• krazykris71

    on your tombstone:

    Heather “Dooce” Armstrong

    “because I grabbed that pen…”

    and his:

    Jon “Blurbomat” Armstrong

    “because you grabbed that pen…”

    I laughed till I bout peed my britches. Thank you.

  • looseyricardo

    Jon uses a pen to write mileage on paper? Isn’t there an app for that? That doesn’t involve putting the car in drive and not paying attention?

  • Lilliah

    @113. MJBUtah

    I’ve been self-employed for a decade and I WISH I actually needed all of the damn mileage logs I’ve kept over the years. I’m assuming I’d have to be audited for them to actually become important, because nobody who has done my taxes has ever asked for them- I give the mileage total or the total I spent on gas, and that’s it.

  • barbara

    Heather, I’m siding with you on this one. Sorry Jon!

  • starrashton

    OK, I side with Heather cause who really cares about a friggin’ pen? Why is there only ONE pen in the car – why can’t you buy a bag of Bics for $1 at Target and shove them in the glove compartment? There, problem solved. Everybody happy now.

    Another comment – why are you writing down mileage when you take Leta to school? Just crossed my mind….

    And frankly, I hate jazz too. Sounds like someone can’t decide what to play, so they just start playing some notes and call it a song. Sorry.

  • Waylon Aussies

    As a spouse who has done something similar, like say, backing into my husband’s company truck (a $100,000 service truck…) because I head my head up my ass – I take Heather’s side.

    A snatched pen is no excuse for having your head up your pooper… I should know.

  • dulcenea

    I’m pro-jazz, but I will defend Heather’s right to steal that pen to the death!

    Unrelated: The words to allow me to post this response are “job mangling,” a phrase which I plan to work into casual use as soon as possible.

  • Bree

    Sometimes you just have to be a responsible driver by knowing what gear you have the car in.


    He’s just embarrassed that the missing presence of a pen caused all that. :)

    I totally agree with you, Heather. And you MUST record where he’s telling the guy fixing the car what happened.

    To be fair though – I do like jazz.

  • Lilian – Mama in Translation

    OH BOY! That must have been something!! All because of a pen!!

    I take your side, although I still blame my dad (a little bit) for having parked our minivan in the middle of the garage, instead of to the right where it was usually parked to give room for my husband’s car. So… one evening my mom and I were heading out to a store and I backed up without looking and crashed into the other car. :-(

    You can see the pictures here if you want to.

    Now, I realize Jon will probably not want your to post pictures of this mishap, but I’d be so curious to see in photos what you described in such vivid language in your post! See what you can do for us, will ya?

  • joojoon

    My job is interpreting for auto insurance companies, and we do a standard questionnaire with each client. One question is, “Who do you feel is at blame for the accident, and why.” Oh, how i WISH i would be doing the interview in this case!!!!

    Girlfriend, you are SO in the right and he is SO in the wrong, pour me some more chardonnay.

  • vellal

    I joined the community just to say- that was FUNNY. Hysterical. Good stuff. And, yes, I am on your side. I think Jon will probably need a week or so to realize that he is on your side too, but right now there is no use. He is probably in full-on defense mode. And who wouldn’t be??? I mean really, two cars in one shot … in a garage … dude just decided to get out of the car … I can’t stop laughing at the image.

  • Monkey

    Why all the jazz hate? LOVE jazz. I love going to the local jazz bar, although it’s a rare treat. The atmosphere, the music…it’s like an event.

    I can’t really pick sides on this one though. I can get all out of sorts if one thing in my routine is wrong. I’ve gotten so focused on something that I’ve jumped out of the car, closed the doors, started walking away, then realized I left the car running. I can sympathize. with Jon.

  • elmobabe

    That is such a guy thing. My husband would have totally done the same thing. He is 52 so Heather guess what? It just is not going to change.. I am so on your side Heather, but did you think he was going to say, ooo crap guess what ??/ I just really messed up!! no no you are going to get blamed.. And while I have your attention,, I have looked EVERYPLACE for the Plungerhead wine. Where do you buy it?

