An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

If anyone mentions cheese pizza I may just have to take up violence

Oh, Florida.


Yesterday morning life hit us like a searing laser of Utah sun at 4:30 AM when Coco began howling wildly to be let out of her crate. We were still high from the smell of salt and sea, our bellies still full of fried everything, our minds still as calm as the line of the horizon over the ocean, so it was a bit of a jolt. An unwelcome jolt. A knife to the eye. A kick in the shin. And before I retrieved that dog from her crate I said aloud something Leta had cried out as I put her to bed the night before: “Why can’t every day be Florida?”

Turns out there was nothing wrong with Coco, and she didn’t even have to empty her bladder. In fact, I think she was expecting some sort of celebration to be waiting for her on the outside of her crate. Her bat mitzvah, perhaps. Where were the balloons? The finger food? The Journey cover band? On and off the bed she jumped, her wet snout in and out of our ears. I let her outside to release her energy, but she stood outside and barked at the door. This went on for two hours. And just as she was about to settle down Leta woke up. OF COURSE LETA WOKE UP. You saw that coming before I even said it, didn’t you? It is a special rule of logic that only applies to parents: if a) you have a child then b) that kid will wake up just as you are falling back to sleep unless c) they are staying with Grandmommy. And if c) is true then you will have stuffed that kid with coffee and chocolate right up until you said, “Be good! See you tomorrow!” Because d) it’s the only way to get back at your mother for introducing your kid to Barney.

This morning Coco slept in until 6:00 AM, except when Jon let her out of her crate she was covered in diarrhea. He could smell it, but because Jon cannot see without the aid of an astro telescope, he did not notice her tracking it through our bedroom, down the hallway where we discovered poo all over the wall, and out the back door. I followed her outside where she hunched over, grimaced, and puked for over 20 minutes. I then spent the next hour bathing her while Jon cleaned up the crate and the fragrant, candied path through our bedroom. When Leta woke up and saw the handful of wet spots where Jon had scrubbed the floor with Nature’s Miracle, she put both arms on her hips, glared disappointedly down the hallway and asked, “Did that dog pee a lot of times?”

I said, no, that’s not pee, but she ignored me, counted each wet spot and informed me, “Eleven. She peed eleven times.” Thank, you, Leta for gathering such detailed data, although I’m not going to be impressed until you’ve shown me some charts.

Jon is currently in bed with a sinus infection (yes, I know, neti pot, he uses one routinely, we think there is a bigger problem), and it’s taken me a few days to catch up with everything that needs to be done when a family returns from a long vacation. Things like having to walk around the pile of laundry, all the energy burned from having to step over the suitcase that still needs to be unpacked. My friend, Cami, took care of our house, fed Lou, and watered all of my plants while we were away, and she said yesterday that the first time she walked into our house it looked like a bulldozer had dumped a landfill in our living room. And I was all, Cami, we were lucky to make it out of the house without killing each other, and even then we almost missed our plane. So if you’re surprised that I would leave my house in such a condition then you can’t be upset when I tell you to suck it.

Yesterday was also the first day of a 21-day diet cleanse that I’ve decided to do that prohibits me from eating any sugar, gluten, caffeine, alcohol, or animal products. It’s the same cleanse that Oprah did, and when I read about how it was making her feel I became intrigued, bought the book that inspired it, Quantum Wellness, and decided immediately it was exactly what I needed in my life. I’ve been meaning to make some major changes in my life, especially since the recent chaos is only going to get more chaotic, and this book outlines some ideas as to how to take charge of the change I want to make.

I’m posting about it here because I think I’ll have more motivation to stick to the cleanse if I post about it publicly, and I plan to say a few words about how I’m feeling every day just to help anyone else who wants to eventually try it. I was certain that giving up caffeine would be the hardest part about this change, but the only thing I craved yesterday was cheese and a bite of Leta’s Cocoa Krispies. And even this morning the espresso machine did not tempt me. I’m also thinking that after the 21-day period is over that I may continue to abstain from meat, for many reasons, the main one being that I can no longer justify the barbaric treatment of those animals just so that I can have a hamburger. It’s as if I’ve finally been hit over the head hard enough, and I’m ready to change my life, from what I eat to how I react to Coco being covered in poop to breathing through the fact that yet again we’ve been jolted awake to a mess.

I want to be a better wife, a more conscious and present mother, a more loyal friend, and a better listener. I’d like to handle my anxiety better. I also want to be more organized because I’m tired and fed up with not being able to find anything. Many times that anything is my head. And starting yesterday I feel like I’m on my way to making every day Florida.

Here goes.

