Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

"Gee, Moe, that seems a bit extreme. Couldn't you just bash my brains in?" - Homer, The Simpsons

Extreme Makeover, Boy Picture Edition. This was a picture taken by The Boy when I was building his swingset. Note that I did not cut off any fingers, as far as you know.

“Extreme Makeover, Home Edition” came up to Fairbanks recently. They took a family with about seven hundred kids, headed by a single mom, and shipped ‘em off to a Disney slave-labor farm while they turned bulldozed their 800 square foot house (11 square metres) and converted it to a 5,000 or so square foot (12 square metres) mansion.

Everyone in Fairbanks knew what was going on. When I stopped to buy beer on Friday, the clerk said, “The family is coming home tonight.”

I thought at first that it was a question. Was my family coming home tonight, hence requiring me to buy enough beer to dull my senses sufficiently so I could tolerate them? No. I thought an instant and realized that the clerk was talking about the family who was to be the recipient of the new house was coming home.

This has raised a philosophical question that’s difficult to process. A nice lady (by all accounts) is getting something very nice for her and her family that she didn’t work for. Is it right?

I have friends who live on the extreme side of personal responsibility as their code of life. They feel that you should get what you earn, not what people give you. “This is wrong,” they’d say, “this is just a form of feel-good welfare that sets up expectations that everyone should have a great big house because they’re good or nice people. This is wrong.”

Thousands of people in Fairbanks felt differently. They donated time, material, and sweat to put up a house that very few in the community could afford (estimated appraisal is about $700,000). I know that $700,000 would barely be enough to purchase a pickup truck in a parking space in San Jose, but is a huge house in Fairbanks, several times the median price.

I didn’t help build the house. I’ve been busy drinking beer donating blood, sleeping in caring for my children, and thinking about hunting praying. I don’t think, personally, that the house is bad. It’s a nice thing for the lady and her family. It doesn’t hurt my feelings that over (in the end) a million or so dollars will have been spent on this, since it might make a nice television program that I’d watch if it weren’t on at the same time as The Simpsons. Like I’m going to miss The Simpsons. That’s what I call extreme.

In the end, I don’t mind that the nice lady, her kids, and her other relatives that live with her are getting a nice house. Fairbanks is a small place, and although I don’t know her, I have friends that do, and they say she’s swell. Good for her.

I’m not jealous, though. If “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” would have come to Casa Wilder, I don’t think I would have liked it a bit. Not so much the new, huge place. That would have been okay. I just don’t want Ty Pennington in my house. It looks like he might shed everywhere. How would I ever get the Pennington out of my carpet? Ewww.


Blogger Coldfoot said...

I have a co-worker who volunteered every day of the project. She has a kilo-boatload of pictures of the whole operation and thinks everyone else is interested in looking at them.

My wife was there for an afternoon. Thank God she was not so obsessed. Although it was a good thing she met the host of the show that first day or she would have been back.

1:39 AM  
Blogger brotherbill said...

Nothing in life is free. We all share the same resources, and pay our dues accordingly. The blessing in my life is a simple awareness that I no longer need to judge another's contribution.You know, eyeballing the collection plate as it passes from hand to hand. I am so thankful for all that I am, all that I have, and all that I can give. How could I find time for more?

7:27 AM  
Blogger Dame Koldfoot said...

I'll admit I was there one afternoon working my butt off while the stars of the show goofed off and acted like, well, like actors. I wasn't in it for the feel-good, civic spirit of the project. I just wanted the freakin tee-shirt. One lady I was working with cornered Ty Pennington for an autograph and photo, which I took for her, thinking, "Gee, Ty sure looks tan. . .wonder if it's overspray from the wood stain or if the light from all the blue tarps really screwed with the make-up guy's lighting?" After the photo, the lady was all googly-eyed and wobbly-kneed. SHE was obsessed. I reminded her that Ty was just a regular guy like any other--he farts, burps, snores and probably does other things with himself that I can't mention here. Sure, Ty is nice to look at, but in the end I really prefer my own pasty-white, blubbery, overly-hairy man.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Duck Hunter said...

Sounds more like "extreme start over" from what you described. It's cool that they do things like that for people.

I would let them do for me too...I think Lowe's sells something to get the Pennington out of your carpet.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Jacie Wiggs said...

Hmmmm! I've always wondered how a person who perhaps makes $20,000 or less a year, can now afford to live in a $700,000 home, even if it is paid for? How do they pay their heating bill? Property taxes? Does she still walk out of her $700,000 home wearing her old Walmart cheepies?How does a person all of a sudden start living in luxury? Ya know what I mean? Nuff questions!
It is impossible to miss The Simpsons! They are on about 8 times per day, at least in our house! My guy seems to have a built in Simpsons radar system, he appears to be surfing the channels randomly, not knowing what is on and then click, well what do you know The Simpsons are on!

6:26 PM  
Blogger Liang Boy said...

I thought that's the best and worst thing about US?

To do or say whatever shit you want to (given not to cross the border) and have to bear the same when the other does it.

*wink wink* In malaysia, the Cops have even never heard of HUMAN RIGHTS! They would response... "Ah? what? Human Rights? What the H*ll is that!?" The next thing is, "Shut the F*ck up, or I will blow 2 holes on your chest..."

Yeah John, I aint kidding.

PS: I mean, only at recent year, the Cops are starting to educate the fellow police about Human Rights. Check out interesting facts - http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2006/7/18/nation/14867096&sec=nation

7:15 PM  
Blogger John said...

I can see it now, "Oh, this is Ty Pennington. This is his shirt! See him sweat? Look, this was just after he passed wind! Isn't he darling?"

Well said, though I did find a neat ladder at the transfer station the other day . . .


dame koldfoot,
As I noted above, I think even the passing of wind would be cute. Until you had to deal with it every day. Do you think he sheds?

duck hunter,
I tried the DePenningtonizer, but it bleached the carpet. But at least it's DePenningtonized!

The Mrs. says I have the same radar for WWII documentaries. I must agree.

As to the cash, I think there is an account set aside . . .

Mark Twain said the greatest gifts ever given Americans were free speech and the sense not to use it.

Free speech is a great gift!

9:32 PM  

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