An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

In order to leave a comment, you must take sides

Internet, I need you to be my girlfriend right now, the one who invites me over on Friday night to have a glass of wine and talk about how, sometimes… not all the time… but occasionally… and at times frequently… husbands can be complete idiots.

I really appreciate it. When I’m done I’ll let you tell me about how awkward it is when your boss tries to say certain words that get muddled by the botox that has been freshly injected into her upper lip.

Yesterday afternoon on the half-hour drive home from my mother’s house Jon and I were talking about what our dream house would look like, and luckily we’re pretty much on the same page. If we could aim for the stars it’d be a modern masterpiece with glass walls and slick lines, and we’d each have our own office so that I could play my Debbie Gibson collection and he could play jazz. Not that there’s anything wrong with listening to jazz. Other than it makes playing in heavy traffic seem like a less painful activity.

I was suggesting a certain facade that he couldn’t wrap his head around, so I grabbed a pen to draw my idea. Please pay attention to the previous sentence, because it lies at the crux of this story. That pen. The pen that I grabbed. A grievous and heinous gesture. I bet Hitler didn’t even grab pens.

That pen happened to be the one we use to keep track of our mileage, the one tucked inside the tiny notebook that lists all the business errands we run and whatnot. And after drawing a beautiful diagram of a giant wall of sliding glass doors, I lost my mind and dropped that pen into my purse. I mean, who does that? Can you believe the nerve?

Fast forward to this morning, a Monday morning, one wherein our oldest child decided it’d be a perfect time to imitate a glacier. In fact, I think she’s still down in her room right now getting ready. I should probably alert her teachers that we’ll be there in, oh, 15 million years. Less if China doesn’t cut its carbon emissions.

Wasn’t a good morning, no, and getting her out the door is something we all need to work on. All of us, we know this, but sometimes we lose our cool. And I thought neither Jon nor I had really stepped over the line until two minutes after Marlo and I kissed the both of them goodbye when it sounded like Jon had driven the car through a giant glass structure filled with scrap metal and chickens.

I quickly built a pillow fortress around Marlo on the floor, ran to the garage, and there was my husband, harried and squiggly lines shooting out from his head like lightning bolts, a giant, white seven-inch by thirty-six-inch piece of plastic pinned underneath the front wheel of the car. I couldn’t tell if he had taken out a part of the refrigerator? Part of the storage system? Was that dry wall? Except I couldn’t ask him anything because those squiggly lines had grown hands, reached across the garage and were strangling me.

So. What follows is an abbreviated version of his side of things:

Jon’s normal routine is to start the car, and while his foot is still on the brake he shifts it into reverse. Then he reaches for the pen and notebook to write down the mileage. Once that number has been recorded, he can then quickly back out of the garage and head for school.

Except, there was no pen. Remember? Someone had removed that pen from the car. And I guess this offense was so odious that HE FORGOT THE CAR WAS IN REVERSE, opened the door in an effort to go inside and get a pen, and next thing you know HALF OF THE CAR DOOR IS BEING RIPPED OFF. BY THE OTHER CAR IN THE GARAGE.

So now one car is missing part of the driver’s side door, and the other car looks like someone mistook it for a fast pitch. You want to know why? Because I grabbed that pen.

Because I grabbed that pen.

I will completely accept full blame for this accident if I can be there when he tells the guy fixing the door EXACTLY what happened.

  • tracy

    Oh my sweet baby Jesus, that is hysterical. I’ll take camp Heather in the great pen war of 2010, however I’m with Jon on the jazz.

  • amy

    Ah, Heather, I feel you. World hunger and natural disasters have been blamed on the fact that sometimes I don’t put the nail clippers back in the manicure case.

  • jon


  • simpliSAHM

    I’d love to be there to hear him tell the story of EXACTLY how this happend because I’d bet even the auto body repair guy would say; “Dude, so she took the pen! Get over it.” So sorry for your car repairs..and marriage for the next however long it takes these things to blow over.

