It’s just a house: Confessions of an HGTV addict

I admit it. I’ve got a pretty sizable obsession with HGTV.

The little 12-inch television in my kitchen is rarely tuned to any other channel. I can turn on “Property Brothers” when I’m making lunch, and not shut off the TV until I finish washing dinner dishes with an episode of “House Hunters.” And I’m totally guilty of ignoring many a beautiful weekend afternoon binge-watching “Flip or Flop” – accomplishing nothing but seeing Tarek and Christina repeatedly turn broken-down California bungalows into polished real estate gems.

My girls know this is serious business. They’ve long abandoned any dreams of taking over the remote when “Mom is watching her house shows.” It’s gotten out of hand.

So, too, have dreams and designs for my own home. It still has the same layout and many of the original features from when it was built in the late 1990s. Many days, instead of vacuuming or gardening, I waste time obsessing about updating the flooring in our living room, adding a French door to the master bedroom or pouring a concrete patio in the back yard. It sounds ridiculous when put into that perspective.

This obsession seems especially ridiculous lately in light of all the natural disasters that are sweeping across our country. From floods and hurricanes in Florida and Texas to out-of-control wildfires in the West, thousands of people are being forced to flee from their homes or risk losing their lives. It’s still uncertain how many evacuees will have a home to return to, once all is said and done. I know I speak for all of us in Northeastern Wisconsin when I send prayers of strength, safety and fortitude to all those affected. Hang in there, guys.

I keep returning in my mind to one of my mother’s favorite books, “It’s Just an Event” by Ray Mathis. It’s a self-help book that emphasizes how we, as free-thinking individuals, always have a choice in how we respond to situations. Through the life skill of emotional management, we can either choose to feel depressed, angry or hopeless about the suffering in our nation, or we can choose to feel inspired and motivated to step up, lend a hand and make a positive difference. It’s given me a lot to think about.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about my house. Really, it’s just a house – four walls, a roof and some floors. Some outdated floors that I’d love to replace? Absolutely. But at least my floors aren’t flooded under several feet of water. At least my roof isn’t in imminent danger of being burned to a crisp or ripped to shreds by 120-mph winds.

Just as I pray for the safety and well-being of all those in the South and West, I thank God for the safety and well-being of my little family. I love my house, true, but I love my family more. And I would live in a trailer, a tent, even a cardboard box with Tony and our kids, as long as they are all OK.

So this is my vow to quit binge-watching television shows about houses for other families, and spend more time living in the moment with my own family. I’m also vowing to take some of the money we’ve set aside to do improvements on our house and donate it to those affected by wildfires and hurricanes. It would be wonderful if you would consider doing the same.

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