Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

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!

PLEASE LISTEN FOR THE SOUND OF THE NEEDLE BEING DRAGGED ACROSS A VINYL RECORD.

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:

FLOUR.

ALL PURPOSE BAKING FLOUR.

LIKE THE KIND YOU FIND IN THE WILD.

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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  • Laura Jones

    You made me laugh. What a great story.

  • Kirsten Sorensen

    So funny! Our dog did the same thing – entire bag of flour pulled off the counter, dragged all over the kitchen and into the backyard, the phone call when like this “your dog ate a bag of FLOUR, Yes, plain flour and now looks like he has battling a severe substance problem…CLYDE! CLYDE! seriously stop eating it now!” and flour was added to the list of things that we could never turn our backs on.

  • Words utterly fail me. Probably because I am still laughing hysterically. WTH, Chuck?

  • Kymberly Mills

    I love that your mom was wearing an AVON shirt.

  • Poinskinator

    Once my dog dug through my purse while I was visiting the ladies room. She found a box of sweet tarts wrapped in a plastic bag, which was in another bag, at the bottom of my gigantic purse. I came back not 30 seconds later to a dog with legs crossed like a lady, delicately helping herself to sweet tarts. She looked up with a face like, “Ah how lovely to see you! Please, would you join me for tea?” It’s not flour, but still. Dogs can be ridiculous in a very short period of time.

  • cabert

    This whole story was hilarious, but this comment was messed up. So according to your logic, if Chuck is hungry, so he should eat more, right? Well my dog loves to eat cat poop. He would scarf up cat turds all day long if I let him. According to your logic, my little epicurean should be dining on feline feces to his heart’s content. Thankfully, wiser heads have decided that the cat’s litterbox should be removed from the dog’s access and that the dog should only be fed nutritious, healthy, dog food in the proper amount. Amazingly, the proper amount is not “whatever he wants.” The proper amount is a guideline you can easily find online by searching for “how to evaluate your dog’s weight.” There is an entry at Dummies dot com, in case you need extra help.

  • Dana

    Loved every bit of this story. Thank-You!

  • rebecca

    someone please phone 911, i’m choking and i can’t catch my breath from laughing, hysterically!

  • rebecca

    just read “schmutzie’s and jennifer clark’s” comments, i’m gasping for my last breath

  • This was the best post ever. First I was just happy that Leta joined in the cookie goodness but then throw in Chuck busting out the flour. Heaven. I.LOVE.YOUR.A$$H*LE.DOG

  • Beth

    He looks sorry.

  • My dog will attempt to eat anything in a plastic bag. I once found he had rifled through my purse and pulled out a ziplock bag of individually wrapped teabags. He apparently realized his mistake, but not before biting a large hole in the bag.

    He also ate at least a full pound of brownies which someone left in a bag on THE COUCH. That is understandable on his part, but who leaves brownies on a couch in a house with a dog?

  • Bryan

    Oh how this makes me smile. Once my dog found two boxes of chocolates
    under my tree, tore the packages open, and had her very own chocolate
    party while I was away. I came home to find little brown wrappers strewn
    all over my house. I’m sure it wasn’t as delectable as flour. hahaha! I love CHUCK!!!!!

  • Court3ney

    I died laughing. That was awesome!

  • americanrecluse

    I didn’t actually think it could get much better than Leta’s spot on perfect gorgeous face/posture in the “bored” photos. Clearly I forgot about Chuck.

  • Nancy LaRoche

    Awesome story! Love that your mom is wearing a ~2001-era 3Day shirt!

  • Debby

    I have never laughed so hard in my life. I am literally crying right now. Your life is awesome!

  • rebecca

    i think “Chuck” mistaked the flour bag for a Cracker Jack Box, the prize always settles at the bottom and Chuck was not giving up

  • Lauren

    this calls for a dogshaming.

  • barbthebrief

    Tell Leta that math geeks grow up to be great cookie bakers. The precision you can practice trying to get each piece to be uniform is quite outstanding. Baking is SCIENCE as much as anything we do. Cooking is ART; baking is SCIENCE.

  • Nancy Smith

    This is great, because now that we are on the subject of crazy things dogs eat, I can share my hilarious story too. One Christmas Eve we left the house to attend a party and I left 8 paper plates full of homemade cookies ( a wanna be Martha Stewart am I) on the dining room table. I planned on delivering them to the neighbors the next morning. When we got home that night I discovered the table was bare and my German Pointer had eaten every single cookie including most of the paper plates. He did leave behind the cellophane and ribbons. (Yes, they were all wrapped). The surprising part is that she didn’t even get sick, but my neighbors were sad

  • rosie

    Thank you! I needed this!!

  • Leatitia

    I thought the same thing!

  • Heather

    Chuck could’ve been an asshole with my 2 labs Jed & Stella as they too pulled the flour trick. With one of those big bags of flour bought JUST for Xmas cookies as it was too big for the cabinet space.One of the 2 got on the counter and pulled it down, and before I heard anything it looked like it had snowed in my kitchen, and I now had 2 white labs instead of black. And,just to make the experience more awesome, a reminder: flour + water = paste. It took me so long to get the kitchen clean, and for weeks you’d find little patches of dried paste in the oddest places. So, since we know they’d have sufficient fun, can Chuck have a playdate?

  • Funky Kim

    Thank you so very much for the chuckle! As I’m looking at my living room covered with tree bark from the tree my neighbor is cutting down, landing large branches in my backyard for my dogs to drag in one bite at a time.

