This Week's Contestant
So now it was time to tape. I so wanted to look out into the audience and hug my sister before we started, but they have very strict rules about any contact with family, friends or audience members. You are not to have any eye contact at all! In fact, they place them in the audience so you can not see them.
I was in the red position so I was right next to Pat. When Pat and Vanna came out, I seriously thought I was dreaming. It was surreal. It was time for the first toss-up and I got it!! However, Pat goofed and told me I was wrong. I felt my whole body deflate like a balloon. Thank goodness, he quickly corrected his mistake and even made a joke about it. Then it was time for the second toss up, and I got that too! This time when Pat told me I was correct I looked at him and said, "Are you sure?" He laughed and I finally let myself breathe a little. I got to spin the wheel first; did I mention that thing weighs a ton? Guess what? I solved that puzzle too! I was on a roll. Then, they took a commercial break. One of the producers came over and told me to step down for a quick makeup touchup and a sip of water. I seriously could not feel my legs! He had to hold my hand and escort me down. One of the other contestants asked me if I would allow someone else to have a turn. He laughed about it, but I'm sure he was serious.
As the game went on, the other contestants did win a little money and I also won some more including the prize puzzle. The puzzle was "Steak Fajita Platter" which turned out to be a trip to Mexico. When I realized the game was over and I had the most money, I could not believe it. I kept looking at the contestant board to see our scores. At that point, I saw them escorting my sister from her seat, we finally made eye contact and both silently screamed!
Pat was always very kind; he explained what was going to happen in the bonus round and what my role was. The category was THING. Honestly, when I saw that I panicked. I always have trouble (playing at home) when the category is a one word thing. That could be anything!! The problem was I think more of an object, like a lamp, floor etc. The puzzle turned out to be DAYLIGHT. I did not get it. I remember there was a woman in the front row who gasped so loudly when I didnt get it. It was like she was witnessing a murder. I was bummed, but not devastated.
Overall, I won approximately $18,000 in cash and prizes. The funny part of it all was one of the prizes on the bonus wheel was a BMW Z3 convertible. I remember saying to one of the contestants, "with my luck I will win that." I had just bought a minivan that weekend to schlep around my 3 kids. What would I do with that car? Well, that was the prize. Yes, it would have been very nice to win that car. Yes, it haunted me that I didn't win it. And yes, I never want to hear the word DAYLIGHT again. I beat myself up for not winning the bonus prize, but my family and friends are so supportive and proud of me. I also know that Grandma was watching and was rooting me on from heaven.
It was one of the coolest things I have ever done. I wish I could do it again! Maybe they will have some winners on again, like Jeopardy! does. Pat and Vanna were very gracious and sweet. I will remember this forever. Thanks Wheel of Fortune.