Dear Snarky – What Should I do About a Mother Who Cheated to Get Her Kid a Citizenship Award?

dear_snarky_logo-1Dear Snarky,

I know it’s summer but I’m still angry about something that happened the last day of school. My son is in elementary school and every year they have an awards ceremony. This year the same girl got almost every award including a citizenship award that you have to be nominated for by a school employee and a student.

Well come to find out the school nurse and the kid that did the nominating BOTH have family members that work for the winning kid’s dad. The mother of the student that wrote the nomination letter even said she was approached by the kid’s mom and was more told than asked to have her child write a nomination letter for this girl. She, of course, made her kid do it because she didn’t want any work repercussions.

I want to write my own letter to the school and point out the hypocrisy of their awards ceremony that they let a mom micromanage so her kid wins everything. My husband says to just let it go. What do you think? Shouldn’t I take a stand?

Signed, Still Angry

Dear Angry,

I’ve got to agree with your husband on this one. Move on sister and enjoy what’s left of your summer. This battle is not worth your time. The hyper controlling, manipulating, so her kid gets everything mom is a dime a dozen these days. You might as well be playing Whac-A-Mole. Once you take down one, another pops up.

In fact, by the time your kid gets into high school any award that is not validated by a third-party and is in no way connected to the school are the only ones anyone pays any attention to. For example, a National Merit Award based on scores for a test taken outside the school and tabulated by strangers in state far, far, away – that’s one you’ll be impressed by.

Yes, it’s sad this is the way things are now, but until parents quit placing their own self-worth and validation on the back of their kids I fear nothing is going to change anytime soon.

*If you have a question for Dear Snarky “21st Century Advice With An Attitude” please email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com or leave me a private message on my Snarky Facebook page.

 

Vacationing With Teens – What No One Tells You

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 6.55.00 AMIt might seem like vacationing with your teenage children would be a lark, a breeze, perhaps even one of those golden moments in time when your joyous week of togetherness manifest into familial bonding heretofore only dreamt of or seen on your fakest friend’s Facebook or Instragram feed.

I mean how hard could it be? You’re passed the diaper years, the toddler tantrums, the preschool meltdowns, and the elementary school “Are we there yet?” mentality. You finally made it to the milestone of traveling with almost adults. Yippee! Right?

Yeah, I’d hold off on that yippee because it’s more like a yip. I have found that nothing causes a teenager (or their parents) to regress in behavior or temperament like being trapped, held hostage, (pick the kidnapping verb of your choice) with their family for days on end.

This is why I feel duty bound to share with other parents this helpful Teen Vacay Truth Guide for what to expect when you travel with your teenagers.

The fundamental truth of teens is that they stink.

Male or female there is some reek going on. You may not notice the extent of this stench in your roomy, well ventilated home. You will notice it after hour six in the sealed metal capsule that is your car. Every parent should enforce a strict “no shoes off ever” rule as it pertains to vehicular travel.

On my family’s last trip to Colorado the inside of our car was engulfed with a noxious fume so potent I felt woozy and nauseous. Even my travel size Gain Febreze spray couldn’t make a dent in eradicating the odor. As I was losing consciousness I wondered if this was the end. Was Interstate 70 in Western Kansas the epicenter for a terrorist chemical warfare attack? I believe my last words before almost passing out were, “May God have mercy on us all.”

It turns out it was chemical warfare all right. My son had placed his tennis shoes right under an a/c vent thus constantly re-circulating the reek of teen boy feet throughout the car. To this day he is not allowed to remove his shoes unless he’s outside and at least 500 yards away from any mammal with active olfactory glands.

 You will cry at least one time during your family vacation.

My preferred place to sob with abandon is while taking a shower and using a Hilton Garden Inn washcloth to muffle my weeping. It’s not that I have grown to hate my family or that my family is bad. It’s just that when you’re on day five of sharing a 325 square foot room with hormonally challenged life forms whose emotions are more mercurial than the 450 mile per hour winds blowing on Neptune and who eat Cheetos in the hotel bed, then wipe their day glow, Finding Nemo orange, Cheeto encrusted hands on the sheets and the last clean wash cloth you were saving for your upcoming bathroom boo hoo, well, it’s almost more than most mortals can endure.

Beware of the social or eco “conscious” that will magically appear during your vacation.

There’s nothing that ruins your vacay buzz like a teen deciding this is the time they are going to choose to change their life. I had a friend whose daughter last year, day two into the vacation, declare she was a lacto ovo vegetarian. She shared that she would not be eating meat, fish, and poultry including eggs and anything made with eggs.

