Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

Twenty-six

Yesterday was my 34th birthday, and I spent it much like we’ve been spending all of our days in the last five weeks, stumbling around in a sleep-derived haze of who are you? Where am I? What’s my name again? I mean, we’ve sort of got a rhythm going, one where the drummer and guitarist are playing two different songs, and the lead singer is just making up words as it goes along, and the sound is just awful but we’re calling it “art.”

Marlo is being fairly cooperative in the sense that she’s sleeping through the night, meaning she wakes up to eat a couple of times and goes right back to sleep after a few minutes on the boob. I know that casually saying the phrase “on the boob” may be insensitive to a certain fraction of my readers who would rather not have to hear about such details concerning life with a newborn, so to make up for that I won’t tell you about how a chunk of her neon yellow poop squirted out of her diaper onto my shirt this morning, and instead of jumping up to clean up the mess I sort of sat there admiring the shape and texture of it, wondering aloud if it was a raisin? Maybe a kernel of corn?

So you’d think we’d be getting a fair amount of sleep, except she is such a loud sleeper, just like Leta was. She grunts and moans and growls, so half the time we don’t know if she’s awake and upset or if she’s having a nightmare about that one time she came shooting out of a vagina. I mean loud. Really loud. Like we’re sleeping with our heads right next to a dryer that’s rolling around a pair of tennis shoes, a wad of coins, and a hammer.

Anyway, my birthday. Right. That’s where I was going with this. I got an early birthday present last week when it was announced that I was among the 30 honorees on the Forbes list of “The Most Influential Women In Media” for 2009. Um. Yeah. So. Soooooo. Let’s just twirl this around in our brains for a second so that you can see why BATSHIT INSANE was my first coherent response to such news.

You’ve got Oprah Winfrey at the top of the list, and then it goes on to Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters, and others like Ann Curry and Katie Couric and Martha Stewart and Lesley Stahl, and everything is fine until you get to number twenty-six, Heather B. Armstrong, and it’s like the list suddenly falls off the edge of the earth. Heather who? Heather what? Who is this woman? And I can just imagine the usual buttoned-up, proper reader of Forbes wandering over here, reading a couple of lines and thinking HAS FORBES LOST ITS MIND. And my every inclination is to post my father’s phone number right here so that they can call him and commiserate.

My mother, obviously, was over the moon when I told her the news, but my dad’s first response was, “Is Ann Coulter on the list? Where are the conservatives?!” and I had to spend the next hour convincing him that the list wasn’t some vast liberal conspiracy. Meaning it was exactly like every single phone call I’ve ever had with him. HA! HA! I’m only kidding. A little bit. Related: Marlo looks just like my father, and the other morning she was making this really angry face, and Jon looked at her and goes, “What’s wrong, Mike Hamilton? Are you still upset about Obama?”

So, yeah. I’m number 26. Twenty-six. Which of course blows my mind, and for a few days in my sleep-dreived haze I would look at Jon every few minutes and go twenty-six? For real? And then we’d high-five each other and go, “Twenty-six!” I mean, ridiculous. That’s exactly what it is. Absurd. But that did not stop me from reminding Marlo about it every time I changed her diaper. I was all, DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM, KID? YOU’VE GOT NUMBER TWENTY-SIX WIPING YOUR BUTT.

Yesterday morning I was still kind of high on the news of it, that combined with the fact that it was my birthday, so I woke up in a really great mood. Marlo slept in a little later than usual, and Leta played quietly by herself in her room until she heard us rousing. We all four then spent the next half hour in bed making faces and singing and tickling and living a page right out of Good Housekeeping, and right before we all skipped merrily upstairs to have breakfast I hopped over to let Coco out of her crate. Only to be hit in the face with a smell so nauseating that I fell over dead. I died. There was a funeral and elaborate floral displays and my mother threw herself over my casket and yelled, “Twenty-sixxxxxxxx!”

As Coco stepped out of her crate I suddenly realized that she had urinated all over herself, I guess while she was sleeping because she never whined to be let out of the crate LIKE A NORMAL DOG WOULD HAVE. Like a normal dog with a brain. And it’s not just a little bit of urine, it’s like Niagra Falls in that crate, and she is covered head to toe in it. I catch her a little too late, meaning I’m standing there debating over whether or not I care about what it would mean to grab an animal soaked in its own bladder juices or do I mind what those bladder juices are doing to the BRAND NEW CARPET on the floor, and oops, there are fifteen footprints that will remind me forever that once you adopt a Miniature Australian Shepherd you shorten your life by, oh, a good twenty years. Oh, right. I’m already dead. Because of her.

Jon swoops in, grabs her up off the BRAND NEW CARPET, have I mentioned that part? BRAND NEW. It could not be newer, it is so new, the newness is the newest of all new, The Mayor of New, and he runs to the back door, sets her down to open that door, and then realizes his fatal error. Because Coco then seizes that opportunity to shake the piss off of her body. All over the floor, the walls, the ceiling, and of course all over Jon’s body. It was like a Jackson Pollock canvas in that back hallway. If you could have seen it you would have marveled at the color, the scheme, the abstract way the piss splattered and flung through the air. A masterpiece, I tell you.

