August – The Bipolar Month have a love hate relationship with the month of August. The hate comes, I think, from being water-logged. By now I have clocked so many hours in a pool or at a waterpark I feel like the Center for Disease Control should have me on a retainer for some sort of long-term chlorine exposure experiment.

 I’m also extremely weary of the swimsuit/bathroom shimmy. Now, if you’re a guy or a woman who has only worn a bikini her whole life (and may I just say right now that I admire either your self-confidence and/or dedication to the burpee) you won’t know what I’m talking about. So, let me try to explain to those of you who have never experienced the hand-to-hand combat of peeling off a wet, Lycra infused one piece.

 Imagine if your body was being hugged to death by a slippery, yet very tenacious and amorous seal. Now, envision trying to remove that seal from your body. You tug, you pull and eventually you hop and up down trying to enlist gravity to be on your team. Finally, you manage to roll your one piece down far enough so you can use the bathroom. That, my friends was the easy part because now you have to do the ultimate heave-ho and get that wet sucker back on.

 It’s a Sisyphean task. No matter how hard you yank your swimsuit up it barely moves. Wet Lycra must have the adhesion quality of duct tape infused with Gorilla Glue. By the time I have my suit at my stomach I usually resort to prayer and request divine intervention for the final journey – up and over the boobs. Last month at the Schlitterbahn water park it was such an arduous task getting my swimsuit off and on that by 2 p.m. I had reached my Fitbit goal for the day. It had to be all the jumping.

 Right about now I’m also sick of being hot. Heat is the enemy. Yes, I know lots of folks love living the 110-degree life. I just don’t happen to be one of them. Primarily because I find hot weather unattractive. There’s the sweating, the bad hair days, the melting make up and all the shaving. Could anything be more yuck?

 Now, let’s take a gander at fall and winter, summer’s much more beautiful sisters. These seasons are all about long sleeves, long pants and cable knit sweaters so bulky they conceal a wide variety of sins like weekly trips to the Krispy Kreme drive thru. And then there’s my favorite thing in the whole wide world – low humidity.

When that first crisp hint of autumn is in the air I become giddy. It’s life affirming and that’s just me talking about my hair. It’s got a bounce, a shine, a sheen that says, “Here you go brave girl. This is just for you for surviving summer.”

 August also brings unwanted attention to my lackluster parenting skills. Every summer I become a slacker mom. Anything that smacks of school from reading logs to summer assignments and “must have this done before school starts” packets I completely ignore nagging my kids about until the calendar says August 1.

Then it’s time for me to go into what I call the hurry and harass mode. Hurry, as in, “What do you mean you haven’t even gotten the book yet? You better get a move on it right now!” After that I follow-up with a level of harassment so fierce that my kids accuse me a being a bully or worse a “summer buzz buster.”

 All this school talk brings me to what I love about August. Yep, you guessed it – school starting! I’m not and never have been one of those moms that does the big boo hoo about her precious flock going back to school. The crocodile tears mothers are the worst.

Primarily because their angst is so disingenuous. I believe that these moms are confused and feel that to maintain their “Mother of the Year” street cred they must act inconsolable about their children being gone seven, wonderful, delicious, hours a day.

 So for you ladies getting ready to assault social media with your tales of abandonment because school has started and giving an Meryl Streep level performance of misery and despair at “Meet the Teacher” night may I suggest you rethink this strategy because no one is buying it. Mainly because if you’re that bereft about being child free why wouldn’t you just home school? 

 A couple of years ago at one of those back-to-school coffees I asked a mom who was clutching a handful of Kleenex that question. Let’s just say it didn’t go well.

 Of course, a downside to school starting, besides the phony mom weeping, is school supply shopping. I’m still in recovery from being at Target during a school sales tax holiday. You would have thought it was T minus 24 hours till the rapture. You know if the rapture was all about going to heaven with Trapper Keepers and college ruled notebooks. The best/worst was when two moms began fighting over the last couple of three-ring binder folders.

