not available everywhere, but if it's an option for you I highly recommend it.

Posted by: sfgirl | May 24, 2007 12:59 PM

We agreed the word Nazi wouldn't be applied on this blog to things like just disagreeing with advocates of views of people on issues of less than genocide.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 12:59 PM

Someone above mentioned if things get too busy, you could skip an activity. If you forsee yourself doing this on a regular basis, please do not sign you child up for team sports. Missing a tennis or piano lesson doesn't affect anyone but you and you child, when you skip a soccer game, you affect the entire team. The child's teammates (and coach) are counting on them being there. When I only have 4 kids out of my 9 kid roster show up (we play 7 v 7) it really makes for a long day for the 4 kids that did honor their commitment. But it was nice when my four beat their seven!

Posted by: devils advocate | May 24, 2007 1:00 PM

What does quality time mean to you?

1. Doing laundry with the children, sorting, folding, putting away together.

2. Watching TV. Laughing, giggling, learning.

I vote for #2.

Posted by: anon | May 24, 2007 1:00 PM

What were those laborers laying -- bricks or eggs?

Posted by: To Patrick | May 24, 2007 1:01 PM

"I have seen pink and purple houses, junky cars parked in lawns and people who don't want to water their yard because they are too cheap."

Damn those Victorians with their colorful paint schemes!

Heaven forbid that anyone would want to work on their own vehicle--or encourage their kid to do so.

I insist that everyone fork over much money to the local water authority in order to have grass, rather than simply waiting for rain. Droughts do NOT occur, money is unlimited and pATRICK has spoken!

Posted by: puh-lease | May 24, 2007 1:01 PM

Watching those laborers lay on his yard and drink beer, still makes my blood boil.

You're jealous.

Posted by: to pATRICK | May 24, 2007 1:02 PM

"We agreed the word Nazi wouldn't be applied on this blog to things like just disagreeing with advocates of views of people on issues of less than genocide"

Who agreed? The Nursing Nazis? The Nazi-feminists?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 1:03 PM

"MN, that's really interesting--I didn't know HOAs were so widespread."

Worker Bee, what MN describes is also the case in many areas out here too. So much housing in Colorado has gone up in rapid spurts that it is all built by a few developers with a common plan and covenants - in fact, some entire towns are planned communities that are all HOA neighborhoods. We lucked out to find a neighborhood that is a great, well maintained place with parks and library in walking distance and not covenant restricted. Some places in CO that would be hard to do without getting into some very high prices. And actually our neighborhood was covenant restricted when it was built, but it was limited to 15 years and then subject to renewal, and it was not renewed. But the degree of restrictiveness does seem to vary - my dad's HOA is super controlling (someone got busted for the color of their curtains in their upstairs window, for crying out loud) other seem pretty laid back - just don't let things go to seed. But my understanding is that most if not all would prevent us from having a laundry line, vegetable garden, and the type of landscaping we want so no thank you for us!

Posted by: Megan | May 24, 2007 1:03 PM

pATRICK, I'm with you on the assets of the HOA. We didn't want one originally, but while we were looking for houses we saw too many that we thought "we love it, but the neighbors are cooking in an oil drum on the front lawn" or "could we get used to the puppy mill in this neighbor's back yard?" Maybe it's worse in NC, but you can have a shed next to a mansion here, so HOAs really do provide a service in my opinion.

And they give us discounts on trees and lawn service and repairs (e.g., after the last storm, the HOA hired a company to replace shingles and told everyone to make an appointment when they were here.)

Having an HOA is like being in school. You have authority figures telling you what to do, and you don't always get to do what you want, but in the long run, the they're looking out for your best interests (like making money on your house). Even better, you have a say in what they regulate. Just voluteer!

Posted by: Meesh | May 24, 2007 1:03 PM

"Heaven forbid that anyone would want to work on their own vehicle--or encourage their kid to do so."

Apparently working on your car in your garage is too stifling for you. PUH-LEASE

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 1:04 PM

Fred,

You were kidding about people eating dirt, weren't you?

Posted by: Huh? | May 24, 2007 1:05 PM

There are HOAs with minimal, reasonable standards for home and yard maintenance.

There are also HOA nazis who won't let you repaint your house without prior approval, even if you plan to repaint it the same color.

Posted by: | May 24, 2007 12:56 PM

And the first one can very easily become the second one over the years.

Posted by: devils advocate | May 24, 2007 1:07 PM

"MEGAN, did you read this?

I may backtrack a little but not much for MEGAN"

I saw it after my post to you. I'm thrilled that you've decided maybe it's ok for me to xeriscape my yard without backtracking too much on my behalf, but I still don't understand the attack first, ask questions later approach.

Posted by: Megan | May 24, 2007 1:08 PM

Meesh, you forgot that really pretty house that you wanted but the neighbors were cannibals (which I believe should be standardly restricted in any HOA rules). ;)

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 1:08 PM

A clothesline? Oh the horror & shame of it all!

Posted by: To Megan | May 24, 2007 1:09 PM

"Heaven forbid that anyone would want to work on their own vehicle--or encourage their kid to do so."

Apparently working on your car in your garage is too stifling for you. PUH-LEASE

Not every house or townhouse comes with a garage.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 1:10 PM

Oh yeah, how could I possibly overlook the horror of having a clothesline.

The shame of it all.

Posted by: puh-lease | May 24, 2007 1:11 PM

And cause an automobile accident while you are yakking away with your kid.

Posted by: | May 24, 2007 12:46 PM

One thing I have found to help prevent this, is a little mirror with a suction cup that I have next to my rear view mirror. It allows me to make eye contact with my daughter without having to turn around.

catlady, the pigs are flying and the devil is looking for his thermal underwear!

Posted by: devils advocate | May 24, 2007 1:13 PM

Divide & Conquer is the only way to go with more than 2 kids. Inevitably schedules overlap and since I don't have a time-turner, DH helps out with chauffeur duties.

To facilitate more 'family time', I suggest:
A load a day keeps Mount Washmore away. Put a load in washer before work, when you return, stuff in dryer. After dinner/before bed, fold and put away.

All members of the family are responsible for helping: DS3 sets table, picks up toys; DD6 clears table, takes trash to end of the road; DD8 sweeps/vacuums floors & is learning about laundry. ALL must make beds each day, keep bedroom floors picked up, put away their clean clothes. DD22months helps pick up toys and 'sweep'.

Everytime I use the restroom, I give it a swish & swipe. Kitchen floor gets swiffered every night. It takes 15 minutes to load dishwasher, pack lunches, swiffer floor and swish/swipe the powder room.

For other tips on keeping up with housework, check out flylady.net...it really works.

Posted by: 2girls2boys | May 24, 2007 1:13 PM

pATRICK, it's really funny that you say that because when we drove by the house with the woman cooking in an oil drum over a flame, my first thought was "She is definitely cooking her baby. We are SO out of here." And that's not even the carziest thing we saw.

Posted by: Meesh | May 24, 2007 1:14 PM

Oh yeah, how could I possibly overlook the horror of having a clothesline.

The shame of it all.

And let's insist that no one have a car that doesn't meet some HOA standard.

Some of us prefer to keep our money in the BANK, rather than driving some over-priced vehicle that simply ensures that YOU feel good, rather than I have money in my pocket.

Of course, everyone knows if you don't have an HOA, that every single one of "those people" are incapable of figuring out that they are paying a boatload of money for their house. Or have already paid it off. No, they simply MUST be stopped from having something other than pATRICK's arbitrary standards in mind.

What's next--grilling in the front yard? Having friends or family over in the front yard?

My eyes!

Posted by: puh-lease | May 24, 2007 1:15 PM

The HOA is only one step removed from the Nanny State form of government. Today your neighborhood, tomorrow the world.

Posted by: Your nanny | May 24, 2007 1:16 PM

Vegas Mom

"Oh, and I'm with you on HOAs. This is my property and I don't want anyone telling me what I can and can't do with it."

I'm with you. I stay away from people who set rules for my house and my body.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 1:16 PM

"I have seen pink and purple houses, junky cars parked in lawns and people who don't want to water their yard because they are too cheap."

Damn those Victorians with their colorful paint schemes!

Heaven forbid that anyone would want to work on their own vehicle--or encourage their kid to do so.

I insist that everyone fork over much money to the local water authority in order to have grass, rather than simply waiting for rain. Droughts do NOT occur, money is unlimited and pATRICK has spoken!

Posted by: puh-lease | May 24, 2007 01:01 PM

puh - lease,

Get off your high horse. As I'm sure you know, there's a big difference between working on your car now and then, and parking a junker with expired registration and missing two tires in front of your residence for 3 years. Our HOA, at least, has no problem with the first, neither would even our stuffiest neighbor. If you have lots and lots of savings, perhaps your home equity isn't such a big deal to you. Our home equity is our biggest asset, by far. We are still striving to get to the point where we have a 20% interest in our home. If the market drops, or if our neighbor puts an appliance in his front yard or starts using old tires as yard art, our equity drops to zero. We cannot do anything about a market drop. We can do something about long-term behavior by neighbors that causes potential purchases to turn away from our neighborhood and purchase elsewhere.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 1:18 PM

If we're all tired & wondering how to carve out more time for ourselves now, take a peek at this. I'm exhausted just thinking about what this woman has taken on (but I see her husband is an attorney--maybe she'll be able to hire plenty of help).

Woman defends decision to give birth at 60
Frieda Birnbaum, oldest new mom in U.S., says she wants to be role model

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 1:19 PM

"My eyes!

Posted by: puh-lease | May 24, 2007 01:15 PM "

That was pretty incoherent, I gather you do not have a garage, do not want to pay to water your yard, have a junky car and you like to work on your car in the yard with your kid. You are exactly who I am decribing, only thing missing is a purple house.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 1:19 PM

I live in a HOA sub division. Right when we moved here people were fighting over a pool and a bunch of oak trees. The pool was a problem because the people would need to fence it in, thus shutting off the neighborhood kids from running through the pool neighbor's yard. It got ugly and they had to go to the HOA. The problem is that the people on the HOA board wanted to control everything because GENERALLY, not always, these are the people who want to do everything from be the PTA president to tell you that your kid can't have a swing set. I said generally, so if one of you nice people are on the HOA board I am not talking about you. I am talking about the control freak down the street from you. :) I agree that it can be stifling, but honestly, I don't want a puppy mill in my back yard or a car up on bricks on the street.

The people got their pool because other people in the sub division had one and there was no rule against it.

Posted by: scarry | May 24, 2007 1:19 PM

What's next--grilling in the front yard? Having friends or family over in the front yard?

No grilling. Period. No outdoor entertaining either. It's so unclassy.

Posted by: Your nanny | May 24, 2007 1:19 PM

you like to work on your car in the yard with your kid.

That's called family values.

Posted by: To Patrick | May 24, 2007 1:21 PM

"We can do something about long-term behavior by neighbors that causes potential purchases to turn away from our neighborhood and purchase elsewhere."

Whatever could HOA's DO to people who refuse to follow their little rules? Fine them? And if the pay the fine and continue to cook in an oil drum, then what?

Burn them at the stake?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 1:22 PM

"A clothesline? Oh the horror & shame of it all!

Posted by: To Megan | May 24, 2007 01:09 PM"

I know, I know! Such a rebel I am...

There was a really funny series of Doonesbury cartoons about clotheslines - here's a link to a site that has it up:

http://www.californiasolarcenter.org/solardryer.html

Posted by: Megan | May 24, 2007 1:23 PM

What's next--grilling in the front yard? Having friends or family over in the front yard?

Having the HOA vote on your friends and family.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 1:23 PM

"We can do something about long-term behavior by neighbors that causes potential purchases to turn away from our neighborhood and purchase elsewhere."

Whatever could HOA's DO to people who refuse to follow their little rules? Fine them? And if the pay the fine and continue to cook in an oil drum, then what?

Burn them at the stake?

Whatever did we do without HOA's in the past?

Heaven forbid there should be any individuality, any possible chance to find out that not everyone lives & dies by the greenery of their lawn, or whether or not the car has valid plates or not.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 1:25 PM

"What's next--grilling in the front yard? Having friends or family over in the front yard?

Having the HOA vote on your friends and family."

Whoa! Now I understand why there are a lot of Key Parties in the HOA's neighborhoods.!

Posted by: Top Cat | May 24, 2007 1:26 PM

MEGAN, I just have this image of your bras and panties flopping in the wind on your clothesline as your neighbor sits in his backyard drinking a beer watching them.;)

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 1:26 PM

pATRICK, I don't know much about HOAs, other than I am pretty sure I don't want one, but I have a question? When you move in and sign the agreement, is that the agreement you live with or is it subject to change?

Because if it is subject to change, I would be worried that the neighborhood could be taken over by idiots that make me paint my house pink. Or change the curtains in my upstairs bedroom.

Posted by: devils advocate | May 24, 2007 1:26 PM

Some of us prefer to keep our money in the BANK, rather than driving some over-priced vehicle that simply ensures that YOU feel good, rather than I have money in my pocket.

Posted by: puh-lease | May 24, 2007 01:15 PM


puh-lease, I don't know who pissed in your Wheaties this morning, but you were looking for a fight with someone long before pATRICK became your target.

I'm glad you have money in your pocket. I don't. Mine is tied up in my house payments.

My HOA fees are $32 per month. All the cars in the neighborhood are 5 - 8 year old Ford and Honda products. Keep your assumptions where the sun don't shine.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 1:26 PM

"pATRICK, I don't know much about HOAs, other than I am pretty sure I don't want one, but I have a question? When you move in and sign the agreement, is that the agreement you live with or is it subject to change? "

You sign on when you buy. I doubt the idiots can totally takeover because big changes need a majority and most homeowners are pretty conservative about big changes either way. You do need to keep an eye on the people who serve, just as you pointed out.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 1:30 PM

That was pretty incoherent, I gather you do not have a garage, do not want to pay to water your yard, have a junky car and you like to work on your car in the yard with your kid. You are exactly who I am decribing, only thing missing is a purple house.

