Are You Saying I’m Fat?

Amidst all the pandemic drama it’s heartwarming to know that some January traditions haven’t changed. Indeed having a few things, you can count can be most reassuring.

This is why when I started receiving emails, texts and social media attention about how I could “drop 35 pounds in 21 days” instead of feeling depressed I was overjoyed. Yes, no matter what catastrophe is happening in the world I can always depend on the weight loss industry to remember me.

I was flattered that so much effort was devoted to figuring out what haunted me during these frightening and unprecedented times and apparently it’s back fat.

Yes, forget about COVID because according to the electronic onslaught I’ve been experiencing my one real concern is that I have back jowls and back bat wings. For novices into the world of excessive flab in your scapula and latissimus dorsi regions let me give you a brief primer.

Basically, if you’re a woman and the under band of your bra has company in the form of some extra pudge then you could be suffering from the dreaded back jowls. If this pudge also shakes just a little then you might also be sporting some bat wings.

I was more than a little surprised that back fat was being given such a premier position in all of the weight loss messaging. What happened to the tried-and-true belly bulge guilt trip? Is it really even a new year without seeing photos of six pack abs that “could be mine in just 30 days”?

I’ve also started wondering how so many people and companies know that I’m fat. I could choose to be offended by this but instead I’m curious. Am I being stalked? Are people following me around at Target and jotting down that I’m thigh gap challenged? Is it the “family size” bag of M&M’s in my cart that’s putting me on some kind of chubby list?

And about that back fat – who’s seen me without a jacket on in the last four months to even know if I have excessive scapula area bulk?

What really baffles me is when “friends” on social media see fit to include me in their weight loss shout outs. It’s not like I’m posting unflattering pictures of myself on Facebook that could be deciphered as a cry for help.

Seriously, what goes through someone’s thought process when they decide it’s okay to reach out to a “friend” on social media and tell them how they could “lose weight and gain energy with a “cleaner eating program.”

Do they even consider that they could be hurting a person’s feelings? Or that my energy is just fine thank you?

Worse, and yes there’s a worse, is when not only do they think your BMI is not doing you any favors but they also want you to sign up for their multi-level marketing selling  “opportunity.”

By all means insult me and then try to guilt me into selling “nutritional” supplements that will “change my life.” And I’m guessing that by “change my life” they mean get me involved in a pyramid scheme. (Umm, yeah hard pass.)

I even asked a former neighbor who I haven’t seen in 12 years why she thought I would be a candidate for not only her weight loss plan but also multi-level marketing. I point blank inquired if she thought I was fat.

Her reply was polite saying that she was talking less about weight loss and more about a healthy lifestyle. This led me to follow up with why she assumed my lifestyle wasn’t healthy since it’s been more than a decade since we’ve laid eyes on one another?

Well long story short she’s now unfriended me. No worries. I’m going to count that as I’ve already unloaded some pounds in the form of unwanted social media baggage. Which in my opinion is much better than losing back fat.











Dear Snarky – I Want to Expose School Cheaters

Dear Snarky,

I ‘m OUTRAGED!  I’m friends with a mom who yesterday bragged to me over text that her son “aced all his AP exams.” Then she proceeded to tell me that he cheated – big time.

Our high school is virtual right now and this mom with literally no embarrassment told me that her oldest son who is pre-med and majoring in math at college took her high school son’s AP Calculus and AP Physics final exams in December.

Meanwhile, my daughter who is in the same class as the cheater took the same exams and did okay but she sure didn’t ace them.

I want to show the school the text this mom sent me and get this kid’s grades at the very least changed or make him re-take the final in person, at school with a proctor.

My daughter is 100 percent against me doing anything. She says it’s the schools fault for be so “tech lazy” that they make it easy for kids to cheat.

I’m really, really angry and feel like I need to let the school know what’s going on because it’s so unfair to the kids like my daughter who aren’t cheating or don’t have smart siblings that can take their AP exams.

What’s your advice?

Signed, One Pissed off Mom

Dear Pissed, Off,

I would definitely let the school know because if they are in your daughter’s words “tech lazy” they need to get their asses in gear before second semester final exams roll around.