For the next hour I chased that dog around the backyard in an attempt to douse her with the hose, an instrument she loathes as it contains water — and I don’t know what happened to her in a previous life, maybe water stole her car or called her names or punched her in the face, but Coco reacts to water like someone would react to an intruder with a knife — and since I hadn’t had a chance to put on any clothes, there I am, number twenty-six, an Influential Woman in Media, running madly around my backyard after a dog with no brain, wearing nothing but my panties and a t-shirt covered in milk stains and dog piss. On my birthday.

I’m not going to lie, I stopped several times, hose in one hand, the other hand pointing proudly to the giant milk stain underneath my left boob, and yelled, “Twenty-six, bitches!”

  • robyn

    TWENTY SIX!!!!! Good job!

  • Anonymous

    Fuck Yeah 26, you frakkin kill it

  • shelleybelly

    Great post, Heather!

  • Jenny

    Heather, it is no surprise that you are #26. You are hilarious and I just about peed my pants after reading this post. Congrats!

  • Beth

    Honestly, your real number is at least #24 because Ann Curry and Kathy Lee Gifford have NO PLACE on that list. And do you think that Soledad is totally jealous that you bested her on the list???

    Congrats. And Happy Birthday!

  • Anonymous

    Hahahahaha! Freaking hilarious #26!! Brilliant. Congrats.

  • Devra Andersen

    Congratulations! Now with the loose liquor laws in this beloved city, we will have to cheers with 26 shots or something to celebrate! And happy birthday! Cancers are amazing!

  • Yay Dooce!

    I must admit, I felt a little ridiculous when I heard about your newfound fame, because I felt like WOOHOO I KNOW SOMEONE FAMOUS.

    And then I remembered I do not actually know you. But it seems like it, because you share your life with us so witty. Thank you. The end.

  • Amy

    To poster 100… I have been reading this blog for no less than 6 years now. I have commented numerous times. And while I don’t do the first thing… let me tell you this. I logged on to look and see if Heather posted any new pictures. I saw she did. Then a moment later there was a whole new post up. I got excited. That’s never happened before in checking this site 5 days a week for 6 years. So did I do the completely juvenile thing and post a first? You betcha… And unlike most people who do it did I actually end up being first… you betcha… and I didn’t just post innane garble, I made sure to add something to it with a compliment. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it, high and mighty 100. I earned my “first” post. I mean, it’s not as good as Heather’s 26… but it made me happy. The ONE time I ever post a “first” and I have a fun-sucker like you passively agressively chastising me for it. Piss off. Heather rocks. You, on the other hand, suck. Cheers!

  • Anonymous

    I am new to this site and as a mom with two young babes (ages 2 and 4 months) I am finding it real interesting reading and a great sounding board. Congrats on being #26!

  • Oops. That was supposed to be wittily. I will clearly never be as talented as you, since I cannot even spell. Sad days.

  • sheila

    Happy Birthday – get rid of that dog!!! Find her a good home

  • Dooce, how I love thee, let me count the ways. Ah Heather, you make me laugh on a day when I TOTALLY NEEDED IT! THANK YOU!!!! You are TOTALLY #26!

  • Yeah, Forbes is totally smoking something. Because 26, my ass. Top 10, baby. (And I don’t mean Marlo).

  • If that’s the kind of humbling you get for being TWENTY SIX, imagine what happened to Oprah!

    Congrats on 34 and 26!

  • Amy

    this is EXACTLY why I read your site first thing every morning….
    thank you for making me laugh!

  • Meghan

    Happy Birthday! Congratulations!

    And, . . . “Twenty-six, bitches” . . . still laughing.

  • Anonymous

    This is the best humble pie story I have ever read. (And congrats, by the way).

  • Deborah

    Congrats! Well-deserved!

  • Happy Birthday, Twenty-Six! Congratulations!

    If I could count the number of times I’ve made up new swear words because my cat pee’d on our floor, couch, brand.new.area rug (it wasn’t even in the house for 24 hours, biatch!), I’d be rolling in some serious money! Hence, the reason we haven’t bought new furniture or carpet eventhough I think our friends are catching on to the “my kids spilled apple juice” excuse.

  • Anne

    Happy Birthday to a well-deserved Number 26. (Just think how your family would have reacted if you’d been Number 2 – doesn’t bear thinking about!)

  • Tim

    Amazing! I’m sorry your birthday got off to a bad start, but I appreciate you sharing and giving me a much needed laugh today. Congrats on your honor 26!

  • Congratulations! I think you might have died twice then — once when you found out you made #26 and then again with Coco. That’s pretty amazing considering you still had enough energy to chase after her and want to clean her up 🙂 Happy birthday btw!!

  • Liss

    CONGRATS!!!! You so deserve the honor. Oh, and a happy birthday, too.