Posted by: pATRICK

So--in your little plastic-fantastic world all homes come with garages, you wouldn't sully your hands with grease and actually fix something yourself, and certainly you wouldn't teach your child to FIX things, rather than buy a new one, and wish to spend money on water for the OUTDOORS.

Personally, I enjoy having my home paid off and sitting on over 200K in the bank, with the ability to deposit more.

I'm guessing that you believe that having a new car every year makes you better than those who don't. And that a green lawn is a virtue.

There is a way to water your yard. It's called "rain".

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 1:31 PM

The pool was a problem because the people would need to fence it in, thus shutting off the neighborhood kids from running through the pool neighbor's yard.

-scarry

Sounds like the HOA owns the house, not the pool neighbor.

Posted by: devils advocate | May 24, 2007 1:31 PM

I lived in a townhouse community with HOA. No garages, but parking lots rather than just street parking. Common grassy areas. HOA fees paid for landscaping of common areas including mowing and flowers and for snow removal. You were responsible for digging out your car and shoveling your own sidewalk, but the sidewalks in the common areas and the parking lots were cleared by snow removal service. This was awesome, especially during the 2003 blizzard (although some really selfish people complained that clearing 30" of snow took longer than the normal 3" snowstorm).

I did find that the intensity of the HOA varied as the makeup of the board changed. Fortunately, people moved on and off the board rather frequently, possibly because of the "starter home" aspect of the community.

Posted by: HOA story | May 24, 2007 1:32 PM

"Personally, I enjoy having my home paid off and sitting on over 200K in the bank, with the ability to deposit more.

I'm guessing that you believe that having a new car every year makes you better than those who don't. And that a green lawn is a virtue.

There is a way to water your yard. It's called "rain"."

Still incoherent, been hitting the sauce?

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 1:33 PM

Heaven forbid there should be any individuality, any possible chance to find out that not everyone lives & dies by the greenery of their lawn, or whether or not the car has valid plates or not.

Posted by: | May 24, 2007 01:25 PM

You are not only insecure, you are frightfully immature, if you feel the need to show your individuality by painting your house purple rather than by, say, dying your hair a different color, getting involved in a cause or group that matters to you, or penning the great American novel. There's precious little individuality indicated by simply being a careless slob.

Step back from the ledge. Then grow up.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 1:33 PM


I am the president of my neighborhood HOA. We are a small community of townhomes. Our architectural guidelines are reasonable by almost anyone's standards. There is a choice of over 20 paint colors. We require trash cans to be in the back of the house, not on the front yard. We require the grass to be mowed or you will be fined. No appliances stored in the yards. We also provide snow removal, landscaping for the common areas, twice a year dumpsters for big trash, weekly trash removal, and an interest in protecting our community by attending county planning meetings.
Do we care about junk cars? Only if the tags are expired or they are not drivable (flats, broken windshields).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 1:33 PM

My HOA fees are $32 per month.

What does $32 per month buy, besides your individuality?

HOA's are simply the lazy way to insist that it be a neighborhood, rather than acutally getting to know your neighbors.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 1:34 PM

Would the HOA make me sell the creepy van or at least keep it at my brother's house?

Posted by: Fred | May 24, 2007 1:34 PM

"I just have this image of your bras and panties flopping in the wind on your clothesline as your neighbor sits in his backyard drinking a beer watching them.;)"

LOL, pATRICK, good thing I have such nice bras and panties! Maybe I'll toss one to Fo4 later if I have enough coffee.

Actually, in one placed I lived with a clothes line it was pretty exposed so I didn't hang my panties out - a surprising display of modesty, even to me. Where we are now we have pretty high bushes around the backyard so our neighbor would have to work pretty hard to get a view.

Posted by: Megan | May 24, 2007 1:35 PM

So if your HOA requires you to keep your lawn green, and you have to have grass instead of other groundcover, what do you do during times when water is restricted?

Posted by: worker bee | May 24, 2007 1:36 PM

Fred, We would let the creep van stay. We would all probably ask to use it for our community clean-up to haul away the trash.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 1:36 PM

Due to the holiday weekend upcoming, Hax is chatting online now:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2007/05/18/DI2007051801528.html

Posted by: Hax alert | May 24, 2007 1:37 PM

Our HOA doesn't necessarily require grass but you can't have dirt and weeds. I have ground cover and shrubbery with containers of flowers.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 1:37 PM

"So if your HOA requires you to keep your lawn green, and you have to have grass instead of other groundcover, what do you do during times when water is restricted?"

We have been under severe water restrictions for over a year. If you water correctly, your grass will live and be fine. Most HOA merely want it alive, mowed and no tall weeds.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 1:38 PM

OK, I'll admit it. We have had a stove on our front porch for about 18 months. It's nothing but laziness. We've been meaning to see it, but it hasn't happened and neither has getting it into the basement. We also have a 2x4 railing that we had to put in to get insurance. It's horrible. We do keep up the lawn though. Maybe we can put the stove in the basement this weekend, since our neighbors house is for sale. In our defense, I'm sure their graffiti-covered van doesn't serve them very well.

Posted by: atb | May 24, 2007 1:40 PM

As a German, I am continually appalled at the free use with which a lot of people here seem to use the word Nazi. It's shocking. A little historical awareness, please.

Posted by: A German | May 24, 2007 1:40 PM

"I am the president of my neighborhood HOA."

AKA - I am an "A Type" personality who doesn't get enough sex. I'm power hungry and a control freak. It's my way or the highway!

"Our architectural guidelines are reasonable by almost anyone's standards."

AKA - Follow my rules or else! Vote for me!

Posted by: Yankee Doodle Dandy | May 24, 2007 1:41 PM

I heard a rumor that Fred and Frieda's van really isn't creepy at all, and that it's actually a rather attractive shade of green.

Posted by: catlady | May 24, 2007 1:41 PM

"As a German, I am continually appalled at the free use with which a lot of people here seem to use the word Nazi. It's shocking. A little historical awareness, please."

You missed it but most people here agree with you and refrain. I think it is highly disrespectful to the victims.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 1:42 PM

When water use is restricted by local gov'ts the HOAs have to lighten up on any polices in regard to watering the grass.

Our HOA doesn't concentrate so much on the greeness of the grass, but the overall maintenance/general appearance of the yard, as in grass reasonably cut and not two feet high or bushes trimmed and not blocking access to front walks or sidewalks...things like that.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 1:43 PM

"So if your HOA requires you to keep your lawn green, and you have to have grass instead of other groundcover, what do you do during times when water is restricted?"

my hoa never required that the lawn was green, only that it was manicured - several people had rock gardens, or shrub-filled yards rather than grass. Grass must be cut once it reached a certain height.

I had a neighor with an in-home day care. Someone complained because they didn't like seeing toys in her front yard when they came home (big-wheels, toddler bikes, etc.) I don't know if it was addressed by hoa or not. I just can't believe that people are so rigid that a few toys in front of someone else's house bothers them. I don't know if they think it brings down property values - personally, I like a neighborhood with children. Running, laughing, and playing bring a vitality to a neighborhood that is missing from some of the picture-perfect neighborhoods lacking any indication of actual humans living there.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 1:43 PM

How did you know I am an Yankee?

I am glad I said "almost anyone's standards" because I bet you aren't "almost anyone". And I am as far from Type A as they get.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 1:44 PM

"AKA - I am an "A Type" personality who doesn't get enough sex. I'm power hungry and a control freak. It's my way or the highway!"

I have never found KLB SS MD to be that sort of person. Sorry you are barking up the wrong tree.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 1:44 PM

My HOA fees are $32 per month.

What does $32 per month buy, besides your individuality?

HOA's are simply the lazy way to insist that it be a neighborhood, rather than acutally getting to know your neighbors.

Posted by: | May 24, 2007 01:34 PM

WTF?

$32 pays for maintenance of common areas including a beloved 20 year old playground and pool area. Sorry my neighborhood isn't as prestigious as yours. I am baffled by the needless insult about us somehow not knowing our neighbors as well as impliedly you know yours. again, WTF?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 1:45 PM

pATRICK,
;-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 1:45 PM

My HOA fees dues pay for a neighborhood pool, tennis courts, walking trails, two ponds and a playground, all of which are within walking distance of my home. I am more than happy to have a mailbox identical to all of the others in the neighborhood if the tradeoff is great, well-maintained amenities.

I have never understood the visceral reaction sone people have to HOAs. My own sister is horrified that I live in a subdivision, because she says it "deadens the soul." As far as I'm concerned, if one's soul is so fragile as to be affected by the color of one's house, then it wasn't in great shape to begin with.

Posted by: NewSAHM | May 24, 2007 1:46 PM

Heaven forbid there should be any individuality, any possible chance to find out that not everyone lives & dies by the greenery of their lawn, or whether or not the car has valid plates or not.

Posted by: | May 24, 2007 01:25 PM

You are not only insecure, you are frightfully immature, if you feel the need to show your individuality by painting your house purple rather than by, say, dying your hair a different color, getting involved in a cause or group that matters to you, or penning the great American novel. There's precious little individuality indicated by simply being a careless slob.

Step back from the ledge. Then grow up.

Posted by: | May 24, 2007 01:33 PM

I never said my house was purple, my car was junk, or my lawn unmowed. Those are your assumptions and insecurities showing.

I said my house was paid for IN FULL and lacks a garage, I fix my car and teach kids to fix things for themselves too, I don't water my yard and I have lots of lovely money in the bank.

pATRICK just wants to believe that an HOA guarantees his moral superiority to those who are unlike himself. I'm guessing he's the kind who walks around at night, noting "violations" weekly, and running off to inform the council.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 1:46 PM

KLB, you are a shining example of reasonableness! No surprise there.

I actually wonder if part of the need/desire for HOAs arises in developments where the buildings are so much closer together - like townhomes and condos. Here, a lot of the new housing developments have much bigger houses on lots similar to ours, so they are right on top of each other, and I would guess that what goes on in each others' houses/yards seems much more intrusive. Just idle speculation.

Posted by: Megan | May 24, 2007 1:46 PM

"pATRICK, I don't know much about HOAs, other than I am pretty sure I don't want one, but I have a question? When you move in and sign the agreement, is that the agreement you live with or is it subject to change? "

You sign on when you buy. I doubt the idiots can totally takeover because big changes need a majority and most homeowners are pretty conservative about big changes either way. You do need to keep an eye on the people who serve, just as you pointed out.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 01:30 PM

I plan to live in my house for a long time, a lot can happen over two or three decades. I couldn't trust my house to a random bunch of strangers.

There is another possible problem, if the attitude towards HOAs shifts away from your thinking, it could actually reduce your homes value. If your HOA gets a rep for being overbearing, you may not be asle to sell you rhouse bescause no one wants to live with it. I don't think this will happen, because it is part of human nature to want to control others, but it is a possibility.

Posted by: devils advocate | May 24, 2007 1:47 PM

"I'm guessing that you believe that having a new car every year makes you better than those who don't."

1:31, What's with this obsession you have with new cars and what the bejesus does it have to do with HOAs? Again, everyone in my HOA neighborhood drives cars that bluebook around $6K - 8K. Who cares? It's irrelevant. If you want to fight over whether or not grass is a big deal, have at it, but it doesn't have jack to do with HOAs.

You sound truly uptight and miserable.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 1:48 PM

"If your HOA gets a rep for being overbearing, you may not be asle to sell you rhouse bescause no one wants to live with it"

If the HOA is overbearing, generally the board members will be voted off. There is always someone willing to run for a spot on the board if the HOA is unreasonable. Terms aren't usually more than a year or two, in my experience.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 1:50 PM

To be honest, when I bought my house 14 years ago I had no clue what a HOA was or what it did. Sure, I signed that I had read the covenants and guidelines but didn't really - who does?
I paid my dues every month. The lawn was done, trash was picked up and the lights were on.
It wasn't until someone started parking a semi in the neighborhood, then a bus, then a bucket truck that I got involved.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 1:50 PM

"pATRICK just wants to believe that an HOA guarantees his moral superiority to those who are unlike himself. I'm guessing he's the kind who walks around at night, noting "violations" weekly, and running off to inform the council. "

Now I see, YOU are the target of numerous complaints to code enforcement I bet. That is where this comes from and all this time I just thought you were drunk.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 1:51 PM

"Whatever could HOA's DO to people who refuse to follow their little rules? Fine them? And if the pay the fine and continue to cook in an oil drum, then what?"

They put a lien on your house and make you pay fines. Currently, the only problem we have is with some lady who has a rusty old shed on her property. I look at it this way; you know what you are getting into when you buy the house.


devil's advocate, the people got their pool, they just had to apply to the HOA, like I will when I get a fence.

Really no one wants to live by the crazy neighbor with a junky, falling down house and no one wants to buy the house beside it either.

Posted by: scarry | May 24, 2007 1:53 PM

My home is my castle.

Posted by: The king | May 24, 2007 1:53 PM

This melody will be stuck in your heads for the rest of today:

Father wears his Sunday best
Mother's tired she needs a rest
The kids are playing up downstairs
Sister's sighing in her sleep
Brother's got a date to keep
He can't hang around

Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our ...

Our house it has a crowd
There's always something happening
And it's usually quite loud
Our mum she's so house-proud
Nothing ever slows her down
And a mess is not allowed

Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our ...

Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our ...
Something tells you that you've got to get away from it

Father gets up late for work
Mother has to iron his shirt
Then she sends the kids to school
Sees them off with a small kiss
She's the one they're going to miss
In lots of ways

Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our ...

I remember way back then when everything was true and when
We would have such a very good time such a fine time
Such a happy time
And I remember how we'd play simply waste the day away
Then we'd say nothing would come between us two dreamers

Father wears his Sunday best
Mother's tired she needs a rest
The kids are playing up downstairs
Sister's sighing in her sleep
Brother's got a date to keep
He can't hang around

Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our street

Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our ...

Our house, was our castle and our keep
Our house, in the middle of our street

Our house, that was where we used to sleep
Our house, in the middle of our street

Our house, in the middle of our street

Posted by: It's the '80s | May 24, 2007 1:53 PM

"As a German, I am continually appalled at the free use with which a lot of people here seem to use the word Nazi. It's shocking. A little historical awareness, please."

This isn't Germany. You can state your view, but no one has to follow it. This is the Net.


Posted by: Diane | May 24, 2007 1:53 PM

Whew, I'm really sorry I ever said anything about HOAs, although I suppose I did not bring it up first.

As much as I don't want to live with one, I think the criticism being lobbed at pATRICK and KLB is absurd. I think some of them are out of control, and I don't like some of the common restrictions, but come on, folks, I don't think everyone who appreciates them are terrible, sex-deprived, greedy monsters either. Anyone who has read KLBs and Patricks' posts over time knows this too.

Posted by: Megan | May 24, 2007 1:53 PM

We have a homeowner who takes photos of "violations" and sends them to the board and management company at least every other month. Some people complain about noise from neighbor's house. We refer them to the police as it isn't our jurisdiction. I had one woman who had a tire dropped in her yard in the middle of the night. Rather than take care of it herself she called me and the mgt company. The mgt company has a handyman who does things like install trashcans, etc but the charge is a 2 hour min. It would have been really irresponsible of me to authorize that so - duh - I picked up the tire and took it to a gas station for disposal - 5 bucks!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 1:55 PM

Next, let's quit kidding ourselves. Whatever their liberal blathering, most people feel most secure when they live around people a lot like themselves.

Covenants can't create ethnic segregation anymore, but they can and blatantly do foster class segregation. Many common CC&Rs have an anti-blue-collar air about them, such as prohibitions against chain-link fences and pickup trucks with campers or commercial signs ("Joe Bob's Plumbing") on them. Many affluent developments require all new houses to be of a minimum size and may even specify a minimum allowable construction cost.

Alongside social homogeneity, "People feel a need for consistency and visual harmony."

In other words, "Freedom! Horrible freedom!"

Posted by: one of many reasons! | May 24, 2007 1:55 PM

"HOA's are simply the lazy way to insist that it be a neighborhood, rather than acutally getting to know your neighbors."

It's amazing! Some people can complain about absolutely everything.

Someone on here complained about well-meaning advice from a childless person. Someone else complained about how someone else budgets weekend time. Now someone is complaining about how a stranger feels about HOAs!

I mean, can't we just respect each other's opinions and avoid the insulting posts?

Posted by: Meesh | May 24, 2007 1:56 PM

"We have a homeowner who takes photos of "violations" and sends them to the board and management company at least every other month. Some people complain about noise from neighbor's house."

Where they are filed promptly in the "round' file cabinet I imagine.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 1:57 PM

Megan

"I don't think everyone who appreciates them are terrible, sex-deprived, greedy monsters either."

No, but that's usually the ones that run the HOAs (and the PTA and the Church stuff), etc.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 1:57 PM

"Next, let's quit kidding ourselves. Whatever their liberal blathering, most people feel most secure when they live around people a lot like themselves."

Maybe for your neighborhood this is true but not for us - you name the ethnicity and we probably have it:
Next to me - Korean. Two doors down - Ethiopian. Next to them: African. Around the corner: German. Next to them: Hispanic. Throw in a few token whites and there is a view of 10 homes.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 1:58 PM

So. Some people like HOAs and some don't. Glad we got that cleared up! Let's move on, shall we?

Say, what does everyone plan to do with the long weekend coming up? An extra day for chores? An extra day for fun? A trip? None of the above?

Posted by: sfgirl | May 24, 2007 2:00 PM

"pATRICK just wants to believe that an HOA guarantees his moral superiority to those who are unlike himself. I'm guessing he's the kind who walks around at night, noting "violations" weekly, and running off to inform the council. "

Now I see, YOU are the target of numerous complaints to code enforcement I bet. That is where this comes from and all this time I just thought you were drunk.

Wrong again!
A) I've never had anyone complain about my home OR my activities
B) I don't live in an HOA community

You simply wish it were true, because then it would add some moral standing to your position that everyone should be just like everyone else.

Posted by: to pATRICK | May 24, 2007 2:00 PM

The people who run the HOA are the stay-at-home parents who want something to put on their resumes when they return to work in a few years.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 2:01 PM

There goes the neighborhood.

Posted by: Nazi | May 24, 2007 2:01 PM

"I mean, can't we just respect each other's opinions and avoid the insulting posts?"

Meesh, I think we both know the answer to that question ;) We must be gluttons for punishment, or very desperate to get away from our work...

Posted by: Megan | May 24, 2007 2:01 PM

"Many common CC&Rs have an anti-blue-collar air about them, such as prohibitions against chain-link fences and pickup trucks with campers or commercial signs ("Joe Bob's Plumbing") on them. Many affluent developments require all new houses to be of a minimum size and may even specify a minimum allowable construction cost."

And you have the freedom to live somewhere else. freedom sweet freedom. No day laborers laying around drinking beer on the yard next to you!

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 2:01 PM

I look at it this way; you know what you are getting into when you buy the house.

-scarry

Not exactly, the rules are subject to change. What you sign on for could be entirely different from what you have to live under ten or twenty years down the road.

For that reason alone, I will never buy a house with a HOA, the future risk is too much for me. Everyone else is free to do as they please.

I do find it kind of ironic that pATRICK, who believes in freedom and personal responsibility, is willing to give his up to control his investment. But, to each their own.

Posted by: devils advocate | May 24, 2007 2:02 PM

"This isn't Germany. You can state your view, but no one has to follow it. This is the Net."

So glad you pointed that out. I thought I was Adolf in the 1930s and everyone had to follow my lead or else.

Seriously. All I was trying to get across was that it's disproportional to compare some fellow human, however obnoxious s/he may appear to you, to a Nazi. As Patrick says, it's disrespectful to the victims and does not do justice to period of history that everybody should be aware of.

Posted by: A German | May 24, 2007 2:03 PM

"I am the president of my neighborhood HOA."

AKA - I am an "A Type" personality who doesn't get enough sex. I'm power hungry and a control freak. It's my way or the highway!

"Our architectural guidelines are reasonable by almost anyone's standards."

AKA - Follow my rules or else! Vote for me!


Posted by: Yankee Doodle Dandy | May 24, 2007 01:41 PM

Our neighborhood is thirty years old. The president of our HOA is merely the guy who can't get someone else to take the job, probably because people like you, Dandy, make all sorts of inaccurate assumptions about his manliness and sex life. Like KLB, he's as far from power hungry as they get.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 24, 2007 2:03 PM

"Wrong again!
A) I've never had anyone complain about my home OR my activities "

Sure, we believe you. wink, wink

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 2:03 PM

Todd Malmsbury, president of the Meadow Glen Resident Association, said he wants to take a non-confrontational approach with his neighbor over a "Darfur: End the Genocide" sign she is displaying on her property.

"We're going to continue to encourage Meadow Glen residents to abide by the covenants they agreed to and to respect their neighbors," Malmsbury said Tuesday. "We are all volunteers and neighbors here, and we follow the covenants because we agreed to follow them."

In a letter sent to Amaru last week, the Meadow Glen Resident Association's board of directors asked her to remove the sign by today, stating the placard violated the east Boulder neighborhood's rules against erecting signs, posters, billboards or advertisements.

After receiving the letter, Amaru moved the sign from a common areain front of her home to a spot closer to her front door.

But she said the importance of publicizing the cause surrounding Darfur -- a region of the Sudan where an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 people have been killed by Sudanese-backed militia groups -- transcends the rules and regulations of a homeowners' association.

As a result, she said she won't remove the sign completely.

"I really wanted to make a statement, and I have," said Amaru, who tutors a Somali woman who came to Boulder from a camp where many Darfur victims seek refuge from the violence. "I'm not just going to let it go."

She said she feels her stance against genocide is a universal position that is neither overtly political nor objectionable.

Malmsbury said it's not a matter of what the sign says but rather that there is a sign up at all. He said Meadow Glen's rules, which Amaru agreed to when she bought her home, explicitly prohibit them.

"We can't give special exceptions to anyone on any issue because that would set a precedent that would allow others to violate the covenants we agreed to," he said.

He said it's not fair to neighbors who moved into Meadow Glen specifically so they wouldn't have to look at yard signs throughout their neighborhood.

Malmsbury said the board hasn't decided what action it will ultimately take in the matter, but he doesn't have any immediate plans to walk onto Amaru's property and confiscate her sign.

Carla Selby, former chairwoman of the Boulder County chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said HOA covenants often encroach on the right of free expression, and homeowners are left with the unfair choice of either agreeing to abide by them or walking away from a new home.

"It's my opinion you can't sign away your First Amendment rights," Selby said. "There's a certain messiness to democracy that must be allowed."

As a result of complaints from people living in covenant-controlled communities, the Colorado Legislature has passed laws clarifying the limits of what HOAs can do.

Those statutes, passed over the last few years, protect the right of HOA residents to fly an American flag, xeriscape their lawns or display political signs within 45 days before any election and within seven days after Election Day.

Contact Camera Staff Writer John Aguilar at 303-473-1389 or aguilarj@dailycamera.com.

Posted by: May 9, 2007 | May 24, 2007 2:04 PM

"The people who run the HOA are the stay-at-home parents who want something to put on their resumes when they return to work in a few years"

Excellent!!

Posted by: Gestapo | May 24, 2007 2:05 PM

I still need to know what is a "key party"?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 2:06 PM

I made the original HOA nazi remark.

I'm German too.

If catlady can keep calling meat "dead animals", then I can use the term nazi in the generally accepted context of "overbearing, dictatorial style". It's a word usage with absolutely no offense intended for victims.

Posted by: to A German | May 24, 2007 2:07 PM

"I do find it kind of ironic that pATRICK, who believes in freedom and personal responsibility, is willing to give his up to control his investment. But, to each their own."


I have even compromised my principles so much that I now drive on the right hand side of the road.;)

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 2:07 PM

"I mean, can't we just respect each other's opinions and avoid the insulting posts?"

Yeah, Meesh, let's go back to whining about shopping, cooking, dishes and laundry.

And I'm still wondering WHEN, not IF, when the Little Mermaid thong will make it's debut.

Maybe it has already, but I wouldn't know since I don't get out much.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 24, 2007 2:07 PM

After receiving the letter, Amaru moved the sign from a common areain front of her home to a spot closer to her front door.

I wonder if they would put a lien on her home if she put the sign in her window?

Would you, pATRICK?

I'm betting that you would, personally.

"Wrong again!
A) I've never had anyone complain about my home OR my activities "


Sure, we believe you. wink, wink

I still have that 200K and growing that you don't. Not to mention 45 acres.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 2:08 PM

Megan's Neighbor hit the nail on the head - nobody wants this job. It is purely volunteer, non-paid position with monthly meetings, lots of emails and occasional late nite phone calls complaining about someone's barking dog or, true story, a woman calling at 10pm worrying about a proposed road.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 2:09 PM

"All I was trying to get across was that it's disproportional to compare some fellow human, however obnoxious s/he may appear to you, to a Nazi."

Don't care what you think, it's a perfect word.

"As Patrick says, it's disrespectful to the victims and does not do justice to period of history that everybody should be aware of"

Patrick is a smug, self-righteous A-hole, so I don't look to him for the moral high road.

Posted by: Gestapo | May 24, 2007 2:09 PM

"the Colorado Legislature has passed laws clarifying the limits of what HOAs can do.
Those statutes, passed over the last few years, protect the right of HOA residents to fly an American flag, xeriscape their lawns or display political signs within 45 days before any election and within seven days after Election Day."

Hey, whaddya know? My xeriscape project, the cause of all this controversy, wouldn't be banned by an HOA after all!

There was another big stink in Colorado at Christmas when an HOA demanded that a woman take down a peace sign decoration, which resulted in the board members there all getting voted off.

Posted by: Megan | May 24, 2007 2:11 PM

I made the original HOA nazi remark.
"I'm German too. If catlady can keep calling meat "dead animals", then I can use the term nazi in the generally accepted context of "overbearing, dictatorial style". It's a word usage with absolutely no offense intended for victims."

Jetzt bin ich neugierig - vielleicht bin ich ja ueberempfindlich. Findest du wirklich, dass man sowas sagen kann, ohne irgendwo die Tragweite des Nationalsozialismus zu beschoenigen?
Hm, vielleicht hast du ja recht.


Posted by: A German | May 24, 2007 2:11 PM

Maybe for your neighborhood this is true but not for us - you name the ethnicity and we probably have it:
Next to me - Korean. Two doors down - Ethiopian. Next to them: African. Around the corner: German. Next to them: Hispanic. Throw in a few token whites and there is a view of 10 homes.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 01:58 PM

But the barrier to entry in your neighborhood is probably financial. So while you may have many nationalities, you probably have a minumum net worth, i.e. people of the same social class. People do like to live with people like themselves, but enthicity is not the only way people can be alike.

Posted by: devils advocate | May 24, 2007 2:11 PM

Holy cow.

