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.

  • SeattleSchmitt

    Jon’s fault. I am also a creature of habit, but that is one unsafe routine he’s got there.

    Please point out to Jon that he probably makes the same trip nearly every day. Therefore, it’s perfectly ok for him to write down the mileage at the end of the trip, refer to a previous identical trip for mileage total, and subtract to arrive at the ‘start’ mileage.

  • biosguy

    Jon, I’m totally on your side on this one.

    Heather…if Jon left the toilet set up, and you accidentally sat down in the bowl, would you have blamed him?

  • KatieMama

    I think you should buy a box of pens and keep them next to the notebook. And of course it’s totally Jon’s fault; it’s kind of silly (or in other words, not safe) to put it in reverse and THEN write the mileage down.

  • Circe74

    Here’s the thing… the pen belonged where it belonged. This is what I used to try to explain to my ex-boyfriend — YES, EX — when he would move things just to see if I noticed. YES, I NOTICED. Do the videos have to be in some specific order that makes sense only to me? No, they don’t have to be, but if I want them to be, and you don’t care, then PUT THEM WHERE I WANT THEM TO BE.

    Sorry, but I’m on Team Jon. You should have put the pen back, Heather. Does it make sense? Absolutely not. But it belonged where it belonged. And now look what you did!

    Of course, this is coming from someone who has to put money in order in my wallet because I feel somehow that it WANTS to be in order. It’s called “having issues.” And they’re mine, all mine.

  • Petey

    Yikes! First of all – that sucks!! Sorry!

    Second of all – I am totally Team Heather on this one. There is NO WAY Jon can actually be blaming you for this – is there? I mean – I’m sure he’s TRYING to blame you, but he’s not serious? Right?

    Third of all – thank god Leta was okay and maybe Jon doesn’t want to think he could have been responsible for potentially hurting her (again – thank god she’s fine!)? Because there is no way the insurance company is gonna buy the pen story as an excuse.

  • Daisy-girl

    actually – at this point the repairs may cost more than the tax deduction you would get for the mileage…may have to change my mind : )

  • Dana

    I am definitely on your side with this one, Heather. This sounds like something my step-dad would freak out about (and he is incredibly irrational and OCD.) Not having a pen does not excuse his mistake of leaving the car in reverse…I mean, come on.

  • Norabloom

    Sorry, Jon, but when you get in an accident that involves one driver and running over your car with your other car, while still in your garage, and the other car isn’t even moving, yeah, I’m afraid you’re gonna have to take the blame for this one. Thank you for the belly laugh though. I really needed it.

  • ebh

    I finally joined the site just so I could comment on this one.

    My parent’s house is on a moderately steep hill, with the driveway sandwiched between the house and the property line on downhill part of the lot. My dad had a habit of backing out of the driveway with his door propped slightly open to see the edge of the driveway – to keep from backing off the hill (which my grandmother once did and required a crane to rescue her car). Now, a beautiful young conifer grew on the side of the driveway. A beautiful, vibrant tree that housed a family of mockingbirds every spring. Egregiously, my father was backing out in his normal fashion one day and caught his car door on a branch tip of this vivacious conifer, effectively ripping the car door off. We all ran outside, horrified at the thought of what could’ve made that sound. At the sight of my father’s red face and clenched fists, we all ran for cover. And the next sound we heard was a chainsaw. He cut that beautiful tree TO THE GROUND. Because it was obviously the tree’s fault that his car was without a door.

    Jon, your bad. Sorry dude.

  • Mama Kat

    ummm…okay so Jon is a man of routine and structure so it seems.

    Heather I want you to do one thing and one thing only today. Go to the grocery store and fill the entire console with pens. This will never. happen. again.

  • qwendykay

    This reminds me of one of the times when I knew I had found the world’s best friend.

    My husband had bought a sportscar that he was madly in love with. He parked it at the bottom of our curved driveway, because he was going to play basketball later. Whatever.

    I came home to drop off some stuff, got in my car backed it down the driveway only to hear a giant thud and crunch. I had backed RIGHT IN to my husbands dream car…. the one he rarely lets me drive. The car that he named and talks to in a loving voice when he waxes it.

    I called my friend Brooke, whispering into the phone that I needed her to wire me money, because I was going into hiding and moving to Texas. She actually asked me, “Are you sure his car wasn’t like that before?”

    Yes Brooke, I’m sure that my car wasn’t wedged into his…. Husband got over it… eventually sold the car. All was well.

  • Luis

    I have been the “Jon” in scenarios much like this one. Therefore I am on Heather’s side. Oh, my poor wife.

