Dear Snarky – The Selfish Selfie

Dear Snarky,Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 10.49.32 AM

Please help me because I’m ready to disown a friend. I realize the problem I’m about to tell you may sound stupid, but its super annoying and I’m just so over dealing with it.

My friend takes pictures constantly and she’s always posting on all of her 4 social media sites. The problem is when you’re in a picture with her or any group photo she goes in and uses all kinds of apps to make herself look good from teeth whitening, wrinkle erasing, slimming her face, etc and leaves the rest of us looking like crap. AND I think sometimes she edits us so we look worse.

How do I get her to stop without making it a big deal? I’m afraid if I say anything she’ll put zits on all my pictures.

Signed, Photoshopped

Dear Photoshopped,

Have you ever thought about just saying no to having your picture taken? As in, “No, thanks, I don’t want to be in the group selfie.” There’s an easy fix to your problem. 

For more suggestions I consulted my social media, selfie expert – my 15-year-old daughter. She says the best way to deal with a friend who “blurs,” that’s her word for someone who is over zealous in their use of Instagram beauty apps, is to just call them out on it.

She said she had a friend who would always whiten her teeth in pictures and no one else’s so kids starting leaving comments like, “Love the bleach teeth. Which app did you use – Clorox?”

I know this maybe harder to do when you’re a grown woman BUT if someone is going to go all photoshop crazy in a group pic than I feel you have every right to bust them on it.  Your friend, unless she suffers from some sort of delusional mental illness, has to know that nobody is fooled by her enhanced photos.

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

August – The Bipolar Month

awesome-comics-derp-and-derpina-funny-Favim.com-799200I have a love hate relationship with the month of August. The hate comes, I think, from being water-logged. By now I have clocked so many hours in a pool or at a waterpark I feel like the Center for Disease Control should have me on a retainer for some sort of long-term chlorine exposure experiment.

 I’m also extremely weary of the swimsuit/bathroom shimmy. Now, if you’re a guy or a woman who has only worn a bikini her whole life (and may I just say right now that I admire either your self-confidence and/or dedication to the burpee) you won’t know what I’m talking about. So, let me try to explain to those of you who have never experienced the hand-to-hand combat of peeling off a wet, Lycra infused one piece.

 Imagine if your body was being hugged to death by a slippery, yet very tenacious and amorous seal. Now, envision trying to remove that seal from your body. You tug, you pull and eventually you hop and up down trying to enlist gravity to be on your team. Finally, you manage to roll your one piece down far enough so you can use the bathroom. That, my friends was the easy part because now you have to do the ultimate heave-ho and get that wet sucker back on.

 It’s a Sisyphean task. No matter how hard you yank your swimsuit up it barely moves. Wet Lycra must have the adhesion quality of duct tape infused with Gorilla Glue. By the time I have my suit at my stomach I usually resort to prayer and request divine intervention for the final journey – up and over the boobs. Last month at the Schlitterbahn water park it was such an arduous task getting my swimsuit off and on that by 2 p.m. I had reached my Fitbit goal for the day. It had to be all the jumping.

 Right about now I’m also sick of being hot. Heat is the enemy. Yes, I know lots of folks love living the 110-degree life. I just don’t happen to be one of them. Primarily because I find hot weather unattractive. There’s the sweating, the bad hair days, the melting make up and all the shaving. Could anything be more yuck?

 Now, let’s take a gander at fall and winter, summer’s much more beautiful sisters. These seasons are all about long sleeves, long pants and cable knit sweaters so bulky they conceal a wide variety of sins like weekly trips to the Krispy Kreme drive thru. And then there’s my favorite thing in the whole wide world – low humidity.

When that first crisp hint of autumn is in the air I become giddy. It’s life affirming and that’s just me talking about my hair. It’s got a bounce, a shine, a sheen that says, “Here you go brave girl. This is just for you for surviving summer.”

 August also brings unwanted attention to my lackluster parenting skills. Every summer I become a slacker mom. Anything that smacks of school from reading logs to summer assignments and “must have this done before school starts” packets I completely ignore nagging my kids about until the calendar says August 1.

