BY KIMBERLY MAYER
Not an easy assignment I have given myself: to keep up my remodeling blog while away from home. I have been visiting my folks in their retirement home outside Boston, where Mom and I have taken to HGTV every evening.
Here one by one, every half hour, we see a fixer-upper through to completion. Oh, the feeling of accomplishment! Oh, the joy! Young people moving into a first home, empty nesters downsizing. The American dream. Or my favorite, the vicarious pleasure of living in other lands with “House Hunters International.”
The HGTV tradition began as a deliberate plan on my part to take my parents right through the news–to bypass it, in other words. I turned the channel on during one visit when ISIS seemed to morph overnight. One day we had never heard of it, the next day it was all the news. The President was calling it ISIL, the media, ISIS, and we were all asking, which is it? What is it?
And now this week, it was HGTV’s job to steer them away from the carnage in the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. This is not the country Mom and Dad knew. But it’s the country we’ve been dealt. The one we know all too well now.
I catch up with the news online, of course, quietly, in the night. There, I tend to live in a carefully cultivated circle of intelligent friends who all feel the same way. So round and round we go in our rage over a Congress, and thus a country, held hostage by the NRA.
And I know that when I return home, there will be another heavy-hearted landmark on I 5, the road we travel frequently. The “Marysville” exit, forty miles North of Seattle, site of a mass high school shooting less than a year ago. And now, when we’re traveling through Oregon en route to San Francisco, “Roseburg.” The big green interstate signs by which we mark our progress.
The new American map.