Thursday, January 16, 2014


I’m one of those people who never win anything.  I accept that if I enter a raffle, I’m just giving a donation to the organization holding the event.  However, when watching Live with Kelly and Michael last year (formerly Live with Regis and Kelly), I realized that the show had a Travel Trivia game every day where a viewer could win a trip for two to somewhere warmer than Connecticut if the person could answer the question about the previous day’s show correctly.  With DVR’s so one can record their favorite show and Google, I couldn’t understand why so many people blew their opportunity and missed the question. 
One morning last April, I received a call from a woman identifying herself as a producer from Live with Kelly and Michael.  I had registered online a month or so before for the show’s Travel Trivia Giveaway, but assumed it could take years before I was contacted and then I’d probably not be home and miss the call.  If you haven’t watched the TV show, the co-hosts talk to a viewer by phone, spin the prize wheel with various trips listed like an all-inclusive resort in Florida, Arizona or St. Lucia.  Whatever the wheel lands on, that’s the trip the caller is trying to win by correctly answering a question about the previous day’s show.  The idea is three-fold; free promotion for the resorts, encouraging regular viewers and positive public relations.
I was still in my pajamas when the producer from Live called me and asked if I would be available at 9 am if they called back for the contest.  She explained I would be on the phone listening to the show, and there would be a 10 second delay so please turn the sound down on the TV when they started talking to me.  I had about 45 minutes to prepare.  Jay couldn’t understand why I was so excited.  “This is big!  This is really big!” I kept telling him as I got out my asthma inhaler.
I had already watched the previous show, but knowing how nerves make my brain stop functioning, I wanted to be really prepared.  I re-watched the show and took notes.  The show had been cut short  with news about the Boston Bombing which had just occurred a couple of days before.  Therefore,  I only had to watch about 30 minutes, fast-forwarding through the non-essential parts.  Then I changed out of my pajamas so I’d sound more intelligent (in my mind).  I think I even put on some make-up. 
The regular co-host, Michael Strahan was on vacation and different celebrities were filling in that week.   I listened to the co-hosts in our computer/kitten room while Jay watched in the adjacent living room.  I could see him through the closed French doors, but didn’t want to distract myself by watching with a 10-second delay.  About 20 minutes into the show, the Travel Trivia segment came on and I was suddenly on the air.  The picture I’d sent in of me in the snow with our dogs flashed up.  A star marking Ledyard on a map also popped up.   I spoke to Kelly Ripa and actor Mark Feuerstein.  We chatted about chickens and Kelly’s desire to have backyard chickens.  She said it was her dream to have a chicken coop.  I replied that it was everyone’s dream and I was living it.  Banter, banter…we’re practically BFF’s now. 
Take me to St. Lucia!
When the trip wheel was spun, it landed on a trip to St. Lucia and I was also eligible to win the Wild Prize of a $1000 TJ Maxx gift card.  My question was, “On yesterday’s show, what musical instrument did guest co-host Peter Facinelli say his father played?”  I should have milked the available 20 seconds to build the suspense, but I blurted out “The accordion!” immediately.  Peter Facinelli (from the Twilight movies) had spoken at length about camping with his daughters and father and how his dad made friends at campsites with his accordion playing.  I Googled the question later and the only place it came up online was on a transcript from the actual Live show.  Good thing I watched.
Jay was watching the whole thing in the next room, not knowing yet whether or not I won.  I gave him a thumbs up through the window.  I won a week’s vacation for two at Windjammer Landing Resort in St. Lucia; all inclusive (meals and drinks), air fare included, plus the TJ Maxx gift card.  
I suddenly had a bunch of offers for travel companions, but I told Jay I’d take him if he was extra nice to me.  I was able to give them a choice of three dates after we swore we didn’t work for or know anyone at ABC, Orbitz, Disney, Big Brother or the Mafia.  Although I couldn’t get us there exactly on my 50th birthday as it’s too close to Christmas, we were in St. Lucia the week prior.  Happy Birthday to me!
More to come on the actual vacation later. St. Lucia at Last - Arriving in Paradise