Dear Snarky – A DNA Test Ruined Our Family Reunion

Dear Snarky,

 My family reunion was a huge fiasco. My idiot cousin got one of those DNA tests and discovered that he had half siblings he didn’t know about. It looks like his dad, my uncle, cheated on his mom because one of those half siblings is my cousin’s age. 

He then thought it would a great idea to being his brand new two half siblings, who he had recently found and been in contact with, to the reunion and introduce them to the family. My uncle said he never even knew he had gotten their mother pregnant and was shocked. My aunt, his wife, got hysterical and we had to call 911 because we actually thought she has having a heart attack or seizure or both.

 Now, my cousin is asking for a family apology from everyone at the reunion for making his two newfound brothers feel so unwelcome. I think he’s the one who should apologize for putting everyone, including these new family members, in such a horrible spot.

 Signed, I need a Xanax.

Dear Xanax,

Your cousin needs his ass kicked. Make no mistake he was not motivated by kindness to his new kin. Nope. He used his two new bros as a weapon to shame and humiliate his father for having what amounts to a secret life. Mission accomplished there, but what he also did was put his mother in a horrendous situation and made his two half-brothers feel like they were part of a freak show at a carnival.

 If there’s any apologies to the family, it should be from your cousin. He needs to apologize to his new brothers for using them for his own messed up game and to his mother for humiliating her. As for his dad – the cheater – that’s a marital issue that everyone needs to stay out of. 

If I were those new family members I think I would go into hiding from your cousin because he sounds C-R-A-Z-Y!

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – 21st Century Advice With an Attitude  😉 please email snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com

 

Snarky Saves the World Part 2

The finger nails on a chalkboard civil defense siren had brought everyone who was left at the school to the basement.  It was a mixed bag of parents, school staff and kids.  Everyone congregated into their own zones of familiarity.  Sitting with me by the art supplies are my two kids, WIll & Bella and Will’s friends, Hyatt and Grace. Also joining me are my friends and fellow P.T.O. board survivors; ABC (her real name is Allison, but for those who love her it’s – ABC for “Always Bitter Chick.”) with her three boys (6, 8 & 9), Kelly with her 8-year-old twin girls and Nikki with a toddler in her lap and the world’s most adorable first grade boy holding her hand. (For in-depth description read My Friends.)  Joining us in sitting crisscross apple sauce on the basement floor is Dr. Debby Davis, the town’s beloved veterinarian.  All of her kids are grown and gone, so I ask how she found herself in the school basement. She laughs and says, “I was helping the science teacher with a lesson plan on the evolution of dogs and I’m here for about 5 minutes before the siren goes off.”

None of us were very concerned about the sirens.  We all figured the city must have changed their testing schedule and we are all trapped in the basement for no good reason.  Trapped being the operative word because we’re at a school we have to follow some kind of district emergency management protocol.  If we were at home I figure most of us would have looked out of a window, surmised that nothing was amiss and gone about our day.

Over by the stacks of photocopy paper is Team “Let’s Apply Lip Gloss” while we’re seeking emergency shelter during what could be a civil defense emergency.  Charity with her “Scents for School” bag was still proselytizing about the “amazing smell of the blueberry beach” candle while her two girls 6 and 12 stuck those smell good stick things up their noses. Jacardi (read about her ickiness here)  had moved on from lip gloss application to rubbing in tinted hand moisturizer while her three kids were rummaging through the lost and found and P.T.O. president Elizabeth Williams, (background on Elizabeth) who thinks she’s  waaay better than the crew assembled in the basement based on her lineage that can be traced back to William the Conqueror and her limited edition Range Rover, was doing everything in her power to not have to sit on the basement floor.

“Elizabeth,” I said, “You might have to give in and sit your fanny on the floor.  We could be here for a while.”

“I hope not,” she responded in a haughty voice, “I can’t fathom ever sitting on a this filthy floor.”

ABC looked at me and smiled and said, “Well, just take that plaid scarf, place mat thing you’ve got tied to your purse and sit on that.”

Elizabeth’s eyes got huge and she said, “I’ll have you know that plaid scarf is a Burberry and cost upwards of $500.”

ABC couldn’t help herself and had to continue yanking Elizabeth’s chain.  Who could blame her? It’s boring in the basement.

“Really”, she says, “$500 for a place mat?  That just seems wrong.”

“God Allison,“It is not a place-mat.  It’s a silk scarf and I’m not sitting on it!”

Kelly, ABC/Allison, Nikki and I all tried to hide our smirks.  It was so easy and yet so fun to rile up Elizabeth.

Sitting in between my group and Team Lip-gloss is the enigma known as Mark Bishop, a delicious stay-at-home dad. Everyday the debate rages on is he gay or not gay? He’s everything most middle age husbands aren’t: well rested, attentive and working a full head of hair.   Mark and his daughter, 7-year-old India, are new to the school and he’s currently unencumbered by a spouse.  Speculation is running rampant that he’s either a trust funder, a writer or currently enjoy the top 1% rite of passage of being investigated by the S.E.C. He doesn’t talk about himself much (another thing that makes him very different from most husbands), but he does enjoy volunteering in the classroom, chaperoning field trips and attending P.T.O. meetings where he’s currently been dubbed a “member-at-large.”  It’s hard to know where you stand with Mark. Sometimes it seems he’s Jacardi and Charity’s BFF other times he’s chatting up a storm with my group. I don’t trust him.  As for the gay or not gay thing – it’s a daily brainteaser.  Take today for example, Mark did an intricate waterfall braid on his daughter’s hair so I’m thinking for sure gay, but he’s got on a really awful pair of sandals that no self-respecting non-hetro man would ever wear which puts him in the not gay category.  He’s like a hetro/homo sudoku puzzle.

Talking with Mark is Dr. Jan Chaing dermatologist.  Famous for her Girl’s Night Out Botox parties and creating concrete faces courtesy of her renowned Restylne artistry.  I have no idea why she’s at the school unless it’s to give Charity and Jacardi an emergency botox refresh.  The best thing I can say about Dr. Chaing is that it doesn’t look like she’s uses any of that garbage on herself.  I’m curious why she’s not sitting by three of her best customers and then I remember the whole doctor/patient confidentiality thing and figure she’s got to act all “Oh, Jarcardi, Charity and Elizabeth aren’t my patients.  Why they’re naturally wrinkle fee.” I shout over to her, “Dr. Chaing, what brings you to school basement?”

She looks over at Dr. Debby and says, “I was here with Debby.  We were both recruited by Mr. Garza to consult on the science curriculum.”

Huddled by the textbooks are what’s left of the school staff at 4:30 on a Tuesday afternoon.  There’s the principal Mr. No T  – as in No Testosterone.  He looks like he once was one of the Wiggles.  You know those sort of creepy older guys who jump around and sing with the likes of Captain “Feathersword.”  I’ve always thought Captain Feathersword was a euphemism for the Wiggles testosterone. Think about it what guy wants his sword to be light as a feather?  The principal earned his nickname by being a world-class wimp.  It’s shameful how his management style is based on avoiding conflict at any cost.   Sitting next to him is the P.E. teacher, the delightful Hilda.  Just two years out of college, the super sporty Hilda, a former NCAA soccer star, is loved by all the kids.  She’s whispering to the science teacher, the aforementioned Mr. Garza, who looks very concerned that his I phone is not working.  I want to tell him not to worry. Nobody’s phones are working.  We all chalk it up to being in a basement/ bomb-shelter in a school that was built in the 1950’s. We also don’t have any electricity.  The only light is from the tiny sliver of windows that  rim the basement exterior. Just then the custodian gets up to tell Jacardi’s kids to get out of the Lost and Found.  That simple move attracts the attention of all of the females over 18.

Mr. Miller is handsome.  A needs a shave, shower and shampoo handsome.  He’s like a scruffy brunette Brad Pitt/Matthew McConaughey in a mechanics jumpsuit.  Yeah, that’s right he wears a jumpsuit with. . . cowboy boots.  I know it sounds wrong, but on him it is so very right. Every time I see him I wonder what happened in his life to force him to make a detour as an elementary school custodian.  If he ever wants to pour out his troubles to someone I’m in.

After about 30 minutes the siren goes off which is a good thing because I was almost down to my last Fruit Adventure Tic Tac I had been doling out as snack food to the kids.  We all stand up and begin climbing the stairs to freedom.  All the moms head out the school doors and straight to their cars.  The first thing I notice is how quiet it is.  I don’t hear a bird, a barking dog, a car – nothing.  The second thing I notice is that there’s a very weird shaped, gray cloud off in the distance.  The thing that signals big time trouble is when none of the cars start.  You put the key in, turn the ignition, nothing.  Well, at least that was my experience because my mini van in a decade old. For the other moms it was all press your fancy car start button, but the result was the same – nothing.  We all get out of our cars and begin theorizing why they won’t start.

My son, who had been doing his own scouting with his two friends, chimes in with, “All the electricity is still out in the school and did you notice the cars just sitting in the middle of the road.”

