Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Episode 22 - What we'll do for a new catalog....

When last we saw Barbara, she had just moved into Dianne's house ostensibly to get away from Brad, but also to keep an eye on Heather, Dianne's sulky 15 year old daughter, while Dianne was at convention.

Today Barbara was excited. Her new catalogs were due to arrive today and she just couldn't wait! Barbara had whiled the first couple of days of not being at convention by reading the highlights on the Stampin' Up! website and anticipating those new catalogs arriving. It was the only thing that made not being at convention bearable, knowing that those new catalogs would be arriving soon. And today was the day!

The only problem was that the catalogs were coming to her own house, so Barbara would have to leave Heather on her own for a few hours while she waited at home. Heather had been distant, but had been home on time each night, so Barbara had nothing to complain of there. But she felt uneasy all the same about Heather...something was up, she was quite sure, but did not have a clue as to what it could be.

Now Barbara sat in her own kitchen, working on her files. Brad was at work, thankfully, so she did not have to deal with him. Barbara glanced at the clock, which said 10:30 AM. It could be several more hours before the UPS driver arrived.

At home, Heather exulted. That woman was finally out of the house! She could finally work out her plan. She dialed Josh's number.

At 11:00 AM, Barbara was startled to hear a truck pull up outside. She hurried to the window; it was the UPS truck! She hurried to the door and opened it wide. The UPS driver wheeled two boxes up to the porch on a hand truck. Barbara had never seen this UPS driver before...he must be new. This driver was handsome; her own driver was a bit of a dud. Barbara had never been able to fantasize about him, like other demonstrators had about their UPS guys. "Hi!" Barbara said, "What happened to Ted?"

"Well, Ted is on vacation and I'm filling in for him. I just got back to work myself, I had a bit of an accident a while back. My name is John," the UPS driver replied.

Barbara's eyes widened. Could this be THE John? Vicky had confided the whole story to her before she left for convention, about John's fall on her front steps, the hospital, the flowers without the phone number, the encounter with the driver who turned out NOT to be John. Vicky had asked the driver she had met that day to get a message to John for her, if he could, and the driver had said he would try, though he did not know John. Vicky had left for convention, not having heard from John, despairing that all was lost.

So it was only natural that Barbara blurted out, "John? John Porter?"

"Yes, that's me! I used to have another route, but they had to do a bit of rearranging when I had my accident and I haven't been assigned another route yet." John replied.

"But, I know Vicky Vellum! She's been trying to get in touch with you. You forgot to put your phone number on the note in the flowers!" Barbara sputtered.

John looked stunned. "So, that's why she never called. Geez, I feel so stupid!"

Barbara laughed, "Don't worry about that, Vicky knows that closed head injuries sometimes cause memory problems. Can you give me your number now and I'll get it to her? She's at the Stampin' Up! convention, but I'm sure she'd be glad to call you from there."

John gave her the phone number and set the boxes of catalogs just inside the door. Then he climbed into his truck, a beatific smile still wreathing his manly features.

Barbara hurried inside. Should she open the catalogs, or should she email Vicky first with the vital phone number? Barbara dithered for a moment, then remembered that Brad had taken the modem out of the computer, muttering something about an upgrade. Barbara suspected that Brad was really trying to sabotage her business; so much of what she did was done over the internet, so going without a modem was a hardship. Luckily, Dianne had a great computer at her house; Barbara could email Vicky from there!

Barbara looked at the boxes and decided to load them in her car and get back to Dianne's house. She felt uneasy about Heather and knew that if she cracked those boxes open she could easily lose herself in the pages of the catalog for hours. Brad might come home soon, as well, and she'd rather not have to talk to him just yet.

When Barbara picked up the first box, she was surprised at the weight. Wow! she thought, these are really heavy! She remembered how heavy her kit was with its box of 8 catalogs within. Barbara had ordered 4 boxes of the new catalogs, so there must be two in each of these larger boxes. Maybe she should wait until Brad came home and have him load them in her car. Barbara remembered Dr. Spec telling her not to lift anything too heavy. But she didn't want to wait for Brad. So she hefted them into the trunk herself.

Barbara drove to Dianne's house and parked her car in the garage. She opened the trunk and lifted the first box out. Suddenly, Barbara gasped as a cramp shot across her abdomen. The baby! Barbara staggered in the door, clutching the box of catalogs.

Barbara dropped the catalogs on the kitchen table and staggered to the phone. The cordless was not on its holder; Barbara pressed the button that would make the phone sound, revealing it's location. Barbara listened carefully to the beeping, it seemed to be coming from Heather's room. She thought Heather must be out, but as she walked into Heather's bedroom, Barbara found Heather and Josh sitting on the bed. The bed clothes were crumpled and in disarray, and Heather's own clothes were not much better. Barbara's eyes narrowed...what was going on here?

"Um, we were just...talking, like, ya know." Heather muttered, scarlet-faced. Josh said, "Yeah, we never get a chance to...uh...talk much lately, and since I was just passing by, like...."

Barbara opened her mouth and was about to say something sarcastic when another cramp startled her. She said, "Never, mind that, where's the phone? I need to call my obstetrician!" Heather scrambled for the phone among the bed clothes and handed it to Barbara. Barbara's face was pale and she grimaced in pain. Heather stared at her...was Barbara going to miscarry? If she did, it would be all Heather's fault for sneaking Josh into the house and startling her!

Heather felt awful. She had never thought of the consequences of her behavior before. It had never occurred to her that anything she did would have much effect on other people, in fact, sometimes Heather felt that she could disappear off the face of the earth and all anybody would say would be, "Heather? Yeah, she used to live her, but I haven't seen her lately!"

In the meantime, Barbara gabbled out her symptoms frantically over the phone. She listened carefully and said, "All right. I'll have someone get me there as soon as possible." Hanging up, she turned to Josh. "Can you drive? I need to get to the hospital!"

Josh said, "I've only just started driver's training! Uh...are you sure you need to go?"

Heather looked at Josh in amazement. How could he be so dense? she thought. Here was a woman in pain, maybe on the verge of losing her baby, and this is what he said? What a dweeb! "I'll drive you, Barbara," Heather said. "I've had just as much driver training as Josh, but I'm not afraid!"

Josh gave Heather a dirty look and left, slamming the door behind him.

Heather helped Barbara into the car, and climbed into the driver's seat, feeling excited in spite of the urgency of her mission. She got to drive a car on the street, not just poking around the driver's ed course at school at 8 miles per hour! Heather started the car and started to back carefully down the driveway, when suddenly Barbara shrieked, "STOP!!"

Heather slammed on the brake and the car lurched to a stop. "What?!? What's wrong?!?"

Barbara said, "My catalogs! I've got to take one with me! I can't wait any longer to see the new Stampin' Up! catalog! You've got to go in and get one for me! They are on the table, just open the box and grab the first one!"

Heather stared at Barbara. This woman was as bad as her mom! "You can't be serious! You need to get to the hospital!"

Barbara took a deep breath and said, enunciating clearly, "I am just fine, 5 more minutes will not make any difference!"

Heather just stared at her, amazed that anybody could get that stressed over a catalog. But Barbara had waited too long for those catalogs; Barbara knew what hospitals were like! She'd probably be waiting for hours there; she could bear the suspense no longer! Barbara said, "I'll feel so much better if I just have that catalog, sweetie, so....JUST GO GET ONE!"

Heather, startled, put the car in park and hurried into the house.

Will Barbara miscarry? Will Heather and Josh ever, erm, get back to what they were doing when Barbara interrupted? Will Barbara remember to email Vicky with John's phone number? Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of....the Tearing Edge!

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