Can a Patriot Rescue Us from Quarantine Brain?

The word patriot is not what it used to be. A mere five years ago if someone was called a patriot I would assume they were talking about a Paul Revere-esque figure and the whole, “One, if by land, and two, if by sea” declaration. You know like a real spirit of 1776 patriot. Of course, there’s the New England Patriots but I’m talking about the non-NFL franchise use of the name.

To that end it seems like the word patriot has lost its original luster and gravitas. I think that’s because I hear it all the time. It’s a word I always thought should be saved for special or worthy occasions like your good china and silver because you don’t want to wear it out or God forbid tarnish it.

Also, I’ve been pondering is it cool or even proper to call yourself a patriot? It seems to me that patriot is a moniker that should be bestowed on you rather than you bequeathing it to yourself.

These deep thoughts arose from where else but social media. When some cities began lifting their lock down orders my newsfeed was resplendent with acquaintances calling themselves “patriots” for going to malls, restaurants and in one case a nail salon. It left me thinking these folks might need to look up the definition of the word.

Yes, you’re out and about but I don’t think ordering a club sandwich with mayo at a restaurant in San Antonio, Texas is exactly a “Remember the Alamo!” moment.

And this might just be me but I’m almost certain going to get a mani/pedi should never be considered an act worthy of labeling yourself a patriot. What’s the battle cry? “Don’t forget to pumice my heels!”

I admit to feeling unsettled by the hubris. Seriously, in what universe does stuffing your face or getting your cuticles massaged give someone the right to act like they just defused a dirty bomb and liberated a small country?

But, you know, whatever. I’m just going to chalk it up to the lasting effects of “quarantine brain.” This is where your reasoning skills have been impaired due to not enough cognitive engagement with the outside world.

The good and the bad about being locked down with family is that in most cases you’re with people who either share your mindset or don’t but because they value their mental happiness pretend to agree with you. This can give you free reign to bluster nonsensically and then think you might a genius.

I personally wouldn’t know what this is like because my family’s hobby is, with glee, telling each other that we’re wrong. I think the polite term for this is debating so I’m going to pretend that’s what we’re doing. But enough about my family’s interpersonal dynamics let’s focus back on quarantine brain.

I’m certain that’s what has led to so many of the totally asinine postings I’ve seen on social media. You know the ones I’m talking about where you think that perhaps a well person check might be needed or someone has over imbibed and is now keyboard happy.

The worrisome part, besides the postings, are the people that agree in the comment section thus fanning the flames of  “morons unite” even more. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say it’s been an inferno of ignorance. Common sense during this pandemic is going up in flames.

Yes, I realize that stupidity shared online is nothing brand spanking new but truly I think it’s reached new heights and my diagnosis is quarantine brain.

Perhaps a patriot can ride to our rescue. Hopefully one that has done more than eat a sandwich.

Covidiots

When we make it through the other side of this Covid-19 nightmare I’m hoping future generations won’t look back and say, “What a bunch of idiots.”

Because that’s what I’m thinking right now – idiots. Spoiled, selfish, willfully clueless stooges.

I don’t remember ever being more disappointed in humans. I’m literally going to go running in the streets screaming, while maintaining a safe space six feet distance from other pedestrians, if I hear one more person justify taking their spring break trip in the midst of a pandemic because they had “already paid for it” or “didn’t know it was that bad.”

Are-You-Kidding-Me? You knew it was “that bad” because when the majority of spring breaks happened almost every single college and university in the country had closed down because of the coronavirus. Institutes of higher learning don’t take the unprecedented action of sending more than 20 million students home on a lark. They do it because things are bad, tragically bad.

And that “we already paid for it” argument. Well, guess what? The rest of us are now paying for it. It doesn’t matter that you posted on Facebook that you “came home healthy” or your teens are “sunburn and feeling great” because you can have Covid-19 and not know it nor show symptoms and yet you can still spread it with a vengeance. And P.S. as a citizen of the world you should be informed enough to already have this knowledge.

