the smell of my desperation has become a stench

A quick lesson in how to get your family to stop reading your website

Recently my father and stepmother have been making an effort to spend more time with the girls and have been bringing over a Little Caesar’s pizza and ice cream on a night after school about every other week. Yes, I know. Little Caesar’s. Why do I allow my children to consume such poison? Well, they had grown tired of the Cheetos I’d coated with arsenic, and both girls were showing an increasing difficulty in finishing their daily cup of lighter fluid. I needed to switch it up a bit.

Maybe I should just try this.

I also cannot overstate my father’s conservative approach to finances, and a five dollar pizza is probably a pizza that is four dollars too expensive. But I really do appreciate his financial sacrifice to bring my girls their favorite pizza, that and the incredibly long drive across the valley to make the visit possible. My kids get very excited when I tell them Grandpa Mike is coming which is yet another reason why I continue to live in Utah. The deep and meaningful relationships they have with my family far outweigh the daily longing I experience to pack up, head to Southern California and lie down on the sidewalk in a bikini.

I think I may have mentioned here before that my father is not a fan of bodily functions, but it bears repeating for this particular post. I don’t believe my father ever changed a diaper without having his entire head and face protected by a professionally-outfitted Mylar bubble. My father’s vocabulary is missing the word “fart” because such a thing does not exist. People do not go to the bathroom, they just happen to disappear into a specific room with a toilet for no reason whatsoever.

You know what I bet he thinks they’re doing in there? Figuring out how to optimize their retirement plans. He’s right. When I have to go pee I contemplate nothing but my 401K.

A few days before one of these visits I had picked up a bag of treats for the dogs at Costco that said something on the packaging about being good for their dental health. And can we all agree that packaging does not lie? If a bag of frozen sweet and sour chicken says, “Healthy Choice!” right there on the front then we can totally ignore the fact that whoever manufactured this “food” used six different forms of sweeteners, making it as full of sugar as a Snickers bar. THEY DIDN’T LIE. Snickers are certifiably healthy for your butt.

After the girls had eaten a few slices of poison pizza, we were all sitting around the living room talking about Leta’s studies in school. Marlo never pays attention during these discussions and was indulging my father’s love of teasing his grandchildren. My father shows his affection by tickling them, throwing them over his shoulder, pulling their toes, and tossing them in the air. Marlo could not be a more perfect candidate for this type of play. If we lived on a farm I would no doubt find her every afternoon in a mud puddle, stripped naked and wrestling pigs to their near death.

I had stepped into the kitchen to lace a few more Cheetos with arsenic when suddenly Marlo started SCAH-REAMING. It was bone-chilling, and my first thought was, great, DAD. You dropped her on her head and I forgot to show you the right way she likes to be dropped on her head.

She came running into the kitchen with the most awful noise erupting from her face.


“What’s wrong?” I asked while bending down to inspect if she had a cut or a bruise anywhere.



“CHUCK THREWED UP EVERYWHERE!” she finally got out.

Just then I heard another ungodly noise coming from the living room, the unmistakable sound of food and bile and stomach acid making its way up the very long neck of my older dog. And there was Chuck, his head bobbing in rhythm to the involuntary movements of his throat, his body standing frozen over my beautiful rug covering the living room floor. I thought about attempting a heroic, slow-motion jump through the air wherein I would gently tackle him to the tile in the kitchen, but I knew I was already too late. Just then a giant bucket of puke shot out of his mouth all over that beautiful rug. And, oh my, the lovely smell.

He was standing about three feet away from my father. That would be about 400,000 feet too close.

I soon found the first pile of vomit, and what struck me most other than the appalling odor was the presence of what looked like white rubber objects interspersed with undigested food. The next pile contained the same thing. The next eight piles, and yes, I mean EIGHT, THAT IS ALMOST TWO HANDS OF FINGERS (he continued to puke and puke and puke), each contained the same weird substance.

