Snarky Goes to Pre-School

elite_pre-school_1607485Finding the right pre-school for your child is the first step in your journey of micro-managing every educational aspect of your kid’s life. When they’re 3 you’re interviewing child care directors and pursuing the nap to art time ratio. When they’re 16 you’re super ticked that the SAT exam proctor won’t let you into the testing room with your teenager. What’s up with that?  It’s a potentially life changing test and if ever a kid needed his mom holding his hand, offering him sips of Red Bull and dabbing his furrowed, studious brow with a cloth then this is it.

Sure, sometimes all that parental devotion can backfire. Back in April my son was looking for a summer job and had applied on-line for a part-time job at the local Walgreens.  He didn’t know his social security number so he left the job application open on his computer and asked me to type in the number while he was at school. I got his social security card out of the safe deposit box and was sitting down to input it when I noticed there was a test Walgreens wanted you to take as part of the application process. What the hell, I thought, how hard can a freaking Walgreens test be for a stock boy position? Yeah, that’s right, I took the test and clicked submit. My son gets home from school, checks his e-mail and finds out that his application to Walgreens has been denied because he FAILED the test. Ouch! I, a college graduate, had flunked, from what I could tell was, a basic literacy test. My children have used this information to viciously mock me all summer. It’s gotten so bad I’ve had to alter my driving so I never pass the Walgreens with my kids in the car.  The taunting is too much. Jerks – Walgreens and my children.

Enough about Walgreens and back to maternal obsessive compulsive disorders. Since I’m well acquainted with this affliction I was very concerned about my twenty something friend Nikki when she confided to me that she had not been taking her second child, 2-year-old Lilly to the most coveted preschool in the city – The Duchy Day Academy . This is the school that you almost have to be a double legacy to get into.  No one cares if you attended back in the day. You have to have a family tree where every branch shows that most of your relatives illustrious educational journey began at Duchy Day.

The place is impressive. I’ll give it that. It’s got fancy columns out front, black and white marble floors in the entry and what I’m guessing are antiques in the foyer. It looks like a Chanel boutique I went into once. I had ducked in because I really needed to use the restroom and they were not very forthcoming with letting me partake of their facilitates. It’s not like I just walked right in and asked where’s the ladies room was. I did the slow stroll through the store and then inquired.  I told the severe looking woman with her hair in one of those low buns that she didn’t need to look so put out I only had to go number 1 for God’s sake.  I could tell from the looks everyone working there was giving me that I was “so not Chanel boutique material” and you know what I’m okay with that. I wanted to run out of there screaming “Target rules bitches!”

I knew Nikki’s mother-in-law was hell-bent on all her grandchildren attending Duchy Day and had pulled some major strings to get Nikki’s little girl enrolled. Here’s the deal,  Nikki hails from not just the wrong side of the tracks, but more like the wrong side of the tracks adjacent. She was 18 and working in the college law library when she meet her future husband.  As Nikki’s mom tells the story – her little girl F#*$ed Up and she means it literally and figuratively. Nikki got pregnant and then married – up, way up the social ladder. Fortunately, for the first four years of her marriage, Nikki’s husband did some kind of clerking for a Federal Judge and they lived far, far away from her mother-in-law. Two years ago they moved back so her husband could work in the family law firm and Nikki’s been trying to dodge her MIL’s “good” intentions ever since.

When Nikki broke down in my kitchen with the tearful confession that she had been skipping the Monday/Wednesday  Mommy and Me classes at Duchy Day I was worried for her. First, I knew if her MIL found out all hell would break loose and secondly Nikki is one of those gentle souls with an always happy attitude. For her to be ducking out of Duchy Day something was wrong. I handed her a dish towel to wipe her eyes and asked what her was going down at the D.D. That made her eyes fill with tears again and she said in a whisper that the other moms were making her feel like something was wrong with her daughter Lilly.

“Okay, dry those eyes girlfriend,” I said.  “I’m a seasoned mom and there is nothing, nothing at all wrong with Lilly except that she’s too beautiful for words.”

That got a smile from her and she sniffled and said, “Thank you, but maybe there is something wrong.  They all make comments because she can’t sit still and never wants to do what she’s supposed to. Like in circle time when every other kid is sitting in their mom’s lap Lilly is up wandering and she talks through story time and when we do something called cognitive motor skills which is really just playing with blocks Lilly is off playing with anything but the blocks.”

“Oh my God,” I laugh, “Is that all?  That’s nothing. My son and I got kicked out of Kindermusik when he was 2 and a half.  Who puts drums, cymbals and tambourines in front of a 2-year-old boy and his mother and then tells them no touching?  I couldn’t help myself those tambourines were cool.  They even had feathers attached to the shaky things.”

“You touched them?”

“Well, we both did.  We couldn’t help it. There we were in a circle with the instruments laid out in the middle and the instructor was blabbing on and on and one thing led to another and I grabbed the tambourine Clay grabbed the cymbals and started beating the drum with his left foot and then the next thing I know we’re being asked to leave Kindermusick – forever.  Their lose by the way because we sounded pretty good.”

Nikki laughs and that makes me feel better until she says, “Well, I wished the Duchy Academy would kick us out because I never want to go back.”

“Oh come on sweetie it can’t be that bad.  Is it whispering or are they just giving you one of those my kid is better than your kid looks?”

“All of the above and more. No one wants to sit by us in circle time and I’ve noticed the other mothers directing their children away from playing with Lilly, like she’s not good enough for them. You know, I’m used to people treating me like trash or being condescending because I got pregnant at 18, but what I’ll never get used to ever is people treating my kids that way.”

“Then you’ve got to fight back.”

“What do you mean?’

If you just give in and leave Duchy Day then these women have won.  You’ve got to lay down the law now and let everyone know not to mess with you or your kids.  You can’t just throw in the towel when Lilly is 2. It’s a marathon not a sprint this whole motherhood thing.”

“But I’m scared.”

“I’ve think I’ve got a plan if you’re up for it.”

“Do I have to do it by myself?”

“No, this particular plan I’m thinking of involves me and you.”

“Will I get arrested?”

“NO!  God, you sound like my husband now.  It’s fool proof – almost.”

“Okay, I’m in, but now I’m just not scared, I’m terrified.”

‘No worries and for this plan to work you’ll need to call me Dr. Snarky. ”

One week later

It’s early on Wednesday morning and I’m in the kitchen eating Greek yogurt and strawberries. My husband walks in en route to get a cup of coffee and stops as soon as he sees me. He stares at me. I stare back at him. We don’t speak. He resumes his walk to the coffee maker, pours himself a cup and as he sips his coffee continues to give me the eye. Finally, he gives in, sighs and says, “You know it’s illegal to practice medicine without a license?”

I keep spooning my yogurt into my mouth, pause, and say, “Yes, I’m well aware of that fact.”

“You know it’s potentially illegal to pretend you’re a doctor?”

“Hmm, interesting,” I say in a very bored tone.

“Just checking because if you get arrested I’m in meetings straight from about 9 to 4 and I will be unavailable to bail you out.”

“Thank you, but I have no plans to go to jail on this very pretty summer morning.”

He starts collecting up his keys, sunglasses, wallet and briefcase and says, “Then I have no plans to ask you why you have on green scrubs and a white lab coat that says Dr. Miller.”

He then walks over kisses me on the forehead and says, “Have a good day Doctor” and begins to walk out the door for work, stops, turns around says, “If you really need me send a text.  The police do allow that you know, a text instead of a phone call.”

“Good to know and don’t worry about this morning I’m not even a M.D. I’m a Ph.D.”

“Oh really, a Ph.D. In what, if I maybe so bold as to inquire?”

“For this morning and this morning only I have a Ph.D. in Childhood Psychology with an emphasis in early childhood development and I’m doing, what could be, groundbreaking research in the area of gifted toddlers.”

“Stop!  Don’t tell me anymore I want to be able to pass the polygraph when the cops ask me if, at any time, I knew of or aided you in your plans.”

“I guess that means your don’t want to know that I’m going with Nikki to the Duchy Day Academy to conduct my research.”

“Oh God, no – Duchy Day?  I have clients with kids that attend Duchy Day.  Now, I’m worried.  Text me as soon as your done doing whatever you’re going to do so I know the kids aren’t home alone with their mother in lock up.”

“Relax. This is no big deal.  Now go to work so I can start thinking like a Ph.D.”

“I’m serious.  Text me, Dr. Miller.”

Okay, okay, I will. Now off you go.  I’ve got stuff to do.”

“That’s what I’m afraid of.  Good luck!”

And with that he was out the door and I was able to finish my yogurt in peace. I didn’t know what my husband was so worried about. I had everything very well thought out. The best part of this whole plan was my outfit.  I’ve never worn scrubs before and they were having a tremendously bad influence on me.  I was having serious thoughts of crossing over to the dark side – as in good-bye track pants and hello scrubs. The only thing holding me back was that my husband puts up with a lot from me and I’m afraid if I go full on scrubs that might be just the thing that makes him reconsider the whole “until death do us part” thing.

I got the scrubs courtesy of my two doors down neighbors.They are both M.D.’s. Valerie is a medical researcher at the local university and her husband Bob is a family practice doctor. A couple of Halloween’s ago I borrowed one of her lab coats.  Yesterday I went over to ask if she would loan me one of her coats again and she volunteered to throw in some scrubs. Valerie is pushing 60 and is probably a size 18 so the scrubs she gave me are deliciously roomy. The great thing about Valerie is she never even asked why I needed them. She just smiled and said, “Are you up to something?” and I smiled back and said, “Yeah, a little something” and she winked at me and said, “Have fun.” Now, that’s a good neighbor and these scrubs are amazing. It’s like wearing the most comfortable pair of p.j.’s you’ve ever owned. I’m wallowing in cozy. The lab coat’s not bad either.  Just having it on makes feel incredibly smart and superior to the lowly humans who only hold Bachelors of Arts degrees. Which means I now feel superior to myself.

As for my idea for helping Nikki feel better about pre-school, it’s a pretty simple one and I’m not ashamed to admit one I’ve, kind of, used before. (Yes, Your Kid Is a Genius Now Leave Me Alone).  I’m going this morning to the Mommy and Me class pretending that Nikki’s child, Lilly, is part of an ongoing study on profoundly gifted toddlers. I, in my role as Dr. Miller the lead researcher, will be shadowing Lilly at pre-school as part of the study.  This gives me the chance to blab in pseudo scientific terms what a genius Lilly is to the other mothers.  I’m not just doing this for sweet Lilly and Nikki I’m doing this for every mom who has sat in a preschool story time circle and was made to think her child was different and not in a good way.

I had already cleared my visit with the director of Duchy Day. All it took was one phone call telling her how the Duchy Day Academy was known through the early childcare research community for it’s excellence. She couldn’t have been more excited to welcome me into the classroom. I had arranged with Nikki to follow her usual pre-school routine.   planned to arrive a couple of minutes after class had started so I could be introduced and then rave about the genius that is baby Lilly. I looked official in my scrubs and lab coat get up.  I had also ponytailed my hair and was wearing some reading glasses (Costco) that had a bit of a Harry Potter vibe.  To make me look more official I had my son take his I pad and put some research looking stuff on it so I could pretend to be recording data.  At ten minutes after 10 I walked into Duchy Day, was greeted by the Director, and then given an escort to the Mommy and Me classroom where the Director introduced the esteemed Dr. Miller.

“So sorry for the interruption,” the director said, “This is Dr. MIller, a clinical scientist who is conducting long-term research of gifted children and our Lilly is one of the pre-schoolers her team is following. This morning Dr. Miller is going to sit and observe Lilly and she’s asked that all of you pretend like she’s not even here.”

I smile really big and say, “Thank you all for letting me share your morning.  I’m very excited about seeing Lilly in her preschool environment. She’s one of five profoundly gifted 2 year olds in the nation my team is following. I’m going to sit right over there and try to stay out of your way.”

As I had expected the term “profoundly gifted” had gotten the seven other mothers in the classroom’s attention. All of them couldn’t take their eyes off of Lilly who was gnawing on a block. I sat down and started typing crap on my son’s I Pad like Lilly eating a wooden block like a rat chows down on cheese shows extreme giftedness. One mom in some ridiculous maxi dress (Seriously, a maxi dress for sitting on the floor at preschool?) and goofy Ugg wedge sandals scooted close to me and asked, “What’s the criteria for determining a gifted two-year old?  I would think that a child would have to be older before you could find that out.”

I looked over to the teacher and said,”Oh, I so didn’t want my presence to disrupt your class.  I’m sorry.”

“Don’t worry about it.  Our usual routine is to let the children have some free play time for the first 15 minutes so if you want to answer the question feel free.”

“I’d love to answer that, but I must do it quickly since I need to really focus on observing Lilly.  So to answer your question”, I say looking over at maxi/Ugg mom, “Yes, there are tests that you can do with a very young child to profile their level of intelligence.

Another mom, in a tennis skirt, who looked like she had never gotten it on with anything over an SPF 5, (Isn’t tanning a sign you can’t read?) butted in with a,”Pardon me, but I’m confused. I don’t see anything about Lilly that makes her so different from our kids.”

I do a small chuckle and say, “Well, you’re not a doctor are you?”

“Why yes I am.  I’m a pediatrician.”

Holy crap!  I look at Nikki and my eyes are saying WE. ARE. SCREWED!  Plus I’m super ticked off.  How could Nikki not share with me that there was a pediatrician in the freaking Mommy and Me class!  Oh shit, shit, shit. Nikki is starting to get tears in her eyes.  If she starts crying this will not end well at all.  I have no choice, but to go my strong suit – full B.S. mode and hope it works.

“Really?” I say.  Are you still practicing?”

“No.  I practiced for just one year and then got pregnant and decided to be a full-time mommy.  But maybe when my last kid starts high school in 12 years I’ll go back. “

That statement totally distracted me and has forced my brain, against it’s will, to do math.  This woman had years and years of schooling and then practiced medicine for one year.  Good Lord, talk about almost a zero rate of return on that educational investment.  Where was her father?  Because I can tell you what my dad would have done if one of his kids had pulled that – demanded a refund for all the college tuition he shelled out.  This also tells me that she may be one of those people who are smart yet still dumb asses. I mean look at her. What doctor would tan?  A smart/dumb ass doctor that’s who. I decide to go with that.

I look at her and say, “You should definitely return to medicine when you have the chance.  I can tell by watching you with your son that you have a real gift.”

She smiles and says, “Thank you. You’re not the first person to say that.”

I then ask her is she’s familiar with the work of the German research team of Bergman and Bauer (Which I pulled right out of my dumb ass, thank you very much. I think the alliteration really made it sound believable.)

“No, I’m not. It’s been while since I was in school.”

“Well, they’ve done extraordinary work in profiling children like Lilly.  Just look at her.  I think it’s easy to tell a difference.”

After this statement 7 pairs of mom eyes immediately start watching Lilly.  Nikki is watching me and I hope to God she’s praying.

“See how she puts the blocks in her mouth,” I say, “That demonstrates her ability to really want to learn about the spatial connectivity of the block.  The other children play with them by stacking. Lilly is researching the block.  Now look at her, she’s wandering off, away from the other kids, this show signs of heighten awareness, of an innate curiosity. Have you also noticed, in maybe other classes, how Lilly can’t sit still as long as the other children?  It’s because she’s bored. Her intuitive intellect demands to be fed and if others aren’t feeding it, she’ll do it herself. She really is an amazing child. All of your kids, really all of us, can learn from her.  It’s a very exciting time to be a clinical researcher in this field, very exciting.”

I then excuse myself from the moms, move closer to Lilly, immediately began typing more crap on the I Pad and act absorb in my work.  The Q&A time needs to be over I was running low on B.S. I sit in the classroom for about 15 more minutes and then leave during story-time. I walk to my mini van which I parked as far away as possible from the school and take off. I’m still worried about Nikki and to calm my nerves I go to Target and enjoy walking around in my scrubs and lab coat until the pharmacist, apparently on break, tries to strike up a conversation with me as I get a Diet Coke from the snack bar. I tell him I’m on call and have to get back to hospital. Two hours later Nikki and Lilly come over to my house and yes, I’m still in those yummy scrubs. She’s ecstatic. The other moms bought the story and Lilly and Nikki got invited to three separate play-dates.

“Great!” I say, “When are you going?”

“I told them all no.”

“Why? I thought that’s what you wanted?”

“It is. I do want Lilly to have friends, but those moms they’re going to have work for it.  I told them I’d have to check the dates against Lilly’s calendar of gifted and enrichment events.”

Now it was my turn to get a little teary eyed.

“Oh Nikki,” I said while hugging her, “You’ve made me so very, very, proud.”

***For all things wonderfully Snarky go to where you can find the new winter Snarky line of clothing and accessories. (Flannel Snarky P.J.’s anyone?) Plus, there’s my book – Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. (Click here for purchase information.) Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. 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.

March Fatness

941122_397889153661882_1063972875_nWhy do women hate themselves? That’s the question my husband asked me last week as I stood in the kitchen chopping Granny Smith apples as he dipped his 73rd blue corn tortilla chip in guacamole and chased it with a Corona.

I was counting and congratulating myself on the genius decision I made to marry this man some 20 something years ago. He met all my spouse criteria.He was cankle free and has a freakishly fast metabolism which means he can eat a lot and never worry about wearing a man girdle.  My whale-ish inability to burn fat was going to get a kick-start by joining up with Mr. Super Metab.

I also required a spouse who was smart. I hear wives all the time talk about how they’re so much smarter than their husbands. Really? Classic mistake. It’s all about upgrading your gene pool, ladies. You want to marry pretty high on the I.Q. scale. I really wanted to marry smarter because there is a big old dumb ass gene that runs in my family and I needed to do everything in my power to dilute it as much as possible.

What made my husband ask the question – Why do women hate themselves? – was that I had just finished a tale of woe about being invited to a “Cleanse” party. Which I gathered is related to a Diet Shake party, but more hard-core and perhaps is code for “Come Join Us in our Quest for an Eating Disorder.” A neighbor way, way down the street was hosting the “Cleanse” event and had sent e-vites (from the look of the e-mail list) to any women over the age of 18, who lived in the neighborhood was breathing and ambulatory. I had clicked the “Oh, so sorry to miss the party” box and blissfully thought that would be the end of thinking about something called a “Cleanse Event.” I was wrong.

My neighbor, Cleansey, was a tiny woman with straw blonde hair and so little body fat she was boob-less and butt-less. If you looked at her in direct sunlight she resembled an upside down broom. Cleansey wouldn’t take no for an answer. She came over to my house and re-invited me, stopped me when she saw me walking my dogs and sent me a barrage of e-mails about “how she just knew, KNEW, this could change my life.”

“What makes her think I want to even change my life? Doesn’t it take a lot of hubris” – as soon as say this my son yells downstairs, “Exaggerated pride or self-confidence” and my husband looks at me and asks, “SAT vocab word?”

“Yes, and if I knew taking a prep class would give him SAT Tourette’s, I probably wouldn’t have signed him up. Where was I, oh yeah, isn’t it exceedingly presumptuous to assume that someone is unhappy with the way they are? I don’t wear a T-shirt that says ‘Looking to Change – Please Help Me’. Maybe I have the most wonderful, joyous life in the world and would die, really die a quick death if anything were to happen to alter my perfect existence or maybe I’m change-a-phobic or better yet maybe she’s a changeholic and needs to be under 24 hour supervised medical care.”

I was supremely annoyed and when I got to the part of my story where the neighbor was causing my Snarky senses to tingle. My husband stopped in mid chip and said, “You might want to get that checked out. Maybe there’s a cream for it, like a Snarky Icy Hot treatment.”

I thew a dish towel at him and asked, “Why do you think my presence is so desperately needed? Was I going to be the mascot for the party? The token size 12? I’m telling you this neighbor really needs to back off.”

That’s when my multi-taking eating, drinking and lovingly caressing his iPad screen husband (God, I don’t think I was ever the object of that kind of adoration) looked up and asked the question, “Why do women hate themselves?“

“What do you mean? I don’t hate myself. I’m no iPad mini and therefore no longer the love of your life, but I’m okay with that. You’ll come back to me –  you always do. First you cheated on me with your Blackberry, then you threw that over for your iPhone and now it’s the iPad and the Fitbit, but sooner than later you’ll tire of your slutty tech mistress. She’ll let you down. She’ll throw a temper tantrum and refuse to unlock even though you know you’re typing in the right passcode or she’ll go all passive aggressive on you and not hold a charge long enough and then there’s a very good chance her apps will  have a bipolar episode. That’s when you’ll come crawling back to me looking for some low tech affection.”

He gave me a guilty look, stopped touching his iPad and said, “I’m talking about women in general. Admit it – women, in general, hate themselves. There is no way in hell a guy would have any kind of party whose soul purpose would be to make you feel bad about yourself. Guys have parties where you drink, talk about sports, lie about money and how great you are.”

I tried to interrupt him to make a point and defend Team Female but he was on a roll.

“Furthermore if some guy tried to have a party whose main purpose was to make you feel like crap and then attempt to sell you something. He’d get a beat down.”

“Okay, okay, you maybe on to something. I’ll admit that some women, may at times, not like themselves very much, but we, as a general rule, do not hate ourselves.”

“Wrong. If women liked themselves then something called a Cleanse Event would never be considered a party.”

Later that night as I unloaded the dishwasher I had to admit that my husband had a point. How else could a person send out an e-vite with the words “bowel refresh” and get women to click on the box that says, “Thanks! I’d love to come.”

The next morning I brought up this topic with some friends as we walked our dogs. I told them what my husband said and was waiting for the moral outrage. You know what I got? Agreement. Instead of women shouting, “What a bunch of crap!”  I got, “Yeah, we do kind of hate ourselves.”

“Really,” I asked, We do? Why?”

My friend Kelly said, “I don’t know blame our mothers, blame men, but not many of us are in love with who we are.”

I said, “I think we should blame ourselves. We suck and you what’s even worse this whole becoming a mom just turns back the hands of time.”

I see my dog walking companions give each other the “look.”

“Yeah, just stop with that. I see it. I know what that means. That’s the, “Oh dear God, she’s going off on a rant” look. Well, this is good one – so settle in.”

“We’ll settle in, if you’ll settle down,” says Allison. “We love your rants. We promise. They make us all walk faster, but don’t worry it’s not because we’re trying to get away from you.”

I ignored my best friend and began my rant prep. It starts with a deep breath to ensure an optimum supply of oxygen. Really, you don’t want to have to slow down your rant to breathe. It messes up the whole rhythm or much worse gives someone a chance to pull a rantus interruptus which is the height of bad manners. Once I had ensured my lungs were in scuba tank mode I began.

“Becoming a mom means time traveling. No, I take that back. Becoming a mom and entering an elementary school means time traveling. When I worked full-time I was judged on my ability which meant how much money I could make for the company.  If I was making money I could look like the love child of a troglodyte and Sasquatch and no one would care. I mean I’d have to smell good and address any unsightly facial hair issues, but really my appearance wouldn’t be a deal breaker. But, enter a freaking elementary school holding the hand of the love of your life – your child – and it’s junior high 2.0. It’s all about the pretty, the skinny, your clothes, your handbag, your daughter’s backpack and that backpack better not be off the rack at Target. Your little girl needs to work it in a Vera Bradley or Northface.

There’s also the posturing, the cliques, the feeling that the group of moms you just walked by were talking about you. And God forbid if you dare to admit to eating and sleeping. Yes, the two very things essential for our species survival is frowned upon. Eating is bad – unless you’re subsisting only on, I don’t know Whole Food’s Fair Trade organic eucalyptus leaves. What are we kola bears?  And sleeping means you’re a lazy slob. Do you realize how many moms brag about how little sleep they get?  We’re not mothers of infants anymore we’re allowed to sleep – right.? Even worse to prove their not sleeping moms use social media.  Facebook and Twitter are their “Look at me I’m not sleeping” logs. You know I’m right about this. How many times have you gone on Facebook in the morning and seen moms posting at 3:35 a.m. ‘Still working on my volunteer project or I can’t sleep going to the gym.’ It’s hell and we do it to ourselves.

As much as we’d like to we can’t blame men or our mothers. It’s 21st century Momming. I tell you years from now cultural anthropologists are going to look back on this and it will be like the stonings in biblical times. We’re killing each other and that’s why someone can throw a Cleanse Party and we’ll all come. We’re not Generation X we’re Generation Idiot.”

And then I had to shut up because I felt like my lungs were going to explode.

Allison spoke first, “I have nothing to say, but that you’re right, I’m hungry and I slept 8 hours last night.”

Then Kelly said, “Oh God, you’re planning a scheme aren’t you?”

“I can honestly say, I currently have nothing planned (pause) at this juncture, but as we all know that could change.”

The next day things did change. I was running errands at the mall and just happened to walk by a Mrs. Field’s Cookie store. There in the display case was a large round cookie cake decorated to look like a basketball and in big letters March Madness was spelled out in black frosting. As soon as I saw that cookie I got an idea. I asked the young woman behind the counter if she could replace the M in madness with a F and the D with a T? She said, “No problem. Just give me a minute.”

She takes the cookie cake to the back and then comes out a couple of minutes later and says in a perplexed voice, “You do realize your cookie cake now reads March Fatness?”

Smiling I say, “Yes, I do.” I then pay for the cookie and literally skip out of the mall.  I was going to go to the “Cleanse Event” this evening after all and my cookie cake was going with me. When I got to my car I called Allison and told her I needed her to go the Cleanse. She said, “Hell no.” Then I mentioned the cookie.

“Is it from Mrs. Field’s or the Cookie Company?  Because if it’s Mrs. Field’s I’ll go, that buttercream icing is the best, and you better make sure I get a big piece with lots of icing.”

“Yes, it’s Mrs. Field’s and yes I promise you’ll get the biggest piece with most icing.”

“Then I guess I’m going to a cleanse.”

I announced to my family during dinner that I would be gone for about an hour to attend a party. My husband gave me a worried look and said, “The Cleanse Party – you’re actually going?  I’m afraid to ask why?”

My daughter then over-shares that I bought a cookie cake for the party. Big mouth.

“You’re taking a cake to something called a cleanse party?  Yeah, like this is going to end well. Tell me again which neighbor it is so I can be sure to avoid them for the next six months.”

I just sigh and roll my eyes and then my son whips out his phone and shows his dad how he’s taken some map app and put little flags in all the locations of people I’ve pissed off. He tells my husband he’s named them “Zones of Exclusion.” It’s times like this I think I deserve a better family.

The “party” started at 7 p.m. I had decided to arrive 30 minutes late. I take my cookie cake and begin to walk cross the golf course for two reasons.  It’s faster and it gives me a terrific vantage point to spy on the party before I enter.  Cleansey’s house backs up to the 12th hole and has a nice cluster of maple trees I can stand behind and do a little Peeping Tom action.  As I’m walking across the course some random golf nazi runs out of her backyard to scold me for walking on the golf course. I don’t get it. No one’s playing. It’s getting dark and it’s grass. I’m walking on freaking grass not the Shroud of Turin. I pretend I don’t hear her and start jogging which isn’t that easy with a cookie cake the size of a large pizza. I get to the maple trees and just as I thought I have a bird’s eye view into the back of Cleansy’s house. The family room looks pretty full of people and I noticed trays of carrots and celery and a juicer. That’s was my cue that it was time to liberate the cleanse. Just then my phone rings and it’s Allison.

“Why aren’t you here?”

“I am here. I hiding behind some trees on the golf course and looking right into the french doors of Cleansy’s house.”

“Wave at me.”

“Why would I wave?  You can’t see me.  It’s almost dark.”

“Just wave.”

“I’m waving. Do you see me?”

“Maybe. Where’s the cookie cake?”

“I had to put it on the ground because I can’t hold the box and my phone.”

“Get my cake off the ground. Gross, think about the ants. Hold on a minute I’m going to walk to the bathroom so I can talk. So guess what? Cleansy has all of us here eating some cauliflower crap, drinking some kind of witches brew, she’s calling green tea, and she’s trying to sell us $350 juicers so we can do the cleanse.”

No way – $350 for a juicer! I seriously would have more respect for her if she was a whore.”

“Really, you would respect her more if she was a prostitute?”

“Well, at least she’d be selling something, somebody wanted and not trying to lower her neighbors self-esteem so she shake them down for cash. You  know what really makes me mad? She’s trying to get us to buy a $350 juicer and not once, not one time, has she so much as bought a roll of gift wrap or a box of Girl Scout cookies from my kids. Yeah, I’d like her better as a whore.”

“Okay, whore it is. Now, just get over here. I want my cookie cake.”

I leave the golf course and walk to the Cleansy’s front door. I don’t even bother to ring the door bell. I just saunter in and place the cookie cake on the dining room table right next to a tray of broccoli crowns. Let me tell you that cake attracted quite a crowd and the party hostess was not pleased. She trots into her dining room, sees the cake and says in most non hostess voice, “WHO brought THIS?”

Oh, hi, I did,” I say.  See how cute it is?  It’s says March Fatness. Isn’t that kind of darling?”

(“Darling” being my “go to” word to disguise when I’m being an ass.)

“It most certainly is not “darling.” Nothing in that cake, cookie, whatever it is – is on the cleanse list.”

“Oh, sorry. I didn’t know we were starting the cleanse right at this moment. You know what? I bet all the grease in the buttercream icing will act as awesome colon lube for upcoming cleanse. ”

“You can’t be serious about that,” she says in a pissy voice, “And I’ll have you know this evening is the kick off party to starting your cleanse.” Now her voice gets a little breathy and high-pitched like she’s just seen Jesus and she coos, “You can buy this juicer tonight and tomorrow wake up and start your brand new life.”

“What if I like my life the way it is?  I happen to think I have a great life.”

As soon as I finished my sentence someone I had never seen before walks into the dining room and goes, “Yum. When can I have some of that?”

“Right now,” says Allison and using her hands, rips off two piece of cookie cake, gives one to the woman next to her and shoves the other piece in her mouth.

Cleansy looks me up and down and says, “Don’t tell me there isn’t room in your life for improvement?”

Allison, while chewing her cake and with orange icing on her nose lies and goes, “No, she has the perfect life.  In fact, having her life was my number 1 New Year’s resolution – 3 years in row now. Number 2, in case anyone cares, was having more sex. Well, really any sex.”

I look at Allison, shake my head, laugh and then noticed Cleansy is getting really mad.

“I’m going to have to ask you to remove that “cake” (she says the word cake like it’s the F word or something) from my home.

“Oh, okay, I just brought it as hostess gift, but no problem I’ll take my cake and go.”

I begin to close the lid on the cookie cake and a couple of women ask me what I’m doing.

“Cleansy wants me and my cake out of her.  I think I offended her with my food offering.”

A youngish woman who I know from the soccer fields says, “Where are going with it?”

“I don’t know I was thinking of taking it out to the 12th tee box and finishing it off.”

Another mom goes, “Can we come with you?  I don’t have $350 to blow on a juicer and I want to leave before she starts the aggressive sales pitch.”

“Sure, in fact, let me make an announcement. Excuse me, excuse me, everyone. I’m going to be taking my cookie cake out to the number 12 tee, it’s right over there, and eating it until there’s not one crumb left. If you care to join me I’d love to have you.”

Cleansy squeals as me, Allison and four other moms walk out of her house. We get to the golf course, plop down on the 12th hole, put the cookie cake box in the middle of our impromptu circle and begin eating and bitching about $350 juicers. Allison asks, “Did everything go as you had planned?”

“Oh, I think better than planned. Once this gets out there’s not a diet shake, diet cookie, starvation, cleanse, de-tox, juice fast, weight loss party that anyone in a 50 mile radius will invite me to and that means my work here is done.”

And then I took a really big bite of cookie.

*Attcover_1.3-2ention Snarky Friends, I have a brand new book out. It’s the second in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Snarky in the Suburbs Trouble In Texas. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! 🙂


The Reverse Stubing – Part 3

You’ll be relieved to know the whole me in disguise scenario was quickly abandoned.  Nikki, diplomatically pointed out that my, “Personality was too unique to camouflage.”  What she really meant was my fat ass, but I appreciated her kindness.

What totally convinced to give up the disguise plan was when Kelly said, “Two words for you – yoga pants. Don’t you remember last year when you said you were going to try on some yoga pants to see how the other half lived. So, you went to Lululemon and got a pair.  You can’t have forgotten what happened next?”

“Yeah, I remember. I pulled them on, which left me a little winded from the exertion of getting them up and over my thighs. It was a like a workout with resistance bands and I spent the better of a day walking around with a camel toe in the front and a butt crack peek-a-boo in the back. Yes, it was horrible.”

Kelly added, “Your exact words, I believe were, ‘It was a 8 hour lycra colonoscopy.’ You also over shared that you ‘needed tweezers to get the pants out of your crack.’  So, yeah, thanks for that. You do know that all the backstage helpers wear black yoga pants, black T-shirts and, I know you’re going to love this, an apron.”

I maybe could have suffered through the yoga pants, but there was no way I was wearing an apron. Sure, it would have covered the camel toe, but the apron to me said, “I’m here to serve.” I couldn’t stomach the thought of “serving” those moms.

So, I went with Plan B – sneaking backstage and saying I was there to take some behind the scenes pictures for the PTA newsletter. We all thought that would work. Nikki, though, would be doing the heavy lifting. She said she was up for it as long as I was right beside her.

We all finished our mojitos, except for ABC who wanted a “roadie.” I gave her a Snapple instead and everyone rounded up their kids and headed home.

The Evening Before the Style Show

Nikki as instructed had signed up to volunteer as a backstage helper. She also e-mailed Charity and said she would be “flattered beyond words” to be her “dresser” for the event. Each mom and child model had a dresser.  A person that would help her them get the clothes they were modeling on and off.  Charity took the bait and picked Nikki to be dresser.

This evening Nikki and I were going to the Bridal Boutique to pick up the gown Charity would be modeling. All the stores that were letting clothes leave their premises for the style show required that you pick up the clothes up right before the event and then return them right after the style show is over.

We were showing up the night before for two reasons. One, I had cased the joint and knew that the owner of the store that help pick Charity’s gown did not work in the evenings. I didn’t want anyone in a position of authority to question us or worse, report back to Charity.

Two, that meant only three young women would be working and I felt they wouldn’t question us. We needed that to ensure we could successfully pull a bait and switch with Charity’s dress.

As soon as we walk in I go up to the youngest looking woman working behind the counter and tell her we’re here from Edgewater Elementary to pick up the bridal gown that they’re letting us borrow for our style show. She knows just what I’m talking about and goes in the back of the store to get the gown.  When she brings it out. I ask her to unzip the bag so I can confirm that it’s the right dress.

I confess to the sales assistant, “The woman this dress is for is sooo picky.  I don’t want to be the one that brings the wrong dress. Have you meet her? She’s kind of orange.”

The young woman laughs and answers, ‘No, but I’ve heard about it. We all call her the tangelo.”

“Oh my,” I say as I’m inspecting the gown, “This dress is too big. It says it’s a size 8.  Do you have this in stock in any smaller sizes? The tangelo is tiny.”

“Wow, sorry. I’ll go check right now.”

The clerk comes and says she had the gown in a size 6 and 2.

I look at Nikki, we’re both smiling, and say, “We’ll take the size 2.”

My only worry is if the manager of the store sees the size 8 gown tomorrow she may wonder why no one has come to pick it up. We don’t want Charity to get a phone call. I ask the clerk, “You know now that I’ve thought about I’m just a little worried to leave the size 8 here. What if Charity, the tangelo, had something planned we don’t know about. We’re both, (I gesture to me and Nikki) a little afraid of her. She’s got a temper. Would you mind just zipping the size 8 in her too and letting us get this worked out. I don’t mind leaving a credit card on file with you if that’s what it takes.”

“Oh no, that won’t be a problem. We’ve got Charity’s card so, yeah, go ahead and take the dresses.”

Five minutes later we’re walking out the store with both gowns. Score! We drive to Kelly’s house so she can change the size tags on the two gowns. Kelly is one of those women who is blessed with crafting abilities.

She knits beautiful hats and does amazing scrapbooks for her girls. Even the paper she uses would qualify as works of art and she gets very excited about pagination.  Out of the four of us she’s the only one who could gently remove the size tags and change them out without hurting either gown.

In a matter of minutes the size 2 dress is wearing a size 8 tag. We are good to go for the style show.

One Hour Before the Noon Style Show 

I’m en route to the country club for the Style Show. I’ve got ABC in the car with me. She’s holding a box on her lap that contains the Style Show programs. When we get there I’m going “backstage” to check on Nikki, to make sure she’s surviving her Hot Mom Tour of Duty and ABC will be busy putting the programs on every table.

I felt kind of bad for ABC. She was feeling left out so I had her work with my son to make up a fake ad for the program which was a faux plastic surgery clinic.

The ad read: The Plastic Surgery Team of Lee, Gummelt  & Martin is proud to support Public Education and Edgewater Elementary.  We’re also proud of our patients. Sixteen of the Mommy Models have experienced our surgical artistry in the form breast implants, tummy tucks, fanny lifts, facial injectables and vaginal rejuvenation – proving our clinic can keep you in “model” form.”

I emailed in the ad from a school computer straight to the company printing the program (good luck tracing it back to me) and yes, it’s mean. So what?

Furthermore, if these women don’t want me messing with their program then they need to quit putting me in charge of all the PTA’s printed material. Doing the school newsletter, directory and crap like the Style Show program is deemed, I’m sure, by the hot moms, work for the “attractively challenged”.

They also need to proof better. The mock ad was in the final proof and the committee signed off on it.  All I’m saying is they need to work on their attention to detail. Plus the ad is like a brain teaser.  The audience can play “Guess Who Got a Boob Job” or  “Whose Hoo Haa is Back To Full Virgin.” It’s just another example of how I’m always giving back.

We get to the country club and ABC and I go our separate ways. I head straight to a portion of the C.C.’s ballroom that has been cordoned off to dress the models. Bless Nikki’s heart I can hear Charity squawking even before I get into the room.

She’s in four-wheel drive bitch mode, screaming at kids and moms, the country club staff, pretty much anyone that crosses her path. She’s got her hair in hot rollers, is wearing a white silk robe, and some angry-looking stilettos that scream “I have my podiatrist on speed dial,” while her acrylic nails keeps tapping a checklist on her I Pad.

I run over to Nikki, put my arm around here and ask her if everything is going okay.

“No, it’s not okay. Charity should not be in charge of anything, ever! I thought she was bad just as a human being.  But, add in being the boss, like she is here, and it’s Cruella De Ville drinking crack cocktails.”

“I’m so sorry, but hang in there this whole this is over in two hours and I know it’s going to be so worth it.”

“The only thing getting me through this is the look on her face when she tries to get her orange butt in that wedding dress.”

“About the dress – has she looked at it?”

“Yes, but all she did was unzip the bag to make sure I picked up the right one.”

“Okay, great?” right after I say this Charity sees me and clip-clops over in her heels to ask me what I’m doing.

“You know behind the scenes stuff for the newsletter,” I say very importantly.

“I guess that’s okay,” she spits out. “Just make sure I get to approve what you write and also no photos without my approval.”

“Yeah, sure. No problem,” I say, but in reality if Charity wants that much control over what goes in the lame PTA newsletter then she can write the damn thing.

The Style Show Begins

I duck out and hang with ABC and Kelly.  We entertain ourselves by watching people leaf through the program and either gasp or laugh when they see the plastic surgery ad.  Right at high noon Charity comes out in a Michael Kors suit and introduces herself and goes to a podium off to the side where she’ll MC the Style Show until right before the grande finale when she comes out in bridal couture.

I stay in my seat and watch the show until I see Charity hand over the MC reigns to her Style Show vice chair – the second ickiest woman on the planet Jacardi Monroe. (For more information on Jacardi please see Do You Know This Woman?#2)  As soon as Charity starts walking towards the “model” dressing area I get up and follow her.

I hang back until she’s out of her Kors suit and begins to step into the bridal gown that Nikki is holding. Nikki gives me a look that says, “Here comes the shit storm” as she’s helping Charity pull the dress up it stops at mid-thigh. Charity begins really tugging at to get it to move. Her face is turning Capri Sun Fruit Punch Red from pulling on the dress so hard. That’s my cue to rush over and ask if I can help.

“No, You. Can. Not. Help,” seethes Charity.

Nikki says, “Charity let’s try pulling the dress over your head and see if that works.”

Good job, Nikki, I think to myself. That will totally tornado her hair.

Nikki stands on a chair and begins to lower the gown over Charity’s head.  The gown makes it as far as Charity’s boobs and won’t budge. The dress has become a chest tourniquet

By this time Charity is having a melt down. She pulls the dress up and off, F bombs are flying like Fritos at a second grade slumber party. Charity screams, “You F’d up. This dress has got to be wrong size.”

That’s when I step over and say, “Nikki check the tag?” Of course, I know what’s it’s going to say, but I had to play this out. By this time we had quite an audience.

Nikki, like she’s trying to tunnel her way to freedom plows through all the dress fabric, finds the tag, and pipes up in a very chipper voice, “No, it’s a size 8!”

“There is no way in hell this dress is a F’ing size 8!” Charity screams. Her bellow was so intense her full body spanx seemed to vibrate.

“I know,” I say, “Let’s really loosen the corset ties and try again.”

The gown was one of those bridal dresses that you lace into like Scarlet O’Hara in Gone With the Wind.  So, Nikki and I remove the lacings and enjoy the sight of Charity trying to stuff herself into the dress.  This time it goes on, but there is no way we’ll be able to lace it together. There’s at least a foot of naked back staring at us, but that doesn’t stop us from “trying.”

“Charity,” I say in a very loud stage whisper, “You’re not pregnant (pause) with twins are you?

“F No”!

Well, then girl you must retaining water like a sperm whale or Shamu is in your family tree because I don’t think there is anyway we can make this fit. Could you, I don’t know, do something like “Quadraspanx?”

“What the hell is that?”

“Quadrapspanxing is when you wear four pairs of Spanx.”

“I’ve already got on a body-shaper and booster butt panties and I’m having trouble breathing. I can’t wear any more F’ing Spanx!!”

“Okay, okay calm down FATTY We’ll figure this out.” Oh, what joy that F word brought me!

Right after I said, that two hot moms are running towards us screaming, “Shut up, shut up!  We can hear all of you on the runway, especially you!” They both jab their overly blinged fingers in my face and while we’re talking about fingers whoever thought that “crackled” nail polish look was a good idea was totally wrong.

“What are you talking about?” I ask sounding very confused and innocent.

“Charity, you left your microphone on!”

“I most certainly did not.  I took it off as soon as I came back here to get dressed.”

All eyes turn and stare at me.

Charity points at me and shrieks, “You have my microphone on! Why?”

“Hey, you threw it on the floor.  All I did was pick it up and clip it on my pants so it wouldn’t get trampled on.”

“But you turned it on. I know you did!”

“I don’t even know how to turn it on.” I rip the mic clip off the waistband of my pants and say, “Here, take it and turn it off.”

While, throwing the mic I’m thinking “Excellent, everything is going just as I had planned.”

Remember when we were young and all we needed to get something from a guy was a smile and maybe a deep lean over so he could get a glimpse of our upper to mid boob?

Now, that we’re in the cavernous pit of middle-aged to attract a man’s attention we’re forced to use LPC – Laser Precision Complaining.  A lethal mixture of angry mom and psycho school librarian. That’s exactly the tactic  ABC used with the dude running the sound board at the Style Show.  As soon as I headed backstage she got up and started bitching at the sound board guy about how the mics sounded “scratchy” and everything was “way too loud.” “We’re not paying you for reverb young man!”

ABC in his face distracted/flustered him to such an extent that he never cut off Charity’s mic which meant everyone could hear the meltdown. This is what attention to detail looks like my friends. Don’t leave home without it.

(Alert Snarky readers will also noticed the microphone mix up sounds very much like the ploy I used in “So, I Was Kicked Out of the Junior League. Is That So Wrong?” Let’s just say I’m a firm believer in recycling.) 

I ask, “Could you hear me call Charity a fatty?”  I tried to sound concerned and apologetic.

“Yes, and a sperm whale!  Couldn’t you hear everyone laughing?”

“No, we were far to busy trying to shove Charity into this damn dress.”

Nikki says, “No worries, no worries. Everyone calm down. Charity focus on getting dressed.  We’re just going to lace you in the best we can.”

“You know I have another solution,” I volunteer.  Charity you could get back in your suit and have someone else, someone who might actually fight into the dress, model. Like Nikki, here.”

Nikki quickly answers back with, “Oh no, I couldn’t wear that gown. It would just swim on me.  You’ll need a much bigger girl.”

I step back and look at Nikki, like a proud parent.

Way to come through with the lethal insult!  To think one year ago, she was so shy she cried when another mother complained about the quality of the marshmallows she used in the Rice Krispy Treats she made for the winter kindergarten party.

(Truth be told it wasn’t the marshmallows that were the problem it was the generic rice cereal. I may only have a B.A. degree, but if there’s one thing I know it’s baked goods and cereal based dessert treats.) And now, with my gentle guidance she’s blossoming into a snarky woman. I couldn’t be more pleased.

Nikki and I begin to lace the gown. It looks wonderfully hideous. From the front the dress is simply horrible. Charity’s boobs are barely contained and there’s puckering everywhere from her body trying to escape.

The back, what can I say, the back is a thing of rare beauty. The ultimate fashion no. You see more spanx than dress and the laces look like they’re could give up at any minute. Plus, the combination of spanx, too tight dress and laces that are fighting for their life have funneled any excess skin/flab Charity has into a case of extreme back fat that jiggles when she attempts to inhale air.

Like I said, it’s a sight to behold. We lie and tell Charity she looks fine – kind of.  I believe our exact words are, “This is probably as good as its going to get.”

Charity shoos both Nikki and I out-of-the-way, stops at a mirror, fluffs her hair, attaches some stupid looking blusher veil and starts walking out of the dressing room to the runway.

Nikki and I run as fast as we can so we’re in the audience for Charity’s big reveal. Charity walks out on runway and I’ll give her this, she worked that bridal gown.This 43-year-old, orange, mother of two swayed her hips and sashayed it with everything she’s got, which was a problem.

Each time she gyrated the gown’s corset, whose tensile strength was being severely tested by the fact that a size 8ish body was forced into a size 2 gown, would become looser and looser. Bring on the double nip slip!

It took Charity a couple of seconds to realize her nipples were free, free at last. She quickly turned around to walk back up the runway and that’s when you saw the gown gaping open and the wonder of the back fat funnel.

The gasps that occurred when Charity’s nips winked at the audience were replaced with at first chuckles, then laughter that worked it’s way to howls.

That was our cue to leave – quickly. Nikki, ABC, Kelly and I hauled out of  ballroom. Our work here was done. As we walked out of the Country Club and headed towards the parking lot I couldn’t help myself, I started singing The Love Boat theme, until ABC told me to shut up which, of course, only made me sing louder.

Love, exciting and new
Come aboard, we’re expecting you
Love, life’s sweetest reward
Let it flow, it floats back to you

Love Boat soon will be making another run
The Love Boat promises something for everyone
Set a course for adventure
Your mind on a new revenge.

*Attencover_1.3-2tion Snarky Friends I have a new book out and for a limited time only it’s just 99 cents for a heaping helping of Snark! You are now gazing at the second book in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Snarky in the Suburbs Trouble In Texas. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! 🙂

The Reverse Stubing – Part 2

I judge a person by two things.  If they like dogs and television. If it’s a no to either of those then not only can we never be friends, but I really will never trust you.

I get being afraid of dogs, but not liking any dog – ever, that’s a sign of serial killer.  If you’re one of those people who pride themselves on never watching television or worse don’t own a television then give me a moment while a grab a Kleenex and weep uncontrollable for a few minutes. Please know that I pity you and right now, in between snot sobbing, I’m praying that the good Lord see fits to bless you with some sort of TV viewing apparatus very, very soon.

The longest love affair I’ve ever had has been with television. Not once has it let me down. I can’t say that about any other relationship I’ve ever had and that includes my parents and husband.

As a young child the first thing I learned to read was the TV Guide. It was so much better then Pat The Bunny and the channel listings were an excellent way to learn my numbers. Every extraordinary fact I’ve ever known has come from television.

At times, people will ask me, “How do you know that?” and I quickly reply in my “are you a dumb ass or what?” voice, “From television, of course.”

It was TV, specifically late 70’s early 80’s ABC television, that provided me with the scheme I was hoping would bring Charity Turner to her spray tanned knees.

I grew up watching The Love Boat.  Every Saturday night you could find me in front of the TV in my flannel Lanz of Salzburg night-gown eating Jiffy Pop, drinking Tab and singing The Love Boat theme song. “Love exciting and new.  Come Aboard. We’re expecting you.” 

All of this Love Boat due diligence paid off big time when I remembered the episode when Captain Stubing went on a diet.  His diet made him grouchy so Julie, Doc, Gopher and Isaac let out his clothes out so he would think he had lost weight and thus brightening his mood.

I was going to pull a “Reverse Stubing”.  Somehow, I was going to get my hands on Charity’s style show finale wedding dress and shrink that sucker.

This kind of plan called for back up.  I would need my troops. I sent out a text to my three best friends (Allison, Kelly, and Nikki) that read, “Charity is going down. Who’s in? My house, after school. I’ve got a mojito mix. Can someone bring a couple of limes?”

As expected everyone showed up to revenge H.Q. – my, non-granite countertop, kitchen. (You know you live in deep suburbia when your judged by the geologic composite of your countertops. I’ve had six-year-old girls come to my house, look at my countertops and say in a disapproving tone, “Eww, this isn’t granite.” Who died and make freaking granite king anyway?)

I had Kelly fill ABC (Always Bitter Chick) and Nikki in on what Charity had done/was doing and then I laid out my plan. I first told Kelly she needed to sit this one out. I thought it was best to keep her hands clean. ABC would be providing back up support only.  She had a little, okay big, problem with impulse control and I didn’t think this plan was a good fit for her, um, talents. Sweet, kind, unassuming Nikki was my go to girl for this one. The big question – could she pull it off.

(For those of you who don’t keep up Snarky and really shame on you for that. I’m not running a remedial blog people. I’ve included a primer on my best friends called, what else, but “My Friends” read it and get caught up.)

“Okay, ladies,” I said, “Here’s what I’m thinking”

I was then loudly interrupted by children wanting more food. I gave them a big bag of leftover Sweet Tart conversation hearts and told them to chomp away.

For those of you thinking, “Bad, bad, mommy” because I threw a one pound bag of conversation hearts that I got for 70% off at Target in the discounted Valentine’s candy aisle at a group of kids for a snack, quit your damn judging.  I started out the after school snack bacchanalia with peanut butter and organic Granny Smith apples from Whole Foods. So there.

After I got the kids started on their heart-shaped snack of corn syrup and modified food starch I started over with my plan.

“We all agree that our primary goal is to teach Charity a lesson. Since she deems it okay to call little girls fat I think we should give her a dose of her own medicine.  What I’ve come up is the “Reverse Stubing.”

All three of my friends gave me a blank look.

“You know like Captain Stubing, The Love Boat. When Julie and the gang let out his clothes so he thinks he’s lost weight.”

Blank stares continue.

“Don’t tell me you didn’t spend your Saturday nights watching The Love Boat back in the day. It was great! The ship was the Pacific Princess and they had amazing guest stars. Oh my God, my favorite episode was when they had the cast of Charlie’s Angels on the ship. I’m telling you, I know Farrah, God rest her soul, was the popular one, but I was a Kate Jackson kind of girl. Smart, wore a bra and had very sensible hair.  Like Farrah could do any real crime fighting with those free range boobs and flowing mane.  You can’t really run that hard with your boobs beating you and your hair getting in your face.  I, mean, really, at the very least you’d stumble or have to stop to give your nipples a chance to recover from extreme tube top chafing.”

ABC says while sucking down her mojito , “Yeah, I think I was doing something called dating and going to parties back then not watching The Love Boat.”

“And by dating,” I ask, “Do you mean letting half the boys in the class of 1989 experience the tactile wonder of what was inside your acid washed jeans?”

“Maybe,” she said smiling and sucking on lime.

“What about you Kelly didn’t you watch The Love Boat?”

“Re-runs maybe, but not enough to have an encyclopedic knowledge of every episode. God, wasn’t it on the air forever?”

“Yes, if you can call 9 years and 249 episodes forever.  That’s not counting their three made for TV movies.”

Nikki then piped in and said, “I wasn’t born yet when it came on, but I think I might have seen part of an episode on TV Land.”

I threw two limes at her.

“Whatever. Since none of you are blessed, like I am, with the memories of a childhood spent basking in the loving, warm glow of a television set, let me put this another way.  You know the “Tramp for Day” wedding gown that Charity always models at the finale of the Style Show well we’re going to shrink it.

By that I mean Nikki you and I are going to get our hands on the dress and exchange it for a smaller, much smaller size.  I want to see Charity try to cram her size 10 body into a size 2 gown. I’m seeing tears and a whole lot of screaming in her future.”

“And just how do you think you and Nikki are going to get a hold of Charity’s dress?”  ABC asked.

“That’s easy. We’re going to volunteer to work backstage at the style show.”

“No, I can’t let you do that,” ABC said, “Do you know what you have to do backstage?  Basically, you’re a hot mom’s servant.  No, that’s wrong, you’re a hot mom’s bitch  This plan has too many holes.  First, no hot mom will want you as their bitch and secondly, no one, I repeat no one, will believe you want to work backstage.”

“Duh,” That’s where Nikki comes in.  Look at her.  So pretty, so young, so sweet. Her breasts so high. Her forehead so wrinkle free. If it wasn’t for us the hot moms would be rushing her for their sorority of Tri-Bitch. The three of us have saved her from being sacrificed on the altar of hotness.  They’ll be thrilled she wants to help. They might even think she’s pondering the possibility of going over to the dark side of yoga pants and Uggs. It’s perfect.”

“Okay,” ABC said, “I get Nikki. But, and no offense here Nikki, she can’t pull this off by herself.   Our little Nikki has not had the years of bitterness washing over her to form her into the Four Star General of Revenge we see standing before us today. How is she going to do this solo?”

“She’s not.  I’m going to be her partner.”

“How?” Kelly and ABC said in unison.

“I’m going in disguise. Nikki will introduce me as a “new mom” to the school. No one will know it’s me.”

“Oh dear God, NO!”  ABC yelled and took a swig straight from the rum bottle.

*Part Three of the Reverse Stubing is right here:

*Attencover_1.3-2tion Snarky Friends I have a new book out and for a limited time only it’s just 99 cents for a heaping helping of Snark! You are now gazing at the second book in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Snarky in the Suburbs Trouble In Texas. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! 🙂

The Reverse Stubing – Part 1

If you want to see ugly go to an elementary school spring style show. Relax, I’m not talking about the 7-year-old girls “modeling” adorable Easter dresses. I’m talking about the moms. 

You have two tiers of ugly at a school style show. Tier Super Creepy and Tier Satan.

Tier Creepy is the moms who sell their soul so they, along with their child(ren), will be selected to “model.” Tier Satan is the Style Show committee. This team of moms led by the Princess of Darkness – Charity (Seriously, that’s her name.) Turner have taken fundraising to the fiery depths of hell.

To get you up to speed here’s a little background on the Edgewater Elementary Spring Style Show.  It was started six years ago in the never-ending quest to find new ways to raise money for the school.  The PTA was already selling cookie dough, gift wrap, magazines and spirit wear.  We had a “Parent Social” and Auction where alleged grown ups went to drink too much and get in a bidding war on their child’s class “basket.”

There was also the Fall Festival and Carnival which worked much like the token shake down at Chuck E Cheese.  A group of enterprising moms thought a Spring Style Show would combine the best of the kid friendly Fall Carnival with the adult appeal of the Parent Social.

The first couple of years it was a quaint affair in the school cafeteria with kids modeling their own clothes and the principal acting as emcee and saying things like, “Ashley loves this dress because it twirls really, really well.” Now the Style Show is held at a country club, the fashions are pre-selected from super fancy boutiques and most importantly mommies now model.

It was year three of the Style Show when it when it was “upgraded” to include mothers strutting their stuff and that’s when the event went from a low-key get together in the cafeteria to our town’s equivalent of Fashion Week. We have Charity Turner to thank for all this.

Charity is on year four of chairing the Style Show Her qualifications for this “honor” are in 2009 her closet was highlighted in the local lifestyle magazine’s “I Heart My Closet” feature. There was Charity in all her white blonde glory standing on a zebra patterned carpet in her leopard wallpapered closet with a blinged out Home Depot chandelier casting glints of light on her overly orange spray tanned arm that look like a sweet potato had mated with a Cheeto, clutching her “favorite item in the closet” a vintage Channel purse from her days as a “fashion buyer.”

What Charity neglected to mention in the interview was to get the closet (which was a former bedroom) that according to her is the “envy of the neighborhood” her two daughters, who are 6 years apart in age now have to share a room. Behind her in the photo are racks of clothes and what Charity calls her “denim” bar. The bar is floor to ceiling cubbies where she stores her “78 different pairs of jeans.” Some women upon reading this were all “Oh My Gawd, I just loooove her closet!”

My take on it was more of an inside glimpse of well-organized hoarder. I mean, really, what woman needs 78 pairs of jeans.  I’d bet my left cankle she probably wears, at best, less than ten percent of what’s in there.  Oh, and the whole fashion buyer thing – total crap unless you call working the Estee Lauder counter at Macy’s before you got married as “fashion buying.” None of this really even matters. What matters is she’s an evil troll.

Upon taking over chair of the Style Show Charity told everyone that she was going to make it more “professional.” By that she meant she would be taking her orders directly from Satan.  Charity insisted that every child and mother who wanted to model in the Style Show must turn in two pictures.  One was to be a head shot and the other full length body shot with their height, weight and sizes listed on the back. (Last year, I sent in two pictures of my dog.  I was told by Charity that my “attempts at humor were not appreciated.”)

After these pictures were turned in Charity and her committee would select a group that would come for call backs. This is where you would demonstrate your walk. Mothers were instructed to wear at least 3 inch heels to “create a runway experience.”  All the moms were also informed that the mother/child modeling was not a package deal. The mom may get selected while the child may not or vice versa. You also had to sign a form that stated you “would not contest, in any way the selection of who was picked to model and that the committee would reserve the right to revoke anyone’s model status at anytime.”

After call backs the list of mothers and children selected to model was posted on the front door on the school. You should have see these moms running to the front door like they were back in high school rushing to see who made cheerleader. If you believe that 30 to almost 50-year-old women have matured past performing the hat trick of hopping up and down, flailing their arms and shrieking like love-sick teenagers then think again. It sounded like they were being doused with acid and my mother’s 1962 bottle of Jean Nate.

As you can guess, I was never one to entertain thoughts of any kind of modeling experience – ever. (My one exception would be working the runway for a Target XL track pant fashion show. Count me in on that.) Thankfully, my children would rather eat brussel sprout and kale cereal than provide someone with a head shot. That meant I could sit back and make fun of the all moms that spent months currying favor with the “selection committee.” Charity would spend all year going up to moms and touching an article of clothing they have on and making statements like, “Oh, I just love this cashmere  tunic. Keep it up and you could be in the running to be a S.S.M.”

S.S.M stood for Style Show Mom. For a small portion of moms at the elementary school achieving S.S.M. status was akin being crowned Mrs. Hot America.  Charity could also be found delivering fashion rebukes. Two years ago she saw me in my track pants at the grocery store and told me I was a “fashion no.” I smiled and said, “Thank you.”

“Thanks for what?” she said in an irritated and confused voice.

“Thanks just for thinking of me. Do you do it a lot?”

“Do what a lot?”

“Think of me. I’m betting you do. Is it just me or do you think we have a connection?”

That freaked her out so much she took her cart and ran off to the frozen food aisle.

The chance at being a S.S.M brought out the five-star ass kissing for the wanna be hot moms. You see, the Style Show is the gateway to being upgraded to full hot mom status and Charity Tuner was the role model for how to go from not to hot.

Charity isn’t bad looking, but she’s not your typical hot mom. By that I mean she’s not a double zero.  Charity, is at best, a size 8 which in the land of hot moms might as well be a size 18.  Things changed for her when she landed the chair of the Style Show. She used her new-found power to claw her way into the hot mom group and thanks to her success many wanna be hotties saw the style show as a way in.

Once you got in you couldn’t relax. There was a bit of a pecking order to the Style Show. If you were kind of hot you were selected to wear the churchy looking Easter dress or worse a maxi . If you were medium hot you got the jeans and sleeveless summer top look. If you were hot you got the shorts and resort wear. Super hot moms with a predisposition to starving and 21st century space-aged polymer synthetic breasts modeled swim-wear.

Yes, swim-wear, I’m talking bikinis and heels.

They start off strutting down the runway with a sarong wrapped seductively low on their hips then take it, turn, giving the audience a full butt shot, and walk back up the runway.

The queen of the hot moms or in this case Style Show chair – Charity Turner – would end the show wearing -and dear God in heaven this is why I love the suburbs so very much – a bridal gown with, and to me this is the very best part, a full length veil.

I will say Charity, or someone, had the decency to at least make it a bridal gown for say your second, or third or fourth wedding. There was nothing princessy or virginal about it.  This gown shrieked “experienced woman with a wide variety of talents featuring advanced training in the horizontal arts.”

For that sight alone I gladly paid $40 for my Style Show ticket.

The kids fashions, as you can imagine, were an afterthought. In fact, since my  kids weren’t involved in this cluster of crap I never gave it much thought until that fateful day when my friend Kelly confided in me.

Our daughters were at ballet and we were killing time sitting in my car outside the McDonald’s enjoying a 99 cent vanilla ice cream cone when Kelly started talking about the Style Show. I perked up hoping it was going to be some juicy mom gossip like Charity had an STD or something, but it was the kind of information that made me sad. Kelly told me that Charity was calling some of the little girls that were going to model fat.

“What?!” I said while still licking my cone, how did you hear that?”

“It was all anyone could talk about at the Multiples Club.”

Now before you think one of my best friends is a swinger the Multiples Club is for parents with twins and triplets. Kelly has twin girls and the Mothers of Multiples meet a couple of times a month and compare notes on raising same age children.

I asked Kelly, “What exactly did the Princess of Darkness say to the girls?”

“Well, two moms told me they had taken their daughters to the You Say Spoiled Like It’s a Bad Thing children’s boutique so they could select their outfits to model in the Style Show and while they were trying on clothes Charity shows up and goes into the dressing room area and tells two sets of 6-year-old twins they were ‘kind of fat and needed to lose those bellies.'”

At this point in Kelly’s story to me I stopped her and say, “Please tell me one of the moms cut off  Charity’s oxygen supply by strangling her with some size 6X pink lace leggings.”

Kelly said, “No, according to them they took it and whispered to their daughters to not listen to the scary, orange lady.”

I, of course, told Kelly I thought it was horrible but, my main anger was directed at the mother of the twins. In my opinion, they should have told Charity to shove it and more importantly not subjected their girls to the satanic ritual that is the fashion show.

Kelly continued and said, “Well, that’s not all she’s doing.  I’ve heard she told a couple of 4th grade girls that need to go on a diet and two girls have been told unless they lose weight they can’t model.”

I look at Kelly, take another lick of my ice cream cone, try to stop thinking about how much I want another one and say, “Well, once again those girls’ mothers are total idiots for putting their daughters in harms way by letting them do the ridiculous style show.  Everyone one with a brain knows Charity is evil and any mom who would willingly expose her child to that dark underworld is worse than Charity in my opinion.”

Kelly kept staring at me. This made me nervous and she wasn’t agreeing me, that made me more nervous. Something was up. I looked at her and said, “What?”

