Heater, Mother of Lance

Won’t you be my neighbor?

Everyone I know has had The Summer Cold, and up until last week I had managed to avoid that plague. Jon had it all week last week, and then I woke up Friday with my throat closed so tightly I couldn’t even drink bourbon for breakfast. And I was all, what will my cousins in Tennessee think of me now!?

Chad! Robert! I promise I can still cook me up some good roadkill!

And it hit me hard. So hard that I put my pajamas on Friday night and did not change out of them until, oh, five minutes ago. Now, I don’t own fancy pajamas. Mostly I just wear Jon’s discarded XXL t-shirts. And it just so happened that the one I grabbed on Friday night was his mustard yellow Webtard t-shirt from Mule Design (note, the shirt has been discontinued, probably because they got as much hatemail as I’m going to get for even agreeing to own such a shirt in the first place, don’t I know that some people have raised high-functioning webtards? And while you may see them as different they are just the most special beings in the world.)

Shit. I’m already a homophobe for suggesting that some gay men take a long time to get ready. And now I’m throwing around the word TARD. Next thing you know I’m going to be making fun of hill folk. Your unfollow finger is getting twitchy!

All of this to say, we have to take our garbage and recycling cans to the curb on Sunday nights, and Jon was in a rather untoward mood last night. So instead of asking him to do it and having him accuse me of nagging him to do it, I just up and done did it myself! In my pajamas. Barefoot. WEBTARD AND ALL.

Mind you, if I haven’t changed out of my pajamas in over two days, it’s pretty safe to say I haven’t brushed my hair in just as long, and as I was walking out the door I caught a quick glimpse of myself in the glass of the window. HOO! What was that band called in the eighties? Flock of Seagulls? One of them up and died on top of my head!

So I was wheeling out the garbage can that was full of Marlo’s poopy diapers when suddenly I saw a man in a suit rapidly approaching me, and since that can was so heavy I really couldn’t drop it and run. Otherwise that thing would probably have crushed me. So I kept my head low, thinking surely this man would not see the dead bird on top of my head or the mustard yellow t-shirt or the fact that I did not have on a bra. There are only so many ways to make it look like you’re not trying to cover up your bra-less boobs. I learned each of those ways last night. None of them are convincing.

Because it wasn’t just the man in the suit who approached me, it was two other neighbors. THREE STRANGERS IN TOTAL. All eager to meet the new family on the street. Except my nose was running, I had WEBTARD written across my shirt, I was grabbing my boobs in all sorts of awkward ways, and my hair was pretending it was an entire crowd at a football game trying to do the wave except the fans in the end zones were messing it up because they were so drunk.

Oh, shame. Heather B. Armstrong is thy illustration.

  • ChickWhitt

    2010/08/30 at 3:29 pm

    This strangely makes me feel better. I was just thinking how much easier life would be if I was you, big house, great business, etc.

    Now I know I would still be me, walking in front of the windows in my underwear just as a neighbor kid walks by.

  • playrawkstar

    2010/08/30 at 3:34 pm

    hahaha, welcome to the neighborhood! wait till they find out what you do for a living!

  • aslapintheface

    2010/08/30 at 3:36 pm

    You just guaranteed that they will NEVER forget who you are …. oh braless bird hair chick in her pjs! Next time be sure to have a bottle of Skyy Vodka in one hand and a lit joint in the other.

  • Brookelyn Bridge

    2010/08/30 at 3:42 pm

    At least their expectations are low. Now you can get chickens!

  • dragonfish

    2010/08/30 at 3:44 pm

    I had to look untoward up. not because it didn’t make sense in the context, but I do believe it’s the first time I’ve heard it used. I love new words, hooray! my neighbors get their free entertainment by watching me use an ‘antique’ push reel mower to mow my lawn; a large, uphill slope-y lawn. they never tire of it! they have also seen many a version of my boob-hiding-maneuver while taking down or bringing up the cans. one of the few times I wish for a housemate!

  • josephine

    2010/08/30 at 3:55 pm


    I had a similar incident with a new neighbor last weekend (we just bought our place as well), and yes, I was doing the “cover up the braless boobs” dance. Nothing works well. Nothing.

  • Monday

    2010/08/30 at 4:23 pm

    Wait until they meet your specialness!
    Time to say hello next time you see the neighbors in the street..

    I’m sure they think you have two husbands.
    Is that allowed?

