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 www.snarkygear.com 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 – http://is.gd/iEgnJ (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.

Undercover Snarky – The Finale

It was time.  At exactly 6:30 I was in the safe haven of the Target parking lot. It was our pre-determined rendezvous point. I was leaving my car here and Eleanor would be picking me up.

I was ready for battle.  I had on full makeup – serum, eyeliner, the works and my arms hurt from using a round brush to blow dry my hair.  My flab was tucked away under a double layer of Spanx, well really triple layer, if you count the compression properties of Spanx black “Tight End” tights. (Black tights are the only way a true cankle sufferer will expose her deformity.)

I wore my “I mean business” outfit, of a Boden black wrap dress, blazer and heels that would put me at a little over 6 feet tall. I needed the height. The PTF board would be on a raised dais and I would be speaking from the floor. I wanted to make sure I could not be easily dismissed.

I also carried my black with navy trim Coach Outlet brief case/bag. Full disclosure here, I bought it a couple of years ago because I thought is was a briefcase satchel with lots of nifty compartments. Come to find out it’s a friggin diaper bag! (What a fitting metaphor for my life.)

My final touch was an upgrade from a spritz of Gain Febreze to the newly released limited edition Febreze Seaside Spring & Escape. (I had a coupon.)  The whole hair, makeup, dress outfit were doing double duty. I wanted to convey a “I’ve been at an office being smarter than you” vibe and it was also a disguise.

I don’t normally look this way so if I ever run into to anybody that saw me at the meeting they wouldn’t recognize me. I sat in my car checking out my makeup in the rearview mirror when I saw Eleanor pull up. Wow, she looked good!  I think this was the first time either of us had seen each other in something besides jeans. I grab my diaper bag/briefcase, take one more glance at myself, hop out of my car and them almost wipe out because I had forgotten I had heels on.

I get in Eleanor’s front seat and ask, “Is everyone in position?”

“Yep, All Business and Moisturize More are already at the school. Cute Blonde is waiting to make an entrance and Orphan Annie is on stand by in the school parking lot.”

“Excellent.”

We get the school and I go in first. Eleanor follows me in about three minutes later with Orphan Annie not far behind. I didn’t want anybody to know that we’re together.

I approach the cafeteria and gasp. Imagine if you will the Kardashians running an elementary school meeting. I’ll give you a second to get that image in your head. Got it?  Okay, now I’ll continue.

As you enter the cafeteria there is a portable smart board set up with pictures of the PTF board members. These aren’t images of the board volunteering at the school or chaperoning a second grade field trip taken with someone’s iPhone. Oh no, think professional grade glamour shots with a wind machine.

There are single shots of each board member and group shots. Each one serving up a side of cleavage and some pouty lip action. My favorite was a black and white head shot of Priscilla Davis with bare shoulders, her neck extended, her face kind of arching towards the camera, the “wind” blowing her hair back and her glossy lips slightly parted.

In PG 13 terms it looked like she was about to get the backdoor ride of her life. If you know what I mean and I think you do.  While this photo collage was unfolding on the Smart Board the top 40 hit, “I’m Sexy and I Know It” was being played.  I don’t know if it was coordinated with the Smart Board or if the custodian had a radio on, but parents were entering the cafeteria to the lyrics of, “Girl look at that body, girl look at that body, girl look at that body I work out.”

I’m stopped from entering any further into the cafeteria by the sign in table. Parents are waiting about 10 deep in line to sign in. This is not something I want to do so I pretend I see someone I know and bypass the table. It was all good until a frisky PTF board member whose whole appearance shouts, “I vajazzle!” stops me.

“Excuse me, but all parents must sign in before entering the meeting.”

“Yes, I know. I’ll be right back to sign in, but I must talk to that other mom over there for just a second.”

Vajazzle didn’t seem like she was going to let me pass so I did my version of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” and said, “You have the prettiest skin. I need to talk to you later about what you’re doing. You look amazing.”

That’s all it took to get past Vajazz and get the seat I wanted. The last row by the exit door to the parking lot. I sit down and smile when I see Cute Blonde working the room. She didn’t let me down.

She was hot in a denim mini skirt with stretch boots that went over her knee. The best part about the outfit was the top. It was a tight long sleeve scoop neck t-shirt and oh God Bless her, Cute Blonde appeared to be bra less.  She didn’t have huge boobs. In fact, she was kind of what I would call a small B cup, but she had young boobs. Extremely pert, naturally sag free, 100% organic breasts that showed no sign of stretch marks, breast-feeding wear and tear or any other of the ravages of time that slowly teach our “twins” to touch our toes.

I was impressed and I was pretty sure every women in the room hated her which was just what I wanted. The PTF board couldn’t keep their eyes off of her. They keep on staring and whispering. It totally distracted them from the storm that was brewing.

Right before 7 o’clock Orphan Annie walked over and sat beside me. I wanted her next to me.  She was our weak link and I needed to keep an eye on her to make sure she didn’t blow it. She was also my ride out of here. I was pleased to see she was sans mustache.

Moisturize More was standing by the dais. She looked so good I might have shorten her name to just More. As I was staring at her she tripped and the contents of her purse dumped out of the dais. Cute Blonde went over to help her tidy up.

The air got sucked out the room when Cute Blonde bent way over and gave everyone in the first couple rows of seats a look down her shirt.  All Business was in the fourth row. She had on a suit and her hair had been given a professional blow out. Eleanor was on an aisle seat seven rows back. The meeting didn’t start until 7:05 because that’s how long it took for the “Pussy Cat Dolls” of Spring Creek Elementary to strut up on the dais.

Board president Priscilla Davis grabbed the microphone and did the fling and shake with her hair like she was filming a shampoo commercial. My feeling is when you are legally of age to buy alcohol you need to remove “hair flinging” from your repertoire. She then called the meeting to order.

The first 10 minutes were all about the pledge of allegiance, the parent and teacher welcome, approving the minutes from the last meeting and then, finally, we got to the good stuff  – voting on the slate of officers. It was go time.

I stand up, walk into the aisle and raise my hand making it impossible not to notice me, but alas, the board president attempts to do just that. I then use one of two “gifts” the Lord gave me, the ability to amplify my voice without the aid of a microphone.  “Pardon me,” I say, “Pardon.”  Everyone turns around and looks at me (remember I’m in the back row) thus forcing Priscilla to acknowledge my presence

She growls, “Yes.”

“Hi everyone,” I say, “I’m Sam’s mom”

(Sam being the most common boy’s name at the school and as every women reading this knows once you have a kid any introduction of yourself for the next 18 years will begin with “I’m _____ mom.  Also, it’s a safe bet if you’re trying to infiltrate a school that you pretend to be the mother of a boy. The mothers of girls know each other better. I think it’s because the mom/daughter connection fosters more gossip due to an estrogen fueled “need to know” quest. I also find that generally the moms with a higher daughter to son ratio will be the ones that run the school. I’m not saying its’ right. I’m just saying that’s the way it is.)

“And one of my New Year’s resolutions was to become more involved in my son’s school. (There’s a slight chuckle from the audience.) So, here I am!  I just want to say that I have a . . .”

(The next three words I’m about to say, will, if all goes right, be the beginning of BBG (Bitches Be Gone).

“Point of Order.  I don’t believe we can vote on the slate of officers until the entire membership, that’s all of us here, vote on the changes that were made to the bylaws that allow officers to serve more than two years. So, what I’m thinking is that the new bylaws need to be voted on first and if that passes then we can vote on the proposed slate of officers.”

Priscilla fires back in a bored tone (like how dare the little people annoying me), “But the bylaw changes were already approved in an executive session meeting the board had last month.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, I must not have made myself clear, the board can not approve any bylaw changes without a full vote of the membership. That means it’s great that all of you voted it in (as I’m saying this I use a sweeping arm gesture to indicate the board) but it really means nothing until the membership votes.”

All Business stands up and shouts out, “Yes, what’s she saying is 100% correct. We need to vote on the bylaw changes first.”

Then a rogue mom jumps up to speak. I’m thinking she’s the enemy because she’s wearing fur.  Who wears a full length fur with jeans to a school meeting? It’s not even cold enough for a fur. (Granted it’s better than horsey pants with a fur, but still it’s a little wrong.) It went from bad to worse when the first words out of her mouth were, “When I was Junior League President.”

Holy mother of God, I now have a furry former Junior League President to deal with. Crap. Faithful Snarky readers know I was, back in the day, kind of, kicked out the Junior League  (See: So, I Was Kicked Out of the Junior League – Is that So Wrong?)  so I don’t exactly have the warmest feelings towards the organization. I have to be careful or Furry will hijack the whole meeting. I don’t want to yield any of my power so I stay standing. I give All Business a look and she also doesn’t sit down.

