Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Rules, Laws, Guidelines or Suggestions

Today is tax day.  Not a fun day for a lot of people, I suspect. Most of us have come to terms with it as  just  being one of the many rules that we have to deal with if we are to  live in the U.S.A.  That particular set of rules is complicated.  Tens of thousands of bureaucratic  undecipherable, conflicting, dos and don'ts and cans and can'ts. 

Rules...today I struggle with the good and the bad of rules. Not just rules, really,  but laws, requirements, mandates, suggestions...so many directives and so many gray areas.

While I usually think of myself as somewhat of a libertarian, there are days that I find myself thinking some new law or rule needs to be implemented to fix a perceived problem.  As a consummate rule follower, I also want things to be concise and make sense. I know, I know...conflicted right?  I want some rules but don't want rules that were made for just the sake of having rules. They should serve a purpose...a reasonable purpose that makes sense. 

BUT..as of late a good many things don't make sense.

Thought Number One:  Frivolous versus Important

When I was a young mother, I gauged some of what I allowed or didn't allow my children to do,  on the premise "will this action impact anyone in any negative way".  If my child wanted to fingerpaint on top of the kitchen table and was having fun doing it, was there anyone impacted or hurt in a negative way?  NO, so why not let him or her paint?  Wiping up some messy water based paint didn't bother me so, all is fine.
Conversely, I wouldn't let him or her loose with paint next to the neighbor's car.

I haven't progressed much past that. All the rules, laws, mandates etc. should have some value as far as providing a greater good for someone or something.  They shouldn't just be arbitrary just for the benefit of making people jump through hoops.

Last week, for example, I was talking to a good friend and fellow blogger, Leah, (check out her blog, Eating Life Raw)  about the fact that some writers go "ape shit" (technical term)  over bad grammar.  Out of all the things in my life, I have little care whether someone uses poor grammar.  I have the ability to ignore it.  If I read something poorly written, I could quit reading it, although in all likelihood would read it anyway.  I would It doesn't matter enough to make a huge deal out of it.

Another rule that has incensed me this week that I need to put into the frivolous category but seem to be stewing  over, is my community's HOA rules.

Last week I contacted a painter to repaint my house and he had an opening to start painting last Saturday.  Very quick turn around and I was ready to get on with it.  I sent an email last Wednesday (4/9) to the HOA architectural committee person (or at least the contact person with a link on the subdivision website) and said that I was having my house painted starting Saturday (4/12) but I was painting the house the same color that had been previously OK'd  several years ago.  Nothing is changing.  No response by Saturday so I allowed the painters to start.

Last night I get an email from the person that I had contacted, who said he is no longer on the committee but I needed to fill out the appropriate forms and send those to the association's president....which I did. I also, apologized for the delay but in all fairness, the delay is the result of my original request going to someone that no longer is involved with the HOA and he didn't contact me back until last night.

Well....This morning, I wake up to a 3 paragraph bitch-out about how there is a process that takes time and I knew the rules when I moved here..blah, blah blah.  She, also said she didn't believe that "it just occurred to me one day to paint my house" so I should of had plenty of time to work on getting the necessary paperwork done.  OK...now that just pissed me off.  How does she know that I didn't wake up last Wednesday and decide to paint my house?

 Silly her.....little does she know.... That is exactly what happened. I was talking to my daughter about who painted their house last Wednesday, I immediately called the painter and said "let's do this".  I am nothing if not impulsive.

Anyway, after getting her nasty email ....I, acting like the mature grown-up I am, shot back a equally snotty note.  (copies available upon request)   I haven't heard back yet but I am expecting a backlash. The fact that my house is half painted at this point isn't exactly bearing well on my previous statement claiming myself to be  a "rule follower", but has, instead led me down the path of when are rules important and when are rules just created to justify someone's position or driven by someone's need to impose their will on others?

Thought Number Two:  Rules that Make a Society Better

Now that I have started down that road of important versus frivolous...here comes the gray area. There are gaps between man-made rules that are bureaucratic in nature,  the societal rules that protect our rights and the rights of other, and the moral and ethical rules that make humans "decent" (some might call these god-given rules, if you follow religious teachings like the Ten Commandments) and even the rules of etiquette that just serve to make us "nicer".