Did I mention they were spending 12 hours a day at Disney World? The kid lived on frozen bananas dipped in chocolate from the Storybook treats cart in Fantasy Land. Oh, and of course, as soon as they got to the airport the daughter ditched her new “food life plan” and wanted Burger King.

In the but wait there’s more department, my 15 year-old-niece, while on a beach vacation in Florida, had an epiphany that humans were bad for the ocean and refused to partake in any sand or salt water activities. Sigh.

Do not attempt a tech free vacation.

Listen and listen well my friends. The tech free family vacation is a trap. If anyone shares with you that they had a life changing tech free trip with their teens please note that the only reason they are telling you this is because they hate you. I, because I’m not crazy, have never willingly attempted a tech free sojourn with my teens.

Two years ago, though, my family was trapped in the Sierra Nevada’s with nary a Wi-Fi or 4G signal for miles. And by trapped I don’t mean we were stranded on a mountain summit wrestling bears with our bare hands and contemplating which family member we would eat first if it came to someone making the ultimate sustenance sacrifice. No, we were at a very nice lodge that just happened to be at an elevation that rendered cell phones and other electronics useless. (Sadly, they did not share this little nugget of information in any of their marketing information.)

By hour five without contact from the outside world I feared for my family’s safety. I was going to kill them all, most especially my husband. He was reading aloud to us from a 1998 American Cowboy magazine that he found in the bathroom. I was this close to covering his clothes in bacon grease and suggesting he take a nice, long, solo hike right up to Grizzly Point.

You will think every member of your family age 13 or over suffers from some sort mental illness.

There are so many wonderful things about family togetherness. One of them is discovering new dimensions to each of your loved ones personality. Sadly, some of these discoveries will scare you. Two weeks spent driving around the East coast with my husband highlighted a latent tendency for hoarding. He couldn’t throw any food item away. Two lonely, ragged, cheese nips left in a box must not be tossed in the trash because “someone might get hungry on the road.”

My son frightened all of us with his Rain Man-esque quality for reciting great moments in early American history. He would not or could not shut up about battles, forts or the many moods of George Washington. I was this close to breaking out the Benadryl to take the edge off (I meant for me just in case you were confused).

My daughter completed the trifecta of crazy by insisting that we stop at every cupcake shop on the Eastern seaboard. Her obsession with buttercream still haunts me to this day.

So brave parents of teens stay stalwart in your everlasting dedication to the family summer vacation. You’ve got this. You’re now well-informed and remember it’s all worth it because you’re making memories that will last a lifetime. Okay, cancel that. That is way too much pressure. Let’s just say you’re going to survive it and the whole family will learn that there is no place like home where everyone can go to their rooms and ignore each another.

*Attencover_1.3-2tion Snarky Friends, I have a brand new book out. It’s the second in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Snarky in the Suburbs Trouble In Texas. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! :)

 

 

Excuse Me But I Can’t See Through Your Kid

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 8.39.15 PM Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 10.19.28 AMMost parents think their kids have super powers as in super smart, super athletic and well just to save time on this list take pretty much any adjective that would look good on a college application and put super in front of it. Bam, list done. The one super power I’m not buying is the whole invisible thing. No one’s child was born with a cloak of invisibility and yet many parents act like their kids are see through at events like theatre and musical performances.

I understand that parents want their children to experience something like the symphony, but there are common courtesies that still are in place no matter what the age. For example, no child should be allowed to stand up the whole time or do what I call the wander hike.

This is when a kid uses a venue for exploration purposes. It begins with what might, at first, glance seem like an innocent aisle saunter and then grows to include roaming the stairs next to the row of seats their parents are inhabiting. Once that trail is well-worn the intrepid adventurer starts a parade of bathroom visits so robust you begin to question the integrity of the child’s bladder.

Now while all this is happening the kid’s parents seem oblivious to the disruption of their fellow audience members’ enjoyment of the event. They act as if their progeny shares the same transparency as say Casper the Ghost. The very best you can hope for is for the child to get bored and proceed to play games on an iPhone with a screen bright enough to make the sun feel impotent.

When this happens I always feel I have only three choices: One is tamping down my irritation and pretending that it’s no big deal. Two, attempting to ever so discreetly get the parents attention with perhaps just the tiniest of hand waves (and I’m talking the complete hand no single fingers) and gesture that their kid needs to be corralled or three actually saying something. And by this I mean using your words via your vocal cords not coming home and going all cray on social media. Yes, Facebook is an all you can eat buffet for complainers, but more often than not moaning and groaning as a status update is not really accomplishing much.

