Disjointed (now with more butter)

By Mir
December 16, 2008

I cannot stop baking. I don’t know if it’s because I am keenly aware that our days at our current beloved school are numbered or because I have friends having a hard time right now or just because we are full up on Matters Largely Unbloggable ™ ourselves, ’round here, but my oven is on all the time. Because cookies will make it all better.

Cookies for the teachers. Cookies for the kids. Cookies for my husband, who insists he doesn’t need any cookies, who says no until the children harangue him and make sad pouty faces until he agrees to try one, okay, FINE. Cookies for friends, and cookies for the freezer. I WILL FIX THE WORLD WITH COOKIES.

Today I’m doctoring a recipe to create a whole new cookie, because that’s just the kind of day it is. Listen, I normally keep a generous stash of butter in my extra freezer, and today I had to go buy more. There are a lot of cookies happening here.

* * * * *

I have decided that if you want to be a car salesman, the first thing they do is drop you on your head repeatedly. (Unless you work for Saturn. Those salespeople just have to get their teeth whitened in preparation for all the friendly smiling. Maybe they get hand-shaking lessons, too.) Otto is trying to trade in his current car and upgrade to something slightly more trip-friendly, as his car is very small and my (slightly larger) car has started behaving a bit strangely and we’re feeling like driving it over a thousand miles in the snow might not be a great start to our holiday season.

Now, call me crazy, but I thought right now would be a STUPENDOUS time to trade in a smallish car for a largish car. I thought that the fact that we keep walking into EMPTY dealerships with lots that look like ghost towns would work in our favor. Because—and really, I could be mistaken here—it just SEEMS TO ME that not many people are buying cars right now.

However, thus far the experience has been exactly like every other car buying experience I’ve ever had, except more annoying. The car in question is on the lot for X number of dollars. Otto offers X – Y, let’s say, with Y being a fairly sizable deduction off the sticker price, but the sticker price is high and these things are generally negotiable. (This incorporates a trade-in of his car based on reasonable market value, of course.) Now, that’s the point where the dealer should come back with a higher offer, right? Something LESS THAN Y but MORE THAN X – Y?

First the dealer comes back with “Well, here’s what your monthly payment would be.” That irritates the SNOT out of me. We didn’t say “give us a target monthly payment.” We said “this is what we’re willing to pay.” Also, those numbers are pulled out of someone’s ass because how do they know what rate we might qualify for? And what’s the term on that loan? So Otto politely explains that he’s not interested in a projection on a monthly payment, he’d like to pay X – Y, can they do that?

Well, the dealer wants to talk to their wholesaler, who is out until the next day. So we leave. The next day they call and say that it’s all set, they’ll happily sell him the car for…

… are you ready for this? …

X + Y. They are such sports!

When Otto pointed out that they were now offering to sell him the car for OVER STICKER, they were very confused and slightly offended. And then they checked the numbers and said Oh, right, hang on, that’s an error. Let me get back to you.

Then they called back and offered to sell it to him for X. You know, the sticker price.

Yeah. Um. Do these people actually sell any cars this way? I’m genuinely curious.

Hey, guess what we don’t have! Right! A bigger car! So, um, if we’re coming to see you for Christmas? There’s a bit of mystery built in for you—either we’ll have both kids and no winter clothes to wear or some clothes and only one kid. I’m making them draw straws to see which one has to stay home, because I really dislike being cold.

* * * * *

The current house rule is that your room can be as disgusting as you like except on designated “room check” days, which happen to occur on the first and third Fridays of every month. The rest of the time I just close my eyes and pretend that you don’t have fifteen billion Lego bricks or dolly hairclips strewn all over your carpet. But this agreement hinges upon said room-owners keeping the common areas of the house sufficiently tidy.

Said room-owners have recently allowed their playroom to become a cesspool.

So I took a break from baking cookies to COMPLETELY LOSE MY SHIT, yesterday, at bedtime, and soliloquize about how THE DEAL WAS they keep the common areas clean, and THIS IS NOT CLEAN and I GET NO RESPECT and also YOUR MOTHER DRESSES YOU FUNNY. Furthermore, someone likes to comb out the dollies’ hair and leave hairballs on the floor (ewwwww) and someone else has apparently been keeping the empty toothpaste tubes since the beginning of time just in case there is a sudden global shortage of empty, twisted, sticky toothpaste tubes. AAAAAARGH.

