Last week a member of our extended family died. It was devastating and not something I was going to write about because this person was on Jon’s side of the family, and I usually like to exclude them from my commentary here. But in light of what has gone on over the past three days of our lives, I think it bears mentioning:
We had to attend the funeral of a loved one. And usually when you say that to someone — “I’m going to a funeral” — that someone will offer condolences or sympathy, something to the tune of, “I’m sorry for your loss.” Something, right? You wouldn’t just ignore that statement and go right on with whatever nonsense you were talking about, nonsense in light of the fact that A LOVED ONE IS DEAD.
But there I was Friday afternoon, zipping up my black boots, my head perched on my neck to keep my cell phone stuck to my face, and the producer at CBS is asking me to come up with some bullet points. Quick, short bullet points that they can put on a screen behind my head when I appear on the show Monday morning with Rebecca Woolf and Dana Loesch. And my mind is totally elsewhere, anywhere but there, so I say, listen, I need to think about this for a second, I’ve got to get to a funeral. I’m going to a funeral. I will do my best to email you before then.
And she says, okay? I really need these bullet points. I need them really soon. Please get them to me before you go to the funeral.
No condolence. Not an ounce of sympathy. Just get me those bullet points.
Did I need to be comforted by a producer at CBS? Not necessarily. But it did strike me as odd. Rude, even. There. I said it. How incredibly rude.
So as we’re scrambling to grab the photo of the loved one that Jon has spent hours and hours perfecting and printing out, the words he is going to speak before all of the gathered friends and family, as we’re straightening ties and making sure there isn’t a snag in my black hose, I’m trying to zone in on the part of my brain that can come up with those bullet points. And it’s not until we’re in the car on the freeway that I can come up with anything, so I email that producer from my phone. On the way to a funeral.
And she emails back immediately and says that I need to expound. I haven’t given her enough to work with.
Fine. I can’t do anything about this right now. I’ll get to it when I can.
Except, I was slammed with work and other family obligations until Saturday afternoon at four o’clock. And it’s then that my mind has calmed down enough that I start to get the feeling that things are a little off. In the conversation I had with the producer on Friday afternoon she said something about how they were changing the direction of the piece. How they were going bill us as “savvy mommybloggers.”
I think I speak for many of us when I say that if you have to see or even hear about another morning talk show piece featuring a savvy mommyblogger, you’re going to punch someone in the groin.
Originally we were told that this was going to be a promotional piece about Momversation, specifically the one Rebecca, Dana and I participated in several months ago, one that covered the topic of what we will and won’t write about on our websites. And the only reason I agreed to leave my family on Mother’s Day to spend less than twenty-four hours in New York City is because they were going to promote this project. It was going to be great exposure for this project, for the women involved, for the producers involved. That made good business sense.
But Saturday afternoon I got an awful feeling that they were going to leave the whole Momversation part out of it. And then trot out three savvy mommyblog—OMG I JUST THREW UP AN ORGANIC BANANA.
So I call the producer of Momversation, he who happens to be a very good friend of mine, and I express my concern. He hears that concern, makes a few phone calls, and within an hour has called back to assure me that they will in fact promote Momversation.
So I get out of bed at 5 AM, ON MOTHER’S DAY, to get on a plane to New York. And thirty minutes before we’re supposed to board the plane they inform us that there’s a bit of a wind storm going on in New York, and because of some construction JFK is now down to one runway. ONE. RUNWAY.
AS IF JFK COULD GET ANY WORSE. So many people just nodded so hard they got a concussion.
Cut to a three hour delay, half of that spent sitting on the runway. On Mother’s Day.
Listen. I know that this is just a bunch of whining. I do. I really do. Everyone’s life is totally crazy. My sister has one kid with a broken arm, one whose wrist requires surgery, and another with a sty in his eye. People can’t pay their mortgages. Houses are flooded in Nashville. Babies are dying in Afghanistan. And here I am complaining about a flight delay. BOO HOO, ARMSTRONG.
I KNOW, can you even believe me? Could I be more out of touch? Holy unrelatable mommyblogger!
Except, this is for Dana and Rebecca, two other women who left their children and the brunches they had planned with their mothers and grandmothers to fly across the country. Only to have the segment cancelled on Sunday night. For no reason. No explanation. Just, yeah, hmmm… I know it’s Mother’s Day, sorry! Bad timing, huh? OOPSIES! And then the producers wouldn’t return our phone calls.
You think they would at least MAKE UP AN EXPLANATION. Like, I don’t know, Obama is announcing his nominee for the Supreme Court. Or, there’s an oil spill in the Gulf, flooding in Tennessee, tornados in Oklahoma, something other than, “I can’t tell you.” I would have even believed the excuse that there were snakes! On a plane! Savvy mommybloggers would eat that shit up!
Yesterday one of the executive producers at CBS emailed the producer of Momversation to explain that it was a combination of the Supreme Court announcement and their soon-to-be-launched high definition broadcast that has displaced huge areas of the studio. Except that this explanation came after the three of us were on our way back home. And it wasn’t communicated to us directly.
And dammit, I was hoping it was snakes! LET. DOWN.
The whole experience was just a nightmare from start to finish, and having worked with several other production outfits — NBC, ABC, CNN, PBS, Oprah, Dr. Phil, and most importantly HGTV — I can say that by far this was the worst experience I’ve ever had with television. I mean, I helped Kourtney Kardashian change a diaper on a plastic doll on the Bonnie Hunt show, and that was more organized and meaningful than this.
Just so not cool.