Sunday, October 10, 2010

Brushing elbows with HGTV for a weekend

This past spring, two months before our wedding, DH got an AMAZING opportunity.  He was selected to be one of the carpenters on an episode of "Battle on the Block" on HGTV! The first episode hadn't even aired yet so no one, myself included, had a clue what the show was even about.  And DH was able to remain calm as my questions became more and more probing as the first day of filming closed in: 

"Who's the host?"
"Exactly how much are you going to be on TV?"
"When is it gonna air?"
"Can I be on TV?"
"Who's the host???"

Unfortunately for me, Day One of filming was on a Friday and I had to work.  So most of my questions would remain unanswered until I spoke to DH.  But I didn't have to wait too long for at least one of my answers. DH was kind enough to drop this bombshell of a text on me later that afternoon:

Do you know some lady named Genevieve Gorder?  I guess she's gonna be the host.  I ate lunch across the table from her today.  She seems nice.  Is she famous?


Genevieve Gorder???!!!???  I have been following her since her days on "Trading Spaces" on TLC!!

Somehow my shaking hands managed to punch in a reply text that said something roughly on the lines of "come Hell or high water I will be fighting rush hour traffic to get there the second I am off the clock." 

When four o'clock hit, I all but flew past my coworkers (who, by this time, were happy to let me leave so I could shut-up about Genevieve) and accelerated out of the parking lot to face the oh-so-near reality that I was about to meet my decorating mentor.

Fast forward one hour.  I hate rush hour.

I parked my car once I reached Centro Ybor.  I decided hoofing it was going to be much easier.  Right.  

I was lost.  I had already been walking around aimlessly for about 30 minutes.  Thank God I was in scrubs, or I may have been mistaken for a hooker standing on a street corner in Ybor city, trying not to look lost.  DH wasn't answering his phone and I had no idea how to find the condo he was working at.  I decided to call my mom (who lives 12 hours away) in hopes of looking less pathetic standing there by myself.  At least I looked busy now.  

Mom:  "Did you meet her yet???"  (Mom, also, is a huge fan).
Me:  "No.  I'm lost, I'm tired, I'm hungry and I look like a hooker."
Mom:  "Oh.  OK.  Well, call me when you meet her." 

Thanks Mom.

After another 15 minutes, I FINALLY found the condo and DH.  But as luck would have it, he was extremely busy and only had a brief second to lean over the balcony and tell me that Genevieve had gone for the day and I should probably just go home.  Oh and by the way, he was going to be home late.

I'll just gloss over the HUMONGOUS hissy fit I had by myself on the hour long drive back home...

The next morning, Saturday, was full of promise.  DH said that I could come to the set that day and chances would be much greater that I could meet Genevieve.  

I called up DH's boss' wife, K, and we planned to meet up in Ybor together.  When we got there, we were able to tour the three homes that were competing on the show. It was kind of surreal to be on this side of things.  Cameras and people were crammed everywhere inside the homes, and everyone seemed like they were in a big hurry, bustling around.  But on the outside, nothing looked unusual.  The huge trailer full of the tools for the show and the RV (where my beloved Genevieve apparently hangs out once she's on set) were the only evidence of anything remotely out of the ordinary.

The little table between the RV and the trailer is where DH ate lunch across from Genevieve.  The whole crew ate together daily.

We got to meet Genevieve's assistant who was very nice.  She said that Genevieve loves meeting people (aka: mega fans like myself) and that she would be on set around one o'clock.  It was late morning by then, so we decided to check out the nearby outdoor Art Festival for a while.  

I found DH to tell him where we were headed and I snapped these pics of him in action:

At promptly one o'clock we returned, my hopes high, only to be told that Genevieve's arrival time had been moved up to about three o'clock.  K had to leave, so I was now on my own.  

