Brain Teaser

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 11.00.14 AMI’m feeling perturbed. I was up at my son’s high and noticed nothing had been done about a complaint, well really more of a concern, that I had shared with the principal, in what I thought, was a very nice and chatty email, a freaking year ago.

The equally chatty, somewhat new and I’m just going to say it, handsome, very handsome principal (Okay, so I may have a bit of a mom crush on the principal, big deal. I also had a mom crush on my son’s elementary school principal. Oh my, this has just gotten awkward) had gotten right back to me after I wrote the email and due to the quickness of his response I figured action had been taken. Wrong. Because as I walking through the school gigantic posters, really more like face flags (I’m telling you the quality of the photography and the flag fabric is top-notch) of students holding balls or ball hitting implements were staring at me.

I had no complaint with the lovely posters, flags, whatever, of student athletes. What I did have a concern about was the quid pro quo of it all. Because just around the corner, in a dimly lit hallway, are teeny tiny 5 X 7 photos that look like they were the by-product a mediocre laser jet printer of the National Merit Semifinalists and Commended Scholars. WTH? And this is why I wrote the principal last year. I figured I was the perfect person to spearhead this concern since, at that time; I was not the mother of an athlete or a scholar.

In my email I asked the principal why the National Merit kids couldn’t have posters 10 times the size of their heads? In a delightful phone call he explained that the Parent Booster Club paid for the posters. I shared that I’m sure the National Merit kids parents, would with glee, shell out money for a face flag. Because he was so charming, I figured I had wooed him to my way of thinking.

I’m now more than a little angry and adding fuel to my fury is that I recently heard the author of the new book The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way talking about how no other country in world let’s sports dominates their schools the way America does. (P.S. We’re currently ranked 36th in math.) Now before you get all upset I do not want to see sports de-emphasized. I’m a Texas girl and I was raised on high school football but I was wondering what’s stopping us from shining the same LED floodlight on academics.

For instance, why don’t we start recruiting math teachers with the same zeal we use for football coaches? Instead of win loss records we could have teacher stats. As an example, “Mrs. Smith is currently leading the state in the number of students getting a 5 (highest score) on their Calculus Advanced Placement test and more than 63% of her former students have sought post-graduate degrees with an average income of well over six figures.”

Even better would be the pep rallies. I would suggest holding at least two. One in the fall when most students take their first SAT or ACT and one in late spring when the AP tests occur.

Think of the cheers – “Tangent, derivative, theorem, aren’t so hard because you’ve studied they’re your lucky charms.”

Or this one for AP Euro History. “French Revolution, Russian too, don’t forget to write an amazing FRQ!”

I can already see the marching band playing the theme song from the Big Bang Theory as a salute to the quantum theory portion of the AP Physics exam.

Imagine a world where instead of telling just athletes to be a-g-g-r-e-s-s-i-v-e we would instead use that same cheer on the brave, young, souls about to embark on the biggest battle of their teen years – the SAT’s.

“Competitive colleges are okay but you’ve got highly selective wanting you after today!”

The best part of all is that it would be so easy to do. What’s a couple more pep rallies and huge face flags. For sure, you would want those.

***For all things wonderfully Snarky go to www.snarkygear.com where you can find the new spring Snarky line of clothing and accessories. (Snarky baseball shirt anyone?) Plus, there’s my book - Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. (Click here for purchase information.)
 Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link - http://is.gd/iEgnJ (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.

 

Dear Snarky – Competitive Easter Egg Hunting

aig1Dear Snarky,

Do you have any words of wisdom on how to keep an Easter Egg hunt family friendly? I come from a very competitive, large, family and we have a huge Easter Egg hunt every year. It was okay and kind of funny when my brothers and cousins would tackle or trip each other to get eggs before we all got married and had kids, but now it’s just dangerous and silly. How do we as a family stop the madness?

Signed, Cracked Egg

Dear Cracked,

Oh, how I can relate to this letter. We aren’t by chance related? Because my family for years had a throw down disguised as an Easter Egg hunt. It was hilarious, until as you pointed out in your letter, you add children to the mix. Now, the advice I’m about to give you is not something my family did because sadly no one in my family listens to me BUT I believe this is a solution Peter Cottontail would hop down the bunny trail for.

