I Can’t Live Without a WC

imagesI 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.

This post linked to the GRAND Social

Thursday Thoughts

Home Again
Now that we are back in Colorado, at least for a bit, it is back to our regular routines. Like flossing regularly. Except that now I read that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is saying flossing probably isn’t necessary. Whaaaaaat? If I did my math right (which I’m sorry to say isn’t a given despite a very good high school algebra teacher), that means I have wasted something like 448,950 seconds of my adult life unnecessarily flossing. Those are seconds I could have spent on more important activities like playing Pokemon GO. And by the way, should the Department of Health and Human Services be worrying more right now about the Zika virus and less about our oral hygiene? Just sayin’….

Can We Watch Julia Child?
Kaiya, Mylee, and Cole were visiting the other day. As I was scrolling through Netflix to find something that we all could watch without having to cover anyone’s eyes, 7-year-old Kaiya noticed that Fixer Upper was on my Netflix list. “I like Flip or Flop a lot better,” she informed me, referring to a popular HGTV show. “You watch Flip or Flop?” I asked her, and she nodded. In the meantime, 6-year-old Mylee was lobbying for Cupcake Wars. What ever happened to Captain Kangaroo? I’m relieved to say that 2-year-old Cole was perfectly content with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, which he refers to as Mee Mow. He hasn’t yet discovered HGTV or Food Network, although I’m pretty sure his father is encouraging a strong interest in SportsCenter.

A couple of years ago, I got into puzzles. I had a puzzle going all of the time, both in Denver and in Arizona. My puzzle-of-choice is Springbok, with its large sturdy pieces, and even more important, the pieces of all different shapes. Before I got distracted from working on puzzles, I had discovered White Mountain puzzles and developed sort of a love affair with them and their busy, nostalgic content. As of late, I have no longer been working on puzzles. But the other day, Bec and I visited the Denver Art Museum (someplace I hadn’t been for probably 25 years), and, as is always the case, we stopped in the gift shop. I do love me some museum gift shops. I walked over to the puzzles and found a White Mountain puzzle depicting different memories/places/tourist attractions of Colorado. On impulse, I bought it. I spent a bit of time in the first stage – separating the pieces that make up the puzzle’s frame from the other pieces, and then dug in. And was immediately hooked once again… And yes, that’s a gin and tonic next to the puzzle. All the better to think spatially…


The other day I was rooting through our medicine chest trying to locate a bottle of aspirin that I was sure was somewhere. I finally found it, not in the medicine cabinet but in the little cabinet right next to it. I was distraught to see that it had expired many years ago. It occurred to me that my bathroom cabinets were probably full of all manner of expired products, and I undertook a thorough examination. By the time I was finished discarding bottles of expired medications and other products, my medicine cabinet was practically empty. The winner (or loser, depending on your outlook) was a bottle of prescription eyedrops with Bill’s name on the label that expired in 1986. That was long before we were married, meaning he moved that bottle at least twice after it had expired. I am thankful, however, that he likely hasn’t actually USED the drops for – using Abraham Lincoln’s vernacular – over a score. I was surprised I didn’t come across Castor Oil or laudanum.

Packing My Bags
I have mentioned before that I am a sucker for all of the various and sundry quizzes and lists offered by Facebook. The other day I came across a list of what the “perfect women’s body” is in various countries. I was delighted to read it because I learned that I don’t actually have to lose any weight. I just need to move to either Colombia or Romania. I think I’ll like the food better in Colombia.

Ciao. Gotta go work on a puzzle….


Today is a good day for a good day…..

People are always talking about binge watching television series. I am not really a binge TV watcher. I watch many series on Netflix in the correct order – Season 1 to the last or most recent season, for example. But it would drive me crazy to sit and watch one program, show after show, season after season, all in a row. I know many people do just that. Not me.

I will watch one, maybe two, in a series, and then move on to something else. I will come back to the next in the series a few days later. For example, right now I’m watching Gilmore Girls, Longmire, Doc Martin, Call the Midwife, and Blue Bloods, but not all in a row.

imagesBut I will tell you what program would give me cause to make an exception – Fixer Upper. Unfortunately, there is only one season on Netflix despite the fact that in real time they are on Season 3.

You’re killing me here people at Netflix. I can’t get enough of Chip and Joanna Gaines.

I am not particularly a huge fan of HGTV. Once in a while, if I can find absolutely nothing on cable despite the fact that I get somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000 channels, I will tune in to a House Hunters or House Hunters International as background while I crochet. That, in fact, is how I first stumbled on to Fixer Upper. It just happened to be on as I searched desperately for a program that wasn’t Law and Order: SVU or Criminal Minds, both of which you can find any time of the day or night on some channel somewhere.

For those of you who, like me, are unaware of what’s popular with people who live exciting lives, I will fill you in on Fixer Upper.

The program takes place in, of all places, Waco, Texas. In Fixer Upper, Chip and Joanna help a family buy a home they can afford (generally something that is in terrible shape) and then help them fix it up to be something perfectly splendid. It’s an interesting concept, but not everyone could make this idea be show-worthy. The Gaines do it because they have what it takes to be interesting. They are funny and charismatic and clever and seemingly so very fond of one another. I could watch the program 12 hours a day, every day of the week.

Now here’s a surprise. Bill really enjoys the show as well. Chip Gaines is so goofy and funny and talented that one can’t help but love him. Joanna plays the straight role perfectly and their chemistry is amazing.

By the end of the show, they have turned a terrible house into something beautiful, and made it look easy.

Don’t get me wrong. Quite frankly, all of the homes end up looking basically the same. That’s because they do the same thing to every home. They tear down all of the walls, making the first floor one big room. They lay hardwood. They put in French doors. They put in a kitchen island. They install crown molding.

And, whenever possible, they use shiplap.

By the way, last spring when my brother Dave and sister-in-law Sami came to Denver to visit us, I talked with Sami about wanting to remodel our kitchen and family room. Any ideas, I asked her.

6b247d5c69b5Her response? Shiplap.


So Sami attempted to explain shiplap to me. Being entirely uncreative, I simply couldn’t understand what she was talking about. Now I understand because, well, Fixer Upper.

So Bill and I have varying ideas on what we want to do to our Denver home this spring when we return. And I’m pretty sure, now that I understand what it is, it will involve shiplap. In a perfect world, it would also include knocking down some walls, but the world, my friends, is not perfect.

By the way, another thing that Joanna loves are sayings stenciled onto the walls of the home. The quotation that leads off this post was one of my favorites.

Oh, and shiplap.