Thanks for stopping by for the transcript of Episode #182. If you’d rather listen to this episode than read 8,000 words, you can click the player below or learn how to get our podcasts on your phone (for free) here.
[Intro music starts]
John: I’m John.
Sherry: And I’m Sherry.
John: We like home stuff.
Sherry: We like talking.
John: And we like the occasional game show sound effect. So welcome to Young House Love Has A Podcast, where we have deep and not so deep conversations about DIY, design, and life at home.
Sherry: We’re popping in for the holidays to give you a special episode full of house updates, embarrassing stories, renovation plans and maybe even an impression or two. *Wagggh-waggh-waaaggggh* (that was clearly Scuttle from The Little Mermaid).
[Intro music ends]
John: Hey, we’re back.
Sherry: And we’re rustier than ever.
John: We’re going to call this a holiday special, not because it’s going to be particularly holiday themed, but because it’s special for the holiday season. It’s a gift to you guys who have so patiently waited to hear an episode again, and people have been asking where the podcast has been. The best way to explain it is that when our kids were finally back in school this fall, we no longer had a podcast sized hole in our schedule anymore. Like in that time since our last episode, life, work, and other projects kind of filled in that gap. So it wasn’t as easy to like flip the podcast switch back on.
Sherry: And then we plugged in the … what’s that called… external hard drive – the thing with all the podcast music and sound effects and everything on it…
John: … thought it was blank.
Sherry: Didn’t work. Nothing on it. We’re like, “The podcast has been erased.”
John: That’s what happens when you take off more than a year from podcasting.
Sherry: So the universe was against us, but we just wanted to pop in. And you’ll hear a little bit later why we don’t think it makes sense for this to be weekly. Even if we did have the time every week, we don’t really have like the home improvement projects going on en masse to have podcast updates that frequently.
John: Yeah. We don’t, I think, have enough to say.
Sherry: We have enough for a big update today and then we’ll just drop in periodically with updates. I think that should be the plan, like when we have a big thing to say, we’ll share it and if you guys subscribe, it will just pop up wherever you get your podcasts.
John: Yeah. I wanted to make sure people knew that if they were not subscribed or they had unsubscribed, I wouldn’t blame you, but if you had unsubscribed just resubscribe in whatever podcast app you’re listening in, whether it’s Apple podcast, Spotify, whatever because that is the best way to know whenever we pop in with a brand new episode.
Sherry: With our annual episodes (laughter).
John: Our once a decade episode (more laughter).
John: Well, and like Sherry mentioned, one reason why weekly podcasting doesn’t really make sense is we just have less house stuff going on because we have a smaller house, so there’s less to do and most of the rooms are in a pretty good state right now.
Sherry: I know. It’s like this really interesting comparison to how things were in Richmond and how things were when we were blogging about our homes for a living, because it was like… our livelihood depended on projects and therefore our list was really very long and it almost felt like job security to have a very long list, and then this like very intentional choice to move away from blogging as a full-time job and then, to move to a much smaller house, not have to like churn things out at a high speed. The interesting thing about it is that our list is very short and I think our contentment, like if there was a circle … let’s do something visual on a podcast, because that always works really well…
John: We are clearly out of practice.
Sherry: Picture two circles, like a Venn diagram-
John: I do love a chart.
Sherry: Right, and picture the circles, like one of them saying, “DIY Is Your Job,” and one of them saying, “House Contentment,” and I would say for myself, this is not for everyone, I have noticed that my house contentment circle has gotten huge and my … is that not how a diagram works? (laughing) Okay. Forget the diagram. The visual is bad.
John: I love a chart, but not one of these charts. (laughing)
Sherry: I would just say that, can we say there has been a correlation and maybe a causation? As my DIY-As-My-Job circle shrank, my contentment and acceptance of my house and my happiness in things being the way they are has gone up.
John: Yes. It used to be that those things were directly related and now, they’re sort of like inversely related. Your contentment goes up as you have fewer things to do.
Sherry: Exactly, and the weird thing about when this was our job is that I felt scared when I had less to do because I was like, “Am I going to have to move? Like there’s this inherent pressure when you do this as a job to keep doing it and be interesting.”
Sherry: And boy, am I excited to be boring! (laughing)
John: Yeah. I think we realized at some point that this move to downsides and simplify was in opposition to that path we’d been on before, where we were always trying to do more projects and have more things on our house to do list and stuff. And that’s not to say we haven’t been doing things, like if you’ve been following the blog or following on Instagram over the last year or so, we had a few big things happen, like we put in a pool this year, that was kind of our big 2021 project.
John: We also updated our kitchen in a few smaller phases and added a new porch off of our kitchen. All those things are on the blog, if you missed any of them and want to check them out. Moving forward, our list, I think has mainly three big things on it besides probably like little organizing and decorating things, but our next thing is probably going to be to replace our kitchen cabinets and more fully redo the kitchen. We’ve been doing like little tweaks here and there, like we added a pantry this year but this is going to be… I don’t even want to call it a gut job because we’re not gutting it. We’re just taking out the existing cabinets and putting new ones in.
Sherry: And guess how many cabinets there are? There are five. (laughing)
John: There are five.
Sherry: We ordered five new ones from IKEA a while back. They’ve been sitting in our bedroom. We actually ordered them months ago. They finally came in, and they arrived like right around when Burger died, and we were like too sad and too … we didn’t have the energy, mentally or physically to get into a kitchen project. So little updates, like adding the pantry had been easy, even doing the side porch because we hired some of that out was easier, but in replacing these five cabinets, it sounds small but it really means living without a sink for a few weeks, living without a dishwasher for a few weeks because the cabinets have to go in fully and then, then they have to come and measure for your counter and it takes a few weeks to get your counters installed and that’s when you get your sink back and your dishwasher back.
John: Yeah. It was something we were going to get into this fall, but we were coping with the loss of our dog.
Sherry: Yeah, I think we just wanted to not be doing anything extra that took much mental capacity at all.
John: Yeah, so that’s why we’ve had boxes of cabinets and tile sitting in our bedroom for the last two and a half months, and they will probably be there for another, at least month – because I think this is probably going to be a 2022 project.
Sherry: The good news is five cabinets are not that many boxes.
Sherry: The bedroom is not ruined. I’m recording the podcast near the boxes.
