Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The meeting I attended last night was one of the most organized and most productive homeowners' meeting I've ever attended, not that I've attended very many of them since moving to Woodlake. I'm obviously not the only one who didn't want to be involved and I saw the unfortunate consequences of our mass neglect at this meeting. With the dues from a majority of homeowners in arrears and several serious maintenance problems unresolved, the board whose term just expired seemed to be mostly ineffectual. I would have been embarrassed to face a group with the poor report they gave. We elected a new board of more mature homeowners, 4 women and 1 man. I think we will hear a much improved report next January.

Mike asked about the meeting this morning. I had talked about it for a couple of minutes when he picked up his phone and began calling Ron, his interest in what I was saying totally gone. Something about his abrupt shift of attention from me to Ron offended me personally and deeply. It was rude and insensitive. He didn't say, Excuse me, I have to make a call, or anything; just picked up the phone and began calling his friend for their daily confabulation of B.S.

I was hurt, I was angry, I told him how his behavior affected me, and asked him why he even bothered to ask about the meeting if he didn't want to hear about it. "I just got tired of listening to you," he said.

I started crying. It's the first time I've cried about a personal affront in a long, long time. He looked genuinely bewildered with my reaction. Like a child he sat there dumbfounded, not knowing what to say or do. I'm not sure he ever understood what bothered me so about what he had done.

"I'm tired of being the only adult in this house," I wailed, [when do I get to be the baby?]. "I need someone to talk to me about serious matters, our home, our neighborhood, our property value. I know there's no comedic value in those topics, but they concern us and our investments and I feel like I'm talking to a 14 year old kid who doesn't understand the first thing I've mentioned!"

Still, no relevant response. Instead, I get a string of obscenities, then "you know I always call Ron at this time every morning."

"I wish I had a recording of this whole exchange. When I pack your clothes and put you and them on the curb, I would play it whenever I felt the slightest twinge of guilty conscience!" I screamed at him.

His phone rang. I knew it was Ron. I left the room with, "And don't go to Kroger and buy me any damn roses!"

When I met Pam and Jean an hour later to go with them to the gym, Jean asked about my long face. "I'm trying to figure out how to kick a crippled man to the curb and not feel guilty about it," I told her. By the time we got to the gym, I was feeling much better. Talking to other adults about adult matters did help me regain my composure. Pam was at last night's meeting and was elected to the board. She's very knowledgeable about all the things I wanted to talk about earlier with Mike. I made a mental note to call her, instead of wasting my time with him, next time I have a question about homeowner concerns.

Realistic expectations - without them I always get in trouble.

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