An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

DC, part one

I arrived last Monday evening into DC at about midnight, and when I opened the door to my room at the W Hotel I should have headed straight to bed. Instead, I spent an hour in the tub, a giant marble-topped wonder, and gnawed every one of my fingernails down to my knuckles. I could not get that background check off my mind. Not because I’ve ever committed a crime, but who knows what they consider suspect now? Her dad owns a gun! Her husband is descended from polygamists! HER DAUGHTER EATS NOTHING BUT CHICKEN NUGGETS.

There are government campaigns against that type of diet now. When I end up in prison for it I’m going to be all AWESOME. It’s your responsibility to feed that kid now. And when she goes four days without eating they’ll free me because FINE. THEY GET IT NOW.

That tub was just one of the many exquisite details of a hotel room that now ranks at the top of my list of best rooms away from home. I wrote about the decor for the blog at HGTV, and because this was a last minute trip I didn’t bring our good camera. All I had was my iPhone. And when I attempted regular iPhone pics they looked like crappy iPhone pics. So I used the Hipstamatic app thinking I’d go for a more artistic look. And now there exists one of the best comments ever left on something I’ve written:

Is this the ‘horror movie’ filter in Photoshop? This is ridiculous.

I don’t know why, but that comment smacked my funny bone and I haven’t stopped laughing since. God, I love the Internet.

Tuesday morning I spent several hours getting some work done, and then I spent the afternoon walking around with my iPhone snapping photos. I’ve been to DC a few times, and I always end up at the National Mall. I know, that’s not very adventurous of me, TRY SOMETHING NEW, ARMSTRONG. But that’s like saying I should eat the broccoli beef platter when my favorite dish is the coconut curry. I came here for the coconut curry, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. This way I will not leave disappointed. And look! I won’t spend the entire evening berating you!

And lo, the coconut curry was very good:

Ok. Wednesday. The big day. One thing to keep in mind: The W Hotel is about a block away from the White House, but I was going to have to walk up a block, then across the entire length of the Treasury building and the White House all the way over to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, and then back down the block to the entrance. That probably makes no sense to you so here’s a diagram:

I guess I could have walked the other way, now that I look at that map. But that would have been reasonable. Whose website is this?

This kind of trek calls for sensible shoes, right? But how many times in my life am I going to be in the presence of The President of The United States? NOT VERY MANY IF EVER. In fact, the odds of ever being in his presence again are telling the notion of sensible shoes to go right ahead and suck it.

What? The tights are patriotic!

Those are five-inch platform heels by Michael Kors. Hooker shoes? Absolutely. Appropriate? Of course not. But I get the feeling that the people who invited me know EXACTLY whom they invited and are going to be disappointed if I don’t show up in a clown suit with a giant python draped around my neck.

I have worn these shoes once before, but I never left the building and took them off after only an hour. So just picture me walking along Pennsylvania Ave, my head locked forward, my eyes shooting concentrated lasers on objects fifty feet ahead, this refrain being repeated over and over in my head: DON’T DIE. DON’T DIE. DON’T DIE.

More than once a tourist would walk a little too close to me, and after wobbling and regaining my balance, I bit my lip so that I wouldn’t shout DO YOU NOT SEE THESE STUPID SHOES? ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME?!

You guys, I made it all the way! I did it! I WALKED IN THOSE SHOES! I’m almost as proud of enduring that kind of pain as I am of giving birth without an epidural. In both instances I thought the agony would never end and that I might punch someone in the groin.

So I get there and I’m standing in line with all the other attendees, and you’re not going to believe this, but I was the only one wearing purple tights. I KNOW.

And I meet former Senators and people who work for Rudy Giuliani and someone from the Department of Labor, and then someone goes, “And you work for?”

Oh, I work for! I’m a worker! For the working! WORK to the FOR! FOOOOOOOOR!

Even though I’d been anticipating the question, I hadn’t come up with a good explanation. Because when I say, “I own a small business,” they ask, “What kind?” And I say, “The small kind!” It’s the truth!

