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.

  • Gina47

    Jon was SO WRONG. First rule of driving is that you don’t put the vehicle into gear until you’re ready to drive. Putting it into gear and then searching for a pen? Nope, nope, nope. Heather wins this round, and Jon needs to take a look at his driving practices!

  • goldbryant

    what? He puts the car in reverse FIRST and then with his foot on the brake reaches for a pen? WHY??? Why not look for the pen while it is safely in park?? It’s not the mileage changes.

    And the pen not being returned? I could see flipping about not finding the pen when he needed it. I unfortunately share some of this character trait.

    However, this didn’t happen because of a pen. It happened because someone forgot he was still in reverse before getting out of the car!!

    Poor Jon. Poor Heather. What does Leta have to say about this?

  • LovingDanger

    Was the pen made of Diamonds or was it some sort of top secret new Apple product that only Jon was given permission to test out because other than that there is no reason in which a pen is responsible for cars missing their doors! No reason what so ever! Sorry Jon Jon this one is all on you!

  • Rebecca B

    He will never admit that he was wrong.

    Three years ago, maybe longer, I was picking my brother up to take him to the airport. I pulled my car into the driveway behind his car and got out. I noticed that his backup lights were on and walked up to see what was going on in the car. As I was walking up, the car started to reverse and my brother backed into my car. Now, he had his dog in the car and that dog was barking at me and he hadn’t looked behind him after he got in the car. Not to mention that he knew I was picking him up five minutes from when I got there. He got out of his car and started yelling at me for parking behind him. He went on the trip he was supposed to and explained this to the men, men!, on the trip who all agreed it was his fault. To this day if someone asks him about how he backed into my car he will tell them it was my fault for parking behind him.

    So, three years from now when he brings this up, just know that it will be your fault. Although, really, it was his.

  • SarahMB


    Dude. Never write while car is in gear. My husband just said that’s like texting while driving. Or my stupid father who puts on his seat belt as he back out of the driveway.

    Note: I signed up to leave comments on this website just because of this post.

  • LizC

    Sorry, have to take Heather’s side. I record my work mileage too but I do it when the car is still in park.

  • arielsara

    I think Comment 3 is easily the best part of this story.

  • Dani

    Is he actually blaming you or are you just being generous? Sorry Jon unles your side of the story is markedly different this one’s yours.

    Yesterday my husband left the door in to our laundry room open and our two year old wandered in and through the other door in to the garage, fell down the steps and twisted her ankle. He thought it was my fault because I was doing laundry which means the door to the garage has to be open because he broke the dryer vent. Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep a two year old off a bad ankle? Okay yeah you probably do. I love him but WTF?

  • bjdsjrskjs

    Of course this is all Heather’s fault….men don’t make mistakes. It is totally natural to put a vehicle in reverse, then to look for your pen and notepad and write down your mileage, then while totally distracted to open the door of said vehicle and damage said vehicle and the vehicle next to it…of course this would be Heather’s fault. I assume Heather was in the house with Marlo at the time and knew nothing of this but of course it would be her fault. I can’t imagine there being any scenario that it would not be Heather’s fault….NOT!

    Jon, Jon, Jon come on….man up…this is totally your fault! If you are that OCD you need some treatment! 🙂

  • jessicak

    Heather wins. And I win because moving the hammer upstairs when decorating a room or the blue scissors to the den where I was cutting tags off new clothes is also NOT A BIG HAIRY DEAL in the scheme of our busy lives!! And by the way, where is my rolling pin or Y shaped peeler, Dad?

  • vivalask

    I’m on your side, Heather!!

  • MustangSally

    First you NEVER put the car in reverse while you’re doing anything but BACKING UP. Let alone, you know – writing or something. What if he had a heart attack or brain aneurysm and one of the dogs was outside pooping right behind him? His foot would slide off the brake pedal and it’d be the end of Chuck. (I won’t even think about it being one of the kids).