Then it’s time for me to go into what I call the hurry and harass mode. Hurry, as in, “What do you mean you haven’t even gotten the book yet? You better get a move on it right now!” After that I follow-up with a level of harassment so fierce that my kids accuse me a being a bully or worse a “summer buzz buster.”

 All this school talk brings me to what I love about August. Yep, you guessed it – school starting! I’m not and never have been one of those moms that does the big boo hoo about her precious flock going back to school. The crocodile tears mothers are the worst.

Primarily because their angst is so disingenuous. I believe that these moms are confused and feel that to maintain their “Mother of the Year” street cred they must act inconsolable about their children being gone seven, wonderful, delicious, hours a day.

 So for you ladies getting ready to assault social media with your tales of abandonment because school has started and giving an Meryl Streep level performance of misery and despair at “Meet the Teacher” night may I suggest you rethink this strategy because no one is buying it. Mainly because if you’re that bereft about being child free why wouldn’t you just home school? 

 A couple of years ago at one of those back-to-school coffees I asked a mom who was clutching a handful of Kleenex that question. Let’s just say it didn’t go well.

 Of course, a downside to school starting, besides the phony mom weeping, is school supply shopping. I’m still in recovery from being at Target during a school sales tax holiday. You would have thought it was T minus 24 hours till the rapture. You know if the rapture was all about going to heaven with Trapper Keepers and college ruled notebooks. The best/worst was when two moms began fighting over the last couple of three-ring binder folders.

 It was intense. I got really scared when one mom reached into her cart and started gesturing with a ruler and not one of those plastic floppy rulers. Oh no, she was going all back in the day, little red schoolhouse with a hardcore wooden one. I was like, “Uh oh, it’s a throw down” and settled in with my Diet Coke for what I was sure was going to dinner theatre – Target style. The one-act drama was interrupted when an employee saved the day by restocking folders.

 But trumping even theatrics at Target and school starting the biggest gift August brings is one of new beginnings. For anyone with children still pursing their educational journey this month is when the New Year starts. Forget about January 1. August is where it’s at.

There’s excitement and hope for what the school year will bring. Resolutions are made. New routines are established and parents everywhere, engulfed in the fumes of new backpacks and number two pencils, are wishing for their children to have their very best year yet.

*Attention Snarky Friends, I have a new book out and for a limited time only it’s just 99 cents for a heaping helping of Snark! You are now gazing at the second book 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! :) 

 

 

School Blues

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 10.32.47 AMI’m about to doing something that terrifies me. I’m going to bad mouth my school district. (Just to get the courage to say that I had to fortify myself with not one, but two Rice Krispy treats.)

I know this is something you are never, ever supposed to do. Once your move into an area with one of the top performing schools in the country you’re supposed to drink the Kool Aid.

Well, I’m going tell you that right now that Kool Aid is a little off like when you mix the classic cherry flavored Kool Aid with something called Arctic Green Apple and you think, “Wow, something’s not right there.”

Now, before you start sending me hate emails (And just so you know I’m still recovering from all the Rolling Stone backlash. So please no more threats to my person or property.) give me a couple of sentences to explain myself. I’m not talking about the people doing the heavy lifting – the teachers. What I’m perplexed about is the let’s call them higher-ups in the district and I’m not alone in this feeling.

Last week at a mom back-to-school confab featuring a cross-section of awesome women I took a deep breath and shared, “I think something is wrong with the district?” I’m not going to lie. I was a little scared what would happen after I dropped that bomb. But, surprise, surprise, a lot of moms agreed with me. We started swapping stories of the recent idiocy we had experienced and that’s when I decided to throw caution and my email account to the wind and write this blog.

Because I adore my friends I will only share a tidbit of what I have experienced. The first foray this school year that left me feeling a little WTH? was earlier this month.

My daughter’s schedule had a problem and I needed to talk to someone about the issue. (And yes, I sent an email thus not violating the school’s golden rule of preferred communication. And yes this was not an issue she could “self advocate.”) Let’s just say I would have had an easier time getting a Time Warner or a Comcast representative on the phone and when I did get a human to talk to me I was not so gently shoved off to another number (at one point I was told to call the district’s IT department – huh?) and multiple people redirected me to the school’s website!

