Dear Snarky – My Sister Is Giving Thanksgiving the Bird

Dear Snarky,

My sister has lost her ever loving mind. We’re already making plans for the holidays and it’s my sister’s turn to host Thanksgiving. Yesterday she sent out a family group text saying all of us have to get a COVID test before we can enter her home AND she would prefer the test be a rapid response taken not any earlier than the day before Thanksgiving.

She even included a link to where you can get a rapid response test. What she didn’t include is that they cost like $100 and that’s with insurance.

Her text, as you can imagine, started a whole mess. We were already going to be socially distancing for dinner. So, my other sister and I thought we had worked everything out.

Now, what should have been a nice meal has turned into family members fighting and even politics has been brought into it and that’s gotten ugly.

Is there any way we can save this Thanksgiving?

Signed, Turkey Trouble

Dear Turkey Trouble,

Slow clap for your sister. I think she’s a freaking genius. What she really wants to do is get out of  hosting Thanksgiving.

Her reasons could be multi layered. I can 100 percent understand her not wanting extended family in her home during a pandemic and I can also totally get that maybe she just doesn’t want the hassle.

I mean, come one, hosting is a lot of work. Add in the political differences in your family and the fact that Thanksgiving is a mere 23 days after the Presidential election and all I have to say is that your sister may be trying to save herself a whole lot of drama.

Perhaps instead of trying to “save” Thanksgiving you reimagine it. It sounds like no one in your family wants to go the rapid response COVID test route. So, I suggest each family does their own dinner.

You can even all eat at the same time and Zoom your meal. If you live close to one another you could drop off your favorite Thanksgiving side or dessert at each family member’s house as a way to share the experience.

Sure, it’s not a traditional big family Thanksgiving but hey, it’s 2020 and if the pandemic has taught us anything it’s learning to be flexible and open to change. The good news with this whole situation is that you’ve got more than two months to figure it out. 

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

Dear Snarky – A Family Member Is Pretending to Be a Teacher

Dear Snarky,

My husband’s stepsister is lying about being a teacher and I need a way to stop her. Due to a lot of schools deciding to start the school year virtual she is advertising herself as being a teacher and is offering tutoring sessions to help parents homeschool their kids.

She’s calling herself a “teacher on the go” and will even go to people’s houses for tutoring. The huge problem is this relative didn’t graduate from college. She flunked out her sophomore year.

When I called her out on this she said anyone can be a teacher. Her excuse was that parents that homeschool their children are “teachers” and she homeschooled her kids for one year so technically she has taught kids.

I told her that when she tells people she’s a teacher they’re expecting someone with an actual teaching degree. This is when she told me to shut the F up.

How can I stop her from lying to parents that I’m sure think they’re getting an actual teacher?

Signed, So Pissed Off

Dear P.O.,

Woah, this is so messed up. I’m sure every teacher reading this right now is thinking WTF? I think your first course of action is to have your husband or another family member who has a closer relationship with her to give this moron a come to Jesus talk on what she’s doing is probably illegal.

I’m not a lawyer but I think pretending to be a teacher could be construed as fraud. It’s also all kinds of horrible for her to be taking advantage and preying on worried parents during a pandemic.

When a parent sees “teacher on the go” I think you can reasonably assume they’re  thinking of someone with an education degree who is or has been an actual teacher in a classroom setting. Not someone who got bounced from college at 20 and then years later homeschooled her kids. 

Yes, I realize , it’s up to parents to do their due diligence on anyone they invite into their kid’s lives but I also agree with you that this relative needs to be stopped

If she doesn’t listen to reason then I would feel compelled to let any of her clients know that the “teacher” they’ve hired doesn’t have a degree nor has she ever stepped foot inside a classroom.

Is it a busy body move? Hell yes. But parents need to stick together especially right now.

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

 

Dear Snarky – Vacay Toilet Drama

Dear Snarky,

My sister has sent me a bill for $250 to cover half of the home insurance deductible she has on her lake house. I can’t believe that she expects me to pay for water damage that I’m not responsible for.

Last month my family went to stay at the lake house. My sister just recently bought it and I asked her if we could vacation there for a week. She said yes and then told me that the plumbing was a little weird and to follow the directions regarding one toilet in the house.

