Dear Snarky – My Sister Pretended My Baby Was Hers

Dear Snarky,

I’m so angry at my sister right I don’t think I’ll ever get over it.

I recently had a beautiful baby girl. My sister had been devoted to my baby and that made me so happy. We haven’t been very close for a while due to her making some really stupid decisions with her life and putting my parents through hell. But since my baby was born she has been with me a lot and seemed so proud of my daughter posting lots of pictures with her on Instagram.

Last week I found out that my sister has been using my baby to blackmail an ex-boyfriend into thinking it’s his kid to get money from him. All those pictures she was posting on her Instagram were just a way to make this guy and his family believe that my baby was my sister’s.

I found out when the ex-boyfriend AND his mom AND his two sisters came to my house to ask me if the baby was mine or my sister’s. One of his sister’s had been comparing my Instagram account with my sister’s and had her suspicions that the baby on my sister’s page was really mine.

When I heard this I got hysterical. I can’t believe my sister was using my infant daughter to get money from a former boyfriend! When I told my husband, he said my sister was banned from our daughter’s life forever. 

I totally agree but my mom thinks I should give my sister a chance to explain herself and she pointed out that this “ban” will ‘mess up every family holiday for the rest of our lives.’

What do I do? My gut tells me to stick with the ban but my mom is now pleading with me to not do this.

Signed, I Wish I Had a Better Family

Dear Better,

Let’s start with how you signed your letter. You do have a better family. The one you’re making with your husband and your baby. So, take great pride and solace in that fact.

Now onto your mother. It appears she has a history of making excuses for your sister and that, I’m saddened to tell you, is probably never going to change. The fact that after hearing how your sister used your baby – her granddaughter – to blackmail a former boyfriend for cash and your mom’s take away was basically don’t be mean to your sister because there goes Christmas dinner is beyond crazy.  Your mom, in my opinion, is as messed up as your sister.

As for your sister I totally agree with you on the ban. Your number one job as a mother is to protect your child and I think your sister has proven herself to be a threat to your daughter’s safety so in my book that means don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out of our lives.

If years later with extensive therapy your sister proves herself to be worthy of another chance you could reconsider your ban. But for now, I think you and your husband have made the right decision and if your mom gives you any attitude tell her she can also be banned. Hopefully that will shut her up.

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

 

 

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True Confessions of a Football Wife

Noooo! This can’t be happening? Hasn’t the pandemic been agony enough. Why, oh why, am I now in college football hell – again?

One would think that the fact a fan can experience Big 12 football during a pandemic would be a most supreme blessing. But sadly, in my case this is not what’s happening.

If you’re confused now and pondering why a fall afternoon spent luxuriating on a coach generously sprayed with a very aromatic Febreze Pumpkin Spice while watching a football game on your TV is anything other than nirvana I totally understand.

The problem is my husband is a graduate of the University of Texas and therefore a Longhorn football fan. This means every fall I’m forced to ride along with him on an emotional journey fraught with hope, disappointment, another brief shining millisecond of hope and then a turbulent tumble into a chasm of despair.

Longtime readers will note that this is the third time I’ve written about this topic and yet I still find it newsworthy because the misery index seems higher this fall and it’s not even that the football team sucks. As I write this they’ve only lost two games.

The anguish is rooted in how they play. To my very untrained eyes the activity on the field is sloppy and so painful to watch that not even a jalapeño pecan cheese spread can save the day and that’s saying something. This cheese spread is a multi-layered taste sensation that should be able to turn any football frown upside down.

For my own mental well-being I rarely sit through an entire game. My modus operandi  is to periodically check in on my husband to make sure he hasn’t stroked out. I will, in an attempt to be supportive, try to watch the game, but it’s hard.

To get through the last game I took to reading random stuff on my phone. A link on the proper way to re-grout your shower was so mesmerizing it got me through the second quarter. Who knew that you needed a “diamond bit grout remover blade” to do it properly? Seriously, what homeowner has that laying around in their basement?

I then switched to reading recipes. I found what I thought was a great one for pumpkin doughnut drops but it required two cups of lemon lime soda and that just seemed wrong. Soda in doughnuts sounded about as bad as U.T. losing in, I don’t know, two or was it three overtimes to O.U.?

