SoCS — Too Much Television

For today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, Linda G. Hill has given us the word “television.” She asks us to “talk about your favorite show, past, present, or future, or about the apparatus itself.”

I admit it. I watch too much television. But since Trump was elected president in 2016, my viewing habits have changed. I used to watch TV dramas, situation comedies, and, of course, movies, sports, and, occasionally, the news.

Not any more, though. Now I watch cable news most of the time. Sometimes CNN, but mostly MSNBC. And never, ever, ever Fox News.9ae85bb2-61d4-4c27-87bc-d2f52ebeea42 My wife and I, when the news is so damn aggravating that we need a break, will watch HGTV shows, like “House Hunters,” “Property Brothers,” and “Love It or List It.” But at night, it’s Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, and Lawrence O’Donnell.

I think, however, for my own mental health, I need to go back to watching dramas, sitcoms, movies, and sports. Because if I don’t stop watching so much political news, one of these days I’m going get so angry that I might throw the remote control device at my TV and break the screen.eb68267c-5c9b-446a-9f17-7e45fd42596e

That’s What I’m Talking About

E9F8D3BD-AEE5-4E9C-937A-ED4C35A299EAMy wife and I watch a lot of HGTV shows: House Hunters, House Hunters International, Tiny House Hunters, etc. We also like Property Brothers, Love It or List It, Flip or Flop, and Fixer Upper. We enjoy seeing the kinds of houses people look at and buy, especially when they have big budgets.

And we enjoy seeing the people who are being shown these properties. It’s always interesting when the realtor asked the prospective buys what they want.

He wants a two-to-three bedroom, two bathroom condo or townhouse in the city near his job, a low-to-no maintenance yard, a man cave, a three-car garage, great views, near a golf course, and an open concept design. He prefers the clean lines of a mid-century modern ranch-style house.

She wants a single-family home with at least four bedrooms and three bathrooms in the suburbs, a big backyard for the kids, preferably with a swimming pool, a large modern kitchen with new, stainless steel appliances, a master bedroom with an en-suite and a large walk-in closet, and near their kids’ school. She loves the classic craftsman-style home or a Victorian, with a grand staircase and vintage details.

The smiling realtor asks the couple what their budget is and he says “$199,000 max.” She says that she’s “willing to stretch for the perfect house for their family — up to $300 grand.” The still (always) smiling realtor says, “I’m sure we can find something that will meet all of your needs within your budget.”

Then the games begin. The realtor always shows them three homes. One for him, one for her, and one that “may require some compromise.”

And there are three catchphrases that these potential home buyers on the various shows frequently say that just drive me crazy.

The first and the worst, in my opinion, is the buyer, often the male, who sees something he likes and gleefully says, “Now that’s what I’m talking about.” Really? I never heard you talk about “that” before. And the way their spouse or significant other looks at them when they say it leads me to believe that no one else has either.

And then there are those who are looking at houses that are priced maybe between $200,000 to $300,000. One of them gazes out of the living room window or steps onto a deck or a patio in the backyard and says, “Now that is a million dollar view.” No, it isn’t. Because if it really was a million dollar view, the house would cost a million dollars.

Finally, there are the ones who go into the master bedroom of the house they’re considering, point out of the window, and say, “Wouldn’t you love to wake up to that every morning?” No, because when most people first wake up in the morning, their blinds, shades, curtains, drapes, or whatever other kinds of window coverings they have are usually closed.

But still, my wife and I do love to watch these HGTV shows. And when the realtor asks about their budget and they say “a million to 1.2,” I turn to my wife and say, “Now that’s what I’m talking about!”

Tiny House

63E64607-9C68-4E47-8902-EB6E07E9F8A7.jpegArlene and her husband were watching a tiny house show on HGTV when she said, “Abe, we should sell this house and build a tiny house.”

“A tiny house?” Abe said. “You’re joking, right?”

