That “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” in 2006 involving a Sandpoint family has been spotlighted by the Wall Street Journal as one of the show’s all-time flops. Remember? The town celebrated and joined hands when Eric Hebert was picked as the worthy owner of a house that needed TLC. Hebert was raising his sister’s young twins after she died unexpectedly in 2004. The three were living in a house best described as a basement with a roof over it. Hebert’s original mortgage was for $110,000. After the mega-makeover by the popular show, Hebert refinanced it twice, for $250,000 and then for $382,500. And later became the first Extreme Makeover beneficiary to suffer foreclosure. Hebert wouldn’t comment for the WSJ article. But Century 21 RiverStone realtor Sydney Icardo did. Icardo, who cut down aspen trees used to decorate Hebert’s former bedroom, said: “It’s kind of like we have egg on our face. It cuts deep. We’re a tight community.” The Wall Street Journal offers four other tales of extreme makeovers gone wrong and this spin from a show spokeswoman: “Like many homeowners in the nation ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ families aren’t immune to the current state of the U.S. economy.” P’haps “Extreme Makeover” should offer some extreme financial counseling to ensure everyone lives happily ever after?
Pecky Cox, the unofficial town crier of Priest Lake, survived some harrowing experiences before moving from Mexico to North Idaho. Still, she pooh-poohs the notion that drug lords have made her native land dangerous for tourists. A tourist in Mexico, contends Pecky, is in no more danger today than he was 20 years ago. “Your biggest concern should be vendors and real estate people trying to get “gringos” in love with a faux dream of condos and quesadillas,” Unless you are a wealthy Mexican with a big famous last name, Pecky continues, you’re not in danger. But she cautioned: “If you go to any ‘Senor Froggy place,’ wear stupid balloons on your head, and ask any Mexican passing by to take a picture of your stupid look, well, yes you are in danger – taxi drivers, crooks, and tourist hunters will smell you!” She advises gringos to leave their expensive digital at home, dress normal, “avoid the fanny pack for goodness sake,” and enjoy beautiful Mexico. (Huckleberries note: You should also avoid those hideous fanny packs in this country, too, for goodness sake.)
Poet’s Corner: “He hopped through town/with frost-bit legs,/his basket full/of frozen eggs” – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Being Easter Bunny Is Tough Work”) … A joke around medical schools, according to my son, Seth, who is almost to graduate from the one in Denver, Colo., is that “The ROAD to happiness” goes through one of the following fields: radiology (“R”), ophthalmology (“O”), anesthesiology (“A”) or dermatology (“D”). Seems these fields have decent hours to go with good pay … My sister-in-law, Carin Whitecotton Meyer, reports this Easter morning comment from her 6-year-old daughter, Lauren: “Mommy, are there Easter bunnies for different parts of the world, like Russia, China, and Idaho?”
At Huckleberries Online, John Austin and others were discussing dangerous passes in the Inland Northwest recently – you know, Snoqualmie, Lookout and Fourth of July. But John offered one that I haven’t heard about, even though I’ve lived in the Coeur d’Alene area for 25 years – “Third of July Pass.” He sez that’s what the locals call that “last nasty westbound stretch into Coeur d’Alene as you ascend from Blue Creek Bay and then descend down from Mullan Trail Road.” Continues John: “The steepness of the grade coupled with the shaded curves seems to cause more wrecks than any of the other passes around here.” In other words, I’ve had a white-knuckled “Third of July Pass” experience and didn’t even know it.