John: You’re sitting right next to them. They’re right there.
Sherry: They’re flat packed. It’s not so bad. (laughing)
John: The beauty of IKEA, right?
Sherry: Exactly, and before anyone listening gets sad, we are not replacing those five cabinets to change the color. We are planning to paint these cabinets the exact same pinky-mauve color, we are so into this color that we added to the kitchen. It was the original color of our kitchen when we look back at demo pictures behind the cabinets, the original walls were this mauve color, along with the original laminate counter, which we still have in the mauve color! That will be replaced with a nice, longer lasting … well, I don’t know if you can say that, this one lasted a while.
John: It did its job. It’s a little cracked in places, but this laminate, it’s making the case for itself. (laughing)
Sherry: It went the distance. (laughing)
Sherry: We’re likely going to get a stone countertop, do some backsplash tile all the way to the ceiling on that back wall – but mainly, the replacement of the cabinets is just for the better function of it all.
John: Yeah. The existing older cabinets have drawers that don’t roll as smoothly because of the frames on them. You don’t get as much storage in them as you could with newer cabinets without such large wood frames, etc. So it’s really about making sure that the five cabinets we have work the hardest they can in that spot because we need that stretch of cabinets to be as functional as possible.
Sherry: Exactly and another funny layout quirk of the kitchen right now is that we have this one sliver of a cabinet to the left of the stove and it’s maybe like seven inches wide.
John: It’s really tiny. I mean it’s like where our baking sheets and cooling racks go.
Sherry: Yes and it has a drawer and you can fit one plastic bottle of olive oil in it laying down. So picture a plastic olive oil bottle. That’s how wide the entire drawer is.
John: Yeah, right now it has a bunch of spoons in it.
Sherry: I think with the wood of the thick old drawer frame, it’s like a three-inch-wide drawer.
John: Yeah and with a new IKEA one, it’ll be like, I think a 10 or 12 inch wide drawer, so it’s going to get much more functional in that spot and we’re also changing all of the lower cabinet doors to drawers, because we find that in a kitchen, having drawers as your lowers is much more functional than having doors that you have to like bend down and crane under and all that stuff.
Sherry: Yeah, but are we doing drawers under the sink? No. That’s going to be doors.
John: That’s going to be doors. Yeah.
Sherry: Okay. So some drawers, some doors, a wider cabinet and a spot that’s kind of a wasted cabinet that holds hardly anything.
John: And it’s been months since we planned it so that’s why neither of us really remember precisely what it was.
Sherry: I’m kind of getting excited talking about it because I think any extra function or space-saving or smart storage in a smaller house is like the currency here.
Sherry: We get very thrilled – even to gain like an extra drawer somewhere, is very exciting.
John: Yeah, but I did mention there were three projects, so the kitchen update is one. The other one is eventually we’re going to turn a corner of our bedroom into an ensuite bathroom so that we have a second bathroom in our house and one that we don’t have to share with the kids.
Sherry: Yes because if you’ve been wondering, “Oh in all this time, I’m sure they added their second bathroom.”
Sherry: “They can’t all still be sharing a bathroom.” (laughing)
John: We are.
Sherry: It has been oddly fine. Like I was thinking a post I could write for the blog is: things we thought would suck about downsizing – and things that actually were challenges. Because they’re not the same. Picture a Venn diagram.
Sherry: The circles would not overlap. It’s like things I thought that would be hard, everyone sharing a bathroom, I thought we’d move in here and immediately on day one… are you still laughing at my Venn diagram?
John: (laughing) I realized, I think every Venn diagram you construct is just two separate circles. The point of a Venn diagram is to like analyze what overlaps.
Sherry: They’re separate.
John: Yeah, then it can just be two columns maybe. (laughing)
Sherry: No, I like the Venn diagrams.
John: You just like the circles. Okay.
Sherry: I like circles. We can go back to a really early podcast about how circles make you happy. Your eyes like circles. We’ll put that in the show notes. (laughing)
John: You were just saying that the bathroom was something we expected to bother us, the single bathroom.
Sherry: My gosh. Yeah.
John: And it has not so far, which is why we’re not urgent to do this bathroom. It is a future thing. We are not chomping at the bit to have it.
Sherry: I mean, we were here an entire year with our kids doing At-Home learning, like we put this house to the test.
John: Yeah. I feel like if we could get through all of that and being so close for so long, like we are golden for a while.
Sherry: It feels like I have a second bathroom just having children in school, right? (laughing) I’m like, “Oh it’s empty all the time. Look how big our house feels.”
John: Yeah. Well and the third thing on our list is eventually we want to pave our driveway or do a paver driveway because right now we’re just parking on sand and pine straw.
Sherry: Yeah. We’re very classy here.
John: Yup and we’ll probably at the same time do a like paver area under our fire pit.
John: Again, that is something that is probably more than a year off. So it’s not like we have this rapid-fire list of projects to go through right now and like Sherry was saying a moment ago, in the past, I think that would’ve made us both anxious but right now, we’re at this place where that actually is a relief.
Sherry: Yeah. I think in like downsizing, there are a lot of pain points in the forefront of the assignment.
John: The transition.
Sherry: Even packing the pod, like figuring out what to keep is like such a mental load and then getting here, and I think you’ve heard this. I’m sure we covered it on the podcast, but we moved in and still had too much stuff. So we had to bring things back out and put them into the pod and donate them. So there was like all this adjustment up front, but then when you get down to it and you’re like, “I’ve had these five awkward cabinets in my kitchen this whole time,” and then we added a big pantry cabinet. So now we have all this extra space that we didn’t have before.
In many ways the house has just been getting more efficient and smarter and easier. So, it’s easy to see why our contentment is going up. It’s like after, I think 10 months of not having a closet in our own bedroom (we just had dressers and our hanging clothes were in our son’s closet), we finally added a huge wall-to-wall built-in wardrobe. It has five doors, like it is huge to us and we went from not having that at all to having it and being so appreciative. So in many ways, we’ve made this housework really, really hard and it’s been a lot of work up front to get there (and even waiting 10 months for a closet is not the best), but once you get there, you’re so content and so full of gratitude because you have figured out the small space thing.
Sherry: And then you don’t have to keep doing it, like we’ve worked to solve a lot of those pain points in the first year. So now we’re in year two, we’re like coasting. We’re saying to ourselves, “Let’s go to the beach,” instead of like, “Oh we have to go back to Home Depot.”
