The Marriage Ref remembered

My Facebook memory for today: That time when NBC’s promos hit for the Marriage Ref.

Pumpkin season is a wrap with the school’s pumpkin drop

When Bode’s school announced they were doing a pumpkin drop fundraiser for the Colorado flood victims the day after Halloween, we were all in. It was for a great cause and we figured we needed to cut up the pumpkin anyway so why not do it in front of a crowd?

So 695-pound Elbert was the star for the day, which was pretty nice for him since his big brother 1,220-pound Stanley got all the limelight this season. (Read about Stanley’s dismantling here).
We even let kids climb all over him for once because he was near death anyway.

The PTA organized all kinds of fun games like pumpkin bowling, a pumpkin splat where people chucked their pumpkins at a target and then another where they were dropped from a ladder. Twelve lucky kids had their names drawn to have their pumpkins released from a fire truck. I’d like to think Hadley and her friend were marveling at the height of the crane, not the cute firefighters. Give it a few years.

Talk about an impressive drop and of course, Bode and his buddies thought it was awesome.

We did not have the proper equipment to lift and drop Elbert so while the other pumpkins met their death, Jamie started cutting Elbert open for the seeds. When everyone saw what he was doing, they raced over and a pumpkin celebrity was borne.

Kids and adults were begging him for seeds. He denied most…he has people all over the world who have already spoken for them but he did relent when some started offering him money. I was proud when he didn’t take the money from the desperate 5-year-old waving his dollar bill. That kid has a future as a pumpkin geek.

Looking inside the giant pumpkin

And just what did Elbert look like on the inside? The meat wasn’t very thick at all–the reason why Elbert went way lighter than his measurements.

My friend Amie and her mom Sara were so darn cute–they’re The Pumpkin Man’s biggest fans.

We found many new uses for Elbert, including the portion that was used a rocking chair.

Little did that kid’s mom know her son would come home covered in pumpkin guts.

When people saw Jamie was preoccupied with cutting up the pumpkin, they started asking me questions. One woman had grandkids at the fundraiser and was thrilled when I scored her a seed. “I read about you in the newspaper,” she raved (referring to this funny article here where Jamie was made to sound like a local celebrity).

Her husband soon approached and as I was talking to him about Jamie’s insanity (particularly the part where he monitors the temperatures of his early-season hoop houses from a temperature gauge near our bed), he said Jamie sounded just like a guy he saw on TV.

Then, there was that awkward moment when he realized we were those crazies who appeared on the Marriage Ref battling it out about pumpkins. I assured him we were still together and all was well well. :)

So, this is the official end of pumpkin season. One of Jamie’s pumpkin buddies left me a cautionary note on Facebook:

Please make sure you watch Jamie closely for signs of Post Pumpkin Depression…obvious signs are hiding money to purchase seeds at auction. Watch for invoices for next years pumpkin supplies. Only cure I know is to start preparations for next year by hauling large amount of compost, leaves and manure. This should not be confused with Pumpkin Envy which is more serious.

I’m bracing myself for the fallout.

Our Marriage Ref Viewing Party

Jamie and I have had to stay hush-hush about The Marriage Ref’s outcome for the past six months.

Not terribly difficult when you were the losers. :)

But our mothers and friends have been stalking us for the insider scoop and I’m proud to say we stayed mum. One of the best things about watching it on Sunday night was seeing everyone’s’ reaction. We had about 30 friends crammed into our house for the big event and their suspense was palpable.

Jamie has an 84″ HDTV in our basement and it was such a trip to see ourselves “on the big screen.”

I followed the tweets for #TheMarriageRef and despite some grievances on formatting changes, most folks thought our episode was fun. The Pumpkin Man and Ricky Gervais were crowd favorites, as were my references to pumpkin p*orn and (the site actually received so many hits it crashed).

When they were about to announce the winner, Jamie hammed it up for our friends and stood up to celebrate…until the deflating announcement.
There were groans, screams and proclamations of shock to learn that The Great Pumpkin had lost to a mother-in-law. We’ve long since recovered from the disappointment but admittedly that $25,000 would have come in handy given the flood of bills we’ve had to pay including Jamie’s heart surgery, my pending knee surgery, a replacement fridge, TV, BBQ, air conditioner and much more. When it rains, it pours.