  • leahofdp

    i prolly shouldn’t be allowed to comment b/c i can’t remember my password here for some reason.

    first of all, bless his little heart :) he sounds like my husband.

    maybe a wake up call, to practice being present? i say this as a fellow sufferer of OCD and that i sometimes rely on my “steps” in order to keep me safe so i don’t have to think (especially with kids and dogs and cats, etc. who has time to think?)

    i love the way you write a story!!

  • KristywithaK

    I bet you squeeze the Charmin too. Shame on you, Heather, shame.

  • Lilian – Mama in Translation

    OH BOY! That must have been something!! All because of a pen!!

    I take your side, although I still blame my dad (a little bit) for having parked our minivan in the middle of the garage, instead of to the right where it was usually parked to give room for my husband’s car. So… one evening my mom and I were heading out to a store and I backed up without looking and crashed into the other car. :-(

    You can see the pictures here if you want to.

    Now, I realize Jon will probably not want your to post pictures of this mishap, but I’d be so curious to see in photos what you described in such vivid language in your post! See what you can do for us, will ya?

  • Jeneric

    This is exactly like the time my mother backed right through the garage door, then blamed my father because he left the door open behind her car but told her to take his car. Riiight. Because part of becoming an adult is turning off the part of your brain that thinks.

  • Pennypoo

    This made me laugh out loud, and then I had to read it to my husband. This explains our relationship perfectly. Eventually, everything is my fault.

  • tots

    Team Heather! There’s no way you can be blamed for that.

    I just read this to my husband and could barely get through it without crying from laughing so hard. He’s obsessed with having a pen in each of our cars at all times. When I take the pen out because we’re at the grocery store and I don’t have one in my purse, he freaks out if I don’t put it back. I could totally see him doing this!!! But not now, thanks for the public service announcement!

  • quasipickle

    Granted – the accident was Jon’s fault. But no more so than it would be your fault if he set you up to fail.

    Men’s brains generally work differently than women’s. If we have a problem – we focus on it. It sounds like the mileage pen was more than just an action Jon took when he started to drive – it was habit, something he didn’t really think about. When that habit was interrupted by the pen not being there, likely the only thing going through his head was “I have a problem. That problem is there’s no mileage pen. I need to fix that problem.” Then the crap hit the fan.

    He likely realizes it was a dumb thing to do & is only trying to shift blame so he doesn’t feel like such a dumbass. It probably wouldn’t hurt to not poke fun at him – imagine if the situation were reversed.

  • sheepy

    Sorry, but I am with Jon. You interrupted his routine.

  • MeggyO

    Hmmm…Jon should be like my husband and keep 50 billion pens in the car. From a previous employer. 10 years ago. We have so many of those fricking pens around!

  • Heather too

    There is no blame in what you did. If your husband is anything like mine, we could easily have them assassinated because their life is ruled by schedules and routines. I wonder what would happen if I decided to take a shower during HIS time slot this evening? Would the sun rise tomorrow, could he adapt? What would he say, I wonder. I know my life isn’t that rigid, although I grant you that rigidity would ease a lot of decision making. But, aye, there’s the rub. Jon was totally unable to take a singular variation into consideration, which, as we all know, is a high functioning skill in humans. Adapting to change. Women are just better at adaptation, I guess. It’s been said that men are from Mars, but I think they’re really from farther away than that. Feel no guilt, no shame in the pen scenario. A costly error, but one of Jon’s doing (or undoing)! Although it makes for a heck of a good story!

  • cartoongoddess

    Jon’s fault. Sorry Jon, please don’t hate me for it.

    Driver is supposed to be in control of the vehicle at all times.

    Please, though, put that and the crumpled aftermath aside. You are OK, the kids are OK. The cars can be fixed. Stuff happens. When it does, that’s more stuff to write about.