“What do you mean, what?”

“There’s something you’re not telling me. What is it?”

“I’m afraid to tell you because I know you’re probably going to do something and that’s also exactly why I want to tell you.”

“Then tell me! You’re starting to freak me out now.”

“Okay,” Kelly whispered and then she got a little choked up and continued, “The moms told me when Charity was telling their girls they need to lose their bellies she also said if they didn’t they would end up looking like my daughters.”

I was so consumed with angry I almost dropped my cone. I didn’t know where to strike out first. To the dip shit moms who are supposed to be friends of Kelly who told her that. Did a cruel statement like that really need to be repeated -ever?  Why did these moms think Kelly would need to hear that?  The only thing I could think of off the top of my head was misery loves company.

As for Charity’s statement I wasn’t surprised at all. She’s raising two girls that are on the fast track to an eating disorder. I know childhood obesity is a real problem, but I still think when a five-year old  announces at the kindergarten Valentine’s party that she can’t eat a heart-shaped sugar cookie with icing because  “My mommy never wants me to be fat and ugly,”  it’s a little disconcerting.

Also, not being surprised doesn’t mean not be extremely hurt for my friend. Kelly has beautiful strong, healthy girls. Are they rail thin? No, but they’re not fat and even if they were what kind of mother goes around calling little girls fat? I gave Kelly a big hug and said, “Charity will have to pay for this you know.”

Kelly, hugged me back and said with a sniffle, “I was so hoping you would say that.”

“Don’t worry sweetie,” I said while popping the last of the ice cream cone in my mouth, “The Princess of Darkness will soon be eating those words.”

Part 2  of the Reverse Stubing  click here

*Attencover_1.3-2tion Snarky Friends I have a new book out and for a limited time only it’s just 99 cents for a heaping helping of Snark! You are now gazing at the second book in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Snarky in the Suburbs Trouble In Texas. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! 🙂

Reunion Revenge


High school reunions are powered by the rocket fuel called curiosity. We go to see how our peers have aged, what their financial status seems to be, who’s married, who’s not, who looks happy and who is hiding their misery by getting wasted at both the Saturday afternoon family picnic and adults only evening dance.

Oh, sure we go to reconnect with old friends but we also want to see if they look as good as their pictures on Facebook. I have only attended one high school reunion in my life – my 10th (and that was years ago). The internal status meter started as soon as you parked your car. All eyes were on who was driving what.

When you hit the reunion site it was the customary screams, hugs and giggles as old “friends” embraced and expressed in dramatic tones how much they missed each other and “Oh my God, you haven’t changed a bit!” As you drank bad white wine in plastic cups and conversed more with some people than you did all of your high school career you could tell that you were being checked out, measured up and your net worth calculated.

For high school may have ended 10 years ago, but you were still being classified and categorized. The pinnacle of my reunion experience was when they had a contest to see which guy had lost the most hair. (Sorry Jed and Jeff.) Ten years later and still so very unkind.

That experience made me, just a smidgen, anti-reunion. Until earlier this summer when a friend asked me to go with her to her 20th high school reunion. I was confused as to why this smart, gorgeous, sweet woman would want me to be her “plus one.” When she told me why I was counting the minutes until I could get there and kick some ass.

My friend, “Lydia” and I worked together about 10 years ago and we had kept in contact even though I have moved many times. She has it all. Lydia is a beautiful brainic with the world’s kindest personality. She is also gay. She says she was a scrawny, four eyed, painfully shy bookworm who tried to stay invisible all through high school. She e-mailed me her graduation photo and yikes, she was not kidding.

You know in the Little Mermaid when Ursula sings “Poor Unfortunate Souls,”well that could have been written about Lydia. She looked like a geometry word problem. All hard right angles. When she graduated she left and never looked back. Last year, folks in her hometown, Hicksville, USA, got all in tizzy when it became fodder for the local grapevine that Lydia was gay. Some hateful things were said to her mother (all in the name of the holy scripture, of course) and she wanted to use her reunion as a chance to go back and right some wrongs. Lydia thought she might need some backup and that’s why my phone rang.

Now let’s stop a minute and examine why I was selected as  “back up.” Although, I wear a size 11 shoe and have never had the pleasure of shopping in the petite department I’m not the Incredible Hulk. I do have a propensity, some might say talent, for telling people to shove it. I’m the youngest of four in a rough and tumble family so I consider my shove it sensibility more of a survival skill than anything else. I, also and I’m ashamed (kind of – because I keep telling myself I ought to be) to share this and have spent years trying to control this nasty habit, like to stir the pot.

In my defense I only stir the pot of people who, quite frankly, need their icky pot stirred.  So, that’s why when someone needs back up sometimes my phone rings. If I were a super hero I’d be Back Up Girl – Able to tell someone they suck in 3 seconds or less. Not as awesome as the ability to fly or be invisible, but at least I don’t have to wear a unitard, cape and knee-high boots, which as we all know would not zip up over my cankles.

To be truthful, I like being “back up” especially to anyone who I think is being treated unjustly. Here’s the deal, I’m not pro or anti-gay. I’m anti-dumb ass. I could care less about the whole same-sex thing. I mean why would I base my judgement of someone because of their sex life with another consenting adult? We spend more time brushing our teeth then we do having sex. Would I judge someone based on their oral hygiene?

Well, that maybe a bad example because yes I would. Good brushing and flossing is important to your overall health. So, important that if someone wanted to date their toothbrush I’d be all for it. But, I would suggest aiming high in your dating aspirations and settle for nothing less than a Sonicare. I can not begin to tell you how awesome that toothbrush is. The angled brush head and patented Sonicare vibrating technology – it’s a tooth massage.

Now for those of you who don’t believe my teeth brushing and sex statistics here’s my math – the average over 25 American says they have sex at least 3 times a week. I’ll cut that in half because asking someone how often they have sex is like being asked what you weigh. Duh, you always give them your goal weight not the current poundage you’re dragging around. Now, lets take that 1.5 times a week and factor in how many minutes it takes to execute the activity. I’ll be generous and say 10 minutes. So, 1.5 x 10 = 15 minutes a week x 52 weeks  = 13 hours a year. Who cares? I don’t. (Well, I care that we, as a nation, really need to be getting more.) This is what I care about: if someone is kind, good to children and animals, mows their grass on a regular basis, votes and doesn’t write a check when they’re in front of me in line at the grocery store while asking the clerk to look up their shopper discount number.

Besides, I don’t consider myself strictly heterosexual. I’m tri-curious. I’m attracted to men, diet coke and Target and not necessarily in that order. To be honest I’ve never technically consummated my relationship with either Diet Coke or Target, but oh my, both of them have brought me exquisite pleasure.

Is there much that compares to an icy 20 oz. Diet Coke on an unbelievably hot and humid day. You grab that bad boy and run the chilly goodness of the bottle down your face, starting on your forehead and working the bottle lower to your lips but you don’t taste it yet. You wait, savoring the delight to come and use the chilled Diet Coke to caress the back of your neck. Then, when you can’t take it a minute longer, you open the bottle and taste the satisfying thirst quenching nectar of liquid chemical perfection. Come to think of it, I’ve been to 3rd base with Diet Coke if you count the numerous times in my life, due to driving a car that was cup holder challenged, I’ve had to hold that 20 liter between my legs as I shifted gears.

As for Target you bet it’s delivered satisfaction. Just last month, there I was walking down the aisle in the home furnishings section when I saw something I’ve coveted at Pottery Barn beautifully ripped off by Target at a fraction the price. I had to grip my cart for stability as my body pulsated with waves of ecstasy. Thankfully, I had a large Diet Coke in my cart’s cup-holder so I could extend my ride on the gratification wave by chasing the “moment” with a lusty swig of America’s favorite zero calorie beverage. Talk about an afterglow.

I think a lot of women are gay. We don’t try to impress men. Let’s be honest, we try to impress other women. Working out, cute outfits, a little lift and tuck it’s done more to make other woman take notice of us then it is to draw the attention of a gentleman caller. I also think the moms at my kids schools are either super gay or blushing bisexuals. They can’t keep their hand’s off of each other. It’s a hugging, touchy feely, foreplay, frenzy.

They drop their kids off in the morning, hang out by the front door and hug each other and maybe even a cheek smooch. Then they walk into the PTA meeting and re-hug, grab another hug after the meeting and when they wait to pick up their kids in the afternoon it’s a 3:00 p.m. hug session you could set your watch by. They’re getting more action in one school day then I get all month. (Remember that 1.5 times a week stat.) Not that I’m jealous. I shudder at the thought of gossipy women giving my back jowls a rub down.

So, that’s a long way of saying I was ready to get this party started. Before I embarked on my mission I had to get permission from my husband. Yes, that’s right I have a marriage where I have to ask permission from my spouse. I may be a liberated 21st century woman, but I had to see if he could step up and do full kid duty. I told my husband Lydia’s tale of woe and he was having problems wrapping his head around the concept of Lydia ever not being a hottie.

I showed him the high school picture she e-mailed me and he had three words, “Good God Go!”

“Well,” I said. “I”ll need to do some shopping.  I’ve got to up my game considerably if I’m going to be her date.”

His response. “No kidding.”

My feelings were not hurt in the least by that statement. I, a woman, who’s idea of getting sexy is moisturizing my eczema patches with a lavender-scented prescription cream, spritzing myself with Gain Febreze and throwing back a Gas X  (due to a very vocal lower intestinal track that loudly protests any sudden movements or enthusiastic stretches. So, for me, that’s a big no to Pilates and a hell no to Yoga.) is not really “working it” on a daily basis.

If you take all that into consideration you can see that I really needed a miracle more than a dress. Not just any dress but one that would that would compress my bulges and have the right percentage of lycra so as not to slow me down if I needed to run for it and make a quick get away sometime during the reunion. It was my lucky shopping day because not only did I find a dress but it had sleeves, actual short sleeves. In today’s fashion morass finding a dress with sleeves is almost unheard of. I had begun to think a summer dress with a nice cap sleeve was an urban myth. So imagine my joy of being able to cover up 25% of my arm with fabric. It was a good day to be alive, my friends.

Two weeks later I’m in the car driving 3 hours to the reunion. Lydia and I were meeting at her mother’s house. I had requested a full report (I’m nothing if not prepared) of who made her life miserable in high school and the dossier must include pictures of then and now courtesy of her high school yearbook and Facebook. I had made the executive decision that we should not go to the family picnic but save ourselves for the night-time dance where Lydia could make an entrance and tell any haters to shove it.

We both got dressed in our fancy attire at her mom’s and prepared to embrace an evening I was certain was going to be memorable. The reunion was held in the VFW Post “ballroom” and as soon as we opened the doors we entered the Holy Grail of all who had peaked in high school. Before us stood a stockpile of ex jocks, cheerleaders, student council officers and Homecoming royalty. The “Once Upon a Time Popular” who had never been able to replicate their high school glory days. Tragically, the pinnacle of their existence occurred when they were 17.  Certainly not everyone who was “all that” in high school stays transfixed in that moment of time when they “rocked!” But, there are those very few who can never seem to move past the pep rally and the prom. For these people a reunion is a sweeter than paying off your 18% interest Visa card.

It took more than a couple of minutes for most people to figure who Lydia was. She had gone through a metamorphosis since high school and classmates were having problems wrapping their heads around the fact that the gorgeous woman standing in front of them was that “skinny, nervous, band nerd” from 20 years ago. I stood back and watched. Keeping my eyes open for anyone who might want to interfere in Lydia’s moment to shine.

Most people, after they got over the shock, couldn’t have been more pleasant. But, I did notice a group that keep looking at Lydia, whispering, laughing and then checking her out again. Thanks to my diligent research I knew just who they were – the misery makers from two decades ago and the hate speech queen who had gone on a rampage after the news that Lydia was gay came out.

This woman, a 38-year-old woman, at that, went so far as to go on Facebook and put as her status, “OMG can you believe the ugliest girl in H.S. Lydia M. is gay?  I guess she didn’t have a choice since no guy would have her.” Ms. Hate Speech or “Hatey” the former drill team captain saw me watching them and fluttered over to engage me in conversation.

Don’t you just want to slap someone when they come over to talk to you and you know they either think you’re stupid or believe that they’re a genius of the highest caliber as they play nice and pepper you with questions? Their intent is to find out as much as they can about you and then twist it and turn it around for their gossip fodder.

I was Miss Manners charming because I know that would tick her off. I told her I was married, had two children and was here as Lydia’s friend and that we were using the weekend to catch up. Of course, I knew what she was doing, trying to find out if I was gay. Well, Hatey you can take your big hair, 3 divorces and Amy (may she rest in peace) Winehouse eyeliner and take a hike. You’re getting nothing from me.

She gave up after about 10 minutes and went back to her crew.  But, she did not seem happy, not happy, at all because beautiful Lydia was center of the attention. Not because she was gay but because she was successful and gorgeous and the guys were all over her because nothing turns a man on more than a woman who has no interest in him. She was a perfect peach in a land of swollen, pockmarked watermelons. This made me nervous. I just knew old helmet hair would try something.

It took less than 30 minutes for Hatey to start working the room. Before you could say Ellen Degeneres and Porti Di Rossi she had told everyone that not only was I Lydia’s lover but that I was leaving my husband and two kids for her. Honestly, I was more than a little flattered that anyone would think Lydia would date me. Really, she was slumming. Anyone could tell she could do so much better. But, I felt the need to nip this little rumor in the bud so as Hatey was spreading her gossip I started delicately stalking her.

I followed her from group to group. I started touching her. First, on the shoulder, then the back. I would comment to no one in particular that Hatey keeps calling me “delicious.”  Then as Hatey would exit one group I would stay behind and make a few innocuous remarks like, “How long has Hatey been gay?”  “Was she gay in high school?”  “Wow, she is such a flirt. Really, she’s quite brazen.”

Yes, that’s right, I pretended that Hatey was gay and that she was hitting on me. I gave this crowd something to talk about and it wasn’t my awesome friend. It was the hair helmet with a side of eyeliner. By the time dessert had been served almost the entire class of 1991 thought Hatey was a flaming homosexual with a penchant for chunky women over the age of 40. This just might be my best work to date!

Poor, poor, Hatey at last she learned the life lesson, “What goes around comes around.”  She left the reunion a blubbering, tearful mess. I told people it was because she was heartbroken after I turned her down her numerous salacious offers. Three hours later Lydia and I were back at her mom’s house drinking cosmos (of course) and toasting her success at the reunion. Most of all we toasted to the awesome power of girlfriends.  Do we rule or what?

***Love the Snarky buy my book Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School on sale this month (like right now July 2014) for 99 cents!  (Click here for purchase information.)

Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. 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.


The Mom Bomb

There are friends and then there are Friends.  I can count my Friends on one hand. These are the people who just don’t have your back. They have your back and are covering it with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.  This is a story of how with the help of one Friend and some Friends-In-Training I (we) took down a teacher and saved a school.  Okay, not the whole school,  a class actually, but that counts for something – doesn’t it?

I must begin by issuing this statement: I love teachers.  My children have been blessed with incredible teachers.  Teachers that have changed their lives.  I have nothing but the greatest respect and admiration for educators.  Yet, as in any profession there are those who do not bring honor to their vocation.  The bad seed, if you will.

In the field of education, a bad seed is especially virulent.  A teacher has power and the ability to uplift a child or break them.  A broken child may take years to recover from a bad teacher and have wounds they carry for the rest of their lives.  On one very brisk fall day.  A day full of promise. I was started on my path to rid one school from one very, very bad teacher.

The alarm about this teacher began going off even before school began. It didn’t help that this teacher was the only male teacher at the school. So, some in the administration thought the complaining was done by over protective mamas that didn’t want their kids to have a male teacher. Which was totally wrong.

This is the teacher no one wanted, regardless of the gender. This teacher was a train wreck. This is the teacher who you began lobbying to the principal not to get the year before your child even entered that grade.

So, imagine my surprise and horror on the day before school started when I found out that my son had received the school’s “worst” teacher for his teacher.  Had I not volunteered for every fundraiser, was I not on the P.T.A. board, had I not been the room mom the year before so I could suck up to his then teacher to make sure he didn’t get this teacher?  Did I not fill out the “teacher request” form where you couldn’t name the teacher you wanted, but you could describe the “educational environment” that you felt your child learned best in?  And didn’t my description point extremely enthusiastically away from this teacher?

Yes to all of the above.

I was beyond angry.  I was Grizzly bear enraged. So, I did what any of you would have done I marched right into the principal’s office, unannounced, of course, and said as I waved my son’s teacher placement paper in the air, “Are you serious?”

The principal, bike wearing shorts dude that he is, told me to take a “deep cleansing breath.” I gave him the look that has been known to cryogenically freeze a man’s genitalia (at least that’s what two former boyfriends and a former boss has told me) and said, “We’ve got a problem.”

The principal tried to explain to me that some kids had to get “that” teacher and my son’s former teachers thought he could “handle it just fine.”  Ugh, I got the point that some kids did have to get “that” teacher.  But why, did the school even have a teacher that no one wanted to “get?”  That to me was the unacceptable part.  I left his office, but not until he agreed that if after the first six weeks of the school year I felt that my son’s educational growth was not being served adequately by “that’ teacher he would be moved into another class.

That evening, my husband got to hear me moan and groan about what happened.  His take is always a little different from mine. He thought I was “over thinking” (male speak for hormonally charged thought process) the whole teacher thing.  His point was, “When we went to school our parents never changed our teachers.  I don’t think my parents even knew my teacher’s name.  Just let it go.  It could work out just fine.”

Now, I know he does this in an attempt to talk me off the ledge, and yes, it does make me want to get off the ledge so I can strangle him.  But, I had to take his advice.  School started the next day and as far as my son was concerned it was all happy, happy, joy, joy.

Things did not begin well that first day.  I walked into the 3rd grade classroom with my son, were both loaded up with school supplies, and there is Mr. “that” teacher.  He’s a middle-aged, pasty-faced goober with a receding hairline, a gut and a toothpick in his mouth (not kidding) reclining all the way back is his chair, feet on his desk, wearing some athletic shorts and giving all who walk in an eyeball of dingy underwear.

This loser didn’t posses the basic home training skills to be standing upright to meet his new students and parents (or to use bleach when he washed his unmentionables).  Parents were walking over to him, offering him their hand to shake and introducing themselves as he stayed reclined in his chair. Unbelievable.

But, then it dawned on me that he knew exactly what he was doing.  It was a power play.  An obvious and early “F” you to the parents. I got my son settled at his desk, grabbed some pencils to sharpen, and it took an enormous amount of self-discipline not to accidentally on purpose kick his chair en route to the pencil sharpener so he would fall out of his “recliner.”

I, also, noticed that the classroom was not even decorated.  It wasn’t all back-to-school cute with bulletin boards with fall themes and the Presidents’ heads on the wall it was plain and just a little stinky.  Like it needed a couple of Frebreze plug-ins.  I took some pictures of my son at his desk and then it was time to leave.

Oh, how I didn’t want to leave my son in that room.  I wanted to grab his still almost little hand and run out the door and begin home schooling.  Okay, I can do this I told myself and I did have home-schooling as my escape pod, so I patted my son on the back and walked out of the classroom.

Stories about Mr. “that” teacher began to come home everyday and me and the other moms with kids in the class began to share notes.  It was the phone tree of doom.  One month into the school year I had enough of all the phone calls and school pick up and drop off bitching and decided to host a meeting of concerned parents at my home one morning after school drop off.   Mimosas would be served.

First on the agenda was listing out our “classroom issues.”  The list was lengthy.  Topping it was the fact that Mr. “that” teacher didn’t teach.  He put the kids in pods with worksheets for the day where they were encouraged to teach each other.  He described it as team building.  Meanwhile, Mr. “that” teacher sat at his desk playing video games on his laptop brought from home.

His pod teaching method meant that our kids would come home everyday with a stack of worksheets they didn’t understand and couldn’t finish in class.  So, in essence all of us parent were home-schooling as we spent several hours each day after school teaching our children what was in the worksheets.  It was like they had a 10 hour school day. That’s pretty long for an eight year old.

Even worse in my book was his method of dealing with the students.  Mr. “that” teacher had a demeanor that was abusive. He was a bully.  He would pick on the kids and give them nicknames.  My son was “Geekatroid.”  He also called a chunky kid “Hungry,” a super skinny kid “Mr. Invisible.”  You get my point.  Plus, it led to all the kids calling each other these awful nicknames.  It was all very Lord of the Flies.

Add in his classroom control which was threatening and you had a 3rd grade under siege.  Based on data, sweet talked from the school secretary,  “that” teacher’s class had the highest absentee rate of students and his class had the highest percentage of kids that went to the nurses office with stomach and headaches.  It was so bad that if my son called me from the nurses office with the code phrase “extreme stomach cramps.”  I knew it meant he was having an awful day at school and needed to come and rescue him – stat.

We made our list and then decided step two would be to have a conference with the school principal, present the list of grievances and demand some action be taken.  This is where we had some drop off in participation.  It’s one thing to show up at someone’s house and do the snack and bitch.  It’s another to sign your name to a document and show up to a meeting.

Out of the 14 mom’s in attendance only six would sign the grievance list and only three of us volunteered go have a meeting with the principal.  And I knew that at least one of the 14 mom’s currently enjoying my hospitality would go tattle on us to “that” teacher by the end of the day.  I adjourned my meeting, called the principal and requested a meeting with him the next day and then prepared to stake out my son’s classroom to see which mom would pull a Judas and betray us.

Thirty minutes before the bell rang I positioned myself in the library where I had a clear view of the door into my son’s classroom.  Bingo – at exactly 2:57, three minutes before the bell rang I spied a mom walking into the classroom.  I tip toed out of the library and there she was a mom I call “Fakey Face” for her way of sucking up to everyone and then cataloging everything you say for use in her flagrant lying rumor mill.

You know the type.  It’s all “Oh hi, I’ve missed seeing you.  Did you have a good summer? Did you guys take a big vacation this year?  No, you didn’t?  You just stayed here and had fun.  Good for you?”

From the innocent tidbit that your family choose not to take a summer vacation she’ll start her faux concerned routine and start spreading gossip by asking other moms questions like, “Is Snarky okay, because I talked with her today and I think her family is having financial problems?”

That’s all it takes, one pick up and drop off cycle for all the moms at school to think your family is the economic dumpster. How does no summer vacation equal house foreclosure?  So, that’s a long way of saying I wasn’t surprised in the least to see Fakey Face giving us up.  I couldn’t hear what she was saying, but I didn’t’ have too.  I then saw Mr. “that” teacher strutting to the principal’s office to do what I’m sure was a preemptive strike on our meeting tomorrow.

Our meeting with the principal went just like I thought it would.  He politely listened to our concerns by nodding his head a couple of times and saying hmm, a lot. He took our list and said he would look into it immediately and then asked each of us to fill out a district complaint form on the teacher.  I said I would gladly fill out the form, but would it do any good, because I’m guessing his file probably has dozens of complaint forms in it already.  I then cut to the chase and said, “What does it take to get rid of a teacher?  A lot apparently.

Basically, my take away was as long as the teacher isn’t touching the child inappropriately you’re looking at a long drawn out process. What good is No Child Left Behind, I ask you,  if you can’t leave a few teachers behind? I know some of you are thinking, “Girlfriend I would have gone into that meeting with a lawyer and threatened to sue the district.”

Good point. But, the whole attorney thing had been tried and nothing came of it.  Yes, parents got their kids moved, but “that” teacher was still there.  Me and the two other moms leave the meeting feeling like we let our kids down and we were all on the fence about filling about the district complaint form.

All three of us had younger kids working their way through the school.  What if the teachers got ticked off that we filed a complaint against one of their coworkers? That’s a big deal. Would they hold it against our kids?  We didn’t want our younger ones to suffer down the road.  We all said goodbye and went home to lick our wounds.

Whenever I can’t think, I vacuum.  As I was going back and forth over my wool family room rug, (that sheds worse than any dog I’ve ever owned – what’s up with wool?) it came to me – a plan.  Really, it was a flash of brilliance.

We would get rid of this teacher and we would do it by dropping a Mom Bomb on his toothpick sucking self.  I celebrated my genius by finishing off an entire sleeve of Chips Ahoy.  I had earned it. (Yes, I can eat that many cookies.  It’s one of my superpowers.)

After finishing the Chips Ahoy I got busy.  I called the two moms that had gone to the principal’s office with me, my Best Friend who did not even have a child in 3rd grade, but had two restraining orders against her (filed unjustly) so you know she’s bringing some serious heat and angry management issues and two other moms who last year had kids in that class and were still eating bitter for breakfast. Excellent.  As we all know bitter is powerful fuel and I intended to throw a kerosene soaked match on it.

In total, six moms were in and payback was just days away.

The Plan

Have you noticed, my friends, that since we’ve become moms society at large, even other moms, underestimate us. When we’re in our work environment we get taken seriously, but take off your heels, put on your mom uniform of choice (my go to is track pants and tennis shoes)  grab a kid and you’re nobody.  We’re all just clumped into the “soccer mom” category.

This is a huge mistake and insulting. Just because we have school aged children doesn’t mean our life is all mini-vans and cutting orange slices for soccer snacks.  We’re educated, accomplishment women.  Everyone needs to back off on the soccer mom label because we all know it’s just 21st century code for housewife. To lump a significant portion of  the population into that category is to grossly underestimate us and one does so at their own peril.  We are the multi-tasking, sleep deprived, masters of the universe.

