Undercover Snarky – Almost The Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Don’t tell me they check I.D.?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How good?”

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Undercover Snarky – “The Game Is Afoot”

I wonder if the three flannel clad Seattle dudes that opened the coffee-house that would lead to Starbucks ever thought that their little bean store concept would become the morning hang out for every evil/hot mom and aspiring evil/hot mom, in America.

Probably not. But, if you want to observe class wars, mom cliques, eating disorders, boobs that have been, thanks to modern science, hoisted to shoulder-blade height and nostrils that have been hot waxed, cleaned and steamed (Don’t tell me you thought you could only do that to your car?) all one needs to do is head to any suburban Starbucks closest to a country club, private tennis facility or elementary school where you can play Hot Mom Car Bingo.  

In this version of bingo the center square is, of course, the Escalade. The Escalady is as common to an elementary school morning drop off scenario as a $128 Vera Bradley backpack for a kindergartener. The other squares consist of the Lexus SUV, the Lexus RX 350, the Land Rover, the BMW SUV, the Denali, the Suburban, Volvo SUV, the big ass Infiniti SUV, loaded Sequoia and there’s always one Porsche Cayenne. If it’s a Turbo Cayenne, that bad boy cost well into the six figures and it’s giving all the other mom cars the middle finger.

Trust me, if you find a Starbucks that meets 2 out of 3 of these requirements you’ve hit bitch gold.

That’s why the next morning, after last night’s meeting with the group of moms I’ve code named “Nut Ups,” I found myself at an unfamiliar Starbucks casing the joint. I had on my uniform of track pants (yes, how shocking), a fleece Kohl’s Tek Gear hoodie, and for privacy reasons, a baseball hat, pulled down low on my forehead. My only salute to fashion was a high ponytail threaded out of the back of my hat.

I had ordered myself a hot chocolate (my Diet Coke was lovingly waiting for me in the car) and had positioned myself so I could watch the door.

Very early this morning I gone on Facebook and checked out the list of names the Nut Ups had given me. I don’t mean to slow down this story, but there’s always time for a safety lesson.  People check your FB privacy settings. None of the six moms whose names I had been given had much, if any, privacy settings.

In fact, I have a theory, the more obnoxiously braggy you are on Facebook the less privacy settings you have. It’s as if you want to shout out to the world, “Look at me!  My life is fab!  I take amazing vacays! Please track me down and kill me.”  So suffice it to say I already had a lot of intel on these bitches. But, I was big game hunting so most of my attention would be focused on Priscilla Davis – PTF president at Spring Creek Elementary.

I gagged a little on my hot chocolate when Priscilla walked into Starbucks. FB did not do her justice. She looked like a combination of a not aging well Taylor Swift and Goldilocks gone bad.  Like if Goldilocks had a really big problem finding the bed that was “just right” so she keep on “trying.”

Priscilla had faux gold hair that went in ringlets all the way down her back. People, I like long hair and don’t ever propose that the middle-aged female population goes back to sensible, short hair and high-waisted, tapered to the ankle denim. But, hair that hits your butt crack is, in my opinion, not a good look when you achieve double-digit birthday status. Especially hair in ringlets that hits your butt crack. She also had a heavy hand with the eyeliner and some gold hoop earrings that could double as a towel holder in your downstairs half bath.

It was her outfit that was most telling. It showed weaknesses that I would exploit. Priscilla had on a tennis skirt, tennis warm up jacket, a fur vest, yoga pants under the tennis skirt and of course, freaking Uggs.

Many women where I live wear yoga pants under their tennis skirts. You can’t go to the grocery store and not see at least 3 Tenoga moms. I would bet a portion of my 401 k that not a one of these moms even plays tennis or has ever done a “plough” on a yoga mat.  I call this the “active douchy mom on the go” look. What was high value intel about Priscilla’s outfit is that it showed a woman who was afraid. Excellent.

Blame it on the recent Sherlock Holmes movie, but I fancy myself a modern-day mom version of Holmes. By dissecting Priscilla’s appearance from the head down I found out that she has an abnormal attachment to super long hair – signaling a need to hold on to her childhood. This most likely is due to some kind of childhood trauma.  (Parental divorce etc).