Because when it gets to the part where I mention BLOGGER, people inevitably take a step backward as if I am covered in warts. I see it in their eyes! WHAT IS SHE GOING TO SAY ABOUT ME?! Because I think some people still associate BLOGGER with ROGUE! With WILD WEST! With THIS PERSON SPENDS HER ENTIRE DAY WITHOUT PANTS ON.

Oh, wait.

  • GraniteGirl

    Those shoes are fantastic and you get major bonus points for not only wearing them but hiking in DC in them! I bet they would double as a weapon if necessary, too. I’m just sayin!

  • The Christine

    In a sensible world one would think to carry some ballet flats, wear them on the walk over to the White House, then slip them into one’s purse and pop on the party shoes once there.
    In a sensible world, I would have carried my umbrella or even would have worn shoes without holes in them that one time I was in DC for a training summit and had to walk 15 blocks in the driving rain of a July downpour whilst carrying all my training materials. But sensible shit doesn’t happen to interesting people!

  • jodi.belshe

    I can’t believe you stop the story HERE…. I’m on the edge of my seat. My god, woman, I may have to take my pants off at my desk, in my office, in an office building, just waiting for the rest of the saga.

    You’re story-telling abilities leave me begging for more!

    Fine, I’ll nut-up and wait, but I’m not one bit happy about it and may choose to only eat chicken nuggets until I read the rest.

  • Pearl Berries

    Casual Friday has a different meaning in your work environment. THAT is flexibility!

  • PunkinP

    “The ‘horror movie filter’ in PhotoShop”! Oh my God, that’s probably the funniest thing I’ll read in a while. I see why it tickled you.

    Srsly though, I’m so happy you got this opportunity. So proud of you. And you were THE most stylish woman there!! Kudos!

  • kayakgrrl

    Oh, I love you. And I love your tights even more. And you are CRAZE-EE for wearing those shoes!

  • tanyasykes

    Heather, I LOVE your iphone hipstamatic pics. I use hipstamatic quite a bit, which lens are you using in these DC photos?


    PS you’re awesome!

  • tgaytan75

    Next time in DC check out the International Spy musuem (wear comfortable shoes, I got to crawl through a short section of ducting on my hands and knees). I hear there is an Enstein statue in DC, I have yet to find it.

  • medwards

    Yea, I bet they were all in dark pant suits:). Way to go!! You look marvelous!!! and represent the working mom very well.

    BTW, I’d have soaked in that tub for the whole day since you could actually go into a bathroom without someone else walking in :).

  • tallnoe

    I agree with jodi.belshe… MORE PLEASE!!!

    And yes, The Christine is right: sensible shit doesn’t happen to interesting people. Or, maybe interesting people don’t do sensible shit.

  • MJBUtah

    It had to be done. Someone had to wear those shoes to the White House. I would have been right there next to you in my 5-inch-platforms-that-make-me-feel-like-my-toes-are-bleeding-but-look-so-awesome-with-everything-I-wear-them-anyways-shoes (ptmmflmtabblsaweiwtas for short). We must make these sacrifices in the sake of looking awesome.

    And I LOVE those tights. Truly!

  • c_kidman69

    Awesome tights, KICK ASS shoes, I would wear them also, but seeing as I am a good 100 lbs heavier than you I am sure I would have died, not from breathing problems, but the shoes would have made my feet spontaneously detatch from my legs and I would have just laid in the street and die. But stupid me, I would still wear them. GOOD FOR YOU.

  • MustangSally

    Here I thought you owned your own internet media company. Sounds much more fancy than “blogger”.

  • Greta Koenigin

    Blogger = Rogue? Then I’m proud to be a blogger. I thought in my case blogger meant unemployed, which it does, but rogue is good, too, which, I guess often means unemployed also. And well, i’m just so thrilled to be comment #12. It’s nice to feel ahead of the game on occasion. Especially if you usually don’t shower until 3 PM. (You meaning me.)

  • imjeffp

    The answer to who do you work for?

    “I’m a writer. My husband and I started a publishing company as well.”

  • MissMunsey

    I mean this as uncreepily as possible, but you have very nice calf muscles. Hot stems, betch!! Also, I know I wouldn’t even make it to the door in 5″ heels, so mazel tov on your superior walking abilities!!