My children were duly chastised. Do you know what their solution to this problem was? I made them go to bed right after my rant, yesterday, so they decided to clean it all up today. AT FIVE THIRTY IN THE MORNING. I would like to call that sweet and industrious, but instead I can only call it a damn unpleasant way to wake up, to the sounds of stampeding elephants above my head, as the kids “quietly” set their mess to rights.

I had to praise them for getting up early to do it, though. Even though I had to prop my eyelids up with toothpicks while I did.

* * * * *

I have to go make some more cookies, now.


  1. Megan

    Darn kids being presenting you with that sort of dilemma at 5:30 in the morning. It’s far to early to really work out how best to say, “What on EARTH were you thinking at 5:30 AM waking me up by cleaning up your mess so thoughtfully, and thanks so much – does that also apply to your room?” Usually I settle for, “GNNNNARRRRGHMorning!!!…oh. I love you. Or I will later.”

    Also, cookies don’t necessarily solve it all, but my Unbloggable (TM) subjects are currently being held at bay with a) spiced nuts b) sushi c) spinach ricotta ravioli and d) sushi. Not all together. Just, you know, one per day. Or two. Or so.

  2. Ariel

    “full up on Matters Largely Unbloggable â„¢”
    This is what I’d call stupid ex husband shit and right now I’m full up too.

  3. mamalang

    I’m always full up on those matters…it’s very frustrating.

    It must be the time of year to Lose your Shit on children’s rooms. Perhaps it’s the fact thaty are getting more junk to stuff in those cesspools?

  4. ~annie

    Cookies? Just drop some off in Virginia on your way Up North. I am SO behind… I think I need to implement that Room Check day over here. And that car dealer story sounds unbelievable, except I had nearly the same thing happen to me once. On a USED car, no less. Hang in there!

  5. Amy

    You need a cake too. Here’s a lovely recipe.


    1 Box yellow cake mix
    ¾ c. Oil
    4 eggs
    1 c Sour Cream
    1 c Brown Sugar
    2 tsp. Cinnamon

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 9 x 13 pan. Mix together brown sugar and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, mix together cake mix, oil, eggs, and sour cream. Spread half the batter into the pan. Sprinkle half of brown sugar mixture over batter. Repeat layers. Swirl with a knife. Bake for 40 minutes.


    2 c Powdered Sugar
    1 tsp Vanilla
    4 T Milk

    Mix all ingredients together very well. Pour icing over cake while hot.

  6. Steve

    I knew I should have kept that ’93 Roadmaster for you guys…

  7. Rosie

    I hate the car-buying process with a passion. Fortunately, and oddly, I am now engaged to a car salesman (one of the good ones who actually wants to help people and get them a good deal) and I NEVER HAVE TO BUY A CAR AGAIN THANK GOD. And yes, the car selling business absolutely sucks these days.

  8. Sheila

    I wish I had a tenth of your industriousness (is that a word?).

    I have butter in the fridge (and freezer), bags of flour and various sugars all over the place, and sprinkles out the wazoo. And yet, not a single cookie has been baked. I just can’t get up the gumption to start. I am in total denial about Christmas being nine days away.

    Maybe I should go car shopping instead…

  9. StephLove

    I made cookies after lunch, if using cookie dough purchased for a school fundraiser counts as baking– I’m not sure about that one– and I was thinking of making another batch from scratch because there was only enough of the prefab dough for 12 cookies and I have already eaten 4 of them. I don’t even have any crises to blame. I think some mid-December baking instinct has kicked in. Also it’s 39 degrees and rainy outside. That calls for baking in my book.

  10. Kayla

    First of all. I have to say I make the honey bun cake mentioned above regularly. And it’s fantastic. Also, I recently traded in an Oldsmobile Alero for a GMC Yukon, and got the deal of the century. Then gas prices dropped dramatically. That is the luckiest I have ever, EVER been, when dealing with car salesmen. My trick is to take my dad. Seriously. Hah. My dad is a very large oil-field man (who also happens to be a genius. No really. )… and people tend to not try to screw him over. Hah. The intimidation factor comes in handy sometimes.

