Best way to roast the broomstick. Must try. Five Stars.

Forgive me

In sickness and in health, through the irrational demands of a wife who regularly struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder: the Armstrong marriage survived another home improvement project.

Maybe because he’s been taking Prozac, or maybe it’s because of all that HOT HOT SEX, but when I told Jon what I wanted the wall to look like, he said something like, why aim for perfection when approximation is so much easier? Which is the most romantic thing that has ever come out of his mouth, so I pushed him down on the floor and ripped off all his clothes.

We could have bought all sorts of different tools and spent hours making templates to make sure that everything lined up perfectly, but instead he held up one mirror while I stood back ten feet. And then he moved it up and down per my estimation. From there we eyed everything else armed only with a laser level, a pencil, and one sturdy hammer. And so what if one or two frames are a few centimeters out of alignment? WAIT, DID I ACTUALLY JUST WRITE THAT? Is this what therapy does to you? Turns you into a person who can walk by a crooked frame without reaching out to correct it? Why not just save a little money and smoke pot every morning?

We were originally going to print out six photos, but I realized that I had a whole bunch of illustration prints tucked away just waiting to be placed in permanent homes, so we hung the prints instead. Potential problem: we had already hammered nails into the wall to hang the frames horizontally, and three of the prints that I wanted to hang were intended to hang vertically. Solution: pretend not to notice. So three of the prints on the wall are hanging THE WRONG WAY. And I’m not kidding, just now when I wrote that my left nostril flared to the size of a grapefruit.

Is it just me, or is this post starting to feel like a painful, awkward confessional? Internet, I once cheated on a high school science test. In college I let a boy touch my boobs. Two years ago I stole salt and pepper shakers off a table at a fancy restaurant. And I have only repented for two of those things. The third thing was so much fun that it didn’t feel right to say I was sorry.

  • Patti

    For some reason I think the third item you refused to confess because it felt so darned good is the thievery, not the boob touching.

    Just had to put that out there….

  • I like it! Looks perfectly straight to me.

    Of course, I’m also the type of person who [ahem! allegedly] smoked pot every morning at one point in her life. Allegedly.

    Also, I LOVED the post and pictures about the coon in your chimney. Awesome.

  • Karen

    I think it looks great and I love the wall color.

  • i tried to help a friend hang a 100 pound mirror high up on the wall of her store on friday. Leveling that b#!&ch of a thing almost gave me a heart-attack, realizing it would never look level unless we sawed of 1/8th of an inch off the clothes rack below the mirror made my nostril flare big, but when we realized the one place where the big hook needed to be drilled in for the mirror to hang at the appropriate angle DID NOT HAVE A STUD, i lost it. and she called in a professional. congratulations on making it through this project without anything but a slightly flared nostril!

  • I love it!

    I especially love the throwing down the husband part. Made me wish I had one for a second there. : )

  • I love the mirrors.


  • Dawn H

    I still love that circle picture you can see in the mirror. Did you ever find out if the artist is interested in selling other works?

  • That brown one second from the top left… definitely isn’t straight. 😉

    Looks great. Therapy does work!

  • It looks great!
    The mirrors look like windows to the other room.

  • LOL. Was wondering where you were all weekend.

    That IS progress. After struggling to get 3 heavy glass shelves up in my bathroom aligned and level perfectly with no studs behind and no fancy laser tools, and I can’t begin to tell you how Hellish this was, I finally got them up and DIDN’T EVEN CARE that the bottom two ARE NOT LEVEL by like, 2 whole millimeteres. How anyone could not notice is beyond me but apparently, I’m the only one who can tell. Whatever. I just won’t live in the bathroom.

    Then my daughter was walking around the tub the next day and knocked into the shelf and it came crashing down. While I screamed as I never have before, the good Mormon girl inside me refrained from saying “Get the hell out of here!” and just said “heck”. And I felt sooooo proud of myself. Then I died. Because you can be proud and immensely pissed off at the same time.

    And if she had asked me, “Mommy, do you love this shelf more than ME?” I would have screamed, “Yes!!!”

    It looks good.

    Have you tried that gummy stuff made to hang papers or whatever onto walls to hold your frames straight and perfect for eternity? Works great.

  • The lower left mirror is a little out of alignment with the upper left mirror, and it’s kind of killing me.


  • Chilao

    Forgot what Kent said on another topic; I just had to forward your dooce link to my sister as this is some of the funniest stuff I have read in awhile.

    But I have to stick up for pot smokers as I can smoke pot AND straighten the tilting picture frame, in fact I am kinda (clearing throat) ‘retentive’ about picture frames not squared. LMAO

    Okay, well maybe I smoke on the weekend and square the frames mid-week, but…

  • Lovely. I love the reflections in the mirrors. Nice photo.

  • Ooh, that’s so true: It is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. This has occurred to me but never so succinctly. My husband probably thinks it’s my motto.

    Heather, just wanted to add: Is it an illusion or is there more wall space to the left of the mirrors than to the right of the prints? Like, is the whole thing centered on the wall? Is this something that you’ve made peace with? I have a similar wall grouping with more wall space on one side than the other and it bothers me every day.