What I know in my heart is that you can't mandate good behavior.  You can't  make a law or a rule that makes a person behave himself or herself.  You can only make rules that are designed to provide a good foundation for people to live in some style of harmony. That isn't how it often shakes out.
I am mired in sadness at the recklessness by people that break the "important" rules and leave the rest of us vulnerable to chaos.  This has been a difficult week in my community just as many of your communities have experienced prior to this event. (Note: referring to the shooting deaths of 3 people in my community of Overland Park, KS) Those that choose to break the important rules to the determent of others, those that  act out  on some misguided premise or maybe they are just so vile and evil they can't comprehend right from wrong.  I don't know how people think but I know that 3 people that were well loved lost their lives this week. 

There are a lot of little rules hardly worth noting but there are some rules of such importance that it's hard to believe that people would every defy them.  AND yet they do.

Off topic a bit....

Speaking of rules:  I saw this on Facebook and thought "as rules go" I could get on board with these.
Notice the reference to using "please and thank-you".

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lisleman said...

One of the relatively recent "ape shit" phenomena I noticed was that 50 Shades book. Now was it the grammar problems or something else that made it cause such a stir?
(oh grammar geeks, I know phenomena is plural and I think I used it correctly)

I'm sure given the opportunity many more would rather make rules than follow them. The self rule making aspect of blogging is one reason I enjoy it. My younger sister lives in a community run by outside appearance Nazis. She had a big fence issue. Oh no, wait, did I write something wrong. What is the plural of Nazi?

You ended on a very serious note. I'll assume you are referring to the Kansas City area recent shooting. I fail to comprehend the hatred that would drive an old man to kill others based on religion.

Robyn Engel said...

Let me get this straight: your house is half painted because some grown up boy has a fragile ego that he feeds by imposing arbitrary restrictions on honest, decent people that he's sure are lying because they're out to make his life more torturous?

What a jerk. Sorry about that, Cheryl. I like your attitude, as per your t-shirt.Sarcasm is a strong weapon against stupidity.


Cheryl P. said...

I never read the 50 Shades book, just didn't seem like something I would want to read. I heard it was poorly written. As far as phenomena...you did use it correctly but frankly I wouldn't judge you either way. This is a "judgement free zone" as far as grammar goes...or spelling...or tense. or syntax. Basically, you could scrawl a series of pictures and as long as I figured it out we would be good.

I tend to go with the flow most of the time dealing with these pesky little types of rules but this one hit me wrong because of her chastising me for not adhering to their rules when the web site that is the venue to implement the rules is wrong.

I would have to look up to see the plural of Nazi. Can't say I have encountered using the word much but now I am curious.

Yes, the shooting has our community very disheartened and feeling very sorry for the families involved. The 2 victims (grandfather and grandson) go to my church. They are part of such a nice family.

I don't get it either. Even insanity can't explain that kind of hatred.

Cheryl P. said...

Yes, it is partially painted but I was prepared to move ahead with or without the HOA. Evidently the chairperson of the committee that takes care of painting requests no longer is involved and sat on my request for 5 days before forwarding it to the association's President. The president is a "her" and she is the one that bitched me out for not waiting for approval. But she did add an approval on the tail end of her email. It wouldn't of mattered if she gave me her OK or not, I knew the color was in compliance because it's the same color that was approved last time I painted my house so I wasn't losing sleep over it being denied.

In my email back to her...I mentioned that as an HOA member that pays their dues and conforms to all the rules, I don't appreciate her attitude that I should wait until they get around to giving me the go-ahead and I am more than a little irritated at the lecture on how "I need to allow time for the process" to get proper authorization. What process? I am not needing permission to change colors. This has been the same color on my house for 10 years. She is a jerk.

Chubby Chatterbox said...

In our community everything you see on the exterior is the responsibility of the home owner's association. Last summer they painted all the units and they look great--a plus for me since I'm too lazy to paint myself and too cheap to hire someone to do it.. I know people who've had problems and I sympathize with them. Take care.

ilovebeingagrandpa said...

Yep, let me add that I took a shower today and am clean all over...so when the Association President writes back, tell her that she can kiss the first three letters of her title.....

Cheryl P. said...

