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Thursday, May 26, 2011

House Hunters Junkie: The Sequel


It’s been over four years since I first wrote this post on about my love for House Hunters on HGTV.

Y’all, I’m still obsessed. You’d think my interest would have waned by now but it hasn’t. See, HH has evolved: they no longer have a host. (Sorry, Suzanne Whang!) I think this is an improvement because now we don’t waste time watching some lady walk down a generic street. We get right to the good stuff—the insides of the houses! Also, they often show you where houses are on a map. What a great visual. Because, if you fancy yourself a pseudo real estate expert like I do, you know that location is everything.

The show also keeps my interest because they keep getting CRAZY people. Now, I don’t think HGTV actually chooses them because they’re crazy. I think HGTV is going for interesting stories, good locales, etc. And the people aren’t obviously crazy like on those intervention or hoarder or couponing shows. But to me, they end up looking ridiculous!

For example, I was watching a House Hunters International (which I actually like better than domestic HH, especially if it’s a beachy place) and this family was looking for a house in St. John. (Bonus since it’s a place I’ve been to!) 

So the voiceover person says that this couple has been scrimping and saving their entire lives to afford a place in St. John. They have two college-aged kids. Even dad tears up when they talk about how long this has been a dream for them and how they can’t believe it’s finally coming true. They have worked hard, lived modestly and now they have a budget of a million dollars for this beach house.

“And they have one day to find it,” says the HH voiceover person.

HUH??? ONE DAY? You’ve saved a MILLION dollars, dreamed for 20+ years and you can only spare ONE DAY to go house hunting? I mean, I would at least want to take two days just so I would have on different outfits for the show!! WHY? WHY? WHY?

I love St. John. I love House Hunters International but these people drove me nuts!!

Then there was one in Charlotte I think where this couple (who were both doctors) and their kid + one on the way had $700K to spend. The houses were awesome because they were older, close to town and beautiful. But the one they chose had no garage. NO GARAGE for $700K? I realize you gotta make some sacrifices living in the city but come on! Of course, in the follow-up segment they were all, “We love not having a garage! It’s no problem at all!” Okay, guys. Your kids obviously don’t have any ride-along toys.

And now onto the wackiest HH I’ve EVER seen. There’s so much to say that I better bullet point it.

(Or check it out here if you like:

  • House Hunters International
  • Family with mom, dad and four kids live in Tucson
  • They want a vacation home in Fiji because that’s where they honeymooned and they “love the people.”
  • They pack up their four kids and go house hunting. The house they choose is a compound of several houses.

Now here’s why this one is so ridiculous:

  • These people have a pretty modest house in Tucson. Their two daughters—who are 11 and 15 months—have to share a room! My point? They ain’t loaded.
  • Fiji? Really? Is it necessary to go SO FAR? How often are you gonna take your FOUR kids to Fiji? Again, they ain’t loaded and that’s a long flight for those kids. Plus, don’t they have to go to school?
  • The house that’s a compound: It’s beautiful but not really kid-friendly. Each villa has a bedroom or two and since they can’t be in different houses from their kids, they were just all going to sleep in one room.
  • So let me get this straight: You’re gonna spend $500K on a vacation home that takes like 20 hours to get to by plane, pay for six of you to fly there enough times a  year to make it a worthy investment and then, when your jet-lagged kids finally get there, you’re gonna all pile up into one room? All because you like the people?

I take it back. Some House Hunters ARE as crazy as Hoarders.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Choo Chooin in Chattanooga

We took Leo on a “Big Boy” trip to Chattanooga  this past weekend. It was his last trip as an only child so we made him the center of attention. The main draw was the “Day out with Thomas” event that was being held there. We joined other parents and their 2-7 year-olds for a hot, fun-filled afternoon with Thomas, Sir Topham Hatt and the gang. Here are some pics from our weekend which also included the Aquarium and a ride on an electric train at the famous Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel.