Some folks hate HOAs.

Some folks love them.

This is America. If you hate them, buy somewhere else. If you love them, have at it.

Live and let live.

And everyone's invited to a BBQ in my backyard -- which will overflow to my front yard and cul-de-sac! We might play loud music. BYO Meat/Veggies/Meat Substitute.

Only one rule -- No more HOA discussions!

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 24, 2007 2:11 PM

Like a city, associations provide services, regulate activities, levy taxes (assessments), and impose fines. Unlike a municipal government, however, homeowners associations are not subject to the Constitutional constraints that public government must abide by.[9] The board carries out tasks which would otherwise be performed by local governments or require private legal action under civil law. Boards appoint corporate officers, and may create subcommittees, such as "architectural control committees", pool committees and neighborhood watch committees.

Association boards are almost always comprised of volunteers from the community. These volunteers however, are not required to have any formal training, certification or credentials in business.[10] During the construction and development phase of a new community, the developer of the property occupies seats on the board of directors until there are enough homeowners within the community to sustain the responsibility of filling all seats on the board. Some association boards hire property management companies and law firms to assist them in conducting association business.

Voting in a homeowner association is based on property ownership.[16]Only property owners are eligible to vote in elections, so renters are disenfranchised, but still subject to the board's authority.[17] Additionally, only one vote per unit may be cast, rather than one vote per adult occupant.[

The Bureau of Homeowner Protection of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs reported these disturbing observations of association conduct:

"Curiously, with rare exceptions, when the State has notified boards of minimal association legal obligation to owners, they dispute compliance. In a disturbing number of instances, those owners with board positions use their influence to punish other owners with whom they disagree." "Perhaps most alarming is the revelation that boards, or board presidents desirous of acting contrary to law, their governing documents or to fundamental democratic principles, are unstoppable without extreme owner effort and often costly litigation."

Many of the problems affecting Homeowner Associations today may be explained by another statement taken from the "Hannaman Report":

"The complete absence of even minimally required standards, training or even orientations for those sitting on boards and the lack of independent oversight is readily apparent in the way boards exercise control."

Double taxation
All homeowners pay property taxes. These taxes are used to maintain roads, street lighting, parks, etc. Planned unit development owners pay association assessments that are used to maintain the 'private' roads, street lighting and parks of their developments.

In some U.S. states, including California and Texas, a homeowners association can foreclose a member's house without any judicial procedure in order to collect special assessments, fees and even a fine. Other states, like Florida, require a judicial hearing. Foreclosure without a judicial hearing can occur when a power of sale clause exists in a mortgage or deed of trust

Increasingly, homeowner associations handle large amounts of money. Embezzlement from associations has occurred, as a result of dishonest board members or property managers.

The AARP has recently voiced concern that homeowners associations pose a risk to the financial welfare of their members. They have proposed that a homeowners "Bill Of Rights" be adopted by all 50 states to protect seniors from rogue Homeowner Associations

Posted by: pATRICK's world | May 24, 2007 2:11 PM

"Sure, we believe you. wink, wink

I still have that 200K and growing that you don't. Not to mention 45 acres."

You are really fun to toy with. You have no idea what I have and we have no way to prove what you have, except apparently a miserable life.


Yes, I would fine her and the anti abortionist who had a sign of a bloody fetus on their front yard.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 2:12 PM

"To a German

If catlady can keep calling meat "dead animals", then I can use the term nazi in the generally accepted context of "overbearing, dictatorial style". It's a word usage with absolutely no offense intended for victims."

And I can use the term kamikaze.

Posted by: Mein Kampf | May 24, 2007 2:14 PM

"Many common CC&Rs have an anti-blue-collar air about them, such as prohibitions against chain-link fences and pickup trucks with campers or commercial signs ("Joe Bob's Plumbing") on them. Many affluent developments require all new houses to be of a minimum size and may even specify a minimum allowable construction cost."

You must not live in the Midwest

Plenty of pick up trucks where I live. People park them in the garage. I live with doctors, school teachers, line workers, engineers, pilots, and construction workers, car dealers and a school cook.

Just because someone is blue collar doesn't mean they can't afford a nice house. Hell, my father in law made more than me and my husband combined one year at GM and he worked on the line. It just depends on what kind of job you have and what you want to do with your money.

Devil's advocate, I doubt that the rules will change to allow junk cars, pink paint, etc.

As far as Patrick goes, he is practicing his freedom to live where he wants and I think that the anger directed at people who live in HOA neighborhoods is a little bit ridicules. Not that you are angry, I am talking about the other guy.
.

Posted by: scarry | May 24, 2007 2:14 PM

late nite phone calls complaining about someone's barking dog

Can't these people talk to their NEIGHBORS about whatever is bothering them?

What is with this obsession with having yet another nanny vis a vis "Big Brother"?

Are these people incapable of calling the police if it's a REAL problem?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 2:15 PM

" . . . there's a big difference between working on your car now and then, and parking a junker with expired registration and missing two tires in front of your residence for 3 years."

Actually, we don't live in an HOA, and we would still be able to get rid of an eye-sore like that if one appeared on our street. We'd have the city tow it away. We've never had that problem, but really, if there is such a problem, then I don't see why the city officials wouldn't step in to remedy the problem. It's certainly in the city's interest to maintain property values for tax collection purposes as well as for being re-elected.

Puppy mill in the backyard? Seems like you could call animal control and they would shut it down if it is really a hazard.

Seems like with all the problems mentioned, a city worker would be able to take care of the problem.

Posted by: Jen S. | May 24, 2007 2:15 PM

Owning a home anywhere in suburban MD requires a certain level of income - no big surprise there. Ours happens to be one of the older, less expensive neighborhoods around.
Next?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 2:17 PM

Funny you use those terms about me and then use the post name GESTAPO. Very interesting. You are a troll.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 2:17 PM

"I still have that 200K and growing that you don't. Not to mention 45 acres."

Is there anything more obnoxious than the person who values him/herself based on the amount of money and possessions they have?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 2:17 PM

Ok, KLB SS MD, I am laughing at this:

"Our architectural guidelines are reasonable by almost anyone's standards. There is a choice of over 20 paint colors."

I guess that's why they say to each his own -- to me, 20 paint colors is hugely restrictive! I went to school in MN, and I really like how colorful some of the houses are in the small towns there (my personal theory: they have to paint them bright colors so they can find them through all the snow in the winter). To me, seeing lots of different colored houses makes me smile (even if I've never been artistic enough myself to try to pull it off).

My worry is that the HOAs sometimes get too caught up on the trivial stuff that doesn't matter, and yet can be completely ineffective on what does. When we built our house in CO, the HOA rejected our proposed stucco, because it wasn't on the "approved" list -- so I had to buy a different brand and use a completely different stucco contractor, even though my original color was indistinguishable from the "approved" color to someone without an art degree.

On the other hand, my SIL has a neighbor of the "rusty car" variety -- at night, they dump their old appliances out on the sidewalk, where they sit and rust, then claim that it's not their trash. And the HOA has refused to take any action, because they don't have a direct witness to the midnight dumpers (the fact that these people had a new microwave show up the day before an old microwave mysteriously appeared on the sidewalk was apparently irrelevant). So I'll take my chances without, thanks.

Posted by: Laura | May 24, 2007 2:19 PM

"I do find it kind of ironic that pATRICK, who believes in freedom and personal responsibility, is willing to give his up to control his investment. But, to each their own."


I have even compromised my principles so much that I now drive on the right hand side of the road.;)

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 02:07 PM

You have now made me lose all faith in humanity. We are doomed. ;)

Posted by: devils advocate | May 24, 2007 2:19 PM

Seems like with all the problems mentioned, a city worker would be able to take care of the problem.

Posted by: Jen S. | May 24, 2007 02:15 PM

No--you can't control your neighbour painting their house a colour of which you disapprove. For that, you need your HOA, run by volunteers who may or may not know the laws.

Hmm, we just had a lawyer testifying in front of Congress just yesterday who purported not to know the laws too. C'est la vie.

Posted by: Mako | May 24, 2007 2:20 PM

"Can't these people talk to their NEIGHBORS about whatever is bothering them?"

That is exactly what I tell them. Barking dog - talk to neighbor or call animal control. You are right - there are people who are incapable of doing things for themselves. They complain of trash blowing around - heck, it is March. It is windy - PICK IT UP! In the time they take to write an email or call it could be taken care of.
These people would be the same way if they lived in a non-HOA community.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 2:21 PM

"Seems like with all the problems mentioned, a city worker would be able to take care of the problem. "

yes good ol reliable city hall. Please! probably go like this . Call complain, two week later, sticker on junker, call complain, second sticker. call complain, two weeks later letter sent out. Call complain, 2nd letter sent out. call complain, worker sent out to investigate, letter left at doorstep. call complain, owner disputes letter, etc. No thanks!

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 2:21 PM

"Owning a home anywhere in suburban MD requires a certain level of income - no big surprise there. Ours happens to be one of the older, less expensive neighborhoods around.
Next?"

I believe SS is for Silver Spring. There is a huge difference in income levels for home ownership in Montgomery County as compared to Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Cecil counties. Maybe you mean anywhere in suburban MD as long as it is a suburb of DC.

Posted by: to KLB | May 24, 2007 2:21 PM

"Seems like with all the problems mentioned, a city worker would be able to take care of the problem."

That's probably true for the most part in theory, but it can be hard to implement. Apparently one of the guys in a house on our block used to run an illegal business doing body work in his garage - our neighbors across the street had a very difficult time getting code enforcement to do anything about it because it's a small town and the guy was chummy with a lot of the city government people. The situation "resolved itself" when the guy somehow accidentally blew his garage up (no kidding, big fire) and the insurance company figured out what was going on and clamped down. This all happened long before we moved in, and we have yet to deal with anything like that, but there are definitely houses on our neighborhood that aren't well maintained or have old cars (and in one case an old boat) in front.

I don't think Patrick's and others' concerns about the possible neighborhood problems and decline are unfounded - there's a reason that HOAs have become so prevalent.

Posted by: Megan | May 24, 2007 2:22 PM

"I still have that 200K and growing that you don't. Not to mention 45 acres."

Is there anything more obnoxious than the person who values him/herself based on the amount of money and possessions they have?

Posted by: | May 24, 2007 02:17 PM

Sure beats being poor. Done that. It stinks.

Posted by: JRH | May 24, 2007 2:23 PM

We don't have an HOA (the neighborhood next to us does and they are a nightmare). But let me tell you, according to city ordinance, you still can't have a clunker on your lawn, run a business that's a nuisance to your neighbors, etc. We did call 911 when our neighbor's contrctor was out early on a sat since it is illegal.

Posted by: atlmom | May 24, 2007 2:23 PM

Sure, we believe you. wink, wink

I still have that 200K and growing that you don't. Not to mention 45 acres

How do you know what he has? I like Patrick and its no wonder you have 45 acres. wink wink. There I said it for all the blog to know--I like Patrick.

Posted by: scarry | May 24, 2007 2:24 PM

"I believe SS is for Silver Spring. There is a huge difference in income levels for home ownership in Montgomery County as compared to Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Cecil counties. Maybe you mean anywhere in suburban MD as long as it is a suburb of DC."

What is your point?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 2:24 PM

Gosh, what happened to the original topic? Interesting how many people have such strong opinions on HOAs.

How about those blue-haired old ladies running around in Georgetown,petitioning against a new neon sign? Am I the only one who thinks that's funny?

Posted by: Ajax | May 24, 2007 2:24 PM

Thanks Scarry, there is actually no regular that I personally dislike. Disagree with yes, dislike no. Even MONA whether she believes me or not.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 2:27 PM

pATRICK;

Your earlier post today:

"As a German, I am continually appalled at the free use with which a lot of people here seem to use the word Nazi. It's shocking. A little historical awareness,
please."

You missed it but most people here agree with you and refrain. I think it is highly disrespectful to the victims.

And one of your earliest posts to this blog:

Oh goody, another feminazi womyn discussion. Men bad yadayada, women
oppressed yadayada, society prejudiced yadayada. Wake me up when the
leftist pity party is over. YAWN!

Posted by: pATRICK | 20061030 12:10

In conclusion, by your own logic, you are disrespectful.

Not to mention a hypocrit.

Posted by: Blog Stats | May 24, 2007 2:27 PM

Hmm, we just had a lawyer testifying in front of Congress just yesterday who purported not to know the laws too. C'est la vie.

Posted by: Mako | May 24, 2007 02:20 PM


Only ONE lawyer?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 2:28 PM

I don't think Patrick's and others' concerns about the possible neighborhood problems and decline are unfounded - there's a reason that HOAs have become so prevalent.

Yes, they were put into place by developers, they weren't instituted by the residents on their own. If you wanted whatever they were building, you were willing to sign on to anything. Then, like kudzu, they took over.

Really, I think it's pretty sad. People will do almost anything in order not to actually speak up for themselves, or take responsibility for themselves, or even a stand.

Posted by: to Megan | May 24, 2007 2:29 PM

pATRICK -- You might be surprised at the response by the city to complaints.

Someone in our non-HOA neighborhood complained that folks at the end of the cul-de-sac were parking their cars nose-in instead of parallel. We live at the end of the cul-de-sac and really didn't care. I know the folks with 3 teens and 5 cars had an easier time getting cars in and out that way.

However, the city actually took the time to send out a traffic cop at 4am, who wrote parking tix for every car.

Now the cars are parked parallel and frequently overflow to in front of our home. I suppose I could call the city about that, but I'm not interested in getting my neighbors another parking ticket. Just wish neighbor #1 had enough of a life that he didn't care how cars were parked 4 houses up the street.