Really you’re going to tell a mom of a high school sophomore to check the website? Like this is my first rodeo or something? Are you kidding me? Why didn’t you just say, “We don’t care and our goal is to get off the phone with you as quickly as possible?”

Oh and about that website. It was hostile. Lot’s of all caps and yellow highlighted passages that let you know whoever wrote it and approved it thinks parents are a great big pain and time suck. (Note to all high performing school districts – one of the reasons your schools “perform” so well is because of the parents who care deeply about public education.)

It’s not like I don’t know and appreciate how busy the administration is but come on a high school with less than 1,500 students is not a multinational company. You can communicate with a parent. And I wasn’t doing the “I think I’m important and I want help right now” thing. All I wanted was someone to get back to me in a timely fashion.

Well, I’m not ashamed to admit to you that I finally hit the wall and went full cray. Full cray, mind you, at an In-N-Out Burger parking lot in Los Angeles. The reason being is because in California you can’t drive and talk on your phone. So, when my full cray episode exploded I turned into the closest parking lot I could find which just happened to be an In-N-Out.

Now, going full cray at your kid’s school is a delicate operation. You can’t be the parent that is always grousing. No one will take your concerns seriously if you’re a chronic complainer and if you have multiple kids in school you have to pace yourself. Right now, I’m in the cray sweet spot. I have one child left in school and that meant it was on like Donkey Kong.

I got out of my car, thus allowing me room for full arm gesticulation, because you can’t go cray without dramatic and robust upper body movements, and called the school. Finally, someone talked to me. Finally, my problem got worked out. Bonus, a group of folks eating lunch outside the In-N-Out applauded after I got off the phone. I did exactly what you would have done. I took a bow and then got a double double with cheese.

*cover_1.3-2Attention Snarky Friends, I have a new book out and for a limited time only it’s just 99 cents for a heaping helping of Snark! You are now gazing at the second book 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! :)

Wanted: A Job

I’m about to emef4525062c618a1117a71f831c0af885bark on one of life’s most unpleasant tasks and I’m not talking about having to guzzle that pre colonoscopy gallon of goo. No, what I’m gearing up for is much worse.

I’m preparing to begin an intrepid journey through hostile territory where all my weaknesses will be probed, my insecurities highlighted and it will feel like my self-esteem has gone one-on-one with a battering ram.  Yep, I’m getting ready to look for a new job.

Right now, I’m in stage one of the employment expedition which means I’m running the resume and cover letter gauntlet. Oh, the agony! I’d rather shop naked at Target for school supplies than tackle a resume. A major problem is the mountain of misinformation about how long a resume should be. Some authorities on the subject swear that it shouldn’t exceed one page others say if you’ve done it list it.

Then there’s the whole goal/objective thing you’re supposed to put right up there at the top of your resume. Do you go all philosophical and list world peace as your goal because come on who doesn’t want that and who wouldn’t want to hire someone who would want that? Or do you just share some good old fashion truth as in “my goal is to make money because my children’s college tuition will soon be killing me.”

You, for sure, don’t want to put down your real goal because that would scare people. For instance, my real goal today is to not harm my teenagers because I’m this close to going full cray on them. (Good God in heaven, 15 and 18 years old and they still haven’t grasped the concept of hanging up a wet towel. It’s not like they’re lacking opposable thumbs. They have the body parts needed to pick up a sheet of terry cloth. Where have I gone wrong?)

Once you get the resume done it’s on to the cover letter which I see as a total waste of time. Who thought up the concept of a cover letter? I googled it and got nothing. You know why no one knows the founder of the cover letter? It’s because the demented, evil troll who birthed the concept is probably in protective custody due to an inordinate amount of death threats.

Someone please tell me what purpose the cover letter serves? Is it like resume Spanx? Do you use it as a tool to pretty up or compress unattractive employment truths?

If I worked in human resources I’d be all about getting to the facts. I wouldn’t want to waste my time reading drivel like – “I feel my previous job experience has prepared me for undertaking multiple projects while maintaining a strong commitment to quality, the customer experience and fiscal responsibility all resulting in a positive reflection in both the bottom line and employee team engagement.”

I just got a headache writing that. I can’t imagine being the person who has to read about 100 different versions of that kind of blah, blah, blah everyday. I’d be popping extra strength Advil gel capsules like they were Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies.