I had not.  Wow, that’s unsettling.  I hand off my daughter to my son, tell them and Hyatt and Grace to stay with the other moms and go to see what’s up the cars just sitting in the road.  As I’m doing the mom fast walk/jog sprint to the road by the school I start wishing I had brought some sort of self-defense item, but I had nothing to worry about. I checked out six cars that were stopped in the road and they were empty.  Okay, now I’m freaked out a bit so I abandoned the mom jog and run full-out, with my boobs a- flapping, back to the school.

I announce, while panting heavily, “Everybody let’s go inside the school.  Something a little strange is going on.”

I wanted to scream, “I see no visible signs of life-forms excepts for us!”  But didn’t want to scare the kids.  Everybody went back into the school except for Charity, Elizabeth and Jacardi.  Charity was in her Escalady screaming profanities at her dashboard for On Star to work and Jacardi and Elizabeth were comparing Range Rover service department numbers.  While, those three idiots were outside we herded the kids to the cafeteria to eat popsicles that were melting in the deep freeze and Kelly and I went in search of the school staff.  They weren’t hard to find most of them had collected up their stuff and were beginning to walk out of the school.

I shouted, “Hey guys, don’t bother.  No one’s car is starting. It seems whatever the emergency was it rendered all of our cars kaput, along with the electricity.”

Mr. Garza, the science teacher, stopped and suggested, “Hmm, it could have been some sort of solar flare.”

Well then, I said, “It was the solar flare of doom because not only is nothing working, but  there are empty cars just sitting in the road.”

Kelly added, while holding both of her girls hands, “Something bigger than a solar flare has gone down.”

Hilda asked in a very scared voice, used by those in the early 20’s whose only experience with adversity is losing five pounds so they can look bitching in a bikini, “What should we do?

I said, “I suggest we all go back to the cafeteria, check on the kids and have a meeting.”

That was something we all could agree on.  It took about 10 minutes for everyone that was in the basement to regroup in the cafeteria.  I reported on what I had seen in the road, the custodian, Mr. Miller confirmed that all power was out to the school and the science teacher clung to his belief about the solar flare. The vet, Dr. Debby asked the principal if they had any battery operated communication devices like walkie talkies.  The principal stood there with his mouth hanging open thus prompting the custodian to answer, “It seems whatever happened has fried any and all batteries.  That’s probably why the cars wouldn’t start.”

Elizabeth Williams still ticked about being forsaken in her time of need by her Range Rover roared, “Well as President of the P.T.O. I demand that you, (pointing now at the principal) do something immediately!  Isn’t there some sort of procedure or manual that you can consult on this.”

God help Mr. No T, he was covered in sweat and shaking.  As he wiped his nose on his shirt he whispered, “No, there’s no training for this kind of emergency.”

Jacardi spoke up, who up until now had been filing her nails, because that’s what you would want to do when it could possibly be the end of the world , give yourself a manicure, and says, “Um, hello, I’m thinking terrorist attack or something.”

Kelly, Nikki, ABC and I all looked at each other in shock.  This was the first thing that had every come out of Jacardi’s mouth that we all could agree with.  ABC pipes up with, “We need some sort of plan.”

I add, “Or at the very least some recon.”

“Great,” says Charity, “Who volunteers? What’s that saying from Titanic – women and children first.”

Nikki sighs and says, “It was about the lifeboats – women and children first to the lifeboats – not women and children volunteer first.”

“Oh well, that’s what I meant.  The women will stay behind with the kids and the men go see what’s going on.”

That got a reaction from Mr. No T.  “Yeah, about that, according to district policy I should stay at the school.”

I wanted to challenge him on hiding behind “policy,” but, I figured he was better off huddled in a corner of the cafeteria than doing any sort of investigating.  That left the 60-year-old science teacher Mr. Garza, the custodian and Mark Bishop.  Mr. Garza quickly shared that he suffered from high blood pressure and was on anti-anxiety medication and didn’t want to stroke out.  We all agreed it would be a bad idea to send him.  All eyes went to Mr. Miller.  He said in a very sexy drawl, “I’m in.”

That’s when I said, “No, you need to stay here.”

ABC got what I was talking about she said, “You’re right.  We need you here Mr. Miller.  You’re the strongest one in the group.  You stay with the kids. Protecting them is priority one.”

By process of elimination Mark Bishop, stay-at-home dad extraordinaire is our Recon Man.  All eyes went to him and before any of us could say, “Tag your it” he blurted out, “Nope, it can’t be me. Sorry, everyone, but I can’t go.  I’m India’s only living parent and I can’t chance it.”

Charity, looking around the semi-circle of adults, asks “Then who in the hell is going to go?”

Elizabeth eagerly answers back with, “Snarky, you should go?”

“Really, Elizabeth, Just because you don’t particularly care for me is no reason to volunteer my services.”

“Jacardi jumps on the bandwagon and says,“Well, you do have the oldest kids so that makes sense.”

“I have a 14-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter it’s not like they’re in grad school.”

Dr. Debby pipes in with, “Well, based on that reasoning I should go.  I’m so old my kids are out of grad school.”

We all look at Dr. Debby, she’s 60, if she’s a day, and weighs all of 100 pounds, not really what you would call recon material.

Kelly says, “No Dr. Debby you’re staying here in an, um, medical capacity.”

Charity perks up and says, “I’m with Elizabeth, Snarky you should go.  Your already dressed for exploring in those track pants and tennis shoes and let’s face it, you’re solid, you know, big.  Didn’t you tell me once you wear a size 11 shoe?”

“Okay, ladies,” I say, in a super pissed off voice, “If we’re going to base who “volunteers” on physical prowess then I think all three of you are far superior to me for the task.”

“What do you mean?” Jacardi growls.

“Aren’t all you 26.2 moms?  If the decals on the back of your cars are correct then all of you run marathons and add in all those sessions on the pilates reformer and you Jacardi, Elizabeth and Charity are the Recon Dream Team.”

Kelly, Nikki and ABC are all smiling and Nikki says, “Snarky’s absolutely right. You three are suburban Navy Seals and your breast implants are probably bullet proof!”

Jacardi screams, “I’m not going! I’m not going!  I’m not going!  I’ve never run a marathon!  None of us have, she says pointing to Elizabeth and Charity.  We got those damn stickers off the internet!”

ABC says, “Well, that’s a surprise to, I don’t know, no one.  We all figured your marathon stickers we’re about as real as your hair color.”

“Enough!” I say, “I’ll go. I once escaped from a bible camp that was heavily patrolled by over zealous born again Christians.  I think I’ve got this.”

Nikki asks me, “Are you sure you want to do this?”

My son answers for me, “If my mom goes, I”m going with her.”

“No, you’re not. You’re staying here with your sister.”Before he could challenge that ABC quickly says, “Don’t worry about your mom Will, I’m going with her.”

I take ABC by the hand and lead her away from the group and ask, “Are you sure.  You’ve got three young boys?”

“You think I’d let you go by yourself?  Hell no.  Besides Kelly and Nikki will take care of my boys and it’s better then sitting here watching Mr. No T cry, Charity bitch and Jacardi move on to filing her toenails.  No thanks.”

I smile at her and take a deep breath and say, “Thank God, you’re coming with me.  If anything bad is going on out there I want the woman with three restraining orders filed against her and who failed a court mandated angry management class to have my back. ”

ABC squeezed my hand and says, “I don’t want to make you feel bad or anything sweetie, but I’m also going to find me some kind of boxed wine.”

After a group discussion it’s decided the best course of action is to go to the Fire Station, the closest law enforcement building, and see if we can discover what’s going on.

Before I leave I kiss my kids goodbye and tell them to obey Kelly and Nikki.  I also give Grace and Hyatt a hug and promise them that I will try to go by their houses and see if there is any sign of their parents.

Next, I go to my mini-van and take out my emergency fanny pack.  It’s filled with all sorts of goodies – bottled water, hand gel, Band-Aids, a lone protein bar and travel size Febreze.  I strap that bad boy on and then go with ABC to the kids bike rack.  We figured the fastest way to get around would be via two wheels.  I hoist myself up on the biggest bike I can find, a Spider Man special while ABC climbs aboard a Barbie bike, are knees are hitting the handle bars, but we’re moving.  As soon as we’re away from the school I tell ABC I’m changing our plans.  “Scratch the Fire Station. Our first stop is going to be my house.  I want to liberate two old friends.”

All ABC says is, “Yippee, boxed wine!”

Snarky Saves the World Part 3 – coming soon.  

Snarky Saves the World Part 1

Based on my real life with some very ill-mannered aliens thrown in.

 It’s only the first month of summer and so far I’ve sat through a trio of action adventure movies.  It’s not that I don’t like action or adventure it’s just that I’m think the formula of some men and a random chick kicking all sorts of alien butt needs to be shaken up a bit.  The epic battle I would like to see would be Aliens vs. Moms or more specifically Aliens vs. Snarky.  Yes, I want to see a movie featuring me (sure it’s a little narcissistic, but hey, it’s my blog) as played by Sandra Bullock (of course she’ll need some prosthetic cankles as I’ll, oops, I mean Sandra, will be wearing capri track pants during most of the film) taking some disgusting life forms intent on harming earth and giving them the mother of all beat downs.