  • Can I just cut and paste that last paragraph into my blog? I so totally agree. Except ixnay on the oridaflay and change it to Santa Monica. Curious to see how your clense goes…

  • Rosemary

    I hope you do make it through your 21 days. If you can make it, then I will try it too 🙂

  • Amy

    Booking my flight to Florida now… Good luck on the cleanse thing!

  • Jessica M.

    Fantastic Heather! Good luck with this challenge. I’ve heard about the cleansing diet and was interested…so I can’t wait to hear about your progress. =)

  • Anonymous

    Good luck with all that. You’ll be my guinea pig.

  • i’ve been wanting to do a cleanse for a while now, can’t wait to hear how it goes. hopefully i’ll be inspired to follow suit….

  • Meg

    Sounds like Florida was just what you needed! Glad you’re back in action!

  • Ashley

    i would definitely be interesting in hearing how it goes…i’ve been wondering if i need to make a drastic change in my diet for the sake of my insides and also my anxiety. good luck!

  • Amy

    Glad you had such a great vacation! I agree, coming back home is always a rude awakening (even without puppy diarrhea).

    Good luck with the cleanse! I don’t think I’d ever try to give up so much all at once, but I look forward to reading your opinion of the experience.

  • Allison

    No sugar, gluten, caffeine, alcohol, or animal products.

    What else is there?

    No, seriously. What else is there?

  • Dee Anne Simonton

    Fitter. Happier. More productive.

  • Wow! Good luck with that. I can’t wait to read about your journey as I sip my wine while taking breaks to eat my cheeseburger on a big fat white flour bun.

    Fat and Happy In Wisconsin. Sadly not Florida.

    p.s. Leta kills me.

  • Kat

    I successfully completed a seven-day cleanse and I wish I had the impulse-control to go longer. It restored my energy levels and curbed sugar cravings.

    If you are uneasy with the treatment of stockyard animals you could try eating organic free-range meat. We have switched entirely. The cost is so prohibitive that we only eat meat a few times per week instead of every night.

  • dot

    We’re off to the beach next week…then maybe I too shall try the 21 day thing!

  • no alcohol??! you crazy, girl!

  • Mel

    Such an inspirational post! That last paragraph can be modified to fit anyone and I think it serves as a challenge for everyone to get their life into a better place. Good luck to all of us 🙂

  • I wonder if there could be any way to explain to Leta how truly profound her question is. I’m sitting here at my cubicle wondering _the exact same thing_.

  • I’m way too weak to ‘cleanse’. Oprah, be damned.

  • Good luck Heather! You can do it.
    And so you can laugh, I too have adopted a puppy.

  • Mel

    Hey – take charge and just stick it out for the 21 days. I’m sure you’ll feel fantastic from the cleanse AND for accomplishing such a big goal. Keep us posted!

  • I especially like the last paragraph. I think we are always in a constant flux of change or needing change.

    Whatever you are, be a good one. ~Abe Lincoln

  • JulieBrown

    Bravo for attempting to make such fundamental changes in your life, Heather. I’m looking forward to your observations on the process…. and your pithy comments.
    As for Jon’s sinus infections: perhaps others have suggested this (I don’t usually make it through the hundreds of comments you get) but when I was going through the same thing 20 years ago we discovered that it was a wisdom tooth root that was protruding into the sinus cavity and that had abcessed. Sorry if that was TMI, but once that tooth was pulled I never had another sinus infection [knock wooden head]. For what it’s worth.
    Hope the cleanse provides the change you are looking for.

  • Cori

    Good Luck with your Florida Life! Don’t forget us who are still in crazy land…

  • Laura

    Best of luck to you.
    Very inspirational post!

  • june

    This is great! The woman who wrote Quantam Wellness is such an inspiration. I’m starting next week – we’re going to feel wonderful! Operation MAKEEVERDAYFLORIDA in effect.

  • Best of luck! How wonderful a thought of every day being Florida.

  • doing that same cleanse right now. I’m on day 8 and it has not been easy. let me know if you need any support – good luck.

  • Coming home from vacation is the hardest part. But man is it so worth it! Good luck with your goals!

  • Best of Luck… your post is inspiring to me maybe, probably, perhaps do the same thing.

  • Marta (Austin Texas)

    Wow, can’t wait to hear about this cleanse. I feel the same way about meat. I could totally be a vegetarian if it weren’t for brisket, but since I never cook it myself, I rarely eat meat. Good luck with that! I wish you much Florida!

  • I can’t wait to hear how your cleanse goes … You are such an inspiration!

  • Looking forward to the updates on the cleanse. I was almost intrigued enough to do it myself, but then found out I was pregnant and decided to hold off until this kid pops out. There are so few things that sound good to me right now, I don’t want to limit it even more.