  • Bren

    2010/08/30 at 4:35 pm

    Perfect time to tell you that this weekend we watched The Spy Next Door with The Child. Stars Jackie Chan and Amber Valetta. The whole time DH (and that does NOT always stand for “dear husband”, use your imaginations) kept saying “I’ve seen her before”, “Where have I seen her”, “How do I know her”. After telling him six BILLION times that she’s a movie star and he’s seen her in, oh, DOH – the MOVIES!, he burst out with “I KNOW!! She’s that chick who has the blog with the dogs and the little girl with the SUPER blue eyes!”

    So Heather, hold your crow topped booger-nose crusted head high because YOU are a dead ringer for Amber Valetta! (You do look a lot alike!)

  • a.k.a.Gwendolyn

    2010/08/30 at 4:37 pm

    I am a fan of setting the bar low when it comes to appearances. So when I brush my hair everyone tells me how lovely I look. Or if I get out of my robe on a weekend.

    Plus, you were sick. You are allowed to do whatever the hell you want. But maybe you can use this story to never have to take out the garbage ever again.

  • Janice

    2010/08/30 at 4:42 pm

    No photos of this event? What, suddenly no one in your family has a camera? Where’s Tyrant and the Verizacam? Sheesh!

  • spedrson

    2010/08/30 at 4:43 pm

    I LOVE this post! I have to do the “boob covering” thing and you would think I would know better. We live in a townhome community – there’s no hiding!

  • apostate

    2010/08/30 at 5:16 pm

    So you received an impromptu visit by a man wearing a suit on a Sunday night a couple days before the month’s end? Are you thinking what I’m thinking? LOL. 😉

    I think I would like that shirt. My DH is one of those who disapproves of me using the word “tard”. Though he will let me get away with using “Utard” now and then without making a fuss or unfollowing me. What did I exclaim this morning when I woke up and saw hail/snow on my trampoline from the thunderstorm in August? That’s right. UTARD!!!!! 9 months snow 3 months summer. UTARD!!!!! DH knows I’m not giving Utard up without a fight.
    DH also disapproves of how I will take out the garbage wearing a tank top and his boxer shorts and no bra. Yes, sometimes even in the winter because sometimes shoes are hard to track down. DH won’t walk around our house without a shirt on if the blinds are open.

    Between you and me, I only bind up the girls when I’m leaving the house. The rest of the time, they’re free to bob around as they please.

  • missusclark

    2010/08/30 at 5:09 pm

    But if you stopped doing insane/ill-advised/embarrassing stuff, whatever would you write about?!? Seriously, you can only write smack about your kids, husband, dogs and Tyrant so often before the you jump the shark.

  • sugarbaked

    2010/08/30 at 5:40 pm

    I’d be interested in some of the ways to cover the braless boobs if you;re interested in sharing. I’ve come up with a few sneaky ones myself in the mirror before the shower.

  • tallnoe

    2010/08/30 at 5:53 pm

    awe. some.

  • jan001

    2010/08/30 at 6:05 pm

    LMAO at “…my hair was pretending it was an entire crowd at a football game trying to do the wave except the fans in the end zones were messing it up because they were so drunk.”

    Having just moved into a new condo neighborhood this past winter, imagine my surprise when I was awakened by the lawnmower guy that first early morning in April, using a weedeater to trim against the side of the house at my bedroom window. I’m lying in bed and I happen to be facing the window which is maybe 4 feet away, and THERE HE IS.

    To his credit, he was studiously avoiding looking in the window and, to my relief, the sun shines pretty hard on that window in the morning, but still. Nevertheless it’s comforting that there’s a lot of us old broads in that area and who wants to peep on that? Probably the first guy to do it warned the others off of it years ago.

    But still, I lay very still, on the theory that perhaps he was of a species that only noticed things if they moved.

  • Naperville Now

    2010/08/30 at 6:11 pm

    And that illustration looks like…..(no fair posting without art).

  • SkinnyThighs

    2010/08/30 at 7:00 pm

    Oh. The grabbing boobs. I know that move so well that I spit on my keyboard.

    Off topic, but still on a great topic, there is a fantastic 100% of proceeds to go charity album that dropped today called Do Fun Things.

    It’s indie kids music that the whole family can enjoy in the car and doesn’t cause anyone’s ears to bleed.