First, have age division and boundaries for the egg hunt. The little ones in the family can kick off the egg hunt by searching in their own area. This way the eggs are easier to find and they can run around without the fear of being accidentally knocked to the ground by Uncle Matt.

Keeping with the age theme, I would have all the adults go last and before someone says Ready, Set, Go make sure all the children are safely out of harms way. As the grown ups turn the egg hunt into a pro wrestling spectacle take joy in the knowledge that instead of putting candy in the adult eggs you have inserted fortune cookie like strips of paper that share thoughts on caring, kindness and family love. They might not take the hint but think of the fun you’ll have watching their faces as they open their eggs.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com

 

Flushed

bathing-suit(This is a freelance piece I wrote last week about the perils of swimsuits. Some of you may remember my swimsuit trauma of two years ago.)

If you’re a woman over forty and enjoy shopping for a swimsuit then I doubt we could ever be friends. Our life experiences and view of the world would be so vastly different I fear we would have little to nothing in common.

Swimsuit shopping is so terrifying I wonder why a pharmaceutical company hasn’t concocted a four-day course of mood altering “Happy Swimsuit Shopping” pills to get women through the rough patch of seeing our mostly naked body on full display in the house of horrors that is the ladies dressing room. As I general rule I go discount when shopping for swimsuits. No Nordstrom’s or Sak’s dressing rooms for me. Those stores have three-way mirrors and my mental health would be at risk if I was forced to get an up close and personal view of my ever-growing backside. (Yes, I know other people have to see it but that’s their problem.) Oh sure, you can make excuses about the fluorescent lights making it worse than it really is but you know common sense and science won’t support your hypothesis that the lights are adding 20 pounds

This season of swimsuit shopping has an added degree of difficulty because of a new Waterpark ride. I’m now going to have to find a swimsuit that not only covers me with a nod to modesty, utilizes some form of black magic to slenderize me BUT also has a top with the tensile strength of Kryptonite. Curse you Verruckt! That’s a new water park slide that is supposedly taller than Niagara Falls and exceeds speeds of 60 miles per hour. My daughter is a waterslide junkie and all winter has talked and talked about spending t51he summer with me and the slide. Like together, in a raft, plunging to, if not our death, imminent swimsuit loss. You can’t tell me riding a raft down an incline that steep isn’t going to cause 3 out 5 women to experience, at the very least a significant wardrobe malfunction. It’s one thing for a little peek a boo at 20 but at my age it becomes a peek of eww followed by eternal shame. Sadly, oh very sadly, I am familiar with that kind of shame.

August 2011, Denver, Colorado. I was riding the Ripqurl which is basically like being flushed down a toilet that looks like it was designed for the love child of a Sasquatch and Shamu. My daughter and I took off fast and hit the toilet bowl portion of the ride screaming. We start circling the bowl and my daughter makes a rookie mistake. She thinks this is the end of the ride and abandons tube while we’re still circling. Her slim, lithe body gracefully slides down the exit tube. I do not. The force of my daughter jumping off the tube causes me to be dumped out. Our tube is AWOL. I’m free floating, circling the bowl, topless! The force of the water jets has pushed down the top of my one piece swimsuit. You don’t know humiliation till you’ve gone bare breasted at a packed Waterpark. It took me till the end of the ride to get my suit yanked up and then some people clapped. Jerks.

Now, I’ve got a case of PTSD about Waterpark slides. Add in shopping for a swimsuit that meets all my criteria and I’m a hot mess. You know what someone needs to do? Invent what is basically a swim skirt for your chest. Any mother knows the healing properties of a swim skirt. It’s a gift from the almighty that doesn’t look too terribly mommyish. It’s more sporty, like you’ve just played some tennis and don’t have time to change before you go do aqua yoga on your paddle board. The best thing is it covers your upper thighs and lower butt allowing you to do nifty things like bend over without flashing the family of four in the pool chairs next to you. I think I’m on to something here. Sure, there’s those waterproof T-shirts or Rash Guard things you can wear but they’re hot and puff up in the water making you look like you’re 11 months pregnant. Until then, if you see a women riding the Verruckt in a full length, turtleneck, swimsuit cover up, wave. It will be me.

