The fact that I am constantly hungry is my excuse du jour for why I am cranky. I have no OTHER reason to be cranky, really—the children are taking turns being rotten, as I’ve always taught them to do; work is somewhat under control; no one in the house is sick or having a crisis—so it’s only this stupid “getting in shape” and “always being hungry” thing to blame for how grouchy I am.

Make no mistake, I am incredibly grouchy. If someone were to stuff some Godiva chocolate into my whining yap I’m pretty sure it would improve my mood immediately and significantly, but alas, that cannot happen. For one thing, I see no one willing to perform such an altruistic act. I spend the day with the dog and the most SHE’s willing to do is lick me after she’s done licking her butt, so, you know. For another, eating little more than spinach and lean meats and vegetable soup are causing me to lose NO WEIGHT AT ALL, so eating chocolate would surely catapult me into obesity.

So I’m a little tense, is my point.

Otto is generally quite good at sensing and responding to my moods, as any good husband should be. Right now I think he realizes exactly what’s going on with me and my marked lack of chocolate, so when I get a little snappish he’s apt to offer me piece of fruit or some cheese. Sometimes it even works. Other times I just become more obnoxious because I WANT CAKE and I can’t have it and instead it seems prudent to bite off the head of the nearest person.

Poor Otto.

Anyway, like I said, he’s pretty good. I am very fond of him, after all.

But the other day we somehow got into a discussion of whether or not we should fence a section of our yard for the dog. We’ve had this discussion half-a-dozen times since bringing her home; because we have a pool, there’s a fence around it and our deck, but not around the ENTIRE property, nor would such a thing make sense. When we take the dog out, we take her on a leash. Many’s the day when I wish I could just open the door and tell her to come back when she’s done doing her business. Plus, it’d be kind of nice for her to be able to run around out there with the kids without being tethered. So we always get to talking about a fence.

Given the size of our property and the layout of the house and driveway and neighbors and woods, figuring out WHERE to fence is always where we get stuck. Do we try to fence the whole back? Just half? A small pen or a large area? Is there any way to set up a fence that runs along the house such that I could, indeed, open up the back door and just let the dog out?

Now, keep in mind that this is a conversation we have a lot. Also keep in mind that I AM HUNGRY. The other day, the conversation ended up going like this:

Otto: So if we ran it down along the side here, using the pool fence on one side, I think that would work.
Me: That makes sense.
Otto: Of course, we need to repair a few parts of the pool fence. She’s small enough that she can probably get out in a couple of places.
Me: Oh. Yeah.
Otto: Of course, that fence is going to need to be replaced soon, anyway.
Me: Does it make sense to get an estimate on the whole thing? I mean, replacing the pool fence, adding another fenced area?
Otto: Maybe.
Me: But we’re also going to need to replace the deck soon, right? Maybe we should wait and do all three at once?

Now, understand that after NOT EATING CHOCOLATE and EXERCISING REGULARLY the thing I hate most is SPENDING MONEY. I thought I was handling this conversation pretty well, considering the mess/annoyance/expense of what all we were now discussing. I was totally proud of myself!

But then it all went sideways.

Otto: That would make the most sense, to do them all at once.
Me: Oh. Well, maybe we should wait a while, then.
Otto: Maybe. Also, we should figure out what we REALLY want.
Me: I want… a fence and a deck…?
Otto: No, I mean, like if we’re going to replace the deck, we should think about design.
Me: Design?
Otto: Sure, we can change it if we’re rebuilding. Like, we could move the gazebo. Or rework the part right outside your office, because we really don’t use that bit right now.
Me: Oh.
Otto: We could talk about turning part of it into a screen porch. Maybe take out that tree, there, then screen in that section.
Me: I like that tree.
Otto: Well, yeah, so do I, but if we took it out it could be screened right there.
Me: Oooookay.
Otto: Also if we redo the deck, we should do a build-in grill instead of what we have now.
Me: That grill is practically new!
Otto: But a built-in grill would be really cool, and would use the space better.
Me: Uh huh.
Otto: And then there’s the kitchen.
Me: What does this have to do with the kitchen?
Otto: Well, you’re always talking about redoing the kitchen—
Me: —after the kids GO TO COLLEGE.
Otto: Well, yes, but we have the grill out there, and there’s no door out of the kitchen onto the deck.
Me: That’s because there’s a door out of the dining room. And a door out of my office. Both of which are conveniently located on either side of the kitchen.
Otto: Still, it’s weird not to have a door straight out of the kitchen. When we remodel in here, maybe it makes sense to add a door.
Me: Really? Add a door? WHERE?
Otto: Well, probably right here…
Me: This is where the TABLE is. Where would the table go?
Otto: I don’t know, I’m just tossing out ideas.
Me: Uh huh.
Otto: I am!
Me: I hear you. Just tossing out the idea to rip a hole in the side of the house! Redo the entire fence! Remodel the deck! Add a screen porch! Make sure this side of the house has ten doors to the outside!!
Otto: I think ten is a little excessive.
Me: I think YOU are a little excessive. Which child are you planning to sell to PAY for all of this?
Otto: Um. I love you?
Mir: That’s what I thought you said.