Last week, I was attending an indoor musical and the aforementioned three choices were all swirling in the head as I was feeling crabby towards a family sitting in front of me. Two parents with a preschooler were allowing their child to not only do the wander hike, but also stand up in his chair and stare at me.

I gave it ten minutes to see if the parents would harness their collective brainpower and have an “ah ha” moment that their child was not made of glass.  After that I felt, based on my rising blood pressure, that my health mandated I do a little hand wave thingy indicating their precious gumdrop needed to attach his fanny to the seat.

Well, if that had worked I wouldn’t now be writing this so we all know the hand wave was a fail. This lead to me ever so gently leaning forward and sweetly whispering, “Pardon me, but I can’t see through your son.”  That earned me a searing look and then the mother told her son, “Honey you need to sit down because there’s a mean lady behind you.”

Whatever. All I cared about is that I could now see the stage. It was all-good until intermission when the dad saw me and began a beration oration for “interrupting them during the show.”  This stumped me to such a degree I was rendered mute until the mom piped up with, “We also didn’t appreciate you making our son feel bad.”

Okay, by now I was experiencing two emotions. The most important one was relief. Finally, I had something to write about for my column. Yeah, go ahead and roll your eyes at that, but hey it’s not easy finding something to blab about every week.

I was also feeling generous. I was going to use this as a teachable moment and reach out to these young parents. So, I replied, “I am so sorry I wasn’t trying to make your son feel bad. I was only attempting to awaken what must be very dormant parenting instincts.”

The dad looked at me like he wasn’t quite sure if I was insulting them. I took that as my cue to exit their range of vision. When the musical started up again the family was no longer inhabiting their seats. I guess they had figured out what I was talking about after all.

*Attencover_1.3-2tion Snarky Friends, I have a brand new book out. It’s the second in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Snarky in the Suburbs Trouble In Texas. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! :)

 

Girl Problems

fdd1abf16e75f6f41ce7d828686e31b2All the recent gender news has me thinking why anyone would want to be a woman. The hard truth is it’s a brutal business being female and it always has been. I’m sure even Betsy Ross as she was stitching on stars and stripes was thinking “does this flag make me look fat?”

Just take a gander at the whole “body after baby” craze. It’s not enough to create a human being you must attempt to be gorgeous during the entire nine-month process.

You know what the biggest compliment you can get when you’re pregnant is? Weirdly, (at least to me) is that you don’t look pregnant. All hail the women at 32 weeks gestation who has a tummy bulge so insignificant that you would never guess she was with child but instead think that maybe she just ate a steak burrito at Chipotle. Yes, indeed my friends a mother-to-be’s goal is to have a stealth pregnancy.

Then after you bequeath the world with a new life the race is on eradicate any sign of a lingering maternity footprint because the second best compliment you can get is not a gushing “Oh my gosh what a cute baby” but an “Oh my God you don’t even look like you had a baby.” Sigh.

Now, I realize I sound bitter and I promise it’s not because I’m 168 months postpartum and still trying to lose my baby weight. (Okay, to be fair that might be a little bit of the bitter.) It’s just I’m so sick of the beauty marathon. Not that I’m competing in that race (let’s just say I’m on the injured reserve list because it sounds better than I quit), but I do have a daughter and it saddens me to see that this quest for female perfection is not abating in the least.

The most disingenuous is the whole “natural beauty” trend. Every time a magazine does a celebrities without make up pictorial proclaiming the “braveness” of these women for being photographed without cosmetics makes me want to scream.

One, the celebs maybe make up free, but that doesn’t mean make-ups “bestie” Photoshop didn’t make an appearance. And two, do beauty editors even know the meaning of the word brave? Brave is not the word to use for females who have just started having birthdays in the double digits being photographed without eyeliner.

This perfection phenomenon has hit warp drive with the “selfie generation.” Teenagers don’t just post pictures of themselves. They do digital surgery. Apps are used to whiten teeth, add false eyelashes, slim facial and body parts, erase zits, stretch smiles – you name it. After that you add filters and voila I almost didn’t recognize a picture my own daughter. My son recently joked that years from now anthropologists will have to use “un-digitizing” techniques to see what the humans of the 21st century really looked like.

Then there was that whole twining thing that hit social media. Just in case you missed it, and lucky you if you did, here’s the back-story. 26-year-old Rumer Willis, recent Dancing With the Stars winner, and daughter of 52-year-old actress Demi Moore posted a picture of her and with her mother on Instagram with the hashtag “twinning.”

