Straws I Just Can’t Quit You

I’ve seen the future and it’s straw free. Well, to be accurate plastic straw free. I had this epiphany when I was on the West Coast and discovered that plastic straws were verboten. I was okay with this because I was given a perky paper straw with my beverage so I was thinking, “Yay for non plastic straws!”

This enthusiasm lasted until I used the paper straw and after about 30 seconds it disintegrated into my $5.00 iced blueberry black tea lemonade. Sadly, a paper straw isn’t a flavor enhancer and the chunks of paper floating in my ice tea didn’t exactly bellow, “Drink me!” My next beverage outing included a straw made from wheat stems. It held up better than a paper straw but the sipping process was still lackluster.

These experiences embolden me to go totally straw free the remainder of my West Coast sojourn. That’s right, I actually sipped my beverages straight from their containers be it a glass or a cup and it wasn’t easy. Straws have made us lazy.

My mother, always a woman ahead of her time, was the first person I knew that was anti-straw. True story – she didn’t allow straws in the house. The reason wasn’t that she was a crusading environmentalist. No, her straw ban was predicated on the fact that using a straw was the number one cause of lip wrinkles.

This beloved southern mama, who used Pond’s cold cream every night of her life and whose favorite words of wisdom were “moisturizer will never let you down” was a zealot against wrinkles and saw the straw as the enemy. (She also thought that you could judge a person’s I.Q. by their neck. Her theory was people with neck wrinkles showed a lack of intelligence and commitment to a task because they didn’t have the wherewithal to continue the moisturizing process post chin.)

The day I knew I had finally reached adulthood was when I had the backbone to sip on a straw in my mother’s presence. All she said was a very curt “Well, maybe wrinkles will suit you.”

I admit to loving straws and perhaps it’s born out of the straw deprivation of my youth. You also can’t discount that straws make drinking easier most especially in a car where Americans now average an hour a day on the road. In fact, upon doing an online “straw lifestyle inventory” (Yes, there is such a thing.) I discovered that almost all of my straw usage was on beverages I purchased via a drive up window.

This makes perfect sense because very few mortals have the skill to drink from a lidless cup and drive. My daughter suggested the easiest way to solve my “strawless while driving” issue was to invest in some reusable straws. I could even be “extra” and get silver straws that come in a monogrammed holder.

I was intrigued by this idea. A silver straw would certainly class up my morning McDonald’s Diet Coke experience. Maybe I could even extend my pinkie as I daintily clutch my 32-ounce beverage.

If we want to end American’s obsession to plastic straws this is how to do it – just make something perceived as “classy” and slap a logo on it. For instance if you want teenage girls to quit using straws have Lululemon make reusable ones. And if Louis Vuitton comes out with a reusable straw collection every mom currently not obeying the rules of the school drop off line will suddenly become ardent reusable straw fanatics.

Now excuse me while I select the monogram for my straw case. Do I want interlocking or a diamond?

Dear Snarky – Say Hello to the Prize Police

Dear Snarky,

 I’m in charge of our neighborhood’s Fourth of July parade and I’m getting some serious attitude from other people on my committee. In the past we have given out ribbons for best bike decoration, best patriotic stroller etc. and I want to change that.

 This year I would like to limit the number of ribbons and only recognize a few parade entries. By doing this we can spend money on better prizes and more importantly not keep rewarding kids for just showing up.

Last year, we handed out ribbons to kids who didn’t even decorate their bikes. It was a joke. I think the families who actually take the parade seriously should be rewarded.

 My fellow committee members think I’m being mean but I think I’m teaching kids and parents a lesson.

 Do I listen to my committee or just know that I’m doing the right thing and not worry about what they think?

 Signed, Integrity Matters

Dear Crazy Lady (because I not going to use the word “integrity” in addressing you),

Are you freaking kidding me? You’re choosing your neighborhood Fourth of July bike parade to get all high horsey? You need to calm down and release your death grip on those ribbons. Your sanctimonious “kids shouldn’t be rewarded for just showing up” B.S. is totally out of place at a neighborhood parade. It’s not like the kid that wins “most red, white, and blue bike” is going to use the award to get into Stanford.

If you’re seriously on a mission to stop the practice of “everyone gets a trophy” than I suggest you chose another venue to proselytize at than the Fourth of July bike parade. These are your neighbors. Families are showing up to have fun not to face your judgmental wrath. Give everybody a ribbon that probably costs 10 cents and get over yourself.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – advice with an attitude – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com. 😉

Dear Snarky – Church Camp Went Straight to Hell Before It Even Started

Dear Snarky,

 My daughter has been excited about going to summer sleep away church camp since we signed her up for it in January. I recently found out that she won’t be bunking with her three best friends. A mom, who signed up late, bribed the church secretary to change the cabin assignments. The secretary sells some nutritional juice line and I was told that this mom bought a ton of it to get her daughter into the “good cabin” which meant my daughter got kicked out.

