An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

In preservation of the inheritance

The phone rings, and when I answer it I hear my father’s gloomy voice on the other end.

“Feather,” he says. “This is your dad.”

“Hey, Dad.” I say. “How are you?”

“I’m okay. Listen, I need to talk to you. Do you have a second?”

I’ve been lying horizontally on the couch, but when I hear him say “need” I sit upright. He doesn’t ever call me and use this tone of voice, one of worry and uncertainty. Usually when he calls he’s beaming at having just saved 40 cents on a loaf of bread, did you know that at his rate he could save $20.80 over the course of the year? That’s more than $200 in ten years ALL BECAUSE OF A COUPON. When you multiply that by the fact that he hasn’t ever bought anything without a coupon — socks! birthday presents for other people! HAIRCUTS! THEY MAKE COUPONS FOR YOUR HAIR! — you realize that I didn’t come by my insanity on accident.

“What’s going on?” I ask, a little afraid.

“Well,” he begins, “can I ask you something?”

“Of course,” I say.

“Does your husband like us?” he asks.

I want to tell him immediately that, of course, Jon loves him. Jon loves all of my family despite the fact that they conduct themselves in a manner that suggests it is their God-given right to park a pickup truck on your front lawn. But before I answer I’m struck dumb with the implications of such a question. What happened between Jon and my father? When? Jon understands explicitly that he is never supposed to bring up religion or politics when in the company of my family because one, it will only end up in a useless argument, and two, my father owns a gun.

A few weeks ago we were sitting in my father’s living room having a friendly conversation when Jon’s brain temporarily shut off and shriveled into a wrinkled mass the size of a green pea: he enthusiastically brought up a recent op-ed piece about homosexuality in the local newspaper. Once the word HOMOSEXUALITY left Jon’s mouth both my father and I immediately shut down into Preservation Mode: Keep Mouth Shut So That Leta Can Continue To Have A Relationship With Her Grandfather. Neither he nor I said a word for the next twenty minutes because he knows he’ll never change my mind, and me? I have seen his gun, and it is very gun-like.

I swallow loudly and say, “Jon loves you, Dad.” And then I ask without wanting to know the answer, “Why?”

“Does he really?” he asks. “How much does he love us?”

I guess not enough that he won’t bring up The Gays in your living room, Dad, but that has nothing to do with love and everything to do with a terminal case of absent-mindedness. “He loves you like his own family,” I say.

“Do you think he loves us enough that he would help us out if we needed it?”

My heart starts to break a little. “Of course! Whatever you need, Dad,” I say hoping that he understands that he is an important part of our lives, that having him so close has given Leta a chance to know her grandfather, something neither Jon nor I ever really had. I want him to know that I love him as his child, but more importantly that we, as adults, respect the man that he is. “Jon would do anything for you.”

“Then tell him I have an angry skunk stuck in my window well, and I need someone to climb in and get him out.”

  • mediaguy74

    Too funny. Did he go over and get the skunk out?

  • You guys are freakin hilarious!

  • Heh, heh.

  • LMAO…pretty clever, isn’t he?

  • Oh, that is about the sneakiest way I ever heard of to get a relative to do a dirty job for you. I don’t want to read this to my mother… she is already a pro at manipulating family members into doing chores she doesn’t want to pay someone else to do, and now that she’s 72 she plays the “decrepit old lady card” often. She doesn’t need the “do you love me? Really? How much?” card, too!

  • OMG!! That’s AWESOME. LOL

  • Skunk removal is true love.

    Other examples of TRUE love, ditch digging, tool rental and furniture relocation.
    All the above from personal experience.

  • wrensuicide

    Oh. My. GOD. I was so afraid that something awful had happened to someone in your family. That is a relief. Your dad is pretty hilarious. ^_-

  • I just PMP! That is hilarious!

  • Christinathemom

    that is totally unfair…

    you made me spit cheese on my computer..
    now are you gonna come help me clean up the cheese doodles off my screen?

    too funny..

  • PS I noticed that now you “take photos every day” and don’t specify a camera. Did you go Canon? Cause I never thought I would, but I made the switch about 3 years ago, after being a Nikon girl for almost 20 years, and I love my Canon. I’ll never go back.

  • I’m not actually sure I love anyone enough to help out with a skunk problem. Good thing the husband’s motto is “I work hard enough to pay someone to do it.”

  • Trisha

    I was nervous too that the story would end sad and depressing. So how did it turn out? Did he get the skunk out? And without the need for rabies shots?