  • Pipsqueak

    OMG! That is classic and oh so familiar. Speaking from someone who has been in your shoes so many times before, OF COURSE IT IS YOUR FAULT!! Good God why should he write the mileage down before putting the car in reverse? Are you kidding that makes no sense what so ever!


    I’m officially taking your side (sorry, Jon). OCD is not a suitable reason to drive into things and, while I feel his pain for expecting that pen to be there at that moment and that little hiccup so utterly befuddling him, it’s just silly to blame you. Pens are wily little suckers, after all.

    Y’all will be laughing about this in no time.


  • Maurina

    I think that the fact the Jon must endure the public outing of the Great Pen Fiasco of 2010 is punishment enough for his, erm, little accident.

  • Naturally Carolicious

    This totally sounds like something I would do. My husband has a theory that I move his things just to f with him.

    Do you ever wish you had a TiVo remote for life? Kind of like when I backed into my husband’s new car last year.

  • Apey

    How did Leta react to this spectacular event? I hope you get that damn pen back where it belongs before your house burns to the ground. I’m with you Heather, we are here for you to vent!

  • Cissyrene

    OMG lol!
    So, what you’re saying is that I can’t say you are equally to blame?
    Ok, then. I would have to say Jon did the worst thing. You misplaced a pen. He caused serious damage to both of your vehicles. Granted it was because of the pen, but on the other hand, he forgot the car was in gear! And THAT is not the pen’s fault.
    Hope you have good car insurance!

  • spokeit

    Heather, you can come over to talk about your husband anytime. I’ll have wine flowing. I’ve got lots of stories about my boss. None of which I can divulge on the Internet. You taught me well.

  • Regan

    Oh dear. Oh..dear. I can understand completely. It would be a complete and utter catastrophe if I took my husband’s nifty pen/stylus from his truck. But I do not think it would end with the car door taken off and etc. So that’s where the oh dear comes in and for that I am so sorry! If Jon is anything like my Jason, then there was probably a lot of yelling. And then Jason would proceed to break something else with his own two hands because he is so frustrated. The one thing that I would argue back is…UH HELLO! WHO LEAVES THE CAR IN REVERSE?? AND with Leta in the car no less? HA! I would have issues with that. I hope your day gets better. I am on your side (;

  • Taratory

    Oh jeez. Since I have to take a side, Heather’s got my vote, but Jon has my sympathy. I could imagine myself doing the same…and then searching desperately for someone to blame.

    Um…good thing you have that new HGTV gig to help out with repair costs?!

  • Ashley_the Accidental Olympian

    I’m taking sides, HEATHER WINS!

    Tell me you took a picture of this.

  • VegasNative

    I’m really, really sorry you guys, but….

    AAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That is, without a doubt, the best story I’ve read in a really long time. Heather, you are an amazing comedic writer- I was right there with you the whole time. Jon- sorry, buddy.

    P.S. my recaptcha is “now pebblier”

  • Kimberly_

    I’ve never commented before, but this is too good.

    Heather, your offense here is so egregious, so clearly outside the realms of good decision making, that I don’t see how you can doubt you are at fault. But, that John feels such affinity for jazz makes me question his judgment as well.

    I’ll have to take your side on this one.

  • Nanci

    I’m totally taking Heather’s side. But my parents do the mileage thing, too. What’s up with that?

  • cstice79

    I hope that if the internet were your girlfriend, she would have a lot more interesting things to tell you about…like what type of porn the president looks at.

    And yeah, totally your fault, because stopping to write milage down once the car is in gear makes PERFECT sense. Because he’s a man. Don’t you know?

  • rivetergirl

    I am a total routine person and could see myself doing exactly the same thing Jon did. But it would still be my fault because I was the one driving the car. Of course, I would have blamed whomever removed the pen and caused me to work outside of my routine zone.

    So, it’s Jon’s fault … but I only begrudgingly admit so.