Ugh, about that loss. It was brutal. My husband had to walk it off and after he got home he made the oft heard declaration that he was “done watching Texas play football.”

I swear even our two dogs rolled their eyes at this one. If there’s one thing that’s been said more in our marriage then “What’s for dinner?” It’s “I’m done watching Texas football.”

I just shook my head and tried not to audibly sigh. The chances of my husband not watching a Texas football game are slim to none. He can’t help himself. It’s like me with that cheese dip you just can’t stop even though you know it’s not exactly a bounty of nutritional good judgement.

Of course, I’ll be there for him as we spend another autumn on the Texas football hot mess express. I’ve suffered so much already from getting a 3rd degree sunburn back in 1980 while literally roasting in the stands at Darrell Royal Stadium to enduring the women’s restroom lines at the Cotton Bowl in 2000 while seven months pregnant. One hour people, one solid hour, standing in line to use the bathroom.

Frankly, at this point all the suffering has become a tradition. I’m not sure it would even feel like fall without it.

Wallpaper Removal is Bad for Your Mental Health

Why do the home improvement gods hate me? I have done nothing but worship on the altar of their divine greatness.

I watch TV shows celebrating their prowess, read magazines with the fervor of a zealot, spend hours on the Internet plunged deep into the teachings of renovation apostles and reverently walk the scared aisles of Lowe’s and Home Depot.

Trust me when I confess that I have been void of any transgressions that would warrant the wrath that has befallen me. But yet I have a tale of woe and it all started with me trying to save a little money.

 Let’s examine those last four words – Save. A. Little. Money. How many stories of desperation do you think have begun with that quartet?

My conservative estimate is to infinity and beyond.

In fact, there should be some kind of mental health evaluation for anyone who utters that phrase. Mainly, because so many bad choices could be headed your way you need to ensure you have the emotional strength to persevere.

Suffice it to say I did not.

The catalyst to my complete mental collapse was wallpaper, specifically the removal of hideous wallpaper in a bathroom that gave off a serial killer ambience.

I know I can’t do plumbing or electrical work but most certainly I should be able to remove wallpaper. According to the best online experts you get a spray bottle and fill it with hot water and the secret sauce – liquid Tide and basically go to town spraying and then lifting the wallpaper off with a large putty knife.

Sounds easy enough right? But when you live in an almost forty-year-old house where the wallpaper was put directly on the drywall this becomes a study in the dramatic mental decline of a fifty something woman.

The wallpaper had mated for life, like the macaroni penguins, with the drywall. I doubt a nuclear blast could have separated these two lovers.

When I did get a less than one inch  piece of wallpaper to finally surrender the backing still clung to the wall. It refused any attempt at removal, tenaciously embracing its one true love – the freaking drywall.

Now, this is when a sane woman would have realized that this was a job that was not going to end well. That same sane woman would have decided that the best course of action would be to hand it over to someone that was well versed in the many moods and glues of wallpaper.

I was not that person because the more the wallpaper fought me the more determined I was to get it off the wall.

Hours upon hours was invested in scraping off teensy pieces of the wallpaper. At one point I had to stop and wrap my wrists in athletic performance tape to have the radiocarpal strength to continue.

In my darkest and most desperate hours I took solace in a Halloween fun size bag of Snickers candy. Around 1 a.m. I found myself laying on the bathroom room floor covered in Snickers wrappers and wallpaper confetti. Had I fallen asleep? Passed out from excessive exposure to liquid detergent fumes? Or had a complete mental collapse. I’m thinking it was probably a combo platter of all three.

This is when I realized that I required a mental health intervention. The next day I called a professional – a contractor. He sent over a wallpaper guru who had had the paper off in under an hour.

I’d like to think it’s because I had already done most of the work, but that, I’m afraid, would be a lie.

Addicted to Grass

I have a problem. I hide things from my husband.

I don’t hide anything dramatic or something that calls out for a two-part docu-series on the Investigation Discovery channel. I don’t even hide my feelings because, well, I love expressing my feelings and I’m really good at it. For example, if I’m in a bad mood I’ll tell you why and have been known to use color coded charts to fully explain my current disposition.

