In July of 2009, my husband and I enjoyed a family vacation in San Diego, California. I come from a large family and when we all do a vacation together it's kind of a big deal:) We were staying in a beautiful home with a beautiful pool and the weather...well it was beautiful. For me personally, that's all I need. I do not need to sight see, and eating out and shopping are nice but very optional. On one particular evening, my siblings concocted a plan to drive to Los Angeles and get on 'The Price is Right' game show. The drive was over 4 hours from where we were staying and we would have to get up around 3:00 a.m. to get on the road, get in line and HOPE that we would all get to go on the show. To me, that was SO not worth it and my husband agreed. We would much rather sleep in and lay around all day by the pool. However, my brother called the studio and found out that groups of 10 people are guaranteed to get on the show. Without JT and I, there wasn't 10... boo. There were 3 grand babies, one sister that wasn't 18, and one Granny that stayed back to hang out with the youngins. I'll admit we were brats about it, two cranky complaining Crooks, but we went. It was a family vacation to celebrate my sister's graduation and it was something that she really wanted to do, so we took one for the team;)
I wish I could say it was bright and early...but on July 7th, we left in the dark, eyes burning. Oh and I forgot to mention, this was also the day of Michael Jackson's memorial service...in LA. So on top of the forever long drive, were we anticipating massive amounts of traffic. I do remember getting there with plenty of time though, and I was slightly annoyed that we left so early...cranky complaining Crooks I tell ya. I also remember getting out of the car with my nail polish remover and cotton balls and getting to work, much to my older sister's dismay. Her close to exact words were "It's not like you're going to get on TV and they'll zoom in on your hands...it doesn't matter". I snapped back and took my chipped polish off anyway. So there we sat, all 10 of us in matching shirts, waiting to get in to the show. Everyone was given a card to write information about ourselves. The girl who collected them told me she loved my purse and I said thanks and told her where I got it for sale online, we had a sweet little conversation. After a few more hours of sitting, our group of 10 was interviewed. We were each asked a couple questions based on the information we had written on our cards. I remember writing that we were foster parents. I worked in special education. And that I had auditioned for American Idol twice and never made it past the first round, so I felt really rejected and I knew that getting called down on The Price is Right would heal my pain. The interviewer asked me about working in special education and asked if my husband had any special needs. Well that was a weird thing to say and I was a little caught off guard. I said "well he was born with two thumbs on one hand but he had one surgically removed when he was a baby so it really doesn't affect him today". The guy cracked up and I apologized to my husband afterwards and told him that if I get called down and win anything, I'll give half of it all to him;)
As we were all herded into the studio to be seated, I realized I really had to use the bathroom (i.e. check my hair). I ducked out of line (we're all put in a particular order) and made a new friend in the ladies room... I was convinced that if I did get on stage my poof would deflate and I would have a serious hair malfunction. I shared my fear with my new friend and we shared a few giggles. Before I walked out, she told me that she just knew I was going to get called down on the show....okay, rrrrrrrrright:) Anyway, when I walked in the studio I couldn't find my family...a nervous looking usher asked for my number and quickly showed me to my seat. JT said people kept coming over and asking where the person for my seat was...interesting. Anyway, due to my rendezvous in the power room, I had missed out on some instructions...like don't listen for your name to be called, look on stage for a giant cue card with your name on it. It will be way too loud to hear anything because everyone will be instructed to cheer as loud as they can when we're back from a commercial break. I had the cheering part down. And we're on! There were so many cameras zooming around my head from the ceiling...this was my chance! I cheered, I clapped, I jumped, and I cheered and clapped and jumped. I was getting on TV, the cameras were aimed in my direction...I'm as good as famous! As I cheer and clap and jump some more in complete oblivion my brother turns around, grabs my arm and points at the stage...my name! It's my name on a giant cue card!!!! As I run past my husband and down the aisle high fiving all the way, he didn't even notice! He was still cheering at the cameras for his chance at stardom too:) Once he noticed I was gone...and I was down front, he freaked. I was the first contestant called down and therefore had the last bid on "A braaaaand newwwww billiard table!" My bid..."