  • Daddy Scratches

    Clearly, I’m with Jon on this one.

    It reminds me of a similar automotive incident my wife and I had.

    (Actually, I wanna be with Jon on this one, because he’s obviously going to be outnumbered here, from a gender perspective (not to mention from a logic and reason perspective), but truthfully? The missing pen does not immunity grant for the catastrophe described herein. Sorry, Jon.)

    PS: I totally side with Jon on the jazz vs. Debbie Gibson debate. Clearly, Heather, you’ve not given “Kind of Blue” a chance. Greatest album of all time. And this from a bona fide ROCKERRRRR.

  • kellyfaboo


    There is a lesson to be learned here. Don’t do anything else besides driving while your car is in gear.

    I have trouble with this concept upon occasion, but never this spectacularly.

  • Becca

    Dear sweet baby Jeebus. thank you that a man (with a peeenus) was driving and did this silly thing and I can now prove to my husband that it’s not just because I have ovaries that i backed into the neighbor’s car…

  • jesuisalouette

    OMG, that’s priceless.

    I myself took off my car door once by not closing it when I put the car in reverse. And I was 17. And I took it off with a brick column that stuck out from my parents house.

    My dad figured it out three days later when he finally walked across the street to see why I was parking the car on the wrong side of the street, backwards.

    But I bought myself THREE WHOLE DAYS. And I didn’t even have a pen to blame. Shucks.

  • Cissyrene

    Haha, I have to agree with whoever said (I can’t find it!) My vote is for Heather, but my sympathy is for Jon.
    I really understand how missing one thing can throw you totally off.

    At least you didn’t get out, lock the door, then realize the car was still running. I did that… TWICE

  • i8cupcakes

    WOW. Just wow. Not JWOWW but regular WOW.

  • tasarz

    Entirely your fault…or at least that’s what I told myself after my bf left the trunk open, causing it to pop up as I backed into the street. I also forgot the car was in reverse, and proceeded to nearly back into an oncoming car.

  • Sarah C

    I’ll admit I was prepared not to be able to side with you…

    But yes, jazz is awful.

    And wow, so are OC behaviors that result in car damage! Why would you write down the mileage anyway..?

  • Arizona Jen

    I’m just glad that he wasn’t too fast in getting out of the car once the door was open! But I’m on the side of a missing pen doesn’t justify two busted-up cars.

  • hammy

    Reminds me of a silly, but not as costly, incident that happened to us recently!

    Story: Husband took the dogs out. One has to be on the leash, the other should be on the long cable we have. My husband just lets her go out without chaining her up. He came in with one dog, but not the other. Nearly 10 minutes later I noticed our patio curtain was open a little so I closed it. Another ten minutes go by and we realize the dog is gone from the yard. The dog that had been left outside without my knowledge. I told him he should have watched her better. His reply? “Well I WAS but you SHUT THE CURTAIN.” Never mind that I had no clue that she was still outside. Never mind that I was dealing with two kids in the morning rush while he was meandering around like a mindless old person who mumbles about mowing grass to no one in particular instead of standing at the door watching the dog. Never mind that he never once, when I closed it, said, “Hey the dog is still outside!” It was MY fault because I closed the curtain.

    Therefore, I’m with Heather. Sorry Jon. You should have paid more attention. 🙂

  • calisconsin

    Was dear Leta in the car? ‘Cuz if she was, Jon, you have a lifetime of “remember that time I was in the car, when you got out and left it in reverse” coming. Not that my sister and I do that to my dad or anything. PS…soooo Jon’s fault.

  • eryn.chandler

    I’m so sorry to be laughing….but the last four paragraphs sent me over the edge.

    my boss just asked me what was so funny

    Me: “read the latest Dooce post. the end.”

  • Ethel Poostain

    Sorry Jon. Jazz is shit.

  • hayofray

    Pens? Isn’t there an app for that?

