Saturday, March 21, 2009
Two weeks ago the young nurse practitioner at my office handed me a glossy catalog of cookie dough.
The inevitable fund raiser for her son's day care center. I have always managed to pass on these handouts. This time the idea of my own personal three pound bucket of frozen glistening chocolate chip cookie dough was more than I could resist. My ears buzzed with the whir of out of control negative stinking thinking as I handed her my fifteen dollars and placed my order. I joked to all my coworkers in the heart center that I was getting it with a spoon. It seemed to me a splendid idea. In the following days as I waited for delivery I dreamed about it. I imagined how much fun it would be. Just me, my bucket of dough and my ever faithful companion, my dog Angie. I figured she would want in on some of the action or at least a ring side seat.
As the days went by the dreams began to erode my otherwise normal daily routine of racking up CDOP's (complete days on program for you non WW'ers), journaling, and walking Angie. It did seem a bit pointless after all to be CDOP when any fool with an ounce of wits knew the bucket was coming and all would be lost. I stopped counting, journaling fell into a limited scrawl of daily events and foods consumed and then withered away entirely. My meals and snacks were still made of the healthy, simply filling foods that WW expounds on when they aren't trying to sell me 1 point snack cakes. I'd smirk at the luncheon size plates in the cupboard and reach past them for a big old dinner plate and load it up with my simply filling foods and eat them until I was stuffed. That buzzing in my ears got louder and I knew I was headed for a serious breakdown. When my mind stops talking in complete sentences and starts to just whir and thrum and hum like a funnel cloud I am really on the skids. My sweet bucket- ridden dreams of cookie dough began to be interrupted with thoughts of a crisis. What was I going to do with three pounds of dough? My very supportive husband is diabetic. I knew he would help shovel with a spoon, but he has his limits and then there is that issue of his health. My freezer is too small to refreeze the dough - it would have to sit on a shelf in the refrigerator next to yesterday's brown rice and tomorrow's limp romaine.
I spent the night before last awake. The arrival date was fast approaching and I was having second thoughts. I needed help. I prayed. God why do I have these temptations? I walked the floor late at night and ate two bowls of cheerios. It struck me that I could give it away to the needy. My mother always wanted me to give to the needy. The needy lived in little wooden shacks down the hill from us when we were growing up. She liked to point them out to my brothers and me when we went to the grain store. They were wedged up against the train tracks that my Dad traveled on his way into Boston to work at Zorigan's Studio everyday. Good Deeds. As three am approached I wondered where I could take my bucket here in Florida. I could bake cookies and hand them out to the homeless who wander the waterfront in Sarasota. But they would smell so good baking and I knew if I opened the lid even once I would be doomed. That just wouldn't work. I could send them to Angelina and Brad - they are skinny and don't have problems with buckets of dough. Maybe they could take them to Africa and do some more Good Deeds for George Clooney to grin over.
It was an exhausting night, but by morning I'd had a brain storm. I would give the unopened unseen bucket away to a nurse at work. She has a free day care center at her church. They could have the bucket of dough. I even resolved that since this is the last week to go to WW and sign back up without paying all your missed meetings fees that I would rush to a meeting right after work.
It was a relief to tell my friend she could have the whole enchilada when it came in. I promptly went off by myself and ate some freshly made cookies that another earnest coworker had made. I needed some consoling. I was still full from the cereal so what the heck, let's have some of these peanut butter cookies with the cute little fork marks crisscrossed on their tops. Soon enough I would be at a meeting and signing my life away. Oh my dangerous mind. The long work day wore on and I ran into every available food item with an open mouth and an out stretched greedy hand.
Now my dear husband knew I'd had a sleepless night. He called during the afternoon to say he'd take me out to dinner. That was very nice, but I told him I was determined to go and sign up at WW first and then we could go and eat.
He picked me up just before 6pm and off we drove. Angie grinning in the backseat is always ready for a road trip with food involved. Well, we went right out of the office parking lot and WW was to the left. Oh, the fickle finger of fate I thought. He has forgotten my meeting... well never mind... no harm will come... I'll just go to dinner and then go sign up at the meeting tomorrow night. Oh see how easy it is to redirect my best intentions. I had prayed over this. Help was on the way. I had done my Good Deed and given the bucket away unseen. It would just be a small delay and I was so full from my day of indulgence that I would just get a bowl of soup at our local diner. Angie thumped her tail from the back seat and grinned out the window in perfect agreement with me.
I really was full so it was just my luck that they had nine bean and ham soup on the menu. They make a new soup everyday. Nine beans that would qualify as a simply filling meal. It wouldn't have much ham in it. My husband tucked into his salad and I had the first bite of creamy smokey soup. You know how sometimes ham will have just that little plastic bit of dark brown rind on the edge? Well my bite of ham had that and I didn't care for it so I delicately removed the little tidbit from my mouth and spooned up my second bite of creamy beans and broth. Mindless now that I was eating, the third bite came on autopilot to my mouth. With my peripheral vision I noticed another bit of that glossy brown rind on my spoon and took another look at my spoon before closing my lips around it. Now you may remember I mentioned I had prayed to God for help. Well have you ever wondered what is God really thinking? Why did he make all manner of creatures to share our planet? What possible use does a horseshoe crab still have. I mean they are ancient and they just seem to wash up on beaches, tentacles and feet flapping uselessly into the air. Why are they still here? Why did God make so many bugs and things that slither around and frighten us? What kind of a mind dreams these things up and to what end? You just never know. Until you look a second time at your spoonful of nine bean and ham soup and there on the brim are two long delicate antennae waving at me from the stewed body of a gleaming brown cockroach. Suddenly you stop eating, spoon in mid- air and the riddles of God's precious world become crystal clear to you. There is Saving Grace. It is bigger than Good Deeds. It is God working in the details to answer a late night prayer. A Florida cockroach has been kept crawling on this good earth, the spitting image of a horseshoe crab, it crawls and does what roaches do. It gets into places you don't want. With that you stop your orgy of overeating and come face to face with the dose of reality you were so blindly seeking for two long weeks. There it is, you have the ability to stop and put the spoon down. So simple. Just stop and put the spoon onto the table.
I got up and went out to the car for a heart to heart with my dog Angie. My husband sorted out what was left of our bill and tipped the poor waitress.
My prayer was answered. I got help. Tonight I did go to my meeting and sign up. I sat in the back and thought about how lucky I am to get another chance.
WW has given me all the tools I need. From my prayer I got some extra Grace. A little more time to make this work.