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The tyranny of DIY home improvement.

So this week I watched a show I categorically despise, for everything from its cloying premise to its shameless product placement to its twaterrific host — “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” To be precise, I TiVoed it. The reason: it featured a Kirkland family, one the local media had been covering since the megaphone-wielding ass appeared on Connie Chapin’s doorstep.

Truly, if anyone needed and had earned a new house, it was Chapin: left by her husband with four kids, raising them in the 100-year-old house in which she’d grown up, Chapin made chicken salad out of chicken shit by using her backyard pool to turn around area youth-drowning statistics. Offering swimming lessons to every family who could afford it and even those (including disabled children) who could not, Chapin became a community fixture; when her home was inspected and determined to have become structurally unsound, the ruling threatened both her livelihood and kid’s lives.

Enter EMHE. An exceptional remodel, one showcasing her business, and yes, I got all weepy and shit (damn you, ABC editing staff!), but mostly what I got from it was, “Holy hell, these people raze and RAISE a goddam HOUSE in a WEEK.”

Cuz my “house” was just a room. And my week? Erm, try four.

But check the before and after:



Hence the post lag. But excuses aside, it was absurdly time consuming, even with a little help (that’d be Daron, Dad, and Travis Ortlieb, whose lended paint-sprayer saved my biscuit). But even with the army EMHE assembles for each project, it’s a shockingly mammoth task to accomplish in a week, literally from pouring a foundation to plumbing and wiring to watering new landscaping and fluffing the shams.

So in spite of the show’s creators’ relentless tendencies to seek out the “Queen For a Day” sob stories, I am avowedly impressed with the EMHE crew. (You, Ty Pennington, can continue to suck it.) More photos.

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