Reality of owning home not like TV

Posted Jan. 29, 2009, at 6:27 p.m.

While there truly are several joys of being a homeowner, The Man on the Couch and I quickly are learning that wintertime in Maine is not one of them.

Although we have learned a lot and gotten some fabulous ideas, I find it interesting that none of the real quirks of being a homeowner are shown on any of the numerous home-related reality TV shows I find myself addicted to.

They don’t tell you that oil gels even in an enclosed and insulated oil tank at minus 28 degrees. They skipped the part about ripping out a wall only to find your support beam is split and not supporting much of anything. There’s no series dealing with leaky washing machine drains that disconnect on their own and spray water everywhere. And I haven’t seen a couple shoveling off their roof together to stop an annoying leak that just won’t seem to go away.

While we have repaired these problems and struggled through with some grumbling, disgust and the help of a few good friends, it hasn’t been fun but would have made excellent TV.

We proudly admit to being do-it-yourselfers when it comes to basic remodeling, painting and the list goes on, but there are some things we just don’t touch. In the process of renovating what is hoped will be our new home by April, I’ve discovered that watching a remodel take place in your new home is really nothing like what’s portrayed on any HGTV or TLC reality show. We may be “Weekend Warriors” who aren’t afraid to tackle an “Extreme Makeover,” but the real-life reality of it is, it takes MUCH longer than a weekend, makes a much larger mess, and costs more than even the most well-calculated estimate.

So here’s my proposal and I hope that someone out there important enough to do something about it is reading. If reality TV truly is reality (I know it’s not), find some real homeowners — not expert property flippers or interior designers matched with the perfect carpenter — and follow them for a season. Show the real blood, sweat and tears that go into making someone else’s home your own. I don’t want to see the hired professionals who come in to do the work and the whiny housewife who’s sick of the Sheetrock dust getting on her precious wardrobe. After all, who can afford in this economy to have someone come fix a leaky washing machine drain or sand down their walls? Sometimes you have to pick up the wrench and get a little wet, dirty and sweaty to get the job done right. In the end, it’s all worth it.

And if my brilliant idea doesn’t make it to television by Feb. 12, be sure to check out the new season of “Survivor: Tocantins — The Brazilian Highlands” at 8 p.m. on CBS.

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