Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Psychic Friends Networking.

Yesterday morning I was in the shower, washing my hair and thinking about what I should do with my day, and thought, "I'll check in with (my office cohort) R and see how things are going." And I'm getting dressed, and the phone rings, and it's R, calling to check in with me. Maybe wet hair acts as a thought transmitter? We talked until my elderly cellphone battery was almost dead. He says the office is much less stressful now that the cast of characters has changed, and a lot of work problems have resolved. He's concerned about my stress level. R is a big, burly, bald, tattooed, Harley-riding, martial arts doing manly man, errant subcontractors quake at the sight of him, because they don't know that inside he is one big ol' worrywart tenderhearted marshmallow. His protectiveness has been triggered - I'm going to be fine, though possibly smothered a bit. He's such a sweetie, one of the few upsides of going back will be working with him. That, and of course the paycheck. I won't say I'm really looking forward to going back - that would be stretching the truth to the breaking point - but since money does not magically appear in my bank account and I don't want to change jobs and then put the house on the market three or four months later, this is the best option.

Pop Culture Reality TV Rant saved since Sunday - is it me, or did Extreme Makeover Home Edition really scrape the bottom of the barrel with their "families in need" this week? For those who don't watch this show, it's one long commercial for Sears and the home builder of the week in which the homebuilder's crew builds a house for a family in need. Generally the need is significant - a handicapped child or parent, serious illness, widows left with five young kids and then the house burns down, definitely tear-jerking schmaltzy stuff, exploits tragedy, but the families volunteer for it and get a nice house out of it, and it's hard to begrudge them any of it when you hear some of their stories. Though I do feel sorry for them when I think of living with some of the over-the-top theme rooms the designers install for the kids - indoor fire trucks, c'mon - or actually, I feel sorry when I think of how many hours it will take to rip all that silly crap out when the kid is sick of it six months later and it's impossible to make the bed or even find his socks.

But this week's tragedy? A divorcee with four kids, who had to move in with her parents because the house she was going to rebuild is a falling-down wreck. Yep, we are down to the point where a bad marriage will get you a new house, so run over there and sign up! Girl and I were doing other things and it was on in the background, but I did catch the mother saying her marriage had been bad for "8 or 10 years" (yet two or three of the kids appeared to be under 8) and finally she just had to get out. Okay, fine, happens to millions of women, the smart ones don't continue to make new kids with the alleged asshole. Then we saw her in a dance class, or something. It was just a befuddling story. I admit I didn't sit down and listen to every word of the explanation, because the premise had already struck me as stupid, but exactly what made her different from a million other women who have been through this? We changed the channel, because it was shaping up to be a "talk back to the TV" episode and I'm supposed to be all Zen and thinking low blood pressure.

I snarkily told Girlchild that if they've gotten this hard up, we should submit our story - her father died of cancer, her mother had a brain aneurysm, I'm just a poor lil widow with an insecure job and an income barely enough to keep up with expenses, trying to fix up the house to sell to move to an area with more opportunities.

We could send them this picture of Dudley with those big worried eyes - this dog is worried about having a roof over his head! Please help his mommy and grandma! Girl pointed out the flaw in this scheme - we are the types who deal with our own shit, we don't expect other people to step in, it's just not in our nature. And we don't see ourselves as very different from anyone else. Spend 2 years hanging out on the oncology floor talking to other families, it's a cure for your own self-pity. We cope, and we do what has to be done, and that's that. I'm happy because I can do what has to be done! I'm so damn naive, I thought everybody did this, but now I realize that I've been an idiot.

Next up on the home improvement list - paint the hall bathroom. That can be an evening project, there's plenty of light in there for painting and a door I can close to keep nosy terriers out. Though if Ty Pennington wanted to come help me with this, I'd buy the beer.


KatyaR said...

Your daughter is absolutely GORGEOUS--and Dudley's not bad, either (snort)!

Be careful offering Ty that beer--he just got arrested for DWI--oops!

Glad to hear you're tearin' it up and enjoying your recovery time.

Catherine said...

I'll tell Ty to take a cab. He's not my type but I'd use him for his DIY skills. Thanks re my daughter - I know this is her mother talking, but I think she is gorgeous, and also tall and smart and wickedly funny. That's her no makeup, unbrushed hair state. Sickening, ain't it?

Debi said...

Listen, I'll lend you the P-Man and his worried eyes and between him a Dudley, you're a shoe in!

Don't you know we've become the entitlement nation?

dragon knitter said...

maybe you could hook up girlchild with ol mister ty? wouldn't it be nice to have a little extra money in the family, as well as your own DIY expert? (i remember wehn he was a lowly carpenter for Trading Spaces. he was much nicer in those days)

Catherine said...

Debi, I thought the same thing about entitlement, and about the many women who get divorced (or widowed) and don't expect to be rescued! I thought maybe there was some underlying story here that made this woman deserve special treatment, but no, apparently she bought a fixer-upper that really was a tear-down - ever hear of hiring a home inspector, honey? So it's official, you can get a fancy new house out of ABC just by being a dumb bitch. Let's all fake dumb and go sign up! Obviously I've already got the bitch thing down. :-)

geogrrl said...

I can't stand watching that show. I really resent the endless attempts to manipulate my emotions. This particular episode sounds like they're really scraping the bottom of the barrel for candidates. On the face of it, that's odd, but you know more deserving people are the ones who prefer to manage on their own and no one hears of them.

I've often thought my life would be easier if I were less independent, more willing to let others help me, and more willing to play dumb. But I just can't.

Yep, it's a culture of entitlement.

Ginnie said...

I am jumping in to agree, too. I think the big sob story was that she did hire and inspector and it passed with flying colors, she got in and it was literally eaten by termites and she was out of money. But the whole night, I kept thinking the same thing. I hate the whole not taking responsibility for yourself and asking fro freebies, but I can sort of live with it if it is someone who really does alot for people, usually kids, and just needs some help. But I rarely watch it because I resetn the whole do-good thing. I have no beef with doing good. I have a beef with using it to promote yourself (Sears, Ty, Home bldg Co.) and using the people as their posterchild.

carlarey said...

Well, according to what I read recently, she will be in trouble again when she gets the tax bill. Yep, all that Good Samaritanism counts as income. So these people go from poverty stricken to appearing to have made a six figure income in a year's time. Good luck sorting that out with the IRS. I'll bet if you looked you could find several real estate listings that boast "Extreme Makeover Home Edition Winner Needs to Sell!"

Catherine said...

I wouldn't buy one of those houses on a bet, and I would love a follow-up with the recipients 3 or 4 years later. You can't build a house that fast, concrete slabs and exterior stucco have to cure before you can put the finish surfaces on top of them, etc. They rush too many things for it to be done properly. As for this week's victim, from the photos on the website it looks like she started renovations and then ran out of money - she wasn't qualified to take on the project, and I'll bet it was sold "as is," as a fixer-upper, so it was on her to know what she was getting into and have the budget to do it. There is more to this story than we were told, I'm sure.

I have to admit that I do watch it from time to time, I'm familiar with some of the builders who do the construction so I'm curious about what they come up with. And of course, to laugh at the hideous themed kids' rooms.