Scared Famous

I wasn't so nervous for the New York debut of Listen To Your Mother, mostly because the other presenters were pros at doing this and made everything seem just so easy.

I wasn't nervous when MetroNorth broke down and delayed all trains in and out of Grand Central "indefinitely," because I, for once in my life, was early and had indefinite time to wait. Or at least 3 extra hours.

I wasn't nervous when MetroNorth buttholes suspended all trains in and out of New York at 8:30 Sunday morning, and announced in Charlie Brown Teacher Voice that we should look for another mode of transportation, and they apologize for any inconvenience.

I wasn't too-too nervous when Kid2 had her debut city driving adventure to pick up a stranded mom anxious to get to her big time playdate with some very important writers.

I wasn't nervous when I arrived 90 minutes late for the final walk through, with practically everyone gone for lunch and wardrobe change, because the very talented director Amy Wilson, powerhouse emcee René Syler and last writer standing Deborah Goldstein stuck around to hold my somewhat sweaty hand.

I wasn't nervous when I discovered the Green Room isn't green, and the other writers had brought pens, gifts, makeup, curling irons, protein bars, scissors, duct tape, three hole-punch, lint brush, deodorant, tissues, moisturizer, water bottles, and the one and only Kathy Curto as a tribute to her parents, remembered good luck charms: her mom's handkerchief and her dad's black shoe polish. Not nervous because these superstars shared everything from their confidence to their lipstick with this mom who was blotting the wrong color lipstick on a Walgreens receipt from her purse.

I wasn't nervous when producer Varda Steinhardt handed out a special bracelet I will forever treasure, and the leaders of this cast, gave us all charms that said simply, Listen, with handwritten notes thanking us, like we did something for them. And Amy Wilson gave a pre-game pep talk so heartfelt, so filled with gratitude, I felt somehow I had done something for her. Not nervous at all.

But when we queued up to enter the sold out house, I was placed between the über talented Una LaMarche and clean-up hitter Jonny Schremmer, and began to panic. Really, really, heart palpitation, sweaty pit, cotton mouth panic; gonna probably throw up or crap my pants panic.

I looked to Jonny with authentic terror: "I can't do this. I really can't do this."

She smiled. She didn't say much. Calm, cool, collected. With good lipstick.

The line was moving. People were clapping. My head was spinning. It was like I was underwater.

I turned around, desperate:

"You know when you're on the roller coaster and it's going up, up, up and suddenly you realize you've made a terrible mistake and YOU HATE ROLLERCOASTERS and you really, really want OFF RIGHT NOW??? I have that feeling, now, right now, I can't do this."

Jonny nodded, and gently pushed me forward, because the house was packed, and the ride had already started.

And when it was finished?

It was like this, except a thousand times better:


Crying in the Lord and Taylor Dressing Room

Quite possibly the scariest place in the world.
"Where are you?" 

The texts were coming fast and furious from rather attractive husband.

I didn't answer. I couldn't. I was trapped in the Lord & Taylor dressing room.


I hate to shop. And I certainly hate to shop for perhaps the biggest moment of my life (sans legs spread and head crowning).

I was all set for the Listen To Your Mother show. My piece is good. My delivery smooth. My colleagues? Unfrigginbelievable. Producers Varda and Amy, Holly, and my new tequila-swirling best friend Betsy, have the talent and chutzpah to bring LTYM to NYC, yet still make a small town girl like me feel right at home.

But then we starting talking wardrobe, and it went downhill fast.

The vernacular flying around rehearsal was intimidating: sheath dress; red suede pants; palazzo pants. Then horror of all horrors: Spanx.

Not good.

"Nothing black on top." 

Really, really not good.

So I went to where the grown ups shop. Lord & Taylor. Fancy, eh? And I wandered the racks, looking at the people looking at the clothes. Too old, too young, too Nana-country-club-esque. I wouldn't wear any of this anywhere, let alone to a NYC performance, starring, um, me.

So I grabbed what I could in a variety of sizes: 6 - 14. Because I was once a 6, and well, now I'm not.

My one rule about trying on clothes is I take off all my clothes once: that's it. I try on and I leave. There's no return trip with other options. Once the street clothes are back on, this girl is done. Outta there.

Which doesn't work so well when you're shopping for the biggest day of your life. So when my rather attractive husband, Kid3 and Boy happened on this sobbing mom, they sprang into action.

It was like Project Runway, except older, wider, wiser. And the designers, fresh from the field, were wearing lacrosse cleats.

And low and behold, I got a top. And a jacket. And spent a whole lotta money that would have never have happened had I been alone. And I had a great pair of coral slacks (for you Trace, just for you) that would match amazingly perfect.

Not country club Connecticut perfect, but chic and upper West Side perfect.

So this non-shopper shopper trotted her happy little self to dinner with friends and announced, she had acquired an outfit for the big day! Only needed a bra and shoes, but otherwise done! Funky top, hip little jacket, and coral linen pants.

The horror was palpable. The women's eyes bulged and darted around the table. Forks dropped. No one would look at me.

After some uncomfortable coughing and small talk, one could take it no longer:

"DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES PUT ANYTHING ORANGE ON YOUR ASS! DO YOU HEAR ME?? DON'T DO IT, I'm serious about this trust me you would kill me for not telling you. Your bottom half will be as large as a semi on camera."

Enough! I got it loud and clear. No orange. Okay!

When leaving, she grabbed me by the shirt with desperation in her eyes:

"I mean it," she menaced. "Do not do this. You are not good at shopping. You know this. I know this. Do not underestimate what I am trying to tell you: TRACTOR TRAILER."

She got off her tiptoes and soothed my shirt, and kissed me goodbye.

"And get yourself to Payless for some cute litte open toe shoes? Cute, cute, cute. And get a pedi too. I'll come with you. It'll be fun."