$2499 Drew." And what do you know? I won me (well half was my husbands:) a pool table! I walked up on stage shocked with my hands on my head. I remember these details only because I have the dvd:) When I got on stage I said "Is this real life?" Drew said "I don't know, wanna pinch me?" So...I pinched him, he said "ouch", and then I played a riveting game of 'In the Bag'. I was told the rules, but they didn't sink in...I was still freaking. I have severe focusing issues on a normal day;) I had a list of prices and had to match the groceries to the appropriate amounts. I knew that much. I put them all in order based a little on what I thought, and alot on what my family was yelling at me...still freaking. It was done and at this point I didn't know the rules anymore. The first item was a match! I won $1000! And then there was more jumping clapping, jumping clapping, but this time cameras were the last thing on my mind...I could NOT control myself. Drew said I could either keep going and double my money if I'm right, lose my money if I'm wrong, or stop now and keep my $1000. Well that was news to me! And in shock my hands were pressed tightly against my cheeks, the camera closed in, and my nails were highly visible...just saying:) Did I mention I've watched the dvd a couple times? I chose to go on...the next item was a match and I had $2000! Jump, clap, squeal, freak, you get the idea. To go or stay, that was the question...my family said go, so I went. I was right again and now had $4000! I looked at my family and didn't get much input...alot of shoulder shrugs and unsure looks, so I stayed. Then I found out that lint roller wasn't 3.99 after all:) So I made the right choice because if I'd continued I would have lost it all. The show then went to a commercial break and my exit from the stage was just as awkward as my "come on down" entrance. Again...I missed the directions on what to do. I went to one side, then the other, then couldn't see anything, and had to be ushered off. I think the majority of that display didn't make the actual show:) I was taken to a seat on the opposite side of the studio from my family to await the showcase showdown. And guess who I was seated by...my new friend from the bathroom! She hugged me and said "I told you that you would make it!" I squeezed her kneecap off and said "that money is for my baby"...at which point I got a tad emotional and she thought I was nutso. Our relationship wasn't that deep.
Back track with me to July 4th when my husband and I were on our flight to San Diego. We had decided earlier in the spring, after our Julie encounter, that we were ready to adopt. It was on this flight that JT and I brainstormed on ways to raise money. The hard truth was that he is a teacher, I was an instructional assistant, and adoption is expensive. We were 100% sure that this is where God was leading us and we knew He would provide, but in our human nature we were a bit discouraged trying to figure out how we would pay the high price tag. We brainstormed, prayed, talked to our family, and BAM! Three short days later God stuck me on the Price is Right! Talk about affirmation...that was my crazy fun God screaming, "this is what I want for you, be encouraged and here is your head start!"
Okay..back to the show. It was time for the showcase showdown and I was back on stage with two other contestants. The gentleman before me spun a whopping $.95 so my $.85 fell short. I was less than bummed, my high was still lingering:) After our taping was over and I went through some paperwork backstage, I was reunited with my family outside. I ran into JT's arms and we both had tears in our eyes, we were on the same page, with the same thoughts racing through our minds. My family teared up with us. Everyone knew our intentions for our newfound small fortune without saying a word. In all the excitement of the experience, we also received a new hope, a new sense of urgency, and a fresh dose of encouragement.
Three days later we wrapped up our family vaca with my 27th birthday celebration. That was and most likely will always be my favorite family vacation. Now my $4000 was before California state taxes were deducted, and my $2800 pool table sold for a mere $1000 after taking JT's spot in the garage for nearly 9 months. Oh... and don't forget half of all of that was JT's...SO glad we don't do that separate account stuff;) But the $4500 we did receive was a great head start and $4500 more than we had before. It was enough to get the ball rolling and we were ready to get home and get to work, so that's exactly what we did!
I giggled my way through writing this...such fun memories:) Getting to this point was a journey for sure and a new journey was just beginning. I absolutely adore this life God has given me and the unorthodox way He brought us here is simply beautiful. My God is good!
On a separate note, here are some tips if you really want to get on the Price is Right: Go in a group of 10 or more and wear matching t-shirts. Be kind and personable to anyone working for the show that you might come in contact with. I'm almost certain they send out spotters (the girl who liked my purse). Your group will be interviewed all together so be the personality who stands out (I didn't do that on purpose). They love to pick people out of large groups...it looks good on camera. And lastly, don't take any last minute bathroom breaks...it could cost you some embarrassment. I looked like a complete ding dong at least twice on camera:) That's it for now...there's much more to come, I'm really just getting started. We don't even have any kids yet!
Crazy Mama Crook