I have zero experience hiring people for jobs, but if I did well, I would change things up. No, I would do better than just change I would revolutionize the whole resume/cover letter two-step. My version would be called the “Cut To the Chase” (trademark pending) employment portfolio.

All you would need to do is list your work history for the past five years and then under the heading “extra stuff” you could briefly pontificate on your volunteer work and/or awards. (This award thing would also do double duty as a psychological profile. If a person goes on and on about their awards you know if hired this employee would be the one that makes every meeting last two hours longer than it should.)

Think of the time this would save anyone who works in the hiring field. You could plow through resumes probably 10 times faster. This would speed up the process so much that a company could probably even reduce the number of people working in human resources thus saving money.

See, what I just did there? I problem solved. Yep, I’m going to put that in my cover letter  by calling myself a “conflict resolution specialist with an emphasis in employee consolidation and organizational time management.”

Wow, that sounded pretty good. Based on that alone I’d hire me. Sure, I’ve raised children that can’t hang up towels so that might reflect on my failure in motivating subordinates to achieve goals, but if I did some cover letter magic on that I could turn the whole towel thing into “I strive to mandate positive change in a caring environment by role modeling behavioral experiences that will lead to long-term employee productivity.”

I think I just found my perfect job – Cover Letter Wrangler. You’ve got to admit the way I turned that towel thing around was most impressive.

*Attencover_1.3-2tion Snarky Friends, I have a new book out and for a limited time only it’s just 99 cents for a heaping helping of Snark! You are now gazing at the second book 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! :)

Lake-less

Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 10.07.37 PMIt’s not that I don’t like water. I love water, especially chlorinated water. Most summer days you can find me swimming laps at the city pool (just look for the woman in the swim skirt that goes down to her ankles and it’s not because I don’t have a swimsuit perfect body. It’s because wearing a skirt that long increases my drag coefficient thus contributing to a better workout or at least that’s what I tell myself). What I have problem with is large bodies of  water. Most especially ones that house other living creatures of the non homosapien variety.

Most of the blame for this comes from growing up in Texas – land of a thousand man made lakes and “ponds” (please note the quotation marks around ponds because in Texas speak a pond is usually a sludge holding pen make believing it’s an actual body of a water).

In fact, in the Lone Star state most of the lake water resembles a bad cup of coffee in a styrofoam cup that’s seen too much powdered dairy creamer. It’s not that I have a thing against splashing around in water that’s less than crystal clear. It’s that the color of the water acts a camouflage for my least favorite swimming buddy – the six-foot long, venomous, water moccasin that the Texas Park and Recreation folks kindly describe as “highly aggressive and defensive.”

In Texas you get taught two things at a an early age – that football rules and keep your eyes peeled for the water moccasin. It’s modus operandi is slithering up to you as you shove your foot in a water ski, float on a raft or worse wiggling up the side of a boat and doing a hop, skip and a shimmy to give your leg a little surprise loving. Yep, that happened in 1992 and I haven’t been in a Texas lake since.

When my family moved to Nevada and we had the gorgeous blue waters of Lake Tahoe at our backdoor I thought to myself here’s the lake for me. It’s perfection. Stunning doesn’t do it justice. It’s the supermodel of lakes – flawless.

I remember the first time we went as a family to the beach. It was Memorial Day weekend and I noticed that nobody was in the water. This seemed strange. Sure, a couple of kids had their toes in the lake, but nobody was swimming. Hmm, I thought maybe there’s some sort of lifeguard “water timeout” going on. Yet, there was no lifeguard. I even asked a woman sitting on the beach if it was okay to go into the water. She laughed and jeered, “Sure, if you can handle it.”

My first reaction was Good Lord, these West coast people are so dramatic. Seriously, “if you can handle it?” What does that even mean? Who can’t handle water? Are we at some sort of beach sit in? I bet half the people here are from California which totally explains this weird non water thing. Wait, can you not swim during a drought? Okay, that just doesn’t make any sense. Screw it, I’m over thinking all of this. I’m going in.