Just goes to show you can get annoying nosy neighbors in both HOA and non-HOA communities.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 24, 2007 2:31 PM

"People will do almost anything in order not to actually speak up for themselves, or take responsibility for themselves, or even a stand."

I agree.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 2:31 PM

Oh goody, another feminazi womyn discussion. Men bad yadayada, women
oppressed yadayada, society prejudiced yadayada. Wake me up when the
leftist pity party is over. YAWN!

Posted by: pATRICK | 20061030 12:10

In conclusion, by your own logic, you are disrespectful.

Not to mention a hypocrit."

I did post this and I was wrong to do so. I was disrespectful and stopped. Changing your mind does not make you a hypocrite, saying one thing and doing another does.
So add this post to your vast stats also.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 2:31 PM

Devil's advocate, I doubt that the rules will change to allow junk cars, pink paint, etc.

As far as Patrick goes, he is practicing his freedom to live where he wants and I think that the anger directed at people who live in HOA neighborhoods is a little bit ridicules. Not that you are angry, I am talking about the other guy.
.

Posted by: scarry | May 24, 2007 02:14 PM

While you may doubt it (I do to), it is still possible. The real issue to me is change in the other direction. I would think that the HOAs would only get more restricive rather than less.

I have no issue with others living as they wish, but I hope the trend of HOAs doesn't get to the point where living without one is not possible.

I know pATRICK is practicing his freedom, and I hope he is happy with his HOA for as long as he lives in his house. I just like to (try to) figure out how and why people think and beleive what they do.

Posted by: devils advocate | May 24, 2007 2:34 PM

Wow--I really don't know where I stand on the HOA debate. On the one hand, I hate cookie-cutter communities where every house looks alike, and you have to go through fifty winding side roads to get to the house--the kind of subdivision that thrives around Gaithersburg and Germantown. I once moved into a house because it was adobe and painted a terra-cotta color among the other brick facade vinyl siding houses. I wouldn't want someone to tell me I have to install curtains when I want blinds. I learned a lot about cars when my (step)dad was teaching me how to fix them.

On the other hand, I have seen enough high-heel-wearing leg and welded chain mailbox stands to know that some regulation can be a good thing in maintaining one's property value.

I guess it's a good thing I won't be a homeowner for a very long time.

Posted by: Mona | May 24, 2007 2:34 PM

A guy in my old neighborhood parked his bunch of junker cars on the street. One morning he comes out and discovers someone's superglued all the car-door locks, so he phones the police to complain, and tries to press charges against the tenant in the house he'd parked in front of. No evidence, no witnesses, no case. It wasn't me, but the rest of us neighbors wished we'd all had the balls to do it.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 2:34 PM

Jen S.,

It may seem that way to you, but that's because you've never been a neighbor having to get a town government to address a problem. Unless the puppies are being neglected, the puppy mill owner is not violating the law. Towns are strapped for employees and resources, too. Some respond more promptly then others.

There was a resident in an adjacent town who raised sheep on his 1/2 acre property in the middle of downtown. He also permitted the sheep the roam of his residence. He had old bones, carcasses and waste on his property. Since 2000, the city received dozens of complaints about flies, noise and the stench of feces. His neighbors called the city when there were 10 sheep. Nothing happened. They called the city when there were 20+ sheep. No action. The city officials said the homeowner had not violated a law. Finally, in March of this year,when the quantity rose to more than 80 sheep, police and animal control officers did something. They removed all the sheep and condemned the home. Thirty of the sheep were so neglected they had to be euthanized.

Meanwhile, the neighbors couldn't enjoy their properties for the stench. If you're relying on local government to timely address property rights disputes, good luck.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 2:34 PM

to Megan that's just not true with all people. I had idiots speeding through my neighborhood, so I called the cops. The neighbor's dog broke his chain and he wouldn't come to me so I had to call animal control for his safety. The neighbors were not home at the time. Really, if you need to call the HOA for things like this and a few pieces of trash, I agree that you have a problem. But, not all people who live in these subdivisions are like that.

And no, I didn't confront the speeders myself because I don't want to get into a fist fight with an idiot who does 50 in an area full of kids and pets. Sometimes you just can't talk to people.

Posted by: scarry | May 24, 2007 2:35 PM

Dr. Laura Suspends Calif. Newspaper Column
Thursday, May 24, 2007; Page C08
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/23/AR2007052301798.html

Laura Schlessinger -- the tough-talking radio relationship counselor known as "Dr. Laura" -- is taking a break from the column she writes for a California newspaper, after another paper reported that her soldier son is under investigation for posting what an Army officer described as a "repulsive" Web page.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported over the weekend that Army officials were looking into Deryk Schlessinger's MySpace page, which featured cartoon images of rape, murder and child molestation; racial epithets; and stories of drug use. The 21-year-old is stationed in Afghanistan, the paper reported Saturday.

The next day his mother said she would suspend her column in the Santa Barbara News-Press.

The Tribune article was written by reporter Matthew LaPlante, who last week was under assault by Dr. Laura fans for a previous story they thought made her look bad -- one in which he quoted the radio talker blasting soldiers' wives for "whining," and declaring that "warriors need warrior wives."

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 2:37 PM

Mako you are right-- I just don't care what color my neighbor paints their house so it didn't occur to me to see that as a reason to opt for HOA over non-HOA. Abandoned cars and puppy mills bother me more than ugly paint-- but htat is just me. And, luckily enough, I've never nad reason to complain about my neighbor's paint choice. (knock on wood!)

We are looking forward to spending Monday at Glen echo or Watkins Park-- never been to either. Any opinion on which is better with a 3 year old?

Posted by: Jen s. | May 24, 2007 2:38 PM

We installed speed "humps" to slow speeders down. We are lucky as our neighborhood has one way in and one way out (altho not so lucky when a tree fell and blocked the one street on a Sat am) so we don't get much traffic other than residents. Even so, there are speeders and stop sign runners. The concern is the children who are walking to a bus in the dark.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 2:39 PM

The speed limit sign in my in-laws HOA community in Florida is 12 1/2.

Really.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 24, 2007 2:41 PM

A guy in my old neighborhood parked his bunch of junker cars on the street. One morning he comes out and discovers someone's superglued all the car-door locks, so he phones the police to complain, and tries to press charges against the tenant in the house he'd parked in front of. No evidence, no witnesses, no case. It wasn't me, but the rest of us neighbors wished we'd all had the balls to do it.

Posted by: | May 24, 2007 02:34 PM

No matter where you stand on HOAs, vandalizing someones property (no matter how junky it appears to you), should never be applauded.

Posted by: devils advocate | May 24, 2007 2:41 PM

Vegas Mom,
That is funny. I think ours is 15.
We had a terrible accident a few years ago. Young girl on a cell phone was coming down the hill much faster than she should. She swerved into the other lane and smashed into a car going up the hill and spun it around and into two parked cars.
The girl on the phone then took out a light pole, small tree, three more cars and actually moved a large SUV over an entire parking space.
This is why we put in the speed humps.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 2:45 PM

pATRICK, I believe you, and the feeling is mutual. I respect you and your opinions, regardless of whether they are similar to mine. :)

Posted by: Mona | May 24, 2007 2:46 PM

KLB SS MD |

Were they expensive? I need to do something about the speeders. The cops can't be up here all the time. It is an accident waiting to happen.

Posted by: scarry | May 24, 2007 2:47 PM

No matter where you stand on HOAs, vandalizing someones property (no matter how junky it appears to you), should never be applauded.

I agree, Devil's Advocate. If a teenager had done that, I bet there would have been cries of "vandalism!" and a curfew implemented.

I may have overlooked pATRICK's answer amidst all the postings, would he put a lien on the woman's home if she had moved her Darfur sign to her window?

Anyone know (in case pATRICK has gone out to mow his lawn)?

Posted by: feeding frenzy | May 24, 2007 2:47 PM

No matter where you stand on HOAs, vandalizing someones property (no matter how junky it appears to you), should never be applauded.

I agree, Devil's Advocate. If a teenager had done that, I bet there would have been cries of "vandalism!" and a curfew implemented.

I may have overlooked pATRICK's answer amidst all the postings, would he put a lien on the woman's home if she had moved her Darfur sign to her front window?

Anyone know (in case pATRICK has gone out to mow his lawn)?

Posted by: feeding frenzy | May 24, 2007 2:48 PM

No matter where you stand on HOAs, vandalizing someones property (no matter how junky it appears to you), should never be applauded.

Posted by: devils advocate | May 24, 2007 02:41 PM


Killjoy.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 2:48 PM

We put in 5 on various parts of the roads. It was a couple of thousand for the five but I think they are worth it. They are not the speed "bumps" you see in parking lots where you almost need to stop to go over them. These are wider and not as high but partly do the trick.
You occasionally hear a thud as someone bounces too hard.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 2:49 PM

Sorry for the double-posting.

I find it really sad about Schlessinger's son, as that is truly an appalling thing to do. Still, she's been chucking stones at everyone for so long, it's nice to see her glass tower shattered. From within, no less.

Posted by: feeding frenzy | May 24, 2007 2:51 PM

"they weren't instituted by the residents on their own."

Actually, some of them are. Homeowners can, and do, vote to agree to restrictive covenants and record them on their deeds - this was how many of the racially restrictive covenants were put into place as far back as 1911.

About 5 years ago the homeowners in my aunt's neighborhood outside of DC tried to get restrictive covenants and an HOA in place too.

Though I agree that at least out here, that is by far the exception and not the rule.

Posted by: Megan | May 24, 2007 2:52 PM

Off-topic, how do you cure a sore throat? There are lots of things I can handle, but I am a total baby about sore throats. Sore throat spray and tea don't work, coffee and lozenges only work temporarily, ice cream works but has too many calories to keep eating. Should I just give up, drug myself with Nyquil and sleep it off?

Posted by: Mona | May 24, 2007 2:52 PM

KLB -- I've never been able to figure out if the 12 1/2 speed limit is a joke or just an extreme-HOA. I suspect the latter, unfortunately, as I know the HOA Board members there cruise around the neighborhood on their golf carts watching for violations. My in-law's neighbor got slapped with a big fine because they had a motor home parked in front of their house for 2 days (the horror!). Their kids were visiting while on a road trip. If the complainer had taken the time to talk to his/her neighbor, or the folks with the visiting kids in the motor home had told his neighbors what to expect, a lot of animosity could have been avoided.

I just wish people would calm down and communicate. I can see the sense in a lot of the basic HOA rules. But they seem to give a certain personality-type the freedom to run amuck.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 24, 2007 2:53 PM

"Many common CC&Rs have an anti-blue-collar air about them, such as prohibitions against chain-link fences and pickup trucks with campers or commercial signs ("Joe Bob's Plumbing") on them. Many affluent developments require all new houses to be of a minimum size and may even specify a minimum allowable construction cost."

There's nothing "anti-blue-collar" about my neighborhood. It was built in the mid-80s. Approx. 50% of the residents are original owners or their kids. Blue collar workers like to use a neighborhood pool, too. There are many commercial vehicles in the various driveways. Household incomes range from $80K to $400K.

If one buys into an "affluent development", there's economic homogeneity regardless of whether there's an HOA. Economic diversity can coexist with an HOA. It can't coexist with a neighborhood in which housing prices bottom out at $750,000.

My HOA is fine. I've heard of others which are awful.

oh, and to devil's advocate who insists that covenants can change over time, they can't. They run with the title to your house. They are what they are and are established when the developer sells the initial housing stock. If the implementation changes, run the bums out. It's pretty simple, actually. At the end of the day, there's zero risk that you'll buy in to a neighborhood with a relaxed record of HOA management and end up in totalitarian he*l.

Posted by: MN | May 24, 2007 2:53 PM

Funny appliance on porch story that happened in the confusion of everyone trying to get home after the Sept. 11 attack:


At 11:00 pm, Gore's phone rang. It was Clinton, who'd been flown home by U.S. military transport. He told Gore that Bush was sending a plane in the morning to take him to the National Cathedral. "Why don't you stop off in Chappaqua and spend the night with me?" Clinton asked. "That would be great," said Gore. When he got there, Clinton was awake, waiting for him outside. Due to renovations, there was a refrigerator on the porch. "Al arrives at about 3:30 in the morning," Clinton remembered, "sees the refrigerator on the porch, and the first thing he says is, 'I see you've managed to bring a little bit of Arkansas to New York.'"

Posted by: Marian | May 24, 2007 2:53 PM

We put in 5 on various parts of the roads. It was a couple of thousand for the five but I think they are worth it. They are not the speed "bumps" you see in parking lots where you almost need to stop to go over them. These are wider and not as high but partly do the trick.
You occasionally hear a thud as someone bounces too hard.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 02:49 PM

Are these private roads?

If not, is it legal for you (anyone) place speed bumps on public property?

No snark intended, just curious.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 2:54 PM

Lots of water, tincture of time. Sorry about that. Unless you have access to lidocaine spray. The good stuff. Got a friend in the medical or veterinary profession?

Posted by: to Mona | May 24, 2007 2:54 PM

Private road belonging to HOA/community.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 2:55 PM

"Now the cars are parked parallel and frequently overflow to in front of our home. I suppose I could call the city about that, but I'm not interested in getting my neighbors another parking ticket."

Someone could actually get a ticket for parking in front of someone else's home? Wow. Is there assigned parking (HOA)? It sounds like a public street since the city was involved.

BTW, I formerly lived in a neighborhood of townhouses with an HOA, but no assigned parking. I was happy because my SIL stressed all the time about where we parked when we visited her (assigned parking) and I didn't want to live that way. Some people have more cars than spaces, some have less, some have visitors, some don't. Walking a half block more is not that big of a deal. I had other neighbors who lobbied the HOA on a regular basis to get assigned parking.

