I lived in Chicago for six years. When I moved to Chi-town in 2000, I made a mental bucket list for my time there. And one thing I vowed to myself is that I would not leave until I had attended a taping of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Filmed just minutes from each of the three apartments I inhabited while a Windy City dweller, the show was something I simply had to witness. I was, and am, a big Oprah fan. I knew women came from all over the country and the world just to sit in her audience. Surely, I could get tickets for a show filmed just a handful of “L” stops away.
Thankfully, I was able to check this item off my bucket list just under the wire. About six months before I moved out of Chicago and back to Michigan, I was fortunate to land three tickets for the show—one for myself, one for my sister and one for my mom who would be traveling in by train just for the occasion. A friend of a friend was a producer on the show and knew of my deep-seated longing to attend a taping. Thank you again, Kirsten, for making that happen (a great memory to share with my mom and big sis)!
Guests don’t necessarily know what the topic of the show is ahead of time. But because we had a friend in a high place, I was in the know that we would be in the audience when Faith Hill and Tim McGraw were to be guests on the show — a great celebrity experience indeed!
Mom traveled in from Detroit by train. We enjoyed the city together for a few days before we were to attend the taping. Mom, my sis and I discussed and debated at length what we would wear for the big event. In short, we were pumped.
But the afternoon before the day we were to sit in the audience inside Harpo Studios, Kirsten called with bad news. Faith and Tim had to cancel last minute. Our show was no longer happening! My stomach dropped in disappointment. I had already arranged for the day off from work. My mom was in town with this as the crowning moment of our time together. We had our outfits selected after more than a little contemplation. But before I could get too worked up, Kirsten asked if there was any way my mom could stay in town an extra day for an even better Oprah experience? Um, yeah!
She arranged for us to be in the audience when Matthew McConaughey would be one of two celebrity guests on the show. He was promoting his movie “Failure to Launch,” and not only would we get to see him while in the audience, we would be bused to a movie theater beforehand for an unedited pre-screening of the movie. Lunch would even be provided by Oprah. Good just got better.
After we saw the movie the next morning, we disembarked the bus at Harpo Studios. We took our seats inside. We saw Matthew up close and personal. And the icing on the cake? The second guest was John Legend who performed two hits live for us. It was a truly awesome experience.
Prior to his appearance on the show, Matthew had welcomed Oprah’s cameras into his home for an inside look at his bachelor pad (circa spring 2006 when Mr. Matt was still on the market). During the tour, Matthew mentioned how he made it a point to sleep in a different bedroom in his house each night. Oprah loved that idea and mentioned how she had never slept in her own guestrooms. She would give it a try, she said.
Last week this Matthew and Oprah memory came to mind for the previous night I had fallen asleep next to my daughter in her bedroom and woken up the next morning in the guest room next to my son. Sadly, nowhere in the mix was I in the same bedroom with my husband. Ah, the joys of parenthood.
The one bedroom I have not slept in in our home is the nursery and that’s simply because I’m just a wee bit too gangly for the crib. But this semi-regular game of musical bedrooms has given me ample opportunity to experience a night of slumber — or something that sort of resembles it — in three-quarters of my home’s bedrooms.
Well lookie there, Matthew McConaughey and I have something in common! Perhaps Us Weekly is on to something and celebrities really are “just like us!” They eat pizza, sip from public drinking fountains and walk down the street too apparently. Who knew?
In all seriousness though, I suspect that at the time, Matthew’s reasons for alternating beds had little to do with a teething toddler or a three-year-old’s hysteria over waking up to find her Twilight Turtle had turned dark. Even so, with this Matthew memory in mind, I have taken pause more than once to look around and soak in a new perspective of my home as I lie awake at night not daring to budge even an inch for fear of putting into motion another 20-minute song and dance of why we can’t read another “Berenstain Bears” book.
And my ultimate conclusion? We need valances in the guest room, some artwork on a very bare wall of my daughter’s bedroom and a more comfortable bed in the master — not that I’d be able to enjoy it any time soon.
And on occasion when I’m lying next to one of my munchkins wondering how I will execute my latest escape, I wonder if Matthew McConaughey is doing something similar on the West Coast. More likely though he’s teaching little Levi how to play the bongos or beginning his 78th set of abdominal crunches.
Either way, the thought of Mr. McConaughey doing anything at all really does help lull one to sleep, even with an elf-sized elbow firmly wedged in your stomach.