Heater, Mother of Lance

One foot in front of the other

So yesterday. Wow, I can’t even… just… the series of events that unfolded and where everything ended up, it all sort of falls within the boundaries of things I won’t write about, yes those boundaries do exist. Jon referred to it as the third most surreal day of 2009, and I can’t figure out the two days ahead of it on that list. A couple of weeks ago I said, hey everyone, next week? Next week we’re going to take it easy around here, okay? And then I got SHINGLES! And I was all, okay, it can’t get worse than that. Yesterday it got SO MUCH WORSE THAN THAT.

Anyway, on to the other side of those boundaries, shall we?

So it’s day eight of Mom’s Got SHINGLES! and so far Marlo shows no signs of developing chicken pox. Of course, now that I’ve written that sentence and put it out into the universe she’s going to wake up tomorrow morning with a connect-the-dot smattering of bumps on her face, and for kicks Coco will have regurgitated her own poop in the middle of our bed. Or Coco could just be sitting there existing, the difference is negligible.

Honestly, Coco is probably at the top of the list of Things That Stress Me Out, whereas living with a newborn is so far down that you’d have to turn the page to find it. Last summer we hired a fantastic trainer who came in and showed us some techniques to calm down the crazy in that dog, but then the pregnancy happened, and all this other stuff, and now we’re back to having our neighbors secretly submitting our names to be a case study on “The Dog Whisperer.” Let’s just put it this way: everyone who lives on our street knows the exact moment someone rings our doorbell.

The new policy with family and friends is everyone must call or text us before approaching the door so that I can stabilize the house for Coco’s reaction. And it’s not an aggressive one, no, it’s CRACKED OUT OH MY GOD I NEVER THOUGHT I’D SEE YOU AGAIN AND LOOK YOU’RE HERE, WHAT’S IT BEEN? A WHOLE DAY? High-pitched pig squealing and jumping three feet into the air. And the house moves a couple of inches to the left every time.

So I’m guessing that if they could scientifically trace the origin of my SHINGLES! the line would go directly back to that dog, but no. Not on your life, I’m not giving up on her. I know the kind of work that needs to be done, and we are going to do it, it’s just there are some loose ends here and there (see first paragraph) that need some tightening before we can all get into the brain space to address her problems. One thing that needs to happen, of course, is I’ve got to get over this case of SHINGLES! And that’s not going to happen if I keep doing google image searches, if ever there were an argument to be made against the existence of the Internet, HELLO IMAGE I CANNOT GET OUT OF MY BRAIN.

Also, people keep sending me horror stories, like someone’s grandfather had SHINGLES! on his face for seventeen years, and someone else had a case of SHINGLES! that ate the family cat. The absolute best thing sent to me concerning my SHINGLES!, however, was this suggestion from Julie at A Little Pregnant:

How could I not film myself doing exactly that? Is that not the most brilliant idea you’ve ever heard? Because one, it would make the pain a little more bearable, and two, in light of the recent accusations that I’m a total loon, A LOONEY LOON LOONBALL! I thought, you know what? I’ll show you a loonball! Let the train wreck continue!

Internet, this is for those of us in the throes of this crappy, itchy, at times paralyzing condition:

(Strong warning, however, if you are prone to seizures or have small children sitting nearby, you might want to close your browser and go hug a bunny.)

Music is µ-ziq Autumn Acid

  • Sara

    2009/09/22 at 10:02 am

    Hilarious! This oughta keep ’em talking…

  • Anonymous

    2009/09/22 at 10:03 am

    Very funny

  • Darcy

    2009/09/22 at 10:05 am

    That just made my workday slightly more bearable. Still better than SHINGLES! I’m sure.

  • Zarabeth

    2009/09/22 at 10:05 am


  • Sandi Benson

    2009/09/22 at 10:06 am

    You just made my fucktastic week a whole lot better! THANK YOU!

    Seriously, you have no idea. I laughed my ass off for the first time in days.

