I’m Now A Professional Yard Crasher

YC Collage

So last September I get a text from my Ansley in Nashville to let me know that she has just been chosen to be on DIY’s Yard Crashers…. WHAT?!?! And can I come up ASAP to help? Well of course I said YES! (ROAD TRIP!!) Seriously, I know if I can just get a break, I am meant to be a TV star. (Why me you ask? Well, first I can talk about anything anytime to anyone and second, they are really good with hair & make-up so they can make anyone beautiful.) But I digress… back to Yard Crashers.

For those of you that don’t know, the show is basically this: TV host (who is a real contractor) scopes out a local hardware store to find someone there who needs a new back yard. He goes to their house, assess the yard, tells them to call some friends to help, then comes back with a local construction team and incredible plans to make the yard AMAZING!! Then the yard is transformed in two days. Yep, I said TWO DAYS!! You cannot even imagine what can be done in a back yard with 6 TV people, 5 contractors, 3 stone guys, 2 home owners, about 9 friends and two days. Truly crazy!!

They took my friend’s completely useless back yard that they NEVER, EVER used and made it the most used room in the house. But it was not easy! I may be permanently scarred from this but it was so worth it. After all I can now put ALL THIS on my resume: deck sander, railing/fence/gate painter, street scraper, mulch hauler/spreader, pebble layer, champion shovel user, water passer-outer, trash picker-upper, mud boot buyer, sod roller, not to mention antique wood waxer. (Oh yeah, you are wanting to hire me right now aren’t you???)

I will confess I worked harder than I’ve ever worked in my life and had no idea that this many muscles could all be sore at one time. There is nothing like a little manual labor to put things in perspective. The professionals that worked with us (shout out to Brandon Nutt Construction, Franklin, TN… whoop! whoop!) were not only amazing at their craft but unbelievably patient people. Imagine having to do quality work quickly and with a bunch of untrained, unskilled, unruly friends while TV cameras rolled. Yep, those guys deserve a HUGE reward for putting up with all of us.

So, in the end how’d it turn out? Well you won’t see me with my own TV show anytime soon (I know, I worked my razor sharp wit while muddy and sweaty but they must have missed it…their loss) but that back yard? It looks like a dream. Once the plans were laid out, I thought nice but when it was actually completed, it was like something you only see on TV… oh, wait, that’s exactly what it is!!

Before: (You really can’t tell how sloped the yard is from this pic so trust me!!)

YC Before

During:

YC During

After:

YC After

Yes, I’m a pretty skilled worker at this point… but you’d have to pay me a ton to do it all again!!

Barney, You Rascal You

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It happens every time I brush my teeth. Every time I wash my hands. Every time I am cleaning up the kitchen. Every time I wash out a paint brush. WITHOUT FAIL. What happens you may ask? I hear the kids from the PBS show Barney sing, “No! I never let the water run.” Even though no one in my house has watched that show in at least 15 years…15 YEARS! (welcome to my world people!)

In case you don’t know the song it goes something like this:

I’m brushing my teeth on the top. It’s so much fun I hate to stop. I’m brushing my teeth on the bottom, cause I wouldn’t wanna say that I forgot ‘em. While I’m brushing my teeth and having so much fun, I never let the water run. NO! I never let the water run.

Seriously, no kid ever heard this song and thought, “YES! It’s so much fun to brush my teeth.”

The first time I realized it was happening, I laughed then turned off the water as I continued to brush my teeth. But then I quickly realized that every time I turned on a faucet, I heard that song playing in my head and felt compelled to turn off the water. I began to wonder if it was some kind of Jedi mind trick that the genius creators of Barney created in the early 1990’s.

I am certain I heard the Water Song no less than one thousand times as my boys grew up. I was not a fan of Barney even though my boys loved it. We only allowed them to watch an hour of TV per day and since we didn’t have cable for many years, PBS was their only choice. Most mornings as soon as their feet hit the floor, they wanted to know if they got to watch Barney that day. Truth be told, I owe that dinosaur a lot of gratitude. After all, while they watched that silly show I knew I could get a lot done. Most days it was the only 30 minutes I had to myself to get showered and dressed. And as any mother of boys will tell you, boys rarely sit still and when they do, you better check on them because they are most likely making a mess. So to have a bit of time to myself everyday… knowing they were not making a mess. For that I could put up with the big purple dinosaur. Well played Barney, well played.

In My Swagger Wagon

The Swagger Wagon's 2012 Senior Trip

The Swagger Wagon’s 2012 Senior Trip

I still drive a minivan only we call it the swagger wagon. Yes, I realize that I have no children at home and one would think that by the time all of your children are out of the house that you have earned the right to drive a nice adult car but then the van comes in handy and you just can’t part with it. Y’all, this swagger wagon is practically family at this point, I mean it has taken us on vacation to Florida every year since 2007, moved one child to Georgia Tech four times, another two times, one move to Furman, gone on the senior trip with the class of 2012 (without me- yes my son and his friends begged to take it), moved a child to Memphis, brought home some amazing antiques inherited from my darling mother-in-law and taken us on more road trips than I could ever name.

No one sets out to purchase a minivan when their kids are out of car seats, but as I was searching for my next car in late 2006, I realized that with the length of my oldest son’s legs at the time, there were very few choices he could fit in. It was a light bulb moment people! As we tried to squeeze all three boys in the back of a smoking hot candy apple red Volvo, I quickly noticed that Will’s chin was resting on his knees and decided maybe we should pursue something a bit roomier. Right then one of the boys saw a van with the sliding door open, a drop down TV/DVD combo and heard the words, “You can even plug in any video game system and play while you travel.” It was game over at that point. Game…Over… To humor the kids we walked over to check out the vans and I realized that not only could my long legged son fit comfortably, but there were enough seats to keep them all separate. It’s the little things in my life people….

Many times we have discussed getting rid of the swagger wagon and each and every single time I think about how handy it has been. Plus, when you buy a van with half grown kids, you can afford all the whistles and bells. Can I say I really love my heated leather seats? Not as much as Tim but if I’m being honest, on some super cold days it’s been close people….real close.