John: Well, and you were telling me on the same topic of like finding contentment in the house you have now (not the house that like you’re working towards or the house you’ll have after your renovations), but you were telling me you were playing like a game-
Sherry: Yeah. I thought this was fun. I was like, “We need talk about this on the podcast because it’s so weird.” It only really works in audio format. It’s not like I could write this out and have it click as easily, I don’t think. I got my son off the school bus and we were walking home. We have like a six-minute walk and we started playing this random game. I do not know how it started, but we started sort of singing this thing and we were like, “You want a house with a swing in the front yard? We got it.” And we kept naming cool things about our house. It was like a gratitude exercise that my seven-year-old just came up with and we listed all the things we were happy about. So it was like, “You want a house with the pool? We got it.”
“You want a house with a second-floor deck? We got it.” And we were listing things I don’t think I cognizantly list in my brain ever all at once – and it was so many things to be excited about. And they weren’t all expensive, like the pool is a bad example because it was such a big thing we worked for a year to get – but we also have things like … my son sang “a swing in the yard” (that was like a $50 purchase off Amazon that we got when we moved in). We also said things like, “You want a house with a lemon tree in the front yard? We got it.” Like just all the fun things. “You want a house with lizards outside? We got it.”
And then when I got home, I started telling my daughter about it. So she added more – like she was saying things like, “You want a house with an outdoor shower? We got it.” And “You want a house with a hanging daybed? We got it.” It was so fun to hear their favorite things about this house, to share my own favorite things about this house, and I think it was such a good exercise to realize like… you can get so focused on your to-do list and what you don’t have and what you’re waiting to achieve, and like, you’ll be happy when fill-in-the-blank happens. It’s so nice to just scrap that and think about the things you have. And they might be nothing like ours. You might say: “I love my view out the kitchen window” or “I love my warm heated floors in the bathroom,” or whatever thing that you have. I just think it’s like a nice reminder.
Because I do think as I’m not looking to add things to my list, because I’m not doing this as a job and like wanting to fill my plate and like gilding the lily unnecessarily (which certainly we could be accused of in the past), like I think in hindsight there were lots of projects we did because they were good for the blog and in the moment, I think we would’ve said, “Well, they were just like smart storage or they were like efficient for the house.”
John: Yeah, or they were fun to do.
John: I mean, that’s not a wrong reason to do a project just because you want to try something.
Sherry: Right, and we wanted to share it, and by the way it was our job, like we kind of killed a bunch of birds, I hate that expression. We should change that. It-
John: Send a bunch of birds to the farm.
Sherry: No, no, no, no. I think it should be like, it released a lot of doves. Wait is that mean because you trapped them in the first place?
John: You could just say: it checked a lot of boxes.
Sherry: It did. It felt like win/win/win.
John: You know what, imagine several circles. The point is to sing a braggy little song about your house.
Sherry: No, I think it’s not braggy. It’s appreciation. Sing a little song of appreciation about all the things you like. You don’t have to sing if you don’t want to. We’re like a family in a Disney movie, we sing all the time. (laughing)
John: You don’t have to do it in public, on your neighborhood street. (laughing)
Sherry: It just was fun and it was so cute that later I was thinking about everything – and so many things we appreciate aren’t that expensive. Like I feel like you could list so many things for like under $50 (like our kids hanging swing) or around $200 (like our fire pit). The kids actually have two outdoor swings. One is a covered kind of tent swing and one is an open swing. That was two stanzas of the song.
John: (laughing) We are very swing rich.
Sherry: I mean we could add another one, but it would just be chaos.
John: Well, let’s not be crazy. Okay?
Sherry: Let’s not get too wild.
John: Well, I think the exercise doesn’t just have to be about your house. You can do it generally about your neighborhood, your life, your upcoming trips and holidays or whatever you want to add to the list just to help yourself or your family or whoever you’re doing this with feel gratitude.
Sherry: Yes. And speaking of singing-
Sherry: We have a very special guest on the podcast. Alanis Morisette is here, (*singing You Oughta Know*). I should have brushed up on those lyrics.
John: I’m just letting Sherry get it out of her system, everyone.
Sherry: My gosh, we have Owen Wilson here with us. Wow. WOOOOW. Wow. (laughing)
John: You can’t give your impression way up front.
Sherry: (laughing) Guys, we have someone else in the studio.
John: No, I didn’t mean do it again. It just meant you blew it.
Sherry: (laughing) “Wow, was that Alanis Morissette?” He’s suddenly just like a Southern guy on a horse. “I can’t believe this star-studded cast for this holiday’s special.”
John: It’s a one-word impression. (laughing)
Sherry: “I whittled it out of one block of wood.” (laughing)
John: I do think in this time you could have practiced doing voices in lines that are not iconic to the person. You just sang Alanis’ song.
Sherry: Very well. She’s like, “When was I on their podcast? Was I body snatched?” (laughing)
Sherry: I’m sorry guys. I knew most of you come here for the impressions. John doesn’t though.
John: I think that’s the sound of the hard drive failing.
Sherry: (laughing) I did hear lots of people say they want more musical numbers like Baskets In The Attic and I did think of a nice sequel and it would be: (*singing: “Ductwork in the attic, there is ductwork. John is excited about the ductwork”).
John: No, I’m not.
Sherry: (singing: “Sherry’s very excited about duct work, it’s trueee”)
John: We don’t have an actual walk-up attic, so it’s just insulation and wires and ducts.
Sherry: It’s very efficient, right? It has a whole heating and cooling system up there.
John: I try not to go up there…
Sherry: It has electrical running up there. There’s some plumbing up there just for good measure…
John: Let’s just say it’s an attic that doesn’t deserve a song.
Sherry: I think it deserves a song for all the things it does for us. In an attitude of gratitude, I am thankful we have a house with an attic full of things.
John: (laughing) You want an attic with duct work? We got it.
Sherry: I think we should all get on John and he should work for maybe six months to come up with his own impression, and then we all can see if that’s good or not, since he has a lot to say about mine.
John: I am just wise enough not to do them. I respect our listeners too much.
Sherry: It sounds like a cop-out.
