Dear Snarky – My Sister Wore a Bridal Gown to MY Wedding

Dear Snarky,

 It’s official my sister is insane because she wore a wedding dress to my wedding. Let me back up a bit. She wore a wedding dress she had purchased two years ago and never got to wear because her fiancé called off the wedding.

 My crazy, sneaky sister who was my maid of honor changed out of her bridesmaid dress and into a wedding dress minutes before MY wedding started. She did this after my mom had been seated in the front pew and when my dad and I were in a back corner of the church waiting for our turn to walk down the aisle so we couldn’t see her.

 The other bridesmaids did see her and were horrified. My best friend tried to stop her from walking down the aisle but was afraid of causing a scene. So, imagine my shock when my dad and I come from the back of the church and start walking down the aisle and I see my sister at the front of the church in a wedding dress. I almost lost it.

 Thankfully, my now husband whispered in my ear not to let my sister ruin this wonderful day. So, I kept it together and focused on the positive – I was married.

 Now, I hate my sister and want nothing to do with her and her lame excuse that wearing a wedding dress to my wedding was because she didn’t want “her beautiful dress to go to waste.” My mom says family is forever and I need to “make peace with it.”

 Don’t you think I have a right to be mad and stay mad?

 Signed, Angry Bride

 P.S. My mom did make my sister change out of the wedding dress for all the photos.

 Dear Angry,

Umm no, this isn’t a situation where your mom can wave a magic happy family wand and presto everything is all rainbows and unicorns.

You have every right to be beyond angry. One of the reasons you sister did this besides being a huge, narcissistic, jealous, loser is because your mom, and I imagine other family members, have made excuses for her behavior over the years. They did your sister no favors by covering up her obvious character defects by papering over them with all that family means love B.S. Long ago they should have been  imposing some consequences and therapy, lots of therapy.

 What she did, in my opinion, was an act of family terrorism. She tried to ruin your wedding. You would be a fool and I think it would be mentally unhealthy for you to just sweep it all under the run for the sake of family harmony because what your sister did was unforgivable.

 Just because you are related to someone DOES NOT give them permission to disrespect you or be hateful to you. Family maybe forever but this doesn’t mean you have to stand for their shameful behavior.

 I suggest taking a break from your family until you’re in a better headspace and when you’re ready to reengage with them I would do so with some basic rules of human decency in place.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – advice with an attitude – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com. 😉

Dear Snarky – I Was Left Out of the Family Holiday Photo

Dear Snarky,

My feelings are really hurt by my boyfriend’s family and it has me wondering how my boyfriend can be so nice and his family so mean. Last weekend his family had professional holiday photos taken for their Christmas card and I wasn’t invited to be in the photos.

My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost six months and it’s getting pretty serious. I’m even hoping for an engagement ring for Christmas. It feels like his family, especially his mom, went out of their way to exclude me and hurt my feelings.

I even showed up for the photos with my boyfriend as a way to offer moral support and in hopes that because I was there someone would say go ahead and get in the photos but that didn’t happen.

I feel like I deserve an apology from his family but my boyfriend says he’s not going to start an argument about this. Now, I’m wondering if I should just flat out ask his mom why she has a problem with me?

Do you think this is a good idea because I’d rather know up front what her issues are before we get married?

Signed,

Pre-Mother-in-Law Problems

Dear Problems,

Girlfriend you need so slow your roll WAY DOWN  because you’re the problem not your boyfriend’s family. First up, there should be zero, and I mean zero expectations, that a girlfriend of six months should be included in a f-a-m-i-l-y holiday card photo.

Also, you showing up for the photo to give your boyfriend “moral” support is ridiculous. Trust me every single family member saw through that ploy to get yourself included in the holiday card. I’m sure the side eye you were getting that day was epic.

I urge you to forget about demanding an apology or confronting your boyfriend’s mother. You do not want to go there primarily because you’re the one at fault.

If you want any chance for this relationship to make it to the new year you need to lower your expectations and that includes what I think is very wishful thinking that you’re getting an engagement ring for Christmas. My vast experience in personal relationships is telling me that’s not going to happen and you need to right now start adjusting to this reality so you don’t ruin Christmas for his family and yours.

