Hi, I'm Jill...the Mean, Nasty New Neighbor


Let me just get right to the point: I'm the kind of person that likes to get right to the point. I'm forthright. I tell it like I see it. There. I said it.

I'm also the kind of person who has an opinion about almost everything, but keep it to myself unless it's something I really feel strongly about. I'm not big on giving advice, unless someone asks.

Currently, I happen to feel strongly about our home owner's association spending $13,000 this summer on lifeguards that text message, eat, listen to iPods and visit with their (non-member) friends while "lifeguarding". That is, if they even bother to show up. And let me just interject, if they don't show up, the bathrooms don't get unlocked, and that's just not cool.

I don't think we even need lifeguards since our community pool is fairly small and not heavily used. But, this summer the contract for lifeguards was signed, so my opinion is I'd really like the money our home owner's association is paying to be put to good use.

My husband and I raised the "no lifeguards needed" idea with the home owner's association president after the pool season last year and we felt it was largely swept under the carpet and not acted upon one way or the other.

So, a couple weeks ago I emailed the President of the Homeowner's Association and voiced my opinion. I gave two or three examples, with specific dates, when I observed lifeguards not doing their job. I presented, again, my argument for spending the $13,000 on something that would benefit a greater percentage of the home owners. For example, $40 could be spent on a new swing for the playground to replace the one with a broken safety bar.

And I also asked for ages and qualifications of the lifeguards working, a breakdown of the costs associated with the pool (wages, maintenance, etc) and a listing of the duties the lifeguards are supposed to uphold.

The H/O President replied that he'd get me the information, when he could find the time, and also copied all of the other Board Members, including Carolyn, the Board member in charge of the pool.

Carolyn lives down the street from us. She has five kids, 4 of them teenagers. We've had a couple issues with her boys loitering around our house late at night. My husband did the responsible thing. He talked to the boys, told them to go home, and then went to their house and talked to Carolyn and her husband.

Let's just say Carolyn doesn't like us very well. And she really doesn't like us now that I've invaded her Pool Territory.

She was at the pool earlier this week and was openly and obviously talking about us to other people there. So, me being the forthright person I am said, "Carolyn, I find it interesting that you can talk about us to other people when what you should be doing, as the Pool member on the Board, is talking to us."

Carolyn The Pool Lady had been unleashed. She told me on no uncertain terms that she could not believe how I went about voicing my complaint. She told us we have not lived in the neighborhood long enough to have an opinion. She told me I am nitpicking the lifeguards. And she called us the "mean, nasty new neighbors."

How do you even begin to respond to someone like that? Her personal opinion about us overshadows her duty as a Board Member. A person who resorts to name calling has bigger problems than the issue at hand. She's embarrassing herself in an effort to defend her position.

It's really sad. It's sad someone like her is allowed to be on the Board. It's sad she isn't more mature about the situation. It's sad our hard-earned money is being managed by a Board that allows her behavior and the poor job performance of the lifeguards.

Ultimately, I think this is a testament to the bigger problem of work ethic in kids today, and the way some adults enable it by not doing anything about it.

She has chosen to defend that, while calling me mean and nasty.

It's just really sad.


justabeachkat :

Sorry Jill. What a mess! Sounds like Carolyn is "the pot calling the kettle black" as my Mom used to say. I hope Carolyn doesn't control the other board members and that you get better responses from them.

heidi @ ggip :

What a big huge mess!! I am so happy that we moved to the one neighborhood in the whole town that does not have a homeowners association.

Amber Kay :

Good for you! Good for you for saying that to The Pool Lady! Good for you for standing up for what you believe in!
That's a GREAT quality to have.
Just out of curiosity...is one of her kids a lifeguard?

