Literature and Language

Why I Am Standing with Chip and Joanna

July 13, 2017

Did anyone else see the news flash about the couple, Ken and Kelly, who feels snookered by Chip and Joanna Gaines and their real estate company, Magnolia Realty, because a drunk driver crashed into their fixer-uppered house?

While I am sure Ken and Kelly are lovely people, in ways that don’t fall into the category of blaming someone else for an adult decision they made, I stand with Chip and Joanna.

I wasn’t going to say anything about it, but then I saw this at the pool yesterday, while I was debating the topic with a friend, and I took it as a sign to share my opinion (I did ask her permission to take the picture).  🙂

Magnolia Story - Chip and Joanna

I mean…Ken and Kelly are adults (in their forties at least), quite capable of using their eyes to survey the landscape in which they are considering making a real estate investment, or the ruse of their first home together as newly weds.

It is interesting that the house they bought to live their new life together in is on Airbnb.  Oops.

Perhaps their first business venture as newlyweds.

Airbnb - Chip and Joanna

Before I opine, I should preface this whole piece with a little amusing story on my history with Joanna. 😉  As you might remember from another post, I had no idea who Joanna Gaines even was until about a year ago when Dan, our amazing house designer, pegged me as a Fixer Upper watcher.  He went on to say I probably loved ship lap.

I had a little deer in headlights look back at him.

Ship lap?  Fixer Upper? Joanna who?

I think I wrote down ‘Fixer Upper’ on my notepad to look into later.

I’m still not sure if ship lap is one word or two.  Shiplap. Ship lap.  Shiplap.

Perplexing.

I think it is one.

I am pretty sure, at that moment, he confirmed he was dealing with someone who had just crawled out of a very deep and dark hole and questioned his judgment on accepting us as clients.  After all, how could a woman living on the planet Earth in the United States of America be virtually clueless as to the existence of this incredibly endearing couple who live in Waco Texas and spend their time living on a farm with countless animals, raising four children, nurturing plants in a really nice greenhouse, selling real estate and redesigning ‘fixer-uppers’ for couples lucky enough to be chosen by HGTV! (breathe!)

Call me a unicorn or a Pegasus if you will, but that unknowing woman did exist.  I was her.  She doesn’t exist anymore.  She lives in the lore with the unicorns.

Netflix is a wonderful thing for a couple who refuses to have cable or satellite television.  The night after our meeting with Dan, I searched for ‘Fixer Upper.’  And, after watching the first episode, I binge-watched night after night, as soon as the kids were in bed, to the limits of Netflix.  Seasons 1 and 2 devoured as soon as the episodes were available.  Then, I waited around impatiently for the next seasons to emerge.

We were in the throes of tiny dilapidated house living and I was feeling a little down-trodden.  But, after discovering Fixer Upper I felt a little lift in my being.  So, as any reasonable and well-mannered woman would do, or one who has irrational thoughts I suppose, I wrote a thoughtful thank-you-yet-stalkerish letter to Joanna.  In the end, on page four (ahem), I invited them to come visit.

Perhaps my judgement was clouded.

Within my letter, written loquaciously on carefully chosen pink stationary (okay, it was the only paper I had in the tiny house), I pontificated to her about my life, lamenting about how she and Chip were so refreshing, such good models of marriage and parenting and probably some additional awkward, weird and overly admiring verbiage about what a great human she is.

My heart felt full okay?  I felt refreshed.  And, when that happens I think one should express gratitude to the one who filled it.  As I wrote here about that time, “I believe no matter how successful you are or you appear to be, you still need encouragement knowing you are touching someone.”

And a couple of months later, they in-turn thanked me back.  It was thoughtful, but made me want to send her team a package of pens. 😉

Chip and Joanna thank you note

Now that we are settled into the rental house while the new house is being built, I am back to watching Fixer Upper when I can and when an episode is available.  So, four or so days ago, via some fancy app on my husband’s phone, we watched an episode from season three (episode 12 to be exact).

It was about a newlywed couple looking for their first home together.  Spoiler alert:  it’s the couple I referenced above.  Ken and Kelly.

As we watched, I turned to my husband and exclaimed they were posers.  I said to him, “They are totally going to Airbnb whatever they pick!” A couple looking to make a buck off a couple who is making a buck.  Well, good for them!  There’s no need to be posers.

