the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Next, part two

I should probably get this out of the way right now so that many of you can recover from your disappointment by the end of the post: this has nothing to do with a television show. HGTV did not buy me a house, nor are they renovating the one we live in. All of this chaos is completely separate from the work I do for them, and sadly (fortunately!!!) I won’t be appearing in any reality show about our lives. Worst part? THIS STORY DOESN’T EVEN INVOLVE CHICKENS.

QUACK! Oh, wait. Wrong bird.

I left off where Insano Home Owners rejected our offer, and you guys, it was really REALLY hard not to write about it when it was going on. I loved that house, I could see the girls growing up in those rooms, but the cost of putting up a fence on that property was going to be astronomical, plus any other unseen costs that might arise after an inspection. And that number, that 800 days on the market, it sat on our shoulders like a gorilla eating peanut butter sandwiches. So when they walked away we felt a mixture of devastation and relief. A weird, disorienting feeling, kind of like being stranded in the middle of a dumpster behind Denny’s but knowing you can fart and no one will notice.

I had told our real estate agent that I wanted something modern, and can I just take a moment here and tell you what an amazing difference it has made in my life to finally be surrounded by gay people again? Our accountant, our real estate agent, my assistant… they just bring an energy to life that straight people cannot touch. And, hell! They make me wish I were gay! But there’s that whole penis thing and how awesome it is.

So our agent found everything that was somewhat modern in the areas we were looking, and, just, eeeeeyuuckkk. The inventory here is really depressing, and I actually said that to Jon in the middle of all this. I said, “This is just so depressing.” And he totally flipped out! We were in the car and he suddenly pulled over IN THE MIDDLE OF TRAFFIC and was all NO NO NO NO WE ARE STOPPING THIS RIGHT NOW. Holy overreaction! Calm down, Mister Blow It Out of Proportion!

He has a serious case of PTSD from what I put him through during my postpartum depression, and when he hears that word come out of my mouth he ducks so that the milk carton I’ve thrown doesn’t hit him in the head.

But in this instance I meant depressing as in, come on, Salt Lake City! You’re really disappointing me! YER NOT REPRESENTING.

I did promise him that I would not use that word in reference to real estate again, but get this. We were dropping Leta off at school one morning, and one of the other mothers who moved here from out of state last year asked how it was going. And when she saw me hesitate she goes, “It’s so depressing, isn’t it!”

Several times that day when Jon saw me laughing he would shout SHUT UP.

We exhausted all the inventory in the neighborhoods where we were willing to live and within our budget, and at that point our agent asked me how flexible I was about this whole modern thing. And I was like, um, what do you mean by flexible? And he was like, you know, bendy? How Gumby-like? And I was like, dude, if you take me to a Tuscan puss-filled goiter, you’re fired.

We had just walked through the fifth house in two hours, and he said he knew of a house that wasn’t on the market yet, and it wasn’t modern, but he had heard that it was nice. We drove by, stopped next to the driveway, and I thought, hmm. That is certainly not modern. But it looks kind of nice. Why not have a look, nothing to lose. So he set up an appointment for the next day.


I just.


When we walked through the front door of that house the next day the eight-year-old Heather Brooke Hamilton in me started cheering. Like, this was the kind of house I used to daydream about living in. And I literally had to hold in a squeal and stop myself from doing a back hand spring.

It was my dream house. And it’s just so crazy, because it is nothing like the modern things I’ve been drawn to in the last few years. But there it was, my dream house.

Light everywhere. Gorgeous hardwood floors. Huge windows. Space and then more space and then more space. A huge formal entry that opens up into a huge formal living room that opens up into a huge formal dining room that opens up to an unreal kitchen that opens up to a casual living room. A mudroom! A laundry room bigger than my first apartment! And as I was dragging my lower jaw along the floor, the real estate agent representing the buyer says, “She has remodeled all the bathrooms.”

And by remodel she meant gutted and then filled with the finest tile and vanities imaginable.

That was the first floor.

Then there was the second floor with more windows and rooms and bathrooms than I could wrap my head around. And a master suite that just… it was obscene! Except the kind of obscene where the hooker is actually quite pretty and has all her teeth!

And then, the third floor. A 900-square foot open loft. An office, perhaps? Or maybe that’s where I could put my stripper pole.

I won’t even get into to the basement, a space bigger than our house.

When we got to the end of the tour, out on the backyard that expands up and over the half-acre lot, our real estate agent who had not ever been inside couldn’t form words. He was stunned. Totally speechless. Because the asking price for this house? Basically what we offered on the other one.

I grabbed him by the shoulders and said DO IT NOW.

Little did I know that The Armstrongs are magnetically attracted to Insano Home Owners.

  • Mrs. Q.

    2010/07/02 at 2:42 pm

    Can I come live there, too? I’ll walk the dogs and clean the floors and oh, wait. I have a family.

    Beautiful house. I do hope this means you got it, vague cliff-hanger woman.

  • Debbie in Memphis

    2010/07/02 at 2:43 pm

    Egads woman! How am I supposed to go a whole weekend waiting for part 3???

