Saturday, September 20, 2014

Settling in to the Condo

We’ve been in our condo for just three weeks and I’m already aware of some of the community’s idiosyncrasies. We have rules from the golf club (which we joined as social members) and bylaws from the condo association. There also appear to be unwritten behavioral guidelines that neighbors follow as closely as the written ones.

Let’s start with the golf club. It’s no surprise that they expect folks to wear shoes in the clubhouse. And it’s comforting that they don’t consider flip-flops to be shoes. I’m not sure whether the tank tops that are banned are only the ones that Guidos wear down at the Jersey Shore, or if that also includes the sleeveless knit tops that women wear. Also needing clarification is the ruling that men must tuck their shirttails into their pants. Is a straight hem a shirttail?

This last point is important for us, because my husband spends the summer in those oversized printed shirts that are often described as Hawaiian. They’re meant to be worn outside the pants. My husband has a slight frame, and he likes his summer shirts loose. If he had to tuck them in, he’d look like a mailbag with the cinch string drawn tight. I guarantee that his flapping tails would be far more socially acceptable.

Moving on to the condo bylaws. The community is extremely attractive to drive through. Though there are a limited number of building models and exterior colors, they’re sited in ways that avoid the look of a plan book community. And it’s guaranteed to stay that way, because the bylaws state that you can paint your unit using only an approved exterior color. And using the association’s painters.

That control extends to the inside of your unit, at least with regard to what is visible to the neighbors. Specifically, the window treatments one hangs must be white. Or else they must be lined in white, so that color is what is seen from the street. This gives new meaning to “plain vanilla.” It also describes the ethnicity of the neighbors we’ve seen on the streets thus far.

Speaking of what’s on the streets: there seems to be an unwritten size limitation on the dogs here. Virtually every home has exactly one dog in residence, which pet is dutifully walked on the shared greenery at least twice a day. With a singular exception, we’ve not seen a dog that couldn’t fit in our vintage cat carrier. On the subject of cats, Luke appears to be the only feline in the community, but he hasn’t been out and about much yet. He’s still exploring inside his new home.

Returning to how attractive the place is on a drive through. It should be. They water the lawns every morning, even if it rained overnight. Not surprisingly, that much watering is accompanied by virtually nonstop mowing. An armada of lawn care vehicles can be heard in and around our condo several times a week. And since we overlook the 13th fairway, we’re also treated to the sound of mowing (and mowing and mowing) down behind our unit every week.

Absent that, the place is unbelievably peaceful and quiet. We often wake to early morning fog on the fairway. As it lifts, it reveals the wooded area opposite our new home. Beyond that is an abandoned railroad right-of-way. The tracks run along the river, and though we can’t see it, its presence contributes to the quietude behind us.

The only other interruption of the exquisite silence is the thunk of golf balls bouncing off our condo siding a few times a week. I even found one on our deck Labor Day weekend. That deck is outside our living room, which has a wall of windows about 16 feet high. I can live with thunking. I just hope I don’t start hearing the sound of breaking glass. I suppose that’s just one of the risks that come with the beauty of golf course living. So far, it’s definitely worth it. Stay tuned.

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