I really think I’ve got a great idea going here, like blockbuster great, so if any of you have a second cousin who works at the Starbucks where some big Hollywood type sends their assistant to fetch a venti cappuccino tell them to share the Snarky.  I’m not asking for much, maybe just write the website address on the lid or something.  I’m doing Hollywood a major favor. The Mom Movie market is where it’s at.  Who pays for all the movie tickets of anyone ages 0 to 18?  Moms.  Who takes the kids to all the movies? Moms.  Who wants to see a movie that’s not a lame rom/com? Moms. Seriously, how long has it been since there’s been a decent romantic comedy? And if you think New Year’s Eve was a comedy I would beg to differ.  So, here’s just a taste of my science fiction/action adventure – Snarky Saves the World.

Act One

INTERIOR SCHOOL CAFETERIA LATE AFTERNOON.  8 moms are seated at a cafeteria table while their kids run around the room. The camera zooms on our hero, Snarky rolling her eyes while breathing through a tissue.

Okay, scratch that – I can’t write this in script form. It will give me a headache.  All the set ups, dialogue and camera pans to the right stuff – yuck.  I’m going back to traditional Snarky mode which is me complaining about stuff and the ensuing fall out. So, here’s the do over or as they say in Hollywood – Take Two.

_______________________________________________________

Why does every school cafeteria smell the same like dirty mop bucket water, boy feet and rancid Twinkie? (BTW a Twinkie would not have the “opportunity” to go rancid on my watch.) I’m having to take hits of Gain Febreze to make it through this emergency PTO board meeting.  What? You never taken hits of Febreeze?  It goes like this; you grab a Kleenex or toilet paper (in a crisis of stench you can’t be choosy), take the travel size Febreze from your purse, soak the Kleenex with Febreze then hold it up to your nose and take a couple of very deep nasal inhales.  It’s the ultimate cleaning breath, my friends.

Also, on my Why list – Why do school meetings have to be in the cafeteria?  What’s wrong with the library?  Is the library too good for the parents?  Are we not worthy of chairs?  Are we doomed to perch our adult size butts on tiny round cafeteria seats that are attached to the table?  But, the biggest “Why” of all was – Why do moms try to make money off the backs of children?  Because that’s why I’m trapped in an elementary school cafeteria on a beautiful, breezy, late spring Tuesday afternoon, 30 minutes after the bell has rung, talking about yet, another new P.T.O. fundraising idea – “Scents for School” (candles, those scent sticks, plug-ins etc).  P.T.O. Fundraising chairperson and sister-wife to Satan Charity Turner (for a deep background on Charity read The Reverse Stubing.) is all over “Scents for School” because it’s a calorie/gluten/sugar-free fundraising alternative and therefore far superior to the cookie dough, pizza, candy, bake sales etc. the school has.  Charity managed to leave out that “Scents for Schools” was a subsidiary of “Superior Scents” which she is a direct sales representative for and if “Scents for Schools” is approved as a fundraiser she would be getting a tidy little personal profit based on the pyramid sales structure.

I’m tempted to not even bring up that point because I’m so anxious to get out of the meeting.  My 10-year-old daughter is giving me the “I’m going to die if I don’t get a snack soon” eye.  Which is nothing compared my 14-year-old son’s “glares of doom.”  He and two of his friends, the uber nerdy Hyatt and Grace, who is a couple of years away from becoming gorgeous, have walked over from the high school to catch a ride home and I know they’re getting muy impatient based on the latest text I got that reads; “I would kill myself if I lived your life and had to go to a meeting about citrus scented candles. Hurry up!”  I texted back, “I would kill myself if I had 2 hours of Algebra homework.”  But, both kids had a point it was time to wrap up this meeting.  I had listened to Charity sing the praises of perfumed wax long enough and I was more than ready to stop looking at her.  This “wanna be hot mom” of two with a very unfortunate hair highlights (they looked orange in the direct sun.) had on black yoga pants, with a leopard thong you could see every time she bent over to take out a candle from her “Scents for School” bag, fur-lined Ugg clogs, and a tight black Nike t-shirt that reads, “Come and Get Some.”   What we supposed to come and get – crabs?  A free feel of her silicone breasts?  I think I speak for all of America when I say we’ll take a pass on getting anything Charity has to offer.  Just as I was ready to raise my hand and ask for the topic of the Scents for Schools fundraiser to be tabled until the general PTO meeting next week emergency sirens went off.  You know the ones that get tested the first Wednesday of every month at 11 a.m. and that you never pay attention to.  Well, it wasn’t Wednesday and it wasn’t the first of the month so we all looked at one another, grabbed the kids and hauled ass to the school basement.

Snarky Saves the World – Part 2  coming soon.

**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.   Cheers!

Partly Cloudy With A Chance of Dumb Ass – Part 6

Finally the freaking part about the cops

I spent the remainder of the week counting the days until Barbara got home.  According the neighbor “keeping an eye” (and just between us she was doing a mighty poor job) on Barbara’s house she was scheduled to be back in town on Monday. I hadn’t been this excited since I found six sleeves of Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies hidden in the back of my freezer under a 5 pound bag of Trader Joe’s Chicken Won Tons.  On Barbara Eve, or as some of you may call it Easter, I woke up, pilfered candy from my kids’ Peter Cottontail Hopping Down the Bunny Trail baskets and got attitude from my husband about his Easter present. He’s all, “Classy, really classy” because I gave him a “Bitch Basket” for Easter. I got a 72 rolls of toilet paper package from Costco and used it as the base for the bitch basket and then added 10 chip clips, 2 fingernail clipper sets, scissors and a lint roller – all the stuff he’s always bitching about as in; “Where’s the toilet paper?”  “Why can’t I ever find a chip clip?”  “Who took the scissors?” I thought is was inspired. Who wouldn’t’ like 72 rolls of toilet paper? And it was Charmain Ultra Soft.  It’s not like I went Walmart house brand on him.

To escape his negative vibe I took my dogs for a walk before I got dressed for church.  As I turned the corner with my hounds I was greeted by the Super Family’s Easter Banner (Please if you haven’t read about the Super Family stop and do so right now.) on their side fence.  It proclaimed “Kendell Family Easter Egg Hunt – Who Will Find the Golden Egg?!”  Gag.  Thanks to Kevin Kendell, a petite, hairless man who resembles a turkey baster and is always dressed in bike shorts and a spandex tank top with his erect man nipples in a constant state of thrust,  four years ago the town had to abandon it’s 43 year tradition of a local Easter Egg hunt.  Kevin went on a search and destroy mission that I’m sure far surpassed WWII troops storming the beaches at Normandy to guarantee his kids Kelsey, Kaleb and Kacey found the most eggs.  Because of his special forces tactics a couple of kids were trampled and that escalated to five dads getting into a shoving match that some off duty firemen had to break up.  After that incident, the Kendell’s have hosted their own private, invitation only, Easter Egg hunt where the eggs are not filled with anything as bourgeoisie as candy. No, these eggs are stuffed with cash. The Golden Egg is the one with two $100 bills.   As you may have guessed the Snarky family has yet to receive an invitation to this Easter Egg Hunt.  After I pass the obnoxious sign I see Kevin’s bike short butt bending over as he hides eggs in preparation for the hunt.  I pick up my walking pace so I’m not forced to so much as make eye contact with him.

Twenty minutes later I get home from walking the dogs and as I’m unleashing my part beagle, part basset hound mutt (Oreo) I get a present.  Oreo opens her mouth and drops a plastic yellow Easter Egg at my feet.  This dog loves to pick up items on our walks, specifically golf balls and surprise you with her treasure when she gets home.  I have a drawer full of lovely Titlest balls that my special friend has picked up for my husband.  When I see the plastic yellow Easter egg my only thought is does it have candy and if so I wonder if any dog slobber has managed to permeate the candy’s wrapper?  I open the egg and two $100 bills fall out.  Oreo had found the Golden Egg!  Good dog Oreo.  Good dog.

I know what you’re thinking.  I should march right over to the Super Family and return their egg. It is after all one of the holiest days in the Christian faith.  Well, I decided on another course of action.  I went Old Testament with finders keepers losers weepers.  Oh, calm down, I didn’t keep the cash and put it in my emergency Diet Coke and hair highlight fund I took the two crisp one hundreds and placed them in the church offering plate when they were doing a special Easter collection for Haiti.  My husband raised his eyebrows when he saw me peel off the cash, but he didn’t say anything.  He saved that for five hours later.

That’s because five hours later I had a policeman knocking on my front door.  You can imagine how excited this made my entire family.  I told everyone to calm down.  It’s not like we haven’t trained for this.

“Everyone,” I snapped, “Man your battle stations. This is not a drill.”

By that I meant for my husband to get his phone and prepare to speed dial our attorney and for my kids to take their positions at the upstairs windows to record what was going down with their phones.  I may need it for the trial.

“Remember,” I told my kids, “I want one of you getting the close-ups and one of you keeping steady on the wide shot. Don’t go all fancy camera moves on me.”

