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Monday Wakeup and Makeup

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Sean Justice | Photodisc | Getty Images

If you have to wake up really early on a regular basis and find it hard to sleep for fear you'll miss the alarm, I feel your pain.

In the funny business of covering news from the west coast on a schedule tied to east coast market hours, sleeping can be fitful.

For good reason.

This morning I needed to wake up at 3:15aPT to get ready for work, then drive about 65 miles to do a live shot at the Port of Los Angeles at 5:35aPT. I figured I'd shower, put massive amounts of product in my hair before blow drying it, spackle on tubfuls of makeup, make coffee, and head out the door by 4a. That would give me an hour to get to the port, giving me about a half hour to prep for the live shot and get the latest info.

As often happens, I woke up at midnight, afraid I'd miss the alarm. Then I woke up at 1am. Then 2am.

And then I slept right through 3:15am...because...I screwed up setting the alarm.

At 4, I woke in a panic.

I stared at the clock blinking. You know the feeling. I managed to throw myself together and get out the door by 4:25. Fortunately, I had put together most of my story the night before, but I needed updates. However, I didn't want to read and drive (or text), not only because I'm trying to stop this dangerous habit, but also because, well, it would slow me down.

And slowing down wasn't an option.

Sure, you think, how much traffic can there be on the 101 and 405 at 4:30am? On a good day, not much. Which is why this is always the time Caltrans shuts down lanes, sometimes entire freeways, for repair work. In particular, I was breaking a sweat worrying about the traffic impact of a longterm project mucking up LA's famed Sepulveda Pass on the 405. If the southbound lanes were closed, I'd never make it.

So I drove like a bat out of Malibu (I won't reveal the actual speed to avoid incriminating myself) and prayed for no obstructions. The 405 work project was winding down for the night, and I was able to sail through. The CHP was busy with other drivers who had probably, like me, overslept or forgotten Daylight Savings is over.

I arrived at the port at 5:25a.

I quickly read through the updated materials producers emailed me, attempted to slather on even more makeup, got wired up, stepped in front of the camera, and heard the producer say, "Jane, you're next." The live shot speaks for itself. When Carl thanked me "for getting up early", I knew I must look tired. I should've applied another trowel or two of concealer under the ol' eyes.

Still, crisis averted. I didn't miss my slot, which is just about the greatest sin you can commit as a TV reporter. And this is why I will continue to wake up at midnight, and 1a, and 2a...and triple check the alarm.

Of course, "crisis" is a relative thing. I'm not exactly dealing with a tsunami. I did deal with something like that on January 17, 1994, when the Northridge quake struck, we lost power, and I raced to work wearing a ballcap and glasses. That pre-dawn morning I also sped in without thinking. Fortunately, the freeways I drove were intact, something I didn't even consider until later I saw gaping holes where other highways had collapsed, and other drivers had died.

I was very lucky that day.

On a much, MUCH smaller scale, I was lucky again today. Negotiating LA freeways is never for the weak. In fact, as we watched the devastation in Japan, the satellite truck operator dryly noted that the Japanese will probably have everything cleaned up and rebuilt, "before Caltrans ever finishes the 405."

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