Radio Days: When Ted Took Out the Laundry...Instead of the Garbage

Right after Brooks was born, we left my beloved Nirvana of Tuscaloosa and moved to Kansas City.  Much to Ted's disappointment, we did not go back to LA...not right away anyway.  I announced to him once I had the love of my life in my arms that I wanted Brooks to grow up in a slower paced atmosphere.  I will spare the details of this discussion for a future blog, as it will be worth the wait!  It was loud, well, that part would be a given!!   So when Brooks was 2 months old Ted found a great job as a TV reporter at a TV station in Kansas City. It was a ridiculous mess moving there, with half our stuff in storage in LA and our little apartment in Tuscaloosa filled with several months worth of new baby items for my new love.  Things shift when you have a baby, as all of us moms know.  The center of my universe was no longer BIG Mr. World, it was tiny new LITTLE Mr. World.  When we arrived in KC into our precious little 2 bedroom 1950s bungalow, I thought maybe I would just stay home and pretend it was 1954.  I was in a brand new city and didn't know a soul so, Ted thought  I needed to get out.  In a flash I found myself back on the radio with my own talk show.  I was not ready.  But the worst part was how much I DIDN'T KNOW I wasn't ready.  Instead of taking Brooks to a day care, I hired a young girl who had just gotten her Nanny license. Ted and I were trying this out.  I told him I am making no promises that I will keep working. Eventually, I left radio to be home with my sweetheart.  That, too, is another story.  The Center of my Universe was crying when I left and crying when I got home...and I was only gone about 3 hours a day.  At the time, I thought it would be a fantastic idea to re-create Norman Rockwell scenes at home on a daily basis.  The little house would be clean and perfectly appointed, a home-cooked meal on the table ...with candles...when Daddy arrived home at night, baby all clean and sweet-smelling.  I just wanted the postcard.  So I asked the Nanny to help me clean and when Brooks would sleep, which was NEVER, she would do the laundry and some light housework.  I mean after all, I was never gone more than 4 hours at my very latest.  One day I had a really huge interview planned on my radio show.  Rue McClanahan from the Golden Girls.  I had already interviewed Betty White and Estelle Getty,  but Rue was my favorite!!  A true Southern Belle and we would have so much in common, lots of funny stories about men.  I had no idea I was about to get my own story in just a few seconds!  She came in the studio and sat down and we began.  Not 15 minutes into the show, my producer rang the the studio phone and when the red light lit up at my microphone during a commercial break I just knew something was wrong.  Like the BAT PHONE...it never lit up with something insignificant or benign.  The red light was blinking, and Rue was sitting there laughing and chatting with me during the commercial break...... .......BLINK....BLINK...RED... ON...OFF.......RED... ON....OFF....  OH MY HEAVENS!!!!!  WHAT!!!!!!  Did I want to know??  I was so worried it was something wrong at home so I had to pick it up...quick! I was chatting with one of my idols, SHE is a real SOUTHERNER! Was it just Ted calling to tell me I bounced another check?  And I was just starving for a conversation with ANYONE from the SOUTH!  How many REAL SOUTHERNERS had I even met in KC...RIGHT!  NONE!!  And it was RUE MCCLANAHAN!!  Did I say that already?   What if it was little Mr. World??  What if he was sick??  As my stomach dropped with the thought, I reached for the blinking BAT PHONE.  Before I could say anything  my producer said, "It's Lynn, your sitter."  Stomach plummets, like I have been dropped from the peak of a roller coaster.  The producer put Lynn through, and said, "We are back in 60."  I had exactly one minute to hear the problem, and fix it and not be panicked and get right back into the show..meanwhile Rue...RUE MCCLANAHAN!..is sitting right next me trying to chat funny meaningless stuff...Oh my heavens...."Hello!  Lynn what's wrong?"  I waited for the worst....Brooks is sick.... Brooks bit the cat's ear, (which he loved to do) Brooks is bleeding...WHAT?? WHAT????   Lynn spoke.  "Where is the laundry you wanted me to do?"  I dropped my head back in relief!   "The laundry?"  I couldn't even think!  Rue was sitting right there!  "Yeah," she said.  "I opened up all the bags you left for me and all of them are full of garbage! You know like milk cartons and stuff."   "WHAT?" I said.  Producer is showing a card that reads "...45 seconds..."    "I left the three bags of laundry right by the stairs to the basement."  I said.  "No," she continued.  "It's all garbage.  I looked.  All three bags are all just your garbage."   It hit me like a slap in the face....TED TOOK OUT THE LAUNDRY...INSTEAD OF THE GARBAGE! The panic set in.  I said it out loud, at which point Rue, listening to this entire conversation, burst out laughing. The producer showing me ...20 seconds..... "Oh my God, look out the window, did the garbage truck come?"  I am frantic now, knowing ALL Brooks baby clothes, underwear, towels....all in the garbage truck.  And we had the trucks that CHEWED everything up....into smitherines, shredding into thin threads, all of Brooks things.   "Oh no," Lynn said, "they just threw the last bag in..."  I heard the door open and the sounds of Lynn running across the yard to the street, "Stop!  Stop!", she yelled, and then the sounds of the garbage truck, ripping our clothes and towels into nothing.   They turned the truck off as she arrived at the curb.  I heard her say, "I think that was the laundry...."  Then silence....Producer shows, .....10 seconds.... And then..a low gruff voice...the garbage man spoke  "Sorry m'am...seems it WAS clothes..."....then..."Oh my God...there's the laundry I was supposed to do..."  Then Lynn said..."Oh I am so sorry...I think your husband took out the laundry instead of the garbage this morning..."  "OK...I'll call next break"  I hung up the bat phone.  Rue was laughing but as a true Southerner with manners and grace, she covered her mouth and held in her hysteria as she knew I was a tad upset with my husband!  A TAD!!  The producer pointed to me, the sudio light came on..."ON THE AIR"  I am live in the moment and boiling mad and RUE is there and the mic is ON...what do I do?  Ted was a reporter and I KNEW he was riding around KC on his daily story in the news truck, with his photographer, Jonathan, and they always listened to me.  Ok...PAYBACK...ALL of Kansas City would know Ted left out laundry at the curb this morning.  Y'all...seriously..come on...Does LAUNDRY and garbage really FEEL the same when you lift a bag of it??  I KNOW it DOES NOT!  Ted was not even paying attebtion when he left Brooks clothes at the end of the driveway for the garbage man to shred into threads of nothing today!  So I opened my next hour with..."Rue, forgive me for one second while I deal with some HOUSE CLEANING!"  Rue laughed.
"Ted, Honey, I know now you are listening...let me have your undivided attention"....I paused for emphasis...  "Are you listening???"  Another pause...."Remember when I asked you to take the garbage out this morning...well guess what?  I will be needing to buy Brooks all new clothes and I will need new underwear too...and oh yeah...we will need new linens too....Why,  you ask??  well....INSTEAD OF TAKING OUT THE GARBAGE...YOU TOOK OUT THE LAUNDRY!!!!  and Lynn just called saying she is not sure how to fold GARBAGE!!!!!  Yep...garbage inside...laundry outside!!!!  And it all got chewed up...curbside!!"  By this time Rue is unable to contain herself, she is laughing loudly, about to fall out of her chair.  "Oh My," she said.."MEN MEN! MEN!!  Well, honey, now you have the perfect excuse to buy all new lingerie!" I answered back, "Would you happen to have a new man in mind for me to wear it for?"    Producer talks in my ear..."Beth, your husband's on line 3...."  The BAT PHONE was lighting up ...again!