I’m aware that a lot of people hide purchases from their significant others. My mother was the queen of the covert shopping spree. Her theory was that my dad didn’t need to see all the purchases at once and she was doing him a gentle kindness by slowly revealing what she had bought.

I fear I may have inherited my mom’s propensity for the consumer cover up. For hiding in my car is a 50-pound bag of sweet, sweet,  premium fescue grass seed. I’m very aware that this is, perhaps, a strange thing to be keeping from your spouse.

Some of you may be thinking, “Hmm, a designer handbag I can understand being sneaky about but grass seed – no.”

Well, you see the seed is an issue because I promised my husband I would quit buying it. I may have gone a tad overboard in the last month with my yard remediation program. In my defense it wasn’t entirely my fault.

I was seduced, yes completely seduced, by a siren song disguised as a YouTube video I watched on saving your yard. It spoke to me and stirred my very soul. I felt that now was my time to join forces with the mighty fescue and launch “Operation Over seed.” 

What I didn’t know at that time was that grass seed isn’t cheap. Holy freaking moly it’s expensive. At one point I told the guy at the landscape store that I wanted to clarify that I needed grass seed for my yard not gold.

This expense is why my husband was all about putting a kibosh on any more seed purchases. I agreed and yet I knew deep down in my heart that I needed one more 50-pound bag to complete “Operation Over seed.” The issue then became hiding my seed purchase from my spouse until I could dump it on the yard without him noticing.

 It’s not like it’s all easy peasy to stow a bag of seed that big so I asked my son to hide it in his car for me. This is when I discovered what child would really be there for me when times get rough. My son, come to find out, is not that child.

His response was curt, forceful and not in my favor when he announced, “I will not be a party to your sick seed subterfuge.”

I was left speechless and yearning for my daughter because you know what a daughter would have done? A daughter would have said, “Yeah, just throw it in my car, no problem.”

After I recovered from my son’s basest betrayal of me I said, “Well, I guess if I ever need to hide a body you’re not the kid to call?”

“Seed or body – count me out Mom. I’m not an enabler to bad behavior.”

Oh, how dare he throw back the very words I have used on my children for years. “Not an enabler to bad behavior” was my parenting calling card. The nerve! 

I finally had to come clean with my husband and admit I had purchased another bag of seed. I did solemnly swear that this would be the last one. But just between us that’s only because it’s getting a little late in the season to do anymore over seeding.

 

Dear Snarky – Coronavirus as a Halloween Costume

Dear Snarky,

I want to punch the father of my son right in the face. We share a two-year-old boy. Up to this point everything has been fine with custody and creating a loving environment for him. Both my ex and I were in agreement on almost everything related to our son.

Then out of the blue I get a text from him asking for my permission to let our son go in a coronavirus costume that his girlfriend “made out of felt for Halloween.”

WHAT!!!!

Apparently, my son’s father has a new girlfriend and this woman wants to go as a “sexy nurse” and my ex is going as a bottle of hand sanitizer.

I was off the charts livid. My baby boy as the coronavirus – Are. You. Kidding. Me? It’s tasteless and tone deaf. Our son is not a “Saturday Night Live” skit.

How can I stop this because even if I say no this could still happen?

Signed, Out of My Mind Angry

Dear Out of My Mind,

Okay, like is this even real? I’m thinking this can’t be real. There can’t be a human on planet Earth that is dumb enough to think a toddler in a coronavirus costume is even the tiniest bit appropriate.

Do we dress as a cancer cell for Halloween? Hell no. Do we wear an Alzheimer gene costume on October 31?  Again hell no. The whole thing is depraved and shows zero sensitivity to the suffering the world has gone through.

There is though some hope. The fact that your ex texted you and asked for your permission might  be his way of saying “help me make sure this doesn’t happen.”

My guess is he wants you to be the bad guy and throw a huge fit so he can tell his girlfriend that you threatened legal action if your baby is in that costume.

Oh yeah, because that’s exactly what I would do – tell your ex if a coronavirus costume even comes within five feet of your son you will talk to your lawyer regarding taking legal action concerning his parenting decision making process.