What that I dropped my sarong and ran into the water chanting, “Lake Tahoe you big, beautiful, bounty of H20 where have you been all my life” and then I dove underwater. Sweet Aqua Man, what had I done. At first, I couldn’t breathe. When I finally managed to get my head above water I released a scream so intense that it could probably have signaled aliens from the Circinus Galaxy. After the scream I began howling like I was the main course at an all you can eat brunch buffet and BBQ for bears.

I wanted to get out of water, but I couldn’t. My legs wouldn’t move. They felt like they were frozen solid. I was for all intents and purposes paralyzed because the water temperature was hovering at probably 33 degrees. Silly me, not to do what the locals call “snow melt math” to divine the lake temp. How was I, a Texas girl, to know that the Lake was “fed” from snow thaw in the mountains.

Finally, the water got a little warmer. I don’t know if it was because the sun came out or I lost bladder control (I’m going with sun), but I was able to make my way to the shore and begin the hypothermia triage necessary to get circulation back in my body. As all this was happening the “If you can handle it” woman gave me a smirk. I wanted to smirk her right back, but my face was still frozen and I couldn’t even so much as lift an eyebrow.”

Not even near death could dampen my love affair with Lake Tahoe. I just invested in a modified wet suit and knew not to breach the water until the Fourth of July. All was good until I entered the boat stage of my life and became a victim of the towable tube.

Why is getting dragged behind a bfc0c75e64e51cad3353641983d0f3a92oat exceeding 40 m.p.h.on what is essentially a cheap, inflatable rubber mattress be considered fun? It’s not fun. The human form was not made for this kind of abuse. Last time, I rode a tube I was clutching the nylon handles so tight I got carpel tunnel.

I’m not kidding when I tell you I had a friend who busted a breast implant due to a tubing beat down. And yes, this experience meets the qualifications for being a beat down. Does your body continually and with vigor get smacked as it flies up and down, repeatedly hitting with excessive force a rubber tube? Yes, yes and yes again. It’s 50 Shades of Gray – the Boating Edition.

For sure, there are tubes you can ride upright on. There’s even something that looks like a banana, where you can pretend all will end well because nothing bad can happen when you’re on a banana, right? You heard it here first, don’t be fooled by the fruit tube.

It starts out okay as long as the boat is going straight and there’s no substantial wake. But once the boat takes off and hits any kind of water turbulence wave bye bye to your dignity as you’re plunged off the banana with a G force so substantial you either lose a piece of your swimsuit or it’s found refuge in body crevices that I prefer not to talk about.

All this is why you’ll find me ensconced safe and sound at the pool where the only bad thing that can happen is someone making fun of my swim skirt or as I like to call my aqua exercise enhancer.

*Attencover_1.3-2tion Snarky Friends, I have a new book out and for a limited time only it’s just 99 cents for a heaping helping of Snark! You are now gazing at the second book 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! A Rainbow & Unicorn Mom is Telling Everyone I’m a Bully

Dear Snardear_snarky_logoky,

Thanks to a Rainbow and Unicorn mom I have started off the school year being called a bully. Every year my kids’ elementary school has a “Winning Reader Picnic.” This picnic is for all the kids who completed their summer reading log goal.

Each “winning reader” gets a gold ticket which gets them into the picnic on the school playground. Well, the Rainbow and Unicorn mom was letting in any and all kids into the picnic. It was a disaster. We were running out of food and drinks, not to mention that the whole the picnic is for the kids that read over the summer.

So, I take it upon myself to tell the mom to only let kids in with the gold ticket and she says, “I’m sorry. I just can’t say no to a child.” WTF? That’s when I told her to watch how it’s done and I took over.

Now it’s a scandal because the Rainbow bitch tattled on me to all of her friends.  So FYI  I’m now a bully. Ugh. Help me Snarky how do I clear my name?

Signed,

So Not a Bully

Dear Not a Bully,

Brace yourself for this alarming advice. Do absolutely nothing. Yep, that’s right. Just own what you did. Proudly tell anyone that ask why you did it and walk with your head held high. You were not in the wrong. 

Mrs. Rainbow and Unicorn should not have been letting in kids that didn’t partake in the summer reading program. So sad too bad she got her mom feelings hurt when you pointed this out and then took control of the situation.  All I have to say is you go girl!

