That’s what I am wondering in my latest Babble blog post.
My cousin J, remembering her son on the eve of what would have been his 7th birthday.
Love you, cousins.
Yesterday, just before I went to a big meeting, I realized that I had both dog hair and just the merest bit of Indian food on my clothing. My attempts to remediate in the ladies room just before entering the meeting were largely unsuccessful.
But it was still a REALLY good meeting. I’m thinking it was the curry smell that did the trick, subliminally of course…. Because people just love a digital strategerist who smells of curry – whether they know they do or not.
A couple of things you should know:
-I am famously clumsy. I once FELL OFF THE STAGE (as an adult, like, six years ago) giving a particularly animated presentation at a big, regional La Leche League conference in front of at least 200 people who had ACTUALLY PAID MONEY to see me
speak fall off the stage.
-I startle easily. In our household, people know that if they talk to me when I am too deeply engrossed in reading something, or put a hand on my shoulder when I am deep in Writer Zone, I will let out this little …or sometimes not so little squeaky, shrieking sound. Like a dog toy. A very loud, annoying dog toy.
-I just got over being really, really sick and I am still kind of weak. Today was the first totally full day I worked without taking a rest.
So now that you know these things, I will tell you of the horribly embarrassing thing that happened to me today. I was giving a presentation to about 80 very smart, accomplished people who had PAID MONEY to hear me as one of the panelists on the topic of social media. The event was organized by Leadership Knoxville, and I felt honored to be included with the other incredibly clever, nice folks on the panel.
The event started at 4pm, at the end of my first full day back on the job. I was tired when I got there, and definitely feeling some of the exhausted “fade out” that has accompanied recovery from my illness. But I figured I could buck up and just do it anyway. After all, I generally love public speaking (weird, I know), and although I can’t do math, cook or work our TV remote, I think I am a pretty darn good public speaker. I know I am. So given that I am generally good at talking to large groups of people, I wasn’t worried that I could overcome the fact that I was feeling kind of, well…unwell.
I went on after Bob Wilson, who did a fantastic job – a hard act to follow. I was feeling somewhat weak and shaky when I hit the podium, but I was enthusiastic about the topic, and eager to do the presentation. As soon as I started speaking, I began feeling sort of faint. Like, literally a little lightheaded. Definitely weak. My normally very loud, enthusiastic voice grew weaker and a little shaky. As I realized this was happening, I became anxious and self-conscious about it, which made it worse. I felt physically wobbly. Finally, after two or three minutes, I decided to slow down, take a breath and reach to the little shelf below me on the podium for a swig of my water bottle.
The audience could not tell that I was beginning the motion to get the water bottle; in fact I was just at the very beginning of my body following my brain’s directive to do this when I lost my balance on my fairly high, stacked heels. One ankle buckled. It hurt like hell, sharply and suddenly. And then, without any volition, it happened: I let out a VERY LOUD, squeaky shriek, like I do when I am startled.
I am not even sure that the audience noticed that I had lost my footing and twisted my ankle. It all happened so fast, and that was at foot level and they were looking at my upper body, not my feet. (At my face actually, and my mouth, out of which came this weird, loud squeak.) Did I mention that it was loud? Do I need to mention that it was embarrassing? Horrifying, actually.
The only good thing was that the embarrassment that rushed through me produced a shot of adrenalin that suddenly took away the faint, shaky feeling I’d been experiencing, and I mostly recovered my voice, and finished the presentation in far better form than I had started it. But all I could think about, and all I’ve thought about since, is what people must have thought of that bizarro, high pitched noise that suddenly came out of my mouth.
I. am. a. huge. grown-up. dork.
There is just no getting around this. No matter how old I get, or how many well received speeches and presentations I give, I know that the 1000th time, I will literally fall off the stage. Or get really dizzy and shaky, and then emit a loud squeak in the middle of my talk.
I will. I know I will. And I did today.
