01 November 2014


Paul received two washcloths from housekeeping today. This is a monumental occasion – one that commenced with a gasping yell that I thought indicated something was very, frighteningly wrong, and concluded with a this, a blog post with words dedicated to remembering this feat. “You should write a blog post so that we can remember this!” O.K., Paul. Washcloths documented.

My husband worked yesterday. Paul, a corporate pilot, doesn’t often fly. He works an average of four days a month, which sounds great and, for the most part, it is. He spends most of his time on the internet, naps daily and we get to travel the world. The only real downside is that we live in a third-world country.

He yesterday had a day trip to a domestic location and arrived home late afternoon. While he was out I left the apartment to do some reading required for one of my online courses. I could have stayed in my 700-square-foot, flying termite-infested apartment in the highest temperatures of the day, but my coffee press broke sometime in September. The hotel has not provided a new one and I refuse to pay the equivalent of 71 USD to buy one, so I am unable to make my own.

I drove to the neighboring compound and visited the open-air café with the gauche, low-level, rattan couches that have the potential to provide more comfort than hardback chairs offered at the upstairs restaurants. To my dismay the dessert selection was lacking so I left after completing my required reading and consuming my mug of iced coffee.

A thought popped into my mind as I began to back out of my parking space: why don’t I make cookies? Oh yes, because I live with the cookie monster.

I really wanted something sweet and I had a hankering for some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, so I stopped by the convenience store and grabbed a large bar of the good stuff while plotting a plan to prevent my husband from consuming all the cookies within 24 hours.

When I arrived home I researched my options. I consulted the queen, Ina Garten, and found the perfect recipe in her new cookbook that had just days before appeared in my Nook (I had been waiting a month after pre-purchasing the ebook for that sucker to become available).

The focus of Ina's newest cookbook is make-ahead meals. She reminded me that I could prepare cookie dough, bake what I wanted and then store the rest in the fridge or freezer, baking fresh cookies later. Knowing that my mother’s recipes yield six dozen, I thought this was genius. We no longer will be forced to feel the pressure to eat dozens and dozens of cookies before they lose their value. Plus, fresh, warm, ooey gooey cookies are always better.

I also consulted my favorite healthy Skinnytaste recipes, but they all called for applesauce and I have no such thing. Ina won but, let’s be honest, Ina usually wins.

As I prepared the batter, I laughed at my third-world techniques that made me compare my circumstances to the women who cooked and baked their whole lives before the Kitchen-Aid product line became available. My mixer was a potato masher. Instead of whipping the butter together with the sugars, I smashed them together with my masher until they were not light and fluffy – they were mushy but well blended.

I did not separately mix the dry ingredients and carefully add them in because I only own one bowl. I plopped the flour right on top of the buttery, sugary, eggy, vanilla-y dough, added the baking soda to the top of the flour heap and gently mixed it with the English tea spoon in my possession (yeah, I don’t have a set of measuring spoons either). When the dry ingredients were added, I gently mashed them with the wet to form a really decent dough.

By the time the oats and the chocolate were added, it was about time to pick up Paul. The dough was soppy due to the humidity, so I thought I would cover the bowl and let it rest in the refrigerator until after dinner (another cool trick I learned by reading various master baking articles).

When I was ready to bake the cookies later that evening, the monster lurked. I told him that I had dessert planned, but I guess he was under the impression that I had already prepared the dessert to its end state. Fair dos.

“Why is the oven on again?” he mused.

“Dessert,” I nonchalantly replied.

“Cookies with peanut butter in the middle?”

“If that’s what you want…”

I had scooped one dough blob onto the baking paper when the child appeared behind me, his arms reaching and his fingers grabbing the air on their journey to the treasure hiding inside the metal bowl.

“BACK!” I yelled, swatting at my husband.

A look of confusion and deviance morphed on his face and he inquired as to why he had to back away as he again reached for the bowl.

“You know,” I said, “I had actually planned to get a spoon, fill it with some dough and walk it over to you as a positive gesture, saying this was your only spoonful.”

“What? My only spoonful? No, this is not how this works.” He kept fighting, so I conceded and let him grab a blob with his fingers as I went to the drawer for a spoon.

When I handed him the spoonful of dough, shoving it toward his face, telling him to get out of the kitchen, he scuffed off toward the couch.

I only planned to make six or eight of the cookies – just a single tray – so that we could ration the volume, so I regained composure and again started scooping dough balls onto the tray. He was so quiet that I did not hear him approach, but I felt my husband’s presence behind me. When I turned, he was in full-on I am going to eat all the cookie dough mood.

“Oh my gosh, GO AWAY!!”

“WHYYYY? What is the problem with eating the cookie dough?”

I wanted to tell him that he is going to eat so much cookie dough that a) he won’t want to eat the cookies that are going into the oven, and b) because the more dough he eats, the fewer cookies I am able to produce, but all I could muster was, “Just go!”

