There are a lot of things in life that baffle me. Some of these things are big issues like how anyone can deny climate change and then there are the small, niggling, things that get stuck in my brain like the Stanley Steemer commercial. (Really, you’ve never found yourself singling 1-800-Steemer?)

For instance, have you ever wondered why competitive cheerleaders wear such huge bows? Bows, in some cases, as large as a cranium of a T-Rex. Is it a salute to Texas (the birthplace of awesome cheerleaders) and the whole the bigger the hair the closer to God thing? Because if that’s it those gigantic bows are certainly boot scooting cheerleaders in the vicinity of the celestial byways. Or maybe it’s an aerodynamic thing and the bows act as mini wings to increase the cheerleaders lift coefficient.

Then there’s the unsolved mystery of the trend of TV anchors and reporters wearing sleeveless dresses when it’s 16 degrees out. This boggles the mind. They’re in a studio, usually sitting next to the meteorologist with all sorts of weather seals of approval and they’ve probably heard the forecast, at least, 10 times in the past hour, and yet they don’t it’s below freezing out. The very worst is when a meteorologist is sleeve free and standing by the weather map warning everyone that the wind chill is minus 2. Hello, are you not listening to your own forecast? Please go grab a sweater. You’ve got goose bumps.

The baffler of all bafflers in my life is, hands down, why is it that every single line I’m in automatically gets slower? Not sort of slow, but s-l-o-w as in sloth like, as in all forward momentum decreases to zero.

At the airport, even with TSA pre-check, even if there’s only one other person in line, as soon as I take my place, I can guarantee you the line will cease to move again for at least ten minutes.

It’s so bad my family will not get in the same line with me. Yes, they would rather forgo pre-check and stand in a line that’s serpentining down the airport corridor than get behind me. I can’t blame them.

Last month at KCI, when I was the second person in line, one away from the sweet, sweet freedom of being cleared to move onward to dumping my belongings on the conveyor belt, the human in front of me, of course, had an issue requiring a gaggle of TSA agents and I think the airport police. By the time I was allowed to move forward 20 minutes had gone by. By the time I finally cleared security my family, who had very smartly gotten in another line that was me free, was already sitting gate adjacent with fresh Starbucks that they sipped while smirking at me.

This line thing even applies to driving. Whatever lane I change into you can bet there will be a red light or some sort of snafu that makes it the slowest on the road. And if you’re ever behind me at a drive thru prepare yourself for a historic wait to get that Egg McMuffin.

It’s gotten so bad I actually have started apologizing to anyone that is standing behind me in line. I feel it’s a public service issue and I need to share that thanks to me this line is going take forever. Sure, it may not look that way, but trust me it’s going to be awhile.

I’m really starting to think I’m cursed or worse, but infinitely more interesting, that I’m some sort of alien. Perhaps, my interplanetary DNA is causing a cosmic breakdown that’s resulting in me being line challenged. Hmm, something to really think about as I stand in line.




Snarky Saves the World – The Finale

Long time no see Snarky readers.  Sorry for the delay, but my summer has been demanding, which is a good thing because oh the stories I have to tell.  Let’s get the Snarky & Aliens thing done and then move on to other topics like my in-depth investigative report on volunteering (It’s riveting journalism, I promise.) and a little something about me and my brother. Can you believe someone saw us together at the pool and thought I was cheating on my husband with my brother? Ick.  Well, of course, no one knew he was my brother, but well, it’s a good story and involves sunblock so just wait this and more are coming soon.  Now, on to those aliens. Just in case you’ve forgotten the story line I was being amazing and . . . What, not enough information for you?  Then go back and re-read Parts 1, 2, & 3.

I  stood in the middle of the field with my hands shaking surveying the damage from my up close and personal alien experience.  The pods I had shot at were gone, but they had left behind some jelly looking stuff that was clinging to the grass.  The pod I had sprayed with Febreze was still knocked out or dead – who can tell,  it’s a damn alien.  The kids and ABC had circled around the thing that looked like an XL Tide detergent packet and were looking at me for some kind of guidance.  The only thing that came to mind besides cry and run while peeing my pants was my C.S.I. training and by that, I mean, of course, the 381 episodes I had watched of the TV show C.S.I. over the years.  (That number is based solely on C.S.I. viewings not C.S.I. Miami (totally bummed that got the axe) and C.S.I. New York (really wished it had gotten the axe  instead of C.S.I. Miami).  That number also doesn’t take into account the hours spent watching N.C.I.S. with the always exquisite Mark Harmon.)

So, I put on my C.S.I. game face and said, “We need to somehow get this pod back to the school.”

Because any crime scene investigator knows you need to bring the body or slimy pod back to the lab/morgue.  This prompted my son to get very excited and say, “Yeeees! An alien autopsy.  How cool.”

ABC started shaking and whined, “Alien autopsy?  Are you serious? “

“Yeah, I’m serious. We’ve got a dermatologist and a veterinarian back at the school between the two of them they should be able to tell us what we’re dealing with.”

“This is so gross,” ABC said still whining.  “How are we going to get it to the school?  There is not enough Franzia in the world to make me touch that thing.”

Before I could even come up with a reply.  The three teenagers – Will, Hyatt and Grace had dumped the stuff out of the large lawn cart/wheelbarrow I had brought from home and were using sticks to roll the alien into a blanket they had spread out.  They then picked up the blanket and dropped the alien into the lawn cart.  I looked at ABC and said, “I guess that’s how.”

I gathered up my weapons shoving the “Queen of the Rodeo” back in the folding chair bag and zipping Little Miss Texas into my fanny pack.  Our only source of protection on the trek back to the school was my travel size can of Gain Febreze.  I also took a small bottle of Bath and Body Works peach scented hand gel out of my fanny pack and gave it to my son. I told him to squirt it if we were ambushed by any extra terrestrial life forms.  I figured if Febreze brought down an alien peachy scented hand gel might also do the trick.  With all weapons and children accounted for we began our run/jog to the school.  Will, Hyatt and Grace were out in front armed with the hand gel.  I was in the middle of the pack pushing the lawn cart and holding my daughter’s hand.  ABC kept falling behind which made me so nervous I had Grace and Will hold her hands to keep her in my visual range.  Will told her she might run faster if she quit sucking on the straw inserted into the bag of Franzia.  “The reason you can’t keep up with us,” he said, “Is because you’re using all your energy to drink.”