Posted by: just curious | May 24, 2007 2:56 PM

Go to Glen Echo. The carousel is beautiful. I would check their website to make sure the carousel is running. I've never been to Watkins Park so I can't comment on that.

Posted by: To Jen S. | May 24, 2007 2:56 PM

We have one assigned space per home but plenty of overflow parking. Never a problem.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 2:59 PM

"how do you cure a sore throat?"

Give BF a BJ. Your jaw may ache for a few minutes afterwards, but your sore throat will go away.

Posted by: Sound Medical Advice | May 24, 2007 3:01 PM

Wow. Lot of weirdness today, huh?

Glad I skipped to the end to see that there is some question about parks & carousels.

Glen Echo is great for 3 year olds, particularly if the carousel is open. I think it is, and don't forget that there are usually puppet shows and a little light live theater too.

Have fun.

Me? I'm going riding! Hurray!

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 24, 2007 3:04 PM

"how do you cure a sore throat?"

Give BF a BJ. Your jaw may ache for a few minutes afterwards, but your sore throat will go away.

Posted by: Sound Medical Advice | May 24, 2007 03:01 PM

aw, come on BF, just ask her rather than put it out there on the blog, already.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 3:04 PM

oh, and to devil's advocate who insists that covenants can change over time, they can't. They run with the title to your house. They are what they are and are established when the developer sells the initial housing stock. If the implementation changes, run the bums out. It's pretty simple, actually. At the end of the day, there's zero risk that you'll buy in to a neighborhood with a relaxed record of HOA management and end up in totalitarian he*l.

Posted by: MN | May 24, 2007 02:53 PM

Earlier I said I know little about the nuts and bolts of HOAs, which is why I asked pATRICK if they are subject to change.

But what you're saying doesn't make sense, if they run with the title of your house, the implementation can not change. If the implementantion can change, and the only recourse is to "run the bums out", you are at still at the whim of the majority and the risk, however small, of "ending up in totalitarian he*l" is still there.

Posted by: devils advocate | May 24, 2007 3:05 PM

you are at still at the whim of the majority

Who knows? They may show up en masse and vote for pink houses. Or purple. Followed by a oil drum can barbeque of the covenants.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 3:07 PM

We have separate covenants and architectural guidelines. We have made a few changes to the architectural guidelines in the past and are in the process of changing them now to include solar lights along the walkway to the house. They were previously prohibited.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 3:08 PM

Why were solar lights previously prohibited?

Posted by: To KLB | May 24, 2007 3:10 PM

Sound Medical Advice and anon, don't be crude. I was asking a legitimate question. Besides, he's in California.

Posted by: Mona | May 24, 2007 3:11 PM

I think if you like HOAs, you should live in one. If you don't, you shouldn't. End of story. I grew up in a non-HOA neighborhood and many of the things pATRICK (not to single you out) complained about were things we liked.

When we moved in it was almost all brown paint. Later on there's been some yellow, some pink, some blue, and I really like it. It livens up the neighborhood. We lived next door to a rented house which for many years had a loud family with 9 dogs. It was annoying, sure. We never thought of calling the cops on them, it's just something you deal with when you live next to people. I don't know if that counts as puppy mill, it was pretty loud though. The neighbors across the street were pretty into cars and racing. They might have anywhere in the range of five cars parked in and around their house. It didn't look junky, and I thought it was kind of cool that that was their hobby. It was only annoying when it went into the late night when I was trying to sleep on a week night. But still, I never thought of calling the cops or the city, I just dealt. Now the neighbors have a boat parked permanently on the street, but in front of their house. I'm sure this is illegal, and requires a little more maneuvering than usual to park in front of my parents house. But hey, it's in front of their house, so what do we care. All of this adds a little personality to the neighborhood. If I was selling and was concerned about the "value" of my home I might ask my neighbors politely to put away the boat for a couple weeks or put the baby-frying oil vat in the backyard temporarily. People just need to chill out and deal sometimes, HOA or not.

Posted by: Miles | May 24, 2007 3:13 PM

"I still have that 200K and growing that you don't. Not to mention 45 acres."

As if the rest of your comments weren' enough, bragging about how much money you have certifies your status as an insufferable bore.

You wouldn't want to take some of those resources and do some good in the world now, would you?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 3:17 PM

"I still have that 200K and growing that you don't. Not to mention 45 acres."

As if the rest of your comments weren' enough, bragging about how much money you have certifies your status as an insufferable bore.

Nope, a capitalist.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 3:23 PM

I married a nurse so I'll be stuck babysitting my kids over this holiday weekend.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 24, 2007 3:24 PM

But what you're saying doesn't make sense, if they run with the title of your house, the implementation can not change. If the implementantion can change, and the only recourse is to "run the bums out", you are at still at the whim of the majority and the risk, however small, of "ending up in totalitarian he*l" is still there.

Posted by: devils advocate | May 24, 2007 03:05 PM

Devils advocate,

The fact that you don't understand a concept doesn't make it nonsensical.

Covenants are legal documents that cannot change. They are part of your deed.

The covenants provide that they are enforced by the officers of an association. Those officers can change. Homeowners don't show up and "vote" on individual uses requested by property homeowners.

There's zero risk in the real world, but you are free to imagine some risk on some other planet.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 3:24 PM

You wouldn't want to take some of those resources and do some good in the world now, would you?

Posted by: | May 24, 2007 03:17 PM

What makes you think I don't? You're not my accountant, you don't get to see how much I write off for charitable giving.

What makes you so certain that I haven't already made provisions for that money to go to Ducks Unlimited after I die?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 3:25 PM

Mona, it's not crude - really works - but not helpful when he is so far away - I say drink lots of lemon water and continuously suck on either cough drops or hard candies

Posted by: regularnotpostingname | May 24, 2007 3:25 PM

"Stuck" babysitting? What kind of rotten father thinks spending time with his children is being "stuck"? It's not babysitting, it's doing your fair share of child-rearing. Your parental responsibilities didn't end once you ejaculated. Shame on you!!!!!

Posted by: To Father of 4 | May 24, 2007 3:27 PM

Mona,

Try gargling w/ warm salt water and then gargle w/ listerine. After that, drink hot lemon water made by steeping a couple of slices of fresh lemon in boiling water for several minutes.

Don't know if the combined after tastes are just so horrible that I mentally shut off my pain receptors or what, but it works every time for me. This is one of my Mom's home remedies.

Hope you feel better!

Posted by: MAY | May 24, 2007 3:28 PM

The covenants provide that they are enforced by the officers of an association. Those officers can change.

What would happen if there were no one to run for office? Or only those who want fluorescent orange homes, with racing stripes, who were then voted in?

Does anyone know if "painted lady" style Victorians (or "Victorians" for the new homes) would be permitted in the average HOA?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 3:28 PM

"We have separate covenants and architectural guidelines."

Devil's Advocate, this may be the source of your confusion. I believe that in many covenant-restricted neighborhoods, the covenants may state that you have to comply with architectural guidelines and provide the rules for establishing the guidelines, but that actual guidelines would not be in the covenant. So the architectural guidelines can be changed over time according to the established procedure, but the fact that you have to comply with them can't.

MN, does that sound right? I'm not entirely certain but it seems to be what I recall from our deed (but since they expired I didn't look that closely).

Posted by: Megan | May 24, 2007 3:28 PM

painted lady style victorians are very much permitted in our HOA.

Posted by: dotted | May 24, 2007 3:32 PM

It really works?! I always thought that was just a joke! If I were a guy, I'm not sure I'd want my...delicate parts...that close to the infected part of my lover's mouth...

Posted by: Mona | May 24, 2007 3:33 PM

Mona, I second the warm salt-water and hot lemon water (though I can't vouch for the listerine).

A friend recently told me he made hot lemon tea with honey and dissolved a cough drop in it and that did the trick for him.

But going to bed and getting lots of sleep is probably the best thing for you!

And now I'm going to try to sign off for the day - I'm altogether too fascinted by the HOA conversation and need to re-focus! Have a great day, all.

Posted by: Megan | May 24, 2007 3:33 PM

Mona, call a friend

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 3:35 PM

Anyone watch Lou Dobbs last night and hear all about the nice provisions tucked into the immigration bill. Here is a little list in case you missed it:

Free instate tuition
Gang members are also eligible for amnesty
Child tax credit, but they don't have to pay back taxes
American citizens paying for health care in Mexico
American citizens paying for immigration lawyers

It is all here in case you want to read it and cry over how you are going to balance your lives with the higher taxes you are going to have to pay for these services.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0705/23/ldt.01.html


Posted by: off topic | May 24, 2007 3:39 PM

Yeah, 2:34. The sheep guy was in Apex about 5 miles from me. -Sigh- There are some big differences between DC and NC. But I do pass horses, donkeys, alpaca, and goats on the way to work every morning!

Posted by: Meesh | May 24, 2007 3:39 PM

Megan,

That's how ours work, but since real estate law is not remotely an area of expertise, I'll rely on others.

to 3:28, I'd have hoped it would be apparent by now, but there is no average HOA. HOAs reflect community values, just like zoning boards do. What would cause a ruckus here in Cary might not in Potomac or Vegas or Houston. Similarly, maybe paint color's a really big dang deal somewhere else, but it's not here.

We don't care so much about paint or any of the rest, but in my HOA, if you cut a tree down (circumfrence of more than 6" I think), without prior written approval, you are in mighty big trouble. We value most highly our fully grown, healthy trees. I cannot imagine anyone reasonably disagreeing with our HOA's position on that - particularly since they approve reasonable requests to whack 'em on a weekly basis.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 24, 2007 3:39 PM

"Missing a tennis or piano lesson doesn't affect anyone but you and you child..."

Huh? What about the instructor that scheduled the time to be there for you?

Posted by: CJB | May 24, 2007 3:46 PM

"Missing a tennis or piano lesson doesn't affect anyone but you and you child..."

Huh? What about the instructor that scheduled the time to be there for you?

The instructor will still be paid.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 3:54 PM

Is anyone else amazed that someone who has been accepted to law school doesn't know how to treat a sore throat, or relies on a blog for the answer?

Posted by: just wondering | May 24, 2007 3:56 PM

Hi everyone. Been gone awhile. Hope y'all have managed to solve all the world's problems in my absence! :~)

***** Off Topic Alert!! ******

I thought I'd bring in an interesting sideline, since after reading it I wondered what the readers of this forum would say about it. I'll kind of long, so I'll give a few excerpts below, and the link to the full article is at the bottom.
===

"Hard-line feminists such as Seager, Pollitt, Ensler, the university gender theorists, and the NOW activists represent the views of only a tiny fraction of American women. Even among women who identify themselves as feminists (about 25 percent), they are at the radical extreme. But in the academy and in most of the major women's organizations, the extreme is the mean. The hard-liners set the tone and shape the discussion. This is a sad state of affairs. Muslim women could use moral, intellectual, and material support from the West to improve their situation. But only a rational, reality-based women's movement would be capable of actually helping."
...
"Unlike the present American feminist movement, which has no place for traditionally religious women, Islamic feminism is inclusive. Some of its proponents wear the veil, others oppose it. Some want egalitarian mosques, others don't mind traditional arrangements where men and women are separated. Even a few non-Muslims were present. What unites them in feminism is their commitment to the universal dignity of women. They are all vehemently opposed to such practices as forced marriages, honor killings, genital cutting, child marriage, and wife-beating. They are passionately dedicated to the educational, economic, legal, and political advancement of women."
...
"Several of the women she interviewed reject what they see as divisiveness in today's American feminism. As one Iraqi women's advocate, Haifa Abdul Rahman, told her, "We see feminism in America as dividing women from men, separating women from the family. This is bad for everyone." Fernea was not only struck by the family orientation of the women she encountered, she was also awed by their feminine graciousness."
...
"The women who constitute the American feminist establishment today are destined to play little role in the battle for Muslim women's rights. Preoccupied with their own imagined oppression, they can be of little help to others--especially family-centered Islamic feminists. The Katha Pollitts and Eve Enslers, the vagina warriors and university gender theorists--these are women who cannot distinguish between free and unfree societies, between the Taliban and the Promise Keepers, between being forced to wear a veil and being socially pressured to be slender and fit. Their moral obtuseness leads many of them to regard helping Muslim women as "colonialist" or as part of a "hegemonic" "civilizing mission." It disqualifies them as participants in this moral fight."

Link to full article:
===
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/013/641szkys.asp?pg=1
===

Thoughts on the topic, regardless of how one feels about the author??

Call out to all the friends I haven't heard from in awhile...and I hope everyone has a nice Memorial Day!!

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | May 24, 2007 3:56 PM

just wondering -- very good question

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 3:58 PM

The fact that you don't understand a concept doesn't make it nonsensical.

Covenants are legal documents that cannot change. They are part of your deed.

The covenants provide that they are enforced by the officers of an association. Those officers can change. Homeowners don't show up and "vote" on individual uses requested by property homeowners.

There's zero risk in the real world, but you are free to imagine some risk on some other planet.

Posted by: | May 24, 2007 03:24 PM

You are right, I didn't understand it, and as a result of that, it didn't make sense to me. No need to be a-hole about it.

What I understand now is that what is in your deed is that the house falls under control of a body of people to be elected?? under the terms specified in the deed. (kind of like how the constitution sets out the terms for congress) (Or what Megan said at 3:28)

If this is the case, you can tell until you are blue in the face the the risk is zero, but you will still be wrong.

It sounds basically like a demcratic republic, i.e. congress, and we all know how they always vote the way we want it to.

