Being The New Guy

Chris Keslar explains what it's like to be the new guy.

Hi Everyone! Welcome to the second season of Flipping Out! As Jenni likes to say, the drama isn't for sale this season. Baby, it's FOR FREE! We're givin' it away, so fasten your seatbelts, kids -- it's gonna be quite a ride!

First, I'll tell you how I came to be the newest Chris on the block. If you watched the first season, you'll remember that Jeff hired a pet masseuse to come over and give Oliver and Casey a massage. The masseuse was provided by The Zen Pooch, one of the best pet care companies in LA. The Zen Pooch is owned and operated by a guy named Scott Sobol who takes of Jenni's little doggies. I know Scott through one of my best friends. When he found out I was contemplating making a career switch to house flipping and interior design, he set up the interview. Luckily for me, the competition (apparently!) wasn't too stiff and I got the job.

I had watched the first season of the show and LOVED it, so I was pretty psyched to start working for Jeff. Most people who know me would agree that I'm a perfectionist and my attention to detail is one of my strong suits. So, I really respected that in Jeff and his work. That's totally one of the main reasons I wanted to learn the business from him. Yes, I was a little (OK, a lot) worried about the "flip out" factor, but he really couldn't have been any nicer or more understanding when I started working. There's a real, sincere warmth to Jeff that comes out more than the viewing audience would think -- you really see it in the breakfast scene with Zoila. The Jeff that is "off the clock" is definitely different from "on the clock" Jeff. The stress of his job really is kuh-kuh-krazy and you start to understand the nexus of his flip-outs the longer you're around. Fortunately, I have never really been the recipient of a "Season One flip-out!" Seeing him deal with Courtney in this episode (the tone in her voice towards Jeff was excruciating to listen to -- his ability to contain was very impressive, in my opinion) I am even more amazed at how he was generally able to leave those types of situations out in the field when he would come home for lunch. (By the way, Jeff buys lunch for everyone everyday and it's definitely one of the nicest parts of the job. Not because we get free lunch, but because it's a time for everyone to come together as a team and have a little bit of down time together. It's very family style.) I never knew the extent of what was going on with her.

Even though I had a good idea of Jeff's eccentricities from the first season one can never really prepare himself for the experience that is working for Jeff Lewis! Probably the strangest thing for me to adjust to in the beginning was trying to get to know everyone and how things worked with the cameras hovering about. You who are reading this right now: Imagine going to the first day of your current job and having it filmed. I know. TOTES WEIRD and SURREAL! It was definitely an adjustment I was trying to not f**k up to 1) Avoid any form of flip out from Jeff and 2) To have said f**k-up not captured on national television. I think I stressed out waaaaay too much about this at the beginning. Eventually, though, I got used to it.

In the beginning, I wasn't horribly fazed by all of the insane details of the job because I was expecting them. However, there were some things that I was like, "For real???" In the show, it makes it look like I was referring to the contents of the refrigerator, but what I was really referring to was number 67 on "THE LIST." It was "Shine shoes." I didn't think it was a big deal -- I just thought it was funny/crazy that the assistants had to do that. Even though I've never had to shine his shoes, I have dusted them! One of the other crazy things was picking up the damn leaves in the driveway! The wind was forever knocking them off the trees and it felt impossible to keep up with having it look clean all the time. That's why I joke to Chris about getting a leaf blower. It just would have been so much faster! And even though Jeff says in the episode he would like me to pick up the pace a little, I tell you, I was always going as fast as I could! All in all, my first few days were exciting and filled with possibility. Everyone was very helpful and accommodating in helping me get adjusted. Chris, especially, was helpful in teaching me the tricks of the trade. He was a very good supervisor and funny as hell. It's nice to have someone to share the mundane aspects of the job with. It seemed like he really wanted to do a good job with his new found seniority. It was cute to see him all managerial. Zoila was also a rock in those early days. Most of my time was spent with her. She has the best sense of humor -- very dry and witty. Getting to know her and all about her life was amazing. I have so much respect for what she has accomplished in her life. Jenni (or Saint Jenni -- seriously, she should be canonized. You saw her combine those mints. Enough said) was also a huge help in the beginning helping me to decipher the ins and outs of the job. I always loved coming into work to see what cutie-patootie outfit she would have on. Grrrl can rock a look! And, last but not least, Ryan is just as sweet, nice, and kind as he appears on the show. That grrrl can definitely rock a look, too! He's always dressed to the nines and I love that about him.

Thanks for reading and I'll chat ya next week!

Xoxo, Gossip Girl

Jenni Battles Lewd Snowmen

Jenni dishes on her HR struggles during the office's attempt at a "new day."