    Ryan Marshall of Pacing the Panic Room is behind the movement. Only $9.99! Let’s all do something nice today, mmmmkay?

  • sparkyd

    2010/08/30 at 7:34 pm

    I don’t comment often but this made me laugh so hard I just couldn’t resist. I know the shame of the walk to the curb in the pjs with no bra oh. so. well. And I always do it in the morning when everyone is on their way to work. So sexy. My usual approach is to kind of hunch over and keep my head down; on the walk back with empty hands I do the casual crossing of the arms under the boobs move and pretend it works. On the rare day when I’m actually dressed or somewhat presentable for this little jaunt, I hold my head high and feel outright pride in bringing out the trash.

    Anyway, too funny.

  • Sweet Em

    2010/08/30 at 8:02 pm

    A – You DO look like Amber Valletta.

    B – The “bra-less boob cover” has got NOTHING on the “leaking breast milk boob cover”.

  • freckleface

    2010/08/30 at 8:13 pm

    WOW, you really do look like Amber Valetta! I’d never heard of her before but I just looked her up, it’s almost scary.

    And I love the way Brooklyn Bridge thinks… 🙂

  • arishell

    2010/08/31 at 12:30 am

    I love driving the kid to school my pjs and hoping that there isn’t an accident or reason where I have to get out of the car. My pjs are my husband’s old oxford shirts.

  • Megan Ellen

    2010/08/31 at 1:03 am

    Yep. This is why I hate having our laundry room in the basement of our building. If i look human, no one comes around. If I’m a mess there’s an impromptu building gathering in front of my machine.

    Sometimes I’m down to one bra, and then it’s hard to be wearing one when I go down to wash it…

  • amberskie

    2010/08/31 at 6:04 am

    We recently moved and I swear every neighbor that came over to meet us did so while I was a mess. The first neighbors came over while I was gardening; I had dirt all over me and my hair was a mess. Another neighbor stopped by when the air conditioner was broken so I was in shorts and a tank top but hadn’t shaved in forever. I’m pretty sure by boob popped out of my tank while I was trying to keep my dog from jumping all over him.

  • ValJean

    2010/08/31 at 6:10 am

    Ha! ‘Hope you and yours are feeling better soon. The stories in the comments are priceless. 🙂

  • Ezza

    2010/08/31 at 6:19 am

    Ahh, the old braless bin run. At least you weren’t doing it at 6am when the truck arrives – then you’d be RUNNING with the bin and no bra!

  • Jarrard

    2010/08/31 at 6:36 am

    I needed to read this this morning. What a stitch that apparently all the women in this community can relate to. Why the hell did I have a kid anyway?? Shouldn’t an able bodied 15 year old boy be doing the bin walk of shame?
    If my neighbors are lucky I lift my tshirt about 2 inches when I’m bra-less and flash them. 🙂 Thank you for the major league yabahoes mom.
    Hope you are feeling better!!

  • naugfly

    2010/08/31 at 7:09 am

    I don’t think bras are required attire for late night/early morning recycling runs. My neighbors are cool enough to avert their eyes or just shout out greetings from their driveway because they know what’s up with my lack of “wardrobe” in such times.

    I draw the line at the bra-less white tank top ensemble, but excluding that, anything goes as long as my public appearance lasts less than 30 seconds.


  • naugfly

    2010/08/31 at 7:25 am

    sorry, double post.

  • my gardenside

    2010/08/31 at 7:37 am

    ha! that’s classic. after my babe was born and we were spending hours upon end nursing and napping, i answered the door to our ups man, in my too big yoga pants, hubby’s death metal t-shirt and babe latched on. of course as soon as i opened the door, babe decided to pop off, totally exposing me to ups man. let’s just say i didn’t have to sign for my package and he hasn’t made eye contact with me to this day.

  • TexasKatie

    2010/08/31 at 7:20 am

    I want a Webtard shirt.

  • lilyanne

    2010/08/31 at 8:10 am

    LMFAO! OMG! You shoulda yelled “MY NOSE IS RUNNING AWAY!!!” and hauled bum out of there.

    On a side note, I’m getting sick too. I woke up feeling like I had a plug stuffed in my throat… I wanted to cough something up but whenever I tried nothing happened. My nose is running really badly, and my throat aches, my lungs feel like someone put a huge pound cake in them, and my legs don’t move without me shaking a million times a second. Believe me, it was an adventure just getting up to take a piss this morning.

