Posted: December 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

I know what you’re thinking – no way – right? But it’s true. And in truth managing around the holidays grates my last nerve. 

Yes indeed it can be more than a daunting task. It’s funny – in twenty plus years I’ve been managing them I both love and hate this time of year. Why? I love looking at the decorations and driving through neighborhoods but most associations have strict limitations on what you can and can’t place on or around your houses and of course you have to have them down lickety split right after the holiday is over. While some tolerances regarding other holidays are fortunately happening, in truth this can be a very rebellious time of year. I kinda like that.

     Have you seen the snazzy new decorations you can put out now? From large lit seals and snowmen to blow up creatures that could almost threaten the Macy’s Day parade they’re huge and garish and communities hate them. My personal favorite? Oh come on – you have to ask. If you go to Target you can see a beautiful neon pink flamingo that’s adorned with lights and the creature is even animated. And darn it this is the second year they have them and they’re sold out before I can get to them. Can you imagine an entire sea of the little critters? Just the thought of the Architectural Committee taking their notebooks out and writing down violations makes me laugh.

Well I’ve had more than a frantic call or two from homeowners who hate what their neighbor has because instead of decorating with the mandated white lights, they’ve changed them to colored and twinkling – God forbid. I manage a couple of associations seriously where you can only have white lights in the windows and a single wreath on the front door and let’s not talk about the holiday flags. I literally one year almost had one architectural violation go to court because the owner put out a mailbox flag with a Santa adorning the tiny thing. Come on associations. A little common sense should be in order.

Holidays are supposed to be about good cheer and time spent with family and friends and yet life does go on even in associations. One year in a very upscale gated community association I actually had a rash of stolen decorations that turned up adorning some creative figurines at a big holiday bash near the clubhouse. What, you think I make up everything that happens in the Pinked series? Oh no. My characters and events are based on real life situations – just spiced up a bit.

I’ve sat through more than one Board meeting in which the Board members tried to decide on everything from IF they were going to have a social event for the holidays that year, what it should be called and who should be invited. And they spent three hours on this hefty little detail. Let’s not talk about the arguments that have almost turned into fist fights about why should they spend any money on a party. Whew… When I’ve left these nasty meetings I can tell you I had more than one holiday spirit.

I live in Virginia and while it’s rare we’ve been known to have snow in December. Two years ago I had a call from an owner after an eight inch snow fall (and yes it can cripple people here believe it or not) and it was a few days before Christmas that why wasn’t I personally coming to clear the sidewalks in the community. It was one of those times I had to hold my tongue and I’m not that good at it. Oddly enough the snowfall did stymy the holiday shopping that year but it was fun to hear more than one person whine. The people are good at heart – mostly and the situations give me excellent fodder for my stories.

In this time of good cheer and fun I thought I’d give you an insight into my worlds and a taste of the upcoming January release – The Flamingo Wrangler (Five o’ Clock Nowhere). This is the second in the series and our lovely community manager, Nicky French, is curious as to why the Board members are so worried about holiday decorations in the middle of July. Coming January 3rd from Rebel Ink Press.


Nicky French eyed the Leopard’s Point Association Board of Directors and resisted using her purse in a dangerous fashion. But dear God she could see pummeling one or all of them for blatant regard to intelligence. Why in the hell were they arguing in the middle of July about Christmas decorations? Sighing, she looked out the clubhouse window at the contention of homeowners romping in the pool and squinted before shaking her head and stealing a glance at her watch. It wasn’t quite eight thirty and the cusp of yet another humid evening was baring down on Chesterfield County Virginia but she could see clearly enough. There were naked men in the pool. “What the fuck?

“What did you say, Nicky?” the man asked as he gazed down the length of the six foot table.

Nicky eyed Ray Switzer, the now somewhat infamous Board President of perhaps the swankiest and most well known community association in the entire state of Virginia and gave him her best rendition of a naughty girl smile. There was something almost comforting about having naked people in a community pool while the zookeepers droned on and on about what she considered to be fairly useless details in life. But since they’d spent nearly forty minutes on arguing about the types of decorations that should or shouldn’t be allowed in the community she knew it was damn important to the five thousand or so homeowners living within the gated community. Right?

God she longed to flee the building before she turned into a pumpkin. They were halfway through the Board meeting agenda and she knew damn good and well the entire group could spend a solid hour on delinquencies alone. Nicky craved a drink, a good lay and a new job. And not necessarily in that order. Tapping her foot against the metal table leg she absently eyed the door that seemed so damn far away. Sadly between the five board members staring at her like she was fresh prey to the forty or so homeowners snuggling into metal chairs hugging the perimeter of the clubhouse living room there was nowhere to run to. “Nothing, Ray. Sorry. And you were saying?” Maybe another damn good murder with something like a weedeater or tree chipper would help the idiots think about anything else but their dying libidos and challenging every creative idea.