The hair is also her security blanket. She can’t let it go. The fact that she couldn’t wear just a tennis outfit and had to mix it up with Uggs, yoga pants and that really tacky fur vest suggests she refuses to be stripped of any of her physical trappings.

For instance, if she walked into Starbucks in just a tennis skirt, hoodie and tennis shoes with that icky  hair pulled out of her face, with no eyeliner she would feel naked, maybe invisible This chick has a narcissistic need to be the center of attention.

The hideous furry Uggs, the fur vest and full make up and hair is how she signals her hot mom pecking order. I had all this figured out before she opened her mouth. It was when the witch ordered a Venti hot water with lemon that I added crazy to my list.

The hot water order says so much. Primarily it’s a female power play. Everyone else at your table is drinking some sort of beverage that has a modicum of calories – sugar-free syrup be damned or while, perhaps calorie free has some kind of chemical additive like Equal.

You are better, than that. You,are drinking only hot water. That means you win. By that one simple order you have signaled your superiority. The hot water is the big FU. The lemon is your nod to the food groups and your prop.

You can squeeze it, stir the juice in your cup of hot water, and caress the rind as it lays flaccid on your napkin. This keeps everyone’s eyes on you, your hot water and your absolute control.  It’s as if you’re saying, “Go ahead you losers at my table drink that crap. I will sit here, sip hot water and make you feel as uncomfortable as I can.”

The hot water ploy is also a 100% guarantee that at least one person will make the comment, “That’s why are you’re so skinny. Oh my Gawd, I wish I had your willpower.” Yes, it’s all about  the power.

Once Priscilla set down with her flashy flock of aging crows (where I had scored a seat across the aisle from their table) I pretended not to be listening and stared down at my phone.

This coven talked non-stop about their appearance, dissected other’s peoples appearance with a vengeance, bragged on their children and their bank accounts, and then went deep on their children’s school. After 30 minutes I wanted to sever my own auditory nerve just so I wouldn’t have to hear their cocky voices and plans for PTF domination.

Two Days Before the PTF Meeting

On Monday morning, two days before the Wednesday PTF meeting, I invited the Nut Ups to my house for a rehearsal. I needed to make sure these five women knew exactly what they needed to do. I couldn’t have anybody get scared, squeamish or confused. At exactly 10 a.m. I hear a rumble in my driveway. It’s the freaking conversion van. The Nut Ups had carpooled.

I welcome them into my house and gave extra credit to Eleanor who brought me a fresh Diet Coke, in a 32 ounce styrofoam cup (my beverage container of choice) with my favorite kind of ice – crushed. I shooed everyone into my dining room where I had muffins and assorted drinks laid out plus paper, pens and a handout. Also, because I believe in leaving nothing to chance, I had produced a time line for the take over of the PTF meeting.  I also had given our mission, for fun, a code name, BBG -Bitches Be Gone.

The meeting started out on the wrong foot. Immediately, Orphan Annie objected to the word bitches. Apparently, she was still “reeling” from my “cursing episode” at McDonalds.

I do a swear word inventory in my head and can only come up with three that I probably used – damn, hell and bitches.  Those are itsy bitsy, teeny, tiny curse words. It’s not like I was spewing F bombs. This made me f’ing mad. To think I baked from scratch for this group.

I said, “Orphan Annie, seriously, we are about to do battle with a sorority of evil.  To do this you and everyone else at this table are going to have to leave Goody Two Shoe Land where you’ve allowed, that’s right, ALLOWED yourself and YOUR children to be victimized and enter the world of Kick Some Ass. If you feel more comfortable wearing a Forever Lazy of “Oh look at me, I’m so sweet and gentle that cursing hurts my feelings” then we should just stop right now. I need devious, sneaky, smart women sitting at this table.”

I paused to catch my breath and to cool down. I was still super ticked. As I’m exhaling, Moisturize More, bangs her fist on the table and says, “I’m in!” and then to my delight, she shouts so loud my dogs bark, “I want to get those f’ing bitches!”

Oh yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.  A show of spirit and cursing all while shoving a blueberry muffin in your face. That’s my kind of girl

Eleanor soon follows with, “Hell yes, we want to do this!”

All Business even stands up and says, “BBG is on.”

