Re: "Insane homeowners association"
When we bought our house 18 years ago, I said I would never live where there is an HOA, but we bough our house anyway. The thing was that we were house number 6 in the development. There weren't even enough homeowners yet to set up the HOA until our house was finished.
I figured that the best way to avoid problems with the HOA was to be a board member. I was VP for the first two years, and then president for the next four years (no one would run for a board position). Finally, someone very reasonable was dumb enough to run against me. She got stuck with it until last summer.
My approach was to ignore most complaints and tell the complainer that the bylaws required complaints to be put in writing and mailed (certified mail) to each board member. That usually ended the problem right there. People will bitch, but they usually won't put it in writing and pay for certified mail. I think in 6 years, I only had one person submit a written complaint. And, that was against the builder of the subdivision who already had a written exemption from HOA rules in the bylaws.
We recently voted to disband our HOA, and I'm so glad we did. Some people at my work are actually glad they have an HOA. I usually suggest psychological treatment when they tell me they like having an HOA. I guess there are enough sheep in this world?