To shield your daughter from any student drama or recriminations I would not tell the school the mother or son’s identity. I would be vague as in you know that there were college siblings that took their high school brothers and sisters finals. I would also tell the principal that the students see the school as being so backwards in their virtual testing that kids feel embolden to cheat.

I know you’re thinking “bull shit Snarky on that advice” because you want to expose these cheaters but really all you would be doing is making your daughter’s life m-i-s-e-r-a-b-l-e if it came out that you were the one that named names. I advise you without hesitation to put your daughter’s emotional well-being first.

Now, this sounds Pollyanna BUT the bottom line is that to take the national AP Exam in the late spring that is administer by the College Board these kids are going to have to know the material so they are right now only cheating themselves. (Yes, I’m aware that sentence is very dated but it still holds true.)

Cheating is a HUGE character flaw so please take solace in the fact that you are raising a child who doesn’t cheat. As for the mom who is proud and even boastful of her cheating sons well that tells you a whole lot about that family and none of it is good. I would certainly reconsider your friendship with this woman moving forward.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – advice with an attitude – email me at 😉





Taking Down Christmas

As I’m writing this my Christmas tree is still up. This is an anomaly for me. My usual routine is to ring in the New Year with a house that has been restored to its pre-holiday status.

I’ve always thought of it as starting the year with a clean slate and clean carpet because once the tree comes down it’s time to get out the beloved carpet shampooer and go to town on the area rugs. Yes, I’m in a long-term relationship with my Bissell.

Now excuse me while I veer off topic but I feel the number one baby present for any new parent should be the gift of a carpet shampooer with car attachments. This is because if you make it through a day without a kid spilling, spitting, or any other kind of projectile fluid disbursal then it’s a cause for a celebration and by that I mean a trip to Target without the kids.

Okay, enough about the perfect baby gift and back to Christmas trees. I know there are many varied opinions and customs about how long you should keep your tree up and with more people having artificial trees you could seriously never take your tree down.

That prospect makes me shudder because I’m a firm believer in giving each holiday it’s due to celebrate it’s unique specialness. For example, and I know this is becoming unfashionable, but I stand behind my decision to give Thanksgiving the respect it deserves and not eat turkey and stuffing with an array of ceramic Santa Clauses peeking at me.

My one holiday at a time philosophy induced an anxiety attack several years ago at Disneyland where unbeknownst to me the classic Haunted Mansion had been reimagined into the Tim Burton film the “Nightmare Before Christmas.”

This basically meant that Halloween and Christmas had been robustly intertwined. Ghosts haunting Christmas trees, gingerbread men and candy corn (two great tastes that don’t go together) and possessed ornaments it was all too much.

Half-way through the ride I had to put my head between my legs and take deep breaths. Fortunate, after eating a Disneyland churro I was able to rebound.

All of this is why I’m a little concerned that I haven’t taken down my tree yet. In my world of holiday celebrations Christmas is officially over once I peel the cellophane off my new calendar. Rest assured though I’m not  a Grinch who takes their tree down on December 25.

Oh yes, I know several people who take their tree down on December 25. I have one friend whose former mother-in-law would literally tear down Christmas – like pack it all away the minute the last present was open.

Can you imagine? I told this friend to watch her back because anyone who would demolish any sight of Christmas that aggressively on Christmas morning had in my book serial killer tendencies.

As this friend’s marriage eventually deteriorated she told me she would always be sure she was the last person to open a present and then take an inordinately long amount of time, ever so slowly tearing the paper, admiring the bow etc. just to tweak her mother-in-law who was chomping at the bit to get that tree down.

Honesty, I don’t know if that took courage or if my friend had a death wish.

As for me I’m conflicted about taking everything down. It’s been a rough year and all the holiday décor has been a welcome distraction. I don’t know if I’m ready to face 2021 without the buffer of Christmas.

But soon, very soon, mainly because I have a real tree it’s all going to have to come down and I’ll be left with a clean house devoid of Santa Claus, sparkle and red and green garlands.

My hope is the magic of Christmas will still linger as I embark on a new year filled with hope but still overwhelmed with uncertainty.















Dear Snarky – The Most Cringe Worthy Letters of 2020

Oh, 2020 how we all long to see you go BUH-BYE.

To celebrate the impending departure of this super icky year I’m going to count down the four most cringe worthy, oh no she didn’t, are you kidding me – Dear Snarky letters of 2020.

Coming in at number 4 is Toilet Vacay Drama. I picked this letter not because it was outrageous but because it got a ton of comments on social media. Which if you think about it makes sense since this was the year we were all a little preoccupied with all things toilet related. (I’m talking to you toilet paper hoarders.)

The letter writer was upset because her sister wanted her to split an insurance deductible of $500. What happened is the letter writer totally ignored the instructions regarding a toilet while staying at her sister’s lake house FOR FREE and this resulted in the vacation home experiencing a flood.

I told the letter writer to pay her sister the money post haste and beg for forgiveness since her actions caused extensive damage. When I checked back in to see if this woman had taken my advice I got two words emailed back to me. I’ll let you guess what they were.

Third on the most outrageous list is the COVID Wedding Refund letter. A mom reached out to me because her 30-year-old daughter who had recently gotten married in a small but elegant ceremony asked her parents to give her the money they had saved from not throwing her the huge wedding she had planned pre coronavirus.

The parents told their daughter a great big NO and this caused the daughter to quit speaking to her parents and blocking them on her phone. The mom was worried about how to repair the rift and I told her to do nothing because her greedy daughter would circle back around – sooner than later.

Well, well, well, it turns out I was right – again. When I touched base with the mom she told me that her daughter had recovered from hearing the word NO and was now negotiating for her parents to fund a down payment on a new home.

Hmm, is it just me or do you think I’ll be getting another letter from this woman?

And how could any of us forget this letter where a younger sister was pretending that her older sister’s baby was hers to shake down a former boyfriend for money. Yes, this letter My Sister Pretended My Baby Was Hers is #2 on the list.

When the sister and her husband found out about this horrible deception they banned the sister from their life which resulted in the sisters’ mother being very upset that the ban would ruin family holidays forever.

My response was to stay strong and keep that ban in place because the sister sounds like she’s a double D – deranged and dangerous.  I reached out to the couple to see how the holidays went  and I’m happy to announce that the couple did take my advice and did not cave into family pressure to give the sister “one more chance.”

And now for the number #1 letter of 2020 based on all the comments it received. This missive was titled I Don’t Want to Share My Wedding Dress and concerned a woman who had recently gotten married in a one-of-a-kind designer dress and now her brother’s fiancee wants to wear it for her wedding.

But wait, there’s more because dear readers there’s always more – not only does her brother’s fiancee want to wear the bridal gown but she secretly tried it on (the gown was being stored at the bride’s parents house) and then posted pictures of herself in the dress on social media.

The new bride wanted to know what to do without causing family drama.

I told her that she should say she’s saving the dress to hand down to the daughter she might have someday – yes, a little white lie to shut this down.

But my smart Snarky readers had better advice after I published the letter. They told me that this new bride needed to take her gown and hide it so it would be safe from this greedy and overreaching woman.

I passed along that advice to the letter writer and I’m pleased to report that the new bride says her gown is now safe at a friend’s house 300 miles away. Yay!

All’s well that ends well and as we enter into a new year all I have to say is keep those letters coming.







In the Hair There’s a Feeling of Christmas

If you want someone who will always give you the brutal, unvarnished truth, usually unsolicited – have a daughter.

Last week, I was the recipient of some harsh reality tidbits from my daughter when I put on social media a photo that was taken decades ago that featured me with my hair sculpted into a Christmas tree.

This work of a festive hair art was part of a fashion article for an Austin magazine way back in the day. Now, because I consider Christmas tree hair to be, if not iconic, then at the very least radiating the spirit of the season I have shared this photo several times over the years.

When I posted this picture again last week my 20-year-old daughter expressed concern that I was perhaps looking for attention (#desperate) because what almost 60-year-old woman doesn’t want to showcase a photo from her much younger years and then read the oh so flattering comments.

I scoffed at this and then decided to show her that this was indeed not the case because I was going to go Christmas tree hair 2.0. My locks would be full on Tannenbaum – again. A 30 years and counting update.

