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. 😉

 

Dear Snarky – My Mom Favors and is Enabling Our Older Sister

Dear Snarky,

We’re two sisters who are sick and tired of our mother enabling our oldest sister. We’re both college students that have been working doing instacart during the coronavirus to make extra money. Meanwhile, our oldest sister, who flunked out of school, thinks she is too good to actually work and has been living off of our mom.

We were both amazed when my mom told us our sister got a job. Turns out her job is being part of a pyramid scheme selling make up and my mom gave my sister $500 for her “selling starter kit.”

If this isn’t bad enough my mom told us that we need to buy $200 each worth of product from our sister to help her meet her sales quota. We’ve also been told that we should each host a Zoom cosmetics party for our sister. Really?

How do we get our mom to wake up and quit throwing money away? It’s hurtful that our mom repeatedly seems to favor one daughter more. I think we’re at our breaking point where our relationship with our mom is going to be damaged forever.

Signed, Two Sad Sisters

Dear Sisters,

Let’s start with the bad news first. You can’t control your mom. If she wants to keep on propping up your sister and financially supporting her that’s her business. I’m not making excuses for your mom but sometimes parents will laser focus their attention on the child that is struggling and pretty much throw everything they’ve got to rescue that kid.

The downside is the rest of the family suffers and the struggling child is artificially being bolstered which in most cases doesn’t solve their problems it just postpones them for a little while.

The good news is you both are hardworking college students and I think you need to sit down with your mother and tell her how you feel. You have nothing to lose by being honest and even if your mom continues to have blinders on when it comes to your older sister at least you’ve made your feelings known and that’s important because you’ve empowered yourself.

You also can take a hard pass on buying make up from your sister or hustling your friends to buy makeup. It’s your money, you earned it and it’s yours to decide how to spend it or save it.

This journey your sister is on maybe a long one so you both need to set boundaries with your mother and sister and repeatedly remind yourself  that you have zero control over what both of them do.

I urge you to stay centered on your own goals and not let the current family dynamic drag you down. Put one foot in front of the other and do the next right thing which is continuing to work hard and get your degree. Just in case your mom isn’t saying this I will. I’m proud of both of you.

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

 

 

 

Dear Snarky – My Sister-in-Law is Lying About Where My Niece is Going to College

Dear Snarky,

 I’m ready to punch my sister-in-law right in the face. She is outright lying about where her daughter is going to college and scamming people.

 This woman posted on Facebook and Instagram that her daughter has been accepted to a college that I know my niece did not get into. I’m sure she didn’t even apply. This college is super competitive. Basically, you have to have a perfect GPA and ACT score to even have a chance of getting in. I looked up the college’s acceptance rate and it’s 4.7 percent!

 My niece is not smart. She’s never even taken an AP class in high school and had to take remedial algebra. (She also gets their, they’re and there mixed up.) 

 Here’s where the scam part comes in – my sister-in-law has started at Go Fund Me page for her daughter to help pay for her tuition. You should see the comments, “so honored to help such a brilliant girl” etc. Barf!

 To cover her ass, she posted that her daughter will be delaying starting school by at least a semester because of the coronavirus. Pluh-ese, this kid is never going to this college or probably any school. They just want money.

 I want to let every know that they are being conned. Is there a way I can do that anonymously? Also, I don’t even have kids so it’s not like I’m competitive with my sister-in-law. I just hate liars.

 Signed, This is so wrong,

Dear Wrong,

Wow, that’s a lot to unpack. If your niece did indeed NOT get into this college that means she and her mom are both involved in the subterfuge. That’s a crap ton of lying. Basically, it’s a long con because you have to write thank you notes for the money and then keep answering questions about when you’re going to go college and give college updates for months. There are a lot of  balls to juggle to keep this scam in play. 

This is why my advice is to keep your mouth shut. I predict the truth is out there and things will fall apart sooner than later. I know 18-year-old girls very well and they like to talk and share confidences. Your niece will not be able to keep this a secret for very long. Plus, although you say you’re not competitive other parents of graduating seniors are. Some ticked off parent(s) will ferret out the truth and/or ask some hard questions.

