An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

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.

  • Congratulations!!! I still have yet to find a med that will stop me from being so damn OCD. 🙂 Congrats on the step in the right direction. 🙂

  • Am I crazy or can you actually tell that the bottom right mirror is too far to the right? Crazy? Thought so.

  • OMG, this totally reminds me of myself and something I almost wrote about a month – I had finally placed all of my old vinyl albums on shelves, and I actually congratulated myself for NOT over-organizing them by subcategorizing and alphabetizing. It was a big day for me to simply divide them into three piles and call it good!

    BTW, I’ve been reading for a while (a couple of years) and I still really enjoy the way you write : )

  • Nice wall.
    Congratulations with survival of the marriage….:-)

  • Hey, I can’t let the candles that sit on the double windowsill in my room be more or less than three inches apart, so you’re kicking my ass there. I love what you did with the mirrors, it looks wonderful.

  • I have so much OCD that I can’t believe I’m even leaving a comment on Dooce. After all, I didn’t compose it, rewrite it, have someone else edit it, hire a professional proofreader and then throw it away because it didn’t deserve to be a comment in the first place.

    Progress is good.

  • ahh looks good! baby steps baby steps to getting over OCD tendencies is what I always tell myself!

  • Kat

    That wall looks great…it’s the one in the eating area I’m concerned about…bottom left looks a little crooked.

    My sister flares her nostrils too!! We make fun of her all the time.

    And raccoons killed my dog.


  • In our suite, what passes for decoration is a giant purple butcher-paper poster with all our nicknames scrawled on it in artistic fashion. As I write this, the poster lies crumpled in a heap behind our sofa, where it has fallen for approximately the hundredth time in about two days. In comparison, a few non-level frames aren’t too shabby, but I totally hear you about needing things be perfectly aligned — unfortunately, everything I hang tilts slightly to the left.

    Basically, what I’m trying to say is that your room looks wonderful.

  • Julia

    Were the salt and pepper shakers at least so cute that it would have been a sin to leave them?

  • I think it looks fabulous. Love the mirror quartet. And I can just see that flaring nostril; I think I had my own flare here.

  • Amy

    My cousin/roommate was on all sorts of anti-depressant cocktail therapy. One day she just said “To hell with it!,” went off it, and started smoking pot. She’s never been happier or more stable.

  • The wall looks great. How long do you think the wrong-way prints will last?

  • Liz

    LOL…I bet you didn’t confess the college boob-touching incident. That had to be a thrill, no? Unless he was a disgusting perv.

  • Anonymous

    He was NOT a disgusting perv.

  • Andi

    So look, if I need pictures hung, will you come and do them for me? I will pay you, I’ve done it before. But the damn interior decorator charged way too much and now whenever I look at those pictures my brain screams “SUCKA!!!” I have no problem, however, paying you in liquor or dog treats, whichever you seem to be most in need of at the time.

  • I relate to your post on so many levels. My geeky husband has a thing for perfectionism and the punch-in-your-face way of showing his underlying love sentiments.

    I can try to look at this often infuriating feature of his with more humor now while remembering this post.

    The mirrors are very clever, btw. It makes your well designed room reflect on itself as a kind of selfportrait.

  • Xnij

    Beautiful as always Heather!
    Way to go girl.

  • Justin

    I can’t help but think that having HOT SEX and boobs in the body of your story will bring some rather interesting characters who may be unhappy to find that your whole website doesn’t have a single boob picture of detailed story of HOT SEX. Still, I hope they enjoy your site 🙂

  • You didn’t repent for the shakers, right. Somehow I think that God (even MormonGod) would have to chuckle about that.

  • Okay, in the spirit of confession…

    I have spilled red nail varnish on mum’s cream carpet and just covered it up with a rug.


    G.I.M x

  • Where did you get the prints? They are lovely. Confession: I have spent way to long trying to figure out which ones are sideways….

  • JMB

    It looks fantastic!

    You know my OCD/OCP is bad when I’m looking at the picture and contemplating flying over to Utah JUST TO FIX THAT. Something in the universe is crooked and it has been brought to my attention. Now I will have a whole new set of things to distract me.

  • My brain hurts.

  • ALF

    Can you come over and train my husband that it’s ok if life isn’t perfect? We had to redo our deck step because it wasn’t level – it was 1/8 inch off over 16 feet. We need the help of dooce.

  • Leslie

    OMG … I choked on my dinner when I read that. Teach me to eat dinner in front of the computer!

  • Nothing feels better then letting the OCD go. being a former indulger of the ‘self medication’ or pot myself, I can tell you that although it works in the moment, it’ll only make you paraniod that your frames aren’t perfect later on… But far be it for me to deny anyone that pleasure. Congrats on finishing your project.