Here in our subdivision the covenants say you have to use earthtones. On some exterior applications we are limited to brand names. I know Sherwin Williams paint is approved and my color is approved. Another home on another street also uses our color. So while we are in charge of keeping our house painted we are obligated to run color changes through the architectural committee. That was the cause of the flair up. I didn't seek permission, I told them I was going to paint. My point is that I am not changing colors, I don't need their permission. Their point is that unless they signed off on it, I shouldn't paint.

Cheryl P. said...

I'll send your regards. I might not hear from her. As I started my note to her...EXCUSE ME!!!!!!

Jo-Anne said...

I live in public housing and painting the exterior of the house is up to them they do it once every 15-20 years and usually the same colour it is or something similar very annoying. I don't get what it really matters if you fill in all the damn paper work or not but I know bugga all about such stuff.

Wolfbernz said...

Hi Cheryl,
It's funny how people act when they get a title. IMO there should have ever been a nasty letter sent to you, something simple would have done. Funny thing is, most people decide to have their house painted on a whim, I am surprised that you found an available painter so quickly though.

Trina said...

I'm sure your letter to the HOA lady was awesome and to the point. She probably read it and felt like a complete jerk.
But aren't rules made to be broken anyway? LOL ;)

Cheryl P. said...

Typically, we paint our homes about every 6 years and I have never had this kind of problem before with an association. I recieved another email from a different board member this evening going over the fact, that I didn't follow their guidelines by allowing at least a week for approval. . I have had it with this bunch. I already have approval so bemoaning the fact that I didn't do the paperwork to their desired time frame is beating a dead horse. (In Astralia do people use the phrase "beating a dead horse")

Cheryl P. said...

I have dealt with a lot of associations and I have never seen a letter as rude as this one was. As she is the President of the association, I don't have someone above her to complain to. I guess I better just lump it.
As for finding a painter...my daughter and son-in-law had their house painted last week and the guy said if I would work with him by having the painting done on the weekend and evenings he would be glad to do my house as well. Here everything is two story frame homes and painting is expensive. He did a beautiful job on my kids home and the price was great. I never dreamed that the assoication would be the problem.

Cheryl P. said...

No...I think my nasty note back made her even more angry. She had the Vice President send me a letter that reiterated that they have "rules and procedures" that I need to conform to. Bull**** an the only thing an association can due is put a lien on a house but I haven't broken any covenants. My house's color has always been allow. Other homes in the subdivision have this color.
It's funny that the first "nasty note" writer, sent an email to the VP of the Assoc. saying "you take care of her and let me know what she says." but she didn't erase that so in my letter back I said "don't bother to let her know what I said...I will copy her on it."
Trina..these women are making me crazy. Does it show? Maybe I don't want the answer to that.

Jo-Anne said...

Yeah we do use the phrase "beating a dead horse" here down under my mum says it a lot.

Riot Kitty said...

Yes, yes, yes! I want a copy!! I admire you. I couldn't deal with any kind of HOA. I mean, I'd just go piss on their doorhandles. (Yes, I have done this to someone before. With good reason.)

Rules - you'd think the former prison inmate with a history of violence and KKK ties would not be allowed to buy a fucking arsenal. That would be a good rule. I'm so sorry for your congregation.

Lady Jewels Diva said...

Our tax year doesn't end until June 30, so we have from July 1 until Oct 30 to get or tax done. Having said that, I spent $812 getting old tax issues out of the way back in March. Blech!

Second, I suck at grammar and it's not hard to type and miss those damn apostrophes when you're trying to get it all out, it's not even hard to miss letters.

As for the snot nosed bitch, blech again! While I understand rules need to be abided by who was you painting your house hurting? It was the same colour, and unless they have changed the colour specifications who really gives a shit!?!?!?!?!

Some people just have no idea how to be polite, unfortunately, as mentioned weeks ago, the nuance of conversation goes out the window when it's in typed form.

oldereyes said...

Oooooo. You used a quotation mark instead an apostrophe in "can't" in paragraph eleven of this post. I can't stand it. You probably know I'm a bit of a grump about grammar but it's bad grammar I hate, not typos or simple word switches (like your and you're). Phrases like "these ones" and "those ones" drive me nuts.