I guess that shamed her a bit, because ABC let go of her death suck on the Franzia and really started to run.  I was impressed, that girl was fast.

Back at the School

We arrived back at the school and still in my C.S.I. mode I call a meeting of all the adults in a corner of the cafeteria.  I had already cautioned my children and Grace and Hyatt to say NOTHING about aliens to the other kids.  When I recounted our near death experience to the adults I was faced with some skepticism.  I was pissed! There I am standing in the middle of a circle relaying ABC’s and I up close and very personal experience with lethal, 3 foot tall, aliens that resemble Tide detergent pods and I’m getting at the very least some raised eyebrows and at the very worst I was called a liar by that ass hat Charity.

“Hmm,” she said while filing her nails, (And about that – who gives themselves a manicure in the midst of alien take over of planet Earth? Does she think having well-groomed nails and neatly trimmed cuticles will be the one thing that saves her from an alien abduction?)  “I’m having a big problem believing this s-t-o-r-y.  Seriously, aliens?  How much Franzia did you two have.”

Then something unexpected happened, that really made me suck in my stomach and wish I had thought to grab a hair brush from my bathroom when I was home.  The sexiest school janitor ever, Mr. Miller, comes to my defense.  He has a western/southern drawl thing going on that makes you want to, at the very least, run your fingers through his hair, and says, “Back off Blondie (to Charity), I believe everything this woman has said.  Any lady who knows how to handle a Remington 870 Wingmaster is no liar.  BTdubs, Go job on the recon.  I’ve got your back the next time you leave the school.”

I believe he just made me blush.  That was the sweetest thing a man has ever said to me and best of all it made Charity shut up, sort of.  Her and Jacardi were still rolling their eyes. So, I said, “I need all of you to step into the hall for just a minute.”

Once I had everybody’s attention I directed them to look inside my wheelbarrow that I had brought inside the school and said, “For your viewing pleasure – an alien.”

Shrieks, screams, a lot of Holy F&%k’s and tons of prayers later everybody over the age of 21 had gotten their fill of seeing an alien. You’ll be pleased to know that Charity vomited.  Jacardi fainted and Elizabeth had a severe bout of explosive diarrhea that resulted in her being forced to wear girls size 16 gym shorts.  After all that drama I said, “Now, that I’ve gotten everybody’s attention I’d like to suggest a plan.  Dr. Chaing can you take your dermatologist expertise and combine it with Dr. Debby’s veterinarian knowledge and see what we’re dealing with here.  I’m especially interested in their noses or whatever they use to smell, because bullets didn’t bring them down – Febreze did.  I’m thinking maybe their allergic to highly perfumed smell goods. ”

Both doctors agree to see what they can find out and with the sexy janitor’s help wheel the alien into the nurses office.  I figure we can’t really formulate any kind of plan until the autopsy is done so I leave the doctors alone to find my son.  I’ve got a question for him that’s been bugging me.  I walk back into the cafeteria where everybody is eating ice cream sandwiches from the school’s freezer before they melt into goo. I take his arm and gently pull him into a corner.  “I’m curious,” I say, “How come you never seemed to be scared out there today?  In fact, none of you were scared.  You, Hyatt and Grace all acted like you stumble onto aliens everyday.  Is it all the video games you play?”

“No, mom,” he says, while shoving the rest of the ice cream sandwich in his mouth, “We’ve just been brought up expecting some kind of certain doom.”

“What does that mean?”  I asked, “Your dad and I have not raised you to think that one day a swarm of aliens will appear and try to purge the human race.”

“No, Mom,” he sighed, “What I mean is that we’ve grown up with 9/11, a couple of wars, global warming, getting felt up at the airport, school shootings, well, really shootings everywhere and my generation, I guess, just expects the unexpected.  We’re not, “Why me?” we’re like “Oh yeah, of course it’s going to me.  I’m the one that’s going to be offed today?”

I stared at him and then gave him a big hug.  What he said was the scariest thing that had happened to me today.  Not the aliens, not seeing an alien spaceship thing that looked like a Dyson vacuum, not firing two guns at aliens and then running for my life, but hearing my son tell me that his generation is growing up with a not if, but when mentality when it comes to bad things happening.  Horrific events have become their status quo. I didn’t have time to think about what all that meant because in mid hug with my son, The sexy janitor walked over to me and said, “I think you need to see something.”

I followed him back to the nurses office and it looked like tubs of purple and orange jello had exploded.  Dr. Chaing, The Tri-State Restalyne Queen was looking queasy and was standing as far away from the jello explosion as possible.  Dr. Debby was elbow deep in alien. She was wearing industrial size rubber gloves courtesy of the janitor’s closet, goggles from the science lab and a black trash-bag over her clothes.  The veterinarian had carved and yanked the alien pod apart.  I was doing my best not to gag and forced myself to go to my happy place, which is usually Target, but with the whole alien thing, it had fallen way down on my list of Happy Places so I went to my H.P. runner-up –  cupcakes frosted with butter-cream.  Thank goodness the janitor was standing next to me.  If I had to faint I could fall into this big, tan, biceps enriched arms.  The doctors explained that the alien specimen had massive olfactory receptor neurons and that their gel pods were probably olfactory mucus that contained an abundance of sensory nerve fibers.

“Okay,” I said, “So, are you two telling me that our alien was just one big freaking nose.”

Dr. Chaing, answered, “Well, yes and no.  It had a brain, but mainly it was all nose.”