Leah in Iowa :

Truthfully, I feel bad for The Pool Lady (and her family). She must be miserable inside! To gossip about someone she hardly knows, flaunting it in front of you, is so immature. Have you stopped to think about what HER life might be like? Maybe her kids ARE the lifguards you are questioning. Maybe her kids are FRIENDS of the lifeguards. Maybe she felt like your husband tattled on her kids. Maybe her kids are spoiled brats that she can't stand, but rises to the occasion when someone ELSE toys with them. Maybe she feels you are inappropriately questioning her authority as The Pool Lady. And maybe, just maybe, her husband isn't a hottie like yours, and she's jealous of you! Ever stop to think of THAT?? =) Just forgive her and get on with your life. While you're enjoying the rest of your vacation, she's probably spending hours being bitter, jealous, and backbiting. Be the better woman. You're from Iowa - you can do it!! =)

Lauren@Baseballs&Bows :

What a bad situation! I am impressed by the way you confronted her when she was talking about you with the other neighbors. If she is going to be on the board, she has a responsibility to hear you out without making judgments about you. I hope things will be taken care of, though it doesn't sound promising at this point!

Jamie :

Way to go!! I would have done the same thing as you did!! It sounds like the "Pool Lady" herself has some issues of her own.

It sounds like you did a good job by keeping your cool...I think I would have had steam coming out of my years!!

Knit-Wit :

Life is stressful enough without the neighbors doing a bit of name calling!

I learned long ago that praying for people who hate me can often soften their opinions and attitudes. I once prayed that God would give me so much love I couldn't help but to have some of it spill over onto the person who was causing me grief. By the end of the summer, we had become friends.

Hope it all turns out well for you.

Jana (sidetrack'd) :

Wow, sounds like a rough situation. Good for you, though, standing up for yourself. I hope everything turns out well in the end.

BTW - I found you via Lauren at Baseballs & Bows

Annie :

I think Leah made a good point, and I also understand your well grounded frustration at this situation. You have done everything now in your power to correct the situation. I would not take my eyes off my children, trusting the 'lifeguards.' But, I would show Carolyn that you are a beautiful person inside and out and that you have more important things to occupy your mind than the silly board or her ranting.

Susan :

Oh Jill...are you sure that Carolyn is not a cousin to MY neighbors??? ;-) You're right, $13,000 seems a bit excessive for a pool that should be used by families and not children alone.

I wondered when I started reading if the lifeguards were related to anyone on the HOA board.

Hope things settle down and you all are able to resolve it.


:-) Susan

Dianne :

I agree with you totally! I have a homeowner's association here too and there are things that don't get handled with our pool as well, although we have never had lifeguards. I'm glad you confronted her and think you did the right thing in going to the board to begin with. Keep us posted on how it all turns out....Good luck!

Vader's Mom :

Yikes! I really admire the way you stood up for yourself, your position and your family. If you are going to be paying for lifeguards, they sure the heck need to be doing their jobs. That's a lot of money to be throwing around.

Stephanie :

Way to go, Jill. I love that straightforward, tell-it-like-it-is quality. I, also from the nation's mid-section, caught a lot of flack for it while I was living in the South, but everyone eventually adjusted. :)

It's too bad for her that her life consists of gossiping and backstabbing. Maybe she'll get happier with time and prayer.

Jillian, Inc :

Thanks for all your nice comments. I now realize I forgot to mention that Carolyn the Pool Lady's daughter was a lifeguard last year.... and she was actually pretty good and responsible.

Leah- I had those exact thoughts and honestly I have heard that she's having some difficulties at home. I even thought to myself during her 45 minute tyraid that her anger was really about me. And,... um.... I will have to say her hubs is um.... not red hot smokin'. ha!

Nadine :

I'm sorry you had to go through that. I don't think you're mean or nasty. Honesty is not always easy for some people. I hope that this works out for you.

Jody :

OK, she reminds me of Glady$$ in Over the Hedge- which we just saw so it's on my mind.

Good for you speaking up. And as for not living there long enough to have an opinion, if you pay the fees you got the rights. You go.

Lori :

Oh boy - I'm not sure I would ever want to go back to the pool.

I can't believe she talked about you in front of you - I think I would have left, but good for you saying something to her.

I too have my opinions on everything, and young people these days are worrying me!

Sue :

Wow! I can't believe that. I agree with you. It's your money they're spending, how long you've lived there has no bearing. I'll never understand the nastiness and namecalling. I hope things improve - no matter what, you are the one looking like a mature adult.

Judi :

What kind of deal is that? You are right that she has bigger problems than the one at hand. It is very difficult dealing with people like that. Good for you for standing up for yourself and your family! You go girl!

Rion :

This post is very compelling. Thanks for sharing-

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