Furry Junior League continues with, “We at the Junior League followed the strictest code of parliamentary procedure in accordance with the Junior League policy on meeting conduct so I must take an exception to Sam’s mom statement that the membership has to vote on the bylaw changes. First, we have to vote on rather to vote on the bylaw changes.”

Great, I’m thinking death by Parliamentary Procedure, and really how many times can one woman work Junior League into a sentence, but at least the Furry J.L. backed me up – kind of.  I’m pretty sure she’s wrong about the vote about the vote, but what the hell I need to move this meeting along.

I say, “So we need a motion from the floor to vote on whether  to vote on the new bylaws.

All Business makes the motion, Moisturize more seconds it and it sounded like everyone said, “Aye” meaning it was time to move on to the actual vote on the bylaw changes.

Priscilla, clearly aggravated as signaled by her repeated lip gloss applications, keeps trying to push everyone to vote on the bylaw changes.  She says, “Enough of this let’s vote on the bylaws.”

I hop up again, “Sorry, to be such a pain, but I believe before we vote you need to entertain any discussion from the floor about the bylaw changes.”

Priscilla sighs, kind of stamps her foot while picking at a cuticle and very quickly says, “Alright, is there any discussion from the floor. I’m thinking no, so let’s go to the vote.”

Eleanor springs out of her seat and yells, “I’d like to discuss it.”

I shout, “Me too, because I’m thinking you ladies are saints to want to be PTF board members AGAIN.  Give yourself a much-needed break and let someone else do the heavy lifting.”

This gets the crowd talking.  Priscilla, looks just the slightest bit panicked and I see her glancing at her other board members.

She then almost eats her microphone and says, “It’s not a problem. We all loooooove volunteering.  We’re all about the kids.”

Orphan Annie jumps up and goes 100% off script and yells, “Yeah, it’s all about your own kids not yours!”

Which was all Cute Blonde needed to hear. She says, “Hey, Priscilla how many times has your daughter gotten Student of the Month? Three times? Is that how you’re all about the kids?”

The crowd is now getting into it. Awesomeville! Priscilla is banging her gavel which she or someone has glued crystals to so it looks like something a judge would use if they were holding court in a strip club.

I then go to part 2 of the plan. Part 1 was to stir the pot and get things to a boil. Part 2 was to give the principal a little ass whooping.  I signal to Moisture More by holding up the peace sign.  She moves out into the aisle and says, “Let’s all speak one at a time so everyone can be heard.”

This does the trick and as the crowd gets semi-quiet. I say, “I’m new to this whole volunteering thing, but and I guess this question goes to the principal how do moms get to pick things like student of month and decide what child gets an award. Isn’t that your job and the teachers?  Why would you abdicate that responsibility to parents? I mean, talk about a conflict of interest. You can’t expect a mom to not think her kid is award-winning.” (With that I get my second chuckle of the meeting.)

The principal stands up and walks towards the front of the cafeteria. I know this type of principal very well.  He’s about 20 months shy of retirement, will do just about anything not to rock the boat and that includes letting (let’s use the political correct term for these moms) “strong willed” parents run roughshod over him as long as they don’t go bugging anybody at the district level. He looks right at me and says, “Now who are you?”

I say with a great, big, proud mommy smile, “Sam’s mom!”  So, why are you letting the PTF board do this. It’s a clear violation of FERPA. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

(Pausing a minute here to give a shout out to some alert Snarky Facebook friends who several months ago told me about FERPA.  Little did I know then that I could use this knowledge to give a lackluster principal a spanking.  That said, I don’t think FERPA really applied to this situation, but what the hell, it got the job done.)

He hems and haws a little bit and says, “Well, seeing that the PTF pays for the awards I didn’t see a problem when they approached me about taking over the award process completely.”

“That sir,” I say, “Sucks!”

For a nano second total silence and then, lead by my team, the crowd breaks out in applause.

Not waiting for the applause to die down, I add, “I will be going to the district with this, like, tomorrow.  I’m very disappointed in your leadership skills” and then for the first time in 10 minutes I sit down.

All Business stand up and says, “I think based on what we’ve heard from other parents that I’m going to make a motion that we do not approve the new by laws.”

Furry JL pops up and says, “I second it, but I think the board should get a chance to speak.”

One dad, says very sarcastically, “Haven’t they’ve done enough?”

All Business takes back control and says, “Let’s vote first.”

The Ays had it.  The new bylaws went in the toilet.

Priscilla gets to her feet, leers at all of us and croaks out, “Well, without the new bylaw changes approved you don’t have a slate of PTF officers.  Have you thought of that?”

Eleanor says, ‘Yes, we have.”  She reaches down into her Whole Foods tote bag and pulls out a bunch of papers and says,” I’d like to hand out this proposed slate of officers for everyone to look at and approve for the January 2015 – January 2016 school year.”

Orphan Annie, More, Cute Blonde and Eleanor all get up to help pass out the papers. Priscilla is back sitting down on the dais and she’s whisper bitching up a storm with her officers. As the last of the papers are being passed out she stands up, grabs the microphone and says, “I make a motion that we wait one month until the next PTF meeting to vote on this proposed slate of officers.”

I stand up and say, “No one, I mean not a soul, second this. The last thing you need to do is give these women 30 days (I’m now making jabbing gestures into the air with my fingers) to come up with another way to screw you over and by that I mean screw your kids over.”

God, this was FUN!!!  And then I see Horsey Pants stand up and she smiles at me.  “Oh crap,”I’m thinking here comes that screw over.

Horsey says, “I make a motion that we vote on the proposed slate of officers right now. A whole out with the old (she says that while staring at Priscilla) and in with the new kind of thing.”

Cute Blonde quickly seconds.

All Business says, “All in favor?”

You hear a rather loud cry of “Ayes!”

The PTF board on the dais looks ready to cry and then Furry J.L. stands up and says, “I think this was done incorrectly. The motions from the floor could be invalidated because some of the officers that were on the slate made the motions indicating a conflict of interest.”

Which was true.  All Business was slated and just voted in as the President, Eleanor is the new treasurer. Cute Blonde is Fundraising, Moisturize More is Teacher Liaison and Orphan Annie is recording secretary.

Before Furry J.L. could get ruin all our hard work with her “True Life Adventures of a Junior League President” I initiate the chaos contingency plan to end the meeting fast. We got what we wanted and now everyone needed to vacate the premises – pronto.

I went to the idea I had when I first saw Pricilla’s Goldilock’s tresses at Starbucks – Head Lice.

I stand up again, put on my reading glasses and walk towards the dais, bend down, jump back and yell, “Oh my God, there’s head-lice all over this floor under this table.

Moisturize More runs up and says, “Priscilla you have nits on you right now!  Lice love chemically processed hair!”

Priscilla screams bloody murder, the rest of the six Kardashian board member jump out of their chairs, scream and because it’s human nature when something is “allegedly” on you – shake their hair.

I yell,”For God’s Sakes stop shaking your infested manes. All of you are lice bombs. Everyone clear out!”

In actuality, I had taken tiny white sesame seeds purchased from an Oriental Market and given them to Moisturize More. When her purse “accidently” dumped out on the dais before the meeting she and Cute Blonde sprinkled the seeds underneath the table. The seeds looked enough like lice, if someone called attention to them, to cause a freak out, which was all I needed.

Horsey Pants, giddy ups and follows my clear out command with, “God Priscilla isn’t this like the third time you’ve had head lice?”

Well played,Horsey Pants, well played.

As people rush to distance themselves from Team Head Lice I get Orphan Annie and we walk towards the lone back door in the cafeteria and exit. The cold breeze feels good and I start looking for a BMW sports car.  All I see is the damn conversion van. I look at Orphan Annie and say, “The Van?! I thought we were getting your husband’s car?”

“Oh,” she says, “He wouldn’t let me use it.”

Wouldn’t let you? I’m thinking I need to release myself from my vow of never offering marital advice sooner than later.

“Whatever,” I say, “Let’s get out of here.”

We both climb into the beast, it takes two tries to get the engine to turn over and after about 3 minutes were off school property and headed to the Target parking lot.

I look over at her, smile and go,  “Say it.”

“Say what?” she asks.

“You know what I’m talking about. Just say it. You can do it. It will feel good and I won’t tell a soul.”

She looks at me, laughs and goes, “I can’t. I really can’t.”

“Come on. You can do it. Just blurt it out.”

Okay, that was Ffffffff’ing Awesome!!”

