Sunday, November 02, 2008

My first ever association meeting

Being an owner of this townhouse means I'm part of an association. Once a year all the owners in my development get together and go over the budget, elect officers, talk about anything that needs fixing or improving. If any of the owners can't make it, they're supposed to send in a proxy notice saying which of us can vote for them. If they don't do that, then they're bound by whatever the rest of us decide. The notice of the meeting was mailed out months ago, so it's not like no one had time to send a proxy if they didn't want to come themselves.

The annual meeting was today, at 5pm. I got to meet some more of my neighbors, one of them being a woman I already knew slightly. She has a miniature schnauzer that I sometimes see her walking with when I'm waiting for my bus in the morning.

This year there were three bylaw amendments on the agenda: pet policy, satellite dishes, and replacement windows. Apparently the pet policy really is "no pets," but the association decided years ago not to enforce that. Some people (tenants, we think, not owners) are letting their dogs out and leaving messes. And someone's tom cat is spraying near someone else's house. So we've decided to amend the bylaws regarding pets; something about them needing to be spayed or neutered, and something about dogs needing to be on a leash and cleaned-up after. The representative from the company that does the administrative stuff for the association is going to write something up based on what we discussed, and then we'll pass it around and probably okay it.

We also have no written policy regarding the placement of satellite dishes, mainly because when the association was created back in 1986 there was no need. We decided this evening that they definitely shouldn't go on the roof or the exterior walls--makes holes, damages the roof. And they just put on new roofs for some of the units. The other units are due for new ones in the next couple of years. The whole thing is kind of tricky, so rather than make up a whole set of if/then rules we're going to state that if you can't get reception in a couple of places that we will list, you should contact the association, and we'll see whether we can accommodate that without damaging the building.

I brought up that the people who used to own my unit attached a dish to the far wall, and that I don't use it and wouldn't mind if it left. They're going to see whether the dish company will take it down, and if they won't then the president of the association will see to it that it's gone. That's great. I thought I was going to have to ask my Dad to take it down or something, or maybe call the handyman who did my electrical work and ask him how much it would cost to remove.

The other thing was replacement windows. Apparently the original living room windows to the units weren't very good quality, and some owners have opted to get them replaced. They wanted to put in the bylaws that the first time the windows get replaced, the association will contribute $400 to the cost (since that what they did with everyone who has opted to do it so far), but that if you decide to replace them again, you're on your own. That was more documenting a past practice than adding something new. According to the president, it was a previous owner of my unit that started the whole window-replacement thing, so I know mine are new. I knew that anyway. They looked a bit upscale for a building that was mass-produced. They tip in so that you can clean both sides without leaving the house.

And that's pretty much all I did today. Did I mention that last weekend I spent sorting out the flower bed? I don't think I did. Yep. I took out the hollyhocks by the front door, harvested the seeds from 'em. I think I got all the root system out. They were pretty, but by the end of summer they got very messy. They really aren't a front-door kind of flower. I'm going to plant some of the harvested seeds on the side of the unit, or maybe by the shed.

I also took out this sad scraggly looking thing that hasn't done much this year. If it ever took hold, I think it would have turned into another tree, and I didn't really want that. I think I'm going to put a butterfly bush there next year.

I planted a bunch of bulbs. Just in time, too. It's starting to get very cold now. I planted hyacinths near the front door, crocuses around the base of the tree, and then pink and white tulips under the windows and on this little rounded area at the end of the unit that didn't seem to have anything growing in it. I had a lot more crocus and tulip bulbs than there was room in the plot, so I scattered a few crocuses on my side of the sidewalk, and put some tulips and crocuses near the shed in back. Mom says the crocuses will naturalize and reproduce, but that after a few years the tulips will probably need to be replaced. I'll be interested to see how all this planting turns out.

While digging holes for the crocuses, I unearthed a few acorns. Whoopsie! Squirrel cache! I tried to put them back roughly where I found them. I just hope the squirrels don't go after my bulbs.


Just Me said...

Yes, the squrrels will uproot your bulbs, even if they're not tasty.

Maybe the squirrel will forget his little stash of acorns and miss your bulbs.

I envy gardeners. I don't have the first clue. When I had our front flowerbed cleaned out and mulched over to make it look neater, my friend, SD, was all excited. "Oooooh, what are you going to grow there?" She was disappointed when I answered, "Mulch."

--V said...

Not sure whether what I planted will grow. I'm a novice at all this stuff.

G said...

You did the right thing with the hollyhocks. It's a start.

Careful with trees (e.g. acorns) and big shrubs (e.g. buddleia) too near the house. Roots can damage drains. Willow is a particular pest in this respect.

G said...

And dog mess... That must be, of all topics dealt with by all public bodies in every country where the towns have pavement, the one that gets most time and least action.

My brother-in-law, a single man and prone to fixations, when living in the US in a house where the front yards (?) were lawned and open, used to watch from behind curtains for dog owners doing the wrong thing, then swing the window open and shout, "Hey - you forgot your shit!"