Anticipation mixed with a little apprehension has Debby Zaring excited about her family's nationwide TV debut on Wednesday.
She and husband Jake of Fillmore participated in the television show "Wife Swap," which will air at 8 p.m. tonight on ABC. And they are planning to watch it with some friends to see how their lives translate to the small screen.
"I'm a little nervous," Debby told the BannerGraphic on the eve of the broadcast. "I'm not worried about the people who know us, or about the people who don't know us because I don't have to talk to them. But the people who only kind of know us, I wonder what they'll think."
The Zarings in reality are a hard-working Hoosier couple, raising their kids and working hard on their farm, at their jobs and supporting Jake's champion truck-pulling involvement.
Their "Swap" mates -- Corrie and Tony LaBrie of Burton, Mich., love rock and roll, tattoos and partying with their friends. He's a popular DJ at a rock radio station while she's an engineer who puts a lot of energy into her appearance.
But the whole experience is one that Debby says she will treasure.
For one thing, it resulted in the completion of a kitchen renovation that has been seven years in the making.
"The cabinets are ordered and almost ready to come. Our flooring is down. And, my husband surprised me with a hottub for our 20th anniversary," Debby said.
That renovation, and husband Jake's supposed self-absorption with truck-pulling, were highlighted in the "Wife Swap" story. Indeed, Jake and Corrie will be presenting some tense moments as she objects to the way life is in the Zaring household.
"Somebody's got to be the bad guy, and Jake can take it better than I can," Debby said, adding that anyone who knows Jake will see the drama-added value of the program. "He might be a little rough around the edges, but deep down, he's got a big, big heart."
It was Jake who talked her into doing the swap.
"It was the opportunity of a lifetime," she said. "And since we're a truck-pulling family, that's what got us onto the show. They want people who aren't ordinary."
By no means did she find the LaBrie family ordinary.
At one point she found herself watching Tony get a new tattoo, and then she attended a big party to celebrate the occasion. But she took some bad advice from one of Tony's friends. Having no prior experience with tattoos, Debby didn't realize that the process can leave the body art a little painful for a while.
She was told she had to initiate the tattoo by slapping it really hard.
"I hit it as hard as I could," she said, but she recognized the bad advice as soon as she saw his eyes water. "And I've got to give him credit, Tony didn't call me any bad names. I guess everybody has a bad friend."
As for the LaBrie children, Debby said she enjoyed 9-year-old daughter Hunter, who doesn't receive a lot of parental attention.
The two bonded by painting toenails, watching television and taking a walk around the block. All simple things, but memories Debby said she doesn't think the child makes with her own mother.
Daughter Tuesday, 15, was more of a challenge with her independent nature and lack of household chores.
"We raise our children with more structure," Debby said, talking of teens Jordan and Izaak, who are both involved in 4-H and help out around the home.
As for the actual production of the program, Debby said she really did not have a lot of one-on-one time to interact with the LaBries.
There is a liaison who takes care of the wife, as well as a camera man, director, sound person -- about six or seven people always there to capture or orchestrate moments.
"You can't hardly even go to the bathroom," Debby said laughing.
Some of the situations she was put in -- such as working out at the gym in clothing she would never wear in real life -- was a big of a downside. Since Corrie is supposed to be very fit and obsessed with looks, Debby thought a big deal was made about her being overweight.
But she was not at all intimidated by being put on a treadmill. She says she is used to hard work. And lifting the weights they handed her, not problem.
One of the interesting things she said she never thought of was the "greeking" that went on prior to filming.
Anything with labels that could be construed as advertising or product endorsement -- such as the Coca-Cola memorabilia decorating her dining room to clothing logos -- had to be removed. Even things such as ketchup bottles had pieces of black tape on the logos.
"That's something behind the scenes you don't think about," she said.
Summing up the overall experience, Zaring said she enjoyed her days in the spotlight, and she thinks at some point in the future she would like to meet up with the LaBries with out the lights, camera and action.
They might find out that swapping families was an enriching experience for all of them.