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La Floridiana by Will Moriaty
   Now in our tenth calendar year
    PCR #500  (Vol. 10, No. 43)  This edition is for the week of October 19--25, 2009.

"Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant"  by Mike Smith
First a Word About My House .... Happy 500th Issue Nolan! ... The Fabulous Architecture of the Tampa Bay Region- Part 11  by William Moriaty
Welcome Back to the Grindhouse  by ED Tucker
Special Edition: Spooky Empire 2009  by Chris Woods
J-Horror: Special Halloween Edition  by Jason Fetters
The Top 30 Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror Actresses, #20-17  by Lisa Scherer Ciurro
The Great Fox Distraction From The Real War .... Now We Have Maoists .... 1500?!?! .... Up In The Sky...it's A Giant Muffin .... .... .... ....  by Brandon Jones
Happy 500th!!!!! .... New England Patriots In London Vs. The Bucs .... It's The Yankees Vs. The Phillies .... .... .... .... ....  by Chris Munger
Brody .... Passing On .... Introducing The A-team .... Happy 500! .... .... .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2 by Mike Smith
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The Fabulous Architecture of the Tampa Bay Region- Part 11

First a Word About My House...
Long time readers of this column might recall that it as close to two years ago (November 2007 to be exact) that my wife Karen and I found out that our 1920 house in Plant City virtually unstable due to decades of dry rot and termite damage.

This necessitated the house, located in Plant City's Historic District, needing to be virtually demolished and rebuilt. In February 2008 we moved out of the house and into the apartment east of Plant City where we have been living since waiting for this work to be completed. we were expecting to move back into our house by July of that year.

As it turns out, we did not pursue a construction loan with Citi as their terms were unfair. This postponed continued construction from April to July 2008. We then worked with Farm Credit of Central Florida to secure a construction loan. They were and still are a sterling company who has stood by us throughout this prolonged ordeal.

In October 2008 we entered into a loan agreement with Farm Credit and our first contractor. He said he would need to get architectural drawings done in order to obtain a building permit from the City of Plant City. The drawings took over two months, pushing the hoped for construction back an additional six months. After the City approved the drawings and as the New Year emerged, the first contractor became less and less responsive, promising to start work, but never doing so. Another ominous situation was occurring at this time - - the U.S. economy was beginning a horrific melt down the likes of which had not been seen since the Great Depression.

I pored over the language of the loan agreement and discovered that if we could not have the construction completed by October 1, 2009, that the lender could foreclose on us. As foreclosure was totally unacceptable, I sent the first contractor three Certified Mail letters warning him of this deadline, and that if he did not or would respond, that he would be terminated so that another contractor could resume the work.

By the beginning of April 2009 our first contractor was officially terminated and his whereabouts to this day are unknown. We then had the daunting task of having to secure a new contractor who would resume the work within the monetary limit set in the loan agreement. Throughout all of April and May we sent invitation to bid forms to six contractors. All but two of the six showed initial interest but were never heard from again. we thought by Memorial Day weekend that we had secured a contractor, but at the last second he bailed without explanation.

Now we were set back 10 additional months from when we initially anticipated living in our reconstructed home. One bidder was left, the economy was in a shambles, the lender was getting nervous and October 1st was looming ever closer. After agonizing months of delay, worry and financial loss, it seemed that all hope was lost and that foreclosure was eminent. We pulled a "Hail Mary" with the final bidder and by July had a new contractor on board.

I can not brag enough about our new contractor and his crew. Demolition of the house started in August 2009. The only thing left of our house were the piers and footers, floors, sill beams, interior studs and roof - - everything else, all exterior walls and siding, all interior lath and plaster walls, all 33 original windows, all gone! In a week's time no less!

Actual construction finally started on September 9, 2009. Work by the first contractor, the installation of piers, footers and sill beams, had last been done 18 months earlier. In that time since September 9th, the rate and quality of work has been amazing - - all new exterior studs, exterior plywood, exterior Tyvek wrap, exterior Hardieboard siding, installation of 23 new windows. reconstruction of the front porch and construction of a new rear deck have all occurred as of this writing of October 20, 2009.

Whew! What a ride the past two years have been. We're projected to move back in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, 15 months later than originally anticipated, 22 months after having moved out of our house and over 24 months after learning of the severity of the house's condition - - but we are certainly giving thanks and view this as the best Christmas gift date once we are finally back home!

Happy 500th Issue Nolan!
I promised myself that regardless how exasperatingly busy that I have been with this housing debacle, work and TREE Inc., that I would find the time to help Nolan, the PCR staff and its readers celebrate the major milestone of PCR #500, so in this special issue I will begin with a series of articles concerning a wonderful tour that I took on Saturday May 9, 2009 in Sarasota, Florida.

The Nils M. Schweizer Fellows-Modern Sarasota Tour: Part One
This tour will be discussed in more detail next issue, but I will leave you with some teaser photographs!

The Hotel Indigo in SarasotaEvery home should have a fire place this neat!

A foyer and Harry Bertoia chairs that even the circa 1966 Britt Reid (aka, the Green Hornet) would envy!

"La Floridiana" is ©2009 by William Moriaty.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova.