An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

The usual bumps in the road

We’ve been in the house for about a week, and of course like any other move this one has not been without its total mind-blowing freak-outs, starting the second day we were here. A day that coincided with the start of my period. BAD BAD PLANNING. I do not suggest this kind of scheduling at all, especially when you’ve packed the tampons in a box that is somewhere now in a basement full of boxes that all look the same, and instead of doing the logical thing, like, you know, going out and buying another box of tampons, you call your mom in a hysterical fit of tears screaming WE’VE RUINED OUR LIVES!

She said all of the right things, like, it’s going to be okay, Heather. And not, oh would you please just shut up and take some ibuprofen already.

We hadn’t slept in several days at that point, what with the packing and the moving and the unloading and then the unpacking. And now I don’t know where anything is. That for me is the hardest part about moving, the seemingly endless years it takes to finally locate the most simple things: pens, wooden spoons, bowls, salt. Remember, I was on my period, and so the first meal we cooked in the kitchen really really really needed salt. And we couldn’t find it. So I sat there, tears welling in my eyes, and Jon was all, dude, what is wrong with you? And I couldn’t believe he didn’t understand! We were never going to find the salt. My period said so!

Contributing to the sleeplessness are the noises, specifically the critters that are living in the soffit of our roof. Like, animals. Woodland creatures. I’m guessing that since the previous owner had kept a bobcat as a pet that she didn’t particularly care what else took up residence in the other corners of the home, but when I step out of the shower and it sounds like two bears are wrestling in the ceiling above my head, I cannot be blamed for screeching obscenities and hopping on top of the vanity in the nude (just in case the bears were about to scuttle across the floor, naturally).

We’d had a team of strangers in the home already: electricians, cable people, two sets of boiler people, Internet people, the Mormon up the street who saw the open door and invited us to church on Sunday. So why not invite the critter catcher over? And I tell you what, those critter catchers are completely in love with their jobs. Because when this dude saw the number of different species of birds and how many different nests they had built, the octave of his voice jumped twenty decibels and he literally skipped inside the house to give us the news. Critter Catcher, The Musical!

And he kept repeating the word PICKLE. We’re in a bit of a pickle. It’s a pickle, I tell you. Well, I told you it was a pickle! And he had such a thick Utah accent that it sounded like this: pyeh-kul. I started to think maybe the bears could stay.

Because he could remove all the birds, well… he thought it was just birds, but he couldn’t be sure. Could be mice. Could be a raccoon or two. But the real way to solve this problem? Replace the whole roof. IT WOULD COST THE SAME ANYWAY. This after one of the boiler people quoted us $12,000 to fix “some problems.”

So Jon and I discussed this quite thoroughly, and have decided we can live without hot water, and if anything crawls out from the vents in the ceiling we will name it Susan.

  • Allie

    Two perfectly solid work-arounds!

    And your piano is gorgeous – congrats on the new home!

  • Daddy Scratches

    It’s all about re-framing your reality; those aren’t “critters living in your soffit”; those are your “upstairs pets.”

  • boilermomof4

    The silver lining here may be that those are chickens up there…

  • Missybeme

    When I bought my house…alone…I realized that was the one time I thought I coulse use someone to share the stress. (That passed! I don’t have to share the remote with anyone…and it ROCKS!) The second thing…I pained the house the week I was PMSing bigtime and moved into my house on the first day of my period with wicked cramps. Needless to say, I wasn’t as nice to the folks who helped me as I would normally be. 🙂 So, I’m feelin’ ya.

    A racoon named susan would be an awesome addition. Hopefully it likes doritos and can learn to balance things on it’s head!

  • missaudreyhorne

    Yikes, I used to live in the barely-furnished attic of a house and had to convince myself to sleep while I could hear rats fighting in the ceiling above my bed.

    If there are boy animals you should name them Adam and Steve.

  • doublebuttons

    I am in LOVE with your piano. Swooning over here.

    And what better pets than the ones you don’t have to feed!

  • Chriss

    Put Marlo to work! It’s about time she earned her keep. I bet those critters don’t stand a chance against her and she’s got those teeth now to assist.

  • Rebecca Siewert

    ha ha I hope your critter problem goes away and if not just throw Coco up there!

  • mommica

    Well, that confirms it. Moving ALWAYS sucks, even if it IS into your dream home.

  • Dharma

    Critter Catchers are notoriously optimistic. Bastards.

  • Fifi Coon

    Love the piano!! WOW!!

    Gotta love “boiler guys”. It is a great, and less expensive way to heat the house and water – but is very, very expensive to repair.

    Good Luck with the critters and the Mormon up the street…………..

  • gail37

    What sounds like bears are actually raccoons. We’ve go grundles of them around my house and I live in the middle of Salt Lake City.