I texted my friend and hair stylist extraordinaire Kelly Neumer and asked her if she could make my hair into a Christmas tree. Without even inquiring why, which tells you a lot about our relationship, she immediately responded, “OMG love it!”

Several days later I was sitting in a salon chair watching my hair get reimagined as a Christmas tree. The key to this updo was wrapping my hair around a Styrofoam cone which led to statements like, “I’m going to shove this star ornament into the cone but tell me if I start hitting your brain.”

The end result was a masterpiece, a tour-de-force of hair artistry. My hair had been reimagined as a 16-inch Christmas tree. I couldn’t wait to get home where I was going to recreate the magazine picture from 1986.

As I very carefully slid into my car, disaster struck. I had lowered and scooted my seat back to accommodate the hair tree, but as I was opening my sunroof just a tad for more room the tree got wedged into the top of my car  rendering me immobile from the neck up.

Fortunately, I could reach my cell phone and I called my husband to rescue me. “Help,” I said, “ I’m in my car and I literally can’t move because my Christmas tree head is jammed into the roof.”

His reply was, “Can’t you just take it off?”

“You realize the tree is my head? So, no, I can’t take it off. Sure, we have a COVID vaccine but medical science hasn’t progressed to a painless, self-administered easy on and off head detachment.”

“Okay, okay,  calm down,” he said. “I’m coming but why does stuff like this always happen to you?”

“How long have we’ve known each other?” I asked extremely annoyed. “I think it’s more than 40 years so I don’t even know why this is even a question anymore at this point. Also, you need to please hurry because my neck is beginning to hurt.”

I finally got home by laying down in the back seat of my husband’s car to keep my Christmas tree hair intact. When I walked into my house with my majestic updo my children were concerned.

My son had one word, “Why?”

My daughter said, “You didn’t.”

My husband replied, “She did and she got her Christmas tree head stuck in her car. So, if you had that square on your mama drama bingo card congratulations you’re a winner.”

I ignored all of them because I was too engrossed gazing into a mirror at the wonder that was me and my most glorious Christmas tree hair.

Happy holidays 2020!


 Reach me at snarkyinthesuburbs@, on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at@snarkynsuburbs & on Instagram 

Losing and Finding My Hallmark Holiday Movie Joy

Something was wrong in my holiday universe and I’m not talking about the coronavirus. It’s always omnipresent. But COVID-19 aside something felt off. For the first time in two decades, I just wasn’t feeling it in regard to any Hallmark Holiday movies.

It’s hard to explain the feeling of having no desire to watch a Hallmark movie after 20 years spent wallowing in them. Yes, I know their plots are repetitive, sappy and tropey.

Girl meets boy, each finds the other one irritating and yet they join forces to save a Christmas tree farm, reindeer ranch, or a winter carnival and together find true love and their holiday spirit.

Trust me I know I’m not watching cinematic genius but the movies are like wrapping yourself in a blanket that smells like your dog. Not great, but comforting, nevertheless.

Does it matter that the 44-year-old undisputed Hallmark goddess Candace Cameron Bure seems frozen in time usually playing a plucky mid-level executive who appears to be in her late 20s? No, it does not because to enjoy Hallmark movies you must suspend your belief in reality.

When you have plots that veer from time travel to amnesia, fairy godmothers and a gingerbread house contest that can save an entire town you just have to go with the flow and put your brain on autopilot. I like to think of them as a respite for your mind.

But this month as much as I tried to cuddle up with the new offering of Hallmark movies it just wasn’t working. I couldn’t watch a single one for more than 10 minutes. Worse, none were even DVR worthy. This was unprecedented for me. Where was my movie mojo?

I started making a list of reasons why. Could it be because Hallmark uses the same stable of actors year after year I was getting a serial dating vibe with an overlay of commitment issues?

Seriously how many men can the Hallmark mainstay and botox queen Lacey Chabert fall in love with? She should have stopped with the prince from 2014’s “A Royal Christmas.” He was super dreamy with no cringey Prince Charles vibe.

Maybe it’s that Hallmark is churning out too many holiday movies and they’re losing their charm? This year 40 new movies debuted. When there’s a movie titled “Never Kiss a Man In a Christmas Sweater” you might need to institute some quality control.