Also, if you have a college aged student that you are supporting financially and you shared on social media that you “can’t tell a 19-year-old to not go on spring break” I’m going to conjecture that the coronavirus might not be your biggest problem.

The fact is the spring breakers knew all this and still chose to go for no better reason than that they wanted to. Damn the science and those pesky guidelines. Those apparently are for other people.

There are friends I’m deeply disappointed with because they’ve been so self-indulgent. Please note these are people I thought were very intelligent who valued science. But I guess science is now something you pick and choose when to believe as befits your lifestyle or spring break travel plans.

If I sound harsh sorry not sorry because I know I’m not alone. There are now therapy websites giving suggestions for how to deal with family and friends that are not following the Center for Disease Control guidelines. #covidiots.

But what about strangers that have chosen being oblivious as their current course of action during this siege? The people who apparently have zero spatial awareness and no compunction about getting within kissing distance of you while in the self-check-out line or the people treating a trip to the grocery store like it’s a family reunion?

Public health officials and grocery stores are pleading with people to only send one person per family. Why is that so hard to understand? The grocery store is not a “fun outing” it’s a tactical Ninja maneuver where you want to avoid people and get in and out as quickly as possible.

And I feel immensely stabby when I still see people still clinging to the “It’s just like the flu. The flu kills more people” mantra. Are these people so brain impaired that they live in a constant state of denial or do they cling to falsehoods in an effort to justify their behavior of doing whatever they damn well please?

While I’m on the topic of denial let’s talk about all the claims of “fake news” or the “hysterical media.” My thoughts on this are if you think the news is fake or the media is blowing the coronavirus out of proportion than check out the World Health Organization or the CDC websites. Also, here’s the deal about throwing around the phrase “fake news” – just because you don’t like the news doesn’t make it fake.

For instance, I’m overweight. That is a fact. Do I like being told that? No. But it doesn’t make the information any less accurate. So, just because you are choosing not to believe the Covid-19 data doesn’t erase its scientific merit and calling it fake doesn’t give you a magical shield of protection it just makes you an egocentric ignoramus. Quite possibly an ignoramus that is not going to follow best practices and result in us being under lockdown well into the summer.

As for the hoarders I can’t go there right now. It’s hurts my heart too much. I currently don’t have the emotional bandwidth to fully digest this level of selfishness.

Perhaps, nothing symbolized to me people’s lack of concern for anyone but themselves more than when I found two used latex gloves in the parking lot of my grocery store. The gloves were by the cart corral and I can only surmise that this gloved person upon returning their cart, took off the gloves and threw them on the pavement because they didn’t need them anymore nor did they want the germ laden gloves in their car.

So, bye-bye gloves and hello some overworked grocery store employee having to pick up your pandemic detritus.

I’m urging everyone, myself very much included, to try to do better so that not only do we come out of this healthy but with a newfound sense of compassion and intelligence that supersedes are own immediate wants and needs.

 

 

Sprinkling Our Outrage

The human brain is fascinating. It lets us conveniently forget unsettling facts and allows us to process information in a way that shields us from thinking too deeply or even logically. My current deep thoughts about brain science are brought on by the outrage over the Super Bowl halftime show. I know totally old news, right?

But is it? Because I think it’s a case study in how people chose to get all riled up about the little things instead of saving their fury for bigger issues.

I must confess that I didn’t even see the halftime show. But after all the “clutching my pearls” horror about J. Lo and Shakira’s 12 minutes on stage flooding my social media newsfeeds I went back and watched it.

My fundamental takeaway as a 50 something woman viewing the performance is that Jennifer Lopez at 50 is now my spirit animal. Just wow.

That said, I can understand how some people, people who have never experienced a swimming pool or been on the Internet in the past 20 years might have been dismayed to see women exposing more than their clavicles. For the rest of humanity who sees more skin revealed at their local Walmart I just didn’t get all the “world is coming to an end” verbal ragers on social media.

