The last time we saw Barbara, she was dissolving before her workshop guests after meeting up with a baby…a baby that had reminded her all too much of the pregnancy she had lost. Even though Barbara had tried to hold herself together, she had managed to give the most disastrous catalog tour ever before having a breakdown in front of them all.
Amazingly, though, that workshop had not only set the record for the most horrible catalog tour, it had also set the record for sales. Because once the women there found out why Barbara had broken down, they were so sympathetic and wonderful that she had gone on to give a dazzling demonstration and they had responded by pulling out their checkbooks and credit cards. Her hostess had been stunned at how much free merchandise she would receive. However wonderful it had been, Barbara fervently hoped she wouldn’t have to do that every time she did a workshop. As it was, she had gotten five bookings for the next two months and should be comfortably busy for a while.
And now, a few weeks later, Barbara pulled into the garage after having done the first booking off of that amazing workshop. This one had gone very well and she had a very comfortable feeling about the stack of order forms she already had. Because the hostess had decided to keep the workshop open for a few days, Barbara had been able to leave a little earlier than usual. She decided to leave her stuff in the car overnight and tote it all in the next morning. Tonight she was too tired to bother.
Barbara walked into the house and heard the television blaring from the family room…another ball game. “What did men get out of sitting and watching other men play a sport?” she wondered. Barbara had given up doing workshops where she demonstrated most of the projects because the women got bored; they wanted to get in there with the stamps and inks and make things themselves. So it was hard to understand just what people got out of watching sports; surely it was much more fun to play them yourself? She walked into the family room, but her husband Brad wasn’t in there…where was he?
Barbara dumped her purse and her keys on the kitchen table as she walked back to the bedrooms. The master bedroom door was ajar and light streamed down the hallway. Barbara pushed open the door and walked in. Brad was standing in the door of his closet, turning off the light. He turned and said, “Oh, hi, honey! You’re home early! I was just, um, putting on my robe and slippers so I can be comfortable while watching the game!” Brad closed the closet door, tightened the belt on his robe and giving her a peck on the cheek, walked past her, down the hall towards the television.
Barbara frowned; that wasn’t like Brad. He usually wasn’t a robe and slipper man, preferring to wait until bedtime before he got out of his clothing for the day. She glanced around the bedroom. Something was not quite right in the room, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on what it was. The bed was made, the room was tidy, but there was something different. She sighed. It was probably nothing. Barbara went into the bedroom she had turned into her private office and stamping haven and booted up her computer.
Even if she and Brad had been talking much lately, she would not be able to even attempt a conversation until the ball game was over. Things seemed to have been improving between them after the miscarriage, but lately she had noticed Brad was getting more and more distant and less talkative. He wasn’t even bragging that much about the cars he had sold each day. Barbara had tried after the disastrously successful workshop to talk to Brad about trying to have another child, but he had said he was just not ready yet. Since conversation was unlikely, she might as well go online.
Barbara waited patiently for her computer to finish booting so she could cruise the website she had recently discovered: Splitcoaststampers. Barbara had been loyal to Stampin’ Discuss until just recently, when it seemed like it took forever for the moderator to post anything. On Splitcoast, you could post in real time and get answers to questions right away. And the galleries were fantastic!
A window popped up as her computer desktop built itself; it was time for her One Button Check Up, it told her. As she waited for Norton System Works to clean up her temporary files and perform a system check, her glance wandered around the room. There were all of the things she had pulled out in a rush the other day to make a card. “Might as well clean up while I wait,” she thought as she walked over to the desk.
Barbara picked up a stamp, stamped the ink off on her grid paper and pulled the Stampin’ Scrub towards her so she could clean it. Glancing down at the grid paper as she spritzed the Stampin’ Mist on her scrub, Barbara did a double take. This wasn’t the ink she had used with this stamp…this was a dirty brown, not the black she had used to stamp the greeting. She looked at the pads lying around on the desk. There was a Yoyo Yellow pad there, the cover closed unevenly. Barbara couldn’t remember pulling that pad out, much less using it and closing it that way.
She opened the Yoyo Yellow pad and gasped…there in the middle of her beautiful ink pad was a black stain from the same stamp! Barbara could see the ink dissipating into the pad, but the words were still visible. “Husband, Wife, Happy Life!” it said. Her beautiful yellow pad, the one she’d bought just for herself to use after guests had messed up her original one, was ruined! The pad surface slowly turned orange as a Real Red mist of anger rose before Barbara’s eyes!
Who had been in her room using her things?! Barbara’s eyes roamed around the room, looking for other things out of place. She pulled out the wastebasket and found paper scraps and not little ones, either. Whoever had been in her room had had no respect for using the smallest piece of cardstock necessary, but had cut little pieces out of entire sheets and discarded the rest!
Barbara felt her breath coming fast and tight in her chest. Someone had been in her room, using, messing up her things! Then she froze, remembering: the pillows on the bed in the master bedroom had been lying flat on the bed and the pillows with the decorative shams were lying on top of them. She didn’t make her bed that way! Barbara stood her bed pillows up and leaned them against the headboard. She felt her face contort into a mask of anger as she strode into the bedroom and pulled back the covers of the bed. There was a long red hair in the middle of the bed on top of the Gable Green sheets, not Barbara’s hair color at all, at all.
Will Barbara confront Brad with the evidence? Will she kick him out on his rear like he deserves? And what will push her to do it: the long red hair or the ruined Yoyo Yellow pad? Tune in for the next exciting episode of….the Tearing Edge!