An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

Grand total of 78,215 words

Today is the first day of the rest of my life.

Last night I emailed my finished manuscript to my editor in New York, and then I drove downtown, took off all my clothes and ran naked through Temple Square. There was no other appropriate response. Except maybe I should have taped some sparklers to my boobs. [making mental note for future instances of streaking]

I’m not sure what I want to do with the next hour of my life, or even the next ten minutes. I COULD DO ANYTHING. I mean, this whole process started three years ago, and it got really intense a year ago when the deadlines were written in ink on a contract, and since then every single minute of my life has been heavy with the thought of those deadlines. I felt guilty if I took five minutes to read a magazine because I should have been using those five minutes to write my book. I felt like I was walking around with a 500-pound llama sitting on my face, and it hadn’t bathed in several weeks.

So I know it’s not over, because this is when the work really begins, when my editor takes his red pen to the Word document and starts crossing out entire paragraphs and makes notes in the margin like, “YOU ARE DUMB,” or, “SIT ON IT.” But just making it this far was so thrilling that last night I turned to Jon and said, you know what? Tomorrow I’m going to take an entire hour and organize my sock drawer! AND I’M NOT EVEN GOING TO FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT. That’s how out of control I was.

The following paragraph seems out of context, but trust me, it will all make sense and we will hug at the end.

There’s this show on MTV called “Rob and Big,” and I know there’s nothing more annoying than hearing someone talking about a television show you don’t watch, except maybe having to sit there while someone tells you about the dream they had last night, but pay attention because this is important. Rob is this tiny professional skateboarder who lives in LA and Big is his huge bodyguard, and the show follows them around as they do every stupid thing a 14-year-old boy wishes he could do if only he had the money. And it is our favorite show on television, and one night we’re sitting there watching it unable to breathe because we’re laughing so hard, and I’m all, I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO FIND THIS FUNNY. What is wrong with me? I didn’t like 14-year-old boys when I was a 14-year-old girl, so why was I identifying with this show now? I totally wanted to break up with me.

There’s one specific episode where the two of them are driving through a car wash and an Enrique Iglesias song comes on, and Rob reaches down and turns the car stereo up as loud as it will go and starts singing along like crazy, as if he had written the song himself, and he’s moving his arms to the rhythm like a lunatic. And Big is sitting in the passenger seat, perfectly calm, quietly mouthing the words, nodding his head almost imperceptibly. Jon paused the show and said, this is it, this is why we love this show so much. THAT IS OUR MARRIAGE RIGHT THERE.

It was like a truckload of bricks fell on top of my head. He was exactly right. And if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like in our house on a day-to-day basis, all you have to do is turn on that show, watch Rob come up with some deranged scheme, like I KNOW! Let’s go buy a miniature horse and let it live in our living room! And Big will nod, scratch his chin, maybe shrug his shoulders just a tiny bit, and say, whatever, I only work here.

So last night I downloaded that specific Enrique Iglesias song the second I was done with my manuscript and then went nuts with my set of propellor arms in the kitchen while Jon stood in the corner and bobbed his head to the rhythm. Leta joined me on the dance floor, and Chuck and Coco just wandered around in manic circles like, I don’t know what’s going on, but maybe this is what happens right before bacon falls out of the sky.

  • Anonymous
  • Cindi

    OMG – this is why I love you! My friend and I used to drive around listening to THIS EXACT SONG and when I saw it on Rob and Big – I laughed until I cried. I still laugh thinking about them dressing up as old ladies to get on the cover of a cereal box. Congrats on the manuscript! That is fucking HUGE!

  • B2G

    Um, I’ve blogged about Rob and Big MULTIPLE TIMES. I adore that show with every fiber of my being.

  • 1. CONGRATULATIONS! so proud of you.

    2. my dreams ARE that intersting, if only because they are so fucked up. so suck it!

    =o)

  • Keara

    Season 1 & 2 dvd is on sale now! Nothing makes me happier than Rob & Big. I loved the ‘special buddies’ cereal episode. Genius!

    Congrats on your milestone!

  • Furpants

    DO WORK, son!

    it’s our favorite show too. Hello, BLACK LAVENDER!

    Congrats on the book, can’t wait to see it.

