Sunday, January 11, 2009

Wow! It IS Extreme!

There were over 4,000 people volunteer for the Extreme Home Makeover build, but we weren't picked to help out. Oh well. The family chosen to receive the makeover live in Fresno so at least it's close enough for us to go watch. MaryAnne, the mom, was born without legs and only one functioning arm. She is the single mother of four teenage children. She has worked very hard to support them on her own and buy her own house, but the house is not setup for a person in a wheelchair and she's always getting hurt in her own home. The family is on vacation in Colorado this week while their "dream home" is being built back here.
I went to the worksite this morning. WOW! It IS Extreme! The timing and teamwork and cooperation that goes into the building of a house in such a short time is truly amazing.

Everyone parked at the convention center and rode the bus onto the site. The crew has several whole city blocks filled with trucks, trailers, motorhomes and equipment. We arrived at about 8:40 in the morning and it was cold and foggy. They ran into a problem last night so the pouring of the concrete was delayed until this morning. When I got there, they were putting the finishing touches on the concrete. They added something to the mix to make it dry VERY fast. Within an hour, they were ready for the walls.

Michael Moloney, one of the designers, shot a scene explaining the situation. "Here we are on the morning of Day 3 and we're a little bit behind schedule. When we were digging the foundation, we ran into a TON of mud and water. But, early this morning we brought in this material that is made out of sand and ground concrete which is keeping with our green theme and that took care of the problem. If there's one thing we have learned from MaryAnne, it's that nothing can keep us down." That and several variations are what he said over and over and over again as the camera crew filmed. They must have done at least 10 takes, probably more. And, he was freezing. He had several bloopers which were pretty funny and got everyone laughing. He really played to the crowd.

When he was done shooting his scene, he came over to talk to some of the spectators and sign autographs. And, yes, his teeth are really that white in person. And, he's thinner in real life and FULL of energy and personality.

I was right in the front row as the cameraman went by so you very well may see me on the show (if I don't get cut). I'm right in the front row in front of the house wearing a red baseball cap, a red turtleneck and a dark grey wool coat. Look for me! Look how stinkin' close I am to the action!

Next up, Designer Didiayer Snyder......

And the arrival of the walls....

It was quite something to see these walls come off the truck. They just unhooked the yellow straps, the truck beds slid together, the front tilted up and the framed walls were dumped off the back with a big thud and a cloud of dust.

The framing crew was ready to go, and Didiayer was right in there with them holding up the framework, climbing a ladder and shooting her scene.

Next on the agenda was the arrival of sheeting from one of the local lumber yards and a bit of humor was in store. The driver of the forklift-thingy got himself stuck in the dirt and had to have someone with another forklift-thingy come pull him out. It was quite suspenseful waiting to see if he would loose his load or tip the whole thing over. When he was in the clear, we all gave a big cheer.

After hours of waiting for Ty Pennington, yes by then it had been hours....Remember, I arrived at about 8:40 in the morning and it was now 11:45....the boy next to me spotted him coming down the street. He was dressed in a black and white flannel shirt which made him stand out from the rest of the blue Extreme Home Makeover shirts. Quite to the disappointment of all the onlookers, he did not come over to the crowd, but he did wave and smile several times. He was moving in and out of the framing of the house and climbing on the beam that will be at the top of the garage door shooting a scene. He wasn't quite as hyper as I had thought he would be, but then again he did go up and down that ladder quite a few times and he was moving around pretty darn fast.

And, then......he was gone. He walked back down the street and vanished from sight.

Time for more walls to arrive and another round with the lumber company and the fork-lift thingy driver. He decided that he was going to take some beams off the back of the truck right in front of us and lift them over our heads. That's when I said, "Outta here." Cuz' I'd seen just how good he wasn't at manuveuring that equipment and didn't want to get squished.

All in all, a FUN morning and a GREAT memory. Hope to make it back again before they finish filming to share the experience with DD. And, we can't wait to see the show when it airs in March.

EDITED: I was on the news! Yep, there was a closeup of me wearing my red baseball cap with my hair in a ponytail in all my glory smiling at the camera on the news.

And, this picture is on the Fresno Bee's website. See if you can spot me in my red hat.....

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