John: Well, getting back to our house project list-
Sherry: If there was a Venn diagram, it would be John trying to keep me on track, and me going off track, and the circles wouldn’t touch. (laughing)
John: That special Sherry brand of Venn diagram. It’s true. I was going to say there’s one item you might notice is missing from the list. If you’ve been following along through our whole move here and everything, you might remember at some point we talked about adding a small guest house to our backyard because in our actual existing house, we only have three bedrooms – like we don’t have a spare bedroom space when someone comes to visit, so our solution was that originally we were going to build a very small guest house. At one point we started calling it “a shed with a bed” because it was going to be about that size.
Sherry: Right and we mapped it all out when we were planning the pool because if we put in a pool that was too big it could infringe on the space that was going to be used for the future guest house and then we couldn’t add it. So we were so careful in the planning of the pool and future guest house.
John: Yes, but then the pool took its merry old time to get finished… and in that time we came to the conclusion that we don’t need the guest house space because we had to host some guests while that area was under construction. So our temporary solution showed itself to be a good long-term solution, and that is: in our neighborhood there are lots of vacation rentals nearby. Including our neighbor, just two houses over, who gives us a very nice “friends & family discount” on her space.
Sherry: Yeah. She has a guest house and we didn’t have to build it, we don’t have to heat and cool it, we don’t have to clean the bathroom.
Sherry: It’s amazing and we realized the amount of money to construct and then maintain and heat & cool and ensure, and all the things of a guest house is probably more than we would ever spend over like many years of hosting people up the street.
Sherry: Plus it sleeps more people than we ever could because our guest house (remember “shed with a bed”) was at best going to host like two people.
John: Yeah it would’ve worked just fine for our parents, if they came to stay (just like one or two people), but if you were planning to bring a kid or any more people, like you were going to be bumped over to some nearby rental anyway. So, our neighbor’s place has two bedrooms, one of them is a bunk room, so you could have a few kids stay in there. They’ve got their own kitchen and living space and bathroom and I think we realized that, if you’ve ever been a guest or had a guest, sometimes it’s just nice to have your own zone. So you’re not sharing hallways in the middle of the night or bathrooms in the middle of the night.
Sherry: Yeah, and in our situation, we were going to give them a little bathroom and a bed in our future guest house.
John: Yes, a very little bathroom.
Sherry: So there wouldn’t have been like bathroom wars or a shared hallway overnight – but I just picture like in the morning they want coffee, there probably wouldn’t have been space in there unless it was like a tiny coffee maker on the nightstand. So, what they have is so much more upgraded, it’s a full kitchen where they can put their leftovers in that fridge. A full living room. Much more space for more people to sleep. All that good stuff.
Sherry: John’s family has come and stayed at our neighbor’s guest house. My mom has come and stayed there too. And we’ve hosted various other friends who’ve come and they’ve gotten bigger rentals because they’re bigger groups – and that’s really like a fun thing about our neighborhood. So I’m so glad we didn’t rush into the guest house because once again, it is proving why our favorite thing to do is to: live somewhere for a while and figure out your mojo and how you use the space and what’s best for your family. And the really nice thing about this setup is I envision girls’ trips where we all rent a big rental, like on the water versus like-
John: … shoving someone into our shed with a bed.
Sherry: Right. I think it was on this podcast where I was debating how I was sad if I ended up with three bathrooms to clean here. Because our big house in Richmond, which as a reminder was thirty-one thousand five hundred square feet… no, that sounds wrong, thirteen hundred and fifty square feet.
John: No. (laughing)
Sherry: What? (laughing)
John: Three-thousand, one hundred and fifty square feet.
Sherry: (laughing) Picture a Venn diagram. One house is big. One house is small. They don’t touch. This house is 1400 square feet. Old house was 3,150 square feet, right? Is that right?
John: I wasn’t paying attention, but this ihouse s less than half the size of our last house. And I think you’re saying that in our big house we had two and a half bathrooms.
Sherry: Yes. I had a half bathroom downstairs and two full bathrooms upstairs and I was psyched, like downright thrilled, to have fewer bathrooms to clean.
Sherry: Moved here, have had just one. Let me just tell you, it has been a dream. Someone can be coming up the street and you can clean your entire bathroom by the time they knock on your door, it is amazing how easy it is to clean one bathroom – to the point that I’m putting off the second one probably just for that.
John: Yeah. There is probably sort of a subconscious thing to that.
Sherry: Right, like the ensuite I’m going to have to clean, but at least that will get used.
Sherry: So the guest bathroom always bothered me because it’s like, what if six or seven times a year someone’s staying there and it’s getting used – but otherwise I’m just cleaning it monthly and no one’s even using it. That’s frustrating to me. So I’m a huge fan of this solution.
John: Well, and the nice thing I think about this solution also is that because we still planned for that space for the guest house when we built the pool (like we didn’t end up putting the pool in that zone and we made sure it worked around the trees and everything like that) – that space still exists. So if down the line we have some future function for which we need that… I’m not saying like we suddenly need a guest space but like, I don’t know, if we need like a detached office or we want a covered pool house thing next to the pool… we can build that.
John: Because if we had continued on our plan of constructing the guest house as part of the pool construction, we wouldn’t have been able to use the pool until the guest house was done, and I mean, that probably would’ve put us back another year. Between permits and materials and all that stuff.
Sherry: Yes. Time is a gift because we got to see that we don’t even need it and I can’t imagine three bathrooms in this 1400 square foot house, especially after having two and a half in my 31,000 square foot home in Richmond. (laughing)
John: (laughing) I believe you mean 31 million.
Sherry: I am Heather Dubrow and I have a Porte-cochère.
John: Obscure reference.
Sherry: Someone got it. One person is laughing.
[8-bit game show music]
John: I know it’s been a while, but that sound means it’s game time. I couldn’t let a new episode go by without a game in it.
Sherry: Can you hear the glee in John’s voice? This is his favorite part. “He’s like… tee hee… a game.”
John: I was like, “Sherry, what if we put out an episode that’s just a game?”
Sherry: John, nobody cares about the game, everyone likes “We’re Digging.”
John: She’s like “everyone wants just impressions. Only impressions.” (laughing)
Sherry: (laughing) No, the true feedback is everyone likes “We’re Digging,” which I find hilarious because we accidentally put that at the end because we thought nobody would like that and everybody likes it. So it works out well because people listen to the whole episode.
