message to the person who turned us in to code enforcement

To Whom It May Concern:

Well howdy! Howz it been going? Great weather lately, right?

We were working in the garage yesterday morning (putting in a workbench), when we got a surprise visit from code enforcement. Mr. Code Enforcement Man said you called them to report an illegal garage apartment on our property. We told him that we were pretty sure we didn't have one, but that he was welcome to come on back and have a look around. You never know. Someone might have tossed one in over the fence. You know, neighbors these days.

After about one and a half seconds (might have been one and a quarter; we tend to round up), we all concluded that, indeed, there wasn't an illegal (or legal, for that matter) garage apartment in our back yard. You see, like every other red-blooded honest American, our garage is filled to the gills with crap (Did you know that Homeland Security has extra taps on the phones of people with clean garages? We don't trust those people either...).

Mr. Code Enforcement Man was quite pleasant, so we chatted for a few minutes about how you could have possibly convinced yourself there was an apartment in our back yard.

Our garage is really nice

Why thank you: It is a really nice garage! Because it was designed and built at the same time the house was, it has many of the same architectural touchstones as the house (you know, that whole gestalt thing architects are so fond of). The builder was a gear head, so he applied extra effort to make the garage real pleasant, like drywall, paint, and electricity. It even has a few windows (nothing beats natural light, not to mention energy savings). No water or plumbing (or beer fridge) though. No garage is perfect...

We never park in the garage

How observant of you! You are correct: We have never parked our daily drivers in our garage. Not even once. Note we said "daily drivers". That's a clue! That's because we have two additional cars, collector cars, in the garage: One restored (but requires constant tinkering) and one needing a full restoration. They are what's known as micro-cars. They are little, so there's plenty of room to store plenty of crap elsewhere in the garage (and keep us with a single phone tap). "Ahhhh!!!" you might have ahhhhed, "They're going to be working on cars in their garage!" You are correct! Hence the interest of our gear head builder in creating a cozy home for working on said vehicles. This is also why we have a carport in addition to the garage. Bougeois? Perhaps, but see earlier "red-blooded American" references.

We don't have a driveway to the garage

Say what? Sorry Charlie, but you're wrong. We do have a driveway to the garage! It just doesn't look like we have a driveway to the garage. We have what's called a "green driveway". We used a product called TrueGrid (www.truegridpaver.com) to carry the drive from the carport to the garage. Besides being locally sourced (if you consider Houston local...) and being made of recycled plastic, it supports vehicular traffic and allows a nice carpet of grass to grow where it's installed. It makes us giggle like little kids that the biggest patch of turf in our landscaping is in the driveway (and if you don't like our xeriscaped yard, we suggest you take a little drive out to Lake Travis and look around).

To conclude...

Hopefully this answers your questions. Mr. Code Enforcement Man said you left your complaint anonymously, so there's no way of getting back to you by us or the city to let you know your eyes deceived you. A lack of tenants might have been another clue, but that's just us.

And, ummm, thanks for the warm welcome to the neighborhood?!?!?!

Somewhat Sincerely,


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