Spare Bedroom

The opening sequence of the episode will capture the inconvenience of your house’s original floor plan. Your spouse will remark about how many years it’s been since anything about the house has been updated. You will halfheartedly confess that the spare bedroom renovation has been an ongoing project for three years now. If you argue with your spouse about why it remains unfinished it will not make the final cut. Do not clean too much before the host contractor / designer / decorator arrives, who will be wearing expensive jeans. It must be sanitary but not sanitized. Real.

You will be impressed by the plans drawn up by the contractor / designer / decorator. You must also find a point of disagreement. Your choices for disagreement include: bathroom layout; amount of closet space; or flow of the area for entertaining. One of you will mention converting the spare bedroom into a nursery, even though you still have no children.

You must understand the importance of keeping the authentic feel of the original fixtures. Chrome must pop against the white subway tiles, which are back in style. You will have a discussion with your spouse about natural light. One of you will want the transom window to remain in place, while the other will want to expand the closet. You will compromise. Natural light is paramount.

You will be amazed at the progress for the first fifteen minutes of the episode. Demolition of existing structures will be accomplished in a quick montage. You will pull off your dust mask and smile after knocking down some drywall, tile, or other original material that doesn’t need to be preserved to keep the authentic feel of that particular room. You will wear clear safety glasses while hammering.

You will experience a setback around the thirty-two minute mark. The problem must be revealed before a commercial break. It is hard to gauge when it should happen in real-time, since a lot will be left on the cutting room floor. Your argument with your spouse where you bring up the last time your spouse said something that insulting. You sitting in your car in a parking lot, engine running, listening to nothing in particular on the radio and staring off into space. You losing the only Phillips-head screwdriver you have left, goddammit, even though you owned five last time you checked. You getting frustrated with your spouse’s non-answers about what to do with your aging father when he visits next month, since you both know he’s not doing ok and he won’t tell you who talked him into a reverse mortgage on his house and every time you press the issue you can’t tell if he’s reacting with shame or anger. You mentioning your fear that financing this project puts your house back underwater. How your chest gets tight when you think about paying for this on top of your original mortgage, car payments, student loans, not to mention if the treatments work this time and you actually do end up having kids. These moments will not be included, since they do not drive the plot. It needs to be tight. Compelling.

The setback will be solved the same way all home improvement setbacks are solved: changing the plans and blowing through more money than anticipated. The contractor / designer / decorator host, wearing an expensive pair of jeans, will counsel you about adding equity to your home. You will remark about the keeping the feel of the open floor plan. You will agree that you made the right decision. You will not comment on being unable to back out at the time the setback arises or talk about your father’s financial situation at all during that segment.

You will be awed by the big reveal. During a close-up you will put your arm around your spouse and talk about one of the following: the inviting feel of the open floor plan; how you can’t wait to host dinner parties; or how you love keeping the original and authentic feel of the house. There will be a chart showing the house’s original value, the money spent on this renovation, and the house’s new value. You must act as if this new value is not a number pulled out of thin air. Look at all that value. Your concluding thoughts will be one of the following: you can’t believe you waited this long to do this; you absolutely love the open feel; or that the entertaining area is perfect for hosting dinner parties. You cannot talk about how your father will probably have to move in with you, how your spouse isn’t smiling as much lately, or how when your spouse isn’t home you sit alone in the redesigned spare bedroom, which is still not a nursery, and cry silently.

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