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Saturday, July 7, 2007

Iguana Soup

One of the first items in my blog was a piece on home renovations in Key West and I referred to the old school Cary Grant film Mr. Blanding Builds a Dreamhouse. It has always been a favorite of mine. I loved that guy. I wanted to grow up and be as handsome. And I loved the idea of the movie of turning a dump into a great comfy home.

I have done some renovating over the years. I have done some work myself, but I hired builders to do things I could not do. I know the limits of my ability and my propensity to mess stuff up.

Right after Christmas I decided to replace the dishwasher in my kitchen. It died as a result of 3 inches of water during Hurricane Wilma. All of my house had at least 3 inches of water, but a couple of rooms had up to 9 inches. Then I got the idea of replacing the kitchen cabinets with a cheap set from Home Depot. You know, the $3500 10 foot kitchen. I thought I would add some granite to make the cabinets look better. That shouldn't cost that much since I was only buying 10 feet of cabinets.

I visited the model kitchen of the new homes being built on Petronia Street and saw the GE Professional Kitchen appliances and I thought I would add them since they looked so good. They were expensive but worth it for resale later. Then I did a Google search to checkout Viking Appliance costs for comparison purpose. Viking was more expensive for sure. But then I reasoned that the kitchen would really "pop" if I had Viking appliances.

I also decided to add travertine marble floors throughout the house. That would really make the house look much better. I had to repair some of the old wood floors that were damaged by years of too much dampness under the house. A wise and necessary investment I thought.

You are getting the picture I trust. One thing led to another and I got to become Cary Grant. Not the handsome gent,the guy who spent a fortune building his dream house.

Now things are not done, but progress is being made. I tore down the house I owned next door and now have a huge backyard that also needs to be landscaped. And more money to be spent. So here's where the Iguana soup comes into play. Just about every person who has worked on the house is not an American. The contractor is from Rhodesia, the lead carpenter is from England, the carpenter's helpers are from Nicaragua, the electrician is from Ireland, and so on. Two days ago the Nicaraguans saw a 3 foot Iguana in the backyard where we were working. They tried to catch it. They couldn't. So the carpenter said he could and picked up a large 6" x 6" post and hit the beast on the head, killing him instantly. The time was 11:45 AM. He took the Iguana home at noon. He returned at 12:30 and announced he had thrown the Iguana into a pot and was making Iguana Soup.

Later that day after everyone had left I saw a baby Iguana about 12 inches long walking by my pool. It wasn't even afraid. I thought buddy, you better move or you could get thrown into the pot with your mom. Yesterday the carpenter retold the story of his slaying the Iguana and reported on what a tasty tail the beast had. Best Iguana I ever ate, he said.

P.S. I didn't buy the $3500 kitchen at Home Depot. No, like Mr. Blandings I had to have the best. I'll post more on this when the cabinets arrive in later September. They are being custom made.....

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Gary Thomas in a Nutshell

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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.