the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Grumpy baking happy fun times

My mother invited me and the girls to her house for lunch on Sunday because I had mentioned that every attempt to schedule a play date for Leta had hit some sort of wall. SERIOUSLY. Listen up, and I am not even joking:

Being a kid these days is total crap.

Kids have to schedule playing time. They don’t walk to the neighbor’s house anymore, knock on the door and ask if Courtney can play. Courtney now lives across town, and Courtney’s mother has to coordinate with the other mother to determine a time and place and there are cars and drop offs and pick ups and a debriefings wherein each party assesses whether or not the play date was exciting enough to warrant all that work. I’m exhausted simply from typing all that.

Also, where are all the Courtneys? There are no more kids being named Courtney. Gone are the Jennifers and Tiffanys and Stephanies. Gone are THE HEATHERS.

Where was I. PLAY DATE. Right.

Leta woke up Sunday in a morose mood because she knew that it was going to be the most boring, most horrible day ever. Why? No play date. Part of me wanted to start ranting about Camp Africa where kids her age eat bugs, but I was mostly heartbroken for her. It’s sad. When I was her age my mother just shoved me out of the house when I got bored. There were at least four girls on my block who would be home and we’d dress up like Madonna and kiss pillows.

When I told her we were headed to Grandmommy’s for lunch I thought she’d perk up, but her frown grew more severe.

“What are we going to do there?” she asked, her arms crossed tightly across her chest.

“We’re going to scratch my butt,” I answered. She hates it when I do this, but I can’t help myself.

“MOM!” she screamed.

“Listen,” I said. “I promised Marlo a few days ago that we could bake cookies together. The kind of cookies where you stir stuff in bowls and measure ingredients with little cups. You can help us with that.”

She was holding back the urge to groan. “That sounds like the most awful thing ever.”

Well, that apple didn’t fall far from the tree!

Before we headed out I googled a recipe for a cookie that wouldn’t require a doctorate to figure out, and then I remembered that my sister used to make ones out of peanut butter when I was a freshman in college and SOMEHOW I gained twenty pounds in one semester . Didn’t take long to find it online:

Do you SEE me getting crafty? Look at how awesome that is. BEHOLD IT. The Christmas Spirit is alive! And it has taken over photoshop!

I found a bag of flour and some sugar in my kitchen, but we had to stop and pick up some of the other ingredients on the way out to my mother’s house. The reaction from Leta: “The store? UGH. WHY? WHY?” The reaction from Marlo: “THE STHTORE?! THE STHTORE?! CAN I PUSTH THE CART? PLEASTH? PLEASTH!”

You can, Marlo. But only if you say, “Sally selling seashells by the seashore.”

Ok. So. I have never attempted to bake anything in the presence of my younger child. Why? Because wrestling a pig in a puddle of mud does not sound like fun to me. Which is why I needed the assistance of my mother, and boy am I ever glad she agreed. Because Marlo was one coked out pig. She could not have been more excited to bake cookies. Her sister, however, was just a little more subdued.

Leta remained in that chair from the moment I got out and organized all the ingredients up until the squealing from Marlo interfered with her ability to concentrate on her game.

Marlo stirred, she measured, she poured, and then she stirred some more. Leta finally perked up when it came time to crack the egg. Maybe because it’s a little more scientific than stirring, I don’t know. But, thank you, egg! Thank god you were a part of this recipe. Because you got my kid to stir ingredients and stick her hands in batter. Egg, would you like to come over for a play date? I can pick you up.

The recipe says it will produce 48 cookies. However, Marlo was so enthusiastic about rolling the dough into balls that instead of 48 one-inch balls we ended up with about 200 quarter-inch balls. Unlike the Internet we didn’t tell her that she was doing it wrong. We just took the balls from her and combined them behind her back. We deceived her, like people do in real life.

I’m sure the presence of my mother had everything to do with this, but these cookies turned out better than the pictures I saw online. And they tasted just as good as the ones my sister used to make. Success! The kids agreed and we all lived happily ever after!


Marlo did not take a nap that day, not with the adrenaline rush of first-time baking and consequent sugar rush of four peanut butter blossom cookies. And then five minutes away from home she fell asleep in the car. Like, OUT. She totally crashed.