 

Thanksgiving Is Getting the Shaft

What happened to Thanksgiving? I feel like it has become the fruitcake of holidays. Sure, it’s a day everybody acknowledges and celebrates but it’s not something you’re that passionate about.

It seems like more and more Thanksgiving has become a roadblock to December 25. An event to mark off your to do list, to get through, even endure, so you can go back to celebrating the holiday Thanksgiving interrupted – Christmas.

I’ve seen this slowly happening for the last decade and then about two years ago it seems that Thanksgiving got a real kick to the curb. It used to be that someone putting up a Christmas tree right after Halloween was considered eccentric. Now it’s not out of the norm.

Years ago I surrendered my angst about Christmas decorations going up in retail establishments in October but I never thought homes would be all ho, ho, ho’d right after the last Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup had been handed out for trick-or-treat.

Even the Hallmark Channel known for its very traditional take on the holidays has abandoned any sense of turkey day decorum. This year for the first time in their almost 20 year history the channel went 24/7 on Christmas movies starting on October 25. Et tu Hallmark, et tu?

I’m telling you it’s the equivalent of getting Santa Claus’s blessing to go full Christmas before you even shop for a Halloween costume. It’s shocking to me and I think very rude to Thanksgiving, mean girl even.

It’s like Christmas is the disco ball of holidays and Thanksgiving is a 20-watt light bulb sitting all alone in the middle school cafeteria.

This makes me sad and has emboldened me to start a movement. I’m going to call “I’m With Thanksgiving.” People should rise up and support this day of reflection, gratitude and gluttony because Thanksgiving needs its spotlight back!

And I mean real spotlight not some half-hearted effort to give the holiday a shout out – Thanksgiving poinsettia I’m talking to you.

If you haven’t seen the Thanksgiving themed poinsettia at your grocery store let me educate you on this insult to floral, fauna and good taste.

The plant is either the color of a sweet potato casserole that appears to have gone bad or worse watered down gravy made with a powder mix that would send your great grandmother spinning in her grave. It’s desecrated even further with chunks of gold glitter.

I don’t know whose idea this was but it needs to go down as one of the worst floral trends ever. Surpassing even those gigantic Texas homecoming mums. In fact I might start another movement called “Free the Poinsettia” because just like Thanksgiving this plant deserves so much better.

Can anyone please tell me why have we forsaken Thanksgiving? To me it doesn’t make sense because Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday.

It’s a judgment free zone to stuff yourself senseless and just like a good piece of chocolate pecan pie it needs to be savored not overlooked and rushed through as a prelude to Black Friday sales.

Tomorrow I urge all of you to help me take Thanksgiving back to its glory days. Really dig in and enjoy the holiday. Surrender Santa and focus on the turkey. Relish those mashed potatoes with real butter and form an intimate relationship with the only true stuffing – cornbread.

You’ll know when you’ve achieved Thanksgiving nirvana. It’s when the waistband of your pants has gotten uncomfortably tight and yet, like a true champion, you power through another piece of pie. A day like this should be heralded not given a poinsettia so unattractive it has the power to turn you right off your mom’s green bean casserole.

 

 

The Yuck Factor of Flying is Getting Worse

When did we become a society devoid of being cognizant of our surroundings? And what has happened in the past decade to give people the mistaken belief that they possess a super power and are cloaked in a shroud of invisibility?

Nothing brings out these let’s call them personality foibles like sitting at the Southwest gate at the airport. Oh yes, you’re right I’m going to go off on airports – again. Sorry not sorry because the issues I’m about to delve into need to be discussed so corrective behavior can begin.

Let’s tackle the whole being cognizant of your surroundings first because this seems to be getting worse at such an alarming rate I fear I’m going to become some sort of rogue airport manners sheriff and end up in an altercation that might lead to me being arrested.

Lest you think I’m being overly dramatic I’ll give you a brief synopsis of what I saw earlier this month while seated in the gate area of three different airports. Behold the woman who took what looked to be every article of clothing out of her suitcase, laid these clothes out on the less than hygienic airport carpet and then began to use a battery operated sweater shaver on her clothes up to and including a bra.

For those of you blissfully unaware of what a sweater shaver is let me share that it defuzzes your clothes. I’m on team sweater shaver. I have one and love it. What I’m not on is team sweater shaver at the airport.

Besides the yuck factor of having your clothes mating with the floor of the Southwest gate area there’s the inappropriate nature of doing personal laundry care in a public venue.

