Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My RONA HOME - Restless Reflections

( This is the family picture we submitted with our on-line application on June 13th, 2009. Maggie was a couple weeks away from her 2nd birthday and Lyla was only 2 months old )

As I sit in restless reflection tonight, I find my thoughts drifting back to the beginning of this amazing 6 month journey on My RONA Home.
It was early July...we had been in auditions for nearly a month by that point and had made it down to the top-5 finalist families competing to be selected for the show. We had drafted and presented our floor plans to the jury and there was nothing more to do but wait...wait for the phone call that would determine our fate.
The following is an excerpt from our family blog during that week of waiting:
July 8th, 2009

We got the call last night - My RONA Home Update

... But not, exactly, the call we were expecting.

So I get home from work yesterday (Tuesday, July 7th). Nicola and the girls are nowhere to be found and the phone is flashing that we have a message. I had called and left a message on my way home to give Nicola my ETA so I thought it was just my message waiting and proceeded to call in to erase it.

To my surprise, there were two messages waiting... one from me...and the second from one of the producers of My RONA Home asking that we call her back. My stomach flipped as I scrambled to find Nic. I finally found her next door at Grammie & Pappa's house and asked her, calmly, (yeah right) to come home.

So... we sat down on the couch and dialed the number... hearts pounding... breath baited... minds racing.... Ring...Riiiiiiiinnnnggggg... Rriiiiiiiinnnnnggg...
"Hello?" is the greeting from the other end of the phone.

"Hi... this is James & Nicola calling you back about..."

"Hiiii guys!" Bubbling, she gets right to it as I watch a gigantic bead of sweat crawl down Nicola's ghost-white forehead... (I might have imagined that...)

"We're calling to let you know... (WHAT...WHAT... WHAT... SPIT IT OUT mind was screaming.) ... that you should both be ready for 6AM on Monday, July 13th.... (AHHHH!!! YES...YES...YES!!! I started celebrating in my head) we will be visiting EVERYONE between 6:00AM and 7:30AM to let you know IN PERSON whether or not you will be one of the two families selected for the show..."

"Ohh? Uhhh..." I paused to process what I just heard... "Huh? Wait a second," I chuckled a little bewildered, "let me get this straight... so you're going to go to everyone's house on Monday morning to either thrill us with the news or crush our dreams... on camera!?!"

"That's the way we roll..." She replied, "...and here's the rest of the info you need to know for Monday...

After a few pleasantries, our call ended. Nicola and I sat there, bewildered, analyzing every aspect of the conversation... trying to read between the lines and figure out their diabolical plan.

We have no idea. What we do know is that we'll likely go completely crazy sometime in the next 114 hours just thinking about it...

By the morning of July 13th when Elissa Lansdell and the crew, finally, arrived at our door at 7:35am we could hardly take it anymore. 5 days of anticipation... second guessing... harnessed hope... and the fear of getting so close only to face disappointment, had left us, simply, exhausted.
Now... today... less than 5 days from the taping of the finale when we will find out the results of all the voting and whether or not we will actually win our home, we find ourselves back in the same state of mind. The same excruciating anticipation... second guessing... harnessed hope and fear of disappointment envelops us. I would have to think that Vern & Crystal are facing a similar struggle.
You know... none of us are actors, nor had we any experience in being thrust into the public eye. We all had a very limited level of experience and understanding of home construction. None of us, truly, understood all that we were getting into when we accepted our Yellow or Blue t-shirts. We really were, and still are, just regular everyday people who were, simply, given the opportunity of a lifetime.
The price we paid for this opportunity was having ourselves served up to be judged by the public... people who don't know anything about us... THIS... is the very nature of reality TV. I regret ever being so quick to "judge" a "character" on a reality TV show prior to becoming a "character" on a reality TV show. Often our judgements are uninformed and unfair and based, solely, on what editing allows us to see...again, the nature of reality TV.
As for the show itself, Nicola and I have no regrets. We stayed true to ourselves, our values and our faith. We focused on building a home to serve the needs of our little family. We met some wonderful people and had so much fun. It was an amazing experience for both of us. We made memories that will last a lifetime and, YES, we would, absolutely, do it all again.
I Love You Nicki and I'm proud of all we accomplished. We'll get through the next few days and, regardless of the outcome, I consider it an absolute honor to have shared this experience with you!