I decided that I’d let her sleep for a little bit, so I took Leta inside along with my purse, my camera equipment, and the bag of ingredients left over from our activities. The bag of ingredients that included the flour I had originally found in my kitchen. Flour that was locked inside a ziplock bag. Flour that had no business being anywhere outside of that ziplock bag.

I then went back out to the car and read on my phone for no more than five minutes while Marlo slept in her seat. Five minutes. That’s it. Wondering if Leta was okay inside by herself I poked my head through the garage door hoping to see her sitting on the couch but was instead greeted by this:




That first shot is from my phone because I was going to have to step over him to get the big camera and I needed to capture the fact that his tongue was so coated with flour that HE COULD NOT GET IT BACK IN HIS MOUTH. He walked around with cotton mouth for a good hour. In fact, he walked around quite a bit and tracked flour all over my house. Little flour paw prints. An adorable little art project!

Just as I took those photos Marlo woke up screaming, and when I got her inside the first thing she did was walk right through that mess. OF FLOUR. Why flour, Chuck? Why? Why go through the trouble of fishing out a SEALED bag of flour? Of chewing through that sealed bag TO GET TO FLOUR? It wasn’t bacon. It wasn’t a cheese sandwich. It wasn’t a shiny Golden Retriever in heat. IT WASN’T EVEN A TAMPON.

I sent that first photo to everyone I know who owns a dog. Every single person texted back, “WHAT IS THAT?” And when I answered, “FLOUR,” every single person asked, “BUT WHY?”

Why? Because my dog is a jerk.

Where was Coco during all of this? She was sitting by the garage door because she knew that Marlo and I were still out there. My theory is that she was watching this all go down and was like, DUDE. What in the hell are you doing? That isn’t even bacon. Two members of our herd are still in the garage where they could be attacked by a bear at any moment, and you’re snorting an odorless, tasteless substance. You embarrass me.


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  • Laurie

    2012/12/05 at 10:07 am

    Best laugh of the week!

  • Kate

    2012/12/05 at 10:07 am

    This is what I found after running into the post office…after a quick trip to the grocery store with the dog in the car. No joke…there were dog treats in one of the bags and the bastard chose this!

  • Kate

    2012/12/05 at 10:08 am

    well the pic isn’t coming up, but its flour ALL over the inside of my car.

  • Robin Dearing

    2012/12/05 at 10:10 am

    Holy flour cow! Why do dogs do that stuff and then look at you with sad eyes? It’s a good thing dogs are cute (and kids, too).

  • Allison Petersen

    2012/12/05 at 10:10 am

    Aaaaaah! That is hilarious, and definitely perked up my morning. My dog did the same thing with a bag of flour. I know better than to leave shopping bags on the ground, but I figured what could be attractive about a bag of flour?!

  • Stefanie

    2012/12/05 at 10:10 am

    About the names, I know, right? We’re a rare freaking breed. Only Stefanie’s with an “F” were born between the years 1980-1985. Society is killing us off, I tell you! We’re headed towards forgotten oblivion, like Eunice, Elvira, and… Margaret (?).

  • Guest

    2012/12/05 at 10:14 am

    Oh my god, I can’t stop laughing

  • Natalie Goodman

    2012/12/05 at 10:14 am

    Oh my god. I can’t stop laughing!

  • acm

    2012/12/05 at 10:16 am

    That was super-awesome. In the wonderful way, followed by the terrible way. Looks like you’re in no danger of running out of blog fodder anytime soon! 🙂

  • schmutzie

    2012/12/05 at 10:17 am

    And then Chuck never pooped again. The end.

  • US Babyhuddle

    2012/12/05 at 10:17 am

    Haha I love this post! And I NEED those cookies in my life!! SO wish we could buy Jif peanut butter in the UK but alas my efforts wouldn’t have been half as good. And if it makes you feel any better, my kitchen looks like this all the time- my toddler loves playing with flour. Not sure why.

  • Lisa V.

    2012/12/05 at 10:19 am

    This is hysterical! Thank you for making my day. This morning, while I was driving my 3 kids to 3 different schools MY dog threw up in the front seat. I was so panicked I almost hit the car in front of me. This was at the #1 kid drop off – I had 2 others to go. When I got home and cleaned up, I went to my office only to notice my Christmas tree had fallen down! Right down the middle of my living room! I needed a good laugh…thank you!