Hopefully, that will shut down the worst costume idea in the history of Trick-or-Treat and bonus maybe it will scare off this new girlfriend as well.

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

Zoom Meeting Personality Profiles

Seven months ago, I had never heard of Zoom. No, that’s not entirely true. As a child of the 70s I was familiar with “Zoom” and by that I mean the PBS kids show.

Back in the day I was all about “Come on and zooma, zooma, zooma-Zoom!”

I was so into it I begged my mother to let me try out to be a “Zoom Kid.” My pleas were met with one of her signature eye rolls as she took a drag on her Winston Light 100’s cigarette because again it was the 70s.

But this current Zooming we’re all doing was not something I’d ever experienced until the pandemic. Now, I feel like a Zoom veteran. I know this because my Zoom familiarity has morphed into me attaching monikers to almost everyone I interact with on my computer screen.

In my time spent on Zoom I broke down what I think are the five basic personality types that you can expect to find on any multi person computer screen meeting.

My least favorite is the “Pivoter.” This Zoomer after 210 days is still all about letting you know that you have to be agile and open to change.

Yeah, we get it. This is the new normal so you can hop off your pivot soap box. We’re all pivoting. If I pivot anymore I might pass out from dizziness.

The biggest downside to the “Pivoter” is that they seem more focused on pontificating about change than actually doing any what’s that called? Oh yeah, work.

Next is the Zoom “Poser.” This person seems like the employee of the month. He or she is attentive, is actually sitting up straight and appears to be wearing a shirt that’s not wrinkled.

This person also is a busy bee taking lots of notes on a secondary laptop. What you don’t know is that the Poser is actually barely listening and doing work that the Zoom meeting is sucking time from.

The telltale sign of a “Poser” is when asked a question they will ask you to “please repeat it” because there was some “internet drop out on their end” to disguise that they were barely engaged in the meeting.

The “Glamour Zoomer gets nothing but respect from me. Mainly because I admire anyone who does a full groom for a Zoom meeting. I don’t think I’ve fully brushed my hair since March 14.

These people not only go all out in the use of cosmetics but also have a ring light rig to assure that they’re looking their optimum on screen. They’ve also placed their computer on a stack of books to ensure they’re not looking “double chinny.”

The worst Zoomer has to be the “Comedian.” Aren’t Zoomers suffering enough having to endure a meeting that is hitting the two-hour mark? Does anyone really need it prolonged by witless zingers and jokes so lame they can’t even live up to the subterrain chuckle standards of a dad joke?

Here’s my public service announcement for the day. If you’re not funny in person you will be tragically not hilarious during a Zoom meeting.

Rounding out my Zoom personality profile is the “Constant Commenter.” This person has never met a meeting they didn’t like. Not only can they now easily dominate the on-screen conversation by talking over you but they’ve also brought gifts in the form of multiple PowerPoints.

This is when your only option for survival is to pull the plug on your internet and plead at home connectivity issues.

For the record I’m not saying I’ve ever done this. I’m just saying it works.

Hike or Murder?

You never really think it’s going to happen to you. Sure, you’ve seen movies and TV shows about it and even probably read your share of books focused on the topic. But seriously, what woman thinks her husband is actively trying to kill her?

It all started with a hike. This hike was described to me by my husband as a way to escape the pandemic and commune with the wilderness. Well, consider me sold. I was up for it and  excited about traipsing through the forest.

What I didn’t know was that this hike was in reality a death march.

When we arrived at the hiking path I was raring to go until I read an extensive warning sign at the entrance to the trail. It was full on doom and gloom.

I soon began to feel more than a little apprehensive. The sign even stated that before beginning the hike you needed to have on your person “10 essential items” from a compass to a first aid kit. We had one single thing on the list and that was water. There was also a bear caution poster that told you to “think like a bear.”

Hmm, not a bear but if I was one I believe my thought process would be, “My that human looks tasty.” Not to brag but I consider my plump body a most excellent bear meal or at the very least a lovely and abundant appetizer.

After reading all the signage I was ready to hike alright – back to the car.

But my husband assured me we would be bear aware and if we stayed on the trail it would be fine. Because I naively trusted him, based on decades of marriage, off we went.