 It was intense. I got really scared when one mom reached into her cart and started gesturing with a ruler and not one of those plastic floppy rulers. Oh no, she was going all back in the day, little red schoolhouse with a hardcore wooden one. I was like, “Uh oh, it’s a throw down” and settled in with my Diet Coke for what I was sure was going to dinner theatre – Target style. The one-act drama was interrupted when an employee saved the day by restocking folders.

 But trumping even theatrics at Target and school starting the biggest gift August brings is one of new beginnings. For anyone with children still pursing their educational journey this month is when the New Year starts. Forget about January 1. August is where it’s at.

There’s excitement and hope for what the school year will bring. Resolutions are made. New routines are established and parents everywhere, engulfed in the fumes of new backpacks and number two pencils, are wishing for their children to have their very best year yet.

*Attention 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! 🙂 



Overheard at the Pool – Part I

comics-expectation-vs-reality-swimming-pool-249641I’ve been doing my summer due diligence – spending vast amounts of time at the city pool. It amazes and amuses me what information one can pick up simply by donning sunglasses and stretching out on a lawn-chair. It’s like one becomes invisible and people feel like they have no need to edit their conversations. Hello, I’m almost sitting in your lap, so I can hear everything you’re saying to your lawn chair friend on the other side. Of course having the eavesdropping skills of a Russian operative also helps.

So far, three weeks into summer, I’ve heard about a suburban swingers club, a pregnant mom who is pretty sure the baby she’s carrying is not her husbands and a single mom who has hooked up with her daughter’s boyfriend while she’s off being a camp counselor. Incredible – right?  I’ve also been busy teaching some young mothers how to tame an “Aggressive Aqua Mom.”

The first day of diving lessons and a group of elementary school kids are ready to heave-ho themselves off the board. Their teacher/coach is a beautiful, sun-kissed blonde college student who first wows the kids with some amazing dives. The moms are all sitting at tables and chairs close to the boards so we can watch our kids master something besides the cannonball. Everything seems to be going well but twenty minutes into the hour lesson trouble shows up wearing a Speedo and tennis shoes.

Uh, oh. The Speedo tank suit on any middle-aged women, except for Dara Torres (at 41 she rocked the Speedo at the 2008 Olympics) is a big fashion no. Primarily because it doesn’t have breast support or tummy control. It’s nylon with very inadequate lining letting your boobs do the slightly smashed and sway dance. Add, tennis shoes to the mix and it’s not good. A five-year old girl, maybe, can pull off the look of walking abound the pool in a Speedo tank and tennies but not a 40 something. Oh, and I forgot to mention Mrs. Speedo’s tank was well used and a little thread bare. It had the whole saggy, baggy butt thing going on.

Mrs. Speedo has two kids with her and she marches up to the diving coach and begins to hijack the lesson. It begins with her introducing her children to the coach (not a problem) but then segues into a dissertation about her kids strength and weaknesses and the areas of improvement she’d like to see the teacher focus on. (Did I mention this was a beginners dive class?) As this continues on for seven minutes (yes, I was timing) the other wet kids stand by the diving boards and shiver.

At some point you hope the dive teacher/coach will take control of the conversation and get back to instructing the kids. In her defense she is young and I’m sure was taught to respect her elders. So, Mrs. Speedo continues to drone on, now were at ten minutes of blah, blah. You can feel the anger seething out of the other moms. None of whom I know. At last, a boy gets sick of waiting and dives off the board which starts the domino effect of other kids diving off the boards and the teacher has to quit giving her full attention to Mrs. Speedo to take control of the class back.

