What do they call it, white girl problems? Is that it?

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.

  • Roo8382

    That’s not ok. It’s not ok that the producer didn’t even stop to acknowledge your loss. I’m sorry for your loss, Heather. I hope you and Jon and your families are able to just be together and grieve during this sad time.

    It’s not ok that they asked you to fly out on MOTHER’S DAY and leave your kids and then cancel your segment.

    People do NOT OK shit all the time. Thanks for having the balls to call those people out. Maybe less NOT OK shit would happen if more of us did that.

  • freckleface

    WOW, how infuriating! Super rude… unfortunately I’m not that surprised.

    So sorry to hear about your family member, and also so sorry that your life is so hectic! I hope you’re balancing it all well, but keep in mind that even if you don’t think you are that’s just what everyone with a busy life thinks :)

  • hoosiergirl1962

    Is it me or are manners and civility becoming something that happens when we “know” someone or feel someone is “important” enough to actually treat them like a human with feelings?? I wonder this when I have to interupt a IV tech who is supposed to be taking pre-operative blood samples from me and instead, she happens to be texting someone and having a really good time wasting my time. Serial rudeness seems to be occuring at an alarming rate. Is what we are texting so fucking important that we can’t stop and complete a business transaction without hanging up the bloody phone???
    Excuse me, but I had to go all “Mrs. Kravitz” for a moment……
    Truly sorry for your loss and CBS can go suck it
    Lee

  • ElizabethZ

    BOYCOTT!!! And, they just suck – that was so rude to at least not apologize in person, or maybe email at least – SOMETHING.

    Sorry you missed out on Mother’s Day for essentially nada. Boo CBS – BOO!!!

  • divahh

    Isn’t it interesting that the lack of respect that people show is directly related to how low they are on the totem pole?
    Bad form!

  • NYCDude

    Damn you CBS. Their morning show is 3rd rate anyway. At the least they could have taped your segment to air another time. Their anchors all have kids. Its an important topic. The guys from the Amazing race didnt get bumped. Im sure after this blog entry you will be flown first class and given a suite at the Waldorf for your entire family.

  • mybottlesup

    my condolences to you and jon and your families.

    i saw this from rebecca’s site… and this just sucks for all of you. i’m sorry it happened because from the sounds of it, it actually could’ve been something positive and meaningful for the blogging community and for momversation.

    ps- the snakes on a plane references were greatly appreciated by my husband.

  • Missives From Suburbia

    First off, I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. Second, why do people feel compelled to modify the word mommybloggers (is that a word?) with terms like “savvy”. Does anyone do news segments on dipshit mommybloggers?

  • Brent

    I’ve noticed something in a few of your recent posts, and this comment really has nothing to do with your entry, but I just wanted to put my two cents in. I think being liberal-minded, globally-aware people has given us the innate urge to apologize for what we’re complaining about. I imagine the amount of ridiculous hatemail you get probably contributes to that as well, and while I don’t get hatemail, I do understand the feeling. The need to qualify something you’re upset about. However, being blessed in many areas of your life doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to get pissed off when someone behaves like that. It’s something I’ve had to realize myself, trying to get rid of those nagging guilt pangs.

    As bad as things are in a general sense, this is your website. You have every right to bitch and moan when someone is rude to you, inconsiderate of your time and the time of friends and colleagues. In the end, the people who understand you and who read your blog regularly are going to get it. The rest of the assholes can frolic off and go complain about someone else who isn’t constantly talking about the flooding and fires and poverty. I’ve noticed that ironically, the kind of limited people who do things like that rarely contribute to the problem they’re complaining about you avoiding anyway, so it really just doesn’t matter.

  • jennyfromtheshwa

    Heather and Jon I am so sorry for your loss.

    It sucks for you to have gone through all that mess, especially on Mother’s Day, but I so wish that you didn’t feel as though you have to apologize for feeling pissed off.