Dr. Debby got all excited and while holding a ruler starts gesturing wildly, “I’m guessing it’s sense of smell is unlike anything we have here on earth.  Bears have the best sense of smell of any animal.  It’s more then 2,000 times better than a human.  This thing, whatever it is based on the size of this olfactory nerve here (she jabs at it with the ruler) is probably a couple of million times better than a bear.”

Suddenly a light bulb goes off in my astounded brain, “That’s why the Febreze killed it!  It’s big old nose couldn’t handle the scent.  Oh, my God!  Oh, my God! Do you know what’s this means?  We’ve found a way to run off the aliens!  All we need to do is make the world’s largest scent bomb and drop it on the Target.”

And then my joy was partially diluted when I realized that we may have Charity to thank for still being alive.  Her freaking Scents for School collection must have acted like a shield protecting all us from the aliens.  I mean it’s not like I’m not thrilled that we weren’t abducted, but yikes having Charity to thank for my life and my children’s.  That’s a bitter pill to swallow.  I tamp the thought of being indebted for life to Charity way, way, back in my brain and focused on building a scent bomb.  I knew Charity had an enormous Kate Spade “Eat Cake for Breakfast” tote full of scents, (So ridiculous, a woman who looks like she eats her finger for breakfast carrying a bag that has in bold 36 point font that words “Eat Cake for Breakfast.  Seriously obnoxious.  I, of course, could carry that bag and everyone would say, “Yes, you do look like you enjoy cakes and a 12 pack of glazed donuts every morning’) but I didn’t think that would be enough to vanquish the Dyson.  Then, I got an idea.  If the Scents for School created a shield that protected us then there must be outposts all over the town where people survived the attack like the Yankee Candle store and the Bath and Body Works shop at the Town and Country Esplanade.  I haven’t been in a Yankee Candle store yet that didn’t give me a headache and I don’t have olfactory glands the size of a Frisbee.  We need to go to those stores, liberate the smell good folk, load up on scent ammo, especially the nauseatingly potent Bath and Body Works Signature collection Twilight Woods and get to work making that bomb. Time for another meeting.  I needed volunteers.

Yes, I know it’s not done.  I’ve got about two more pages to write which I’m doing right now.  Meanwhile, many thanks for all of you who “liked” me on Facebook!  May the Snark Be With You.  For those that haven’t done the deed yet to stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link – (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.

Snarky Saves the World Part 3

Thanks everyone for putting up with me indulging my summer fantasy of being an action adventure heroine.  I promise I’ll be back to some real life Snarky soon.  Now, let’s get to the part about the aliens.

It was freaky pedaling the bike through my neighborhood around cars that have just stopped in the street and lawn mowers that had been abandoned mid mow, but the worst was seeing bikes laying on the sidewalks, next to jump ropes, and backpacks. What had happened?  The only thing keeping my heart from thumping out of my chest was ABC. I knew she was just as scared as I was, but in times of stress ABC brings the ridiculous. The best way I can think to describe her is to have you imagine the comedienne Kathy Griffin if she was the mother to three hyper boys and her husband had just left her for a guy.  She’s a just a delicious, hysterical, feisty, hot mess and I love her.

I got into my house easy enough because lucky for me I always forget to lock the French doors into my family room.  ABC beelines for the fridge and the Franzia.  She takes the entire box of wine out of the fridge, leans her head back and puts the nozzle right in her mouth.  I’m not one to judge so I gave her an elbow in the ribs and she hands over the box to give me a turn.    It’s then that we hear footsteps and a rustling sound. ABC cuddles the wine box like it’s a newborn and we dive behind my kitchen counter.  I open a drawer and take out my marble rolling-pin and wait.  Five seconds later I hear my son whispering, “Mom, mom are you in here?”

I pop up from behind the counter and say, “What the hell son?  I told you to stay at the school.”

To make matters worse he’s got Hyatt and Grace with him and Bella who upon seeing me immediately lets go of her brother’s hand and bolts to me.

As I’m hugging Bella he says, “I’m sorry mom, but we couldn’t just sit there.  We thought you might need our help, plus Hyatt is a Boy Scout.”

I just sigh. It’s not like I was going to send them back to the school.  They knew they had me.

ABC takes a break from sucking on the Franzia and says, “I thought Kelly and Nikki would have been better at keeping an eye on everyone.”

Will bites his lip and before he can say anything Grace blurts out, “They kind of had their hands full with your boys.  They were all over the place.”

ABC takes another gulp of the Franzia and says, “Well, there is that.”

“It’s okay, really it is,” I say in my best commanding yet soothing tone, “But from now on everybody stays together and listens to me and ABC got it?”

The kids look over at ABC who’s still nursing on the boxed wine nozzle and I correct my previous statement and say, “Make that everybody listens to me. Now all of you down to the basement.”

We all clump down the basement stairs and I pass the Christmas and Halloween decoration boxes and head straight for the three plastic tubs tucked in the far corner of the room by a window.  They’re labeled with a black sharpie and read, “Less Fat Clothes,” “Kind of Skinny Clothes” and “Maternity Clothes.”  I open up the “Kind of Skinny Clothes” box first and start digging. After about 30 seconds I find what I’m looking for – “Little Miss Texas.”

“Hello old friend,” I say to the Ruger Red Hawk Snub Nose 44 Magnum.  I look at ABC who has uttered a “WTF,” shrug my shoulders and say, “My grandpa gave me guns instead of dolls.”

My son sees me pull the gun out the clothes box and indignantly exclaims, “What?!  We have a gun in our house?  You wouldn’t let me get an air gun and you have that hiding in our basement!”

I ignore him, stick Little Miss Texas in my fanny pack and go over to the “Less Fat Clothes” long plastic bin.  I pry off the top, throw out some shorts that would currently cover about one of my butt checks and lift out “Queen of the Rodeo”  – A Remington 870 Wingmaster 12 Gauge shot-gun. Oh my, she’s still a beauty with her walnut woodwork and dark navy polished barrel.  I give her a kiss and then hurry over to the box marked “Maternity Clothes”.  I open it up, dig through some maternity jeans and recoil when I see the worst fashion creation since Eve grabbed a fig leaf – the maternity overall which has the magical powers to make you look like carrying your ass is pregnant and pull out two boxes of ammunition.  My son is still staring at me as I sit down on the floor and start loading up Little Miss Texas and the Queen of the Rodeo with ammo.