Cute Blonde responds with, “I’m kind of scared, but I know I’ll regret if I don’t do anything so let’s go.”

All heads turn towards Orphan Annie, I’m thinking to myself, “Girl get a backbone,” when she looks up at all of us and says, “Oh my God, oh my God, I’ll do it, but please tell me it will all work out alright?”

I looked her right in the eyes and say with every bit of sincerity I have, “Yes, it will all work out alright. I’m sure of it.”

Although, I wasn’t, but I figured it’s what she needed to hear. You know kind of like when you tell your husband sex was great, but the whole time you were really going over the carpool schedule for the week in your head and thinking your husband might need get that mole on his left shoulder checked.

Orphan Annie then had a moment of conscience and wanted all of us to pray about whether or not we should really do the PTF meeting intervention. That felt weird to me. I’m so over people using prayer as an excuse to never have to make a decisive decision in their life.  It’s not that I don’t believe in prayer.

I was praying right now that the Conversion Van wasn’t leaking oil in my driveway because my husband wouldn’t notice me mowing the lawn naked, (to be fair he probably would, but only to tell me to put some shoes on) but oil on his precious driveway well, I’d hear about that as in, “Where did the damn oil leak came from?”

So I said,” Really, do you think we should pray for the downfall of others – even if they are daughters of Satan?  I suggest, we continue with the meeting then in private do our praying.”

That appeased Orphan Annie so finally we could get to my timeline.

I walked everyone through exactly what I was going to do at the meeting. Then I had everyone role play about what they were going to do. We went over and over it. I wanted everyone to be confident and not timid. When I felt all the Nut Ups had their parts down I approached the subject of what they should wear to the meeting. No frumps allowed.

This meant the anti hot mom outfit of jeans, generic fleece top and Crocs would not be allowed. I encouraged every women to dress up, not be afraid to use concealor and shared that a little eyeliner was good for the soul.

I slyly managed to mention that a new European Waxing studio had just opened and they were doing a first wax for free promotion. As I’m saying this I make eye contact with Orphan Annie.  I told Cute Blonde she needed to channel her inner hottie.  We needed her to take her youth (I found out she was 25 freaking years old!) and just rub it the face of the peri-menopausal PTF board.

She had what they no longer were and could never be again – young. I instructed her to strut her slut all around the cafeteria that night.  It would distract and piss off the PTF bitches and I needed that diversion if we were going to pull this off.

Last on my list for the meeting was a get away car.  I had learned the hard way (see Warning A Science Fair Can Be Hazardous to Your Health.) that if you’re going to stir things up you better be sure there’s a car waiting to speed you away from the land of hostile moms.

Orphan Annie perked up and said she could drive the get away vehicle. I think, no where in the heist, scheme or covert operation arena, would one’s first thought be, “Hell yeah, a 13 passenger Conversion Van makes the perfect quick get away.” Before I can politely say, “We probably need something a little smaller.”

She shouts out, “I can use my husband’s car.  He drives a BMW M3 Coupe.”

This totally distracts me. My mind instantly goes to a marriage where the wife would be stuck with an aging crap ass van while the husband drives a top of the line sports car. I was thinking Orphan Annie had much bigger problems in her life then a mustache and the PTF board. But I file away that thought for another time and say, “Yeah, sounds great.  You’re my getaway driver.”

The meeting lasted almost two hours. The Nut Ups left my house pumped. I was feeling optimistic and excited.  The show down was in T minus 56 hours.

Coming soon – The PTF Meeting

 

Mrs. Snarky’s Neighborhood

Many of you have asked me where I live.  For all you know we could be neighbors and chances are if  there is a middle-aged mom next door that enjoys a 32 ounce Diet Coke and can really rock a Target track pant even while suffering from a debilitating cankle affliction then it’s probably me. Now, just to ensure I’m your neighbor I’m making available this handy guide to my hood.  Read it and see if anything rings your doorbell.