It boggles my  mind, like really astounds me, that with all the horrific and frightening things happening right now why would any of us focus this much energy and emotion on a Super Bowl halftime show that lasted 720 seconds?

My theory is because it’s easy. It’s outrage for the lazy who want to bask in the attention from making a statement that has no real impact on anyone’s lives. It also makes me think of sprinkles. Sprinkles on cupcakes to be exact.

Years ago, my children attended an elementary school that banned sprinkles on cupcakes. The reasoning was that during school parties the cavalcade of sprinkle enriched treats that were brought in created a mess.

I totally understood the ban because sprinkles, much like Christmas tree tinsel, is the gift that keeps on giving. You think you’ve got it all cleaned up but weeks later you’re still finding tinsel or in this case sprinkles.

The backlash from the sprinkle ban was intense. There was even a “Save the Sprinkles” petition. Meanwhile, the state legislature was annihilating the school funding budget which was already gutted. Yet, this issue that had a real and lasting impact of education didn’t even garner half the attention the sprinkle ban did.

It’s because being pro sprinkles was so much easier than doing any work that was focused on advocating for education funding. Sprinkles are colorful, fun, easy. A grassroots effort to fight the legislature not so much.

Never mind that our kids could survive and even, fingers crossed, thrive in a sprinkle free learning environment. Something you couldn’t say about schools without art education and increased class sizes.

The sprinkle protest much like the recent halftime show fury quickly died down and was replaced with more interchangeable outrage over things that have zero impact on our lives but yet bring some form of, dare I say, enjoyment over getting all worked up about.

It makes me wonder what we could accomplish if we retrained our brains to think more deeply and instead of reacting over the trivial focused our attention on issues that have a real impact on our lives, our future, our humanity.

But I know that sounds like a whole lot less fun and and requires a whole lot more effort than going off on two middle-aged women dancing and singing during halftime at a football game.

The Yuck Factor of Flying is Getting Worse

When did we become a society devoid of being cognizant of our surroundings? And what has happened in the past decade to give people the mistaken belief that they possess a super power and are cloaked in a shroud of invisibility?

Nothing brings out these let’s call them personality foibles like sitting at the Southwest gate at the airport. Oh yes, you’re right I’m going to go off on airports – again. Sorry not sorry because the issues I’m about to delve into need to be discussed so corrective behavior can begin.

Let’s tackle the whole being cognizant of your surroundings first because this seems to be getting worse at such an alarming rate I fear I’m going to become some sort of rogue airport manners sheriff and end up in an altercation that might lead to me being arrested.

Lest you think I’m being overly dramatic I’ll give you a brief synopsis of what I saw earlier this month while seated in the gate area of three different airports. Behold the woman who took what looked to be every article of clothing out of her suitcase, laid these clothes out on the less than hygienic airport carpet and then began to use a battery operated sweater shaver on her clothes up to and including a bra.

For those of you blissfully unaware of what a sweater shaver is let me share that it defuzzes your clothes. I’m on team sweater shaver. I have one and love it. What I’m not on is team sweater shaver at the airport.

Besides the yuck factor of having your clothes mating with the floor of the Southwest gate area there’s the inappropriate nature of doing personal laundry care in a public venue.

While this was unsettling it had nothing on the woman gleefully plucking her companion’s ear hairs while seated at a restaurant inside LAX or another woman pumicing her heels because nothing says, “I value public health” like jettisoning your hoof detritus into the atmosphere.

Because I’m now a little nauseous let’s move on to the truly disturbed masses that believe they’re invisible thus enabling them to Facetime their loved ones, a doctor, co-workers and perhaps even a telemarketer while waiting for their plane.

I know the whole talking on speakerphone in an airport is nothing new but this assault on the ears on the traveling public has reached an epidemic.

What must have happened to someone to make them believe that putting their phone on speaker and shouting into while corralled in a public space is okay? My theory is these speaker shouters are narcissists.

