the smell of my desperation has become a stench

There’s a blonde joke in here somewhere

A couple of nights ago Jon had to run to the hospital for a family emergency (everything is fortunately okay) just as I had returned home from the grocery store with arms full of ingredients for that night’s meal. I kissed him goodbye, told him not to worry about anything at the house, I’d have everything under control. And this is where the sitcom of our lives cuts to a sudden explosion, and next thing you know the house on fire.

We’d invited up our friend Cami for dinner, and she was minutes away from our house. Too late to cancel. But why cancel, right? I could handle it! I could handle both kids, both dogs, and an elaborate, from-scratch meal that included salmon, six different herbs, cooking wine, and every available burner on our stove. We’d made this recipe before! Or more accurately, I watched Jon cook the entire meal while I sipped the cooking wine from a safe distance.

I mentioned recently that I don’t cook, and since my family reads this website every day (and then my dad calls my mom and goes DID YOU SEE WHAT SHE WROTE? and my mom is all OF COURSE, SHE LEARNED THAT FROM YOU) they all got together and gave me cooking utensils for Christmas. Because I’m not living up to my matronly duties. Do you see my husband? I mean, he’s only 150 pounds away from starving to death. AND IT’S ALL MY FAULT.

Now, we have this ongoing joke with Cami. Every time she comes over for dinner we have salmon. At first it was a coincidence, we’d have salmon on the menu and then she’d mention she’d be stopping by. And then the coincidences got to be so ridiculous that we had to make salmon our official Cami Meal. I’m not sure how she feels about this incredible honor and the pressure that comes with it, only that when I mentioned we’d be having salmon she texted me back saying, “Freakin’ dill sauce all over my body time!”

Mind you, Cami is a devout Mormon studying design at BYU. She routinely reads her scriptures and blesses her food. Let me share with you one of the conversations we had over text message back in July:

Cami: Hey sexy I’m leaving Provo! Can I get you anything? Patron, wine coolers, diapers, ass cream?

Me: Can you pick up some hookers! K, thx!

Cami: Oh ya duh, male or female?

Me: Both.

Cami: K done. Fireman or policeman?

Me: Someone with a moustache!

Cami: Haha! Yes and lately I’ve been into wizards so maybe like a lookalike Dumbledore?!

Can you see why I adore this woman despite disagreeing with the fact that she shares her boyfriend with four sister girlfriends? A LOOKALIKE DUMBLEDORE. I went around saying that under my breath for weeks.

This post has gone on long enough, and really the point I wanted to hammer home other than I COOKED THE MEAL! I COOKED THE MEAL! is that there was a point where I had the rice cooking, the sauce mixed, and the salmon fillets laid out on the cutting board, and suddenly Marlo wakes up from her last nap and I’ve got to put everything on hold to breastfeed her. At precisely this time Leta calls out from the bathroom, “I’m done! I’m done!” And I look up at Cami and I’m all, dude, take one for the team, go in there and tell her she did a great job. And Cami goes, sweetie, I love you and your family, but I am not going to go into that bathroom and tell your daughter that her poop is awesome.

And then Cami leans down by the stove to turn on one of the burners, the one we’d be using to simmer the salmon in a mixture of broth and wine and bay leaves, and because she’s not familiar with gas stoves she flips it as high as it will go and gas just pours into the room. And it all happens so fast that I can’t tell her STOP STOP DON’T STOP, and as she winds the handle back down a giant flame roars up from the stove so violently that it blows her hair back from her face.


I started laughing so hard that Marlo jerked herself off my boob and stared at me as if she were trying to figure out what could have possibly happened to make such a horrifying noise come out of my face, and through the tears in my eyes I explained, “IT SMELLS LIKE BURNT HAIR IN HERE!”

In conclusion, one night last spring Cami spent the night with us, and before going to bed she hopped into the shower to relax a bit. Moments later I got a text that said, “Ugh! I just washed my hair with dog shampoo!!!”

