Fast forward 4 1/2 years.
The inside of our home, although not fully furnished yet (if ever), was airy and modern and inviting. The backyard was our Key West-themed tropical paradise. We had put it all into this house: money we had and money we didn't; time gutting it all and time replacing everything...it felt as if we had sold our souls in order to have The House. But despite our efforts, we still had not finished it. And as we sat at the sparkly granite bar counter of our sparkly remodeled kitchen in our sparkly spacious house, lists of bills and notes of pending projects confronted us, and we couldn't see how we could ever complete the rest. We had left the biggest and most overwhelming project for last: the front yard was a disaster and an embarrassment. Between the mortgage payments, the preschool payments, the debt we had gotten into because of the house repairs, we just didn't see how we were ever going to be able to come up for air.
For the first time, we considered the possibility of letting go of the house. We were tired of the mortgage payment. We were tired of pulling up to a house that looked like it had been abandoned. We were tired of giving up weekends away so that we could have a paved driveway. Facing the possibility of selling the house, I was overcome with emotion. I became unreasonably petulant: why couldn't I have it all? The house and the life we wanted (even if it had to be toned down a bit)? We began to wonder if maybe we had made the wrong decision.
This conversation took place in July.
A month later, Hubby applied us for "Desperate Landscapes," one of his favorite DIY network TV shows. The show does complete (and often over-the-top) facelifts to front yards that are the laughing stock of the neighborhood. And although we certainly qualified, the cynic in me didn't think we had a chance. So...I scoffed. I poked fun. I complained when I had to help with the application process. I even went so far as to declare to Hubby: "Okay, here's the plan: if we get picked for the TV show it will be a sign that we did the right thing with this house and we stay." Yeah, right.
We got the news that we had been selected the week after Thanksgiving. Hubby suggested that from now on, I just listen to him.
Hmmm. He might have a point.
Last Thursday, at 6:45 in the morning, the first of many trucks arrived at our home. By 8:00 am, we had three camera crews, a catering tent, a full production studio tent, the host of the show, 25 workers, and 10 of our nearest and dearest (who took days off from work, shuffled their children and responsibilites, and did what they had to in order to be there for us). By 4:00 pm, our front yard had had a $30,000 make-over.
Thanks to Hubby's optimistic nature, our friends and family, the DIY network, and perhaps a little of that What-are-the-chances-kind-of-luck, our house was suddenly finished. As I looked around, I wondered how the heck circumstances changed so drastically (and sort of weird-ly) in such a short period of time? It was as if the Universe had paid us back for our hard work.
In addition to all of this, right around Christmas time our mechanic (of all people!) told us about a new refinancing loophole. Hubby chased that tidbit like a maniac. We closed on that the week before the TV shoot. Somehow, we went from a mortage we could barely afford on a house that looked like a construction site to a monthly payment with breathing room and the nicest house on the block.
P.S. I will post an update when I have the air date of the show....we are not allowed to post any before/after shots until then! So these are some of the "durings"!
|Being a star is such hard work....here we are filming the moment when the show's host, Jason, reveals the suprise plan.|
|And this is only a sampling of the people on our front lawn!|
|Between camera crews, catering (!), producers, helpful friends, trucks, dumpsters, equipment, they took up half our block and then some!|
|The producers' tent|
|Jason Cameron (the show's host), ME!, Tracy (producer & overall kick-ass person), Hubby|