He finally says, “I don’t get it Mom.  How come you have guns?”

As I’m shoving shells in the shotgun I say, “Listen up, I don’t embrace gun violence or the current hipster, gangster gun culture, but these guns were a gift from my granddaddy, may he rest in peace, and let me tell you something even though I’ve only aimed these girls at targets and tin cans right now, with the blessing of the second amendment that gives me the right to bear arms, I’m fully prepared and dedicated to doing whatever it takes to protect each and every one of you sitting in my basement.”

And with that I put down the fully loaded shotgun and start feeding bullets into Little Miss Texas.

He was still confused and asked, “Why did you hide the guns and bullets in the boxes that say skinny clothes and maternity clothes?

“Because I knew there was pretty much no chance, barring medical intervention, that I was going to be wearing those skinny or maternity clothes again so the boxes, made the ideal hiding place.”

“Can you even shoot the guns?” He asked.

“Oh yeah, I can shoot, no worries there.”

“It’s like I don’t even know you.”

I winked at him and said, “Now where would the fun be if you knew everything about your mom?”

With that I put Little Miss Texas back in my fanny pack, grabbed the bag that holds the folding chair we take to soccer games, dumped the chair out, put the shotgun in the bag and slung the strap over my shoulder.  I was locked and loaded.  I spied the large lawn cart and told the kids to carry it up the basement stairs.  I turned to give ABC something to do and panicked when I couldn’t find her.  I shouted her name and she screamed back, “I’m up here in the kitchen.”  I take my daughter’s hand and sprint up the stairs to find ABC with my old Babybjorn, last seen in the basement in a box marked “To Donate,” strapped to her body.  She had somehow managed to squeeze a brand new box of Franzia into the Bjorn.  On her back is my son’s old Thomas the Tank Engine backpack, also from the basement. From the looks of it I betting she’s got another box of Franzia stuffed inside. She looks at me and says, “Let’s Roll.”

I shake my head at her and say, “Not yet.  I need to grab a few more supplies.”  I ransack my kitchen for candles, matches and lighters and run upstairs to the bedrooms to get my daughter’s favorite blanket.  I figured she might need it to get through the night. I also grab a couple of pillows for the kids back at the school.”

“Okay!” I shout, Let’s go!”

With the shotgun it was too hard to ride a bike so the four kids, ABC and I walked to the Fire Station.  Along the way we checked houses and saw no sign of life.  It was the same story at the Fire Station – deserted.  I wanted to get back to the school before dark so we decided to take the shortest distance back. The bad news was it took us closer to the dark cloud.

“What do you think that is Mom?” my daughter asked.

“I have no idea.  It looks kind of like a tornado, but there are no high winds.”

My son added, “It could be a weather anomaly.”

Or Grace said, “A visual break in the space-time continuum”

“Maybe it’s the portal to a black hole.” Hyatt eagerly added.

ABC interjected, “Or maybe it’s Captain Kirk having Scotty beam him up to the Starship Enterprise.  Come on kids, it’s some kind of weather weirdness, that’s all.”

Hyatt looked at ABC and said, “It’s not weather weirdness that made everybody go poof!

“No, most definitely what’s happening is much larger than a force a nature event,” Grace said very authoritatively.

As the kids and ABC argued about what was making the grayish cloud  I kept scanning the area for signs of life.  We were close to my beloved Super Target and I wondered if I should check to see if anyone was there.  Before I could ask ABC what she thought of that idea we all heard a weird, humming sound and I told everyone to run and take cover behind a hedge of overgrown holly bushes.

“What the hell is that?” shrieked ABC.

I don’t know, but it’s the first definitive sound we’ve heard since the sirens went off.  I slid the Queen of the Rodeo out of the folding chair bag, stand up, cock the gun, and say, “Everyone stay here.  I’m going to get a little bit closer and see what’s up?”

Will says, “Are you sure Mom?”

“Yeah, don’t worry.  I’m just going to snuggle up to that sound and see what’s up. Stay here and I mean it – Stay!”

I start creeping closer to the sound which got louder the nearer I got to the cloud and the Super Target.  My hands were sweating so badly I stopped to wipe them off on my shirt and that’s when I saw it.  The cloud was directly behind the Super Target and hovering above the cloud was something that resembled the world’s largest Dyson.  I’m not talking about any old Dyson, but that the new, purpley one that’s called the Animal because it’s supposed to be able to suck up anything.  In fact, it looked like the flying gianormous Dyson was sucking up the grey cloud.  No, scratch that, the grey cloud seemed to a twisting strand of flaky, dust particles, like the stuff that’s inside your Ped Egg after your exfoliate your feet.  I kept walking closer and then I heard a sound behind me, like I was being followed, I quickly turned around, my finger on the trigger of Queen of the Rodeo, and there’s every person I told to STAY – staring at me.

My daughter spoke first, “We were scared” and my son added, “You left us no means of protection.  You should have left us a gun.”

“Why? So you can shoot yourself? God, ABC you suck at crowd management.”

“I’m with Will” says ABC, “You took all the bang, bang with you and we wanted to be with the bang, bang. Is that so wrong?”

“No, what’s wrong is that thing that looks like a Dyson vacuum cleaner parked up in the sky. Do you see it?”

ABC squints her eyes and stares up at the cloud.  “What the hell is that?”

“I told you what it is. It’s the worlds largest freaking Dyson.”

“Hmm,” ABC mutters, still staring up at the sky.  “It’s the new Dyson too.  The really expensive one – fancy.”

Hyatt says, “Maybe it’s some sort of experimental military aircraft.”

Will, jumps in with, “I heard you talking with the other moms back at the school about a terrorist attack.  It could be North Korean or maybe it’s from Iraq?”