To see if I was the only suffering from a Hallmark Holiday movie ennui I took to social media and discovered that I was not alone. Julianna Miner, blogger, writer and hardcore Hallmark aficionado runs the Facebook page “Is This Hallmark Movie Good for a Hallmark Movie.” Miner says she too has experienced a Hallmark movie disconnect.

“They’ve stopped feeling magical. It’s more like they’re mass producing a product that is written by algorithm.”

Miner even shared that due to the lackluster quality of movies this holiday her Hallmark page has had to adjust their movie rating system from – “Is it good for a Hallmark movie?” to “Is it good for a 2020 Hallmark movie?”

When I asked,  “Is anyone else not feeling the love with Hallmark holiday movies?” on my Snarky in the Suburbs Facebook page I got more than 130 comments. It seems that I was definitely not alone in thinking that Hallmark wasn’t delivering the holly jolly.

But just as I was ready to abandon Hallmark movies and sashay over to Netflix a holiday miracle occurred. While folding laundry I happened upon “Christmas She Wrote” starring the seasoned Hallmark veteran and math whiz Danica McKellar.

McKellar plays a writer whose column gets dropped by her newspaper. Devastated, she returns to her hometown where her editor, realizing he made a mistake travels 3,000 miles to woo her back.

Of course, you can see how I was intrigued – column, writer. Honestly, they had me at editor wooing. (#NeverGoingToHappen)

For two hours I was totally into the silly, extremely unrealistic story. Even my husband walking into the room and making fun of me for watching something this ridiculous didn’t lessen my enjoyment.

In fact, for a brief moment all felt right with the world.



Dear Snarky – My Cousin Went Real Life Grinch On My Family’s Christmas

Dear Snarky,

I don’t know if I should be writing you or calling the police because I’m sure my cousin has stolen family Christmas gifts. It all started when my cousin who lives near most of my family  (mom & dad, grandparents, and two sisters) and who is working from home due to pandemic volunteered to be the address of choice for the delivery of Christmas gifts.

His reasoning was that because he is always at home the boxes could be delivered to his house and then he would make sure that they were given to the family members that also lived in town.

Apparently, there has been a lot of porch pirates in the area and he volunteered his home as a “safe space” for delivery.

My brother, who also, like me, lives far away, agreed with me that it was a great idea and we both used his address when we ordered presents online for family members.

Fast forward and my cousin is now saying he didn’t receive any of the packages although I not only have tracking information that shows the packages delivered but Amazon sent pictures of the packages on my cousin’s front porch.

When I confronted him with all of this he blamed “porch pirates” and said the postal service “lies all the time about deliveries.”

I know that it’s all total bullshit. How do I make him give family members their gifts? My brother is sure that he has probably sold them and wants to call the police.

This makes me sick to my stomach to accuse a relative of theft right before Christmas. I’m so torn up inside I don’t know what to do.

Signed, Devastated and Confused

Dear Devastated and Confused,

Umm, why is there even any question of calling the police? Your cousin needs his ass kicked. He went real life Grinch on you. Let’s put the gall of stealing from family on the back burner for a second and talk about what you need to do right now.

  1. Call the police and tell them what you told me. You and your brother each need to file a report.
  2. If you know any of your cousin’s neighbors ask them to please check their porch camera video and see if they show your cousin receiving packages and/or getting them from his front porch.
  3. Do a family SOS. Yes, that’s right tell your entire family what has happened and hope that the onslaught of shaming will make your cousin cough up the gifts that hopefully he didn’t sell.

Now as for your cousin – he is POS. I believe that he planned to take the gifts all along. Hence his offer and laying the seed that porch pirates have a been a big problem.

So, this means you show him no mercy. (Sorry, not sorry.) He planned and plotted to steal not just material items from family members but your Christmas joy and faith in humanity. (I’m this close to quoting that classic Dr. Seuss line about “Christmas doesn’t come from a store” but I don’t think it applies to when family members steal.)

I’m so very sorry this happened to you. Seriously, hasn’t 2020 sucked enough?