But sadly, not in dollar bills.

The Marriage Ref won its time slot for NBC with 4.57 million viewers. That is a whole lot ‘o people who were privy to The Pumpkin Man’s virtues.

If you could call them that.

So, what’s next for us? My blogging friend Lizzy left this comment on my Facebook page:

I just can’t wait to see what you guys are doing NEXT year. First a little blog, then a mommy group blog, then being published on paper, then in the news, then the Olympics, then on a TV show with real movie stars… what next? You guys are awesome.

According to The Pumpkin Man: Sleep.

The Biggest Loser, Marriage Ref-style

Last night, my husband Jamie and I battled it out over his pumpkins on the premiere of NBC’s The Marriage Ref .

Sadly, we didn’t win. I honestly did not go into it thinking we would but of course, I always hoped because that’s why we did the show. Bills were piling up and my knee surgery keeps getting pushed back. It’s not very often you get a 1 in 3 chance of winning $25,000.

But as the show progressed and the audience and celebrities were very pro-pumpkin, I thought, “We have a real stab at this!”

Oh, how great was our fall.

Some observations:

*From the offset, Jamie was beloved,I was a fly on the wall and I was perfectly happy about that. I’m usually the one who has the spotlight and it was lovely to see my dear husband shine on a national stage (even if it was regarding my big, orange nemesis). Strangely enough, he talked a lot more than I did during our segment but was edited down for time.

  • Walking across the stage, sitting down and looking at legends Jerry Seinfeld, Ricky Gervais and Julianne Moore was almost an out-of-body experience. At one point I asked myself, “Is this really happening,” particularly when Jerry serenaded Jamie with ‘The Pumpkin Man” (to the tune of “The Muffin Man.”)
  • The best line of the night was when Jerry Seinfeld asked Jamie why big pumpkins were so ugly. My hilarious husband responded that it’s not a beauty contest and it’s all about the weight. Some are beautiful orange while others “look a little more British” (and he pointed to Brit Ricky Gervais), to which Ricky responded, “You did not just say that!” The audience went wild and Jamie got one of the biggest laughs of the night.
  • Jamie ended up winning our “argument” but if the celebrities hadn’t been so starstruck by The Great Pumpkin, they would have realized they were siding with me. My whole premise was moderation, not to quit growing. But I guess they thought a vote against The Great Pumpkin would be a vote against mankind.

(Backstage with my fellow losers)

  • After the celebrities sided with Jamie, we had a few minutes backstage to work together on Jamie’s closing argument. Our make-up crew was astounded because they’d never seen a couple come together like that before. I harbored no bitterness about the celebrities siding with Jamie–I just wanted the $25,000!
  • The other husbands and I waited just off-stage as Jamie and the two wives gave their closing arguments. The feeling was so electric, the celebrities were so pro-pumpkin that even the man who ended up winning congratulated me prior to when the audience vote was announced.
  • With a build-up like that, when we learned Jamie did not win we weren’t angry, we weren’t sad, we were just in absolute shock.
  • After the announcement, we all came back on stage to meet the celebrities and pose for pictures, something they never stayed around to do. A stage-hand had my camera, missed the group shot and took even worse pictures than I did of the entire team.

  • We drowned our sorrows by hitting Times Square that night. Though we had a good time walking around, we returned to our hotel starving because we didn’t want to pay $15 for a bowl of soup at T. G. I. Fridays. Especially since we’d just lost $25,000. :)

Even though we didn’t win, are we glad we did it?

You betcha. I can’t tell you how many friends have contacted me, excited to see us on NBC’s promotional blitz. I’ve worked on news sets for years (I was a broadcast journalism major in college) but this was a completely different experience. The entire process was frenzied, hilarious and fascinating. Getting that kind of access was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Well, at least until my favorite show The Amazing Race comes calling…..