“No, I’m serious,” Arlene said. “It’s just the two of us now that the kids are grown and out of the house. Why do we need to live in a four bedroom, three bathroom house?”

Abe got a smirk on his face. “Why? I’ll tell you why, Arlene. Tiny houses are too small. Do you really think I want to be cooped up with you in a very tight and extremely compact place day in and day out? It’s not practical.”

“It wouldn’t be so bad,” Arlene said.

“Oh no?” Abe countered. “As it is, you refuse to share a bathroom with me. Tiny houses have just one bathroom. Be honest, Arlene, you’d only use the same bathroom as me if you were under duress.

“I think it’s something we should pursue Abe,” Arlene said. “We could sell this house for a whole lot more than it would cost to build a tiny house. Plus, it’s mobile. We could travel all around the county and have our house with us wherever we are.”

“We’re not turtles, Arlene,” Abe said. “We don’t need to go around with our home on our backs. And we have a Toyota Prius. We’d have to buy a big honking truck to tow that thing around. Are you going to drive a truck with a house trailing behind it, because I’m not.”

“Fine,” Arlene said, “you win. We won’t do a tiny house.” Then she looked at the TV and said, “Oh look, ‘Caribbean Life’ is on. You know Abe, maybe we should sell our house and buy a place in the….”

Abe grabbed the remote out of Arlene’s hand and switched channels. “Oh look,” he said, “a rerun of ‘Law and Order: SVU’ for us to watch.”

Written for Ragtag Daily Prompt (smirk), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (compact), Word of the Day Challenge (duress), and Daily Addictions (pursue).

Sunday Photo Fiction — Best Laid Plans

img_1513Harry, a contractor, and his wife, Mattie, an interior designer, loved watching HGTV. They decided to flip a house in a pricey area in Southern California and started looking for a fixer-upper to buy. “If those idiots on HGTV can do it, we can too,” Harry told Mattie. Of course, Mattie wholeheartedly agreed.

It didn’t take them long to find a house that might fit the bill. The place was in a serious state of disrepair and could, therefore, be had for a price well below market. Believing that the house had tons of potential, they decided to take the plunge.

Based upon his many hours watching HGTV, Harry estimated that it would cost about a hundred grand to turn the place from a dump to a palace. Given what they paid and neighborhood comps, he was sure they would make a tidy profit.

What Harry and Mattie didn’t know was that the true costs of renovations on HGTV are based upon working with suppliers and contractors who work at deeply discounted rates in exchange for publicity.

Harry and Mattie ran out of cash about halfway through the renovation. And that was when the bank foreclosed on Harry and Mattie.

(200 words)

Written for today’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt from Susan. Photo credit: C.E. Ayr.

#writephoto — Couples Counselling

5C625EE8-4482-4650-844E-8CB2C5147C14“It doesn’t look like it’s been well maintained,” Chuck said to his wife. “Look at these vines and branches. They practically block this window.”

“First of all,” Anita said, “that’s a rose bush. It just needs to be cut back a bit and given some TLC.”

“The whole house needs TLC,” Chuck noted.

“But it has so much character,” Anita countered.

“That is just another word for money pit,” said Chuck. “I want a brand new house that no one else has ever lived in.”

“But all those new houses are so cookie cutter, so bland. They have no character at all,” said Anita.

“You can find plenty of characters if you watch TV or read a good book,” Chuck said sarcastically. “And the windows. They’re probably the originals. Single pane and no doubt drafty. Can you imagine what it would cost to heat the place?”

“What I can imagine is how owning this home would be like living in a fairytale,” said Anita, somewhat dreamily.

“More like a nightmare,” Chuck said.

After listening to Chuck and Anita bickering, the real estate agent who was showing them the property had had enough. “You two aren’t ready to buy a house together,” she said. “You need to get on the same page and I suggest couples counseling as a good first step.”

Written for this week’s Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent. (I think I’ve been watching too many episodes of “House Hunters” on HGTV.)