HOAs are both a blessing and a curse. Our last house had no HOA and the house across the street gradually going to hell had a lot to do with our moving. Can you believe no trash pickup ... and a pickup truck hidden under a huge pile of trash bags in the side yard as a result? And them, cleaning it out into the driveway when we had a buyer coming? So, both our houses now have HOAs. The one in CA is just about perfect ... very reasonable, professionally administered with no HOA Nazis. We do, however, have the Weed Police in Arizona.

The video is so funny you have to wonder if it's real but then again, I've heard some really funny Southwest flight attendants before. One of the was rolling rolls of toilet paper down the aisles.

Cheryl P. said...

Oh, RK, I wish you were here to deal with this. There are definitely some doorhandles that need to be peed on. AND clearly, I am just in no mood. The actual services are on Friday. The widow of the Dr. is in a social club I belong to and I am on the fence whether to attend or not.

Very funny about the doorhandles..send me an email with details. I will forward you a copy of the back and forth of this debacle. I got another email last night from the V.P of the association but what was funny was they left the forwarding message that tells her to "deal with me" and let her (the Assoc. Pres) know how it goes. When I sent back my response, I said "don't bother yourself filling (president) in as I copied her.

Cheryl P. said...

Our tax laws are really complicated. Federal is usually due April 15th unless you have an extension BUT quarterly taxes are due April, June, Sept. and Jan. and agricultural taxes are Feb. and corporate taxes March and franchise taxes in Texas are May (our companies are out of Texas). There is no reprieve it seems.
As for grammar...when reading things I am not judgy at all about typos, or punctuation. I am more interested in whatever the subject is about. I suppose if someone used things like "ain't got none" I would find that annoying. I am not only bad about typos, I am also bad about proof reading so I wouldn't ever cast stones.

That is exactly my point as well, Lady Jewels, what are we making a big deal about this? My house is exactly the same color. Someone driving by won't even know my house was painted.

Politeness just seems to be out of favor these days. If the communication is being done on line, people feel like they can say anything.

Cheryl P. said...

The only thing worse than my typing skills, Bud is my proof reading skills.
I agree with you. While I might notice the use of " their" versus "there" or similar inaccuracies, that wouldn't bother me. I, too would have problems with "these ones". I might cringe a bit at double negatives and the erroneous use of the word "got". If I would happen to see those two things combined such as "I don't got no right to judge." my head would surely explode.

I usually fairly pro-HOA. I don't like the idea of someone painting their house Pepto pink next door nor any case of inoperable cars being parked on drives etc. I tend to always live in neighborhoods that have some reasonable covenants in play. This is the first time EVER that I have had a problem with an HOA president. Honestly, I feel like I am in Salem and the President and VP are now referring to me as that witch that is painting her house.

I have been on quite a few SW flights where the crew does a funny announcement but this one is particularly clever I thought. Parts of it I have trouble hearing because of the passenger noise, though.

Cheryl said...

I'm so incredibly sorry for your community. I hadn't made the connection between Overland Park and you. How devastating. Tuesday was our 25th wedding anniversary and, much to my dismay, the 1st anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. Because the marathon is not on a set date, rather on the 3rd Monday of April (Patriots Day in MA & ME), I was shocked to open Facebook and see my news feed filled with photos posted by friends who ran or were spectators last year. I'm hoping the runners who are going back to finish what they started last year, as well as the people of Boston find some peace and redemption by participating on some level in this year's race. My husband and I were going down with a friend to support our runners but I've decided to opt out because I just don't handle crowds well at all. I'll follow them all on the big and small screen.

I read the thread and it sounds like you're giving as good as you get. Give 'em hell and keep on paintin'!

Cheryl P. said...

The communities that have been and continue to be racked with the remnants of these types of violent attacks is very much on my mind this week as a result of the recent happenings here. It saddens me that nearly monthly (or less) the media tells us of another community that has to deal with some violent act against some of their residents.

I, too hope next Monday's marathon in Boston is peaceful and in some way healing for those that are still dealing with it both physically or emotionally.

So you have people in this year's race? I wish them the best of luck. I am in awe of people that can do that. As for attending...I too, am not big on huge crowds so I would definitely be among those that are parked in front of a big screen watching the race.

Yes, my petty little squabble with the HOA rages on. Minor dust-up in light of the big things going on in the world.

ravenjanedoh said...

