My Experience the Week of the Finale and Wrap Party

This is REALLY long, but I知 telling all that I recall, that I知 at liberty to discuss, because so many people (hundreds) are asking me for a re-cap. So just skip most of it or I値l bore you to tears.

After winning the charity auction, Janelle emailed me that I should call her and set up the details. I called her and she was super nice and easy to talk to on the phone. I had bid on e-bay because one, I知 a supporter of charities anyway and two, because I wanted to go to the finale. I had always wanted to go. Janelle is my favorite player, but honestly, I thought the idea of her being stuck with me for the sake of charity was strange and I told her on the phone that aside from going to the finale and wrap party, I had no expectations. I told her she didn稚 have to go to dinner with me, which was part of the auction. Janelle advised me that she was paying for an extra night in the hotel for me because the wrap party was a day later than she expected. I offered to pay it myself several times, but she wasn稚 having any of that. I could never have imagined that Janelle and I would become friends.

When I arrived in L.A., Saturday night, Janelle was still is Seattle, where she had done an interview with Dick, which Dick had set up for them. Seattle is one of her favorite places to visit. Janelle had set up a limo for my ride from the airport to the Sheraton, where we were staying. About the time my plane landed, Janelle texted and asked if I made it okay and how the weather was. It was extremely hot the first few days. I told her I made it and she texted back 的知 glad the Eagle has landed. By this time, she had been calling me off and on and she called me when I was settled in my hotel. She was worried because RealPlayer had scheduled her flight into LAX quite late the following day and she would be rushed getting to the finale.

The day of the finale, Janelle texted me and said I should ride with Dick and his guest to the finale. Janelle was worried about being late because of the flight situation. She gave me Dick痴 number and asked me to call him. I called Dick and he said to meet him in the lobby of the Hilton (which adjoins the Sheraton) in an hour. I made my way to the lobby and all of the HG痴 families and friends were waiting to go the studio, very anxious to see their loved ones. I saw Dick, reached out to hug him, and said 塗i, I知 Ginger. Dick was pretty pre-occupied in the lobby with all the moms and passers-by wanting to take pics with him. I also took a picture with him on my phone. I met Dick痴 guest, Dawn Marie from Texas, and she was so excited. I also saw the guitar she won as part of her auction and it was really fabulous. She planned to give it to her son, who is a musician. Dick痴 charity sponsor (the guitar company) was there taking pics of the guitar, the donation of it, and pics with Dick. I think it痴 incredible that not only did this company donate the guitar to Dick痴 guest, it also donated one to Dick and a light gold one for all the HGs to sign to auction off for charity. Watch for that auction because I saw all the HGs sign it in the BY.

Still in the lobby, one of the HG moms walked up to me and said 努e池e the Big Brother moms. Adam痴 mom, Denise, was an absolute delight and I told her Adam was going to win. I was conscious that Ryan痴 mom was there too and someone might repeat what I said, so I was sure to add that I was also a Ryan fan, but I was sure Adam had the jury votes locked up. Adam痴 mom and brother were nervous and they weren稚 sure if was he was going to win. I ended up talking to Adam痴 mom quite a bit throughout the night. I also met Natalie痴 sister in the lobby, and she sounded just like Natalie. I told her how much I liked Natalie and I said to her 都he痴 a real person. Imperfect like the rest of us. Natalie痴 sister made a joke about wanting to tell Natalie to quit chasing Matt around. She said 展HAT IS SHE THINKING? I just laughed and said Natalie seemed too nice for her own good sometimes.

We boarded a CBS shuttle (Dick, me, Dawn Marie, the HG families and friends, and a CBS production coordinator, who had been attending to all the families). After we boarded, the CBS person said no cameras or cell phones allowed, so Dick grabbed my phone, Dawn Marie痴 camera and phone and his own and jumped back off the shuttle to put them in his car. While on the shuttle, I saw how nervous Adam痴 mom was and I said softly to her 的知 telling you, Adam is going to win. Well, I was sitting next to the CBS coordinator and she chastised me for saying that on the bus. Later, Adam痴 mom would say to me about the coordinator痴 comment: 鍍hat was uncalled for, because you whispered it and no one could hear you but myself and her. I told her not to sweat it, I was completely unfazed by the admonition. As a Big Brother fan, I知 embarrassed to admit that I did not know about Natalie痴 breast milk incident until Dick announced it to everyone on the bus. LOL. Natalie痴 sister acted like she never heard about it and said 的 don稚 think that痴 possible since she wasn稚 pregnant.