John: Yeah. Yeah. We leave it in there to force you to the end. (laughing)
Sherry: Right, you must make it through all the bad impressions and John’s game, which you loathe, to get to the good part. (laughing)
John: You must suffer through this game in order to know what I’m digging. I said this episode, despite being a holiday special is not going to be holiday-themed, but the game is.
John: This game is about towns in America with holiday names. And I got this from an article, coincidentally from our old hometown newspaper: the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Sherry: Woot woot!
John: Yeah, I’m sure they didn’t write it. They probably just like picked it up from the Associated Press, but that’s where I found it.
Sherry: Don’t talk about Richmond’s press like that. Big up to the Richmond audience. We miss you and love you. We still love Richmond.
John: See you at Christmas.
Sherry: It’s always in our heart.
John: Most of the names on this list I thought were kind of a stretch – like they were things like: Wintergreen, Virginia and Sugar Land, Texas, which I’m like, I see how that is slightly connected to holiday.
Sherry: Sugar Land is not.
Sherry: I would argue that it’s more tied to Halloween.
John: Well, we’re sticking with winter holidays this time.
John: So I have picked out the ones that I thought were more strong holiday names and this is going to be a classic What’s Not style game. So I’m going to give you two town names. One is real. One is fake. And you have to tell me the real one.
John: First one: Frosty, California or Snowflake, Arizona.
Sherry: Snowflake, Arizona is real.
John: She’s correct! You may be asking yourself though, why would you name something Snowflake?
Sherry: It’s someone’s last name.
John: It’s TWO people’s last names. Snow and Flake.
Sherry: No way.
Sherry: Get out of town.
John: Well, it’s a good thing they didn’t do Flake Snow, Arizona.
Sherry: Yeah. That sounds dandruff-y.
John: Okay, number two: Mistletoe, Kentucky or Menorah, New York.
Sherry: I want Menorah, New York to be real but I feel like it’s Mistletoe, Kentucky.
John: She’s right again.
Sherry: Yes! I feel like I’m really nailing this.
John: Next we have: Candy Cane, Oregon or Eggnog, Utah.
Sherry: I think Candy Cane, Oregon is real and Eggnog, Utah is fake.
John: She’s wrong.
Sherry: Eggnog, Utah is real?
John: It’s correct.
Sherry: I just don’t associate spiked eggnog with Utah, but maybe it’s like the pure form without the spike.
John: Eggnog does not have to be spiked.
Sherry: Maybe there’s no whiskey in that eggnog. (I don’t even know what you add to Eggnog).
John: Probably not.
John: Well they say the town is now largely deserted, so maybe it was not a good spot to choose the name Eggnog.
Sherry: I like a town called Eggnog. It sounds cute.
John: Next… Jingle, Vermont or Santa, Idaho.
Sherry: Hmm…Jingle, Vermont or Santa, Idaho … Jingle Vermont sounds more real to me.
John: She’s wrong again. Santa, Idaho is correct. My favorite thing about Santa, Idaho was they said in 2005, it was convinced to change its name for a year to secretsanta.com as a marketing stunt for secretsanta.com.
Sherry: How mad would you be to be a pawn in that game? This is my real town. My mail has to go to secretsanta.com?!
John: SecretSanta dot com, Idaho. Yeah. I guess the town needed the money, so they put up signs and everything.
Sherry: It sounds like a dot net, but it’s a dot Idaho.
John: (*laughing*) Ok, next is: North Pole, New York or Elf Village, North Carolina. Both are a mouthful.
Sherry: North Pole, New York is real.
John: It is real. There’s also a North Pole, Alaska.
Sherry: I wish Elf Village was real. It’s hard to say though.
John: Yeah, it is too hard to say. I should have thought of that. They said the town of North Pole, Alaska was named to attract tourists.
Sherry: That’s sweet.
John: Yeah. That actually is kind of a theme in this article. A lot of these towns really take advantage of the name. Next up-
Sherry: Not Eggnog. No one lives there.
John: That’s how much people hate eggnog. Okay next, a reindeer themed pair of: Dasher, Georgia or Dancer, Texas
Sherry: Dancer, Texas.
John: She’s wrong. Yeah, Dancer Texas is the name of a movie but it’s about a fictional town.
Sherry: I would’ve liked Prancer, Pennsylvania.
John: There’s also a Rudolph, Wisconsin. That’s a real place.
Sherry: Motion to add a Prancer, Pennsylvania. If you live in Pennsylvania, talk to someone.
John: Vixen, Vermont?
Sherry: Oh yes, we want a Vixen, Vermont.
John: Wait, a Vixen, Virginia!
Sherry: Yeah, that’d be good. What we’re asking for is more reindeer-inspired towns.
John: You know what, I actually didn’t double-check all of the reindeer, so maybe these others do exist. And that’s on me. The research department fell apart.
Sherry: My DMs are going to be lit about Prancer, Pennsylvania already existing.
John: Okay: St. Nicholas, Rhode Island or Santa Claus, Georgia.
Sherry: Santa Claus, Georgia.
John: Yup. Santa Claus, Georgia. Also, Santa Claus, Indiana and Santa Claus, Arizona. And Santa Claus, Arizona is another abandoned town.
Sherry: I was going to say, it sounds like where Santa would not go. Its like a desert of hotness.
John: Well, I guess it was like a Christmas themed town that attracted visitors, but it was abandoned in the 1970s and now it’s kind of a creepy Christmas ghost town. Lastly, we’ve got: Navidad, Texas or Christmas, Florida.
Sherry: I think Navidad, Texas sounds real.
John: They’re both real!
Sherry: How exciting.
John: I had to end on a high note.
Sherry: How exciting.
John: There is also a Christmas, Michigan as well. They say a lot of these towns, especially like Christmas, Florida, people will send their holiday mail through just so they can get the “Christmas” postmark on them.
Sherry: We should’ve done that!
John: Yeah. I didn’t even see where it was. It’s probably in South Florida or Central Florida so not near us, but maybe on a road trip someday we’ll head to Christmas.
Sherry: Then we’ll take a quick pit stop in Vixen, Virginia.
John: Right. I realized the podcast can’t really go up from here because that was probably the peak of the episode for everyone, but we are going to try with a segment Sherry really wants to do called, “Well that’s embarrassing.”
