It's a MysterEAT....
It was a dark and stormy night. I was sitting behind my desk
chowing through a bag of greasy snacks working on a client's file when the door suddenly opened. I jumped, quickly stashing the bag o'salt crumbs into my bottom drawer and wiping all the evidence on my shirt.
In walked a breathtakingly beautiful woman, dressed to the nines, in heels and fine clothes. The kind of woman who looks like she walked off the cover of a magazine. The kind of woman who clearly didn't belong in MY office. The kind of woman who didn't have cheerios so ingrained in the carpet of the car that they had, in fact, become a part of the car. To be honest, the kind of woman I often pretend I am in our annual holiday cards to friends and family.
I offered her a chair. She looked at the melted crayon drawings on the arms and decided to stand.
"I'm sure you're wondering why I 'm here?" she asked.
"Selling girl Scout Cookies?" was my slightly sardonic reply.
"Nice" she said and turned to go.
Because I need clients, and because I had promised the kids a trip to Disney World BEFORE they were old enough to take their own children there, I stopped her. And, although it went against my better judgment and tasted about as sour as a half-eaten lemon drop covered in dust bunnies and carpet fuzz, I apologized.
But I had my fingers crossed behind my back.
I offered to shake her hand and proceeded to move the books from my "working" chair so she could sit without exposing herself to the germs my precious living petrie dishes had probably left there anyway. I didn't feel the need to inform her that chair was the spot we used to use as a diaper changing station. It just didn't feel necessary.
"Tell me your story," I said... and so she did.
"I am a happily married woman who has everything. A perfect husband, perfect life, perfect children, and a perfect home. And yet, everything isn't perfect."
"True, but if perfection is what you're after, I'm not sure I can help much. I'm just a private investigator, not a miracle worker." was my response.
"I'm.... I'm in love. And it's not with my husband.", she said, dabbing at her eyes with a monogrammed napkin. MY monogrammed napkin. Which was hand-monogrammed by the 3 year old. Crud.
"Well, that's too bad", I said, trying to subtly lean over and remove the "keepsake" from her reach before she blew her nose in it. Too late. Shoot.
"It's ... it's Amos. I can't live without him! And I need you to help me."
"Amos is your husband?" I said, writing his name down so I had something to do.
"NO... my husband is Pierpont Cuttlebutt the 3rd. AMOS is the man I am in love with. And you have to help me find him."
"What can you tell me about him?"
"He bakes the MOST delicious cookies..." and with that, I saw her sneak a couple of fingers into her dainty little briefcase and heard a rustling I recognized immediately.
"Is he rather famous?" I asked, knowing full well what the answer would be.
"Well, he seems to be" was her reply.
"Ah-ha" I said, grabbing her hand and pulling it out to examine the evidence. Yup, there it was. Chocolate brown stains all over her fingertips and a whiff of cookie dough... it was obvious.
"This isn't love, pumpkin... it's just dessert" I said. I do so enjoy stating the obvious. "You don't want to jeopardize what you have with your family for this joker. He's on every shelf in every city.... Famous Amos gets around."
"But... but... he means everything to me!"... and with that, Mrs. C. totally fell apart. "He's there when I'm down, when I wake up, when I'm lonely or sad... he's the only one I know I can count on..."
I gave her a moment to gain some composure. Then I confessed my deep dark secret to her. "Listen, toots, I've been there. I used to have a thing for Mr. Salty. But then, I discovered a solution that works. Maybe it can help you too. It's called MFP."
"What I learned is how to find balance in my life. How to make sure I have accountability for my own choices and yes, occasionally, to have some salty treats too. But I log those choices... and it doesn't have to be anything more than a treat. Stay in your marriage, sweetie. This Amos guy... he doesn't need you. You're nothing more to him than another mouth to feed."
"Wait..." she said, snuffling through the tears. "You mean... I don't have to choose between cookies and my family?"
"I CAN have it all?"
"Nope. You can't have ALL of it, all of the time. You DO get to choose for yourself what matters most. And if those cookies mean enough to you, you can have them AND your family. Just not the whole bag."
She threw a couple of bills on my desk and walked out.
And that, folks, is just the beginning of the story of how Mrs. Cuttlebutt discovered true love at home, changed her relationship with food, and joined MFP. And yeah... those chips from the beginning of the story? I logged 'em. Each and every one.