"Uh Mom. These brownies are not good," my son Tristan said hesitantly.
"I know! I don't know what happened," I replied. "I never make bad brownies."
"How bad can it be," my daughter Tessa asks as she takes a big bite and promptly spits it out. "It's awful!"
I don't take offense. The brownies are awful. I think it was the brownie mix. I had three boxes of my favorite brand. One box called for 1/4 cup of oil. The two "new improved" boxes called for 1/2 cup of oil. Both batters were really thick. I baked them in an 8x8 pan which made them thicker. I didn't have vegetable oil so I used canola oil. What was my result? Chocolate bricks!
Here's the problem. This is our first big gathering in our new neighborhood. I waited until the last minute to make the brownies and now we are late. There is no time to go to the store and buy something. We need a plan.
ME: Alright family. We need everyone's help on this. What are we going to do? We need a plan, people!
TRISTAN: Just bring something else.
ME: I don't have anything else.
DAN (husband): I told everyone that you were bringing brownies. I said you loved to make brownies. They're expecting them.
ME: Well, thanks for that. So we can't show up without brownies.
TESSA: Cover the plate with aluminum foil. No one will see what's on the plate and you can just put it on the table with the rest of the dessert. No one will know who brought them.
ME: Brilliant! I'll just wrap them up and....
I open the drawer where I keep the aluminum foil and I find an empty box.
ME: Who left the empty box of aluminum foil— wait! Not important right now! Bigger problems. We need a plan B.
DAN: What if something happened to the brownies once they got there? What if you went to put them on the table and they fell off. Let's say they fell off (he's using air quotes here) and landed in our cooler.
ME: Hmm. Like where you are going with this, but how are they going to land in our cooler? The logistics don't work.
TRISTAN: What if we make sure people see you put them on the table, and then I sneak them into the garbage can.
ME: That could work. Or, they could fall off the table and then we would have to throw them away.
Great idea! We have a plan.
ME: OK. The important thing here is no one can eat these brownies, understand? If I set them on the table, we have to make sure, even if we have to cause a distraction, that they end up on the ground or in the trash before someone tries to eat one. Everyone on board with that?
TRISTAN: I'll man the table.
DAN: What kind of distraction?
ME: Tristan, you man the table and get the brownies to the trash. Tessa, you help Tristan. Dan, I'm not sure what kind of distraction we might need, it may involve a small fire. Be prepared for anything.
The party is at the clubhouse, two blocks from our house, and around a corner. As we walk, I am keenly aware that we are alone. I know we are late but we can't be the only late-comers.
ME: Everybody stop! We can't see the clubhouse from here. What if we turn the corner up there and only a few people have shown up? What if it's just three couples, us and our awful brownies?
We all look at each other. No one had thought of this possibility. We need yet another plan.
ME: Tessa, we need you on a scouting mission. Run ahead and give us an idea how many people are there.
Tessa nods and races off. Dan, Tristan and I keep walking. The offensive brownies are on a paper plate, because obviously I am not going to throw away good china, and I have another paper plate covering them. A sudden gust of wind tips the plate causing half of the dessert to land with a thud onto the sidewalk. Curses! The mess looks like something a dog would have left behind. I let out a yell and immediately begin kicking the brownies off of the sidewalk and onto the grass as fast as I can.
DAN: You know what that looks like?
ME: I know what that looks like! Help me kick!
Tristan spots Tessa a block away.
TRISTAN: She's signalling us!
ME: What's the signal?
DAN: I have no idea.
Tessa makes one more dramatic arm wave, then disappears.Well, that was helpful!
ME: OK. That was useless. We can't go in there now with only half of a batch of horrible brownies.
TRISTAN: What's the plan?
Suddenly I remember my son has a driver's license.
ME: Tristan! You can go to the store! You take the car, drive to the store and pick up some cookies or something. Hurry!
Why didn't we think of that before? Problem solved. Tristan heads to the store and we join our neighbors for the party. Turns out there is a big crowd and our brownies could have gone unnoticed, except for one thing. They wanted everyone to put their name on their food item so everyone would know who brought what. That would have been disastrous!
Tristan arrived later with chocolate chip cookies, and we all had a great time. Walking back home, we passed the spot where the brownies had fallen. There were still remnants of them , now covered with ants, outside of someone's house, so of course we had to scrape them off the sidewalk. I hoped the homeowners were still at the party!
As we walked through our backyard to our house, I noticed a chocolate chip cookie on our sidewalk. Where did that come from?
TRISTAN: Mom, I had the cookies on a paper plate and when I came down the backstairs, the wind jostled the plate and one of the cookies rolled off. It landed there by the garage. Uh, sorry.
What a day!
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