    I’ll have to write down Jon’s quote. I love him.

  • funny timing for me with this post. my husband is out of town for a funeral, so my brother installed knobs on my kitchen cabinets for me over the weekend in preparation for house guests this weekend. he was very careful to have the knobs perfectly measured because he knows just how crazy, I mean, neurotic, I can be. Seams in the flooring must alternate, lampshade seams must fast the back, not be visible from the front, you get my drift. I am very proud of you for letting your project be imperfect!

  • heh! I love it!

  • oh my goodness – all those straight lines – they look amazingly lined up! i do the same thing (everything needs to be symmetrical and -p-e-r-f-e-c-t-l-y- straight…or i get very very angry….!

  • I have the same Camilla Engman prints and had to laugh because my husband and I went through HELL trying to hang them perfectly and symmetrically only to hate the final (imperfect, assymetrical) effect. So we trashed the “template” and went haphazard and drank to forget.

  • Nancy

    I love your brain!

  • Cootera

    I hope you read this and answer: what is reflected in the upper left mirror? I love it. It reminds me of a Klimt. A very colorful, happy Klimt.

  • Kim

    I am in the middle of painting my kitchen and my OCD is threatening to cause my head to explode every time I have to move my kitchen table to open my refrigerator. So I put my beer in a cooler. Problem solved.

  • Cristina

    Ditto about the wall color–could you tell us what it is? I have been obsessing lately about repainting the bedroom and was thinking about more of a robins-egg blue but when I saw your photo, I think that shade would look way better.

    Please share!

  • Wow! I’m so proud of you that I might just cry. This is a big step. Now, how do you feel about the labels on your can goods? Do they still ALL need to be facing front, or can some of them be backwards? Baby steps Heather – baby steps.

  • Krissa

    Oh, dear. Now I am just worried about you and how you will handle it if you ever happen to look at this wall when you are off your meds…..Or are needing an adjustment. Like I do now…
    Great job tho!

  • smoking weed instead of therapy will only help temporarily with that whole “coping with life” thing. then your resistance to it increases and you need to buy more and more weed just to get that wee tinge of happiness you once clung to and then you are just as broke and depressed and fucked up as with therapy. plus there’s that whole “screwing up your lungs” thing. cancer something-or-other….?

    not that I’ve ever smoked weed in an effort to deal with “life challenges” or anything. No. Not me.

  • Nice! I also like how the reflection in each mirror looks like they could be completely different rooms. You have a lovely home!
    When I had to hang pictures of two sizes, some horizontal and some vertical, I actually made an X and Y axis on the wall and used math. It’s the one and only time I’ll ever use math. At least I hope.

  • jw

    “why aim for perfection when approximation is so much easier?”

    My husband’s philosophy is, “Better half-assed than not assed at all.”

  • See, you are better than I am…There has yet to be a home improvement project where we’re not all, “SHUT UP! GO AWAY!!!” And the kids aren’t staring at us wide-eyed wondering if one of us is going to get out the Santoku knives.
    Nice prints and pics.

  • Liz

    You know when you’re reading a book, and when it starts out you’re all in love with it and the characters and the way the author has of putting something you’ve thought of before in words you never could have come up with, but they’re perfect? And it’s a thick book, so you’re comfortable as you allow your affection for the characters and the writing to grow, night after night as you look forward to your time away with the story. But then you’re halfway through, and there’s this gnawing feeling that The End is near and you’ll have to tell everyone goodbye. Until, finally, you’re in the last chapter, and it’s SO GOOD, and you can’t believe the author had the NERVE to end the story, and you read the “about the author” information looking for some sort of continuity, but it’s done, the story’s over, the characters have had their say and are gone forever.*

    That’s why I like reading your blog. It’s all the fun of reading a good story with characters that you really grow to like and you find yourself looking forward to finding out what they’re going to do next because you’re pretty sure it will be sweet, irreverent, funny, heartbreaking, familiar, difficult, and entertaining, all at once. Or maybe that’s the seven dwarfs. But there’s no “end of the book” gnawing at me. Every afternoon I can look forward to reading what’s new and being touched or amused or informed or whatever that day’s entry is about.

    Your blog is my favorite virtual living room.

    * The last book that I felt like this about was “A Prayer for Owen Meany”.

  • That’s exactly how we hang pictures. Of course then I have to go by them a hundred times and straighten them.

    Any wonder why I take happy pills?

  • Sher

    I really like your nose, so I hope the flaring thing is only for the moment.

    I am really envious of your affection for Jon. Me..not so much anymore with my husband.

    But he hangs pictures better than I do.


  • Longtime lurker here: I figure you might be the best person to ask about this – I’m going to All Points West music festival in August. I’d like to be able to appreciate all the artists I’m GOING to see before I see them – where should I start with Radiohead?

  • Courtney

    I really like those prints you hung up. You are probably familiar with this website
    but if not, I think you (and your readers) will really enjoy it. Lots of great stuff!