*If you have a question for Dear Snarky, 21st Century Advice with an Attitude, please email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com or private message me on the Snarky in the Suburbs Facebook page.

First Day of School Rules For Parents

Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 12.44.44 PMPrayers have been answered! The first day of school is here. Praise the glory that is the number 2 pencil and all hail the college ruled notebook and three-ring binder.

I will admit that starting school in August seems really, really early and I have some guilt issues that I’m this excited to see my daughter go bye-bye for seven, long, beautiful hours a day. But then I remind myself that school ended for us before Memorial Day and presto I’m no longer feeling bad about doing the back-to-school happy dance.

For those of you curious about what my happy dance looks like it’s a combination of a jig with a little Polka influence, then I throw in some Bee Gee’s Saturday Night Fever disco with a hip hop influence that says, “This girl still got it” and if I’m really feeling it, like my back doesn’t hurt and my knees are making that weird clicking sound (what’s up with that?), I bust out a cartwheel.

I think I look cool doing it. My husband disagrees and says my “dance” is not only incredibly painful for him to watch, but also scares the dogs and rattles the house’s foundation. Whatever. I think he’s just jealous because really who wouldn’t be? When I do my hip hop inspired Running Man move it’s, it’s . . . well, it’s something else that’s for sure.

The only thing that has the power to kill my happy dance is parents who on day one break some very basic back-to-school rules. This is why I, (whose hip now hurts from landing my cartwheel on my butt) in the spirit on continuing education, will now share with you my top four back-to-school rules.

Rule #1 Do not bring the teacher a gift on the first day. I see this happening every year and it’s in a word – awkward. I don’t care if it’s a Starbucks skim mocha latte with extra foam or a cookie cake. (In the yes this really happened department. One year a mom brought a cookie cake to a teacher and the icing was a picture of the teacher’s face. Yikes!)

The whole gifting the teacher on the first day of school says way too many things about the parent doing it. Who’s ready for a pop quiz?

Does gifting the teacher mean:

A) That you’re the worst kind of suck up. 

B) You’re letting the teachers know you’re willing to reward them for favors.

C) You’re a show off and are using the first day as a way to signal to all the other parents that you’re a Super Mom.

D) All of the above

If you picked D go to the head of the class because you just got an A+.

Rule #2 Do not turn the first day of school into a photo shoot featuring your child. I get it some parents want to publish a coffee table book on their kid’s first day of second grade. But don’t be the parent that asks the teacher to participate in your pictorial to such an extent that it’s creating chaos.

When my son was in the fourth grade there was a dad with two cameras (each with a telephoto lens) around his neck directing the teacher as he clicked away. It was all, “Mrs. Williams can you lean in closer to Katie so I can get another angle? “Okay, now I need you to move your head to the right, pick up a textbook and pretend you’re showing it to Katie.” On and on it went until I stood in front of his cameras. (Someone had to do it.)

 Rule #3 Do not have your mom sorority, clique, gossip girl group, whatever you want to call it, block the forward motion of other families walking into the school because your collection of awesome friends have decided to have a “I haven’t seen you since Bar Method class yesterday” reunion in the foyer of the building.

Ladies, please take all that love to the parking lot or cafeteria and let other parents and their children proceed into the school without having to leap over you or accidentally on purpose hitting your Lululemon Hotty Hot shorts (actual name of a Lulu short BTW) with a Marvel Superhero’s backpack.

Rule #4 If you have a position in PTO/PTA or are a room parent that requires the help of volunteers please (and I’m begging you to take medication if you have to) resist the urge to begin your campaign of volunteer shaming on the very first day. Go ahead and put a flyer in kids backpacks heralding “exciting volunteer opportunities for the school year” but for the love of all that is holy DO NOT start guilt tripping or doing any subtle brow beating as in: “Wow, it seems like I never saw you last year? Did you do any volunteering at all?”  OR “Do you think you can make time for (insert your child’s name here) this year.”  But wait there’s more with this goodie – “It would be nice to know if we can finally count on you.” And last, but not least the classic – “Don’t you care about education?”

Now parents let’s follow these rules and make it a great first day!

