the smell of my desperation has become a stench

A dozen years

Yesterday my website turned 12 years old. Today it started its period and was like WHOA WHAT IS HAPPENING. Didn’t think I’d have to sit down and have that talk with it just yet.

Hey, website. Go google some questions. But be sure to put a helmet on first.


Whoever’s search history this is, you should probably stop eating so many leprechauns.

There isn’t much time to celebrate. I think Tyrant and I are going to eat a piece of cake later today, but that’s after I start packing up clothes and books and equipment to move to another home:


Last month I sold this house, this beautiful place that I once thought would be the scenery of my future. In about a week I’ll be living elsewhere and the girls and I will continue to make memories there. Getting this house ready to sell and the laborious process of making sure it was clean enough for showings and then packing up both dogs, Marlo, my cousin and Tyrant, sometimes Leta, all of us in one car wandering around until we got the call that it was clear to return, it’s made me very eager to move forward and leave behind this phase of my life.

There are very good memories in these rooms. I will honor them by being grateful that I was allowed to live them. As I walk around and assess what needs to be put in boxes and how things will fit in the new space, I’m not really feeling a sense of nostalgia. This change is a natural consequence of divorce, and I’d been afraid that when it came time to face this stage of it that I’d be crippled with sadness. But these are just things. These are just walls and floors, and if the last year and a half of my life has shown me anything it’s that a really beautiful house is not in and of itself happiness. It’s just a location.

I could be here, I could be in my mother’s basement. I could still be in that 400-sq-ft apartment in West Hollywood and I’d have to wake up and decide if I’m going to take what’s going on in my life and make it better, if I’m going to get up and out of bed every day to provide security and safety for my kids, if I’m going seek out happiness. There is so much in life to look forward to, and owning a giant kitchen and sprawling hardwood floors pretty much has nothing to do with it.

Metaphorically this move is a perfect celebration of what my website has given me, a place to process and articulate the joy and the pain and the journey of evolving. I can go back and read about my single life in Los Angeles, the sadness I felt when I left California, the awkward nights of living in the room underneath my mother’s kitchen. I can see the bewilderment of early motherhood. I can read about a marriage that lasted a decade. I can browse photos of the first house I ever bought, the cover of the book I wrote, the months my cousin GEORGE! lived in my spare bedroom. I can relive the moment a rattlesnake almost killed my dog. 12 thrilling years that resemble the sine curves of a roller coaster.

And now I’m moving into a home by myself with my girls, another wholly new experience that I know pretty much nothing about, one that is sure to be as winding and deranged as the entire journey that preceded it.

I hope you’ll join me on this part of the ride as my website enters puberty, starts slamming its bedroom door in my face and secretly starts sexting the delinquent neighbor who rides a skateboard. They grow up so fast these days.

  • Judi

    2013/02/28 at 3:46 pm

    I’ll be there. Always.

  • Shayla Dvorak

    2013/02/28 at 3:56 pm

    it’s pretty freaking fantastic and wonderful that you have a flourishing blog (and following) after 12 years! i’m impressed. and following along. and wishing you a wonderful move as you venture into the next chapter!

  • meg

    2013/02/28 at 3:57 pm

    Congratulations on 12 years, and thank you for inviting all of us along for the ride. Best wishes.

  • tiffany

    2013/02/28 at 3:57 pm

    beautifully written

  • Robin Dearing

    2013/02/28 at 3:57 pm

    Best wishes as your life and this website continue to grow and change. Here’s to the future.

  • issascrazyworld

    2013/02/28 at 3:59 pm

    Congrats on the move and happy 12th birthday to your blog. Did you get it a big girl bra?

  • Zoe Kingson

    2013/02/28 at 3:59 pm

    Good luck!! You deserve happiness.

  • Elan Morgan

    2013/02/28 at 4:00 pm

    I’ll keep hanging around 🙂

  • HeatherArmstrong

    2013/02/28 at 4:00 pm

    It’s the new place, yes. Southern exposure. I’m so excited about the light.

  • Roxanna Sarmiento

    2013/02/28 at 4:01 pm

    To new beginnings!

  • HeatherArmstrong

    2013/02/28 at 4:02 pm

    A training bra. It is MY website after all.

  • issascrazyworld

    2013/02/28 at 4:04 pm

    Bwahahaha. I ALMOST said that.

  • allconsuming

    2013/02/28 at 4:05 pm

    I haven’t checked in on you for over a month due to catastrophic(!) back injuries, surgeries, staph infections and various other incidents that have befallen my family. (side note: 2013 – You’re far from my thoughts so reading this as my first post catching up on your world? The perfect place to start. You’re so right about the house just being things. We live with my mother and every day I dream of our own place until I kick myself in the head and realise – live it, breath it, realise IT is happening now and my kids don’t care where we live so long as we have each other and I don’t get sick again so they have to endure dad lunches.