In the photo they appear to be wearing almost identical outfits, glasses and hairstyles. This prompted a flurry of “twinning” pics of mothers and daughters on social media. Some were downright scary.

Moms just because you can fit in your daughter’s clothes doesn’t mean you necessarily should be wearing them. Am I the only person left who thinks dressing younger can make you look older? I’d like to gently suggest that wearing something called “teaspoon low rise shorts” from Abercrombie and Fitch is not for anyone who’s had their medically recommended mid-life colonoscopy.

I get it, we all fear aging, but using a physics formula (force = mass x acceleration) to squeeze your fanny into a piece of denim the size of a Brawny paper towel square is not the way to go. We need to kick it old school.

That’s right I said old, as in back in the day when the “I’ve seen 50 something in rearview mirror” females were revered for their life experience and wisdom (think the dowager countess in Downton Abbey) and not the engineering feat of harnessing their chest into a halter top.

By this I mean we should luxuriate in our awesomeness. Unencumbered from trying to constantly visually impress the world at large (not that I don’t advocate a superior moisturizer and SPF routine) and secure in the knowledge that we’ve still got it in all the ways that really count – savvy, smarts and swagger – we could take over the world. Who’s ready to join me?

*Attencover_1.3-2tion Snarky Friends, I have a brand new book out. It’s the second in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Snarky in the Suburbs Trouble In Texas. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! :)

 

Dear Snarky – The Hairy Back Man vs. The HOA

Dear Snarky,covered-in-back-hair

 I don’t know whether to be embarrassed or angry.  We recently moved to a new neighborhood that has a community pool.  My husband and I bring our two young daughters there to swim almost every day. 

 Yesterday we got a letter in the mail. It was from the HOA and it said that neighbors found my husband’s “excessive back hair disturbing” and that there had been “complaints.” The letter went on to request that in “the future he wear a “swim shirt” or some kind of “cover up for his upper body.”

 Yes, my husband is hairy, but he’s a MAN.  It’s never something that I think anyone has found “disturbing” before.  Should we just ignore the letter and go to the pool or buy a cover up for my husband? To be honest right now, I just want to move.

 Signed, Kathy

Dear Kathy,

First off, please know that I doubt any where in your Home Owners Association covenant does it state that furry men have to wear swim shirts.  So, your HOA can just shove it.  In fact, if I were you I’d take a razor and shave HOA’s Suck into your husband’s back (call it hair artistry) and then have him go the pool and do cannon balls.

Now, I know the chances of you actually doing that are slim to none so here’s some advice you might really use. Do whatever is best for your family. If you want to take a stand have your husband go shirtless to the pool and proudly celebrate his abundant follicle forest.

If this is going to make you and your  hubs uncomfortable and keep you away from the pool then buy a swim shirt and just be done with it. Or you can go to another pool where you don’t feel like you’re being judged and enjoy your summer. 

Now if you really want to make splash you could threaten your HOA with legal action. I’m no lawyer, but maybe you should file a civil suit for discrimination based on body hair. Supreme Court here you come!

*If you have a question for Dear Snarky email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com or private message me on my Snarky Facebook page. :)

 

I Heart Kansas (and Missouri)

KansasMissouriBorderWar*750*This is a something I wrote for the Kansas City Star about the Missouri/Kansas border “wars.”

I got my feelings hurt last week over something very silly – people insulting Kansas. Yep, I was offended that in a 12-hour period two people cast aspersions on the sunflower state.

One comment I was used to hearing. It’s the general “I hate Kansas” statement (which I’ve figured out in the five years I’ve lived here can only mean “I’m beyond jealous of your great schools”). The reason I let this upset me was because the person saying it just moved to KCMO from the East coast. How can you possibly hate Kansas? You just got here. What has Kansas in the 27 days you’ve lived in the Midwest ever done to you?

Then later that evening a woman tells me that she and her husband recently moved from Lake Quivira to Missouri because they didn’t want to “die in Kansas.” WTH? Does your life insurance pay out more if you take your last breath in Missouri? Are funerals cheaper?

Someone please help me out here. I’m confused because when I can throw a rock from my backyard and hit Missouri I just consider all of us wonderful Kansas Citians. In fact, if I’m traveling and someone asks me where I live I say Kansas City and that usually leads to a “What about those Royals?” follow up question. (How great is that? Yay Royals!)

It’s not that I begrudge anyone from taking pride in their state and being all rah-rah about where they live. I just think too much state pride can be a dangerous thing and I know what I’m talking about. I’m from Texas.