    Fine! I hope you have a wonderful 4th of July.

    Of course, you know we’ll all be waiting with bated breath. How’s that for depressing??

  • tracy

    2010/07/02 at 2:44 pm

    Definitely not modern but I suppose if you’re into that, big fancy house with gorgeous floors & LIGHT!, it’ll do. Congrats Armstrongs!

  • addtova

    2010/07/02 at 2:47 pm

    wow I’m still sad you aren’t getting an HGTV show where you teach lawyers how to renovate and decorate, but this house looks so beautiful! I hope the happily ever after is that you get it, and balance the deed on Chuck’s head.

  • gavintiegirl

    2010/07/02 at 2:47 pm

    Very awesome house, but I was so hoping for a HGTV renovation show with you and them there family members of yours. How fun would that have been!!!

    So I guess you are going to spend your entire summer moving. That sounds fun! NOT! Congrats on the house…if you infact got it. 🙂

  • LaurenT

    2010/07/02 at 2:47 pm

    I hate you for doing that to me. So unfair. Hmph.


  • gavintiegirl

    2010/07/02 at 2:49 pm

    Oh, and since we are such slave drivers…where’s the new masthead. I kid! LOL! Happy 4th to you and yours. PEACE!

  • pyjammy

    2010/07/02 at 2:50 pm

    Wow, gorgeous! Congrats on the beautiful house.

  • lynnbied

    2010/07/02 at 2:53 pm

    I was going to say congratulations but whats with the Insano Homeowners?? Must mean more trauma filled days that you have been through – uggh – update soon please!

  • theotherlion

    2010/07/02 at 2:53 pm

    I think the floors are my favorite. Or maybe the windows. It’s beautiful and classic. LOVE!

  • christine1127

    2010/07/02 at 2:53 pm

    Fantastic! How awesome to find your dreamhouse. It’s beautiful.

  • stephcampbell

    2010/07/02 at 2:55 pm

    Totally jealous. Enough said. 🙂

  • Bubbinga

    2010/07/02 at 2:55 pm

    You DESERVE this house!

    “SQUEEE!” (said the big, gay man)

  • nyrican67

    2010/07/02 at 2:56 pm

    OMG!! i am sooo happy for you! oh Goodness, you didnt actually say you got it!! Please say you got it!! It is boo-ti-ful! Can you tell i am so excited and doing cart wheels for you!!!! <--exclamation points)

  • Jess F

    2010/07/02 at 2:56 pm

    Gorgeous! What happens next?

  • nyrican67

    2010/07/02 at 2:57 pm

    OMG!! i am sooo happy for you! oh Goodness, you didnt actually say you got it!! Please say you got it!! It is boo-ti-ful! Can you tell i am so excited and doing cart wheels for you!!!! <--exclamation points)

  • Becky Cochrane

    2010/07/02 at 2:59 pm

    You wouldn’t be so cruel as to show us photos if you DIDN’T get it, right? RIGHT?

  • Pixie

    2010/07/02 at 3:01 pm

    I’m sooooo jealous! Please give us some captions, when you next upload images……we live vicariously thru you….and I need to know what space is what-hee hee

    Oh and plenty of room for all those Apple products…. 😉

    Well done!!

  • mandinka

    2010/07/02 at 3:01 pm

    “A weird, disorienting feeling, kind of like being stranded in the middle of a dumpster behind Denny’s but knowing you can fart and no one will notice.”

    I think this quote should be inspiration for your next masthead.

  • goldbryant

    2010/07/02 at 3:01 pm

    wait. what? No!!!! Insano home owners? That sounds bad! Very Bad!

    Part 3, pretty please.


    2010/07/02 at 3:04 pm

    Please say there is a part three!

    That sounds amazing!

  • PShizzo

    2010/07/02 at 3:05 pm

    “Oh is so boooful!”

    Comment from the peanut gallery 😀

  • zanie

    2010/07/02 at 3:06 pm

    Wait, wait, wait! Did you just throw another cliffhanger?! I hope that means you’re working on Episode 3 for us!

    Gorgeous house! Hope part 3 concludes with its purchase!

  • mommica

    2010/07/02 at 3:07 pm

    I agree. Penises ARE awesome.

    Also, sooo glad you posted pictures. Of the house, not penises. I don’t think I’d be able to access this site at work if you posted pictures of penises.

    I hope pictures means you got it… The house. Not a penis. Although…

  • HeckYes

    2010/07/02 at 3:08 pm

    Damn you!!!! You’re going to make us wait until after the LONG holiday weenend aren’t you! You are such a tease; a horribly cruel tease. But I still love you!

    P.S. After reading yesterday’s post I dreamed that you re-decorated my house. So…do you want to re-decorate my house? It’s like a blank canvas since I haven’t actually decorated it to begin with. It’s just not my thing.

  • Skizzywicket

    2010/07/02 at 3:09 pm

    The house is absolutely beautiful!

    I’m guessing that you got it, based on the recent time spent huddling with lawyers, but I’m guessing the insano homeowner thing has something to do with removing dead birds from the attic, as mentioned in your last post.


