I live in an HOA neighborhood. It wasn't bad until the last board got elected. Now they are trying to turn it into a Nazi Neighborhood. Like you guys, I have fixed a lot of cars and mowers and things for no charge to people because that's what I was taught to do--help people.
Two years ago I extended the culvert under my driveway and started build a small retaining wall(less than 2 feet high) from native stone and back filled it to level out one section of my yard. My job at the time took me to South America for up to two weeks at a time. I once traveled for six weeks straight. Needless to say, it took a while to complete my wall. Somebody in the neighborhood complained to the DOT. I got a letter. Ignored it. Got a second letter. Ignored it. Got a third letter saying if they didn't hear from me they were tearing it down. I called the DOT and talked to a super nice engineer. Explained what I was doing and he said I know, we rode out and looked at it a few days ago because the guy was pitching such a fit. He said it looked great and that I had done a good job and were within the bounds of the law but I needed to complete a form and make a sketch for them and all would be good. I asked about the "anonymous complaintant" and he said don't worry we will ensure they are exceptionally aware that you are in the clear. The DOT seemed aggravated that they had to waste their time on the issue. Apparently when the complainer was straightened out by the DOT it pissed him off.
Last summer, thanks to a well timed campfire and strategically placed tequila shots, one of the neighbor's ratted out who made the DOT call. This guy is now one of the Neighborhood Nazis and I get letters on a regular basis about things in my driveway. The boys and I camp a few times a year, so the weekend before we go camping I pull the pop up around front, air it out and load it up. Within days I get a letter with a photo stating that I have thirty days to move it. Same thing if I put my big trailer up front on the weekend while working. The last letter I got on my trailer gave me thirty days. I moved it on Day 28. Without the letter it would have been moved in a day or two. Now I sometimes "forget" to move things back just to see how long it takes for the letter to show up. I know that's petty but I don't make the rules.
The thing is if these guys would actually talk to people they might learn a thing or two. Like hey we are going camping and the camper will be gone in a day or two. My favorites are the ones that complain about grass height. Maybe the homeowner has been or is sick. Maybe they've been out of town taking care of a relative. Maybe they are spending their time coaching youth sports and grass isn't the biggest item on the To Do list.
These a-holes went after the guy down the street because he had a lifted Cherokee with a flat tire in the driveway. They send the hate letter and it turns out the Cherokee belonged to his son who is in the Army--the Army that keeps us safe and free and enables HOA Nazis to be able to complain freely--stationed somewhere in a desert where the favorite past time is blowing up Americans in an attempt to get forty virgins in the next life. The flat hadn't been dealt with because the son was trying to make a keep or sell decision before spending money on new tires. It's just a hunch, but I suspect when you spend your waking hours trying to avoid getting shot or blown up by an IED, a flat jeep tire on the other side of the world probably doesn't make the priority list.
Now back to the fixing things for people. I have all but stopped doing that. Not because of the Nazis but because these same people that I bust my back, my rear and my knuckles for, drive right by me and never offer a helping hand. I've been on my back at midnight on a work night in the rain getting a guys truck together so he can get to work the next day. There's one guy in the neighborhood that I still help. He's good people and does things like mow my grass if I'm gone for several weeks and loans me his big Kubota with the PTO
tiller to do my garden. I don't expect anything in return but every once a while it would be nice to be offered.
Sorry for the rant. It was a bad week. I traveled for work this week. I worked until 3 am Monday night/Tuesday morning and then checked into my hotel. Very nice hotel. Nice to the tune of 200+ a night. Before daylight somebody decided they wanted inside my truck and jacked the door handle. Now I have a truck to fix, closing some accounts and the other steps you have to take.
I'm done now.