  11. Catherine

    Christmas? Is Christmas this month? Oh #$%*! I have to go take down my Thanksgiving wreath right now.

  12. Summer

    We bought a car this summer, so I feel your pain.

    The last two cars we’d bought came from the car auction, which is a downright terrifying way to buy a car, but it at least is mercifully quick.

    This time, we bought a new car, our first NEW car ever. We (meaning my husband) had done our research and we knew exactly what kind of car we wanted, which features, which color, everything. The first dealership was very nice to us, but they didn’t have exactly the car we wanted. I searched online and found another dealership that had our car, called them to make sure they still had it, and went in to buy it. Now, maybe I’m naive, maybe I’m stupid, but if a customer walked in to my place of business determined to purchase something worth many, many thousands of dollars, I’d… I dunno, be nice to the customer? Not make the customer stand around for twenty minutes before addressing their pressing money-spending needs? It was sad, Mir. Not only was there a complete lack of ass-kissing, the dealer refused to negotiate. “We already gave you the lowest price over the phone.” It wasn’t a bad price, it was well under sticker, but c’mon. They couldn’t even pretend to negotiate?

    We bought the car, but I was annoyed. I get far superior service buying $10 sunglasses in the juniors department at Nordstrom. Heck, a $14 haircut at the Aveda beauty school comes with a bonus aromatherapy scalp and neck massage. What is wrong with car dealers?

  13. Susan

    When we bought our van last year we did all the negotiating online. My husband used one of those “get a quote” now things (try Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book). You just put in what you’re looking for and within an hour he had several quotes. He then negotiated a great deal by playing them off one another (he was even forwarding the dealers each other’s e-mails). The one we bought from even threw in free oil changes for as long as we own the car.

    The best part was walking into the dealership with an agreed-to price in writing. Also, then you only deal with their internet sales manager, not a true car salesman. All in all, a much more pleasant experience.

    Also, try Carmax for the trade-in. When my dad sold a car last year they gave him 3K more than the dealer was willing to offer.

  14. Lori

    I feel like I’m back in an algebra class with all the x’s and y’s. Hey, come to think of it, maybe that’s your problem! You should offer numbers, not letters. Just thought I’d help.

    BTW, I made a bazillion cookies and now we’re snowed in and cannot get them to the intended recipients. So now I’ll be fat and gift-less. Super.

  15. ferd

    Carsdirect.com and carmax.

  16. tori

    I have been baking like a crazy person too. It seems only other stress bakers can understand this need.

  17. Barbara

    You are so hard on yourself, Mir. Let some of the world go – that is if you really think the cookies are helping northern Slobovia. I do think the cookies are helping you, and that I encourage. Go ahead, buy some more margarine. You should have a good stock in place for the child who is left behind.

    Lease a car for the trip. You’re welcome!

  18. ashley

    If only my oven worked. “Sigh” It picked the wrong time of year to crap out on me.

    And yes, car salespeople do get dropped on their head, my step-dad was one and he was short a few bricks.

  19. Rebecca

    I have been on the edge of losing my shit for about three days now… The messes are making me CUH RAZY… Maybe cookies will fix me up too???

  20. beaux

    Brilliant! A rule that applies to the bedrooms, playroom and common areas. I like that alot. I wish I would have thought of that a long time ago. I can’t wait for the kids to get home from school.

  21. Scottsdale Girl

    Can you rent a car for the trip?

    Also, I need a cookie

  22. exile on mom street

    I am in the process of negotiating on a new car myself.

    Literally, today.

    I need cookies.

  23. RuthWells

    Dude, I’ve given up on cookies and am mainlining homemade toffee. Skip the flour, you know, it just gets in the way of the butter and the sugar and the chocolate. Let me know if you need the recipe…

  24. Headless Mom

    Wow. I was going to rant today but it seems that you’ve sufficiently taken care of it. Thanks. I think.

