In response to your correspondence regarding “Forced Maintenance,” I would like to extend my sincerest apologies that your most recent inspection found our yard to be in violation of the homeowners’ guidelines. I regret that while pregnant with my sixth child, I have negligently allowed some grass to take up residence in the flower beds, thereby offending the overall appearance of the neighborhood. Your offer to have a maintenance company come out [within ten days] to correct this problem [for their fee plus a fine] is very generous. Your great concern for the care of our yard, up to the cost of one certified letter and a regular letter, is greatly appreciated. However, we will be very happy to take this matter into our own hands and remove the grass as soon as possible.
Forcibly compliant homeowner.
* Okay, I didn’t really send this, but don’t think I am not tempted! I am sure they would grumble something about us having too many kids and therefore unable to keep grass out of the flower beds. I will admit that I have looked at my flower beds and compared them to the perfect beds of the neighbors many times recently. I guess my other preoccupations and the 100+ weather has taken precedence far too long! This “forcible maintenance” is just the motivation I was definitely not looking for, but probably need. For other thoughts on the matter, please see Keeping Up with the Jones.’