  • WebSavyMom

    2010/01/08 at 1:07 pm

    –>I bet Jon was bummed he missed all of the action.
    The text exchange made me laugh. Cami sounds very cool FOR A MORMON. ha!


    2010/01/08 at 1:02 pm

    laughing very hard here!!! glad everyone’s OK.

  • Bollocks

    2010/01/08 at 1:07 pm

    now that i fucking remembered my login, and am able to comment…i’m not laughing nearly as hard!!

    irregahdless of how frustrated i am right now…that was FUNNY AS HELL!

    and now i’ve failed CAPTCHA like 8 times…WTF?

    as of now…still funny…

  • crooked_teeth

    2010/01/08 at 1:08 pm

    A naughty-headmaster lookalike Dumbledore? Count me in!

  • utahbeach

    2010/01/08 at 1:10 pm

    Ha! Cami sounds like the perfect person — and with her looks, how in the world is she not TAKEN?

  • Daddy Scratches

    2010/01/08 at 1:11 pm

    I am reminded that you’re an exceptional storyteller … because I could see so clearly in my mind Cami’s hair blowing back from her face as the fireball erupted in your kitchen. Nicely done. Glad no one died.

    I am also reminded of the time I almost burned down my house trying to cook, um, toast … so you’re LIGHT years ahead of me with the cooking wine and salmon.

  • raineboyd

    2010/01/08 at 1:12 pm

    I just had a similar experience with dog shampoo this week:

    Dumbledore look-a-like….awesomeness. Keep it coming!

  • helmer

    2010/01/08 at 1:22 pm

    I need to get me a cami. ass cream and wine coolers, what could be better?

  • thejenson

    2010/01/08 at 1:19 pm

    You are a great storyteller.

    Cami is beautiful. Thanks to HBO, I associate Mormon culture with Big Love (can’t help it– I LOVE THAT SHOW!. Cami reminds me of Amanda Seyfried only some how more beautiful.

    And by the way, Chuck’s modesty patch cracks me up!

  • missusclark

    2010/01/08 at 1:21 pm

    Luckily for me, my 4-year-old twin girls always “poop for Daddy”. Without any prompting on my part, I might add.

  • fat mum slim

    2010/01/08 at 1:22 pm

    I love that it all sounds so completely normal… and like a page right out of my life.

    There is lots of cause for laughter here too. Just the way I like it. x

  • mommaruthsays

    2010/01/08 at 1:25 pm

    I didn’t know Mormons were so laid-back (because I’m sheltered and I’ve never met one). I just thought they were all total prudes with zero sense of humor! Good to know they can be pretty and funny and semi-normal like the rest of us!

    How far in advance do you plan your menus? I’ve never really heard of that either.

    Damn, I must live under one big ass rock.

  • simpliSAHM

    2010/01/08 at 1:31 pm

    Cooking, Mormons, “sister girlfriends” and kitchen disasters. Who could ask for anything more?

  • HeckYes

    2010/01/08 at 1:36 pm

    Woman, I live in Utah and I will come teach you how to cook. Plus, I haven’t set my kitchen on fire in like, 8 months.

  • josephine

    2010/01/08 at 1:40 pm

    If I had Cami’s hair, I would have cried if it burned off!

    I think she sounds like a pretty cool person, Mormon or not. 🙂

  • coolcatana

    2010/01/08 at 1:41 pm

    You are so funny. Have you ever seen the show Mercy? The main character, Veronica, reminds me of you A LOT! (not with the cheating on husband part or the alcoholic part, but with the funny sarcastic part. Also, she looks like you).

  • Robyn L

    2010/01/08 at 1:49 pm

    Oh my goddddd that’s funny! Cami must have peed a little.

    I think I need your salmon and dill sauce recipe.

  • JustLinda

    2010/01/08 at 1:52 pm

    This is a great post, and imma let you all read it, but my comment is about the previous post – the picture of the dog all decked out in winter wear.