I laugh and say, “Yeah, it sure was.”

Epilogue:  A New Officers Board Meeting Training is set for this Friday. To date the previous, ousted board members have yet to turn in their notebooks to the women taking over their positions which is probably just as well, what with the “lice”, and all.  Also, the day after the board meeting the children at Spring Creek Elementary had to eat lunch in their classroom because the janitorial staff, following District procedure, had to give the cafeteria a “deep clean

Snarky Note: This recounting of events, in no way, represents all Parent Teacher Organizations.  I have made some on my very best friends while serving on Parent boards. For those of you itching to get over to the comment section and call me a hater that should try volunteering at my kid’s school instead of writing a lame blog please take a deep breath and keep reading.  I have served on four Elementary School Parent boards, chaired fundraisers, ran the book fair twice, written the newsletters and been room mom more times than I have fingers to count on.  I have, though, never done any of those things while wearing horsey pants or sporting hair extensions.

 

Undercover Snarky – Almost The Conclusion

One of the last things on my to do list was to pay a visit to the now infamous (to me) Spring Creek elementary school.

The morning before the PTF meeting I’m in the school parking lot waiting for Eleanor. My plan is for both of us to walk in together, sign the parent volunteer sheet, slap on a Spring Creek Elementary School “visitor” sticker and do some recon.

Eleanor pulls up beside me and we both get out of our cars. I follow her lead as we walk into the school.  Just as I thought, it’s easy peasy to sign in at the front desk, (I don’t think the school secretary even looked up from her computer as soon as she recognized Eleanor) and walk to the workroom.  Here, like in most schools, are where you find the copy machines, paper, staplers etc and moms (I know Dad’s volunteer, but in my nine years straight of having at least one child in elementary school I have never seen a father collating worksheet packets.) allegedly assisting their child’s teacher.

The mother maybe hard at work die cutting hearts for the February bulletin boards, but she’s also multi-tasking by gossiping her ass off. That made the workroom ground zero to gauge the mood of the moms.  As Eleanor and I were about to enter the workroom she stopped short.  I asked her, “What’s up?”  Thinking our big game – Priscilla Davis might be in there.

Eleanor stepped back and said, “Crap. I hate that mom.”

I peak over her shoulder and say, “Which one are you talking about?” There were three moms in the workroom.

“The petite one right by the copier with those stupid boots on.”

I look in again and see a woman, in immediate need of a sandwich, in riding boots and freaking breeches or whatever the hell you call those pants that fancy people who ride horses wear. (Oh pardon me, I mean equestrians) Did she ride her horse to school because I didn’t see a hitching post in the parking lot?

I ask Eleanor, “Do you hate her because she wears her horsey pants to volunteer at the elementary school? Because if so, that’s enough for me?”

“No, I hate her because we’ve had kids the same age and in the same class for like five years and she never ever remembers who I am. God, I’m so sick of it. I’ve probably re-introduced myself to her 100 times.”

“Ohhhh,” I say, “One of those. A mom with a bad case of arrogance amnesia. The old ‘you’re not important enough for me to remember therefore I’ll pretend I don’t know you as a way to signal my superiority.’ Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s go in there and mess with her.”

Eleanor gave me a pained expression so I said, “Correction. I’ll go in there and mess with her.  You pretend you need to make copies.”

With that we both walk into the work room and whatever conversation/gossip the three women were having stops. Eleanor says hi and I smile and nod at everyone.  Horsey pants sneers and says, “Do I know you two?

I give her an over the shoulder confused look and say, “You’re joking right?”

“No, I’m not. Have we’ve ever been introduced? She then gives both of us the snobby once over. “I don’t recollect meeting either of you and I don’t think I would know you from the club or the barn.”

THE BARN! I’m biting down on my lower lip to keep from howling and suddenly the lyrics to the classic 1950’s TV show – Mr. Ed pop into my head.  (No, I not that old, but who hasn’t heard the Mr. Ed song sometime in their childhood.) “ A horse is a horse, of course, of course, And no one can talk to a horse of course.  That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mister Ed.”  What a huge Mr. Ed’s ass this woman is. I get it lady you ride horses. That doesn’t make you Kate Middleton.

Instead of singing the Mister Ed theme song I say in a very concerned voice, “Okay, now you’re scaring me. You do know me from the barn. I’m the dressage champion (points for me pulling that term right out of my butt.) and  Eleanor and you have had kids in the same class for years.”

I then do a long drawn out “Ohhhhhhh” and all of the moms give me a weird look, including Eleanor.

This is when I stick the knife in and rotate it counter-clockwise, “I am so, so sorry. I should have realized you’re going through menopause and having those memory lapse issues my mom’s Red Hat Society always talks about. Don’t worry according to my mom it all comes back after your body gets used to the non-estrogen lifestyle. You’ll be fine. Circle of life, my friend, Circle of life.”

As Horsey Pants is turning bright red I’m grabbing Eleanor’s shoulder and turning her towards the door.  We both walk out and Eleanor whispers, “Oh my God.”

I say, “I have no doubt she’ll remember you now.”

Eleanor still whispering, which was starting to aggravate me, says, “Yeah and not it a good way.”

“Stop worrying and count your blessings. I’m guessing she’ll never even make eye contact with you again. Now, where’s the cafeteria?”

Eleanor showed me the cafeteria and how the meeting would be set up. The PTF board members have the custodian set up a dais for them with microphones and a smart board. When Eleanor tells me this I look at her and ask, “How many parents come to the meeting that they need a dais and microphones?  Most elementary school PTA meetings are lucky to get two dozen parents.”

“They really publicize the meetings and they take role. Your kid isn’t eligible for any awards if at least one parent or guardian doesn’t come to a meeting.”

“Shit.” I say, “They TAKE roll. (Totally dismissing the just as shocking fact that school awards are based on parental attendance at a PTF meeting.) Why didn’t you guys tell me this? I’ll need to work around that.  Do they take roll at the beginning of the meeting? Is it a verbal roll call or do they just circulate a sign in sheet?”

“They take roll as soon as you walk in  There will be table right here and two of the board members watch you sign in.”

“Don’t tell me they check I.D.?”

“No. I don’t think so. Is this going to be a problem?”

“Maybe, but don’t worry about it.  I’ll improvise. Now show me the exits that will open and not set off an alarm.”

A couple of minutes later I feel confident that I know the school’s layout and walk back out, solo, to my car. Oh perfect, there’s Horsey Pants in the parking lot. She walks up to me and says, “Not that it’s any of your business, but I am far too young to be going through menopause.”

I was ready to just give her some more grief, but then a thought occurred to me. To pull off this scheme the Nut Ups will need parental support. This is an awesome opportunity to turn Horsey Pants into an ally.

“Hey,” I say, “You look early 30’s tops to me (Total lie. She looks 40ish on a good day.) But, Priscilla Davis has been telling everyone your going through the big M complete with drippy hot flashes. I’m sure she’s jealous of you. Seriously, everyone is. You should come to the PTF meeting tomorrow. Did you hear she’s trying to be PTF president – again?  Like she thinks she’s queen of the school or something. You want to get back at her – show up.”

“How would going to the PTF meeting get back at her?”

“I don’t really know, but I heard a rumor it’s going to be good.”

“How good?”

“How about that big, bleached blonde, head of hair of hers is going to be ground zero for a school wide lice epidemic and that’s just for starters.”

Horsey pants gave me a full mouthed smile and I my first thought was wow, those are some bad veneers. If I were her I might want to cut back on the horsey expenditures for some better cosmetic dentistry. After I got past the slipshod teeth I smiled back and said, “So, will I see you tomorrow night?”

“Oh, I’ll be there,” she purrs, “And I’ll bring friends.”

We both go to get in our cars and as she opens her door she looks back at me, wrinkles her brow, squints her eyes and says, “Are you sure I know you?”

“Yes, I’ve been at this school for years.”

 

 

Undercover Snarky

 It is not humanly possible for me to mind my own business.

Some may call that an immense character flaw. I call it the makings of a great humanitarian. I proudly choose to not live a life of suburban isolation. Instead I choose suburban pot stirring.  So that’s why when a friend of mine asked for help breaking up a PTA coven, instead of saying, “What the hell?”  I said, “Hell yes!”

I meet Eleanor last year. We both had children who were doing a club sport. Which in my neck of the burbs means your child has aged out of playing on neighborhood teams and now seeks to empty your wallet by being on a team that requires “try outs.”

Beware newbie parents of any sport that has a “try out” criteria. It’s code for “this is going to cost you a whole bunch of money.” I’m not kidding about this. One of my (many) money-making schemes is starting some kind of competitive league for something or other like the Blue Ribbon Elite Breathing Society.

