Not Worrying About The Dog Fur On The Stair: My Baby Epiphany About How I’m Trapping Myself

Carrie Jones
5 min readMay 12, 2023


Sometimes you know that your life is a prison, but you can’t figure out why. Maybe something has made you trapped — responsibility, bad health, a pandemic, bad weather, anxiety.

That’s how I felt on Thursday when Shaun told me that the housing inspector was coming to our home that we live in, which also has a vacation rental permit for the years where I don’t make enough to make me feel safe enough to not rush off and live in a camper to rent our house to strangers.

That’s not happening this year. It hasn’t happened for a couple of years, but it lurks over me. A threat. A possibility I could return to only now there are two dogs, four cats, a snake, a kid, a husband.

So, when he said the inspector was coming to check on things — a totally nice guy — I panicked. And I felt trapped. There was no escape. I had a bunch of deadlines and a house that wasn’t perfect.

“The house is a sty,” I yelled.

“Baby girl, the house is not a sty.”

“A pig pen!”

“Baby girl — ”

“There is dust on the stairs. There is a paper towel on the counter. There is a ripped blanket on the sofa! I need to…



Carrie Jones

Internationally & New York Times bestselling novelist. Writing tips. Podcasts. Poems. Psych stuff.