Swept up in conflict.

As president of our home owners association, I lead the board in making some very important decisions: which management company to hire, how much money to budget for capital expenses, when to lock in a propane price. And where to hang the pool broom and rake.

I call it Rakegate.

Apparently the people who used to clean the pool took their cleaning implements (i.e. a broom and a rake) with them when they left.

But someone new is handling pool maintenance and they have asked if they could leave said broom and rake here instead of lugging it back and forth with them.

Now if it were solely up to me, I’d say, “Sure, just lean them up in the corner of the bathroom.”

Who lingers in a pool bathroom long enough to be annoyed by a broom and a rake in the corner, anyway?

But it wasn’t so easy for my fellow board members.

The vice-president is advocating for us to hang hooks in the storage closet where we keep the pool cover and chemicals.

She says it doesn’t look nice to have the broom and the rake in the corner of either the bathroom or the changing room, but there isn’t enough room in the closet to just stand them in the supply closet.

Plus the rake might damage the pool cover.

So we should purchase and install two hooks so the broom and rake are off the floor and well away from the cover.

My predecessor, the former board president, agrees that we should not leave the broom and the rake in the bathroom or changing room, because there is a “liability issue.”

He believes that children might injure themselves on the broom and rake if we don’t lock them up (the broom and the rake, not the children) and we might get sued.

I suppose it is a possibility that some kid would take the rake from the corner, swing it around and take the top off someone’s head.

Or sweep dirt into someone’s eye with the broom.

But if their kids are that destructive, maybe their parents or grandparents should be watching them more closely to begin with.

He also feels that we can’t put the broom and rake in the closet because it’s too full. The hook idea just won’t work.

He wants to buy a locked storage shed, in addition to the bathroom, changing room and storage closet, just for the rake and broom.

I haven’t heard where he wants to put the shed, but I have a suggestion.

The rest of the board has yet to choose sides, but I’m sure it won’t be long. I can just picture the emails flying around. “Mary wants to hang a hook! Can you imagine? A hook? It’s ridiculous.”

And the yard signs. “Protect our children. Vote storage shed.”

Meanwhile, as the debate rages on, the broom and rake sit in the corner of the bathroom.

I hope we can reach a compromise before Rakegate rips our community apart. Or someone trips on the broom.

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