Like I said, many times, I am just trying to understand why people would allow others any control over something as important and personal as their home. It seems to me, that the reason they do this, is that the majority (the people who I assume vote for the officers) is on their side. All I am saying is while that may be true now, it may not be in the future. A totalitarian he11 is not a probability, but your definition of he11 and mine are possibly quite different.

But, whatever floats your boat.

Posted by: devils advocate | May 24, 2007 3:59 PM

Huh? What about the instructor that scheduled the time to be there for you?

Posted by: CJB | May 24, 2007 03:46 PM

I would assume the instructor gets paid whether you show up or not. It has always been that way for us. So you are basically giving him or her an hour off.

Posted by: devils advocate | May 24, 2007 4:02 PM

Thoughts on the topic, regardless of how one feels about the author??

Call out to all the friends I haven't heard from in awhile...and I hope everyone has a nice Memorial Day!!


Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | May 24, 2007 03:56 PM

I didn't know there was a feminist movement. I think the hardliners just get the attention, kind of like radical Islam, we know that's not the norm. However, I'd bet that "mainstream American values" might still be a bit too much for many Muslim women.

Posted by: Miles | May 24, 2007 4:02 PM

"Is anyone else amazed that someone who has been accepted to law school doesn't know how to treat a sore throat, or relies on a blog for the answer?

Posted by: just wondering | May 24, 2007 03:56 PM "

Lawyers (and especially law students) are a dime a dozen; it doesn't take a genius to get in. Jerry Falwell has (had) his OWN law school, and I don't see him winning any Nobel prizes.

And if you noticed, I've already tried all the home remedies mentioned here, to no avail. Except the naughty one, and well, that's not something I can help right now. ;-)

I also don't know how to operate a jet engine. Is my admission revoked?

Posted by: Mona | May 24, 2007 4:04 PM

How's the smoking ban coming?

Posted by: To Texas Dad of 2 | May 24, 2007 4:05 PM

sounds good mona!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 4:06 PM

Texas dad of 2 nice to see you. I was starting to worry you got tired of us all.

Posted by: scarry | May 24, 2007 4:08 PM

"Lawyers (and especially law students) are a dime a dozen; it doesn't take a genius to get in"

It seems to me that you were pretty worried about being accepted.

Posted by: to mona | May 24, 2007 4:11 PM

Interesting that you should ask. I had a temporary setback on that front.

I got it through a first reading, and then the forces of evil rose up while I was absent and defeated it. <:~(

Trust me, this isn't the end of the story...

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | May 24, 2007 4:12 PM

Hi scarry!! Missed ya...

And no. I'd just been both busy and taken over by sports lately. My SA Spurs are still going strong, and I've been on other blogs/forums listening to folks like the Phoenix Suns fans cry and whine over the cosmic injustices of it all...

Anyone else following the NBA much right now?

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | May 24, 2007 4:16 PM

"What kind of rotten father thinks spending time with his children is being "stuck"?"

Swingset Rodeo

This is a game I play with my kids that may contribute to the reason why my sticky kids love their rotten father so much. I can get them laughing hysterically for a full solid continuous minute, which is longer than many thrill rides at the amusement park. This is how to play:

1. Have the child sit on the swing.
2. Grab both chains about 2 to 3 feet from the bottom.
3. Give the chains a little "starter" jerk.
4. Say "HOLD TIGHT!" then ask "ARE YOU READY???"
5. Wait for them to give you the OK.
6. Shake them a little. Then give them a harder jerk by pulling back on the chains about a foot or so then letting go. Throw a few twists and turns in
7. Gradually increase the intensity until they can't hold on any longer and fall out.
8. Next kid's turn.

Swingset Rodeo, the game that's great fun! (until somebody gets hurt)

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 24, 2007 4:17 PM

Well, I'm late to the party, but the comments about how people manage weekends were great. Also, the sidebar on xeriscaping. My husband is determined to transform our property into a waterlessly lush growth. As a result, our yard looks like crap, but I don't care. We do seem to have the lawn Olympics going on (yes, I live in an HOA neighborhood), but I am happy to be a bystander. Thankfully, most of our yard (corner lot) is wooded.

A few other comments: someone (atb or atlmom, maybe) mentioned CSA boxes w/organic veggies. This is our first year with that and I am a changed person. I may never be able to eat a salad at a restaurant again. I'm also cooking all kinds of neat things (got to get rid of that kale!) and I'm really excited to try the hakurei? turnips tomorrow.

Also, atlmom, congrats and good luck on the au pair. We say goodbye to our current one in July -- right after we say hello to our new one. Both great girls. I've really enjoyed the experience, though it hasn't been perfect.

Finally, on the subject of weekend stuff, I do as much as I can during the week, and not nearly as much as I should during the weekend, and I've lowered my standards incredibly. And now that summer's almost here, it will get worse, because we spend the weekends on the lake on our boat. But what a life! I'd rather be on the boat than at home painting or reflooring the kitchen. (Those things never seem to make the food I cook there taste better anyway!)

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 24, 2007 4:22 PM

Hey Texas Dad! I was getting a little worried about you, glad to see you back.

Just a small hint though: If you want to discuss an off-topic issue, we have pretty much gotten in the habit of jumping the shark before noon nowadays.

Hear from you all later. My 4 day weekend begins in 5 minutes!

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 24, 2007 4:31 PM

It really works?! I always thought that was just a joke! If I were a guy, I'm not sure I'd want my...delicate parts...that close to the infected part of my lover's mouth...

Posted by: Mona | May 24, 2007 03:33 PM

Not that there was any doubt, but this proves you're not a guy. ;)

Posted by: devils advocate | May 24, 2007 4:31 PM

MN,
We don't have to ask permission to cut down a tree but there are a few things we can't plant (bamboo is the only one I can think of off the top of my head). The idiot builder (who went out of business) built the houses with FRT plywood on the roofs and polybutalyne(sp) pipes that burst in basements planted Bradford pear trees in front of townhouses. Not only are they relatively fragile when they get big but they get huge.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 4:32 PM

Shout out - Happy Memorial Day Weekend to Texas Dad of 2!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 4:35 PM

"baby-frying oil vat"

LOL, more cannibal neighbors.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 24, 2007 4:37 PM

To atlmom: Congrats on the new au pair arriving tomorrow. Don't forget to say to her, "Bem vinda aos Estados Unidos"!

Never lived anywhere with an HOA, but agree with those who point out that no one is forced to live where there is one, and some issues should either be handled neighbor-to-neighbor or (if there's a serious enough legal infraction) by calling the police.

Xeriscaping is not just a political correctness issue -- not that there's anything wrong with conserving water and saving money. It's also easier to try to grow plants that are naturally-adapted to one's climate/soil, instead of trying to fight nature, and your chances of success are greater. Some parts of the country go for months without significant rainfall, so xeriscaping is well-suited there.

Consult my post at 9:04 AM re "life-challenged" animals.

Posted by: catlady | May 24, 2007 4:37 PM

No, no, KLB, it should be "Happy Memorial Day Weekend to Y'ALL, Texas Dad of 2!"

Posted by: catlady | May 24, 2007 4:41 PM

"Is anyone else amazed that someone who has been accepted to law school doesn't know how to treat a sore throat, or relies on a blog for the answer?

Posted by: just wondering | May 24, 2007 03:56 PM "

I'm amazed that you think anyone should be omniscient, let alone law school students.

I'm puzzled that you consider tossing a question into the lion's den otherwise known as this blog commits someone to relying on the resulting response.

Really, you're stretching for a reason to insult her here. If you feel the desparate need to insult Mona, hasn't she given you better reasons than this?

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 24, 2007 4:42 PM

"planted Bradford pear trees in front of townhouses. Not only are they relatively fragile when they get big but they get huge. "


Mine died and the HOA said to get rid of it. My wife and kids set up chairs so they could watch my paul bunyan act. They were very entertained.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 4:46 PM

To whoevere was talking !out the 12 1/2 speed limit-someone once said to me that strange speed limits are there to make you stop and think (I was working offsite on another divisions property and their speed limit was 8). He said if it was something like 15 you would barely notice, but with a number you don't often see you might slow down and notice.

Posted by: atlmom | May 24, 2007 4:48 PM

To pATRICK: Did they take picture, or video, for the familiy record?

Posted by: catlady | May 24, 2007 4:50 PM

pATRICK --

Watching the neighbors can be very entertaining. I know a lot of families on our street (us included) look forward to the days when our neighbor acress the street returns from vacation with their enormous 5th wheel. Watching him and his wife negotiate parking the thing (and yes, they have RV parking on the side of their house) is hilarious. Lots of arm-waving and arguing.

Our little guilty pleasure.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 24, 2007 4:53 PM

To pATRICK: Did they take picture, or video, for the familiy record?

No, but they laughed their A$$ES off! We then took it to the dump in a trailer with me riding in the trailer with the tree. Very dignified-NOT!!!! LOL

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 4:53 PM

That should be:

To pATRICK: Did they take pictures, or video, for the family record?

Posted by: catlady | May 24, 2007 4:55 PM

I am lucky enough to have a magnolia tree which doesn't get so big. Many people have replaced the pears with beautiful japanese maples - they are so elegant.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 4:55 PM

KLB -- I love love love Japanese maples. Unfortunately, they are too thirsty for the desert.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 24, 2007 4:57 PM

"Texas dad of 2 nice to see you. I was starting to worry you got tired of us all.

Posted by: scarry | May 24, 2007 04:08 PM "

Some of us, on the other hand, were thrilled that he'd left.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 4:59 PM

"People just need to chill out and deal sometimes, HOA or not.

Posted by: Miles | May 24, 2007 03:13 PM "

Miles, you are 25 ish and this is your first home? This "charm" will wear thin in time I promise.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 5:01 PM

I secretly hoped that my magnolia would die so I could plant one but it is doing fine so far.
We hired an arborist to go thru the neighborhood in order to check on trees on the common areas. We arranged for him to give on-the-spot estimates for free for the homeowners while he was here. Win win situation for all. He got some business and the homeowners got a volume discount.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 5:02 PM

Only proving what an @$$-hat you are.

Posted by: To 4:59 | May 24, 2007 05:02 PM

is that the best you can do?

maybe 4:59 was weary of Texas Dad of 2's habit of coming back only to copy and paste long-winded off-topic current events articles into this blog whether or not it's jumped the shark. If a blogger first joins the existing conversation, changing the topic doesn't as often come across as self-involved.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 5:16 PM

"People just need to chill out and deal sometimes, HOA or not.

Posted by: Miles | May 24, 2007 03:13 PM "

Miles, you are 25 ish and this is your first home? This "charm" will wear thin in time I promise.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 24, 2007 05:01 PM

Not mine, was referring to childhood. I live in the most overinflated housing market so will take a little bit more time before we can purchase, even as dual income college educated no kids couple. So was living with that "charm" for about 16 years growing up. Now I get apartment charm. There's kind of an HOA, that gets ignored, and everyone's really close together. So when the college students are partying past 11 on a week night or the neighbor is watching something with really deep bass...I just deal. Practicing for later I suppose.

Posted by: Miles | May 24, 2007 5:41 PM

Okay I mispelled some stuff and the grammar was bad there. Please disregard and pretend I used spellcheck/grammar check on my blog comment. Thanks.

Posted by: Miles | May 24, 2007 5:44 PM

Can someone tell me ...

What is "jumping the shark"?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 5:45 PM

"Jumping the shark is a metaphor that was originally used to denote the tipping point at which a TV series is deemed by a viewer to have passed its peak, or has introduced plot twists that are illogical in terms of everything that has preceded them. Once a show has "jumped the shark," the viewer senses a noticeable decline in quality or feels the show has undergone too many changes to retain its original charm. The term has also evolved to describe other areas of pop culture, including movie series, music, acting celebrities, or authors for whom a drastic change was seen as the beginning of the end. Some have broadened its use to simply describe any decline in appeal for the subject in question, without requiring a significant "jump the shark" moment. The term derives from an episode of Happy Days, where Fonzie jumped over a shark on water skis."

Posted by: look it up on Wikipedia next time | May 24, 2007 5:49 PM

Well,

Glad to see some of you are still in good spirits. Wish I had infinite time to devote to the blog, oh unsigned poster, but oh well.

Anyway, on the topic I posted earlier, I thought it would be interesting to have someone like Leslie give an opinion of how the current movement has kind of either let women's rights languish outside US shores as a policy, or either have let multiculturalism paralyze them into saying that all outcomes are equally good, and no standards deserve being upheld as universal considering rights for women.

And giving a call out with a "y'all" certainly makes me feel right back at home. :~)

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | May 24, 2007 5:50 PM

"Posted by: look it up on Wikipedia next time May 24, 2007 05:49 PM"

Why should I, when everybody's using it here? What possible reason could I have for looking up what appears to be an obscure, in-group bit of slang?

Next time, just answer the question. Or ignore it.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 5:54 PM

Tedious Texas guy --

If you want to introduce topics for discussion, you should start your own blog. Or at least write a guest column for this one.

Hijacking the blog daily in the way you do is just rude -- a real "look at me" demand for attention.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 5:58 PM

Well, the snarkiness I don't miss much. That seems to be the one constant that hasn't missed a beat. Not that I blame you, 5:54...

Any massive changes gone on here in the last month or two?

And what is the tool that I see listed on WaPo now? Is it useful?

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | May 24, 2007 6:01 PM

Posted by: look it up on Wikipedia next time May 24, 2007 05:49 PM"

Why should I, when everybody's using it here? What possible reason could I have for looking up what appears to be an obscure, in-group bit of slang?

Next time, just answer the question. Or ignore it.

Posted by: | May 24, 2007 05:54 PM

What possible reason? because you were curious and didn't know the answer. Or did you think wasting someone else's time was a better approach?

