Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Difference in Our Commutes

I hear commercials for Trojan condoms on the drive to work and you probably don't. I guess that's better than ads for bogus male enhancement pills. I'm just surprised that advertisers think that people -- mostly guys -- listening to sports talk radio at 3:30 a.m. are having sex at all.

My temporary job reporting traffic on our CBS affiliate has become like the movie Groundhog Day, only Bill Murray's TV weatherman character got to sleep in until 6 a.m.

Every morning I wake up at 3, shower, dress, pack "lunch" in the cooler and get in the car by 3:30. I finish the 30 mile drive on empty Interstates to the station shortly after 4. Once inside, I go to the make-up room and put on make-up (what else?). I walk through the studio, exchange greetings with the crew members, walk into the control room and fire up the computers. I plug in my earpiece and clip the mic onto my jacket lapel and wait my turn. I go out to the studio and recite the goings-on on the roads showing one of the same five available live camera shots and the computer generated maps. I fill the copious down-time between appearances on the air by doing crossword puzzles.

I should get to change the routine soon. No, I'm not being relieved of traffic duties yet. But I should get to shoot a story for ZooToo TV this week.

A couple in Englewood, Florida (that's south of Sarasota) has turned their home into a no-kill cat shelter. It began with taking in strays and grew until two years ago Rick and Chrissy Kingston formed a non-profit corporation so they could accept donations.

Puffy Paws Kitty Haven is now home to more than 100 cats which roam free around the house. A separate building serves as the intake center. The outbuilding also has a space that will be devoted to a TV studio where Rick, who has a media background, intends to produce a public access show about the shelter and its inhabitants. The main house also has a separate room for the cats that have feline leukemia.

The kicker? Rick and Chrissy still live in the house! Rick says his neighbors don't mind and the Kingstons will have a special fence so they'll be able to let the cats go outside without worry that they'll escape. Part of the story will also be the couple's struggle to keep the shelter going financially. It costs $100/day to care for the cats. They (or the cats) go through 250 lbs. of cat litter a day.

Rick had a heart attack last month that derailed fundraising efforts and Puffy Paws fell behind on its power bill to the tune of $1,500. He wanted to get that cleared up before we arranged a time to shoot a story.

He e-mailed this morning saying he was ready to go and that I should call him. I want to shoot this week and can go down there later today if they're ready.

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