Thanks for checking into my blog!

As a "recovering" middle school teacher with a unique outlook on life, I stopped active teaching in 2010 and moved into another career path... writing! Here goes! In addition, I am a travel buff, forever baseball addict, movie fan, music fan, foodie extraordinaire, NCIS devotee, gardener, and more.

Just love writing for kids, travel writing and basic journalism. Pretty unusual, since I taught Home Economics! But there's a story here too - a non-fiction one or more...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Rule #4 – Write from your experiences

     Remember when I told you my husband and I watched only 5 or 6 channels of our Comcast lineup? Ok, I lied… It’s more like 10. Add to the mix HGTV and DIY Network.

     I’ve always loved the home decorator shows on HGTV. Absolutely loved “Garden Police” when it was on. The premise was that 2 landscapers burst in on homeowners and redid their front yards. Move now to “Curb Appeal“. Same idea, different opening/host. I was really hooked on “Neat” too. I got some great organizational strategies watching that show.

     Most of the above have been moved to DIY Network or other networks in reruns. DIY then introduced their Crashers series. You have “House Crasher,” “Yard Crasher,” “Bath Crasher,” “Kitchen Crasher“ … all with the idea that someone gets you to take them home, and redo the room/yard/bathroom/kitchen in a set amount of time. It could be 2 or 3 days depending on the project/crash.

     Now I have a question: How in the name of all that is holy can you get “Crashed” in 2 or 3 days? I mean really… 2 or 3 days for a major renovation… in my hometown? Not happening!!!!

     When watching my favorite, “Yard Crashers,” I see this herd of people crawling all over the yard. I wonder if they don’t get in each other’s way. And layering the projects? How does that happen if everyone is there at the same time? Basic question: when does the concrete dry???

     I wonder what the yards look like a year after crashing… (insert smile). Did the homeowner keep up with the upkeep?

     What brings this to mind now is that we are embarking on a major renovation. We’ve lived in our house for almost 30 years and we still have the kitchen that came with the house. Most people would not have a problem with that. I do and I don’t. The cupboards are starting to bow from the weight of the stuff on the shelves. Bottom cupboards allow for sleeper cells of salad oil, corn meal and other things to hide and just stay there to work some kind of magic until they expire. Some top cupboards are totally unusable because of accessibility issues. I actually found some cans buried in the back of cupboards that might allow me to set up a renegade botox clinic. Such treasures to find… or such waste… I am not sure. We’ve seen lots of houses NOT sell in this current market. Realtors keep telling sellers that things need to be updated. Home buyers are too busy - or too lazy - to do their own design work.

     What gets me in the process is the prep time. We spent time searching for a contractor. When we finally found one who would work on the design process, we started that portion of the project. So many beautiful cabinet designs are out there! Talk about eye candy.

     And then there is countertops and backsplashes… now that took research. Do I want what is popular? Do I take a realtor’s advice on my purchase? Or do I chuck the whole thing and get what I want? (Monte, I’ll take door 3)

     Floors are an issue here too. I know what I want and it will spread into the dining room. So, technically, we are crashing 2 rooms here.

     Oh and this little thing of removing walls and moving doors….

     By the time, we signed the contract - and wrote the first check - it was about a year later, and we were almost exhausted. How do “Crash” victims deal with what is done to their properties? What if your tastes don’t jive with the Crash designers? How many crashes were undone? And how do they get that design done overnight?

    Anyway, the process is underway… or as we say the beast was unleashed. We found a very reputable contractor who will handle the entire job. And we found him the old fashioned way - we talked to people. Nope, we are not “Angie’s Listers.” We have a fairly accurate assessment of job completion. And, no Tom Hanks, it won’t take another 2 weeks (like in “The Money Pit”).

     And we are not done prepping!!! We did get our new “fandolier” for the kitchen. I would like to get a new light fixture for the dining room, too. Now to choose paint colors… OY squared! My eyes hurt from all the color comparisons and my head hurts from the decision-making work.

     When I broke the news of the renovation to my family members, my sister had one request: “Don’t be like Mom was when we had our kitchen done. She didn’t understand the long term process and how one thing has to get done before something else gets done.”

     My late mother - the Crash fan?? She wanted it done in 2 days?

     Well, folks, I do have a lot of patience. Having a schedule in front of me should put my mind at ease and get me into the proper “psyche” frame of mind for this. But, by the calendar, I have about 3 weeks before initial demo starts. Must start packing up the dining room and the kitchen!

     Whoa!!! Have I got a lot of stuff!

     Note to self:  Rewatch “Neat” and purge, purge, purge. You have the opportunity so take it.

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