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 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 – (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.

Top 10 Signs You’re Snarky

politifact-photos-ohio_top_1010) Conversation has been known to stop when you walk into a room.

9) “Go To” person for anyone having PTA, neighbor or coworker problems.

8) Believe revenge is a dish best served with a cupcake(s).

7) Pondering joining the S.A. (Snarky Anonymous) 12 Step Program geared towards people whose sarcasm just won’t quit.

6) Pot Stirring – For you it’s a lifestyle.

5)  Instead of Just Do it’s  Just Say It!

4) Thinking of trademarking your “Glare of Doom.”

3)  Convinced Snarkasm is a terrible thing to waste.

2)  Pride yourself on your ability to turn complaining into an art form.

1)  Getting Even never overrated!

Buy my book – Snarky in the Suburbs – Back to School – check it out on Amazon.

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 – (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.

Book Preview

Dear Snarky Readers,

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything new in quite some time.  The reason for this – I’m on the last week of finishing my book.  Finally, right?  I’ve only been talking about for two freaking years.  Here’s the deal, writing a blog – super easy.  Writing a 60,000 word book – not so easy, at least for me.  To keep my spirits up I decided to post a portion of Chapter Six. (Of course some of it won’t make sense because you’re coming in mid scheme.) Please note this is a rough draft the grammar fairy hasn’t visited yet.  I’m hoping if you enjoy reading this it will be the fuel that will keep me going!  Cheers, Snarky

Chapter 6 

It was no problem getting a clean recording of the principal’s voice.  On the school website Mr. Parrish posted videos of his weekly “Spring Creek Update.”  Getting Jacardi talking in a quiet atmosphere would be a challenge.  Add in me holding my phone up to her mouth to get a recording that met my son’s audio parameters and we’re talking weird.  This all meant I was forced to resort to doing something I swore I would never do again – write an “Closet Confidential” feature story.

Earlier, I mentioned that I was a freelance-writer.  What this means is that I write everything from corporate newsletters (snoozer) to magazine articles.  A year or so ago I wrote a monthly feature for a local lifestyle magazine called “Closet Confidential.”  Yes, it was as bad as it sounds.  I would go interview woman who had closets bigger than my first home.  I would be gifted with a guided tour of their closet (always with a crystal chandelier and always with some sort of animal print carpet, usually leopard or cheetah, sometimes someone would step outside the box and be daring by going, “OMG” zebra) as the shopaholic of the month proselytized about earth shattering things like having a denim bar and glass cabinets to store their collection of vintage Chanel handbags.

After writing three years worth of Closet Confidentials, I snapped.  It was interview number thirty-seven with Charity Turner, (Think brunette version of Jacardi with sub standard veeners. Why, I ask you do woman spend a fortune on getting enormous boobs and then skimp on their dental work?) when I acted less than professional.  Although, I would argue in my defense, that I was performing a much-needed addiction intervention.  After seeing Charity’s, “I don’t think of it as a closet, I think of this as more as my personal boutique” denim bar with seventy-eight different pairs of jeans separated into cubbies by slim cut, boot cut, cropped, capri, tooth pick, flared, boyfriend, low-rise, trouser, dark and light wash categories, that I shared with her she was quite possibly Insane with a capital I.

I was on a roll so I didn’t stop there.  I ventured on to explain that I was super certain any mental health advocate, primary care physician or even a Walgreen’s pharmacy tech would diagnose her as a well-organized hoarder with psychotic shopping tendencies that are probably manifested by king size daddy issues where the lack of paternal love she felt as a child is reflected in her retail expenditures. I also felt sure that her huge denim bar was how she compensated for what was most likely a less than satisfying sex life. You know what they say, “The bigger the closet, the smaller, the . . .  Instead of thanking me for what, I felt, was an insightful and spot on diagnosis, she freaked and threw me out of her house.  After that she called the editor of the magazine and said I had “verbally abused her.”  Yeah, I told the editor, Abby Rios, I “abused” Charity Turner by deeply caring about her mental health.”  As you can probably guess, I was banned for life from ever writing another Closet Confidential again.

Now, due to my need to get up close and personal with Jacardi, I’m going to attempt to get my Closet Confidential credentials reinstated.  That meant a phone call to Abby where I plan on telling her that I’m a changed woman and would love, love, love, to do more hard-hitting journalism from the front lines of lifestyle reporting – a spoiled woman’s closet.