***For all things wonderfully Snarky go to www.snarkygear.com where you can find the new spring Snarky line of clothing and accessories. (Snarky baseball shirt anyone?) Plus, there’s my book - Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. (Click here for purchase information.)
 Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link - http://is.gd/iEgnJ (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.

 

 

The Volunteer Score Card

12316(I wrote this opinion piece for my local newspaper last week and as of today I’m still getting hate mail. I’m a little confused to what ticked people off so badly. Oh sure, I knew it would tick some people off but just wow on the number of emails I’ve been getting.)

As a parent you scribble your name on a lot of stuff – everything from reading logs to band practice sheets. But one thing I won’t sign my name to is anything that has to do with volunteering or community service. I won’t sign a piece of a paper, a diary, a journal, a ledger – basically if it tracks and tallies up how many hours my kids spent doing “service” I’m not interested. It’s not because I don’t fully believe in giving back and I’m certainly not anti non-profit – my husband works for one. What I’m against is teaching our children that the act of being a decent human being is something you need to diligently record and be rewarded for.

This is the time of year when the school’s are sending reminders that your child’s community service logs will be due soon and to mark your calendar for the May award ceremony in the cafeteria. Now, I know the whole idea of encouraging kids to keep an account of their volunteer hours in an effort to educate them on the importance of giving back is not a bad idea. It’s just flawed because I believe we are teaching them the exact opposite. We, in our trophy happy, grabby-gifty, look at me world, are making a competition out of something that should be expected – to be a functioning member of society. There should be no rewards for that, no shout outs, no social media selfies. It should be muscle memory – something you always do.

Now community service from elementary to high school is, in some cases, a cut throat competition. Gone are the days when families, scout groups and religious organizations would quietly and without fanfare do volunteer work because, quite simply, it feels good. Now, it’s all about writing down every nanosecond you spend doing something for someone else because being a respectable carbon life form isn’t its own reward. Parents want their kids a have a chance to win a prize for it and what parents will do for their kids to win that prize is probably the exact opposite of what “giving back” is all about.

There are the kids who log down time for visiting their grandparents – at their beach house. Did you know putting your neighbors newspaper on their porch also counts as a community service? The best are the birthday parties where a child and 12 of their closest friends go to a non-profit to spend time volunteering. The mom includes on the invitation, right next to the RSVP, how many hours each child will get to write down on their service log sheet. There’s oodles of pictures Instagrammed and Facebooked from the mom about being “So proud of my daughter. This is how she choose to spend her birthday.” The kicker – the kids take a limo to the non-profit and then scurry out to have the “real party” at the American Girl doll store.

This competitive service mania has even evolved into a business. As your kid gets older there are “College Coaches” who will, for a fee, tell you how to massage your child’s “volunteer commitment” so it looks good on college applications? Currently starting a nonprofit is the “must have” for all students wishing to “set themselves apart from the regular volunteer majority.” All you need is a website. My son said he was going to start one called mymotherisannoying.org. His service hours would be listening to me complain and let me tell he’d have a lot hours to write down.

Now, I know, so please don’t send me emails with your child’s arduous community service listed and with a link to his/her very own non-profit, blog and “I Give Back” Powerpoint, that many, many kids take these hours very seriously. Awesome and bravo. But, I also have experienced volunteering at non profits and sighing when a group of high school kids come in to “get their hours” and they barely can go through the motions to help out.

Is this what we want to teach our kids that picking up a neighbor’s paper and kind of, sort moving around some boxes at a non-profit is what volunteering is all about? That it doesn’t matter if you really did anything as long as you showed up and any good deed over 30 minutes can be rounded up to an hour?

Nope, count me out on this. I’m not signing my name to that – ever.

***For all things wonderfully Snarky go to www.snarkygear.com where you can find the new spring Snarky line of clothing and accessories. (Snarky baseball shirt anyone?) Plus, there’s my book - Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. (Click here for purchase information.)
 Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link - http://is.gd/iEgnJ (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.

