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.

  • christine1127

    2010/07/02 at 9:00 am

    Yep, I’m totally going with the Blurbodoocery Reality Show: “Insane World.” And I mean insane in the most kind way. Insane as YOU describe your world. I hope this is it! Can’t wait to be a voyeur in the Armstrong household!

  • Kirsey

    2010/07/02 at 9:02 am

    DOOCE, you are going to have about a BILLION hits on your site until you post PART TWO! I’ve already checked for an update about a dozen times today and it isn’t even 10am CST! So excited!

  • s3rp3nts

    2010/07/02 at 9:03 am

    Heh hehhhhhhhhhhhh… Loves it. But damn I’d love to see that house. And who are those crack smokers in Utah walking away over 2-measly-%? Clearly they are rich and don’t need to sell the house.

  • angela in SC

    2010/07/02 at 9:11 am

    Oh my heavens! The agony of waiting for my account at the Dooce Community to be activated before I could comment was nearly too much…. AGONY…you know why? It’s totally childish. I had to wait ONE VERY LONG NIGHT before I could post a comment! Good grief…. I’ve followed this blog for years. Years I tell you…. 6 long years and never posted because I figure it will never be read. But, now I have this HUGE urge to post and I must wait ONE WHOLE NIGHT! Ahhhhhh!

    You see I kept checking all day to see what the deal was and finally you posted … PART ONE. Part one was great and totally not frustrating because you presented me with my favorite game… Guess the Ending! YAY! I love guessing the ending especially when (in my wacky mind) I am racing to beat all of these other brilliant readers to guess!!! I wonder if they knew they were in this contest?

    Yippee!!! Did you know you had presented me with such a delightful challenge! I was like “Cool! I’m only comment # 18. I bet she will read this one. I think this one might be worth my comment.” You see, I do not give out my comments freely as they are too witty and full of wisdom to just throw out there to the wind. It is like me “bleeding my own blood”! My comments take so much out of me. I must factor in recovery time. I must weigh all of the pros and cons. Do I leave this amazing comment or let the children go hungry? Goodness knows it will be hours before I finish my comment as I carefully choose my words and rearrange and rewrite because this is important. I’m saying important things here!

    So, yesterday I was going to be comment # 18 and today, after waiting for the Dooce Community to check my fingerprints and criminal record, and by the time I finish this masterpiece I will be comment #800. Surely it will never be read, but here it is because I have “bled my own blood” and my children have been waiting for food. So here it is by golly.

    Get yourself ready…it’s spectacular….. here it is….remember I had to wait all night to comment on Next, part one. Please read this with a chipper little voice. One full of excitement and anticipation because that was the mood I was in yesterday.

    “Oh I’m so excited for you. I know what it is like to be taking calls wedged between the toilet and the tub because I have five little rascals and it is hard to find a quiet moment. As a matter of fact, while I take a call wedged between the toilet and tub I am usually wiping someone’s bottom at the same time. Yes, I know a thing or two about multi-tasking!

    Ok, I love that you have only posted Part One because I get to guess the ending. What makes this exciting is guessing the ending before someone else! What? This isn’t a game show?

    Ok….my guess…. You are somehow wrapping HGTV into the process of your house hunting and remodeling!?! Yes?!? Am I right? Surely, if you didn’t think of this then Jon did right?

    Can’t wait to hear the out come! Good luck finding your home. You deserve something amazing.”

    There it is in all of its goofy glory. I know it is somewhat of a let down after all of this build up, but don’t blame me. Blame the Dooce Community. It would have been amazing as post #18. That comment of mine could of been a “contendah” ,but now…. I don’t even have words!

    I cannot bring myself to read the other freaking 89 comments that were so politely posted this morning. I can’t bring myself to see if I won. You see time is of the essence in these situations. I needed to strike while the iron was hot, whatever that means. I’m sure another reader guessed first, but if they did don’t tell me. I’m not sure I could take the disappointment.

    Now I am sighing deeply because I am wondering if there is a limit on the #of words allowed in a comment. Please dear God make this happen for me! It’s my first Dooce comment ever! If there is a limit I might go to the corner and suck my thumb for the rest of the day. “Sorry kids. Mommy bled her own blood and it wasn’t worth it. She failed all because the Dooce Community needed to make sure I was not a psycho. You’ll need to make your own breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Make me some too, ok?”

  • Missybeme

    2010/07/02 at 9:16 am

    OMG! I feel like I just read a 500 page novel that someone stole the last 10 pages from….I’ve been waiting..patiently…for this post…my DOOCE fix…and boom. Now…I’m going to have all kinds of dreams about the possible ending until I know what happens/ed!