  • serenity

    Oprah is now going to have to change her No Phone Zone campaign to include the old fashioned pen and paper:)

  • poopinginpeace

    I am SOOOO on YOUR side with this one. This is something I would totally be blamed for if it was me and my husband, so I understand where you’re coming from. He was driving, he should have paid attention. Makes no difference if the pen was there or not. Tell him to suck it up and take the blame. Then buy about 20 pens and put them in the glove compartment, so to avoid this again.

  • Deiter

    I have to go with Jon. Routine is routine.

  • eryn.chandler

    oh and Heather…this is Jon’s fault. FO SHO!!!

  • lizzieindublin

    The writing down of the milage? I’m pretty sure there is an app for that.

  • signot

    Accident – NOT your fault. Who puts a car in gear before doing something other than drive? However…I understand the stress of a pen that should be in the car NOT BEING IN THE CAR. I try to keep one in there (although I don’t do the mileage thing), and when I need a pen and it’s not there…I’m getting angry just thinking about it!

  • MegPuto

    Team Heather. Deal with it, Jon.

  • nikita35

    I’d like to see some pictures of the damage before taking sides.

  • Greysmom

    really shouldn’t be reaching for that pen and writing down mileage while in gear in the first place.
    but come on put the damn pen back!:) i can’t stand it when i know there were 14 pens by the computer, but now they’re all gone…. where??? purse, humidifier (thanx baby), hubby’s bag, junk drawer…

  • liefie

    Ok not gonna lie, I have TOTALLY been Jon in situations like this, although I agree it is irrational. Sometimes I am irrational, most especially when stressed (although not necessarily by a glacier-like 6 year old). So I will just go ahead and take Jon’s side in this, ’cause I sympathize

  • SomeCallMeTim

    Reminds me of my ex-wife. We had a 2-car garage. She pulled her Baretta in one day, somehow (I do not know how) missing the side of the garage opening. She claimed it was because a small palm tree (we lived in Florida) was droopy, and she was looking at it as she drove in.

    But, she made it in without hitting anything. Somehow.

    The next morning, though, as I was getting ready to leave (she was a few minutes ahead of me), I heard the gawdawful CRASH of glass breaking. But it was not just glass, it was a mirror assembly, AND THE FREAKING DOOR! Oh, she had closed the door, but GM at the time made very, very sturdy mirror assemblies. $650 later, we had a replacement door. FWIW – that $650 would have paid almost 2 month’s payments on BOTH our cars at the time.

    Anyways, a driver has to be aware of their vehicle. No ifs, ands, or buts… You take control of a 2,500-4,500 pound missile, you dang well better have CONTROL of it. So, sorry Jon.

    Don’t be surprised if Jon comes home with apologies on his lips – he’ll have time to realize that a stinking pen did not cause that damage…

    (I think I earned husband of the year award that year for not yelling or even showing anger when she broke the car, even though I wanted to…. boy did I want to… So, she waited until the *next* year to divorce me.) 😉

  • Daisy-girl

    Sorry – have to be Team Jon on this one…I learned very early in my marriage that boys are too process/procedure driven. To move a pen is to destroy the whole rhythm that is their life…the universe ends…we all die. (our crisis revolved around a tape measure that was kept in our pen drawer – I moved it to the work bench – I am punished to this day!!) Don’t touch the pen Heather : )!!

  • cooterbug

    sorry Jon. Having your entire concentration thrown off because of a slight change of habit is a bit . . . much. It’s gonna take awhile, or you know, ETERNITY, to live this one down.

  • mhsqrd

    I’m still trying to wrap my head around the meticulous tracking of mileage.

  • kiss-my-kitty

    I’m sorry Heather, but I just laughed until I cried at the picture your words painted. Obviously the repairs won’t be cheap or easy, and I’m so sorry for that, but wow… all of that over a pen? Man.

    Good luck with everything!

    P.S. I take your side!

  • ahceinaej

    team dooce

  • cooterbug

    and how is taking Leta to school a ‘business errand’ worthy of noting mileage?

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.

read more