the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Next, part one

I know. Part one. You want to kick me in the shin already. LOOK. Today got completely out of control, and this thing is long enough already. I promise not to leave you hanging for long.

I don’t even know where to start this, this, what is it? A vitriolic screed? Yes, that. That’s what we’ll call it, although there is a happy ending. Sort of. Well, not sort of at all, in fact. It’s a glorious ending! Like that one when Dorothy woke up surrounded by all her loved ones, except after she cries and is all I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, she has to call some guy to remove two dozen dead birds from the attic.

Was it three months ago? I don’t remember. Although there were most likely a couple hundred feet of snow on the ground. So it could have been last week for all I know. And Jon and I were fornicating on the floor of working in the office, and Marlo was crying, and my niece Mariah was pacing the house trying to comfort her, and Tyrant was busy at his desk IN THE KITCHEN making phone calls about our broken fence… OH BY THE WAY.

Yes, this is how this post is going to go, you have been warned. I’d lend you some of my valium, but that’s illegal. And I’m only into the amoral.

Chuck has found every single possible exit out of our backyard, and he exploits this knowledge whenever we’ve turned our backs for a single second, always ending up at a house up the street where they leave out food for their own dogs. AND I HAVE A HEART ATTACK EVERY SINGLE TIME. Can you imagine if he got lost permanently? What the hell would I tell the Internet? Hey Internet! Your favorite dog is dead. That’s okay! We have another one who eats her own poop and drinks from the toilet! She’ll do, right?

Sometimes Coco follows him out of the yard, but she’ll get maybe a block from the house, realize she’s lost the herd, and then run back and end up at the front door screaming. Thanks for coming back, Coco. Although you’re kind of ruining the moment WITH THAT NOISE.

Back to the point: every day there are five people in our house. All day. This doesn’t include those days when someone has come over to fix the fence or the leak or the gutter that suddenly fell into the driveway. Marlo’s nursery, because we do things up good in here, is directly beneath our office. So when she’s napping we can’t play music, we can’t speak, and we can’t take conference calls. Meaning we’ve had to talk to executives of major television organizations while wedged between the tub and the toilet.

We need more space. I know that those of you in major cities who are living in apartments smaller than most closets want to punch me in the face, I DO TOO, but I can’t get a moment of peace. There is never quiet in the house, not to mention the fact that our assistant has to move his entire office every time we sit down to eat. He’s a tyrant, after all. He needs a throne and a lightning bolt. And four concubines in golden nighties.

Wait. He’s gay. So maybe four hairless, shirtless guys to come mow the lawn.

SO. We hired an architect to draw up some plans to add some square footage to the house. Add a new office, designate some space for Tyrant’s office, maybe give Leta a small recreation room. And you guys, this man was incredible! You should have seen the plans! It was going to be modern and sleek and clean and, what is that? Is that a number? I’ve never SEEN a number that big. You want how much money? It costs that much to renovate a single square foot? Excuse me while I check the seams of the couch for FOUR HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS.

When we saw the price tag, and the fact that we were only going to be increasing the size of our house by less than a thousand square feet, we called it quits on the big dream house and decided to see what we could find in Salt Lake. Something bigger, something with space for an office. Maybe something more modern? I added that question mark because… HAHAHA. This is Salt Lake City. THERE IS NO MODERN. It’s like some giant alien found the valley, unzipped his pants and shit TUSCAN into every crevice and nook of this county.

I like a nice kitchen, I just don’t want it screaming LOOK AT HOW MUCH MONEY YOU CAN SPEND ON SCROLL WORK at me.

We searched inventory online without a real estate agent for several weeks, and it was just so depressing. Everything had been remodeled into a faux-Italian monstrosity, and then we stumbled onto something quite different. An updated, modern home in one of the neighborhoods we love! More than twice the square footage than we have now! An office! A guest room! AND! And here’s the biggest AND… AND AN UNOBSTRUCTED VIEW OF THE ENTIRE VALLEY. It was like a penthouse in New York! Except your neighbors are polygamists and you’re allowed to have sex with animals.

Our accountant advised us to hire an agent to represent our interests, and since this house had been on the market for more than 800 days — I am not making this up, most calculators break when you ask them to compute that high — just take that in for a second. 800 days. ALMOST THREE YEARS. Bwah-huh? I mean, insane, right? Maybe because it wasn’t Tuscan? There was no scroll work? POOR LITTLE MISUNDERSTOOD MODERN HOUSE!