While this was unsettling it had nothing on the woman gleefully plucking her companion’s ear hairs while seated at a restaurant inside LAX or another woman pumicing her heels because nothing says, “I value public health” like jettisoning your hoof detritus into the atmosphere.

Because I’m now a little nauseous let’s move on to the truly disturbed masses that believe they’re invisible thus enabling them to Facetime their loved ones, a doctor, co-workers and perhaps even a telemarketer while waiting for their plane.

I know the whole talking on speakerphone in an airport is nothing new but this assault on the ears on the traveling public has reached an epidemic.

What must have happened to someone to make them believe that putting their phone on speaker and shouting into while corralled in a public space is okay? My theory is these speaker shouters are narcissists.

This behavior fits the classic narcissist profile where the person has an expectation of special treatment and an insatiable appetite to be the center of attention. There’s nothing that says “look at me” like having a “yellversation” on speakerphone at Gate 35 at KCI.

You know how some people have a travel bucket list? Well I also have one and it’s not to walk the Great Wall of China or to scale Everest (hard pass). On my bucket list is to start telling people to rein in their desire to do laundry remediation, eradicate wayward hair follicles and purge their foot funk while at the airport.

I also would love, really love, to tell the speaker phone aficionados to turn down their phone volume and comport themselves in a manner that doesn’t scream, “I might need counseling.”

I’ve never seen the Great Wall but I’m thinking to be able to be the “Manners Sheriff” at the airport just might top that experience.

Writing Can Get Pretty Ugly

*Note:  I write a weekly opinion column for the Kansas City Star. Some of the stuff I muse about is a little more political in nature than I what share on this blog and by that I mean in the past I have written about education reform, health care etc. Because of this I get emails where people disagree with me, which is totally appropriate and welcome. This recent column was in regards to people who feel free to write to me about my looks – because that’s how you disagree with a woman right – by disparaging her appearance? Ugh. I’m sharing this column on my blog because I believe it has a message that will resonate with a lot of you.

 

I don’t get a ton of emails from readers of my Kansas City Star column hating on me but I get enough that I’ve been able to classify them into categories.

There’s the people that can’t grasp the concept of self-deprecating humor and therefore think I’m an idiot. There are the people that like to write me six paragraph emails on an almost weekly basis with the theme of, yep you guessed it, that I’m an idiot. There’s the people who disagree with me on a topic and use this as an excuse to take out all their life frustrations on me and then there’s my favorite – the people (all male based on their email signatures) that like to tell me an idiot AND that I’m unattractive.

These brings me a special joy because I’m in awe of how any man could have the hubris to believe that I care about their opinion in regards to my looks. As an advanced middle-aged female giving a hoot and holler about what any man thinks about my appearance ended about four decades ago.

How some dudes could conceive that telling me I’m unattractive or fat is going to be the coup de grace of my existence makes me laugh. Also, what makes these men presume womankind cares about their opinion on our looks?

Haven’t we as a society gotten past that just a wee bit? Sure, based on social media you could think that that answer to that question is a great big NO.

But don’t be fooled by all those filters and sexy posts by women on Instagram who are living the “like my post and link in bio” lifestyle. Most females today care more about than own judgment way more than what any guy thinks. Plus I think we’re raising girls today to have what I call self esteem swagger.

I’d like to believe that my father was a pioneer in this trend. Almost every day of my life he told me I was smart, beautiful and strong.

When I was in high school he drove me to school in the mornings and the entire seven-minute drive consisted of my dad telling me how amazing I was. It became a running joke between us. I called it “Dad’s morning pep talk.” He called it “telling it like it is.”

I would greet his soliloquy with rolled eyes and share that he was “full of it” but the man knew what he was doing. To this day if I’m having a crisis, large or small, I go back to what he told me on those drives to school.

This is why when men send me disparaging emails I feel sorrow and it’s not because they think I’m a “fatty” or “could use some work” but because based on my father and role model they’re failures as human beings.

I worry about any man who could write me, an aging female with no illusions about becoming an AARP super model, to call me out on my looks. What kind of man, husband, father are you that you can email a woman and attempt to tear her down by commenting on her appearance?

If you’re doing this to me, a total stranger, than how must you treat the women in your lives and what kind of damage are you doing to their mental health?