Monday, November 23, 2009

My RONA Home - The Gloves Come Off In Episode 8

Episode 8 - The Siding Episode:

This most recent installment of My RONA Home had both teams working outside on the exterior facing of our houses. A new level of intensity evolved as we rubbed shoulders with the competition. The smack-talk was flying and, with so much at stake and finding ourselves so close to the end, competitive spirits reached new highs.
The chemistry of TEAM YELLOW was amazing and besides a few smashed fingers, we had a lot of fun together.
The finishing touches as time winds down.Before...


Dad & Nicola siding like a couple of old pro's.
If you happened to miss the episode last night, it has already been uploaded to the My Rona Home Website. To find this and other previously aired episodes we have a convenient link at the top of the page.
Be sure to get your votes in each and every day this week at

Monday, November 16, 2009

Episode 7 - The Living Room - Pictures

A few pictures until I get a chance to write (enjoy):


Monday, November 9, 2009

Team Yellow - Highlights from Episode 6 – The Dining Room & Laundry Room

Episode 6, the dining room & laundry room episode, was a fun one for team yellow. In addition to our regular cast, we had the privilege of having my younger brother Josh come and help us with the project. Though our friends don’t, typically, get a lot of air-time on the show, behind the scenes, Josh did an outstanding job with the tile work in the laundry room and the mudroom. For Josh, though, the highlight of his My RONA Home experience was meeting the host of the show, Elissa Lansdell. A big CMT fan, Josh was a little star struck when I brought Elissa down to meet him while he was working in the laundry room. Working with Elissa every day, and given that she was so amazing and down to earth, we easily, and most unintentionally, overlooked Elissa’s fame & extensive television resume. Not Josh. He didn’t leave without getting Elissa’s autograph on his new, team yellow, My RONA home ball cap; a souvenir his hunting buddies will surely envy.

Thanks Josh for your hard work and enthusiasm. We loved having you on the show.

Other highlights from the show:

1. The fake spider. Nicola has a serious fear of spiders. For a practical joke, Kari Clark (our sister-in-law who appeared on the bedroom episode & the basement episode) left a fake spider with Greg to play a joke on Nicola. Greg thought it would be funny but wouldn’t do the deed himself… nor would anyone else so I had to be the “bad-guy”. Having had a real encounter with a spider in the trailer just that morning, Nicola had her spider radar on high alert. I quietly placed the fake spider on her shoulder and then told her to be very still. Not knowing what was up she didn’t move until I flicked it off her shoulder and onto the floor in front of her. It was a good thing I was behind her because she reared up like a spooked horse and had I not caught her, she would have flown straight back into a stack of bamboo. She was a good sport and laughed it off. Watch out Kari… Nicola doesn’t forget.

2. The weigh-in. Having just come off a great weigh in during Episode 5 where I had lost 7 pounds in 7 days, I actually found myself up 2 pounds in Episode 6. In real time, this weigh-in came 3 days later. Though the catering for the show was usually healthy and well balanced, the supper we had after Day 1 of filming for Episode 6 was Pizza, fried chicken, mashed potatoes and pop. So yummy but soooo bad. Don’t worry… I get back on track.

Nicola & I absolutely love the finished product from Episode 6. Like the rest of the house thus far, the dining room, the mudroom and the laundry room were more wonderful than we could have ever expected.

The mudroom, just off the dining room, is a sizable entrance at the back of the house featuring a huge closet, tiled floors and a bench. As we intend to have a detached garage behind the house, this will be our primary entrance. It will be delightful not to have all of our coats and shoes at the front door which is quite an eyesore in our current home.

We are excited about the laundry room too because of its practical functionality. Not only did Nicola get her gorgeous, RED, front load, high efficiency washer and drier but Mike & Greg built as a huge folding table above them, a must for the perfect laundry room. No more folding my huge shirts on the bed or ottoman.