  • teki

    Congrats…but about Coco. I had a female choc lab that wet in her sleep, turns out she had a hormone problem due to being spayed. She didn’t have enough circulating hormone to keep her bladder sphincter tight. Attractive, I know. Anyway, the vet have us pills, which she took every day. Hope it was just an accident, but if not, could be this. Keep on writing 26!

  • Anonymous

    I take it back (I was #112). I went back and found a mention of you directly in the article’s last paragraph. I shouldn’t have left that comment teh way I did. I had been looking for a linear list and their format frustrated the bejeezus out of me.

    So double congrats on being named 26 most influential, but also on being hand picked for a mention in the article! I hope you have many more years of success.

    And a belated Happy Birthday too!

  • Congratulations – you TOTALLY deserve it!!! I don’t know which is worse, dog piss or CAT piss, but either way…YIKES. I hope the rest of your birthday went much better! 🙂 Happy birthday, and congrats again!!!

  • Wow, that is one impressive story. Congrats on the honor and enjoy it!

  • Julie

    Congratulations! I am so proud to be one of your readers. Your blog makes me cry and laugh all at the same time 🙂 Very happy birthday wishes to you…

  • WOO-HOO! Rock on sister sledge!

  • Kelly

    For the funniest part of the comments section, read comment #26.

  • first: thank you for the monday morning laugh – from myself (who read it first hand), and my mother (who listened to me read it (with emphasis) over the phone) …

    second: tell your dad the world won’t explode quite yet – you are still behind the psycho-crazy-republican-freak nancy grace. when you beat her, THEN the liberals will have accomplished all their evil plots.

  • Your neighbors must LOVE you!
    Congrats #26!

  • I wonder what they consider the “influential” part of the list. I mean, Oprah doesn’t influence me to do shit. Just the opposite, in fact. I’m anti-Oprah. I do secretly peek at her magazine while at the vet’s office though…hmmm… But I’d be lying if I said what you posted in Daily Style, etc hadn’t influenced me in some way, shape or form. So you rank higher than Oprah in my book.

    And Coco…Just goes to show you, no matter how high you can be feeling, there’s always a dog (or child) readily available to piss all over the good times. Sigh. God love ’em.

  • Anonymous

    Happy Birthday, but please PLEASE write part two of your delivery already!!! I am pregnant currently and read your part one…immediately Netflixed The Business of Being Born, ordered Your Best Birth from Amazon and have been blown away by both. I’ve got to know how your delivery went, as I am going with a hospital birth as well, and am wondering how the whole natural thing went in the facility. I am considering hiring a doula….So, as you can see, I am desperate for answers! Thanks

  • April Smith

    First of all Happy Birthday and Congrats on being #26.

    Secondly, I have to say I love they description you use when you write. You can just imagine these events and see them playing out in a little thought bubble …. it makes it all that much better!

  • Christy

    this is the funniest fucking blog that i’ve ever read. thx heather & happy b-day.

  • Congratulations, Heather!

    I believe it is because you have been so willing to share your life with us (the real life…not the fake one that looks airbrushed) that you have become so influential in the media.

    I think, perhaps, that it is through your willingness to be vulnerable with your readership that your influence has grown.

    Thank you for letting us know you from the inside out. It is a rare gift!

    Congrats, Miss 26!

    xo,
    Starshine

  • the niffer

    You are so deserving of #26 or even better and this post proves it. Happy birthday – I hope your day got better after the Pollack Pee incident.

  • Congratulations, Dooce & Co., for the #26…that is awesome! I don’t often comment, but consistently drop by as I and my Border-Collie mix, Lucy, are in love with Chuck and Coco. And then there’s your excellent photography and belly-laughin’ commentary…

    By the way, Happy Birthday!

  • Number 26!! Go Dooce!!! Also my word verification was, pushes wife- you’re blog is sending me some dangerous messages.

  • Anonymous

    Congratulations and Happy Birthday!

    Great post 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Best. Post. Ever.

  • Dawn

    This!!! This is why Forbes put you on the list. This post rocks our socks off, woman!

    Number twenty-six, bitches! YEAH!

  • Tanya

    I bet Oprah never runs around in her underwear, and that’s why she’s number one!

    Congrats, Heather! And Happy Birthday!

  • Kristan

    OMFG this is why I LOVE YOU.

    I was totally going to just say “Happy birthday” and “Congrats” until I got to the Coco part. Now I am going to go make an altar to you and the Dog Without a Brain and worship for the rest of the night.

    (NOT CREEPY AT ALL.)

  • Above Erin Burnett & Maria Bartiromo …. NICE!

  • BEST BIRTHDAY MORNING EVER!

  • Happy 34, indeed. I’m sure it’s been said (I lack the patience to read the go-billion comment ahead of me) but this post right here is why we love you and why you’re #26. Rawk on. And thanks to you I will never own a Miniature Australian Shepherd.

  • This? THIS??? Deserves a patented, trade-marked Marlo Mike-Hamilton-style fist in the air. Because TWENTY-SIX, BEEYOTCHES!!!

    Well done!