    Second – if he’s still insisting the pen is to blame, you might remind him that had he intended for the f*ing pen to never ever, under no circumstances leave it’s home he should have damned well bolted it to the dashboard. With a little chain like they have at the bank.

  • MJBUtah

    Oh dear. I might have to go with Jon on this one because I do a lot of things automatically too and would have done the same thing. As I like to say, I may be in a rut, but it’s MY rut.

    As for everyone with the snarky “there’s an app for that” comments. As your accountant, I would like to point out that the IRS really likes things in writing, on paper. Good business people keep a notebook and pen in the car and write down their mileage and the reason for their trip every time they go anywhere, becuase that documentation is needed for doing your taxes. Yay Jon!

  • ATXGirl

    OH NO! I have complete sympathy for both of ya’ll. I made this mistake when I was 16 and took out our garage door.

    Although I’m sure ya’ll will laugh about it soon, this still sucks…

    BUT, Jon is at fault here. His first mistake was his routine… a routine where in the clouded mind of a sleep deprived, over worked parent could easily do this if say Leta forgot her lunch inside… So, unfortunately, Jon.. my advice is to write the mileage down BEFORE you put the car into gear. In which point, it would be “all Heather’s fault” and no damage, other than Leta being late and your entire day’s schedule is thrown completely off… You could then pick on Heather for weeks to come…


  • SteffernieA

    Since I’m currently in the midst of 2010’s Battle of the Leftover Dishes saga right now this post was perfect timing.

    I can only pray that one day my blog is popular enough to have 1,000,000’s of people siding with me in situations like these… and I’ll bet you even then he’ll still think he’s right.

    But we’ll know internet, oh yes, we’ll know…

  • bubbytoots

    You only took the pen so you’d have a story to tell on your fab site…. what’s the big deal!

    I was also once blamed for a dent in my husband’s pick-up. A storage box fell off the shelf in front of his pick-up. It was my fault because the contents of the storage box were my items.

    I think I vote no one person’s fault. Or both, I am Switzerland! But it sucks if you are getting blamed. Does no good to blame, just deal with the mess and laugh about it later….we just did!

    Thanks for letting us laugh at/with you!

  • winecat

    OMG, that was hysterical and I’m definitely on your side. You took a pen, Jon wrecked two cars, it’s not even close.

    Oh I hope you took pictures.

  • staceypacer

    Pictures…pictures…we need pictures!!!!

  • tntrunnergirl

    OMG!! I am cracking up right now. That was hysterical.

    First of all DUH!!! even if the pen was in the car, how about he just write the mileage down and then put then car in reverse.

    Glad Leta was okay :o)

    On your side Heather!! Can you record the conversation with the insurance peeps or auto body?


  • lissak

    I’m thinking there’s gonna be more than one pen in the car from now on… Also thinking that the insurance adjustor is just gonna laugh if Jon tells him/her that it was your fault because of said pen… And just for the record, totally with you on this one.

  • pitbullsrock

    So, you have proved that the pen is mightier than the sword…or two cars. Nice job. And no sides, I have been the offender on both sides of this one and they both suck. Sorry.

  • MelissaJ

    hilarious…and i can sooooooooooo hear you being blamed…but you know what? it is so not your fault.

  • Trish

    Thanks for the laugh! I feel kind of mean since that would suck. But you always tell the story well!

    I’m with you, sister. Sorry, Jon.

    So, have you bought out the pens at your nearest Staples and loaded them up in the car yet, Heather? I would.

  • cbr4me2

    As someone who has a favorite pen on the kitchen island and a favorite pen on the bedside table that MUST remain there, I side with John. It drives me bananas and interrupts my routine when my husband moves the pens.

    Sorry to hear of the damage to the cars. Those insurance adjusters have heard it all. I bet they side with John too!

  • gretchie

    Um…. Aw, poor Jon!!!!! Is he okay? Poor little guy! Did he have to go to the hospital?

    Hey, whatever, we’ll all click like, on five of the ads and your cars will all be right as rain again.

