"I can't do things the way I used to do them." I lamented to Page the other day.

"Yes you can." She countered.

"No I can't. I used to have zero children and I had all the time in the world to do things. Like make sugar cookies and tan myself and give my face a facial every Saturday. Now, I could do these things but I would have to neglect more than I am willing to bargain."

"But you can do anything you want to do. You can choose to neglect. Don't get stuck in that rut." Page looked at me, eyes glaring seriously. Page hates excuses like I hate advice.

Though I did my best to garner more empathy, in the end I gave up. I could make my fruit tarts on a lazy Sunday afternoon if I were willing to let my living spaces become collateral damage. So I've chosen a life relegated to the painfully easy. Though, I have stopped short of buying the slice-and-dice sugar cookies that come pinched in a tube.

But this morning I proclaimed ENOUGH. There was an announcement that today we'd spend the entire day making sugar cookies. Given nursing breaks, accidental egg shell chips and decorating tragedies I knew we'd be at it all day long. But we weren't going anywhere, and it had been too long since my pinkie pie Kitchenaid made me feel like the investment was worth the cold cash (or, credit card), so cookies we ventured.

I looked at what a day of cookie making would require for necessary neglect. I decided to neglect spontaneously, if it wasn't happening, it wasn't happening.

First though, the kitchen had to be fully cleansed. I started with the dishes. I made Claire help while Ollie and Jane discussed their personal expectations of tomorrow's inauguration. It better be spectacular, they both agreed.

All Retro-plaid laminate countertops were sprayed and kitchen carpet was thoroughly vacuumed. Remember? I have carpet in my kitchen and I hate it. Worse than advice. When all sparkled it was time to head to the store for some ingredients. Only, at this point it was time for The Chief's morning nap, so we had to hurry ourselves. No time for my quick shower.

Neglected: Personal Appearance.

We live close to a corner store where we can buy little groceries for big prices. But I will avoid putting four children into seatbelts and car seats at ANY price, so we bundled up for a short jaunt. Before we left I looked out on our front lawn to check the immediate weather. Sun was out, but from the far reaches of my front yard I could barely make out the flag our scouts had drilled into the frozen ground for Civil Rights Day. Inversion soup, haze up to our hairlines. Gross, but we needed butter.

Neglected: Better judgment.

Half-way to the store I checked the vitals of my troop. Claire and Jane? Fine. Ollie? A red nose. The Chief? After I found him buried beneath seven quilts, two hats and a knitted winter suit stuffed in the stroller he responded with eyeball stimulus. We were braving the inversion just fine, but gravy in a boat it was impossibly cold. Kinda snuck up on me, the whole frozen air molecules in my lungs routine.

Flour, sugar, butter, milk, lime juice and two cans of coconut milk (for peanut sauce, dinner) were purchased. And, like always, I tried to make a joke to the cashier about something, and, like always, the cashier acted like she didn't hear me.

Neglected: Trying to make the cashiers at my local grocery laugh at my jokes.

On the way out I tried to use the ancient cash machine for a couple of twentys so I could pay my underage house keeper. The machine kept flashing: TRYING TO PROCESS YOUR TRANSACTION over and over until all four children were crying in peril.

Neglected: Getting cash at Methuselah's ATM .

Back out. It was so cold. Again, took me by total surprise. Even my toenails were tingly. We crossed the frozen tundra against the haze of an environmental hazard and made it home before The Chief lost a lung.

"My goodness that was cold." I said still in shock (wait, was this story about making sugar cookies?) "I am going to call time and temperature."

"Currently" it told me "it is seven degrees."

Neglected: to remember how unforgiving January can be.

Finally it was onto the cookies. We measured and stirred, cracked and whipped. When dough formed in the belly of pinkie pie we wrapped up the concoction and let it chill for three hours.

In which time I put The Chief down for a nap, rotated laundry and made lunch. Helped Claire produce a Bedouin costume (Daddy introduced The Black Stallion into their lives) and watched as she tamed the Ollie stallion. Listen to Jane read books to a swirmy baby who I continued to nurse throughout the day.

Neglected: a bra. Like they always say, simplify, simplify, simplify.

When the dough was chilled we started to roll and bake. We made hearts for friends, doggie bones for Gigs, butterflies for Mommy and flowers to remind us that spring can't be that far away. SEVEN DEGREES. Claire even went so bold as to bake her name. And with our sugar cookies came three primary-colored vats of glaze so that everything shined and sparkled with the raw sugar drizzled on top.

Neglected: my insistence that Ollie not eat that cookie drowning in green sprinkles.

It wasn't long before our sugar buzz was nothing but a drunken stupor of sweet crystals. Claire let her body roll down the stairs over and over again. Ollie slid on the ground because the use of his legs was too much. Jane was the only pioneer who glazed and glazed until her eyes matched. The afternoon sky was saying good bye from our kitchen window as we finished off the last batch.

One full day dedicated to making sugar cookies isn't a bad way to spend a cold-bordering-unhealthy day. Page was right, I can do anything I want to, as long as I am discreet about my negligance. Speaking of which, is that red and blue glaze crusted into my carpet?

Soon to neglect: carpet on my dang kitchen floors.


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