Abby picked up her phone on the first ring.  She seemed glad to hear from me and we talked about our kids for the first five minutes.  I have a lot of respect for Abby.  She bought a failing magazine and in eight years has turned into the local “must read.”  She’s also gorgeous in a not in your face kind of way.  You now, one of those woman who look prettier every time you see them. Besides the inane closet feature the magazine does a great job of covering the community.  Before I even had a chance to ask for my favor, Abby says, “So, why are you really calling me?”

“Ouch, Abby that hurts. I call you all the time and not just when I want something.”

“Alright, I’ll give you that, but it’s the sound of your voice.  It’s too nice, sweet even, that means you want something.”

“What?  I can’t be sweet?  I can be sweet.  I’ll have you know I’m sweet. I’m a very sweet person.”

“No you’re not, but that’s part of your charm.  So, what’s up?”

This is when I decide to just go for it.  I was going to hem and haw for a while longer, but she’s on to me so what’s the point?  “I need a favor.”

“Here we go.  I knew you wanted something. What kind of favor.”

“A big one.  I need you to let me write a Closet Confidential on Jacardi Monroe.”

Abby starts laughing so hard I’m hoping she’s not driving. It sounds like she’s having problems catching her breath or choking on a Starbuck’s Vanilla Almond Biscotti. “Abby, Abby,” I say, “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine and no you can’t write another Closet Confidential.  That Charity What’s Her Name, threaten to sue the magazine.  I had to send her flowers AND increase her Closet Confidential spread to six pages to calm her down.  Six pages on a closet!  Her denim bar photo spread alone took up two pages.  There must something about you that ignites the fuse on all the crazies.”

I took that as a compliment that Abby consider Charity crazy and not me.  So, I forged ahead.

“What if I promise to be on my best behavior.  Did you know I’m a graduate of the Central Texas Chapter of the White Glove Protocol Society for Southern Belles?”

“One, no, I did not.  Two, you’re not in Texas anymore and three, what is something called the White Glove Protocol Society?”

“It’s something all Connally County Texas mothers force their thirteen year old daughters to do in hopes that by attending they’ll magically become less moody, not confuse their shrimp fork with a salad fork and, fingers really crossed here, become Queen of the Mohair Palace Pageant material.”

“Mohair Pageant?  You’re making that up. Is it a beauty contest or something?”

“Oh, it’s a contest all right,” I say, in my best Southern Belle voice, “Built around whose mother kisses enough ass so her daughter can be deemed possessing the correct amount of decorum and family social standing to be crowned Queen of the Mohair.”

I switch back to my normal voice with of an undercurrent of begging, “But, let’s get back to me – present day.  Think about it.  Is it really fair to judge my whole writing career on one very brief lapse of judgement?  To this day, I still feel like I was doing a public service by trying to get Charity to seek medical attention and because I respect you so much I’ll write the article for free.”

I knew I had a good chance of getting my way when she got quiet.  Abby didn’t turn around a failing magazine by being a bad business woman.  She was all about the free.

“Alright,” she sighs.  You can do it, but you have to behave and I need it by next week.”

Yippee, I’m thinking and then I go in for one more favor.  “Just one more thing, Abby. Can someone besides me call Jacardi and set up a time for the interview? It would also be great if whoever calls could keep it on the down low that I’m going to be the reporter.”

“Your killing me Wynn,” Abby says sounding slightly ticked off. “Yeah, I can get my assistant to make the call.  I don’t know what you’ve got up your sleeve, but whatever it is it better not come back to haunt me.  Got it?”

“Totally.  Now don’t worry and just sit back in that comfy editor’s chair of yours and wait for a scintillating FREE piece on a freaking closet.”

Abby huffed and puffed a little while longer about “having a bad feeling” about the interview and then we got off the phone.  I treated myself to a fresh Diet Coke and begun imagining what Jacardi’s face would look like when I showed up at her door.


So here’s the deal – I’m suffering  from writing ADHD.  I keep flitting from one project to another.  I’ve created this character I now what to explore in a book.  She’s kind of like Nikki, the young mom, in my Snarky stories, but totally white trash, which makes her loads more fun.   I’m going to keep this up here for a couple of days to get your input.  As always no need to point out my grammar and punctuation flaws, but thanks for putting up with them.  oxoxoxox

Like I don’t know I’m white trash?  Like I need it pointed out to me everyday that I’m from the wrong side of the tracks?  Guess what? I know that I’m worse than wrong side of the tracks, I’m wrong side of the tracks aspirational.  My screwed up family wishes we were just “wrong side.”  We’re more like take a left, veer to the right and drive 10 more miles wrong side of the track.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a relative graduate high school and I have to really think about this and do some research, but I’m pretty certain most, if not all, of the women in my family have some kind of courtship dyslexia.  That’s a nice way of saying we (yeah, that’s right I’m including myself in this sad statistic) have gotten knocked up before the benefit of holy matrimony.  My name is Gere Charmin Winston.  I like to think of myself as a little bit Elle Woods. (You know the Legally Blonde chick) If Elle Woods had grown up in trailer with an iffy septic tank.  I’m 22 years old, a wife, a mother of a four-year old boy and I’m pregnant again.  Here’s how all that happened.

