8:05 PM. Just in time. I’ve only been waiting the entire day. I shouldn’t be so obsessed, but I can’t help myself. Tim and I took our three girls to the local arboretum for a picnic—and not just a peanut butter sandwich and chocolate Yoo-hoo picnic like we’ve had in the past. No, Jenna, our first teenager, took over this one and glammed it up a bit. Caesar salad, pita bread with mozzarella and chopped tomatoes, turkey on rolls and yogurt brownies. We sat under the umbrella shade of a huge weeping willow tree. We hiked along a winding path, lined with peonies, lilies, daffodils, and hundreds of flowers I couldn’t name…and all the while my mind drifted to 8:00 tonight, the time of my favorite show. Perfect Palace.
If you’ve never seen this show, you’ve missed out. I suggest you set a reminder on your phone to turn to channel seven on Sunday nights. The contestants on the show are in competition to win their dream house built from scratch anywhere in the US. But it’s not easy. The contestants have to be perfect.
Before the contestants can audition for this reality show, they’re handed a moral rule book to memorize. The contestants chosen have to live by these rules at the Perfect Palace, a gorgeous mansion in the Hamptons. Not bad, except cameras are everywhere.
Every night a recording plays back the moments someone broke a rule—in flash time, of course. The judges then vote who broke the most rules that week. That person says goodbye to Perfect Palace.
I nudge Polly over and melt into my worn spot on the couch. Jenna, Lindsy and Emily leap into position next to me and fight over elbows touching. Tim lies on the loveseat, and Polly purrs on top of his belly. This season’s group is down to three contestants: Michelle, Jack and Brendon.
To make being perfect more challenging, they participate in games and competitions to earn redeeming points that cancel out some broken rules. This week they had an obstacle race on preschool scooters with their hands tied. Six-foot five Brendon had the most trouble maneuvering the little seat with his long, giraffe legs. Michelle won that race. She needed the points after getting caught in a lie. She said she never squeezes the toothpaste tube from the middle, but the camera showed otherwise.
“See, Emily!” said Jenna, pointing her finger at the TV. “That’s you. I’ve seen you make a mess of the toothpaste, but you always deny it.”
“Do not!” yelled Emily.
“Girls, stop bickering. I can’t hear the show.”
Tim was already snoring, halfway through. I was tempted to pinch his arm, but decided not to let his slumbering annoy me and ruin my favorite hour.
Brendon won the life-size chess match, first beating Jack, then Michelle. I think he had the advantage, being a head taller than his opponents. His win didn’t help him much—he smirked and said, “I’ve never lost a match yet.”
BRAGGING flashed across the screen. He instantly lost half his points for pride.
“I think Brendon will get out this time,” said Jenna.
“No, I think Michelle. She’s always mean,” said Lindsy.
“Uh uh. I think Jack,” said Emily.
Just as she said Jack, the recording showed him sneaking into the kitchen and stealing a donut. THEIF flashed in red letters.
“See!” Emily bounced around the room. “I’m right. I’m right.”
“That’s because you’re just like him, stealing cookies when Mom’s not looking.”
“Look, even Polly hates to hear you girls fight.” Polly leaped down and settled on her pillow across the room.
“Quiet, everybody!” yelled Jenna. “The judges have their vote.”
Tim grunted and sat up for the ending.
“The judges’ votes were unanimous. With a score of 207 rules broken this week, Jack, you’re the least perfect. Please pack your bags.”
Now I have to wait a whole week to find out who gets voted “Most Perfect” and wins the dream house. I’ll have to keep busy.
“Can you imagine someone watching everything we do and knowing every mistake we make? I’d need to win an eternity of redeeming points.”
Tim rolled over. “Didn’t God do that? We’ve got a perfect palace.”
Hmm. I had to kiss him for that reminder.
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24
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