  • MrsRoo

    2010/07/02 at 9:17 am

    Some people, huh? We had a very similar situation going on with the house we just bought. Owner bought super high and didn’t want to realize the real estate market in greater Boston has plummeted in the past two years. But it all worked out. Mr. Roo and I have since promised each other that when we get ready to sell this place, we will be REAL. With ourselves, with each other, with the asking price, and with any potential buyers. Yes, it’s our home and we love it, but not everyone loves Palladian blue and maple cabinets. And we’ll need to get over it and entertain offers.

    I cannot wait to hear Part 2! I hope you guys found the Best House in the Universe. And then I’ll need pictures, please.

  • christine1127

    2010/07/02 at 9:17 am

    😀 Well done, angela in sc. I wish we were friends.

  • angela in SC

    2010/07/02 at 9:36 am

    Christine1127, That’s very sweet and encouraging of you. Just knowing someone out there would be my friend helps as I recover from my disappointment of not winning. And it strengthens me to go discover what my children meant when they said they were playing “catering business” while I wrote that comment.

  • Anxious Annie

    2010/07/02 at 9:43 am

    I’d love to see you buy a house and fix it up for HGTV like SARAH’S HOUSE … yours could be DOOCE’S DIGS. But don’t buy a farmhouse like the Fabulous Beekman Boys (have you seen that show?).

    Or maybe you’re moving back to California to be closer for filming with HGTV.

    Oh he**, just post Part Two already and put us out of our misery!

  • UtahMom

    2010/07/02 at 9:55 am

    Part 2 will probably find this information useless to you but —

    Leah Krueger 801.255.4663 is the best realtor in all of Utah.

    Dan Riddle 801.673.9841 is the contractor to turn your modest home into your castle.

    If you just wudda asked sooner — lol.

    Good luck with your housing situation. These two people performed housing miracles for me.

  • LaurenT

    2010/07/02 at 9:58 am

    Part two, pleeeeeeease. 🙂

  • Sarcasmisgoodforyou

    2010/07/02 at 10:06 am


  • BostonNic

    2010/07/02 at 10:14 am

    “It’s like some giant alien found the valley, unzipped his pants and shit TUSCAN into every crevice and nook of this county.”

    This might be one of the greatest things you’ve ever written.

  • MustangSally

    2010/07/02 at 10:57 am

    You’re making up the 2% difference with the additional ad revenue you’re gonna get from the million refreshes we are all desperately pounding into our keybords? :p Holding Part II over until Friday is brilliant – then you don’t get as many showing up as unique visitors (I’m totally guessing).

    While I’m sure it involves a show on HGTV I’m really hoping it’s more of the renovate/house hunt/build yer dream variety than “John & Heather Plus Chickens!”. Because all the marriage/relationship reality shows seem to end in divorce and as much as I would love to see a reality show of the BlurboDoocery, not at the expense of your partnership. I’m happy with the blog and Vimeo reenactments.

  • chasethefirefly

    2010/07/02 at 11:00 am

    I can’t wait to hear the success story this sounds like it is going to become.

    I understand the need for a larger home. As I type my husband is on our bed taking a conference call as I make sure our 3 kids don’t go running down the hallway and interrupt him.

    We decided to cram all three kids into one room to make a playroom out of the third bedroom. It was supposed to be an office for my husband and I, but we’re outnumbered and we were tired of all the toys in the living room. We may have to work from the kitchen table, but I don’t have to see multicolored plastic every time I watch my soaps and eat bon bons.

  • Clarkware

    2010/07/02 at 11:08 am

    I cannot believe you are leaving us hanging like that!!! You’re a poop-head. ; )

  • Feastafterfamine

    2010/07/02 at 11:09 am

    You’re moving to New York.

  • WilliesMom

    2010/07/02 at 11:19 am

    OMG. KILLING. ME. I’m having images of you guys winding up in a double wide trailer. Please post the 2nd part before my imagination goes to crazier places. Like taking on a 2nd wife.

  • onedesigner

    2010/07/02 at 11:25 am

    HGTV has offered you a show and you’re moving to New York! Am I right?

  • KMPL

    2010/07/02 at 11:26 am


    (picture this being said like the little girl from Poltergeist)

  • deblongman

    2010/07/02 at 11:39 am

    My guess? You are the new Oprah.

  • gln1967

    2010/07/02 at 11:51 am

    Have you NOT heard the call from the masses!? Give us the rest of the story already!!! Good GOD WOMAN!!!