“No,” says Grace, “Based on my knowledge of security intelligence it’s certainly not North Korean.  They don’t have the expertise to make something of that magnitude.”

Before I could ask Grace about her “security clearance” my daughter screams, “Mom, mom, mom, MOM! What is t-h-a-t!”

I look where she’s pointing and six square shape figures, each about the size of a toddler, are approaching us.  They have no head or extremities, just a torso.  In fact, they looked like those new Tide pod detergent packs for your washing machine.  They each have an orange and purple swirl and seemed to be self-propelled, like miniature hover crafts.  I calmly, kind of, tell everyone to get behind me and aim The Queen of the Rodeo at the closest pod.  I didn’t shoot – yet.  I’m running a million scenarios through my head – are these pods friends or foe?  Are they cutting edge American military thingamabobs or the latest thing in drone warfare?  As I’m  thinking, thinking, thinking  a pod starts spewing something that looks like airborne toothpaste gel at us.  I take that as a sign of definitely not a friendly and fire.  The shotgun shell goes straight through the pod like I’m shooting through pudding.  It doesn’t phase it all.  It keeps coming towards us.  I get off three more shots and still nothing.  I give the now empty shotgun to ABC and take Little Miss Texas out of my fanny pack.  This girl has the power to bring down a bear.  It sure as hell, I think, should stop a three-foot high Tide detergent pod.  I squeeze the trigger and the bullet sails through the pod.  By this time the six pods are getting really close.  ABC has gotten the kids further back.  It was just me and the pods. My fanny pack was open and in a fit of panic I grabbed the first thing my hand touches – my travel size Gain Febreze – and spray.  The pod closest to me goes down.  The other five retreat and hover off in the direction of the Target.

“What happened?” hollers, ABC.

“Well, to the best of my knowledge, I’ve just killed or stunned an alien with freaking Febreze, which leads me to believe that were under an alien attack by some sort of pod life form.  They appear to have traveled here by space ship or whatever you want to call that Dyson looking thing, but worst of all, it looks like they’ve staked out my Super Target as their base of operations.”

“What do you think we should do?”

“They only thing we can do – take back the Super Target and see just what the hell those Tide gel pods are up to.”

ABC starts to laugh in a weary, semi-hysterical way.

“What’s so funny?”

“You,” she sighs, “The world as we know it could be coming to an end and your pissed off that some killer pods are perched in your Target.”

“Damn, right. Those freaking aliens picked the wrong Super Target.”

Snarky Saves the World Part 4 Coming Soon.

Snarky Saves the World Part 2

The finger nails on a chalkboard civil defense siren had brought everyone who was left at the school to the basement.  It was a mixed bag of parents, school staff and kids.  Everyone congregated into their own zones of familiarity.  Sitting with me by the art supplies are my two kids, WIll & Bella and Will’s friends, Hyatt and Grace. Also joining me are my friends and fellow P.T.O. board survivors; ABC (her real name is Allison, but for those who love her it’s – ABC for “Always Bitter Chick.”) with her three boys (6, 8 & 9), Kelly with her 8-year-old twin girls and Nikki with a toddler in her lap and the world’s most adorable first grade boy holding her hand. (For in-depth description read My Friends.)  Joining us in sitting crisscross apple sauce on the basement floor is Dr. Debby Davis, the town’s beloved veterinarian.  All of her kids are grown and gone, so I ask how she found herself in the school basement. She laughs and says, “I was helping the science teacher with a lesson plan on the evolution of dogs and I’m here for about 5 minutes before the siren goes off.”

None of us were very concerned about the sirens.  We all figured the city must have changed their testing schedule and we are all trapped in the basement for no good reason.  Trapped being the operative word because we’re at a school we have to follow some kind of district emergency management protocol.  If we were at home I figure most of us would have looked out of a window, surmised that nothing was amiss and gone about our day.

Over by the stacks of photocopy paper is Team “Let’s Apply Lip Gloss” while we’re seeking emergency shelter during what could be a civil defense emergency.  Charity with her “Scents for School” bag was still proselytizing about the “amazing smell of the blueberry beach” candle while her two girls 6 and 12 stuck those smell good stick things up their noses. Jacardi (read about her ickiness here)  had moved on from lip gloss application to rubbing in tinted hand moisturizer while her three kids were rummaging through the lost and found and P.T.O. president Elizabeth Williams, (background on Elizabeth) who thinks she’s  waaay better than the crew assembled in the basement based on her lineage that can be traced back to William the Conqueror and her limited edition Range Rover, was doing everything in her power to not have to sit on the basement floor.

“Elizabeth,” I said, “You might have to give in and sit your fanny on the floor.  We could be here for a while.”

“I hope not,” she responded in a haughty voice, “I can’t fathom ever sitting on a this filthy floor.”

ABC looked at me and smiled and said, “Well, just take that plaid scarf, place mat thing you’ve got tied to your purse and sit on that.”

Elizabeth’s eyes got huge and she said, “I’ll have you know that plaid scarf is a Burberry and cost upwards of $500.”

ABC couldn’t help herself and had to continue yanking Elizabeth’s chain.  Who could blame her? It’s boring in the basement.

“Really”, she says, “$500 for a place mat?  That just seems wrong.”

“God Allison,“It is not a place-mat.  It’s a silk scarf and I’m not sitting on it!”

Kelly, ABC/Allison, Nikki and I all tried to hide our smirks.  It was so easy and yet so fun to rile up Elizabeth.

