When Your Best Friend Wins a House

Do you remember that show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition? Hosted by that dude with the silly name and the crazy hair? Some thought he was hot, but not me. I found him icky. Actually ran into him at a benefit in NYC last year. Turns out I was correct: Creeptown, USA.

Alas, I digress.

So I’ve known my Kim since we were sixteen years old. (Please pretend that was 10 years ago) And as fate would have it, we both ended up living in Northern Virginia at the same time. She with her sweet baby while her husband was deployed, and I with my husband, around halfway through my first pregnancy. Which is when Kim entered a contest and was selected to receive a house. On a reality show.

Home Team wasn’t nearly as fancy as that ABC version, and while we weren’t building a sprawling estate from the ground up, Kim and her new family would be provided a home with a bit of equity and some new furnishings. Instead of creepy Ty and his bird nest hairdo, the host of Home Team was none other than Troy McClain, runner-up on the first season of The Apprentice.

Of all the random situations we have found ourselves in over the years, this was definitely the most glamorous and exciting. Kim didn’t know she had won, she was told she was a finalist, but the producers were busy organizing our little group of friends to rehab her new house in a matter of a long weekend and surprise her with it.

The plan was this: Kim would host us all at her apartment for a party where the television crew would interview us under the guise of “getting to know the finalists.” We all had some snacks that evening, met the crew, and without Kim’s knowledge, made plans to meet up the next day for furniture shopping. Both Kim and her husband’s families were also brought in for the sneaky bits.

I was just coming off my permanent IV for my pregnancy, so I wasn’t much help in the light construction department, but while some were moving toilets and painting walls, I got to tag along on Home Goods runs with the production team, picking out candles and the like. Much more my speed anyway.

After three extremely intense days, Kim arrived at what she thought was a filming location but was actually her new home. It took a bit of time for it to sink in, but we were all there waiting, grinning from ear to ear, and excited to be a part of this amazing gift. The show had even set up a satellite link for Kim’s husband to talk to her all the way from the Middle East.

HOME TEAM!
A SMASHING SUCCESS, HOME TEAM!

When the show aired, I think only a handful of people saw it, and while it was an awesome concept, Home Team didn’t last more than a few episodes. But our Kimmy and her family got a house, we all hung out with a reality TV star who was more than happy to indulge us with a “Troy McClain” impression, and everyone came together and had an awesome time. A job well done, I’d say.

the team hanging out with troy.
the team hanging out with troy.

When a Baby Terrifies You

Being pregnant is not my idea of a good time. But being hooked up to an IV and completely unable to function affects more than just me. Which is why, when I learned that I was pregnant with baby #3 when the first two were only four and two years old, I was a bit panic-stricken about telling my parents as well as my husband.

The whole experience was tragically comic from start to finish. First, after several home negative home tests, I figured I was just having some weird health issues or something. My doctor thought the same after a negative test there, and so she ordered a blood test to check a bunch of levels including my thyroid.

Which is how it came to be that I learned about my pregnancy via email.

EMAIL.

I was sitting in the basement of the townhouse we had purchased less than a month prior, watching the littles play with their duplos and dolls, when I got an email from my doctor stating, “serum positive for HCG.” I spun around in the swivel chair, realized that the littles weren’t a good sounding board for this shocking information, and tried to calm my heart rate while counting down the seconds until I could rush up and grab a phone.

I called my sister and told her first. I asked if she wouldn’t be the one to break the news to my parents, because I just didn’t have it in me, knowing they would have to take over parenting for several weeks. We agreed on a plan of attack, and then discussed just how on earth I would tell my husband.

Lest anyone get the impression that we’re horrible people, I love my babies. So does my husband. My entire family is very “Yay babies!” in fact, but it’s impossible to ignore that having babies means a LOT of work from a lot of people.

I knew that I would eventually be excited about this baby, and that if my husband reacted poorly to the news, I would have a hard time recovering. I also knew that wasn’t exactly fair, considering I had plenty of time to get out all of my “holycowwhatthehellarewegoingtodo” crazy out of my system before he would get home from work, and decided he deserved the same opportunity to work it all out. Besides, as soon as he walked through the door, I would be on my way out to work myself.

So I decided I would write him a note. I waited until naptime, then sat down to compose the “yep, I’m pregnant,” notecard to my husband. My hand was shaking a bit, but I managed to get out the basic idea that we were having a baby, we’d work it out, and everything would be okay.

As I left for work that night, I handed the sealed envelope to him, saying, “read this after the kids are asleep.” Which he didn’t. But I guess as soon as I handed it to him, he figured what it was about. We’re pretty in tune like that.

So by the time I got home that night, my husband had gone through all of the necessary freak outs and we were able to have a few moments of happiness and excitement before getting down to the technical matters. When you have HG like I do, you only get a short window of time before it all hits the fan. And the crazy did not disappoint.

Of course, I wouldn’t change a thing, and we all can’t imagine a world without our muffins, and someday I will show her the note I left for her dad, announcing her existence.

Although I did mention to my doctor that email might not be the best way to tell a woman she’s having a baby.

my little muffins
my tiny muffins – best kind of supriseĀ ever