The Amazing Race with Janet Sedlacek

Janet Sedlacek and I thought it was a good idea to try out for “The Amazing Race”.  Our selling point to the panel of judges was that we are two friends that are often mistaken for sisters.  This is a huge compliment to me..Janet was the most beautiful mother-of-the-bride you can ever imagine.  How nice to be compared to her!  I also have a good 20 lbs. on her.  She works out at some sweat-your-rear off gym boot camp while I drink cappuccino by my front window as the snow cascades down.  That’s almost the same, right?

You need to know that Janet worked for me years ago.  It was ‘in the day’ when I had five female employees crammed in to my basement sticker sweat shop.  We packaged and shipped millions of stickers.  What I remember most is that we laughed our heads off.  After all, it was stickers…not brain surgery.

The internet came of age, and instead of needing five hilarious women to answer the phones, life transitioned to a cyber website that takes orders night and day.  Friends moved on.  The laughter stopped.  My daughter died of cancer.

But as I close the year 2009, thanks to Janet, laughter is coming back.  I reconnected at Janet’s Big-Fat-Expensive-My-daughter-Is-Getting-Married-Wedding.  Shortly after the social event of the season, we both landed jobs at Sur La Table….kitchen gadget store supremo.  Accept no imitations.  It’s the best kitchen store in the free world.  I was hired first, and Janet followed..  What are the chances?  Maybe 12 employees, and in our recessed economy, Janet and me are two out of that number.  God Almighty wanted me to go back (or move forward) to a work environment where I laughed.

Oh how we have laughed…imagining our round-the-world trek on The Amazing Race that requires you go to the height and depth of every fear.

Janet and I knew we were qualified when we saw terrified girl in her blow up water floaties refuse to go down the Dubai water slide.  I told Janet on the next Sur La Table shift that I would have pried her perfectly manicured nails off the holding bar and thrown her 20-lbs.-less-than-me rear down the slide.  I wouldn’t care if she was afraid.  For a million smackers, you can live through eight seconds of fear.  No one has ever died on the Dubai water slide, and my thought is the worst consequence would be a serious swim suit wedgie on national t.v.  We laughed our heads off.

The next Amazing Race the contestants were forced to eat some raw fish ‘something’.  It wasn’t sushi, and there was no delicious bottle of wine to help it slide down.  Ewww!!  Janet would be doing that one for sure.  Then we saw the boat rowing gig.  All I could think of was 4th grade Spanish camp where I steered the row boat into a bank of sludge, requiring handsome boy life guard assistance for the dorky girl to tow me out.   For sure Janet and I would find some rowing class before the million dollar race!

The final Amazing Race we realize we were COMPLETELY not qualified for the journey.  When contestants were lowered down the side of Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, I knew I was out.  It is 43 stories of golden glimmering wonder, and rappelling face first down the side seemed insanity, at best.  Well, Janet would be doing that one for sure, and I would be the one yelling up the side of the building “I’m praying for ya Janet!”  I hope she would be able to hear me in the midst of her deafening fear.

So, we aren’t trying out for the million dollar prize.  We are two fraidie cats that circled the Sur La Table parking lot before our first day of work.  We may not be super heroes, but for sure she is the friend that has made me laugh again….and that is worth more than the million dollar prize.

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  1. Val,
    What a joy it has been for me to work with you again
    We have been thru alot together, we have cried together and laughed (OH! how we have laughed) together.
    You have know idea what a blessing you are to me.
    If I could only have your strength for 1 day.
    I love you so much

  2. I remember coming to that wonderful house and helping you and my mom. I don’t know is she was “one of those five”, but it brings back sweet memories. I pray that the Lord warms your heart and soothes your soul this holiday season. Megan was always in our prayers, and you are too! What a wonderful mother you are!

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Article by: Valerie Bourdain

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