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Happy Halloween! October 31, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, People.

IMGP4171When we moved here, we attended a meeting of the Master Association (for 700 units) mid-summer.

Other than the board members (who had to be there), only 3 other residents attended ~ a turn out that can only be described as “dismal.”

The board suggested several committees we could join.

We agreed to assist the Social Committee in planning the Monster’s Ball and said we would consider joining other committees at an undisclosed “later date.”  We also agreed to assist our individual association with a Halloween Potluck for the 100 villas on our street.

We surmised that helping the Social Committees (on our street and in the neighborhood as a whole) would give us a chance to meet and greet our new neighbors faster than if we joined the Landscaping, Building, Pool, Lighting, Flag, or Security Committees.

Donald-Duck-MadAnd helping with both events meant that we could kill two birds with one stone.

No, no.  Not you Donald. Nor Daisy.

It’s just an expression.

I would NEVER . . . 

Remember those garbled messages delivered when playing telephone?  Yup, you guessed it ~ our offer to “assist with party set-up” transmuted to “co-hosts” for the event.  When we received the October newsletter for our street, we saw we had been promoted, without consultation, to “hosts” for the evening.

At least it was a potluck supper . . . and not a sit down dinner for the Queen.


Fast forward a few weeks . . .

The Social Committee for the Master Association turned out to be a committee of one ~ a chair who self-identified as chief cook and bottle washer.   BFF and I met with her and one other volunteer the day before Halloween to decorate for the Monsters Ball.  We planned to use the same decorations for our street’s Halloween Potluck later that evening.

Smart, eh?  I often have great ideas when I put on my Thinking Cap.


In no time, we realized why the chair did not have a pool of volunteers helping her.  What a control freak!

* No, don’t put the candy corn on the tables . . . they are for the game! 

* No, no, no, we always hang the skeletons on the back wall. 

* No, the tombstones go on the front wall; the pumpkins go on the tables.

By the time the decorations were up, BFF and I had decided, thrice over, that we did not want to join the master association’s Social Committee.


That decision was reinforced the next night ~ when only twenty people showed up for the Monster’s Ball.

Not including these four goofy ghouls:


Upset by the dismal turnout, the chair proceeded to have a melt-down.  In the middle of the party!  A childish display destined to deter all but the hardiest party-goers from attending future events.



After the party, I walked over to give her a shoulder to cry on.  She shrugged off my empathy:

It’s fine.  I’m just going to throw these decorations away since people don’t appreciate my efforts!

Huh?  Words swirled, unsaid:  They aren’t your decorations to throw away!  They belong to the master association.  


Excusing ourselves from the intended carnage, BFF and I maneuvered Martha (an elderly neighbor) out of the room and affirmed our decision to steer clear of the Chair of the Anti-Social Social Committee.

In contrast to Madame Meltdown’s Monster Ball, the Halloween Potluck for our street the night before had been far more fun!


Better attended . . .  AND attended by better-behaved pumpkins!


Aah . . . that’s better!

Have a SPOOK-tacular time tonight, filled with ghoulish fun and delight.  Watch out for things that go BUMP in the night, causing scaredy-cats to jump in fright.


1. Don - October 31, 2013

I can really identify with this Nancy. We live in a complex of twenty five units and the dynamics here can become so complex and difficult. We have just gone through a period where the Chairperson has been extremely authoritarian and controlling. Nobody wanted to deal with it. Suddenly when some of the decisions hit them in the pocket,action was taken. The result, a tremendous amount of upheaval. Community living is not easy but you certainly gain a lot of wisdom and insight in to humanity.

nrhatch - October 31, 2013

You do, indeed. I’ve never lived in a condo or townhouse before. I figured it would be like apartment living. Nope. The ownership issue throws a bunch of monkey wrenches into the equation ~ who owns what? who’s responsible to fix this? who are you to tell me when to get a new roof?

And every time I turn around, another committee has been formed. We have a Pool Committee, a Tennis Committee, and a Social Committee. But they’ve now decided that a Recreation Committee is needed to coordinate the Bridge Players and the Mah Jong Players and the Horseshoe, Bocce, and Pickle Ball Players.