The pics on this post are priceless! OMG, I needed to see them today LOL! Please shut the F*** up .... LOVE IT! And I agree on the tax laws. Our form kept getting rejected; after nine tries we called to ask for help - they just kept responding it was wrong. Long story short, even the three different people we spoke to at the IRS couldn't help us, because even they didn't know what was wrong. So helpful. I should send them a card telling them to shove their rule book up their A**, alongside their heads, IF there's room. Good grief!
And I love that you let your kids paint on the table. That drives my husband nuts ... because I still do it. ;)

ravenjanedoh said...

Also just had to add, I probably should have used proper grammar; "Please shut the F up", as opposed to Please shut the F up! - Looked like I was telling you to!--GAH! Sorry!
Also, sorry about the grief that has come to your part of the world. I don't even have words......

Cheryl P. said...

Thank you, Jane!
That is crazy about your tax return. The IRS can't even figure out their confusing mish-mash of rules. I think it is ridiculous that it's gotten so complicated. Seriously, I doubt that the majority of us take every deduction due us because the tax codes change every year. Well, except for BIG busineses...I suppose GE and BP Oil get every deduction they qualify for.
Yeah, I have to think that happy kids that aren't hurting anyone or anything is worth some little messes. I know a lot of people wouldn't be keen on "arts and crafts" because of the mess. Very short sighted.
Hope all is coming together for you. Is your move coming up soon?

Cheryl P. said...

Hahaha...I didn't take it like you were telling me to STFU. But, probably there are times, people should.
It seems that no area is immune from these violent acts. Aren't we living is a troubling time where people are so cruel to each other? Today there will be picketers at the services. The Westboro church has given notice that they will picket the funeral as they feel that this madman was sent by god in retribution for how vile the world has become. Interesting they use the word "vile" but don't see their role in being exactly that.

Linda R. said...

I could write reams on these thoughts. HOA rules would frustrate and annoy me to no end. Some of our friends live in communities like yours, and I am continually amazed at the rules and restrictions, right down to the color of your front door and requiring you to have two trees in your front yard. If one gets taken out by the ice storm, then you must replace it. I love trees so that one wouldn't bother me.

Shootings are tragic and heartbreaking, and frequently happen in "gun free zones" which proves the point that laws are not protecting the innocent, but enabling the bad guys.

Oh, and I love your grammar rules!

Linda R. said...

Oh, I meant to say that I love that video, too. Passed along the link to hubby.

Cheryl P. said...

I bet you and I could have a really fun conversation about neighborhood dictatorships. Yes, colors on houses including the front doors are a hot topic in some HOAs. I have, also lived in neighborhoods that had the 2 tree rule. My current neighborhood doesn't...but at this point if it did, I might go plant a couple of extras just to throw the 2 tree rule off.

This constant barrage of shootings, stabbings, bombings etc. just seems to be a weekly thing any more. That is a good point...so many of these attacks are in places that should have security against weapons. This case in KC...the guy is a felon and had a history of distributing "hate" propaganda and still he had numerous weapons. **sigh** something has to change.

I am so glad you liked my grammar cartoon.

Cheryl P. said...

I thought that clip was really funny, as well. I have been on a few Southwest flights that had similar comedy laced instructions but I never thought to record them.

abeerfortheshower said...

Ah yes, the wonderful HOA, there to protect you from yourself. Would you like your paint eggshell white, or alabaster white, or maybe pearl white? That's all we can offer you.

Ours has been a nightmare. Rather than enforce things that matter they lurk around in the shadows waiting to fine people for the slightest, most inane things. We got a letter last year that our grass was too yellow. Sure, the lawn is their responsibility, and sure, it was the dead of winter, but they were going to "look into it" and if any "foul play" was found they were going to charge me. They never did, of course, but... foul play? What? Who sabotages their own lawn?

Cheryl P. said...

Some people just have too much time on their hands and feel the need to inject themselves into other peoples lives. I expect now that I responded to her majesty's snotty email with one of equal snottyness...I have put myself on the "watch" list. I have a alternate letter that I composed that is more to the POINT on what she can do about my future HOA indescretions. I can't post it here but would be glad to sent out copies to anyone to use as a template.