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! 🙂

If I Were the Supreme Ruler of Suburbia . . .

sample_heart_snarky_black_grande

Girls who make that ridiculous “Duck Face” while taking “selfies” would experience a 48 hour facial paralysis where their lips would stay frozen in “Duck Face” mode. Teaching them that parents who pay upwards of ten grand on braces except their daughters to smile not channel Daisy Duck. Any mother who engages in taking “selfies” and “duck facing” will lose her mom card and be forced to take middle school math all over again while eating meat loaf in the cafeteria.

No sleep overs or slumber parties would be allowed during flu season. Doctor’s orders.

Continuing with the germ theme – people who have let to learn or are too lazy to sneeze or cough into their elbow will be required to wear a Hazmat suit that spritzes medical grade Lysol in 30 second intervals until they can learn to cover their nose and mouth.

Parents who allow their younger children to dance, jump, boogie, stomp, sing and run relay races during their older siblings band/choir/school musical because their “little one is just such a cutie patootie!” Will be required by the school district to homeschool all their children for one six-week grading period before being allowed to re-enroll their kids back in school.

A cattle prod would be recognized by the Academy of Pediatrics as an acceptable method of getting your age 12 and above child out-of-bed in the morning.

Groundbreaking research by the National Institute for Health would reveal that Uggs cause cankles in three out of four females.

Do It Your Selfers who DO NOT size wallpaper before hanging it therefore making it next to impossible to remove without the benefit of thermonuclear technology would be hunted down and made to serve a six month sentence in the equivalent of a Guantánamo Bay style facility for Home Improvement Half Assers. Instead of water boarding these DIY enemy combatants will be doing hard time in an 8 X 10 cell covered in layers upon layers of un-sized wall paper which they will have to remove armed only with one bottle of Dif Wallpaper Spray and a scraper. Prison terms also apply for anyone who has tiled a bathroom  without putting down a water barrier and any fool who willingly textured their ceiling with “cottage cheese.”

When your high school age child is tardy for school the sign in “excuse” sheet will have  the “My kid is late because he was a huge ass this morning” as a line item.

People who don’t return shopping carts to the store or cart “corral” but instead let them free range in the parking lot will be forced to work as a Walmart Greeter on Black Friday.

The perfect “Why Can’t Everyone Be Like Me” mom who volunteers so much at the elementary school that she knows the contents of every kids’ lunch box and feels the need to comment or offer unsolicited parenting advice when a mom has packed her kid a (Gasp!) Smuckers Uncrustable with a Capri Sun chaser. She’s also been known to initiate a school lock down when a kid peels the top off of a Nacho Cheese Lunchable. Her flawless parenting style, of course, has her kids eating hand rolled sushi made with sustainably harvested seafood from the Ocean of Happy. This mom for being way, way too obsessed about the contents of other children’s lunch boxes would be mandated to volunteer at a soup kitchen, community garden or food bank to put her zeal for heathy choices to good use and get her out of my business because sometimes there are mornings when you’re going to throw a peanut butter and jelly Uncrustable in the lunch box. It’s called survival.

I could go on and on, but carpool calls. What would your list look like?

Love the Snark?  Read the book!  Wear the T-shirts!  All you need to do is click here www.snarkygear.com. for all things deliciously snarky.

Here’s a little lookie-loo at Snarky in the Suburbs Back-to-School:

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.

 

3 Things I Learned at Target on New Year’s Eve

target-logo-redLike any good middle-aged, middle class female I’m at Target on New Year’s Eve on a quest to pick through the last of the holiday clearance. It’s in these hallowed four aisles of discount Christmas trees, ornaments, gift wrap and stocking stuffers that I have learned three life lessons I will embrace fully as I enter into a new year.

1) Teachers Deserve Better

As I’m trying to decide if I need to take advantage of the 50% off and upgrade to all LED Christmas lights I start talking to a woman swathed head-to-toe in so much North Face outerwear the logos are giving me vertigo. She’s pushing a cart that’s loaded up with a wide variety of Christmas sweets from Reece Peanut Butter Cups to carmel corn. Mrs. North Face very excitedly shares with me that she’s stockpiling Target food leftovers to use as teacher’s gifts. For clarification purposes I ask, “You really give your kids’ teachers year old food items from Target as presents?”

“No,” she says and gives me a look like I’m a dumb ass. “I would never do that!”

I hear this and I’m relieved and a little ashamed of myself for thinking the worst. But, she then quickly adds, “I take all the food I buy and put it into a rotation system in my basement. The stuff I’m buying now I won’t use until 2015.” Mrs. North Face smiles really big, kind of winks at me and says, “It’s not like they’ll ever know – right?”

I slowly start backing my cart away from her and say, “Somehow I think they’ll know. I’m not an expert in food science or anything, but I’m going to take an educated guess and tell you your teachers gifts probably get chucked straight into the trash can.”

“They do not!” She says agitated. “I always get thanked by all the teachers.”

I quickly say, while escaping to the gift wrap aisle, “I think that speaks more to the teachers’ good manners than yours.”

Dear Teachers, Beware and on the lookout for any blonde, North Face clad mom bearing expired Poppy Cock, candy coated pretzels, and assorted truffles in about 350 days.

2) You Can’t Fight the Side Boob

2013 will be the year I give into the side boob. This year I tried to do all I could to reverse this horrific fashion trend, but now, on this last day of 2012 I surrender. It was a woman in the Christmas card aisle that showed me it was time to call it quits to my valiant fight. This 60-ish mom/grandma was not looking at cards but trying on the last of the very picked over Christmas T-shirts from the junior department that were located at the end of the aisle. She took off the T-shirt she had on and wearing only her jog bra began pulling a holiday shirt over her head. She adjusted the shirt looked at her friend and said, “It’s cute. I just wished it was sleeveless because you know how much I like showing a little side boob.”