 I’m so angry! I can’t believe this has happened to my child. Right now I don’t even want her to go camp. Also, what can I do about this horrible church secretary?

 Signed, Summer is Already Ruined

Dear Summer,

 The first thing you need to do is put a mom spin on the cabin re-assignment. Tell your daughter there’s been a snafu and while she won’t be rooming with her best friends she will get a chance to make some new friends in another cabin which is a big part of summer camp –broadening your horizons.

 Also, remind her that she will be very busy at camp and will still get to do everything with her best friends except share sleeping quarters. Make it seem like this could be the best of both worlds. Sell it sister!

 As for the scheming mom and the greedy church secretary I would go straight to your minister about this wanton display of broken commandments. The secretary needs to be fired – pronto. She abused her position of trust and I bet the entire Sunday offering plate that this wasn’t her first rodeo. I’m sure she has a long history of being super shady.

 And to the mom who bribed the secretary she’ll eventually get what’s coming to her – like maybe choke on all that nutritional juice she bought. What YOU don’t want to do is give her the power to ruin your daughter’s summer camp experience. You need to rise above this and encourage your child to have a wonderful time.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – advice with an attitude – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com. 😉

Snarky Gets Hacked the Finale

So, herhackinge’s the deal. I have a really good story to tell that I can’t tell . . . yet. A couple of days ago my Snarky in the Suburbs Facebook page got hacked. Apparently, someone really, really wanted to be Snarky and took over my page. (Was this unnamed someone unaware of my cankle affliction? One would think that would be a deal breaker for anyone wanting to be me.) They even started posting stuff. The good news, at least, it wasn’t porn. The even better news as soon as they started posting they left a digital trail which made it easy for the authorities to trace them. All this now has me in the middle of an investigation which is full of intrigue and I have been told to not write about what I know until I get an all clear from the law.

You can’t know even begin to imagine how hard it is for me to keep my mouth shut especially when it’s chocked full of juicy goodness. As for my Snarky Facebook, well it had to be completely nuked, like a Grade A thermal nuking of intergalactic proportions to cleanse the demons. This means I went from having well over 166,000 “likes” to zero. In the grand scheme of things it’s no big deal. Seriously, with Facebook’s ever-changing algorithms when I had 166,000 “likes” sometimes it would show that only 30 people saw a post. That said, with my new book coming out in January I would LOVE to get the word out that folks need to “relike” my page to get their daily dose of Snarky. So, if you would be so kind as to relike my page, share what I post, and spread the word via social media that  Snarky is back I will be forever in your debt.

And as for that story I’m not allowed to share yet, well, here’s a little clue because I can’t help myself. Three words: mom blogger envy.

Yeah, you read that right. Stay tuned, my friends, stay tuned.

For sharing purposes here are my social media links.

Snarky Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/qgbrkdl

Snarky Twitter: https://twitter.com/snarkynsuburbs

Thanks and Snark On!

Decoding The Gratitude Posts

1385804_646492132039328_467233133_nI used to like the month of November. It was a low pressure month. Sure, there’s the whole cooking a gargantuan meal that will take you two days to prepare and be consumed in under 15 minutes because a football game is starting but besides that your only really “must do” is help your kid’s clean out their Halloween candy baskets.

Now November has been ruined. It’s become the show off month. 30 days of “look at me, look at me” where the boastful pummel social media with a flurry of blustery prose disguised as gratitude posts. In an attempt to decipher what all this “gratitude” really means I’ve done extensive research analyzing these posts and have been able to discern through a complex matrix of psychological and environmental evaluations a code to help you translate what the gratitude poster is really saying.

The “I am thankful for such a loving and supportive spouse”: The spouse post usually kicks off the gratitude season and you can expect to see at least five spousal related posts in November – each one getting mushier and/or making the reader feel more uncomfortable as the month progresses. The serial “I love my spouse” poster is usually motivated by one of three emotions or a combination there of 1) He/She is having conflicted feelings about the old ball and chain and hopes that the act of proclaiming how much they love their spouse just might make it so. 2) He/She feels guilty about something related to the marriage and uses the gratitude posts as a way to minimize their shame. In the scientific community we call this the “eraser effect” and find the more heinous the spousal guilt the more lovey dovey the posts as if the person is attempting to expunge their marital malfeasance by an inordinate amount of Facebook/Twitter hugs and kisses. 3) He/She is married to a self-esteemed challenged individual and to keep crying jags and pharmaceutical usage to a minimum must constantly be cooing and wooing their lesser half on the social media stage.