Sherry: I might have just come back to the podcast to tell this story. Like when it happened, I was like: my life is ruined – the only use for this is if I can tell it on the podcast, because it is peak embarrassment.
John: And it is fresh. It was from Thanksgiving.
Sherry: I will begin this story by saying that occasionally someone will know who I am in public and it is always hilarious to me because it can be like I’m in a store with a mask on, I’ve got my sunglasses on outside, like there are ways I think I’m not obvious but then usually what happens is someone is like: “I heard your loud voice and I knew it was you from the podcast” – like I get voice recognized, which I find hilarious. Everyone is always so kind and usually what happens is someone shyly approaches me and smiles and I smile back and it’s like, “Are we doing it??” Then one in every ten times it’s someone who’s like, “Do you work at Target?” And I’m like, “No, I don’t. No, I’m not.” (laughing)
John: There was a lady in World Market the other day who just asked if I knew if something was in stock. (laughing)
Sherry: Right, so like sometimes it’s not someone smiling at you because they know you from a podcast or a blog. It’s for some other reason, like they think you work at that store. Anyway, in this case, I’m in St. Augustine, John and I and the kids went there for like a little fun Thanksgiving jaunt. We were walking around and popping into little shops and just like having the experience of a new place and I think we’re like about to go into a store, but we’re still on the street and this really sweet woman is smiling at me and walks up to me and I’m like, “Here it is. Here it comes.”
John: Yeah. Well, especially because when we are in a new place, sometimes, I don’t want to say it happens more, but I think we are maybe more sensitive to it because we might bump into someone we wouldn’t otherwise bump into.
Sherry: I think it does happen more because I think the psychology is like “they’re in my city and they’re never here.” And then they say hi.
Sherry: Whereas like in our hometown of Richmond or even here in Florida we’ll get DMs that are like, “I saw you, but didn’t want to bother your family,” but I think the psychology of that is like: “I’ll see you again, because you lived where I live.”
Sherry: So anyway, back to St. Augustine, this nice woman comes up to me, smiling. She has like a boyfriend or husband kind of lagging behind, which is also an often-occurring detail of being recognized because husbands don’t care.
John: Yeah. Or the husband is a guy who’s like, “My wife is too embarrassed to do this, but I’ll embarrass her.”
Sherry: Right, sometimes the husband does call out the wife and the wife like turns pink.
John: Those are my favorite because then I know we’re all on the same page, like this is kind of awkward.
Sherry: Right, we’re all mutually doing a weird thing here.
Sherry: So this woman is smiling and I’m smiling back at her and she walks up to me and I’m like, “Here it comes” and she’s like, “I really debated telling you this or not, but I would want to know, so here it goes. You have a big hole in the back of your pants.” I froze. I turned into a scull and cross bones. I died. My spirit left my body. I don’t know what I said. I think I said, “Do I? I asked my husband and he said, I didn’t…” which is like the most ridiculous thing. (laughing)
John: (laughing) You somehow threw me under the bus for something that I didn’t even know. You’re like: “my jerk husband sent me out this way.” (laughing)
Sherry: (laughing) Because I did like a day or two earlier think I had one and I looked and I was like, “John, do I have one?” And he didn’t see anything but I think it progressively got much bigger and much worse. So anyway, John like whipped his jacket off and I wrapped it around my waist as my spirit left my body.
John: See I was actually the hero of this story.
Sherry: He was the hero.
John: I was so chivalrous.
Sherry: I mean, I’m dying as I say this, but in my head I was like, “No biggie. I bet my underwear covers it.” Nope, no it was flesh. It was the flesh of my butt. Not my thigh, not my lower back. It’s the flesh of my butt. (laughing)
John: It still wasn’t … it was like what, like a nickel?
Sherry:(laughing) It was a nickel of butt flesh.
John: Should I have said dime to make you feel better?
Sherry: (laughing) Either one. Either one. It’s so embarrassing.
John: Bright side, how grateful were you that she wasn’t like, “And I love your podcast.”
Sherry: (laughing) Yeah. I was like, “Oh good, thank God, this person doesn’t know who the heck I am.” And my next thought was: “she was with her husband. Did they discuss it first? Were they like, should I tell this lady her butt skin is showing.”
John: (laughing) They definitely talked about it.
Sherry: So that’s the story of how I died in St. Augustine.
John: No, we can’t go back.
Sherry: I will never return.
John: Okay. Well next up we have “We’re Digging” – and this is a like year build-up of we’re digging, which I feel like should make these really exceptional.
Sherry: We’re very excited to dig these things.
John: Yeah, they are exceptional. I’ll stand firm on that.
Sherry: It’s everyone’s favorite segment, even though we had no idea.
John: Okay. So when I think about all of the things I’ve consumed over the last 16 months, like movies, TV, books, all that stuff, two things stand out for me that I am excited to mention. The first thing that I’m digging is a book that I read … was it the end of last year, the beginning of this year? I don’t remember, time is just a blur as everyone knows.
Sherry: It’s a suggestion.
John: (laughing) Exactly. It’s a book called Home Before Dark by Riley Sager. I’ve read some other books by that author, it’s a pen name, so I don’t know who the actual author is – and I liked them, so when I saw this one at my library, I grabbed it.
Sherry: And didn’t you put this in the gift guide for anyone who’s like, “This sounds familiar.”
John: Yes. I did put it in the gift guide this year, but that’s like 30 bullets and I did not want this to get just lost in the gift guide because it deserves its own spotlight.
Sherry: John has brought this book up many times.
John: Yeah. I tell people that if you enjoy the Netflix show, “The Haunting of Hill House” or “The Haunting of Bly Manor” – it’s kind of like the book version of those TV shows. Although obviously not the exact same plot, just that style. This has a haunted house and kind of a jump in time between the narrator’s point of view when she was growing up as a child in this house and then now in the present day, she’s trying to unpack some of the things she lived through back then.
Sherry: It sounds very Haunting of Hill House, right?
Sherry: Because they jump time and go back and see their childhood and family stuff goes on.
John: Exactly. Actually, one of the interesting things about how the book is written is that the way it jumps back into the past is: the girl’s father wrote a book about the events in the house and it became like a best selling book or whatever. So she was, like, a character in this book that her father wrote.
Sherry: Isn’t that The Haunting of Hill House?
John: No, I don’t think there’s a book in that one, but there’s a father.