When we got to the lake house there were printed instructions by one toilet about holding the handle down for 5 seconds after every flush. I can’t say I’m positive we did that every time we went to the bathroom. We’re a family of 5 and it’s not like I watched everybody flush the toilet.

I was also told to turn off the water at that one toilet before I left and I forgot to do that. So, it turns out that the toilet did overflow and there was some water damage throughout the downstairs. Luckily a caretaker arrived that night and turned off the water. But now my sister is insisting I pay half her insurance deductible.

I think it’s crazy because it’s her plumbing that was messed up way before we got there. Maybe she shouldn’t have let family stay there until she got the plumbing fixed? I feel like she’s using me to pay her plumbing bill. Also, if I wanted to spend $250 I would have stayed at a hotel. The reason we went to the lake house was because it was free.

Do you think I’m right to stand my ground?

Signed, Get a Better Toilet

Dear Toilet,

Hmm, so you flooded your sister’s new lake house that she graciously allowed you to vacation in for a week and you feel no compunction to pay any part of the insurance deductible? Yeah, I don’t have your back on this one.

There were written instructions about the toilet and from reading your letter I get the feeling that there was more than one bathroom. At the very least you could have not used the troublesome toilet. You also openly admitted that you didn’t turn off the water source to the toilet before you left so basically you’re flushed.

As for your comment that if you “wanted to spend $250 you would have stayed at a hotel” well  good luck finding a lakeside hotel for a family of 5 to stay in for a week that costs $250.

The way I see it your sister is being very kind by only asking you to split the deductible and I imagine that if you had been super apologetic about the flooding and offered to help she might have let you off the hook. The fact that you’ve been a GIANORMOUS ingrate probably induced her to ask for $250.

No matter what you do one thing I’m certain about is that any future lake house invites for your family have  permanently gone down the drain.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Snarky – My Wedding Gift Was Mocked By the Bride in a Video

Dear Snarky,

 I’m extremely upset about how I was treated at my cousin’s virtual wedding shower. Because of the COVID everyone dropped off presents at her house. We did it parade style where the bride-to-be was standing at the end of her driveway and waved at all of us.

 About a week later my cousin sent everyone a video link that showed her opening the presents and also included a “Top Ten” wedding gift list. She actually rated the gifts in the video!!!! I came in at almost the bottom and I got her a $75 gift from her registry at Williams Sonoma.

 I was so upset I called my cousin and told her to not invite me to the wedding because if that’s how she shows her gratitude I’m not interested in attending.

 Now, I’m being made fun of for refusing to go the wedding and my cousin is saying, “I can’t take a joke” and that she was just making content for her soon-to-be launched YouTube channel. How should I respond to people who keep on asking me about this?

 Signed, Stunned

 Dear Stunned,

 Maybe you should have gotten your cousin a manners tutor for a wedding present because it’s obvious she’s lacking in even the most rudimentary of etiquette skills. Even if your cousin is a skilled comedian (and let me just say I doubt that very much) making fun and rating your wedding shower gifts is disgusting and to put that on YouTube is beyond crass.

 What did this nitwit bride  think the response was going to be from guests when instead of getting a thank you for their gifts they were mocked? Also, who makes fun of a $75 gift card? An ungrateful moron that’s who.

 I don’t blame you at all for choosing not to attend this wedding and good for you for standing up for yourself. Based on your cousin’s behavior the whole event sounds worse than a colonoscopy prep. As for how to respond – if anyone questions your decision just send them the video link. I’m sure that will speak volumes about why you made your decision to just say no to a bride who’s a gigantic ass.

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

 

 

Dear Snarky – A “Karen” Wants a Name Change

Dear Snarky,

 My mother is being ridiculous and I need some words of wisdom to share so she quits making a fool of herself.

 My mom’s name is Karen. She’s not one of those Karen’s. She’s very kind and always wants the best for everyone. But since the name Karen has become a symbol for a woman being a jerk she’s decided to change her name.

 She’s not legally changing it but she’s requested that family and friends now call Lizzie. Her middle name is Elizabeth so she’s shortened that to Lizzie. She’s still answering to the name Karen but every time someone calls her that she corrects them and says, “It’s Lizzie.”

 Also, she’s told us that we have a two-week grace period to get her name right and after that she won’t be responding to Karen.