 

Dear Snarky – Separate Checks Anyone?

dear_snarky_logoDear Snarky,

I have a group of girlfriends that go out to eat lunch together every Wednesday. My problem is one of the woman never pays her fair share of the lunch tab. We go out to eat at fairly nice places and when the bill comes she always says, “Let’s just split it.” That might work if she didn’t order the most expensive entrée on the menu and always has at least two glasses wine. Even when we ask for separate checks she makes up some excuse that she has to leave early and throws down a ten-dollar bill on the table like that’s going to cover her meal. It’s not like she doesn’t have the money either. Should we start being really blunt about it or just change our lunch date to Thursday and not tell her.

Signed,The Lunch Bunch

Dear Lunch Bunch,

My husband and I had this same problem with another couple. We would go out to dinner and they would have a whole lot of cocktails and lobster while we would share a pasta entrée and drink ice tea and then lo and behold they would always say, “Let’s split the check.” My solution was to quit going out to eat with them and invite them to our home for dinner. Sure, it was the chicken way out but we really liked their company just not their math skills.

My advice to you is to say upfront before anyone has ordered that everyone is getting separate checks AND I would ask the server for the checks as soon as all the orders have been placed so she gets it before she has a chance to make a run for it. If she does make a run for it – call her on it. Like on her cell phone and ask her how she would like to pay for the rest of her bill. Hopefully, she will get the hint that you and your friends are done donating to her lunch fund.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com

Batter Up – Part Two

team_snarky_closeup_grandeNothing irritates me more than when my children treat me like I’m an idiot. When they, who have yet to figure out that dirty clothes go into something called a hamper not the floor, have the gall to talk to me in a superior tone I feel compelled to put them in their place (which should be at my feet worshiping me). But, alas I needed my son’s help, so I put up with his condescension. As Clay is lecturing me on the finer points on remotely controlling someone’s laptop, (which you have to do to turn on their computer camera) while stuffing bullseye doughnuts in his mouth, I’m mentally making a To Do list and start to panic – sort of. From what he’s telling me I’m going to need a man on the inside. Basically, if I understand what’s he saying, someone is going to need to go into the County Cup, insert a flash drive into Martha’s laptop for approximately 15 seconds, remove the flash drive and then exit the premises, all without being seen. Unfortunately, I have no ninjas in my family or friend circle so I’m kind of doubting if I can pull this off.

My mom, who has been listening to all of this, pipes up and volunteers to do the deed. “That’s a big no can do mom. You don’t even know how to send an email that’s not in all caps. I’m guessing the flash drive would stroke you out. Plus, everyone in town knows you. How are you going to waltz into the Country Cup and pull this off without being seen?”

She pets her large and in charge blonde hair helmet, gives me a searing look that makes me feel like I’m back in high school and she’s just caught me breaking curfew, licks her lips, and says, “That’s why I’m just the person to do this. Everyone knows me. There’s not a room the good Lord has made that I don’t know how to work. I’ll just meander right into the back, ask if anybody has seen my purse because I think I left it there at lunch, and then distract that common as cornbread Martha Barnett and do that flash drive doohickey thing.”

“Got to hand it to you mom, that’s a good plan. The whole old lady lost my purse thing – genius. And I had totally forgotten that you can’t stand Martha.”

My mom quickly interrupts with, “She’s as bad as her mother, maybe worse. Going around putting on airs. You’d think she lived in Dallas or something.”

Before my mother could go off on one her tangents about the growing number of people being all gurgle and no guts (translation: boastful with nothing to back it up) I refocus the conversation to the flash drive. “Mom it doesn’t matter if you can work a room. There’s still the problem of you and the doohickey.”

At this point Clay gallantly jumps in to defend his grandmother, “Mom, if Grandma can plug in a toaster. She can insert a flash drive. I’ll even have her practice.”

My mom smiles and says, “So it sounds like we’ve got ourselves a little fun this evening.”

