Front Page

The 'Zine

Sunsphere City

Bonus Track

Market Square

Contact us!
About the site


on this story


Around the Clock with Stuff

An inspiration seeker conducts an HGTV-a-thon

by Adrienne Martini

The window installation guys think I'm a nut. Heck, at this point, I think I'm a nut. For the last 6 hours, I have done nothing but watch HGTV. And I will continue for 6 more hours, until my mind and butt grow numb.

To shorten a rather long story, suffice it to say that I own what could be called—in the gentlest of terms—a "fixer-upper." It's a great house, lots of character, incredible light, a chimney that also doubles as a waterfall, and wallpaper that proves that the '70s were an unkind decade.

All of the problems, though, have been expected. Frustrating, time-consuming, downright dangerous, yes. But expected. Unfortunately, the husband and I have reached an ebb, a spirit draining whirlpool that leaves us unable to do anything home-improvement related lately, other than drink a lot and mutter to each other about plaster.

So I turn to my television, which is where I often turn in soul-sucking moments. I need a dose of inspiration but I haven't much time. A whole day full of nothing but HGTV will give me a kick in the pants I need—as well as satisfy some nebulous sense that I must support a hometown product. I admit, my day was full of inspiration but few coherent thoughts. And then there were those blessed window guys.

8:30 a.m. Simply Quilts

A perky woman with a pumpkin hat on makes Halloween goody bags. With quilted fronts from hand-dyed fabrics. What ever happened to good, old-fashioned pillow cases? "We'll finish this before you can say 'Boo!'" she claims.

9 a.m. Carol Duvall Show

Duvall is a craft goddess. Need 400 things to do with gum wrappers and hot glue? She's got 'em. I barely have the attention-span to watch the whole show, much less construct clay people using a pasta machine and some toothpicks. I make more coffee.

9:30 a.m. Our Place

In addition to a segment on water-based wood stain, Our Place profiles Craig Nutt, an artist whose work consists of furniture that looks like vegetables. "It started as a wonderfully stupid idea," he relates. "There's something very American about the size...bigger is better."

There's also something very American about a cable channel devoted to home and garden improvements. I feel as if I'm on the verge of a truly deep thought about the American need to accumulate big stuff when the phone rings. They'd love to install the fixer-upper's new windows today.

In the resulting chaos, I miss most of Decorating with Style and catch the tail end of Room by Room, which seems to be a morality play about a goofy male and his oh-so-sensible decorating partner as they make a downtown loft look like a set from Wall Street.

11:30 a.m. Smart Solutions with Maty Monfort

One of the window guys takes a break from carving out the old windows—which run the gamut from painted shut to missing panes —to mention that I must really like this station. I explain that I'm trying to cram as much domestic knowledge into my head in one day as I can. He mentions how much he likes HGTV and DIY because they just show you how to do whatever you want—even install windows.

The next two hours are filled with shows about antiques and their value, including Appraisal Fair, which has a lovely circus theme, Appraise It!, which feature experts, At the Auction, which has a host with big, blonde, football-helmet hair, and Collectible Treasure, which has a segment about a woman who has shelves full of Czech glass perfume bottles. Once again start to have a big revelation about Americans and their need to collect stuff but I am distracted by one of the cats trying to climb one of the window guys. Once I defuse that altercation, I am simply so taken with the windows that have been installed I spend an hour simply unlocking, opening, and locking them. The novelty still hasn't worn off.

2 p.m. more Carol Duvall Show

Women with hammers may be a true sign that we have achieved liberation. Or, perhaps, that we are channeling all of our energies into making mosaic bowling balls (cuter than one would imagine) and "Prissy Little Purses" (also cuter than one would imagine). I take a solemn vow to strike a blow for woman-kind by decoupaging a plaque with pictures from our decades-long struggles. Consequently, I spend the next few hours searching for a bottle of glue and only casually glance at the next few shows.

6 p.m. Dream Builders

I notice a demographic switch. No longer are we learning about crafts that we can do while the kiddies nap; now we are into serious home renovation—which includes a segment during Help Around the House (6:30 p.m.) about how to open a stuck window. It's too little too late, although host Henry Harrison is exactly the kind of guy you want teaching you how to regrout tile.

More shows on appraisals follow. Americans just have too much stuff, I think, but start to ponder possible window treatments for the new windows. I grab HGTV Ideas magazine to see if there is a show dedicated to that topic. There isn't. But Kathy Ireland is hosting a special about organizing closets later on in the week. I vow to set the VCR, even though Ireland gives me a rash.

By 10 p.m., I can't take it anymore. There is a special on Frank Lloyd Wright but my brain is already too saturated with ideas. I flip over to PBS, which, as it turns out, is running a documentary about working Americans without health care. The contrast is startling—from the alluring sheen of home design to the gritty video of catastrophic illness. I start to have this amazing thought about Americans and their inability to deal with those who can't afford stuff, but I give up, go to bed, and dream of plantation shutters.

October 26, 2000 * Vol. 10, No. 43
© 2000 Metro Pulse