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5:11 a.m. - 2002-04-11

HEY LITTLE GIRL...WANT SOME COOKIES?

So after I left here yesterday, I baked some chocolate chip cookies in hopes of stinking up the house like fresh baked cookies because we're selling the house and people like to buy houses that smell good and not like spoiled dog ass.

I'm not a baker. I'm a great cook, one of the premier chefs in the country. My hot dogs are TO DIE FOR.

But I don't bake. To paraphrase Bruce McCullough...baking's for housewives and little girls.

Yet, it was up to me to bake the cookies because my wife doesn't even know how to operate the oven. She thinks you stand in front of it, nod your head and say "Cook me some grub" and it spits out lasagna.

Luckily for me, we have a chocolate chip cookie mix up in the cupboard from when I used to be able to eat such things. You know...1974.

So I bake these bastards up and dammit all to hell...they turned out perfect. Perfectly round, perfectly brown...perfect.

I stood in the middle of the kitchen shouting "Mrs. Fields! Famous Amos! Keebler Elves! You can all eat my ass...for I am COOKIE MAAAAAN!!!"

Okay...not really. But they did turn out good.

Now...the true test. Go outside. Come back inside. Does the house smell like freshly baked cookies??

I went outside. Got the newspaper. It was pretty nippy for an April morn. Then again...I was only in my boxers. No shoes, no t-shirt, nothing but boxers.

Go to open the door.

It's locked.

I have a bad habit that is usually a good habit of locking the door every time I leave the house.

I closed the door behind me to keep the dog from running out in the front yard. Normally, this is her procedure...Daddy goes to get the newspaper...she follows behind me.

Except, she ALWAYS plops down in the grass and rolls around on her back, getting grass, twigs, weeds, whatever she can all in her fur. Then she comes back inside and the grass falls off of her with every step, thus coating the entire house in yard clippings.

So...since the house is as immaculate as we can get it, I closed the door behind me to prevent her from running out behind me.

So now...I'm locked outside in my boxers.

Now then...I could ring the doorbell and get the wife to come and let me in.

Except the wife's in the shower and wouldn't hear the doorbell.

Plus, the kid's asleep and I don't want to wake him up. Because the dog barks hysterically when the doorbell is rang. The barking wakes the kid up. The kid cries and wants out of his crib. The mommy's in the shower and can't hear the kid. The daddy's locked outside in his underwear, waving at the neighbor kids on their way to school who are staring at him in disbelief and he can't get the kid. So you have a doorbell ringing, a dog barking, a kid crying and a mommy singing gospel hymns in the bedroom at the beginning of her 15-minute shower.

And Daddy dancing outside to stay warm.

So I wait.

It's not freezing by any means. Probably in the 50s. But when you're standing outside in a pair of thin boxers and nothing else for a certain amount of time ... you begin to imagine that you're in the movie "Alive!" and that you're going to have to start eating your own flesh in order to stay alive.

I decide that a good plan of operation would be to go to the backyard and stand on the back patio. That way, as soon as the wife gets out of the shower, she will go to the laundry room to get some clothes, passing by the patio door and seeing me standing out there, shivering and hugging myself to stay warm, probably chewing on a toe or two.

So I go to the backyard and stand on the patio.

...Just as Nosy Assed Neighbor comes outside to let her howling hell hounds outside.

"Uncle Bob," she says, oblivious to the fact that I'm standing there in my underwear. "Did you show your house yesterday?"

"I don't think so," I said. "There weren't any phone messages."

"I didn't think so," she said. "I didn't hear anybody over there."

Alright. At this point, the conversation should be a moot point. Nobody came by, nobody saw the house, I'm standing here in my underwear, awkward and embarrassed...go back inside your house.

"Don't you think you need to replace your roof before you show your house?" she asks.

Alright.

What in the HELL am I supposed to say?

I'm obviously standing on my back patio, three quarters naked for a reason and it can't be a good reason. I'm not standing out here, waiting desperately for my neighbor to get up and come outside on this cold morning in order to have a conversation about the sad state of my roof.

"No Jenny," I say. "The realtor said the roof is fine." I felt like adding "I've told you that three f'n times now. Why must you harp on my damned roof every single time I see you? We will give the people an allowance to fix the roof themselves."

"Well. I think it needs to be replaced before you try to sell your house," she reiterates. "I don't think it's going to sell until you put a new roof on it."

Seriously. There is no jury in this nation who would convict me for strangling her right now. I'm freezing in my underwear, I'm locked out of my house and my neighbor who has such an incredibly boring life that she has to constantly be butting into mine is telling me for the fourth time in a week that I need to get a new roof at 6:10 a.m.

"Your honor, we find the defendant ... NOT guilty."

I mean...it's ringing in my head like a broken telephone right now.

I just ignore her. I have nothing to add to the conversation. At this point, I'm practically yelling at her anyway because I'm a good 50 feet from her and her two damned dogs are barking their heads off at a pattern in her chain link fence.

At this point, here comes naked Susie...right on time.

Naturally, I frighten her when she looks up and sees me outside on the patio.

She opens the door and says "What are you doing out here?"

"Contemplating murder," I answer.

"The cookies smell good," she says.

Yes they did.

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