Monday, January 10, 2011


When I moved into my condo, I was told that the patch of earth at the base of the stairs and the patch of earth under the stairs was mine.

Last year, I worked to make the bits of earth I had into some approximation of a garden. I took out the ugly, sprawling evergreen bush under the stairs, cleaned up the moss, added a trellis, put an ornamental edge between the dirt and the concrete, added compost and fertilizer to the dirt to make it fertile again, and finally, in October, I planted some irises to bloom in the spring.

On Saturday I came home from a shopping excursion to see that the HOA had moved the trellis, and killed one of my irises as they hung up a snow shovel from the stair support. In high dudgeon I started to remove the apparatus they used to secure the shovel to the post, but a careful reading of the HOA documents doesn't specifically say that I have any right to that bit of land. I own the stairs, but there is no mention of the space beneath them, and it does specifically state that the parts of the deck that I own do not include the supporting beams.

So I took out the trellis, replanted the irises in the bit of dirt at the bottom of the stairs, and took out the ornamental edging. For things that took me many, many hours to put in, they took perhaps fifteen minutes to tear out. Destruction is so much easier than creation.

The irises will die. The earth at the foot of the stairs is on the north side of the building, and is practically on the water table besides. Assuming the bulbs had the energy to try to re-root themselves in the new dirt, they are going to rot. And now, every time I drive home, every time I walk into my house, instead of seeing something that I made beautiful, that I took pride in, that I had plans for, and hopes for... instead of a garden, I'm going to get to see a bright yellow plastic snow shovel.

In SEATTLE. Where it might, MIGHT need to be used four days a year. So for the other 361 days I'll see something blight-ugly, on the off chance that someone might want to use the snow shovel when we do get two inches of snow. And that's also assuming that this mythical person was not capable of purchasing their own shovel.

I hate my HOA. I hate them so much. Every "idea" they have to make this place better just makes things more frustrating and ugly. Had this happened last year, before I spent any time trying to make a garden, I'd have loathed it because it looks horrible. The fact that it stole something from me that I treasured AND it looks horrible has me heartbroken.

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