Sherry: I dunnno, I think this might be the Haunting of Hill House, the book version…
John: It’s not, it’s not. Again, it hits all the same kind of notes that I liked about that TV series. So I highly recommend it if you were into reading those types of stories, but if you are interested in a television show, this is me switching gears to the other thing I’m digging.
Sherry: This is a co-digging because I was obsessed with this also. It was such a feel-good show, like we needed this in our lives.
John: It’s a transitional “We’re Digging” from me to you.
Sherry: It’s a Venn diagram and we’re touching, we’re overlap circles on this one. We both love this show and it’s called …
John: “Only Murders in the Building.” It’s on Hulu and it stars Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez.
Sherry: She is the funniest character of all of them. Well, the two guys are also hilarious, but she is like the young cool hip one and they’re like trying to be cool and fit in with her.
Sherry: It’s a really funny dynamic in sort of that way where you see different generations trying to like relate to each other.
John: Yeah. It has a very like “okay, Boomer” vibe to it.
Sherry: I feel like it’s a delight for every age. I don’t think if you’re a Boomer and you watch it, you won’t like it. I think everybody likes it.
John: Well again, maybe this is me showing my age, but I am probably more of a Steve Martin and Martin Short fan than I am a Selena Gomez fan. So, it was like, you got to enjoy both dynamics of it. But let’s talk about the plot because I think especially our podcast listeners will be interested in this because I didn’t know much about it, but it’s about a murder podcast, like a true crime podcast.
Sherry: Yes and a real true crime podcast I always listened to was advertising it. So John’s like, “We should watch Only Murders in the Building,” and I was like, “Oh, that’s always my podcast ad. I get it every day on this podcast I listen to!”
John: It’s about a building in New York and a murder happens in the building. I mean, this just probably sounds like the name of the show at this point – but those three actors that we were talking about play characters who come together to try to both solve the murder and do a true crime podcast about it.
Sherry: Yes a podcast about the murder in real time. It’s a very quirky concept. And there are really surprising walk-on roles from famous people who just pop up as like, suspects.
Sherry: It’s really funny.
John: And these stars play themselves.
Sherry: Right. Right. They are the famous person who lives in the building, and might be tied to the murder.
Sherry: It was one of those shows that I didn’t want to end. When it was over, I was like, “Where am I going to find like a funny quirky humor show like that?” We haven’t since. Nothing has filled the void.
John: The thing that we liked about it also is because a lot of the shows we watch together at least are kind of mystery/murder/true crime type stuff. So this was still that in a weird way – but it wasn’t like dark and sad.
Sherry: It was like a lighthearted murder plot.
John: Yeah, but there’s still was a murder mystery in it and then-
Sherry: You know what it was like? Wait, I’m having a flashback to a movie.
John: Knives Out.
Sherry: Yes and we dug Knives Out years ago!!
Sherry: I would even say this is better than Knives Out.
John: Yeah. I think it might be.
Sherry: How many episodes do we think it was, like eight or nine?
John: I want to say it was 10.
Sherry: Yeah. It was great. It wasn’t too short. It wasn’t too long. Although by the end, I wanted it to keep going forever.
John: I think there’s going to be a sequel because they certainly like left a cliffhanger at the end, which usually in a show like, I don’t know, maybe that’s just wishful thinking from the directors – like you think that tees up a second season.
Sherry: Yes. That’s the good news.
John: So I’m hopeful, but this just came out, I don’t know, maybe in the fall. So we’re probably still a few months out from seeing any more of it. Again, it’s called “Only Murders in the Building” because that’s the name of their podcast…. because they are only talking about murders that happen in their building.
Sherry: I was going to say we should do a psychic thing and guess what the sequel will be called. Do you think it’s going to be called like: “Only Murders on the N Train”?
John: No, because they teased it at the last episode. Don’t you remember? And I don’t want to give anything away.
Sherry: I forgot that completely, but it wasn’t the N train, was it?
John: No. Only Murders on the N Train. How’d you know?
Sherry: No, it was-
John: Don’t say anything. I’m so petrified you’re going to give something away.
Sherry: I will never remember.
John: It’s worth getting Hulu for if you don’t have Hulu.
Sherry: Yes. So so good.
John: Get it, binge it, cancel the subscription. I don’t care. I don’t work for Hulu.
Sherry: Okay, but what I’m digging this week is what I would call a life hack and a lot of people listening, you’re going to think this is stupid because for many years people told me this was a life hack and I thought it was stupid. No offense, if you’re one of the people who told me this, but people constantly, for probably the entire time we had the podcast and maybe even as long as we had the blog, so that’s like 5-year span to a 14-year span… am I building this up too much?
John: Were you really barraged by this suggestion?
Sherry: I was hit with this suggestion more times than I expected and every time I noted: “this is not the only person who has said this.”
Sherry: And then I said, “That’s interesting. Not going to try it.” And the suggestion was: using a different blanket than your partner in bed.
John: Just to be clear, it means like you have one blanket you cover yourself with when you sleep at night. And the person who sleeps next to you has a separate blanket.
Sherry: Right, so for many years I had my own weighted blanket in Richmond. You all know I wore it when I was… (laughing)… “wore it”, it was like a snuggy. (laughing) I wore it on the couch when I watched TV.
John: Just red carpets and stuff. (laughing)
Sherry: (laughing) Yeah, just the fancy cocktail hour attire. Anyway, I would like travel with it and snuggle up to it, but I didn’t always sleep under it. If I did, it was sort of haphazard, like one night it’s in the bed because I brought it up there and I’d sleep with it, but it wasn’t like a staunch routine.
John: Yeah and back then it was on top of the duvet that we were both under.
Sherry: Right, exactly. So we both would share a duvet in that situation and then on top of the shared duvet on my side would’ve been my weighted blanket. That’s how I used to use the weighted blanket.
John: Yeah, because it was easiest that way to then remove it and take it downstairs, because it was on top of all the bedding.
Sherry: Exactly. It was like folded at the foot of the bed, or thrown in a basket. There were all sorts of places I used to stash it, and I think it’s because Florida is warmer, right? And I didn’t want the duvet plus the weighted blanket, but I still like the weight of the blanket. I started shoving the duvet off me and just using the weighted blanket every night when I slept. Like it became much more of a routine, our house is much smaller, so it was easier to always have it, end up in the bed at night because it only moves around slightly.