  • RathrBeAtWrigley

    What does it say about me that I would still buy those shoes even after learning that the pain they cause is equal to child labor?

  • AndreaZehnder

    You are very rogue in those sassy shoes. Er, I mean vogue. Yeah, vogue.

  • Ironic Mom

    A good curry (and getting away from kids) makes traveling worthwhile, whether in crocs or 5″ heels. Though the latter makes a better story!

  • axosmook

    We have the same iPhone cover!!

    The one and only time I went to DC I also wore ridiculous shoes. See, I have this thing about SOCKS. Socks would have helped, instead both feet slowly filled with blood all day.

    Your photos are nice.

  • Marianne

    I love your outfit!

    You are so adorable.

  • Mo

    Technically, you did arrive at the Whitehouse without pants.
    Just sayin.

    (I like the horror show filter!)

  • KA

    I totally read DC Sluts on the manhole.

    What? Yes, this is what I am taking away from this whole entire post.


  • Bibes

    Gosh I love you. I can’t wait to read Part Dooce of the story.

  • socaldede

    I once wore a stunning purple suit to a job interview. One of the questions they asked was, “Why should we hire you over the other candidates we have interviewd?”. My answer was, “I am the only one you have interviewed that dared to wear something other than a black/blue boring suit. and, in my professional life, I work like a purple suit in a boring black/blue suit world. Just enough to stand out, not so out there that I would not wear a suit at all and gutsy enough to see it and call it like it is.” I got the job.

  • cateyb

    I can’t imagine a more appropriate outfit in which to meet the president.

    The shoes rock – although I’d be a little too tempted to kick the leader of my country with them.

  • bawkbawk

    ‘…that’s like saying I should eat the broccoli beef platter when my favorite dish is the coconut curry. I came here for the coconut curry, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.’

    um, maybe perhaps possibly this is leta’s reasoning when it comes to chicken nuggets too?

  • princess_sparklepants

    Heather, if you were a New Yorker, you would carry your power-shoes in your bag and walk there in flats, and then switch out once you got there! But then we would all be deprived of the mental image of you with your laser eyes, stomping madly across town.

    GAWD I love dooce! This is my first comment, I just joined, and I’m all giddy. I totes heart you, heather and fam. xoxoxo

  • annahj

    YAY! Purple Tights! You can totally pull off those heels. So proud!

  • annahj

    YAY! Purple Tights! You can totally pull off those heels. So proud!

  • Leball

    Looking fabulous and representing at the white house! Go Heather!

  • Nhiro

    I love that you wore purple tights to the White House. I would expect no less (hubba hubba).

    I once went to a Lady GaGa concert in these very sexy black heels because it was prom-themed. Unfortunately, she performed hours later than she was scheduled to and I ended up watching the concert in bare feet, because a) it was standing room only and b) I thought I was going to die from the pain. As a woman, I completely understand what it means to be unreasonable in the name of fashion. (:

  • HalfAss Krissa

    Oh shit. I am sitting here in my night gown, (that I have worn all day), and it is 6:07 in the evening…
    So could this be considered a “job hazard”? And is there insurance for it? Or at least an intervention? 😉

  • Lizzy

    …but you spend the day with no pants on AND hawt shoes. There are worse things.

    You rocked the tights.

  • sogladimhere

    My sister was also in DC on business (she’s also a BLOGGER ( and was out for a run and spotted you in your purple tights. She said you were very statuesque and carried yourself with good posture.

    It must have been the shoes.

    (And holy God the hoops you made me go through to comment for the first time.)

  • Honey

    That’s HOT, Heather.

  • mcgreedy

    Ok, Doocie-Loo, you were spot on with the shoes and the tights. Dem’s love that out there shit, I should know. It’s the Reps who have to go all undercover of darkness to cheesy clubs in LA.