First, let me explain my name.  My mother saw the movie Pretty Woman seven times when she was pregnant with me.  That’s when, according to her, she became obsessed with Richard Gere – hence my name – Gere.  Which as far as names goes is okay, I mean it’s better than Richard or can you imagine – Dick. Oh, did I mention she was 16 freaking years old at the time and to hear my grandmother tell it “a bit” of a slut.  I’d put my money on more than just a “bit.”   To this day I have never known who my father is.  I know that sounds sad, but really it’s not.  The last thing I need right now is one more missing limb from my family tree showing up to screw with my “could be, so close I can taste it, perfect life.”  I have my husband to thank for this.  The most incredible, wonderful, handsome Jackson Augusta Winston IV – Esquire.

I wish I could say we “met cute,” but we met in prison or as my mother would say “Correctional Institution” and since the Turner Correctional Institute for Women in Mills, Mississippi has been her home a couple of times I’ll call it whatever makes her feel better.  Jack was 24, had just graduated from Law School and was clerking for a Federal Judge.  He was doing research on some sort of case and was interviewing a girlfriend of a Mexican mob boss who was doing time in Turner.  I was 18 and visiting my mother who was also doing time for having the worst taste in men of any women in the inter-galactic sphere.  This was my mom’s Tiffany Cedes Charmin second tour of duty in Turner for being a dumb ass.  Not once, but twice had she gotten herself mixed up with a guy who thinks a date night involves my mom sitting in the driver’s seat while he holds up a convenience store.

After I was done visiting with my mom at the Correctional Facility I was walking through the visitor parking lot to wait for the bus back to town when  Jackson literally ran over me with his car.  Well, he really just barely backed over my left foot, but he acted like he had almost killed me.  He offered to drive me to the Emergency Room for an x-ray.  Since I didn’t have health insurance and I could move all the toes (Which is the universal sign that nothing in your foot is broken right?) I declined his offer of medical attention and instead offered up dinner and an ice pack.  He took me to his hotel room, elevated my foot, iced it up real well and then went and got me a chicken burrito from Chiptole.  Those things are like $7.  No one, until that day, ever spent $7 on a burrito for me.  I was a Taco Bell dollar menu, all the way, type of girl.

Would you think less of me if I told you we did it that night?  Too bad, because it was love at first sight, at least for me.  All it took was one smell of Jackson Augusta Winston the IV and I knew, just knew, that I had to have him.  It’s hard to explain, but for the first time ever a guy didn’t smell like off brand Axe shampoo and shower gel from the Dollar Store and fryer grease from the Confederate Crispy Chicken.  He smelled clean like crushed mint leaves and Downey fabric softener.  But best of all he smelled kind and safe plus the fact that he was working broad shoulders and some serious 6 pack abs well, that didn’t hurt either.  So, we did it.  I lost my gently used virginity all while keeping my left leg elevated.  Maybe the whole leg elevated thing is why exactly 32 days later I found out I was pregnant.  Who gets pregnant the first time they do it?  Oh yeah, every single woman in my family, that’s who!

I was so angry at myself for letting this happen, but Jackson was like some sort of hero in one those lame vampire books minus the pale skin and blood sucking stuff. He insisted we get married and even said he loved me.  Wow, I couldn’t believe it.  How does a 18-year-old from backwater Mississippi rate a man of this much awesomeness?  I tried to say we didn’t need to get married and all that nonsense, but Jackson wouldn’t take no for an answer so we went to Las Vegas (my first time on a plane, thank you very much) and tied the knot.  Right after that we moved to Oklahoma where he began working for the U.S. Tenth Court of Appeals and then to Wyoming, (where our son Jackson Augusta Winston the V was born) Utah and Idaho where we’d relocate for a short time depending on his case load. With all of our moving I joked with Jackson that this must be how people in the witness protection program feel like.  I should have taken that as a sign when he didn’t laugh.

