I just bought a house. And just as Jake Ryan ruined high school dating for an entire generation of young women, HGTV ruined the experience of buying a house for me. If I may be frank, the process of buying a home had moments of major sucktitude. In part because my expectations of what it would be like were so completely off the mark. Househunting on television and the reality of it are so widely divergent as to make one feel slightly stabby.
Let’s talk about this woman Sandra Rinomato and her show, Property Virgins. She makes it all seem so easy. Just look past the wallpaper, and it will all be fine.
Well, it’s not all fine. Because do you know how hard it is to get wallpaper off? And then you have to do this thing to the walls before you can paint them that I can’t do and I had to pay someone else a small fortune to do for me. Sandra Rinomato, I CALL YOU OUT.
Because while I was looking past the wallpaper and the orange paint, I noticed that the chimney needed to be re-pointed. What does “re-pointing” mean? It means I have to pay a man with a ladder $4,000. You know what else I noticed? That the septic system was in shambles and needed to be replaced. There are no accurate depictions of the true horror of a septic failure on HGTV. Until television can convey a putrid aroma, it will never do that experience justice.
You know what else HGTV ruined for me?
Trying to make this new house look like respectable grown-ups live in it. Because I don’t understand how that stuff all works. Just figuring out where to put furniture is confusing for me. Doing actual renovations on an actual house? Kind of a nightmare.
You know why else Sandra is evil and Property Virgins is subversive home-buying propaganda? Because she walks into a kitchen that was clearly designed by Mike Brady in the late 1970s and says something like: “You can just knock down that wall and put some granite on those counter tops and you’ll have a gourmet kitchen. It’ll take two days and cost $1,000.”
NO, IT WON’T. You’re a damn liar, Sandra. Your pantalones are en feugo. What are you doing to people? You and your stupid friends, the make-over shows? It does not take 30 minutes to re-do a room. It takes 3 days just to get a room ready to re-do. First clean it within an inch of its life, then move stuff out, then wash the walls, and sand things that you had no idea needed to be sanded. Then wash the walls again because you sanded near them. Then make 17 trips to Home Depot. It took me 30 minutes just to pick the paint color.
The alternative to this is to pay a nice man in a truck to come to your house. Let’s talk about contractors for a minute, shall we? HGTV makes it all seem like a snap. Especially those stupid Property Brothers. You’d never guess from watching that show that it can take weeks to find someone to do the work for what you can afford to pay them and that they are almost never your real estate agent’s identical twin brother. The process of getting names, interviewing contractors and sifting through wildly disparate estimates took approximately forever.
The only shows that actually inspire the proper amount of fear and trepidation regarding the whole home buying/renovation process are ones starring Mike Holmes. All the other shows on HGTV get you all jacked up — like a dangerous combination of Viagra and ecstasy. You get all excited. You start to think “We can TOTALLY do this! Let’s buy a fixer upper! Woo hoo!”
Mike Holmes will bring you down from that buzzy, infatuated place. He’s the equivalent of walking in on your parents doing it. Watch his shows about everything that can go wrong and what is required to fix it, and you will sit there, silently transfixed — desperate to avert your eyes but unable to — until the dry heaves make you leave the room. Gone is the urge to renovate or the desire to buy a home.
Until the next time House Hunters International comes on late at night.
Because the real reason I hate all these shows, if I’m being honest, is the power they hold over me. Late at night, after I have tucked the offspring into their beds and taken care of a thousand small details — I collapse onto the sofa with a delightful adult beverage and turn on the TV.
Do you know the hours of lost sleep I can directly attribute to stupid House Hunters International? Because I just had to see which house the people on the show picked? LIKE I REALLY EVEN CARE. But at 11:45pm on a Tuesday when I’m exhausted, the idea of not knowing which house in Singapore the annoying couple from Tulsa is going to choose drives me insane. I have to know. And please don’t try to talk to me during the reveal. I will not hear you and I might get mad.
So I stay up late watching some ridiculous show and then I’m exhausted all the next day and it’s all HGTV’s fault again. Damn you, HGTV. Also? I sort of love you.
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