Getting wired on 9News’ back-to-school fashion segment

I’ve fallen into a routine of appearing on 9News every month, usually around the time my column in the Denver Post is published. Though the experience still has a measure of stress, I’ve filed it under the “this is good for you to get out of your comfort zone so suck it up” file.

What I was not expecting when my kids appeared in last year’s 9News fashion show is how much they would love it. In fact, all year long whenever I filmed a segment, they would get all huffy with me. “Why aren’t we doing it with you?”–like the show couldn’t possibly go on without them.

So when back-to-school rolled around again, I figured I’d get them off my back and do the segment again, though it is a colossal undertaking to work with the clothing stores, figure out the styles and then present it all like I’m some sort of fashion aficionado. One thing I had going for me was my models from last year were all game for Round 2: my kids and two great teens from church, Stephanie and Bennett.

My kids had a blast getting outfitted at The Children’s Place. OK, Hadley has a blast; Bode was appeased when I told him he could pick one of their Angry Birds shirts as a reward.We did a few dry runs prior to The Big Day while I told Stage Dad Jamie to watch Tom Hanks’ eloquent performance in the spoof Toddlers & Tiaras for inspiration.

Our segment went live at 8:40 a.m. and we had to be at the studio by 8:20 a.m. so I told the teens to be at my house by 7:20 a.m. Bennett planned to follow us there in his car while Stephanie asked if her mom could drop her off at 7 a.m. on the way to work.

Unlike last year’s chaos with sick Hadley throwing up in the parking lot, I just knew this would would be different. The day dawned bright, beautiful and early. When 7 a.m. rolled around, I waited for Stephanie. Then 7:05 a.m. No problem. They were running a bit late. By 7:15 a.m. I started to panic. She’s a responsible kid and maybe something had happened. When Bennett rang the doorbell at 7:20 a.m., I was in full panic mode as I texted and called Stephanie. No response. By some stroke of luck, she had left her mom’s cell phone number on her voice mail so I called immediately.

“Where is Stephanie?” I choked out.
“Who is this?” she asked.
“Amber. She’s supposed to be here. We need to leave right now for the fashion show.”
“No, it’s not until Thursday.”
“Nope, it’s today.” Today being Monday.

Then it was her mom’s turn to freak out. “She’s at home sleeping. She thinks it’s Thursday. Don’t worry. WE WILL BE THERE.”

I didn’t know how. Her mom was at work and she’d have to race home, drag her teen out of bed and be at the studio in less than an hour but I didn’t question it.

I white-knuckled the 30-minute drive, at one point telling the kids, “why don’t you sing me a nice song to alleviate my stress?” upon which Hadley belted out, “Make it… Stephanie. You will make it!”

Not exactly the distraction I was hoping for.

We arrived at the studio shortly after 8 a.m. and much to my shock, Stephanie arrived a few minutes later with her mom apologizing profusely. My blood pressure levels started to go back down until, at 8:15 a.m., 9News’ sports reporter Suzie Wargin spotted us and said, “You’re late. We’re going live in five minutes.” And then those stress levels shot up yet again. Late? Late for what and why was she the one doing the interview?

She quickly realized she wasn’t looking for us (whew!) so we hung out in the Pit (newsroom) until it was our turn. Jamie had arrived by that time and we were soon ushered in. Kyle, one of my favorite reporters, was to do the segment with us and I got wired. With a microphone, that is. Believe me, my adrenaline levels were plenty wired on their own.

We hoped to do a quick run-through so the kids could see where they needed to stand when Kyle suddenly learned over to me and whispered, “we’re up next.” Problem was the cameras were suddenly on me and I had no way of telling Stage Dad Jamie we were live and not just practicing. Good thing the kiddos performed like champs, eventually figuring out this was no rehearsal. (See the segment here).

As for me? Good thing I have a year to recover before the next back-to-school fashion segment drama.

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