My father sat motionless, staring straight ahead. I was running around with paper towels and trash bags and special liquids you buy at the pet store for these kinds of situations. Every time I cleaned up a pile Chuck would puke again, and every time he made that horrible noise my father would flinch almost imperceptibly. For the next twenty minutes he never took his eyes off of a specific spot on the wall. The Heather that you know well from this website took a great deal of evil pleasure knowing that my father was sitting there witnessing a bodily function unfold. Chuck had not disappeared politely into another room. He was standing in front of my father loudly proclaiming PUKE EXISTS AND IT IS SPECTACULAR.

Do not feel sorry for my father. He gave me this sense of humor. This is all his fault.

That night I soaked one of those Costco treats in water, and by the next morning it looked and felt exactly like the white rubber objects in Chuck’s puke. I also found the same substance in Coco’s stool (why, yes, I do inspect my dogs’ poop, DIGNITY DOES NOT OWN A PET). Neither of my dogs was digesting these healthy treats, and they were manifesting it through opposite ends of their bodies.


Thank you, Coco, for not manifesting it on the living room rug. Thank you, Chuck, for waiting to do so until you had the most perfect and deserving audience.

  • jill

    2014/01/29 at 4:42 pm

    A. Hilarious.
    B. I must know what treats these are, in order to avoid them.
    C. Chuck is valedictorian of puking.

  • The Absent Minded Housewife

    2014/01/29 at 4:44 pm

    Fuck my diet. I want pizza.

  • Cristina Robinson

    2014/01/29 at 5:03 pm

    HAHA @ B! I was thinking the same thing!

  • Jezebel Smith

    2014/01/29 at 5:06 pm

    I believe my dog had the same exact reaction to those “white rubber treats”, which were on sale at Costco a few months ago. I love Costco’s return policy. I only gave him one treat (while I was home), but I came home later that day to find piles of vomit all over the living room.

  • StephDK

    2014/01/29 at 6:10 pm

    All the dog treats Costco carries are made in China & therefore MUST be avoided at all cost! There have been hundreds of deaths related to China-made dog treats, so you’re lucky all he did was puke. It’s worth shopping around for dog treats that are sourced & made in the USA.

  • grad.nauseam

    2014/01/29 at 5:39 pm

    “Dignity does not own a pet,” is how I will explain the existence of the box of baby wipes I keep near the back door from now on.

  • Teal

    2014/01/29 at 6:01 pm

    The phrase “the most awful noise erupting from her face” made me LOL. I cracked up at the image of “Chuck’s head bobbing in rhythm to the involuntary movements of his throat” I’m glad Chuck’s okay, though!

  • The Absent Minded Housewife

    2014/01/29 at 6:30 pm

    ..and as soon as I commented on this post, my kid starts running to the bathroom shouting, “I have to throw up!” Poor kiddo.

    I swear to god I don’t feed him Costco dog treats.

  • Danalan

    2014/01/29 at 7:02 pm

    You’ve got to be extremely careful with pet food these days. Even the big brands are getting horribly adulterated crap from China. Purina food gave our Yoshi salmonella, and he died within 6 months. Ask your veterinarian how many more sick dogs they’re seeing nowadays.

  • scout

    2014/01/29 at 7:22 pm

    Why didn’t you put the dog outside?

  • theboldsoul

    2014/01/30 at 1:55 am

    Why, oh WHY did I think it would be a good idea to sit down to read this post with a bowl of OATMEAL for my breakfast? Got to the part about Chuck’s heaving body and had to stop reading. Will come back in a year or so when I can get that image out of my head.

    On the other hand, perhaps this visualization will be a good weight-loss aid. So, you know, THANKS for that, Heather.

  • Tracie

    2014/01/30 at 6:44 am

    I can smell it from here.
    Would love to know how you (if you) got rid of the smell.
    Have similar issues.

  • Allyssa Wheaton-Rodriguez

    2014/01/30 at 7:08 am

    We can’t give our dogs greenies because of the same reaction.

  • daneysdish

    2014/01/30 at 8:12 am

    This post made me vomit. Although, I also have two dogs whose actions regularly make me vomit as well.

    I love my dogs, but also cannot wait for the sweet lord to take them away. If that makes me evil, so be it. I can’t wait not to clean up errant shit and puke and anal gland juices.

