New Year’s Resolutions are for suckers. I try to never make any because about six days after I’ve committed myself to a life changing agenda I’m already abandoning ship on the U.S.S. Pledge to a Better Me. Last year was different. I was all about the New Year’s Resolution. I wrote out a long list of things that I was going to change about my life. In my earnest bravado I called it The Manifesto.
I can shamefully share with you that I didn’t achieve one of my “promises for change.” There were the usual suspects on my list, weight loss, exercise, be more patient with my children, nicer to my husband, even try a new recipe once a week.
The recipe one really kills me. If you had told me 20 years ago when I thought I was all that and a super size bag of chips that I would be vowing to try a new recipe once a week as a New Year’s resolution I would have thrown myself off a cliff made up of discounted Coach Outlet handbags. Even now, I’m pondering thoughts of freeing the earth from my carbon footprint. The only things that are stopping me is knowing that if I was no longer breathing my dog would never get walked again and the fact that it would open up the possibility for my husband to date 25 year olds and I can’t let the man grasp that kind of happiness – ever.
To cheer up I started going over the last year in my head trying to find some positive things I had accomplished. After much deliberation I managed to remember a two things that, while not life shattering, were I believe contributions to a better tomorrow.
The Tow Job
This past year a woman in a super size SUV plagued me. Every morning at my daughter’s elementary school she parked her tank in the drop off zone effectively blocking traffic. Oh, she did do a lame attempt at pulling her army combat vehicle partially up on the curb as a “Oops, sorry, but look I’ve attempted to get out-of-the-way.” The problem was her ride was so gianormous not only could you not pull around it but it created an epic blind spot so if you tried to escape it’s girth you risked being rammed by another car or God forbid hitting a child.
Two months into the new school year I had enough. People had talked to Mrs. Super Size SUV, notices had been posted in the school newsletter, notes had been left on her windshield, but mesmerized by her own self-importance she refused to alter her parking routine. The time had come for me to take matters into my own hands. (To read my list of school drop off and pick up rules please click here and here.)
One morning in late October I set my plan in motion. It was Wednesday. Many moms were at school getting ready for the monthly morning P.T.A. meeting. The big topic was a riveting vote on whether to continue the gift-wrap sale. I knew the school office would be empty for about five minutes as the school secretary helped the P.T.A. president set up the microphone and podium in the cafeteria. This was when I made my move.
I clandestinely went into the office to use the school phone while no one could see me. My call was to the tow truck service the school district had a contract with. Two days early I had used my son for intel. He was charged with asking at the high school whom the district uses to tow vehicles. I told him to say it was for a story he was working on for his school newspaper. Not totally a lie. He was taking a journalism class, after all.
Armed with that information I used the school phone for authenticity, in case the number showed up on the tow company’s caller i.d. When I got the tow service I stressed that is was a critical a.s.a.p. tow job because the vehicle in question was blocking an emergency exit. Once I was assured that the tow truck was en-route I covertly exited the office and went in search of Mrs. Super Size SUV. I had to delay her exit from the school to give the tow truck time to arrive and haul off her Big Boy mobile.
I found her talking to some other moms and inserted myself into the group by asking who was going to the P.T.A. meeting? Most of the moms were and I made sure Mrs. Super Size SUV was guilted into attending. That job done I sprinted into the cafeteria and closed the blinds on the windows, saying to the P.T.A. president, “Wow, that morning sun is brutal. No one will be able to see the Smart Board if we don’t close these.”
I then speed walked outside to await the tow truck. I got giddy when it arrived and had to restrain myself from jumping up and down and shouting yippee! I was amazed how quickly they could hitch a car of that size up. When it looked like they were almost ready to leave I eagerly bolted into the P.T.A. meeting and announced while opening the blinds on the bank of cafeteria windows, “Pardon the interruption, but Mrs. Super Size I think you car is getting towed.”
She screeched and then started swearing as everyone ran to the windows to eyewitness her three-ton vehicle rolling behind the tow trunk. It was a perfect moment in time. Her cursing and using not just the everyday swear words, but the ones saved for special occasions. The principal telling her to “calm herself and to stop with her offensive jargon or he would have to ask her to leave the school,” the P.T.A. president trying to resume control of the meeting and me clapping. I was joined at first by just a small cluster of moms and soon it seemed as if the whole room was joining in. The applause was reverberating off the cafeteria walls. Mrs. Super Size shrieked that we were all “jealous bitches” and ran from the school. Her Lululemon yoga pant butt was the last thing we saw as she began chasing the tow truck.
Ah, life was good that day – very good.
F.B.I. Wanna Be
I believe I share many qualities with Super Man. While I cannot leap tall buildings in a single bound, nor am I faster than a locomotive. I do believe in truth, justice and the American Way. Just last month I was able to demonstrate my love for justice by pretending to be a F.B.I. agent. I, as a mild-mannered middle-aged wife and mother, entered my favorite convenience store one cold December evening to purchase a 32-ounce caffeine free Diet Coke from the soda fountain. I’m a Diet Coke sommelier. Some people have a nose for wine. I have a palate for diet coke. I can tell the carbonation to sugar syrup ratio by taking a mere sip. When I find a store that sells a premium mix of Diet Coke I become a very loyal customer.
A family whose country of origin is not America runs my convenience store of choice. Due to my daily visitations I’ve gotten to know this family well. That evening while I was topping off my 32 ouncer a man walked in to buy a carton of cigarettes. Upon finding out that they cost well over $30 for the carton he went all crazy pants. He began by yelling at the cashier, and then spewing hate speech based on her family tree. I was super ticked off. It’s one thing to get a little emotionally unhinged about the high price of killing yourself these days, but slow down there buddy if you think you’re going drop the F bomb, terrorist, and N word cocktail, on my watch, to a young woman, no less.
I walked over and told the dude in my best no-nonsense voice to “back off and exit the premises.” He proceeded to tell me to F off. Really, like someone hasn’t screamed in my face to F off before. What an amateur. That’s when I had to go all F.B.I. on him. I raised my voice and said, “Listen up, I’m F.B.I. and I’m going kick your ass if you don’t get out of this store.”
He laughed and said, “You don’t look F.B.I. bitch”
“Exactly,” I declared, “I’m undercover. I can call this in right now or you can leave.” I had on a ski jacket that had an upper pocket where my cell phone was zipped in. I reached in and started to slide out my phone. The crazy pants thought I was taking out a gun. He ran out of the store yelling “don’t shoot, don’t shoot!” and jumped in his car and took off.
I was a little shaken, but couldn’t help laughing. The young woman in the store said she was okay, but I stayed with her until her brothers came. My reasoning was two-fold. I didn’t want to leave in case crazy pants came right back or was watching the store. I’m pretty sure when I walked out into the parking lot and got in my mom mobile with my dog hanging her head out the window he would figure out I was no F.B.I. agent.
The good news is I got free Diet Cokes for a week. The bad news, the convenience store owners got a little confused and really thought I was a F.B.I. agent. I tried to explain that I was pretending to be with the F.B.I., but I’m not so sure they get it. They keep on calling me “Mrs. F.B.I.” Truth be told I kind of like it.
Hmm, in retrospect maybe my year was better than I thought.
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**For more Snarky check out my book Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School.
Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good. Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival. If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you.