This behavior fits the classic narcissist profile where the person has an expectation of special treatment and an insatiable appetite to be the center of attention. There’s nothing that says “look at me” like having a “yellversation” on speakerphone at Gate 35 at KCI.

You know how some people have a travel bucket list? Well I also have one and it’s not to walk the Great Wall of China or to scale Everest (hard pass). On my bucket list is to start telling people to rein in their desire to do laundry remediation, eradicate wayward hair follicles and purge their foot funk while at the airport.

I also would love, really love, to tell the speaker phone aficionados to turn down their phone volume and comport themselves in a manner that doesn’t scream, “I might need counseling.”

I’ve never seen the Great Wall but I’m thinking to be able to be the “Manners Sheriff” at the airport just might top that experience.

Writing Can Get Pretty Ugly

*Note:  I write a weekly opinion column for the Kansas City Star. Some of the stuff I muse about is a little more political in nature than I what share on this blog and by that I mean in the past I have written about education reform, health care etc. Because of this I get emails where people disagree with me, which is totally appropriate and welcome. This recent column was in regards to people who feel free to write to me about my looks – because that’s how you disagree with a woman right – by disparaging her appearance? Ugh. I’m sharing this column on my blog because I believe it has a message that will resonate with a lot of you.

 

I don’t get a ton of emails from readers of my Kansas City Star column hating on me but I get enough that I’ve been able to classify them into categories.

There’s the people that can’t grasp the concept of self-deprecating humor and therefore think I’m an idiot. There are the people that like to write me six paragraph emails on an almost weekly basis with the theme of, yep you guessed it, that I’m an idiot. There’s the people who disagree with me on a topic and use this as an excuse to take out all their life frustrations on me and then there’s my favorite – the people (all male based on their email signatures) that like to tell me an idiot AND that I’m unattractive.

These brings me a special joy because I’m in awe of how any man could have the hubris to believe that I care about their opinion in regards to my looks. As an advanced middle-aged female giving a hoot and holler about what any man thinks about my appearance ended about four decades ago.

How some dudes could conceive that telling me I’m unattractive or fat is going to be the coup de grace of my existence makes me laugh. Also, what makes these men presume womankind cares about their opinion on our looks?

Haven’t we as a society gotten past that just a wee bit? Sure, based on social media you could think that that answer to that question is a great big NO.

But don’t be fooled by all those filters and sexy posts by women on Instagram who are living the “like my post and link in bio” lifestyle. Most females today care more about than own judgment way more than what any guy thinks. Plus I think we’re raising girls today to have what I call self esteem swagger.

I’d like to believe that my father was a pioneer in this trend. Almost every day of my life he told me I was smart, beautiful and strong.

When I was in high school he drove me to school in the mornings and the entire seven-minute drive consisted of my dad telling me how amazing I was. It became a running joke between us. I called it “Dad’s morning pep talk.” He called it “telling it like it is.”

I would greet his soliloquy with rolled eyes and share that he was “full of it” but the man knew what he was doing. To this day if I’m having a crisis, large or small, I go back to what he told me on those drives to school.

This is why when men send me disparaging emails I feel sorrow and it’s not because they think I’m a “fatty” or “could use some work” but because based on my father and role model they’re failures as human beings.

I worry about any man who could write me, an aging female with no illusions about becoming an AARP super model, to call me out on my looks. What kind of man, husband, father are you that you can email a woman and attempt to tear her down by commenting on her appearance?

If you’re doing this to me, a total stranger, than how must you treat the women in your lives and what kind of damage are you doing to their mental health?

My dad’s name was Bob. I’d like to suggest that before you hit send on that next hate filled email you think about your legacy or as my husband likes to say during any big family decision ask yourself, “What would Bob do?”

 

 

 

Dear Snarky – How Do I Tell a Friend She Has an Instagram Filter Addiction?

Dear Snarky,

 Is there anyway to tell a really cute friend that she is over editing all her photos on social media? I get it we all edit our photos for Instagram but the goal is to look better not like a completely different person.