All parents (suckers that we are) need to hear is the word elite, select or competitive and we’ll pay thousands of dollars for the privilege of our child being one of the chosen ones. It’s an awesome business venture.  Parents fork out money for the lessons, the league events, the extra training/coaching sessions, the uniforms, travel, registration fees etc. Talk about a cozy little nest egg.

There are upsides to club sports. One of them is that your child gets to meet and compete with a lot of kids outside their school district environs. Which, of course, means you, the parent, also get to meet a lot of new people. That’s how Eleanor and I became friends and bonded on the bleachers.

This fall Eleanor began sharing tales of what life was like at her youngest child’s elementary school. Most of the stories focused on the PTA. Which sounded like a domestic terrorist organization that vajazzles. Hello, Homeland Security.

I, with my giving spirit, would offer advice as in: “By God, if my kid went to that school I would do blah, blah and blah.”

We’ve all done it – talking big and braggy about how if we were in someone else’s shoes what we would do  and how it would be infinitely superior to whatever they were doing.

I find woman are most vocal about any kind of husband misbehavior. Brace yourself for the onslaught of righteous indignation flimsily disguised as advice if any friend, colleague, acquaintance or airplane seat mate confides or confesses that their spouse is a huge jack hole.

We will get all worked up, offer a slew of “you should do this” guidance and then snuggle up and get cozy in our blanket of “I feel so blessed” (and by that we mean superior) because our husband “would never to do that.”  Really, a good tale of someone’s jerk of a husband can make your whole day.

Well, just after the new year Eleanor decided to take me up on some my esteemed advice. She requested my assistance with her daughter’s elementary school PTA.  I was all, “Of course, what can I do to help?”

I was assuming she desired more of my sage wisdom and Lord knows hearing myself talk while offering advice are two of most favorite things in the whole wide world right behind Diet Coke and Target. But no, Eleanor wanted a little more from me than my vocal cord calisthenics.  She wanted me to get involved, mix it up, if you will, with the PTA board. She wanted me to go to their next meeting. Oh my, this was quite a gift.

It’s one thing to go to your own kids schools and do a little PTA throw down. Yet, you can really only go so far.  For the most part you have to behave yourself because you’re forced to interact with these women everyday and there’s the principal and usually a few teachers at the meetings. So you can’t go full-out crazy mom. You have to be tactical and a little more stealth.

It’s a long-term mission that requires a mixture of covert ops and perhaps some incendiary devices.  But, just think of the crap you could rain down on a PTA meeting where you would possibly never see or have contact with any of the people again.  For me, it was the stuff dreams are made of.

Before I bellowed yes and jumped in the air while doing fist pumps I told Eleanor she would have to go more in-depth about what the problem is they wanted resolved.  What was their goal? In addition I would need a little face time with the “other moms” she kept talking about that also desired my help.

A meet and greet was scheduled for the next day at 4:30. The “other moms” would meet us outside the building where Eleanor’s and my kid practiced. I came prepared with my trusty reporters notebook (Staples 2 for $3. You should pick up a few. Also great for grocery lists.)  As I’m talking with Eleanor and freezing my butt off, a white, a little bit worse for wear, Conversion van pulls up that looks like something John and Kate Plus 8 drove pre marital meltdown.

The van stops, Eleanor waves, a passenger window rolls down and a woman who needs to up her moisturizer game (maybe a night-time serum with some retinol A and a vitamin C chaser) says, “Get in.”

For a second I thought, “Get in? Was I being kidnapped? I was doing these ladies a favor. Not that I expected anyone to say, “Welcome, Oh Great One.” (It would have been nice) but, seriously, “Get in?”

I looked at Eleanor and she whispered, “They’re kind of skittish about this whole thing, but it will be okay.”

I replied in a very definite non-whisper, “Yeah, well if any of this is going to work these moms need to nut up.”

(By the way, what is the female equivalent of nut up?  Would it be ovary up? Get your fallopian tube out of a bunch or unclench your uterus, is that even possible? None of those sound nearly as good to me as the classic “Nut Up.”)

I reluctantly climbed in the van and I’m greeted by first the reek of boy feet, with an underlay of fermented french fry and finished off with  the funk of unidentified lunch box refuse. It was a turbo sinus cleanse.

There are four women already seated in the van. The driver, a friendly woman with curly hair and a big smile. Like Little Orphan Annie all grown up. She must suffer from some sort of terminal nasal passage blockage (I’m thinking a tumor – hopefully benign) because I don’t know how she drives this van everyday without a) passing out or b) taking it to the nearest full service car-wash for a complete detail job.

There was the window greeter – Moisturize More.  She seemed pretty no-nonsense.  I was poised not to like her, but then I noticed we had on identical track pants and I knew I had found a kindred spirit.

In the back row of seats was a very pretty young mom with short blonde hair that accented her wrinkle free face. (I’m thinking – show off.) Next to her was Ms. All Business. This mom had the body language of a woman who could run a Fortune 500 company and the militant bob haircut that would like great in an Ann Taylor suit.

Eleanor and I sat down in the middle row of seats and Moisturize More asked if I wanted a drink and lifted the lid off a cooler filled with Diet Pepsi.

My friends, this is when I began to feel more than a little disrespected.  Diet Pepsi, in a can, not even a bottle, in a cooler, in a I’m guessing, 1994 Conversion van with odor issues.  Was this anyway to woo someone to do your bidding?  Hell no.

My first order of business was to class up this group. I suggested, okay demanded in a chit chatty way, to, at the very least, be taken to a McCafe, which is McDonalds attempt to be swanky and yet still serve the same addictive swill. They do, though, have Diet Coke on tap and even the aromatic stylings of McRib would smell way better than this van.

Orphan Annie, looks at Eleanor and says, “Do you think it would safe?”

I look around at all of them say, “There’s a McCafe right down the street. Why wouldn’t it be safe?”

Eleanor says, “No, no, it’s not that. We’re worried about being seen or overheard talking by the PTA board.”

I said, “I’m willing to take that chance. Now are we going or not?”

Orphan Annie said, “Sure, if everyone thinks it’s okay,” and starts driving towards the McCafe.

I’m sitting there thinking while trying not to breathe through my nose, “Holy crap, these women act like a bunch of battered wives.  Who the hell is scared of their PTA board? Ovary up, indeed!”

Part 2

I get this motley crew hustled into the McCafe, grab a Diet Coke, and herd everyone into a booth in the back. After taking a few calming, curative sips of America’s favorite sugar-free beverage I flat-out ask, with cursing, which I usually don’t do unless I know someone fairly well, but I felt the situation warranted it.  Plus, I’m still peeved about the Diet Pepsi.

So, I say, “What the hell could a PTA board do that has you all so spooked.  I’m a little embarrassed that a bunch of freaking grown women could be such damn cowards.  Are these women packing heat? Have they threatened you or your children with physical violence?”

More Moisturizer gets frowny faced. Ms. Business sits up all straight and starts working her bob like a pendulum by shaking her head at me. (It was a little hypnotic.) Orphan Annie gasps. Cute Blonde just sits there looking about 12 years old (still hating her) and Eleanor simultaneously apologizes to me about her friends and then apologizes to her friends about me.

I hold up my hand and say, “Let’s not waste our time with good manners. I’ve got about 30 minutes before I have to start the kid retrieval process. So someone please tell me what’s the damn deal.”

It got quiet.  I took another sip of my Diet Coke and surprisingly Cute Blonde is the one who speaks up. She says, “These woman run the school and if we say or do anything they don’t like we’re afraid they’ll take it out on our kids.”

I immediately go for the follow-up question. “Can you give me some examples of how they run the school?”

Ms. Business perks up and I hear her speak for the first time, “Well, they’re so bad the principal is afraid to mess with them.  Which I don’t understand because it’s not like they can fire him, but by the way he acts you would sure think they could.”

Cute Blonde interjects, “They’ve gotten two teachers fired!”

Orphan Annie adds, “They’ve taken over things that used to be the job of the principal and teachers. Like they now decide on Student of the Month and do the school awards at the end of the year. You cross them and your kid gets nothing.”

Finally Moisturize More says with wet eyes, “I tried, nicely tried, to talk with the President about maybe changing a fundraising policy and my three kids were left out of the Award Ceremony.  They were never called up once and her one child got Student of the Month three times last year, three damn times!”

My eyes are now popping out of my head.  This went straight from WTH to WTF.  I say, “Okay, okay, this is all outrageous and horrible, but why do you want me to go the meeting next week and what do you want me to do? I don’t think me showing up and announcing to the whole pack of them that they are on the Terrorist Watch Short List is going to do you any good besides the obvious and short-term pleasure of seeing them get ticked off.”