    Good luck!

  • Heather, good luck with all the things on your list. I have to admit, I cringed a little bit at the giving up meat item, because that is just a real pet peeve of mine. I believe that it can be done – we can find meat that hasn’t been tortured if we hunt and gather a little harder – but that’s just my opinion. The 21-day cleanse sounds good to me – I’ve done aspects of it, and even just cleansing out the caffeine and alcohol will make a huge difference. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good glass of wine (or 4) but sometimes it’s really just a great thing to drink, ya know, water for a few days. Good luck.

  • If you’re into all this, you must read Oprah’s darling Eckhart Tolle. His books A New Earth and the Power of Now will give you a whole new perspective.

    And can I ask, Florida in summer? Wasn’t it as hot as the blazes of hell?

  • Seriously, have you been reading the Skinny Bitch book? Lots of the stuff you’re talking about eliminating is included in what not to eat according to the bitches. Though, they should have called it “Skinny Vegan Bitch”, just so you know what you’re getting into.
    Good luck. Making it all so public takes balls. . . I know you’ll stick with it and reap all of the rewards and benefits you deserve.

  • Sarah

    Gosh, that ocean picture is spectacular!

    Does that include seafood too (no animal products)? I hope you can do it, and I’m curious about how you feel about it and what changes you notice in yourself. I’m just not so sure I could give up the Merlot and Corona. Everything else could go though.

    Nothing like a dog to bring you back down to reality! But .. at least she’s a CUTE dog!

  • Annie

    You’re going to feel and look so much better cutting that crap out of your diet. I’ve been gluten, dairy and refined sugar free for a few months and it makes a HUGE difference! Good luck!

  • Anonymous

    Does this have something to do with colonics?

  • Allison

    Just read a great book about not eating meat. “Skinny Bitch” by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. Check it out.

  • Cleanse is a funny word.

    Keep us posted.

  • Colly P

    Good thing for you for trying the vegetarian route! I went off of meat 3 months ago and I feel great. I think it’s actually helped with my anxiety, since there is a theory that when you stop eating the adrenaline spiked bodies of animals (because they are afraid before they are slaughtered) it makes you calmer. Who knows, I just know its been good for me. Good luck!

  • Al

    god, coming back from vacation totally sucks. hang on to that vision, don’t let it fade!

  • Seriously. You choose coming back from vacation with a landfill house and liquipoo dog to change your dieting habits? You are nigh unto a god.

    If it works, I may try it. Although, you know, who am I kidding with that.

  • Lisa

    Hey, I’m on day 4 of the cleanse myself! I’ve found that there will come one point in every day that I try to talk myself out of continuing with it (always, always hunger induced). Then I eat a banana and I’m fine again.

    Trying to come up with meals everyday is a struggle. I’m not too keen on vegetables, see… I do feel a sense of calm that hasn’t been present before though, and the last month has been really rough, so that’s saying a lot for me.

  • Sam

    Good luck with the cleansing diet. I’ve been a vegetarian since I left for college in 1995, and it was the best decision I could have made for my body. I hope it works as well for you.

  • Anonymous

    The cookbook “Veganomicon” would be a great resource for you, food-wise.

  • ilttp

    LOVING your last paragraph ! Hope you don’t mind me copying it in my journal, my Bible,on my hand ???? You are lovely, my friend. Thanks for feeding my thirsty soul.The cleanse ? Please do post~~~~~I am game for it !

  • Good luck with your big changes. In your blog you come across exactly as you say you want to be. Organized, present, and a loving wife and mother. I think as women, we judge ourselves much more harshly than we judge others. No matter how successful you are, be satisfied with yourself. Your house is stunning, you are an amazing writer, and you have a great family. An occasional craving for a burger or a stress-induced melt-down doesn’t make you any less worthy of admiration. I personally, would rather hang out with you than Oprah!

  • Catherine

    Color me skeptical. I hope it works out for you, but I’m just saying, being an omg better everything is going to take a lot more internal rewiring than just changing your diet for 21 days.

    I do, however, wish you the very best of luck and lots of strength so that you can become the person you want to be! I know how hard it is to realize who you’ve become is inching away from the person you thought you would be. Here’s hoping Florida comes closer every day.

  • Abby

    If you find yourself struggling to stick to your 21 day cleanse then just pick up a copy of Fast Food Nation, you’ll easily be able to avoid any fast food restaurant for at least a month after completing the book. I can’t even look at the deliciously salt McDonald’s French fry the same.

    Good luck and I hope you are able to stick to it!

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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