 She’s not been very successful dating and I’m totally sure it’s because once people see her in person they’re like “Who are you?” People have trouble getting past her image on social media compared to reality.

 My boyfriend has a cousin who I think would be perfect for her but I would like for him to see the real her not the layers of filters she is on Instagram. What is the nicest way to tell her that she needs to be herself more and lay off on all the fakeness?

 Signed, Insta Addict

 Dear Insta,

 You’ve come to the right place for advice. As the mother of a 19- year-old I know all about what I call “filter abuse.” I’ll see my daughter’s friends on Instagram and not even recognize them. That said, filter abuse is not limited to the young and already beautiful a lot of women my age seem to be going full Benjamin Button and by that I mean aging backwards on social media.

 Now, here’s a surprise for you – I think there is no shame in the filter game. Come on it’s social media. If people are too goofy to realize that a whole lot of photo editing is going on then I worry about their cognitive brain function. Seriously, if a guy is surprised someone looks a little different than their social media photos than consider him way too dumb to date.

Using myself as Exhibit A – please note this business photo that was taken of me. My skin hasn’t looked this smooth since I was five. I barely recognize myself with my wrinkles and my constant companion – “Lady Jowls – vanquished. Now, compare that to the real me and you have a case of filters gone mad. Do I apologize for this photo? No, because I’m assuming people are intelligent enough in 2019 to know that I’ve been attacked by a “healing brush.”

As for you – stay out of your friend’s business. How she wants to look on social media is none and I mean none of your concern. You are just going to stir up a whole lot of drama and hurt feelings and I’m hoping that wasn’t your intention all along.

 

My Appliances Hate Me

“They don’t make things like they used to.” Now, congratulate me for officially sounding old. Don’t worry it won’t hurt my feelings because my kids have been roasting me for a week about “channeling their grandpa.”

I can’t help it. I don’t care if I sound like an octogenarian because I’m ticked off. The focus of my wrath is my appliances. It’s been a summer of kitchen failures from the dishwasher to the refrigerator and spoiler alert – these appliances aren’t old and they aren’t some shady off brand. None of them have even celebrated their fifth birthday. This is why I’m flabbergasted that they would be breaking down.

Quick back-story – My parents owned a Kenmore washer and dryer in a not so very fetching shade of harvest gold. They purchased this duo when I was in kindergarten and both the washer dryer outlived my parents! Who makes appliances that last almost 50 years? I’m guessing the quick answer is no one.

Meanwhile, I have appliances that are basically still in their infancy going on life support. When I aggressively complained about this to my son he told me that it’s called “planned obsolescence” and I should get used to it.

Of course I know about the concept of planned obsolescence. (#iPhones) But seriously one would hope that appliances would last more than five years if only to keep the landfills free from French door refrigerators in fingerprint resistant stainless steel.

Last month, when our dishwasher started making a sound that made me think evil spirits possessed the Cascade pods I was using and were performing an exorcism on the rinse aid dispenser I immediately summoned by husband for help. When his diagnosis was to call a repair person I wasn’t having it. I went online to try to determine the problem and after two hours of my head in the dishwasher I gave up and, you guessed it, called for professional help.

The next week when the refrigerator started leaking water I entered the deluxe ticked off zone. My husband, apparently more comfortable with a drippy frig than a demonic dishwasher was confident he could fix it. This meant he went straight to YouTube for refrigerator tutorials. Lo and behold every tutorial said almost the same thing – Yes, you can temporarily fix the leak, but it’s going keep to coming back.

The assorted YouTube frig techs were unanimous that the refrigerator had an inherent design flaw and was doomed. This was a line in the sand for me. I wasn’t going to get a new refrigerator. I was going to subvert the leak. This means that once a week I have to do frig first aid.

The leak collects in the lower part of the refrigerator and for some reason freezes and then it melts which results in a leaky frig. My ER duties included soaking up the water with a beach towel and then getting a knife and chopping up the ice that has collected.