The Hallelujah poster:  The repeat “I love Jesus” gratituder is trying to let us all know that they not only attend church, but are leaders of at least two bible studies, co-teachers of Sunday morning worship lessons, sing in the choir, and are a guiding member of the Spiritual Formation Committee. What they don’t want you to know is that they have a “Shades of Gray” level crush on their minister, work the sanctuary like a Walmart greeter because they need to up their Arbonne sales figures and use church as a socially acceptable way to escape their family.

The “I love my family” gusher:  This continuous stream of familial praise is often a disguise for less than stellar happenings on the home front. In fact, our research shows that the more grandiose the gratitudish compliments, specifically pertaining to teenage sons and daughters, the more likely the chance that child has recently been suspended from school or has a court appearance in their near future.  Any use of a “click here if you love your son or daughter” post on Facebook increases the likely hood of an impending court date to 95%.

The Traveloguer: This poster uses November as an opportunity to share their vacation pictures (again) on social media. The gratitude posts usually go something like this: “I am so grateful for my family’s opportunity to see the world and experience different cultures.” No matter that they went to Disneyworld because there’s Epcot and that counts – right? Each day is a new thankful vacay ditty accompanied by no less than four pictures. A psychological profile of this type of poster reveals a deep-seated need to justify the cost of their vacation by forcing themselves and “friends” to re-live the “good times” every month.

The “I’m Rich in So Many Ways” list maker:  This gratitude post is really a list better suited to share with an insurance company and/or police department in case of a robbery or home invasion. The poster with methodical precision takes you on a tour of their possessions from their 7,500 square foot Mediterranean style home complete with wine cellar to their “I am so thankful for my amazing closet with a Swarovski crystal chandelier and designer handbag cubbies.” What the poster is really grateful for is that the bank has given the family one more month to get up to date on their mortgage. The poster is also honing his/her skills writing product descriptions just in case an Ebay auction of a “few non-essential personal items” is needed.

The Selfie: Beware of this gratituder. Research shows the Selfie possesses an attitude disorder called “Oversharing Dysmorphia” or in layman’s terms “I’m 45 but still hot. Here are the pictures to prove it.” This disorder is known to affect both the male and female of the species. It usually manifests itself in a series of selfies accompanied by a compliment lamely disguised as a gratitude post as in, “I am soooo thankful for my trainer because he helped me get this amazing set of 6 pack abs! oxoxoxo” Mental health care professionals advise that you delete or hide the “Selfie” during November in order to minimize your own anger management issues.

The All in One:  Slowly back away from your computer screen, tablet or smart phone if you encounter the All in One. They are armed and dangerous and have been known to inflict brutal pain and suffering to your visual cortex and are so infused with their own B.S. and deeply hidden (like core of the earth deep) self loathing they could implode at any moment. The All in One is the gratitude poster who has the gift of employing all six aforementioned poster traits in one status update as in – “I am beyond grateful for the eternal blessings of the Lord who daily smiles on me and my wonderful, handsome, triathlete husband who is such an awesome 7 figure provider for our family. Everyday I give thanks for our gated community of million dollar plus homes and my amazing twins who have attended four different private Christian high schools and now are doing mission work by enrolling in the local public alternative school. I rejoice and give glory to my maker and trainer (LOL) that at age 46 I still get mistaken for 25. If you don’t believe me here’s a vacation photo from our summer home in Hawaii. P.S. So not photoshopped. #nofilter. Is God good or what?”

Now that you’re armed with this scientific data go forth and enjoy the November cornucopia of social media and be grateful for your new found skills of deciphering the gratitude code.

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

Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. 

 

In Praise of Snark

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 11.09.25 AMIt has come to my attention that a misguided group of sarcastically challenged individuals have proclaimed the third Tuesday in October as “National Snark Free Day.” They even have a half way decent graphic so that elevates them, just a bit, from a bunch of do gooder grandmas to, at least, one person who knows the cut and paste commands on their computer. This level of word processing literacy makes their threat on Snark, at the very least, a level yellow for significant risk of being taken seriously. Due to my ardent love of Snark I feel it is my duty to defend this often maligned art form.

Being Snarky is not bad. It’s not something to be ashamed of and it most definitely doesn’t mean you are unkind. In fact, the best Snark is clever, smart, thoughtful and funny. Lazy people are mean. Snarky people are looking for the insightful humor in the dumb assery of life. If one was to repress their Snarky then bad things could happen. Imagine, if instead of a witty retort based on a solid foundation of sarcasm, something worse, much worse, came out of your mouth, like the truth.