We entered the CBS studio lot and we disembarked the shuttle to pass through security, which was set up in a studio lot. They checked our purses. Dick requested they give him a cavity search and we laughed. Dick was introducing his guest as the 田hick who paid over 10 grand to attend the finale with me. Janelle always introduced me as her friend, Ginger. Two personalities that make them unique. After passing through security, we re-boarded the shuttle to head to the CBS green room. People who were aware of this procedure knew to bring their cameras and cell phones, leave them on the bus, pass through security, and then pick them back up before heading into the finale. Wish I had known! (None were on our bus, but there were attendees their who had their cameras or phones and said they knew the procedure from previous years. We passed a lot of the Big Brother props (such as the big wheel and other competition related things) on the studio lot. I saw a street of set houses and asked the CBS person what that was for. She said several shows shoot there. That ended up being where the wrap party was.

We all went into the green room, about 2 hours before show time. It was catered and had an open bar. The green room was filled with the HG families/friends and former Big Brother players. In the green room, prior to the show, is where I met Danielle Donato, who had on a sexy, low cut white silk shirt. She was very sweet and had a dry sense of humor. I also met Amber. She didn稚 cry but she did carry herself like she was A-list celebrity. Therefore, the extent of my convo with her was 塗ello, nice to meet you. Erika was in the green room and I never spoke a word to her. In fact, I saw her so many times, that occasionally, I had to pretend to suddenly need to turn around when I saw her coming. Sorry, I hold grudges. LOL (I知 quite sure she was pining away to meet the stranger that was me.....NOT). I first met Kail and her husband in the green room and Kail hugged me like an old friend. She was extremely warm. When I finally sat down, I sat next to Parker痴 friend. (Another poster called him Parker痴 brother. But indeed, it was a friend from Chicago). We talked and laughed and I was telling him who all the people from the past seasons were. He had never watched Big Brother before. I get asked this a lot so I値l say - Kaysar lives in the area, but he did not attend. Will was not there. Howie was not there (although he was on Danielle痴 cell phone in the BY after the show, wanting to talk to Sheila. Sheila did talk to him, but then hung up and said, only as Sheila can, 展HO WASSS THAT?).

CBS brought us into the studio about 4 minutes before the show started and while others scrambled to find out where their assigned seats were, I looked up and spotted Janelle and the only empty seat next to her. So I told the handler, thank you, but I saw my seat. I waved at her on the way up, but she wasn稚 sure if I was waving at her so she just smiled. I sat next to her and hugged her and told her how pretty she was. She said 鄭w, thanks, so are you. I asked her who she wanted to win and she said this season she was 50/50. It didn稚 matter to her. Janelle said she liked Sheila a lot because she thought she was 田razy, in a good way and was 兎ntertaining to watch. Janelle also liked James (he was her fave), Natalie, and Chelsia, During the taping of the finale, Julie Chen was stone cold business and didn稚 talk to anyone. Janelle said Julie痴 a pro, and is very serious about business and does a great job with what little she is given prior to the show. There was a very enthusiastic stage manager who told us when to stand, when to clap, when to scream, and when to sit. He told us to go nuts as the Hgs entered the show. The audience member behind me was giving out signs to hold up and Janelle and I took one with a picture of Ryan on it. Mid-show, the CBS production gave out more signs. During a commercial, the stage manager said they were going to announce a twist (the audience favorite twist) and we show go nuts when it was announced. However, no one made a sound when it was announced. It didn稚 feel like the right time. Janelle kept saying she hoped James would win, and she, of course, was granted her wish. You all saw the rest, so I won稚 recap what happened on the show. LOL