My husband believes I’m being a stubborn fool. But, I think I’m taking a stand. I will no longer be at the mercy of the planned obsolescence overlords. Plus, have you priced new refrigerators lately? Cha-ching. I will use a Coleman camping cooler before I pay four figures for a refrigerator.

This is why you will find me every week armed with towels, a butter knife and brute force going to battle with planned obsolescence. It’s a fight I plan to win. Some may call me crazy but I prefer the word warrior.

Furniture Shopping With My Husband -Perhaps My Worst Idea Ever

 

If someone gave me the choice of being stabbed in the cornea with a fondue fork or going furniture shopping with my husband, trust me I’d pick the fondue fork/cornea combination hands down.

I will confess that it was my bright idea to force (really more of a cajole) my husband into going with me to shop for a sectional sofa for our basement. But my intentions were pure. A sofa purchase requires a butts in seat experience and I wanted an extra pair of cheeks to help make the decision.

Granted, asking a man who purchases almost everything on-line to venture inside a furniture super store on a Saturday wasn’t one of my greatest hits, but it had to be done. And all was well until we got to the store and had to park about a mile away.

It appeared that a significant portion of the metro decided to go furniture shopping that day. The parking lot, which was big enough to house a sectional sofa for Godzilla and 1,000 of his closest friends, was at capacity. After we hiked in things got worse.

The store was like a maze. I, being a veteran shopper, decided we should tackle the furniture section in a counter-clockwise motion making concentric circles to ensure we saw everything. It was a masterful plan that seamlessly covered the entire area.

My husband disagreed. He just wanted to race walk through all the furniture in what I would call a very harried fashion with no rhyme or reason. I argued with him that his free form exploration of the furniture department would result in us, perhaps, missing out on seeing the “sectional of our dreams.”

My plaintive pleas made no impact on him because he just took off.  In the two, maybe three seconds I had spent being embarrassed that I actually said out loud, “the sectional of our dreams” he was gone, as in vanished.

I was so put out that I thought, “I’ll show him” and stuck to my genius plan of covering the area in concentric circles. As I perused sectionals I got madder and madder (Where was he and why wasn’t he answering my texts?) until I was distracted by the sight of four young children drinking cans of orange soda on a white couch. Those parents either have the most spill proof kids or like to gamble because just seeing it made me a nervous wreck. The mother in me was about to shout out “Be careful!” but then I spied my husband and I was off.

Where in the heck was he going? He was leaving the furniture department. Sure, it was jam-packed with humanity, but he needed to buck up. We had sectionals to sit on.

I followed him through the second level of the store, down an escalator and then to the very back of the first floor. He seemed very sure of where he was going, almost like he was pulled there by a force field. Then it all made sense. Of course, he has gone to the electronics department, specifically the huge televisions. When I caught up to him I said, “Um, these aren’t sectionals.” He smiled informing me that he decided the size of the sectional should be based on the width of the TV.

“Really,” I asked, “Is that that some sort of dude math?

“If it gets me out of the furniture department it is,” was his quick reply.

Spoiler alert. We didn’t get a sectional, but we are getting a new TV.

Dear Half Wits

1150959_736793909683398_767698524_nThis is in response to the more than 147 and counting lame emails I have received about the post I wrote about Miley Cyrus. My biggest take away after reading all of the less than delightful correspondence is that most, if not all, of these cerebral cortex challenged folks would struggle to pass a fourth grade reading comprehension and retention test. It’s as if they only saw one sentence in my post. This one – To this I say Miley Cyrus is not the problem – you, the mother, are. Did they read beyond this? Apparently not, because most of the emails were from beyond pissed off moms giving me a beat down for “blaming mothers” for Miley’s “People of Walmart” choreographed VMA number.