 How can we get her to stop this? She’s 61 years old. Who changes their name at 61? I think she’s making too big a deal out of this “Karen” thing.

 Signed,  Desperate Daughter

Dear Desperate,

 Back off and leave your mother alone. What’s the harm in your mom doing a little friends and family name change? To be honest she’s an inspiration to me.

 My name is Sherry. It’s never suited me. I’ve always wanted a dramatic name like Valka or Maximillian. Anyone named Sherry is, at best, advanced middle aged. It’s like I don’t even need to tell people how old I am. My name does that for me. So, maybe I’ll take a cue from your mom and start having people call me Valka.

 Okay, yeah, that’s not going to happen but there is no real harm in what your mom is doing. She’s not legally changing it. In fact, I think she’s having some fun and a lot of that fun is coming from messing with your mind.

 Just go with it. I like the name Lizzie. It sounds fun and friendly. Also, you call her “mom” so why do you care what everyone else calls her? And not to split hairs but she’s using a nickname for Elizabeth which is her middle name so technically that’s still a part of her name.

 Relax Desperate Daughter and quit trying to control your mother. 

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

Dear Snarky – My Cousin Borrowed My Clothes and Then Sold Them Online

Dear Snarky,

 My cousin and I have been best friends since we were little. We were born three days apart and a lot of people think we’re twins. Now we’re both 25 and still close.

The  problem is that my cousin borrows my clothes all the time. I usually don’t mind as long as I get them back. Lately, she hasn’t been returning them even when I ask her over and over again. I even went to her house to get my clothes back. Her mom (my aunt) helped me look for 30 minutes and we couldn’t find them.

 A couple of days later I’m on a *popular internet resale clothing site and see what I’m sure are my clothes being sold! They’re all name brands that people want like Lululemon and the name the seller was using is my cousin’s nickname so that’s all the proof I needed.

 I want to confront my cousin and I want the money she made from selling my clothes. What is the best way to do this? My mom thinks I need to do it in front of family so I have witnesses.

 Signed,

 Ripped Off

(*Snarky note: I have removed the name of the resale clothing site from the letter and replaced it with “popular internet clothing site.”)

Dear Ripped, Off,

 Whoa, that’s a brazen move by your cousin. Did she think you were just going to forget about the clothes she borrowed?

 The big issue you’re going to have in a confrontation is that your cousin is going to deny that she’s selling your clothes online and she’s going to ask you to prove it. That’s not going to be easy.

 Problem: 1 – The sites don’t list the sellers real name.

 Problem 2 – Even if you were to buy let’s say a pair of your Lululemon leggings back from what you think is your cousin’s listings it would be very difficult to prove that they were yours.

 This means I would stay totally away from going down the rocky path of accusing your cousin of selling your clothes on the Internet. It’s just going to detour into a shit show where your cousin will play the victim card and you’ll end up being the bad guy for accusing her of stealing. If your goal is to get your clothes back I suggest another route.

 Taking your mom’s advice, I would, with some witnesses present, very politely give your cousin a list of clothing she has borrowed and request (or demand based on how the list goes over) all the items back in 48 hours.

 I would also tell her that if you don’t have all your clothing back in that time frame she will need to reimburse you and you have included the price of each article of clothing she has borrowed from you.

 Are you going to get all your clothes back? Probably not. Hopefully, you will get some of the clothes returned and maybe a little bit of money.

 Sadly, what you’re not going to get back is your relationship with your cousin. It’s going to take a long time to recover from a family member blatantly stealing from you. Going forward I would continue to be very wary of this cousin.

 .

 

 

 

 

Dear Snarky – Pool Protocol, the Office Ass & the Family Slacker

I’ve received a couple of Dear Snarky letters that deserve an answer – a short answer. So, I’ve decided to do one of my favorite things – “Snarky in Seconds.” This means I’ll be answering a couple of letters but forgoing my usual in-depth analysis.

READY, SET, SNARKY!

Dear Snarky,

My neighbors are trying to take advantage of our pool. Since a lot of the local pools are closed this summer because of the coronavirus I’ve had people I barely know hinting for an invitation to come over and swim.

I find this very rude and I don’t like being putting on the spot. Also, if the public pools are closed why would I want my pool full of people?