    All of our problems differ, but that doesn’t mean because you have a good life, you can’t complain about what pisses you off or what you are mad about. So stop apologizing. You are not apologizing to me or most of here but to those assholes who are always telling you to stop whining about what they think is your “perfect life”. Fuck em. You are who you are, you earned every last opportunity and if shitty things like this bug you, you deserve to say it. So what if your problems seem so First World? So what. Stop apologizing and write to those of us who get it.

    I went to spin class today and got there 10 minutes early only to find that there were no bikes. I don’t even like spin class nor do I particulary like the instructor. Sound like something silly to rant about? Too bad. I’m mad and everyone is going to hear about it today.

  • riogringa

    Hey Heather, so sorry for your loss. That sucks. To play devil’s advocate, people probably get bumped all the time from shows like that because the news and news’ organizations priorities change very quickly and they can actually be pretty disorganized. On the other hand, I loathe CBS and happen to think they’re a very dirty news organization with much less interest in promoting justice, accurate information and morals and much more interested in the bottom line. Sad but true.

  • zoobie

    What unprofessional, rude asshats. Heather, no one under 50 with any sense and less than 6 cats watches CBS anyway.

  • VickyNguyen

    Heather,

    I applaud you for writing so candidly about such a jacked up experience. Like @wordsandfilm, I work in TV. TV news no less, and I totally know what it’s like when things come up and things are out of control. But a simple apology and honest explanation, and acting human about things goes a long way.

    But thanks for the very honest post. You are my nominee for Fun Fearless Female. You keep it REAL girlfriend. And you’re unflappable in the face of big companies ahem Maytag and CBS.

    And your writing rocks.
    Vicky

  • GrandRGrand

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your family member.

    Sorry too that your trip didn’t work out the way it was planned. Things happen, but they handled it horribly.

    I hope you were able to celebrate a belated Mother’s Day at least!

  • Ray1987

    First off:

    I am extremely sorry for you and your family’s loss. And sorry that, that CBS producer lacked a heart in your time of need.

    Secondly:

    I am sure they will be sorry for messing with you (since this entry will be seen by many, MANY people. And I’m glad). A big BOO to the people working at CBS! ;o/

  • MPyrzynski

    First, please accept my sincere sympathies to you, Jon and your family on your loss.

    Second, CBS = FAIL! As someone else said, I’d stop watching them in protest, but I haven’t watched CBS since M*A*S*H went off the air. I considered watching them for your piece, but that didn’t happen. Jerks.

    I’m sorry you missed Mother’s Day so that you could run around for a whole lot of nothing. Not fair. Nor was the attitude of the person at CBS acceptable when you told her you were on your way to a funeral. Have some compassion, idiot!

    And, I’ve been out of work for almost 6 months, unemployment goes buh-bye at the end of this month and I’m a single mom wondering how I’m going to pay my mortgage and I still think you have a right to complain. This was a shitty way to be treated by anyone. Bitch all you want. We’ve got your back.

    In short, CBS CAN SUCK IT.

  • MelissaJ

    my sympathies on your family’s loss.

    no matter what is happening in this world (oil spill, tornadoes, nominations)in no way diminishes the annoyance of those things that disrupt our personal space.

    what CBS did is BEYOND rude. this was poorly planned (obviously) from the start. let’s have a “mom” segment the day after mother’s day and fly the mothers in on mother’s day…give that person a raise.

    and then let’s pressure someone going to a funeral; because heaven knows that isn’t important.

    i’d be pissed…i AM pissed…glad i don’t watch that morning show…never will now.

  • Maxine_Dangerous

    Very sorry to hear about your relative and about the scheduling snafu. That sucks on far too many levels.