After the show, we were lead back to the green room, which had a lot more people in it this time. There was more food and still an open bar. All the HGs, except Ryan and Adam, were lead to the BY to do media. Ryan and Adam were taken aside, for at least and hour and half, to be debriefed 殿bout the outside world, possible rumors they may hear, and anything else that the media or fans may accost them with according to a CBS producer. I had asked her where they were when we were in the BY (discussed below). Janelle and Dick were scheduled to do interviews of the HGs in the BY. Janelle wanted to hang out in the green room for a while and unwind from her flight and rushing to the studio. She told me she arrived late and had to ask Don Wollman to get her in. It was obvious that Janelle was a VIP to CBS production and to everyone else. In my opinion, she received more attention that the current HGs did. People stopped her constantly to tell her she was their favorite HG of all time and the best player to ever play the game. She was nice to everyone and took time for everyone who approached her. After Janelle had a couple of drinks in the green room and caught up with some people, it was time to head to the BY for the interviews. Dick left his guest in the green room but Janelle told me to follow her, she would get me in. Janelle talked to one of the staffers and asked that myself and Dick痴 guest be given a bracelet to be allowed in the BY. The staffer managed to get them and next thing I knew, we were in the BIG BROTHER BY! Woo hoo! Only the HG, the media, and CBS production were there....along with me and Dawn Marie. CRAZY I TELL YA! BTW, the house itself was on 斗ockdown and we couldn稚 see into the house. Janelle felt bad that Dick痴 guest was in the green room so she sent a staffer to find her in the green room and bring her to the BY. She came and took charge having Dick痴 charity guitar signed by all the HGs.

In the BY, the HGs were the most open and vulnerable that they would be the whole week, because I was one of the first people they talked to and they had been shut off from the outside world until that moment. I hugged all of them, and introduced myself as a random stranger. I could tell it was unnerving to them that people they had never seen before knew their names. I guess they expect it, but being in the situation is a reality check. The BY was bigger than I expected, but only because I had always heard how small it was. However, the hut tub was no bigger than my bath tub. I have no idea how that many people squeezed into that thing without looking like sardines. When I announced I was going, the number one request I had from people was to tell Sheila that she had lots of fans. So when I hugged Sheila, I told her and she yelled 的 DO??? OMG! (Later at the wrap party, I asked her to respond to what I told her and she said 典ell them I love them ALL!) James was just as nice as he could be. Chelsia was funny and uninhibited and she gave a crazy interview to Dick about the sexual happenings in the house. Speaking of Dick, he asked the most outrageous and explicit questions to everyone and gave his uncensored opinions to everyone, on and off camera. He wasn稚 uncomfortable to tell family members his takes on certain dumb moves by their loved ones, nor did he hesitate in telling the HGs themselves about the dumb things they did. While in the BY, Dick repeatedly screamed comments to Natalie about the breast milk, the kissing orgy, following Matt around, etc. Natalie said 登h, they edited it to look like I was chasing him around to which Dick responded 的t痴 recorded 24 hrs a day Natalie! He told Ryan that he was so pissed because he cost himself $450k by keeping Adam instead of Sheila. I知 sure this made it to the RealPlayer interview, but Ryan responded 鍍hanks for making me feel so much better.

For the most part, I walked around the BY trying to take it all in since I had no camera. I heard LOTS of drama because the HGs were discussing things they heard for the first time, especially non-jury and jury members. I sat on the HG sofa. (Most of the time, Janelle was doing interviews with Dick). There, I witnessed Parker have an episode. He yelled 的知 the same motherf***er I was in the house. There was no need to talk ***** about me after I left the house. He was talking to several HGs but I swear I don稚 remember who. Also on the sofa, I heard Jen and Ryan have their first conversation. I asked if I should leave and give them their moment and they said no, it was fine if I stayed. The convo was personal and sweet. Throughout the week, Ryan and Jen had a few tense conversations, not helped by alcohol, but the last time I saw them everything was great between them. These incidents were no more serious than any of us with our partners in relationships. I did have a couple of personal conversations with Jen about the situation and she was very sweet and it was clear she was totally in love with Ryan. Obviously, I am not going to repeat things said to me in confidence but I did want to say how nice Jen was in person. Ryan was also very nice to me.