People were kind afterward, and told me I did a good job. I asked a few people, who insisted that they “didn’t notice” the bizarre noise I made (or that I almost fell out of my own shoe) during the talk. People are nice that way. But I know they noticed. ACk! I wanted to tell every single person there about how I’d been sick, and felt dizzy and weak, and was just trying to get water, and how my shoe heel was too high and, and, and, and…but I couldn’t and didn’t.
Unfortunately, the entire incident was – yes, you guessed it – videotaped for posterity. I am sure it will eventually appear online somewhere. I will force myself not to watch it.
And now, I shall enjoy an adult beverage. Because my twisted ankle hurts (almost as much as my pride).
For those of you visiting my blog for the first time today via the link where I am quoted in the LA Times on Kate Gosselin, welcome. Feel free to stick around, sign up for my RSS feed, or follow my blogging on Facebook or Twitter.
I also wanted to point out a couple of things. First of all, the reason the reporter contacted me is because I’ve written about the Gosselin show several times at (the world’s best parenting site) Babble.com, where I am a featured blogger. I’ve written about the show both in a few blog posts and also in a recent essay about how Jon & Kate Plus 8 is the first reality show reflecting the new pop culture norms of the “mommyblog age.”
I also want to add that having been through a divorce with kids myself, I know first hand that in a time when you are hurting and things are raw and you are worried about money, it’s easy to say too much about things you later wish you had kept to yourself. I made some mistakes myself. So I can say that my quote in the LAT story today was one that came from personal experience (and I think I mentioned that in the interview; it just didn’t make it into the final piece)
Last, as part of my work as Director of Digital & Social Media for Ackermann PR, I consult with companies (including some of the country’s best known brands) about how to better connect in a creative, authentic way with mothers in general, as well as with very particular segments of the mom market. I have a great deal of professional experience in this specific area of online strategy, and as a mother of four children myself – ranging in age from 2 to 18 years old – I’m passionate about it. So if your organization or business is interested in talking with me about what I do and how I do it, shoot me an email at [email protected] or at [email protected] I’d love to chat with you about your needs and how my work can help to meet them.
As I have no doubt mentioned before, we live in a very large, 100 year old, wooden house. It has been clear since we first moved in that we have the occasional rodent lurking about. This was mostly clear because our two cats, Mingus and Moses would find mice, and then leave them – bloody and gutted in our front hallway. As disgusting as this was, I found it gratifying to think that the cats were doing their jobs, and keeping the nasty, disgusting rodents at bay.
Fast forward to fall, 2009, Mingus and Moses are now outdoor cats (actually, Mngus is indoor/outdoor) due to intractable bladder control issues (yes, we did try the $40 special Web-order only cat pheremones. Yes, we did take them to the vet. Yes, we did have enough litter boxes…blah, blah, blah) It came down to my furniture and rugs…or the cats enjoying the sunny outdoors. My rugs won out.
So now that the cats live mostly outdoors, the rodents have moved mostly indoors. We have mice. The evidence is overwhelming…and disgusting. Jon has been setting traps in the basement, but he didn’t believe me that he needed to set them on the top floor of the house as well, He apparently held the belief that all rodents who needed to be killed would happily migrate to the basement to do so. It is my opinion, however, that the rats and mice who are CLEARLY living on the top floor – where H, J and E have their bedrooms – have never and will never visit our basement, which is located approximately one MILE below them.
Tonight J cleaned her room and closets better than she has in a year. And suffice it to say that this thorough cleaning made it oh-so-apparent that my daughter has a family of rodents visiting her room on a not-infrequent basis. I was horrified. In fact, I am so grossed out – even after even more cleaning took place – that I know for certain I will have dreams tonight where I am old and alone, and rats are gnawing off my face.
We will certainly be putting lots of traps and poison on the top floor tomorrow, but maybe we need an exterminator? Or those electronic repellents from As Seen on TV commercials? Anyone have any fantastic ideas for eradicating rats and mice in a multistory, still half un-renovated, giant old Victorian house?
Because I don’t want to have my face gnawed off …in my dreams…or in my actual sleep.