    Methinks you should’ve written this entire post in bullet points. Meaty, description-rich bullet points. :D

  • Jeff_C

    I am sorry you had to go through this poorly executed situation with CBS, and very sorry for your’s and Jon’s loss. You’re better than these awful situations, and lived to write about it in detail and honesty. Thank you for being true to yourself and keep on going. We’re here for you, cheering you on and glad to help whenever you need. :)

  • lomagirl

    Apparently they also haven’t done sufficient research on you and your blog- if they knew the washing machine story, they wouldn’t risk pissing you off!

  • Indiana Lori

    That is suck covered suck with sucky filling. But I must say, when you write about being pissed, it’s like listening to Alanis Morrisette sing. Old Alanis, when she was righteously angry. It’s poetry Heather.

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Jalima

    Very sorry to hear of the death of your family member.

    Wow, as someone who is rather anal and creeped out about flying (especially alone) I would have been mighty PISSED off. Surely they could have taped a segment for future use?

  • NolaMomma

    That’s it. I’m done with CBS. Okay, I honestly don’t watch it already, but now I’ll never give them a chance. Tell that inconsiderate snatch to write that in her bullet point. Condolences to you and Jon’s family. :-(

  • leahofdp

    First of all, sorry for the loss in your family.

    See how easy that is CBS person? I know I know we have no idea how insane and crazy your life as a CBS person is. Not being mean to you CBS person (hopefully you will learn something from this as we all do and say dumb things-look what happened when Dooce made that one mistake all those years ago and was fired for her blog-she turned that shit around and made it even more awesome).

    I’ve never read anything here that my first thought was, “boy that Dooce is unreasonable and unfair”.

    She gets annoyed just like everyone else does and she can write about it, just like everyone else does. She’s STILL ALLOWED to do that regardless of her success, she’s still a human being.

    I think her success ALONE speaks for itself, and that Dooce is a professional person, with integrity.

    She and the mister are kicking some motherfucking internet ass. They are human, just like me, and you, even you, and definitely your perverted uncle, therefore do human things.

    The world is big enough for everyone to have their own success, for us to all get what we need and trying to bring other people down due to envy is just really ugly and mean. THERE is enough of everything to go around people.

    She’s allowed to blow off some steam despite what else is going on in the world. That whole thing about “I was sad because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet” shit gets really old. It’s like go ahead and invalidate yourself and only care for others. Hello!!! Oxygen masks people! OXYGEN MASKS!

    That is all.

  • leahofdp

    @Missives From S—-
    “Does anyone do news segments on dipshit mommybloggers?”

    That’s funny, maybe a good idea for an SNL skit :)

  • winecat

    Extremely RUDE hardly begins to touch the incident.
    Very sorry for the loss of your loved one, that’s never easy, which makes the treatment by CBS unconscionably tacky.

  • TinyDancer84

    Some people have absolutely no concept of how to act like a compassionate human being. My best friend’s daughter died 3 years ago and so I told my boss on Friday that I would have to leave by 11 on Monday to go to a funeral. This was only a couple hours short of when I’d be leaving normally. Her response? “I don’t know if I’ll be able to let you go. We have a lot of people calling off that day.” No “I’m so sorry for your loss” or even “I’m so sorry, who died?” For all she knew it was my mother!!!! Needless to say, I no longer work for that woman.
    Anyway, all that to say, I understand some of your frustration and my heart goes out to you and your family. Hope you were able to celebrate Mother’s Day with your girls when you got home.

  • freaky_rara

    I am very sorry for your family’s sorrows.

    CBS blew the way they handled the whole event. What assholes.

  • mhsqrd

    not cool AT ALL. and my condolences to Jon and you and the family.

  • SexGrinch

    They had to have been expecting you to write about this. How could they not?

    Great reviews, CBS, great reviews.

    Chin up, my Mother’s Day consisted of an irritable husband, no “Happy Mother’s Day”, no “I love you, dear”, not even a hug or a freakin’ kiss.

    He’s sooo in the doghouse until July.

    I’m sorry for your loss.