Oh, and luckily I found another family of three where the mom was taking all the pics and convinced them to take our pic in front of the Aquarium (in exchange for us taking their pic). If I hadn’t done that, there would be no record of me being on this trip! It looks more like “Leo and Daddy’s weekend fun!” Oh, I was there all right—8+ months pregnant and sweating!!




Thursday, May 19, 2011

“Would you rather?” in Real Life

In college, we used to love to play the “Would you rather?” game. Here’s an example: Would you rather have one great outfit that fits you perfectly that you had to wear every day for the rest of your life or a closet full of clothes that were always two sizes too small?

You can’t answer that you would lose weight or you would just explain to everyone the situation. You have to just answer on impulse and not factor in that you can make any adjustments.

I’d love to offer more examples of this game but I can’t think of any that aren’t vulgar or x-rated.

So here’s a real life one that happened to me. Well, it happened to Frank.

Would you rather have $300 and have to keep a queen size mattress and box spring propped up against the wall of one of your bedrooms for 30 days or NOT have $300 and just keep your mattress and box spring on your bed?

When a research company called Frank and asked if he would participate in this mattress study, he first refused. See, they DO bring you a new mattress and box spring to test out but they insist that you keep yours in a room in the house—not in the attic or garage. He figured I wouldn’t go for that.

But then I asked, “How much did they say they’d give you?” For $300, I’ll have mattresses all over the house! You can even call me Mattress Mack (a little humor only the Houston readers will get)!

So he called them back and here’s how we’re living now: we’ve got a pretty nice mattress on our bed that Frank has to review on a weekly basis for the next 30 days. (First impression: too firm). And in what was formerly the guest room and is now the nursery, we’ve got this:




It’s scheduled to be picked up around the day that we bring the baby home from the hospital. Boy, is he gonna get a good first impression! He’ll be like, “What kind of white trash family did I get born into?”

Don’t worry, baby. We won’t call you Bubba. But we might call you Mack.

Monday, May 16, 2011

All the world’s a train…

…and we are merely passengers. At least that’s how it seems to Leo. He can make anything into a train. We had this stack of plastic cups and he took about twenty of them and lined them up in our bedroom to make a train. He takes books and, instead of reading them, puts them in train formation.  Straws become coaches; spoons become engines; napkins become cabooses.

Today I tried to get him to play Memory and, while he did match up the cards at first, he ended up even making them into a train!



Boy, was I in trouble when I stepped on the train. “They’re not coupled up!!” he screamed at me.  He’s constantly doing the train whistle noise which sounds like “Haw haw!” Yep, he’s definitely got trains on the brains.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bigger Boy Room!

In the 15 minutes that the Rooms to Go crew was in our house, Leo’s room went from baby to big boy. Gone went the crib-converted-into-a-toddler bed. Gone went the rocking chair that we spent so many nights and naptimes in, rocking him to sleep. Gone went the changing-table-dresser where we changed thousands of diapers.

Now Leo has a twin bed, night stand, new curtains, a new lamp and a new chest of drawers. The furniture is “mission style” so it matches our dining room set. That’s a good thing in case we ever have lots of kids and have to put Leo in the dining room!




We DO have a comforter for the kid; I just need to wash it. But it’s hot here and he’s quite a sweaty-head so I don’t think he minds.




Here he is on his first morning after waking up in his big boy room. He’s still good about not getting out of bed until we come in. In fact, yesterday during nap (his first experience in the twin bed), I watched on the monitor as he cried when his teddy bear had fallen out of bed. I had to go rescue him twice. He didn’t even think of getting out and getting it himself!




So while our first-born’s room is just about complete, our unborn’s is still a work in progress. Ah, the life of the second child!



Sunday, May 08, 2011

One small step for mankind. One giant leap for Leo!