Directly across the street is where the Helpfuls live.  Every cul-de-sac needs this kind of neighbor.  If your outside doing any kind of seasonal chore they always seem to walk out there door to offer assistance.  Before you can even get your snow shovel mojo going here comes Mr. Helpful to give you tips on how best to increase your shovel productivity.  If your lucky he’ll give you a demonstration that includes some pre shoveling stretching techniques.  Thanks, but no thanks on doing snow yoga. I’m not a fan of doing downward facing dog with a shovel.  Plus, it gives me a very awkward combo camel toe/snow-pant wedgie.  Mrs. Helpful took an on-line course that, according to her now, has her ranked as a Master Gardner.  She’s a joy to visit with in the spring and summer.  All that yard advice is a godsend.  I don’t know how we managed to mow a lawn or grab a rack before she came into our lives. She is so tenacious in her yard zeal that even when we’re wearing ear protection (to protect us from the mower, I assure you, not to block out Mrs. Helpful’s charming weed and feed diatribe) she still insists on talking to us.

I’m most grateful for the Helpfuls advice on how to raise my children. I don’t know why, but it seems the people who have never had kids seem to have a prodigious supply of parenting tips. Maybe it’s because they have all that free time.  It’s not like I return the favor and say, “Hey, since you seem to have an almost stalkerish interest in my children here’s some suggestions on how to get your own baby making machine working.  The secret is sex while standing on your head. Don’t be ashamed if one of you has to use the wall for balance. Not every couple has the stamina for upside down reproduction. I will say it gives the sperm an Olympic bobsled run to the promise land.”  See, I’ve can be nice. I’ve kept my mouth shut. I have though suggested on numerous occasions that they take their sharing spirit and do some volunteer work.  But, no the Helpfuls confided in me that they “don’t much like strangers.”  Hmm, I wonder why?

Catty cornered from me is where the Doctors Scrubs live.  Mr. Dr. Scrub has never been seen in anything but green or blue surgical scrubs.  Now, I know you’re thinking a woman who lives in the aforementioned track pants shouldn’t throw stones, but I do, on occasion, wear a pant that requires a zipper. The thing is that Mr. Dr. Scrub is a radiologist.  He doesn’t perform surgery and according to his son, who is at my house so much he writes down what snacks he likes on my grocery list (Cheese Nips, in case you were wondering), his dad works most days from home reading x-rays etc from his computer.  I’m not saying radiologists aren’t amazing and don’t save countless lives I’m just asking the question does this man or any physician need to wear their scrubs to a 7 p.m. Tuesday night, 4th grade choir performance or to a 3 p.m. Saturday soccer game?

Mr. Dr. Scrub is married to a pharmacist who works at one of the local grocery stores.  She also always wear scrubs.  Her scrubs are a little more fashion forward.  Brace yourself, because Mrs. Dr. Scrub wears capris.  Yes indeed, that’s right, capri scrubs.  I inquired about her unique scrub look and she enthusiastically blabbed that she “cuts” her scrubs herself and then uses iron on sewing adhesive to make this one-of-a-kind scrub statement.  She also wears, God, I’m having trouble getting this out,  but here goes . . . capri scrubs and Uggs.   It looks as bad as it sounds, most especially when she wears her “low” Uggs so you get a Ugg, half a calf, scrub look.  Most unsettling, I assure you.  I desperately want to knock on their door and say, “I get it, we all get it, you Mr. Dr. Scrub are a M.D. and you, Mrs. Dr. Scrub have Master of Science in pharmacology. You are well-educated people who save lives.  You also make a decent living now go buy yourself some freaking pants.

Behind me and a little off to the side of my house is where the Super Family resides. Oh, how I live to mess with their perfect little word.  This family of two excessively pompous parents and three “amazing” kids stands for everything I’m against. Let’s start with those annoying children.  A lot of you aren’t going to like this and I know I’ll receive some backlash when I say it, but my kids, totally NOT amazing.  Yes, I love and adore my children with a fierceness that probably merits a 12 step program.  But, my kids, while exceptional to me, are not qualified for the amazing classification category.  Why? Because in my book having an amazing kid means they can swim underwater for 30 minutes without surfacing for air or have the ability to fly without the aid of a jet pack or commercial airliner.  My kids, a big no can do on all of that because they’re just kids. Normal (kind of), healthy (thank you God), funny (again, thank you God) kids.

