Hello everyone. I am off to North Carolina and the beach today. Before I leave I decided to post a short story I wrote a couple of days ago. It’s a true story based on a lesson my six year old taught me (she’s now 41). I hope you enjoy it. I will post again after I get back from my trip. Blessings to all.
I became a mother at the ripe old age of eighteen. I soon learned I knew nothing about raising a child. Three years later, I decided I needed two children to show off my child rearing abilities. I had a beautiful son and daughter.
My son, Allan, was the best boy. He loved to hunt, fish, and played Evil Kenivel on his bike. The trips to the hospital are another story. This story is about my little princess, Stephanie. She taught me an extremely valuable lesson about bluffing.
For some reason during her first year of school, Stephanie decided to stretch her independence. From a mother’s point of view, a six-year-old, in the first grade needs a great deal of motherly love and guidance.
This beautiful, blonde, blue-eyed, little girl was a bit hard-headed. That came from her father’s side of the family, of course. I’d ask her to do something, and she would stand with her hands on her hips and tell me no. She got her tail busted a few times, but it didn’t seem to matter to her. (By the way, you have to remember, back in the 70’s, busting tail wasn’t considered abuse.) I had to think of a creative way to get my daughter to behave. I came up with the perfect idea.
When Stephanie misbehaved, I would explain to her I was sending her to a convent run by Nuns, who would make her behave. We weren’t Catholic, and I’m sure she didn’t have a clue of what a convent was. All she knew I was going to send her away from home and that was all she needed to behave. I had my well-behaved daughter back. That is until October.
One Thursday evening in October, my little angel reverted to an obstinate, hateful, child. She pushed me to my limit. You know they do learn at a remarkably early age what buttons to push to send you near to the breaking point and then back off. With my control being reached, I yelled, “All right, little girl, I have had it with you. Come Monday morning you will be enrolled at the convent.” Of course, I didn’t have any intention of taking her anywhere, much less the fact I wasn’t even sure there was a convent in Oklahoma.
Stephanie believed me, settled down, and began watching TV with her brother. It ended up a real,enjoyable evening, and not even problems going to bed. I patted myself on the back, one more time for controlling my daughter without having to bust her tail.
Friday morning, the kids got up without any problem, had breakfast and headed out the door to school. I headed to work. I was the Director of Nursing at a nursing home. My day was going well, that is until 1:00 PM and I heard an overhead page announcing a phone call for me.
“Hello”, this is Shirley. How can I help you?” I’m thinking it’s a doctor’s office calling with orders. That’s the usual calls I received.
“Shirley, this is Amanda Jenkins, Stephanie’s teacher.”
“Is Stephanie hurt? What’s wrong?” I asked. I felt panic.
“Oh, nothing is wrong. I just wanted to ask you to come by the school and sign Stephanie’s transfer papers.”
“What? She’s not transferring anywhere.” I had forgotten about the night before.
“Stephanie came to me this afternoon and turned her books in. She said you were transferring her from here today, and she would start on Monday at another school.”
My darling called my bluff. I had to explain to the teacher what happened. I didn’t think she was going to stop laughing. I felt like an idiot. I never bluffed my daughter again. She taught me a good lesson about bluffing. Don’t do it unless you’re willing to follow through and accept the consequences. My consequences were, I had to eat crow.
I don’t like them. Never have and never will. In all fairness, I can see how they think they are a necessary service to the neighborhood. They can help deter the next door neighbor from painting his house black with pick polka-dots. I think Associations get to feeling all powerful and have to flex their muscles to make their existence justifiable.
Being the country girl that I am, when I own something it’s mine to do with what I please. If I’m not causing problems if I want to plant flowers or make patterns in my lawn with the lawn mower, that is my right. Unfortunately that’s not the case if you move into a neighborhood with a homeowners association.
My husband and I lived in a very nice condo in Cary North Carolina for a short period of time. When the home owners association told us we were out of compliance because the satellite dish did not match the roof color, we bought property and built a new home. We were fortunate to be able to sell and build.
I was reading yesterday in AARP, where a woman in Portsmouth, NH bought a new condo after being promised she could plant flowers in a 5 x 8 bed. Two years went by without a problem and then one day she was notified the flowers would have to go. When she declined to remove the flowers the association fined her $5800 and put a lean on her house. “The practical implication is that what one person thinks is beautiful, another person thins is horrible. Whether you like it or not is not the issue.”
How do you think you would react to this issue? I don’t think I would react well at all. As I mentioned above, I want to be able to do what I want with my property. I would not buy property in an association without talking to a lot of the people of the neighborhood. Look at the neighborhood closely. Do all of the houses look exactly alike? That would be a very good indication how stringent the association is. Also, be sure and asked for the associations by-laws to know for sure what you can and can’t do if you purchase property.