For the first 10 minutes the trail was well defined and then it quickly morphed into rock quarry on a steep incline. I looked at my husband and asked him if anything about my appearance resembled  a freaking mountain goat? I didn’t think so and I was certain my DSW tennis shoes weren’t hiding cloven hoofs.

Things got worse from there because we weren’t on a hike. We were scaling a mountain. Up, up and up we went with my husband shouting words of encouragement that, “it was going to be so worth it.”

  About 45 minutes into this “hike” I was close to praying that a bear would “rescue me” because at least I could quit climbing over boulders precariously perched on the side of a mountain. At this point I wasn’t even walking upright. I was bent over like the earliest prehistoric man using my hands as I climbed the rocks to make sure I wouldn’t fall.

Once we were an hour into this trek of doom I figured out what was really going on. My husband was trying to kill me. It’s a simple but effective plan. A guy takes his wife out for a hike and oops she plunges to her death off the side of a mountain.

No one would doubt his story. Chubby, slightly older lady falls. It happens. I was so certain that this was my fate I screamed in anguish, “Why are you trying to kill me?”

He actually laughed at my misery and then minutes later yelled, “We’re here!”

Here was a beautiful lake tucked into the side of a mountain. Yes, it was indeed totally worth it.

Later, I told my husband I didn’t think he was really trying to murder me. I blamed the altitude. But, I don’t know. The more I think about it that hike had all the trappings of a “Dateline” episode in the making.

Dear Snarky – My Mother-In-Law is a Serial Liar

Dear Snarky,

 I’ve got a big gripe about my mother-in-law. She’s a huge liar about her adult children. But she’s sneaky about it. She doesn’t come right out and lie she hints and I’m about to hit my breaking point and feel like I need to call her out.

 The straw that broke the camel’s back was when she posted on both Facebook and Instagram that my sister-in-law was in medical school. This is how she said it: “Whose daughter just might be in med school?”

 Here’s the real deal she’s not. My sister-in-law is veterinarian tech. She doesn’t even want to be a vet. She’s loves being a vet tech.

 I don’t understand why she thinks it’s okay to blatantly lie about her kids. Her other recent whopper was that my husband was being recruited by multiple colleges for a coaching position. Except she said, “When you son gets recruited by Division 1 colleges for a coaching positions” and she showed a meme of a someone jumping up and down.

 My husband is a high school math teacher and coaches the baseball team for fun and the extra money. No college is looking for a math teacher to coach their team.

 I feel like the family needs to shut down her lying but both my husband and sister-in-law say it’s not worth the drama and that everybody know she’s lies already so no one believes her anyway. My father-in-law says, “she exaggerates but it’s harmless.”

 I don’t agree and need your advice if I should be the one that tells her stop it.

 Signed, I Don’t Like Liars

 Dear Don’t Like Liars,

 Perhaps you should post on social media – Guess who has a crazy ass mother-in-law?

 It’s obvious this woman has some serious issues and what she’s doing, contrary to what your father thinks, it’s not harmless.

 Besides spinning huge fabrications about her children’s life’s she’s also letting them know she’s not that proud of them. When she constantly embellishes their professions she’s telling them, “Yeah, I’m not happy with what your real career is so I’m going fib and let you know what I think you should be doing.”

 What she really needs is therapy to get to the root of the problem – why she lies? That said, as the daughter-in-law this is not your battle. It’s up to your husband, his sister and their dad to intervene.

 My best guess is that over the years they probably tried and it was such a cluster that it was easier to just make excuses and/or ignore the egregious lying.

 I’m not saying you should do nothing. I would definitely talk with your husband and his sister and urge them both to get help for their mother. I would also maybe even involve a professional in the discussion.

 What you can’t do is lead the charge. Your role should be one of support and gentle shoving to move the family in the right direction on this mental health issue.

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

Dear Snarky – My Fiancé Keeps on Postponing Our Wedding

Dear Snarky,

I’m confused what is going on with my fiancé right now. He keeps on pushing back our wedding date. We were originally scheduled to get married in February of 2021 but he wanted to change it to the summer of 2021 so we wouldn’t be getting married during flu season. Now he wants to wait until 2022 to make sure everyone can get a COVID vaccine before the wedding.