I need more calories to deal with my husband “ideas.”


  1. Randi

    When I get to that point in dieting, my husband brings home a bag of Dove chocolates. Eventually I give in, have a few, then tell him how much I both hate and love him.

  2. Megan

    Poor, pooor Otto. Under the circs I think he does beeyewtifully, and you have to admit he’s a fast learner, but truly, he should maybe have twigged something after the ‘ooookay…’

  3. Half Assed Kitchen

    How can you live without cake? And caramello bars?

  4. Jenn C.


    Switch the genders, and you have the exact reason why we NEVER do anything on my house, EVER.

  5. Pam

    Poor Otto. Let him dream. It’s his equivalent of your chocolate. You know it’s not going to happen.

    The worst thing about dieting is being so focused on food, just because you can’t have it. But don’t get discouraged, you’re DOING WELL!

  6. Nelson's Mama

    Nelson has an invisible fence (actually one that we SHARE with our neighbors, they have two Tzus). It’s a DIY Petsafe and the wire is not even buried – it is laid on top of the ground and held in place with wire loop “pegs”. The grass eventually grows over it and you can mow right across the top of it. We have approximately 1 1/2 – 2 acres fenced for them.

    It’s a snap to train them, much less than expensive than other fencing (we have restrictions on what type of fencing we can have) and very easy to install, especially if you don’t bury it.

  7. Momma Chaos

    And this is exactly why I have given up dieting permanently. Sure I could use losing several (x10) pounds but I’d much rather keep my family and not bite their heads off & bury their bodies under the deck. Good luck!

  8. diane

    LOL. Even if you weren’t huuuungry, I think your reaction was completely reasonable. I doubt there would be enough ILYs or chocolate in the world to help me cope with doing all of that remodeling at the same time.

  9. Jennifer B

    We have an invisible fence too. But ours is buried. Works like a charm. If you eat one piece of chocolate, it won’t kill your diet. I allow myself one piece a day. For the children.

  10. alexa

    I’m dieting too…I’m with you on the grumpiness. We have an invisible fence and it has made life a lot easier. There was one day of hard labor to dig a trench and bury it, but since then life has been awesome. (You can have invisible fence install it, but that costs more and we are poor.)

  11. Tracy

    There is nothing wrong with dreaming big AND there is nothing wrong with chocolate. What kind of diet is this anyway????

  12. Burgh Baby

    Um, I kinda like all of Otto’s ideas. Please don’t hit me.

  13. Kelly

    I think I have that reaction to my hubby’s dreams/ideas too – and not when I’m dieting, just always. He usually talks himself out of the ones that really wouldn’t work anyway or are too unreasonable so I try to avoid the conversations altogether to keep my stress down.

  14. Pam

    Aaaaaaa, I too like Otto’s ideas!! But I also don’t have to pay for all the changes either….LOL They say you are not suppose to deprive yourself 100%, so I occationally have chocolate and it hasn’t hurt my losing weight at all because all the rest of the time I behave. Go for it!!!!

  15. hokgardner

    Yep, that sounds like any number of conversations my husband and I have had through the years. And usually he just ignores my protests and carries on without me, because he knows that if he had to wait for me to sign off on things, they would never get done. Like the time he started out repainting the house and we ended up with an unpainted house and a huge new deck. That was fun.

  16. Kate @ And Then I Was a Mom

    Honestly, Otto was probably just working up to the mention of the built-in grill. It’s genetic, I think: You are conceived male, you pop out of the womb, then spend the rest of your virile life trying to figure out how to get the built-in grill.