Ms. Business says, “Some sneaky stuff happened over the winter break. This group of officers were supposed to be moving off the board because their terms were up. But over Christmas they re-wrote the bylaws in executive session and extended the number of years you can serve as a PTF (Parent Teacher Family) board member to 3 years.”

Huh?  Bylaws and PTF.  I thought we were talking about PTA and I don’t do bylaw throw downs.  God, I’m thinking, this is a mess.

Moisturize More adds, “At the general meeting next week is when the “new” officers will be voted in.  This is the only chance to get these bitches off the board.”

I was encouraged to hear swearing. It meant the women were warming up to me and shows they have a fighting spirit after all. “Do you ladies have any ideas of how you would like to go about this?’ I ask.

Orphan Annie says very quickly, “We were hoping you would show up and from the floor introduce another slate of officers to be voted on.”

Oh crap, here I was hoping for a smack down in the cafeteria and these chicks wanted to do revenge by Roberts Rules of Order. So, not my style.

I set there sipping my Diet Coke saying nothing and thinking. It’s obvious these poor women needed my help and at least two of them could use a make-over day at Macy’s  I already hated the PTF (whatever) board of pure evil so my instinct was to jump in and attempt to kick some ass.

Those power perverted women needed to be walking around that school, still licking their post PTF meeting wounds on Field Day.  I just wasn’t sure how I was going to approach this one. It wasn’t something that could be done by brute force. It needed finesse and a certain level of knowledge about boring crap like parliamentary procedure. I had nothing. No idea how to pull this off.

I looked up at everyone and said, “I’m in, but it’s going to take a lot of work. I’ll need deep background on every board member. Most importantly are any of them currently a lawyer, a paralegal, married to a lawyer or the daughter of a lawyer.

Secondly, I need cover. When I show up at the meeting everyone has to believe for 30 minutes that my kid goes to that school. Get me the most common first name of the boys at your school.  Is it Michael? It is Jack? Find out. Third, I need to know where the meeting is taking place and a tour of the school. Lastly, I need to observe these mega witches in their natural habitat or lair.  I want to see what I’m up against.

I was glad to see Orphan Annie taking notes. Plans were made. Assignments were given.  It looked like the next day I would be going to Starbucks to spy on my newest nemesis (God, that nemesis list of mine is long.) – the board president. She did not disappoint. What do you say about a woman who goes to Starbucks and orders a Venti hot water with lemon?

I say she’s one crazy, super skinny, hungry bitch.  How fitting that a size 14 mom was going to attempt to bring her down.

Check out Undercover Snarky – The Game Is Afoot for the next installment.

 

The Case of the Diaper Dumper

Surveillance Log:

October 6, 2011

11:00 a.m.

Parking Lot of a church that shall remain unnamed

I’m in my car on my son’s laptop (which I’m using without telling him because if he finds out he’ll accuse me of “messing up his settings.”) recording my findings from the parking lot.  So far, it’s been quiet. I’ve parked my nondescript mom mobile an equal distance from the church’s front door to my neighbor’s car. Oh yeah, some of you don’t know the back story and by some of you I mean those of you who don’t check the Snarky In the Suburbs page on Facebook. I don’t mean to scold, but you people are slowing down the whole Snarky train. Would it be too much to ask that you open a FB account under an assumed name and address just so you can stay up-to-date? (I’m guessing that’s a no.) Okay, back to business. Here’s what occurred that forced me to go all Brenda Lee Johnson (love her) from The Closer in a church parking lot.

 Yesterday morning at approx. 8:47 a.m.

My Neighborhood 

I’m walking my two dogs, which is really akin to herding cats, through the neighborhood and I see my way down the street, bible bunko neighbor. (Whom I previously described on Facebook as about as fascinating as a bowl of Rice Chex, which upon further reflection is inaccurate. She’s more Cream of Wheat, original recipe. So not that yummy maple syrup and brown sugar variety.) She’s in her driveway with tears in her eyes, standing by her car, which has all four doors wide open. I stop, of course, to ask what’s wrong. While I’m asking this I’m mentally thinking she probably didn’t have time to put dinner in the crock pot or something equally boring that led to this episode of watery eyes. Although I’m hoping that it’s something juicy like she just found out her husband is a cross dressing swinger and wants to start borrowing her shoes and Spanx. What I got from her was even better, if you can believe that? I know I still can’t

Mrs. Cream of Wheat blurts out that she thinks a woman she works with at her church’s Mother’s Day Out program hid 6 dirty diapers in her car! When she went to get in her car this morning to go to, where else, but church, she was almost knocked to the ground by the overwhelming smell of festering feces. Cream of Wheat says she opened all her car doors, held her breath and then started digging around in her car for what was causing the odor. Shoved under the rear passenger seats she found not 1, not 2, but 6 poopy diapers.

I just stood there with my mouth hanging open. Who would terrorize this seemingly bland, very nice, mild-mannered 50-year-old woman by breaking into her car and depositing used diapers? I was intrigued and that left me no other alternative, but to offer her my investigative services. I mean, really, what else could one do? You just don’t hear a story like that and go, “Oh, wow, I’m sorry that happened. Why don’t you try using some Gain Febreze?”

No, this kind of story demands action. Anything else would just be un-neighborly and I’m nothing if not neighborly.

Cream of Wheat seems confused when I offer to help track down who is doing this to her. She asks me if I used to be in law enforcement. Sadly, I had to answer no. I so want to carry a gun and kick ass, but me (ch)armed and dangerous was never meant to be. (Total bummer on that one.) I do tell her I used be an investigative reporter and that’s no lie.

She seems scared of me. I’m used to this reaction but after years of having people slowly back away from me, I know how to talk them down and win them over. I finally convince her that she needs my help by pointing out that, perhaps, it was divine intervention that sent me to her. I really never head in this direction on my morning dog walk. I usually go another route. But, today, for some reason, I went towards her home just at the precise minute she was standing in her driveway in distress.

Praise the Lord, she agreed with that. So, I helped her freshen up her car, told her to not throw away the diapers, calling them evidence, and off she goes to bible study, but not before agreeing to meet with me this afternoon at 5.

Yesterday afternoon 5 p.m.

Cream of Wheat’s House

I suggested we meet at Cream of Wheat’s house. I knew if we held the meeting at my home my nosey, tattle-tale kids, would eavesdrop and be texting their dad my latest scheme. Like I need that kind of hassle. I showed up with one of my old reporter notebooks which look just like something I’m sure the F.B.I. would use. I had worked out my list of questions. This wasn’t my first rodeo people. One doesn’t grow up reading Encyclopedia Brown, Agatha Christie and DVR’ing every C.S.I., N.C.I.S.,  and all the Law & Order’s without having a serious set of interview skills.

I first asked if she had any idea who would be doing this to her? She seemed reluctant to answer. This is what happens when you are a very nice person. You don’t want to point the finger or think the worse of anyone. I can freely admit, I’ve never had that problem. Slowly, I coax it out of her the name of the woman who “seems to have an issue” with her at the M.D.O. Then I ask “How do you think she’s getting in your car?”

I had already looked for signs of forced entry or any trace evidence on Cream of Wheat’s car and hadn’t seen any. I also, with one of my son’s drumsticks, (sorry son) had gone through the poppy diapers. What I found was interesting. There was no one brand of diaper. Based on the cartoon character or color (1 denim diaper (really?), one camouflage (really? again) the diapers were 1 generic, 2 Pampers, 1 Luvs, and 2 Huggies.

I asked Cream if when the M.D.O. changed the toddlers diapers did they use church brought diapers or did each mom leave diapers for their child? She said when they had to change a toddler they used diapers bought by the M.D.O. program citing that is was easier than digging through all the different diaper bags. This proved that if the crime was happening at the M.D.O. it was after the collective diaper change. Cream said that after lunch each child got their diaper changed before nap time.

I had a couple more questions. “Is there anytime when you leave the toddler room for more than, say, 5 minutes?”

Cream volunteered that right after lunch she takes all the food trash to the church kitchen garbage cans. That’s when she also gets a soda from the vending machine and stops off at the four-year old room to say hi to her little niece. My next question was where does she leave her purse?  She told me that they all leave their purses in the room, in cubbies. Lastly, I asked who, if anyone, takes the dirty diapers, out of the room. From that I extrapolated a time line. Let me tell you, if I was tested on this kind of math and reasoning skills on the S.A.T. I wouldn’t be here writing this dumb ass blog. I’d be on the Harvard alumni website crowing about my newest scientific breakthrough.