Honesty is the best policy.

As the show went on and they selected their ‘fixer-upper,’ we both really questioned their choice of houses.  We could see on television that the house was in a ‘transitional’ neighborhood at best.  You could see that on TV!

Am I alone? Did anyone else watch it and get those same vibes?

Well, regardless, Chip and Jo worked their magic and made the house ah-mazing.  The end.

Not so fast.

Fast forward to the next day or so when a news flash popped up on my phone with a headline about a frustrated Fixer Upper couple and “Wild West Waco.”  I didn’t read it because I wasn’t terribly interested (there is a little proof that I am not a Joanna stalker), and I suspected it would make me roll my eyes.

I was right.

My husband came out of his office later that day and said to me, “Hey, remember that Fixer Upper episode we watched the other night…with the couple who bought the house in the questionable neighborhood…” I interrupted him to exclaim, “Oh my gosh!  Are they the ones who are mad at Chip and Joanna?!”

I am going to go out on a limb and guess that Chip probably has a firearm or two, if for no other reason than to shoot a coyote or a rattlesnake that is posing a threat to one of their creatures.  However, I am pretty darn sure he didn’t hold a gun to the heads of Ken and Kelly, so that they would choose the “Three Little Pigs House.”

No.  They are grown-ups living in a world with other grown-ups and quite capable of doing research, or simply turning their heads around to see if the neighborhood matched with what they were seeking.  After all, one of the reviews on their Airbnb mentions the neighborhood, the house alarm and not spending time outside because “it is in a developing neighborhood.”

Airbnb review - Chip and Joanna

Surely they could have observed the same?

Adults.

Honestly, I am sure they are lovely people.

And, I am sure the media has done their fair share to exacerbate the situation.  It is also possible that Waco wants people who intend to remodel houses in order to rent them to tourists, thus creating more destinations and retreats for those traveling to get their Fixer Upper and Magnolia Home fixes!  More money for Waco!  And, HGTV may not have the most-stringent selection process to weed-out those trying to make a buck from those who sincerely want a home.

And, I admit it is possible that Chip and Joanna encouraged the couple in their decision and set some of their neighborhood worries at ease.

But stillllllllllllllll.

Adults.

Adults. Adults. Adults.

Shall we hold our own selves accountable for our decisions?  Oh, and…

“Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When we first practice to deceive.”
– Sir Walter Scott

That, my friends, is why I stand with Chip and Joanna.

XO to you, Chip & Jo, Ken & Kelly and all of the other adults out there,
Melissa, the Mama Brain


Who is Sir Walter Scott Anyway?

Since I quoted him above, it is only fitting I should remind my mama brain and also tell you also who Sir Walter Scott was.

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) was a Scottish writer and poet who was considered one of the greatest historical novelists.  He was also a playwright and a poet and a lawyer by trade.

Some of his famous titles include, Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Lady of the Lake and The Bride of Lammermoor.

The quote I mentioned above appeared in his play, “Marmion.”

As a boy and into adulthood, Scott was fascinated by the oral traditions of the Scottish Borders.  He loved collecting stories.  At age 25 he began to write professionally.

Scott was considered the inventor of the genre of the modern historical novel and his Waverly novels played a great part in the movement of rehabilitating the perception of the Scottish Highlands and its culture, which had previously been viewed as quite barbaric.

Scott’s explorations and interpretations of Scottish history captured the imagination of the people causing his fame to grow.  It was at this point where Scott earned his title of ‘Sir.”  The Prince Regent, who would become George the IV, gave Scott the permission to search for the Crown Jewels, which had been hidden away and stored in Edinburgh Castle.  The locked box, in which they were stored, was not opened for more than 100 years and rumors circulated that the jewels had been lost.

In 1818, Scott and a team of military men found and opened the box and unearthed the jewels.  As a result, Prince Regent gave Scott the title of baronet.  Scott would later receive the title of Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet in London.

Scott ultimately died of typhus, seven years after the UK-wide banking crisis that resulted in the collapse of a business in which Scott was the only partner with a financial investment.  He owed money at his death, but as his novels continued to sell, the debts were discharged.

When Scott died, he was the most-famous novelist the world had ever known.

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