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.”

  • Perhaps it’s your Dad’s way of secretly sticking it to Jon for bringing up the Gays…?

    I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’.

  • sasha

    The clogs are odor resistant, right?

  • Oh man. That tone! I can totally hear my dad using it.

    “Doug”–with two syllables and *very* serious. “I think you’re old enough to learn about sex now…you see, your mother and I…”


  • just be glad it’s only a skunk.. last time we recieved one of those call my husband ended up waist deep in a murky pond with raw chicken searching for a dog eating gator…. ps i adore how your mind flickered to worst case scenario mode, i do a similar thing


    PLEASE photo document the skunk removal project


    you might want to google teh recipe for remove skunk stink before said project begins

  • kidsmom

    Pa dum dum!

    Well done, Heather.

  • Oh boy. He may have stuck with you through your work-firing-fiasco, your post-partum depression and the clogs incident, but now you KNOW he’s a keeper. God speed, and remember to pick up some tomato juice from the store.

  • What in the world is a window well?

  • Wonked

    I think Jon’s action item out of all of this should be to show up on your dad’s doorstep with a boombox blaring some old-school Meatloaf:

    “I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that.”

    That’s what my girlfriend did to me once when I asked to have anal sex with her. It worked too – nothing bogarts a boner like meatloaf…

  • now you know the proper answer to that question:

    “he loves you, just not in that way”

  • All my dad ever asks for is help fixing his computer. We live in the South; there should definitely be some variation on the trapped animal help theme between him and I. I feel gypped.

  • Now I see where Leta gets her amazing manipulation skills. Or shall I say, negotiation? Nah. Too nice. Thanks for the giggle!

  • I’m loving your dad’s approach…he knew *exactly* what you would be thinking if he started asking you if Jon REALLY liked him. A skunk on the porch? Is THAT all? Of course he’ll help you, Dad!!! 😉

  • wait, was he serious or was he just winding you up?

  • Jilly Willy

    Please some pictures any pictures would be great!

  • I too was all worried about how this was going to end up.

    Glad to hear it’s only the removal of an odourous rodent. Very glad.

    Looking forward to reading Part Two.

  • does jon love you enough to forgive you for offering his services w/o his consent?

    of course 🙂

  • June

    Your dad is so funny! Love it!

    But seriously, doesn’t the municipal gov’t have animal control?

  • There’s some joke in there about the love between two men so great that it will cause one to wrestle a skunk, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

  • PS – Tell him to cover the skunk’s eyes. They don’t tend to spray what they can’t see. (A fact I learned while interviewing for a Rabies Tech position!!)

    OK, leaving now.

  • Wow, your dad is a PRO-fessional. I think he gave my mom emotional blackmail lessons. Dang, he’s good.

  • Yep, nothing like skunk-wrestling to prove your devotion…


  • Kristin

    So…..did he help get the skunk out???? I’m waiting on pins and needles to hear Part II of “Skunk in the Window Well”.

  • scientryst

    Payback’s a bitch.

  • hahaaa


    was he serious and if so, did jon go get it out??

  • That is classic.

  • FYI for those like me who didn’t know what a window well was…

    A well dug outside of a below-grade window, commonly a basement window, to allow it to operate.

    I work in construction… thusly I had access to a construction dictionary. 😉

  • swiftarooni


  • Is this to say that your dad would be there in a split second in the case of say, a beach towel was stuck in your sewer system and your neigborhood was now spewing pooh?

  • shannon

    you got it on video, right?!

  • Deb

    You KILL me…..I kept thinking wow, she is so brave to write about this as I read along….so sweet and vulnerable….I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN!!!

    Now we see where ya get it!

  • Your dad’s thinking anybody who is ballsy enough to bring up the HOMO-SEX-UALS to a Mormon can hold his own with that there skunk.

    Tell Jon this is a rite of passage.

  • That is great. Your dad sounds like a funny guy.

  • I SOOOOOO needed that story right now! I’m falling apart now. On my way to being dooced by proxy! 😀 Thank you Heather!

  • How much does Jon love ME? I’ve got a couple of skunks under my porch. And this job would be way easier – they’re not angry yet.

  • Liz

    HAH, too funny. Your dad is so clever. Make sure to get Jon to wear the clogs when getting the skunk out, that way he has to throw it away since it stinks to much. 🙂

  • Priceless. A master at manipulation.

  • Oh you are so effing dramatic young lady – my heart was breaking for your father through that whole story…thank goodness it isn’t serious.

    Once Jon is loving your father, then “the niffer,” I need him to come love us, as we’ve one slut of a raccoon in our attic on and off for a YEAR. She just won’t leave. She keeps bringing these boys raccoons home and it probably smells like raccoon sex in my attic.

    Please tell Jon, he can wear his crocKs, and that we have satellite, M&M’s, lots of beer, and will allow many naps. Maybe that’s why Daren can’t get rid of Floosie the Bandit – he’s taking too many naps.

    Pah – I called you young lady – I do believe we are the same age Mrs. A. 😛

  • wow. so did he? does jon love him enough to mess with an angry skunk? that’s a lot of love…

  • Nothing says love like an angry skunk in the face.

  • Wow! I had been bracing myself throughout the story for some really terrible news; I thought your dad was going to ask for an organ donation!

    … of course you ought to say “yes,” but I’d include the condition that Jon sleep at his house until the smell dissipates.

  • thleen


    Go, Dad!

  • Lori

    That has got to be the funniest thing I’ve read all week. Thanks for the giggles!

  • slickwilliejr

    the clog army doesnt handle skunks.

  • I know this is going to sound weird, but dooche works really well to get skumk smell out, I worked at a nature center with skunks under the porch and it always worked likE a charm.

    The worst part is the look the cashier gives you when you buy 20 boxes at a time 🙂 good luck!

  • MarieMillard

    What about Dad’s “GUN” … just shoot Pepe LaPew and then go in for him!

  • your dad is awesome!

  • mochajunkie

    My friend used this technique with a baby skunk in her window well last week.

    Trash bag with peanut butter smeared inside near the bottom. Lower bag into well, wait for skunk to feel hungry, which if he has been in the well for a while, won’t be long. Skunk crawls into bag, lift bag out. If you have a drawstring trash bag, you can tie something to the drawstring, so that you are able to retrieve it and close it without getting near the angry skunk.

    Please post the outcome of this event no matter what methods you use.

  • Joey

    haha! After he takes care of your father’s skunk, send Jon to my house. I have a very friendly one that visits the carport every evening looking for leftover cat food.

    I figured I was smart enough to solve that problem so I just quit feeding the cat. Now my skunk is angry too, and last night showed me just how displeased he is all over the inside of the carport!! I woke this morning to Eau de Pepe wafting thru the house! My toddler was even holding his nose!


  • cathbuzz

    The lead story on the front page of our local newspaper not too long ago was about a man that had helped a skunk with a jar stuck on his little head. He said that the skunk seemed to know that a human could help him, because he walked up to the guy and let him take the jar off his head and did not repay the favor by unloading his scent glands.

    (This lead story, along with the lead story about the guy who coughed up a 30-year-old nail basically sum up why we moved to a rural area.)

    Despite the heart-warming story I read in the paper, I hope you told your father that smelling dead skunk body until it breaks down on its own is a better olfactory prospect than trying to help him out of the window well. For-fucking-get it, dad.

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.

read more