I think Bill is about ready to call Dish Network and see if it’s possible to have HGTV removed from our list of available networks. At this time in my life, having owned our Denver home since 1993, you would think I would have all of that need for home improvement out of my system. But every time I sit down and watch a Flip or Flop, or Fixer Upper, I find new ways in which my home absolutely needs to be, well, LIVABLE, if you take these programs seriously. .
And, of course, now we have a second home that needs improvement – not to mention a second woman who watches HGTV coming up with decorating ideas – that being my sister Jen who owns our Mesa home with us.
Our shower needs to be enlarged, I tell Bill. My room needs a ceiling fan, she tells him. Our floor needs to be replaced with tile, we both tell him.
He moves outside with a Corona and a cigar, covers his ears with his hands, and hums to himself.
But the show that really has me hooked right now is not a home improvement show. I will sit down and watch House Hunters episodes one after another until my eyeballs look like marble countertops.
And I learn a few things every time I watch the show. The first thing I learn is that Bill should get down on his knees and thank God that he’s not married to some of these women who are looking to buy a new house. The second thing I learn is that there are apparently more men who care a whole lot more about back splashes in the kitchen than I would have ever thought existed. Not just care about them; simply can’t live with a kitchen that has THAT back splash.
But my biggest takeaway when I watch that show is that prospective buyers would have a flipping heart attack if they saw my Denver house. Because LIGHT WOOD ON THE FLOORS (gack), GRANITE COUNTERTOPS INSTEAD OF QUARTZ (gack, gack), CARPET IN THE BEDROOMS (gack, puke, gack), and most heinous, NO WATER CLOSET IN THE MASTER BATH (gack and then faint facedown into the gack).
I’m addicted to that program, but addicted in the same way that you can’t leave a scab alone. It hurts to watch, but I can’t look away.
Here is a very common scenario: Man and woman looking to buy a new house. Man wants a mid-century modern. Woman wants a craftsman built in the late 1880s with lots of vintage touches. Their budget is $100,000. Realtor puts on fake smile and shows them a mid-century modern. Man is happy, except for the back splash. Woman says it’s not as bad as she imagined, but it doesn’t have a swimming pool, it is 400 feet away from the neighborhood of her choice, and the countertops aren’t Italian marble. Realtor grits teeth and then takes them to a craftsman home. Woman is happy, but concerned that the wooden floors aren’t dark enough and that the kitchen isn’t open to the living room. And then she takes a gander at the closets in the upstairs bedrooms and has to sit down because she is horrified that they are so small. And, of course, there’s the whole lack of a water closet and the fact that each of their three little darlings doesn’t have a bathroom of her own, and there’s no room in the back yard for a doggy run and a pool. The realtor — teeth firmly clenched — reminds her that it is Anchorage and that she could probably only use a pool for about 45 minutes one day in July.
That’s the point when I begin screaming at the television. “You wanted a home built in 1885. Of course the closets are small because Victorians had small closets. And trust me when I tell you that my grandparents didn’t give a tinker’s damn what kind of a back splash there was. And your budget is so low that you can’t even afford a dog house much less a half acre for Fido to run around in.”
And then I go into my kitchen and take a look at my backsplash and begin worrying.
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