*Attencover_1.3-2tion Snarky Friends, I have anew book out and for a limited time only it’s just 99 cents for a heaping helping of Snark! You are now gazing at the second book 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! :)

The Wind Beneath My Wings or How Not to Get Screwed Out of a Decent Seat On Southwest Airlines

illustration-crammed-plane-590-590x428There are a myriad of skills parents have to teach their children. We all know what the big ones are, but it’s the, let’s call them the lesser skills, the ones that don’t even make the Top 10,000 Things Every Kid Should Know Before They’re 18 list that I have spent the summer working on with my daughter.

The two of us have been traveling a lot together and I’ve seen this as an opportunity to share my wealth of knowledge on all things related to Southwest Airlines. Most importantly, I’ve been educating her in the ways of successfully securing the least annoying seat on a Southwest flight.

If you have an expense account where you can pay the $12 “early bird check in” to ensure you’re the first to get on the plane then this is not news you can use. But for folks who like the adrenaline rush, the almost gambling high, the roll of the dice, if you will, of being perched on a computer exactly 24 hours before your scheduled departure time pleading at your screen “Come on baby, give mama at least an A 20 boarding pass” then prepare yourself for a teachable moment or two.

In fact, responsible seat gambling is the first area I instructed my daughter in. You don’t want to be the idiot, the wanna be “whale,” that throws caution and common sense to the wind and favors taking a dangerous spin on the Southwest roulette wheel of boarding by checking in the day of your flight, or worse, at the airport.

It’s like rolling snake eyes because all you’ve “won” is probably the dreaded C 30 and beyond seat designation. If this happens may God have mercy on your soul and most assuredly your spine that’s going to be getting an origami beat down in the middle seat.

Now, just because you have what I would call a “high value” boarding pass doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.  Only the lazy or novice traveler would take their A 18 as a sign to relax.  What an experienced Southwest warrior does is use the pre boarding time to assess the fellow passengers herding around the gate.

There are personality types that I’m always on alert for and try to avoid once I’m on the plane and praying for an aisle seat. Of course, everyone knows to beware of sitting anywhere near a small child. If I can, I like to put at least a five-row boundary between me and the 5 and under set.

Extra caution must be exhibited towards any parent who already has on noise canceling headphones before boarding the plane and does not seem to be carrying so much as a board book or a Cheerio for their little one.

Almost as bad as a bored child who thinks kicking your seat is “awesome” is the Grumpy Business Traveler. This person, usually a guy, seems super ticked off he’s stuck flying with the general public in cargo class adjacent conditions. His audible sighs and reluctance to get off his cell phone combined with acting like he called dibs on sticking his legs in the aisle the whole flight =  jerk alert.

I’ve also been schooling my daughter to always be scanning the passenger horizon for the bubonic plague, TB or Ebola nomad. Also know as the open mouth cougher and/or full frontal sneezer. These fools act as if they’re in training for some sort of disease decathlon where their bodily fluids are being measured for distance traveled, velocity, and force.

Any intrepid traveler knows it’s not just what you see. It’s also what you smell. When everybody else is lounging in the gate area you should be taking a stroll with your olfactory senses at Defcon 5 as you sniff out the discernible odor passenger.

It’s not just B.O. I’m talking about. One time a woman had so much Joy perfume on I thought the flight attendants were going to suggest the pilot do an emergency landing.

The most irritating passenger, by far, is the hoarder. We all know these humans. They’re the ones that think carry on limits are for suckers. Last month, a lady on our flight to L.A. had a suitcase so stuffed it looked like she was partaking in the human trafficking of Santa Claus. She was also lugging a backpack and a cooler.

I pointed her out to my daughter and shared that no good ever comes from a carry on cooler. She gave me some sanctimonious grief that maybe the cooler had an organ donation in it or something.  When we got on the plane this woman had opened her Igloo and was laying out a feast of assorted foods that smelled like death running a marathon in Texas without a liberal application of deodorant.

I gave my daughter a nudge and whispered, “mother knows best.”  She would have responded back, but it’s hard to talk when you’re covering your mouth and holding your nose.

 

*Attencover_1.3-2tion Snarky Friends, I have anew book out and for a limited time only it’s just 99 cents for a heaping helping of Snark! You are now gazing at the second book 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! :)