So we made a really generous offer. One that took into account the amount of money we’d have to spend building a fence so that the dogs couldn’t escape. You know, one of the reasons we wanted to move in the first place.

And, well, they walked away from it.

We came within two percent of their asking price, and they walked away. After 800 days on the market. I took that as a sign that either the owner had gone off her medication or that the Universe did not want me to have that house.

And oh, yes indeed. The Universe had something else in mind.

  • abbyjaye

    2010/07/01 at 8:02 pm


  • Mrs_Wormwood

    2010/07/01 at 8:05 pm

    Whaaat?!? I hope you’re moving to the country with the chickens..

  • jon

    2010/07/01 at 8:06 pm


  • frau cowtown

    2010/07/01 at 8:08 pm

    Aaack! …and you stop right there… I agree, I’m checking in here tomorrow, don’t let us hang all weekend!

  • faintstarlite

    2010/07/01 at 8:12 pm

    If it’s a guessing game (which I’d like to believe it is) then I’m going with some kind of a movie deal. Whatever it is – congrats because it’s clearly got you all giddy. 🙂

  • Sarcasmisgoodforyou

    2010/07/01 at 8:13 pm

    Daaaaaamn Heather, why you gotta play us like that? I need to know what’s going on, you big tease. I’m hoping for good news for you!

  • mrswilson

    2010/07/01 at 8:15 pm

    Oh. My. Word.

    Definitely sounds like you need more space.

    I’m hoping this story ends REALLY WELL!

    (Taking phone calls while wedged between the tub and the toilet is too fun though, right?)

  • ekcemama

    2010/07/01 at 8:23 pm

    For REALZ?! Dammit DOOCE! Part Two better make up for this frustration I’m feeling here.

    No chickens, huh, Jon? But you don’t deny the country comment. Hmmmm. Either way, I love a good House Hunters, so Suzanne Whang it up Heather!!! Cut some blunt bangs and hit this shit!

  • LuckyMama

    2010/07/01 at 8:34 pm

    Grrrreat…now I’ll be speculating all night, damn you!
    Didn’t you guys just move a year or two ago? And wasn’t that an big upgrade too? Holy ba-jesus! I’m happy to be stuck in one place…though we are cramped too.

  • wordsupmixed

    2010/07/01 at 8:38 pm
  • Anu

    2010/07/01 at 8:59 pm

    OMG!! There better be a part 2 tomorrow or else you will have my blood on your hands!!

  • jnudler

    2010/07/01 at 9:03 pm

    Now Heather, this is just a crapload of crazy leaving us in suspense like that! I have been waiting all day to check the update and finally, when I have a moment to sit down and breathe, I see that you have posted. I got all ready with my coffee and even a cigarette, thinking I will definitely need one after I read the awesomeness that will be the news and you end with this?! I am telling you Heather, I cannot wait for another three days to hear the rest of the story. Now I know you are probably thinking, this woman needs to get a life, but I can promise you I have a very busy and full life. However, I do enjoy hearing that there are other families out there that are as crazy as mine. I am begging you, please finish this off tomorrow!

  • JoanInColorado

    2010/07/01 at 9:03 pm

    I feel so “out of comment rhythm” since I am most concerned about Chuck getting out of the yard (the house thing sounds interesting too.) I have spent the past 8 months working on concepts to keep my dog, a mutt who stands two feet tall at her shoulder, from climbing our six foot fence like it’s not even there. Every time I’ve been SURE I’m smarter than her, she goes all Houdini on me. So I’m with you on the “I will die if my dog does not get back in the yard” issue. Hello my name is Joan and my dog has not left the yard in four days…

  • errohlfing

    2010/07/01 at 9:09 pm

    I knew it had to do with your home/living situation….I can’t wait to hear the conclusion!

  • GirlUnscripted

    2010/07/01 at 9:10 pm

    Oh my word… Can’t wait to hear the rest of the story. The suspense is a killer! Also, not surprised, but very disappointed that Tyrant is gay. Kind of expected it, but I had fallen madly in love with him after the dog walking incident. Ah well, good luck to him with his hairless shirtless lawn boys.

