When you Build Your House, Call Me

So I finally met the person responsible for making my life a living hell the last month. The one who demolished my neighbor’s house and has been constructing a new, huge one, in its place. She appeared at my front door, with her contractor the other day. After barely introducing herself, she explained that they had laid the foundation for the house she was building.

I noticed.

I said, sarcasm intended.

She brushed that aside to tell me that she believed our house was encroaching on her property five feet. Luckily Zeke, who had come home early so we could take a walk, was walking out the door at precisely that moment.

You should talk to my husband about this. He’s a zoning attorney.

I said, with perfect timing.

Zeke walked out, talked to her and her contractor. He explained he recently looked at our survey and didn’t think she was correct, but would check. She had severe eyebrows and wasn’t in the least bit friendly.

Well, it’s mostly shrubbery.

she said dismissively, about the part of our property encroaching on hers.

I tried to make small talk with and told her, I understood from my former neighbor Maggie that she was building the house for her parents.

That’s one of the options.

she said.

Making it sound like it wasn’t an option at all. The other options, I guess, were her moving in or flipping it. I’m praying for her flipping it, as I already don’t like this woman. After our walk, I raced upstairs to find the survey for our house. Eureka! Then raced down to show it to Zeke, as I am hopeless at reading plans, blueprints or surveys.

Actually, not only are we not encrouching on her property, she’s six inches into ours!

said Zeke.

I have to admit I did a happy dance in the kitchen. And then had a celebratory glass of wine. Zeke texted her this message (they’d exchanged phone numbers) and then… crickets. All night until the next morning, when she finally replied. All work ceased (thankfully) next door for the next couple days.

Unfortunately, Zeke found another survey that showed we were encroaching on her property by four feet in one area, tapering off eventually to zero. She had two surveys that showed were weren’t encroaching, one that said we were. At this writing, I’m not sure where we stand as they’ve just been exchanging phone messages and haven’t actually talked.

On better news, my Big Mini (an oxymoron) has finally been shipped from Europe and is heading my way as we speak. I am hoping to have it by the time we visit Disney next month. Liam (middle grandchild in Colorado) has started walking, right before he turns one; we’ll be seeing them at the end of this month for his first birthday.

A.J. came over the other day to make Sweet Potato Casserole (a family favorite) and Pecan Pie at my house. I was making my Party Potatoes and as we both were in the kitchen, cooking with the wonderful smells and with the baby crawling around, I thought about how Thanksgiving really is my favorite holiday. It’s all about food, family and gratitude. I saw Wyatt after school. He was proud of his Thanksgiving hat he’d made at school and I struggled to get a photo of him and his baby brother before they left, but Phoenix is a wiggle worm!

As I walked them to the car, I discovered a yellow construction paper from school. It had a turkey body in the middle and feathers, where Wyatt wrote what he was grateful for. Mom, Dad and then Eric, Elliot, Gabriel and Gale. There was not a beloved Gigi in sight!

Child, you cut me to the quick.

from Wizard of Oz

A.J. saw me with the paper in my hand and a shocked look on my face. She grabbed the paper.

No Mom. You will not shame him for this!

she said.

O.K. She was right, but what a difference a year makes. I expected this when he was 14 or 15, but 5? I could only imagine he was sitting around with his little friends, scribbling names on the feathers and they all decided to be thankful for each other. I knew peer pressure would rear its ugly head, but Kindergarten seems a little early to be making an appearance. He hadn’t even put his baby brother whom he adores, on a feather, but Phoenix is admittedly a hard name to spell.

He came over to say goodbye, giving me a big hug.

I love you Gigi!

said Wyatt.

So this will have to be enough. I am grateful for many things this Thanksgiving. I’m grateful to have gotten to the age of 62 intact and healthy. That I survived COVID as did my entire family. That my Mini is on its way, that I have a roof over my head (even if it’s encroaching into my neighbor’s yard), plenty of food on the table and a family to celebrate the holiday with.

Wherever you are and whatever you do, I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving from Foodie in Miami. Calories don’t count on Thanksgiving. You can start the diet tomorrow!

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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