    Summer colds are always the worst too. ::gobbles vitamin C::

  • cadavis

    2010/08/31 at 8:54 am

    Thats amazing. If you were completely dressed looking normal having a great day you wouldn’t have seen anyone! Maybe they have webtard t shirts too and just felt a little kinship haha, just sayin!

  • rebecca_TheGoddessMission

    2010/08/31 at 9:26 am

    dearest Heather… after reading this post, I believe you’ll want to read this post I wrote months ago from my family blog…
    You will know that I truly relate. On very many levels :). especially the braless thing. gawd i hate it when that happens.

  • Cooky

    2010/08/31 at 10:42 am

    All the wards must have been required to contact non-active members.

    The Home Teachers nailed me on Sunday, too.

    There I was — naked under my bright orange tie dye dress. Bending over — picking cuks from the garden before I noticed they were standing there in their Sunday best.

    At least they were bearing little bags of yummy chocolates to bribe me into returning to church.

    The price was having to listen to them bear their testimoney of the burning in their busoms.

    Always makes me want to grab a fire extinquisher and help them with that.

  • Lindsey

    2010/08/31 at 11:42 am

    I’m with the set-the-bar-lowers. And the flash-the-neighbors-because-I’m-too-busy-to-not-change-in-front-of-the-uncovered-windowers.

    And apparently the college-boy-from-uncovered-windows-side-offers-to-help-out-with-yardwork…ers.

    Unrelated side note: I found some shoes for you: http://www.nativeshoes.com/ What do you think? Maybe a happy marriage between Crocs and Not Crocs?

  • mommica

    2010/08/31 at 12:04 pm

    My hair does the wave every morning.

  • Lbailey71

    2010/08/31 at 12:24 pm

    I have been reading you for years and own all your books, your post today deeply saddened me. I am the mother of a child with Autism and Down syndrome. I used to come to your site daily for my little break and it would make me smile and laugh. Then today I see you throwing around a word that for our family is very offensive and we stand up against it. So sadly yes I will no longer be able to read about you and your wonderful family best of luck to you.

  • Mommy 2 Bears

    2010/08/31 at 12:43 pm

    Coke just came out my nose! I deliver the trash braless often and I try to hide the extreme unevenness but yet I won’t pause and put on a bra first. Eh.

  • Smokey

    2010/08/31 at 2:37 pm

    My nominee for Dooce lookalike has to be Emily Haines of Metric.

    As for the bra thing, I stand by my “I’m not wearing one if I am not leaving my yard” policy. After 4 kids, I think the girls deserve to be footlose and fancy free as much as I can get away with 😉

  • Cooky

    2010/08/31 at 4:38 pm

    @Lbailey71 — I agree with you.

    It’s too bad Heather and Jon don’t read the posts in the Dooce Community or they would know how we feel about using that ugly word.

  • sarahfromthenorth

    2010/08/31 at 7:09 pm

    wow .. starving cat, run-away dog and now this – bra-less snotty women hauling stinking garbage. Pretty sure you’ll be left alone by your neighbors now!
    P.S The picture of the 3 of you is absolutely stunning!!!

  • mandinka

    2010/08/31 at 9:58 pm

    This is exactly why I try to leave the house as little as possible – and usually only after dark.


    2010/09/01 at 5:14 am

    Yep. But Bossy not only sleeps in her bra now, she showers in it. Suspended that braless encounter problem indefinitely.

  • dreag21

    2010/09/01 at 2:40 pm

    Ha ha ha ha ha! I got you beat Heather… Dreaded Summer Cold (as we refer to it here in Toronto) took me down Friday night as well. I lived in my jammies (my own XXL t-shirt with the sleeves/neck cut off and artful bleach stains no less) and pj bottoms all the way until 10.00 p.m. last night — four freaking days!

    That’s when I finally decided that I felt well enough to go back to work today, but that I’d probably feel even better if I didn’t spend another night in my own filth/sick, so I showered and burned the clothes.

    When I did venture out into public on Monday evening, I managed to avoid the neighbours (the 7-year-old bellowing hello to them from the front porch while I scooped the dog’s poop didn’t help) but the woman in the drive-thru at McDonald’s did wrinkle her nose as she took my debit card. Fine repayment for my tremendous effort to finally feed the damn kids!

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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