I figured I would take advantage of the close proximity of Centro Ybor. I walked around for a bit, wandering past shops and restaurants, killing time.  I decided to stop inside a small bar on one of the busy street corners and have a glass of wine.  If there's one thing that can make time seem unimportant, alcohol is it!  Then the call came.  DH called to tell me that Genevieve was on her way!  I quickly drained the rest of my wine, slammed down a wad of money and bolted out the open door.  

I walked, half ran, back to the condo where DH was waiting for me outside of the closed front door.  She was filming just inside that door!  The workers had to go outside so that there was quiet (and space) for filming.  Here's the legal notice that was taped on all the doors:

And then it happened.  The door opened, a couple of people (production people, I'm assuming) came out, talking very quickly to each other, rushing past me without acknowledging me, and then there she was.  And my goodness, is she tall!

G: "Oh, hi!" (smiling)
Me: "Hi!  I've been waiting to meet you!  I am such a big fan!  I've been a fan of yours since Trading Spaces!" (mental note:  I need to stop talking in exclamation points)
G:  "Oh wow, are you even old enough to remember that? (laughs) So who are you here with?"
Me: "I'm his fiance" (beaming, grinning ear to ear, pointing to DH)
G:  "Awww!  He's so sweet!  When are you guys getting married?" (still smiling)
Me: (blank brain....think, think, think...oh yes, that's right) "Two months"
G:  "Wow!  That's soon!  Are you nervous yet?" 
Me: (not as nervous as I am right now!!) "Nope, I'm just excited."
G: (getting impatient stares from the production guys) "Well, it was really nice to meet you.  I have to go now to film at the next house." (being shuffled down the stairs)  "You should come over to that house!" (over her shoulder)
Me:  "OK.  Thanks!"

And in the very same instant I realized she was gone, I remembered my unused camera in my purse. 


It took all of half a second for me to make up my mind to walk to the next house.  When else am I ever going to meet Genevieve Gorder again??  I can't let her just go and not get a picture!  

For a girl who doesn't exercise, I had logged some serious miles today, and I was nearing the end of my journey.  I arrived, out of breath, at the last house and waited.  One of her assistants I had met earlier in the day was kind enough to talk with me while I stood in the middle of the dirt like an idiot, stalking waiting for Genevieve.  He told me she was just finishing a quick meal in the RV and would be coming right out.  After about five more agonizing minutes, she emerged.  And thank God she didn't pepper spray me for reappearing out of nowhere.  

I told her I forgot to ask before, but would she mind taking a picture with me?  

G:  "Of course!" (handing my camera to her assistant and putting her arm around me)  "I'm sorry if I smell like garlic, I just had a Greek salad" (fanning her open mouth)
Me: "That's okay, I smell like wine" (Awesome.  I sound like an alcoholic.)
G:  (laughing) "That sounds even better!  I wish I had that instead!"

As the assistant was sizing and centering us in the camera, we exchanged a quick conversation under our breath (wine and garlic united) through our posed smiles about age and height--apparently our stats are quite similar.  And here's the long-awaited picture:

After a quick check that the picture was acceptable to both of us (hey, she may be famous, but we are both women) we hugged and said good-bye.  

I walked back to my car, satisfied.  She was just as completely sweet and genuine as she seems on TV and I was thrilled to have met her.  


The anticipation to see the actual end product was so great and DH had been a great sport about my references to "My BFF, Genevieve" ever since I had met her. The episode actually aired while we were away on our honeymoon, so we had to DVR it.   We were excited to see how it all turned out.  After watching it, we just had to laugh.  Poor DH was just a momentary red blur in about four whole scenes of the entire episode.  We joked that it was like those photos of Bigfoot you see, just this big shape that resembles a body walking by in the background.  He had a real live 15 seconds of fame!  But it was an amazing opportunity and was so fun to experience from behind the scenes.  And who knows?  Maybe my BFF Genevieve will come back to the sunshine state and we can do lunch!  Salad and wine anyone?

Click here to watch the full episode on Hulu
Air date: 5/16/10
Season 1: Episode 6

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