This is when my dad’s ears and mouth perk up. He had been silently reading the newspaper up to this point. “I’m a hearing this correctly? Are you planning on using your mother to illegally insert some sort of software that will allow you to remotely control  another person’s computer? I can tell you right now that’s not going to happen. Your mother is not going to go to jail.”

I say nothing and just smile. My dad doesn’t have a chance of stopping my mom from doing anything. She knows just how to manipulate my father to get her own way. It took under 90 seconds for her to convince him that she needed to do this for the betterment of society. Hell, she made it sound like she’d even get a Civitan of the Year award for it. I think what really won him over was her assertion that no one would want to send an old lady to jail and that she would use a dementia defense. My dad backed down after that and then announced that he was going with us.

“You can’t Dad. We’re taking mom’s Camry and I’ve already got me, Clay, Mom, Nancy and Lisa going. That’s five people. You won’t fit.”

“Well, then I just follow you in my truck and take the dogs with me. You never know when a dog is going to come in handy.”

I sigh and getting aggravated say, “I know why don’t we just put lawn chairs in the back of your pick up and have a hillbilly jamboree outside the Country Cup. It’s not like that won’t attract attention.”

My mom, a little slow to pick up on sarcasm, joins in with, “Let’s pack snacks and make a night out of it!”

“Mom, no on the snacks. Well, maybe some snacks. What were you thinking?”

“I’ve got some of my homemade jalapeno puffs and they go great with tea lemonade.”

This distracts me. Usually, I’m not easily distracted unless you introduce food into the conversation and then I’m a goner. I force myself back to the topic at hand and, because I’m a dutiful daughter and I know there was no other way he would let my mom go, tell my dad having him as back up would be just grand.

It’s now 6:50 p.m. I’m stuffed in the back of my mom’s car, between Nancy and Lisa. Clay is in the front seat and my mom is driving. God help us all. How this woman has never had an accident in her 50 plus years of being behind the wheel of a car is proof that there is a higher power and an angel is riding shotgun in her Camry. From my peripheral vision it looks like Nancy is giving herself last rites. Clay yells over my mother, who is simultaneously flooring her car and honking, that’s he going to be riding back with grandpa.

When we mercifully arrive at the Country Cup Nancy and Lisa start counting cars in the parking lot and announce that it looks like everyone that is affiliated with the draft is presented and accounted for. I tell my mom she’s good to go. None of us were worried that she wouldn’t know which laptop was Martha’s. Lisa said it has a paisley monogrammed case. My mom puts the flash drive in her skirt pocket, checks her coral lipstick in the rearview mirror, smiles, gracefully exits the car and begins to saunter up to the Country Cup. As she’s opening the door of the Cup my dad gets out of his pickup and follows her in. I just shake my head. Of course, I should have known he was going to do that. Always the gentleman, he would never let my mom head into alleged danger without his assistance.

Clay, still in the front seat, has his laptop out and has joined up with the Cup’s wifi. He’s doing some rather aggressive clicking on his keyboard. It takes less than five minutes before he announces, “Grandma’s done it. I’ve got control of that lady, no one likes, computer.”

Nancy and Lisa are all smiles. I’m concerned my mom and dad haven’t left the Cup. What the hell are they doing in there? Then I hear Clay laugh. “Look mom,” he says gesturing at his computer screen. “Grandma and Grandpa really do know how to work a room. Grandma’s even giving baseball advice.”

Sure enough, there was my mother, holding court and wishing everyone in the room “the best draft ever.” I can see my dad patting guys on the back and very discreetly maneuvering my mom out of the party room.

A couple of minutes later they’re back in the parking lot and you would think my mom had just won the Powerball. I have to tell her to act natural. My dad deadpans, “This is natural for your mother.”

He’s kind of right. So instead I tell her to shut up and get in the car. My dad insists on getting in the car also. He’s downright adamant about it. This means Nancy is forced to sit on my lap so my dad can squeeze in the back. Could we be anymore conspicuous? Six people crammed in an aging Camry, with one woman sitting on another woman’s lap. We look like a package of Jet Puff marshmallows shoved into a Dixie Cup.

