Apparently, I should be an Econ professor. Or the condo board president.

11 Mar

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I’ve purchased two homes in my life. In both cases, they were condos, and that was a deliberate decision. I find no joy in my weekend being consumed by landscaping and home maintenance projects. Oh, I’ve done it (and I’m pretty sure it accelerated my break-up with my ex) but I don’t like it.

I like my responsibilities to stop at decorating and cleaning. Let someone else worry about the other bits. And by “someone else,” I don’t mean Alan. I’d rather spend my weekend hanging out with him than watching him execute home improvement projects.

My home-owning friends wag their fingers at me. “For the amount of your condo fee, you could pay someone to handle the maintenance on your home.” Perhaps, but I’d rather cut a monthly check and leave the planning and worrying to someone else.

Imagine, then, how annoyed I was to receive a certified letter from our building’s management association, informing me that each unit owner is responsible for having the exterior of his or her windows painted every five years. (Did I mention that my building is five stories tall? And historic?)

That’s right. Rather than bid out the entire building as a project and divide the bill among owners, the Board decided it would be best if each owner went to the city and requested a permit for exterior work, then found a company with the proper insurance and equipment, to paint his or her windows.


Image Source: The Daily ShowI’m sorry. I thought I lived in DC, where 53% of the adult population had a college degree. Apparently, my building’s condo board is made up of either the 47% who didn’t go to college. Or if they went, then they clearly skipped ECON-101 and the lesson on “economies of scale.”

So I read my certified letter, in which I was told that I must have my windows painted by July 1 or I would face a fine of $500 and an additional charge of $5 for each day beyond that until I got my windows painted. And I fumed.

Then I did what any OCD person would do: I bit the bullet and added it to my “to do” spreadsheet, calling the recommended painters listed in the letter first thing Monday morning.

The challenge was that each painter responded the same way. “Sorry, we only bid out a job like that for the entire building. There’s no way we’ll come out and erect scaffolding just to do your unit’s windows.” Um…

By the time I exhausted the list, I was ready to deliver some kidney punches to the board. Instead, I dashed off an email to my upstairs neighbor, who is on the board. “Have you figured out how you’re going to get your windows painted?” I wrote, “Because I’ve hit a wall.”

Image Source: that I kept it productive, stating, “I’ve hit a wall,” instead of, “I’m going to hit your abdominal wall. Until you pee blood.”

He wrote back a few days later, saying, “Hey – that letter was poorly worded. That only applies to the people on the front of the building, whose frames are wood. Ours are metal, so we don’t need to do this.”


I’m sorry, I didn’t mean I wanted to punch YOU. That was a figure of speech. We’re good.

But I’m still left with a few questions:

  • How are the people on the front of the building going to get their windows painted?
  • Why did the Board spend $6 per owner, sending certified letters to ALL units in the building rather than simply those requiring action?
  • What percentage of my building’s residents have college degrees?
  • Why don’t more people put me in charge of things?

Sigh. I guess I’ll just rejoice that I don’t need to hire a cherry picker to paint my own windows next weekend. Because that would suck.

5 Responses to “Apparently, I should be an Econ professor. Or the condo board president.”

  1. dianeskitchentable March 12, 2014 at 7:01 pm #

    A couple of questions to add to yours…first, are they stupid? Second, what if everyone on the front of the building wants different colored paint? And third, isn’t that the kind of stuff that condo fees cover? Oh wait, one more – what if those windows don’t need to be painted. I think if you need some spare cash you could go solicit your neighbors and spend the weekend painting.

    • pithypants March 16, 2014 at 11:30 am #

      I like the entrepreneurial angle on this – I hadn’t thought of that. This is a money-making opportunity. I’ll go to the government and get the permits, stop at Home Depot and get a REALLY tall ladder and paint, then come back and present my services to my neighbors for $100 per window. I should be able to earn $10k off this little fiasco!

  2. thesinglecell March 15, 2014 at 11:12 am #

    This is a whole lot of dumb. The policy, not the post. The total weight of dumbness is staggering. Do any of the condo board members live on the front-side of the building? And how will they make sure the paint colors match? Because I feel sure they’ll want the paint colors to match. Fucktards.

    • pithypants March 16, 2014 at 11:28 am #

      Oh, rest assured: they specified the exact number of Benjamin Moore paint that is required. I plan to buy a lawn chair and spend my weekends watching people attempt to paint their windows.

  3. thesinglecell March 15, 2014 at 11:13 am #

    Ack. Did not see dianeskitchentable’s comment before posting mine. So… yeah. What she said.

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