Jeff's therapist Doctor Donna explains it all to me and Jeff.
We need to be professional.
Jeff explains it to the office at Gramercy.
Following the doctor's instruction, I ask everyone to do a little homework.
When they are at home, they write down what respect means.
Adding how they feel they have been disrespected at the office.
Jeff is not happy with the business time waste.
I am visibly unhappy with the behavior that causes it.
Zoila weighs in on respect, which she thinks is at zero all round.
Design Dad AKA Jeff wants a "new day'" starting tomorrow.
Andy clearly still wants to play "old day."
Jeff finds something obscene to stir the pot before the "new day."
Human Resources not amused.

New clients George and Monica Eads are down to the studs.
The budget has gone way up for their renovation in the Hollywood Hills.
Monica has to tell her husband George.
Never a fun moment to tell your significant other about shipping purchases or a renovation budget increase.

In Playa Del Rey client Judy's beach house is for sale.
She is moving to Palm Desert.
Jeff makes it clear he wants to buy her incredible beach house.

Gramercy is dealing with Andrew's construction crushes.
Plus we are questioning his shirtless employee screen-savers.
Personal and professional boundaries have to be established ASAP.
Andy and the word or concept of boundary are in no way connected.
Cast as the enforcer by default causes my popularity to take a holiday.
Jeff needs to support me, and frankly he would rather be the leader of the bad boys.
Just call me Buzz Kill. "New Day" at Gramercy begins with an early office meeting and truth encounter.
Jeff is surprised at the amount of employee complaints.

Monica is taken to meet with Joseph the owner of Living Square.
Jeff hopes he can entertain her with some renovation details.
Megan cannot believe that every plumbing fixture can be provocatively described.

Andy and Megan visit the Eads' work site to supervise David the contractor and his crew. "Cracking the whip" is a term Andy prefers to use.
Andrew volunteers that "Megan will give you special favors" for speedy completion. Megan is embarrassed and asks contractor David to ignore Andy.
She is questioning the "New Day" concept when dealing with Andy's "old day" behavior.
At Gramercy Andrew's boundary free conduct is discussed with Jeff.
How are things ever going to change heading in the current direction?
Jeff keeps boundaries blurry with his own crossover fun.
Gramercy is the setting for Zoila and Gage's war zone.
When she calls him "a bitch" in "New Day" Jeff and I  have to step in: "Jenni we're stopping all this crap."Judy in Playa Del Rey has strong opinions and gives Jeff as good as she gets.
I love it.
Jeff wants her beach house, so he thinks he's on good behavior.
And he sweetly asks for a "special price."
Jeff thinks she is steps ahead of his games, because she's a therapist.
And he casually asks her to define his issues.
She without hesitation says he is "needy with low self-esteem."
I don't think these are the answers he was expecting.
She says we are both "passive aggressive."
I quickly admit to being needy with low self-esteem.
Are these the ties that bind us?

Jeff and Megan do another walk through at the Eads renovation with David. Measurements are not adding up, and Jeff is stressing.

Gage blows the whistle on Andy's office iPad photo saying, "He's a weird dude."
Snowmen with a lewd human close encounter...and carrots are involved.
Clients don't need that nasty revelation imbedded accidentally by Andy into a work file. Andy is told to remove it -- the snowmen three-way has to go.
He refuses and is clearly upset thinking we are all overreacting.
Jeff is having some very unpleasant employee realizations.

We found out Andrew has not been taking his medication.
Jeff thinks that could explain the recent behavior.
Desperate for change Jeff is on the phone with spiritual healer David Elliot.
He wants to book ailing Office Lewis for one of David's spiritual retreats in New Mexico. Six years ago Jeff first worked with David.
A three day group bonding, healing retreat is the plan.
Jeff says there is hope for so many stunned employee faces.

Monica Eads is given the revised budget by Jeff, and it's a smidgen over a million.
Her husband George is willing to look at the new numbers.

In Palm Desert and we are working on the design consultation with Judy.
What goes where is a Jeff versus Judy showdown.
Arguing over pottery placement is driving Judy to drink.
After a few she is easing up on the opposition.
This results in Jeff being given carte blanche to get on with the job.
Judy loves the end result and is talking future work.
Then she drops the bomb: she has sold the beach house.
Someone met her price and Jeff is bummed.
He thinks she played him to get good behavior and better prices.
Jeff said he played her to get the beach house.
I hope this was an educational experience.

George Eads gives a firm OK for the new budget.

Zoila does not want to participate in Jeff's planned office retreat.
"I am not going anywhere with this guy."
Zoila is not up for a Telenovela free zone that includes Gage.
Does David know what he's getting himself into?
Who heals the spiritual healer?
We might need that number. At Gramercy Gage is talking about howling at the moon.
The entire office is discussing finding your spirit animal.

Our plane lands in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Design dad drives us all to the mental medication location.
Andy gets scared when the long dirt road seems to lead nowhere.
Jeff's reference to chain saw massacre delights Jeff, and Jeff only.

Watch team building send Andy over the edge and...
What's next for Jeff Lewis Design?