I’m the type of person who really loves television, yet I don’t like to have it on unless I’m sitting down and watching a specific show. It annoys me to have it buzzing all day. My husband, on the other hand, LOVES to have every television on throughout the house all day long (usually Headline News.) He says he likes to know what’s happening in the world, but I know he has a major crush on my look-alike, Robin Meade.

Anyway, when I was asked to appear on Good Morning Florida Keys on Channel 19, I was thrilled. It would be fun to watch and maybe my husband would realize my uncanny resemblance to Robin and turn off the television occasionally, if you get my drift.

Wrong on all counts.

To start with, I was immediately intimidated by Jenna Stauffer and Krystal Banner. Not only were they both intelligent and kind, but they could easily rival Robin Meade’s beauty. Ask my husband. Jenna was busy interviewing Mad Dog’s son, Nick Mandich, and even he was gorgeous. My confidence was wavering so I dashed into the bathroom and panic primped.

Their mirrors were a bit deceiving and I convinced myself I could pull this off, so I went back into the studio, clipped a mike onto my blouse like a professional, and my interview was underway.

My husband took a few pictures so I could post this cool experience on my website (www.janavandelaar.com) and I walked out, feeling pretty good… until I looked at the pictures on his camera. A chunk of my hair looked like Elvis Presley’s sideburn and when I asked my husband why he didn’t tell me, he shrugged and said, “I didn’t notice.” Of course not, HE WAS STARING AT JENNA THE WHOLE TIME. It was the Robin Meade curse all over again.

But, overall, I was happy with the interview and I wasn’t nervous at all. Jenna made the experience fun and easy. She’s prepared and she’s lovely. I was worried I’d twitch or even faint. But, instead, it was like talking to a girlfriend over lunch. Unfortunately, there weren’t any martinis involved but, still, very relaxed.

Here’s the thing… Jenna asked me to be on the show because of my column (Only in the Keys) for The Reporter. My entire television experience couldn’t have been more of an example of things that happen ONLY in the Keys.

1st The show is filmed “all the way down” in Key West. Any local resident, from mile marker 0 to mile marker 120, understands that anything beyond 10 miles is a stretch for us to consider driving. Maybe we’ll push 20-30 miles in one day. But, to drive from Key Largo to Key West is a lot to ask from a local. It’s worth it to be a television star though. So we did it.

2nd Next, like true locals, we packed in other appointments/chores that needed to be completed along the way, such as carpooling the children to school at mile marker 86. Since we rarely venture past 86, we celebrated and had a decadent crepe and delicious coffee at Bitton Bistro Café, mile marker 82. I considered this exceptional experience almost as special as being a television star… almost. Finally, my hubby had arranged an appointment at mile marker 81, and I ditched into their restroom to verify my looks hadn’t faded too much since that morning. (At my age, I need a beauty maintenance stop every 20 miles… especially since I was going to be on television.)

3rd As I confessed during my interview, my husband and I did our best to maintain “civility” for the rest of the LONG, remaining 80 miles. You simply can’t fight in the Keys – especially in a car – because someone (your priest, your neighbor, your soccer coach, etc.) will witness the argument. So, by mile marker 75, we “compromised” and listened to my music station since I was the star.

4th I had visualized driving up to a glamorous television station but it was deceptively understated. Though small and unobtrusive on the outside, it proved to be very professional inside with more electronic equipment than NASA. Again, typical of the Keys… tiny, yet powerful.

5th After successfully surviving the interview, my husband and I did what any “Keys” megastar would do. We had a Rum Runner on the water in Key West.

6th Now, all we had to do was wait a week for the show to air that following Tuesday morning. But, my husband decided to upgrade our AT&T service that same week. They came on Friday to hook us up. Unfortunately, they ran into a “snag” after they disconnected everything and we didn’t have ANY service until Tuesday night. The third AT&T tech was the only one who understood that, Only in the Keys, the addresses are not in numerical order, so the main “box” was out of range for this particular upgrade.

Why am I writing all of this? Because, I finally get on television and, Only in the Keys, can AT&T screw up the service for 5 days, which means I wasn’t able to record or watch my big television debut on my own television!

Television-less, on Tuesday morning, I forced my daughter out of bed at 6:00 a.m. and hustled her over to my girlfriend’s house so I could see myself on television. We all fell silent when we saw my hair, but ultimately cheered at the end result. They plugged my two books, they surprised me with fun pictures throughout the interview and I did not twitch. I was thrilled.

Finally, the 7th and greatest reason this experience was the epitome of life, ONLY IN THE KEYS? If you were lucky enough to see it air on Tuesday, you’d understand the irony when Jenna introduced her next guest right after me: Maya Montana… a mega star FEMALE IMPERSONATOR! And, even more typical of our life here, he/she trumped me in every aspect of the show. Talent, beauty (PERFECT hair and makeup) and even better boobs than mine.

When Jenna introduced Maya, my daughter, Goddaughter, girlfriend and I almost choked on our cereal. My superstardom squashed in seconds by a gorgeous female impersonator! This type of thing cannot be made up and yet it happens daily, ONLY IN THE KEYS… which is why we all live here and why I love writing this column.

p.s. Next time I’m on television, I’m calling Maya for tips.