  • kate c.

    Oh dear! Funny story though! sorry you had to clean up such a mess!

  • I think..Chuck is really a cocaine addict. It helps him stay awake while he writes his haiku’s in solitude.

  • Amy Rockwell

    You are kind of the most hilarious person alive. I love reading your blog!

  • Dorothy Logan

    Dogs will get into the stupidest things FOR NO REASON. My husband came home recently to find that our dog had decided that a tube of Desitin, which had been in her reach for quite some time, was a perfect chew toy (nevermind the fact that she refuses to play with any freaking toy we’ve actually gotten for her), However, this meant that my husband also came home to two piles of poo and two piles of vomit as a result of the consumed butt paste. Delicious.

    At least when she ate my bacon chocolate (*shakes fist in the air*) we were able to make her puke on our terms – outside on the patio. She puked all over the patio because she wouldn’t let me keep her in one place, but still. Better than carpet. And when she went after my husband’s Christmas candy last year, we decided not to bother with making her puke since it was mostly milk chocolate and peanut butter and instead got awesome sparkly poos for the next week because she didn’t bother unwrapping them. Something about a lack of opposable thumbs.

  • Dorothy Logan

    OH. And she got into my post-partum bathroom trash. Twice. That was grosser than anything else.

  • Krissik

    I think the only thing missing from your recipe is “no farting” at the end.

  • Brings back memories of that time my triplets got in the pantry and dumped all pourable substances in one big pile. 🙂

  • Courtney

    Random comment: I’m a Courtney, and the truth is that I’d never name my kid Courtney. If I had to choose a name of my generation for my kid, I’d choose Sarah, but then I wouldn’t because I grew up knowing too many Sarahs.

  • Elana’s Pantry

    You always make me giggle, but this time I laughed so hard at the photos of Chuck dusted in flour that I almost choked.

    Thanks for reminding me to make Peanut Butter Blossoms –a bunch of friends have asked me to make a Paleo-esque, grain-free version and I’m going to get on that stat.

  • Tina Beveridge

    My roommate’s dog ate a stick of butter once. The digested product was epic. Dogs are jerks like that.

  • ai

    Oh my God, that was the funniest thing I’ve read in a long, long, longity long time. My stomach hurts. Coco 2016!

  • de nada

    Dogs live longer and get less cancer when they are kept at a lean weight. It’s science. My dogs would eat Christmas ornaments if I let them.

  • You know, dogs do things like this because this is what dogs do.

  • Ger

    This may be my favorite thing you’ve ever written! Thank you for sharing.

  • Lee

    A) My 8 year old is a “Courtney” – so they exist and B) thanks for a great story. can’t wait to bake with my girls for the holidays.

  • Amanda Greer

    I thought Chuck was supposed to be the smart one.

  • nic

    my guess is that your next post about chuck will include constipation of some sort.

  • Heather Wenzel

    my dog would weigh 300 pounds and would look like a overfilled beagle balloon with little basset legs stick out at the sides. She would roll around the wood floor for locomotion, if given the choice. She just likes food. She would eat an entire cow and still knock over the trash can for a butter wrapper.
    Don’t leave shitty comments on one of the best posts on Dooce in a very long time.

  • Kerri F

    Oh, man… I love Chuck! Of couse, I don’t find antics like this as cute when my cat Remington does stuff like that. He’s a cross between Coco and Chuck and is an asshole. The only reason he’s not dead is because he’s so damn cute, as most assholes are, and he adores me, probably because of all the wires and electrical cords I “feed” him.

  • OMG! Thank you! I soooo needed that laugh today! But why Chuck, why??! Your dog is awesome:)

  • diane – d3 voiceworks

    i’m sure you’ll appreciate this tidbit i read the other day in cook’s illustrated, paraphrasing: to make your indentation in your cookie (aka thumbprints — the indentation AND the cookie name), use a CORK.
    you might have a spare lying around, no?

  • Jeanette

    My question was “does Dooce’s mom own any casual attire that DOESN’T say AVON?” because as the World Leader of Avon, she would certainly promote AVON all the time 😉 (By the way…I do love that about her!)

  • Margaret Lukes

    Awwww… but just look at his face! He’s like, “I’m really sorry mom. I thought it was cocaine. Or maybe even a new alien form of life trapped inside that invisible barrier that needed the death-shake to free it. I will now go drink out of the toilet to clean my tongue.” I have a policy about play dates. They are only allowed with kids whose moms I’m friends with. Because the “play date” is merely a vehicle for mommies sitting around complaining about our husbands and drinking wine. And then I drive them home.

  • skipsy

    Oh, Chuck! You are so sweet and good that we forget you are a dog. I understand why; you had to prove your doggy status just to keep your Dog Card. It’s all good Chuck. It’s all good.

  • Lexie Acquara

    We have guide dogs that come from a guide dog organization that has done nothing for the last 70 years but breed and train guide dogs. According to them, many breeds, and labradors in particular, do not have the brain mechanism (my wording, I am sure they said this in a more science-y way) that lets them know they are full. Our labs would eat an entire 40 lb. bag of dogfood if you let them. We have a golden retriever now, and he is not nearly as bad. (although I still have to keep the bathroom trash away from him…ahem.) the fact that Coco did not go for the flour and Chuck (who IIRC is part Lab) illustrates this. Do you honestly think Heather starves Chuck but not Coco?