Her friend suggested enlarging the arm pit area of the shirt for maximum side boobage. I gasped and had to ask, “What’s up with the side boob? If you ask me it’s the least attractive part of the breast.”

Grandma shared, “Well, you’re probably right about that, but here’s the thing, every women looks good with side boob. Your breasts may sag and all, but no matter what the shape your tits are in you’ve still got a decent side boob.”

So, there you have it – the side boob is ageless. It’s the last part of the breast to plummet to your knees. That means this fashion trend is here to stay and I’m sure by Spring 2013 there will be a Kris Kardashian Jenner Side Boob clothing line at Sears.

3) The World is Still Quickly Coming to an End

Yeah, I know December 21 came and went without a big kaboom, but don’t get too comfortable because I have proof the world is still coming-to-an end sooner than later. I obtained this confirmation while standing in the ornament aisle. I was, is as my habit, eavesdropping on a mother and her two daughters. The girls looked to be around eight and nine and were all pumped up about a rumor they heard while at the mall. According to suburban mall lore Victoria’s Secret might be opening up a children’s version of their store! There you have it – that’s your evidence the world is ending. Because that’s all we need as a society is for elementary aged girls to be jumping on the train to Tramp Town with stops in Slutsburg and Whoreville. I know I always wished there was a “fun” place to shop for thongs with my little girl. Talk about mother daughter bonding! Once this happens, I have no doubt, some force of nature will be unleashed and swallow the earth whole and we will so richly deserve our demise.

Happy New Year!

 

Hey, Snarky friends please re-like my page on Facebook. I got hacked and had to start my page from scratch. Thanks! Click on the FB icon located at the top right hand of blog and let your friends know that Snarky is back.

 **For more Snarky check out my book  Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. 

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. 

 

HGTV You’re Killing Me

Plagued by guilt because I haven’t posted the end to Snarky Saves the World just yet here is little something new in the form of a post I did for The Detailed Decorator site last month.

Don’t get me wrong – I love my HGTV and I have the DIY scars and bruises to prove it. What I can’t stand are those house hunting shows. Sure, House Hunters is okay and House Hunters International is acceptable if it isn’t some 30 something couple looking to buy their 3rd vacation home in Bali. (I mean really show some common decency.) What drives me crazy are those inane first time home buyer shows like Property Virgins and most especially My First Place. If you really want to asses the intellectual quality of America’s younger generation don’t examine college graduation rates or employment stats all you need to do is look no further than these two shows to discover a hearty collection of 20 to early 30 something idiots.

The dumbest of the bunch are the couples that are looking to buy a home while planning and paying for a “princess” wedding and “fairy tale” honeymoon. Where are these kids parents? Someone over the age of 40 needs to sit them down and explain a few things. Primarily, you can’t have everything. Maybe, just maybe,  you need to, in no particular order, get a handle on your student loan debt, tie the knot, write all your thank you notes, pay off your wedding and honeymoon bills and if you’re still, after all that, speaking to each other then you can proceed onto the perilous and stress filled emotional journey of homeownership.

The most annoying and delusional are the young women who in every house hunting expedition wail upon walking into the kitchen and discovering (gasp!) that the countertops aren’t granite. You see them stomp their flip-flop clad feet, arch their tramp stamped back and cry out, “But I wanted granite!” All while giving their realtor the evil eye for daring to show them a non granite surface. Never mind that they’re in the market for a home that cost $65,000. It should still have a brand new kitchen with stainless steel appliances, enough granite to fill up the Flintstone rock quarry, and of course, an 8 foot island.

Coming in a close second to the whining granite gals are the couples that walk into every home and utter in unison, “This would be good for entertaining.” I’ve done an inventory on this saying and almost everyone on these home buying shows are all “looking for a home where they can entertain.” Really?  Who “entertains” that much where that would be one of your top 2 home “must haves”? I’ve seen how people entertain, I know how I entertain, and as long as you have alcohol and some dips (especially the artichoke and spinach one) and chips from Costco it’s all good. Seriously, you could watch My First Place and Property Virgins and do a drinking game. Every time someone uttered,”But I wanted granite in the kitchen” or “This would be good for entertaining” you would take a shot and trust me you’d be highly inebriated by the end of the show.

These house hunting shows have also given birth to a new way to measure someone’s I.Q. Sure, it’s not as reliable as the traditional I.Q. test, but the “Gateway to Being a Functioning Adult” quiz (trademark pending) is a sure indicator of intelligence. The test is super simple all you do is have a person above the age of 25 enter a home that is super cute, but painted disgusting colors and ask them if they think they could live there. If the person comments that the house is nice, but will need some paint then that person passes the test. If the person enters the home and goes off on the wall colors like, I don’t know, they’ve just been told their student loan is due in full in 24 hours, then they have failed the test. Because if you’re so lacking in cranial matter, imagination or common sense that you can’t envision priming and painting some walls to make a home look better than you are, indeed, not a high functioning member of adult society and should not be allowed to own a home or really even be left alone with sharp objects.

So, thanks HGTV for providing programming that leaves me just a wee bit wary for the intellectual future of our country. If you’re interested I have a new show idea for you. When Realtors Kill because I have no doubt there is not a realtor out there that after spending time showing homes to such a varied collection of idiots hasn’t been tempted to add murder to their MLS repertoire.

Many thanks for all of you who “liked” me on Facebook!  May the Snark Be With You.  For those that haven’t done the deed yet 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.

March Fatness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Really,” I asked, We do? Why?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Why aren’t you here?”

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

“Wave at me.”

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

“Just wave.”

“I’m waving. Do you see me?”

“Maybe. Where’s the cookie cake?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then I took a really big bite of cookie.

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