Behind the Scenes

Last night, the episode of “Hoarders” that featured my sweetheart played again on A&E.    As you’ll recall if you’ve been reading this blog, he just had to go to court with the city of Teague about the home he had donated on the show. (Read: “The Worst Little Courthouse in Texas”)

It was a great experience and “Miss Connie”, the subject of the show, is quite a character.  She loves her chickens like family, and has a knack for making the best of whatever she’s got that may have contributed to her hoarding problem.  We’ve had some nice visits with her since the show and she has some interesting stories.  For instance, she told us about picking cotton by hand as a child, and sleeping on top of the sacks of cotton afterward.  She’s told us about her days in the Air Force as a mechanic, and how she couldn’t stand to cut the beautiful hair of the Hawaiian girl in her training group.  She told us how she loves to sing, and that she was once on a popular gospel choir record.  My favorite story was about why she doesn’t have a goat: She says they had one when she was a child, but that it had climbed up on her mother’s car and ruined it.  Since then, there were no goats allowed on their land.

Here’s a little “behind the scenes” look at our experience on the show.


No, this is not Miss Connie’s home before the show came to help her.  This is the home we took on trade in and refurbished for her, before we did any work on it.  Despite the outward appearance, it has a good, solid structure that made it a great candidate for refurbishing.


This was our first view of Miss Connie’s house.  The folks from the show have already cleared out a lot of her things, and the 1-800-GOT-JUNK crew has already filled up two trucks with refuse.  In case you were wondering, no, the truck in the foreground does not run, and it was crammed full of stuff, too.


Here’s another mobile home that was on the property that we actually tried to remove first.  However, since someone had taken the wheels and axles off of it and cut off all of the supports (presumably for the scrap metal) we were not able to move it.  In fact, one of Miss Connie’s relatives who was there throughout the filming made a point of “salvaging” the water heater and an air conditioner from that home, among other items.  At one point we had to ask him to stop pulling the siding off of the home while we were trying to jack it up and move it.  I guess he was just really passionate about recycling.


Here’s my sweetheart talking to the crew from the show.  They said he is a “natural.” (Notice Mr. Thumbs-up on the left.) Throughout the days we were on the site, he was “mic-ed up” and the producers could hear everything he said.  At one point, he told me he was thirsty and one of the producers walked over from across the yard and told him where to find the drinks that the caterer had for us.


Here we are hauling Miss Connie’s old house away.  It was in such bad shape that when I went in to check to make sure everything was secure I had to take care to walk on the edges or where the support beams are as the carpet sagged under the weight of a footstep.  You could pull a piece of siding or wallboard off with your bare hands.  And you could see outside through the many cracks and holes in the floor and walls.


This is our crew removing a portion of the fence so we would be able to move the new house in.  Notice that one of them is supervising while eating a piece of pie provided by the caterers supporting the show.


Here’s another view of the fence being removed, with our crew member “supervising” once again, this time with a cool beverage. I spent hours making bright green T-shirts for our guys that said “STARTEX HOMES” on the back in big, black letters, but they’re never seen on the show.


This is new house being set up right in the spot where the old one was.  Big improvement after we refurbished it, huh?  Unfortunately for our guys, the old home was not technically “hooked up” to the sewer system, and instead there was a pipe running out on the ground under the home.  That was one of the problems my sweetheart had to work through with the city to get resolved.  Apparently, even though they had been charging her for sewer service for years, they didn’t even know where the sewer tap was.


Almost done setting up, including a brand new set of steps that my sweetheart made himself.


Miss Connie’s chickens seem to approve.  Hopefully they won’t be allowed inside the house with her any more, though.


We have a TON of furniture from storage locker auctions and such, and were able to furnish the home, too.  My sweetheart even donated the leather sofa and love seat he had when we first met.


I really think my sweetheart should have his own reality TV show. There’s never a dull moment when he’s around.

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