  • desiree.mac

    I’m getting married in May, and you’re giving me lots to look forward to. I’m on your side, Heather. I can defintely see this happening with my fiance … with my father too for that matter … we’re gonna need another bottle here.

  • Lenise

    Two votes in one comment; (I just read the post aloud to a sister.) Two votes for Heather: if he’s going to be that OCD about tracking the mileage, he should record it at the END of the trip–it won’t change in the garage, right?

    We predict thousands of votes, and a land-slide for Heather–so be magnanimous, and forgive him, already!

  • Michael F.

    But was Jon able to note that day’s mileage? :)

  • amylou

    I once backed – very slowly – into my step-father’s unseen brand new BMW. To his credit, he never said a word the whole summer it took to get a new door shipped from Germany. He said the look on my face every time he had to open the door to pay tolls or car parking was punishment enough. Bless.

  • hello_katty

    That’s your fault, sorry. In an alternate universe, I am you and always the one who does something normal yet wrong that causes said universe to implode.

    What’s up with the mileage tracking anyway? Why can’t he put this info in his iphone?

  • Kristi in TX

    Gotta side with you on this one, Heather. Come on over, I’ve got a glass of wine waiting for you. And bring your Debbie Gibson CDs. But watch out for my husband though. This is about the time he sets out his clothes for work tomorrow. If we interrupt him, he might forget to wear his pants or accidentally wear my daughter’s pink tutu. Then of course, I would be to blame.

  • vtsoar

    This reminds me of an article I read in National Geographic explorer a year or two ago. It was about routines or muscle memory and how it can Put You In DANGER (yes, YOU Jon!) The article had a few examples. One was of a world class rock climber who bent to tie her shoe in the middle of putting on her climbing gear and the action of tying her shoe replaced the action of tying a crucial knot in her safety gear routine! DANGER!

    Another anecdote happened to the author while hiking. He stopped to rest in the ruins of an old cabin. On the hearth was a coiled rattle snake. He reached for it with his bare hand! So, you know, Danger!, and all… His grandmother had had an ashtray designed to look just like a coiled rattlesnake, he’d loved it as a child.

    I forget what the solution was. So helpful, but there you have it. No one is to blame, only routine. Also, it occured to me that my biggest mistakes could have been avoided if someone had or hadn’t done something. I would not have locked the keys to my car in my running car if my husband had not invited me to dinner that one time, how dare he crave a tasty treat! I would not have smashed my sweet baby’s head on door frames, like, once a month if she would have tucked in and held on like a baby monkey. Dumb baby!

    I say no one is to blame. Jon just flipped, I think you both forgive each other those crazed moments, which is really great!

  • southerngirl

    Hey there, sister wife! I’m totally on your side since we seem to be married to the same guy. And although dealing with insurance companies is a lot like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer, this incident is great because it shows what a normal married couple you and Jon are– which is very reassuring to the rest of us.


    What suspense! At first Bossy thought Jon ran over That Kazoo, but no, two cars down in one swoop! Only one question before Bossy renders her final verdict: is driving Leta to school considered business mileage? Because if not, reaching for the pen to make a notation in that mileage book is moot anyway, which means You are the correct one.

  • JanetP

    Once I shifted into reverse (I thought) and put on the gas to back out of my space in the parking garage. Only I wasn’t in reverse, I was in drive, and I drove straight into the support post in front of my car. oops. my bad. Once in awhile we need something to jar us out of the habits we fall into. Too bad that sometimes it results in property damage! One question….was Leta in the car? And if so, didn’t she go nuts?! Soooo glad this ended with just some bent car doors! :) Oh, so, my side would be the one that says you can’t take anything for granted and habits are sometimes just ways to get your xxx in trouble – John!

  • jak

    So NOT your fault.

    And listening to jazz is like dying a slow, painful death.

  • Candy

    I am right there with ya, sista!

    I was once blamed for $1000 worth of engine damage because I had the nerve to start the car at the exact moment the engine belt decided to break.