  • Sweet Em

    2010/07/02 at 12:03 pm

    Oh I know I know I know!! You are relocating aren’t you?!! To Idaho!

  • christine1127

    2010/07/02 at 12:11 pm

    Seriously! Post the rest, already! We’re going away to our cabin in Big Bear this weekend and will have sluggish iPhone Internet that only works when you hold your arm high and point in a certain direction. I cannot wait until Monday to read part 2!

  • reikigirl73

    2010/07/02 at 12:17 pm

    AHHHH! This is as bad as having to wait all summer for the new season of your favorite tv show to start!

    Because I love you, I’ll wait patiently!

  • Kluvharter2

    2010/07/02 at 12:35 pm

    This whole post sounds like it belongs to @whitegrlproblem. Why don’t you just get to the point and tell us you’re building a new house of monolithic scale?

  • nakedjen

    2010/07/02 at 12:40 pm

    so, i just want to know, will you wait until sunday and then make everything go KABOOM?!?! because i think your fireworks will be far better than the sugarhouse ones. just sayin…

  • lisdom

    2010/07/02 at 12:47 pm

    Oh dear Lord. Yesterday, i was on the phone w/my best friend and she was asking why people blog, and why she should read anybody’s blog if she doesn’t know them, and this is why. this is why you read blogs.

    also: the captcha to leave this comment is “jugular to”. I find this appropriate.

  • micheleleeb

    2010/07/02 at 1:25 pm

    so yes i am another long time reader who registered because of this post (great marketing!) Do you think crazy off meds house owner has neighbors who read your blog and thought 1) if i sell to dooce and they get chickens my friends will kill me
    2)dooce has a blog; surely she can afford the 2%…


    2010/07/02 at 1:26 pm

    I’m afraid I haven’t read all the comments, but did anyone else think that the big news was that Jon was getting a second wife? 😉

  • craftyashley

    2010/07/02 at 1:35 pm

    Have you tried putting a white noise machine in Marlo’s room? I have one in all the kids’ rooms and I could run through here with a bulldozer and it wouldn’t wake them!

  • cattail722

    2010/07/02 at 1:46 pm

    SUSPENSE. KILLING. ME. HURRY! Pretty please?

  • TXinUK

    2010/07/02 at 1:47 pm

    Woman, you better not leave us in suspense all weekend long!!

  • Lila0724

    2010/07/02 at 1:56 pm

    Long time reader-just registered–


    captcha code “when nobel” YIKES

  • debhayford

    2010/07/02 at 2:06 pm

    I predict – you are building!

    my captcha code: plussing toad??

  • ladyamazing

    2010/07/02 at 2:30 pm

    I don’t know if anyone else has said it, but if so or if not, I will say it (again).

    You, Heather Armstrong, are a cock tease. In verbal internet form.

    Please update soon. My brain is going to implode.

  • mkdsmall

    2010/07/02 at 4:12 pm

    “Except your neighbors are polygamists and you’re allowed to have sex with animals.”

    I love you!

    One to read Part II!

  • gigantic

    2010/07/06 at 1:47 pm

    Is that the end of the story?

    (Holy shit! My captcha is DEMONSTRATED OTTER. Very pleasing.)

  • Colorado1

    2011/02/15 at 11:42 am

    Exciting news! I can totally sympathize with the situation. We had an architect over to look @ our 1700 sq. ft. house a year ago, and when I told him what I wanted to spend on the renovations he literally was ROTFLOL. For, like, hours.

    In the end, we decided to sell our house in the worst real estate market since 1981. The Universe was watching out for us, because we got a contract in 3 months and put a contract on our dream house the same day.

    We’ve been here 5 weeks and I couldn’t be happier despite all the work is being and still needs to be done. There is a lot to be said for having enough room to actually use your kitchen table as a kitchen table and nothing else. To have a place for your tool cabinet other than the kitchen. For having more than one bathroom, for god’s sake!

    The housing market has been propped up by unrealistic interest rates, among other things. In addition, most homes are still way over priced. A minimum 30% drop is needed. There are homes in my town (pop. 30k) that are still being advertised around 250k. They were 250k 3-4 years ago! People just don’t get it. That 250k house is worth maybe 180-200 tops. Last fall the bank told me a property I bought in ’07 has dropped 13% in value. I just paid my property taxes on it, they went up! See the problem folks! This whole economy is about to fall off a cliff. You had best be ready.

    Can’t wait to hear the rest!

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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