    Good luck, I think you’re going to need it.

  • chasethefirefly

    Maybe it was all that critter noise that made the bobcat lady go mad?

    At the risk of sounding really stupid, what does a boiler do? It sounds much more complex than a hot water heater.

    Good luck with settling in.

  • SuzRocks

    We once had (what I believed) to be squirrels in our walls. I named them Mildred and Gomez.

    They died.

  • mrscunning14

    Since you already have animals living in your home, maybe you can make a new case for the chickens?

  • BuenoBabyGirl

    Congratulations on your new home and all that goes with it [and who comes with it]. Also, I know there was some dissent on your last three posts, but I’d just like to say…THANK YOU FOR BUYING A HOUSE!

    Um, in case you all haven’t heard our housing market’s in a bit of a slump. I think people who buy houses in this market should be given a parade. At the very least someone gave them a loan. It’s a start.

    Also, it goes without saying, but all of your woes are very common. Even though I know that’s about as helpful as when the labor/delivery nurse says, “Don’t worry about pooping during your delivery, it’s very common.”

  • gail37

    oops… got, not go. sigh.

  • addtova

    Oh I hope your “upstairs pets” are easy to evict! My uncle bought a house with a squirrel nest in the roof and when he tried to board it up- they attacked him. He wound up pepper-spraying them to keep them away while he did the work! Good luck on your beautiful home!

  • josephine

    LOL, moving is definitely a process. My husbanda nd I just bought a house and we’ve decided that we don’t need to find dishes to cook for at LEAST a month – it’s a great diet plan!

  • lovems

    CONGRATULATIONS on the new house!

    The pictures are BEAUTIFUL! I know you will all love living in the house especially once things settle down and things are in their place!

  • juniperb23

    I had no idea that there was a Utah accent.

    We had squirrels in our attic once. At first I thought that they were mice, but they started to sound bigger and heavier until I thought that we’d be killed in our sleep Night of the Lepus style. Horrifying.

  • Missives From Suburbia

    I once had a mole man who looked just like a mole. It had something to do with his Coke-bottle-thick glasses and his Thomas Magnum Hawaiian print shirt. Mole Man. Anyway…

    I’m an expert mover, having moved four times in the past three years. Have Tyrant call me next time. We’ll coordinate things.

  • Truthful Mommy

    Oh I detest moving! WE moved 3 times last year for jobs..move part 1, move part 2 and then a move back home due to downsizing! It was awful. I have been back since February and there are still things I can’t find. Two things in particular ( that are really driving me mad…sorta like your salt and tampon situation) !) My girls’ Vivitar digitals that we bought them for Christmas (not extremely expensive but they keep stealing my “real” camera now) and 2) My frigging Vicodin and Flexerill for my back. Mommy’s not so nice when her back goes out and she is stuck in the praying to Allah position for an entire day with no drugs to loosen the muscles! I am determined to find these things..but I am afraid they may be in the Bermuda triangle-ish vortex that apparently exists somewhere between Indiana and Virginia!!! Maybe there is a similar vortex that will swallow up your critters. Congrats on the new home and all the new possibilities!Happy MOthering!

  • solaana

    I wonder if your Critter-Catcher also really likes rainbows.

  • i.delia

    This year I’ve gotten my period on Thanksgiving, Christmas, the day my husband deployed, the morning of the Rock N Roll marathon that I was running, the day I was in LA trying out for a game show and now, I will be getting it on or around the day my husband returns from deployment.

    I have tampons hidden in my car since I’m prone to sudden onsets of inopportune menstruation. Someday I hope to be able to use the supply in an actual vehicle emergency. Oil leaking? no problem, I’ve got a bunch of plugs right here in the glove box.

  • chesary

    the scariest part is the mormons walking into your house inviting you to church

  • KatieC

    lady, you need a sniper for those critters.
    If they are not paying rent, they gotta go.

  • chesary

    when i worked at starbucks the “bug guy” that came periodically to check for flies, maggots, ants, etc, was one of the most exuberant people i’ve ever met- he literally jumped up and down when talking about how flies lay their eggs in the drain.

  • Becca

    I bet the critters paid off the home inspector to overlook them!!!

  • Mrs.Koehnke_ it is pronouced kinky. Like S and M

    I always have this time period when I move where it feels like “nothing will ever be the same and I will be living out of boxes FOREVER.” And I’ve moved a lot. I cannot imagine it ON my period.

    I am in love with your piano and, just when I thought Marlo couldn’t get any cuter, she spouted two front teeth. Adorable.

  • Dryad_girl

    TYPO ALERT. Ok….please do not hate me for my OCD. But I think you mean to say “thick” accent and not “think.” I could be wrong though. I was reading the post in tears of laughter. 🙂

  • wicked opinion

    Dude, no offense but you TOTALLY write better under duress! LOL Congrats on the house and the balls it took to undergo such a thing. Awesome.

