Some days I feel like a glorified Dumpster diver. I throw myself headfirst into the world’s big bin of home advice, rummage through the flotsam and jetsam and surface with a few nuggets I think useful.
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I buff them into little pearls and serve them up each week — at the end of some cathartic rant like this — in newspapers across the country, including yours.
And I just met another woman who’s also made a quasi career out of second-hand knowledge — but on radio. Maureen Anderson hosts “Doing What Works,” which airs in 101 U.S. markets.
Like me, she interviews experts and teases out, well, what works. Together, we’re like the Reader’s Digest of better living.
Anderson recently asked me to be a guest on her radio show. “Geesh, I could fill lots of air time with what doesn’t work,” I tell her. But she wanted to interview me about a topic I sadly am an expert on — moving.
Having moved three times in three years, I’ve got that drill down. I can pack and unpack a 3,500-square-foot house faster than you can say “What’s the address?” So Anderson and I spent a fun hour on her show yacking about ways to save time, money, antacid tablets and swear words when moving. Here’s link to the podcast MaureenAnderson.com/images/stories/audio/102613hour1.mp3.
Shortly after that, a column idea hit me like a hand truck: Why not turn the tables and interview her about the best home advice she’s gleaned from her subjects over the years?
“What I most want to be known for is uncovering great advice, finding what works and incorporating that in my life so it works better,” she starts off.
“Sounds like me talking,” I say, “but more eloquent.”
“I’m the student not the guru,” she says. “I’m learning, too, and am just as interested in the advice as I hope the people listening are.”
She then tells me she came to this by way of … an engineering degree.
“I know,” she says. “I’m about as far from an engineer as I could be. I can’t even use a can opener. But I thought a degree in engineering would prove that I’m not an idiot. You know, a lot of people look at journalists and say, ‘What do you know?’”
“True,” I say.
Then she asks, “What’s your day job? I should know this.”
“Uhh, journalist,” I say, then, after a flicker of awkwardness, add, “so I come by not knowing honestly.”
We laugh, because how can you not? Then Anderson shares these bits of home wisdom that work for her and maybe you, too:
Syndicated columnist and speaker Marni Jameson is the author of “House of Havoc” and “The House Always Wins” (Da Capo Press). Contact her through marnijameson.com.