Here’s the problem with that assertion – I was not blaming mothers for Miley’s performance. I was, most definitely, taking moms to task for thinking Miley was ever a role model and for all the wailing and moaning on the internet about how Cyrus shouldn’t have been working that foam finger like a woman with a stage 4 yeast infection because “kids look up to her” due to her Disney Channel lineage. One mom even shared that “girls will see what Miley did and think that’s appropriate behavior”. What the hell kind of daughter are you raising if she’s that lacking in self-esteem or I don’t know an independent thought process that she believes just because a celebrity does something it’s okay for her to do it too? Note to all you moms that shared similar lines of “reasoning” with me – don’t ever let your kid near an US magazine or the E channel. Basically you need to go off the grid. I’m talking stone age period, off the grid if you have a daughter this impressionable.

Also annoying the emails about how Miley was cheated out of her childhood by big bad Disney and now she’s acting out. I get that. What I don’t get were the emails that imagined her childhood would have been some sort of mystical, magical place with free range unicorns. Childhood can suck. Let’s be honest Billy Ray and Tish Cyrus aren’t exactly two of the brightest bulbs in the chandelier. They can’t even figure out how to get a divorce. I imagine Miley’s non celebrity adolescent and teen years wouldn’t have been full of idyllic horseback rides and praying around the campfire while making s’mores. The more likely scenario is teen Miley hanging out at the mall and getting it on in the hallway between the Food Court and the custodian storage closet while clutching a Forever 21 bag full of 2 for 1 thongs. So, yes she had a lot of adult responsibility on her very young shoulders but she’s now a very wealthy young woman who could, if she so chooses, go to the college of her choice.

Most annoying were the naive emails refuting my claim that Miley’s performance was a calculated business decision. Are you kidding me?! I’m sure the Harvard Business school will be teaching “Pulling a Miley” as one of the top 20 entertainment strategies of the early 21st century. I’d bet my limited edition Best of Both Worlds concert T-shirt that right now in Los Angles a team of agents is already counseling upcoming Disney Channel actors/actresses on the 7 steps to stardom. 1) Get a reoccurring role on a Disney Channel show. 2) Parlay that to a starring role on a newly created Disney show. 3) Sing the theme song to new show. 4) Release an album. 5) Star in made for TV Disney Channel movie. 6) Leave the confines of the Disney brand to segue to movies. 7) Movies do only okay so reignite singing career by “pulling a Miley” to get international attention. I have no doubt that at least one of the Jonas brothers is giving serious consideration to “Pulling a Miley.”

My very, very favorite emails were the ones that called me a hater and assumed I didn’t have children because “only someone who wasn’t a mother” could write what I did. I was chided for not having any real life experience with child rearing and one person said “God was smart enough to not bless me with a baby.” I wanted to share that I was blessed twice but where’s the fun in that? So I responded that yes, they were correct. I live alone in a studio apartment with my three cats, Demi, Selena and Miley. They are all the children I will ever need.

***For all things wonderfully Snarky go to www.snarkygear.com where you can find the new Spring/Summer  Snarky line of clothing and accessories. 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.

I Am Not a Crack Whore

Picture 9

Play-dates, as we all know, are a way of life. The lucky mom is the one with their kid at someone else’s house. Ahh – it’s a few more hours of precious freedom. When you move one of your first orders of business is getting your kids back on the play-date carousel because God forbid they actually entertain themselves while you unpack all the crap you told the movers to just “throw in the basement.”

In my tenure as a mother I figure my kids have probably had play-dates numbering in the, I don’t know, almost one thousand range. That makes me a play-date veteran but, nothing, I mean, nothing, prepared me for this play-date.

My daughter had invited a friend from her new school to come over and play. I got on the phone to talk to the mom and work out the logistics and that’s when my life entered what I like to call a “Modern Mothering” moment. The mother told me she didn’t feel comfortable with her daughter coming over to our house until she makes a “personalized visit.”