In case you missed it:

Battling it Out at Marriage Ref’s Auditions
Who Was the Rightest of the Right–A behind-the-scenes glimpse at The Marriage Ref
The Marriage Ref: In Pictures
The Ambulance, The Woman and The Wardrobe
The Good Ol’ Boys of Pumpkin Growing

Also, check-out Jamie’s pumpkin blog at He has named his two pumpkins Jerry and Ricky in honor of The Marriage Ref. :)

Don’t Forget to Watch!

Special thanks to Jamie’s sister Tammy who designed this fun invite for her Marriage Ref party!

The Ambulance, the Woman and the Wardrobe

In case you’re just tuning in, be sure to read my initial Marriage Ref announcement and yesterday’s behind-the-scenes glimpse at the NBC studios.

Today, I shall divulge the most exciting thing that happened leading up to our appearance that involved The Lion The Ambulance, The Witch The Woman and The Wardrobe.

Now, let me frame this story by divulging our dealings with the Wardrobe staff. Jamie and I were allegedly supposed to receive an email prior to flying out to NYC that explained we should bring three different outfit from which to choose.

We did not receive that email.

Communication was frenzied and sparse because they were taping other episodes while juggling our requests (in fact, we didn’t find out our taping date until a few days prior) so we thought nothing of it. Jamie and I each picked an outfit we thought would work and ended it at that.

Until the Wardrobe ladies appeared at our hotel aghast we only had one outfit.

“No worries, no worries,” the Wardrobe Lady said as if to console herself. “We have a large selection of clothing at the studio. We’ll make this work.”

‘This’ meaning ‘us.’ I think.

After doing a run-through on set, hanging in the Green Room and getting gussied up in hair and make-up, Wardrobe was my final stop. Jamie had been given a suit jacket but I was shown a rack of clothes and instructed to model three different outfits. The Wardrobe lady took pictures of me in each of my selections and sent them off to The Higher Power (whom I hoped was not the White Witch).

As we were awaiting a response, drama unfolded in the most unexpected way. The Wardrobe Lady’s assistant nestled back on her chair and after a moment, exclaimed, “Oh no!”

This is a common phrase when you live my Murphy’s Law life so I immediately perked up. Could it be someone was suffering from my bad luck by osmosis?


Concerned, the Wardrobe Lady circled her friend, trying to ascertain the situation. “You have a huge gash in your rear end,” she announced.

Turns out, the assistant accidentally sat on her seam ripper. And this wasn’t just any wound but a gluteus maximus gash that needed stitches.

For 15 minutes, the assistant resisted attempts to send her to the hospital because she didn’t want to miss the wrap party (she’d be back in time) and because the ER is expensive (she was assured it would be covered by Wardrobe Workwoman’s comp).

They apologized profusely over needing to tend to her needs before my own but I wished them well. Butt gashes trump Wardrobe angst any day and for once I was glad to be on the other end.

No pun intended.

The Marriage Ref: In Pictures

I have always wanted to see New York City at Christmastime so I was delighted when we were flown out for our Marriage Ref taping early-December (for a glimpse at our Serendipity-themed date go here).

But as promised, here are some additional pictures of our experience on The Marriage Ref starting with our awesome Denver film crew: J.D. (cameraman), Zoran and Casey who are holding the (what else) pumpkin muffins I made for them!
We really bonded after a long day of filming and I’d hang out with these cool guys any day. However, they may have a different opinion. The kids had recently recovered from The Plague and obviously our house was still germ-infested because the day after our taping, poor J.D. was leveled flat on his back from the illness.

Welcome to my life.

Fast-forward to New York City and we were delighted that Zoran and Casey stopped by to visit us, along with the editor (middle) who had put together our two-minute package after wading through hours of pumpkin footage.

I know they’re not supposed to play favorites but The Pumpkin Man was the only contestant he was dying to meet.

From there, we did our run-through. Here is Jamie with our competition.
To look at them, you’d never know all three were dysfunctional enough to air their dirty laundry on national television.

We spent a lot of time in The Green Room shooting the breeze with the producers and the other couples.
I was relieved that the Green Room was, in actuality, green.

