“Living in a homeowners association has its merits,” I always tell my real estate clients. “Yes, they might be a pain – but HOA’s protect the value of your property by preventing your neighbor’s house becoming an eyesore.”

Yet, here I sit, hiding inside behind tinted windows, slipping out only when I must, wearing my false moustache and my hat.

Okay, painting our house was not a financial priority…but when water gushed in through stucco cracks, we had to rob Peter to pay Paul and get it sealed and painted PRONTO before Michael and the rest of the alphabet of hurricanes veered our way.

Listen, “Soft Buttercup” looked fabulous on paper and equally as placid on the 6” square I painted on the wall behind the air conditioner. I was excited. We were ready and holding the necessary approval for the color from the Architectural Review Board firmly in hand.

On day one, Wayne, our painter, arrived with the mountain of ‘special blend’ paint cans.  On the sides of each monstrous, specially-blended can it read what I interpreted as “This-paint-will-never-ever-ever-fade.” He poured a quarter a smooth soft lemon hue into a pan. “Hmmm, Lovely color,” I thought and patted myself on the back. As Wayne started on the back porch, I left my husband, woozy on serious post-op pain meds, propped up in his chair watching Wayne’s meticulous and mesmerizing strokes, and skipped to my office which faces the street.

I was immersed in work when hours later I heard my fellow pipe “Babe. It’s REALLY yellow.” I rushed back to take a peek and nearly passed away.  This wasn’t a soft, mellow yellow. Not on your life. It was egg yolk-on-steroids. It was as if our house got caught in the slipstream of a Space-X craft and veered waaaay too close to the sun.

Namaste. Namaste.  Well. That didn’t work.

But I had to feign calm.  My fellow didn’t need my easy-to-surface panic in his post-operative state. “Under the overhang of the porch of course it looks darker.” I kept the quiver from my voice.

“It’ll calm down,” he smiled at me. The patient assuring the nurse. You can’t hide fear from your partner of 34 years no matter how many drugs he’s on!

“And we’ve always wanted a yellow house,” I said, handing him a very legal, post-surgery Oxy which I needed waaaay more than him.

I tried. I really, really tried to love it as yellow curled loudly around both sides of our once understated little house.  And then I had to face it. Yellow had ceased to be my favorite color. But there was naught to do…the storms were gaining momentum in the Atlantic Ocean, the race against time was ON to protect our most costly investment.

“STOP THE PAINT!” cried the ARC committee. “The color is NOT what we approved.”

“You can’t imagine the calls I’ve received,” the poor bearer of bad news committee chief lamented, “There’s uproar!”  She was spent, and it was only Monday. I felt truly felt sorry for her. Even after we confirmed it was the board-approved color she gave it a last shot. “Please, for the life of me, change that hideous color!” But alas, it was too late.  Thousands had been spent on labor; we couldn’t return the paint, the storms were coming, and nobody knew exactly where they’d land. The only way the color would change was if the HOA paid to do so.

My desk is by the front window so I can see up and down the street and witness the effect of our very own eye-sore.

Thank God for riding helmets. Cyclists slow and veer into the pavement as the glare penetrates even the darkest of shades. Dogs are encouraged to poop on our lawn and owners “forget” to pick up. Even without contact lenses, I can spot eyebrows raised high above rims of sunglasses as neighbors stop, point, and lament over our bad taste.

Well, here we are. Bright and quite, quite dazzling. Day or night, cloudy skies or rain, Sunshine radiates from #2692.

But let’s look on the…ahem…bright side:

  • The busybodies in our hood that spend their long days reporting trash cans left outside and weeds in yards will give my industrious, hard-working neighbors a break. Those who juggle careers and kids and a hundred and five daily challenges a day will be spared as the HOA focuses on our “hideous” choice.
  • This, our yellow beacon, will guide lost travelers: “Go past the yellow house, then 19 doors down on the opposite side is number 2785!”
  • Ray Ban Sunglasses could sponsor a community outreach to tone down the Wallace’s bad taste. The company be hailed as “Heroes of The Hood.”  Wow, so many PR possibilities…
  • But best of all, my Bestie, known to me as “My Sunshine,” will always be on my doorstep, even though she lives 8,000 miles away.

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