If you live in Highlands Ranch, which some locals lovingly refer to as “the HR,” you know that some things there can break your outwardly placid demeanor — which I hear you're required to adopt by the HOA agreement that you sign upon move-in. Sure, there are the usual irritants: broken-down appliances, which milk-delivery company to sign with, the eternal argument over how often you should re-string a tennis racquet. But the real stuff that sets HR pearly whites to grinding? According to a recent escapee from Highlands Ranch, these eight things are a good place to start:
8. Disrespect to Yoga Pants
Most people know that yoga pants have become something of a joke…but not in the HR. Yoga pants are like the uniform of female residents there, and for this reason, it makes sense that the wearers of said uniform would defend it proudly. Still, don’t get it twisted: They’re just yoga pants. They’re called yoga pants for a reason: because they’re pants designed for wear during yoga. Instead, they’re worn everywhere — to the library, to the park, to the corner Starbucks for a PSL in season. Make all the jokes you want about yoga pants, but not within earshot of a Highlands Ranch mom.
7. Vehicle Break-Ins
There’s been a rash of thefts from parked cars, not just in Highlands Ranch, but also nearby areas (Parker, etc.). It’s both disturbing and understandable: Thieves go to wealthier neighborhoods, where they know people park on the streets or in driveways, so that they can easily break into the vehicles and steal what they can — and then come back for more once insurance has paid out to replace everything. One current resident of the HR reports that his car has been broken into four times in the last eighteen months, with the stereo stolen along with all the CDs and whatnot. Which is not only shocking, but prompts the question: People still use CDs?
6. Outdoor Pools That Close Too Early
The kids need to place to goooooooooo. As in: NOT IN THE HOUSE ANYMORE.
5. Dying Aspens
Aspens have a short lifespan in the general sense, but especially (and notoriously) in Highlands Ranch. If you happen to be the unlucky buyer of an almost-twenty-year-old home? Expect to lose your beautiful aspens right quick. On the bright side, you can complain to your neighbors, who will then regale you with their own fascinating aspen-replacement stories. And they will seem fascinating, as any story told in the HR that doesn’t begin with “Did I tell you what (son/daughter) did/said last week?” is sincerely enthralling.
4. The Wait for a Table at Outback
Residents of Highlands Ranch are either huge fans of what they perceive to be Australian cuisine, or they really enjoy the brown bread that the Outback gives you to start that bloated feeling right when you sit down. But the wait to do just that — sit at a table and start the feast — can feel eternal. Outback has become for suburbia what the Olive Garden used to be: that place where you go because it’s there, and you’re hungry, and it’s nice enough. Just don't tally the actual time you've spent standing around near the door waiting to be seated, because it will make you doubt every choice you've made since college.
3. When Kids Are Too Embarrassed to Say They Live There
Just last week, a friend of mine in the HR complained to me that his daughter, now in college, refuses to admit that she grew up in Highlands Ranch. Instead, she says she’s from Littleton. As my HR friend says, this seriously “cheeses" him off. Because he could have saved a couple hundred grand buying a place in Littleton, thankyouverymuch. But it’s like Shakespeare said: How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child in the suburbs. (That’s Randy Shakespeare, two streets down and around the corner from the pool.)
2. When the HOA Is Too Slow to Issue Warnings
There are HOA people, and then there are people who think HOAs are fascist…and then there are folks who think that the HOAs are too toothless to really keep the metaphorical trains running on time. A former resident remembers seeing a garage in need of re-painting and residents throwing fits that the powers that-be were too slow to post warnings on the house in question. Because, you know, facades are important.
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1. People Who Don’t Belong in HR
If you’re someone who accidentally bought a house in Highlands Ranch before you really knew what you were getting into, you know the look. It’s that glare from the dads mowing their lawns as you’re driving home at 9 a.m. after being out all night downtown and can finally drive yourself and your car legally and safely back home. It’s the arched eyebrow of the mom — yes, in yoga pants and either a generic ball cap or visor — looking you up and down as you’re dressed for a night out and picking up some wine on the way. It’s that look that says, “You don’t belong here,” and if you’re getting that look? You’re what ticks residents of Highlands Ranch off the most. Because you remind them that they used to be you — but now they’re gluten-free, wear socks with sandals, and have their kids’ soccer game early the next morning. And when they see you, it hits them: They live in Highlands Ranch.