    You know, I remember when I was 9, my mom backed into my dad’s car by accident. We did NOT have a lot of cash to throw around in those days, and it greatly pained poor dad (and his Olds 88 – he loved that thing). But, he never really mentioned it. B/c Dad is a CLASS act, and didn’t want Mom to feel bad about it.

    That, or Mom scares the shit out of him.

  • Robyn L

    I am SO SORRY, but my spelling OCD has kicked into high gear….

    Break? No. Brake.


  • sherrypg

    I was in the kitchen cooking. My husband was in the basement getting ready to start a fire in the fireplace. My son came in and told me that Dad wanted me. I told him I would be there in a minute, I couldn’t leave the stove right then. Next thing I know, my husband comes stomping into the kitchen hollering about how it is my fault that he almost burned the house down because I didn’t come down there RIGHT THEN. WTF? Evidently, he didn’t know if the damper was open or not and WENT AHEAD AND LIT THE FIRE. AND THE DAMPER WAS CLOSED. AND I DIDN’T COME RIGHT THEN AND CHECK AND SEE IF IT WAS OPEN AND IT WAS MY FAULT THAT HE ALMOST BURNED THE HOUSE DOWN!!!! He ended up grabbing a vase and dumping the water in the fireplace to put the fire out. When the smoke cleared, I built the damn fire myself.

    Team Heather.

  • Melissa C.

    Uhh, I want to take sides because now I feel sorry for Jon. So I want to take his side just like I rooted for the Saint’s even though I dont like football.

    But, in all fairness.

    #1 car should be in park while looking for stuff, OR writing.

    #2 there is this little button by your speedometer that you set to zero and it records the mileage of any trip, so you can write down your mileage when you get home.

    #3 taking Leta to school is not a business expense, so effectively it was your Karma for being a big cheater.

    Sorry Jon.

  • KatherinetheGreat

    Whenever there is a moving car incident, or when someone is driving and reaches for something with more attention on reaching and less on driving, I think of the Death of Dawson Leary’s Father. Heather, I didn’t actually watch Dawson’s Creek, but I know you did, so I’m going to overstep my bounds by assuming you remember how the writers killed that guy off. I mean, WHO REACHES FOR AN ICE CREAM CONE WHILE DRIVING? It’s not like you can just blow the dust off an ICE CREAM CONE. So! Team Heather.

  • casiep

    A pen and notebook. Seriously? Is it 1968? Surely there’s an iPhone app to track mileage.

    Sounds similar to the time when my husband blamed me for washing his wallet that he left in his pants.

    Totally with you on this one.

  • veronicamarcettidimick

    Oh my gosh, who would NOT take your side?

  • kanuckgal

    Oh, does this sound familiar. A few days after we moved into our new house, DH had a little incident in the driveway. At our old house, we drove in to the driveway and backed out. Due to the slope and visibility of the driveway at the new house, it’s better to back in and drive out. So, DH got into his car at the new house, put it in reverse, as he used to do at the old house, and promptly backed his SUV into my van which was parked behind his and then backed my van through the CLOSED garage door. Damage to both cars and the garage door… the repairs cost a few thousand dollars but I’m still getting mileage out of that story!!lol I am so totally on your side!!

  • kristinsb

    OMG. My husband is looking at me like I’m a crazy woman as I laugh over this post. I never leave comments, but I just couldn’t resist. I can totally see why your husband thinks it’s your fault because you took his pen, but seriously… he’s just insane. And wrong, wrong, wrong.

    He sounds like my husband.

  • magstar

    Best. Story. Ever.

  • magstar

    Best. Story. Ever.

  • coffeemomma

    My sister, when she was a kid, used to get in the car and start an immediate list of wants…radio on, sunglasses please, did you pack my lunch, etc, etc, etc. Once my dad forgot to open the garage door and backed right into it. It’s the only thing I could think about when reading this post.