The only other significant things to say about the BY are: I asked Sharon what she thought about the GP relationship. She responded 的 was SO ripped off of that HOH. I agreed with her. Someone else chimed in, 妬t was rigged, trust me. One of the HGs told me Chelsia knew about James gay porn the entire time, so they found out in the sequester house. I took Ryan and Adam痴 lighters off the table. Oh, there, I just lit a cig with one. LOL. The fridge had soy milk and nothing else in it. One of the HGs left their tennis shoes and they were still in the BY. (No, I didn稚 take those of course!). Bunky was doing interviews and he was a super nice guy whenever I saw him. I saw that chick, Amanda, from Tila Tequila痴 show, doing interviews. I met Allison Grodener. She was busy, but nice. I met Gretchen from HC. Man, is she skinny! She was nice too. I heard someone from RealPlayer tell James that they wanted to fly him out for an interview. He responded 添ES, I LOVE SEATTLE! I asked him if he was going to ride his bicycle and he just laughed.

After the BY all the HGs were reunited with their families in the green room, yet again. Adam痴 mom walked up to me and said 土ou were right, you were right, Adam won!! I congratulated her and when Adam walked in she grabbed him and said 典his is Ginger, she knew you were going to win! He said he had already met me in the BY and gave me another bear hug. Adam really came off as genuine and funny in the BY and the green room. Janelle and I were ready to leave before the shuttle was ready, so we noticed Kail and her husband leaving and hitched a ride with to the hotel with them. They invited us to eat at Ketchup in L.A. with them the following night, but we didn稚 have time to make it.

Every time throughout the week thereafter, Adam would walk up to me and say 滴ey Ginger, how you doing? or other niceties. He made it a point to include me all the time. When we would all be out, Adam would ask if I was okay, etc. When Adam is drinking, he is quite something. LOL. But, he did say to me, I guess because I had observed his drunk carrying-ons the night before, 努ow, I was so exhausted last night and the drinking didn稚 help. I知 really a nice guy. I can only imagine how the shock of being out of the house contributed. I didn稚 think he owed me an explanation, but I知 guessing he gave others the same explanation. He treated me somewhat like an aunt. (Except he doesn稚 know me. Ha). Amanda was very sweet. One day at the elevator she asked me my age. I told her 37. She said 努ow, you look really young. I知 sure she was being polite, but it was nice. Her mom was with her most of the time and her mom was as nice as she could be. I also saw Alex a lot. Hmmm. He was nice, but more like in a condescending way. I hate to say that, because I liked him so much on the show. (In the BY I asked about Sheila痴 Alex doll and he thought it was funny). I had the feeling he thought I was uneducated or something....which I find annoying because I don稚 care about anyone痴 educational level. One night at dinner I tried to mention, when he was discussing college, my experience as an undergrad then a law student, but I barely got two words out when he switched the subject back to himself. I smiled and nodded as if I had no idea what any of the terms he used were.

I知 so busy trying to fit in everything, I致e barely mentioned Janelle. One of the first things I told her was that I had no expectations beyond the finale and wrap party. I made it clear she wasn稚 strapped with me and I wouldn稚 hold her to the dinner that was part of the package. But she did just the opposite. She texted me every single day, throughout the day. One of the texts she sent after we met was 的知 so glad you won my auction. You池e great! She called me every single day. She invited me everywhere she went. I went most places, but sometimes I would stay back. She worked out in the gym just about everyday with Amanda. I didn稚 go with her to the gym, but she did invite me.

Janelle called me in my hotel one day to ask me to help her pick out dresses. I went to her room and I brought two of mine with me. Her dresses were fabulous, each and every one of them. I tried on one of her dresses (her least favorite) I think it was a Versace. The bust line was way too low (like J-Lo痴 dress at the Oscar痴 the year she went with P-Diddy. Janelle and I are built differently I知 several inches shorter so it wouldn稚 have fit her the same way.) Janelle said 堵o for it Ginger, you should wear it when we go out! But I said 笛anelle, I知 10 years older than you. I can稚 wear that! It makes me look like I知 trying to be your age. And I didn稚 wear it. But I still wore a dress, as my pics show, with boobage. LOL Just not that much boobage. Oh, that was the first time I met her dog, Bear. Bear is so cute! He was cuddled up on Janelle痴 designer clothes in her closet.