  • Caitlin

    2009/09/22 at 10:06 am

    Um, I just had to watch that on silent, while at work, and I’m sort of guessing it was even more disturbing in silence than it will be with sound.

  • Beanie

    2009/09/22 at 10:06 am

    I’m actually frightened.

  • Brandi

    2009/09/22 at 10:06 am

    Holy crap, one scary ass video. I don’t have a bunny, but I might go hug a puppy.

  • leigh bee

    2009/09/22 at 10:07 am

    Did you film this in front of your house? (I see garage door?) Awesome! I’m just saying, JAZZ HANDS!

  • Yolanda

    2009/09/22 at 10:07 am

    Heather –

    Good morning. Love the video. I hope that you fell better soon, like today.

  • Claire

    2009/09/22 at 10:07 am

    Shingles suck rocks, but if it had to happen to someone…. ;-P

  • Karen

    2009/09/22 at 10:07 am

    Heather, I have to cry foul on this one. Those weren’t Jazz Hands. Those were Spirit Fingers. What would Kirsten Dunst say?

  • Rhonda

    2009/09/22 at 10:08 am

    I like the coloring in the video….makes you look crazy! Wait….you are crazy..haha!

    BTW…love the hate tab! Great read with my morning coffee. Some people are really ****ed up!

  • Susan

    2009/09/22 at 10:08 am

    You look how I feel most mornings when I get up…

  • Kim H.

    2009/09/22 at 10:08 am

    That was hysterical! Sending you some Salt Lake City love and peace for this beautiful fall day!

  • Jennifer Major

    2009/09/22 at 10:09 am

    This is hilarious and has to make you feel better!

  • libby

    2009/09/22 at 10:09 am

    If it weren’t for the catchy tune, that video would be the stuff of nightmares!

  • Loz

    2009/09/22 at 10:09 am

    I pray to god I never get SHINGLES

  • Anonymous

    2009/09/22 at 10:09 am

    OMG! That was fucking hilarious! I now know what my husband sees when he says he sees the crazy crawl out of my face and threaten the world! I just love your blog.

  • natalie

    2009/09/22 at 10:10 am

    that’s basically EXACTLY how i felt getting appendicitis a week before i was set to board a plane for a week of trekking in peru.

    hope you get better soon!!!

  • Kate

    2009/09/22 at 10:10 am

    Scary, yet fabulously artsy in a comic sort of way. But why would you hint at awfulness in your first paragraph and then not share? If it’s that personal, don’t mention it and get your readership all riled up…

  • Kristy

    2009/09/22 at 10:11 am

    hilarious! the video is super creepy though.

  • labyrinthos

    2009/09/22 at 10:11 am

    BWAHAHAHAHA. That is so scary. Awesomely, awesomely scary.

  • Angie

    2009/09/22 at 10:11 am

    Dude, when you said it all SORT OF falls within the boundaries of things you won’t write about I thought that meant you were going to write about it. Nice distraction with the creepy-ass video though!

  • KeriG

    2009/09/22 at 10:11 am


  • Christine

    2009/09/22 at 10:11 am

    Whoa. That was something else. I do hope things normalize soon. 😀

  • Andrea

    2009/09/22 at 10:11 am

    Heather B. Armstrong, I love you. Haha. This totally perked up my already-shitty Tuesday.

  • Emily

    2009/09/22 at 10:12 am

    As someone who once directed a play and made her cast do “A to Z jazz hands” to warm up, I really appreciate that. Thanks for adding some much-needed humor to a seriously craptastic day.

  • Erica

    2009/09/22 at 10:12 am

    I have never commented on your blog, but I am a regular reader. When I first started reading it – I read all 500 pages of archives in a span of about a week. But I have to comment on this today…this is just to say – that is the most hilarious & most scary thing I have seen in a very long time. Hope you get better soon!

  • deb m

    2009/09/22 at 10:12 am

    ok, THAT is better than the Headless German Polio. i just can’t wait to get into work tonight so i can SINGLES! (now with 90% more Jazz Hands!) at everyone.

