Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Signings, Signings Everywhere! (And Homeowners' Associations Stink)

by Sariah S. Wilson

I've been trying to think of a blog topic, but right now I'm obsessing over my homeowners' association (HOA). I really, really hate them a lot. Have you ever seen that episode of the X-Files where Scully and Mulder move into this ultra-perfect neighborhood where people keep dying for breaking the HOA rules? Turns out the president conjured up a golem who killed anyone that got out of line at all. It's sort of like that neighborhood, only the golem would probably be nicer than what I'm dealing with. I wrote some nasty letters on Friday after we received yet another certified letter saying that our yard isn't being "maintained." I'm not sure what's not being maintained as the grass had been recently mowed and there's nothing wrong with it. It's like someone in our neighborhood has it out for us. And unfortunately with an HOA, they can do pretty much anything they want. They can rack up exorbitant fines without proving that you've actually committed any violation and it can actually get to the point where they can take your house from you.

AND NO ONE CAN STOP THEM. There's no government entity that can step in and say no. If you have an appeals process, it goes through the HOA. It's like living in a police state with neighbors narking on neighbors, an entity that has absolute power and answers to no one. It's enough to make a person become a Libertarian.

Had I known that when I moved in, we wouldn't have moved in here. We were told that the HOA was no big deal, they just made sure people weren't painting their houses bright green or things like that. We were lied to, and we were told that if we didn't sign we'd lose our deposit. I feel pretty stupid now for not contesting it, for not having a lawyer look at it, and it's been an aggravating lesson to learn.

I haven't heard back from them yet. I picked apart their letter to me, pointed out the fallacy of their statements (i.e., they can't impose fines, according to their documentation, until we've been given "exact notice" of our violation. They said our backyard needs to be "maintained." What's the exact violation? We know the yard needs to be maintained (obviously). It has been). I was MAD. I haven't been this MAD in a very, very long time. It actually takes quite a bit to get me to this level. But they succeeded, the bunch of grass Nazis.

I expect that I'll hear from them via another certified letter (and part of me is tempted to refuse to sign for it) or I'll hear via an attorney, which to me seems a conflict of interest since he'll be representing the leaders of an association that I have to pay to belong to.

I'll keep you updated on my HOA saga, and hopefully next time I won't still be quite so MAD.

On a happier note, next week I will be doing signings in Utah.

On Friday, October 5 I will be doing a signing at the Redwood Seagull from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.

On Saturday, October 6 I will be doing signings at these locations:

Family Center Seagull 12:30-1:30pm
West Jordan Seagull 4:30-5:30pm
American Fork Seagull 6:30-7:30pm

If anyone would like to come out and visit me, it would be greatly appreciated. I have great phobias over empty bookstores. And about what I'm supposed to write when I sign books.

Hopefully "Desire of Our Hearts" will be on the shelf by that point.

I realized I didn't put up the back cover blurb (which are always fun and I'm sooo glad I don't have to write those):

"You have two choices. You are to marry either Alma or Amulon."

"This must be some sort of jest," she said in disbelief.

"It is no jest," her father said. "You will go to the palace tomorrow before sundown with your decision.

...Sam leaned against a tall stone building for support. The wall felt cool against her forehead. It wouldn't be a difficult decision. It wasn't much of a decision at all. Alma seemed kind. Not that she believed such a thing was possible. How could any man who served the king be kind?

It is a time of pleasure and luxury--if you belong to the inner circle of King Noah and his decadent priests. It is a time of servitude and deprivation if you don't. And if you dare to believe the bold words of the prophet Abinadi, it is a time to fear for your very life.

In Desire of Our Hearts, LDS author Sariah S. Wilson weaves an intricate, suspenseful, and romantic narrative. Set against the backdrop of the Book of Mormon account of Alma's conversion and breathtaking escape as he leads a band of courageous believers toward religious freedom, this familar and beloved story is brimming with all the elements needed to make it a spiritual odyssey and a tender and timeless love story.