  • Jenny

    2014/01/30 at 8:48 am

    This post should be labeled with a “trigger warning” for bulimic dogs…

  • Jo D

    2014/01/30 at 9:16 am

    soak some lemon or orange peels in white vinegar for at least a day (or a week or two in the fridge). Dump the citrus-y vinegar into a spray bottle with 30% water and go to town on any pet stains (check that the light yellow doesn’t stain further first, I’ve never had an issue but you never know). If you’re feeling extra ambitious, liberally sprinkle baking soda on the spot after spraying to draw out more stank (and help the spot dry faster) and vacuum it up the next day. Works for every bodily function my dogs have done on my carpet.

  • Beth

    2014/01/30 at 9:21 am

    Gag. Are they allowed on the furniture? I’m trying to keep my puppy off of my couches but I feel like it’s a losing battle. She looks so cozy on the couch.

  • ninjaf

    2014/01/30 at 9:38 am

    I am also wondering, as we buy very similar sounding treats for our dogs at Costco. They love them, but we have never had an experiences like that…with these treats.

  • acm

    2014/01/30 at 9:45 am

    Man, I haven’t thought of that specific sound for a long time, but I could immediately hear it and feel the chills of dread it used to elicit, back in my dog-owning days. whhhhew.

  • DANI

    2014/01/30 at 10:34 am

    your dog puked…………….
    wow……………..soooooooooooooooo interesting
    and funny

  • KristenfromMA

    2014/01/30 at 11:04 am

    We’re the treats made in China? Seriously, you have to avoid stuff from China.

  • Heather Armstrong

    2014/01/30 at 11:14 am

    Are you being sarcastic?

  • Heather Armstrong

    2014/01/30 at 11:15 am

    They aren’t allowed on the furniture, no, but they sometimes sneak onto the couch when they think I’m not looking.

  • Heather Armstrong

    2014/01/30 at 11:17 am

    I am a huge, huge fan of this stuff and it totally works: Natures Miracle Advanced Stain & Odor Gal

  • Heather Armstrong

    2014/01/30 at 11:19 am

    Sorry! I will lead off with a warning next time.

  • Heather Armstrong

    2014/01/30 at 11:21 am

    Because then my father wouldn’t have been witnessing it.

  • Heather Armstrong

    2014/01/30 at 11:23 am

    I threw them away immediately, so I’m not sure. Chuck is going in for a checkup soon so I’ll ask the vet for some recommendations.

  • Bea

    2014/01/30 at 11:50 am

    Oh Heather, I think you’ve just pitched a bestseller.

  • theboldsoul

    2014/01/30 at 12:19 pm

    Maybe it’s Chuck who needs to give the warning. 😉 And OMG what the hell was IN that dog “food”? Scary to imagine. Who do you contact to report bad pet foods – the FDA?

  • theboldsoul

    2014/01/30 at 12:22 pm

    Clearly, she’s being sarcastic. Didn’t you see all the CAPITAL LETTERS? I don’t know about you, Heather, but my sarcasms are always in caps… in my head, at least.

  • Becky

    2014/01/30 at 12:30 pm

    ROFLMAO!!!!! Couldn’t have picked a better day for it either…thank You Heather and karma.

  • Laurie

    2014/01/30 at 12:38 pm

    Wow scout, that was profound.
    Heather, this is hysterical! Thank you.

  • Should be working!

    2014/01/30 at 12:51 pm

    Of course, I would have to read this the day after an episode with my cat: she woke me at 4:00 a.m. making that hollow coughing sound in the bedroom. As I go to clean that up, she moves to the hall, and does it again, and then moves to the living room and repeats! Everywhere except on a non-carpeted surface. Luckily, it was only a couple small spots except for the initial hairball, but you can’t ignore it until later. And I was the only audience, but since I sleep commando-style, you can imagine the show I put on!

  • Amanda

    2014/01/30 at 1:28 pm

    I cannot handle vomit, mine, others, and especially my dogs. And even though I was gagging through this post, it is still very funny! Marlo’s reaction is about the same as mine would have been.

