Extreme Quietness

Well, the dust has literally settled on last week’s Extreme Makeover project. What a week! Some of the production crew is still here, cleaning up the neighborhood and they’ll be here until Wednesday. That means in the space of ten days, they came in, completely took over people’s yards, closed off streets, installed security details at multiple checkpoints, set up barricades, parked cars in our yards and oh yeah…….built a house in seven days, working around the clock. I tell you what, though – everybody we came across on that production crew were polite and terrific. They were in communication with us nearly every day on what would be happening, they will repair any damages to our lawn and they even are compensating us additionally for our trouble. Really, it was no trouble. It’s a small price to pay to get that family back together.

The payoff? A teeming crowd on a freezing Friday afternoon, a lot of whom showed up at 7am, all waiting for that limo containing the family to turn the corner onto little Elm Ct. I’d say there was just short of 2,000 people, jammed onto people’s yards (including ours, partially), up in trees and standing on rocks, all to catch a glimpse of a father and husband coming home for the first time in two years. It was pretty moving. I shot some very cool video towards the end that I’ll post eventually.

When the smoke had cleared and the bus was gone, the neighborhood took about an hour to clear out and suddenly, things were relatively quiet again for the first time in a week. Our local newspaper reported in the aftermath that the fundraiser which the town put on resulted in $50K plus for the family. We were more than happy to contribute and clearly many others were as well. Monster.com, Maynard’s largest employer, contributed another $80K to the family and promised a job to the husband when he’s ready. A local landscaping company offered their services for a year – gratis. Even Dunkin Donuts gave the family a free one year supply of coffee. Steph made brownies and brought them to a food drive for the volunteers. Apparantly the amount of food donated was staggering. How’s that for a community? Yeah. We love this town.

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Now playing: The Soft Boys – Old Pervert
via FoxyTunes

You Deserve A Pee Break Today

Steph and I started seeing each other in February of 2000. One of the early dates was a visit to Improv Boston, where a small group of local actors basically make up skits on the fly and often involve the audience. Of course, I was petrified they’d pick me to go up there to do something, but other than that, we laughed like hell. It was a good time and a very funny and quick-thinking group of people. We encouraged a large group of friends to go about a month later, telling them it was hilarious. Murphy’s Law struck hard – because that night was pretty weak. So it goes.

Anyway, my point is that I love improv and spontaneous comedy involving unsuspecting real people. A friend of mine sent me this last week, where a group of New York City-based improv folks did some pretty funny stuff in a McDonald’s bathroom at Times Square. I got a good laugh out of this one – pictures and video included.

The Extreme Home Makeover people have completely taken over the neighborhood. It is really amazing to watch. Yesterday they destroyed the house in about 30 seconds. No lie. Three big yellow dozer like things with big-ass claws just rammed it twice and all four walls just fell in like it was made of glass. The foundation was put in overnight – they’re working 24 hours, all day, all week. It’s impressive and the area is just a total zoo. I can’t wait for Friday when they unveil it to the family. I rarely watch the show because that Ty dude yells too much, but I respect very much what they do. The spirit of our community is really shining a light this week. I’m extra proud to be a resident of Maynard right now.

Pictures are here. I will not post pictures of the finished product. Some things need to remain a surprise to viewers!

Move That Branch!

Back in August, you might remember that I wrote about the show Extreme Home Makeover coming to our hometown of Maynard to do some pre-screening for a family that, at the time, lived about a mile away from us. I had sort of filed in the deep recesses of my mind that they might be back at some time, but life always seems to get in the way of such things. I had kind of forgotten about it until last week when one of the production crew knocked on our door and told us to prepare for bedlam in the neighborhood because the house three doors down from us was the family whose house is being knocked down and rebuilt! Wow! I didn’t know it was on our street, much less three doors down. I even met the woman who lives here one morning when I was outside clearing snow! I didn’t even know it.

So this morning around 8am, Ty Pennington’s Bus barreled down Elm Ct and stopped in front of the house and the family ran outside in a gently falling snow, psyched beyond belief that they had been chosen. They are well deserving. Their story is in my post from August, which I linked to above. And now, starting today and culminating next Friday, they will tear down the house and build a new one so their dad and husband can come home after a year-and-a-half. How about that! We have one hell of a view from our upstairs window – it’s clear as day and very close to us, there’s a small branch obscuring one small corner of the house, but that’s it!

I’ll post pictures here and on Flickr from time-to-time as things progress.

Movin’ On, Baby, Yeah I’m Never Touchin’ The Ground

It occurred to me this morning that I’ve moved more times than I thought. In fact, since 1995, I’ve moved six times, counting the one we’re about to do. I wonder if that’s more than average? Here’s the rundown:

1995 – Moved to Somerville, MA
1999 – Moved to Allston, MA
2001 – Moved to Arlington, MA
2001 – Moved back to Somerville, MA
2003 – Moved to Maynard, MA
2007 – Moving to…..Maynard, MA

On average, that’s a move every two years. Me no likey. However, my last two stints have been pretty stable – two years in Somerville and four years in Maynard. So the business development guy in me would also say that I’ve only moved once in the last six years. Which reminds me – moving with 5-month old twins – it’s pretty much a pain in the arse. Not recommended.

So there will be less than usual posting here in November. Why? Because our house is just starting to look like Baghdad. Evidence:

Living Room Bomb Zone

Living Room

Dining Room Bomb Zone

Looks like fun, doesn’t it? How many times have you moved in the last 10-12 years?

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Now playing: Gomez – Fill My Cup
via FoxyTunes

Random

It’s officially oatmeal weather again. I recently discovered a new flavor of apple hitting the New England circuit lately. It’s called honey crisp and man, they are good. Taking this into consideration, I cut one up into small pieces last week and put it into my oatmeal, along with some brown sugar and…..voila! Rock. It was delicious.

I went over to a local coffee/sandwich joint for lunch the other day and I’m standing in line examining the menu when the owner looks at me over the counter and says, “hey, you posted a pictureof our cafe online!” I was kinda freaked out for a minute because I had no idea whatsoever how he knew it was me, but then I remembered that Fickr has little picture ID’s. Funny that he recognized me. That’s the first time anyone has really recognized my “online” life in real person.

Halloween was quite fun this year, of course, given it was the first halloween for our twins. We got them dressed up for about 10 minutes. Here’s Nathan, as a chili pepper:

Nathan, dressed as a chili pepper

….and here’s Zachary, dressed as a pea pod:

Zachary, dressed as a pea pod

Moving date is November 29th. Exciting!

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Now playing: Band Of Horses – The Funeral
via FoxyTunes