As you may or may not recall, I posted a rant on this site – which is no longer available – regarding this particular episode of Extreme Makeover. Specifically, I wondered, quite astutely, how anyone really could allow their family to live like this. After 6 months of this post floating adrift in a vast cybersea, I was surprised to see that not only was there a response, but it was from the HOMEOWNER.
You could have knocked me over with a feather.
He left comments that did not surprise me, but rather DID raise a few interesting questions. I will repost his exact response along with my questions mixed in in italics. (Per usual, I will not correct any errors. It is exactly as it was posted)
NOTE: Homeowner comments in BLUE, author response in PINK.
We were warned by the production staff about the cheap shots that were going to be taken at us. My wife and I are grownups, we can handle it. What I don’t feel inclined to take sitting down is people taking shots at my kids on cyberspace which dear Ms. Katie you crossed the line by doing.
I would have to know your definition of a “cheap shot” in order to really respond to that statement. I would also be interested in knowing where “having running water” and “contamination abatement” fall on your list of “things to do for my children.”
Let’s look at the facts as they REALLY are, shall we?
Oh, yes, let’s…
First off the so-called 3rd adult living in the house, our oldest son is 17 and just finished his junior year of high school. I don’t know where he qualifies as an adult anywhere.
Allowing your son to work part-time is certainly a decision that is yours to make, but – as we see in the video – it doesn’t appear that anyone – adult or teen - is participating in the basic upkeep of the home.
He attends a school that costs over $20,000 a year, a feat my wife and I make possible with no outside help.
Well, in all honesty, that doesn’t really do anything to endear you in this particular situation. One might ask, “If he has 20 large to drop on tuition, why is he needing televised intervention?” Later in your response you mention that no one chooses to live “poor,” but it appears that you have done just that. Priorities.
We do that by each working well over 40 hours a week, outside the home.
Oh, so the part when Ty says that you work part-time is bogus? Gosh, I wonder why they didn’t tell the rest of us that you both work 40+ hours a week…
The freelance writing thing is a side interest.
Second, care and support for autistic children, be they Asperger’s, PDD, etc. is NOT free. In the absence of being able to afford wraparound care during regular/after school hours we have had to take work when/where we could that allowed us to be there for your kids.
Okay, lemme see if I am following correctly…you work 40+ hours outside of your home, but only on an intermittent basis because you lack childcare? I am confused.
We didn’t have much but one thing we made sure of was that our kids know to this day that their parents care.
Again, I would really need to know how you define “care.” There is a huge difference between hugs and little league, and not living in a literal dump.
We have made more than our share of mistakes along the way, but not for lack of trying.
Well, you clearly put your best effort behind it, that’s for sure.
Third, you seem to be operating under the error in logic that we somehow solicited this. Wrong again. We were nominated by a family friend who sadly passed away before she saw it come around.
I apologize. I honestly thought that was you sobbing into the video camera in the above “submission video.” I am also sorry to hear of your friend’s passing.
You also seem to operate under the illogic that we somehow chose to live that way. As someone who claims to have grown up poor, you should know that no one chooses to live like that.
No CHILD chooses to live like that. CHOOSING four years in a public high school would have equalled a savings of 80,000 dollars.
The house was in rough shape but that was hardly due to lack of effort on our part. Many of the holes you saw were due to trying to eradicate the wood ants, termites, etc. that lived in the place when we bought it.
I assume, then, that you have taken it up with the association of realtors because all of that should have been disclosed to you by your realtor, and it would have most certainly been discovered on the requisite home inspection prior to completing the home purchase. As you stated, certainly nobody would CHOOSE to live like that.
We could have done more for sure, that doesn’t mean we didn’t try.
Do or do not…there is no try.
We did the best we could with no help, because we didn’t want our children to grow up dependent on the system.
The system is in place for a reason. The system is designed to help people of limited means obtain all manner of special services for children of all need levels. Utilizing the system does not equal abusing the system. By denying your children these services for which, by all appearances, they qualify, one might again question the integrity of your parenting.
In closing, I will promise to do for you Katie what my wife and I have done for all those misguided souls out there who have tried to ruin or sully the blessing we have recieved through rumours, innuendos and outright lies: we will pray for you. we will pray that sooner or later you find a relationship with God and you no longer feel the need to write, speak or feel the way you have about us or anyone else. Our faith has sustained us through some damn near insurmountable hardships, whether they be physical, spiritual or financial. God has always been there for us. Give him a chance and he’ll be there for you too.
God helps those who help themselves, and he also looks after fools and children. Amen.
BUT WAIT…THERE’S MORE!!!!
This is the second comment he left for me, after I removed the post and thanked him for his feedback:
Call what you will; acerbic, sarcastic, whatever.
I prefer to call it “rapier wit.”
When your life has been laid bare to public scrutiny like ours was and you have people say the sort of things that we have seen and heard, what you wrote only appears hateful and cruel.
Laid bare to public scrutiny? PLEASE. They had you at “hello.” When one chooses to accept an extreme do-over they forfeit the right to then complain about how the public views them (with the obvious exception of proposterous and unrelated accusations of child molestation/pornography, neither of which were subject to speculation in this blog). Quite frankly, I find it suspect that you appear to be looking for things to be butt-hurt about. Why are you not enjoying the fruits of ABC’s labors in the spirit they were intended? I can only speak for myself, but if I were living large in my fancy new digs, I wouldn’t give a frog’s fat, wrinkled ASS what people were saying about me…
Try explaining to a kid who can’t grasp social nuances such as sarcasm or satire why people say the things they do in newspapers, chat rooms and blogs.
Pointing out the obvious here, but why are you allowing these children to be privy to any negative comments? Again, I can only speak for myself, but if they were my kids, I would actually go in the other direction and go out of my way to shield them, much in the same way I don’t allow my kids to play games rated with an “M.”
to this date my wife and I have been accused of being shoplifters, child molestors/pornographers, drug dealers/users, the list goes on. I have been accused of beating my wife and kids, cheating on her with her coworkers, and being forced to leave my home by order of domestic relations.
Those are all compelling bullet points for any personal resume, but I hardly see how any of it applies here. Although, I will point out that being forced out of your home by order of domestic relations is HARDLY the result of a blogpost. As the title of this post states – Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.
I worked part-time after my regular job at an afterschool tutorial program for disadvantaged kids until after the show aired.
Was this while you were working 40+ hours outside the home?
Parents stopped letting their kids come because I was supposedly such a bad person.
Again, not applicable to this forum.
Not wanting to cause my co-workers t lose their jobs I quit the program.
If you say so…
This despite the fact that I submitted to a background check both for my job and for the show that cleared me of any skeletons in my past. Now be honest, if you had put up with this sort of thing and you read about yourself and your family the sort of thing you wrote about me and mine, how funny would you find it?
If what you say above is true, then I would find this post to be a breath of fresh air. Of course, you assume that after receiving a top-of-the-line, fully-furnished new home, on a plot of land that is toxin-free, a brand new car, and a maintenance fund for same, I would even be looking for posts about my family. Yeah, I would be crying my eyes out into my 400 thread count sheets on my four-poster, hard rock maple bed immediately adjacent to my en suite master bath complete with jetted tub and walk-in shower…
I wouldn’t care. Full stop.
Fair questions, I say.