John: Well, and the thing I just realized – it’s because we now watch TV in bed, on our laptop.
Sherry: That’s right.
John: We don’t go upstairs at the couch so you wouldn’t have to drag it up to the couch so you can stay in bed and it’s there for both sleeping and watching TV purposes.
Sherry: Exactly. It doesn’t move around a lot. It’s just made within the sheets of the bed, under the covers, and then I just throw off the duvet at night and I just sleep under the weighted blanket. The thing that everyone told me is true. I don’t remember the duvet being like an annoying thing that John hogged or woke me up every time he rolled over – it wasn’t like what I would’ve listed as a previous problem. We didn’t have a sleep fight over the duvet before, but I do think I don’t notice or feel as much if John rolls over or if he kicks the duvet off because the duvet is his. It is independent of me. My weighted blanket is my blanket. So, I like to think I bother him less because when I roll myself like a burrito – because I will fully rotate, so the blanket is all around me…
John: Sherry likes to karate chop half of the duvet between her knees so she has something soft between them when she lays on her side.
Sherry: My knees are very nobby. It’s a problem.
John: I do that too, but you consume a lot of blanket doing that.
Sherry: You never complained. But now, I do think I probably couldn’t go back. Like I have seen the other side of this debate – and it is autonomy and independence that I appreciate (laughing). It is maybe a better night’s sleep – maybe not but certainly not a worse night’s sleep – and I like having full control of my own blanket.
And I know what you’re thinking. Some of you do this already and think it’s a life hack. And some of you think “I will never do that. That sounds weird.”
John: Well, I did want to offer some of the, sort of, cons to it.
Sherry: Here comes John.
John: Well, just for balance so that people don’t do it and be like, “Well, Sherry, didn’t tell me about this.”
Sherry: It is slightly harder to make the bed. There it is.
John: Yeah. I think it’s like, if you looked at our bed on a normal day, when we just like quickly make the bed in the morning. It’s not like we’re spending 10s and 20s of minutes, like styling it.
Sherry: It’s not like we’re spending ones and twos of minutes (laughing). We just throw the duvet on top. It takes one second. They are not like hospital corners.
John: Yeah, I was going to say though, if we’re taking a picture, we might like smooth and make it look more even, but our everyday making of the bed that happens between school drop offs and whatever, is a little bit lumpier than it would be, had there not been an extra blanket under the duvet. We still make the duvet over the whole bed. So it’s not like you would walk in and see like, “Oh, they don’t use the same blanket every night.” It’s not that obvious.
Sherry: I think it looks fluffier on one side slightly, like it looks like there’s an extra fill in one side of the duvet because that’s where the weighted blanket is under it, adding mass on my side. I think you’d maybe have to be paying a lot of attention to notice.
John: Yeah. I’m just saying, if you’re someone who is particular about your bed, you might have to be careful about which blanket you choose.
Sherry: I was thinking if you really want to be like super extra about this, you could remove it and put it like in a basket at the foot of the bed and make the bed perfectly every day. And if you ask me what my favorite weighted blanket is, I have real opinions on this. I have a wonderful one. It has a washable cover, it’s really soft, it’s breathable, so I’m not super hot under it. I will link it in the show notes… and are you going to link your book in the show notes?
John: Yeah. I’ll link the book, and also if you aren’t like a weighted blanket fan, I thought you should mention that we did get a new throw blanket for our downstairs sofa recently.
Sherry: It’s the fluffiest little floofster.
John: Our family members fight over it, the kids were like arguing over who could sleep with it at night. We finally put our foot down and said, “This stays on the couch, folks.”
Sherry: Right, this is a couch blanket for the winter months here. I’ll have you know, it was 75 degrees yesterday, but everyone still fought over the blanket. It’s like a faux fur kind of tan, very neutral blanket. And it’s really lightweight. So if you don’t want the weighted thing and you want something that feels like you’re being like touched by an angel, or… caressed by a mink.
John: I also have one other con.
Sherry: Here we go. What’s the other con?
John: Well, sometimes because I’m a hot sleeper and I can’t deal with the weight of two layers of duvet on me because when you don’t have the duvet on yours, it has to go somewhere.
Sherry: (laughing) This sounds like a personal problem.
John: Well, sometimes we end up with like, I think three distinct zones of our bed. There’s like the part I sleep in, the part you sleep in and like the duvet hotdog down the middle. ofthe bed. (laughing)
Sherry: (laughing) The duvet hotdog is the real thing that happens. Well, I think when you throw the duvet off, you could throw it off the side of the bed, but instead you put it in the middle of the bed towards me.
John: Well, yeah because then it’s going to fall on the floor.
Sherry: The irony though, is that we have a queen sized bed, which everyone is like, “How do you even fit in that?” And we fit in that with different blankets and a duvet hot dog. (laughing)
John: Yeah, it’s like a body pillow between both of us.
Sherry: I’m sleeping great. I don’t know about you.
[Outro music begins]
Sherry: Thanks for listening to this very special episode of Young House Love Has a Podcast.
John: Yeah. It felt good to be behind the mic again and let Sherry get her impressions out of her system, hopefully.
Sherry: I don’t know, there’s more where that came from.
John: Well, in that case, remember to make sure that you’re subscribed to our show wherever you listen, so that you’ll get notified whenever a new episode happens to show up.
Sherry: And we still love to know what you do while you listen, like someone who shared their Spotify Wrapped Stats with us, and they had listened to 32 solid days worth of our podcast. She said she was falling asleep at night with us still on… so many, many nights of that.
John: What a compliment. And we do have some show notes up for you on the blog at younghouselove.com/podcast with links to the stuff we’re digging and photos of some of the projects we mentioned, including where our guest house was supposed to go.
Sherry: Happy holidays, everyone!
[Outro music ends]
Sherry: …exactly, like folded at the foot of the bed, thrown in a basket, they were like phlbtt…
John: Sherry just mouth farted. (laughing) What are you, Daffy Duck over there? Porky pig?
Sherry: (laughing) I think I was trying to say “all sorts”, and I said “all phlbtt…” (laughing). We are very out of practice. (laughing) I don’t do that in normal life. Why did I do it on a podcast?
John: I’m in charge of the sound effects over here, okay?
*This transcript was edited for clarity & readability*