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Remember the movie Bride Wars? It involved two brides trying to sabotage each other’s weddings…and in one scene involved a spray tan booth and a very awkward moment.

Yeah, we recently had one of those moments.

Specifically it was the eve before I had a speaking engagement which meant I would be wearing a dress and heels.

Let me describe my winter skin. Imagine the pale underbelly of a freshwater fish. You’ve got it.

I had no choice.

It was time to hit the tanning salon.

Eden, who was also wearing a dress at the event, thought the whole idea sounded pretty cool. So I allowed her to come along.

I chose a place that offered the spray stalls…rather than those where an attendant sprays the tan on with a device that looks like a hair dryer.

The receptionist offered a mind boggling selection of choices. From the hue of the tan to cleansers and moisturizers all designed to keep your spray tan glowing for days.

I chose a medium hue and went with the option that double sprayed your legs.

The receptionist squinted at Eden. “She probably doesn’t want to go too extreme,” she said. I agreed. We decided on a “mild” tan for Eden who was nodding “Yes”. Eden is not a risk taker. She likes to know exactly what’s in store before she agrees to anything…anything.

The receptionist asked if I needed a refresher course on how to use the machines. “Absolutely!” I said.

We headed down the hall and entered a booth. Spray tans have become quite fancy. Inside the booth, spray jets are programmed to your specific measurements. Think really tiny car wash and you’ve got it.

After explaining the process, the attendant left. I went next door to the second booth, which had been programmed for us.

I am 5’ 6’’. Eden is not quite five feet tall. So my spray jets had a greater distance to travel. Plus, I had opted for the double coating for the legs. So the jets would travel several times in just that area.

Everything would have been just great.

Except for one thing.

Eden and I had switched up the booths.

She was spray tanning in the booth programmed for me and I was in her booth.

Oh. Dear.

I realized this as I readied to enter the booth. The numbers blinking on the front of the stall didn’t add up. I could hear the sprayer chugging away in Eden’s room. I quickly got dressed and raced to the front desk.

“My booth doesn’t seem to be programmed for me,” I stuttered. The receptionist looked up and frowned.

“Which room are you in?” she asked.

“Room four,” I replied.

“Mmmm,” she said. “You are in the wrong room. Your daughter is receiving the spray tan scheduled for you.”

“WHAT!” I exclaimed. “She’s going to look like she went to Bali and back for the weekend!” I am thinking of that double leg spray which on Eden would essentially cover her entire body…twice. So at the end of the session, she would have a triple coating!

The attendant agreed that could be a problem. She began to offer solutions. “Well, if she takes a shower right away, that might help.” She frowned. “But you might want to add a scrubber.”

Eden is going to have a cow.

The attendant re-programs my room and I head back down. I can still hear Eden’s spray jets. I quickly jump in and shiver as the jets glide up and down.

I hear Eden’s booth stop.

I am now out of the booth and getting dressed. A knock on the door.

“Mom,” said Eden. “Are you about done?”

“In a minute,” I replied.

I don’t want to open the door. What if Eden is orange? What if we can’t get her to a normal color? Can I send an orange kid to school? Would this end her entire middle school career? My mind is ricocheting in a million different directions.

Eden knocks again.

Time to face the music.

I open the door.

Eden stands there…her skin richly glowing. She is truly bronzed. Only a shade or so away from taking her rightful place on the town square with the other statues.

“Mom,” my color seems pretty dark.

“Well, here’s the deal,” I say. I explained the mishap and to Eden’s credit she remained calm.

“I can’t go to school like this,” she said in a small voice.

“I know,” I responded. At that point the receptionist was hurrying down the hallway loaded with bottles and jars.

“Here you go,” she said. “These are scrubbing creams that work great to take you down a couple of color levels. I thought you might need them,” she awkwardly concluded with a glance toward my nearly orange child.

I thanked her and we left. Right back home and to the bathroom. The first shower ratcheted the effect down a notch. The second shower showed marked improvement. By the time she had gotten up early to shower again before going to school, Eden was looking like she had just had a nice tan.

So fortunately Just like the movie, Bride Wars, we had a happy ending.