I’m one tough cookie | AspenTimes.com

I’m one tough cookie

You wake up one offseason Saturday. You look out the window and it’s raining sideways. The dog needs to go out. The newspaper is lying in the gutter. The kids are just waking up and they’re hungry. All your plans for an outdoor weekend of fun are shot. And your wife is hiking to Crested Butte with the ladies for the weekend. What do you do?Well, a sane person would probably suggest a movie or some other relatively tame indoor activity to their kids and have it made.Did I mention that we were out of coffee, too? I don’t think well without coffee?My morning went like this:”Dad? Can we play football today?””Sure.””I want to make cookies, Daddy.””Sure.””Hey Dad, can we invite some friends over?””Sure.” The next thing I know I’m sitting at the table in my bathrobe, perusing soggy pages of The Rocky Mountain News, ankle deep in Ego crumbs, while parent after parent is wishing me a nice day as they wave goodbye, leaving their progeny at the doorstep.It takes a moment to realize that the ringing in my ear isn’t from caffeine withdrawals. The windows actually are rattling. Five kids are playing leapfrog upstairs.I pull myself together and yell “Whoa!” at the top of my lungs. Only my youngest daughter, who happens to be climbing on my back, hears. She dutifully climbs down and brings the others to order.”OK,” I announce with authority. “We need some kind of plan here.” My 10-year-old daughter has heard the opening stanza of my weekend morning speech a few more times than the others have and knows exactly what to do.”I’m going to Alley’s,” she says and disappears off to the neighbor’s house. Now I’m in a jamb. The brightest, most responsible person in the house has abandoned me. I look at the remaining faces and size up the new situation. There are three boys standing in front of me ranging in age from 4 to 8. My 4-year-old daughter rounds them out. This is going to be a cinch. Ignoring the obvious laundry situation I am about to create I ask, “Who wants to go to the park and play mud football?”Three hands shoot into the air. “Yeah!” My cookie-making, preschool daughter is the sole dissenting vote. She looks at me with big, sad, pleading, beautiful brown eyes. It just kills me that I must take this opportunity to teach one of those painfully difficult, real-life lessons.”OK, boys, let’s get out the recipe file and preheat the oven. Get ready to bake.”I look through the pantry and see that we have exactly none of the necessary ingredients. I load everybody up and head for the Village Market, the store that was the inspiration for 7-Eleven’s pricing scheme. I head for the baking goods aisle and pass the dessert section with a vainglorious, self-satisfied smile. “Chips Ahoy for $4.99? Ha!” I mutter under my breath. “What sucker would pay that for a bag of cookies?” The kid stocking the shelves just shakes his head.I know right where everything is, so with the help of my eager assistants I gather up the brown sugar, vanilla extract, shortening, butter and a half-dozen eggs in just under 26 minutes. We get to the checkout and all eyes are fixed on the checker. He’s the same kid who was stocking the shelves. “That’ll be $28.42,” he says grinning widely at me. We finally get home and I line up everyone for hand washing. After they finish soaping, rinsing and drying I look down at the towel lying on the floor. It looks like the one that the quarterback wipes his hands on. You know, the one that the center tucks into the back of his pants.As unlikely as it sounds, we have two Sams in the group. It created some confusion so I dubbed them Sam One and Sam Two. About halfway through the mixing process I look at Sam Two. He’s not breathing and his cheeks are turning bright red. He’s tense and struggling. I make ready to perform the Heimlich maneuver. Just as quickly, Sam is breathing again. The blockage has cleared itself.”Sam Two, did you poop?””Just a little””Okaaaay … I’ve got a new job for you.” Sam Two becomes our official timer watcher.Sam One informs me that he’s an expert at cracking eggs so I hand him a couple to add to the mix. I turn around for a minute and when I look back I see a flotilla of broken eggshell on top of the gooey mix.Sam One is shaking his head staring at it, “I’ve never done that before,” he informs me.”That’s all right,” I tell him. “Even the best cook gets a little shell in there once in a while.””No,” he says. “I’ve never cracked open a raw egg before.” After they eat a few tablespoons of brown sugar and several handfuls of chocolate chips, the sun breaks out from behind the clouds and all my help takes the rest of the day off. They head for the park and I’m left alone for the tedium of making little balls of dough, baking them and cleaning up.As I wait for the first batch, I think of everything the kids put into those cookies. Here, you thought I was going to say something like, “especially love.” Didn’t you? Actually, I decided to let them bake another couple of minutes.And how did they come out? Munch! Hmmm? … Pfffft … Someday, too soon, I’ll long for the taste of one of those cookies.You want a recipe for disaster? E-mail Roger Marolt at roger@maroltllp.com

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