As the Condo Turns…

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This condo life’s the life for me,
But I have issues…you will see,
With old farts on a condo board,
Who make suite owners feel ignored…

Opening Scene: If you’ve been following my blog, you may remember that we recently Downsized and moved to our first condo. It’s been nearly two years since we took that giant step into this community-type living arrangement. And we’ve met a whole gaggle of cotton-heads – all waddling into The Scary World of Aging along with us. So at least we have that in common, which is necessary when you live in a complex chock-a-block with wrinkled has-beens.

Cast of Characters: Oh get a grip! I’m not trying to bust your blogroll with that last comment. But when people age, the world at large tends to think of older people as just that – old people. But we all used to be something else in the world, before we got to retire and enjoy the good life here in this adult lifestyle complex. We represent every walk of life in various eras gone by, and now we get to be free agents. And that’s a wonderful thing.

Lifetime Performances: Old corporate dogs never die – they resurface on condo boards! Sometimes these retired pinstriped suits love to continue on in positions of power after getting the golden handshake. Consequently, some choose condo board positions to exercise the old school ‘mushroom style of management’ that was in business vogue back in the good old days. And now many condo residents suffer the ill effects of these fungus management techniques.

Great Actors: In my professed limited experience, I have found condo boards only pretend to be open for suggestions. But deep inside their cold little grinchy-hearts, they don’t like change, they discourage communication, they isolate potential status-quo-shakers, and they prefer an autocratic system of control. There’s no doubt these board members (mostly male) like to rule with a bony arthritic fist! And preferably in a locked room away from the rest of the annoying pesky suite owners.

Change the Scenery: I realize it will take time for the old guard to move on and allow the newer residents to sit in the power seats. It’s a trust issue as well. And they definitely have done many good things to date. But there’s more to modern-day condo living than bridge games, jigsaw puzzles and an anal-retentive book of rules. This isn’t an old folks home. And it’s not a place where dusty doilies go to die. We need new blood to make this a community for everyone to enjoy; not just the long time residents who hold on to ‘the way it’s always been’ with a death grip.

Happy Ending: But saying all that, I still love living here. Condo life is definitely the right life for Hubsey and me at this stage of our lives. Some of the rules are dumb-ass stupid, and we may not feel part of the decision process yet, but I know someday that will change. I need to be patient and it will come.

12 Things I’ve Learned About Condo Living

1. You can’t always get your own way.

2. You can enjoy the snow without shovelling it.

3. You can’t play your music or TV too loud.

4. You can feel safe and secure.

5. You can’t renovate without condo approval.

6. You can go swimming in the winter.

7. You can’t have deliveries outside approved hours.

8. You can always find someone to talk to.

9. You can’t expect to know why decisions are made.

10. You can expect to be frustrated when decisions are made.

11. You can’t wash the outside of your windows when they’re dirty.

12. You can ignore the politics and enjoy the simple life.

So all in all, this is a new lifestyle in progress. Stay tuned for the next episode of…As the Condo Turns.

So that’s my rant – that’s all she wrote,
What if they read my blogging note?
While condo rules may well restrict me,
At least those old farts can’t evict me…

Pat Skene

16 responses »

  1. New rule book out? Go ahead Pat, fight the fight. The good guys don’t always win but if they didn’t try the bad guys would always win. Keep up the ‘attitude’, it keeps you young even if you are surrounded by the not-so-young and flexible. Now go turn that radio down!

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    • Thanks Blanche. Actually, we have a united front of newbies who have moved in over the past few years. Cracking that old nut of “the way things have always been” is the biggest challenge. I may turn the radio down, but I’ll still be making lots of noise.

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  2. Ha! Good blog. I rent a room from a gal who owns a condo. Now and then there’s an issue about a condo rule interpretation and there is nothing like having your own lawyer on board. I’ve read those rules so many times I practically have them memorized – the rules, the exceptions and the exceptions to the exceptions. They’ve hassled her about on-street parking (not addressed in the rules, she just had surgery – deal with it – bucko), a small planter garden (not in the rules, if you think a garden is ugly we won’t give you any tomatoes, deal?), etc. OTOH, no one gets everything they want, not even me (LOL) Enjoy.

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  3. I don’t live in a condo but have friends that do. Some are happier than others. It feels like the stuffy board you’re talking about is just like the one my friend is dealing with. Maybe they’re all using the same “rule” book?

    Have to laugh. This is a cheeky post. Love it.

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    • Thanks…glad you enjoyed it. Had to shake that out of my system. I’m sure all condo boards aren’t all the same, but my first experience sure is an eye opener. Like you, I’m trying to “cut the crap!”

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  4. When I lived in a condo (mostly seniors) I learned “rules are not to be broken – no exceptions.” There’s always a mean-spirited busy body who tattles to the management. But in general, the rules kept our condo in pristine condition, and made sure we lived up to our end of the bargain. So Pat, when are you running for the board?

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    • Yes, I agree. Some condo rules do have their place. But no, I don’t plan to run for a board seat. I spent many years in my previous life fighting my way through the old boy’s network, so I’m not inclined to lead the charge in my golden years. Too much negative energy. But there are a lot of newcomers with the requisite amount of P & V so things will eventually change. Thanks for your comment Mary.

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  5. I certainly hope you are planning to get on the board in order to bring your wisdom to the decisions that are being made.

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    • Thanks for the vote Rumpel, but no thanks. I’m just a crusty little blogger gal planning to live out my retirement years in peace and harmony. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t create a disturbance in the atmosphere from time to time. Those rantz in my pantz can be rather unpredictable.

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    • I’m sure not all condos are the same but this has been my experience. Any condo is however, a community. So consensus will always be a difficult thing to attain. Make sure you read all the rules thoroughly before you commit. But saying all that, I do absolutely love living here and enjoy the resort like environment. And I guess there’s politics no matter where you go. Don’t let my rant discourage you from looking into this type of wonderful lifestyle.

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