Just try to conceive of a 24 hour period where everyone spoke with 100% percent candor and honesty! Good God marriages would collapse, parental bonds would be forever fractured (yes little Emily you are right, I do love your brother much more), the world of commerce would come to a halt and the government would shut down. I mean really shut down, not some 16 day standstill but no one working for months because they’re either too mad, too hurt, to betrayed or too busy crying to get anything done. The only winners in speaking the truth day would be the Kleenex corporation and therapists.

This is just one of many reasons why I embrace, with the biggest of bear hugs, the art of being Snarky. It has superpowers. It’s kinder than the brutal truth, more powerful than a punch in the gut, and able to leap morons in a single bound. For the truly devoted being Snarky is a lifestyle choice based on bettering society by not being afraid to call someone a jackass.

That my friends, is the gift that keeps on giving and the number one reason why I will now, and forever more, just say no to a Snark Free Day.

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

Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. 

To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link – http://is.gd/iEgnJ (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.

 

I Am Not a Crack Whore

Picture 9

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

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

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

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

The Visit

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

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

Well, she brought it.

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

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

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

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

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

“Pardon me?”

“Do we keep liquor in the home?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Attencover_1.3-2tion Snarky Friends, I have a brand new book out. It’s the second in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Snarky in the Suburbs Trouble In Texas. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! 🙂

Paying It Forward

Picture 3

You will rarely find me inside a Starbucks. I don’t drink coffee and usually my reason for venturing inside one is to do people watching research for my next book. I will, on occasion use Starbucks solely for the purpose of getting a cup to act as Diet Coke camouflage. Sadly, we live in world where entering a meeting with a 44 ounce styrofoam cup filled with chunklet ice, the liquid perfection known as Diet Coke with splash of cherry topped off with a lid and a red straw is considered not only not classy, but unprofessional and brands you as a hater of the environment what with the styrofoam and always gets someone talking about American’s second silent killer, right behind heart disease, death by Diet Coke. To not subject myself to these diatribes I have been known to go into a Starbucks and order a venti hot tea. I then go to my car, dump out the hot water, save the lemon, pour my Diet Coke into the Starbucks cup, throw in the lemon, and presto chango I’m an upstanding member of society and can enter a meeting with an “acceptable” beverage in an acceptable cup. I try to reuse my Starbucks cup as long as I can, but eventually it starts to look shabby necessitating another trip to Starbucks.

That was the case this morning. I was standing in line at Starbucks to basically buy a cup. I was purse-less. I had $2.00 in one hand, the other held my car keys. I ordered my cup of hot tea to go and gave the cashier one dollar bill and four quarters that’s when a woman who had standing by the counter leaned in and paid for my drink. She said she was “paying it forward.” I profusely thanked, but said there was no need for her to do so. She rather eagerly insisted so I let her and then shifted over to the line where you hover while your beverage is made. This confused the business suited Pay it Forward woman. She looked at me, her 40ish forehead crinkled and her pink coral lips pursed and asked, “What are doing? You need to go back and pay it forward to the next person in line.”

“Oh, no worries,” I said smiling. “I will for sure pay it forward sometime today.”

“No, no, that’s not the way it works,” she announced. “You need to pay it forward NOW.”

Is there some Pay It Forward rule book I don’t know about? Did I not get the email about the correct Pay It Forward procedure? As I was thinking about this I look over at the woman who was behind me in line. She’s ordering six coffee drinks, two of them those Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino milkshake things. I know from the rare occasion when I will buy the drink for my daughter that they cost almost 5 bucks. I had one dollar and change on me. I would need to take out a small loan to pay for that women’s coffee bill. I’m guessing she was doing the caffeine run for her office. I then look back at the Pay It Forward woman whose hasn’t given up her quest for me to follow her explicit orders.

“Look,” I gently say in a whisper. “I don’t have the money on me to pay for that women’s rather large coffee order. I came in here with one dollar and change. So, you’re going to have to trust me that I will pay it forward later today.”

Just then a Starbucks employee calls out my name, Thank God. I can grab my tea and make my escape. Clutching my Starbucks cup I walk quickly to the door, open it and jog to my car. All’s good right? Wrong. I hear footsteps. Pay it Forward has followed me. I stop, turn around and say, “Okay, maam you are now officially freaking me out.”

“I want my money back,” she says.

“Excuse me?” I say.

“I want my money back for your drink I paid for.”