    I end my posts with ‘onward’ as it really is my mantra. It seems fitting here. Onward!

  • Celeste

    2013/02/28 at 4:06 pm

    You haven’t lived in your current house for long enough to have an attachment to it. Seems like as soon as you moved in you and your husband separated. I know it was probably longer but that’s what it seems like from this point of view. I hope you and the girls find a wonderful new home and make many wonderful memories. Has the ex found a great new place for when he has the girls?

  • Jill Harris Crawford

    2013/02/28 at 4:07 pm

    You are a constant source of inspiration to me. You live your life fearlessly! And invite your readers along for the journey. God Bless you and your girls in your new home!

  • Katherine Bull

    2013/02/28 at 4:08 pm

    I actually Googled “why is my poop green?” after my 5 yo daughter pooped green. It was the result of eating Cheetos. Congrats on the new chapter in your life!

  • Jordan

    2013/02/28 at 4:09 pm

    I can totally relate to onwards and upwards. Fantastic approach and one that at times is so hard. Look forward to all the new adventures of the new place and new aspects of life. I can feel the strength in your words and it is inspiring! Way to go Dooce! Been reading for about 8 years and look forward to another 8!

  • Leanne Tapper

    2013/02/28 at 4:14 pm

    I’ve been following your amazing blog for about 10 years and I’ll continue to do so (if you’ll have me)! Good luck with the move and with creating new, happy memories in the next abode!

  • Christa

    2013/02/28 at 4:14 pm

    Wonderful post.
    I left my home in the UK seven months ago to come and live in SLC (and ye gods, beautiful, but enuff of the frickin’ snow already). I thought it would break my heart to leave behind the house my (now adult) children had grown up in…not to mention the years I spent decorating and mosaicing it.
    I have never looked back.
    The cost of shipping things over here made me re-evaluate everything I owned. So much stuff. It was cathartic to narrow it down to what was really important. Decades of photo albums, artworks and paintings, my art making materials, were just about all that I really valued.
    My change of life, direction and even country, came as the result of the demise of a very long term relationship (27 years). I am sad we are no longer a ‘family’, but the future is so so bright, as I’m positive yours will be.
    I wish you well in your new home and in the new chapter of your life. x

  • Cory Zacker

    2013/02/28 at 4:15 pm

    Onward and upward. Wishing you joy and peace in your new home, Heather. And congratulations on 12 years.

  • Hanni

    2013/02/28 at 4:15 pm

    Love following your blog, Heather. I’ll be reading along as long as you’re writing!!! Many congrats on your new place, and also on moving full steam ahead…

  • HeatherArmstrong

    2013/02/28 at 4:17 pm

    Thank you for sharing that. It gives me hope. And welcome to snowy SLC!

  • Kristin K. Ausk

    2013/02/28 at 4:18 pm

    12 yrs. wow! congratulations! looking forward to seeing posts about the new house. my dad recently lost his house, the house I spent the last years of my teens and early 20s. i thought i would be more devastated by it but it’s like you said, just things. Just walls, carpet, tile. I’m letting it go. Heres to the past good memories and the future great ones!

  • shanparker

    2013/02/28 at 4:19 pm

    And I’ve been following along nearly the entire time! Good luck, I know you loved that house very much.

  • Sarah

    2013/02/28 at 4:25 pm

    Are you staying in the same general area?

  • Carmilla Bobbitt

    2013/02/28 at 4:28 pm

    Change is not always a bad thing. I like how you are looking at it as just another phase. Life is ever evolving for all of us. I look forward to seeing pictures of the decorating of your new home. If my home only looked as Chic as yours…

  • Joanne Zeis

    2013/02/28 at 4:29 pm

    If the rest of your new place is as beautiful as that one room, you’ve made a great choice. Fire up the hug mug, put your feet up, and celebrate your new (smaller) family and home. AFTER you’ve moved in, of course. Otherwise the previous owners will be a little shocked.

  • Diane Cayton-Hakey

    2013/02/28 at 4:33 pm

    Such a lovely post today. We are in the process of selling a house and buying a house. I’ve cried over leaving some of the homes we have owned, puberty or no puberty. At first I would miss them, probably because each one was in a different state and not only did the house get left behind, but the friends. You are right. They are only locations, it’s the memories built there that are important. I wish you much happiness in your new home with the girls and making new memories, Heather. xox

  • Melissa

    2013/02/28 at 4:42 pm

    I did the whole packing up the dogs and leaving thing when we showed our house to sell last year. It sucked and I didn’t have all the people you had! I feel ya’! PS Those new floors make me swoon.

  • HeatherArmstrong

    2013/02/28 at 4:47 pm

    Mostly. My main goal was to keep Leta in the same school and I succeeded there.

  • Beth

    2013/02/28 at 4:47 pm

    Great news about the move. I’m happy and relieved for you.

