Thursday, June 18, 2009

And Now, Live from the Closet with the Sump Pump--

I don’t know if any of you have ever sold a house, but if you haven’t I have one word of advice: Don’t. It’s a major pain in the tushy. First of all, you have to fix all those little things you’ve let slide. Our house is for sale in preparation for our move to Washington DC, and I’ve been sharing my home with a constant stream of workmen. One particularly memorable day, I had a radio interview at the same time we had someone trimming our bushes, putting drywall in the garage, and fixing a small chip in our granite countertop. And of course, there were the cleaning ladies. You can't sell a dirty house.

Now radio hosts are pretty good sports, but they really like to hear their guests. They’re picky about it, actually. So, for the sake of peace and quiet, I took the phone into the farthest corner of our finished basement, the dreaded storage room with its closet built over the top of the sump pump. There, in blissful silence, I joined the queue for the recording.

Ten minutes to air time. I decided that a little Down Dog action was a good idea. Then I moved into Child's Pose. Nothing like a good yoga pose to get you focused and relaxed. Except I forgot that the carpet in the backroom hasn’t been cleaned in years. So. as I rested my head on the floor, my nose started to run like a water spigot.

Five minutes to air time. I needed a box of tissues…fast. I jogged out of the storage room. I made it up the stairs. I dodged the cleaning woman pushing the vacuum sweeper. Ducked into a bathroom. Pulled out tissues. Ran back downstairs.

Three minutes to air time. I am panting like a dog and mopping my nose. Time to review the interviewer’s instruction sheet. There it was: “We might ask you to read from your book.” Crud. Who knew I needed a copy of Cut, Crop & Die? I raced out of the storage room. I tucked the phone under my ear and searched my desktop, which looks approximately like a paper recycling bin after a tornado hit it. Found the book. Ran back to the storage room.

Two minutes to air time. I forgot my reading glasses. I run back upstairs. The man fixing the granite wants to discuss it with me. I can’t stop. He’s being paid $175 for a house call to fix three little chips. I pause long enough to watch. To one chip he applies the tip of a Sharpie black marker. Then he spits on it. Oh, goodie. This is more than I wanted to know about granite repair.

One minute to air time.
I race back down to the storage room. I lock the door. I hear the host talking.

30 seconds to air time. A dull roar begins overhead. The cleaning ladies are now running the vacuum on the wooden floor directly above me. I could be standing behind a jet at Lambert Airport and it would be quieter.

15 seconds to air time.
The doorbell is ringing. The dogs are barking in the next room. They are determined to protect the home that won’t be theirs much longer.

5 seconds to air time.
I can’t even hear myself think. There’s the barking, the doorbell, and the roar of the vacuum overhead. I look around frantically for a quiet spot. I have only one option.

I gave an entire radio interview standing inside the closet with one foot on each side of our sump pump. Need I share that it smelled like a sewer?


You know, being an author is really glamorous stuff. Or so I’ve been told.


Keith Raffel said...

I want to get the whole picture in my mind. Did you dress up for the interview?

Lisa Bork said...

Too funny, Joanna. Murphy's Law in action.

Jody Crocker said...

So funny. I hope the interview went well.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Hysterical. Good luck with the sale and the move!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Keith, OF COURSE I dressed up for the interview. I wasn't wearing a bra or makeup wonder the guy from the granite repair place looked at me funny!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Thanks Lisa, Jody and Sue Ann for the kind comments.

Alan Orloff said...

I hope that scene finds its way into a book someday. Funny!

Moving to DC? Welcome, welcome! (I live across the river in VA.)

G.M. Malliet said...

Joanna - It sounds like the only thing missing from this soundtrack was a few screaming toddlers. Good thing your son is grown.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Nah, GM, I was actually missing the sound of a toilet flushing...

Alan & GM, I this is where I sing, "Won't you be my neighbor?"

Oh, and the interview did go well, Jody. Heck, how can you be nervous when you're looking down at a lot of ordure?

Deborah Sharp said...

You pegged it, Joanna. The glamour-filled life of a an author, indeed!
Very funny!