Okay, that’s a no brainer. I wish I had thought of that and just given her my one dollar and 3 quarters about 4 minutes ago. “Sure, no problem. Here you go.” I say as I unfurl my hand holding my money and give it to her. Problem solved. I proceed to unlock my car door and open it. She’s still following me. I slid in my car and she peers in and sees my purse on the floorboard.

“Oh, that’s what I thought. You do have money you just don’t want to use it. That’s what’s wrong with America – people like you. People that don’t pay it forward!”

I shake my head, look at her and say, “You know what? I noticed you standing by the Starbucks counter. I’m thinking you waited until somebody ordered the cheapest thing on the menu and then did your whole pay it forward thing. Well, I’m going to pay it forward to you in a big way. I’m going to write about you and your pathological desire to have everyone adhere to your strict paying it forward policy.

She huffed and said, “You can’t write about me.”

“Oh, yes I can,” I say with gusto. “The First Amendment is all about paying it forward.”

I then put my car in drive and pull away. She stands there and gives me the evil eye with her hands on her hips as I drive out of the parking lot. My response to that it to turn on my car’s back windshield wiper which is messed up and sprays water not on my windshield but jettisons it into the air. I’m pretty sure she got some wiper fluid on her, that makes me happy. Once I was, what I felt, was a safe distance away. I stopped my car, dumped out the hot water and did the beverage transfer all the while thinking of the things I have to put up with just to enjoy a freaking Diet Coke. You would think I was ingesting liquid heroin. That is what’s wrong with the world – the Diet Coke haters and the rigid Pay it Forwarders. Both groups need to relax and you know the perfect way to do that? Yeah, that’s right  by enjoying an icy Diet Coke. I swear.

For all thinks wonderfully Snarky go to www.snarkygear.com where you can find T-shirts, ecards for Facebook and my brand new book – Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School.  Here’s a little ditty about it:

The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.

 If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you.

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.

So God Made a Snarky Mom

0aa7514fac51ea8108fe2b03467b48d7And on the 8th day God looked down at a PTA meeting and said, “I need a woman with some serious swagger. So God made a Snarky Mom.

God said I need somebody to get up before dawn, pack lunches, drive carpool, work all day, coach soccer and then storm the HOA meeting and tell them their cross hatched, mowing plan with grass cut to a precise 2 inch height rule was a bunch of bull crap. So God made a Snarky mom.

I need somebody with strong arms. Strong enough to hoist a 35 pound toddler out if its car seat with one hand because the other one is holding a 50 pound bag of dog kibble, yet gentle enough to roll out perfect sugar cookie dough. Somebody to referee pee wee basketball games, make a hot mom cantankerous by stepping on her glitter Uggs, come home hungry because all you’ve had to ingest all day is two Diet Cokes and have to wait for lunch because you now must hurry to the elementary school to fill in for the self-important mom who forgot – again – that she had signed up to volunteer in the classroom. So God made a Snarky mom.

God said, I need somebody that can shape an Invention Convention Competition project out of duct tape, fix tennis shoes with duct tape, make a book report out of duct tape, used poster board, and last year’s leftover Valentine’s Day stickers. And who at school fundraising time will finish her 40 hour day by Tuesday, noon, Then pain’n from carrying the Bissell Carpet Cleaner up two flights of stairs puts in another 72 hours plotting delicious revenge on a group of mothers attempting to get their husbands as judges for the Regional Science Fair. So God, made a Snarky mom.

God had to have somebody willing to mix it up at double speed at the PTA meeting, not afraid to get into a little throw down action during school drop off, and yet stop mid pot stirring when she sees a friend who needs her help. So God made a Snarky mom.

God said, I need somebody strong enough to silence a group of women from talking incessantly about vaginal rejuvenation yet gentle enough to tame teachers, make a child laugh and tend field trips . . . and who will stop working to haul ass to her kitchen to whip up 10 dozen cookies because the sugar-free moms are attempting to hi-jack the school bake school with bags of broccoli. So God made a Snarky mom.

It had to be someone who’d plan revenge scenarios intricate and complex and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, and feed the weaker moms so they would learn to stand up for themselves. Somebody to replenish a sad mother’s soul with visions of payback and then finish a hard day’s work with a five-mile drive to a gated community to crash a vajazzle party masquerading as a school fundraiser. Somebody who’d keep a family together with the soft bonds of schemes, who’d laugh and then sigh and then respond with smiling eyes, when her daughter says she wants to spend her life doing what her mom does, So God made a Snarky mom.

