I had no idea what it meant when my wife said she'd been appointed Cookie Mom this year. At first, I thought she said Cookie Monster.
Well, OK, I thought. It's a bit early to be talking about Halloween, but priorities are priorities.
"Fine," I said. "I guess I can get on the Internet and find an Oscar the Grouch outfit and ..."
Looking back, I wish she actually had been talking about Sesame Street on Halloween.
Turns out that being Cookie Mom means, essentially, turning over your life and property to the Girl Scouts.
Technically, it means that when it's time for the Girl Scouts to do their annual exploitation of America's sweet tooth, Cookie Mom is in charge of shepherding the sugary bounty to the other parents in their daughter's Girl Scout troop, so they, in turn, can badger their co-workers into spending their mortgage money on Do-Si-Dos.
I didn't pay much attention to the whole thing until I was told I would have to clean the garage to make room.
"How much room?" I asked, warily.
My wife pointed at the garage wall and did a sweep with her hand that demonstrated an alarming swath of real estate. "About that much," she said, like a construction foreman issuing orders to a grunt.
I suddenly pictured her wearing a bright yellow helmet. "We're gonna need that wall over there cleared, about out to here," she said, pointing down.
I appreciate a clean garage as much as any other man. But our garage had become a storage space for two relatives and at least one friend. Essentially, it was impregnable. If the beach at Normandy looked like my garage in 1944, everyone is Paris would still be speaking German.
A truck, really?
The next clue about what I was getting into was when my wife called her dad to bring his truck to help with the cookie delivery. Apparently our vehicles couldn't handle the tonnage.
The plan was for me to clear garage space while they retrieved hundreds of cases of cookies. Well, of course the Girl Scout in the family would help me. I mean, this was her deal, right? So I give her instructions and got to work. And I'll give her credit. She worked hard -- for nine minutes. Then she disappeared.
Working solo, I filled garbage cans, I rearranged shelves, I moved things around, I reorganized, I wrenched my back, I lost 10 pounds in three hours. But I got it done.
Now there's a wall of cookies in my garage that would be the envy of any Pink Floyd fan. Or at least there was until the parents started lining up their vehicles. I took orders, I piled boxes in cars, rearranged things when the wall started crumbling, piled more boxes, etc., until we were done or, more accurately, until I was told we didn't have enough cookies, and another midweek run would be necessary.
Life is unfair
You know what's funny? I still have about 3 billion cookies in my garage and, as a diabetic, I can't even eat a single one.
So cookie season continues, and I keep doing what I'm told, including being available at certain times during the week to meet parents who need more cookies. I badger co-workers to buy cookies because somehow that's what parents of Girl Scouts are supposed to do.
My two oldest daughters were Girl Scouts, and the current one may retire after this year. I've been pushing cookies for years and, as my wife pointed out, the ordeal may finally end this year. I feel relieved that it will all be over, until the 4-year-old asks when she can join the Brownies.
My answer will be: When she gets her own garage.