Robin O'Malley, who has watched ATWT for 15 years, won the "Win a Day With Brad and Katie" contest. Not only did she get a clean basement, but she also received a check for $5000. During my e-mail interview with Robin, she shared her plans for the $5000, and spoke about the exciting adventure she and her husband had with Austin Peck (Brad Snyder) and Terri Colombino (Katie Kasnoff).
Misti: Is Brookfield a small town?
Robin: We are actually called villages here in Illinois. We have about 18,000 residents, but are considered small. We share a high school with neighboring Riverside, but otherwise are independent. We have a nationally acclaimed zoo (Brookfield Zoo, of course) and a huge 4th of July parade that many local and state groups participate in. It's a great family community and one we are proud of.
Misti: If you don't mind sharing, what do you plan to do with the $5000 you won?
Robin: My 50th birthday is this year, and our 10th anniversary is 2009, so we decided to combine the two and take a cruise to the Greek Islands next year. My husband and I actually met on a Windjammer cruise in the Caribbean, so we thought it would be fitting.
Misti: How surprised were you when you received the news that you won?
Robin: I thought they were telemarketers at first, then I thought it was a joke. Then I was totally shocked! I couldn't believe it!
Misti: We understand that the least favorite household chore you had for Katie and Brad was cleaning your basement. Did they do the job to your satisfaction?
Robin: It looked FABULOUS when they were done. It was bright and shiny and I could actually see the furniture again! Katie, like all women, organized and paid attention to all the details. Brad was the brawn behind the operation.
Misti: Can you tell us what it was like having Terri and Austin and the film crew in your home for a day?
Robin: They were GREAT! The crew was polite, and very respectful of us and our home. They were kind to our dogs as well. Austin and Terri were warm and friendly -- it was almost like having your neighbors over. We talked about current events, and traded personal stories as well. Austin was especially thrilled that I had homemade coffee cake and blueberry bread in the kitchen, along with coffee and a big glass of milk. Austin even called my mom -- who is a long time viewer -- to say hello.
Misti: Do you care to share the winning essay that you send with us?
There's a place in our home -- room number 7
The basement -- domain of my husband Kevin
Tools, shoes, clothes, dust and hair
Papers and books piled high everywhere
Katie's pretty cottage it certainly is not
More like Brad's bachelor spot
He won't clean it, and he won't let me
I know you could do it if you would come see
Make my husband a happy boy
With a less nagging wife here in Illinois!
Misti: While filming the show, were there any "blooper" moments?
Robin: I guess me tripping over my tongue a few times, and Austin introducing himself with his real name were about it for bloopers.
Misti: Tell us what it was like to be on camera. Did you have a script to learn and follow, or did you ad lib?
Robin: There really was no "script" -- just the way the scenes were supposed to go. The cameras weren't very big, so I didn't really notice them much. The producers gave us the general scene they wanted, and we ad-libbed. The first scene when Austin and Terri arrived, took only two takes, and that was because the boom microphone was showing. The others took a little longer -- we would do the scene once, then the producer would tell us what to keep and what to change. I never felt uncomfortable -- just worried about looking "pasty" on TV!
Misti: What was the public attention like for you after having well-known actors and the ATWT film crew in your home?
Robin: Two newspapers did articles, and the CBS affiliate and a local news show did a little story based on what was written in the papers. It was not a huge amount of attention, so it didn't bother me in the least. I did get a lot of attention from family, friends and curious neighbors though!
Misti: What is Austin (Brad) and Terri (Katie) like off screen, and is Austin as good-looking in person as he is on screen?
Robin: Austin is actually better looking in person, and quite a funny guy. Terri is the cutest little thing, and both of them were so "normal." Terri has Westies like mine, so she spent a lot of off time hugging them. Austin fell in love with my "manly" little Clyde -- we had a lot of conversations about pets. They are both very sharing and caring people. I was a little apprehensive before I met them -- "real actors" in my home. But they came right in and gave me a big hug, complimented our home, and sat down on the floor to play with the dogs. We all ate lunch together and talked about all kinds of things. There was never a break in the conversation.
Misti: Is there anything else you'd like to add about your day with Austin and Terri?
Robin: It was truly a wonderful experience. I was honored to be selected out of so many entries, and very surprised that they used all the footage they shot. I didn't see the actual "cleaning" scene until it was aired, and really enjoyed seeing them flinging my husband's clothes at each other. I hope they might want to invite me back for a cameo appearance some day!
Robin e-mailed me a photo and said, "I thought you might like this photo of Austin with my Clyde, and Terri with Iris in our kitchen. I think it really shows what warm, caring people they are."