An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

That sound you heard this morning

You guys know how much I hate Halloween, right? Like, the worst holiday of the year, loathe it, would rather skip over it and land right inside the open end of a Thanksgiving turkey. I know that makes me a horrible person because I have kids and I’m supposed to be sewing their costumes with my own two hands but HEY. I bet you have character flaws, too. Do you procrastinate? Do you leave dirty dishes in the sink? Do you litter? MIGHT AS WELL HATE HALLOWEEN.

There is, however, a day of the year I hate even more than Halloween. And I’m willing to bet more of you will side with me on this one: seriously, could someone please take an ax and bludgeon April Fools’ Day? Knock its head off. Lock it in a cage and drop it in the sea. Tie its hands behind its back and tickle it until it cries.

This year I was happy that it fell on a Sunday so that my exposure to it online would be minimal, and Tyrant, Cruelest Person Alive, wouldn’t be in my home. Before I go any further I should probably tell you that I’ve got a bear of a week ahead. I’m overwhelmed. I’m emotional. I’m worried about balancing everything to the point of waking up in the middle of the night with panic attacks. I tell you this not to elicit pity, only to give you a frame of reference for where my mind was when I opened the door this morning to leave the house. And this is what I saw:

Guys, I have not ever screamed like that in my life. Not even during childbirth. It was primeval. It shot up involuntarily from the bottom of my feet and out of my face. So loud, it was, that I temporarily lost my voice. I’m lucky I did not lose consciousness or a pulse.

Unfortunately, Marlo was standing a couple of feet behind me telling me goodbye when all of this went down and my scream in turn scared the shit out of her. So she started to cry right as my horror turned into tears, and there we were, the both of us crying. I felt like offering her one of my tampons.

Meanwhile Tyrant was trying not to fall in the floor he was laughing so hard. And, fine. Whatever. Now that I’m several hours away from the actual incident, okay. It was funny. You could have bottled up that scream, sold it to haunted houses and made millions. A video of my reaction to finding that arm hanging out of the car would have gone viral and next thing you know they’re playing it on the Today Show and Al Roker is standing in front of a weather screen dancing to a mash-up of my voice and “Thriller.”

But here’s the really evil part: Tyrant snuck into the garage LAST NIGHT to set up the whole thing thinking that I’d leave early to take Leta to school. Luckily Leta was with her father last night and this morning. Had she been with me and witnessed this I’m certain she would have been convinced that every time we opened the door to the garage a dead body would be waiting for us.

I can see that conversation now:

“But how do you KNOW that there won’t be a dead body in the garage?”

“Because I fired the man who would have put it there.”

  • Coyote

    April Fool’s Day?
    I was hoping you’d say Easter.

  • Moomser

    I LOVE TYRANT! Also, it’s simply amazing he’s managed to keep his job (and his life, in fact) intact till now.

  • jewels421

    Yeah, normally I love pranks. But this year… I’m in a similar mental state right now. Overwhelmed. Dealing with the most stress/anxiety I have ever had to deal with. So, what normally would have been a “borderline” April Fool’s joke (in terms of going too far or not), pushed me right off the edge.

    The person playing the joke wasn’t really aware of my current mental state. So, rationally, I know I can’t blame them for trying to be funny. But, it’s hard to be rational when you’re crying in the shower.

  • HowToBeADad

    Screaming for a parent is like opera training for a singer.

    We pulled a really dumb stunt and are still paying for it today. We pranked people BEFORE April Fool’s Day (dumb move #1) and then kept silent for 3 whole days.

    In the end, are the jokes and crying and shame worth it?

    Time will tell. Just like with parenting…


  • luv and kiwi

    That scared me at first! I had to read it super fast to make sure it wasn’t Marlo’s arm! Why you would have taken a picture of that BEFORE removing her arm I know not BUT Tyrant gets hissy slaps from a stranger in Los Angeles now.

  • tracy

    First off, I’m totally with you on Halloween. I’ve never liked it, not even as a kid when you’re SUPPOSED to like it. I blame my father….it’s his birthday, so it was always “family time”. Damn family time…

    Plus, I hate costumes & dress-up, so that might have more to do with it.