There was a huge spread of food but these cupcakes were my favorites.

For obvious reasons.

I had a grand ol’ time in the hair-and-makeup room but was delighted when our primpers followed us around to give us much-needed touch-ups before our appearance.

I could get used to all the fussin’.

Because it was the final day of taping, we were lucky enough to meet the entire Marriage Ref crew prior to the wrap party. I was asked to take a picture of the group that will inevitably go down in NBC’s hallowed archives.

Just don’t tell any of those broadcast professionals my picture was blurry.

Tune in tomorrow to learn about the exciting lead-up to our appearance that was directly related to me and involved a woman and an ambulance.

Who Was the “Rightest of the Right?” Find Out on our June 26 “Marriage Ref” Appearance!

It is official: My husband Jamie and I will be appearing on the premiere of NBC’s The Marriage Ref on Sunday, June 26, 2011 at 9 p.m. MST.

If you’re not familiar with this Jerry Seinfeld-produced comedy, real couples with funny disputes appear in-studio in front of a panel of celebrity judges where they chose a winner. At the end of each episode, the studio audience votes to make one of the winners “The Rightest of The Right.” That person will receive $25,000 and their very own billboard, in their hometown, declaring they are right.

Of course, I cannot disclose the outcome (something to do with NBC’s 800-page legal contract) but I am thrilled to give you a behind-the-scenes look at appearing on this hilarious network show to debate (what else?): My husband’s obsession with growing The Great Pumpkin (background information is here if you’re just tuning in).

The Auditions
I first heard that the Marriage Ref was holding auditions in Denver for funny couples with quirky disputes on the radio. I wrote about our experience at Battling It Out at Denver’s Marriage Ref Auditions but suffice it to say, we nailed the audition. A 1,000-pound gourd is nothing, if not quirky.

The Whirlwind
Denver was the final city in the Marriage Ref’s nationwide audition tour so things happened quickly after that. Our main obstacle was we needed The Great Pumpkin as a backdrop for when an NBC film crew came to Denver to film us. Pumpkin season was over and our rotting gourd was oozing its guts on our driveway. A casting director told us it would be fine to film some video with our Flip camera and so we did just that before destroying the pumpkin.

Then, a producer told us otherwise. “If there is no giant pumpkin, there is no show,” he told us. So my panicked husband solicited his buddies in The Rocky Mountain Giant Vegetable Growers Group (nope, not kidding about the name) and he was able to unearth a giant pumpkin that had not yet been destroyed. The only problem is it was significantly smaller than his own.

While I was dreading that the camera adds 20 pounds, Jamie was praying the camera added an extra 200 pounds to his pumpkin.

The Denver Filming
After piles of paperwork, interviews with NBC’s legal department, background checks and even a live session with NBC’s psychiatrist (who somehow deemed us mentally competent), we were given the green light. Producers Zoran, Casey and cameraman J.D. flew to Denver and spent an entire day filming us. We went through every imaginable scenario: We started lovey-dovey talking about our courtship. As the day went on, the discussion grew more humorous and passionate about the big, orange wedge between us.

At day’s end, even The Pumpkin Man tired of talking pumpkins and we braced ourselves for the two-minute package that would be pulled together from 12 hours of filming.

Appearing on The Marriage Ref
In early-December, we learned we would be flying to New York City to appear on the final episode with (in my opinion) the very best celebrities of the season: Jerry Seinfeld, Ricky Gervais and Julianne Moore. On filming day, a wardrobe crew met us at the hotel to review our clothing choices. At noon, we met the two other couples appearing on the Marriage Ref with us and took a shuttle to NBC’s studios. We were encouraged to talk freely with them but not to disclose “our issues.”

Kinda tough when you’re drowning in them.

We were greeted with fanfare. Because ours was the final taping, the entire crew had assembled for a wrap party that evening. I knew I was in trouble when staffers singled out The Pumpkin Man, saying they expected great things from him. One even treated him like a celebrity, asking him for seeds.

