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  • Kristan Higgins

The lies of HGTV

Updated: May 5, 2022

Good at buying stuff: check.

Good at buying stuff: check.

McIrish, my sister and I have spent a lot of time at our little house on Cape Cod this past month, doing something Joss Dey calls zhoozhing. I was totally into it…at first. HomeGoods and I are well acquainted and in fact, deeply in love. I bought throw pillows and soft blankets, a shelf with hooks, a new bedspread. I could be an interior decorator, probably! This would be easy-peasy. I loved zhoozhing!

Then came the lies of the DIY world, of HGTV, of talented, coordinated people.

1. “A new coat of paint will make that look gorgeous!” Lie. Painting is way harder than it looks. The drips, blobs, dog hair that ends up on what previously seemed like a pristine blanket of snow. The splotches on the ceiling from when your roller slipped. You missed a spot. No matter what you think, smarty-pants, you missed a spot. And it takes three coats. And you still missed a spot.

"You know what would be so helpful, hon? If you put these tissue boxes on the shelf. Good girl!"

“You know what would be so helpful, hon?

If you put these tissue boxes on the shelf. Good girl!”

2. “Let’s pull out this cabinet and put in a new—” Nope. Not gonna happen, because that old cabinet? It covered a pipe, and the new cabinet won’t fit, and you have to cut the wall, then patch it, then patch it again, then let it dry, then smooth it out, but it won’t be smooth, you naïve fool, you. But you won’t be able to tell till you paint it. Also, you missed a spot.

3. “Don’t throw away that old table! You can repurpose it with some lace and crap!” It took three days for the super glue to wear off my fingertips. Enough said.

4. “If you measure twice, you only have to cut once.” Said who? Huh? Because I measured FOUR times, and I had to cut five. Old furniture is not straight.

"Here, honey! You like to peel stuff! This is a great job for you!"

“Here, honey! You like to peel stuff! This is a great job for you!”

We soon discovered that I was really best at the “step and fetch” kind of jobs as Hilary and McIrish did the harder work that required…you know…skill. I bought pretty things and organized cupboards. I scuttled back and forth to Ace Hardware so often that the resident dog would leap to greet me and the guys would say, “We missed you! It’s been, what? Three hours?”

I tore out and screwed in small things that didn’t require too much accuracy…the idiot jobs, as my sister fondly called them (or me). I whipped out my credit card, soothed McIrish as he cursed when something didn’t go right and insisted that we go out for a nice dinner. I bought wine. When all was done, I sent my husband and sister home and cleaned that house till it glowed.

We all have our strengths.


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