    I think you & I, and by virtue of that, our children, might actually share the same neurotic gene (that word looks funny….did I spell that wrong? hello, neurotic much?), that collides with the if-it-happens-once-it-will-happen-every-time gene, which is EXACTLY why I did not tell my daughter where I got into my fender bender accident a couple months ago. Why? Because I remember how that one time when it was really really windy & the power went out, & how every time since, when the wind starts to blow, she asks if the electricity is going to go out. And because my accident happened at the bottom of the small, low-grade (and very icy that day) hill, on the street that takes us to & from her preschool. THAT’S WHY.

    I’ve learned a few parenting tricks in the last almost 4 years, one of which includes (and ranks high on my list): don’t tell your child something she will forever obsess over every.single.time she is placed in the same scenario. And no, she wasn’t with me when I was in the accident, so keeping the location hush-hush was no biggie….I just had to make sure & tell the rest of my family to keep their traps shut as well.

    The funny part of the story? When she saw the car, she asked what bit it, and frankly, it does look as though some beast took a chunk out of the front right corner.

    Even funnier? Yesterday I was outside working in the yard & she was sitting in the passenger seat of the car. I look over at her, and she’s holding up the piece of car that belongs where the hole now is, and is mouthing the words, Is this part of our car?

    Maybe it was one of those stories where you had to be there, but damn, it was funny as hell to see my kid holding up a piece of our car with that questioning, scrunchy eyebrows look on her face, asking if that hunk of plastic was part of our car. It was even funnier than when my shrink said, it’s always a little demoralizing when part of your vehicle is riding shotgun with you.

    Which reminds me, something tells me my shrink & Tyrant would get along famously.


  • Pandora Has A Box

    I’m a stone cold bitch because that shit’s funny. ::high fives Tyrant::

    Hey…good luck tonight!

  • debramac

    Yup. Sorry. Not funny. Torturing you employer is one thing, because who can’t get behind that? But with children, especially vulnerable ones……opposite of funny. Very happy it wasn’t Leta. Plenty of time to save for Marlo’s therapy. There are enough horrible things happening in the work that make this not funny. Sorry Ty I would have fired you. I mean we want our children to feel safe in their homes. Goldfish….funny. This, not funny.

  • HooliaAnn

    I’m so happy I’m not the only one who hates, hates, hates April Fools’. My poor girlfriend kind of summed up why April Fools’ sucked this year:

    Friend’s boyfriend: “Awe babe, you don’t even look pregnant!”
    Friend: “Oh, thanks hun!”
    Friend’s boyfriend: “April Fools’!”

    Yeah. The joke/prank to the prankee is just NEVER as funny.

  • marbenais

    Yeah, the first of April is my least favorite day of the year. April, of course, has historically been The Worst Month Ever, so I dread it for more than just the “jokes,” but the day itself is awful.

  • wboswell

    Did he not read this post,

    “I had put Leta to bed, and then somehow I was standing in the garage with a dog leash in my hand looking up at a pipe running along the ceiling. ”

    Yeah, seems like a REALLY GOOD IDEA to joke around about dead bodies in the garage. Jesus.

  • red is a neutral

    Omigod. Snatch off his arm and beat him with it.

  • mahonegal

    Holy shit! I hate halloween too!!! I didn’t know people like me existed!
    It is reassuring to know there is.

  • NolaMomma

    I have a FABULOUS sense of humor. BUT….I think it was cruel, especially to Marlo and am, too, thankful it wasn’t Leta walking in there first. I can appreciate some fun in the workplace, but there has to be boundaries. Boo!

  • Schmutzie

    I HATE April Fools Day, too. And Halloween. We are soul twins.

  • mleah

    Wait, was that a fake arm or Tyrant’s arm? It totally looks real but if Tyrant slept in your car overnight, dude is serious about his pranks.

    I like that guy. He doesn’t seem like the type to tip-toe around anyone or anything or any topic. Stressed out? Not for long! You’re going to laugh, even if you have to sh*t your pants first.

  • makfan

    I hate Halloween and April Fools, too. I live in San Francisco’s Castro, so I really began to loathe Halloween because of the invasion of the neighborhood and the trouble it caused.

  • J. Bo

    Boundaries, Tyrant… BOUNDARIES.