I was in luck when I opened the door and saw it was the SRO (School Resource Officer) as the cop of the day.  Officer Matt did the DARE and Safety programs at the Elementary and Middle School. He must have drawn the short straw by getting Easter Sunday duty.  The good news for me was over the years I had developed a congenial relationship with the young police officer.  I’m about to give you newbie parents some great advice here so get ready to take notes –  When your kids start school you will, of course, give the teachers gifts, but it’s more crucial to gift the support staff.  School secretary, librarian, custodial and even the SRO were recipients of my gratitude for all they did.  This is why as soon as I got my door opened I gave Officer Matt a great big hug, asked about his mother and offered him a piece of pie and then asked him why he was paying me a visit.

Blushing and slightly stammering he said, “Your neighbor thinks you may have stolen $200 from him.”

“Do you mean my neighbor who is trying to hide himself behind my oak tree, that one?”

Officer Matt looks over his shoulder and says, “Yes, that one.”

“Do you know why he would think that?”

“Sir,” he shouts to Mr. Super Family, “Please come here.”

Mr. Super Family struts over in his spandex and says, “All I know is that I’m missing my golden egg and the only person I saw when I was hiding my eggs were you and your dogs.”

I look at Officer Matt and can see that he’s having trouble keeping a straight face and say, “Wow, the Case of the Missing Golden Egg.  It’s like Encyclopedia Brown Meets Mother Goose.  How exciting. “

Mr. Super Family gets all up in my face and says, “Yeah, well it’s still stealing.”

“Golly Kevin, anybody or even an animal could have picked up an egg.  You have your great big sign up bragging how the eggs are stuffed with money and I also believe you put it on your family Facebook fan page.”

(That’s right, I said fan page.  The Super Family is so super that they attempt to share their greatness with a worldwide audience.)

“What a minute,” Officer Matt says to Mr. Super Family, “It’s common knowledge that you hide eggs with money in them all over your yard.”

“Yes”

“When did you post it on Facebook that you had eggs with money in them in your yard?”

“I don’t know about 7 hours ago. “

“And,” I say, “How do you even know your golden egg is missing?”

“Because, the egg hunt is over and no one found the golden egg.”

“Well, did you consider that one of your children or guest found the egg and took the cash and didn’t want to tell anyone. Maybe they were afraid they would have to share it.  Seriously, I can think of about a thousand scenarios on how that egg could have gone missing.  Even, maybe that a dad of one of those kids you trampled four years ago in the city Easter Egg hunt might have taken it.”

Officer Matt’s face turns angry and he says, “That was you four years ago?  Not cool man, not cool.”

While I’m looking at Mr. Super Family I ask Officer Matt, “Is there any kind of legal recourse I can take for having a neighbor call the cops and accuse me of stealing on Easter no less.?”

Officer Matt smiles and says,”I’m sure there’s at the very least some kind of harassment charge you could file.”

“Hmm,” I say, “I’ll consider taking that under advisement with my legal counsel.”

Officer Matt looks at Mr. Super Family and says, “Sir, I’m afraid you have no complaint here. The egg could still be in your yard or one of your teenagers could have “borrowed” it.”

That was enough for Mr. Super Family to walk back to his yard with his tail between his bike shorts.

Before Matt could turn and leave I reach out and touch his elbow and ask if he could answer a question for me.

“Sure, What is it?”

“Well, it’s about something growing in my neighbor’s yard. I think it maybe cannabis sativa.”

Now that got his attention.

The Conclusion

Finally, the day had come for Barbara to return home.  I’m sure she thought the manure smell would have dissipated and she would pull into her driveway secure in the knowledge that she bested me and all was right in her well-ordered lawn dominatrix world.  Sadly for Barbara as she turned the corner and veered into the winding road that would lead to her cul-de-sac she was greeted with a yard still sprinkled in cow crap with tiny little seedlings of clover and dandelion proudly peeking out of the soil.  Waiting for her in the driveway was the raccoon condo better known as the 1975 AMC Pacer mating with the rusted, bullet bedazzled tin trailer.  Five strong stalks of a dioecious flowering cannabis herb were gently swaying in the late afternoon spring breeze.  The sixth stalk having been removed by a law enforcement officer on Easter Sunday.

In preparation for this moment I had stayed home all day and had my ears on high alert for screams of anguish.  As luck, or the fact that I spent most of my day outside scanning the street for Barbara’s car would have it, I was able to witness the moment when she arrived back to her lair.  Due to the AMC Pacer and trailer taking up her entire driveway she had to park on the side of the street.  She threw open her car door, her wedge heeled sandal feet ran up the sidewalk and she was screaming, “Whose car is this!  Whose car is this!” She stuck her head inside the windowless Pacer and then bolted across the street to the neighbor who had been put in charge of watching her home.  The neighbor comes out to her front porch and Barbara begins screaming 20 Questions – Whose car is that?  Why is it in my driveway?  She had yet to notice her lawn had been infiltrated with grasses that didn’t answer to the name of Kentucky Blue or Rye.  After Barbara had browbeaten the neighbor into crying she whipped out her cell phone and called the police.  It took all of 5 minutes for the cops to arrive.  It took 7 before a crowd gathered and only 8 before the President of the HOA walked by.  I entered the fray at about 9 minutes in.  The police had a problem calming her down especially after they pointed out she had marijuana growing in her flower beds.

Lord, she was a very unladylike cursing tornado belching the F word like a drunken frat boy. After I soaked up the spectacle for a few minutes I felt the need to step in.  I said, “Excuse me officers, but if she really doesn’t know where the Pacer and trailer came from I could call a tow service for her, but it might be a couple of hours before they could get there. (I didn’t want the non-profit I volunteered for to lose out on a donation so I had always planned after I tweaked Barbara with the car visual to have the two junk heaps hauled off.)  Also, I’m sure that weed is just pure nonsense. This woman, although she swears like she’s giving birth to a 14 pound baby without an epidural and recovering from an episiotomy that was done with a spork, is a pillar of the community and co-chair of the Lyric Opera Guild Gala 2012 – An Enchanted Evening.”

One of the police officers looks at me and says, “We figured the weed wasn’t hers. It’s not something you would usually grow in the front of your house and it’s hard to prove who planted the pot. Was it the original owner of the home? Was it airborne seed?  We just need it eradicated.  Oh and thanks for the offer of the tow truck,” he pauses and looks over at Barbara who is now sitting down in her manure yard in white linen pants with her head between her legs taking deep breaths and says to her, “You know lady you’re mighty lucky to have such a great neighbor.”

Barbara lifts her sweaty, make up stained face up at me and I smile and say, “Oh, officer I would do just about anything for her.”

Epilogue:  By dinner time the Pacer and trailer had been towed off to the junk dealer’s lot and the pot was history. Last weekend Barbara began the process of having her entire lawn ripped out and re-sodded in an attempt to rescue her virgin grass from the virulent soil combatants that the manure had “released.” She’s currently in the process of  appealing her HOA death sentence and has secured an attorney in her quest to reclaim Yard of the Month privileges.  All of this has left her with no time to mess with me or anyone else in the neighborhood.  We’re all enjoying leaving our garage doors open, not mowing our grass in a cross hatch pattern and using yard decor that is not from Barbara sanctioned places like Frontgate or Pottery Barn.  On occasion, when Mr. Super Family is out in his yard, I especially like to play fetch with my dogs by throwing yellow plastic eggs for them to retrieve.  I’m sure he loves to hear me say, “Good doggies, now go get that golden egg.”

____________________________

**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.   Thanks also to all the Pinterest folks that are sharing the Snark. Cheers!


Partly Cloudy With A Chance of Dumb Ass – Part 5

Not one to rest on my laurels I was all over another opportunity that presented itself to me later in the day.  I volunteer at a non-profit that takes people’s used cars as donations and then sells the, usually very crapped out, cars to a dealer for cash.   I was working the phones for them when a call came in from a woman who wanted to donate her recently deceased father-in-law’s car.  She sounded very embarrassed about the condition of the vehicle and I assured her we had gotten cars donated that a good junk yard would have turned away.  Her problem was they were about to put her father-in-law’s house on the market and they needed the car out of the driveway as soon as possible.

“The car can’t be that bad,” I said.

“Oh, trust me it is,” the woman replied, “It’s a 1975 rusted out, dented, moldy AMC Pacer with the roof caving in. Oh and raccoons got into a couple of years ago and shredded most of the interior.”

I hope right now you’re thinking what I was thinking because I was thinking – I’ve got to get my hands on that car.  She had me at AMC Pacer.

“That does sound bad,” I said, “But we still would love the donation.”

“Well, there’s one more things. The Pacer has one of those tin can travel trailers attached to it.  The trailer is in worst shape than the Pacer. It even has a couple of bullet holes in it,”

I  gasped in delight, but the woman thought I was gasping about the violence of bullet holes so she quickly said, ‘Oh no, it’s not what you think.  The bullet holes are from a hunting trip when a bunch of men got drunk and used the trailer for target practice.”