  • Cheryld

    Oh man! That really sucks ass. I’m a big fan of your and Rebecca’s blogs. You guys definitely deserve to be treated better. Anybody deserves to be treated better. They were complete and utter jerks.

  • Cheryld

    Oh man! That really sucks ass. I’m a big fan of your and Rebecca’s blogs. You guys definitely deserve to be treated better. Anybody deserves to be treated better. They were complete and utter jerks.

  • HelluvaMormonFan

    They obviously know nothing about mommy bloggers, otherwise they wouldn’t eff around with some! Hello, CBS! Mentioned mommy bloggers and their fans will hate you from this day forward!

    And sorry for your loss. Losing people is the worst.

  • Mrs.Koehnke_ it is pronouced kinky. Like S and M

    Seriously, can I just say what BS this is? I mean, to be so disrespectfully rude and DEMANDING when you have just lost a loved one (and NOT offer condolences? Was she brought up by wolves?) and then to waste your time on Mother’s Day, the ONLY day of the year mom’s get recognition for every single thing they do to balance home and work and then to cancel your segment without explanation? Yeah, I’m never watching CBS again.

    I’m sorry for you and Jon’s loss.

  • Cascat

    @MPyrzynski: sorry to hear about your situation; I hope things work out as well as possible in your circumstances.

    @TinyDancer84: that’s hard to believe about your former boss. I’m glad you don’t work with that person anymore.

    Heather: I’m so sorry for you and Jon and your families for your loss.

    Re: the producer, I was thinking about when I got out of the hospital after major surgery last year, how many of my friends did not even call to see how I was. For weeks. They never even called at all. I started thinking that if people or their loved ones haven’t experienced something like surgery or loss of close family, they really don’t get how hard it is. But that doesn’t mean they can’t imagine what it would be like for others.

    And PR Mom: I only wish I had a partner as cool as Mr. Jon Armstrong – HELLO! Heather has made it clear on many occasions about how thankful she is for what she has, and she’s incredibly gracious overall. As well as wickedly funny, of course, which is probably why you read her blog.

    Dooce: Sorry about the wasted time and dashed hopes/day. It was a bummer, and I’m glad you wrote about it. People and organizations need to be called out for things like that.

    Keep on keepin’ on, Heather. You are the bees knees, the cats pajamas, I and love reading about your life and your purple tights and boy hair and also the actually deep things you share about your life. Thanks, chica.

    ..

  • rainy_day

    I’m still trying to pick up my jaw from the floor over the fact that this producer was so *unbelievably* rude when you were on your way to a funeral.

    I’m sorry.

  • TheScarlett

    I’m so sorry for your loss. CBS, that only took 6 words to be decent. Your network failed on that before Heather left the tarmac.

    I didn’t know that you had been canceled so I went on over to the video tab on The Early Show to see the piece. Know what didn’t get canceled? Why ‘Debbye’s Dog Grooming Tips’ managed to make the cut! (And I didn’t misspell her name.) It’s really important for dog owners to be told that they need to brush their pups – like they were too stupid to know that already.

    CBS, you can kiss my ass. YOU ARE DEAD TO ME! I’m a mom. One day a year I am the QUEEN. I don’t have to cook (unless I want to) or wash a single dish. That’s the day my honey-do list gets done. Moms only get a few of those days in their lifetime and even fewer with their own mom still alive. And you had the audacity to take that away without even an excuse. BREAKING NEWS CBS – YOU SUCK!

    (By the way – LOVE that you are able to ban trolls and label them as such. GENIUS.)

  • JennLevy

    Sorry for your’s and Jon’s loss.
    I used to be a book publicist and experienced some of that bad behavior from TV outlets and even a documentary filmmaker: canceled interviews, unreturned phone calls, lack of information/communication, extreme rudeness. (Producers of Religulous — I am talking about the way you blew off Daniel Pinchbeck!)
    Sorry for your loss, sorry about Mother’s Day, and sorrow that CBS had its collective head up its collective butt…if those are white-girl problems, you sure had a perfect storm of ‘em.