  • Hahaha, I love you.

  • I have never wanted the comments turned on this bad in all my life. I LOVE that show in a wrong way, for the exact same reasons you stated. Now Jon needs to get a purple thong and dance at a club.

  • That is our favorite favorite episode as well…and exactly for that reason! Sums us up to a T.

  • i’m a huge loyal fan and this is the first time i’ve ever commented because that is the funniest thing i’ve seen in a while. thanks, heather!! and congratulations; can’t wait for the book.

  • Alyce

    I happen to love that show. The 12 radio controlled helicopters they run thru in about a day? Love. Giving the old SUV away to someone who could skate (but couldn’t really, no one who showed up could even ollie? So sweet, I actually cried. The manpon? I think my mascara is still running down my face and I saw that episode a year ago.

    Wow, I have never been able to admit that to anyone before.

    Congratulations on the book. You guys rock!

  • amy

    Heather,

    We like you! We really, really like you! Can’t wait to read your book. Congratuations!

    namaste,
    amy

  • Jessica

    On the topic of Rob & Big… I Love that show!!! Did you see the “special buddies” cereal episode? The last five minutes of that episode were the funniest I have ever seen from all three seasons combined! Do Work!!!

  • Cole

    Congratulations! I’ve been reading for about a year now, and this is the first time I’ve commented. But hey finishing a book is big, so again congratulations.

  • north

    My wife just went through the same manuscript deadline hell, and had the same realization at the end — “hey, I can read for pleasure again!” And then she remembered that she’s also getting an MBA, and said, “oh, right. Shit.” Anyway – congrats! On the book, the awards, and just being great fun to read.

    Our favorite show: Ninja Warrior. Our four year old son sets up obstacle courses through the house and makes me the announcer.

  • I had a similar reaction when I finished my Master’s thesis last summer. If I hadn’t been so mentally and physically exhausted and hadn’t had swollen manatee ankles from sitting at the desk for so long, and if I hadn’t lived 3000 miles away, I would have streaked Temple Square myself. There is something so delicious about the moment you send that monstrosity of a life-sucking document away to someone else! Congratulations!!!

  • TheHans

    So proud of you.
    It’s a weight off the shoulders, isn’t it? When I turned in my dissertation, I CRIED. I like your reaction better.

  • That’s wonderful. I hope to experience that incredible relief, that llama-departing cleanliness, when I turn my cursed thesis one month from tomorrow. Right now it’s just me and the llama, and it’s winning.

  • Lindsay

    please tell me you laughed when rob and big’s turtle tried to escape by propelling itself down the stairway ramp. so good.

  • Carrie Johnston

    Congratulations! That’s so awesome that you’ve finished your book!

    I went to the Original Pancake House on 21st South and 8th East a couple weeks ago. I had bacon there. It’s the best bacon I’ve ever eaten. Everything there is the best thing I’ve ever eaten. If you haven’t been there, you should go.

  • Rob & Big is awesome for so many reasons, but mostly, even though it’s a reality TV show, there are no women whose daddy didn’t love them enough fighting for the love of some loser has-been. It’s silly and mindless and hilarious. (My favorite episode is when they get the mini-horse, and while they’re driving, they see the lines in the road are painted red, white, and blue, and Big says, “You know a town that paints the street red, white, and blue has the biggest KKK chapter in it.” And Norco [where they got the horse] really is a little bit of the confederacy right here in California.)

  • sue

    I don’t know what’s going on, but maybe this is what happens right before bacon falls out of the sky.

    Bacon falling out of the sky – now THAT *IS* classic!

  • Joy

    What I wouldn’t do to see video of THAT!

  • I love Rob & Big so much, I pooped in their pool.

    Nice to meet you in Austin. CAN’T WAIT TO BUY YOUR BOOK. Please go on tour. -V

  • Happy, happy, happy for you.

    Your writing is hilarious and I can not wait to read all 70,000+
    words!!!

  • Anonymous

    Congrats on finishing your book. I just had to comment because I would not have known what Rob & Big was either except that I have a 14-year-old son, and that is one of his favorite shows!

  • A million right ons for you. Congratulations on finishing! And may I just say this is one of the best posts ever. In the history of the Internets.
    *sycophantic raving over…now.*

  • Oh snap, I love Rob & Big!