  • Oh, I’m jealous. I’m a photographer who has bare walls at home because I just can’t ever get around to decorating them. Congrats!

  • Melanie

    I was doing okay until you confessed that there are prints hanging the wrong way. Perhaps it is I who is in need of therapy, as that confession nearly caused me to vomit on my laptop.

    Looks great though! Seriously! For real!

  • Rachel

    It looks awesome. Love the wall colour, too. I’ve been desperate to hang things on my walls, every day it annoys me that they are so bare, looking at this is very inspiring.

  • those Ikea mirrors will last a whole day before they start to warp and bow the cheap wood frame.


    You could liquid-nails the framing to the mirrors.

    Yea! another project!

    ignore this if those mirrors are from some high-end design showroom. My eyes may be foolin’ me. In which case i owe you an apology for saying your expensive frames look like Ikea. If they are from ikea, i hope you had them Ikea meaty-balls, that will make the bow and warp all worth it.

  • I don’t know what it was about the frame-hanging post that jolted me out of hiding, but here I am.

    A lurker no more.

    I guess I’m just so impressed that you did that awesome arrangement with just a hammer, pencil, and level. If I tried to do that I’d have a fat mess.

    Congrats on throwing OCDedness to the wind and living to tell about it!

  • Lisa

    Heather you are a healthier woman than I…..having the pictures go the wrong direction would torment me until I put six bazillion holes in the wall trying to rearrange them (you see, I don’t have a husband). I don’t take medication or smoke pot and I took too many wine bottles to the recycling center last month.

    I just hope you don’t get any weird emails about REPENTING. Oh yea, and you said you shot Coco today???

    My favorite part is about to come….determining whether or not I am a human visitor. I didn’t know there was a test for that. Gosh the words I have to type in appear to be some alien jargon. Hey great idea….is there a test for mental illness????

  • thinky

    Perhaps you will come to my home to decorate?

    I’ll entertain Leta with plenty of princess garb and I’m real close to Austin!


  • M

    So, you’re saying all it will take to not be completely distracted by the crooked artwork in the coffee shop is years and years of therapy? It might be worth it.

  • The frames look PERFECT! Doing something like that would have fo sho been the end of my long time relationship with my bf. But then again he’s an engineer-so he would have wanted it exact and I would have been the one saying approximate! Great job!

  • claire

    Ok, so I know all about how colors look different in photographs and on different monitors and everything, but man, I LOVE the color of that wall! Can you give the paint color/brand? I think it might be perfect for my new bedroom.

  • Julia

    I actually got a little bit anxious when you said you just “eyed” everything. My heart is racing just a little bit and I think I need to go lay down. Or go smoke some pot.

  • The mirror on the lower right side would drive me bonkers. No OCD here though.

  • I know you don’t really need 140 comments about your wall, but please tell me what color that paint is!?

    I want it for my baby’s room.

  • Amyd

    Woman, I am SO PROUD of y’all!

  • Looks great! But could you straighten that one picture in the other room just a tiny bit? It’s driving me crazy.

    In other words, my OCD can take your OCD.

  • maybe is it BECAUSE of the OCD that you have such a keen laser-leveled eye that ultimately does don’t require use of templates any longer! who knew?! trust thyselves dear Armstrongs, and pictures shall be hung in mortal perfection.

  • At least you have a laser level. When I painted my bathroom last week and had to rehang a shelf, I couldn’t see where the previous holes in the walls were, and alone, I couldn’t tell if it was straight. So I got something round to place on the shelf. And at first it rolled… I’ve also used those little perfume samples you get in magazines. Watch the bubble!

  • Oh wow…now I have hope that I, too, may one day achieve normalcy. I’d go slap nuts if I put pictures up on the wall the wrong way. So you’re saying therapy is the answer? And all this time I was hoping my drugs would do the trick. Argh.

    Love the wall. Tres chic.

  • Those six prints to the right? Need to move up a coupla centimetres;).

    Nice colour on the wall.

  • webgrrlie

    they always say ’tis easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission 😉

  • I’ve just discovered your blog over the past week and am hopelessly addicted! I’m sure many hours will be spent trying to ‘catch up’!

  • Wow. Can I just say I’m really impressed that you hung the mirrors at a level which is conducive to kid fingerprints! But, then…maybe that’s not as much of a problem when you only have one kid as opposed to 4?

  • gitz

    This comment had absolutely nothing to do with your photos… just wanted to say how freaking glad I am your book is finished because you post more 🙂 Makes my day happy!!!!

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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