  • lovems

    Sorry for your loss!

    And might I add, CBS what a flippen crock!

  • pingersgal

    Not only was I sick with a fever of 101 all mothers day, but so were two other of my friends. SO. We are having a DO OVER! Join us! THIS Sunday….May 16 is Mothers Day 2010! :)
    We can do things like that..change Mothers day around…after all, we are mothers and its OUR day! I get one day a year to sleep in and be spoiled rotten..I am not giving it up! :)
    Sorry to hear they treated you so shitty. It isn’t fair…but just clink your glass on the NEW Mothers day and know that THEY are just having a regular old day! hehehe

  • Daily Cup of Jo

    You know there’s all that other shit going on in this country and the world. You know mothers everywhere have problems worse than yours. You know that and you care, and everything is relative, so go ahead and bitch about rude producers and delayed flights and Mother’s Day without your girls. It’s why we live longer than men, because we bitch about the big stuff and the small and unburden ourselves by sharing.

    And sincerely, I’m sorry to Jon and you for your loss.

  • ladysarah

    I would be furious if I were in your position – from the funeral lady to the flight to the cancellation. It’s such a sucky chain of events.

    I’m also sad that you have to appologise on your own personal blog for feeling cross. I would have written something far more scathing and libellous.

  • aslapintheface

    Um … yeah …. this is to the CBS producers

    why couldn’t you have taped the segment and have it shown later in the week ? All 3 of the women were already there in NYC … did nobody for a second think “hmmm … maybe we could use one of these camera thingies to actually do the segment later in the day and then play it back later in the week”?

  • Jen

    I’m sorry for your loss, Jon and Heather.

  • southerngirl

    I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN!!! (sorry for shouting, but DAM!) I just called AT&T’s customer non-service 800 number every day for the last 10 days trying to find out why my mother’s DSL was never turned on. They don’t know why (collective shrug). It was just never assigned to a tech. But WHY NOT, I implore? It was supposed to be turned on TEN DAYS AGO. Another corporate collective shrug. They have no clue. ARRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!

    And then there is BP, TransOcean, and Halliburton on the Gulf Oil Spill, which is turning out to be the largest ecological disaster in our lifetime. Whose fault was it? (collective corporate shrug) They don’t know. OOPSIES.

  • wasabibi

    Of course the failure to acknowledge your loss and to insist that you send the bullet points pre-funeral are inexcusable. My condolences on your loss.

    But – the rest is just TV. Your choice to go to New York on Mother’s Day to, essentially, receive free PR for your venture, was just that: your choice. It came with risk, and such is the nature of TV production. I write this as someone who has done a number of media appearances regarding my scientific work, and have had similar experiences with CNN, NBC and other networks. Segments get preempted, canceled, rescheduled, and their foci shift from what I (and you) want – exposure for our work – to what actually meets the business needs of the network.

    Of course this experience was incredibly frustrating, and that was exacerbated by your loss and by JFK’s suckitude. But to direct this level of vitriol does nothing but make apparent that for someone who is supposedly media-savvy there is a still a lot to learn about how media actually works.

  • mommymae

    so sorry for you family’s loss.

    and too bad cbs canceled. they’d have a had a few thousand more viewers last monday had the kept your booking. i was looking forward to seeing you lovely ladies.

  • mrs_k

    I hate when I’m hungry and I say something about it and THAT person inevitably says, “I haven’t eaten since yesterday!” or something equally as obnoxious to imply that they’re farrrr hungrier than me. I know there are starving children in Africa, but their growling bellies don’t make mine any fuller. When you’re hungry, you’re hungry.

    So when you have a terrible experience, it still sucks a lot for you, regardless of the larger chaos and tragedy going on elsewhere. I’m sorry you had to spend Mother’s Day dealing with stupid TV people rather than your children, and I’m sorry you lost someone you love :(