Chapter from Coffee House/Shop Journals by Cheryl Elich-Krumpelt- preliminary

Chapter: Totally worth it!

Credit Crunch-

Hurry, hurry

don’t delay

50% off just today!

Come on and buy it! You can even try it!

30 days gurenteed

will set you back a life time of greed!

Credit throwing herself at your door- like a little plastic whore.

Buying into her false flirtations, paying it off is devastating.

Like doing time in credit hell…

Will I ever escape this

SELL?   cek

Stephy couldn’t help herself! She was craving a tall espresso and coffee! She had promised Adam that she wouldn’t spend any more of ‘HIS” money going to the coffee house. funny, she thought, wasn’t it “their money”! Adam had scolded her last week for using the credit card to pay for her indulgence. What was she supposed to do? Stephy had no money of her “own”. She had given up her art licensing business after she had their son, Anders, six years ago! “What the hell, I deserve a treat” Stephy convinced herself as she grew more angry. Looking back on six failed pregnancies in two years, two being ectopic and then finally Anders at the ripe old age of forty! Boy did that do a number on her body! “That’s it” Stephy decided as she stood in front of the gift card section of her local grocery store. It was time to make a choice. Ten gift cards for $50 was way too much. $25 gift card to the coffee shop, “I don’t know” Stephy pondered. She looked at the groceries in her cart, $25 would make the total bill $100 and this was supposed to be a “I need a few things” trip to the store. Stephy scanned the display of cards; Target, Applebees, Mc Donald’s. Well, the $15 coffee house gift card was the least she could find! How would she justify this?

Stephy hesitantly tried to removed one card from the display. As she yanked the card, “damn, why do they shove so many cards in one display pocket”? The entire bundle of $15 gift cards went flying up into her face, fanning out in the air and down over the dirty grocery store floor. “oh shit” Stephy mumbled as she tried to catch the cards before they hit the ground. The bright florescent lights on the ceiling blinded her for a moment as she looked up! It’s a sign she thought. Maybe this is stupid! As she placed the cards back, the last one wouldn’t leave her hands, so she threw it in her cart and hurriedly headed for checkout.

As Stephy stood in front of the grocery checkout clerk, her mind kept going over her gift card purchase. The sound of the register’s beep, beep, beep added more dollars to her guilt. “Your total will be $85 ma’am” the clerk stated with zero emotion. “Excuse me Miss…. Miss? You owe $85. Will that be credit?” the clerk asked impatiently. Stephy stood there, eyes wide open like a deer staring in headlights. My God, $85 Stephy cringed. Just then an epiphany came over Stephy. I’ll use the gift card to buy two five dollar cards for Ander’s teacher gifts and keep $5 for me!!!! Relieved by her genius idea, she handed the clerk her credit card, “that will be credit” Stephy smiled!

Stephy got into her car after loading the groceries, she quickly searched through her purse for her Smart Phone. This is ridiculous Stephy thought as she riffled though paper receipts, glass cases, old candy and fruit roll ups, toy trucks- ah, here it is-one missed call-Kait! What a coincidence. Kait was the first person she would have wanted to call to share her “guilty genius” with! Her mom was her second choice but Stephy had to be cautious when speaking to her mother about discretionary spending. Her mother was living just above poverty by choice in order to fulfill her OCD antique dealing venture. Her mother would not understand!

“Hey Kait” Stephy practically sang.

“What’s going on?” Kait responded, a little taken back by Stephy’s overly happy tone.

“ Well I bought a gift card for the coffee house at the grocery store so it is absorbed into the food bill!!!!” Stephy boasted.

“That is genius” Kait exclaimed!!!” “guess where I am at?”

“Where?” Stephy asked.

“At Home Depot…. I think I might buy myself a new washer and dryer while I can, before the divorce.” Kait admitted. Distracted by the sexy looking appliances that stood before her, Kait could hardly concentrate on their conversation-“oh God, this one is awesome, I am definitely buying myself a new washer and dryer, I deserve it!” Kait pronounced in a very determined voice.

“Yes you do, you go girl” Stephy said enthusiastically “buy them while you can! Maybe go buy some gift cards too” Stephy laughed

“Oh shit, they are so expensive” Kait remarked as she stared at the sticker slapped on to the side of the appliance. This one was the high end version of last year’s model. It had more options. Kait didn’t even know what they were for. Perfect a new adventure, maybe this would be the best distraction for her. Kait imagined herself standing next to her new appliances all day pushing the various buttons with joyous curiosity and awe. “I am going to have to use my credit card though, but the bill won’t come until next month so that’s good. He won’t see it until then!”

Stephy tried to mustered as convincing a voice as she could, “that’s ok! If he is going to play that way, he will have to pay!”

“What did you say, what… your breaking up” Kait remarked impatiently.

Stephy quickly took the phone from her ear to see who was on call waiting. “Oh sorry, it’s my mom. I better get it.”

“Okay. Well, call me later” Kait said. Sometimes Stephy just really irritated her.

“Hi mom, how are you” Stephy asked, trying to sound upbeat. This was Stephy’s new “mom mantra” she was experimenting with. Instead of getting frustrated by trying to understand her mother’s very skewed view of life, Stephy decided to accept her mother as best she could. Although many conversations ended in frustration shared by both parties.

“Hi honey, I am good! Just sitting here in front of the Good Will outlet waiting for it to open. I want to be in before everything gets picked over! Oh, there’s a truck, it must be bringing a load of new stuff!” Stephy’s mother exclaimed with excitement. She couldn’t help herself, she lived for the hunt!

“Wow’ Stephy said. “ I didn’t know there was a GOOD WILL OUTLET!!!! Never heard of such a thing. Aren’t the prices cheap enough at the regular Good Will?”

“I guess not! I am so lucky to have found out about this-ummm, five more minuets until they open! Enough time to drink my cold coffee! I am probably the only person out there who loves and drinks cold coffee!!” Stephy’s mom said proudly!

“Mom, people drink cold coffee all the time! You know, the Coffee House serves iced lattes and mochas…lots of people drink them! Oh shoot, come on guy, speed up a little!! I am on my way to the Coffee House now” Stephy stated a little confused by her mother’s remark as she purposefully tailgated a slow driver. For goodness shakes, can’t people go the speed limit- this is so rude she thought.

“Yes, well , I drink mine without ice…oh, gotta go, love you!”Stephy’s mother said. She always managed to have the last word.

Kait had never felt so alone and so free at the same time. Standing there in Home Depot. For the first time in twenty two years she was going to make a major decision without her husband! It was time to celebrate with a cup of Joe.

copyright 2012-2015 Cheryl elich-krumpelt all rights reserved

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