Of course, I understand your overwhelmingly desire to throw some shade right this very second. But control those impulses. A comeuppance is a coming. Get your popcorn ready for the show.

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

 

 

 

 

Dear Snarky – My Mom is Trying to Buy Her Way Into My Labor and Delivery Room

Dear Snarky,

I’m nine months pregnant with my first child and at this point in the lock down I’m only allowed to have one person in the delivery room with me when I give birth. Of course, that person is going to be my husband. My problem is that my mom at first was  “heartbroken” that she can’t be in the delivery room.

Heartbroken quickly turned to furious because she has been in the delivery room for the birth of all her grandchildren. She’s refusing to understand why my husband would be my first choice to be in the delivery room. My mom even said that, “men are totally worthless and just stand there looking embarrassed and confused.”

Then she offered to pay my husband her entire stimulus check of $1,500 if he would give up his right to be there and let her go instead. Hold on because it gets worse. My husband told her he would think about if she upped it to $3,000.

I almost wanted to kill him. He said he was kidding and just messing with my mother because she deserved it due to her bullying us. But then my mom  came up with the three grand so she definitely thinks she’s going to the delivery room.

How do I stop this madness? Honestly, at this point I think I would rather just go alone.

Signed, Ready to Pop

Dear Ready,

Let’s start with your husband. You’re going to have to cut him some slack. I think he was just enjoying toying with your mom because she was being so ridiculous. Come on, did your mom seriously think that a father would basically sell the rights to see his child being born? That said, no man should ever contribute to the stress levels of a very pregnant woman. So, yes he was being very stupid. That I’ll give you.

As for your mom I have one word – YIKES . The hubris alone is mind boggling. So, your mom thinks she’s more important than your husband, the baby’s father? To that I say, “Okay crazy grandma, you need to get some help.”

On top of that your mom is just a brat. What she’s doing is throwing a temper tantrum because she’s not getting her own way. Granted she’s also throwing money around but it’s still a tantrum.

My advice is I wouldn’t tell your mother anything about the birth until you’re safely ensconced at the hospital with your husband. You would be a fool to let her know that you’re going into labor or are on your way to the hospital because girlfriend the odds are she would meet you there.

Letting her know later takes care of the issue because you will already be at the hospital with your plus one and security will take care of the problem if she shows up in an attempt to take your husband’s place.

Congrats on the baby and please keep me posted on how this turns out.

 

Dear Snarky – My Husband is Having a Quarantine Midlife Crisis

Dear Snarky,

I love my husband very much but I’m afraid he’s about to ruin his life and our finances. He’s always wanted to be an artist but became an accountant instead. Since he’s been working from home for a month he’s had time to paint and recently announced to me that he would like to quit his job and pursue his dream of painting full time.

I just about lost it. We have two kids and a mortgage. We literally can’t survive without his income. Also, not to be unkind but his art is very abstract. Frankly, I don’t like it.  Back in the day, he even applied to several art schools and didn’t get in.

How can I convince him that we can’t afford for him to follow his dream right now? I don’t want to crush his happiness but keeping a roof over our children’s heads comes before a 37-year-old’s painting aspirations.

Signed, Painted into a corner

Dear Painted,

It’s never easy being the voice of reason or the dream killer but sometimes tough love is required. Was I devastated when my father told me that I would NOT BE  running off to New York City after high school to become a soap opera star? Hell yes, my “All My Children” dreams were off the charts but  it was the right thing to do.

You need to do the next right thing with your spouse and it’s going to take some finesse. The bottom line is you can support his dreams but with limits. As an adult with family responsibilities it’s not exactly doable for him to just flat out throw caution to the wind and start painting full time BUT you can work out a weekend schedule where he can paint uninterrupted and have his creative freedom.

Because you don’t want your marriage to tank and/or have a spouse who is depressed you should also talk about other career options that are more creative. Maybe it’s not that he loves painting maybe it’s more he hates being an accountant.

I think if you combine being open minded along with being realistic the solution to this quarantine midlife career change can be navigated.

P.S. Keep your opinions about your husband’s paintings to yourself. He never needs to know that you’re not exactly a fan.

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