Here’s how I think the diaper dump is going down: When Cream leaves the toddler room at the M.D.O. around noon someone in the room uses that opportunity to get Cream’s car keys out her purse. That person then volunteers to take the dirty diapers to the outside dumpster, but instead of the dumpster they go in the back-seat of Cream’s car. Then the Diaper Dumper rushes back inside, puts Cream’s keys back in her purse, and no one is the wiser. Why the person is doing this foul deed to Cream is not my first priority. The number one objective is to catch her in the act.

Clearly, I had to do a stake out. Based on my time line the Diaper Dumper would strike between 12 and 12:15 at Thursday’s M.D.O. I’d be in position in the church parking lot at 11:30 and I planned to record the dumper in action. I instructed Cream to say nothing about finding the gross diapers in her car. She was to act as if her car smelled fresh as a daisy. I wanted to provoke the dumper to strike again.

This morning – My House

You can not imagine how excited I am about the stake-out! I couldn’t help myself and had to share my big plan with my family. My husband, who you would think would be proud of me, walks out the door for work this morning, not with a “I love you” or even a “Good luck at your stake-out.”

No, this is what I get, “Don’t get yourself shot” and then he turns and says, “Or get us sued.”

I’m so tired of hearing that. Just because in the past some people, may or may not, have threatened legal action against me is no reason to leave the house every morning with that kind of goodbye. He really needs to let it go.

As for my kids I think they should be more impressed by me. I’m out there solving crimes – solo. Who else does that? Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto. I had to tell both of them repeatedly to not bother me today with any phone calls or texts of the “I forgot my P.E. shoes, band instrument, books etc” variety because I would be working a stake-out. As I dropped each of them off at their respective schools I delighted in bellowing out the window, “Remember, I’ll be on a stake-out!”

Both of them just keep on walking and shaking their heads. Ingrates.

I rushed home, walked the dogs, unloaded the dishwasher, threw a load of laundry in the dryer and then prepared for my stake-out grooming. Really can you go wrong with black Target track pants (capri), a black t-shirt, a C.S.I. baseball hat I got from the Vegas airport 5 years ago, my husband’s lawn mowing sunglasses because they cover my face more and I think look a little bad ass, tennis shoes, plus a quick dab of my new gift with purchase Philosophy lip balm?

I loaded my supplies in the car that included my son’s computer, my phone, my 32 ounce diet coke and the notes from yesterday and headed to the church. It was on people. It was on!

My first problem was where to park. I didn’t want to park to close to my neighbor’s car because I thought that would scare the dumper away. But I wanted to be close enough to properly videotape the crime so there would be no doubt what was going on and who was doing it. I drove around and tried some spots and tested them with my phone video camera to see what angle would take the best picture and be the least conspicuous.  Then I waited. Well, first I posted on Facebook that the stake-out had begun and then I settled in to wait. Then I got bored and started typing all this up for you to read and now I’m done typing and have nothing to do besides as everyone on Facebook predicted – use the bathroom.

12:07 p.m. Uh, oh, I see a woman leaving the church with what looks a white kitchen size trash bag. Gotta go.

Later today

I’m now renaming this The Case of the Holy Crap Storm. I would have never volunteered my services if I had known I would have to endure a hostile Q & A by a member of the clergy. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s back up to 12:07 p.m.

There’s a woman walking in the direction of my neighbor’s car with a trash bag. She’s seems to be about my age and looks very attractive. Totally Mom of the Month material.  Jeans, what seems to be a J. Crew sweater set and from what I could tell some really darling flats. What in the name of God is this mom doing putting soiled diapers in a co-church member’s car (and as a side bar thought I’m thinking who wears an outfit that cute to work in the toddler room of a M.D.O. program)?

I’ve slouched down in my front seat and I’ve got my video camera on her. Sweet Jesus, I see her point the unlockey thing at the car. She’s in and I get her bending over and stuffing diapers not just behind the front seats, but she’s got the hatchback open and it looks like she’s got at least two in there. Then I freeze. What do I do now? I’ve got it on tape, well, really digital imaging, but do I just show it to my neighbor and be done with it? Do I get out of my car and say something? Do I perp walk her through the parking lot? Then I thought W.W.J.D.? What Would (Brenda Lee) Johnson Do?  The heroine of The Closer would get out of her surveillance vehicle and confront the “suspect.”

I slowly opened my car door, jumped out and yelled as I was walking towards her, “Why are you putting dirty diapers in a car that isn’t yours?”

She jerks her head out of the rear of the car and stares at me. That’s my cue to keep on talking. In an authoritative voice that I use when playing Clue I say, “I don’t know who are, but I know you must be a member of this church and work in the Mother’s Day Out program. I also know that this is at least the second time you’ve illegally entered this car and vandalized it.”

I added, “Did you know what you’re doing is against the law and qualifies as criminal mischief.” (Right about now friends, I was impressing myself – big time. This could be my calling – accosting strangers in parking lots.) She still just stood there, all deer in the headlights. I then quickly added, “Um are you okay?”

This is when I saw what the Diaper Dumper is made of. She looks at me, you can tell she’s sizing me up, and pulls a real bone head move. She accuses me of “trespassing on private church property”!!!

Let’s review shall we. I’ve got her on camera entering a car that isn’t hers and stuffing used diapers in it and she’s coming back at me that I’m on church property.  Well, now I’m Old Testament ticked off. I reply with my best “hey dumb ass” voice and say, “I’m not trespassing on church property if I’m parked here to go inside the church to show my neighbor the video of you vandalizing her car.”

This shuts her up for a moment. As I race walk into the church she’s in hot pursuit not pleading her case, not throwing herself on my mercy, but bitching to me that it’s illegal to tape someone without their permission. God, who is she – Nancy Grace?

Once I get into the church I stop. I’ve never been in this church before in my life. I don’t have the slightest idea where to find my neighbor. I thought I would hear kids or at the very least follow the tell-tale smells of M.D.O.- slobber, wet diaper and play-dough. But, I’ve got nothing. I notice that the Ladies room is right across the hall and I desperately needed to use it after that 32 ouncer. I figure it wouldn’t hurt to take potty break and catch my breath. I also notice that the Diaper Dumper has disappeared. I’m guessing she’s grabbed her purse and is leaving the premises. That guess was incorrect.

As soon as I exit the Ladies room Diaper Dumper and the M-i-n-i-s-t-e-r of the church are waiting for me. The reverend asks to see some identification! Yeah, right. I’m doing a citizen’s arrest in the parking lot and the first thing I think of is to grab my incredible Coach bag that I scored at an outlet mall for $50.00 during my vacation 2 months ago, that’s a big no on that one. All I had on me were my car keys in the pocket of my hoodie and my phone.

I told the minister that my neighbor in the toddler M.D.O. would vouch for me. He sends his secretary to retrieve her. About a minute later my neighbor is walking up the hall. She gives me a distressed look and I announce to no one and everyone that the lady standing across from me is the Diaper Dumper and I got her in action on my phone.

The pastor asks to see the evidence and I show him the recording of the Diaper Dumper. He watches, says nothing, goes back in his office to get his glasses and watches it again. Then calls his secretary out and they watch it together. I’m thinking, c’mon folks it’s not the Zapruder films.  It’s a pretty high quality recording with some excellent camera work of one of your M.D.O employees/church members going all crazy pants or crazy diapers, as the case maybe. He then asks my neighbor and the Diaper Dumper to go into his office while he talks to me.

Huh? Aren’t his hands full enough already?  Why does he need to talk to me?  Unless he’s going to thank me but somehow I don’t think that’s what’s going to happen. He begins to grill me on “my role in this.”

I know I’m in the house of the Lord and I know this man standing in front of me is allegedly a spiritual person ordained by God. But, I don’t think it says anywhere in the bible that I have to take crap off of him. I begin talking very slowly because at this point I’m doubting his intelligence and ability to process even the simplest monosyllabic words and explain that my poor neighbor, one of his flock, was being terrorized by one of his employees. I, as a citizen of Earth, felt duty bound to offer my assistance. I also pointed out that this was a case of criminal mischief and charges could be filed.

He was silent for a moment and then asked me to erase my recording. I said, “That’s a great big no.”

He then asked that I “not share this unfortunate incident with anyone.”

“Hmm,” I said. “That’s going to be a problem. I was on Facebook about it yesterday and I was giving status updates about my stake out when I was in my car in the church parking lot.”