  • Erica

    2009/09/22 at 10:12 am

    I just pissed myself at “SHINGLES!”


  • Debbie

    2009/09/22 at 10:12 am

    Haaaa! Woman, you are brave.
    I hope that all will be okay in your world, that your granny is okay, and that you get the help you need for that crazy dog soon! My husband and I have a cat that we LOVE (most annoying thing she does is sleep on my printer/dig at my keyboard when I type) and have been thinking about a dog, but I rethink it everytime you tell a story about Coco!
    PS: Seems like half the world is being all bitchy at you lately, and I think that sucks. You’re not perfect but I think you’re great, thanks for pressing forward and doing what you do, I really appreciate it. PPS: You deserve to keep every dime that you get from monetizing the hate. Tell marymac to stop counting other people’s money!

  • Kyrrah

    2009/09/22 at 10:14 am

    My first comment in 3 years of reading Dooce to say I am so scared 🙁 That was terrifying, have you considered going into making horror films? The way the mouth opened like in Saw 🙁 Please get better from SHINGLES!

  • Anonymous

    2009/09/22 at 10:14 am

    Hahaha. I love this, it’s so essential to have a sense of humor through everything. I hope your SHINGLES go away soon!

  • Gretchen

    2009/09/22 at 10:14 am

    and if the neighbors didn’t think you were crazy before…

    Neighbor 1: Did you see that Mrs. Armstrong yesterday?

    Neighbor 2: OMG I did! WTF is going on over at that house?

  • Adam-Throwing Quarters

    2009/09/22 at 10:14 am

    We need and old priest and a young priest

  • Layne

    2009/09/22 at 10:15 am

    Oh my, that was totally worth choking on my coffee for.

  • Megan

    2009/09/22 at 10:15 am

    Hilarious! Looks like you had some spirit fingers going too!

  • Tess

    2009/09/22 at 10:15 am

    Had shingles 2 months ago. Saw doctor yesterday as I’m still having twinges of the pain ~~ kinda like ghost pain….. IT HAS A #%@&ING NAME!

  • Irreverent Mommy

    2009/09/22 at 10:16 am

    Um, when will I be able to download this as a ringtone?

  • The Prima Momma

    2009/09/22 at 10:16 am

    Heather – love the video. Technically those are spirit fingers. True SHINGLES! jazz hands involve more wrist action. Let’s go again – take it from the top!

  • Pinkie Bling

    2009/09/22 at 10:16 am

    Best. Dooce Video. EVER!!!

  • Kaela

    2009/09/22 at 10:16 am

    Hahaha. I love this, it’s definitely something I would do (as I proved when I referred to my mysteriously swollen lymph node as “my goiter” for weeks). It’s so important to keep your sense of humor, and try not to listen to the horror stories. I hope your SHINGLES! go away soon.

  • Cathy

    2009/09/22 at 10:16 am


  • dubiousMa

    2009/09/22 at 10:16 am

    That was truly frightening …….. and fascinating, kind of like the mating rituals of East Samoan salamanders

  • junewell

    2009/09/22 at 10:16 am

    That was frightening!

    Kudos on monetizing the hate–such a brilliant idea, like using animal dung for fertilizer.

  • Allie

    2009/09/22 at 10:16 am

    Wish I knew about the jazz hands when I had SHINGLES!. It definitely would have made the pain more bearable.

  • Christie

    2009/09/22 at 10:17 am

    ahahaha! Awesome and Creepy. My favourite combination.


  • Shelly North

    2009/09/22 at 10:17 am

    OMG! Hands down, (up?) best thing ever!! I have such a huge girl crush on you right now!

  • Jenn

    2009/09/22 at 10:17 am

    Crazy dog stories always make me appreciate my lazy ass dog even more. I always thought I wanted a border collier until friends of ours got a border collie and it’s the most insane dog I’ve ever seen. Even all the trainers that they’ve worked with have said “um, yeah…we can’t really do anything else with him.” At least Coco is crazy but trainable! And maybe I will cross Australian Shepherd off my list of dog breeds to consider someday.

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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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