  • ligtenup

    2014/01/30 at 2:51 pm

    “When I have to go pee I contemplate nothing but my 401K.” Are you saying you don’t?? haha.

    Are they a generic Costco dog treat? I want to know what we should stay away from…


  • Angela

    2014/01/30 at 1:57 pm

    My friend sent an ecard to me the other day with the Dos Equis guy on it that said: “I don’t always jump out of bed like a ninja in the middle of the night. . . but when I do, it’s because my dog is about to throw up on the carpet.” I have 4 miniature Dachshunds who sleep in bed with us (I know! I know!) and one of them has a fairly sensitive stomach. I can completely relate to this which is why I am currently snorting liquid out of my nose. Yay Chuck!

  • MoiraZ

    2014/01/30 at 2:07 pm

    We fed our dog baby carrots and that dog would do ANYTHING for a baby carrot. Vet recommended healthy treats. Just no grapes… 🙂

  • Torchness

    2014/01/30 at 2:20 pm

    If we could buy stock in that stuff, I would. Worked miracles potty training a 3 year old rescue pug. When we have a kid I’m going to see if it works on my kid as well, can’t hurt, right?

  • issascrazyworld

    2014/01/30 at 2:22 pm

    Oh my word. Your poor dad. I can’t stop laughing at him, but I do feel bad about it. Sorta. Kinda. He reminds me of my Grandma who once flipped out because my brother used the bathroom closest to the kitchen to pee. He was eight. But you could hear it and well that is something that DIDN’T exist in my Grandmothers world.

  • JM

    2014/01/30 at 2:52 pm

    I am totally eye-balling the dental treats I just bought for my dogs on sale now and tempted to soak them in water to see what happens. I will suggest Blue Buffalo though. I have a dog with ridiculous allergies and Blue Buffalo is the first food I’ve come across in however many years we’ve been dealing with this that doesn’t aggravate her allergies or her stomach. They have regular treats that my dogs go crazy over, but they also make the dental chews too. And elk antler treats, if you need to train Chuck and Coco to attack elk on site. (I’m imagining that’s what will happen once a dog gets the taste for elk antlers.)

  • Kathy R

    2014/01/30 at 4:01 pm

    Hilarious! Glad your pups are ok. I hope you’re dads gonna be ok. LOL

  • Katybeth

    2014/01/30 at 4:45 pm

    The worst treats ever. We really need to call Cosco and insist they send someone to clean our carpets and pay our vet bill if they insist on selling them. Even worse these “American” made treats cause blockages in dogs prone to them. So many of my clients have had Chuck’s problem but not one of them has mentioned the glory of having it happen with an audience! Did you ask your Dad if he ever wonder why you named him Chuck?

  • MallyMon

    2014/01/30 at 5:05 pm

    Thank you, I haven’t laughed so much in ages. 🙂 x

  • MallyMon

    2014/01/30 at 5:12 pm

    P.S. I love your dogs almost as much as I enjoy reading about your daughters.

  • Karen

    2014/01/30 at 5:43 pm

    I felt like a huge pile of steaming dog crap after the dogs watched- watched! I let them see! Gah! 🙁 – me throw away the bag of Hartz Oink Twists my husband brought home for the dog… but dude, husband is still trying to accept my “No poison for the dogs!” rule. But can unblame him a little. Our annual pet food bill for 4 cats and 2 dogs overshoots our own annual medical bills I think.

  • americanrecluse

    2014/01/31 at 7:46 am

    Oh god oh god oh god oh god this is why I can’t have a dog (and the poop eating thing).

  • Rita Arens

    2014/01/31 at 9:04 am

    My cat Petunia used to puke all over the light-colored carpet at least five times a day no matter what we did. We bought the special little green Bissell vacuum thingie and changed her food and changed everything and still, every morning, there would be a little pile of cat puke greeting me. Every damn morning.

  • dani

    2014/01/31 at 1:21 pm

    yes 🙂
    can’t you read? 🙂

  • Erika Ternes

    2014/02/01 at 12:30 pm

    Don’t forget the ………………………….
    and random line breaks
    and ellllllloooooooooooooooooongated spelling

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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