Problem solved I think. The kids are diving. The teacher is no longer being monopolized by Mrs. Speedo – it’s all good. Wrong. Mrs. Speedo, standing at the side of the pool, begins shouting instructions to her children as they dive. Then she hoists herself up on the medium high diving board (eschewing the ladder because it’s blocked with kids) to further yell at them. (Excuse me, I meant she’s offering motherly suggestions given in the spirit of love.) As she’s hoisting her body, which requires a kind of straddle and heave-ho motion to get up to the board, she does a full flash of her lady business to the moms seated pool-side. (Another reason no one should continue wearing a swimsuit with chlorine distressed nylon fibers.)  Now, that she’s claimed the diving board as her throne she uses her body as a barricade effectively blocking any other kids beside her own from using the board and keeps the diving teacher preoccupied with her two spawns as they attempt to refine their belly flops.

By now, all the moms are enraged. They’re talking and planning what to do. I pretend I’m engrossed in making a shopping list. Of course, I can solve the problem of Mrs. Speedo in a matter of minutes. I have, at least, ten years on most of these moms and the adult bully battle scars to prove it. But, these younger mothers have to learn by doing. I feel I must give them their wings and let them fly. The decision among the moms is to confront Mrs. Speedo. (Bad idea.)They decide to wait until after the lesson and go in a group of three. The whole safety in numbers thing.

Right after the kids take their last dive the three moms, two with babies on their hips (I’m thinking human shields), go up to Mrs. Speedo and try to “sweetly” tell her that they “don’t appreciate her interfering in the diving lessons” and that she’s was a “deterrent to the other students learning.” Like putting a match to dyer lint Mrs. Speedo bursts into flames. She gets right in the three moms’ faces and bellows, “Don’t you dare tell me how I can interact with my own children” etc. etc. The tirade continues for about two minutes (yes, once again, timing) the younger moms continue to back away from Mrs. Speedo, one of the two babies begins to cry and then one of the cute moms also starts going all boo hoo.

I, sigh, shake my head, stand up and enter into the fray. I’m nothing, if not a sucker for tears. I use my age, girth and height to assume an alpha dog status. I separate Mrs. Speedo from the shell-shocked moms and begin to show the early thirty something moms how it’s done. Watch and learn my young ones, watch and learn.

Their first mistake was going on the offensive. Any chick strutting around in a Speedo, who flashes her follicle rich privates without even a “begging your pardon” and never takes off her tennis shoes is not someone you can confront. Her fashion sense and bossy behavior at the dive lesson all points to the fact that she likes, and I would guess, even looks forward to confrontation. So, you don’t go that route. You’ll lose. This kind of woman responds to flattery. I lay it on thick.

Step one: I introduce myself as a great admirer of her instruction technique. “Did she use to be on a dive team or a coach? Really, never. You sure wouldn’t think after watching. Gosh, you were really great.”

Step two: Compliment her children. “Your kids were awesome.  Do they have some kind of gymnastic training? They seem athletically gifted. I bet they play select sports.”

Step three: Go in for the kill.  “Don’t you think your kids are too advanced for this class?  Wow, if my daughter was that good I would take her to the Dive Academy. That’s where all the real athletes are. You don’t know about it?  Just in case you didn’t I wrote it down for you. I got the number off my phone. Here, take this. I’d give them a call now and see about starting tomorrow. Your kids are good to waste any more time here. I mean really, just look around, it’s a pretty talent free environment.”

Mrs. Speedo is now preening and actually scratches her crotch while I’m talking. She agrees with everything I say, (shocking – not) and hurries to get her phone to make that call. Problem solved. Mrs. Speedo has been delicately hustled off  to another dive class where she can be some other group of mothers problem. Yes, I’m that good. I turn to see the young moms watching me. One of them says, “We couldn’t really hear you. What did you tell her to get her to leave?”

Another mom fearfully ask, “She’s not coming back is she? What was in the piece of paper you gave her?” I tell this group of young hero worshippers that I would be glad to tell all. My price – an icy Diet Coke from the snack bar. When I receive the drink, the moms huddled around me.  A reverent hush takes over the covered snack bar area and I begin to share my tips for taking down the dreaded, but multiplying in frightening numbers, mom bully. Ah, it feels so good to be needed.