the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Daydreaming of palm trees

So I hop into the shower at about 6 PM last night in preparation for dinner guests who would be over in less than a half hour. That’s my way of showing people I really care about them, taking the time to bathe — well, that’s one way. If you show up to my house and one, my hair is washed or two, I make fun of the way you say “concrete,” then you can pretty much assume that I’d give you a kidney if you really needed one.

Jon is upstairs on Leta duty, and when I step out of the shower I find Coco pacing the hallway with a bone in her mouth. I rightly assume that she needs to be let outside, and not wanting to interfere with the wrangling Jon is having to do upstairs I walk to the backdoor, open it quickly, and nudge the puppy into the backyard. A blast of icy air rushes inside, and the water that is beading on my naked body freezes instantly. I briefly consider what it would be like to move back to Southern California where it is currently 70 degrees, the kinds and quantities of illegal drugs we’d have to sell in order to pay the mortgage, how it would be worth it if we got caught and had to serve time in a prison near the ocean.

As I turn to head back to the bathroom I see Coco out of the corner of my eye, and she is hunched over in a ball at the far end of the yard, and she is eating a pile of her own feces. And as you might imagine, this is totally unacceptable, so unacceptable, in fact, that I am forced to open the door again and yell a slew of very hurtful things that I am not at all proud of. No dog is going to come running if you’re projecting that kind of angry energy, I know this, but I’m naked and freezing and my dog is eating poop with the same mouth that she licks my face, YOU CAN FORGIVE ME IF I’M A LITTLE FRAZZLED.

So I grab Jon’s winter coat and slip into his size-13 leather clogs (ACK! I can’t even type that word without contracting a yeast infection! the burning!), both sitting by the door for the times we have to let the dog outside during the night. And I head out in these two items of clothing to interject some sense of decorum into the world. But when she sees my naked, skinny chicken legs plodding along toward her with the giant clogs poking out on my feet like two awkward, malignant tumors, she goes berserk and starts running circles around the yard. Because she is a demon and hates Baby Jesus.

I should head straight back into the house, but somehow that makes me feel like I’m admitting defeat, and I will not be defeated by a seven-pound SHIT-EATING CRITTER, so I start chasing her. In Jon’s clogs. My naked butt barely covered by the bottom of his coat.

I don’t know what this scene looks like from the outside, surely insane, a tad bit confusing. The wet hair on my head is freezing into icicles against my ears, and every time I lean down and try to grab Coco the coat flies open and I’m flashing my boobs to the audience of squirrels in the pine trees.

This goes on for ten minutes until she runs to the back door upstairs. Thinking I can intercept her I run in the backdoor downstairs, fly up to the top floor, pass Jon and Leta who are sitting on the couch playing Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii when Leta sees me and starts screaming, “DADDY IS MAKING ME CRY!” Because apparently she made all his Star Bits go away? And these Star Bits are very important? And I guess he takes his Star Bits very seriously? And they must be important OR ELSE WHY WOULD HE YELL AT HIS THREE-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER FOR NOT UNDERSTANDING THE IMPORTANCE OF STAR BITS? Jon Armstrong, sometimes you make my brain bleed.

This situation can wait thirty seconds while I retrieve my soon-to-be-roasted-alive puppy, although this doesn’t stop Jon from going on about how hard he worked for those Star Bits, there were almost 300 of them, and because Leta pressed the wrong button THEY’RE ALL GONE, but I can’t mediate because Coco is just sitting there at the back door, her tail vigorously wagging, like, HI! WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO? SO GOOD TO SEE YOU, WE SHOULD CATCH UP! As if that whole naked romp through the snow DIDN’T JUST HAPPEN, ARE YOU KIDDING ME.

So I swing the door open, grab her before she has a chance to get away, and then walk back into the living room where Leta is still crying and Jon is actively acquiring more Star Bits. And I’m standing there with my parts peeking out the front of this giant coat, a snow-covered puppy wriggling violently in my arms, her poop-scented tongue licking my forehead. Sometimes life is such that it’s too much to ask for them all to sit still so that I can take ten seconds and put on a pair of panties.

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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