  17. Katie in MA

    I think that would be overwhelming even without The Cranky caused by food deprivation. I say just put in the small fenced in portion and fix the pool fence. Just because it seems easiest. :)

  18. Kai

    We put my dog out on a 30ft leash tied to a stake in the yard and just clip to to her collar so she can “roam free”. She loves it and aside from the occasional trip out in the freezing cold to unwrap her from around the landscaping she managed to get stuck on, it works great. Would that work for you perhaps?

  19. teapotlady

    Take a glass, add 2 tablespoons of Splenda, 1 tablespoon of Hershey’s cocoa. Add enough hot tap water to melt. Fill glass with skim milk…..voila! Diet-friendly chocolate milk.

  20. Chuck

    My father was always the one who didn’t want to do anything to the house, and my mother was the one with weird remodeling ideas. They were a good counterbalance to each other…some remodeling got done, but nothing extreme.

  21. Amy

    I’ve been waiting on you to post all day! I needed a laugh. It has been just craptastic at work today. Bear in mind, I’m laughing at Otto, not you. There’s nothing funny about not getting to have chocolate. Nothing at all. But I do like Jennifer B’s idea of one piece of chocolate a day, for the children. You know tootsie rolls are basically fat free (6 of them for 3 g of fat). And they are almost chocolate. And they are gluten free. So there, dig in ma’am!!

  22. Ann Menk

    I second the invisible fence idea. Not too expensive, and you can save up money and upgrade your actual fence/deck/whatever once you are eating chocolate again and can tolerate such a thing. With the invisible fence, you won’t be stuck following any of the actual fencing if you don’t want to. Easy!

  23. The Other Leanne

    Oh, that entire conversation happens in my head all night long. That’s how “I need to paint the fence” turned into building a garage AND a new fence AND a new deck. And I still need to re-do the kitchen, BTW.

    Start somewhere, do something, and know that the mess it makes and the bills it creates will at least give you a GOOD reason to be grumpy.

  24. Kelly

    My husband does the same thing, only he gets me all excited for the project. We even start shopping for supplies and bids then he hits the brakes!

  25. MomCat

    On the plus side, if you were to do all the aforementioned projects, you wouldn’t have any money left for food, and then you’d lose weight.

  26. Kerry

    Just read an article about a new study proving that weight loss happens when you are within 300-500 calories of balance between intake and output…regardless of what side you fall on, just as long as that balance remains. Makes good sense in terms of human survival. Sorry I can’t link to something of substance…I have placenta and it makes it very hard to do much of anything requiring brain power!

  27. Lori N

    I regularly have the same type of conversation with my husband, but I’m the one dreaming about a mud room which means reworking the entire kitchen, so we might as well expand the kitchen…and our son needs somewhere to sleep besides the closet sized room he’s in now, so while we’re going out with the kitchen and mud room we could go up for an expanded bedroom.

    Maybe moving is easier.

    We are also in discussion about a dog fence. sigh

  28. Sarah

    You really should allow yourself a little square of dark chocolate everyday. You need it and you’ll still lose weight. I promise.

  29. Amy-Go

    Skip the chocolate, have the martini. Better yet, a CHOCOLATE martini. STAT.

  30. Nicole

    OMG, now that you’ve mentioned Carmella bars, I cannot rest until I have one.

  31. Dawn

    I heart you and Otto.

  32. Flea

    Mir, dieting right after New Year’s is way over rated. You should wait till the day after Valentine’s Day. Get all your chocolate fixes out of the way.

  33. PattiH

    Heading straight for the fridge, and the bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (and I didn’t even get through all of the comments!). But they’re vegan, so it’s ok.

  34. mom, again

    My chocolate prescription for dieting: one each of each color of M&M. Just enough chocolate, but not good enough that your bother trying to justify eating more.

    I’ve tried having just one section of various much better chocolates. But the truth is, once a good bar of chocolate is opened, I cannot rest until I’ve eaten it all. M&M’s on the other hand, I can eat a few of and call it done.

  35. Nicki

    Awww. I miss these moments. Thanks for the bittersweet reminder.

  36. Debra

    For the sake of your sanity and Otto’s sanity… Eat a piece of really good expensive chocolate. The good chocolate will be more satisfying than cheap chocolate and one piece is not going to make or break your diet and you’ll be one helluva lot happier.

  37. el-e-e

    Oh, this is my husband to a T. “Let’s clean the half-bath tonight.”


    “And we need to vacuum tomorrow.”