I’m suffering from a terminal case of EPBF – Extreme Parental Boasting Fatigue brought on by moms and dads thinking their children are extraordinary to not just them (because that’s a given) but to everyone.  It’s one thing to have parental pride of ownership, it’s another thing to think that your child is the most amazing creature to every chew and sallow their own food. To all you delusional, hyper competitive parents out there calm down, pop a Xanex and chase it with a gallon box on Frenzia chablais.

Which now brings me back to the Super Family neighbors.  They truly believe, with all their heart and tiny, misguided brains, that their 3 (very average) children (ages 13, 15 & 16) are superior to all intergalactic life forms.  Two of the ways they show this to the world is with yard signs and banners.  Yes, when boasting on Facebook is not enough, by all means litter the neighborhood with signage. Different public and private schools fundraise with yards signs.  The more crap your kid is involved in the more yard signs that clutter your lawn.  For as little as $200, you too, can buy a yard sign that says your kid is on the volleyball team.  For an additional fee you can purchase sign accessories with things like guitar club, performing arts etc.  My neighbors have about 2 dozen of these signs in their yard.  Too add to their glory they also attach banners to their corner lot fence to share, with the world at large, just how incredible their children are.  Today there’s a banner that says, “Congratulations Kelsey, Kaleb and Kacey on an awesome 2011!  2012 get ready for Kendell Kids.  The best of the past, perfect in the present and the hope of the future!!!”  

Please tell me that you just vomited in your mouth a little bit?  To say these signs and banners bring me joy would be an understatement.  Every time I new one goes up I get a surge of pure adrenaline that brings on an evil impulse.  Sometimes I manage to have superior impulse control, other times – not so much.   I have though pretty much managed to make their yard signs insignificant.

This happened in September when I went on a faux yard sign rampage.  You’ve got that right, I made up fake yard signs.  26 of them to be exact.  It was so simple, I’m ashamed of myself for not thinking of it earlier.  All it took was my son to use his computer skills and duplicate the high school logo, add a bunch of made up b.s., take them to Kinkos, have them printed on card stock and then staple gun each “sign” to a stake purchased from Lowe’s.  Sure, it cost some money and I had to delay getting my hair highlighted for a month to fund my evil, but it was so worth it.  The most enjoyable part was thinking up the bogus stuff to put on the yard signs.  These were my favorites (I would be remiss not to give a shout out to my kids for helping think of all the captions): In the high school yard sign division: First Place – Most Tardies, Best Freshman Year Biped Mammal, Clean Locker Club, National Society of Halo Gamers, Class of 2014 Attendee.

I also threw in some other signs. Ones that were more related to the parents who also had signage about their accomplishments, especially running marathons.  Every time they completed a marathon a new sign proclaiming 26.2 went in their yard with the location of where they ran the marathon.   Well, game on neighbors because I had my own 26.2 experiences. For sure, mine didn’t mean I had run 26.2 miles, but I’ve lived a long life of 26.2.  For example, 26.2 could mean the number of pounds I need to lose, or the 26.2 sleeves of Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies I could eat in a 26.2 hour period.

I waited and stuck the signs in my yard when my husband would be going out-of-town for three days.  Like I needed his throat clearing, disapproval act.  On the outside he’s all “God, really?  This is all so immature. Why do you care?”  But, I know on the inside he’s all, “You go crazy wife of mine. You go!”  I put my signs in the yard late at night, so when the Super Family went running at 5:30 the next morning they would be greeted by my yard “art.”  I even set my alarm and perched in the upstairs window so I could watch them explore my lawn.  Here’s how it played out: I could see them jogging.  They run by.  Their heads do a whiplash move. They come to a screeching halt, walk into my yard and began checking out all my signs.  I can see their agitation and by that I mean they are visibly pissed off.  Waves of thrilling happiness surge through my body as I witness this.  Friends, I had a revenge orgasm.

Fast forward three hours later and my doorbell rings.  It’s Mrs. Super Family.  She’s come to comment on my signage.  The Mrs. is most especially riled up, of course, about the 26.2 signs.  Now, when I say riled up I mean she is behaving with a veneer of politeness.  This is the suburbs, after all, and she is an Escalday. But I can tell it’s killing her. Her body language is saying, “I want to strangle you with my Adidas mesh crotch running thong.”

She comes into my house and says, “What’s up with all your new signs?”