  • cinddmel

    Once again, thanks for sharing your story with all of us – as I was reading it I kept wondering what could have happened that would result from you taking that pen.
    Never in a million years would I have thought of the events you described.
    With that said, I totally have to agree with you Heather, even though I’m all about keeping and doing things in a certain order, my brain never disengages to the point of messing up like that.
    And you’re welcome to come over anytime so we can talk about what our husbands do, which makes perfect sense for them and no one else in the world 🙂

  • Ariel

    I mean,not really, but OMG.
    I love the two of you.
    And I’m so sorry about all the stuff you have to fix because of a pen 🙂

  • Leiah

    Such a no-brainer. Clearly it’s Jon’s fault ~ he didn’t have a back-up pen in place.

    (This could be why I’ve been divorced 18 years this week…I’m just saying)

  • civic483

    omg heather. i totally understand. well, not about the car door. i’ve only seen that in movies, but about the pen. my husband requires the mileage (total and miles since last fill up), date, AND mpg per fill up. that requires LONG DIVISION. totally on your side girl!

  • tia

    Oh, man, I did the EXACT SAME THING as qwendykay this winter. Husband parked the car in the driveway instead of in the garage, and I backed right into his beloved when I was taking our daughter to school. TOTALLY HIS FAULT. I mean, who parks in the driveway? Anyway, we both apologized for our roles (amazingly he VOLUNTEERED that he was partially at fault), but the insurance company had the gall to ask if we’d been fighting, and if I had anger issues. Or something like that.

    Life lessons learned: never change the Way Your World Works on your partner. And (note to self) pay some goddamned attention when you drive.

    Please, please, please record Jon explaining the accident.

  • snaves

    I am with team Heather all the way…even with Debbie Gibson. Electric Youth was the very first CD I ever owned!

    Good luck with the car(s)!

  • ehorn

    Isn’t there an app for tracking your milage??? You should tell him that if he just downloaded that APP he wouldn’t NEED A FREAKING PEN! Or at least that’s what I would do! Tell him its his fault for not using his technology and getting an app or just using the notes app in his iPhone.

  • just jill…

    … but did he like your drawing..?

  • JennC

    Heather, I think you are a wonderful, caring, hysterically funny person and I love love love your website and all that you have created. But things have a place, and the whole world works better when they are in their place. Please put the pen back. Please.

  • threeblindmoose

    I have but one question: what if the pen had been in the car, but had run out of ink? Then what, Jon?

  • darango

    Your side. Jon is clearly small-minded if he cannot handle the smallest deviation from routine.

    Now that I’ve taken a side. This post is pointless without pictures.

  • jpeach

    So here’s the thing Heather. Men NEED to be able to explain and place blame in order to clear their conscious of the unfortunate deed.
    Example: Milk spilled on table by man’s arm. Man, “who spilled the milk?, why was milk left on table?, why would milk be sitting left alone on kitchen table, omg, this house is so cluttered, i mean milk on the table!!!” (walks around the house asking spouse and children about spilled milk.)
    Milk spilled by woman.She grabs sink clothe cleans spill, places cup in dishwasher with baby on her hip while making older child’s lunch, mentally going over “to do” list.
    At least Jon is uber hot with his beard.It redeems him a little.

  • sarybiz

    Anyone that pen dependent should have a backup pen at the ready.

  • christypogo

    What a terrible way to start the day! I hope that it doesn’t cost a fortune to have the damage repaired.

    Having said that, Heather, I am totally on your side. You did not wreck the car(s). A pen is a privelage. If you can’t remember to put it in park without one, what might you forget with one?!?

    Sorry Jon.

  • jenniesloan

    If I were you I’d take that pen and duct tape it to the dashboard. Using the whole roll.

  • missusclark

    While I certain sympathize with Jon,(I hate it when anyone moves my stuff; I yell and carry on), he must feel like a moron right about now.

    Chalk up another vote for Team Heather!

  • proudmary

    not surprisingly, my husband is with Jon and I’m with you. needless to say, familiar territory. BOTH SIDES – FIRMLY STANDING – NO APOLOGIES. utterly pointless.

  • emmajames

    Wow. Maybe this is an opportunity to examine the dependency upon routines? This is hysterical and (a feat) unique! I can’t help wondering what type of pen was at the heart of this drama. Some pen company has their new ad campaign thanks to you.
    And clearly, if anyone is to blame it’s the car manufacturer that didn’t create a built-in mileage-log-computer-system contraption.
    Btw, love the new header w/ the photos. My favorite yet.

  • rosebengal

    I too am on team Heather. Not only am I a notorious pen grabber (I have one that inexplicably reads “Iowa” in my bag right now) but also, I “caused” a similar situation in my youth. Having been lectured many times by my father about not leaving the garage door open one sunny day I come across the open garage door, left open by father no less, so I close it. An hour or so later who should come storming into the house angry that someone closed the garage door… Needless to say, my dad forgot to put on the parking break before coming inside to find someone to yell at (in his defense he had left the door open because the garage door opener wasn’t in that particular car) and his prized possession rolled down the driveway and into a tree…

  • Laura B

    You are totally right.
    Filching your hidden stash of baked goods is the only reason worthy of damaging 2 cars.