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

Snarky Goes to Hollywood

peg1-stars-hollywood-signWell, really to be truthful it was Burbank, but that’s Hollywood adjacent, so close enough. My journey began late one night when I remembered that I hadn’t checked my Snarky Gmail account in a couple of days. I logged in and discovered a message from someone claiming to have worked with the creators of one of the most popular TV shows of all time and many other awesome things. She then added that my blog “reads like a sitcom” and she would love to explore the opportunity of turning it into TV show. I thought, of course, that my children were messing with me. I mean, how easy is it to get a Gmail account with a fake name and them send your mother phony emails. It’s so 21st century parental abuse. I called my husband over to my computer. He read the email, looked at me and said, “Oh yeah, for sure one of the kids sent this. The only real question is were they in on this together or did one of them work solo?”

I yelled for both of my children to come into my bedroom and confess their sins. They look bewildered when I showed them the email and denied being involved. At first I didn’t believe them, but when my son sighed and said, “Mom, really, like we would send you a phony email over Gmail? We’re not 100. If I was going to do something like this it would have at least been through Twitter.”

I thought about that for a moment and knew he was right. I apologized half heartedly for accusing them of electronic mail fraud and then composed an email back to the “TV person.” It read, “Thank you for your interest in my blog. Please note if you are punking me I will track you down and hurt you.” I felt confident that would take care of the alleged “producer” sending me emails. Really, how cruel to do that to someone? Seconds later, I received another email saying, “No, I’m serious. Google me and my husband if you don’t believe me.” I Googled, still very wary. Once again, how easy to pretend your someone else and say Google me. After a couple of more emails back and forth I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. She gave me her phone number so I could call her the next day. Long story short it turned out she was the real deal and a couple of months later it was time for me to tug, squeeze, pour and pray myself into turbo Spanx and head out to L.A. I ended up making four trips to the land of the “Honey with Goldenrod Highlights Hair Extension” capital of the free world. Here’s the down low on my journey.

My new friend “TV Debby” was so normal it was scary. We have kids about the same age and she has to be a Hollywood anomaly because not only doesn’t she wear a lick of make-up, she’s also dermal filler free. I’m serious about this. I even did my version of the Rotary 4-Way Test to check my data. Wait a minute. You’re kidding me? You mean you’ve never been to a Rotary meeting? How, I don’t know – un-American of you. Okay, here’s some background. The Rotary 4-Way test goes something like this: Is it the truth? Is it fair? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial? Here’s my 4-Way test that I use when assessing if any female has had made multiple pilgrimages to the land of injectable, plumpers and peels: Can she move her eyebrows? Are her cheekbones plumped and protruding to such an extent you could use them as shelf to hold a Diet Coke? (Bottle not can.) Is her skin so shiny it can multi-task as a mirror? Do her lips look like the 20 pound flathead catfish I once caught with my Pee-Paw at Lake LBJ?

TV Debby totally passed the 4-Way test. We had clicked on the phone and in person it was even better. I was in love. She was an oracle about how TV works and laid out for me all the turns and twists it would take to pitch a show. Basically, you have a better chance of winning a Mega Millions lottery jackpot and finding out you’re peri-menopausal self is pregnant with octuplets all on the same day then getting a TV show on the air. Why anyone would willingly go into this brutal business is beyond me. My advice to any would be actors, writers, directors is be a Walmart greeter. It would be better for your self-esteem and you’ll probably make more money plus have a vested retirement plan.

The first stop on the Snarky Goes to Hollywood Tour was to Beverly Hills. I was going to get my “How do you do?” on with an agent. The agency offices were swanky in the cold steel and marble way that implies they don’t want you sitting down and making yourself comfortable for very long and the level of security was about the same as when I took my kids for a post 9/11 tour of the White House. I don’t blame these talent folks for their fear of middle-aged women carrying large handbags. I’m sure the agents are on a constant state of high alert for out-of-work, “I was once on the cover of Us magazine,” over forty something actresses storming their Beverly Hills compound with a yoga mat dusted in anthrax. The agent we met with was surprisingly laid back and funny. He reminded me of the cool jock in high school that also happened to have excellent manners. You know, the kind of guy who would always hold the door open for the chubby girl who had to wear her orthodontia head-gear to school. Well-Mannered Agent was the first to ask the question that would haunt me my entire Hollywood experience – “Tell me about yourself.” Ugh. Here’s the deal I’m not very interesting. I lead a very average life. So I did what you would have done – lied and called my husband a jack ass. As in “my husband, the jack ass, doesn’t read my blogs because he says,“I lived it that means I don’t have read it.” It got some hearty laughs. So insulting my spouse became my “go to” during my L.A. adventure for anytime I was stumped on how to answer a question.

