the smell of my desperation has become a stench

And off again

I am writing this somewhere high above Wyoming. Is that you down there? Or is that Colorado? All you western states look the same. What? I’m allowed to say that because I live in one of you. If I was from the Northeast then you could slap me. Then it would be racist.

I’m en route to New York to attend the first board meeting for Every Mother Counts tomorrow. This marks the fourth trip I’ve taken since the beginning of April: Columbus, New York, Santa Barbara, and now back to New York. My suitcase has been on the floor next to my bed in between these trips in various stages of unpacking, never fully empty, and it’s become one of those “but why make my bed when I’m going to have to make it again tomorrow” instances of denial.

No. I don’t make my bed. There, I said it. And reading that admission may hurt my mother more than anything I’ve ever said here. Sorry, mom. I’m a slovenly Democrat whose website is sponsored by a butt. You really fucked it up.

Without fail the day before I travel is a chaotic spiral of Things Going Horribly Wrong, and yesterday was no different. Like, having to fit in a very important phone call concerning critical financial decisions before hopping into a meeting downtown and having my cell phone drop coverage. And when I couldn’t get a signal, I started driving around in circles in that parking lot waving my phone around the front seat and over my head and out the window. I really hope that whoever saw me was like, wow. That must be a really good song.

And then I was at the gym for the only workout I have time for this week, a workout that I prioritize because it’s one of the ways I manage my depression. Why yes, I did just use my depression to justify the time I spend at the gym. I’ll also use it to justify my strange prehistoric diet, my google search history for “cats stuck in strange places,” and most certainly for those nights when the girls ask me why I’m putting them to bed early and I say, “Because Mama needs her Game of Thrones.”

I was halfway through the second round of six different exercises, jumping from the ground and landing with both feet on a box two and a half feet tall, over and over again, when I lost my concentration, slipped and scraped an entire layer of skin off of my right shin. The pain, yeah, it was bad, but the worst part was PANTYHOSE. If that is not the first word that runs through your mind when you suffer a mild injury then I would like the name of your therapist, please.

I bought a couple of different dresses for the meetings I have to attend over the next two days, two very cute dresses that stop right at the knee, dresses I had planned to wear with cute little black pumps. I may not make my bed, no, but sometimes I try to look professional when participating in professional activities. And now I have a giant red gash spanning my entire shin. I really didn’t want to have to wear hose or tights, and not just because I haven’t found the box I packed them in when I moved. Okay. It’s exactly because I haven’t found the box I packed them in when I moved.

So, an emergency errand to find hose in between meetings. Just when you thought first world problems couldn’t get any more ridiculous.

Last night after the day had finally wound down and I had a chance to pack, I checked the zipper pouch that I use to pack all my beauty products in small containers. I wanted to see how much of everything I had left, and good thing I did because I needed to refill my conditioner and moisturizer.


Someone over on Instagram jokingly pointed out that the label on the container gave away my OCD, and she’s right, but I suddenly realized, wow. My OCD is really selective. Like, yeah, I prefer the dishes in my cupboard to face a certain way and it makes me angry when I reach for a coffee cup and the handle is not facing to the right, like WHO DOES THAT? TYRANT, YOU’RE FIRED.

But then, I don’t make my bed and my five-second rule can vary by hours depending on just how delicious that piece of food is or who it was that dropped it.

But really, OCD or not, those labels are super important, people. I once thought I could get away with throwing everything into different containers—my white conditioner, my white moisturizer, my white body cream, and my white makeup remover—and all I’d need to do was open the top and smell it to know what was what. But once you add in the tiniest bit of jet lag or a long cab ride or a very long day in meetings, your olfactory glands are telling you that your makeup remover is your conditioner and there you are in the shower massaging Pond’s Cold Cream through your hair.

This is not something I recommend you try at home. Wait. Let me rephrase that. If you’re going to condition your hair with Pond’s Cold Cream, better to do it at home than in the tiny shower of a hotel room in NY the morning of your flight out when you have not allotted the time it would take to make it so that you don’t look like you stuck your head in a vat of melted butter.

  • bambooska

    2013/05/08 at 2:39 pm

    I’m just here to say that if those are pixels in the font, then you, madam, have an awesome style.

  • Short and Feisty

    2013/05/08 at 2:42 pm

    Without fail, I am scramblin’ to right things that have gone berzerk in my life the night before I travel somewhere. It’s pretty much the Universe telling me it wants me to be a homebody. I laugh in the Universe’s face…and then usually face-plant as I trip over a stack of dirty laundry.

