My wife has been diagnosed with Briscoesitis.
In a nutshell it means she can't stop buying things from her favourite store.
It's a cruel addiction.
It hits your wallet and your storage space. Which means it costs you a lot (more on that later) and you end up with less storage space because the stuff we buy tends to be put aside - just in case.
I guess I should have seen the warning signs a long time ago.
There were the long periods standing at the window staring into space, waiting for the Briscoes mailer to arrive.
Many's the time some poor unfortunate youngster, simply trying to make a few bob to buy his or her Nan a bunch of flowers (yeah right), has almost lost their hand in the postbox.
As fast as they put it in Kaye whipped it out the other side.
Then there were the times we'd go into town and my beloved would suggest I might like to have a look at Rebel Sport, coincidentally next door to? You guessed it. Briscoes.
Come to think of it I don't think she's ever set foot in Rebel.
While I stand at the door quivering, slowly being lured inside by subliminal messages cunningly emitted from branded sports gear ("Your bum will NOT look big in these, you CAN wear fluorescent coloured, figure-hugging lycra") she's gone.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I recall hearing "I'll just have a quick look in Briscoes ..." and she's off.
Half an hour or so later I'll find her, more often than not clutching some item we "might just need" one day.
On Monday I let her out of my sight for precisely five minutes as I checked exactly how big my bum would look in a rather fetching pair of shorts at Rebel.
Unfortunately the makers put the wrong sizing tag on the said garment so I left the sporting goods store in search of Mrs P.
I found her standing sheepishly at the checkout. Huge grin on her face - the sort that says "this is the biggest bargain in the entire universe EVER!" - and clutching a large silver, duvet-type "thing".
I've seen this grin before. On that occasion she was waiting at the car outside Briscoes.
As I got nearer I could see she was trying to get a glass table into the back seat!
Anyway. As I trudged dejectedly to the car with our new purchase on Monday I tried really hard to avoid the question I knew I'd have to ask and to which I already knew the answer. As I shoved it in the back seat I took a deep breath and muttered the words every man has to ask of his wife at some stage: "How much was it?"
To the uninitiated this sounds like a simple question and one which should receive a simple answer. In my household it elicits the following response: "I saved $80".
I won't bore you with the complex economic reasoning behind that statement except to say my wife goes shopping to SAVE money. Never mind that she went out not exactly looking for anything in particular, the fact that she has saved $80 (by spending $60 as it transpires) makes it a spectacularly successful expedition.
I've given up trying to understand. I guess if I do go bankrupt at least I'll have a nice glass table to sit at and I'll be warm under my silver duvet.
By all accounts Briscoesitis is hereditary but I'm quietly confident daughter Billie won't get it. She has gone overseas so she'll have none of the huge shopping temptations Kaye faces on a day to day basis.
Billie lives in Melbourne.