    “And this weekend we should clean out all the closets and make a trip to Goodwill and repaint the laundry room, and I need to do yardwork and clean your car and and and and…”

    My line, then, is, “I am getting OVERWHELMED…” and thankfully, he shuts up. He oughtta try, “Um, I love you?” though. :)

  38. bonuela

    have you considered the fact that maybe your body is perfect the weight that it is? you seem to have really healthy eating habits without this new crank inducing diet. ‘s all i’m sayin’.

  39. Debra

    I lost 85lbs with a drastic diet and exercise change and ate one hershey’s kiss every single day. My motto is “you’re all better off if I’ve had chocolate.” So, really, I was doing it for my family and friends!

  40. Wendy

    I second the dove chocolates. If you have one or two after lunch or dinner its not going to make a difference, particularly if you are exercising regularly. It’s all above moderation! It might just be enough chocolate to take the edge off.

  41. Aimee

    Dark chocolate has antioxidants. Antioxidants are good for you. Ergo, chocolate is healthy.

    Also, I truly believe that if you’re hungry all the time, you’re doing it wrong. Maybe you need to add a bit more protein or fat to your diet. If you push your calorie count too low, it’s not good for your metabolism because your body thinks you’re starving and starts saving everything, like a crazed packrat.

    Clearly, a piece of chocolate is the answer.

  42. Angela

    Mir, the end of this post made me crack up at my desk and snort chicken salad into my keyboard. I empathize with your chocolate-less misery. My trying to stay away from sugar is not jiving well with a large pan of brownines sitting in our break room. Don’t people understand how cruel they’re being?

  43. shannon

    we’ve got green plastic fencing, kind of like chicken wire (its got square holes) secured to metal stakes every 2-3 feet or so with a wooden gate secured to 2 4×4 posts. the gate could even be made with a small pallet board. very cheap and not bad aesthetically for a temporary fix. i can email a pic if you’re interested. we have a big dog, but if licorice is a digger, you might want to secure the bottom of the fencing with stakes or maybe the invisible fencing wire? good luck!

  44. Alicia

    I’m post-baby dieting and my husband has now forbidden me to go sans-chocolate for the duration. His reasoning, “Either eat some chocolate or go get some Prozac.” Apparently, I have mood swings when I’m hungry…

  45. Em

    If it makes you feel better, I have similar conversations with my husband but he usually includes a part where he thinks he can do it himself because he will “research it online”, or God-forbid, ask his hammer happy dad for help.

  46. Heather

    My boyfriend ate my entire secret chocolate stash in front of me last night. He is still alive. It is a miracle.

  47. sillyme

    my 3year old ate my supersecret stash of chocolate yesterday. He was so proud of himself for finding it, that he walked up to me with a big mouthful of high quality chocolate and a huge smile. He then offered to share the rest with me. (2squares) I accepted.

  48. Sarah

    Have you read “Food Matters” by Mark Bittman? I liked it quite a bit, and it’s helped me. Maybe a new approach?
    Good luck- change is blah.

  49. Amy

    If it were me, I’d just have some cake.

  50. Amy

    Since that is exactly how conversations between my husband and I go, except that I’m the idea person, and he’s the shooter-downer of ideas, I am wondering if it would just help if I made more chocolate cakes for him. Maybe he always says my ideas are too expensive & over-the-top because he’s secretly hungry & craving chocolate.

    It’s worth a shot!

  51. Jan

    My husband and I have had soooo many conversations that go exactly like what you just described! I never want to spend $$$ and talking about putting up new curtains turns into adding a whole addition. I never understand how my simple request/suggestion turns into me feeling overwhelmed and us spending our life savings.

  52. Lori B

    Mir, I feel your hunger pains. I broke today and had a pecan cluster. I am weak, but I will be working it off tomorrow.

    My husband and I have done practically nothing to our house in 7 years. The converstaion that starts with, “Hey, how should we spend the money we’ve saved to fix up the house?” ends with, “well, we can’t do A unless we do B first and aren’t we thinking about C anyway and wait, that would cost HOW MUCH!?!” The conversation ends there — with us deciding to do nothing, because one small change would apparently lead to doubling our mortgage. It is mind-numbing with chocolate. I can’t fathom it without it.

  53. mamaspeak

    I love how much every is trying to justify chocolate consumption. Not that I don’t agree w/them. I just think it’s funny how they’re all making excuses for you to hurry up & go get some.

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