Try to stay positive although I know it’s going to be hard.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – advice with an attitude – email me at 😉

Warning: Decorating for Christmas Can be Hazardous to your Health

It’s over. Now all that’s left is for me to continue applying Icy Hot to my back and taking a regimen of ibuprofen so I can soon walk, perhaps even bend over, without uttering a profanity.

If you’re worried I was in some sort of accident – fear not. I’m just recovering from decorating for Christmas. For me holiday decor is my Olympics. A decathlon of sorts where for three solid days I lug bin after bin out of my basement and begin the transformation from holiday drab to fab.

For years I have divided my decorating into three separate phases. Phase one begins with getting the Christmas tree and decorating it.

I usually like to get the tree bright and early the day after Thanksgiving. This year due to a University of Texas football game, that please note was on TV and could have been recorded, we had to delay our family outing to select a tree until 3 p.m. Thus setting my decorating schedule back h-o-u-r-s.

That though wasn’t the worst of it. U.T. lost or according to my husband “gave the game away” to Iowa State and he was in a mood that wasn’t the least bit festive.

I, totally full of the Christmas spirit, suggested that he might want to pick a new Big 12 team to root for. Perhaps even Iowa State because they haven’t been to a conference championship since 1912. So, that would be fun, historic even, to see them win some more.

This suggestion was met with a glare that still haunts me. It also made the ride to select a tree so lacking in holiday joy not even the Cheetah Girls Christmas CD from 2005 featuring the classic “Marshmallow World” could serve as a mood booster.

Luckily it didn’t impact our quest for the perfect Noble pine. We found one quickly and then I moved on to perusing wreaths. Shortly after that I discovered my husband had gone MIA. I sent my son to look for him and he reported back while laughing “that dad was walking off the game.”

Seriously, I wanted to throw a 20-inch Frasier fir wreath at my husband. Who allows football to usurp their holiday joy?

The next day I was barely ambulatory and a tad queasy after staying up till 2 a.m. to finish decorating the tree while subsisting on Pepperidge Farm peppermint cookies and Diet Coke. But I rallied and began phase two – exterior illumination.

This is where I almost lost my Christmas mojo. None, and I mean none, of the lights in my yards and yards of outdoor holiday garland worked. Granted they were more than a decade old but still I felt like my holly jolly had been kicked to the curb.

It didn’t help that I also had a slight memory of these lights going out last year right before I was going to take them down. But instead of removing the lights from the garland I just shoved them back in a bin.

As I was forced to cut hundreds of lights off with scissors so I could clear the way for new lights I wanted to travel back in time and punch myself in the face.

It was so bad I had to break open a fresh bag of peppermint cookies to make it through that perilous journey.

Fortunately phase three – assorted interior decor not of a Christmas tree nature was less eventful but not without peril. I couldn’t find one of my holiday bins and was at Defcon 1 for a nervous collapse.

Days later all is well – sort of.  I’m still sore from lugging bins and falling off a ladder ( to be clear it was a step stool but still – ouch.) My hope is I’ll be able to climb stairs without cursing very soon.


Reach Snarky  at snarkyinthesuburbs@, on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs on Instagram

Dear Snarky – My Mom Wants Me to Evict My Sister

Dear Snarky,

I have a sister and brother-in-law who are taking extreme advantage of my mom and dad. Back in April they moved into my parent’s house “briefly” with their three kids. Their reasoning for moving in with them is that they didn’t want my parents to be alone during the pandemic. They told my parents they would leave at the end of May once “things opened up.”

 Well, now it’s nine months later and my parents have become babysitters, homeschool teachers, house keepers, the supplier of all the groceries and of course they are providing them a place to live rent free! The kick in the ass is that my sister and her husband own a home and are now renting it out!!!

 My parents are over it and exhausted. My mom has asked me for help. As the oldest sibling and an accountant, she wants me to tell my sister and her family that they need to move out in 60 days – no matter what.

 I really want this to happen because my parents are worn out but I’m a little scared about how my sister is going to receive what is basically an eviction notice from me.

 How do you think the best way to proceed is?

 Signed, Apprehensive

Dear Apprehensive,

 I think the best way to proceed is for your mom and dad to put on their parent panties and tell your sister and her husband themselves. Let’s get real – your mom wants you to do their dirty work.