    Terrifying your employer may be entertaining, but not so much when she’s caring for her VULNERABLE, CREDULOUS CHILD, YOU DICK.

  • TheSkyIsOverrated

    Okay, I seriously have to stop sitting down with a cup of coffee (or anything liquid for that matter) to read your blog, because it always ends up coming up through my nose, and well, that’s just unpleasant.

    Thanks for the hysterical fits of laughter.

    PS: If Tyrant will be needing a job after today, please send him my way.

  • Beverly

    Yeah, not funny. Not even a little.

    I also hate Halloween and April Fool’s Day. We should start a little club.

  • sabina

    Not even slightly funny. As vulnerable and precarious as it seems things around you are at the moment, just WTF. I nearly screamed seeing that photo and it made ME cry.

    I like hearing about Tyrant’s jokes, but not this one. Sorry. Killjoy.

  • Round Rock Gal

    OK, cruel joke – check

    Hate Halloween – check

    YOU DRIVE A MINI-VAN? What the hell?! That’s the one thing that leaped out at me first! I was so surprised I had to go back and check the picture a few times.

    Wait…is that your April Fool’s joke on us?

  • Daddy Scratches

    Fuck. That.

    In 12 different languages, fuck that.

    I HATE April Fool’s Day, and April Fool’s Day pranks.

    “Hey, guess what? So-and-so DIED!”


    “Well, actually, yes. Yes, I am. Um … APRIL FOOL’S!”

    How witty.

    I kind of want to kill Tyrant for you. And I don’t mean that in an “April Fool’s Day” way.

  • Laura Jones

    At least you know Tyrant isn’t a yes-man so if you want an honest opinion he will give it to you. Though honestly, the joke on you, funny. The kid, not so much. I vote you make him babysit Marlo and be at her beck and call in some Care Bear store.

  • katspitzer

    Well that definitely beats the old switchin’ salt and sugar joke! I hate April Fool’s Day with a passion and that’s why I remained mum on the subject. I went with the “if I sit very still, maybe they won’t notice I’m here” mentality. And it worked.

    Nobody in my family remembers what day it is unless I tell them anyway. Stinks for birthdays but is priceless for days like this.

  • slappyintheface

    did you beat him with that severed arm ??

  • Jen

    Oh man – yeah I’m not crazy about April Fool’s Day either. But what I hate even more than THAT is when someone scares me on purpose. I love Halloween, but I HATE haunted houses. I startle very easily, so when someone jumps out at me or grabs me out of the blue, or makes a loud noise I practically take flight. It’s not funny to me AT ALL. So had Tyrant leaped out at me from the garage unexpectedly, my scream would’ve matched yours I’m sure. Then I would’ve beat him senseless with my shoe.

    I could be more understanding with Tyrant had he felt bad when he saw how scared Marlo was – but standing there laughing? Not so cool. Sorry Tyrant.

  • mlouprice

    Did this actually happen? I would be furious if my child had seen this. I’m all for light-hearted pranks, but this one seems excessively cruel and morbid.

  • Rosie R

    Whoa. It would be bad enough if that was just meant for you, but the fact that he deliberately set that up so that your sensitive, easily-frightened child would see it?? That is crossing about ten lines and is downright cruel. Not funny at all. Cruel. And terminable, if you ask me. (Which I realize nobody has.)

  • lulugirl74

    Ugh, I hate to be a party pooper but that’s really awful. I have to agree, setting something up which would be (and was) frightening to your kids is really not cool. I hate April fool’s day because I don’t like wasting my emotions on trickery. Ever since friends decided it was fun to start a rumor that one of them was dead, shortly after another friend actually did die? I lost all patience for this “holiday”.

  • OrangeLily

    This joke was beyond the pale. You just don’t joke about little kids being injured. That’s beyond the pale number 1. Number 2 was expecting that one of your kids would be around to see and hear your reaction. You can’t explain away to a little kid that it was a joke. Your reaction will probably stay with her for a while.

    If it were me I would have fired Tyrant.

    Heather why are you trying so hard to be cool for other people? With comments like yeah it was funny and jokes about bottling it up etc etc.? I have been reading your blog for a long time and support you and wish you well no matter what, but seriously, stop. You’re too grown up with too many grown-up responsibilities to still be like this. Didn’t you have an enlightening therapy session on this not too long ago?