The Social Committee is now run by 3 women with significant assistance from several other couples. Much better. I saw the previous chair in the grocery store a few days ago ~ she is such a pleasant woman when she’s not at the helm of a sinking ship.

Don - October 31, 2013

Yip! the fixing it thing – who’s responsible for fixing what – the perennial song.

nrhatch - October 31, 2013

We are fortunate. Our street and master associations are well run by frugal folks who stay on top of necessary maintenance.

2. Pix Under the Oaks - October 31, 2013

Those HOA take on a whole life of their own. Enjoy your day today! CH and I will be waiting for the Great Pumpkin tonight.. 🙂

nrhatch - October 31, 2013

They do! We don’t get any Trick or Treaters so we must make our own fun on Halloween. Last year, we did a tame Haunted Trails at DeSoto National Memorial. Creepy enough for me ~ wandering through the woods among actors running amuk in ghoulish make-up.

Tonight we’re going to Fright Night on St. Armand’s Circle from 6-8. The HS Drama students perform “Thriller” while younger kids trick or treat from door to door and store to store.

Say hi to the Great Pumpkin for me! Better yet, snap his pic!

3. William D'Andrea - October 31, 2013

I was going to complain about all the vandalism which occurs on halloween, after the trick or treaters go home; and is then excused as “Just kids being kids and sewing wild oats”. While the vandals do get arrested; what do you do about people like the one who ran the event you’ve described, and spoiled it for everyone?

nrhatch - October 31, 2013

She solved the problem herself ~ she resigned and a new Social Committee took over. A win for her and for us.

4. katecrimmins - October 31, 2013

If you get the right people, these “associations” can be a lot of fun. Our former next door neighbors moved into a town house community with mostly over 55 people. She talks about the cocktail hour they have after they put their trash out. Quite frankly, I envy her. Our neighborhood has turned over here from middle aged to youngish with small children. The sense of community is gone. Bummer! I am ready to move into her neighborhood! (or maybe yours!)

nrhatch - October 31, 2013

Come on down! Our neighborhood is not age restricted, but the vast majority of the residence are in or approaching retirement. Not too many wee ones running around ~ except for the visiting grandkids. And there are plenty of great activities, both scheduled and impromptu. We’re happy here.

5. suzicate - October 31, 2013

I’ve gotten pulled in to help with Control Freaks on committees and once with each one of them was enough! Glad your potluck was fun! We usually have on the average slightly over 100 trick or treaters…energizing myself for a spooktacular night!

nrhatch - October 31, 2013

Have FUN! I miss the sweet treat and trickers who knocked on our door in NC and NJ. Never got many in MD ~ just 2 girls who knew us. But here . . . nada, zippo, zilch!

So we’re heading to Fright Night on St. Armand’s Circle to get our Halloween fix!

6. jannatwrites - October 31, 2013

Maybe the meltdown was part of the control freak’s costume 🙂 People like that drive me nuts.

We live in a neighborhood that is predominantly older people, however, we’ve have several who’ve asked if the boys are coming by because they have candy. (They seem so excited to have potential trick-or-treaters.) So, we’re going to make the rounds and see what comes of it. It’s the first Halloween here, so who knows!

Hope you have a great Halloween!

nrhatch - October 31, 2013

We loved handing out candy to Trick or Treaters ~ particularly the wee ones wearing darling costumes. So I understand the excitement you caused by moving into the neighborhood with TWO potential trick or treaters. Have fun tonight.

If you see anyone dressed as a “Control Freak” . . . turn around and walk the other direction. :mrgreen:

7. ericjbaker - October 31, 2013

That bug-pkin at the bottom is delightfully demented.

nrhatch - October 31, 2013

Look out, Charlie Brown . . . it’s the Great Bug-Eyed Pumpkin!

C’mon, let’s buzz awhile.

8. Grannymar - October 31, 2013

Maybe your control freak had a bad childhood! I used to have a friend like that, her methods took the good out of anything we did, so I backed off. I have not heard from her for about six years!