He looked to be turning green. So, I added, “Here’s what you can do for me. You should be very nice to my neighbor. She loves this church and I respect that. You also must and as I mother I mean right now, get the Diaper Dumper off your staff and away from kids. She obviously has some mental health issues that need to be addressed. Who knows maybe it’s as simple as her cholesterol meds are messing with her Zoloft, but you have a moral and legal duty to get that figured out.”

His response to my very stern yet passionate Law & Order-ish speech was, “I’ll pray for you.”

You could tell from his tone he didn’t mean it in a very reverendly manner. It sounded more like a put down, like the ecclesiastic equivalent of “F You.” So, I quipped, “right back at ya” and added, “you should also pay to have my neighbor’s car detailed” and with that walked out of that church.

The fact that I didn’t get struck my lightning when exiting the building was a sign to me that the big guy/girl way upstairs had my back on this one.

Four hours later I go over to my neighbor’s. I’m relieved that Cream of Wheat greets me with a smile. I asked her what happened. The Diaper Dumper decided to take some “extended personal time” away from her M.D.O. duties and my friend was promoted to head of the Toddler Room.

I said, “that’s great and all, but did she ever give a reason for putting the diapers in your car?”

She quickly and succinctly responded, “She was jealous of me. Can you believe that?”

“Of course I can,” I say. “Your sane and she’s crazy.  She was jealous of your sanity.”

I keep on prodding and finally in bits and pieces a story comes about envy, misplaced rage, coveting and revenge.  A whole 10 Commandment/Golden Rule saga. Who knew a church Mother’s Day Out program could be such a hot bed of seething emotions?  It seems Cream of Wheat was becoming a raising star in the M.D.O. program. She started working in the toddler room right after Labor Day and the little kids loved her, all the moms thought she was wonderful and the director of M.D.O. told everyone who would listen that Cream of Wheat was “quite possible that best M.D.O. worker she had ever had.”

Apparently, Diaper Dumper, last year’s M.D.O. Queen Bee,  got jealous and was attempting to make Cream quit by freaking her out with the dirty diapers in her car. Got a headache yet? I know I do.

While you maybe thinking the moral of this story is to approach any Mother’s Day Out program with extreme caution or to beware of clergy that ask for I.D it’s not. Although, both of those are excellent ideas. The moral is I should really, seriously, consider opening up a detective agency. I think I rock at this – kind of.

P.S. I will never post the video so don’t ask. Remember my husband’s second commandment: Thou shalt not get us sued.

 

*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 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.

 

Suburban Warfare

1554530_689070367781504_515879481_nMy neighborhood on the surface looks friendly. Nice enough homes with kids riding bicycles on tree-lined streets, the occasional yapping of a dog and the sound of someone yelling “fore’ from the nearby golf course. But, a bully lurked on our cul-de-sac. We were plagued with the Cruella De Vil of neighbors.

I got my first taste of Cruella as soon as our moving van pulled up.  She “popped over” to say welcome to the neighborhood. There she was oozing faux friendliness and at the same time asking me if I could tell the driver of the moving van to relocate because she didn’t want to be looking out of her kitchen window at an 18 wheeler all day. I said I would see what I could do with a big cheerful “hey, I’m the new person on the block please like me smile” and then, of course, did nothing. As I got acclimated to our new neighborhood I heard tales of her bullying ways. Cruella didn’t look like your typical bully. She’s in her 50’s, petite with short hair sprinkled with gray and she dresses like a lady who golfs a lot at the country club. Cruella patrolled the neighborhood like she owned the place and the rest of us were lucky to be in her orbit.

I put up with her attitude – all of it. When she objected to how my son was mowing the grass I shrugged it off. Cruella wanted everyone in the neighborhood to mow their grass in a cross hatch pattern. “All the lawns must match,” she said to in a super chipper tone. I told her my family didn’t have the math or horticulture skills to figure out how to make that happen so we’d be taking a pass on being a part of the matching lawn brigade. She was consumed with her yard. It was perfect all right. But, it had enough chemicals on it to qualify as the epicenter of a cancer cluster.

When she objected to my Halloween decorations I just sucked it up and hoped she hop on her broom and ride, far, far, away.  Cruella said they were “gaudy and unseemly.”  That got her all excited so she went on a rant. My favorite quote from here was, “I don’t know how you celebrated Halloween in your former neighborhood, but here we try to keep excessive, well, I’m just going to have to say it, tacky out of our little piece of paradise.”

I even kept my mouth shut when she suggested to me how to place my trash cans on the curb.  It wasn’t until she started leaving sticky notes on my door objecting to the way I sorted my recycling that I got a little ticked off. I hate sticky notes. My husband doesn’t even leave me sticky notes so she sure wasn’t to get away with it. It wasn’t just one sticky note either.  She would leave multiple sticky notes.  One for each offense. So, I would wake up in the morning to a front door covered in her monogrammed stickies

Her primary recycling objection was that some cereal boxes were being put in the trash and not in the recycling container. She also mentioned that from the looks of my trash I could be doing a better job of feeding my family. “I’m seeing signs of entirely too much processed food.”  She scrawled on the sticky note adding, “That’s a death sentence.” Excuse me that my kids (and by my kids I mean me) like chocolate Lucky Charms. It really is magically delicious. She also questioned the nature of the magazines in our recycling bin.  With the sticky note “Really wouldn’t have figured your family for flaming liberals.” Let’s see Time, Southern Living, Wired, and I’m embarrassed to admit this, my secret shame, Us magazine, have us flagged as liberals – go figure.

I shared my little invasion of privacy story with some of my older neighbors and they began to spout tales of bullying and what I considered down right harassment.  These folks were my parent’s age. In fact, one man reminded me of my Dad and no one on my watch is going to get away messing with very, very senior citizens.

At first I started yanking her a chain just a teeny-weeny bit. If she wanted to go through my trash I was going to give her something to find. I went to a restaurant and talked them into giving me lots of empty whisky, vodka and scotch bottles. So many, that it filled a 60 gallon trash can, our wheelbarrow and our lawn fertilizer spreader. Then I bought, shall I say, a few “interesting” magazines including High Times, Cannabis Culture and N Magazine for “the discriminating nudist.” (All special ordered from Amazon.com so you can imagine what freaky mailing lists I’m now on.) I put those bad boys right on top of my paper recycling bin and fanned them out so you couldn’t miss them. Oh, she went into a tizzy alright. Cruella banged on by door and demanded that I ask for God’s forgiveness and wailed about my family bringing shame to the neighborhood.  I acted all confused and asked what she was talking about which just set her off more. Excellent.

Over the winter Cruella got more demanding. If you didn’t shovel snow from your driveway (crosshatching pattern preferred) she’d be all up in your face. Two of our older neighbors were surprised with bills from snow removal crews she had called because she was tired of waiting for them to shovel their driveway. Well, they happened be out-of-town visiting family over the holiday so of course they’re not shoveling their driveways. That was the moment when I realized what I had to do. I would the liberate the neighbors from this menace.  I would free the neighborhood. I’m a Texas girl after all and this lady needing a whole lot of Lone Star Justice raining down on her. I had a plan. A very good plan but I needed a team. This was going to be black ops all the way. Totally covert and if caught we would have to deny everything. I had two perfect operatives in mind. My children.

Sure, some people would think you shouldn’t pull your kids into a plan, that at the very least, is breaking some local code ordinances. But, this where I play the Super Hero card. Think of everything Batman and Robin did. The dynamic duo took the law into their own hands everyday. Robin is the “boy wonder” which means he still falls under “minor child” status. So, if it’s good enough for the Caped Crusader it’s surely good enough for me.

My first recruit was my son. Thirteen years old and with geek skills a plenty. This is the kid that for the first decade of his life my husband and I tried to find his “thing.” We tried sports from soccer to fencing (yes fencing), art, theatre, music. Nothing was a good match. Then when he was ten he hacked into our Bank of America account. We found out because he asked us, after seeing our meager bank balance, if we were poor.  We said no, why do you ask? That’s when he got his laptop and showed us how he got into our account and pointed to the balance.  My husband looked at me a little freaked out and I said, “Well, I guess he’s found his thing.”

Since that day we’ve established a three-way test he’s supposed to ask himself before he does anything on his computer. One: Is it legal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia? Two: Will it in any way keep you out of a top-tier college? Three: Is it for good not evil? My son harbors a dream that he was adopted and is really Steve Jobs love child.  That fantasy started after someone (my sister) shared with him my less than stellar academic achievements. Long story short, my dad may have had to make a call to get me into college. Regardless of his disdain of my collegiate G.P.A. I knew I could get him to help me.  I sat him down over a chocolate chip cookies and tossed my geek bait right at him. “Hey, sweetie,” I asked, “How would you take out a satellite and not get caught?”