Oh yeah, she was dreaming of pink elephants again.

Before any of the Board members had a chance to give a smart retort the door burst open and Patricia Lonestar swaggered into the room in her floor length fur coat.

Nicky fought dropping her head to the table and beating some sense into her brain. If only she had a gun…  Hell, that wouldn’t do any good with the crazies. There was something not quite right about the aging plump woman who had the personality of an alligator and the look of a shark. And wearing a fur coat in the middle of summer was nothing more than her way of shoving down the throats of all the little wannabe’s in the community she had money and they didn’t.

And she the woman couldn’t pay her association fees to save her life. Who the hell couldn’t fork out eighty dollars a month? Nicky knew it was more about her solidarity with something and no one wanted to get close enough with her to find out. Between pink flamingos flying at half staff in the community, a solid five percent refusing to pay their fees and the committees who enjoyed torturing… er tormenting people in the community Nicky was surprised anyone could smile. Narrowing her eyes, she stared at the ugly bulldog who somehow reminded her of Patricia. Same ugly demeanor. Same ugly scowl. Same facial structure. At least the dog’s fur coat was somehow better suited and better fitted.

“That lying bitch is going to die!” Holding out her shaking hand Patricia hissed as she foamed at the mouth and pointed directly at Nicky, her eyes full of rage.

Gasping, Betty Monroe, the Vice President and forty’s harlot wannabe chomped her gum and gazed down the table at Nicky. “You have yet another fan, Nicky.”

“Patricia, member voice is over,” Ray snarled.

“I don’t give a rat’s ass about protocol and you know it. I’ve come to deal with the nasty letters that woman continues to send me. You need to fire her.” Throwing her head back Patricia snuffed as she stuck her two fingers in her mouth and whistled.

“And not much couth either,” he said under his breath.

Nicky smiled and snuck a quick glance at the association’s Treasurer, Michael Jones. Somehow she longed for him to be in a garish leather get up instead of khaki’s and a polo. She had a feeling a Master Dom would stop Patricia in her tracks. “Patricia, what can we do for you?” Maybe going across the street to the local bar and grill, The Flamingo Rustler would be in order. A drink or five and a moment to flirt with the best looking Aussie in town would do her some good.

“You say I haven’t paid my bills!” Patricia snapped as she sashayed forward.

     Here it comes. Nicky shook her head as she could see Ray opening his mouth to retort. Don’t do it. Don’t… But the man refused to listen to rules or anything else. As what could only be described as a chauffeur on steroids glided into the clubhouse she tried to envision being anywhere else like her OB-GYN with her legs spread wide or perhaps waiting in line, a long line at a Wal-mart. Wait, she’d never go into a damn Wal-mart. But still, anywhere and as she kinda heard the woman going off about how she could buy all of Richmond with striking a check and how she had more money than God and that Nicky was going to burn in hell for lying…  Every day she asked herself the same question, why did she work so hard to achieve the highest designation of PCAM in the country?

Instead of professional community association manager the four simple letters should stand for premier crass asshole methodology. At least the thought gave her a smile. Glancing at the overweight woman foaming at the mouth she resisted giggling. Inhaling deeply she pretended to write down everything the woman was screeching about but somehow the little man who was pouring what had to be a martini for his boss or perhaps dominatrix was a little distracting. Would jumping over the front aisle and ripping the drink out of the man’s hand be considered in poor taste?

“Just tell us what you want as we have a long agenda ahead of us and I know we would all like to get home before midnight at least,” Ray said as he nodded to the other board members.

Midnight? Nicky snaked her hand down and grabbed her bottle of water. She hadn’t won the debate with her inner wild child about replacing the sixteen ounces with vodka but next time she would know better.

I hope you enjoyed and just imagine how the rest of the meeting went down.

Ciao   xxx


 Take a look at others in the hop!

  1. lisagk says:

    I never knew these associations had so much glamour and drama. I can’t wait to read the Pink series, Flamingo sounds too fun! Thanks for participating in the blog hop. lisagk(at)yahoo.(com) I shared on twitter lg1259

  2. bookattict says:

    Happy Holidays & thanks for the excerpts & giveaway!

  3. Andrea I says:

    Thankfullly we don’t have a neighborhood association. I used to decorate, but don’t now as my neighbor has a yard full of decorations as well lights on his house.


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