Exercise was bad this week. I am so exhausted from the whole not sleeping thing that I simply didn't have the energy to do it, and this whole HOA thing sucked the rest of the life out of me. I only exercised two days. I did lose 7.1 pounds last week (which seems like an awful lot and was pretty shocking). I'll hopefully be better this week about exercising and staying on the diet. How'd you guys do?


At 9/29/2007 9:50 PM, Anonymous Jennie Hansen said...

Why is it a landlord can't evict a tenant who steals or fails to pay rent, but HOA's can fine someone for missing a weed in their yard? Everyone on my culdesac refused to sign for an association; now we're the only street in our neighborhood without cars parked on the lawn or grass that didn't get watered all summer. I thought that was what HOA's were supposed to take care of.

Our signings are reversed this coming Saturday. I sign at Redwood 12:30 to 1:30 and Family Center 4:30 to 5:30. I was hoping we'd cross paths. Like you, I have my fingers crossed that my book will be here.

I exercised six days and only ate a dessert item once (wedding reception). My husband and I even walked in that cold wind this morning just before the snow started. I lost four pounds, but I'm not yet down to where I was two months ago.

At 9/30/2007 12:04 AM, Anonymous said...

Wow! You two are doing great! I consider it a good week when I don't gain more than twenty pounds or so. (It was a good week.)

You couldn't pay me enough to move into a neighborhood with HOA. I can't even imagine what they'd think about my poultry yard, bat boxes, bottle tree, and pit bull. (Shudder.) Good luck with the Grass Nazis. I read about people like that in "The Believer." I still have nightmares, in fact.

Have fun at the signings, Sariah! I wish I could be there to see both you and Jennie. Lucky, lucky fans who can! Travel blessings on you and yours. I can't wait to hear all about it!

At 9/30/2007 6:14 PM, Blogger Karen Hoover said...

I've been wondering when you'd be up this way. I'll do everything I can to get to one of your signings! Good luck and see you then!

At 9/30/2007 8:53 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

You said it, Kerry. I think some HOA people would be right at home in my novel. It's just freaky how much power those organizations have.

Our weirdest HOA experience was when we got a letter saying they'd had a complaint about our "two dogs" that "bark almost continuously." This was a tad strange because we did not own any dogs.

We don't have an HOA where we live now and funny thing, we have a pleasant neighborhood that seems to function just fine.

At 10/01/2007 10:28 AM, Blogger Evil HR Lady said...

Our first experience with the HOA association was at closing on our first house--at that point the sellers informed us that the front lawn was in violation and, we as the new owners, would have to go to lawn court.

Oh joy. They did give us $800 to "fix" the yard.

Lawn court wasn't so bad--it was our next door neighbor who was the nightmare. He was constantly calling the HOA to complain about us. Thankfully, they moved and we didn't have any more problems.

We now live in a perfectly lovely subdivision with no HOA. Amazingly enough, no one has pink flamingos on their grass and no cars are up on blocks.

Good luck!

At 10/01/2007 1:22 PM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

Hey Sariah,

I might be able to make the AF signing -- I'll see if I can.

And congrats on the seven pounds --that's so great! I've gone to the gym about four times this week and it's starting to become a habit. I really like how powerful I feel after I work out.

At 10/01/2007 6:06 PM, Blogger Carole Thayne said...

The HOA sounds like an absolute nightmare. I wish you the best in fighting them. Congrats on the book though!

At 10/01/2007 8:09 PM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

Congrats on your new book and I might see you at a signing :)

At 10/02/2007 4:53 PM, Blogger wom said...

We have never had a HOA before, we moved to Utah 2years ago, new home area, and a HOA. So far so good...
Congratulation on your new book, you caught my attention, I need to get the book.

At 10/04/2007 11:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've found the best way to fight the HOA is to know exactly what the CC&R's and R&R's say, and like you did quote from them, I even went so far as to become the HOA president, I'm a gluton for punishment.
Good luck


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