On Easter Sunday I had both TV’s tuned to HGTV – live – while I did laundry and also made gumbo, which I do every Easter. Basically, it’s because we don’t have family here in LA and nobody ever invites us to their own family dinner, and not because of my boisterous boys – I noticed this lack of an Easter holiday event even before Stewart and I got married. One year, way back then, it was the perfect day for me to try making his mother’s chicken gumbo, and thus a tradition was born.
The making of gumbo requires a lot of vegetable chopping, chicken carcass hacking, browning, and boiling, and standing at the stove for a long time stirring the roux – a mixture of hot oil and flour. You have to stir and stir so it doesn’t burn.
This is why I wound up watching way too many house hunting shows on HGTV in a row. It had actually started the night before with House Hunters Renovation, a show that my pal Katie works on. I have gotten sucked into certain shows before by knowing people who worked on them (I’m looking at you, American Idol) and it usually turns into a guilty pleasure. This is no exception.
A truly outdated kitchen (from ellenm1 on flickr)
Except…watching couples house hunting, over and over and over, and on Sunday especially when many were in exotic locations (“Living Hawaii,” “Living Caribbean,” etc.) I started to hate them for how picky they were and how they tossed real estate phrases around like they were experts. Here are some that I can’t ever hear again with out tactical eye-rolling and heavy sighs:
Open concept: the oh-so-revolutionary floor plan that leaves a kitchen open to the living room and dining room areas. You know, the way people live now.
Price point: using this phrase in a conversation trying to seem more professional only makes you sound like a douchebag. Just say “How much does it cost?” You know, the way people say it.
Must-have: At least three couples were all about the “must-haves” in their quest. “Fruit trees on 2-3 acres of land are a must-have.” That is not even grammatically correct. “Room for the koi pond is a must-have.” But the one that put me over the edge was the adorable young couple who required a large backyard for their snack-size dog. “Look at the yard! It’s big enough for Tiny to run around in. That’s a must-have.” The way they were talking about the dog, I would have thought it was a child. That I can understand. But it’s a dog. A TINY DOG. And let’s be honest, that’s not even a must-have.
En suite master: I grew up in a two-story apartment in a multi-family house. There were five of us with one bathroom. There was no spa-like getaway featuring a rainfall shower head and a bidet within the master bedroom. As a result, I am not fussy in this department. More than one toilet in a house is a luxury to me. So the couples that insist – INSIST! – on having, and referring to it as, an en suite master bedroom annoy me to no end. I get it – you want what you want. I was fussy in my home search too, but not to the expense of my dignity.
Dated appliances: Here’s the thing. I understand that they are on a show, and the producers must egg them on to turn their noses up at things to make the search more interesting. And indeed, if they walked into a kitchen that had patterned linoleum and mustard yellow appliances, I would agree that the kitchen is “outdated” and needs work. But the sweeping disdain I see these people display for kitchens because they don’t like the perfectly nice white subway tile and the absolutely lovely looking white appliances makes me a little bit ragey. “This will have to be totally gutted,” they say, as if that is the easiest thing in the world, as if the apartment they live in downstairs in their mom’s basement is so much better.
And all of the above is why I will keep watching because yelling at the TV is much less damaging than yelling at my husband and kids. Well played, HGTV.