Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Our Almost 15 Minutes of Fame

The upcoming Presidential Inauguration brought a virtual gold rush to DC right after the election. Everyone we know - including yours truly - had big dollar signs in their eyes soon after Obama was elected with rumors of millions of people coming and almost no remaining hotel rooms to house them. Consequently, just about every DC resident with a dusty basement all the way to folks with seven bedroom mansions listed their space for rent on Craigslist or by other means. It got ridiculous quickly and many houses around us were listed for well over $10,000 for the Inauguration week.

However, like many get rich quick schemes, this one turned out to be a relative bust, and the "huge" rental market just never really materialized. That said, we were blessed to be one of the relative few to actually rent our house out for the four day period - albeit for less than originally anticipated. We are very thankful for this little New Year's Bonus and are planning on heading to Cincinnati for four days starting on Saturday.

And yet the surprise and good fortune of renting our house was just the beginning. About 3 weeks after we secured the rental, we got an email through a friend of a friend at ABC about Good Morning America doing a story on people renting out their house for the Inauguration. Thinking this was our big shot, I responded and after a few days of email interviewing, they chose us as their feature family. While we would rather have the spotlight shown on Ethiopian adoption, we were both excited about our 15 minutes of fame (Leah will say she did not care, but I think we all know the truth on that...).

So the day arrived and we spent the entire morning frantically cleaning our house for its big debut. The main problem was that we scheduled the filming about 24 hours after our six Christmas guests had departed so we had our work cut out for us. But, we got everything done just in time to be nervous as the time grew closer. We did not want to say anything stupid and I had even prepared some good "supply and demand" rhetoric in case they tried to make a hit piece out of it and paint us as some greedy profiteers in a historical event. Leah asserted that she was not that concerned, but she was busy thinking through the ABC reality show offer that was sure to come once they saw how "fun" we were. Of course, we would never have taken up the reality show because everyone knows what happens to marriages that do that...

The GMA crew getting the "kitchen shot" just right before starting our interview

So, they walked in the door and thankfully, none of our fears were realized and it ended up being a really cool experience. They came in with the lights, camera and sound equipment and a whole crew to match. As soon as it started, we found ourselves in the midst of a "kitchen shot versus living room shot" discussion and tried not to pretend like we had any informed opinions on the matter. They ended up interviewing us for about 45 minutes and then doing a tour of the house with me leading for another 45 minutes. At the end they got a nice family shot of Leah reading to the whole family. It was really awesome and all we talked about for the next few days was how we could not wait to see how they would cut all the footage down into the promised 2-3 minute spot.

Pretty cool huh???

Well, the "almost" in the title of this blog is where is gets depressing. We spent all this time getting the house ready, being nervous and then doing the shoot and the piece has still not freaking aired! We have been told on three occasions now (starting 2 weeks ago) that it would be on the show (and of course I embarrassed myself on the first promise by announcing it to just about everyone I knew only to have it pulled at the last minute due to a "better" story about some vagrant living in some people's attic), but it has yet to air and we really only have 3 days of opportunity left.

The GMA crew, including national ABC correspondant, David Kerley, talking about how great a Carpenter's Chaos reality show would be

All to say, it looks like our 15 minutes of fame was a big bust. The pictures embedded in this post are proof that it happened, but it looks like the national exposure and big break for the Carpenters is not going to materialize, and it is doubtful that any reality show offers will come in. I was even hoping for a 20/20 follow-up with with Barbra Walters on this "amazing family and their journey to adopt," but that is also probably not going to happen.

So, we are left with the Carpenter's Chaos blogging world as our outlet to fame. There is still a chance it could air and we will certainly post the footage and gloat if it does, but I have definitely learned a good lesson on the pitfalls of self promotion. Oh well, at least we rented our place...


The Albertsons said...

You will always be famous in our eyes...
and now you're a little richer :)
have fun in cinci!

Townes said...

Tom, with your shot un-heard around the world that cleared out a bus, you've been famous for a long time, my friend. GMA sucks anyway.

Jenny Adams said...

This is hilarious!! I laughed so hard that Johnny thought I was crying...sorry you're not famous, but you're still cool to us!!

Carpenter Family said...

Very unique experience. How exciting!