I was minding my own business at 3:30 this morning when a party broke out...
You want the water hot when you turn the shower on each morning.
The toothbrush had better be where you left it.
Car keys? Same place I put 'em when I went to bed last night.
No one likes surprises in the morning. With the personal exception of THIS morning.
My Wisconsin's Morning News co-hort Jon Byman let me in on the secret when he arrived this morning at 3:30 with a large gray basket in tow, full of fixin's for fresh waffles. He even hand-picked raspberries from his own garden.
Can't celebrate a 30 year anniversary without waffles, he said.
The light went on. This was about me, and the fact that I was about to start my fourth decade here at Radio City. I wrote a blog about it a few weeks ago, the gist of it being that I myself had almost forgotten about it. I'd said nothing else, except when Charlie Sykes brought it up on air during one of our transitions.
And, it was the furthest thing from my mind as I was logging onto my computer this morning just after three.
After Byman's waffles came producer Bryan Ramsey's baked eggstravaganza and Michelle Richards' apple/craisin/yogurt/toasted almond salad and Jay Sorgi's Bloody Mary mix (on duty/no booze). A vigorous food coma was settling in as five a.m. approached and the show was starting.
Byman read a really nice little atta-boy at the end of the first newscast, and Scott Steele would burst into the studio before the hour was up with a camera crew, a brush with ambush journalism that left me even more of a blubbering idiot than usual.
All unexpected. All unnecessary. All deeply appreciated.
Every day feels like the first day when I come to work at 720 East Capitol Drive. I would dream about working here as I got into radio. I was physically sick the first couple of weeks I was at WKTI, wracked with nerves and worried that I didn't belong. I was star struck by the people I worked with, that I'd see in the hallways, that I'd walk past in the parking lot. I was amazed at how nice they were, how eager they were to see us succeed as we tried to wake up the sleeping FM giant.
It's quite the metamorphosis, going from the new kid to the staff geezer. No alarms go off, no switches get thrown. Days pass. Months go by. Years accrue. And then one day, you're minding your own business at your keyboard early one morning when your co-workers start pouring batter, shoveling eggs and serving up salad. People start saying really nice things, and you realize that it's possible to blush not just in your face but all over your body.
There are surprises, and then there are surprises. I'm not worthy of such attention--that's not false modesty, it's truly how I feel. The only thing I did was to last a long time. That's not to be discounted in this industry, but it hardly makes me waffle-worthy.
That said, I'm humbled and grateful. It doesn't feel like 30 years, but numbers don't lie. And I don't, either, when I say thank you to my fellow Radio City employees for the kind words, for putting up with me and for taking the time to make today special.
May you all be so surprised some morning.