  • The Absent Minded Housewife

    2013/05/08 at 2:43 pm

    I wouldn’t say I’m OCD exactly, but my sense of order would have that container labeled and covered in decorative scrolls and shit.

    I also happily noted that you do not have a hangnail.

  • Kristi Davis

    2013/05/08 at 2:43 pm

    I loved this post, thank you. 🙂

  • lolowyo

    2013/05/08 at 2:45 pm

    Hey! I’m in Laramie, Wyoming! You were probably over my head!

    I hope your schedule normalized in the near future, lady. Traveling on the weekend really, really fucks with my workouts, my eating, sleeping, my (attempts at) non-boozing…everything.

  • q.piper

    2013/05/08 at 2:51 pm

    I once came within a centimeter of putting estrogen cream on my toothbrush, so yes, I agree about the usefulness of labels.

  • DJ Yabis | Dream Euro Trip

    2013/05/08 at 3:05 pm

    HAHAHA That must be a really good song.

  • Sara Dill

    2013/05/08 at 3:07 pm

    When I was a kid, I once was sent to camp with a bottle of shampoo and a bottle of what I thought was conditioner. I soon learned that lotion does not do the same thing that conditioner does…. quite gross in the shower actually.

  • skirt

    2013/05/08 at 3:19 pm

    If the trip is short, you can scoop servings of things you need only a little of into contact cases and label with sharpie (bb cream, moisturizer, etc.).

  • americanrecluse

    2013/05/08 at 3:33 pm

    I once used unlabeled containers and spent an embarrassing amount of time going back and forth – sniff? sniff. Sniff? Sniff. Then again, only touching everything because obviously I would remember what it was once I smacked a dab of it between thumb and forefinger and then sniffed my finger, right? and once I finally figured out which was which I had to segregate them on the hotel bathroom vanity and remember which was where, and I still haven’t gotten over it. The presence of a label maker in your life simply means you’re sane.

  • Ali

    2013/05/08 at 3:35 pm

    My weird (but highly effective) packing method is to throw it in the suitcase as I use it to get ready on the day of the trip. The theory being that this way I won’t forget it….drives the Husband CRAZY (he of the pack the suitcase, car the week before). I indulged him a couple weeks ago since it was an O-dark-thirty departure time aaaannnnndddd left my fancy conditioner, shampoo, toothbrush, and face wash behind.

    Never again will I let him complain about my method. Never again.

  • Kristin

    2013/05/08 at 3:44 pm

    In my hotel induced exhaustion I once grabbed the diaper creme out of my bag and squirted it onto my toothbrush and brushed for about 1.27 seconds before trying to spit it out. It doesn’t spit out. It’s designed to adhere to damp areas and resist all type of moisture.

    I never packed the two things together again.

  • Necole Kell

    2013/05/08 at 3:51 pm

    I never make my bed either. It makes my mother cringe.

  • Jerilyn M

    2013/05/08 at 4:06 pm

    What crossfitter DOESN’T have scars up and down their shins??? It goes with our calloused hands!

  • AbolishingIgnorance

    2013/05/08 at 4:34 pm

    OCD is not having to have things organized a certain way – that’s just being organized and liking your stuff put in certain places. OCD is repeating an action over and over to alleviate overpowering thoughts.

    BTW – have fun in NYC with your boyfriend.

  • aushea

    2013/05/08 at 4:35 pm

    Ok, I have never commented on your blog (which I love), but I have to ask… 30″ box jumps? Remind me to never go to a crossfit gym in Utah!

  • Stacy Linrud

    2013/05/08 at 4:54 pm

    I only make my bed enough to cover my pillow, and that’s only because i don’t want my cat to put her stinky butt on my pillow while i’m out all day.

  • issascrazyworld

    2013/05/08 at 5:00 pm

    I do this with plastic containers. After once trying to shampoo my hair with baby lotion. OCD or not, it’s brilliant. Where’d you get the little glass containers though? My plastic ones don’t last as long.

  • Amy Williams

    2013/05/08 at 6:06 pm

    Holy sh*t, why don’t you gfy. You don’t know squat about OCD, and you don’t know squat about Dooce. If you don’t like it here, don’t be here.

  • Gelfand

    2013/05/08 at 6:22 pm

    Why attack the previous poster? What he or she said about OCD is exactly right. It’s a serious mental illness that makes functioning on a day to day basis incredibly difficult. Unfortunately, many people are clueless about what OCD actually is, and use the term to describe being extremely organized. Using OCD the way Heather and many others do – that is, to describe being neat – furthers the misunderstanding of this mental illness. You’d think someone associated with NAMI would know better.

