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Do You Attend Your HOA Meetings?

I haven’t mentioned my home owner’s association (HOA) for a while.  Nothing much has happened on that front for about a year, but it’s time for our annual meeting again.

My HOA Experiences

For anybody just joining BFS, my husband and I built our home in a neighborhood with an HOA.  Let’s just say that the relationship didn’t get off on the right foot…or ever even find the right foot.

We started receiving violation letters about 4 months after moving in.  Some letters were about parking in the street, which we stopped doing.  A few were about maintenance stuff like our yard or small oil stains, which we also handled.  One set was about having our friends living with us, which we all agreed to ignore.  A couple weren’t actually for us at all.

One was for the wrong home (we weren’t building the patio in question).  Another was in reference to having large groups of people over that park in the street too often.  I explained that we generally only have 1 potluck a month, but other people on our street use the utility easement curb to park too.  So we were being reported even on the days we had no visitors at all (like when our neighbors had graduation parties or crawfish boils, which were awesome, but not our get togethers, lol).

All in all, I wasn’t happy, I wrote about it, that just pissed off the angry people more, and it turned vicious for a few months.  It all eventually led to at least one guy going door-to-door while I was out of town to ensure that I wasn’t elected to the HOA board last year.  That same guy started questioning me personally at the actual election meeting, which I held up to well in the meeting itself, but I had a small emotional breakdown for a couple of days afterwards.  A few of my neighbors came by later to show their support, and that helped.  By the end of October 2013, I just decided to drop the whole subject and that has seemed to work.

HOA Meeting Today

I had been skipping the bimonthly HOA meetings, but our annual, large HOA meeting is this evening.  They are discussing the new homes being added onto the back of our neighborhood, the annual finances, and hopefully we won’t be seeing a dues increase.  Despite my general unwelcomed feelings around the HOA board, I’m probably attending since an update on any of those subjects sounds interesting to me.  I also think at least 2-3 of the board members are generally ambivalent towards me, which is nearly as good as being liked.  ;-)

I just wonder if I’ll see many others there.  Even though we pay about $720 a year in dues, most families who live here don’t have the time or energy to get involved, and they leave the big decisions to the board and those of us who vote.  I completely understand since life is crazy off and on for everybody.  I’m just hoping a bunch of my neighbors can make it.  The board makes money decisions all of the time for us, and this is one of the few chances for us to be truly involved.

That said, do you attend your big, annual HOA meeting?

Our Stray Dog Has Been Adopted!

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Two weeks and three days. That is how long it took to re-home that adorable, stray Shih Tzu that we took in on October 2, 2014.

Toby’s New Life

That cute puppy is now going to be spoiled rotten by a very sweet couple about an hour away from my house. I showed up to the adoption location 10 minutes early and they were already there. They greeted us with a “There he is!!!” They were also very welcoming to me, but the pup is definitely someone’s baby now. Yay!!!

Within thirty minutes, he was adopted and heading out with new balls, raw hides, a bright purple harness, a matching collar, and the many tags that declare him happily owned. I’m exuberant for him and hope he fits into their household smoothly for all of their sakes. I am so thankful that they have more time for him . . . → Read More: Our Stray Dog Has Been Adopted!

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life…

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Okay, so I impressed myself yesterday. I was mature, responsible, and stayed positive. And that accomplished almost everything!

Water Damage Issue Semi-Resolved

I wrote earlier this week about our ceiling water issue and exploding oven. Well, yesterday we got a quote to have the ceiling repaired and the exhaust vent on the roof fixed once and for all to avoid “wind driven rain” damage in the future. I still think our home builder was negligent in installing a vent hood on a roof that is obviously intended for the side of a house, BUT it will all be fixed on Monday and that will feel great. Oh, and look what I’ve done in the meantime to take advantage of the situation a little…

Yep, I totally took down our art and put up giant fake spiders instead. It looks like they are returning home through the damage in . . . → Read More: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life…

How to Make a Yard Spider – Our Newest Halloween Addition

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Despite our house issues, I did start decorating for Halloween last week. Yesterday and today became the big push though. I even went to Lowe’s to create a new addition to our Halloween decoration family…

The Giant Yard Spider

Meet Elspira – she makes me smile. Just finished her yesterday afternoon.

This is Elspira (pronounced like Elvira). She’s exactly as awesome as she looks. I got the idea from several places online like http://www.momendeavors.com/2013/09/diy-halloween-yard-decor-giant-spider-in-spiderweb.html and made adjustments.

Here is how you can make a giant yard spider of your own.

Things to Gather Foam pipe covers (enough to make sixteen 2 foot parts) – $10 Eight 1/2 inch elbow socket pipe parts – $1.75 Black electrical tape – $3 Two Black plastic bags – $1 Filler (we used newspaper and a spare brick for the body) – $N/A Foam plate (or something to make the eyes and . . . → Read More: How to Make a Yard Spider – Our Newest Halloween Addition

Friends Are Priceless in More Than One Way

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Friendship is emotionally priceless. It makes a bad day tolerable and turns fun events into stellar, life-long memories. It can also save you money.

The 2014 Texas Renaissance Festival

It’s that time of year again, and I accompanied my best buds to the Texas Renaissance Festival (TRF) on the opening weekend this past Sunday. It ended up being a rainy day for the first couple of hours, but the last 3-4 hours were clear and much drier. I also noticed one other, giant difference. I was comfortable the entire day!

My friend and house mate, Mandy, had replaced the super tight arm bands off of my usual Renaissance Festival dress with gold fabric she had left from a past project. Not only did my dress still look as awesome as ever, but it was comfortable for the whole day! No cut off blood supply, no red marks on . . . → Read More: Friends Are Priceless in More Than One Way

When It Rains, It Pours…and Your Roof Leaks…and Your Oven Explodes…

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Okay, so I will admit it. I was feeling amazing until last week and all hell broke loose. I was pet sitting overnight 6 out of 7 days and started getting exhausted. Then our area of town started getting rain storms from incoming cool fronts. Then my bed got soaked…it pretty much went downhill from there.

Water Problem

I came to bed at 5:30am last Thursday morning after a particularly rough pet sitting night. I slid into the sheets, and then my feet were cold and wet. What?! I got up, moved my cover, and found out pretty quickly that the entire bottom corner of my side of the bed was SOAKED.

I woke up Mr. BFS and all we could conclude was that water had come through the fan at one point. The next day, we saw the warped fan blade to confirm. Mr. BFS went onto the . . . → Read More: When It Rains, It Pours…and Your Roof Leaks…and Your Oven Explodes…

The Last Days of Stock Investing Risk

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The following is a guest post from Rob Bennett, who writes for A Rich Life. He aims to put the “personal” back into “personal finance” by focusing on the role played by emotion in saving and investing decisions.

Everybody loves the high returns obtained by investing in stocks. Nobody likes taking on the risk that comes with doing so.

The happy reality that few know about is that risk is today almost entirely an optional element of the stock investing story.

Current General Belief

Our belief that stocks are a risky investing choice goes back to the days when investing in stocks meant picking individual companies that would perform well in days to come. That is a difficult business. To pick individual stocks successfully you need to do enough research to figure out which companies have good managers and which companies have a strong product pipeline and which companies . . . → Read More: The Last Days of Stock Investing Risk