LEWISTON, Idaho When Oprah Winfrey is coming to visit, some changes must be made, Dana Howell knows.
"My husband's nasty hunting camper is parked right in front of the house, but I'm going to get that moved," Howell said before construction crews began a makeover of her Lewiston orchards home over the weekend, compliments of television's famous talk-show host.
"I was told by the production crew Oprah is coming here in a month or so," Howell told the Lewiston Tribune. "I'm just in awe about the whole thing."
Howell is so excited about the home makeover and the prospect of having Oprah at her house she can't sleep. A camera crew carrying balloons showed up at her home Thursday afternoon.
"It was a complete surprise," said Howell, who sent an e-mail to the Oprah Web site seven or eight months ago, hoping to get on a list of makeover recipients.
"It was like I won a prize from Ed McMahon or something," Howell said. "I had no warning. I didn't even sleep last night. I just sat in the chair saying. 'This is not real. This is not real."'
The makeover crew helped the Howell family get organized.
Dana, 39, and her husband, David, 43, live in a 4,200-square-foot house with a blended family of four kids. The boys are 16 and 12, and the girls are both 9.
"The girls share a room, and it looks like a tornado," Howell said. "My laundry room needs some major help, too."
The Oprah crew took Howell shopping at Home Depot on Friday afternoon.
They planned to replace carpets and work on the closets and bedrooms. Some new furniture in the kids' rooms is part of the makeover, along with a weekly visit from a housekeeper.
Howell isn't sure how her house was selected, but she believes it had something to do with having three jobs, four kids, an Idaho address and a husband who works overseas about two weeks every month.
"We're a working family, and they look for small-town people," she said. "Honestly, they probably knew we could afford it, but we just haven't had the time to make any changes because we work too much."
Dana, a social worker, and David, who owns Howell CNC and Machine shop in Lewiston, recently started a new machine business in Albania.
As the crew got to work, Howell was still pinching herself.
"I'm ecstatic," she said. "I can't wait to see the end result."