    Congrats on 12 years. Excited to see where the next twelve will take you.

  • Michael G Muckian

    2013/02/28 at 4:48 pm

    Lovely sentiment in your post and a beautiful porch! I would buy the house for that room alone. Enjoy.

  • Fluffy Cat

    2013/02/28 at 4:55 pm

    I had the experience of living with a partner, and then he moved out, and it still felt like “our” place even though he was no longer in my life. Finally moving into a new house gave me a sense of closure even though the relationship had long past. I hope the new place works out well for you!

  • Megan Schultz

    2013/02/28 at 4:57 pm

    This website has become my “home base” on the internet. Know that.

  • Nanette

    2013/02/28 at 5:01 pm

    Brilliantly written with humor and Grace! Best of luck to you and your girls in your new home.

  • Aga

    2013/02/28 at 5:02 pm

    Hugs and hearts and warm (Southern) light. You don’t know it, but you’ve been one of my best friends for the past 8 years. You’ve given me courage, you’ve inspired me to validate my experience, to OWN being the human being I am. Thank you for that. Please stick around forever, I need you.

  • JaneC

    2013/02/28 at 5:03 pm

    I look forward to following you on this ride. Moving is always *such* fun. And while those multi-pane windows are lovely, I don’t envy whoever has to clean little fingerprints and dog snool off them all. 🙂

  • Susan

    2013/02/28 at 5:10 pm

    We got your back. Looking forward to new memories.

  • Michael Mathews

    2013/02/28 at 5:14 pm

    I was wondering if this might be in the works. It is tough, but I think you have the right perspective. The kids and your family are what matters. The rest is just stuff. It’s nice to have some things that are meaningful and/or that you find pretty and/or peaceful, but you can make any place a nice home if you have the right mindset.

  • Evelyn

    2013/02/28 at 5:15 pm

    Oh, how deeply I hear this post, the lull of packing memories in carefully padded containers, and sifting through what needed to follow and what needed to go. I too left a decade long marriage (what is with that decade transition stuff), and also left a beautiful home with my teenage son to start a new adventure – with gratitude, in awe of my life and all it has given me, and in wonder. Thank you.

  • Mo

    2013/02/28 at 5:15 pm

    Can’t wait to hear about the next phase. Good luck!

  • =^..^=

    2013/02/28 at 5:18 pm

    Home is wherever the girls are. And the dogs. Oh, and dont forget Tyrant. That’s all you really need, no ?

  • superdoo

    2013/02/28 at 5:19 pm

    You moved into Southern Exposure? Well I don’t think any of us expected that to happen. 😉 Best of luck in your new digs.

  • Shelly

    2013/02/28 at 5:22 pm

    Love you, Heather <3

  • Eve

    2013/02/28 at 6:10 pm

    I enjoy your blog so much. I am sorry if you are feeling lonely now; I feel like we are right there with you. Good luck moving in all that snow! I can’t imagine how that even works.

  • Kimberly

    2013/02/28 at 6:29 pm

    What a lovely love letter. Its made me feel melancholic for your old posts, as well. You are the valedictorian of blogs, as far as I am concerned. Happy Birthday, Dooce! Thanks for a great childhood, can’t wait to sneak out, smoke some weed and get the neighbor kids to drink caffeine!

  • ɯoɔ˙ɹǝƃƃolquǝʞoʇ

    2013/02/28 at 6:29 pm

    I’m glad you finally found a place you like. I’ve been thinking about you.

  • melisa ann

    2013/02/28 at 7:08 pm

    On to newer and greater things! I marvel at your strength Heather! I’m sure you’ll have awesome new memories to share with your kids anywhere you set up home. And congratulations on turning 12! Yippeee~!

  • Jo

    2013/02/28 at 7:16 pm

    Best of luck to you, Heather. Have been following since before Leta and will continue to do so!

  • kit @

    2013/02/28 at 7:55 pm

    Okay first I just fell over and fucking died because of how awesome the floor in that sun room is, but I’m going to write this comment posthumously because it needs to be said… I don’t have two kids and an what I imagine is an emotionally draining divorce under my belt, but I did spend two years living in a garage while I built my dream home with my own to hands (and my boyfriend.) My now ex-boyfriend because the relationship failed. And for a minute (or six months) I was a little whatthefuckjusthappenedtothelifeIwasplanningtoliveinthishouse, but I moved on. I bought a 150 year old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere by myself, and it literally changed my life. Saved me. Taught me all kinds of things about myself that I would never have known otherwise. And the scariest part to me now, is that I almost didn’t make that decision. I almost couldn’t let go of that house and that life that I planned. And if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have all of this awesome in my life a year later. So seriously? I think it’s really fantastic that you’re embarking on this new house and new adventure… you and your girls. Can’t wait to see what awesome things come from it.

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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