    If this is a true representation of your marriage I am both in awe and slightly terrified.

    Congratulations on the book!

  • This is the first time I’ve commented but have been reading dooce for a long time. I can’t wait to sit down with a BOOK of your stuff. Your writing is hilarious and amazing. I look forward to it everyday!

  • Very exciting that you turned in the book. Congrats.

    I’ve never watched Rob & Big but I love shows like that. They’re like a bad car accident you can’t turn away from, you just have to keep watching…

  • Congrats! I want to do something that allows me to then run naked someplace…

  • It poured bacon here on Saturday night and I was wondering what the hell was happening. I’d heard of frogs, sure, but swine? Thanks for clearing up the mystery. Oh, and when you’re finished on your sock drawer? Mine could use a little attention.

    Congratufuckinglations and a full-body sigh on the 78,215 words. How many syllables is that, exactly?

  • “Life’s not that bad when your Mini Horse’s Poo is Dusty.”

  • katliz

    It is because of posts like these that you have the success you do, Heather. Ten minutes ago I was completely focused on the shit day I’m having at work until this story completely altered my mood.

    Yes, you make the mundane sound like an Olympic event. But you so imaginatively describe your emotions – like the joy you describe here – and it is impossible not to empathize to the point of transformation.

    Congrats on the accomplishment, and thanks so much for a much needed lift this afternoon.

  • kristine

    yay you!!! enjoy your wonderful well earned freedom 🙂

  • Congrats! Is this the book whose cover you showed us before, about fatherhood and such? Or a different one?

  • Jessica

    You make me smile everyday. Thank you!

    p.s. My Gram has those same Vintage Pyrex dishes! I feel the need to talk her into giving them to me when I go home for Easter. =)

  • Anonymous

    YAY! I can’t wait to read it!

    can you post about the Austin meetup? I’m so curious if people acted as star struck as I would have!

  • Amy

    Hee. My husband and I swear that our marriage is like “Newlyweds”. We say the most stupid stuff to eachother, out loud and everything, there’s just no camera to catch us.

  • Kathryn

    I LOVE ROB AND BIG. Seriously. I just watched the episode where Big tries to find a girl for Rob, and all I can think is “I don’t even care that I’m a good 6 inches taller than Rob, I want on him.”

    And also, CONGRATS on finishing the manuscript, and good luck with the future arm-wrestling with your editor.

  • I have not seen that show, but totally get the idea. And I think MANY marriages are JUST. LIKE. THAT. Mine is, however I have never seen it described quite like that. First, because it is crazy, and second, because people just don’t “get us” most of the time.

    Congratulations on the manuscript – cannot wait to read the book. Am hoping it will make me laugh until I cry.

  • Yay for finishing things!

    Rob & Big kicks ass. Watching a new episode is a major event in my household.

  • joaaanna

    Happy days…

    BTW – my mom has those same Pyrex dishes, but is salmon-pink and white. I’m afraid that I’m going to have to MAKE her OFFER them to me here pretty soon.

    So glad for you Dooce~

  • Congrats!

  • Cheers, Heather! You are truly an inspiration, keeping up with this blog while working on a manuscript and taking care of your family. Makes me wonder why I don’t have a book written myself.

    Oh, right, no talent. =)

  • Congratulations! I was hoping for 78,216 words. But I guess this will be fine. I can’t wait to see what you’ve created.

    I hope you really did streak through Temple Square. When we lived in Utah I took a group of my kids and their teen friends there. They put on their best punk, skulls, black eyeliner and jack boots. Not as good as streaking, but fun to mess with the tour guides.

  • Congrats Dooce! I can’t wait to read the book! 🙂

  • I heart Dooce. And her book. And Rob and Big. And Bacon.The end.

  • Wow! I just ordered some sparklers on-line for you to wear when your ready! You are amazing! Congratulations! By the way I just downloaded the song too for future inspiration. Although the arms flailing, kinda scared me a little. And is it just me or was that car wash incredibly fast?

  • rob & big is the best show on television, so you shouldn’t break up with your 14-year-old self for loving it!

    congrats on the book. 🙂

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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