Ignorance, rudeness and ingratitude - you hit the trifecta, Queen Bee.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 6:10 PM

Or 5:58, if you can get past your own massive coolness, let me offer you an alternative possibility.

Perhaps what I offer is call for discussion from an audience, where I either think they could find the topic interesting/useful, or I desire to get a pulse from this group in a specific issue that interests me. Is that concept particularly had to grasp?

Outside yourself, there are others who have occasionally thought that the topics I bring in are of interest. I post for them, and for me. Not for anonymous posters

Frankly, feel free to blow past any of my future postings. Unless snarking is just your forte.

If however, you think obnoxiousness is the way to make me leave, let me just warn you that I tend to be stubborn, and go where I feel like being. Ugliness from anonymous posters doesn't tend to accomplish too much with me...

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | May 24, 2007 6:10 PM

hey tex, it might play better if you came up with some stuff that didn't seem so calculated to stir up a fight about men against women or how awful feminists are as all your recent topics have. I mean this sincerely. I like you and your posts but we've just seen this topic so many times here its getting weird.

Posted by: not the troll | May 24, 2007 6:22 PM

Wish I had infinite time to devote to the blog, oh unsigned poster, but oh well.

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | May 24, 2007 05:50 PM


It doesn't take infinite time to join a conversation before turning it to the topic of your choice, unless you are in the habit of walking into a party, picking a random group, elbowing your way in mid-conversation and interrupting them, by saying, "Have you heard about Paris Hilton's reduced sentence?" On the internet, your behavior is akin to posting on Weingarten's blog whether anyone has an opinion on how to fix a broken commode, or commenting on the On Faith blog about the virtues of growing turnips. A little more consideration to go with the stubborness might make you less of a dull, self-involved boy. Or not.

Courtesy does not take infinite time.


Posted by: I have a name. I do! I do! | May 24, 2007 6:26 PM

Well, okay.

I guess I could ask the guys I hang out with about it, but feminist related topics seem to make me think of this forum. Does that seem overly "weird"?

I don't expect everyone (even anyone) to agree with all the things I post, but I have on occasion received back some interesting feedback from this group that made me see things in a new way. Or that were just good overall rebuttals.

If people don't feel like engaging on a topic, then they don't. I truly am not try to stir up beehives, which you are seeming to suggest--I just enjoy good topics discussed where they are most passionately cared about/appropriate.

I also don't post women's rights issues in the NBA blogs. Would y'all prefer a conversation about the Spurs here? That works for me too... :~)

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | May 24, 2007 6:39 PM

What's the NBA?

Posted by: In da 'Burgh | May 24, 2007 6:42 PM

Just kiddin'. We know what the NBA is, we just don't have it here, so there's very little interest.

Posted by: In da 'Burgh | May 24, 2007 6:44 PM

atlmom- Boo for calling 911 because contractors were out early. This is your idea of an emergency? You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You'd better hope that's the biggest emergency you have in life, because ridiculous calls like that tie up the lines. That was idiotic at best. And I mean every bit of disgust in my blog tone. That was a seriously entitled move.

Posted by: atb | May 24, 2007 6:46 PM

"Unlike the present American feminist movement, which has no place for traditionally religious women, . . ."

Texas Dad of 2,

With all due respect, any article that includes the above unfounded statement isn't worth my time. I've never identified any point of conflict between my traditional religious beliefs and practice and contemporary feminist thought, theory, and practice.

Good to see you back, if you're back.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 24, 2007 6:46 PM

>A little more consideration to go with the stubborness might make you less of a dull, self-involved boy. Or not.

Courtesy does not take infinite time.

Posted by: I have a name. I do! I do! | May 24, 2007 06:26 PM
======================

Hmm. A point in there, I suppose. Luckily for you, no one else on this blog pursues tangents, interrups conversations, or exhibits poor manners.

I do suppose you are the annointed one in choosing when I've been posting (leisurely) long enough, have exhibited the apporpriate manners, and now have to right to go off on a tangent or ask a question.

So please do let me know when I have the option to speak then, okay?

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | May 24, 2007 6:48 PM

So please do let me know when I have the option to speak then, okay?

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | May 24, 2007 06:48 PM

You can drip with as much sarcasm as you like, of course, but it seemed as though you might think the problem is your opinions or politics. It's not.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 6:54 PM

Tex, I understand why you would choose this forum for those topics. Its good that you are interested in them I think. Its just dropping in out of nowhere comes across kind of like, hey I know, I'll go stir up a fight over there. That's not what you're about, I just think that's why it didn't come off right. Now what about those Spurs?

Posted by: not the troll | May 24, 2007 6:56 PM

MN,

Fair enough. It has a fair amount of dogma, no doubt. I hope to be back more regularly over the holiday time and through June, as the family is going to SA and I should be able to respond more.

What I thought interesting was the idea that many movement feminists have seemed to have allowed what should be considered unniversal women's values to fall to the wayside. Not sure how I felt about the concept, how it would be rebutted, and what if anything should be done differently. Is multiculturism run amok, or simply lack of concern beyond our bailiwick the real culprit?

Sorry, anon, I had meant to wait for your approval before posting. Maybe next time...but don't worry. I'm sure I'll remain plenty dull in your eyes. Hopefully that counts for something...

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | May 24, 2007 6:57 PM

Okay, I take the last paragraph back...truce. It sure stinks not to be able to do stuff real time, and then you are positng a previous sentiment.

As for the Spurs, they have undergone a massive transformation in the NBA world.

More in a second...

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | May 24, 2007 7:01 PM

We don't have an HOA (the neighborhood next to us does and they are a nightmare). But let me tell you, according to city ordinance, you still can't have a clunker on your lawn, run a business that's a nuisance to your neighbors, etc. We did call 911 when our neighbor's contractor was out early on a sat since it is illegal.

Posted by: atlmom | May 24, 2007 02:23 PM

atb, I second your disgust. Using 911 to complain about violation of a local ordinance is beyond the pale.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 7:01 PM

I had meant to ask, have any particularly unusual events/topics gone on of late? Or have specifics regulars had any major happenings?

Would have helped to have sent this over first by way of reintroduction, but I had the other cut and pasted and ready to get into the topic stream before it got too terribly late in the day.

That idea worked out particulary well...I guess sometimes being an Engineer that has the habit of getting right to the point at hand isn't overly useful. Sports blogging is rather of that variety as well.

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | May 24, 2007 7:09 PM

Not sure where you all are but here there is a non-emergency number for the county police. I know because I have had to use it many times. They do respond. A homeowner called me because the house next to theirs was empty and then the door and windows were wide open for two days. They weren't comfortable going inside (I chose not to either) so I called the non-emergency number and they came over within an hour or so and checked the house.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 7:10 PM

But I am (re)trainable... :~)

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | May 24, 2007 7:11 PM

Texas Dad of 2
sit - lie down - stay you old dog.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 7:13 PM

TDo2 --

All the pregnant ladies are still pregnant.

Fred still posts the Cultural Tidbit of the Day.

Chris still writes song parodies.

The sharks still swim through almost every day.

The carnivores and vegetarians/vegans still have an occasional scuffle.

Mona isn't married yet and has decided to go to law school in California.

The trolls are still . . . . trolls.

I'm sure I've missed something.

Welcome back.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 24, 2007 7:14 PM

For God's sake considering that we talk about eveything from blow jobs to the HOA, I think you all outta leave texas dad of two alone.

Posted by: scarry | May 24, 2007 7:15 PM

Oh and I had to call the non-emergency number one time because a deer got hit when I was coming home from the shady grove metro and he was still alive suffering in the middle of the road. That is what they have those numbers for.

Posted by: scarry | May 24, 2007 7:17 PM

ahhuhhh..haahhh..hahhh..

{..panting, with tongue hanging...sitting back on haunches...}

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | May 24, 2007 7:18 PM

Good boy - here's a cookie. Beg! Paw! Roll over - here's another cookie.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 7:20 PM

The only time I have called 911 is when my car was stolen from in front of my house at 3am. I was awake and heard a car start. I thought "that sounds like my car". I looked outside and saw my car drive away - and I wasn't in it. I called 911 only so that they might have a chance of catching them.
No such luck. They found it the next night, abandoned and out of gas - ignition punched.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 7:23 PM

Thanks, Vegas and scarry.

Yeah, I definitely have to see if I can get the sore throat remedy to fly at home. My spouse has had tonsils removed and sore throats are therefore an extreme rarity. That's if I can get past the icky concept, that is. But once you've been married as long as I, you sometimes have to resort to whatever you can to keep spouse interested in that "chore". What is it about a wedding band that makes that go from fun to being a "chore", anyway?? Hmm...

BTW, did they put the deer out of it's misery, or where you already gone by then?

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | May 24, 2007 7:27 PM

Texas Dad of 2,
Maybe the first problem is that you give the impression that it is a "chore" :-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 24, 2007 7:29 PM

KLB,

Okay, but if I have to beg, you're going to have to make it something worth begging for...

(Note previous posting... ;~)

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | May 24, 2007 7:31 PM

K,

In all fairness, I suspect that she (like many?) always considered it a chore, she just hid that sentiment extremely well before marriage.

I guess such things become sterotypes for a reason. ...Sigh...

It doesn't seem fair. For most guys, the reverse situation isn't considered a chore. I know it isn't for me...

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | May 24, 2007 7:37 PM

Sorry. I keep forgetting how many pregnant Mommies we have on here, who may or may not be interested in this subject route.

Heading out shortly anyway...

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | May 24, 2007 7:40 PM

"I guess such things become sterotypes for a reason. ...Sigh..."

Nope. Depends on the girl.

It's not icky for me, or any of my mid 40s, married girlfriends. Our husbands wouldn't have been attracted to gameplayers, which is the category in which I'd put women who conceal their true feelings about oral sex.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2007 8:00 PM

Workingmomx: It was me with the CSA. We are loving it - although we can't always eat the food and then we realize: ack! We're getting more tomorrow. What are we going to do?
We're trying new things, and I never thought I'd be okay with finding bugs on my food, but that stuff isn't bothering me at all. Shows you that even the organic stuff at whole foods, etc, are processed in some ways (there are holes in some of our foods - stuff I wouldn't see at a supermarket).

Yes, we're SO ready for the au pair to arrive. :)

Posted by: atlmom | May 24, 2007 8:35 PM

atlmom, I just looked up the Portuguese for "au pair" in a English-Portuguese dictionary -- and it's "au pair." I could never make that up ;-) Best of luck tomorrow!

Posted by: catlady | May 24, 2007 8:50 PM

atb:

I don't know about where you live, but we are told to call 911 EVERY TIME we want to contact the police. Every single time. Even if it's something that happened two days ago that I need to report. EVERY TIME. The police tell us that, the civic association tells us that, the city council people tell us that.

If you want to report anything *anything* and need to speak with the police - call 911 - not the local precinct.

That's why I called 911. We are told to by everyone.

Posted by: atlmom | May 24, 2007 8:53 PM

Catlady:

Thanks! She just called and she said she is nervous.
I guess while it might be a little strange for us to have a stranger living in our house, for her, she is moving to a strange country where she doesn't really know the language and doesn't know anyone. So I guess for her it might make even more reason for her to be nervous...but I think we're all really excited.

Posted by: atlmom | May 24, 2007 8:59 PM

To atlmom: Wouldn't you think it odd if she weren't nervous? Ditto for y'all, too.

Posted by: catlady | May 24, 2007 9:17 PM

catlady: of course- we all should be. And once I look at it from her perspective - I feel like: hey, why should we be nervous at all - compared to what she's going through. That's more what I was thinkin...

Oh, and with the vegetarian discussion yesterday...

I used to fly a lot - and always order the vegetarian meal (since I don't eat meat). so I'd get these pretty nice meals (beans/rice/veggies/ whatever). Then for dessert it would be something like ... an apple? Well, ya know - I wanted the cheesecake like everyone else! (I always order ovo-lacto). Of course, they don't serve food anymore, but...

I mean - just cause you don't eat meat - doesn't mean you eat HEALTHY.

Posted by: atlmom | May 24, 2007 9:23 PM

You all are still on? Well, I am bored too. Yes texas dad of two, the officers were on their way and they had to put the poor thing down. I couldn't stick around to see it though.

And the chore thing, honey, my poor husband is about ready to lock me in a room. My hormones are out of control. Anyway, I am sure that your wife doesn't think it is a chore. You just have to find the right trigger to make her happy. She is also probably tired from raising kids, working, etc.

Posted by: scarry | May 24, 2007 9:31 PM

Hmmm, all the good conversation happened so late today!

TDo2 - good to see you! I agree with Scarry and the anon poster, I don't consider it a chore or icky either, and I hope my husband feels the same.

Atlmom: "I mean - just cause you don't eat meat - doesn't mean you eat HEALTHY" That was one of my pet peeves about airplane veggie meals back when they served them - it was like they assumed you also eat low-sodium, low-fat, low-flavor. Bring on the cheesecake! Also, I remember when I first went veggie and it wasn't all that mainstream yet, I kid you not, I was served oatmeal with BROCCOLI on top for breakfast on a flight. What? My mother was howling in laughter as she dug into her cheese omelet.

Have a good night y'all!

Posted by: Megan | May 24, 2007 11:16 PM

Divide and conquer. We do it, but more during the week. Hubby is in charge of laundry and bathrooms. I'm in charge of food and general straightening. On Friday night, we make a list of who is doing what before lunch on Saturday. This includes the 3 year old and the 10 year old getting chores of some sort. We plan our "reward" at the same time. A family bike ride, a trip to the skating rink, that can't be done until all of the chores are done. This seems to motivate the 10 year old!

Posted by: Fairfax | May 25, 2007 11:29 AM

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