I act confused and bewildered and respond in a tone that says I’m a sweet as Texas tea at a the Lions Club BBQ.  Which means I give it right back to her with; “You have a problem with my signs?  You have signs in your yard?”

Mrs. Super Family fires back, ‘Well, my signs are what I would call legitimate. Yours seem to all made up.”

“Really?” I say, acting concerned, “Show me a sign out there that’s not true.”

“Oh, that’s easy.  When do you ever run a marathon?”

As she’s saying this she’s giving my less than marathon body the once over.  It didn’t help that as she doing this I was eating a cookie.  Hey, it was oatmeal, so I’m giving myself points for a fiber rich snack.

I was more than ready for this line of questioning.  As we all know, I’m no amateur.  I sucked in my gut as best I could which meant one roll of flab receded, but the secondary roll remained at full sag, stood up straight and said. “Oh, I’ve run a marathon.  A marathon of faith.  While your 26.2 worships the miles you’ve run.  My 26.2 worships the good book. Isaiah 26.2  Open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in.”

Bam!  You don’t go to Baylor for 4 years and have to suffer through Old and New Testament religion classes (which were incredibly difficult by the way) and something called Forum every Wednesday and not come out with some mad bible verse skills. Don’t try to out church me people.  You will fail!

This, as I predicted, shut her down.  She stammered and yet attempted to compliment herself all at the same time with, “Oh, sorry.  I didn’t even think of that. You know as an elite runner I see 26.2 and think marathon”

“Well, (insert me sighing and doing my best impersonation of my mother) not everything is all about you, is it?  Now, I hate to rush off, but I was just on my way to bible study (and of course, for me, bible study just happens to be Target, but is that any of her business? No.) and need to go tidy up a bit before I leave.”

She sulked out of my house and I ate another (okay 3) oatmeal cookie to celebrate my victory.

I’ve reached the point in my story where some of you are dying to go over to the comment section and leave a pithy remark on how if you lived in my neighborhood you’d would have moved after the first week.  The thing is I rather like my neighborhood and I do have some very nice neighbors.  But, do you really want to hear about the great neighbors I have?  The woman two doors down that makes THE best blueberry banana nut bread or the wonderful couple at the end of the cul-de-sac who love to babysit my dogs.  I’m thinking no.  So, let’s continue on shall we? I have one more neighbor to share with you. The Scaredy Cat/Scentsy Family that from now on I will refer to as the SCSF.

You know how some people have those plaques hanging outside their homes that commemorate when they got married, like the Brown Family established 1990. The SCSF’s should have a plaque that reads Being Afraid and Smelling Good since 1996.  Mrs. SCSF has three children (one boy 15 and two girls 12 & 8) and lives in constant fear that everyone and everything is out to get them.  She’s afraid of schools, public pools, malls, Santa Claus, UV rays, anyone driving her kids somewhere except for her, Halloween, the food chain and she makes her five foot tall, I’m guessing well over 80 pounds, 12-year-old still ride in a booster seat.  When her 15-year-old son goes outside to shoot hoops she sits on her front porch and watches.  Bonus, she puts “Kids at Play” cones out for him. She’s convinced any worker with a landscape crew is a pedophile that has targeted her children.  Ditto for any UPS or Fed X employee.   She lets her children have friends over, but she never lets her kids go to someone else’s house.  The problem is, of course, no kid wants to come over.  It’s not that they don’t have awesome toys.  A spare bedroom has been turned into an American Girl paradise with tons of dolls and accessories.  It’s just that Mrs. SCSF it a little OCD about the children messing up anything.  So, you go in the room to look, but not to play.  They even take their Legos and sort them by shape, color, and theme and then put them into labeled fishing tackle boxes.  My daughter calls it the house where toys go to die.

