“I love my HOA!” Said probably no one ever. I despise our HOA. I really, really, really do. Burning our annual dues in the fire pit on our terrace would be more satisfying.

Earlier in the year we received a nastily worded mail demanding that we pay our dues. Our dues were paid at closing. No apology was issued. I learned during the back-and-forth that dues in our development are tiered. Those moving in beginning January 2016 pay the highest rate, in order to pay down the debt incurred on the competition size saltwater pool. Those owners with pools who moved in before 2010, when the pool was being considered pay a paltry dues amount. Ironically, it is those residents who don’t bother paying, as I also learned.

The HOA works overtime to discourage the community from attending meetings. The meeting dates are never published. And should you be lucky enough to break that code you are required to inform your “Unit Leader” that you will be attending the meeting. Why? Because rather than using our public community room, the meetings are rotated between the Unit Leaders homes and they need to account for additional participants. Basically our HOA does not want residents to attend their monthly cocktail party. 

We moved into our home one year ago, and there have been no meeting minutes published in that same time. I have asked, and asked, and asked, and…nothing. It’s probably difficult to write meeting minutes when the topics are Wine and Cheese. The Board President is non-responsive, and the lone Board member who deigned to respond last week told me to be patient and soon, “all my (meeting minute) dreams will come true.” Insulting jackass.

It took until last week before we were finally listed in the Resident Directory. Even then, I am listed as “Mrs. Husband’s Surname.”

Moving along. The Wren Family has left the roost.

I attended an “Edible Foraging” lecture recently. I never foraged for Bärlauch in Austria for fear that I would pick its poisonous cousin, and I’ll probably never forage here, but at least now I can identify some of our neighborhood greenery should I feel the urge to nosh while out with CTF.

We had a few weeks of moist weather, high heat and humidity with afternoon storms. These Russula emetica (“Vomiting Russian”) added a Dr. Seuss-like effect around the property and are precisely why I would especially never forage mushrooms.

Knoxville has six historic homes; for a single absurdly low ticket price the houses can be toured at one’s leisure. Anna Grace and I started the tours over the summer in chronological order, with the James White Fort I wrote about. This is Ramsey House, fourth in the timeline, but since Indolent seems to be my middle name these days, you’ll have to wait until I write up Blount Mansion and Marble Springs first.

Ramsey House hosts a daylong Celtic and Appalachian Music Festival; or, did before 2020. This year the organizers split the festival into two late afternoon performances, with reservations required for one of the marked “bubbles” on the lawn. A well-done ad hoc.

An area food truck provided the victuals. We went all in with a shared Bacon and Pimento Cheese Fries. An excellent concept, and worth recreating in my laboratory even with 75% less sodium than in this carton. 😳

On the subject of excess.

The Scots-Irish influence around here means Irish taverns, and that can never be a bad thing. (Of course, Darling Daughter chimed in with, “Fake News” when I sent her a snap.) This particular one is in an historic house tucked just off of the soulless beast Kingston Pike. The rooms are cozy; the Guinness, poured properly; and the Fish and Chips entirely worth a return visit. The culinary eye-catcher, though? Corned Beef and Cabbage Spring Rolls. 

In what is likely a case of mistaken identity, a police office on routine patrol reported seeing a tiger near a wildlife management area a couple of weeks ago. Social media stepped up to provide the levity in an otherwise miserable year.

In closing…