I was planning on using that underestimation, to begin my reign of terror on “that” teacher.  I laid out my plan the next morning.  After school drop off my operatives reported to my house.  Upon entering I had to call for a vow of silence. Nothing could be leaked.  I also ratted out Fakey Face so the other moms could send laser beams of disgust her way. I do so believe in sharing.

The plan, as I saw it, was perfect. The brilliance was in the simplicity.  We were not going to do anything considered illegal in either civil or criminal court and it was very lady like, very mommish.  We were going to stalk “that” teacher every hour of every school day.

Moms are experts at stalking.  We’ve been stalked by our children since birth. How many of us have never gone to the bathroom by ourselves since having a child?  Our school has an open door policy with parents.  We are welcome to observe in any classroom everyday and “observe” we would do. I had taken a notebook and wrote on it in very large print “Documentation.”  All of us would start out by taking a couple of hours during the week to sit in the back of his class and write down anything we wanted in the notebook.

I didn’t care if it was a grocery list.  We just needed to look very busy and troubled as we wrote in the notebook.  When another “volunteer” would come into to class we would make a big deal of handing off the notebook and doing some serious whisper action.  Also in my stalkerazzi arsenal were the tools that said “good mommy, great school volunteer.”

I’m on the yearbook committee so my camera would be used to take pictures of him.  Another mom did the school year-end video.  We would set up her video camera just to tick him off and record his class. We also would use the P.E. volunteer stop watch to obnoxiously time his student interaction and then write it down dramatically in the documentation notebook.

“That” teacher would not even receive peace from us at lunch.  The teacher’s lounge and the workroom were combined so we would stalk him to the lounge and make copies of something during his lunch.  The only way he could escape us is the restroom.  But I had that covered too.

The teacher restroom is the only adult size potty in the place so whenever we saw him going in we would stand outside the door and knock and politely ask him “if he would be done soon.”  Imagine the horror of having moms, who you know hate you, following you around every second of your work day. Surprisingly no one balked at the time commitment and we were ready to drop the Mom Bomb the next day.

I was the first one to begin the stalk-a-thon.  I arrived with my son to class, plopped myself down in the one adult chair in the back of the room and made a big deal about getting out my notebook.

“That” teacher immediately came over to me and asked “What I was doing?”  I looked at him all sunshine and smiles and said in my best “Go Team” cheerleader voice, “Just observing.”

“Oh, okay,” he said.  “For how long?”

“Golly, I don’t know. I don’t have much going on today I thought I just might spend the day here. I’ll see how I feel after lunch.”

He snorted at me.  It was once of those man snorts that say, “We’ll see about this.”  At lunch time he went into the principal’s office and tried to get me ousted.  The principal came up to me and asked to “have a word.”  “By all means,” I replied grinning.

“Goodness gracious” was my response after the principal wanted to know what I was up to and then I did my version of the mom bully.

“Does it or does it not state in the school handbook, that you, yourself, wrote, that parents are allowed to observe in the classrooms at all times, expect during state testing.  That, in fact, all we need to do is sign in at the front desk and get our visitor badge. Well, I’ve got my badge and I’m not leaving.”

I then excused myself and started making copies in the lounge/workroom as “that” teacher ate his lunch.  After five minutes he ducked into the bathroom where I, 20 seconds later, knocked on the door and asked if he would be out soon.

“That” teacher spent all week trying to shake the six of us. He complained some more to the principal, had a temper tantrum about the video camera, the still camera and the stop watch.  We went all “mom” on the principal.

“Wow, we’re just taking pictures for the yearbook and so sorry about the video camera, but we have to have footage for the year-end video.”

As for the stop watch. “We just have it to help time those multiplication tests.”

He had a fit about the three moms that were “observing” that didn’t even have kids in the class.

Once again, I told the principal, who tried to oust them, that he needed to check that handbook he wrote.  It never says you can only observe in the class you have kids in.

“That” teacher also tried to give us volunteer tasks to get us of out the room.  Our response, “Um, no thank you.  I’m fine sitting here.”

I’m sure it was killing him that he had to put up his lap top and attempt to interact with his students.  I even got him busted for bringing a non-district approved computer to the school. I was all, “Oh my, what if the students got a hold of it.  That would be real shame and what good are rules if the teacher, the role model, doesn’t follow them.”

“That” teacher turned out to be a big baby. One of those men that can dish it out to 8 and 9 year olds, but can’t take it when it’s handed right back to him. By week two he started sweating profusely and got the shakes. By week three he started taking sick days.  By week five he had depleted all his sick and personal days.  By week six he was on extended personal leave.  By week 8 we had a full-time substitute, “Mrs. Delightful,” who was a wonderful teacher and excited about finishing the school year with “such an awesome group of third graders.”

By the next school year “That” teacher had transferred to a desk job in the administration building. Hopefully, he will never darken the door of a classroom again.  We have intell on him, just in case.  Do I look back and have any guilt about causing a middle-aged man to have a nervous breakdown?  No.  The Mom Bomb is a regret free explosive device.


I Was A Cougar (for five hours)

Screen Shot 2014-03-01 at 9.53.21 AMLet me state that I, in no way, I’m a cougar.  First, on the cougar scale of “hotness” I would be a three-legged cat with mange and a urinary tract infection. Secondly, I’m married which, I’m pretty sure, disqualifies me from cougardom. My excursion into the land of the cougar was purely scientific. I was there solely to observe and report. An acquaintance of mine, (let’s call her Super Cougar) was kind enough to be my guide into the labyrinth of the cougar habitat – Thursday night Happy Hour. Following her instructions I was to meet her at an upscale suburban bar in our neighborhood at 5:30 sharp. Because I was there only in a reporter capacity I didn’t feel to the need to turbo groom, but I did change into a skirt and attempted to blow dry my hair with the round brush that makes my arms hurt after about five minutes. When my hair was reasonable dry I put on my sandals with an actual heel, some lipstick and was good to go.

I arrived at the bar, right on time, and immediately experienced night blindness. Lord, I had forgotten how dark they keep bars.The only bars I usually frequented were the exceptionally well-lit dessert bars at the end of the buffet line. It took me a couple of minutes to spot my not quite a friend but probably now more than an acquaintance – Super Cougar. There she was in all her feline splendor at the bar. A sight to behold. Surrounded by three youngish men she was holding court. They were laughing, she was laughing, and touching them here and there. One guy she touched at the shoulder, another guy she touched his back. It was fascinating. The guys had to be in their late twenties. Super Cougar claimed to be forty-five. But, If I had to guess I would say she was a very well taken care of fifty-five year old. She was hot no matter what her age.  Great body, nice cleavage tastefully displayed in a designer top, long hair (blonde, of course), and long legs. You could tell she had been moisturizing everyday for the last thirty years. Hell, I didn’t look that good at twenty. Super Cougar is a successful real estate agent, who at last count had been married three times and was now in her words, “enjoying the attention of younger men who don’t think they know it all.” I say, you go girl. I walked up to Super Cougar and her fan club and said hi. The men gave me the once over and you could tell I didn’t pass inspection. I’m afraid the vibe I give off is “mom with kids.” It could be my perfume –  Eau De Tilex or the fact that after I shook hands with the young men I got out my hand sanitizer and asked if anyone needed to Purell.  They could tell, right away, I would not be wasting my grocery money to buy a round of drinks.

In another couple of minutes Super Cougar’s entourage arrived. It was a pack of fellow cougars that would prowl the bars together this evening. Super Cougar ditched her admirers and all the women sat down together at a table in the back of the bar that had an excellent view of the action. It was here the women mapped out their evening. They planned to go to three bars. The suburban bar we were now at was the “appetizer” bar.  It was here they sharpened their cougar claws. Next up was the downtown or “entree” bar where there was a bigger pool of youngish men to flirt with and to finish up the evening it was off to a sports bar. The sports bar had the best ratio of men to women but according to Cougar lore the sports bars are also were the largest number of “loser” guys hung out (and I think by loser they meant chubby and married). From what I could tell the women were looking for a night of ego boosting, flirty fun with young men that made them feel good about themselves. No one was looking to hook up (at least that’s what they told me) or in their words “God forbid” start a relationship. I hung out with the Cougars all evening and all I can say is the Cougs were a whole lot more interesting than the prey they stalked. I am now old enough to proclaim that: A large quantity of young men are boring, egocentric, lacking in good manners, spoiled, cheap and most, if not all, are afflicted with some form of ADHD due to massive amounts of time spent video gaming. Plus, since I do hail from the South I can also say without smirking that a gentleman never lets a lady buy him a drink. That pretty much sums up what I think of the Cougar’s prey. I just don’t see the attraction.

So as not to waste anymore time talking about the (yawn) prey let’s go to the good stuff – the Cougar. I have, once again, (see the Suburban Anthropologists Guide to the Elementary School Mother for more of my categorizing talents) in the interest of science, classified a category of species. Here is my “Felis Concolor” breakdown. (In alphabetical order)

Alpha Cougar (also known as Super Cougar): This is the premiere cougar. She is usually one of the older cougars but also the best looking. Her signifying marks are long, flowing locks, the ability to stride through a bar in very high heels and sit on a bar stool in a super short skirt without appearing vulgar. She commands attention and attracts the looks of not just the males in the bar, but also younger non cougar females. They know to be afraid and will place their paws on their males as a sign that they are taken.  The Alpha Cougar considers all males fair game and will not be deterred by any territorial displays. She owns the room. Young women take note. This cougar has claws and will take you down. You may have youth but she’s got the kind of seductive confidence that only comes from experience.

Big Money Cougar: Money is no object to this cougar. She drives a vintage sports car, just got back from an expensive trip and likes to buy drinks for any male under forty. Big Money Cougar is, of course, very popular. While, not always the hottest cougar her bucks more than make up for it. Her signature move is letting the twenty something men “sit” in her sports car in the bar parking lot. Big Money tells the boys if they’re lucky one night they might get to drive her and the car home.

Cougar-In-Training: This woman is a borderline cougar. She’s almost, but not quite, old enough to officially qualify for cougar status. She views the cougar outings as a chance to check out what her future holds. Most of the other cougars view her as a young competitive poacher trying to intrude on their prey. Approval from the Alpha Cougar is needed to allow the C.I.T. into the pack.

Glamorous Cougar: Do not make the rookie mistake of confusing the Glamorous Cougar with the Alpha Cougar. The Glamorous Cougar while very attractive and stylish doesn’t possess the confidence or the skill of the Alpha Cougar. Usually the Glamorous Cougar is newly divorced and can be either a little too needy or too aggressive. Either of those traits can scare off the younger prey. The Glamorous Cougar excels at turning heads – young and old. She delights in giving middle-aged men (i.e. her ex-husband’s age) the cold shoulder while courting the attention of the young 30 ish set.

Grandma Cougar: This cougar is in her 60’s, (although in a dark bar she can easily pass for 15 years younger) has seen her fair share of action and knows it’s probably time to entertain the thought of perhaps dating men in their late 40’s but the attention of much younger men has become like a drug. She has a fitness regimen that would probably tire a Navy Seal and her grooming is flawless. Yet, her hands and non bar lighting give away her true age. Grandma Cougar shuns sunlight like a vampire.

Sorority Cougar: This cougar is trying to relive her glory days when she was her sorority’s social chairperson. Sorority Cougar is always trying to plan mixers, I mean functions outside the bar environment. Movies, restaurants, etc. She hasn’t yet caught on that most Cougar relationships don’t exist in the alternate reality of the non-bar universe. Sorority Cougar is seen as a fun, safe cougar and is befriended by less sophisticated young men that feel threatened by the Alpha Cougar.

Sporty Cougar: Sporty Cougar is most at home, you guessed it, the sports bar. She knows her pro sports and NCAA Final Four brackets like an ESPN reporter. She also runs marathons, has done “just a couple” of triathlons, and plays any and all co-ed rec sports. Sporty Cougar excels at being one of the boys. Her signature move is challenging young men to try to keep up with her on one of her daily runs. Sporty sees the challenge as a “safe” date that could lead to more action. The young men are so sure of their ability to out run the cougar they have no idea they are being played.

Wanna Be Cougar: This little kitty is a timid cougar. She wants to go off with bigger, leaner and meaner cougars and hunt but just doesn’t have the claws for it. She hangs back in all group activities and is the last one to belly up to the bar. Her trademark move is waiting for the Super Cougar’s leftovers.

From my research I have concluded that for a woman to qualify as a Cougar she could be as young as 40, but she has to go after very young prey. For example, a 40-year-old woman who goes after a 23-year-old college students fits the Cougar Criteria. But a 40-year-old woman who buys a drink for a 35-year-old man is not a Cougar. It is all in the age differential. While I do not totally understand the attraction the Cougar has for the younger man I’m all for equality. Men have been actively hunting younger woman since before we discovered fire and the wheel. So, for you Cougars out there – meow baby, meow.

***For all things wonderfully Snarky go to where you can find the new winter Snarky line of clothing and accessories. (Flannel Snarky P.J.’s anyone?) Plus, there’s my book – Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. (Click here for purchase information.)

Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. 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.