  • thesoutherngirl

    Ha! Sounds like something I did. I went to check my oil in my car but was too close to a bush to pop the hood, so I get in my car and leave the door open…because I was only backing an inch. And, I drag my door right along someone’s truck. Cost me a $1000.

  • krisedja

    It’s his fault. Needed this for a laugh today. Thanks!

  • Honest2Betsy

    I am shocked that you, Heather, a professional WRITER are making light of the heinous offence that is taking a PEN. THE pen. The mileage pen. I’m going to have to side with Jon here.

    Also, all manner of postnatal hormones are coursing through me and causing me to be nuts. So I would take his side.

  • workroom

    jazz sucks (except for the structured Anita O’Day, Fitzgerald, Armstrong, and Chet Baker stuff)… and him blaming you for some accident he made over some OCD ritual he has is completely unforgiveable…

    You should be able to counter that it is HIS fault that he even let you put the pen in your pocketbook in the first place…who’s out of control now huh!? HUH?!!

    Then again, if this union is to last it should be no one’s fault and simply another internet story to amuse the masses who pay your bills with eyeballs…

    you should hug it out and thank the universe that your foibles are so damned interesting to read about that advertisers pay you.

  • Yolanda

    I can’t believe that there was no accompanying photo for this post. I have much sympathy for Jon, as I have absent-minded-professor tendencies when it comes to pulling in and out of a garage or parking space and have sideswiped a stationary object more than once. But, just as it is my fault every time I have scraped the paint off my right rear well, this accident is Dear Jon’s fault.

  • Kimmbberr

    I can’t believe you took the pen. You know how men are. The PEN! How could you.

  • FunMommyK

    I have frequently taken my foot off the brake to realize it is in gear and only the emergency brake is keeping me from being a horrible warning to others. However, no matter how awful it was to take the pen (and apparently he relies on it more than you could possibly know), he is pretty much on the hook for not getting out of the car when it is in gear…really.

  • Emry

    Yeah…I made Russian Tea to help my husband get over the flu, and it really helped, but I didn’t get credit for that. I did, however, get blamed for making his stomach upset because I made him drink so much juice.

    So, obviously, I’m on your side. Even when it comes to the jazz. Bleh.

  • lilcis

    I’m sorry, but that is totally your fault. You TOOK the PEN! WHY WOULD YOU HAVE TAKEN THE PEN??? As a fellow creature of habit I can tell you that our brains don’t function correctly when the routine is interrupted. And you should know that by now.

  • Tricia

    I want to be on Jon’s side because he’s so outnumbered… but I just can’t. So I’m on Team Leta, and I hope she brings up how daddy left her in a moving vehicle whenever she’s not getting refried beans or a cinnamon roll or a tattoo or whatever else it is she’s begging for. 😉

  • slowknitter

    You know you could just lease a car. Then you could write off the monthly lease for taxes, thereby rendering the pen obsolete.

    Also, this sounds like the time my dad decided to remodel the garage and laundry room. With his car. Did I mention they they had just finished building the house?

    Hang in there Jon. You did a dumb thing. Though not possibly as dumb as listening to Debbie Gibson.

  • LesAnn

    Totally on your side because if I did something that idiotic my boyfriend would be all “God I can’t believe you did that!” And I’d be like “YES I KNOW! I RUINED MY CAR DON’T EVEN LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT OR I SWEAR YOU’LL GET NO SEX FOR A MONTH!!!!”

    Also, just saw your commercial on HGTV for the first time and got really excited. Before they even said your name I started naming you, Chuck and Marlo when they showed your faces and it definitely creeped out the boyfriend. I was like, “What I’ve been reading her blog for like four years!”

  • The Hubby Diaries

    All I have to say is…. this was a small price to pay for making you listen to jazz. He had it coming.

    And, this comes from someone who blogs about all of my dear hubby’s annoying (ahem, I mean endearing) qualities…

  • tlkaply

    Perhaps not so startlingly, not only does that sound like something my dad would have and possibly has done, it also sounds very much like the logic he attempts to use on my mother, right before she starts throwing shit at him.

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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