    Why is the name of my blog on his junk??? Huh? What am I supposed to read into that?

    And? Imagine how that makes him feel… doggie emasculation. Poor guy. No wonder he suffers from self-esteem issues and sits quietly with spaghetti on his nose. You called his doggie junk “nothing to see”.

    Carry on. 🙂

  • amedame

    2010/01/08 at 1:52 pm

    It’s all because you used cooking wine. (Kidding, but seriously. Don’t do that.)

  • Coffee Milk Toast Jam

    2010/01/08 at 1:53 pm

    Very funny!

  • aslapintheface

    2010/01/08 at 2:17 pm

    Next time tell Cami to be sure to interview those hookers a little better. Find one that cooks !

  • Tanna

    2010/01/08 at 2:18 pm

    My 4 year old son calls out from the bathroom when he is done pooping, “Come and find me, Mom!” I have no idea how that started! Very funny post, I enjoyed the good laugh today.

  • solaana

    2010/01/08 at 2:20 pm

    I think what worries me is that there are a ton of perfectly normal people out there that would love to go into that bathroom and tell your daughter that her poop is awesome. I’m not one of them, but I can think of a few. This is what you get for having such freakishly photogenic babies.

  • Rebecca Siewert

    2010/01/08 at 2:21 pm

    Ha ha I’m laughing so hard I’m about to pee myself!!! This post made my day!

  • mommica

    2010/01/08 at 2:23 pm

    So I still have to be a part of the bathroom thing when my daughter is FIVE?! Ugh, I thought I was nearing the finish line…

  • The Fabulous Mrs. Chevy

    2010/01/08 at 2:28 pm

    @ #16 coolcatana – Every time I see the actress from “Mercy” I think the EXACT SAME THING!

  • Greta Koenigin

    2010/01/08 at 2:31 pm

    Okay, as an unsavable, non-Mormon from the SF bay (who once dabbled in armpit hair), I need more info about the sister girlfriend sharing in the name of Joseph Smith, Steve Young and Jesus in American. Perhaps Cami needs a blog with a Dooce link.

  • William

    2010/01/08 at 2:53 pm


  • JillyLly

    2010/01/08 at 3:17 pm

    Lol “poop for daddy!” I love that one. Thank you for this. I just got back from a funeral and this really made me laugh.

  • MeMyselfandMommy

    2010/01/08 at 3:28 pm

    This is nothing short of something I would manage to get myself into on a Tuesday night… minus the dog shampoo. We don’t have pets

  • Purple Tree

    2010/01/08 at 3:40 pm

    My life is so boring.

  • paul in kirkland

    2010/01/08 at 3:41 pm

    After seeing the picture of Cami, I’ve come to the conclusion that Mormonism is a scam for hot women to hide behind religion in order to be more selective about who they get to have sex with.

    And have sex they do. Tons of it. I’m telling you, it must be true!

  • agablack

    2010/01/08 at 3:51 pm

    How was the food??? Salmon in dill sauce is one of my favs!

  • The Dalai Mama

    2010/01/08 at 3:51 pm

    That is hilarious. Congrats on cooking the meal. It made me think of the time that my mom singed off her eyebrows, eyelashes, and bangs trying to start the bbq in the days of charcoal and lots of lighter fluid.

    Thanks for the laugh.

  • MelissaJ

    2010/01/08 at 4:05 pm

    okay…this just made me laugh.

    and i think it shows…you SHOULD NOT COOK!

    or maybe it shows, what a great multitask-er you are…that is if Cami is still among the living.

  • kitchenbeard

    2010/01/08 at 4:08 pm

    Picture it: Kitchenbeard in Culinary School

    He leans in to take whiff of what ever he was cooking. He stands back up with less beard than before. Chef Instructor proceeds to make example of kitchenbeard who never did that again.