I don’t get it. We had always planned to have a very small wedding so it’s not like it’s a crowd size issue thing. I also told him I was against waiting till 2022 to get married and would be open to the wedding being just the two of us so we wouldn’t have to worry about COVID but whatever option I offer up he shoots down.

My mother says I need to “read the handwriting on the wall” and break the engagement but she never liked my fiancé much so I feel her advice is not very open minded. What do you think?

Signed, 2022 Bride

Dear Bride,

I’m going to give you the exact same advice I would give my daughter. This whole marriage thing  (ahem) doesn’t look good. I say this because it certainly sounds like you fiancé is finding every reason he can to postpone your wedding.

This is when you need to quit laying in bed at night re-examining everything he says, second guessing your feelings and hemming and hawing and just ask him the hard question – Do you still want to still marry me?

If he says yes then follow up with, “Would you be up for the two of us getting married on our original February date?”

If he can’t answer this question with another enthusiastic YES and proceeds to make excuses then I think you know he’s doesn’t really want to marry you.

For sure he may like being with you, he may even love you but he does not want to make a life long commitment to you.

I suggest breaking it off with him pronto. You gain nothing but misery and disappointment staying with a man who not only doesn’t want to marry you but also doesn’t have the stones to be honest with you about his feelings and instead throws up one excuse after another. 

Hear me loud and clear on this – You. Deserve. Better.

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

 

 

 

 

College Drop Off in the Time of Covid

It’s not the kind of text you ever want to receive. I’m talking about the angry husband text that’s disguised as the nice husband text. The key words are, “not trying to be difficult . . .”

Oh my, those words are code for, “What were you thinking?”

Worse, the text came with a picture showing a multitude of tiny screws.

Uh oh, I did mess up. It seems the desk, dresser, and headboard I ordered for the bedroom of my daughter’s new college abode had more in common with a jigsaw puzzle than actual furniture.

Ugh. It was going to take hours to put this furniture together and I wasn’t one hundred percent certain that once it was assembled that it would be sturdy enough to withstand a door slamming.

Worse, maybe this was a sign that we made a horrible decision to allow our daughter to go back to college during the COVID terror in California of all places. Maybe all those baby screws represented our hearts breaking?

I was still very conflicted over acquiescing to my youngest child’s pleas to return to school. The university didn’t exactly make it easier. I felt like I was playing a shell game. The first cup was in person school, the second was hybrid and the third was virtual. These cups have never stopped swirling the entire summer. But the fact that virtual could move to hybrid sooner than later was my daughter’s strongest selling point about why she needed to be back at school.

Just getting her (and us) out to California was DefCon 1 anxiety inducing. The worst was being on a plane. I felt like I was writing a love letter to the coronavirus. I tripled masked, wore a shield and clutched a Ziploc bag of Clorox wipes so hard my carpel tunnel’s flared.

Fortunately, the airline was not messing around. It was a mask palooza and a plane full of empty seats. When we got to California it was super locked down. Indoor dining, bars, gyms, nail salons, malls etc. were all still closed. It was also the land of a free drive thru rapid response COVID test on every corner.

As I was pondering getting a test because I always wonder if I’m asymptotic my husband sent me another text, “Why don’t we just buy real furniture? You know the kind that doesn’t come in a million pieces.”

That text was easy to answer because I went for my husband’s Achilles heel – fiscal responsibility. I wrote back, “Well, we’ve already paid for this furniture and you can’t ship it back. Besides “real” furniture would be three times the price.”

That shut down the text conversation. But it didn’t shut down my fears. It’s never easy leaving a child at college but the coronavirus has turbo charged my list of worst-case scenarios. My chest hurt and it wasn’t from COVID-19.

When I returned from Target bearing bags full of bathroom supplies I walked into my child’s college bedroom and saw my husband and daughter diligently working as a team to put her furniture together.

The scene made me smile and eased the ache in my chest. You can’t bubble wrap an emerging adult but you can let them know that you’ll always be there to help them figure out how to build furniture and their lives – no matter the number of pieces.