May the good Lord or Big Tex (the 55-foot tall statue that looms in all his glory over the State Fair of Texas) not strike me dead for saying this, but Lone Star state folks can be way too full of themselves. It’s one thing to be proud of where you hail from. It’s a problem if that’s the only thing you’ve got going for you.

I’ve witnessed this phenomenon almost my entire life. There are generations of families that don’t embrace dental hygiene or scholastic endeavors, but they’re way up there on a high horse because they all were born in Dallas County. It’s like being a Texan gives them a pass to not do much of anything because they’ve already achieved their dream – living in a state that doesn’t believe in zoning and development codes. (Don’t believe me? Go visit Houston.)

This is why I think all of us border folk need to do a We Are the World like event. You know a whole join hands, sing a song and eat some burnt ends thing to celebrate the awesomeness that is the greater Kansas City area. We could call it Love Beyond Borders or Borderless or we could be super hip and just call it B as in the “B Event” Seriously, why am I not party planner because I can see the entire event in my head? In fact, brace yourself for genius. We could have the shindig in the abandoned Hy Vee grocery store parking lot on State Line.

I can already smell the aroma wafting from the artisanal BBQ cotton candy booth. And what’s a party without a signature beverage? I suggest a craft beer for the event made from pasteurized Missouri river water and runoff from the Schlitterbahn in KCK. The beverage would be a vivid buff color (kind of like the mighty Mo after a storm) with a robust, almost tornadic head, a delicate sunflower scent with just a hint of hops infused funnel cake laced with a touch of the Quik Trip’s Rooster Booster energy drink. Can you say yum? (Or not).

Imagine throngs (or maybe a couple of Scout troops if you’re not a big thinker like me) of people holding hands across State Line celebrating the unity of Kansas and Missouri. Scratch that, I just got an even better, bolder idea. What if we have a wedding? Are you with me? I think you are because I feel like we both got this idea at the same time. What if Kansas and Missouri get married? Sunflower + Show Me = True Love Forever. The reception alone would be epic. And instead of wedding presents everyone would be asked to make a donation to their respective state’s road repair budget.

This way we would all be family. No hate just sweet, sweet, state-on-state love kind of like when the Royals were on their World Series journey last year. That’s when we were all proud, beaming, borderless, Kansas Citians.

*Attencover_1.3-2tion Snarky Friends, I have a brand new book out. It’s the second in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Snarky in the Suburbs Trouble In Texas. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! :)

 

 

 

All I Really Need to Know I Learned From the Airport

2012-11-15-20121115Travel_Infographic_Travel_Then_and_Now_FriendlyPlanetTravel-thumbIf you want to learn important life lessons all you need to do is spend some time at any airport. Consider it a course in Reality 101 where your classroom is the Southwest Terminal and your teachers are the educational stew known as your fellow travelers.

The first thing you’ll discover is that following directions is important and vital to your existence. You’ll also learn that a majority of the population can’t process information very well or as my son’s kindergarten teacher used to say, “everyone isn’t using their listening ears.”

I mean, come on, how many times do you have to be told to have your I.D. and boarding pass out to go through security? These instructions are not only on a continuous audio loop, but are on signage throughout the airport. Yet people are still stumped by this instruction and flustered to find out they have to dig out their I.D. to pass through stage one of the TSA experience.

Once that hurdle is successfully completed you learn the underrated, yet oh so very important, life skill that sometimes you are not an individual. You’re part of a herd. Most of us were raised to think we’re special, unique and one-of-kind. That’s all good until you do the death march known as putting your crap on the TSA conveyor belt. This is when you must do what everyone else is doing.

Don’t think you’re too important or too much of a free spirit to not follow the rules. Yes, you must remove your bulky sweater. No one cares that it was crocheted by Bakhankala tribal women and you consider it a hand loomed work of art that is much too precious to be shoved in an off brand Tupperware bin for a non stop ride through X-ray island.

All this “I’m special” behavior will accomplish is a disruption in the herd. Primarily because you will be slowing down the herd. Do not make the herd angry. Especially any herd member carrying a brief case and clutching a phone like it’s a primary source of oxygen.

Once you’ve finally cleared the security gauntlet and made it to your gate you will take a pass or fail test on patience (especially if you’re flying on American Airlines) because there’s always a chance your flight is delayed. You can either throw a fit or suck it up.

A person’s reaction to a time change in their itinerary is like an audible I.Q. test. If someone goes ballistic you know they’re an idiot with impulse control issues. Because if a flight is delayed screaming at a gate agent is going to be an act of supreme futility. They’re powerless. It’s like yelling at your television set because the your hometown baseball team is down in the bottom of the ninth inning. Your TV can’t control the outcome of the game and the airline employee at the counter can’t make the plane fly faster.

