Outlawed by my new HOA:

Water torture. Like this mayor who willfully broke the law in Salt Lake City, I am not allowed to create an environmentally-friendly, xeriscaped yard. We’re required to fully sod the front yard and include five feet of sod in our backyard. The remainder of the backyard must at least be seeded. How much of a bonehead do you have to be in a town with routine drought restrictions to require me to water a dang yard? Then you know they’re gonna come down on me if I don’t mow the yard I don’t want to grow in the first place. Basically, they want me to spend hours a week maintaining grass I don’t want, and pay for the priviledge.

No wallpaper allowed, no matter how supercool it is. Despite the fact that it is not exposed to the exterior of the home. And, despite the fact that it is one of the trendiest wall treatments going. If they’re so afraid of the old-school wallpapers bringing down home values, they should also rethink the butt-ugly linoleum the builder stuck us with. Which, with any luck, will be scraped out of our place about 8 or so hours from now.

No burning candles. Ironically, we can light up all the cigarettes we want and fall asleep with a burning butt, but if we light Phoebe’s birthday candles come January, we’ll be in violation of the HOA bylaws.

No temporary pools. Okay, I understand the whole no above-ground pools restriction and where they’re coming from on that, but there’s no exception for baby pools. So our little 3-year old will just have to suck it in the heat until they get around to building the community pool. Or, until she turns five or six and doesn’t act like the sprinkler is raining acid on her little baby head.

I have heard lots of horror stories about HOAs but I never expected a brand-new development to have such antiquated rules and regulations. Especially in such an environmentally-aware city, I just find it appalling that there’s not some sort of annual or bi-annual evaluation of the bylaws and how they fall in line (or don’t) with current trends and values. Isn’t obsolescence what these rules are supposed to be preventing?

With these types of mandates laid down, not one but TWO of our neighbors has installed plastic flowers in window boxes on the fronts of their homes. And not one, but TWO OTHER neighbors has replaced their builder-supplied blinds with various sports- and military-themed flags. Yet, if I go and repaint our front door and shutters, do you know who the HOA will come after? You know it’ll be me.