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A Slice Of Life To Go is an online Christian blog written by Todd Thompson. It encourages people to see the beauty in ordinary moments and to know God’s unconditional, unfailing love in everyday life.

HOA

October 7th, 2008

It’s a promise to myself I hope I can keep.

I’ll never live in a house that’s part of a homeowner association.

I was talking with someone the other day who said they got a letter from their HOA asking them to “move the blue chair off your front yard”.

How relieved I was to know there are people committed to keeping the world safe from blue chairs.

The first time I learned about HOA’s was when I moved to the Phoenix valley back in 1993. I rolled in to town in the Ryder truck at 3 AM, crashed on the floor at a friend’s place and was gone by 7 AM. He got a letter from the HOA citing him for illegal parking of a truck in front of his house.

For 4 hours? In the middle of the night?

Whoever wrote that letter probably hates blue chairs, too.

The expressed purpose of HOA’s is to protect the property values of the neighborhood. There’s something to be said about protecting one’s investment. It’s a pleasure to drive through a “nice neighborhood”. Something about manicured lawns and well kept homes that’s inviting and, dare I say it? Makes you want to live there.

But once you move in and hang your family name plaque above the front door (if they allow you to do that), everything changes. Lawns aren’t mowed for the simple pleasure of smelling fresh cut grass on a Saturday afternoon. They are cut to be sure a single rogue dandelion doesn’t show it’s golden face to the sky. To miss a single weed is to invite a citation from the HOA board.

Now if the dandelion got permission first, then maybe…

If it were only a matter of a weed here and there. Some people live through real life horror stories and have lost their homes in HOA disputes. A man from Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., lost his home because he planted too many roses on his four-acre property. The board fined him each month until finally slapping a lien on his home. He went to court and lost because he’d transgressed the board’s architectural design rules. He was stuck with the board’s $70,000 legal fees and lost his home to the bank.

You know you’re up against it when dealing with people who actually believe there is such a thing as “too many roses”.

Show me a typical HOA board and I’ll show you a group of people still bitter about not being voted President of their sophomore class. They couldn’t weigh in on how to decorate for the prom so they get their satisfaction making and enforcing rules about appropriate flag pole designs and adding bleach to fountain water, guaranteeing crystal clear droplets that shout, “NirvanaTopia – Your Dream Development.”

(Make sure your bleach water fountain doesn’t splash too much. They’ll send you a letter about the dead spots in your lawn. For real.)

I can’t point to chapter and verse so this is strictly my opinion. If you get to heaven and see an HOA, be very afraid. Because you’re not where you think you are.

There won’t be any HOA’s in heaven. There is only one Owner up there and He created a complete palette of colors, not just 33 approved shades of beige and taupe. God’s all about expressing the full beauty of His creation and I think He will be fine with His children doing the same.

So if you don’t think you’d like living next door to someone in heaven who paints his mansion Phoenix Suns orange and purple and plants pink tulips along a lime green driveway, you better start saying your prayers and asking God for a different golden street to live on. Because I plan on coming out of my shell up there.

And on the off chance there’s more than one purple and orange house in the heavenly city, you’ll know which one is mine.

The one with the blue chair in front.

 Todd A. Thompson      www.ASliceOfLifeToGo.com