Thursday, January 13, 2011

She was on the Oprah show

An attractive woman and her preteen daughter enjoyed the poolside sun at the Outrigger Reef on the Beach in Waikiki. The 12 year old had her head buried in "The Iliad" in French. I couldn't control my curiosity. "In French?" I asked.
Then followed a long story - it was winter break in school; they were from English-speaking Canada but all the students in her school had to learn French too; the rest of the family couldn't get away so the two of them were enjoying a few days in the sun before they returned to the cold and snow of Canada.
The woman owned a successful design and decorating studio in Canada. Shortly after a local magazine wrote how she transformed a run-down, shabby house into a photo-worthy show house, the Oprah show contacted her and asked her to please help with a house make-over. The show ran a contest and the winning people needed a new living room, bathrooms, and kitchen.
"I should have asked some questions," she said. "Instead, I just said yes, boarded the plane to Chicago that had been booked for me, checked into the hotel, and was whisked to the studio where the staff explained the assignment."
The Show had no budget for the renovations - not for decorating, not for furniture, not for appliances, not for kitchen cabinets, not for plumbing, not for electrical work, not for anything. Not even for me. "Just mention that they will be featured on the Oprah Show and all the publicity will cause customers to flood to their businesses."
Mostly, that's what happened. Those vendors who would not give their products or services for free were not used. Sometimes, "we had to use second-rate businesses."
She became agitated while she was telling us about this 4-day adventure. Her most difficult task was the kitchen. "But, I got lucky. One of the best kitchen designers had a completed kitchen , cabinets and appliances, and he agreed to supply me (and the show) and put his paying customer on hold."
After she told the story, she said that she had to agree never to speak about her experience, Oprah, or the show.
Spilling her displeasure must have been cathartic. She relaxed. Leaned back in her lounge chair, smiled, thanked us for listening, and went to sleep.

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