Cruz Diary: Entry One (continued)

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Son Donny turns on the charm with HGTV's Joan Steffend and Victoria.

...My wife and I went into the house and noticed that the cars down the road were still there. I like to know what is going on in my neighborhood and wanted to be sure that no harm would come to my neighbors, so I went outside again to have a little closer look. I went all the way across the street to check our mail and the SUV (that had been waiting) pulled away.

When it was pulling away, I noticed some kind of magnetic signs on the side and thought it may be a realtor. I came all the way back into the house (by the way, we only use our back door and our driveway is kind of long) and asked my wife when they draw names for that house for which we entered the contest. She said that it is not supposed to be until mid-March or so. Then, I asked whether she submitted our name for another contest, like home remodeling, or something.

She said that she had not been able to download the entry forms. She confirmed that she had not entered any other contests. So, I went back outside to ask what was going on this time. When I got to the end of the driveway there was a person with a light walking around the vehicle that had returned. More cars pulled up and a person (obviously, a cameraman) walked toward me.

HGTV's Joan Steffend hands Don Cruz the keys to Dream Home 2005.
The dock house as viewed from Lake Tyler.

When I asked whether I could help him, he would not answer. Two women came toward me. One of the women (HGTV’s Joan Steffend) was carrying a sign and asked whether I was Don Cruz. She then proceeded to tell me that I had just won the HGTV Dream Home 2005. I just looked at her, so she asked whether I had entered the contest. When I answered, "No," she asked whether someone else had entered. I explained that my wife had helped me enter my name and she repeated that I had won. Of course, all I could exclaim at first was "Oh, my God!"

In the meantime, my wife and son came down the driveway wondering what was going on. By this time, I was hugging a couple of women, so she hurried. She seemed to recognize Joan Steffend right away. She saw the sign and heard the words and stood there with her jaw dropped wide open. She exclaimed, "Oh, my God!" just like me! Our son just screamed with joy and explained how he had known that we were going to win this house.

This is the same house that he had sat at the computer with his Mom and toured the entire house online. And, he had explained that this house had an elevator, so I could go up and down between floors. He was so sure that we were going to win that he had even told his friends at school about it.

The rest of the evening was fun with the interview for The Insider and all the questions that we had. The representatives from Scripps Network, representing HGTV, were really nice and explained everything. The cameramen filmed our entire house, while the photographer took pictures of most things. We took Victoria and Joan on a tour of the house while still in disbelief of our recent fortune.

Our house was busy for a few hours with explanations, interviews and paperwork. All the time, my wife kept commenting on how nice Joan was. She actually sat on our living room carpet and played checkers and pick-up sticks with our son while Shannon reviewed papers with us in the kitchen. When everyone left our house, my wife, son and I sat down on the couch, held hands and prayed the Lord's Prayer. We were sure to thank God for our blessed winnings. God is good and deserves thanks and praise.

As it grew later, my wife and I just kept commenting on our disbelief. We discussed ideas on how we could move into this Dream Home, like giving tours of the house and renting the Dock House and Honeymoon Suite as a Bed & Breakfast.
We all had a difficult time going to sleep that night.

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