Guess Who?

Have you seen the CBS show “The Briefcase”? It’s definitely not my favorite, but something you can DVR for when nothing is on. After all, summer TV is slim pickings! The show’s premise is this: Two families are given $100,000. They can keep all of it, some of it, or give it all away to another family in equal or worse financial shape.

If you’ve seen it, you know that part of the show is when the couples exchange houses, trying to find about the family who lives there? Instead of telling about the person/people I chose for this post, I decided to describe him/her/them using pictures.

Here goes—see if you can figure out what sorts of person/people would possess:


Reagan book- does that mean he/she/they like our 40th president? Are they Republican? Or just a fan of bad movies?


David Sedaris book: Does the person or people also have a quirky sense of humor? Or are they just sarcastic?


Tools: Are they working on something? Hobby? Both?


Medals: They look like running medals. Are they a runner? Or did they hit a runner’s garage sale then hang them up in their own home?


Basket of toys: Do they have dogs? Or just a child with a propensity towards grimy stuffed animals?


Last picture: Do they enjoy gardening? Is it even their yard? If not, where is it?

Okay, these pictures represent my parents, Linda and Gary. Dad is a huge Republican who thinks Reagan was the best president ever, hands down. He enjoys woodworking and is currently redoing our living room. Mom is a runner with a quirky sense of humor, hence David Sedaris. They both love dogs (Dad would never admit it). The garden is our backyard, and they both enjoy getting dirty taking care of it.

Hopefully if our family is ever on “The Briefcase,” whoever comes through our house to gather clues isn’t offended by Reagan, “gets” quirky personalities, and loves dogs. Otherwise, they’ll be keeping all the money for themselves.

Say It Ain’t So!


I heard a door slam behind me and a gruff voice over a loudspeaker say, “Erin, report to Hardware!” What was happening? Where was I? And what the heck was hardware? I looked down, hoping it would provide a clue.

This must be a dream, I thought as I saw I was wearing a blue vest with “Erin” on the name tag. Not a dream—more like the scariest nightmare! I worked at Lowe’s! I realized, looking around. Yep: cement floors, industrial round lights on the ceiling. My biggest fear had come true. I thought of the trips with Dad to Home Depot growing up. They probably only lasted 45 minutes; Dad was like a kid in a candy store. But forty-five minutes to a kid is an eternity.

“Erin to Hardware!” the voice repeated, sounding annoyed. It took me at least ten minutes to find the hardware department, and I was extremely confused. Wasn’t the entire store a hardware store? Frantically, I combed the aisles. Finally finding it, I looked up and saw my first customer. The man was my father! I became nervous, and hoped my internal hysteria didn’t show. Dad didn’t accept incompetence, either in his hobby or in his career. Which were woodworking and the power tool industry. Great, I thought.

“Erin, you work here?” Unfortunately, yes. “I need seven wing nuts.” He might as well as speaking Japanese! I’d heard the phrase before, but what a wing nut was I had absolutely no idea. More to the point, I absolutely didn’t care.

My palms wet—dripping, almost—and my hands trembling, I heard a bark. What on earth? Why was there a dog in Lowe’s? This whole thing was getting weirder and weirder. One bark became two before I recognized it: it was my dog Maggie! And she wasn’t in Lowe’s—she was in my bedroom! The whole awful thing had been a nightmare!

“Erin, awake already?” Mom asked as my heart pounded in my chest. Awake? I might never sleep again!


(Photo: Courtesy