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WRITE TEAM: My obsession with HGTV

With the arrival of fall, it’s always exciting to see what fall remodeling projects wind up on my plate. This year, it looks like the master bath will be the winner. We already have contacted a general contractor and have started watching YouTube videos to see how to do certain things.

We often are called the media generation. Although I’m not sure exactly what ages are included in that generation, whoever we are seem to be hooked on technology-driven media. We can watch TV on our phones, watch on-demand movies and television shows on HD TVs that have such clarity that we can see when a TV chef uses too much parsley in a chicken noodle soup recipe. 

While I try to balance how much mass media I ingest, given that a certain amount of my responsibilities is in fact mass media-oriented, that is not always as easily done than said. For this column, an online sports column, and co-hosting a radio show, I need to be aware of what is going on, not only in the world in general, but in the vast array of entertainment that is available in today’s media world.

Perhaps that’s a very long-winded introductory explanation to justify the fact that I have gotten hooked on HGTV.  HGTV is short for Home & Garden Television and is one of the several homey channels available to most cable TV subscribers. (A sister channel is the Food Network to which I have an entirely separate column planned.) HGTV has dedicated itself to present, in 30- and 60-minute installments, a fascinating variety of home improvement programs, ranging from how to replace your entire bathroom for less than $100 (OK, maybe not that cheap) to changing your backyard to look like a Japanese sea grotto in the middle of Nebraska.

One of my favorite programs is “Holmes on Homes.” The premise of the show revolves around general contractor Mike Holmes visiting homeowners who are in need of help, mainly due to unsatisfactory home renovations performed by a contractor they had previously hired. A typical episode has homeowners describing their experiences with the previous contractor, including what caused the original contractor to leave the job incomplete or with substandard and poor-looking results. As he walks through the house, Holmes goes into great detail to explain why the work he sees is substandard and needs to be replaced during the repair process. The original contractors are never named on the show, although I have written to them, suggesting that Mike take on the previous contractor in a three-round no-holes-barred fight.

Typically, after beginning the repair work, Holmes and his crew of contractors often find that their small repair project has escalated into a larger one due to surprises they find and are forced to fix. HGTV is too classy to use bleeps, but judging by Holmes’ reaction to previous work, I’m sure there is some colorful language bandied about. In fact, only on rare occasions has the show’s crew not been forced to tear everything down and start over. However, in the end, Holmes presents the homeowners with a finished place, often with a few extra surprises.

Perhaps it’s because I have zero talent when it comes to home improvement and/or repairs that I have become so enthralled with HGTV. The extent of my skills are limited to reaffixing a faceplate or jiggling the handle on the toilet so it stops running.

• Jonathan Freeburg is an Ottawa transplant for the last 25 years. Jonathan also is a regular contributor to 1430 WCMY Radio. His real job is insurance as a cover-holder for Lloyd’s of London.


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