  • Brea

    Holy smokes! You’re in ALREADY?!

    I didn’t realize this all went down so fast since Parts 1, 2 and 3 were so lovingly parcelled out.

    I came to your site looking for your mailing address, and was pleasantly surprised by a new post. I’m sending a small offering to lift your spirits, Dooce. Let’s just say it features bacon in a special way.

    It’s the least I can do when you titled the masthead after my comment, right? WOOT!

  • BlesstheFunk

    Oh NO! We are moving into our new place (rented, not bought, so not that kinda nightmare) in August, and this just conjured up the awful memories of things gone wrong during moving I have so far tried to keep away. Oh hell, I know EXACTLY how the missing salt situation can make you feel. As if nothing will ever be okay again. But is just salt, and soon everything will magically reappear. I say this now, testing the fates (shiver)

    We just moved from one continent to the other, and I am just hoping that our container makes it over alive (well, please not REALLY alive). Now THAT is scaring me more right now. Will my great-grandparents nightstands make it over? Will I ever sleep in my own bed again? ARGH! Okay, if is then only about salt, I will be so ok with that.

    I used to like moving, it seems therapy has cured me of that masochistic inclination.

  • Ezza

    I used to have possums on my roof that would thunder across it, shoot up the TV antenna and TWANG-A-LANG off it and THUMP to a landing on the fence. It sounded like there were people up there!

    If there are critters in your roof – send in Coco.
    At worst, she will eat their poop.

  • Daisy-girl

    I haven’t read the comments yet – so apologize if I’m beating a dead horse – but why wouldn’t the home inspection have caught some of the issues you are having? Buying a home is not caveat emptor…I’d hire a lawyer if I were you…

  • signot

    @gail37: Grundles?? I am SO using that word 20 times tomorrow!

  • nickymaria

    Congratulations on the new home! Vermin and boilers aside, it looks awesome. (and for those boiler-averse, it’s a heating system that pumps hot water or steam and powers radiators – old school!)

    If you want to feel better about your critter issues and are up for a laugh, check out this show on A&E:

    You will be infinitely amused! It’s like a car crash – you can’t look away. And it’s an excellent way to procrastinate finding that salt.

  • keagansmom


    Also, Marlo is starting to look very much like YOU, Heather. Awesome as well.


  • mommyoffour

    I LOVE it!! You finally are giving Susan her due!

  • jleigh

    We are in a similar just-moved situation. But you can be sure it could be worse because I’m guessing you have air-conditioning. Our bedroom remains completely unpacked and unassembled because we just can’t muster the energy to sweat as much as necessary to get through it. And we have no babysitter yet.

    I am convinced my cutting boards are lost, never to be found.

    And we’ve ordered pizza 4 of the last 7 or so nights. It’s bad.

  • Deborah L Quinn

    Have the Mormon invite the critters to church. Or have a LOT of Mormons over to pray loudly, so that the critters get their own moving boxes and scuttle into someone else’s house. The thing is, though, if they die up there? They start to stink. Do not ask me how I know this, just trust me; it’s one of those laws of nature, like the one that says “moving shall always sucketh more than you thinketh.” Mother Nature hath a lithp.

  • Deborah L Quinn

    Whoops, unclear pronouns in that last post. Sorry. The “They” who might die in the attic? I meant squirrels (or raccoons or whatever), not the Mormons. I mean, if the Mormons die in your attic, they will stink too, but it will be a MUCH bigger problem to get rid of the bodies.

  • CJDaily

    Less than a year ago we bought an old farmhouse. Good luck with your critters. Maybe they’ll stay in the attic, and not venture into the living room, like the chipmunk we encountered. Or the toad in our basement. Or the bats in the house…

    If you want a laugh at my expense, and to maybe feel better about your currently heard but not seen critters, have a read…

    And congrats on the house!

  • Nerdista

    Just get Mirena, no periods = no PMS! It’s pretty much heavenly.

  • ThroughKatsEyes

    The house looks simply gorgeous. Congrats!

    Did you happen to purchase a Home Warranty? If so, that might help take care of the boiler problem…the infestation of woodland creatures? Not so much. Good luck!

  • wryly

    You know we’re going to need pictures soon, right? Congrats on the gorgeous home stocked with critters!

  • Scivolare

    No hot water? In Utah? Where it snows 9 months out of the year???

  • ClaireinAustin

    You are too funny! the house is wonderful and I’m pleased that it all worked out for you. wishing you a peaceful night.

  • WVKay

    Once the period runs its course, you’ll be fine. You will look around at your dream house and sigh, “ahhh, this is where I belong”. But, right now? You have my deepest sympathy.

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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