  • kalieris

    2010/07/01 at 9:12 pm

    It’s gonna be one of those days. First, I get to the end of Kingdom on Hulu, and realize that there were no more episodes after season 3, and I really want to know who Peter’s father was dammit. And just watch Stephen Fry talk some more. And then I finish all of “Pink The Series” on Hulu (Hulu is clearly bad for me), and again there’s only 3 seasons and they end on a cliffhanger.

    And now you.

    This is the universe telling me I need to be more patient, is that it? Live in the moment? Nuts.

  • Candi C

    2010/07/01 at 9:17 pm

    I’m totally guessing it’s a movie deal or HGTV free remodel for a show deal. I hope it is something grand & will be checking in all day.

  • JulieTheBloggerDotCom

    2010/07/01 at 9:25 pm

    IF they find me dead from the suspense, my family will blame heather, LOL.

  • Brenna Blue

    2010/07/01 at 9:26 pm

    Shins?? No. Lady parts? Yes. Come on Heather, do we sound like we are joking around here? Spill it…..Please?

  • curlsz

    2010/07/01 at 9:28 pm

    what the what? did a giant power surge hit Utah and your computer died along with all electricity rendering it impossible to even finish a sentence?!!!

    Where’s that damn bottle of wine?

  • arishell

    2010/07/01 at 9:29 pm

    You really know the meaning of the cliffhanger, don’t you?! Don’t even think about taking a break on Friday and leave us hanging until after the Fourth.

  • valerie.hope

    2010/07/01 at 9:38 pm

    Eff! So first I had to reset my password because somehow I magically forgot it. Then I had to find how to change my password because apparently I can’t read.
    By the time I get to commenting I’m so anxious I trip over my coffee table, I’m kidding- but damn did you really have to leave us hanging like that!

    PS My captcha said “to honduras” – therefore I take it as a sign you all are moving to Honduras.

  • Allie

    2010/07/01 at 9:43 pm

    Speaking of CHICKENS (Jon!) – Did you guys see the post on Girls Gone Child?

    In summary: You guys should get chickens. Everyone is doing it.

  • jan001

    2010/07/01 at 10:16 pm

    Oh my god, do I ever know what you mean about “shitting Tuscan” all over everything. It seems like everywhere I look for furniture or accessories, I have my pick: I can go for the Toulouse-Lautrec hookers-who’ve-seen-better-days French whorehouse look… OR… I can have heavy gothic nail-studded neo-dungeon overwrought Mediterranean. I like clean lines, bright, airy, and would have every room in my house done in Art Deco if I could afford it. So the prevailing styles today drive me NUTS!

    You know what else drives me nuts? Having to wait for the rest of this story!! Ack!!!

    (PS: Chuck and Coco are micro-chipped, right?)

  • Jessica Eiden Smedley

    2010/07/01 at 10:17 pm

    Why do you hate me?

  • Tirzah

    2010/07/01 at 10:23 pm

    Why why oh why in the world is this a PART ONE?! ARGH! lol You’ve definitely got me intrigued. lol

  • jennisdrinking

    2010/07/01 at 10:23 pm

    I’m betting on pregnant. Or….moving cross-country? Hmm…Leta was accepted into a super-gifted program in Belgium, perhaps? The possibilities are endless.

  • jennisdrinking

    2010/07/01 at 10:27 pm

    Maybe a Big Brother/Design crossover thing. HGTV buys you a house, but you become a staple of reality TV- then you get pregnant and the world watches as you experience hormonal rages with the added bonus of having your own personal tyrant in attendance.

  • Sarah D.

    2010/07/01 at 10:56 pm

    I’m with you on the Tuscan fairy that’s shit all over this state. Sad thing is, these faux finishers are laughing their way to the bank. There’s not one room in my house that’s brown or any shade of brown, and you’d think it’s sacrilege when I have people over to the house and they see COLOR. Then again, I’m not from Utah.

  • apostate

    2010/07/01 at 11:51 pm

    I bet you’ll get comments for the polygamist remark. I bet people will be even more upset than they were by the pitbull disparagement. 🙂

  • Tracye

    2010/07/02 at 12:19 am

    Are you getting your own reality show cause…

  • Truthful Mommy

    2010/07/02 at 1:02 am

    I assuming there is a ginormous Moving on up dream sequence to follow:) Come on Heather….we all want to celebrate the good news but we have no idea what it is. WEll, I think we have a little idea but we need confirmation!Happy Mothering!