  • AbolishingIgnorance

    2013/05/08 at 7:00 pm

    Thanks Gelfand. Amy Williams, actually, yes, I know a lot about the real OCD, as my younger sister suffers from it. Oh..and just to abolish your ignorance..from The National Institute of Mental Health:

    What is OCD?

    Everyone double checks things sometimes. For example, you might double check to make sure the stove or iron is turned off before leaving the house. But people with OCD feel the need to check things repeatedly, or have certain thoughts or perform routines and rituals over and over. The thoughts and rituals associated with OCD cause distress and get in the way of daily life.

    The frequent upsetting thoughts are called obsessions. To try to control them, a person will feel an overwhelming urge to repeat certain rituals or behaviors called compulsions. People with OCD can’t control these obsessions and compulsions.

    For many people, OCD starts during childhood or the teen years. Most people are diagnosed by about age 19. Symptoms of OCD may come and go and be better or worse at different times.

    I read because I adore Heather’s writing, and stating a fact does not constitute criticism. I truly am baffled by your tone, Amy.

  • Meg H

    2013/05/08 at 7:00 pm

    I LOVE my labelmaker. Look, everyone THINKS they’ll be able to tell the difference among all the different kinds of flour, or sugar, or whatnot, but when the lightbulb in the kitchen is dying they all look similar and then all of a sudden the baked goods are not longer edible and going through the trouble of making something from scratch and not being able to enjoy it isn’t good.

  • Jasi Lee

    2013/05/08 at 7:40 pm

    your ocd is based on efficiency. if somehow, making a bed proved to be time-saving, you would have already added it into your daily. but it seems like your subconscious knows that a made bed (and making one) just slows you down. wtg.

  • Jasi Lee

    2013/05/08 at 7:42 pm

    um ocd is about repetitive behaviors. if keeping certain things organized is a compulsion, or a ritual, then it’s indicative of OCD. enough bashing, people. and i’m pretty sure that boyfriend comment thrown in at the last was helpful. please represent humanity with a little more dignity. thanks.

  • Joseph's Mommy

    2013/05/08 at 8:45 pm

    Omg, I did the exact same thing at CrossFit today, and yes, my first thought WAS about pantyhose, as in, ” Thank God I don’t have to wear a dress anytime soon!” Hurts like a bitch, but I didn’t cry. I’ve cries over poorly executed clean and jerks during a WOD (yes, really), but I was not going to cry from this nauseating pain, by golly! And I also totally justify the time and money I spend on CF with my depression. I would be insane without it! Hope your trip is wonderful. Be proud of that banged-up shin! You’re a badass!

  • Katybeth

    2013/05/08 at 8:59 pm

    Make your bed, your mother is right it’s much harder to have a good day with an unmade bed….just sayin’ Hope your leg heals, and you look smashing in your new dresses.

  • Kathleen

    2013/05/08 at 9:27 pm

    Actually, if you look at her instagram, she IS meeting her boyfriend in New York. She’s just leaving that part out on her blog for whatever reason. So *you* are the one here who knows knows less than you think you do.

  • MamaWest

    2013/05/08 at 11:14 pm

    Oh man, this reminds me of a funny story… had to share. My mom and grandma came to visit a few years ago. When they visit, they tend to cook some of my favorite meals (no complaints here!). Well, they had made some chocolate chip cookies one day, peanut butter cookies another day and homemade pizza another day. My husband’s stomach was a mess for those days and we couldn’t figure out why. We thought maybe he just had the stomach flu or something. Well, it turns out my mom and grandma had been using PANCAKE MIX INSTEAD OF FLOUR IN ALL OF THEIR RECIPES!! I had bought a big bag of pancake mix and dumped it into a Rubbermaid food storage container without putting a label on it and they assumed it was flour. Oops!!!

  • MamaWest

    2013/05/08 at 11:17 pm

    This literally had me laughing out loud!! Thanks for the late night chuckle. 🙂

  • Litenarata

    2013/05/08 at 11:27 pm

    That is the exact reason that for the first time in my life, I voluntarily yank the bedspread up to the top of the bed before leaving the house.

  • Sova

    2013/05/09 at 5:07 am

    You can tell your Mom that an unmade bed is healthier – it gets to breathe, unlike neatly made sheets which are a breeding ground for bacteria left behind by your grubby little body. So there, Mom.

  • Amy Williams

    2013/05/09 at 7:22 am

    Instagram can suck it, and y’all can all feel SO good about yourselves now, can’t you. *slow clap*

    And as a diagnosed OCD skin picker, I still beg to differ on the above posts. Kthxbai.

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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