 I’m no soothsayer but here’s how I think this is going to play out. You’re going to tell your sister she has one month’s notice to move back to her own home. Then if your sister takes the news like the spoiled, manipulative, brat I think she is baby sis is going to run to your mom boo hooing about having to leave. Your mom apparently totally unable to say N.O. to your sister will then throw you under the bus and blame the eviction on you.

 The hard truth is that unless your parents start standing up to your sister she will continue to use and abuse their generosity. They could have said don’t move in or after a couple of months they could have said okay, it’s time to leave and they also could have set ground rules for how much of a financial contribution your sister and her husband needed to make to them. Same goes for babysitting, homeschool duties etc.

 I suggest telling your parents  – I will help you do this and I will be there with you when you have the “it’s time to leave”  conversation but I will not be the one riding shotgun on this issue.

 Your mom’s not going to like it but it’s time for your parents to quit backsliding and instead get a backbone when it comes to your younger sister. Remind them that no one can take advantage of you unless you let them and it’s never too late in the parenting journey to start saying no – repeatedly.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – advice with an attitude – email me at 😉





Counting Steps While Going Deep on Smart Toasters

So, it’s come to this – I’m now obsessed with footsteps. Specifically, the number of steps I take every day.

Yes, I know this is so early aughts the whole step counting thing. But my preoccupation stems from the fact that my husband and I are now competing over who takes the most steps.

It didn’t start as a competition but once my spouse started bragging about his step count I was like, “Oh, it’s on.”

Mainly because there was no way he was walking more than me. I walk our dogs for a solid hour every day and then some. Does he do that? Let me help you out there the answer is a great big no.

But then he showed me his step count and while I should have been impressed I was more mystified. As in how is walking that much and when is he doing it? Are we in some sort of pandemic induced time space continuum?

My dog walking steps looked minuscule compared to his. I think this is because my dog “walks” can be classified as more of a sniff and stroll than a hard-core power strut. But still I didn’t want to live in a world where I was getting that thoroughly bested.

This meant a full-scale competition. Now, I’m walking a lot which has given me more time to think about assorted random nonsense.

My latest walk had me going deep on something called a “smart toaster.” Apparently, it’s a top 10 Christmas gift. No joke, this toaster is a brainiac. I don’t know about you but I prefer at least one kitchen appliance to have a lower IQ than me.

The highlights of this very expensive toaster is that it “browns bread in a fraction of the time of regular toasters” and you can select the “exact shade and level of crispness.”

Question of the day.  What kind of diabolical time crunch do you have to be in that you need a faster toaster? As for getting all wrapped up in the crispiness of your toast – I’m thinking it could be a sign that your life has entered the dark realm of an extreme toasting obsession.

As I walked and walked, I also couldn’t stop pondering food competitions. I’ve been watching a bevy of cooking shows from HGTV’s “Holiday Baking Championship” to Netflix’s “Sugar Rush Christmas” and I have found common denominators besides carbohydrates and sucrose.

A lot of the programs feature the same competitors. Is there some sort of elite baking league where people earn a living just by working the circuit of TV cooking competitions?

Sadly, the bakers that suffer defeat in one show also seem to brutally lose in their next TV competition. At what point do they say, “Our sugar cookie dough just isn’t good enough” and hang up their aprons?

Also, when will every TV baking competitor learn that if you use an extract for flavoring you will lose. It’s the kiss of death.

Judges yearn for the opportunity to say, while making a face of extreme disappointment, “I can taste the extract and it’s really delivering an artificial flavor profile.”

By the time I was up to 12,000 steps I was seriously thinking of starting an online baking class called “How not to lose a TV baking competition.”

The first lesson would, of course, be no extracts. Class number two would be no bread pudding – ever – because you don’t have time and the third knowledge bomb would be to add cream cheese to your American buttercream frosting otherwise the judges will think it’s too sweet.

Do I wish my brain would focus on more intellectual concerns? Yes, please.

But in my defense I believe this whole smart toaster phenomenon is an unclassified mental health emergency. So, perhaps I’m now an amateur diagnostician of emerging maladies.