  25. Sarah

    Eat more cookies. Your waistline will forgive you.

  26. Swistle

    Okay, that DEALER, omg. I’ve read that one good way to do it is send out identical letters (with the cc list so they KNOW it’s to everyone else) offering x-z (with x-z being what seems like a good end-of-negotiating price) for a car and asking people to call you if they want to make that easy sale. But I don’t know what the instruction is if someone writes back saying, “How about x PLUS z! THAT’S a dealaroo for ya!”

    I keep a stash of butter in the freezer, too. We are practically TWINS!

  27. Kath

    I’m baking too, but not because I’m frustrated. And what is with the car salesman? That makes no sense at all. You’d think it would be a good time, but hey, thinking is probably highly overrated.
    Lovely rant!

  28. Bethany

    We got a screamin’ deal on a huge 3 year old yukon XL while gas prices were at the top. Then they started dropping like a rock about 2 weeks later. :) They are still desperate to sell, though, the economy sucks. Keep trying.

  29. tj

    “Matters Largely Unbloggable â„¢”


  30. Melanie

    I would like to second fred’s carsdirect.com advice. We bought our car that way last year, and it was fantastic. We got a good price, and as part of the negotiations the dealer brought the car and the paperwork to our house. I got to sign all the paper work at my dining room table. I really cannot recommend them enough.

    Try Carmax for the trade, but we and others we know haven’t had good luck with the prices they offer. I imagine it varies based on the car and what the demand is for the car. It is the low stress option.

    Good Luck!

  31. Melanie

    Sorry, that was “ferd” I was seconding not “fred.”

  32. Karen

    I hate car salesmen. The last time I wanted to buy a car, I went there with my husband. It was to be my car, my payment, my credit–they kept addressing their questions and comments to my husband and ignored me like I was not even there. Needless to say, they did not get my business.

    Also, RV salesmen are worse. They wanted to only give me $12,000 in trade for a 2007 travel trailer that I paid $32,000 for. I know they depreciate, but not that much. And, he wanted to NOT COME DOWN ANY off his sticker price for the new one. We walked. We still have the 2007. I really didn’t want a new one anyway.

  33. Wendy

    I just bought a car a couple of weeks ago expecting some big ‘change’ in car buying because of the economy. I thought either I’d get a good deal – or get turned down because people weren’t loaning money. It turned out to be neither. It was exactly the same experience as it was before. I talked the guy down, got a decent interest rate and that was it. Except that it took 5 hours and a lot of stress in the process! Same ol’, same ol…good luck with finding a new one for your family!

  34. Laura

    We have both kinds of cookies waiting to be baked, slice & bake AND break & bake. :)

  35. annette

    I’m sorry life is rough right now. Don’t sabatoge your cute
    little figure. As we discussed earlier, those special undergarments can only do so much :), believe me…I am speaking from experience! And, I don’t even bake!

  36. Lelia

    I would like to second and emphasize Scottsdale Girl’s note about renting a car for your trip. Car salesmen may be not be the brightest bulbs, but they can smell urgency. Don’t be there when you “need” a car. Go online to the nice folks at Hertz or Avis who can loan you one at a set price that you can just bring back when you’re done.

  37. Asianmommy

    Just like StephLove, I’ve got fund-raiser cookie dough calling my name, too.

  38. Half Assed Kitchen

    But cookies are just more messes. That’s my excuse for not baking any!

  39. Lynn

    I like the rental car idea. But, if you’re looking at a Ford, email me and I can find out(and maybe get)employee pricing for you. That’s really the best price you could get. Trading in cars is a nightmare. We ended up donating one car because the amount they would give us for it was ridiculously low. The value of the tax deduction was better than the actual trade-in amount + we did a good deed.

  40. Tammy

    Sorry about your car experience. My dad sold cars for eleventy billion years and there are people out there that give car sales a bad rap. You’re right, the dealerships should be kissing your butt right now…go find another dealership that will treat you right.

    Oh, and about the cookies? Feel free to send some up to MN. I’ve been so busy with knitting lately that I haven’t baked a thing since Thanksgiving weekend. The horror, I know!