After we got the Well Mannered Agent out-of-the-way it was time for the ultimate Hollywood experience. Unfortunately, I’m not talking about lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel Polo Lounge or the restaurant that chick on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills owns. This experience was not food related, but one that would could have the power to direct all future life and business decisions. I had scored a sit down with a celebrity psychic. Yes, I had my fortune told. (Not my idea just in case you were thinking I had temporarily lost my mind.) For $60 an exotic, extremely attractive woman shared things with me like – “You will be having lots of important meetings.” “Next month will be a busy time for you” and “There is a very young girl in your life who has wisdom to share with you.” Okay, the only young girl in my life is my daughter and the only thing she has to share with me is how much she really needs an iPhone 5. I wanted my $60 back. I would have been better off buying 60 bucks worth of fortune cookies. At least they’d be somewhat tasty.

After I had been “blessed” by the fortune-teller TV Debby and I met with writers who had read Snarky and shared TV Debby’s thought it might, perhaps, maybe, someday, make a decent sitcom. The most amazing thing that happened on this whole journey, besides having the most incredible cinnamon roll of my life at the Burbank airport, was when a writer showed up with a huge binder with all the Snarky blog posts printed out. I write most of my blogs with my thumbs on my phone. I had never printed out a single post. I was astounded by how fat her notebook was. Damn, I thought, I really complained that much. Scary.

It was now time to pitch the show. This is where you meet with various production companies, producers, directors, writers etc who have deals with a human being who is connected to another bipedal mammal to get you into the entertainment food chain that might get you a meeting with a studio or a network. It’s at this time I was made aware of the most soul crushing website ever created – Deadline Hollywood. It should come with a suicide hotline number as it’s header. This website gives the up to the minute scoop on all the TV and movie deals currently going on. It has to be a huge papercut to the heart of anyone who works or aspires to work in the entertainment industry to see all the transactions being made that you’re not a part of. It’s Facebook’s evil twin on a Lance Armstrong doping regimen. All the TV people I was meeting with would quote it as in, “Did you see on Deadline Hollywood where Studio X just picked up a Mom show. There could be too many Mom shows. Is this a Mom show?” Hell no, I would think to myself, Snarky is not a mom show. It’s a show about adventure, payback and a mini-van loaded with smoke bombs. Does that sound like anything as mundane as a “Mom” show?

Deadline Hollywood aside, the whole meet, greet and pitch was a blast because I wasn’t taking it too seriously. I was enjoying the ride. My husband, who is really not a jack ass, gave me excellent advice. He told me to “expect that absolutely nothing is going to happen and with that in mind to enjoy my middle-aged adventure and even more importantly the sheer beauty of having a hotel room to myself.” I embraced his advice and was ready to get my rubber necking on. The best part was going to all the studio lots and seeing the behind-the-scenes of it all. Not as good as the Universal Studio’s tour, but hey this one was free and I was not sharing butt space on a tram with a 400 pound man who’s “totally, beyond bummed” because he was too hefty to fit on the Transformers 3-D ride. It was on the Warner Brothers lot were I meet the love of my life.

TV Debby and I had just had a meeting with a gentleman I will now and forever call Malibu Ken (M.K.). He was blonde, blue-eyed, surfer boy gorgeous, plus he really surfed. I know this because he had surf boards in office which made him even more yummy. TV Debby and M.K. were talking about their kids’ schools. This is where I would usually kind of doze off or think about the king size Snickers bar waiting for me back in my hotel room. Any meeting we had would start off with people sharing where their kids went to school. I figured it was kind of like wolves circling, trying to get the feel of where they fit in the pack. I guess the L.A. pecking order is partially based on what private/public/charter/magnet school your kids attend. This time, I wisely used the school chit-chat to gaze at the wonder that is M.K. What was this guy doing working as a television executive? He needed his own damn show that would feature close-ups of his gorgeous face. What a waste not to have him in HD. That is now the show I wanted to pitch. Forget about Snarky in the Suburbs. I wanted a Malibu Ken channel. Unfortunately, Malibu Ken had many pictures of his equally beautiful, blonde, blue-eyed wife in his office. I started to wonder, no, make that silently implore my higher power (Betty Crocker), that maybe M.K. was bi-curious, as in also attracted to older, less blonde, much more full-figured females. Hey, this is Hollywood, a land where dreams come true or is that Disney Land?  Whatever, I’m just saying a girl can have a rich fantasy life can’t she?

After we met with many, many people I found out that a studio was interested in optioning my blog. This meant I now needed an entertainment attorney. With the help of friend I apparently landed an amazing one. So amazing some L.A. people asked me, “Hey, how the hell did you get him as your attorney?” Even better he’s a Harvard man, which is as close as I’ll ever get to the Ivy League. I have never met my attorney. I have had several riveting phone conversations with him and a series of emails that I will always cherish and read aloud to myself when I’m home alone. I have no idea of what he looks like, but in my mind he’s gorgeous, lives by the beach and has a crush on me. After all, he calls me Kansas. You wouldn’t give someone a cute nick name like that if you didn’t really, really, like them would you? He’s currently my back up if Malibu Ken doesn’t work out.

