On Girl Scout Preparedness and Being the Unprepared Brownie Mom

My daughter’s tiny, safe little liberal bubble of a private school doesn’t have a Girl Scout troop, so she’s in a Brownie troop at a nearby private school–one whose atmosphere is a lot more like Lord of the Flies. (Although if Anne Miriam had been a character in Lord of the Flies, she would have ended up efficiently ruling the island in a benevolent dictatorship–Jack, Ralph, and Piggy would have been answering to her, and she wouldn’t have taken any nonsense from any of them), She goes over there once every two weeks and knows half of the girls there from preschool or other places. She likes it and fits right in–and my cousin is cookie mom of this troop–but we’re still sort of on the outskirts just by virtue of not going to that school.

When my cousin delivered the Girl Scout Cookie packet sometime last month, our house was in the midst of pre-Christmukkah chaos. There were boxes arriving every day; I was stashing them anywhere out if sight. There were cute kid projects coming home and performances to attend and gingerbread houses to decorate and latkes to fry, and a mid-winter scouting project was the least of my problems. I was just trying to make it to the end of December alive. Since I wanted my house to exude an air of holiday warmth and elegance, I shoved any clutter–including the unassuming manila envelope–out of sight.

Who’s THAT PREPARED, anyway, to be thinking about a January project in the middle of the December madness? The Girl Scouts are that prepared, apparently. They start selling the cookies on New Years Day, hangovers be damned. Do you know what I do on New Year’s Day? I attend a mother/child brunch (while the husbands watch sports somewhere else) that involves drinking Prosecco for eight hours straight while the kids run wild and put makeup and hair chalk on each other, until my husband finally shows up and makes me leave. I’m not thinking about selling Girl Scout cookies that day. I’m actually never thinking about selling Girl Scout cookies, until today, because the deadline is upon us.

This afternoon Anne Miriam wanted to put on her Brownie vest and hit up the neighbors, which would have been fine except that I couldn’t find the cookie packet. The problem started with my New Year’s resolution, which was to be more deliberate with my time. I bought this new Simplified Planner by Emily Ley–I’ve been making lists and planning meals. I’ve felt organized, happy, and in control! I even deleted the Facebook app from of my phone, because I want to focus on real time interactions instead of a virtual social media feed. I bought a book called Madame Chic at Home, which reminds readers to be fabulous, joyful, and thankful as they do their daily rituals. I’ve read all the blogs about organizing your house–they all say to banish clutter and to do your laundry to completion. I’ve been doing this!

The problem is that when the clutter is sort of bay (but the house is still not super organized behind the scenes), and I’m looking for a specific item, I can’t look in the normal clutter places because I’ve cleared away the clutter. This is bad news: it means that the Girl Scout cookie packet is shoved into a darkened corner of my basement or something. Unless it has the power to turn back time, even my pretty new Emily Ley Simplified Planner couldn’t help me now. It was time to take bold action. Here’s what I did:

Step 1: Put off anxious third grader with an excuse about why she can’t go out knocking on doors. (“Because I need you to help your sister learn to read right now!”)

Step 2: Pour two fingers of bourbon. Jefferson’s Reserve.

Okay, maybe three.

Step 3: Distract the kids with Netflix.

Step 4: Start tearing through drawers. Check the playroom, the basement, the guest room closet. Check this stack of books. 

Don’t get distracted by Period Rooms in the Met!

Step 5: Text all my friends and complain about the Girl Scouts for being too prepared. (Seriously–who is thinking about Girl Scout cookies in December?)

Step 6: Run across my kids’ birth certificates, my marriage license, and some of the passports. Yay! 

This is usually what I’m looking for and can’t find when I’m desperately tearing up everything in the house.

Step 7: Text my husband to see if he took the cookie packet to work. (He didn’t).

Step 9: Take a break to shop the new Mini Boden catalogue. Consider ordering this adorable dress for my middle child.

Totally ordered it.

Step 9: Freak out. Consider pouring more bourbon and just sitting down and giving up. Mentally draft an apologetic email to my cousin the cookie mom to ask for a new cookie packet. Decide not to because it’s just too humiliating.

Step 10: Frantically rifle through the serpentine-front slant-top secretary, and find something that looks promising beneath a stack of old first grade math papers (?). Vow to go through those soon. Pull out the coveted manila envelope. 

Take that, Girl Scouts! Shove your preparedness where the sun doesn’t shine!
I love this little Brownie!

Let the frantic, 36-hour cookie selling spree begin!

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