Well, the big US/UK debate came and went. Unfortunately the Listen Again button on Radio 5's web site doesn't appear to want to listen to it, so if you missed it you can pop round to my mum's as she did it the old fashioned way and taped it.
As usual, my domestic life interfered with the media version and my day went something like:
Tuesday morning - confirm with BBC that debate was actually scheduled for midnight Tuesday-going-into-Wednesday, and I hadn't missed it. For some reason, there seemed to be confusion about it (see last post). Spend the morning volunteering at school and listening to the Obama stuff. (Taking brief notes in order to sound vaguely intelligent and on the ball while on the Beeb.)
Tuesday afternoon - Swot up (bone up, for the few Americans who read this) on a few other US/UK things. I know I'm probably over-preparing, but you never know what is going to come up. Having only seen Richard Madeley on the couch with Judy, I had no idea whether he was a secret academic who might fire financial-related questions at me, or perhaps ask about the new members of Obama's cabinet. (On both counts I resigned myself to looking like a complete eejit.) I also had only spoken to Mike once, and although we agreed to treat it lightly and have fun, he could have been one of those extremely competitive types, determined to show off his vast knowledge of both countries and shame me into oblivion. We are competing for the same book readers after all, but I have to say I don't usually need help to look ridiculous.
Later on Tuesday afternoon - Domesticity rears its ugly head in the shape of "Oh yeah, the kids will need something to eat". The Ball & Chain was coming home at 5pm and is perfectly capable of making meals, but it always helps to have food in the house I find. Scratched around for something I could bung in the oven while doing other things. Left it in for too long and had to make pasta in case anyone couldn't recognise the pork and vegetable casserole thingy, or more likely, couldn't face it.
Ran out the front door at 5.05pm, shouting instructions to the older two about homework, violin practice etc. Came back sixty seconds later for the phone number of the BBC producer, "should anything go wrong" - which it always does. I knew I was potentially going to be very early as the NPR (National Public Radio) studios are on Navy Pier, which is about a ten minute drive from me. However, Navy Pier is a huge tourist attraction so if something is going on there, like say, an Inauguration event, then parking becomes a total nightmare. Happily, I found myself with a good half hour to spare. "Perfect" I thought, "I have a couple of birthday presents I need. I'll just pop along to the toy shop". Why do I always do that? Why can't I just sit quietly and wait?
I did indeed manage to purchase two very nice presents, at 20% off to boot. This then meant that I found myself haring along Navy Pier looking for the secret glass door that is the entrance to NPR, and which I swear, is meant to be the first part of your IQ assessment. I had actually been there before, but my dementia-prone memory failed me so I had to rush into the Dairy Queen and ask the cleaner for directions. He knew.
Got there with ten minutes to go, was shown into a small sound studio, tested the mike and headphones and we were off. Or rather we weren't. They did the news, then they did the sports, then they did the traffic report. Finally we were on. I can't really remember much except that Richard Madeley quoted me as saying that Americans had "zero" sense of humo(u)r, which I don't for a minute think I did. I did say it was like living with three hundred and fifty million Labrador puppies, but that's not too much of an insult is it?
I think Mike drew the longer straw in the end, because he ended up having to defend the US rather than slag off the UK, which is a good thing since he's trying to sell books in the UK. Not quite sure what will become of my comments about the appalling health care system in the US. Thank goodness the "Listen Again" button is defective!