My dad’s name was Bob. I’d like to suggest that before you hit send on that next hate filled email you think about your legacy or as my husband likes to say during any big family decision ask yourself, “What would Bob do?”

 

 

 

Dear Snarky – I’m Being Shunned For Bringing Cupcakes to a School Party

Dear Snarky,

 I’m being shunned at my son’s elementary school due to having the “audacity” to bring mini chocolate cupcakes to the first grade Halloween party. I never received the link to the online sign up sheet for food and didn’t know that sweets were not allowed at the party. I only brought cupcakes because I didn’t want to show up empty handed.

 Now, the anti sugar Nazis are furious and suggesting that I’m a bad mother because I dared to bring a dessert to a Halloween party. Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t Halloween all about the sugar? Now, I’ve been told by the two room moms that I’m not allowed to volunteer or sign up for any party duties for the reminder of the school year.

 I cannot express how angry this makes me. What course of action do you think I should take because this is total bull shit?

 Signed, Cupcake Mom

Dear Cupcake,

You have to pick your battles. Ask yourself are cupcakes the hill you want to die on? If your child is only in the first grade you have a L-O-N-G time to spend with these mothers.

This means you can do two things. One, not volunteer at the rest of the parties but absolutely show up for your son or two take a stand so these moms know not to mess with you for the next 12 years and lord help me but I’m leaning towards this one because these moms need to simmer the hell down and learn to reign in their control issues. Their kid’s elementary school is not their personal fiefdom. #getalife.

Admittedly you should make sure moving forward that you’re up-to-date on your emails, apps, etc related to school events but you shouldn’t have to cower in fear around these mothers or kiss up to them because you dared to walk into the school bearing cupcakes. This means one thing – go over their heads. Yep, talk to the teacher the real boss of the classroom.

Explain what happened, express your desire to help out and ask if there is anything the teacher needs assistance with. Then resist the urge to tell the two room moms where they can shove their “no volunteer” edict and focus on making your child’s first grade year wonderful.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – advice with an attitude – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com. 😉

Dear Snarky – How Can We Tell a Family Member Not to Run for Public Office?

Dear Snarky,

 My niece announced to the family that she wants to run for public office and quite frankly a lot of us think it might just be the worst idea ever. She’s young, has no experience and has problems handling a day job. It’s so bad we have an over under on how long she’ll last at each job she gets

 I admire her enthusiasm and her wanting to “be the change” but I think she needs to at least volunteer on a political campaign or stay at a job longer than three months before she just throws herself out there.

 Our biggest worry is that she got some insurance money from a car accident and she wants to spend it to fund her campaign. Anyone in the family over the age of 30 told her she needs to use the money to pay off her college loans.

 Do you have any advice on how we can get her to change her mind without creating major family drama?

 Signed, Worried & Concerned

 Dear Worried

 Lately my solution to most of my letter writers has been to tell them to mind their own business. But today I’m not going to do that. I’m going to tell you to get involved. This is the mom of young adults in me talking but your niece needs to hear that she should be very conservative with how she spends that insurance money.

I’ll give her huge props for no wanting to blow it on designer handbags or a sweet new ride and wanting to run for office can be a noble endeavor but she still needs to very seriously ponder  spending that money to self finance a campaign.

Handling your niece with love and  respect (i.e. don’t talk down to her) suggest that she needs to enlist a firm to do an exploratory study on her running for office where everything from her chances of winning to how much money and time she’s going to have to invest to be considered a contender will be examined.

 This should be a g-i-g-a-n-t-i-c eye opener and I’m betting it’s not the amount of money that’s required that’s going to make her reconsider but the time that she’ll have to spend. Based on her employment record I’m guessing, umm how can I put this nicely, that she gets bored easily and once she sees the amount of effort and the hard and sometimes very tedious work it takes to get elected to almost any office she might cool off on this idea.

If she doesn’t be positive and wish her luck. Maybe this is her calling and she’ll surprise everyone.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – advice with an attitude – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com. 😉

Team Spirit

I confess to being a nervous and some might say irritating football fan. I blame it on the fact that I’m a mother because all I want is for everyone to have fun and not get hurt. So basically, the same mindset I used for cheering on my kids back in their kindergarten soccer days is how I watch football.

