Last week, as my middle son (the older twin) talked about the weather forecast for the 7 billionth time, an idea hit me. Why not write the local weatherman and ask him if we could bring Elisha (my son) down to the station to meet with him?
So, since my boy considers me "superdad" (when he's in a good mood, otherwise, I'm "that moron who lives with him"), I did just that. I wrote an email to Paul Konrad, morning weatherguy on WGN.
I wrote Paul for a couple of reasons. Firstly, when I get up each morning, the first thing I do is turn on channel 9 (WGN) to see how miserably, bitterly cold it's going to be (even in the summer!). Also, because of Paul Konrad. Or better yet, because according to Elisha (and my wife, who seems to have taken a keen interest in the weather lately - not to mention Paul's new beard) considers him to be one of the family. In fact, he considers the entire morning news crew, Larry Potash, Robin Baumgarten, Pat Tomasulo (with the sports) and, of course, Paul Konrad (with the weather) all part of the family.
Did I mention Elisha attends a special-needs school. Did I have to?
So, believe it or not, Paul writes back and we set it up. Now it has been a week since I made the first contact and when Elisha first found out about it, he wanted me to call Paul on the phone that night to confirm it. Now, being "superdad", I wanted to do what he asked. But, also being mild-mannered, regular dad, I didn't want to get arrested for stalking. So I did the next best thing.
I told him that Paul doesn't have a phone because if he did, everyone in Chicago would call him to find out the weather report.
He bought it.
So this morning was THE morning. He got up extra early and was dressed and rip-roarin' ready to go at 6:30 am. Of course, we arranged to be there at 8:30, but what does that have to do with anything. At 7:30, we pile him and his twin brother (you didn't think I'd be able to get away without taking HIM, did you?) and we begin our journey. After 16 chants of "are we there yet", we pull into a gas station. After the gas station, my wife (you certainly didn't think SHE'D miss this, did you?) gently reminds me that we forgot the camera. Well, maybe gently wasn't the right word, but I think you get the idea. So, around the corner, I spot a 7-11. You know the place. It's where you can get a $5 camera for only $19.99!.
Okay, it was only $9.99 - but it felt like $19!
Finally, we arrive at the WGN studio in the beautiful, historic (meaning, "old") Wrigleyville neighborhood. My wife reminds me that the Chicago Cubs play baseball here. I remind her that what the Cubs do here is definitely NOT baseball.
Well, we enter the building and lo and behold, who's waiting right there? It's Larry Potash, lead anchor, to who my youngest son, Mendy, beams and blurts out, "It's Paul!"
In a perfect world, where all the planets are aligned and everyone is living in peace, I'm sure my wife's embarrassment will fade.
No, it's not Paul, but Larry. But, hey, he's a member of the family too, right?
Larry graciously walks us to the studio where Paul is sitting on stage with Robin and Valerie Warner (who normally does the traffic, but Larry had a doctor's appointment and she was filling in), while they were live on the air. After promising to give up my first-born if they made any noise, they let us watch from inside the studio while they were filming.
The boys were great. They didn't say a word, I was very proud of them and loved watching them absorb all that was going on around them. After the segment was over, Paul took us on a short tour of the weather center and production room. Then it was time to take pictures with my brand-new, $85 7-11 camera. Yeah, I felt like a rich man there, I'll tell you. And then we bid our goodbyes.
And what was the first thing my precious, wonderful 8-year-old son asked?
"Can we come back tomorrow?"
Superdad to the rescue. Okay, I've got to come up with a great lie real quick!
On another topic, my new friend, Robert Avrech, has written a very powerful piece on his site, I urge you to read this entry.
It's quite revealing.