To say we have a weight problem in my family would be like saying Donald Trump is somewhat self-confident. I have multiple cousins who do or have weighed in excess of 300 pounds. About a year before meeting my now husband, I decided to take on my weight in a serious way. I went to a naturopath to seek the latest information on diet and a healthy metabolism. I joined a gym. Hired a trainer and downloaded lots of Donna Summer songs. I cooked every weekend. Lots of veggie soup. So much veggie soup. A fruit smoothie for breakfast every day… I germinated flax seeds in my refrigerator. Went to the gym twice a day, and lost 100 pounds. I’ve kept off 70 0f those pounds for over a decade and am in the process of retackling the dreaded returned 30. Needless to say, if you’re going to the gym twice a day and have lost 100 pounds while eating a healthy diet, and think you just might have met the man of your dreams, you’re feeling pretty good about life. But God and I have had a long running joke going on between us. He always finds a way to keep me humble. In walks Betty, my future mother-in-law. Now I have to tell you, even after losing 100 pounds, I was no small girl. Nope, I was every bit of a size 14 on a good day. But can you imagine, after losing all that weight and becoming so much more fit, how good I felt about what I had accomplished? Did I mention in walked Betty??
In his descriptions of his family, my new boyfriend, you know — dream guy, had neglected a few minor details. For starters, his mother had hated every woman he had ever brought home, primarily because… How shall I put this? She’s basically in love with him. Don’t hang-up now, I promise it gets worse. You see I had painted this wonderful scenario in my head. One day I would meet Luke’s family and Betty and I would be friends! She would adore me like my mom had always adored my sisters-in-law. She would want to teach me things like how to make Christmas sunbackle cookies and how to to say Happy New Year in Norwegian. I still smile when I remember how excited I was the afternoon Luke sprung it on me. We were going over in a couple hours to meet his family. Oh my goodness – I’m southern. This would require hot rollers. After a quick trip to the CVS, and several curlers later, we headed across town. It was getting dark and I struggled to get my mascara just right. Not too globby – Luke would say I had spider eyes.
We pulled up to the dark grey triangular house, on the grey wooded lot. Not nerry a window in site. Literally not one window in view. And the front door was electric hot pink. It looked like the witch’s house from Hansel & Gretel meets Starwars Episode 1. In retrospect it truly should have been my first clue. But here’s the thing, I am the eternal optimist. It is doggoned organic with me. The cup is always nearly full. So did I stop for one second and think, hmmmm, this is… different. Nope, I bounced in like a cheerleader at Homecoming. The door opened and I was stunned. The interior of the house could not have been more different from the exterior. The floor was shining with deep cobalt blue tile. And while the front of the house had no foreseeable openings (trust me – this was foreshadowing), the back was built nearly entirely of glass. The interior walls were painted lilac, works of art adorned the walls from floor to ceiling. And glass balls were hanging everywhere. Crystal perhaps?
The inside of the house was both striking and stunning. Luke’s father greeted me with a warm kiss on the cheek. And then his mother stepped back, looked me up and down, and a smirk began to crawl across her face. “Here’s my daughter Kat,” she said. “She’s a former ballerina. We have a lot of models in our family. Luke tells me you know an awful lot about weight loss. I’m sure you know much more about that than anyone in this house. Why don’t you sit down and tell us what you know about it.” And so it began.