    I’ve also been blamed for him not seeing his mother on Mother’s Day.

    Oh, did I mention I recently kicked his ass to the curb? Watch out, Jon. (just kidding, we would never let her do that to you.)

  • toddlerknowsbest

    I’m still hung up on the fact that you only keep one pen in the car. We have at least 20. Minimum. As well as dirty socks, banana peels, 3 days worth of newspapers, empty coffee cups, Redbox rentals that are at least a week old and diapers. Clean ones.

    But if I must pick sides, you win.

  • TheBlondeinABlog

    I am on your side…but I think Jon scored a few points back with his WHATEVER comment!

  • Ray1987

    WOW!! Who could ever phantom that a pen could cause so much chaos; I mean really?! I’m with you on this one Heather. I mean you didn’t purposely put the pen into your bag….Or did you? Because then, THEN you’d be HITLER! LOL! =P

    Hope this didn’t hurt your wallets too much!

  • tara wanders

    i’m totally wary of pen-stealers.

    bummer. we might not be able to be friends. and my 8 month old was soooo looking forward to meeting marlo in houston.

    still, i’m going to side with team heather, seeing as i am (also) a notorious (yet innocent) stealer of pens. (takes one to know one.)

    this was some of my favorite writing of yours.

  • HappyFoxx

    I smell a pen company sponsorship on the horizon. Maybe they will pay for your car damages :)

  • HappyFoxx

    OH, I forgot to pick a side! Team Heather all the way!! Who’s side did Leta pick?

  • ksommers

    you know that stupid voice memos function on your iphone that you probably never use? I use it when I’m in the car recording mileage for work. No pen needed. I blame the pen.

  • becaru

    Not to distract from the great debate, but this so reminds me of our second car that my dad used to drive to the train station, but with 3 teenaged drivers in the house we kids used to take it whenever possible. It was a ’63 Chevelle that you could only start by hot-wiring it with a screwdriver. The transmission was 3 on a tree, so it was very easy to forget to put the car in park when you turned it off and just leave it in gear. That meant that the next person to start it had to chase the car to jump in, as it was already in gear. My poor dad started it in the garage one morning, only to have it drive into the laundry room.
    If it’s any consolation, after all of these years, it’s still a funny memory, but I cannot remember for the life of me who got the blame.

  • Sandra@The Memory Workshop

    33. hayofray said:
    Pens? Isn’t there an app for that?

    Nailed it!!

    Can I wait to choose sides until I read Jon’s version of the story?

  • imaynotremember

    Oh this made me laugh a little because I love the way you tell your stories, Heather!

  • kavmonkey

    I am SO picking team Heather! (I am with Jon on the Jazz though….)

    Within a one month period last year, I backed my Explorer down the side of my husband’s new car (forgot it was there) and into our electric gate (that I thought was open). I would have LOVED having a pen to blame it on!

    Love your stories!

  • napagirl

    I’m all for team Heather too but my God I’m annoyed at all of the people who want to point out to Jon that he did something dangerous or want to give him driving instructions. Haven’t we all done stupid things when under a lot of pressure or distracted or God forbid, running late? I totally understand what he did.
    And I would also like to tell both of you that after 27 years of marriage I know that situations like this will be barely a blip on the radar screen of your lives. It will be laughed at and often referred to but there will be more times like these that if we’re all lucky enough, you’ll share with us.

  • paminmi

    One more vote for Heather (sorry Jon).

    My mom did something similar last year, though she was knocked to the floor by the door and almost run over in the process. Be grateful it was only the cars that got banged up.

    Seeing as everything’s pretty much already been said, however, I will offer a small token of advice to Jon: here in our neck of the woods, one must adhere with tape, a large plastic spoon or silk flower to your pen in order to prevent theft.

    It’s hard to accidentally walk off with a 12 inch long pen, you know?

    My sympathies are with you both.

  • Lilliah

    I’m back to comment again because I totally forgot: