I called a plumber yesterday. Our shower, kitchen sink and washing machine drain have been backing up. I actually woke up to a wet garage floor where the washing machine (yes, it’s in the garage) had overflowed during the night, presumably while the dishwasher ran.
So the plumber came and listened to my story, ran some faucets and flushed our toilet. He told me he can sometimes tell where the problem is just by listening to the water run. Whatever. I just need to do laundry, so if that means I have to pay the Water Whisperer to fix our pipes, I will.
At least that’s what I thought. After he looked in our crawl space and did a little research into the last big job his company did at our house (replaced water main, two years ago, thousands of dollars), he came back into my house and said, “I really like to give people several options, but I’m afraid you only have one option.”
Apparently one of the main pipes that pushes water to various places in our house is rusted and possibly collapsed. COLLAPSED. What. On. Earth.
You guys? It’s going to cost ONE BILLION DOLLARS. (Please, understand this is hyperbole and also read that in your best Austin Powers voice.)
And this? This is why I am the only middle-aged, female Christian person who does not watch Fixer Upper.
The other night I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a video about Joanna Gaines. I paused and wondered if it would be a good fit for the website I curate for, but quickly realized I’d watched it a year ago. I thought then, just as I thought now, that show looks great. I should watch it. And then I didn’t.
Look, I know the Gaines are super sweet and funny and creative and awesome people who make beautiful things. At least that’s what you all tell me. And you know I love watching television. So CLEARLY I should be watching THEIR SHOW.
But I’m not.
And I’m not going to. Because it is too painful. And watching home renovation shows simply gets me all riled up and frustrated and envious and discontent. It’s not good for my heart. (Or my budget, because while I may not be able to knock down a wall in my kitchen, I can certainly buy ALL THE PILLOWS AT TARGET. I can. But I shouldn’t.)
If you’ve read this blog for any time at all, you probably know that I live in a small house that we’ve tried to sell more than once in the past few years. I struggle with contentment. And frustration. And disappointment. And, well, entitlement. I’m a mess. This house is a mess. And watching Fixer Upper isn’t going to fix up any part of that.
When we first bought this house thirteen years ago, we considered it our “starter house.” We’d heard that’s what your first house was; it was the way the real market world was back then. Young people bought a small house, fixed it up, and sold it to make a bunch of money for the down payment on their REAL HOUSE.
So in those early years, Mark and I spent a lot of time with Home Depot and HGTV. We painted and decorated and made plans to do so much more. But then we got busy and then we got pregnant and then we got even busier and pregnant again. We tried to sell the house, which meant stripping it down to the most basic decorations and repairing all the annoying, less-than-glamorous things that had been lingering on our to-do list.
Why isn’t there a TV show about fixing broken closet doors and installing outlets to meet code?
At the same time, we fought with our crumbling pipes and backed up toilet and peeling wood floors and broken windows and flooded back yard and sagging siding. None of which were fun or affordable. All of which were required fixes before we could hope to move on to that REAL HOUSE.
Somewhere along the way, watching home renovation shows became a whole lot less entertaining and a whole lot more stressful. Rather than allowing us to dream about the possibilities our cozy little house held, it just reminded us of the money pit we were stuck with.
When I told Mark about the plumber’s diagnosis (and cost estimate), he kind of lost his mind. I reminded him of how awesome it is that God knew this was going to happen and had already laid the groundwork to provide for this outrageous expense. But it’s still hard to swallow, this investing more money into a house we don’t want.
But the thing is…it’s the house we have. And even on the most frustrating days, I’m grateful for that. I am! When I lost my job right before Annalyn was born, we came very close to losing this house. And even if it’s small and old and falling apart, it’s a house. It has bedrooms and a bathroom (with a toilet that usually flushes) and a kitchen. It’s a place my family gets to live, and I don’t take that for granted. At least I try not to.
And that’s why I don’t watch Fixer Upper – or any other home renovation show – right now. It appeals to the part of me that is so unsatisfied with what I have, and I just can’t feed that part of me. I was writing a guest post for another site yesterday, and I mentioned that one of my friend Sara’s life goals was “to love what I have and not yearn for what I lack.” Easier said than done, but I’m trying.
So last night when I crashed on the couch after putting the kids to bed without baths and sloooowly rinsing my dishes (you know, to make sure the water went down the drain like it’s supposed to?), I deleted Fixer Upper off my DVR and turned on Lip Sync Battle instead.
(I mean. It was the Channing Tatum episode, so it wasn’t actually a hard choice. But you get my point, right?)
[Side note and disclaimer in case you misunderstand me: If you adore Fixer Upper and the Gaines and wish you could watch HGTV all your waking hours, that’s awesome! I don’t blame anyone else for watching what used to be – and may someday be again – fun shows for me. I just can’t handle them right now.]