Lisa tells Clay to raise up his laptop, just a smidge, so we can see what’s going on from the backseat. The draft contingent is making a prayer circle. They’ve all joined hands and are bowing their heads. This makes me laugh. Really, praying that everyone has a good summer Little League draft? WTF. Martha begins beseeching “our heavenly father to smile down and lift up those who will be making difficult decisions this evening, to use his wisdom from above to direct everyone in making purposeful and meaningful selections that will glorify his name and to bless everyone in the room for the work they do to spread Jesus’s love through boys and baseball .”

 Where’s a thunderbolt when you need one? I’m not the most religious person you’ll ever meet but holy crap this sounds blasphemous. How do Little League draft picks glorify God? My mom, who considers herself highly religious, announces, “Well, with that prayer she had the devil snickering and getting her room ready in perdition. I think we all need to say a prayer to cancel out that prayer.”

“Later mom, let’s pray later,” I plead.

“No, we’re going to do one quick prayer.”

“You know, Mom, I don’t think that’s how prayer is supposed to work. This whole pray oneupmanship thing sounds wrong, like unholy and I don’t think you can cancel out someone else’s prayer with another prayer.”

My mother rolls her eyes while shaking her head and says, “I don’t know what pray oneupmanship even means but I have it on good authority  (she’s now looking towards the heavens like she’s Facebook friends with Jesus) that you most certainly can pray over a prayer. So, everyone join let’s join hands.”

Knowing it was easier and faster to just go along with my mom than try to insert logic into the conversation I follow her instructions and we all join hands, to the best of our ability, and my mom rattles off, “Dear Father, please forgive those fools who waste your time praying about baby boys baseball and distract you from the bigger picture of caring for the sick, those suffering and the needy. Amen.”

As soon as the last amen is murmured, Clay eagerly shares, “Mom, mom, it’s started they’re doing that draft thing.”

At first it all seems a little humdrum every coach takes turn picking their A and B player. It wasn’t until they got to the C players that things got interesting. Martha’s boys Belton and Beaumont had yet to be taken in the draft. I’m going to guess that she figured one of her twins would be an A, the other a B and they would be drafted onto the same team. I checked my hypothesis with Lisa and Nancy and they both agreed. Nancy added, “It doesn’t matter if they’re A, B or Z player, you just wait, Martha’s twins will both end up on the super team.”

Shortly after Nancy says this we see Martha’s huge head fill up the laptop screen. Lisa screams and that makes my mom scream. “Calm down everyone,” Clay scolds. We’re using her laptop camera and she’s now sitting at her laptop that’s why all we see is her face.”

“Do you know what she’s doing?” I ask.

“Give me a second and I’ll tell you. She seems to be in an Excel spreadsheet of some kind and is reassigning letters of the alphabet to different names.”

This information gets Nancy all excited. “I knew it! I knew it! I knew it! She’s manipulating the draft by messing with the seeding. That’s how she makes sure her kids team always get the best players.”

Boring is what I’m thinking while I’m starting to get concerned that I’m numb from the waist down due to having a grown woman sitting on my lap. Then a cute guy walks over to Martha and asks her a question about the seeding. My dad says, “Uh oh, that’s the new youth minister at St. Pauls and he played college ball. The real deal. I’m talking NCAA Division 1. I think he’s figured out she’s cheating.”

The nice, youngish man asks, “Hey, how is Ian Vansickle an E player and how did he get on your children’s team? That kid should have been at least a B. He’s got an amazing arm.”

Martha stands up and is trying to use her Commissioner mumbo jumbo on him but he’s not backing down. Uh oh, now it’s on! She’s going full crazy on him. Like she’s in his face with her chest pumped out. A move, until now, I had only seen men in wife beater shirts do. I tell Clay to prepare the live stream.

“Like put it up?”

“No, just be ready.”

I then tell Nancy and Lisa to get out their phones, pull up their social media links and be ready to type.

And then it happened. I had my justification for sharing Martha Barnett’s special brand of icky with the world. I have standards when it comes to revenge. For me to engage in any sort of payback a person has to greatly exceed the limits of everyday douchery. Garden variety unkindness I tolerate. Sadly, it’s part of the human condition. But when someone crosses that line into vicious with a side of vile I feel it’s my responsibility to act for the greater good.