Last, but not least, the dining room. The dining room, in the house we currently rent, is small and isolated from the rest of the house. We don' t like eating in there so we end up eating the majority of our meals together on the ottoman in the living room. We absolutely love the dining room we put together for the show. With the table set in front of the huge west-facing window and an extension of our kitchen space in the open floor plan, we really look forward to eating all our meals as a family together at the table.

Thank-you, once again, Greg, Aly, Dean & Mike for another perfectly completed project. This truly is becoming the house of our dreams.

If you think the kitchen and the dining room were beautiful, wait until you see the completed living room on episode 7, Sunday, November 15th. It truly is the icing on the cake for our beautiful, main floor, open concept floor plan.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"Look at that puny TV...awwhhh... what a cop out!"

I said pardon???

As a new twist on the My RONA Home show this season, the couples got to go into each other's home at the beginning of each episode to view the work the other couple did in the previous show. On Sunday night, the Kitchen/Powder Room Episode, we started the show by going into each other's house to see what we each accomplished in the Basement the week before.

After giving, much deserved, accolades to the Blue team for a job well done in their basement family room, Nicola & I got to see and hear their thoughts on ours. Having previously heard about Vern's (Blue Team) preoccupation with television size (Any thoughts Sigmund Freud?) and his passion for football, we weren't terribly surprised at his immediate attack on our television. We, obviously, have very different priorities when it comes to the definition of a family room so we'll let it slide.

Who am I kidding... I'm a guy... I can't let it slide completely. You don't have to like my daughter's pink bedroom but you NEVER attack another man's TV. :)

So here are the, FYI, stats on the two televisions... You be the judge.

Vern (Blue): 52" SONY 120H,1080P, High Def LCD TV.

James (Yellow): 46" SAMSUNG 120H, 1080P, High Def LED TV.

Although this wasn't featured on the show, the SAMSUNG LED TV is the latest in television technology. It is about 1 inch thick and 60% more energy efficient than a LCD TV. It is offered at 240H but we went with the 120H to stay within budget.

Mounted on a wall that is 9 ft tall and 15 ft wide, without a surrounding entertainment center, any TV can appear "small". We elected to wall-mount this costly addition to our family room to keep it out of reach of children at play.

So Vern... it wasn't a "cop-out"; it's called research & foresight. I still love ya man and will gladly come over and crash on that killer sectional of yours as long as we can watch the greatest game on earth...aka HOCKEY.

If y'all think this guy debate is childish & silly, wait until Episode 9 when Vern & I measure our decks.

Voting Page Has Been Fixed

Hello YELLOW voters:
As of noon today (Tuesday, November 3rd) they have finally resolved the issues with the My RONA Home voting page. The malfunction was a nationwide issue so both teams were equally effected.
We would like to thank everyone for their patience and perseverance through this inconvenience. We know that it requires a conscious commitment to vote daily and not being able to vote is quite annoying.

Please continue to vote daily for your TEAM YELLOW. We appreciate every vote and thank you, once again, for supporting both the show, itself, and our family.
For you convenience, there is a link at the top of this blog page that will take you directly to the voting page on the My RONA Home website.

PS: If you're on Facebook, please take a moment to join the Team Yellow fanpage group. Simply search groups for My RONA Home - Go Team Yellow. Through the fanpage we provide periodic updates of show related issues like this recent voting problem and fans can voice their feedback on the events of each episode.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Problems Voting Since Sunday, November 1st???

We have received several messages and viewed several comments from friends on Facebook that many have been unable to vote on the My Rona Home website since Sunday night's Kitchen episode aired. Though there have been occasional hick-ups with voting over the past few weeks this has been the longest "down-time" we've seen yet.

We apologize for the inconvenience to our faithful voters. We thank you for your perseverance and patience. Please continue to check the voting site periodically. We hope this issue will be resolved soon.

Once the site is accepting votes again, please continue to vote DAILY for your TEAM YELLOW.

Thanks again for your support!

James & Nicola