Signed, My Pool is for Family Only

Dear My Pool,

 Wait, did my neighbor write this about me? Because I want to come over and swim. You know when I first read this I thought lighten up and invite one to two people over for a social distance splish splash. But it’s your pool and you can do exactly what you want. I also understand your fear of having two people come for a swim and then it morphs to 10.

I will caution you though to be ready for some splash back from your friends and neighbors. Your reluctance to issue a swim invite may come back and bite you. In other words don’t need a favor from any of these peeps in the near future.

 Dear Snarky,

Our office has opened up for employees to come back to work but one woman in the office has decided to extend working from home due to some “chronic health concerns.” Well, based on her Instagram she’s not doing much work. I’m thinking of showing her posts to our boss because why should I be back in the office while she’s in her backyard gardening.

Signed, Not Fair

Dear Not Fair,

Unless you have been appointed supreme guardian of the workforce mind your own business. Maybe this woman got up at 4 in the morning and started her work day or maybe the social media posts are from the weekend. Whatever is going on stay out of it. Being the office busy body is not a good look.

Dear Snarky,

How do I tell my sister to stop bragging about all she got done during the quarantine? She’s seriously turned it into a competition. Good for her that she retiled her bathroom and painted half her house. I even told that but she’s now acting like I’m lazy because I “got nothing done.”

Signed,Not a Slacker

Dear Not a Slacker,

 Your sister sounds a tad annoying. Just because you didn’t go all home makeover during the lock down doesn’t mean you weren’t doing stuff. Tell her while she was grouting tile you were focusing on more intellectual pursuits and working to improve your mind.

Needless to say, she doesn’t need to know that perhaps those pursuits were watching Netflix. But hopefully she’ll get the message to get over herself.

Also, it’s your sister so can’t you just tell her to shut up? I know I would.

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

 

 

 

Dear Snarky – I Don’t Want to Share My Wedding Dress

Dear Snarky,

My brother’s fiancée has asked to borrow my bridal gown for her wedding next year. I recently got married and to be honest I don’t want her to wear my dress. We’re not even close to the same size. (She’s petite and I’m 5’10) . Plus, my dress was super expensive and one-of-a-kind. It was designed just for me. I’m emotionally attached to it so I can’t even think about someone else wearing it.

I’m also still extremely angry that this woman tried on my dress without permission. My gown is being stored at my parents’ house and when she was at their home alone with my brother she put it one AND posted pictures on Instagram!

For that and many other reasons I don’t like her. She’s very materialistic and super needy. My parents are also picking up vibes that she and her mother mistakenly thought /hoped that my mom and dad would be picking up the tab for her dream wedding or at least helping out with costs and that’s not happening. As my dad puts he’s still recovering from my wedding and my sister’s.

How do I tell my brother’s fiancée that she can’t borrow my dress without causing some big scene or making everyone feel uncomfortable? Most of all I don’t want my brother to be caught in the middle.

Signed, Not Sharing

Dear Not Sharing,

Let’s break this down.

  1. Your brother is already stuck in the middle of all of this so that ship has sailed.

2. You have every right in the world to tell your possible sister-in-law NO she can’t borrow your wedding dress. I suggest going with some subterfuge in an effort to keep the drama at a minimum. Be very straight forward with her and say, “I’m flattered you asked but I’m saving it for my future daughter to wear someday.”

3. Even if this isn’t your plan, as in maybe you don’t even want kids, I’m going to recommend going with this because it’s hard to argue with someone’s desire to save their bridal gown solely for their child.

4. DO NOT feel the need to explain yourself any further and if she tries to pick a fight with you or have your brother guilt trip you – stay firm. Your plan is saving your dress for a future daughter. She’s not your daughter so end of discussion.

Lastly, this woman lost her chance at “borrowing” anything of yours when she tried your bridal gown on without permission and posted pictures on social media. That was a BOLD move infused with many warning signs. Hopefully, your brother saw flashing lights saying “don’t do it” because I have a feeling this wedding may not make it to the altar and if it does – watch out.

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

 

 

Home Alone (But Not For Long Enough)

It has been 77 days. 77 long, long days. But it has finally happened. I’m alone in my home. Blissfully alone.

Ah, the sounds of silence because what I’m not hearing is someone on a Zoom call or in a Zoom class or in the kitchen yelling, “Who ate all the Doritos?”