That afternoon, we hung out in the Green Room, ate a lot of food, did a walk-through in the studio, posed for pictures, got outfitted in Wardrobe and had an extreme makeover in the make-up/hair room. We felt like royalty as a producer followed us around, tending to our every need.

And then came showtime. We were the second couple to appear (though the Marriage Ref may switch around the actual order). Anxieties were high with Jamie but I was surprisingly calm, likely due to the fact I had already stressed out when I appeared on Fox Network’s morning show, Fox and Friends a few months earlier.

As we waited backstage for our queue, we could hear the host Tom Papa riling up the crowd, “Alright everyone. WHO WANTS TO MEET THE PUMPKIN MAN?!”

The crowd went wild as we stepped onto the stage with blinding lights and electric air. We somehow made it to our seats without tripping and after we got settled, we looked up and there they were: Legends Jerry Seinfeld, Ricky Gervais and Julianne Moore sitting across from us as if we were having a casual chat in our living room.

Only this was no casual chat. We were surrounded by a studio audience and on Sunday, June 26, millions of North Americans will be tuning in to learn our fate. As aforementioned, I cannot disclose who won the $25,000 but each couple was given a Second Honeymoon to the Dominican Republic for participating.

After what unfolds on Sunday night, we’re gonna need it.


Also, don’t miss The Marriage Ref: In Pictures and my exciting mishaps during my wardrobe fitting in The Ambulance, The Woman and The Wardrobe.

This was was originally published at

And our big announcement?

Jamie and I will be appearing on the premiere of NBC’s Marriage Ref on June 26!!!!!!

The week leading up to our big debut, I will be posting about all the behind-the-scenes action of our trip to New York City to film the Marriage Ref back in December.

For additional information, check-out Jamie’s blog and “friend” The Pumpkin Man on Facebook.

Once this guy has a national audience, there’s no turning back on his obsession.

Pray for me.

Battling it Out at Denver’s Marriage Ref Auditions

On Saturday, my husband Jamie and I were invited to audition for the Marriage Ref, Jerry Seinfield’s brainchild on NBC.

No, Mom. We’re not on the brink of divorce but we need a comedic mediator for our ongoing dispute:

Jamie’s all-consuming obsession with growing The Great Pumpkin.

The whole thing unfolded almost by accident. When I was driving to my daughter’s Halloween Party on Friday, the hosts of Alice 105.9 were talking about the Marriage Ref’s auditions in Denver that weekend. Casting directors were looking for humorous squabbles that could be resolved by their celebrity panel.

I listened with moderate interest but then something clicked. The inordinate amount of time Jamie spends nurturing The Great Pumpkin is a kooky dispute, on par with past Marriage Ref episodes that included Fonzie the stuffed dog and a stripper pole in a bedroom.

I am not proud of this.

The show had open-call auditions at a few different locations. I did not want to stand in line for hours so tracked down a few different emails of casting agents who were scheduling auditions. Though they assuredly had a flood of emails, I figured I would hear back if it was meant to be.

And I did. Later that day, a casting agent contacted me and then the actual casting director emailed later that night. They scheduled us for Saturday afternoon and instructed us to bring props so we compiled every insane picture and newspaper article we could find.

Turns out we didn’t need them. One picture of The Great Pumpkin testifies to our insanity.

I thought I had this argument in the bag with well-rehearsed talking points and humorous anecdotes but my beloved James had some great rebuttals of his own, resulting in a fun and thought-provoking debate.

The woman doing the interview loved our quirky topic. She said we nailed the audition and made it past the first round. So now we wait. Our main challenges for being chosen:

1) Pumpkin season is over so getting video of the soon-to-be destroyed pumpkin is a challenge. They asked us to film some footage of it on our Flip camera and send it to them.

2) Somebody else is growing The Great Pumpkin and has our same issues with an even greater degree of hilarity.

If chosen to appear on the Marriage Ref, we would receive an all-expenses-paid trip to New York to be on the show and a generous prize package (last season was a second honeymoon/week-long cruise). Four different couples appear in each episode and the couple the audience deems the “most right” wins $25,000.

Fingers are crossed that will be me.