I’m working on our neighborhood newsletter — the final one for 2022. At the annual meeting and quarterly board meeting, residents voiced their concerns. Can you guess what the number one issue was?
Seriously, I walk our neighborhood streets every morning. There is more dog poop on the streets and sidewalks than when we moved here in 2020. One morning there was dog poop on our driveway.
It’s weird. Who doesn’t pick up after their pets? This is a nice neighborhood and people take care of their yards and homes. Neighbors are retired professionals, successful trades people with empty nests or younger working families with kids and dogs.
A neighbor, who has a well-behaved labradoodle who is being trained as a therapy dog, asked me to put something in the newsletter about dog poop. She told me that one of her friends in a nearby neighborhood addressed this by DNA testing every dog — and then testing poop. The guilty were slapped with a $500 fine.
DNA testing? The neighbor thought that was over the top, but said other ideas were having bags at the park and putting up cameras — plus fines.
The neighborhood isn’t big on cameras. It seems too Orweillian.
We do have lots of wildlife here. I looked up javelina and coyote poop. I read it looks similar to mid-sized dogs. Maybe it’s not bad dog owners but wild animals?
Walking through the neighborhood, we stop and pet dogs who are out with their owners. Both the dogs and the neighbors don’t seem like the type to leave pet droppings around.
On a brighter note, thank goodness our number one issue isn’t crime or homeless!
What suggestions do you have for our task force tackling dog poop?
I thought with my new laptop I’d be through with computer issues. But an issue came up with the latest issue of the newsletter that I volunteer to do for our homeowner’s association.
If you didn’t read about my computer issues, I was losing files and realized that the “automatic backup” wasn’t backing up. You can read about that HERE.
My new laptop doesn’t have the fonts for the newsletter. I get missing font messages and the type reverts to Helvetica or Geneva which doesn’t look great. So, I asked my son — who created the layout and template for me — to help fix it. He told me to email him the newsletter and he’d convert it to a pdf on his laptop. (He has the fonts.)
After my son made the newsletter look pretty, I sent it off to my newsletter co-editor for proof reading — plus the board of directors for their input.
In the end I received 10 small corrections and tweaks last night. Instead of sending the newsletter to my son to make the corrections, I thought I’d try turning on the old laptop — which has the missing fonts. I thought I’d be able to update the newsletter all on my own. What I discovered is those fonts on my old laptop are missing. too!
So, even with a brand new laptop that’s working great, I still have issues to fix.
With different fonts, spacing is different which changes every page’s layout.
What a mess.
On our beach vacation, our kids are joining us and my son has promised to install the fonts and we won’t have to be emailing the newsletter back and forth in the future.
Do you work on any layouts besides your blogs? Do you enjoy it or find it tedious? What computer problems or glitches have you dealt with?
We got a letter from the Homeowner’s Association. It was puzzling to say the least.
Make that damn irritating — not puzzling.
This letter is being written on behalf of the Community Association. In a continuing effort to maintain community enjoyment and high property values, it is the responsibility of the Board of Directors to ensure the governing documents are enforced.
It was noted that you are storing your trash bin, visible from neighboring property. All trash bins should be stored as to not be visible from neighboring property, with the exception of placement for collection.
Yes. That was written in BOLD!
We have a block walled-off area where our storage bins are stored (see the photo above). I don’t think the neighbors can see through the block wall.
I looked at the date of the violation. It was the day we left for Mexico — Thursday. Trash pick up is on Friday. According to the rules, you can take your trash out the evening before. I took the trash bin to the curb before we left. It was several hours before evening. I asked a neighbor to drag the trash can back up the driveway Friday afternoon so we wouldn’t break any rules.
Little did I know that taking the trash out a few hours too early would result in a sternly worded letter! And a warning that if we didn’t fix the problem we’d be fined! I was only trying to save my neighbor the task of taking my trash out in the first place down our long driveway.
So, who turned me in? This is the first time I’ve felt uncomfortable in my new digs.
Do you have HOA rules where you live? What are your thoughts about the warning letter? Do you think they should have waited before issuing a warning to see that the trash can was put away out of sight?
The board meeting was a snap. I get so worked up over nothing. The people were kind. They were nice. I’m making new friends. I now know what’s going on in the neighborhood with landscaping, pickleball and budgets. The people were appreciative that I volunteered with another woman to continue the newsletter. My newsletter partner is making my job easier. She has lots of ideas and gathers information for stories.
Without us stepping up, the newsletter was going to stop.
I finished it in a few hours after the meeting. I’ve emailed it to be proofread and to get feedback. I’m very happy with it. Pleased in fact.
Now I have to wait for the Board’s approval. I’m not anxious anymore. I’m relieved it done.
It’s good to get out of my comfort zone once in awhile. Especially, when I’m getting too comfy on the couch or chaise lounge reading and not wanting to leave the house.
My daughter told me that it’s not normal to worry as much as I do. She said I need therapy.
In any case, I’m very happy and relaxed today. Feeling fine. I’ve beat my husband two days in a row in ping pong, too.
