Coping: With “HGTV Disease”

The symptoms are subtle, at first.

The wife says “Could you tighten that whatchamacallit for me?”

And then, as though there’s a prepubescent teenager in the house, suddenly possessed, furniture begins to move.  Not on its own, but with a few pointers picked up in some ancient video archive from HGTV.

The disease may quietly be in remission for nearly two months, or until just this week.  Apparently, though, sweating the disease out of my system by completing the sun room project wasn’t enough.  There was still a natural reservoir of HGTV disease active in Elaine’s brain tissue.

Which may have been activated by this week’s onset of cool weather.  I’ve been promising to get rid of the spare wood out in the shop for many months, but my excuse “When it gets colder…too hot to work in the shop right now…” finally expired when the high temp one day was less than 45.  I was caught with my excuses down.

Disease Presentation

HGTV Disease is differentiated from Sunset Magazine disease, as the latter is more likely to be found in western states.

There is some clinical confusion among doctors of sawdust as to whether Southern Living disease is similar.  But the differential diagnosis is usually simple:  Southern Living and Sunset Magazine disease are accompanied by food cravings which are addressed with numerous recipes and various cravings for sweets, especially with Southern Living disease.  Not to be confused with Key Lime disease, which is distinguished by a large red circle sometimes called a waistline.

HGTV Disease  has a unique set of symptoms:  Sudden paint use, foul language when a drop of paint falls on a rug, and discovering that “One coat coverage” simply means that paint consumption really follows a formula.

This formula, no longer taught in shop classes, because young Americans mostly can’t drive a nail anymore, or twist a screwdriver the right way if their lives depended on it.

The formula is as follows:  Measure the area to be painted in square feet.  Now multiply the square footage times 9 and this is how many dollars worth of paint will be required to cover a wall of ceiling with no bleed through.

How the Formula is Derived

A US Dollar is 2.61 inches high by 6.14 inches long.  When multiplied, we see that a single square foot (of 144 square inches) is actually comprised of about $9’s worth of one dollar bills.

Other useful formula applications include hoity-toity wallpapers or floor coverings that approach the $9/sq.ft   This constitutes the maximum price threshold, above which it is simply cheaper to glue money on the surface and give it a protective coat of shellac or urethane.

The $9/square foot idea is also useful for estimating home construction costs.  When you look at construction as a series of layers, you’ll see how this works.

    • Layer 1:  Ground cost
    • Layer 2:  Foundation
    • Layer 3:  Downstairs ceiling
    • Layer 4:  Main level flooring
    • Layer 5:  Main level ceiling
    • Layer 6:  Upstairs floor
    • Layer 7:  Upstairs ceiling
    • Layer 8:  Roofing
    • Layer 9:  Contractor cost
    • Layer 10: Architect and permits cost
    • Layer 11: Plumbing
    • Layer 12: Wiring
    • Layer 13: Finish work such as doors
    • Layer 14: Sales commissions
    • Layer 15: HVAC

    Quickly one can see how these different project layers (you can draw these layers in AutoCad if you don’t believe me (frankly, I wouldn’t) and quickly see the truth that for a two story home with an unfinished basement, you’d be looking in the area of $135 per square foot.

    Note to later generations:  This  why A-Frame houses were so popular with us oldsters.  The least expensive part of a house is usually the roof and so any design that has more roof is inherently less expensive than stick-construction with straight sidewalls.  However, A-Frames which I happen to love, are terribly out of favor because it is harder to make a proper A-frame and it requires a bit of thinking to cut the sheetrock right, and so forth.  It is for similar reasons that  more geodesic dome houses are not built.  There are people who can do math and hold a hammer, but for the most part, hammer-holders seem draw to Masonic-like level and square designs.  We suspect a gap between goat aprons and plumb bobs versus tessellations may be the root cause, but research continues.

    Natural Reservoirs

    HGTV Disease is a predominantly female disease and most often strikes during the week when a companion has already got plans in mind such as fishing, golf, flying, sailing, or other physical exercise.  Or sports on TV.

    Its natural reservoir are satellite and FIOS packages where the disease may be contracted from unsafe channel surfing, especially channel switching without male supervision.

    There are unconfirmed reports that the disease may be spread as a sidebar disease from various home shopping channels.


    Patients with slow onset HGTV Disease often exhibit anxiety.  During the anxiety period’s manifestation, HGTV victims may talk for hours, often using circular terminology, to describe various paint schemes and accent colors.

    Also in this euphoric state, victims may consider 16-ways to cut a 1-by-2 and then hold hours long discussions of this trivial point.   Lighting expositions may last a week, or longer.

    The active phase of the disease begins when the victim picks up tools or painting materials.  Sometimes, there is a double-standard accompanying this phase.  An example is the victim proclaiming “You can’t paint without putting down drop cloths throughout the house.  I can paint without them because I don’t spill as much paint as you do.

    Technically, there is no known treatment.

    Long-term Recovery Prospects

    A researcher in Texas is trying  an unorthodox treatment that involves making wooden boxes with casters on them.  The box is presented to the HGTV victim as the disease appears to be finishing running its course.

    The experimental therapy then involves placing pseudo HGTV messaging into the victims mind.  Example:  “You know, dear, wouldn’t this make a fine footstool with storage in it?  See, you can even remove the lid and put the hinges on after you have finished applying the padding and upholstery fabric…”

    At this point, the HGTV disease victim will often get a glazed look which then becomes another 21-40 days of light symptom display while the victim works endlessly on strategies to complete the project.  You may hear “I need to go to some more fabric stores because I didn’t like what I found at the last one…”

    Immediately offer an electric staple gun and voice project support while sending the victim to an endless number of fabric stores.

    It is during these times, such as this weekend, and hopefully until after Thanksgiving that family members of victims will be able to complete other important home and life tasks such as fishing, hunting, flying, golf, and watching football.


    As usual, there is much more to cover, but this being Friday, we can postpone most of it until Monday, which will give us a reason to get out of bed then.  Never do Friday what which you can put off to next week.

    Making yourself indispensible works, too.

    Write when you break-even, of find a hidden treasure map and need help deciphering it.