Your only choice is to accept that you’re trapped in the gate area that should more accurately be called a holding pen for humanity.  Don’t worry about being bored. This is when you settle in and observe the peculiar and sometimes disgusting behavioral characteristics of your fellow homo sapiens. Consider it an anthropology course and take notes under the heading – “Never Ever Do This.”

At the top of the syllabus is grooming in public. Here’s a quick pop quiz. Is trimming your fingernails acceptable behavior outside the confines of a bathroom? If you answered no give yourself a high-five because you’re smarter than three people waiting for the Frontier Airlines Flight to Phoenix.

Nail clippers are the ninjas of grooming implements. They should never be seen. Ditto for your nail remains. Why anyone would think it’s sanitary to prune themselves in public and then let their leavings jettison into the atmosphere for all to experience is beyond me.

I get it. Some folks, who pride themselves on multi-tasking, may be thinking, “Well I’ve already got my shoes off to go through security why not just take out my TSA approved nail clippers and trim that hangnail on my big toe.”

To these individuals may I suggest another mode of transportation that doesn’t require you to commingle with other mammals?

Alas, at least these creatures are using tools to trim their hooves. Prepare to avert your eyes as a man in a $1,000 suit uses his mouth to attack a cuticle and then spits it out all while taking part in a conference call on speakerphone. I hope you’re writing this down because it will be on the final exam – no one wants to hear your phone conservation.

I don’t care how fascinating you think you are being subjected to another person’s phone conversation is an auditory assault. For sure, I’ve make cell phone calls at the airport, but I, using the gift of sight, realize that I’m surrounded by other mortals and therefore talk in a moderate tone.

I don’t know why, but have you noticed that the people with their ears hermetically sealed to their phones at airports all seem to project their voices like they’re in a one act play? Forget Broadway if you want to see showmanship go to gate 34 at JFK on a Monday.

Let’s now move on to a life skills multiple-choice test. If a grown woman who is ambulatory, in seemingly good health, and is wearing fleece pajamas pants to the airport that are so long they’re getting stuck in her Crocs sandal she is:

A) Suffering from a crippling addiction to polyester fleece and rubber shoes

B) Just woke up from a slumber party at the airport

C) Given up on life

D) All of the Above.

If you answered D congratulations. Yes, all of the above are correct. Any healthy person over the age of 10 who can not sufficiently groom themselves, and by that I mean getting out of the p.j.’s when leaving their home, is indeed suffering from chronic life self-esteem issues and is in dire need of a fleece intervention which in my book takes precedent over a 12 Step Program for Crocs addicts.

Your airport class is now over. I urge you sign up for the “Boarding Your Plane” lecture. Don’t worry it’s not that hard. Everything you just learned has laid the foundation for success in this course of study.

The class will feature a shock and awe portion where you can behold people who can’t grasp the concept of how to properly line up to board a plane. Plus you can learn exciting aviation math. Here’s an equation for you.  A suitcase that can hold two months of clothes = not fitting in the overhead compartment no matter how hard a person attempts to cram it in there.

Air travel – where the learning never ends.

*Attencover_1.3-2tion Snarky Friends, I have a brand new book out. It’s the second in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Snarky in the Suburbs Trouble In Texas. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! :)

 

 

For All The Moms Who Have Completed Their Elementary School Tour of Duty

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 11.13.12 AMI have my fair share of personality quirks. One of them is that I’m not very sentimental. For example, I didn’t need a box of Kleenex and waterproof mascara when my youngest child completed her elementary school career. It’s actually surprising to me the number of mothers that get all choked up about this “milestone.”

Listen up moms, instead of boo hoo you should be going yahoo! Because not having a child in elementary is a cornucopia of awesome. Yes, there’s still a whole lot of stuff to deal with parenting an older child, like teen angst, having a kid drive and all that college prep stress. But there’s also freedom for you, as in you no longer have to be involved in the day-to-day management of your kid’s classroom life.

Just in case you doubt me on this I have compiled the top four reasons to be elated that you are no longer an elementary school mom.

No More Dioramas – This alone should be reason enough for a party. You can now actually look at a shoebox without experiencing harrowing flashbacks to various diorama dramas. I’m still haunted by my daughter’s second grade diorama project that featured the planet Saturn. Do you know how hard it is to get the rings of Saturn not just around a shoebox, but to stay affixed? Let me help you out with that answer. It’s four glasses of wine hard.