When Martha went off on youth pastor I still wasn’t prepared to engage. It took her launching into a tirade about how this is “the Major League Little League we’re talking about not the Challenger division” and then she began to berate the very awesome division of Little League for kids with physical and mental disabilities. When that happened I said three words, “Ready, set, go!”

Martha and her dumb assery was being live streamed from her own computer (I was being very careful that nothing could be traced back to Clay’s laptop) and Nancy and Lisa were sharing the links on the social media. With the status update “OMG have you seen Martha Barnett on Youtube – shocking and so sad.”

Oh and what a tantrum Martha was having! A real three alarm hissy fit about someone questioning her power as Commissioner. Karma was on our side because she was perched perfectly in front of her laptop for the optimum camera angle. I let her go on for about 4 minutes, then told my son to drop the live feed, turn those last couple of minutes into a continuous loop for Youtube and for my mom to get us the hell out of the Country Cup.

It took longer than I would have liked because I thought we were going to need the jaws of life to extract my dad from the Camry’s backseat. As soon as he was out my mom floored it and we hauled back to my parent’s house. There Nancy and Lisa camped out in the dining room working all their social media contacts. I told them they had one hour to get the word out and then I was having Clay shut down the Youtube link (which he had set up through Nancy’s computer). I also told him to make sure he had erased or whatever you do so no one will figure out that Martha’s laptop had been cloned. My mom walked around feeding everyone and saying things like, “If I do end up serving hard time promise me you’ll bring me my Clairol.” (She’s talking about her hair dye affectionately referred to around these parts as Lone Star Blonde.)

This story has a happy ending because my team of family and friends hit a home freaking run with the bases loaded. Martha is the ex commissioner, my mother is not in jail, and Nancy and Lisa’s boys are enjoying their Little League season. Although, Lisa insists “the teams still don’t seem all that fair.”  Sigh.

***For all things wonderfully Snarky go to www.snarkygear.com where you can find the new spring Snarky line of clothing and accessories. (Snarky baseball shirt anyone?) Plus, there’s my book - Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. (Click here for purchase information.)
 Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link - http://is.gd/iEgnJ (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.

 

 

Dear Snarky – Baby Shower Shake Down

Dear Snarky,dear_snarky_logo

I feel like a bad person because I’m beginning to hate babies. To be more precise I hate baby showers. I have a friend who is pregnant and so far I have been invited to six, that’s right six, baby showers for her. There was a shower announcing her pregnancy, a gender reveal shower, a “Baby Play Time” shower, a “Welcome Home Baby” shower where the gift registry was nursery furnishings (and she was registered at Pottery Barn Kids so everything was pretty expensive) a generic baby shower and there’s one coming up this week that is a “Baby Mama” shower where you are supposed to bring things to pamper the mom.

I quit going after shower number four because I didn’t have the money to buy any more gifts. Now, my friend is mad at me and says I’m “being unsupportive of her happy time.” When I told her the truth that I couldn’t afford to go to any more showers she called me a cheapskate. Who’s right? I’m I being cheap or is she placing presents above our friendship?

Signed, Going Broke

Dear Going Broke,

If it makes you feel any better I’m on your side. There are many ways to celebrate a new arrival without doing what I would call a greedy gift grab. Please, the nursery furniture shower. Cha ching. My view of baby showers is one and done unless you’re the future grandma. That’s not to say someone can’t have a million showers. There’s not a law against, you know, except the law of good taste. But if you are going to be “The Gifted” you need to be careful and not invite the same 12 people to every shower because that can place a party goer’s pocketbook in a pinch.

Also, if your friend was really concerned that you weren’t attending showers 5 and 6 AND after you confessed that fiscally you couldn’t afford to buy any more gifts she should have told you all that was required was your presence not a present.

I wouldn’t do anything as dire as writing off this friendship. Give it some time and blame some of her emotions on pregnancy hormones. For the perfect gift wait until the child is born and then offer to babysit. It will be a priceless present.

If you have questions for Dear Snarky write me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com