    What got my comment mojo going was the whole small business thing. I run into this ALL THE TIME. At parties, school fundraisers, queebie concerts on the lawn, any where one or more are gathered, whether or not it’s in HIS name, and since I am a bone fide lay-a-bout housewife, and most of the others are people with letters or at least paychecks after their names, I have come up with some snappy answers to land them on their well padded backsides. Numero Uno: “I run a small not for profit.” Well, it’s TRUE, we haven’t turned a profit at chez Ragland since the church doors slammed shut behind our man and wife asses. Or, I tell the huddled masses, “I’m studying human young in captivity.” AGAIN TRUE. If I don’t study them how am ever going to subdue them?

    It’s all about presentation, honey. Don’t forget it.

  • Steve O

    “And you work for?”

    Should have said . . I work for the Just Us department.

  • sarahmichelef

    You may not know what to say when they ask who you work for, but do I need to remind you that you were the ONLY ONE IN YOUR BREAKOUT SESSION who was APPLAUDED after introducing themselves?


  • Mrs.DiscoLaFever


    At least you own the amazing shoes, I’d have no choice but to show up in something horribly sensible. I just realized I bought my last pair of shoes from Sam’s Club.

  • oddFrogg

    Love the shoes. And the tights give a great pop of color. Like you, when I’m in DC, I always wind up at The Mall. Once I got to attend an actual rally. It was for Darfur and “his fabulousness” George Clooney was there. I didn’t get to see him up close and personal, but we were in the same place, at the same time in our grand connected universe. That counts for something, huh!

  • Janice

    I’m impressed. I tried heels once walking around Detroit and ending up a bleeding mess having to buy a pair of sandals and leaving a trail of blood as I walked. So embarrassing…. bleeding heels and wearing an expensive suit.

    Anyway, since you work on the Internet and Al Gore invented it, you could try saying you work for Al Gore?

  • WebSavyMom

    –>I love the pictures. I was born in DC and grew up in the ‘burbs but have no desire to drive a few hours north to visit again because of THE TRAFFIC. Although, you may have caused more on Penn. Ave with those awesome shoes and purple tights.

  • djgonzales

    ACK! You tease. We’ve gotta wait for the rest! ACK!

    The shoes! The horror! I know JUST how far that is you walked. I can’t believe you didn’t collapse at the curb and have an ambulance take you to the Forum.

    The Wall picture reminds me how upset I was when I went there. My personal mission on that visit to DC was to get a tracing of my roomies dead husbands’ name…. IT WASN’T THERE! He was killed on a mission in Cambodia so his death isn’t offically acknowledged. What?!

    Sorry, sorry. That always upsets me.

    I think I want a framed copy of that DC SLUTS manhole. AWESOME.

    Heather, you rock like no one else!

  • SuzRocks

    That is awesome!! I’m headed to DC in a few weeks for a conference and some PAC/lobbying stuff. (which I have done none of- and know nothing about)- I’ve been contemplating my outfits and wondering how I can get away with 4″ leopard print heels and still get taken seriously….

    Since I’m not Dooce- I’ve come to the conclusion I may have to wear something a little more normal. This time around.

    You rock!

  • Karen Gold

    Nice write-up on Your photos have that “Blair witch project” aura about them. I expect to see glowing eyes coming from the building windows.

  • Sheri Deveney

    And your (“yours” because I follow you from Canada) President is probably going…..THAT WHOLE THING WAS A BLURR EXCEPT FOR THE BABE IN THE PURPLE TIGHTS.

    Did you not do the “recon” the night prior to plot out your route? for future expeditions CAUSE YOU ARE ARRIVING AND THE WORLD WILL WANT YOU….don’t even consider sensible shoes. I’m pretty sure those are for them that are SUCKING IT right now.

  • KellyNOLA

    I rarely ever comment but I am so overwhelmed with your awesomeness. I’m a bit jealous of your White House trip and you do your readers proud with those shoes. Keep up the good work.

  • pvedmom

    So? did you get to meet him? And if so what did you think? Is he cool? Lame-O? or what!?

  • tiny apple

    that is so DC to automatically ask about someone’s work. i love coming up with snarky answers to that question since part-time-gov-contractor-writer-freelancer-photographer-mother-of-an-overactive-4-year-old doesn’t roll off the tongue so well.

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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