  • heather j

    You are a very gifted story teller! You had me on the edge of my seat wondering what horrific fate had befallen your dad. But, more importantly, it shows Mormons DO have a sense of humor. Of course, your dad was probably dead serious.

  • M

    Vive le PUE!…….

    ** side note ** when skunks fart….what do they blame it on?…or is that even a necessity in their little homes?..**

  • HA HA HA HAHAHAHAH! That is the funniest thing I’ve read in a lonnnnnnng time! Great surprise ending. 🙂

  • myra

    I’m pretty sure that if my husband had to choose between a fight with an angry skunk and having a conversation with my folks, he would choose the skunk. Jon must be dedicated!

  • That is damn funny!

  • That was too funny Heather!!! My dad calls on my husband everytime he has technical problems. Technical means setting up their bedside clock when the power goes off. I guess he’d rather do those things then dealing with a skunk…UGH!

  • fucking beautiful.

  • That was good. Are your folks skunk-less now?

    ps — loved the pictures of Leta from Friday’s post.

  • Bearsmama

    I just HAD to comment on this one. Made me laugh out loud after a pretty miserable day with two whiny, unhappy little kids. That skunk brightened my day! 🙂

  • I can’t wait for the follow up to this.

    Please, please include video! And make him wear the clogs when he’s removing said skunk!

  • Bearsmama

    I just HAD to comment on this one. Made me laugh out loud after a pretty miserable day with two grumpy, little kids. That skunk brightened my day! 🙂

  • Brilliant. I must confess I spoiled it for myself a little by skipping to the punchline early. Couldn’t help it. I knew something awesome was coming and my eyes flicked down of their own accord and saw the word ‘skunk’.

  • That brought tears to my eyes 🙂

    Now I can’t wait to hear how it went. Please don’t leave us hanging.

  • Brilliantly written. This is the reason that you’re an Inter-Web institution.

  • When you get the skunk out, you have to weigh it.

    State Law.

    I’ve got the bathroom scale if you need it.

  • Ofladrt

    Love has its limits.

  • What is that? The guilt trip before the guilt trip? I loved it though. Too freaking funny. Your dad is gifted.

    Oh and I love the picture of Leta on the whoopee cushion. Most dads, mine included would be proud.

  • And here I thought he was going to ask for a kidney…


  • i LOVE your dad, that is hilarious.

  • So is Jon going to do it? This is the burning question…

  • OH man…. so did Jon help with the skunk???

    I so don’t even want to think about the skunk stink. It was bad enough driving through the stench of one that someone creamed on Friday night.

  • khazzy

    Priceless… Hugzs!!

  • So what’s the problem – was the skunk gay?

  • I applaud your writing…nicely done. FYI, if you don’t want your husband smelling like marinara sauce heavily laden with garlic, call the exterminator now!

  • Was the skunk homosexual?

  • Ang

    You have to give us the rest of the story…complete with video and/or pictures! How funny.

  • I love the picture of the day. Love love love.

  • You got me. This was so funny. Hug that Dad of yours…uh, you know, after Jon has gotten rid of that little stinker…

  • ROFL!! That is hysterical!! Tell him tomato juice, I don’t know if it will help, but he has to preserve the inheritance!! Actually I have heard that if they can’t see they won’t spray you, but I think I’d be calling animal control before I tested that theory!!

  • Now there is an idea… Crocs Hip-waders. Great for fly fishing and nuisance animal wrangling.

    I imagine these newfangled Crocs wouldn’t have the little holes that let the smelliness out, or in this case, in!

  • Candice

    I think I love your dad. He seems like a hugger. Does he like hugs? I’ll bet that he likes hugs.

    If I ever met your father, do you think he would let me hug him? More importantly, do you think he would initiate the hug? That would be really sweet.

    (I’ve just said the word “hug” so many times, it’s lost all meaning to me)

  • dragonbec

    Could he sneak up to the window well and set a ladder into it or something so the skunk would climb out on its own? (as opposed to joining it in the well and pretty much ensuring an odorific ending)

  • Hilarious. Hopefully we will get an update as to the success of the mission. If I understand what a window well is, how the heck does a skunk get in there? Maybe I just don’t get what a window well is. Pictures?

  • Well, stock up on tomato juice if he gets sprayed. I’m sure you’ll have him wear his Crocs into battle!

    What a relief – just a skunk! 🙂

  • Pepe Le Pue is the king of Love.

  • In some ways, it could have been so much worse.

    And then, in other ways, sort of not.

  • Kelly

    That’s kind of like how my dad and I have an unspoken agreement to never discuss the current President. And when I mistakenly let something political fly out of my mouth, I immediately gasp and try to make myself disappear.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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