No More Homework Help – Yeah, your kid may still need help with their homework in high school, but you won’t be smart enough to do it. I don’t care if you’re right now doing the math for a manned mission to Mars high school algebra will still be beyond your capability. The reason is because the way you were taught to do algebra back in the day is all wrong. Sure, the answers will be the same, but the show your work part will not be up to the 21st century spread sheet that is now high school math.

No More Room Moms – I can say this because I have a long history of being a room mom, so here goes – room moms can suck. In my experience they come in four varieties:

1) They’re either laid back and focused on fun for the kids.

2) Super anal and controlling to the point that you get 20 emails and 32 texts reminding you that you signed up to bring napkins to the winter party.

3) They volunteered for the gig so they could attempt to be the teacher’s bestie and could care less about actually getting things done.

4) Put the B in the bitch and are using their “room mom” status as phase one in their goal for global domination.

To experience a school year without a room mom or home room party obligation is a most joyous thing.

No More Book Report Projects – My children’s book report projects almost killed MY love of reading. You might as well have signed me up for electroshock therapy whenever one of them announced they had a book project due.

I thought I was an emotionally strong woman until my son had an assignment that involved him making a puppet. I’m not ashamed to admit that a puppet of George Washington broke me – not just a little bit, but on my knees in the kitchen doing the ugly cry broke me.

It felt all kinds of wrong hating the father of our country, but hate him I did because I had to construct a freaking marionette puppet of G.W. in all his breeches, pilgrim shoe and tricorn hat glory.

Oh, and just in case you’re thinking big deal you had to draw and color puppet let me clue you in to the fact that the puppet had to be wearing clothes. That’s right, I had to sew a teeny, tiny presidential outfit.

Finally, I got smart about the project and just gave up on the whole marionette thing of attaching strings. I also abandon ship on sewing. In a final act of desperation I raided my daughter’s Barbie Princess Castle, stripped the Prince Charming doll of his pants and shirt and called it a day.

The next morning as I walked my son into his classroom I was feeling okay about the puppet. It wasn’t great, but it looked like an 8 year-old-had done it (or an emotionally fragile mom at 2 a.m). Then I saw the rest of the kids’ puppets. God Bless America, one girl had a George Washington puppet that was three feet tall, outfitted in satin breeches with a cutaway jacket, a cravat and hair! The puppet had a wig. Who does that? It was also outfitted with a voice box.

The puppet, I kid you not, sang the Star Spangled Banner. It may have been highly immature of me to point out to the girl’s mother the historical inaccuracy of George Washington singing the Star Spangled Banner, but how could I not? You don’t just bring a wig-wearing puppet into a classroom and not expect some blowback.

So for all you moms who are no longer parenting an elementary school child rejoice for you are free or at least free from show off mothers who have puppeteering skills.

*Attencover_1.3-2tion Snarky Friends, I have a brand new book out. It’s the second in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Snarky in the Suburbs Trouble In Texas. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! :)

 

Dear Snarky – Help, I Threw My Husband’s Family Overboard

Dear Sndear_snarky_logo-1arky,

 I’m about to be disowned by my extended family. Yesterday, I anonymously called the cops on my husband’s relatives. They go out in their ski boats and NEVER have any of the kids in life jackets. It’s so dangerous I won’t let my two children ride in the boats with them.

 We were all at the lake for a Memorial Day family thing and I just got sick of seeing my in-laws – mother, father, brothers, sisters just let all the kids ride in very fast boats that don’t even have one F’ing life jacket. So, I called 911 and reported them. Fast forward 2 hours later and they come back to the dock after being given multiple tickets by the boat cops and they’re facing a fine.

 My brother-in-law might even have to do jail time because the police, when they got on the boat, found an unregistered gun “hidden” under some ski tow lines.

 I said nothing about my part in this until my sister-in-law got a hold of my cell phone (without me knowing BTW) and went through my call history for the day which was only one number – 911 and figured out that I had called the cops on them.

 Now no one is speaking to me (after cussing me out) AND they think I should pay the fine since I’m the one who “narced on the them.”

 Do I pay the money to keep peace in the family or do I stand up to them and not care if they’re super pissed?

 Signed, Life jacket Mom

 Dear Life jacket, 

 There’s a lot going on here so let’s break this down:

 1)You are right kids should wear life jackets. It’s the law. In fact, as a former lifeguard, I think everyone should wear a life jacket on a boat

2)You’re relatives are idiots/lazy/cheap for not having any life jackets on their ski boats.

3)I love that you called the police!