Sitting in between my group and Team Lip-gloss is the enigma known as Mark Bishop, a delicious stay-at-home dad. Everyday the debate rages on is he gay or not gay? He’s everything most middle age husbands aren’t: well rested, attentive and working a full head of hair.   Mark and his daughter, 7-year-old India, are new to the school and he’s currently unencumbered by a spouse.  Speculation is running rampant that he’s either a trust funder, a writer or currently enjoy the top 1% rite of passage of being investigated by the S.E.C. He doesn’t talk about himself much (another thing that makes him very different from most husbands), but he does enjoy volunteering in the classroom, chaperoning field trips and attending P.T.O. meetings where he’s currently been dubbed a “member-at-large.”  It’s hard to know where you stand with Mark. Sometimes it seems he’s Jacardi and Charity’s BFF other times he’s chatting up a storm with my group. I don’t trust him.  As for the gay or not gay thing – it’s a daily brainteaser.  Take today for example, Mark did an intricate waterfall braid on his daughter’s hair so I’m thinking for sure gay, but he’s got on a really awful pair of sandals that no self-respecting non-hetro man would ever wear which puts him in the not gay category.  He’s like a hetro/homo sudoku puzzle.

Talking with Mark is Dr. Jan Chaing dermatologist.  Famous for her Girl’s Night Out Botox parties and creating concrete faces courtesy of her renowned Restylne artistry.  I have no idea why she’s at the school unless it’s to give Charity and Jacardi an emergency botox refresh.  The best thing I can say about Dr. Chaing is that it doesn’t look like she’s uses any of that garbage on herself.  I’m curious why she’s not sitting by three of her best customers and then I remember the whole doctor/patient confidentiality thing and figure she’s got to act all “Oh, Jarcardi, Charity and Elizabeth aren’t my patients.  Why they’re naturally wrinkle fee.” I shout over to her, “Dr. Chaing, what brings you to school basement?”

She looks over at Dr. Debby and says, “I was here with Debby.  We were both recruited by Mr. Garza to consult on the science curriculum.”

Huddled by the textbooks are what’s left of the school staff at 4:30 on a Tuesday afternoon.  There’s the principal Mr. No T  – as in No Testosterone.  He looks like he once was one of the Wiggles.  You know those sort of creepy older guys who jump around and sing with the likes of Captain “Feathersword.”  I’ve always thought Captain Feathersword was a euphemism for the Wiggles testosterone. Think about it what guy wants his sword to be light as a feather?  The principal earned his nickname by being a world-class wimp.  It’s shameful how his management style is based on avoiding conflict at any cost.   Sitting next to him is the P.E. teacher, the delightful Hilda.  Just two years out of college, the super sporty Hilda, a former NCAA soccer star, is loved by all the kids.  She’s whispering to the science teacher, the aforementioned Mr. Garza, who looks very concerned that his I phone is not working.  I want to tell him not to worry. Nobody’s phones are working.  We all chalk it up to being in a basement/ bomb-shelter in a school that was built in the 1950’s. We also don’t have any electricity.  The only light is from the tiny sliver of windows that  rim the basement exterior. Just then the custodian gets up to tell Jacardi’s kids to get out of the Lost and Found.  That simple move attracts the attention of all of the females over 18.

Mr. Miller is handsome.  A needs a shave, shower and shampoo handsome.  He’s like a scruffy brunette Brad Pitt/Matthew McConaughey in a mechanics jumpsuit.  Yeah, that’s right he wears a jumpsuit with. . . cowboy boots.  I know it sounds wrong, but on him it is so very right. Every time I see him I wonder what happened in his life to force him to make a detour as an elementary school custodian.  If he ever wants to pour out his troubles to someone I’m in.

After about 30 minutes the siren goes off which is a good thing because I was almost down to my last Fruit Adventure Tic Tac I had been doling out as snack food to the kids.  We all stand up and begin climbing the stairs to freedom.  All the moms head out the school doors and straight to their cars.  The first thing I notice is how quiet it is.  I don’t hear a bird, a barking dog, a car – nothing.  The second thing I notice is that there’s a very weird shaped, gray cloud off in the distance.  The thing that signals big time trouble is when none of the cars start.  You put the key in, turn the ignition, nothing.  Well, at least that was my experience because my mini van in a decade old. For the other moms it was all press your fancy car start button, but the result was the same – nothing.  We all get out of our cars and begin theorizing why they won’t start.

My son, who had been doing his own scouting with his two friends, chimes in with, “All the electricity is still out in the school and did you notice the cars just sitting in the middle of the road.”

I had not.  Wow, that’s unsettling.  I hand off my daughter to my son, tell them and Hyatt and Grace to stay with the other moms and go to see what’s up the cars just sitting in the road.  As I’m doing the mom fast walk/jog sprint to the road by the school I start wishing I had brought some sort of self-defense item, but I had nothing to worry about. I checked out six cars that were stopped in the road and they were empty.  Okay, now I’m freaked out a bit so I abandoned the mom jog and run full-out, with my boobs a- flapping, back to the school.

I announce, while panting heavily, “Everybody let’s go inside the school.  Something a little strange is going on.”

I wanted to scream, “I see no visible signs of life-forms excepts for us!”  But didn’t want to scare the kids.  Everybody went back into the school except for Charity, Elizabeth and Jacardi.  Charity was in her Escalady screaming profanities at her dashboard for On Star to work and Jacardi and Elizabeth were comparing Range Rover service department numbers.  While, those three idiots were outside we herded the kids to the cafeteria to eat popsicles that were melting in the deep freeze and Kelly and I went in search of the school staff.  They weren’t hard to find most of them had collected up their stuff and were beginning to walk out of the school.

I shouted, “Hey guys, don’t bother.  No one’s car is starting. It seems whatever the emergency was it rendered all of our cars kaput, along with the electricity.”

Mr. Garza, the science teacher, stopped and suggested, “Hmm, it could have been some sort of solar flare.”

Well then, I said, “It was the solar flare of doom because not only is nothing working, but  there are empty cars just sitting in the road.”

Kelly added, while holding both of her girls hands, “Something bigger than a solar flare has gone down.”

Hilda asked in a very scared voice, used by those in the early 20’s whose only experience with adversity is losing five pounds so they can look bitching in a bikini, “What should we do?

I said, “I suggest we all go back to the cafeteria, check on the kids and have a meeting.”