For hardcore college football fans (my husband) this can be problematic. My desire for each team to have a “good game” is not what he wants to hear especially when he’s watching his beloved University of Texas Longhorns.

My whole “good game” ethos came to a head last month when U.T. played K.U. These are the kind of games I love because I enjoying cheering on both Texas and Kansas. In my mind there’s not a loser because while my husband went to U.T. my son is a K.U. alumnus. So it’s just a day of “Yeah football!”

I also had a secret I wasn’t sharing with anyone. I was clandestinely rooting for K.U. I can’t help myself. I love an underdog and while in full confession mode the fact that my husband has yet to get over K.U. beating Texas in overtime back in 2016 is something I find hilarious. I’m not kidding if I want to irritate him I just mention the game.

This latest match up started out with U.T. quickly scoring but Kansas was plucky and they looked good. My husband though was not in the best of spirits when U.T. was only up by a couple of points at the half.

His mood was so dismal I had to retrieve the lucky U.T. pom poms and commemorative Darrell Royal football. I also perkily suggested that I could sage the house to cleanse out the negative energy. This earned me a look that would have scared most people but it just spurred me on.

Since I didn’t have any sage I got the pumpkin spice broom I had recently bought at Trader Joe’s and started waving it all over the family room giving extra special attention to the television. I would share what he told me I could do with the pumpkin broom but it’s not suitable for print.

As the game progressed things got worse. Texas barely pulled out a win. One would think this would make a UT fan happy but for my husband the score was a tragedy and worse a “harbinger of what the rest of the season held.”

In an effort to make up for the pumpkin spice broom performance I dedicated myself to becoming more educated about Longhorn football. This is where I went down the rabbit hole known as Burnt Orange Nation.

Not only could I not stop reading but I became obsessed with the comment section. Someone who goes by the name “Sir Horns A lot” is now my spirit animal. “Sir Horns” explained the season in such a way that way I felt like I was partaking in a master class on Texas Football.

The comment section also embolden me. Yes, I signed up and started commenting – a lot.

Currently, I’m enjoying weighing in on such topics as team endurance, defensive strategy and recruiting where UT could take a lesson from KU’s Les Miles who with a lot less resources (i.e. not coaching at a huge university that is currently spending $175 million for a “stadium update”) has put together a strong team.

See, didn’t I sound like I knew what I was talking about? I think I’ve graduated from football fan to insightful comment section analyst who may or may not be going by the name “Pumpkin Broom.”

Dear Snarky – Help! My Co-Worker is Already Christmas Crazy

Dear Snarky,

 I have a co-worker who’s insane. She is pathologically obsessed with Christmas. On October 1 she decorated her cubicle, started burning some awful smelling pinecone scented candle and has some sort of plug in air freshener that reeks of candy cane. She also plays Christmas music non stop and every morning reminds all of us how many days there are until “Santa is here.” Prepare to be shocked because this woman isn’t some old lady. The psycho is still in her 20’s.

 I’m not the only one in the office that she’s annoying. Her Christmas B.S. is the topic of most conversations and not in a good way. Is there anyway to get this woman to calm the F down about the holidays?

 Signed, Turning Into a Scrooge

 Dear Scrooge,

 If this was a Hallmark movie your co-worker would be named Miss Merry Christmas and she would melt the heart of the office Scrooge and they would fall in love and live happily ever after OR Miss Merry Christmas would turn out to be the daughter of Santa Claus sent to your office to spread the joy of the season very, very, very early.

 But since this isn’t a movie here’s my advice that’s a lot less fun. One – I’m assuming you can’t go to H.R. and grumble about a co-worker’s holly jolly attitude but what you can do is complain about the scent explosion in the office. A lot of people are highly scent sensitive and that means the candle and the air freshener could be a health concern.

 Now on to the holiday music – quit sulking, grow up and ask her to turn it down and if you don’t have headphones put those on your Christmas list. All the other stuff from the cubicle holiday décor to the countdown till December 25 is, I feel, a way for this young woman to get some attention.

 I suggest instead of letting yourself get turbo annoyed, and I’m sure this is all very annoying, I’m not trying to downplay that, you could compliment her on her Christmas mojo and maybe she can be the office holiday party planner. I have no doubt it would be a rager. Perhaps all this young woman is looking for is validation. Give it to her and see if that helps her chill out.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – advice with an attitude – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com. 😉