  • Jennifer Clark

    2012/12/05 at 10:19 am

    That’ll teach you to bake.

  • lisdom

    2012/12/05 at 10:20 am

    Oh Chuck. Chuck, Chuck, Chuck. Times like these make me glad I have a cat. You can tell you were born in the 70’s or early 80’s when a lot of your friends are named Heather, Stephanie, and Jennifer. Which a lot of mine are. =)

  • kayleymaybe

    2012/12/05 at 10:23 am

    Love this post. I have a 3-year old who also loves baking, so I too have ended up with flour all over the kitchen, albeit for different reasons. My dog showed no interest…

  • MelissaJ

    2012/12/05 at 10:26 am

    too damned funny!

    that’ll learn yins to bake them thar cookies!

  • Amber Gregory

    2012/12/05 at 10:26 am

    HAHAHAHA oh, that tongue!

  • theothermrsmiller

    2012/12/05 at 10:34 am

    I think the expression of “what, so I ate some flour,” on Chuck’s face is the absolute BEST!

  • MaryKate Giufurta Burd

    2012/12/05 at 10:36 am

    I laughed so hard reading this (at work mind you) that I started crying!

  • Sara Halliday

    2012/12/05 at 10:37 am

    Nominate for post of the year.

  • Michael Mathews

    2012/12/05 at 10:39 am

    Oh my, I laughed a lot at this one. My cats will definitely find treats, dry food and/or bread that is not locked away. But flour?!?

  • Lisa Durgin

    2012/12/05 at 10:39 am

    I think all pet owners have an experience of this sort at least once. Mine involved two Abyssinian cats and a very large Rubbermaid tub of turkey and rice soup that was on the counter top in a plastic grocery bag for about 2 minutes while I stepped back to the garage to get some other stuff from the car. Since one of my cats had a plastic bag fetish and had to obsessively lick any grocery bag in existence, and since this often resulted in her head going through the handle of the grocery bag, and since the contents of any bag will follow you to the floor when you jump down with your head through the handle, and since the loud THUD of the tub of soup hitting the floor and the subsequent popping off of the lid might startle a small feline, it’s only natural that turkey and rice soup would end up spilled, spattered and smeared all over not just my kitchen, but also my living room. Because that’s just how these things work.

  • Megan Beth

    2012/12/05 at 10:43 am

    That’s what you get for not letting him crack the damn egg.

  • issascrazyworld

    2012/12/05 at 10:45 am

    Cannot stop laughing. My Aussie eats everything…but I can’t see her eating flour. Ear plugs, sure. Butter? Her favorite. BUT FLOUR? Hahahahaha

  • Elizabeth Myriam Diamond

    2012/12/05 at 10:46 am

    I seriously thought that my dog was the only one who ripped open bags of flour. Good to know that he is not alone.

  • TierneyG

    2012/12/05 at 10:53 am

    I see your Ziploc bag of flour and raise you a 10kg, Costco sized one. And a labrador. In a small laundry room. 5 years later I swear I am still cleaning it up.

  • Danalan

    2012/12/05 at 10:57 am

    Love the whiskers in that last photo.

  • tksinclair

    2012/12/05 at 11:08 am

    Just wait until your dogs, like ours, learn to open the fridge and help
    themselves to the leftover pizza and other assorted ingredients
    (although as yet they have not mastered the opening of jars – but I see
    this on the horizon). Life as you have become accustom to, filled with the
    normalcy of flour all over the place, will come to a very quick end
    because it only takes one time for those dogs to learn what we keep in
    that big cool box and they will never ever forget it and they will
    think that it’s always filled, from top to bottom, with pizza. just for the taking.
    OH and btw our one labradoodle (they are brothers) was standing on the kitchen counter the other day. He figured out that’s where we kept the butter…in a sealed container. He took the container and while thank God he has not mastered the opening of the screw top, had started to chew his way through the side….

    Yeah, wait until you come home, walk in and your 40 lb dog is standing, all four paws, on the kitchen table, looks at you and says, “Hey, what’s for dinner?!”
    Just wait.

  • Hey! My name is Stephanie!