That was something we all could agree on.  It took about 10 minutes for everyone that was in the basement to regroup in the cafeteria.  I reported on what I had seen in the road, the custodian, Mr. Miller confirmed that all power was out to the school and the science teacher clung to his belief about the solar flare. The vet, Dr. Debby asked the principal if they had any battery operated communication devices like walkie talkies.  The principal stood there with his mouth hanging open thus prompting the custodian to answer, “It seems whatever happened has fried any and all batteries.  That’s probably why the cars wouldn’t start.”

Elizabeth Williams still ticked about being forsaken in her time of need by her Range Rover roared, “Well as President of the P.T.O. I demand that you, (pointing now at the principal) do something immediately!  Isn’t there some sort of procedure or manual that you can consult on this.”

God help Mr. No T, he was covered in sweat and shaking.  As he wiped his nose on his shirt he whispered, “No, there’s no training for this kind of emergency.”

Jacardi spoke up, who up until now had been filing her nails, because that’s what you would want to do when it could possibly be the end of the world , give yourself a manicure, and says, “Um, hello, I’m thinking terrorist attack or something.”

Kelly, Nikki, ABC and I all looked at each other in shock.  This was the first thing that had every come out of Jacardi’s mouth that we all could agree with.  ABC pipes up with, “We need some sort of plan.”

I add, “Or at the very least some recon.”

“Great,” says Charity, “Who volunteers? What’s that saying from Titanic – women and children first.”

Nikki sighs and says, “It was about the lifeboats – women and children first to the lifeboats – not women and children volunteer first.”

“Oh well, that’s what I meant.  The women will stay behind with the kids and the men go see what’s going on.”

That got a reaction from Mr. No T.  “Yeah, about that, according to district policy I should stay at the school.”

I wanted to challenge him on hiding behind “policy,” but, I figured he was better off huddled in a corner of the cafeteria than doing any sort of investigating.  That left the 60-year-old science teacher Mr. Garza, the custodian and Mark Bishop.  Mr. Garza quickly shared that he suffered from high blood pressure and was on anti-anxiety medication and didn’t want to stroke out.  We all agreed it would be a bad idea to send him.  All eyes went to Mr. Miller.  He said in a very sexy drawl, “I’m in.”

That’s when I said, “No, you need to stay here.”

ABC got what I was talking about she said, “You’re right.  We need you here Mr. Miller.  You’re the strongest one in the group.  You stay with the kids. Protecting them is priority one.”

By process of elimination Mark Bishop, stay-at-home dad extraordinaire is our Recon Man.  All eyes went to him and before any of us could say, “Tag your it” he blurted out, “Nope, it can’t be me. Sorry, everyone, but I can’t go.  I’m India’s only living parent and I can’t chance it.”

Charity, looking around the semi-circle of adults, asks “Then who in the hell is going to go?”

Elizabeth eagerly answers back with, “Snarky, you should go?”

“Really, Elizabeth, Just because you don’t particularly care for me is no reason to volunteer my services.”

“Jacardi jumps on the bandwagon and says,“Well, you do have the oldest kids so that makes sense.”

“I have a 14-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter it’s not like they’re in grad school.”

Dr. Debby pipes in with, “Well, based on that reasoning I should go.  I’m so old my kids are out of grad school.”

We all look at Dr. Debby, she’s 60, if she’s a day, and weighs all of 100 pounds, not really what you would call recon material.

Kelly says, “No Dr. Debby you’re staying here in an, um, medical capacity.”

Charity perks up and says, “I’m with Elizabeth, Snarky you should go.  Your already dressed for exploring in those track pants and tennis shoes and let’s face it, you’re solid, you know, big.  Didn’t you tell me once you wear a size 11 shoe?”

“Okay, ladies,” I say, in a super pissed off voice, “If we’re going to base who “volunteers” on physical prowess then I think all three of you are far superior to me for the task.”

“What do you mean?” Jacardi growls.

“Aren’t all you 26.2 moms?  If the decals on the back of your cars are correct then all of you run marathons and add in all those sessions on the pilates reformer and you Jacardi, Elizabeth and Charity are the Recon Dream Team.”

Kelly, Nikki and ABC are all smiling and Nikki says, “Snarky’s absolutely right. You three are suburban Navy Seals and your breast implants are probably bullet proof!”

Jacardi screams, “I’m not going! I’m not going!  I’m not going!  I’ve never run a marathon!  None of us have, she says pointing to Elizabeth and Charity.  We got those damn stickers off the internet!”

ABC says, “Well, that’s a surprise to, I don’t know, no one.  We all figured your marathon stickers we’re about as real as your hair color.”

“Enough!” I say, “I’ll go. I once escaped from a bible camp that was heavily patrolled by over zealous born again Christians.  I think I’ve got this.”

Nikki asks me, “Are you sure you want to do this?”

My son answers for me, “If my mom goes, I”m going with her.”

“No, you’re not. You’re staying here with your sister.”Before he could challenge that ABC quickly says, “Don’t worry about your mom Will, I’m going with her.”

I take ABC by the hand and lead her away from the group and ask, “Are you sure.  You’ve got three young boys?”

“You think I’d let you go by yourself?  Hell no.  Besides Kelly and Nikki will take care of my boys and it’s better then sitting here watching Mr. No T cry, Charity bitch and Jacardi move on to filing her toenails.  No thanks.”

I smile at her and take a deep breath and say, “Thank God, you’re coming with me.  If anything bad is going on out there I want the woman with three restraining orders filed against her and who failed a court mandated angry management class to have my back. ”

ABC squeezed my hand and says, “I don’t want to make you feel bad or anything sweetie, but I’m also going to find me some kind of boxed wine.”

After a group discussion it’s decided the best course of action is to go to the Fire Station, the closest law enforcement building, and see if we can discover what’s going on.

Before I leave I kiss my kids goodbye and tell them to obey Kelly and Nikki.  I also give Grace and Hyatt a hug and promise them that I will try to go by their houses and see if there is any sign of their parents.