The one good thing about the SCSF is that their house is an olfactory extravaganza.  Mrs. SCSF, when not busy home-schooling and protecting her flock, is all about her family’s “Scent Story.”  One day when taking over a package that Fed X left at my house because she won’t open her door to anyone she doesn’t have a “personal relationship” with I got a strong whiff of a special kind of insanity.  It began with me having to take off my shoes while standing on her front porch and then when I crossed the threshold of her home I was welcomed in with an antibacterial hand gel ritual and before I was allowed to meander past her foyer.  While I was “washing” my hands I noticed that the SCSF’s house smelled amazing.  I commented on this and that’s when she shared her home’s “Scent Story.”  I was taken on a tour of the “story.”  We went room from room as she did a scent selection commentary. It went something like this: “Now my living room has a fig scent to compliment the dining room’s vanilla lavender smell. As we step into the hall notice that it smells like apples which accents the vanilla of the dining room and yet doesn’t compete with the fig.” It took all I had not to reply, “Lady, all I’m smelling is crazy.”

Funny thing, after the Scent Story tour Mrs. SCSF really took a shine to me.  My daughter and I were always being invited over.  I would politely make up excuses, but you know how that works every so often you’d have to just give in and go. It was a dreadful way to spend an hour.  All she wanted to talk about was perceived security threats to her children and her personal scent story.  Truly, she had found her life’s passion.  Just when I thought I would have to start hiding from her my 10-year-old did something that made me proud enough to craft a yard sign in her honor.  Some parents have a Student of the Month or a kid who gets a perfect SAT score.  I have something even better – a mini-me.  My daughter asked Mrs. SCSF if there was anyway she could spend the night at their house some day soon because our house had bed bugs and she itched all the time.  I believe her exact words were, “It would be so nice to go to sleep and not wake up scratching, scratching, scratching!”

Upon hearing this Mrs. SCSF attempted to swallow a scream so it came it out like a huge burp hiccup. She then with rapid speed herded us out of her house like we were ground zero for the ebola virus.  That was three months ago and we haven’t heard or really even seen any member of the SCSF since that fateful day.

So, after reading all this what do you think – are we neighbors?

*Alert readers will notice that I didn’t mention some of my neighbors like Barbara Grey (A Very Snarky Christmas) or the Bible Bunko hostess.  I figured you had heard enough about these women (for now). 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. Oh and while you’re at it go ahead and share my link with friends.  Cheers!

Payback

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Here’s a Snarky throwback.  Ah, the tale of revenge I got on Katie Kirkpatrick.  Years have gone by but this still brings a smile to my face.  Enjoy.

If I can teach you anything it would be to not rush seeking revenge.  It’s human to want to immediately strike back.  But, whoever said “revenge is a dish best served cold” knew what they were talking about.  Patience pays off.   I waited a long six months before I shattered Katie Kirkpatrick’s perfect little world.  I watched for the prime opportunity to crush her and it came during spring break.  Every March Katie and her family of five make their yearly pilgrimage to Disneyland.  Two weeks before she leaves for vacation she treats everyone within a one mile radius to quips like, “The happiest family on earth is going to the happiest place on earth!”  Gag.  Two days before they load up their mini-van with the “bestmom” license plate Katie starts wearing Mickey Mouse ears around town.   She, of course, has a collection of Mouse ears that date back to 1992.   I just smiled at her antics and counted down the days until I could begin Operation Payback.

As far as revenge scenarios go this one was pretty simple.  My main objective was to strike Katie where it would hurt the most – her snooty pride.  Due to the current economic climate, I live in an area where a lot parents have “left” their jobs as CEO’s and Presidents to become “consultants” and every mom that was a kick ass realtor now works as a “retail specialist” at Bed, Bath & Beyond.  Katie, besides dissing me with her short sale gossip back in September was unmercifully cheery whenever someone become a “consultant” or “retail sales specialist.”  She would drip artificial, condescending concern as she spread the news that someone else had been kicked to the curb by the economy with little bon mots like this; “Oh my God, did you hear Marybeth’s husband lost his job?  I was told not to repeat this but, I’m so worried about her I just wanted to let everyone know so they can be super nice to her, that they were already behind on their mortgage so I don’t think they’ll be in the neighborhood much longer.  What do you think – should we start a canned food drive for them?”  Yes, by all means lets take this family’s pain and embarrass them, rub their nose in it, with a freaking canned food drive. The very worst is that she would say stuff to people’s kids. That’s more than crossing the line it’s a call to action. My joy was boundless as her mini-van pulled out of her drive-way on the first Saturday of spring break because it meant my plan could go into action.