Once the tray was in the oven, I felt slightly guilty for my outburst, so I walked over another spoonful of dough. “Peace offering,” I said. Then the sad, pouty face appeared. “I can’t eat anymore.” Yeah, I knew it.

When the cookies were done, I made Paul his desired cookie sandwich with chunky peanut butter between two oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I walked the sandwich to him, carrying a cup of milk because I am a sappy, weak wife who apparently waits on my husband hand and foot – and cookie and milk.

He ate the cookie sandwich and went back for another cookie. I had a cookie and then ate half a cookie with a bit of peanut butter on it just to see whether the extra fat was worth the effort. Yes, it was.

When we had finished the evening, there were three cookies left on the tray. I placed the remaining dough into three freezer bags and Paul yet again fought me for the dough, sticking his hands into the bags and taking out as much as he wanted, laughing the whole time. I had been divvying up the bags to ensure that each had roughly the same amount of dough inside, weighing them to ensure they were relatively close, but he didn’t care. He was blinded by cookie dough. This is what happens to an alcoholic.

Finished with my task, I gave him the scraped bowl and the spoon I had used and then hid the dough bags in the freezer. I didn’t expect him to go through the freezer, but I knew that he would survey the refrigerator, so I opted to freeze them. When we went to bed, the three cookies had gone down to two, so I took the remaining two and hid them in the microwave. I knew that if I didn’t, he would consume them both before I woke the next morning.

This morning he was awake before I. By the time I showered and made my way into the living room, he was going through his everyday motions. I was on the phone with my mom when he began hunting, looking through the fridge, scanning the counters and cupboards.

“They’re in the microwave,” I offered, “but I want one of the two.” This is called compromise.

That didn’t stop him, however. As any addict would, he had had a taste and craved more. He went through the fridge and opened the freezer in search of the stash. This, by the way, is why I did not bake all of the cookies. I know he is so addicted to cookies that he will eat all of the cookies in the house before he ate anything else in his entire lifetime.

***Interjection: Paul just popped into the bedroom, took a glance at this point in the story and said with a smile, “Are you writing about my washcloth?”***

Later in the day, I needed some chocolate, so I grabbed a bag of Chips-Ahoy- type-but-way-better cookies from the cupboard. I just wanted a little snack and didn’t want the good stuff. I grabbed two glass of milk along with the bag of cookies and sat down next to my husband while we watched last week’s Ohio State game.

I don’t remember what started the great cookie debate, but whatever it was got Paul rolling.

“I don’t get it,” I remember Paul saying. “I can have these cookies, but I can’t have the baked cookies. I can have cooked cookies, but I can’t have the dough. I should be allowed to eat all the dough that I want!” He was fake fighting, raising his voice, flailing his arms, moving from one room to the other.

We don’t often yell at each other so we recently decided that fake fighting would be entertaining. It’s happened a few times.

“You know,” I interrupted, “I was just thinking that from now on, whenever I make cookies for just us and not for anyone else, I will set aside a separate bowl of dough, and you can eat whatever is in that dough.”

“NO! “

“What if I need to bake six dozen cookies and you eat dough that leaves me a half dozen short?”

“Wait, who’s paying for the ingredients?”

I was slightly offended since I haven’t actually earned a paycheck in about two years and said, “Fine.”

“No,” he corrected, “I’m not talking about you and me – who’s getting paid and who’s not – that’s irrelevant. If the cookies are for someone else and they pay for the cookies, then they’re not mine and I won’t eat any.” I don’t believe him for a second. “If you have a job and I don’t have a job, or if I have a job and you don’t have a job…Basically, as long as a McKee buys the cookies, I have free reign!”

Enough said.

It’s now 7:30 p.m. We finished dinner and I cleaned up a bit. I am doing my own thing in the bedroom and in walks Paul.

“Why isn’t the oven on?” he wants to know.

“Uh, because I didn’t know you were ready. I was waiting for you to tell me when you were ready.”

“Uh, is there ever a time to NOT have cookies? GO!”

When I enter the kitchen he has his head in the freezer. “How do you defrost one of these things?” he asks as he tries desperately to find the dough bags.

“Ta-da!” I say as I pull an already-defrosted bag from the sink.

“Oh.” He launches for the bag as I instinctively pull it away and turn myself toward the counter acting as a shield against my husband. “Here we go again,” he says.

I pulled apart the dough and helped Paul place the bag, inside out, upon his hand. This is sad. When I finished placing the cookies on the baking sheet, I left the tray near the heating oven. As I was about to walk back into the bedroom, I look at the tray and a cookie is missing. Paul is doing this for attention. “Go ahead,” I say. “Do what you want.” And I walk out of the room.



“O.K.? Let’s GO!”

Clang, clang. I hear the baking sheet sliding into the oven, Paul banging it everywhere in his excitement.


You all know that he’s 32, right?

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