  • Gone Fishin

    2010/07/02 at 3:34 am

    I had been so good, not nagged or anything. And you do THIS to me? So deflated.

  • Penelope

    2010/07/02 at 5:40 am

    Listen, I just finished another Stieg Larsson and NOW THIS?!

    Part Two, please!!

  • filmlady

    2010/07/02 at 6:10 am

    OMG OMG OMG OMG kill me now, I LOVE your blog but REALLY?????

  • cory212

    2010/07/02 at 6:22 am

    Dude(ooce), this is better than the Twilight series. Part Two stat!!!!!!!!!!

  • Essembee

    2010/07/02 at 6:31 am

    I enjoy the suspense! I learned to, after i spent a few days constantly refreshing, went away for ONE DAY and when I came back, Marlo had been born.

  • TexasKatie

    2010/07/02 at 6:41 am

    Son of a bitch! You can’t leave us hanging!

    Maybe you are moving into a mansion – in Beverly Hills? Or maybe next door to the Gosselins in Central Pennsylvania and you’ll have a reality show, too!

    😉 Totally joking.

    I cannot WAIT to hear what house you chose, where you will be living, when your reality show show starts. 😉 But this suspense. IS KILLING ME.

  • danioz

    2010/07/02 at 6:43 am

    Our collective imagination is groaning here with the possibilities. Post it now! Go on, dare you to!

  • lesliepaige78

    2010/07/02 at 6:55 am

    oh dooce! love to read what you write about your life. AND i will be waiting on pins and needles for the conslusion of this story. I really want it to include pics!

    happy 4th

  • doobrah

    2010/07/02 at 7:04 am

    I’m with you on the modern. Nothing better. And what up with the 800-day people? Are they into real estate masochism? (Unless, of course, 2% = $400K. I mean, you are wealthier than Oprah by now.) So judging by the previous clues — roomfuls of lawyers — I’m betting you are building a dream home on HGTV’s dime with a series called, oh, maybe, “This New House”?

  • Good Nugget

    2010/07/02 at 7:13 am

    I heard that cliffhanger blog posts can cause shingles.

  • Laura Jones

    2010/07/02 at 7:27 am

    We ran into something similar to that. The man had built the house and he wouldn’t accept even a penny less than listing value. His real estate agent was so frustrated she cried in front of us and told us the whole story of trying to convince him that since he wasn’t a certified builder it wouldn’t sell for that amount. We’re thinking, whew that was lucky, because who knew what mistakes he made.

    security words: upstairs gained, maybe that’s a good sign for you.

  • eleanorstrousers

    2010/07/02 at 7:27 am

    I know how it ends. You are all moving to Pittsburgh to live near me, where you will hire me to talk about books with Leta, and be Marlo’s own Mary Poppins, and Tyrant can date my gay best friend and we can all live happily ever after. And I can quit my dull old office job.

    No? That’s just my deluded fantasy?

    Oh well.

  • Squeetthang

    2010/07/02 at 7:29 am

    Ohhh very exciting! Looking forward to part two…but if you extend this out to parts 6 and 7 I will be forced to punch you in the throat. 🙂 LOL

  • stephcampbell

    2010/07/02 at 7:30 am

    Nooooooo!! Don’t leave us hanging!! I need more! More Dooce! More Dooce! MORE DOOCE!!

    Sorry…long time follower, now a stay-at-home mom and an overzealous fan with a Dooce account and time to comment. 🙂

  • Brookelyn Bridge

    2010/07/02 at 8:28 am

    Are you moving to Tuscany?

  • Wookie

    2010/07/02 at 8:32 am

    wow–nice way to leave us hanging…I see what you mean about the amoral. I can’t wait to read the rest. And I can’t believe the people who turned down your offer, wtf? No wonder it’s been on the market for 800 days. 2% huh.

  • dulcinea47

    2010/07/02 at 8:39 am

    Aaaaand that’s why the house has been on the market for 800 days. Stupid, stupid people.

  • J. Bo

    2010/07/02 at 8:55 am

    I have a feeling the other shoe is going to drop in a really fabulous Jimmy Choo/Manolo Blahnik/Christian Louboutin sort of way…

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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