Do you know how many kids’ parties and events involve jumpy castles? Well, you probably don’t notice unless you have a kid who is terrified of them! Whenever we are about to go to a party, Leo asks nervously, “Will there be jumpies there?” Poor guy always watches from the sidelines and clings to one of us while the other kids bounce without a care in the world. Selfishly, I always wish he’d jump because it would be easier on me. I could stand around and chat with the other moms rather than having to comfort Leo or go to the baby/toddler play area. And although Leo is very verbal, he’s never said exactly what scares him about jumpies. I suspected it was the sensation of being off balance or maybe he’s scared of falling down.

But yesterday LEO JUMPED IN A JUMPY!!! It was the perfect setting. We were at our neighborhood’s spring fling and everyone there knew that Leo doesn’t like jumpies. So when they saw him climb in and jump, they were really supportive. “FIRST time in a jumpy!!” I exclaimed to everyone as I pointed proudly at Leo.

At first he climbed in and just lay on his tummy saying, “Look, mommy, I’m in a jumpy.” And then finally, with some encouragement from John (who even sweetly offered his hand to help Leo up), he stood up and jumped. I could tell he was thinking, “Why did I wait so long to do this?”

At some point it was nap time and we needed to get him out. He refused. Frank had to actually climb in and drag him out.

We just had the phone camera so the pictures/video aren’t amazing. But still, we’ve got the evidence in case he never does it again!




The Sleepy Tool

I’m currently working on a writing project that makes me sleepy. It’s not like I’m writing about glue or chemistry or something else really boring. There’s just something about it that makes it really hard for me to keep my eyes open when I’m working on it.

I told Frank about it and he said, “It’s like the sleepy tool.” He’s right. And here’s what he’s referring to: When I worked in advertising I had plenty of not-so-exciting projects to work on and at one point, they were all for a computer client. Any one of them could have been considered boring---a brochure on laptops, a tech guide, a landing page about a warranty—yet  none of them actually made me want to lay my head down on my cubicle desk and drool.

But one project—a tool—did. We worked on lots of tools for this client but it was just this one that put me to sleep. Thus I dubbed it “the sleepy tool.” It was an internal website that sales people could use to create flyers for customers. We were always trying to work out kinks in the system and improve it. And I guess that meant we had to meet about it—a lot. So on a regular basis (weekly? bi-weekly? every day?) a few of us from the ad agency and a few clients got together at their offices to meet about this tool.

These meetings were PAINFUL. And let me reiterate that these discussions were not necessarily about the most boring topic you could think of nor were they particular long. I still don’t know what it was about this particular tool that made me SO tired!  Every time we met, it was as if I hadn’t slept at all the night before. I was holding my head up, trying to look and sound interested but it would take everything I had to avoid nodding off.

If someone would even mention the name of this tool I would feel my eyelids getting heavy. I would start dreaming of my pillow. Caffeine didn’t help. Walking around didn’t help. When new hires came on board and ended up working on the project with me, I would try to warn them.

They, too, started calling it “the sleepy tool.” I wasn’t crazy. This project made everyone feel like narcoleptics. We eventually stopped calling it by it’s actual name and just started referring to it as “the sleepy tool.” Oh, don’t worry. We didn’t say this in front of the clients during the meetings; we were too busy sleeping.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Leo’s Third Birthday!


It seems like just yesterday Leo was pushing other children and demanding that we “give him some space.” Oh, wait. That WAS yesterday! That’s life with a three-year-old. Still, it’s hard to believe our little Leo is three and that soon we will have another little Leo (but probably a different name) to amaze us.

Have you ever tried to throw a kid’s birthday party based on a theme that’s not completely mainstream? Sure, if you go with Thomas or Toy Story or Mickey Mouse or Dora, that’s easy. That stuff’s readily available at party stores and online. But if your kid is into Dinosaur Train, well, it’s a little bit challenging.

But since Leo only turns three once and he may only be into Dinosaur Train for a little while, we went with it. Here are some shots of his party (which took place at the train museum) and from  that evening when we went out to dinner and to a park with the family:














What a difference…



…three years makes!!