    And now you can get him red pens for Valentine’s Day!

  • Gaviota_mx

    I love your ability to laugh and make fun of otherwise adverse situations. My husband is the sweetest man in the whole world but he still gets frustrated when I move his things out of their place.

    I am glad no one was hurt.

  • eco

    You realize that the mechanic is very likely going to be a guy and is totally going to nod and agree that you shouldn’t have touched the pen, right? I think it’s in their bylaws.

  • Baba Yaga

    Well… In in our house – I tend to be the Jon – the one fuming and fussing and blaming the Heather… So… I just have to say… while I am a “Jon” – and my husband is a “Heather” – and I totally get why he thinks it is your fault…

    I know it isn’t…

    So… thankfully no one died. Property can be fixed and replaced. Jon will be getting lots of pens for his birthday or Christmas – whichever comes first. And you got a nice chance to vent and tell your side of the story (and his).

    I know it must have felt really bad when it was happening – but I do admire that you can laugh about it now!

    And – it puts my life in perspective which I always appreciate!

  • kheenan.halvorson

    Although you did remove the pen and cause him to remove his foot from the brake pedal while the car was in reverse while searching for that said pen I think it is Mr Jon’s fault. Your description of the door reminds me of the Tommy Boy scene where he is filling up with gas and the car is in reverse with the door open and it gets pinned open. Just classic. So i will give Heather the W on this one. Heather 1 Jon 0

    sorry Jon

  • d3 voiceworks

    guess you’ll be talkin’ ’bout the dream garage instead, huh?

  • Lilliah

    I am also self-employed and keep track of my business mileage (ahem, SHOULD keep track of my business mileage every day, but usually end up estimating later in the week..or, you know, at tax time.

    Anyhow, there’s this totally amazing button that you should tell Jon about- it’s near the mileage thingy, and you can switch modes to, like, “trip A” or some shit, so you just set it to zero at the beginning of your trip, and then when you get home- BAM! All you need to do is find a calculator and subtract that number from your current mileage, and you’ll know the magic number you started at! ***BAM!!!***

    wink wink 😉

    But knowing you, Heather, you probably *also* removed the calculator from the glove compartment. Pssh

  • TexasTallGirl

    New reader- first time post.

    Team Heather. There is no question.

    Heather deviated from the “pen routine”- but Jon deviated from driving safety rules with a kiddo in the car.

    There- did I sound parental enough?

  • paigeturner

    Oh jeez, I am the anal one in my marriage for sure when it comes to moving stuff out of its proper place (as nearly every morning at 5:40am seems to be a mad scramble to find the garage door opener). But I have to side with you. No one should get that comfortable with car routines because you CANNOT control every variable all the time. Sorry Jon!

  • mmdoty

    I’ve been laughing intermittently for a couple of hours and have just now calmed down enough to type.

    Jon, glad you’re not hurt.

    Heather, you win.

  • Shana in Texas

    Heather definitely shouldn’t have taken that pen. That pen had a home and a purpose and she totally messed with the cosmos by trying to re-purpose the car mileage pen into a purse pen. This imbalance is probably what turned Jon into a total airhead because, Jon – WTF?

  • OldGrayMare


  • George

    I’m on team Heather with the pen thing.

    However, as a musician, I’m CLEARLY with Jon on the jazz, of course!

  • blackpanther

    You have my sympathies. Although not usually this extreme, I live in situations like this on the daily. I used to cuss a storm because I couldn’t understand any of my husband’s logic.

    No pen=accident? That said, I’m going to have to side with Heather because…wtf?

    Jon, you still maintain some cred because you like jazz. And jazz is bomb.

  • Abby.Johns

    Team Heather!

    Although I am like Jon about my routines and everything having a place; I get really frustrated when something has been moved. I would never put the car in drive and THEN write with my foot on the brake, that is just asking for it.

  • joely

    I think you should apologize to Jon, if you believe the adage: “When in the right, apologize at once.”

    Just out of curiosity though, why does he write down the milage, um, so compulsively?

  • thedeliberatedahlia

    I’m going with neither side because everybody knows there is like a 5-pen requirement if you have any desire to not be in this position again. But, you said I have to take a side, so I’m taking yours because adaptability is very important in the evolutionary process, and Jon’s adaptability was at the level of suck today.

    I really enjoyed reading this, though, and I am SO sorry!

  • OwlMoonKLH

    Oh, Jon… That’s what cell phones are for. Type up the mileage in your cell and save it. (So says the gal that accidentally dumped a 24pack of Swiffer Sweeper liquid on the flatscreen tv. D’oh!)

  • RoseTattoo

    It’ll be on my tombstone:

    I didn’t say it was your fault, I just want to blame you!!

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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