Okay. Don't panic. Don't panic. It's just a small organization that wants to talk about shopping, right? Except talking about shopping means cutting up my credit cards and trying to force me to admit I have a problem. I take a nervous gulp and pat down my frizzy hair which is totally disobeying several of the products I've bought in, well to be honest, the last week. It's not like they're really going to go into the logistics of what Luke and Nannie Sue define a "problem", the whole place is probably infiltrated with shopaholics that whip out designer clothes as soon as their nosy husbands are gone. It's going to be a safe haven. I can picture it now. Prada and Gucci labels being flashed and sample sale rumors exchanged. As soon as Luke leaves, their going to reveal themselves to be fellow shopaholics as well.
Anyways, once the doors are closed its one group counselor versus twenty-five shopaholics. The poor guy doesn't stand much of a chance against Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood) and her artillery of credit cards.
This all started when Luke involved Nanny Sue in our parenthood. Bad idea, really. I mean, doesn't he trust us to call the shots anymore? Minnie, our splendid daughter, was having "behavioral issues", which included snatching mannequins and squirting ketchup. She bought sixteen coats in one day, which isn't that much if you consider she could've bought six hundred. I mean, really, she was being generous and even, in some sense, frugal during these hard, economic times. Luke didn't see it that way, though. He immediately jumped to, "She's only two!" and, "Let's get a professional opinion". He's sooo dependent on "professional opinions". If it were up to him, our relationship would involve a lawyer, two aides, and a professional consultant. That's what I get for marrying someone in PR.
I love Luke, really, he's a dear, but if it weren't for him, I wouldn't be on my way to this boot camp where they torture people who are silly enough to actually show their husbands what they bought. I really didn't think he was going to react that strongly to a couple of bags stuffed in the depths of our closet. Urghh. I really should've whipped out the trusty ol' ultimatum when it could've served its purpose.
Nanny Sue recommended I come to boot camp for fear my spending habits would be handed down to Minnie. Luke said he couldn't afford two of us, and after seeing the Visa bills, it's become clear. We have to CB or MMM.
CB is "Cut back" and MMM is "Make more money". Their dad's top ways of avoiding financial crises, and I have to say, it's been working for him. I brought this to Luke one day, my star idea, and apparently his number one way to cut back was to send me to boot camp. Budgeting isn't really my thing.
"Luke, darling, why don't we stop for coffee? You can't talk about financial deficiency and low self control without Starbucks." I murmur to him. His brow is furrowed together in concentration, as though he's trying to figure out my ploy.
"Love, is it necessary? I didn't know you drank Starbucks at one in the afternoon." Well then. Truthfully, I can't face this without a frappuccino. I need Starbucks.
"Luke, this is the one thing I want on my death bed."
"Sweetie, going to this boot camp is not going to kill you. It's going to help you live a healthier, better life. We're ten minutes away; you better start embracing the idea."
Leave it to him to rub it in. I start to wish futilely Minnie would whine in the back seat and come to my rescue before I remember Jesse took her for the day.
Jesse is my frugal, lovable sister who married Tom, my ex- next door neighbor who fancied me. They've began the tedious process of adopting. It's really quite wonderful, and I know she's going to be an excellent mum. To think, I'm going to be an aunt!
I can buy my little nephew all sorts of wonderful luxuries and clothing and he'll tell all his little friends that he has the most wonderful aunt in the world. It really will be stupendous.
I can see it now, prowling avenues with Jesse and her son. I keep secretly hoping motherhood will push her to consumerism. It will happen one day.
On the other hand, I've embraced it so heartily my own husband has condemned me to serve a sentence at this horrid facility to rehabilitate shopaholics. He believes it's all for the best, but if he heard the dirt I uncovered about this place, he would lock the car doors and speed past. I only need to uncover something about the place.
The truth is, I looked it up and indulged upon countless Google searches. All I pulled up were wonderful reviews, and I know that will only feed Luke's fire. If only I could extinguish the flame.
I know Luke only means best, it's not like he believes the group counselor is going to forbid shopping, rip my heart out, and eat it, right? I mean, it's not very likely that he's going to sit us down, snatch our credit cards, and cut them up. But still. It feels that way.
I wish Luke would comfort me and tell me that I don't have to go, but he's dead set for it. Even Minnie cheered a little, although she has no idea it means the end of Starbucks trips for her. Or that Mommy bought her wardrobe for the next eight years. Literally. Luke and I set aside an afternoon, practiced deep breathes, and sorted through all the clothes I bought her. She's good to go until she's ten.
But, by Luke's standards, that's only ten shirts a year, so that argument isn't closed.
"You looked stressed, Becky. It's only five hours today. It's the bloody introductory meeting. All you do is sip cheap coffee and socialize, you'll do fine." Luke says it what he deems a reassuring tone. Sure, the words make me feel a little bit better, but I still feel dreadful. It's not helping that there's a billboard for a new mall right across from the place.
He pulls into the driveway with expert hands, and I get my first full look up close. It's a cheery lime green building, with the cursive letters, "Shopaholics Anonymous" on a sign across the top. It's beautiful, really, but I can't help but wonder what horrors it has in store.