  • Blahggy

    2010/07/02 at 3:09 pm

    I logged on right at the right time! Didn’t see part I until part II was up. Awesome.

    In all seventh-grade-oh-my-god-I-can’t-believe-he’s-looking-at-ME style, OHMYGOD! It’s GORGEOUS! That KITCHEN! That BACKYARD! THE WINDOWS!!! HOLY CRAPOLA! So awesome. I love the Universe.

  • josephine

    2010/07/02 at 3:09 pm

    Wait a second – did you or did you not get this house? Insano home owners #2??? That doesn’t sound good!

  • terrible_t

    2010/07/02 at 3:11 pm

    I was so looking forward to this post. I was hoping part one meant you had found something better – and you did.

    so. My thought process as I read your post went something like:

    Oh wow
    OH WOW
    this is SPECTACULAR!!


    why why why must people be insano why

    I know you’ve probably already finished with all this insanity and our thoughts are coming after the fact, but man, I gotta tell you, I’m pulling for you here. <3

  • Jen Cottrell

    2010/07/02 at 3:12 pm

    I’m supposed to be ExFilesChick, but something went wrong…

    Anyhow, congrats on your new home! It looks gorgeous! Hard work pays off, and obviously you’ve “done good.”

    (My captcha is: which spinster) That was like taking a bullet.

  • aslapintheface

    2010/07/02 at 3:14 pm

    That is one heck of a house … but does it have a Sprite cellar ?

  • ebee

    2010/07/02 at 3:16 pm

    What a gorgeous house!! So excited for you!

  • missaudreyhorne

    2010/07/02 at 3:22 pm

    A cliffhanger? Seriously? DAMMIT.

  • sarashous

    2010/07/02 at 3:26 pm

    ARGH!!! Another cliffhanger! 🙂

  • Coyote

    2010/07/02 at 3:28 pm

    Wow! What an abode! I’m stupefied. I could easily and comfortably live in just the loft. Do you need a slave? I love house cleaning, doing laundry and running errands. And, most especially, kids and dogs!

  • HodgePodge

    2010/07/02 at 3:28 pm

    I laughed so loud at your farting in a Denny’s dumpster comparison that I scared my dog. Congratulations on your beautiful new home!

  • Fifi Coon

    2010/07/02 at 3:29 pm

    Great – so now we are waiting on Part 3???

  • Brookelyn Bridge

    2010/07/02 at 3:29 pm

    Beautiful! And spacious. I love it!

    The chandelier above the piano is the same one we have above our dining room table. It’s cool because you can change out the sconces to different colors. I know they have amber and red – not sure if there are more now.

  • 3xx1xy

    2010/07/02 at 3:37 pm

    Totally my style, I’m drooling! Hope you got it, I’m worried!!

  • JessicaM

    2010/07/02 at 3:38 pm

    I take it that this is the new home of the Blurbodoocery. Congrats!

    Pretty pretty house! I love the miles and miles of hardwood. And the light.

    Does it have good secure fencing to keep Chuck and Coco safe?

    And I want the piano. I can play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, too. And Chopsticks. Take that, Leta! la

  • mrswilson

    2010/07/02 at 3:38 pm


  • tallnoe

    2010/07/02 at 3:39 pm

    GORGEOUS floors!

    Eeks for Insano Home Owners… can’t wait to hear the rest!

  • Feastafterfamine

    2010/07/02 at 3:44 pm

    wait. that doesn’t look like new york.

  • wordsupmixed

    2010/07/02 at 3:46 pm

    I weep for the chickens and despite all appearances to the contrary, the ducks were innocent.

  • Ray1987

    2010/07/02 at 3:59 pm

    WOW! Gorgeous house, Heather. I love the wood kitchen. Absolutely beautiful. CONGRATS, CONGRATS, CONGRATS! =D

  • Kerrin

    2010/07/02 at 3:59 pm

    HOLY SHIT! That’s your new house?!?!? It’s gorgeous. Did you run from room to room giggling like a school girl? You should have. Leta probably will because, hello, that place is awesome! Congratulations Armstrongs!

  • SuzieQ1

    2010/07/02 at 4:01 pm

    Loving it until that last sentence…now I’m getting nervous waiting for the other shoe to drop. Main thing is to find a place where Chuck can’t go missing. Love you and your family, and Coco, but REALLY LOVE THAT CHUCK!!

  • musickatt

    2010/07/02 at 4:03 pm

    That place is absolutely gorgeous, and yet you mention insano homeowners. Now I’m frightened and hoping you’ll post more this weekend, because I’ve GOT to know what happens next!

  • Mo

    2010/07/02 at 4:06 pm

    You HO!

    First General Hospital, now this.

    (I want to live in that kitchen. I’ll sleep under the island. It’s cool. You’ll like me.)

  • souphead

    2010/07/02 at 4:09 pm

    Mazel Tov, Armstrongs!

    It’s gorgeous!!! And you deserve every square foot of that house (I’m assuming this has a happy ending or you wouldn’t have included pictures).

    Enjoy the weekend 😀

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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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