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Oh Say, Can You Sweep?


Sleep soundly in your beds tonight, my fellow Americans. Your duly elected officials are on the job, protecting you from evils that lurk.
The evil I’m referring to is of course that of homeowners’ associations seizing excess power–to regulate how the U.S. flag can be displayed outside members’ homes. No longer will any excessive restrictions on flag flying be allowed to infringe on American homeowners’ rights, thanks to the bill just signed by President Bush.
No one can deny that homeowners’ associations can overreach. But who knew that flag regulation was such a major issue with associations, requiring the intervention of the U.S. Congress? (I do know that that one flag burner a decade is going to be in big, big trouble one day.)
Anyway, now that homeowners’ associations have all this free time on their hands that they used to use coming up with rules about flag flying, I’ve got a suggestion as to what they can do. Naturally my suggestion is something that would benefit me, personally.
Let’s see, what do I hate most about living in a home? That’s right, housework. Cleaning, scrubbing, tidying, whatever; you name it, I’d rather be doing something else.
So, just the way a lot of homeowners’ associations take care of outside maintenance and gardening (boy work), let them take care of inside maintenance (girl work). If you hire cleaners collectively, it should be cheaper for the individual homeowners and could still be more professional and reasonably paid for the workers. (I know that probably doesn’t happen with the gardeners, but it could, especially since this is all hypothetical.)
I happen to be stealing this idea. Feminist Charlotte Perkins Gilman in her 1898 book “Women and Economics” wrote that household cleaning and cooking chores should be centralized. An urban apartment building could have joint service areas. “In suburban homes this purpose could be accomplished much better by a grouping of adjacent houses, each distinct and having its own yard, but all kitchenless, and connected by covered ways with the eating-house. No detailed prophecy can be made of the precise forms which would ultimately prove most useful and pleasant; but the growing social need is for the specializing of the industries practiced in the home and for the proper mechanical provision for them.”
Gilman lived before the major rise of the suburbs and the later spread throughout them of homeowners’ associations. But she’s set a fine problem for your local HOA board to ponder.

Share  Posted by Deborah Klosky at 2:28 AM | Permalink

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