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I’ve been working the remote pretty hard. It’s December in Minnesota, which means it starts getting dark about noon, it’s a little too nippy to do too much work outdoors, and the election is over so I’m no longer terrified to see what catastrophe befell us overnight.

My problem now is there’s not much on TV I want to watch, which means that the channel, by default, tends to end up on HGTV.

I have a love/hate relationship with HGTV.

On one hand, a lot of talented people show their creativity and good taste and it’s fun to see what they’re up to. On the other hand, I have enough situations in my life that showcase my inadequacy front and center. I don’t need my nose rubbed in my lack of talent, let alone the lack of money I have to spend on transforming our living space.

But then I had a brainstorm. We were watching one of a string of at least twenty shows about home remodeling - people fixing up houses in Texas, Los Angeles, and Mississippi, people shopping for houses in the Bahamas and Brussels, and lots and lots of flipping.

Then it hit me. My wife and I could star in our own home remodeling show. We’re experts. Granted, we’ve been working on the same home since 1975, but I think the idea has potential.

I did some research. A snappy title helps. Fixer Upper is taken, along with Home Town. Instead, I was thinking, “No, I’m not Done” or “You Think We Should do What?”

Next, it’s not enough to be just a pretty face. You need to be able to do the work.

I’ve got that covered - I can do the work. Much of it I’ve done over and over and over again.

When we moved here in 1975, the kitchen was just as it was when the house was built. Of course, the new part was built in 1916 so it needed a little updating. Winter rolled around, the field work was all done, and my dad gave me $400 and sent me to Sears to buy tools. I bought a table saw, a router, and a book on cabinetmaking. We built a loft in our shop directly above the wood stove and I spent the winter lugging three-quarter inch sheets of plywood up the stairs. It would be freezing on the concrete floor, but tee shirt weather up among the rafters.

This was before the YouTube days. I learned on the job, without a lot of guidance. For example, I didn’t know that you cut sheetrock with a knife. I used a power saw, which left the house looking like the inside of an albino coal mine. Despite a few other minor hitches, by the time our son was born in the spring, the kitchen was functional. Before his high school graduation, we took out three layers of linoleum and my brother in law, an actual carpenter, helped me install a new floor. That floor is now twenty-five years old, and still looks good. We did build all new cabinets. The old ones still functioned, except for three of the drawers, but it seemed reasonable to update every half century or so.

And that’s just the kitchen. During the first bathroom remodel, I went to the hardware store and said, “Yeah, I need to go from two-inch lead to four-inch PVC.” The guy helping me looked up and said, “Wow. Good luck with that. Let me know how it works out.”

My big worry, other than hordes of fans and income tax problems, is that to get considered by HGTV, you need to put together what’s called a “sizzle reel.”

In other words, a short promotional video that showcases all my best features.

Damn short video. Just sayin’.

Copyright 2020 Brent Olson

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