Moving Up

Friends of ours were on TV this weekend! One of Brian's groomsmen from our wedding, along with his wife & son, appeared in an episode of TLC's "Moving Up."

The basic premise is that two couples buy new homes and spend 3 months with a film crew, renovating the houses. Then the former owners come back to see what you've done with the place. The viewings are all filmed so the new owners see what the old owners said.

Our friends run a business called Nashville Ghost Tours, and the show took the opportunity to let them run with a spooky theme in one of the rooms. This FREAKED OUT the former homeowners. They asked if our friends were Satan worshippers! Ha. (The answer is: only on weekends.)

In the meantime, the former owners of our friends' home are a pair of newlyweds, each with a child they brought into the marriage. They're finally getting their first place together, only to discover serious structural issues in the kitchen. Budget problems force some tough choices, and there doesn't appear to be a lot of good interaction between them during the show.

The scuttlebutt is that they were on the verge of divorce during the renovations. For anyone who's made some improvements to their own home, I'm sure you're familiar with the stress that kind of work can cause a marriage. The premiere of the show has been delayed for months, and then our friends recently heard they're now divorced. It's a shame, and I can't help but wonder if they would have made it without the stress of the renovations or the pressure to perform for the cameras. There are bits and pieces of the episode that definitely serve as foreshadowing. I wonder how hard it was for them to watch it this weekend as it aired for the first time.

In the meantime, watching our friends try to handle homeownership for the first time was hilarious. Before they got started, they bought books to try to learn as much as possible. Everything from how to paint - or more importantly, how to tape up trim BEFORE painting. How to remove a toilet. How to break up tile. How to lay hardwood floor. All of their talent, or lack thereof, was on national television for everyone to see. I think it served as the much-needed comic relief in the episode.

See here for details on the next viewing of the episode. See here for details about Nashville Ghost Tours. TLC used some footage of our friend in his tour guide costume in the episode. If you're ever in town, be sure to put the tour on your list of things to do.


Great Idea

Helen's business card would say:

All done!
(phone number)



In stark contrast to the entry below, Helen sometimes decides that she can do something on her own. Not knowing when she needs help, and when her head will start spinning furiously in circles, is a little bit scary.

For example, these days she wants to climb into her high chair. She's been pretty good at it, but when her shoes get in the way, she gets stuck. Then I try to help her sit down. Sometimes she is okay with that. Other times she screams so loudly, I think the neighbors must be dialing DHS.

During one of the screaming jags this weekend, I was reminded of an amusing
blog entry by Mimi Smartypants that I read shortly after Helen was born. MS has a small child named Nora who is darling and quite smart. Now that Helen is racing toward her 2nd birthday, I thought I'd share this memorable bit of the entry with you all:

Nora was going through my purse and found something.
Nora: What is this?
Me: That's my business card.
Nora: Where's Nora's business card?
Me: Oh, I don't think you have a business card!
Nora: I have business card? I have business card right now? Please?

We moved on to other topics and she forgot all about it, but ever since I have been wondering what a two-year-old's business card would say. In Nora's case, I'm thinking something like

Nora do it.
Nora do it.
Nora do it.
(phone number)


An S.O.S.

Last night Helen had a hard time eating her orange Jello with a spoon. She got a little bit of it on the spoon, brought it up to her mouth, then the Jello slid off and she ate a spoonful of nothing.

She LOVES to eat Jello, but she's at the age now where she really wants to eat with a spoon. So she held up the spoon and said, "Help. Help. Help."

It melted my heart, it really did. I put some Jello on the spoon and she leaned down to eat it. We finished the plateful with me feeding her, and she was happy.

I realized at that moment, even though I have the pictures of my pregnant body, and I was in the room and I know I delivered a baby, this child is so unlike me. I NEVER ask for help. Even if I need it desperately and someone's offering, I usually refuse. It amazed me that she tried once, maybe twice, and then she said, "Help. Help. Help." I don't know how to do that.

Sometimes I honestly wish I could be more like that little girl.


Big Smiles

Helen has begun to recognize the camera and now demands to have her picture taken. This morning I ended up with about 7 pictures of her before she decided the photo session was over.

This is the best-focused of the bunch, and it's a great example of the Happy Camper I get up with every morning:

She doesn't have to mainline caffeine to smile like that in the morning. Disgusting, isn't it?


And she meant it.

On Sunday night Helen handed me a DVD case and asked me to open it for her. It was an old movie of Michael Keaton's called "Johnny Dangerously." I was pretty sure Helen didn't want to watch it, but might prefer a Muppet DVD instead. As I opened the case, I tried to lead the conversation in that direction.

Me: Helen, do you know what this DVD is called?

Helen: (grabbing the disc from me) MINE!!!

Truer words were never spoken.


My very own howler monkey

Brian & I talked to our Navy friend W. last night. He very kindly offered me some advice on getting Helen to sleep at a decent hour.

His advice was inspired by a movie called "The Rundown" starring The Rock and Seann William Scott.

I haven't seen this movie, but Will described the crucial scene to me. The Rock and Seann are in the jungle, caught in one of those classic rope traps hidden under a pile of leaves. They're dangling upside down by their ankles from a sturdy tree branch, way up high, when a howler monkey from a nearby tree attacks The Rock. Seann screams, "Establish dominance! Establish dominance!"

For clarity, there's a picture from the scene

Anyway, that's Will's advice to me. Establish dominance.

Trouble is, I think that's Helen's approach as well.


Just tell me where to mail it

My sister got a new puppy last month - a gorgeous Labrador Retriever named Shadow:

My family has used the same veternarian since I was 7 years old. So my sister didn't even think twice about where to take the puppy for his first appointment.

I think it always takes our vet by surprise to see us in his office. We must perpetually live on as those same little children in his head. Then we show up with our own pets and families, plus our own checkbook to pay for the visit. It has to be startling him to spin the years by that quickly.

I called my sister to chat today. She was in the backyard with the puppy and my nephew, trying to get the dog to finish his business before they spent the afternoon trapped inside by tornadoes. I could hear my nephew whooping & hollering the background, and every so often, my sister would stop to tell him it was not okay to feed the puppy those rocks. Or to throw the rocks over the fence. Or to run with the rocks. In general, he should leave the rocks alone entirely. You get the idea.

Anyway, my sister told me that the vet and my brother-in-law had hit it off at the appointment. They talked big truck tires and enjoyed every minute of it.

Today, the vet called her to check on him. (the puppy, not my brother-in-law.)

My sister said, "Want a dog?"

Apparently Shadow was all a-twitter with the approaching severe weather, and was making a complete ninny of himself in the backyard. He was nipping at my nephew, he was running away from my sister, and he was doing everything EXCEPT the specific item on the agenda he was there to do.

When you throw in a rowdy little boy who was guilty of aiding and abetting the puppy, I had one very frazzled sister on the phone.

I think if the vet had called 15 minutes later, he would have gotten a free toddler, too.