Next, I go to my mini-van and take out my emergency fanny pack.  It’s filled with all sorts of goodies – bottled water, hand gel, Band-Aids, a lone protein bar and travel size Febreze.  I strap that bad boy on and then go with ABC to the kids bike rack.  We figured the fastest way to get around would be via two wheels.  I hoist myself up on the biggest bike I can find, a Spider Man special while ABC climbs aboard a Barbie bike, are knees are hitting the handle bars, but we’re moving.  As soon as we’re away from the school I tell ABC I’m changing our plans.  “Scratch the Fire Station. Our first stop is going to be my house.  I want to liberate two old friends.”

All ABC says is, “Yippee, boxed wine!”

Snarky Saves the World Part 3 – coming soon.  

Snarky Saves the World Part 1

Based on my real life with some very ill-mannered aliens thrown in.

 It’s only the first month of summer and so far I’ve sat through a trio of action adventure movies.  It’s not that I don’t like action or adventure it’s just that I’m think the formula of some men and a random chick kicking all sorts of alien butt needs to be shaken up a bit.  The epic battle I would like to see would be Aliens vs. Moms or more specifically Aliens vs. Snarky.  Yes, I want to see a movie featuring me (sure it’s a little narcissistic, but hey, it’s my blog) as played by Sandra Bullock (of course she’ll need some prosthetic cankles as I’ll, oops, I mean Sandra, will be wearing capri track pants during most of the film) taking some disgusting life forms intent on harming earth and giving them the mother of all beat downs.

I really think I’ve got a great idea going here, like blockbuster great, so if any of you have a second cousin who works at the Starbucks where some big Hollywood type sends their assistant to fetch a venti cappuccino tell them to share the Snarky.  I’m not asking for much, maybe just write the website address on the lid or something.  I’m doing Hollywood a major favor. The Mom Movie market is where it’s at.  Who pays for all the movie tickets of anyone ages 0 to 18?  Moms.  Who takes the kids to all the movies? Moms.  Who wants to see a movie that’s not a lame rom/com? Moms. Seriously, how long has it been since there’s been a decent romantic comedy? And if you think New Year’s Eve was a comedy I would beg to differ.  So, here’s just a taste of my science fiction/action adventure – Snarky Saves the World.

Act One

INTERIOR SCHOOL CAFETERIA LATE AFTERNOON.  8 moms are seated at a cafeteria table while their kids run around the room. The camera zooms on our hero, Snarky rolling her eyes while breathing through a tissue.

Okay, scratch that – I can’t write this in script form. It will give me a headache.  All the set ups, dialogue and camera pans to the right stuff – yuck.  I’m going back to traditional Snarky mode which is me complaining about stuff and the ensuing fall out. So, here’s the do over or as they say in Hollywood – Take Two.


Why does every school cafeteria smell the same like dirty mop bucket water, boy feet and rancid Twinkie? (BTW a Twinkie would not have the “opportunity” to go rancid on my watch.) I’m having to take hits of Gain Febreze to make it through this emergency PTO board meeting.  What? You never taken hits of Febreeze?  It goes like this; you grab a Kleenex or toilet paper (in a crisis of stench you can’t be choosy), take the travel size Febreze from your purse, soak the Kleenex with Febreze then hold it up to your nose and take a couple of very deep nasal inhales.  It’s the ultimate cleaning breath, my friends.

Also, on my Why list – Why do school meetings have to be in the cafeteria?  What’s wrong with the library?  Is the library too good for the parents?  Are we not worthy of chairs?  Are we doomed to perch our adult size butts on tiny round cafeteria seats that are attached to the table?  But, the biggest “Why” of all was – Why do moms try to make money off the backs of children?  Because that’s why I’m trapped in an elementary school cafeteria on a beautiful, breezy, late spring Tuesday afternoon, 30 minutes after the bell has rung, talking about yet, another new P.T.O. fundraising idea – “Scents for School” (candles, those scent sticks, plug-ins etc).  P.T.O. Fundraising chairperson and sister-wife to Satan Charity Turner (for a deep background on Charity read The Reverse Stubing.) is all over “Scents for School” because it’s a calorie/gluten/sugar-free fundraising alternative and therefore far superior to the cookie dough, pizza, candy, bake sales etc. the school has.  Charity managed to leave out that “Scents for Schools” was a subsidiary of “Superior Scents” which she is a direct sales representative for and if “Scents for Schools” is approved as a fundraiser she would be getting a tidy little personal profit based on the pyramid sales structure.

I’m tempted to not even bring up that point because I’m so anxious to get out of the meeting.  My 10-year-old daughter is giving me the “I’m going to die if I don’t get a snack soon” eye.  Which is nothing compared my 14-year-old son’s “glares of doom.”  He and two of his friends, the uber nerdy Hyatt and Grace, who is a couple of years away from becoming gorgeous, have walked over from the high school to catch a ride home and I know they’re getting muy impatient based on the latest text I got that reads; “I would kill myself if I lived your life and had to go to a meeting about citrus scented candles. Hurry up!”  I texted back, “I would kill myself if I had 2 hours of Algebra homework.”  But, both kids had a point it was time to wrap up this meeting.  I had listened to Charity sing the praises of perfumed wax long enough and I was more than ready to stop looking at her.  This “wanna be hot mom” of two with a very unfortunate hair highlights (they looked orange in the direct sun.) had on black yoga pants, with a leopard thong you could see every time she bent over to take out a candle from her “Scents for School” bag, fur-lined Ugg clogs, and a tight black Nike t-shirt that reads, “Come and Get Some.”   What we supposed to come and get – crabs?  A free feel of her silicone breasts?  I think I speak for all of America when I say we’ll take a pass on getting anything Charity has to offer.  Just as I was ready to raise my hand and ask for the topic of the Scents for Schools fundraiser to be tabled until the general PTO meeting next week emergency sirens went off.  You know the ones that get tested the first Wednesday of every month at 11 a.m. and that you never pay attention to.  Well, it wasn’t Wednesday and it wasn’t the first of the month so we all looked at one another, grabbed the kids and hauled ass to the school basement.

Snarky Saves the World – Part 2  coming soon.

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