    I can say this because I was/am a people-pleaser too, so I get where that comes from. But having my own grown-up set of responsibilities puts things into focus and reminds me of my priorities. Being cool for other people is not one of them. (As this post clearly shows me not being so cool, and a whole bunch of ladies are going too say “oh you’re so mean! just go away if you don’t like reading this site yadda yadda”).

  • Monkey

    I would have quite literally tossed him out on his ass – you know, with adrenaline and all. And that’s being nice about it. I understand that there’s probably a blurry line between employee and friend when it involves staying at home and talking about dog farts, but neither employee nor friend should be fucking around with a kid like that. It’s a little thing called boundaries.

  • nienabmj

    Oh geesh, is anyone really surprised by this? It’s just Tyrant being Tyrant. If Heather has come to a point where she honestly does not appreciate his behavior and needs to sit down and have a chat about boundaries and what is/is not ok, she will. In the meantime, sorry Tyrant, but you still have not risen to the level of beating out the PT Cruiser prank. Keep trying.

  • Janice

    Lots of people in the world need jobs. Apparently Tyrant doesn’t. Oblige him, fire him. Zero tolerance for torturing small children. Family isn’t going through enought already?

  • Aprilisin

    Oh boy, head in the fridge is next…watch out!

    Still would’ve punched him very very hard though.

  • mouse6760

    To everyone freaking out & saying they would have fired Tyrant — holy drama queens batman!

  • mlouprice

    @mouse6760, have you not been reading Heather’s posts over the last year? This is not funny. It’s not funny in light of what is going on with Heather, or given Leta’s sensitive nature. I have a sense of humor, a highly developed one, but given everything that is going on with this family, those of us who read and care about them don’t find this prank anything but cruel.

  • mleah

    Clearly Pandora Has A Box, mouse6760, nienabmj and I are the only ones that understand Tyrant’s sense of humor around here. Chillll Outtttt people. Heather isn’t made of porcelain and recently graduated from therapy so I think she’ll be ok.

  • dooce

    You guys, yes. I’m going through a rough time, and I appreciate you understanding and recognizing that. This totally exacerbated my reaction.

    Tyrant really had no idea that I’d have THAT bad of a reaction to it. It really surprised even him. He thought this was one of his more tame attempts to scare me. I told him it disturbed me. He apologized.

    Note, it’s his humor that makes him fit in so well here.

    @OrangeLily I’m not sure how this is me trying to be cool for other people. I admitted that I CRIED, for god’s sake. When I calmed down I could see the possible humor in it. That doesn’t make me forget my grown-up responsibilities or whatever it is you’re trying to say is wrong with me. There were a few people in my life I had a hard time standing up to, but Tyrant was never one of them.

  • mlouprice

    He thought Leta would be with you when you discovered it. That doesn’t make him a laugh riot, it makes him an asshat. I really like your blog, but I just don’t get this. Sorry.

  • Shana in Texas

    I didn’t like it at all. I agree with @mlouprice and some previous posters that it was a matter of poor judgment exercised by Tyrant. BUT, not an offense that requires he be fired; just a conversation about motivation (scare/prank Heather) and repercussions (really scare young kids) with respect to the work and home environment. People make bad choices sometimes and I’ll bet Tyrant sticks to the more sophisticated mind games moving forward.

  • Aundrea

    We play a lot of pranks on each other in our house, so I can appreciate how Tyrant would think this is hilarious. Given your somewhat fragile state these days though, DAMN HE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER!

    I vote: double-babysitting duty for Tyrant, complete with dollie tea-parties and costume changes.

    Have a great trip!

  • Cosmo3807

    I am in the NOT funny camp. I’m glad Tyrant apologized for this. He definitely crossed the line here, despite your defense of him. All things considered I’m truly surprised he chose this prank in the first place. Also, knowing Tyrant as you do, your reaction should have been an eye roll. I don’t understand how you STILL fall for every trick he plays. I can only hope you just say you do so you’ll have blog material.

    Damn near any prank can backfire which is why I am against them in general. I prefer to find humor in other ways.

    Also? I was sorry to read that you’ve moved from “Jon” to “her father”.

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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