  • OMG — they look great, but I would not be able to sleep knowing that 2 of the prints were sideways. How will you manage? I’m not even kidding either.

    And don’t beat yourself up too much. I’ve come home to find all my photo frames on top of the entertainment center a millimeter off from where they belong. I have yelled at my husband for moving them to dust and not putting them back correctly. I know, how could I berate a man who’s been kind enough to dust?

    Our marriage survives because he refuses to help me with these kind of frame hanging exercises any longer.

  • We were up last night doing this exact same thing in our bedroom, hanging black and white prints in frames. There was a thunderstorm raging outside and, frankly, one in our marriage, too, but once we got them up we immediately commenced with the hot hot sex. Then – the bourbon.

  • Stealing salt and pepper shakers is a compulsion of mine…

    And our marriage survives because I tell him what I want the end result to look like and then go hide in another room for a few hours until it is done.

    Also? Because he does floors. And windows.

  • amy

    that’s called progress!! and why does your home look so beautiful? why? with a kid and two dogs? how?

  • heathermcc

    The walls look great – well done.I got a ‘professional’ in to hang my mirrors and art as i am not that handy and the one in my living room (which is screwed directly into the wall thus cant be altered without tools) is not straight – apparently he used a spirit level – more likely he was on the spirits – its drives me crazy every time I look at at – but not enough to get someone to fix it!BTW I am commenting from home as work just got a brand new, shiny, all singing, all dancing internet filter – and due to the pornographic content of your site its blocked!!! No more lunch time reading for me – crap, shit, fuck

  • Look at you…you’re growing. The wall looks great, you can’t even tell that you eyeballed it. Good job, good job.

  • I don’t get it. There’s a set of 4, then a set of 3s… how does this work for certified OCD #s validation? Oh, wait, ok, here’s how to OCD-approve it: 4 x 6=24… 2+4=6. So 6 is the central # here. Phew. Thought I may be up all night worried over the inconsistent #s.

    I’m a newly addicted dooce fan. Thanks for the giggles. and as for the not-so-nice e-mails last few posts down… don’t religious loons make you giggle? They’re so funny you don’t even have to try to make fun of them.

    Hope to meet you in hell some day…cuz apparently that’s where I’ll be.

  • I always apologized to the boys for NOT letting them grope my grapefruits.

    I tried to survive the homemade radiator cover my husband attempted to make, but when he purchased steel mesh used to reinforce concrete (read: mosaic-like razors) to make the screen insert, I had to put a stop to it. It’s not that I don’t trust my husband, but sometimes, I think his copious gas-attacks get to his brain and he sniffs a bad fart and then thinks, “I should wrap my toddler’s radiator in barbed-wire! YEAH!” Needless to say, the radiator is covered with a cardboard box wrapped over it, then a blanket over top of that, then duct-taped down. I’m an equal opportunity asshole, and I refuse to pay $500 for a radiator box.

    It’s awful bad when you love them so much you look to the other awesomeness to overcome the horrible. I assuage my guilt of not letting him build with the fact that he is hot and good at tech.

  • Amber

    a few cms off…i don’t think i could handle that.

    how about if your kid brother insisted on opening every cupboard and drawer in the kitchen and leaving them just to drive you crazy, would you be able to ignore that?


  • Anonymous

    How cool would it be if every other print is hanging the other way!? You should space it so you can right the wrong ones…just for shits and grins…

  • LD

    Then me pointing out that one of the pics hanging in the hall appears to be crooked won’t bother you a bit! 🙂

  • Jenderella

    i wish i could say i had a grip on my OCD and could have used the whole approximation method to wall hanging. alas… i had to go with perfection and use this kit: but i must say, the results are fantabulous and i’m stoked about the finished product. Kudos for not killing each other in the process.

  • Hey–I totally get the OCD and the confessional…..I’ve been blogging about my own OCD issues. Today, my first thought during an OCD moment, was “I need to blog this”…I was in the bathroom and was washing my hands……we have automatic water spigots…in that you push the lever, and the water stays on for a pre-determined amount of time. There is NO WAY anyone can sing ‘happy birthday’ twice to make sure you are washing properly…the water turns off too soon!! One is then forced to RE-PUSH the faucet, thereby contaminating the hands AGAIN, needing to WASH more…it’s a vicious circle…….one which my brain has difficulty managing.

  • Love that wall. You give me hope that my husband and I can complete the decorating of our dining room without the need for bloodshed.

    Of course my husband would have bitched the whole time saying “Why do we need that many things hanging on one wall?”

    You see, he’s a minimalist, which in latin means “One who is too lazy to hang more than three pictures per home.”

  • victoria

    Your house is BEAUTIFUL! You inspire me to decorate! Thank you for posting these pics.

  • Looks good. But of course with the photo size, it is hard to tell which prints are the ones that are hanging the wrong way.

  • Kay

    It looks perfect! I think using the laser level will get you as close to perfection as possible. Way to go on relaxing the OCD tendancy – gives me hope!:)

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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