 Yep, family harmony be damned if you repeatedly told this collection of nitwits to get some flipping life jackets on their boats and if they just kept on blowing you off then I see what you did as an act of love. You just wanted to keep them safe. It was a hug disguised as a phone call to the cops.

 So, that’s a great big no on paying any fine and as for your BIL with the unregistered gun, well there’s a juicy Facebook status update. Maybe he’s a hit man who shoots people on his boat and them dumps their bodies in the lake. (Where’s a CSI team when you need them?) Seriously, keep me posted on how this plays out. 

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – 21st Century Advice with an Attitude – please email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com or send me a private message on my Snarky FB page.

 

Graduation Overload

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 8.42.23 AMI’m so glad I don’t have a single child graduating from anything this month. Last year at this time I had a son finishing his senior year and a daughter (cue the drum roll) 8th grade. My eldest was deeply mystified about why such a big deal was made out of completing the 12th grade.

The fancy graduation announcements, the parties, the hoopla of it all confused him. He asked, “Why does anyone care that you met the minimum educational requirements set forth by the state? Like I know that would make a really bad Hallmark card, but seriously Mom why the shock and awe about getting out of high school?”

I thought about his questions for a moment and responded with, “Well, it’s all about acknowledging meeting your goals and celebrating your impending adulthood.”

“And by goals do you mean 12 years of not forgetting to turn in your homework?” He replied sarcastically.

“Yes and much, much more. Think of all you did and don’t scoff at goals. Even the smallest ones are important. For instance, right now I have a goal to use up all the “buy 1 get 3 for free mini moisturizers I bought from Bath and Body Works over the past two years. Oh and don’t give me that look?”

“What look?”

“The look that says you think you’re superior to me. Trust me, it’s going to be a challenge to use all of them. You have no idea how many I’ve bought. They’ve got a Ponzi scheme going on in that store. First, they draw you in with a huge sale, then up the ante by throwing some coupons at you and before you know it you’ve got enough Tahiti Island Dream body cream to get you through a ten-year moisturizer drought. Just feel my arm. Really rub it.”

“Umm no thanks,” my son said looking scared.

“Oh come on, touch it. I’m telling you my arm is slimy I’ve got so much lotion on. Sure, it’s a little gross, but it’s all part of achieving my goal of using up all that moisturizer.”

“Mom, how do you do it? Take an intelligent question about education and turn it into a story about body lotion. Do you know you have a problem staying on topic?”

“I, thank you very much, do not have a problem staying on topic. I simply excel at using everyday occurrences and using them as stirring life lessons”

“Yeah, you keep on telling yourself that,” he said with what I thought was a less than respectful tone and then as he walked out of the kitchen announced that I didn’t know what a Ponzi scheme was.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Your lotion story. You used Ponzi scheme wrong. A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation. You buying too much creams, or whatever, is in no way a Ponzi scheme.”

“Hey, guess what? You know what I’m celebrating? My “I-think-I’m-way-smarter-than-my-mother” son leaving for college in the fall. So take that mister.”

“Yeah, I’m guessing Hallmark doesn’t make that card either,” he said smirking and then left me alone in the kitchen.

This interchange last year got me to thinking about graduation. I get why my son was experiencing what I would call graduation ennui. He has had a lot of graduations. There was a kindergarten commencement and let me just say this needs to stop. I get it, nothing is cuter than a 6-year-old in a mortar board (expect maybe a puppy in a mortar board), but come on, it’s silly. It’s more of photo-op than a celebration of achievement.

Then he had a fifth grade graduation which featured the aromatic styling’s of cafeteria fumes, mop water and a mystery odor (best guess is that it was a moldy Lunchable and Smuckers Uncrustable that had mated and were honeymooning behind the heat register) and a portable sound system with a reverb so intense that a couple of mothers had to leave due to impending migraines.

That event was surpassed by eighth grade graduation in the middle school gym. It had all pomp and circumstance of getting a wedgie. Sure, the middle school band and orchestra sounded great or at least I think they did. The sound of younger siblings running up and down the bleachers kind of drowned out the music.

Finally, when high school graduation rolls around kids are jaded. Just this week, my, now just finished his first year of college, son announced that he couldn’t understand why anyone would even go to their university graduation.

I answered that question for him. “Don’t see it so much as your graduation, but as a thank you ceremony to your father and I for surviving parenting you.”

“Well, when you put it that way, how could I not go?”

“Exactly.”

*Attencover_1.3-2tion Snarky Friends, I have a brand new book out. It’s the second in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Snarky in the Suburbs Trouble In Texas. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! :)