  41. Crisanne

    Whenever I think of buying a car, I remember an experience my husband and I had at a gym one time. We’d gotten a flier for a free 30 day membership. You know, to try out the place and see if you’ll use it. The guy kept telling us we needed to just join right then, because the cost would never again be that low again (despite having to go “check” with his manager multiple times on the actual cost), and then he said he would kick us-seriously over and over he said it-if we took the trial and then wanted to join later. We walked out of his office with him yelling after us to come back.

  42. jennielynn

    Hey if Ariel is right and it is stupid ex-husband shit, we can totally start a club. Because oh my hades, mine is driving me to drink (more).

  43. Marla

    Actually, please send me some cookies here in Alabama….I know that’s south of you, but I just found out that it’s gonna cost us over $500 to get brand new tires for my van and the alignment as well…but we are getting a good deal out of it, free rotation and 70,000 miles warranty. Oh, and I still have Christmas shopping to do this weekend.

  44. Katie

    I’m one of the weird people who refuses to bake cookies at Christmas time and guess what? I just got assigned to bake 30 gingerbread cookie people for my son’s class party on Friday. Oy…

  45. Lylah

    The first time I ever bought a new car, I had carefully done all my research and offered a very respectable X-Y. And the dealer looked at the male friend I had brought with me for cover and asked him why I thought that would be a reasonable offer. And I told him how I had run the numbers and he looked at me and said, “Well, little girls who spend too much time studying usually miss the party.”


    Needless to say, I walked out. And bought a Saturn. That same day.

  46. Katie in MA

    Once. Once in my life I had a half-decent experience buying a car. We walked in. Told them what we wanted and how much we could afford for our monthly bill, and that we had an appointment at x o’clock and would be leaving at that time whether or not we had a deal. They held us to the wire, but I did walk out with a new car and a good deal. (Watching them rush around and stress for once was just a bonus.)

    And who says cookies don’t fix everything? I have the same defense mechanism. My coworkers and neighbors are well-fed.

  47. sheila

    Tell them you are willing to pay $100 over dealer cost. That’s usually where I start, and not far from where I end up. Trick is getting them to show you what they paid. But they should. You’d think they’d be DYING to sell cars these days! Greedy bastards.

  48. KarenNM

    Last time I did the car thing I sold my old one on Craigslist. I got WAY more than the dealer would have given me for a trade-in, and it wasn’t that painful a process once I realized that I could ignore all the wierd emails from “brokers” or “dealers”. I got a cashier’s check from the couple, and we signed over the papers at our kitchen table.

  49. dr aletta

    I do not make cookies. I eat cookies. Eating cookies does indeed fix the world. Buddha ate cookies for sure.

  50. premenopaws

    I once found a stash of empty dental floss containers under my son’s bed when he was about six. There seriously must have been about 100 of them. When questioned, he simply said he might need them some day.

  51. Jamie

    I’ve made at least 60 dozen cookies and have about 20 dozen more to go. Too many people are clamoring for my molasses cookies.

  52. FringeGirl

    No one should be awake at 5:30 in the morning…forget about cleaning at that time!

    My neighbor keeps baking cookies. I just keep eating them. I should at least double in size by Christmas.


  53. Shannon

    I can send you my address so that Otto doesn’t have to eat all those extra cookies.

  54. Mom on the Run

    Room check days might work for us. We are currently in the “if I see it on the floor I might just not bother to bend over and get it but let the vacuum eat it” pahse. Mixed success. Methinks my kids have too much stuff to worry about a missing item or three.

  55. Mom on the Run

    Oh, if you want hassle-free car buying…find a Costco near you, join Costco, pick up their automobile guide, find a Costco affiliated car dealer, and go directly to the lot to look at cars. You will get the car/minivan for list price…no haggling. Pure, unadulterated joy. We have bought 3 cars through Costco. We also re-financed our through Costco affiliated lender–Lending Tree…again no hassles.

  56. Stephanie

    Sorry about all the car hassle. I HATE car dealers. Sorry about the “unbloggable” stuff, too. Sometimes life really is full of more lemons than we can make lemonade with.

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