I’m thinking to myself, “Awesome!” But I say to her in a voice of sweet innocence, “It’s okay.  I was just taken aback for a minute.”

In a very relieved tone she says,  “I was worried you were going to back out and you still might because the problem is you have to take both the car and the trailer.  You see the tow hitch on the back of the Pacer is so rusted out we can’t get the trailer off.”

“Oh no worries, no worries at all – we’ll take both,” I say as I’m rubbing my hands together in unfettered joy.  Let me ask you something – can your still drive the Pacer?”

“Barely.”

“Well, here’s the deal our parking area where we store the cars before the dealer we sell them to comes and hauls them away is full right now. But, if you could manage to drive the car and the trailer to my house I could store it for you and then when there’s room in our lot we can move it there.”

“Oh Bless you!  You’re an angel.  I’ll get with my husband as soon as I hang up the phone and see about moving the car today.”

I gave her Barbara Gray’s address and told her to make sure to pull the car and the trailer into the driveway as far as it will go.  I also told her I was going to be gone all day so she just needed to leave the key to the Pacer in the front seat of the car since I was pretty sure no one was going to steal it.

By 3:30 that afternoon Barbara had not only six pot plants in her front yard, but the world’s most disgusting AMC Pacer that was being upstaged by a vintage trailer that probably housed meth chefs in a former life, decorated with bullet holes.  I did exactly what you would have done.  I took pictures, lots of them.  Then I called the HOA and requested an emergency meeting.

The Devil’s Minor League – The HOA 

Our HOA board is composed mostly of retired people in very bad moods with control freak tendencies boarding on the psychotic which is why Barbara, as the recording secretary, fits in so nicely.  I think because they’re bored they fill up the days by ensuring their suburban enclave meets their level of perfection.  These folks also love, love, love meetings.  To request an emergency one, I have no doubt, gives them a non-viagra aided climax.  My meeting request was quickly approved and scheduled for 10 a.m. the next day.  I suggested we all meet in Barbara’s yard and added that it wouldn’t be awkward because I knew she would be out-of-town.

As befitting such an important and solemn occasion as an emergency HOA meeting in a neighbor’s manure laden lawn I showed up the next morning dressed in my burb finest – jeans, a T.J. Maxx cashmere twin set with pearls and my hair in a headband. I looked like Hillary Clinton, circa 1992. I carried a basked of mini muffins that I passed around and I also had handouts.  Nothing says I’m a serious person who once worked at an important job a decade ago as color handouts.  My handouts, in extra-large type, thank you very much, for the mature set, listed the HOA “crimes” Barbara had committed including, but not limited to; use of unapproved lawn fertilizer resulting in endangerment of the health of other homeowners, possible growing of illegal vegetation, violation of the parking rules and having a vehicle or lawn ornament that reflects negatively on the beauty of the neighborhood.  I also noted as a HOA board member she should know better.

The board, 4 retired dudes, 2 ladies who lunch and also do hard time as members of the Garden Club and my friend Kelly (Board treasurer. She very nicely left work so she could be there for me. ) were “aghast,” “taken aback” and “saddened” by Barbara’s “egregious” and “blatant disrespect of the covenants of the HOA.”  Kelly was getting me off my game a little bit because she was trying not to laugh and the effort was making her entire body shake. I couldn’t make eye contact with her for fear I would start howling. To try to regain my composure I proposed a moment of silence where we could all reflect or pray, depending on your religious affiliation or lack thereof, for Barbara’s soul.  One gentleman requested we form a pray circle and hold hands.  That pushed Kelly right over the edge.  She got the hiccups from excessive laughter suppression and had to excuse herself to go and get a drink of water. I told everyone the manure smell was most likely causing a partial larynx paralysis.

After the moment of silence the HOA board president opened the meeting up for discussion.  I thought the two garden club groupies would try to have Barbara’s back and might defend her.  I was wrong – kind of – they did  have her back, but it was to stick a knife in it.   They also aimed for her jugular by making a motion for the HOA Death Penalty – Ineligible to participate in Yard of the Month for two years!  They had a quorum and took a vote.  It was unanimous – The Death Penalty wins!  The Death Penalty Wins!  One of the woman wanted to call Barbara and inform her immediately of their decision.  No, no and no, this can’t happen. I don’t want her rushing home.  I need a couple of days for my damn seeds to germinate and those pot plants to take root.  This is when being prepared and forcing yourself to read 13 pages of HOA rules pays off big.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” I said, “According to the covenant you have to send the rule violations in writing via registered mail. It would be a flagrant violation of our own policy and might render the charges against Barbara null and void.”

They all agreed and the meeting was adjourned with the president vowing to get the letter written and mailed today.  I waited until everyone left, checked on the pot plants, gave them a little water and then did a happy dance.

But, wait there’s more – click your way over to the finale!

Get your Snarky fix by buying the book!  Snarky in the Suburbs – Back to School – check it out on Amazon.  http://tinyurl.com/snarkybook

Here’s a little lookie loo: 

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.


Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Dumb Ass – Part 4

I woke up the day after my Water Carnival show down all Zippity-Damn-Doo-Dah. I was confident that Barbara Gray had been vanquished for at least a couple of months.  I held on to that happy thought until 10 a.m. I had dropped my kids off at school, gone to a meeting and was pulling into my driveway when I smelled something God awful.  I put my car into the garage and got out to investigate.  That’s when the full force of the odor  began an assault on my olfactory system.  Imagine the worst dirty diaper you’ve ever changed then multiply that by 1,000. I followed my nose and it took me right to Barbara’s house.  She had a landscape crew literally shoveling shit all over her lawn. They were spreading manure in the flower beds, around her trees and shrubs, even raking it through her grass.  Yes, I know it’s just super environmentally friendly to fertilizer with manure, but Barbara wasn’t just fertilizing she was carpeting her entire yard with bovine refuse.  As I stood in her lawn breathing through my nose a neighbor walked over and said, “This is just horrible!”

“I don’t know how Barbara can stand this,” I said while gagging.  “Who wants cow poop all over their yard?”

“Oh, didn’t you know?  She’s at her lake house until next week.  I’m supposed to keep an eye on things for her until she gets back.”

“What?!  Barbara has left town and we’re stuck with crapapalooza.”

This whole landscaping with nature’s number 2 got my snarky senses tingling.  Something besides the crap didn’t smell right.  I walked over to what seemed to be the head landscape guy and asked if he knew when the order was placed for the manure spectacular.  He said, they got a call late yesterday afternoon from Mrs. Gray requesting her yard be “liberally fertilized with cow manure.”

“She said she was going green and wanted to experiment with cow manure as a total lawn fertilizer. I told her it was going smell something awful, but she didn’t’ seem to care.”

I stood there and thought, “Well, well, Barbara you think you can one up my Water Carnival with a strategic crap bomb.  We’ll just see about that.”

I thanked the yard guy, sprinted inside my house and then took a couple of minutes to enjoy breathing again.  Once I was no longer light-headed from a lack of oxygen I got on the phone to do some research.  My first call was to the landscaping service Barbara uses.  I identified myself as a writer for the website – I Want Yard of the Month.com. The nice lady that answered the phone seemed thrilled to be talking to a “journalist.”  Now some of you may remember that I’ve used this whole writer for a website thing before (I Hate People – Part 3) and if you’re thinking I’m lazy because I’m reusing strategy think again.  I use it because it works.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – never underestimate how much people like to talk about themselves or have someone ask their opinion.  I shared with the woman that I was a neighbor of Barbara Gray’s and was fascinated by her use of cow manure as a fertilizer.  I asked if this was a new trend in suburban landscaping.

“Oh no, we do use cow manure in flower beds, but this is the first time someone has asked if we could do their whole yard.  It usually isn’t done on the entire yard because of the smell and the neighbor’s complaints.  There are some HOA’s that don’t allow it.”

“Really?  Some HOA’s have a problem with it – interesting.  Now, I haven’t noticed my neighbor using cow manure before.  Do you know why she changed her weed and feed methods?”

“You know I really can’t say.  I do know that her phone call yesterday afternoon took us all by a complete surprise.  It’s was so, how do I say this, so un-Mrs. Gray.  We even tried to talk her out doing manure over her entire yard, but she insisted.”

“She just decided to do it yesterday.  Wow, you guys work fast!  What time did she call?”

“Oh, it was right after 5 o’clock, but Mrs. Gray is one of our best clients so we try to keep her happy.”

“Hmm, I bet you do.  Now, is there a downside to using cow manure besides the odor?”

“Well, if you’re not careful about the quality of the manure you can get what is called weed seed transfer. That’s when the vegetation the cow eats ends up in it’s poop and those seeds can then end up in your yard.”

Upon hearing this my heart skips a beat and I experience the thrilling rush of retaliation. I try to contain my joy and say in a voice that’s as normal as possible, “How devastating. You mean if you’re not careful you could end up with a yard full of weeds?”

“Yes, there’s a chance that might happen, but then most people don’t use cow manure all over their yard.”

I thank the landscape lady profusely for her time and promise to send her a link to my article just as soon as I post it online.  I then quickly call my neighbor who is keeping on eye on Barbara’s house for her and ask if she knows exactly when Barbara will be back.  I find out she’s gone for an entire week.  Excellent.  I then change into my navy blue capri track pants, throw on a t-shirt, shove my size 11 feet into men’s flip flops (They’re way cheaper people.) and head to our city’s one and only organic nursery.  I was off to buy some seeds.  Why organic you ask?  Because I wanted to buy dandelion seeds and I knew the organic nursery stocked them for the deluxe crunchy set who make their own home-grown dandelion wine. (Yuck.) I was planning on liberating some dandelion seeds right into Barbara’s yard and that was just the beginning.

Field of Dreams

I was greeted by a very attentive garden employee. She was named Saffron Luna and of course, that prompted me to ask if that was the name on her birth certificate.  It was not.   I told her I was helping my daughter with a school project and she had to see which kind of weeds would grow fastest in a manure based soil.  Saffron was full of great suggestions. While dandelions were a no brainer she also suggested thistles, something that was a cousin to crabgrass, clover, chickweed and various nut and onion grasses.  Unfortunately, all they sold were the dandelion seeds, but she know the local Ag Extension office (for you big city types the Ag office in the simplest terms is a cooperative education outreach for farmers) would have some, if not all of, the weed seeds.  Mother Nature had my back because not only was the Extension office more than happy to load me up on “lawn combatants” they also didn’t charge me a thing.  The gentleman there said, “He was pleased to help any youngster with a scientific endeavor.”

Yeah, I know I should have at least blushed or hung my head in shame for fibbing, but I had bigger issues at stake than the truth – revenge.

The trip out to the country and back took up most of my afternoon and I barely was on time picking up my kids from school.  I warned them as they exited the car to use their backpacks to cover their face and not to commence breathing until they were inside the sealed pod that is our house. Based on the fact that, at times, they’re both morons they didn’t obey me and I was serenaded with my daughter screaming, “My eyes are bleeding!” and my son moaning “It’s the Killing Fields!”  To punish them for not doing as they were told I ran into the house and locked the door making them beg for mercy before I would open it. They were locked out for all of 30 seconds, but you would have thought both of them were having limbs amputated.  After they calmed down and did a nasal wash I explained that Operation Retribution was in high gear.  This is when I was betrayed by my own flesh and blood.  My daughter had the nerve to announce, “Mom, this is all your fault! If you hadn’t made Mrs. Gray so mad with the Water Carnival we could all breathe outside.”

My son added, “I would think about doing Operation Give Up because not being able to go outside or open your windows trumps water balloons.”

I shook my head in disgust and said, “Really, this is what you two are all about – giving up, quitting, hugging defeat.  I’m seriously doubting that you two are my children.  There must have been some kind of switched at birth at the hospital because anyone with my DNA surging through them would not be this lazy. Oh my God, or worse, you both are acting just like Nana!  This isn’t the time to quit.  This is the time to shine.  To let your opponent know just what they’re dealing with.  I telling you two, I‘ve got this.”

Then I misquoted Winston Churchill (big time) and made, what I thought was a stirring closing argument.

“We shall fight her in her yard, We shall fight her in the HOA, We shall fight her in the fields and in the streets, We will outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.”

As usual they were not impressed, but I tell you, I gave myself chill bumps.

Before the Dawn’s Early Light

At approximately 3:45 a.m. my alarm went off and I got out of bed ready to begin phase one of Operation Retribution.  Because I had slept in my super sexy nighty – an XL man’s black Hanes T-shirt – I already had on most of my camouflage outfit. All I needed to do was pull on my track pants, lace up my tennis shoes, leash up our black dog and I was good to go.  I slipped out of the house with a dog poop bag filled to the brim with the lawn combatants and then using my elderly dog with bladder control issues as an excuse to be roaming the neighborhood at such an early hour I set out for Barbara’s yard.  Once I got there I began pouring seed from the poop bag into nice little rows.  I felt like a 21st Century Johnny Appleseed.  Everything was going great until something touched my shoulder.

“Holy Crap!, I whispered screamed,  “Who sneaks up on a woman in the middle of the night?”

“Sorry,” said my 60ish down the street neighbor said. He was smoking and I guessed that’s why he was up.  I knew his wife didn’t allow him to smoke in the house.  “I was just so curious about what you were up to I had to come and take a look-see.”

Hmm, what to do, what to do.  Should I confess the truth or try to cover up my actions?  My neighbor, James Robert, is a retired English professor. He’s got a cool, aging hippie vibe.  He and his wife do new age things like travel the world watching sun sets while doing yoga on top of a mountain.  He’s also pretty attractive for an older gentleman.  Not NCIS Mark Harmon attractive, but really who is?  I decide to go with confessing. Barbara has given him plenty of grief over his xeriscaped yard so I knew there was a good chance he would be all over my plan.  I would also throw in that I was just giving karma a nudge.  So, I spilled the beans/seeds.

As soon as I’m done he starts laughing his ass off.  He’s so loud I’m shushing him, like I need more neighbors outside – not.  After he calms down James Robert bends down to pet my dog and says, “I think I can help you in this little plan you’ve got going on.”

“Oh, you’re going to help spread the weed seeds?”

“Nay, I can do better than that.  What would you say if I planted some weed?”

I gave him a confused look and said,”Well, I’m already planting weed. I have clover and chickweed and…”

He interrupted me with, “No, I mean real weed.”

I looked at him again, still confused and then I got it, my eyes bigger than the full moon. “Ohhhh, you mean weed, weed, marijuana!  I gasped and said, “You want to plant pot in Barbara’s yard?”

At this point I was experiencing a wide range of emotions from giddy delight to having Mrs. Stick Up Her Butt growing pot in her yard to the fear of being busted.  I can see it now, “Local Mother of Two Arrested in Pot Sting – Feet to Big for Women’s Prison Slippers.”

My delight overtook my fear so I went for the follow-up question. “Just how would you do that?”

“Easy, I might possibly have access to a couple of marijuana plants that perhaps I could put in those front flower beds right over there.”

“Like full size, already grown plants?”

“Yes, full size plants.”

“Okay, I can’t tell you how happy this is making me, but I can’t have any part in being anywhere near marijuana.  If you do this I can not help you. I’m going to have to go all Mission Impossible and disavow any knowledge of your actions.”

“No problem. Give me the rest of your seed bag and take your doggy inside.  I’ll take care of the rest.”

I felt like I was right in the middle of a drug deal or something.  My heart was thumping out of my chest.  “Okay,” I said, very cautiously, “I’ll just drop my bag here and go back to my house.  It was good talking to you. Tell your wife hi for me” and then I turned tail and ran home.

I was extremely worried that I may have crossed a line so I woke up my husband and told him my story.  He looked at me with sleepy, pissed off eyes and first said, “You were out in the middle of the night with seeds in a dog poop bag spilling them on a neighbor’s yard with our dog as your co-conspirator?”

“Yes.”

Then you accidentally meet up with James Robert and he volunteers to plant pot in Barbara’s yard.?”

I’m thinking his grasp of the story is remarkable for someone who just woke up and say, “Yes.”

Did you ask him to do it?  Did you see the plants? Did you see him plant the plants?”

I answered, “No, no and no.”

“Then go to sleep. For all you know he was just yanking your chain and P.S. you’re might need to go on some kind of medication”

“Not going to happen. I don’t think there’s a medication for making someone un-awesome.”

He said, “You do know your awesome is probably a textbook case of crazy,” and then he rolled over and went back to sleep.

I couldn’t. I was too wired from my nighttime excursion.  I got even more excited the next morning when I took my dogs on an early than normal morning walk and saw about half-dozen pot plants standing tall and proud in Barbara’s front flower beds.  Good Lord, he had done it!  Barbara Gray was now a pot farmer.

Yes, there’s still more, much more – coming soon.


Partly Cloudy With a Chance of Dumb Ass – Part 2

By the time I had pulled into my garage my kids had been fully briefed on what their responsibilities were.  Time was of the essence.  People would be arriving in minutes.  I was on wine detail which meant taking my Franzi boxed white wine and siphoning it off into a carafe. (Classy, I know.) My daughter was to get into a swimsuit pronto, head to the backyard and start turning on the hoses.  My son was instructed to break out the trebuchet.  That command got him interested. “My trebuchet”, he said excitedly.  “We still have the trebuchet!  I wonder if it works? Where is it?”

“I dug it out of the deepest corner of the basement and it looks to be in pretty decent shape.  I wheeled it out into the yard.  Go make sure it can still catapult,”

A trebuchet, in it’s simplest terms, is a geeky boy’s best friend when his parents just say no to an air gun. It’s loosely related to a catapult and was used in the Middle Ages to fling projectiles over enemy fortifications.  My son had built a mini-trebuchet in seventh grade using a radio flyer wagon, scrap wood and my gently used Spanx. His trebuchet had amazing accuracy in flinging water balloons and seemed to me to be just the thing for a successful Water Carnival.