    2012/12/05 at 11:15 am

    That was awesome. Also, that last image is perfection.

  • Emily

    2012/12/05 at 11:16 am

    Dog + flour… hilarious. Thank you for lightening my morning.

  • Kristen

    2012/12/05 at 11:16 am

    hahahahaha wonderful for me, not wonderful for you. total bummer for you.

  • Amy Mac

    2012/12/05 at 11:31 am

    Silver lining: coulda been self-rising flour.

  • Louise Gleeson

    2012/12/05 at 11:36 am

    Dogs with cotton mouth and eggs on play dates. This post is the FREAKING best.

  • Rachel De For

    2012/12/05 at 11:40 am

    Ah, the dreaded playdate. How many times have I attempted to explain to my 8 and 6-year-olds that no, we can’t just go over and knock on so-and-so’s door. We must first make contact with “the other mom” via a flurry of e-mails that hopefully don’t make you sound like a kidnapper/pedophile whose kid happens to be in her kid’s class. Then perhaps a date can be set and a time and does little Aidan/Aiden/Ayden/Eidan or Addison/Addyson/Adison have any allergies and yes, I’m trained in CPR and have a defibrillator in the house. Shit. I still throw mine out on the front sidewalk to scooter up and down the block and sure enough, I get commentary from the neighbors on how they “wondered where (my kids’) BIG person was…”.

  • twocharacters

    2012/12/05 at 11:41 am

    You should use one of those fridge locks that you can get in the baby proofing aisle of the store. My dog learned how to open his own crate door. We had to get a lock. I defy any dog to learn how to pick a lock.

  • Jordan

    2012/12/05 at 11:50 am

    Totally put a smile in my day! Thanks as always Dooce!

  • crash1212

    2012/12/05 at 12:00 pm

    Made me giggle out loud while a meeting is going on over my shoulder. Busted! I think breaking into the sugar might’ve been worse with all the sticky and granularness of it. I love Chuck, that last picture with the flour caked on his mouth is priceless.

  • Kara Nolting

    2012/12/05 at 12:00 pm

    Oh Chuck…

  • Megan Gordon

    2012/12/05 at 12:05 pm

    Oh my. I snorted. And then thanked the baby Jesus that it was you and not me.

  • Kathryn

    2012/12/05 at 12:15 pm

    my dog Scout did this earlier this fall – all over my hardwood floors and carpet – woke up in the middle of the night, projectile vomiting PASTE all over the house – spent 12 hours at the vet hooked up to IV fluids – she survived, my carpet did not

  • Heather D

    2012/12/05 at 12:22 pm

    This is just pure awesomeness.

  • Holly Cumpston

    2012/12/05 at 12:30 pm

    I. love. Chuck.

  • nanda

    2012/12/05 at 12:35 pm

    You know, dogs do things like this when they are hungry. Regardless of what vets say you don’t really have to underfeed your dog to keep him healthy.

  • Loren Cline

    2012/12/05 at 12:35 pm

    The first part was adorable, the second part was hilarious.
    Dogs are so ridiculous sometimes.

  • Jennifer Cafferty

    2012/12/05 at 1:01 pm

    Tears. Tears are flowing from my eyes from laughing so hard! First at Leta’s “you’ve got to be kidding me right now” face throughout most of the pictures. Then at Marlo’s excitement at the simple things in life, which she clearly loves. And then Chuck. And seriously – FLOUR? Did he think there was some sort of treat hidden in the bag? Hopefully you aren’t still cleaning up!

  • zchamu

    2012/12/05 at 1:04 pm

    what… flour? Why?

  • maggie

    2012/12/05 at 1:06 pm

    what vet is telling you to underfeed your dog?

  • LDD

    2012/12/05 at 1:16 pm

    Hilarious!!! And I LOVE that your mom happened to be wearing an Avon shirt.

  • HeatherArmstrong

    2012/12/05 at 1:33 pm

    The vet has a picture of Chuck hanging up in her office as an example of what a healthy weight is for a dog of Chuck’s size. Dogs do this because they are dogs.

  • Jeanie

    2012/12/05 at 1:37 pm

    I am so glad that the first ingredient you listed doesn’t exist in this world, because the world doesn’t need that much more Jeanie…

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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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