Step one: Gather supplies.  I had readied my supplies months earlier and hidden them away awaiting this special day.  My tools of revenge included: two realtor signs, glossy home for sale sheets that show the inside of the home, balloons (that I needed to get blown up) and a flag banner.  Because I consider myself a professional when it comes to exacting revenge I had done all my print work 2 months earlier. Due to watching way too many crime procedurals over the years that show detectives tracing back whodunit by comparing the ink on printers I did all my printing up at the elementary school workroom. Good luck tracking down who used that bad boy. In case you’re worried I wasted precious tax payer purchased  school ink on my nefarious deed – relax. I left ten dollars in the teacher’s smile jar and I brought my own paper. Once I had my supplies assembled all I needed to do was wait for the cover of darkness.

Step two:  Decorate.  At around 2 a.m. dressed in my husband’s black ski jacket with a black wool ski hat, gloves and a dog leash (In case someone asks me what I’m doing out at this hour I’m going to use the leash as “cover.” As in, “I let my dog outside to do her business and she ran off.”) I drive my car close to Katie’s house and park behind a grove of pine trees.  I open the back of my car take out the realtor sign, shove it in her yard and put the glossy, full color, home for sale sheets in their holder.  I run back to my car and get a bouquet of mylar balloons and attach them to the sign along with the flag banner.  I haul back to my car again, check to make sure I’m not being followed, drive to the entrance of her subdivision and put up another realtor sign with more balloons and then return home.

Step Three: Church.  The Sunday morning gossip was hot enough to set the burning bush on fire again.  Loads of concerned church folk were all talking about the sign in Katie yards and the “fact sheets” that accompanied it.  I acted very surprised and saddened by what I heard and then suggested to someone who then suggested to the minister that a prayer request be made for her family during the church service.  I was all for that. Katie really needed help from the almighty to ensure she didn’t suffer eternal damnation in the afterlife.  You might thinking what about me and all the stuff I’ve pulled?  Well, I like to think I’m doing the Lord’s work – just a bit.

Step Four: Social Media.  While in church some kind soul offered to start a Facebook page for Katie and her family called: Help Katie Kirkpartick.  I’m can’t be sure, but I think it was one my friends that recommended it (It sounded rehearsed. Almost as if she had been put up to it by someone. Hmm, I wonder who?) An eager beaver mom took the Facebook idea and ran with it.  By the end of day the “Help Katie Kirkpatrick page” had 653 “likes.”

Step Five: Katie Comes Home.  Sadly, Katie’s vacation to Disneyland was cut short. It seems many, many concerned people, texted, called, e-mailed, and Facebooked her about her plight.  Bewildered she came home and this is what she found in her yard:

A huge foreclosure sign from the First Union bank. (I had googled and made sure there was no First Union bank. Well, there was but, it had gone into insolvency which meant my butt was covered.).  At first glance the sign read F U. That’s because the F in First and the U in Union were gianormous.   Even worse were the sales information sheets.  Now, usually those sheets try to show the best your home has to offer, but not these. Poor Katie, it seems she has some hoarding issues that need to be dealt with.  These pictures showed piles of crap everywhere and one even had what looked like a rodent, the size of a small pony, peeking out from behind a stack of newspapers.  It just about broke your heart to see a woman living like that.  One mom on the Help Katie Kirkpatrick Facebook page posted: “Maybe she should spend less time volunteering up at the elementary school and more time cleaning her home.”  I made sure to not only “like” that comment, but add, “From you lips to God’s ear.” The fact that not one person yanked the sign out of Katie’s yard or threw away the realtor “info sheets” spoke volumes.

The first day of school after spring break Katie was still livid.  A bunch of moms had crowded around her as she raged against who had done this to her.  I walked right up to her, put my arm around her and said, “Sweetie, it’s okay.  You don’t have to pretend anymore. Home foreclosure is nothing to be ashamed of.  Should we start a canned food drive?”  That’s when she knew I had done it and I couldn’t have been happier.

***For all things wonderfully Snarky go to www.snarkygear.com where you can find the new Spring/Summer  Snarky line of clothing and accessories. Plus, there’s my book – Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. (Click here for purchase information.) Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link – http://is.gd/iEgnJ (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.

Suburban Warfare

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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