At this point you maybe wondering what I wore to all these meetings? I’m not exaggerating when I tell you I was the best dressed person there. For sure, I was rocking a little Target in my wardrobe (How could I not?) but I was dressed for doing business. Black pants, cute top, and always a little blazer or cardigan because I find both of those options de-chunk me. I also had on a pair of killer black wedge sandals that I got for $14.99 at T.J. Maxx.  Apparently, my “Fly Over Country” business casual outfits were sending the wrong message, because by my third trip to L.A. I was told to wear jeans. Okay, I wouldn’t wear jeans to a PTA meeting if I was there to pitch the controversial idea of merging the cookie dough and gift wrap sales, which means I sure wouldn’t wear them to pitch a TV show to network executives! Besides all I own are big girl jeans. I don’t own L.A. jeans, that I’m sure cost upwards of $300. In an effort to comply to the Hollywood dress code I got myself some decent size 12, lycra infused, jeans at the Ann Taylor Loft Outlet. I did draw the line at wearing flip-flops. I know the flip-flop is the state shoe of California, but call it home training at the hands of a very Southern mother or the fact I wear a size 11 shoe there was no way I was going to flip-flop my way to a meeting with the higher-ups at a studio or network.

Several things, besides changing my wardrobe, had to happen before we had our “sit down” with the network folks. We and by that I mean many people now involved in the project had to pitch what we felt the TV show would look like. This included the characters, who we thought might play them and actual episode ideas. Brace yourself, because many changes were made to Snarky. First, the word Snarky was thrown out. It was deemed a tad too harsh, maybe even mean, for sure angry. Next, characters were changed, as in genders were reassigned. The neighbor, you all love to hate, Barbara Gray, become Bob Gray and Kelly one of Snarky’s female BFF’s was turned into Steven, a stay-at-home dad. The thought there was the show would need more substantial male characters. Another concern was the “caper” aspect of my blog. It couldn’t be all capers it had to more than that etc. etc. I dealt with all these changes by nodding my head and saying, “Yes, I can see that working” because my husband had prepared me for the fact that by the time Snarky went through the TV meat grinder I probably wouldn’t recognize it. My very Texas born and breed’s husband’s exact words were, “You know everyone is going to have to put their stink on it.” The other thing is I’m not a television writer. Yes, I write a blog. I have now written a book. I used to be a TV reporter – none of that qualifies me as a sitcom writer. Do you know how hard it is to write a comedy TV pilot? Not only do you have to write for laughs, but you must establish all the characters in the show and make viewers care about them AND you only have 22 freaking minutes to get all that done!  I’m thinking that requires some superpowers I don’t have. So, I had no problem keeping my mouth shut and nodding my head.

Finally, it was time to pitch to the network. Right before the meeting began I threw back two extra strength Imodium and chewed Gas Ex like they were Tic Tacs. You never know how your lower digestive tract is going to react to this kind of stress. I wanted to make sure my colon stayed strong. One woman assumed I was self medicating with anti anxiety drugs. I had to correct her and share that it wasn’t Xanax I was swallowing, but diarrhea meds. She made a face and backed away from me. Like it was okay to ingest four Xanax, but somehow wrong to use over-the-counter colon control medicine.

I, dressed in jeans, was ready for my part. I had to talk about my blog, why I started writing it and what I felt was it’s universal appeal. Super easy. I had this Hollywood blabbing down. Me talking about Snarky had become my second favorite thing right after Diet Coke. The meeting went okay. On a scale of 1 to 10 I’d give it a 4. The highlight for me was shaking the hands of the Vice President of Network Comedy and realizing my fly was down, like all the way, gaping open, down. This is what happens when you wear jeans you bought with a coupon at an outlet mall to a meeting with network executives. The psychic sure didn’t predict that.

Fortunately, my pants being unzipped wasn’t a deal breaker. Snarky, in some version, may possibly, someday, fingers crossed, make it off the page and onto the television screen. The beauty of it is, at this point, I have zero control over what happens. All I can do is continue my Snarky quest and fantasize about being reunited with Malibu Ken. That can happen – right?

Love the Snark?  Buy the book – Snarky in the Suburbs  Back to School.  Check it out on Amazon.  http://tinyurl.com/snarkybook or you can Nook it over at Barnes & Noble. http://tinyurl.com/snarkynook

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.