Now, to be fair, a part of me gets that – sort of – but, I had met this mother a couple of times up at school during different back-to-school volunteer “opportunities” and each of those time I was actually out of my Target sweats (or as my husband calls them – day pajamas, but that’s just because he’s jealous he can’t wear day pajama’s to work) with make up on so I’m thinking I didn’t look that scary. Point is, it wasn’t a cold call. I was, a bit taken aback, but hey whatever, come on over. We set up a time where she could “pay me a visit.”

The Visit

The house was basically clean and I had not one, but two scented candles, Glade linen breeze, burning to disguise the odor of dog and guinea pig. I would have used my special occasion Yankee Candles, but I didn’t want it to seem like I was trying too hard. I also, just for fun, placed a bible discreetly on the coffee table and by discreetly I mean it was on top on my In Style magazine, Diet Coke adjacent.

I even made chocolate mini muffins.  Okay, so they were from a 57 cent Jiffy mix from Walmart, but hey I made something. I then hide my husbands booze and pushed his big ole Costco super-sized boxed wine to the back of the fridge and slid the gallon of milk and two salad dressing bottles in front of it. And yes, I groomed. I upgraded to my “dress” sweats from Kohl’s. I was like “bring it on sister.”

Well, she brought it.

My first hint that this was not going to go well was when she walked into my home with a face frozen into a smirk of perpetual superiority. I hadn’t seen someone look at me like that since I showed up in a khaki skirt with navy blue knee socks at a Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority rush party. As any good hostess would do I offered her something to eat. Perhaps some tea with one of my “homemade” mini muffins.

No can do, the muffins have trans fat and the tea caffeine. Her family is a proponent of the “clean diet.”  Since there is nothing in my house that doesn’t contain a trans fat and my fruit is non organic ( I think) I offer her a glass of water. Oops – my water straight from the tap and non filtered is also declined.

We then move on to the interview portion of the visit. “Do I have firearms in my house?”

I try to make a joke that the only guns in the house are my biceps, which I thought was hilarious because my arms are so flabby the under fat swings to and fro during any kind of breeze. She didn’t even get it.

This becomes awkward because as I’m trying, perhaps too hard,  to make her get the joke by swaying my arm fat in her face she throws out another question. “Have you or your husband ever been arrested and/or convicted of a felony?”

“Pardon me?”

“Do we keep liquor in the home?”

” For sure, lots of it, but only for medicinal purposes.”

Now I am starting to get ticked off. It’s one thing to question me about fire arms and felonies, but you start hurling judgement on my husband’s booze stash and you’ve crossed a line. I wanted to stand and shout, “Hey lady, I am not a crack whore!”

Poor naive me I thought she was just coming over for a little lookie loo chit-chat to confirm that yes, her family is far superior to mine. I could have saved her the visit and shared that information over the phone. I do not have to be subjected to a duel visit from Child Protective Services and the Parole Board. Now, I have to get her out my house.

How? What will remove her from the premises, but not contribute to the after school pick up lane mom gossip?  Hmm, I could take the high road, but, should I? I’ve been insulted. She didn’t even try a muffin. Don’t I deserve a little retribution? Just a little bit of fun would be okay wouldn’t it? I hear the continuous loop in my head of my husband wailing, “Please don’t embarrass the family.” (Like that ship hasn’t sailed.)  But, aspersions were cast on his liquor wouldn’t he want me to defend his love of alcoholic spirits? Oh, he would. Definitely.

I drop this bomb into her interrogation disguised as chit-chat. “You know we lived in Nevada for four years and they have slot machines in the grocery store and prostitution is legal – even dudes being prostitutes just got legalized which I say is about time because hey, we ladies have a right to a little pay and lay, I mean play, if you know what I mean.”

1, 2, 3 seconds is all took to get her to start gagging and coughing, then she grabbed her Prada purse, hauled butt out of my front door and backed her vintage Mercedes down my driveway so fast she drove in my grass. I walked into my kitchen, stuffed about 6 mini muffins into my mouth, chugged my non-organic milk straight from the carton and thought oh yeah I rock.

*Attencover_1.3-2tion 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! 🙂