As soon as I got the Frenzi into a carafe party helped arrived.  My friends Kelly, Nikki and ABC all walked in with screaming kids that immediately descended into the backyard. (For detailed friend descriptions please read My Friends and really let’s try to keep up on the Snarky.)  I told not yet 30 and gorgeous Nikki, “You’re on kid patrol and I think you know why?”

“I’m guessing it’s because I have the youngest kids,” she said.

“No,” it’s because you walked into my kitchen wearing cut offs and a bikini top.  You’re being punished for being young and beautiful with no visible sign of cellulite or spider veins.

Nikki laughed and said, “Should I wrap a beach towel around myself to make you feel better?”

“No, I’m afraid the damage is already done. My self-esteem will now require a Franzi I.V.”

“And I know how much you’ll hate that,” she said and still laughing walked outside and started running through the Dora the Explorer sprinkler with her two kids.

Kelly looked at me and said,  “I better not get “Annoying Mom” hostess duty again. I always get that.”

I gave Kelly a guilty look and then launched into a pep talk.  “It’s because you’re so good at it.  You can stand there and converse with those women without saying things like “Shut up, please just shut up?”  I can’t do that and we all know ABC sure as hell can’t. Really, you have a talent.  It would be rude of me not to let you use it.”

“Let me get this straight. You’re telling me I have a talent for chatting up obnoxious moms?”

“Yes, you’re a diplomat.  An ambassador.  An envoy bridging the gap between the awesome (I said pointing to the three of us left in the kitchen) and the icky.

“Great,” she said with zero enthusiasm, “It looks like the icky are arriving so it’s off to the backyard for me.”

ABC then quickly volunteered to be the “wine hostess.”

“Just exactly does one do as a wine hostess?” I inquired.

“Easy, I keep the Franzi flowing.”

“How do you know it’s Franzi in the carafe?  It could be something fancy?”

“Seriously, I could smell the Franzi from your driveway?”

“My driveway says boxed wine?”

“No, your driveway says boxed wine with a coupon.”

I smiled and said, “You got that right!” and gave her a high-five.  ABC grabbed the  carafe.  I got the plastic wine glasses and the fruit tray and we both headed outside.

It took only about 20 minutes for the Water Carnival to be in full swing.  So many  things were in my favor for a successful event.  It was an unusually hot and humid day and it was way to early for any of the local pools to open so running around in the backyard was still considered not that “uncool” for the over age 9 set.  It was also a Monday.  The one day of the week my kids didn’t have any after school obligations and from the turn out it looked like a lot of families had similar schedules.  But the very best thing about the party was the wind. It was blowing, without any help from me, sprinkler and hose back-splash into Barbara Gray’s yard.   Because my neighborhood has a golf course that runs through it fences are not allowed for any home that backs up to a fairway.  It you do have a fence it must be no taller than four feet and have spacing between the slates to “ensure a seamless neighborhood vista.”  What this means is that while I have a fence, (A white picket one.  Yes, the irony.) Barbara does not and my fence offers no protection from keeping water out of her yard.  To further ensure that her lawn would be a soaking mess I told all the boys under the age of 10 “under no circumstances” should they let water get in “that” yard.  The lady was “very mean and she would get super angry” if her yard got wet.  It was like rubbing a bull’s face in a red flag. Those boys made it their mission to flood Barbara’s yard.

As I stood watching the “moist” mayhem I was forced to play gracious hostess and converse with the three annoying moms I had invited Organica, Zillow and TBTT.  They were here because I had been blowing them off for almost year with one of those, “Yeah, we do really need to get our kids together soon” and they had children who were holy terrors that I knew they would deliver a huge water mess.  I had just broken out the Otter pops and was beginning to circulate them to the kids when “Organica” just couldn’t help herself and had to ask me if the Otter Pops were homemade.  I said, “Um no.”  She then questioned if they were naturally free of additives and part of the Rainforest Alliance Pact?”  It took all the etiquette training my mother had forced upon me and that includes two years participating in Cotillion to not holler, “Are you shitting me?”

Instead I sweetly smiled at her and said, “Oh yes, these Otter Pops are made with amniotic fluid from free range wood nymphs that live in the fair trade enchanted forest and are sweetened with localvore pixie dust.”

You could see Organica trying to process what I had just said.  All the buzz phrases she longed to hear were there – free range, localvoire, fair trade.  It took a couple of seconds before she said a bewildered, “Huh?”

“I’m just teasing you,” I said. “No worries, this brand of Otter Pops are from Whole Foods.”

She smiled and I smiled because the water, high fructose corn syrup and red dye #2 ice pops were from Costco.  But, I’ve learned when a mom questions me about food the simplest way to shut them up is to just say, “Whole Foods.”

Sidebar time – Sorry I know it slows the story down, but I feel I must take a moment to add in this rant.  Curse you Williams Sonoma for taking a simple thing of summer beauty like a box of popsicles that cost me all of $2.00 and ruining it with your $50 Zoku Quick Pop Maker.  It started last summer when every mom was talking about making her own gourmet, organic popsicles for her kids with her Zoku.  As in, “OMG, I just made the best beet juice and carrot Zoku pops ever.”  Gag. Now it’s white trash to grab a 150 count bag of Otter Pops out of your fridge. Frozen ice has gone fancy.  Suburban popsicles are now homemade veggie juices sweetened with stevia.  Way to go, Williams Sonoma.  Thanks for killing another part of the innocence of summer.  Okay, I got that out of my system and I feel way better.  Now, back my story.

The next mom to irritate me was Zillow.  Zillow is a former realtor (brought down by the economic collapse and currently a co-founder of a Cupcakery) who goes around telling everyone what their home is currently worth.  She’s a soothsayer of doom because right now most people’s houses aren’t worth what they should be and really is it ever a good time to tell someone that they’re “this close” to being upside down on their mortgage?  Zillow greeted me with a, “You’ll never sell this house until you get some granite in that kitchen.”

“Good to know,” I said in a curt attempt to shut her up.

It didn’t work. She continued on with, “I don’t even know how you can cook in a kitchen without granite. It’s so 1980’s.”

“Gee Zillow, I’ve probably made thousands of meals in that kitchen without granite countertops. I guess I’m kicking it old school.”

“I’m just saying it’s a shame you can’t go more upscale.”

I thanked her for her concern and immediately walked back into my non-granite kitchen texted my son who was in the backyard and instructed him to trebuchet the woman in the yellow top on the deck with at least two water balloons ASAP. I then took a great big sip of Franzia and counted to 10.  By the time I had gotten to nine I heard screams from Zillow.  The trebuchet had made a direct hit.

I laid low after that happened and busied myself with filling up more water balloons.  Unfortunately TBTT found me.  The TBTT stands for “Too Busy Too Tinkle.”  This woman’s goal is to be the busiest mom in the 48 contiguous United States. She validates her self-worth by being so incredibly, extraordinarily busy (in her own mind) that she has zero time to empty her bladder.  Every conversation I’ve ever had with her starts with some version, “Oh my God. I’m about to wet my pants.  I’ve been so busy I haven’t gone to the bathroom since 6:15 this morning.”   I’ve called her out on this a few times.  I mentioned how it’s not really a good thing not to answer nature’s call and even that it’s a tad awkward to start every conversation with an over share of your bodily functions.  She’s yet to take a hint.  This afternoon she greeted me with, “Girl, where’s your bathroom I’ve got to pee like a racehorse.  I’ve had four coffees, three meetings and no time to go potty.”

I directed her to my half bath and when she came out I began my version of “Word Problems They Didn’t Teach You in School.”  TBTT, I said, I just timed how longed you peed.  It was exactly 46 seconds.  The entire time you were in the bathroom comprised 1 minute and 36 seconds – that includes pants down and up, toilet flush and hand washing.  You mean to tell me that in the, I’m guessing 10 hours you’ve been up, you didn’t have 1 minute and 36 seconds to void your bladder?”

“Oh my God, you timed my pee?  That’s so gross.”

“No grosser then you telling me you have to pee like a racehorse. I’m just trying to help, to illustrate that you do, indeed, have time to use the bathroom.”

“I don’t expect someone like you to get it.  I mean you’d have to be a really busy person to understand what it’s like to be just constantly doing stuff all the time. It’s not just that I don’t time to pee, It’s that I’m so busy I forget that I have to pee.”

I didn’t see myself winning this to pee or not to pee argument so I agreed with TBTT and said, “Yes, you’re right.  I could never grasp being so devoid of time management skills that I couldn’t take a couple of minutes to go to the bathroom. “

She smiled at me and said, “I know, I know, I need to slow down, but it’s who I am.  I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

“Well,” I said, here’s hoping a bladder infection doesn’t kill you” and off I went to deliver the water balloons to the boys lined up at the trebuchet.

As you would expect of boys as soon as they saw me they attacked me with a water balloons.  I was soaking wet. So I took off my t-shirt and was styling in an outfit of jog bra, capri track pants and flip-flops.  My son yelled, “George Washington, over here. I’ve got something for you” and he handed me a tri-corner hat that he must have snagged from the basement costume stash.  The hat was from his first grade Halloween outfit when he went as Paul Revere. I, being a good sport, perched the hat, sized for a six-year-old, on my head and continued on with my hostess duties.