If you missed my post yesterday about losing a night’s sleep being a worry wart, you can read it HERE.
Huge thanks to my son. While I was taking care of him post surgery, I worked on the newsletter (getting everything done except for the Board meeting news). He said, “I love newsletters and doing layouts. Can I work on it? I never get to anymore.” (FYI, he helped with their swim team newsletter and was in charge of the website while in high school.) He put in two hours changing the standard Apple Pages template into something unique. Thank you dear son! They love your work. I couldn’t have done it without you. You know you’re on the hook for each issue, right?
Why do you lose sleep — or do you? What’s the biggest worry in your life right now?
I had one of those nights of not being able to stay asleep. It was awful. I looked at the clock at 1 a.m., 3, 4, 5 and 6 a.m. Finally, I gave up. I tried to figure out what was the problem. I couldn’t get comfortable. I was too hot. I had a headache. I felt clammy. I wanted some water. It was always something.
Now that it’s daytime, I’m pushing through my day, though not feeling 100%, I realized my problem with last night was today. I’m having to get out of my comfort zone. I took on my HOA’s newsletter as editor and I have most of it done — except for the front page. I was told that after the HOA board meeting — which is TODAY — the board would give me the information from the meeting. Then I can put the newsletter to bed.
But I got a phone call. They want me to go to the meeting, introduce myself and say something. The board wants to meet me to have me take notes. Ordinarily, this would be no big deal. I had a career of doing newsletters. I don’t know what is it this time? Maybe it’s COVID shut down related. Starting our third year of not having our normal interactions.
Also, I have a new audience for my work and I am insecure if people will like it or not. They’ve had the same person doing the newsletter for 15 years and I’m coming in fresh. Maybe they will want the newsletter the way it was before. The same handful of people have sat on this board of directors for 15 years. They said they want fresh ideas and people, but will they? On the bright side, I’ll finally meet some people in this neighborhood — and that was the point of me taking on this project.
Do you feel intimidated by new situations and people? Do you push yourself out of your comfort zone? When you do, do you lose sleep over it? What do you lose sleep over?
It takes a trip out of state to an entirely different environment for me to appreciate the beauty of my desert. I get used to it and lose some appreciation, but a trip away wakes up my senses. As I walked this morning around our neighborhood I was struck by the views of cactus, mountains and shrubbery. I like it out here. I’d like to see more some wildlife, too.
What are some of the things you like best about where you live?
Our community has a newsletter. In each issue it features an article about the latest homeowner’s association meeting, updates on city utility news like trash days are changing or when bulk pick up is scheduled. There’s always a recipe, an article about wildlife or plants and a welcome to new neighbors. It’s interesting and done by a husband and wife. ‘
For the past six months they’ve asked for a volunteer to take over the newsletter. The couple in charge have done it for more than ten years, since its inception. They are done. This current newsletter stated that if nobody volunteers — then the newsletter is over.
I thought, do I want to do this? Should I do this? I’m not a newbie to newsletters. My first job in PR, I wrote at least seven newsletters a month for various clients including a city, a realtor, a hotel and three or four for a medical center (staff, physicians, research, and a couple medical specialties.) After that job, I worked for a developer and I was in charge of newsletters for several country club developments for the members. That was before “desk top publishing.” I had to type my copy, drive it to a typesetter. I would work on a layout with a pencil on paper! I took numerous trips by car to the printer with corrections to the typesetting and real live photographs. Once I had a “blueline” I was relieved.
In my free time, I did the newsletter for the Desert Advertising Club. I was a board member and volunteered my time. While raising kids, I volunteered to do newsletters for their swim team and a charitable organization I was in.
I know I can do this newsletter, it’s in my “wheel house,” but do I want to?
I thought yes and no. The pros are it’s quarterly. Not monthly. And — this is the biggie — I moved less than a year ago and I don’t know anyone except for the realtor up the street who sold us our house and an occasional hello to next door neighbor Brad. The newsletter might help me be less isolated and more engaged in my new surroundings.
Our neighborhood has five clubs, book club, coffee club, wine club, etc. But they haven’t met because of COVID. They were supposed to start up this month, but they are holding off until 2022.
The downsides — do I want to do the newsletter? Do I want to have a deadline? Do I want to be more active in the community or do I like my quiet life more?
I texted the kids, talked it over with hubby. They all think I should do it. My kids especially think I should because they know I’m happy when I’m working in my field — even if I whine about it.
I decided to sleep on it. Two days later, I decided YES. I called the number in the newsletter of the current husband and wife editors. I got the “disconnected and no longer in service” message.
I checked the neighborhood directory and noticed there was a typo on the phone number. I dialed the correct number and once again — “disconnected and no longer in service.”
I looked up their cell phone and it went straight to voice mail. I left a message and emailed them.
That was Friday. It’s Sunday and I haven’t received a call back or an email.
So to be or not to be — Newsletter Editor? We’ll wait and see.
What are your thoughts about volunteering? Do you think it benefits the people volunteering as well as those who receive service? What do you think of people volunteering because of their own agenda or motives? Can you think of any examples?