15 August 2007

Welcome to East Berlin, Georgia

No, there's really no such place as East Berlin, Georgia, but my town is beginning to feel like a Communist state simply because of my neighborhood covenants. Ah, yes, neighborhood covenants. Supposedly, these rules are in place to protect the architectural stability of the neighborhood, as well as the value of my property. Bull-puckey! These covenants are in place just to friggin' tick me off!

Take, for example, our back yard. Once, it was a severely sloping piece of crap, covered not in grass but in dirt and moss. For the seven years we've been here, that was the status quo until this summer. We spent an obscene amount of cash to install a retaining wall, fill in with over 30 truck loads of dirt, sod installation, and to put in a play area for the yard apes. We improved our backyard. Old backyard - bad. New backyard - good. But before all of this was done, we had to get approval from the Home Owner's Association. We needed approval from people who don't pay a dime for this scrap of land, total strangers no less, to improve our property? What the...? The last time I checked this was the U.S. of friggin' A! If I feel like putting up a billboard advertising Colt 45 and 2,000 plastic flamingos, that's my George Washington-given right, dang it! But, not here. Not in East Berlin, Georgia. Here, you are not allowed to do any of the following:

1. Erect an antenna or other device for the reception of TV or radio signals.
2. Place a fence, wall, hedge, or shrub planting so as to block access to the sidewalks in the Community.
3. Erect a clothesline on the exterior of any Lot.
4. Keep an unsightly or unkempt yard. Only appropriate outdoor items (firewood, patio furniture, grills, and bicycles may be kept on the patio or deck serving the Lot).

These are just a few of the crazy items contained in my community's covenants. Allow me refute just these four:

1. According to the US government and the FCC Web site: "
47 C.F.R. Section 1.4000 has been in effect since October 1996, and it prohibits restrictions that impair the installation, maintenance or use of antennas used to receive video programming. The rule applies to video antennas including direct-to-home satellite dishes that are less than one meter (39.37") in diameter (or of any size in Alaska), TV antennas, and wireless cable antennas. The rule prohibits most restrictions that: (1) unreasonably delay or prevent installation, maintenance or use; (2) unreasonably increase the cost of installation, maintenance or use; or (3) preclude reception of an acceptable quality signal" TAKE THAT YOU STALIN-LOVIN' NEIGHBORHOOD FREAKS! Somebody bring me the biggest, most obnoxious TV antenna because my HD signal isn't coming in clear enough!
2. The last time I checked, every friggin' time I go for a run or stroller-walk, I'm constantly having to get off the sidewalk and onto the street to avoid a bush that is overgrown. Severely overgrown over the sidewalk. Meanwhile, I try to leave my CLOSED/NON-OVERFLOWING garbage can on the side of my house and I get a nasty letter. Yeah, whatever.
3. Isn't this country on an environmental binge? Aren't clotheslines supposed to save energy? I personally won't use one but what about the wanna-be hippie who moves in down the street?
4. I try not to keep an unsightly or unkempt yard, but it's kind of difficult to do when all the neighbor kids leave their sports cups, soccer balls, golf balls, scooters, and bicycles laying in our yard and driveway.

Yep, I love this place. We're not allowed to install a vinyl fence, one that would look nice for years to come with no maintenance, because some schmo put pen to paper 14 years ago and said I could only use wood. Wood that will rot. Wood that will weather. Wood that will have to be stained and maintained every year. Also, my garage has to smell like dirty diapers and rotten food because it's 100 degrees outside and my garbage can has to be stored inside, out of sight. And, I even have to consult these people on the color of my house when I'm ready to re-paint.

I'm tellin' you, if anyone from the government or military is reading this, send me an emergency airlift of yard gnomes, flamingos, and a broke-down clunker for the driveway, because I'm living in a communist neighborhood with no hope of escape. My philosophy is if you can't beat 'em, tick 'em off!

Ain't America grand?


JB said...

At times like this I consult a very wise old man.
He is known by many names but I call him Willie.
You have to sit back and ask yourself... What Would Willie Do? I'll tell ya what he'd do. He'd fire up the bio-diesel bus park it in the front yard climb on top have a shot of whiskey pull out his trusty guitar "Trigger" Crank up the amps, flip off the neighborhood Nazi party and play a East Berlin Farm Aid concert right there in the cul-de-sac.
I mean he's Willie Nelson. The Man that figured out a way to pay back the IRS when he was a gazillion dollars screwed with back taxes.

Hmmm... Well I guess you could play some really loud hammered dulcimer in the driveway.


Vonda said...

Heather, you crack me up! Isn't it hilarious that your place is one of the nicest in the doggone neighborhood, but you still have to ask permission to do all the things you want to do to "upgrade" your place. Hmmm...it sounds like you are in Germany because they don't let you do anything over here without asking first. Our motto...it's always better to ask forgiveness than permission. Love ya -V

Not Afraid to Use It said...

We learned out lesson living in a condo in ATL. The people on our HOA board were power hungry Nazis whose only goal in life was to lord their power of the "covenant" over our heads. Hubbie and I have sworn that the next place we buy will NOT be in an HOA neighborhood. Period.