The night after the finale, Janelle, Dick, Dawn Marie, and myself ended up at a burger joint in the Roosevelt Hotel. It was late and nothing else was open. We had a great time. The next day, Janelle texted. I had left the hotel to go to lunch with a friend of mine in L.A. and Janelle and I met back up when I arrived back. We went out that night with many of the HGs. First we went to dinner at Bubba Gump痴 at Universal City Walk, then we went to a club at the City Walk. I had a great time. I met the casting director who has casted many of the Big Brother HGs, including Adam and Janelle. Talk about a super nice guy! Through the week, Janelle and I formed a friendship, and Janelle talked openly to me about anything and everything. Who woulda thunkit? (And yes, anything you would致e asked, I asked. She answered everything honestly. And no, I won稚 tell a soul anything she said about her personal life).

Janelle and I returned to Bubba Gump痴 the following day, just us two. We brought Bear with us and ordered our food to go. When we arrived at the restaurant, Janelle asked if she could bring Bear in and the waiter said 渡o, we don稚 have a dog permit. This next part cracked me up. We didn稚 know what to do, because we already had Bear, and we were just ordering our food to go, so Janelle said 登h, okay, well I値l just bring him in as an accessory. And she proceeded to walk right past the guy and sit on the bench in the waiting area. No one asked her or Bear to leave and we sat there and ordered and waited for our food. The server (who said Bear couldn稚 come in) didn稚 know who she was but it was obvious he was smitten with her. That痴 why she could simply change it from bringing her dog in, to bringing an accessory in, and he didn稚 said anything. In fact, he stood there and talked to Janelle the entire time. I did start to tell the guy that Janelle was on a TV show and she shot me a 電on稚 you dare say that look and I shut my pie hole. I told her I was only going to joke around and she said 登h, you池e fine. Whenever anyone asked what she did for a living, she never mentioned Big Brother.

By the way, in addition to working as a party planner, Janelle is starting a company right now. She痴 in the process of finalizing her business plan, etc. I learned a lot I did not know about Janelle, including her studies abroad. She has lived in Russia. She is much more rounded than some people give her credit for. She had really intelligent and intellectual conversations with anyone who lived abroad about places I had never heard of. She is also very well informed about various religions and cultures.

The next day, we had lunch at the Hilton. We went to the wrap party late, at 8 PM, because we spent so much time talking at lunch. We did make it just in time to see the gag reel. I知 so short, I stood on a seat to be able to see it. You all have seen it by now, I知 sure. Everyone was busy taking pics, etc at the party. I saw Joey Fatone, but I didn稚 take a picture with him. I did take a lot of pics, which I will post one day. I haven稚 even put them onto my computer yet. The ones I posted on MySpace so far were from my camera. (I知 not great at using the computer, so I知 waiting for someone to put my pics online!). I also met Marcellas, Chicken George, and various CBS people. I met lots of people actually, but it痴 all a blur at the moment. One of the CBS people left me for a moment and came back with a Big Brother restroom sign. (Just said Big Brother, restroom, with the logo, and an arrow pointing to the restroom). Awesome, I値l put that in my home theater. Oh, Alex approached me and handed me an autographed head shot of himself and a CD. I ate steak, salad, and fondu strawberries. Yum. There isn稚 much more to say about the wrap party. It was over before I knew it.

I had to leave the following morning. Janelle had a limo bring me to the airport - this time it was a Cadillac Escalade limo. She and I were still texting and both of us almost missed our flights because the lines were so long at LAX. The last time I saw her, she said 的 hope we remain friends a long time. I just love you. It was so nice for her to say, my eyes would have watered up if I was the crying type. I wondered if I would ever hear from her again, even though I knew she was sincere. I just figured she was busy and I knew I wouldn稚 bug her. But, she has texted me and emailed me regularly since I致e been home. She痴 still sharing things with me about her life and asking my opinion, and saying how glad she is we池e friends. I feel the same way, but I guess that goes without saying. In sum, Janelle, the real person, is one of the most beautiful, funny, down to earth, open, and sincere people I致e ever met. I never dreamed of knowing the Janelle away from the feeds (I only watched the feeds her seasons and almost all my JU posts were made during that time) but she far surpassed any expectation I had. I bid on a chance to go to the finale, and what I received instead was priceless: A friendship.

Ginger