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Published: Monday, 9/13/2010

For women, work site is ideal place for stargazing

BY JC REINDL
BLADE STAFF WRITER
 Extreme Makeover  star handyman Rib Hillis autographs the shirt of Whitehouse resident Barbara Hohlbein. Her husband, Ralph, was working inside the kitchen for the Frisch family. Extreme Makeover star handyman Rib Hillis autographs the shirt of Whitehouse resident Barbara Hohlbein. Her husband, Ralph, was working inside the kitchen for the Frisch family.
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A certain look prevailed among the women of a certain age yesterday afternoon as they crowded behind the spectator fence outside 6044 Edgedale Circle for the fifth day of the ABC reality show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Some, like Dawn Wilson, stood with camera in one hand and autograph pen in the other as they scanned the work site in hope of spotting the show s photogenic host, Ty Pennington, designer Paul DiMeo, or hunky handyman Rib Hillis.

Others like Susie Arndt, a 54-year-old resident of the northwest Toledo neighborhood, wore shirts sporting fresh autographs from show stars. She watched in wide-eyed amazement as 106 hours of organized chaos continued to unfold.

I am so proud of Toledo for doing this, Ms. Arndt said, resting her elbows on the metal fence surrounding the site. I even yelled at someone to move that truck I m getting ready for move that bus.

They were among hundreds of spectators watching carpenters, landscapers, craftsmen, and other volunteer crews put some of the final outside and interior work into a new two-story, 4,000-square-foot, five-bedroom house for Aaron and Jackie Frisch and their 11 sons.

The house replaces the family s 1,800-square-foot ranch, which crews demolished Tuesday.

The Frisches are scheduled to get the keys to their new home tomorrow afternoon after they return from a paid vacation at Disney World. The show is expected to be broadcast sometime in November.

While men and women of all ages milled about behind the fence, it was women, many of whom were middle-aged, who largely filled the front row.

I m an Extreme junkie, said Beth Wilson, 50, a neighborhood resident who has visited the work site everyday for at least two hours since Tuesday s demolition.

She and others were at a loss to find a comparison to yesterday s spectator scene, in which crowds of people watched dozens of site workers in blue shirts, muddied jeans, and white hardhats swarm a house that didn t exist four days ago.

It was unlike any concert, athletic contest, or other typical outdoor event.

It s hard to compare it to anything, Beth Wilson said.

But after surveying the crowd and giving the matter thought, Amanda Stopera, 27, had an epiphany: It s like a football game for women.

Ms. Stopera and four other waitresses, clad in bright orange jumpsuits of their Hooters restaurant on Monroe Street, visited to donate 300 spicy chicken wings to volunteers. Volunteers estimate that more than 7,000 meals will be served before tomorrow s reveal.

Spectators Christian Smith and Abby Baldwin, both of Toledo, take a self-portrait on the site of the extreme home makeover for the frisch family on Edgedale Circle. Spectators Christian Smith and Abby Baldwin, both of Toledo, take a self-portrait on the site of the extreme home makeover for the frisch family on Edgedale Circle.
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A highlight for many onlookers occurred about 10 a.m., when Mr. Hillis appeared to greet fans, sign autographs, and pose for photos.

They went nuts, Ms. Arndt recalled. It was Rib! Rib! Over here! Over here!

Ms. Arndt, who arrived at 8:40 a.m. and stood through the morning rain showers, said she was enthralled by the teamwork and altruism on display as well as the breakneck speed of it all.

Still, she admitted that there was one more attraction keeping her glued to the front row.

I m hoping that Rib will come out again, she said with a laugh.

By 3 p.m., Dawn Wilson, 36, had been on her feet for more than seven hours. And her feet were now killing her.

You don t understand how much pain I m in, she said. I ve been here since 7:45 this morning, in this same spot.

Fortunately, her husband stopped by to deliver fast-food refreshments. He said, I don t want you to lose your front row, here s your lunch, she said.

Yet the physical toll had been worth it, as Dawn Wilson scored the five autographs that she proudly wore on her white Extreme Makeover T-shirt. There was one from an assistant director, a few from security guards who reside in Los Angeles, and one from Mr. Hillis.

Laura Quigley-Wysocki, 47, of West Toledo wore an autograph on her shirt from designer Didiayer Snyder, who also greeted fans yesterday.

Ms. Quigley-Wysocki said she had visited the site every day since demolition, and was fascinated by how the crews managed to be so organized and work so fast.

She and a friend even canceled a vacation trip this week to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore park in Porter, Ind., so as to not miss the action.

It goes so fast. If you blink, seriously, you miss something, Ms. Quigley-Wysocki said.

Spectator shuttles will continue from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and tomorrow from Banner Mattress, 2521 West Alexis Rd., where the public must park.

Those who visit the site are asked to bring donations of water, energy drinks, and sports beverages for the work crews.

Contact JC Reindl at:jreindl@theblade.comor 419-724-6065.



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