This feeling I’m experiencing is close to euphoria. At long last the house is all mine. As someone who has worked from home for more than a decade the influx of other humans, albeit family members, into my daily workspace has been extremely annoying.

Gone was my routine of working in uninterrupted quiet. Instead I got to enjoy my husband on Zoom calls for literally nine hours a day. It got so bad I put Post It notes in his home office that asked: Could this Zoom meeting have been an email?

My daughter’s college Zoom classes were less annoying because I began crushing on one of her college professors. Whenever I heard this man’s voice I would stop what I was doing and began eavesdropping on her class. This professor has the most delicious vocal cadence. It was equal parts soothing and yet with a certain impish quality I couldn’t get enough of.

My daughter upon noticing me lurking become annoyed and a “little bit creeped out” by my “obsession” with her professor and started shutting her door during her Zoom classes. When I found myself covertly listening in I had to admit she might be right. Maybe it was an obsession.

An obsession I was perfectly fine with because hey, it’s a pandemic. A girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do and this man’s voice was lowering my blood pressure.

Another thing that was most irritating was how much my family disrespected my work zone. It didn’t matter what I was doing they would wander in and out of my office all day. Most of the time their interruptions were for trivial issues like, “Do you think you can get this stain out?”

By all means come on in and disturb my work, which is usually deadline sensitive, to discuss your laundry concerns. The bigger problem here is I’m a sucker for laundry remediation. If someone shows me a stain I’m immediately all in duel wielding OxiClean and Shout.

This means my normally quiet and orderly workday became one of stops and start as if I were in a bumper car with a laptop.

Then there was the issue of the Internet being a diva. With all the assorted Zoom and Google meetings it was almost impossible for me to get a sustained signal. Also, I was apparently low human on the totem pole because my need for any connectivity was superseded by everyone else in the family

This led to me literally loitering outside a McDonalds’s, parking my car as close as I could to the building, and suckling at the teat of their internet. By the way, three words I never thought I would use in the same sentence – McDonalds, suckling and teat.

What’s that? Wait a minute. I hear something. Is that my garage door opening? Is my husband home? How can this be? He’s only been gone three hours. I haven’t even had one of my celebratory “Yay I’m alone” cupcakes.

“Why are you back?” I demanded in a very curt voice.

He sighs and shares that the air conditioner at his office is broken and it’s, “probably close to 90 degrees in there.”

Before I have to chance to tell him to grab a fan and go back he’s sprinting upstairs, yelling, “I can’t talk. I’ve got a Zoom meeting.”

Noooooo!

Dear Snarky – When a Grad Party Cancellation Gets F-Bomby

Dear Snarky,

I’m so angry at my family! My daughter’s very small high school graduation party was scheduled for this weekend and now I’ve had to cancel it because so many of my family members are idiots. They’re not following any of the coronavirus rules and my brother and his girlfriend were at that packed Lake of the Ozarks pool party.

I sent out an email telling them that “due to their behavior” the grad party was off for the foreseeable future. O.M.G. the responses I got back were ridiculous. My brother even cursed at me, like the F word cursing.

I need your help because right now I hate my family. How come they just couldn’t say something like, “Okay, can’t wait till it’s rescheduled?” Or, “Keep us posted.” But instead I get pot shots at my intelligence, and F bombs.

I plan on emailing them back and letting them all know I didn’t appreciate their reaction. What is the best thing to say to get my point across?

Signed, Still in Shock

Dear Shock,

It times like this that we have to look inward at our own actions and think, “Hmm, is there a different way I could have worded that party cancellation email? And as I’m sure you already know the answer to that question is yes.

Because you seem like a smart person I’m going to conjecture that you took great delight in calling your family out on their actions. You had to know that by sending that email that cast aspersions on their behavior you were going to stir up some drama.

Come on, you can’t act all innocent and hurt feelings now when you knew something like this was bound to happen. That said, you have every right to cancel the grad party and based on what you told me it was probably in the best interest of public health to do so.

But you could have channeled your inner Miss Manners and said that due to ever present current Covid-19 concerns you have decided to postpone the party for a later date.

As for emailing family members back that were jerks – just don’t. It’s not worth your time and since emotions seem to be running very high I fear it might result in more cursing and name calling. I will suggest that when you do have the grad party that you take the road less traveled – the high road – and show your family the type of gracious behavior you wish they would emulate.

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