Hearing your tales of woe, I might stay put in my own house for the duration. I like people, but not the bossy type!

nrhatch - October 31, 2013

I’m with you, GM. I prefer being around folks who go with the flow. We just got back from Fright Night . . . with 100’s of wee ones dressed in Halloween attire. So cute.

And then there were ZOMBIES from the HS Drama Club. 😯

9. Three Well Beings - November 1, 2013

I’ve also quit committees when the chair person’s drama gets a little too high. I have no problem following orders if someone is very organized, but when it gets too nit-picky than it becomes draining. I think it would get very tricky working with others in the same association if you don’t all have similar goals. Sounds like you had a great group of people for Halloween treats! Ours was VERY quiet!

nrhatch - November 1, 2013

Yes! Being told what needs doing works ~ but micro-managers who want to tell me HOW to get from A to B, overseeing every step of the way, make me want to run away.

I also avoid people who want to hold planning meetings to create the agenda for the main meeting. 😛

10. shreejacob - November 2, 2013

It makes me feel *so* irritated when people just ASS-U-ME that they can make me into whatever it they want…you know..like how from helping you suddenly became co-host? Yea that sorta thing.

I’m curious…what’s a Master Association? Is it like an Association where all the other associations in your community come under? I never realised a naighbourhood would have that many associations!

nrhatch - November 2, 2013

I am better at avoiding this kind of manipulation than I used to be but sometimes we still get “snagged” in a spider’s web by people who are bossy and insistent (“WHEN are we going to do lunch?” instead of “would you like to go out for lunch on Tuesday?).

I try to be polite the FIRST time (“hmm . . . no, that doesn’t appeal to me”). if they do it again, the gloves come off -> “What part of NO don’t you understand?” :mrgreen:

The neighborhood has 700 units of varying construction and design ~ both condos and villas which vary in age and features. Individual associations oversee properties of like age and features in close proximity ~ e.g., a street of 100 units has its own association to maintain landscaping, pool, mailboxes, etc..

The master association oversees the common areas shared by all units ~ including the main pool, tennis courts, recreation center, guard house, main boulevard, ponds, lighting, etc.

shreejacob - November 2, 2013

Wow….this is all so new to me…I don’t think we have such things here. It’s awesome too…in a way..isn’t it? I think it is 😀

nrhatch - November 2, 2013

When we first moved in, it all seemed utterly confusing and cumbersome . . . but now it makes perfect sense. And it works well to keep the neighborhood “looking good.”

If the “blue roofs” need new roofs, only that association needs to be involved in lining up contractors and paying for the roofs. No one is looking to me for input of $’s. If “Waterside” needs new landscaping, the issue is addressed by and paid for within that association. If “Audobon” needs new pool furniture, then its association deals with the issue and purchase.

Much less convoluted than it first seemed.

11. geanieroake - November 2, 2013

We lived in a condo community for three years and felt lucky to get out. The homes were nice, the neighbors great, but oh, the politics. The association was too cheap to pay for a property manager, which left the residents to police themselves. Never live in a place where you have to get after your own neighbors for having six dogs, parking 7 cars in the street, leaving an abandoned washing machine on their front porch etc. Makes for serious bad feelings.

nrhatch - November 2, 2013

Each association in our neighborhood has a property manager to do the “heavy lifting” ~ augmented by internal policing by the board. It works well, but there are “bad feelings” from time to time. That’s all part of living around people whose agendas don’t always mirror our own. 😉

12. kateshrewsday - November 2, 2013

Oh, Nancy, I think you are great for seeing it through! Well done. And I’m glad the potluck was a better proposition all together.

nrhatch - November 2, 2013

I’m not sure I’d last as long if it happened again . . . but we were the “new kids on the block” at the time.

These days, we’re on the “pinch hitter” list ~ willing to jump in at the last minute and help set up tables, decorate, etc. Better for us.

13. bluebee - November 2, 2013

Community living has its pros and cons. I’m not sure I’d enjoy it much now.

nrhatch - November 2, 2013

Yes! Like most of life, it’s a balancing act. And it’s up to each of us to find the right balance for THIS time of our life.

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