I’m an introvert. Solidly. I would much rather be behind the scenes, out of the spotlight, making things happen. My acting career ended in 8th grade with my performance of “Matchmaker” from Fiddler on the Roof. My voice cracked in the middle of my solo. End scene.
Fast-forward 30 years. My modern day life is pretty solitary. I spend most of my days behind a computer screen in my kitchen-office. No stage, no spotlight, no audience… unless you count my dog and 10 week old kitten, and they’re a pretty docile crowd.
So, imagine my surprise when HGTV called and offered me a spot on one of their shows. Better yet, imagine that I ASKED for it. Crazy, I know. But we do some crazy things for people we love…
Last spring I was flipped thru HGTV, my addiction of choice, and began seeing ads for a new series called Renovation Raiders, hosted by, Amy Matthews, a face I was familiar with and had enjoyed in the past. This “Oceans 11 meets home improvement surprise” show immediately grabbed me from the first episode. A major home make-over in just a few hours? While a couple was out to dinner? Knocking down walls and rebuilding kitchens? No way! That was insane! I hooked Kevin on the show as well and we were even further captivated when we realized the restaurants, streets, and raids we were watching were happening in Minnesota! That made it all the more engaging.
I wanted this! I wanted a master bathroom remodel ASAP. But, since our east coast location was prohibitive, my mind turned to my sister and brother-in-law in their “new” Twin Cities home. Their kitchen had issues… to put it nicely! A bad layout led to burned homework (seriously!), unusable drawers, and traffic jams. So, when we visited their home later that summer, I told them about the show. I immediately regretted not telling Terry on the sly. The key to the show is one spouse knowing about and planning the raid with the team and the other spouse being in the dark…completely. This 5 minute conversation with them both kind of put an end to it being feasible… or so I thought… until the text came.
Terry had catalogued that conversation, counting on Christa NOT recalling it, and had submitted a video application in September…. and was called, just 6 weeks later! My first text back to him read, “Can I come be your spy???” I was partly serious. Partly joking. But in the days that followed, it became more and more possible that this COULD actually happen! The process was moving quickly at the Foss home, and as Terry kept me in the loop I was getting more and more nervous. When the call requesting a submission video from ME finally came, I was in a semi-panic!! I SO wanted to be a part of this for Christa. But I’d rather have taken a place in the kitchen, behind the scenes. A fly on the wall. That wasn’t the role they had in mind for me.
I was so torn. In the end, I took a breath, fixed my hair (it had been a “hat” day!), and hit record. It took a few takes, but with Alex’s editing help, I had it ready to submit. The waiting began…
Waiting is the hardest part. Anticipation, anxiety, what ifs. I talked to my family about this opportunity and especially the nervousness that came with it. During one of these conversations with Alex he said, “What’s the big deal mom? Just be you. Just be real.” As simple as that sounds, it changed everything, I realized I had nothing to lose. I just needed to be me. If they chose me, they chose me. If they didn’t, they didn’t. My mind shifted from “I don’t think so” to “Yes, I can.” At least most of the time.
When the call came, I was as ready as I’d ever be. The flight was booked, accommodations were made, and the mission was a GO! Flying into the MSP terminal 4 days before the raid was surreal. Staying undercover for all that time, not telling a soul that I was in town (other than my mom & dad – with whom I was staying – and Terry) was challenging. I slunk around Rosedale Mall shopping for disguises, fearing I’d run into a familiar face. I turned off my “location” button on my phone so I didn’t accidentally post something on Facebook that gave away my position. I guess I was practicing for the real thing!
I could write a book on the experience itself. Maybe a blog (or blogs) for another time. But for now, suffice it to say it was the most insane… and fun… thing I’ve ever done. It was an out-of-body experience. I learned to breathe deeply to calm the nerves, adapt to ever-shifting plans, and just be present in the moment.
Getting out of my comfort zone led me to one of the highlights of my life… seeing my sister’s face at the end of the raid. I’ve surprised her before, but this was the experience of all experiences. It takes the cake. I’m not sure how to “out-do” this one, and I don’t need to. I can’t imagine the regret if I had let my nerves, my fear, my anxiety prevent me from being a part of this. The end product is going to blow your mind!
When I watch the episode this weekend, I’ll probably be watching with my hand over my face, just peeking thru my fingers. You know how hard it is to watch yourself in home videos? Yeah. Multiply that times thousands across the country watching along with you. Yikes!
No voice cracking this time. No missed notes. Just some driving, sneaking, and surprising.