I walked over to where Nikki, ABC and Kelly (who had escaped the trio of annoyance) were standing and surveyed my yard.  I felt like Francis Scott Key observing the battle of Fort McHenry.  Over the ramparts I watched sprinklers gallantly streaming. There was the rockets wet glare as kids shot each other in the eye with super soakers and the mini trebuchet, courtesy of XL spanx was brilliantly delivering water balloons bursting in not just in the air, but Barbara Gray’s yard. It was a H2o dream come true.  Kids were slip n sliding, bathing in wheel barrows and plastic wading pools, blowing bubbles, and screaming – a lot.  The only thing missing was Barbara Gray, but just as a flock of clouds obscured the sun she emerged out on her back deck, took inventory of the chaos and give me a look, I fear, would have killed a weaker woman.  I looked right back at her, balled my hands into fists, raised them to my eyes and did the whole boo hoo thing.  She just stood there and glared.  I was loving it!  Until my husband pulled into the driveway.  Crap, he was home way early.

My house has the garages on the side so when you pull into the driveway you can see right into a portion of the backyard.  I looked up and there he was sitting in his car staring at me and my what a pretty picture I make.  I’m wet, wearing a child size tri corner hat, in a jog bra with my dimpled stomach, that hasn’t seen the sun since 1995, curling over the waistband of my Target capris.  My handsome husband gets out of his car, briefcase in one hand, keys in the other and continues to stare and then starts shaking his head. What choice did I have, but to blow him a kiss.  He looks at me, kind of smiles and reaches up with his hand that’s holding the car keys and catches it.

This was a definitive moment in my 20 plus year marriage.  I don’t have one of those grand romantic marriages that Nicholas Sparks writes about.  The closest I’ve had to a “Notebook” moment of making mad, passionate love in the rain was when my husband and I snuggled under a large Hefty trash bag during an angry thunderstorm at a University of Texas Football game.  But, the one thing I knew at that moment, on this day, was that I was loved. Not even belly fat and a tri-corner hat scared this man and for a second that made me the luckiest woman in the world.

Too bad that moment lasted just a millisecond because Barbara had left her deck and was walking towards my house with an umbrella.  She demanded the sprinklers be repositioned and all these “shenanigans” stopped.  I said, “No problem, the party is almost over.  I told the boys over and over again to not get your yard wet.  Please accept my sincere apologies,” and then  I offered her an Otter Pop.

She waved her hand at the Otter Pop like it was turd on a stick and squished her way through my very wet grass to her almost as wet backyard. Then right as she’s plopping herself in a chair on her deck the trebuchet launches three balloons. They hit her, not in the face, but right at her feet.  I see the balloons explode, the water splashing up and soaking her linen dress and then to make it even more perfect she curses.  I answer back with an, “Oops, sorry!”

It was a good to be me right up until 10 o’clock the next morning when the shit hit the fan – literally.

More to come.

Partly Cloudy With a Chance of Dumb Ass – Part 1

Water SprinklerI do a lot of things I’m not very proud of.  The good news is I have, what I consider to be, a gift of being able to justify my bad behavior.

Earlier this month I went on what could be called a HOA crime spree.  I dampened neighborhood property without verbal permission or written permit.  I trespassed.  I illegally parked a three-ton vehicle with an attached trailer and I committed larceny with intent to permanently deprive. Am I a bad person? No.

Here’s my defense. The weather made me do it. If I was given the opportunity to plead my case to a jury of my peers – any female over the age of 18 afflicted with terminal frizzy hair and water retention issues – I would be assured a speedy acquittal. The extreme and almost unprecedented early spring humidity was playing havoc with my grooming.

My hair was out of control even though I had upgraded to salon strength de-frizz balm and the excess moisture in the air was causing my body to experience acute bloating boarding on head to toe edema. (Seriously, even my XL my capri track pants were snug and my boobage was swelling out of my Champion athletic bra. What’s with humidity and boob swelling anyways?  Ladies forget the breast enlargement – just move to a humid climate.)

All of this combined to make me not responsible for my actions due to mental defect brought on by acute water vapor coupled with bipolar barometric pressure.

I know, right now you’re thinking, “Oh my God, why isn’t she an attorney? Clearly Snarky is one of the great legal minds of this millennium.”  Well, here’s the crappy deal – that stupid LSAT and of course, my college GPA kept me out of any kind of law school, even ones in Puerto Rico.

I say they base your law school acceptance on the craftiness of your mind, not your ability to memorize something like Pollock v. The Farmers’ Loan and Trust Co. I could so do the whole Supreme Court thing and bonus – I look my best in black and white not to mention those full length judges robes would not only hide my cankles, but provide camo for back flab and other unsightly bulges.

My crime spree started on the morning of April 2 when I was doing my most favorite things in the whole wide world; minding my own business, listening to Christian soft jazz as sung by the Kid’s Bop Choir, while doing a little meditative prayer, kegeling and hosing off my deck. (Okay, I was so doing only one of those things.)

As I was braving the humidity I was blissfully unaware that evil was lurking. It took less than 10 minutes for yard terrorist Barbara Gray, (A Very Snarky Christmas) looking Downey fresh and spring like in one of those so simple, but costs a fortune linen shift dresses that say “I take a vacation that’s not based on how many Marriott points I have” (Damn her), to emerge from her House of Horrors and begin verbally bitch slapping me with complaints that I had “gotten her grass MOIST.”

Any other day I probably would have just let her have a little tantrum and moved on. We all know that’s what I’m all about – forgiveness and adhering to the Golden Rule. But today, due to the humidity level from the basement of Hell (BTW – Hell, not a dry heat), I was not in the best of moods and her harangue set me off for many reasons.

First off, I know for a fact that I did not get her grass “moist.” I share just the tiniest sliver of property line with her. I informed Barbara that my hose, “Did not have super powers nor was I Elasti-Girl from the Incredibles.”  Second, and perhaps most important, was her use of the word – “moist?”

Really, you just can’t say wet you have to say moist?  Ick. Now, being a long-term Suburbanite I know there are cases when you don’t want your yard to get wet, like you’ve just put on some kind of fertilizer or weed and feed application. As a kind and gracious person I asked Barbara, “Did you have some kind of yard work done where your lawn can’t get wet?”

She looked down her very regal (I’m guessing a tip rhinoplasty or the very least a  cartilage reshaping) nose at me and said, “No, I just don’t want your water on my yard.”

“R-e-a-l-l-y,” I said, using my best you are such a dumb ass voice, “You do know that all of our water comes from the same place?”

“I don’t care. I just don’t want YOUR water on MY grass. Got it?”

“Oh, I’ve got it alright.” I said, in trying to sound like a tough chick.Then I aimed my hose in her general direction as she sprinted off.  You could hear her cloven hoofs going clippty-clop. I was hoping she’d wipe out and her designer nose would get a big ole whiff of grass. Unfortunately she made it safely back to her yard – for now.

I immediately went inside for a restorative burst of air conditioning and tried to compose myself. It took one 12 oz Diet Coke with a twist of lime and just a wee bit of the only booze I had in the house, Skinny Girl Margarita mix. I assure you it was for medicinal purposes only. I mean who drinks before noon, on a weekday, by herself, at home?

Not me. I mean, not me, all the time. After a couple of very unladylike chugs of my special Diet Coke I hit the shower. It was there I had my epiphany probably brought by the sudsy power of Irish Spring body wash and Suave shampoo.

As I lathered, rinsed and repeated I thought about the conundrum that is Barbara Gray. You would think she would have learned not to irritate me by now. I had brought down some major schemes on her and yet she always comes back for more. I think she has some freaky control issues that need addressing by a tag team of mental health professionals.  But, until that happens there is nothing I can do – except – continue with a course of corrective behavior training.

Any good parent knows the key to success in disciplining your child or dog is consistency. I need to be consistent with Barbara. It’s obvious her “moist” yard comment was a sign of her acting out.  To do nothing would just reward her negative behavior. I had no choice, but to strike back.  It was my duty as her neighbor to continue to teach her life’s hard lessons. I was going to throw an impromptu Water Carnival. This party would be 50% Family Fun magazine goodness and 50% Redneck Hillbilly which, if I’m doing the math correctly, equals 100% awesome.

More Tomorrow

The Reverse Stubing – Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All three of my friends gave me a blank look.

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

Blank stares continue.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I threw two limes at her.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How?” Kelly and ABC said in unison.

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

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

*Part Three of the Reverse Stubing is right here: https://snarkyinthesuburbs.com/2012/02/29/the-reverse-stubing-part-3/

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

Undercover Snarky – The Finale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Excellent.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She growls, “Yes.”

“Hi everyone,” I say, “I’m Sam’s mom”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That sir,” I say, “Sucks!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cute Blonde quickly seconds.

All Business says, “All in favor?”

You hear a rather loud cry of “Ayes!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well played,Horsey Pants, well played.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Say what?” she asks.

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

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

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

Okay, that was Ffffffff’ing Awesome!!”

I laugh and say, “Yeah, it sure was.”

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

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