He perked right up. “Military grade, broadcast or communications?”

I laughed and said,”Just a plain old dish like the neighbors have.”

“Oh,” he sighed, sounding very disappointed.  “Well, the easiest way would be a magnetic accelerator cannon.”

Now, I’m thinking maybe the child really does need to spend much more time outside. I press on. “What is that? How does it work? How fast can you build it?” I ask.

He begins to not only explain, but to diagram out on paper how it would work. Way over my head and my pay grade I zone out. In layman’s terms he was going to take a bunch of fancy magnets, totally trick out a nerf gun and fire them into the satellite. The magnets would temporarily mess up the dish’s electromagnetic receiver field (whatever that means) but not irrevocably harm it. I explained to him my mission and he was all for it. I then gave him a code name: “My Retirement Fund” and said in tribute to Star Trek geeks everywhere, “Make it so Number One.”

Next up my daughter.  She would have the most dangerous part of the mission. I would be sending my almost 9-year-old into the enemy camp. This girl can act, turn on the charm, is a little sneaky and can do a cart-wheel. All qualities I needed. Plus, she liked dogs, which was a must for this assignment. She was in immediately. Her code name: Dr. Doolittle.

My husband would be kept in the dark about the rest of the family’s black ops. The most compelling reason is that he’s a super goodie two shoes. Mr. Moral Compass would have a conniption fit.  He was strictly on a need to know basis. I decided, as commander of the mission, he needed to know nothing. We practiced our mission roles for a couple of days, did surveillance, readied our supplies, and watched a couple of Mission Impossible movies to get pumped up. Then, on Super Bowl Sunday it was go time.

Cruella prided herself on throwing a huge Super Bowl party. Not just any Super Bowl, she explained to me, but an elegant “Super Bowl Soiree.” Yes, my family was invited. Shocking, I know. I think she wanted us there so she could show me how good, righteous Americans live. The soiree even had a dress code – Business Attire. Who wants to go to a Super Bowl in work clothes? Football needs to be watched in some kind of pant with either an elastic waist or at the very least a 30% lycra blend.

The word around the neighborhood was if you dared to skip her party she would unleash a year-long reign of holy terror on you. This is a Super Bowl party you would want to skip. It was alcohol free. Cruella was a teetotaler and no adult beverages were permitted inside her house. In addition, she embraced a vegetarian and gluten free lifestyle. It was football without brew, beef or chips. Now, that’s un-American. The only good thing about being in Casa Curella was that she had a T.V. so mammoth it probably affected the gravitational pull of the sun.  My mission was a two parter: Take that party down and take it over.

We had to begin our assignment under the cover of darkness. My husband, clueless to the devastation that lay ahead, went on over to Curella’s house solo. I had told him the kids and I would come over later, maybe for the second quarter. As soon as he left we synchronized our cell phones. It was now T – 30 minutes. First, we had to get Dr. Dolittle ready and into position. Cruella was the owner of a seriously deranged poodle “Ollie North.” It was one angry barking machine. In the poodles defense she fed Ollie North only vegan kibble. I’m sure the dog’s brain was wasting away from a severe protein deficiency.

The first part of Dr. Dolittle’s mission was to infiltrate the house, subdue the dog so it wouldn’t give away our position and then give us the “all clear” to take down the satellite dish. To ensure Dr. Dolittle’s success I spayed her head to toe in bacon flavored Pam. Brushed “Uncle Jebs Hickory Flavored Liquid Smoke” through her hair and stuffed the pockets of her hoodie with Snausages. I was afraid I had over done it. The kid smelled so good I wanted to put some honey mustard on her and slap her between two slices of bread. I wiped away my drool, pre loaded her cell phone with the code GTG (good to go) so all she had to do was hit send, gave her a final warning about what to do if the dog got overly crazed upon smelling her beefy goodness (tuck, drop and roll) and out the door she went.

My son and I were ready to get into position. We were dressed in black and just because I thought it looked cool, had those cell phone head sets on. He had sprayed his Nerf N-Strike Raider Rapid Fire CS 35 Blaster turned magnetic accelerator cannon black and we both had painted the magnets that were going to be fired into the satellite dish brown so if found they would look like harmless acorns. Our job was to get into position, wait for the all clear and then fire. The problem was getting into position. We had to climb a tree to be at the right height to hit the dish. I was there to carry the ladder (also painted black) and assist in hoisting up the cannon. We waited on the edge of our property. Nervous, but excited.  I whispered to my son, “Are you sure this is going to work?”

He, looked at me with disdain and whispered, “Mom, please don’t question my knowledge of accelerator ballistics when combined in tandem with magnetic fields.”

I’m guessing that was a huge geek put down. So, I shut up and waited for the text message that would send us on our way. Three minutes later we got what we’ve been waiting for. The letters GTG lit up my cell. We were mobile. Staying low to the ground we ran over to Cruella’s backyard. I set up the ladder and my son began to climb. I was right behind him with the cannon strapped over the back. My heart was racing. I checked for left arm pain to make sure it wasn’t the onset of a stroke or heart attack. Nope, just pure adrenaline. I could see the “soiree” going on though the windows at the back of Cruella’s house. For the love of Peter Graves, I hope no one sees us because it would be most difficult to explain what the hell we’re doing.

At last, “My Retirement Fund” got to the right branch and assumed a firing position. I handed him the cannon. Neighborhood Liberation was about to begin. He looked at me I gave him the signal, the University of Texas hook-em-horns sign. He aimed at the dish and released a torrent of magnets. Damn, I was proud of that boy. We waited, frozen in the tree to see if we had been successful in disabling the dish. I got my second text of the night – “bulls-eye.”

We attempted to stealthy climbed down from the tree but my son’s big foot stepped on my hand and there was moment of sheer horror when I thought the cannon was going airborne. I grabbed it. My middle-aged cat-like reflexes saved the day – meow. We were down. I strapped the cannon to my back, grabbed the ladder, covered up the indentations it made in the ground (I didn’t want any trace evidence left behind that could be pointed at us.  Thank you C.S.I.) and we flew to the safety of our house.

It was Dr. Doolittle’s turn to begin part two of her assignment. The party is now in an uproar. No f’ing TV signal! No Superbowl! Oh my! This is when my daughter makes her move. She says in a very loud voice.  “We could have the party at our house couldn’t we Daddy?  Mommy just bought something called a pony keg. She told me it’s almost eight gallons of beer! “

As predicted, those thirsty, brew starved folks circled my husband like moths to a flame. I knew by this time he would have figured out I was up to something, but I counted on his Achilles heel – exceptionally good manners to pull this off. Unable to say no and sound rude, he did as expected and led the party to our house. I was ready. Before we left to fire the cannon I had preheated the oven and succulent, greasy pigs-in-a-blanket were warming up. I also got out the hard liquor. I went top of the line. All the booze was Costco’s private label – Kirkland. I had to act surprised when my husband came in the door with what had to be 40 plus party guests. “What’s going on?”  I exclaimed. “Oh no, the TV went out at the party.  What a shame. Sure, everybody make yourself at home.  Why, yes I do have a pony keg in the garage.  Let me get some chips and dip out and whip together a smoked meat platter.”

It took all of five minutes for my house to be transformed into Superbowl party central. Things were hopping. Unfortunately, my husband was giving me the death glare as he got out cups for the pony keg. He came over and whispered in me ear, “Half bath now.”

Opps, this was not part of my plan for him to confront me during the party. I met him in the half bath and he closed the door and said, “What did you do now and why is our daughter greasy and reeking of cured pork?”

I stalled, my speciality. “Listen,” I said, “I have been out making memories our children will remember for a lifetime. And about what I did – it is very long, complex story and I don’t have time to get into all the details with a house filled to the brim with guests. Please, I need to get back out there. I’m the hostess.”

He did his signature sigh and opened the door. My mission wasn’t done yet. One more task had yet to be accomplished for the neighborhood liberation to be complete. As everybody is having a grand time stuffing their faces and draining the pony keg I walk in front of the TV during a station i.d. and shout.  “Wow, this has been so much fun.  My family really feels a part of the neighborhood. Why don’t we make my house the Superbowl party headquarters every year!”

Cheers erupted. I make eye contact with my kids and wink at them. They nod back and smile. Mission Accomplished. Party Take Down and Take Over a complete success. I head into my kitchen and there’s Cruella waiting. She walks over to me, gets uncomfortably close and rasps, “ I know somehow that you engineered this.”

I offer her pig-in-a-blanket and whisper back, “Don’t mess with Texas.”

 

*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! 🙂