  • Parsing Nonsense

    2010/01/08 at 4:47 pm

    Congrats on making it through dinner in one piece! Served Cami right for not taking one for the team. I once agreed to wipe my friend’s child’s butt because my friend was in the exact same position (breastfeeding and finishing dinner) and her oldest was hollering from the bathroom.

    No free meals, yo.

  • babier

    2010/01/08 at 4:51 pm

    sooo Funny! Everyone needs a Cami…I have one, her name is Camie!

    So listen, I teach cooking classes not far from where you live. I would love to have you as a guest. My classes are totally a “girls night out” and we pig out at the end.

  • AmyMusings

    2010/01/10 at 11:13 am

    Not to sound creepy or anything, but the part that sticks out in my mind is Marlo unlatching and staring at you, like WTF?!

    I’ve freaked my son Skye out when he was at the boob with the same thing. And I’m a loud laugher. So the look on his face…priceless.

  • melissaann

    2010/01/08 at 6:21 pm

    Hey there, I was wondering what you meant by “sister girlfriends”? Mainstream LDS certainly aren’t polygamous, and we most often here that terminology used with fringe polygamists, ie “sister wives”.

    Are young BYU students now embracing non-monogamous dating and referring to the others as “sister girlfriends”? And do the girls have multiple guy friends, aka “brother boyfriends”? (I doubt that!)

    Super curious about this – hope you have time to answer… I’m not LDS myslef, really not even religious, but I lived in SLC for awhile and enjoyed reading up on the twists & turns of the LDS history/theology/culture…

    btw – I don’t cook either and I also would have been super proud of myslef!

  • pineapple princess

    2010/01/08 at 7:50 pm

    Oh, my gosh! So hilarious! Best story of the week!

  • annabelle151

    2010/01/08 at 8:00 pm

    Literally, LITERALLY just laughed right out loud. That doesn’t happen often. Thanks for the story, Dooce.

  • barbara

    2010/01/08 at 9:03 pm

    I have accidentally washed my hair with dog shampoo before and almost burned my hair off with my parents gas stove. I need to meet Cami. Thanks for giving me a good laugh.

  • thatswhatisaid

    2010/01/08 at 11:27 pm

    Ahhhhhhhhhh… the perfect friendship!! 🙂 My sister and I have a relationship like that, and it’s heaven!

  • pixiegolightly

    2010/01/09 at 4:51 am

    I like Cami. Where can I get me one of those?

    Also, well done. I can just about cook a meal. I can not however cook a meal and do a single other thing at the same time.

  • theotherlion

    2010/01/09 at 7:55 am

    You know you’ve worked in a preschool too long when you are surprised that someone wouldn’t go in and praise a child’s poop. Gotta say I wouldn’t bat an eyelash at that, or wiping a butt. =)

  • Queen Bugaboo

    2010/01/10 at 2:13 pm

    I’d prefer a lookalike Snape.

  • FutureMama

    2010/01/10 at 3:25 pm

    So funny! I don’t think I’ve ever commented on your blog before but I must say I love your writing style! I know you probably hear that all of the time but anyway, yea… Thanks for the good laugh! 🙂

  • hmduey

    2010/01/09 at 2:14 pm

    At least yours stays in the bathroom when finished pooping – both my boys come wherever I am in the house, spread their cheeks, and say, “Is my butt clean???” It’s especially fun when we have company. 🙂

  • Meanwhile I Keep Dancing

    2010/01/09 at 2:41 pm

    I did the same thing this summer, just a month after we moved into our first house, with my first gas stove. There was also a leaky lighter on the counter…Fried a good amount of my hair, which thankfully I wear short and needed a trim anyway. The little hairs that were burnt short are finally grown out…I was mostly fine after it happened, until I realized I didn’t know if I had burnt of my eyebrows: I finally cried with relief when I got to the bathroom mirror and saw they were still there…almost cried again when I say how much hair I rinsed down the drain. Then, so I wouldn’t forget my suffering, I told my high school students what had happened. They still give me a hard time once in awhile.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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