The strange thing about the first four years of our marriage was that I was sort in a protection program – from Jackson’s family.  It took a year of marriage before he confessed that his parents were big freaking deals and living in Asia.  His mother Catherine Charlotte (C.C.) Winston is the U.S. Ambassador to China and was some sort of political goddess.  His father Jackson Augusta Winston the III is the American envoy to an Asian/American trade allianceJackson also has two sisters Vandy and Winny.  The really, really bad part and the thing that will be the hardest to make you understand is that it wasn’t until his parents got back from China (one term president = only four years of ambassadorship) and got re-settled in their super big east coasty mansion that Jackson even told them I existed and that they had an amazing four-year grandson.  I know it’s awful, but before you think the worst of him let me explain.  He didn’t want this parents butting in and ruining our marriage.  Looking back, being kept at least 2,000 miles away from them for four years was a blessing.  We had time to develop as a couple and as parents. I’m sure they would have tried to get Jackson to divorce me.  Oh my God, if you could have seen how they reacted when they found out Jackson didn’t have me sign a pre-nup you would so understand why it was a very good thing I was protected from my in-laws for as long as possible. My mother-in-law was so angry her face looked like a deep-fried Twinkie at the State Fair. So, don’t be mad at my Jackson.  He knew he was doing the right thing.

Now, I’m living in a house that has it’s own damn name – Highgrove Hill.  It sounds all fancy, but trust me, Downton Abbey it’s not.  My husband is working at the family law firm and I’m being tortured, courtesy of C.C. who with a phony, toothy smile says I’m getting a society “reboot.”  She’s attempting to make me take etiquette classes, work with a stylist and get professional help to “eradicate the nuances of southern trailer park” from my speech. (It’s like I’m living the Princess Diaries – You’re F’d Edition.) Well, I’ll tell you what I told C.C.  First, I may not have ever had fancy etiquette classes and I may not know what a shrimp fork looks like, but I do know it’s not good manners to tell someone r-e-p-e-a-t-e-d-l-y that they have bad manners.  Secondly, I’m 22 years old, four months pregnant, and there is no way in hell anyone is going to stuff me into something that looks like a blanket.  I don’t care if it is called a St. John’s Knit.  Third, I like my southern twang and I’d sooner cut out my tongue than give up saying “Y’all.”

The big mistake everyone is making here, (my husband not included, of course) is that they think I’m stupid.  Sure, I only have a G.E.D. but, I’m plenty smart. I home-schooled myself from the age of 13 and spent nearly every day in the county library reading voraciously (see I told you I was smart).  I devoured the library like an America’s Next Top Model contestant on a Krispy Kreme donut binge and purge.  I started with current events and worked my way to classic literature. Besides being well read I know people.  I notice things you don’t.  Like how someone tilts their head or twists their hands when they talk or even that an excessive use of adjectives means you’re lying and ice crunchers, you know those people that chomp ice all the time – possibly serial killers. More importantly I’m what you would call a good listener and that fact alone makes me smarter, on most days, then anyone else I’m with in a room.

There’s a lot to listen to. My mother-in-law C.C. Winston who at first, I tried to give the benefit of the doubt to and attributed her less than welcoming attitude to the fact that she was mega uncomfortable due to the great big old stick up her butt, I’ve now decided is, quite possibly, pure evil.  (Oh and get this she makes my son call her “grand mere” – gag.) At first glance you’re kind of in awe of her.  Tall, once gorgeous, but now what we in the South would call handsome, with one of those serious, take no bullshit pant suits on all the time.  C.C. is always scheming and saying b.s. things like “What will my legacy be?  How will history remember me?” (One word answer for you C.C. – bitch – that’s how you’ll be remembered.) Her next career move and I’m not kidding, really I’m not, it’s hand to God time, is to run for President of the United States or if that doesn’t pan out “settle for” Governor.  Make no mistake she would sell her soul to (or sleep with) the devil to get there. I can see it now, her and Satan doing the deed.  C.C. would just grab on to the devil’s horns, get some really good leverage and go to town. She plans to use the next four years of someone else in the White House to formulate her attack plan. My white trash lineage is a huge thorn in her “might be” presidential side.  Which really ticks me off.  It’s not like I’m Bristol Palin.  I was married when I gave birth and not to be mean or anything, because I’m sure Bristol is a darling girl, but I’m way cuter, like, way, way, cuter.

Meanwhile my father-in-law, Jackson the third, is toying with the idea of running for Senate.  Take a big breath because all these politic stuff is not, as far as I can tell, because Jack’s parents are huge believers in public service.  Hells no.  It’s becasue his parents are the most competitive people I have ever met.  They’re the one upper of couples, each one is always trying to outdo the other.  You should see them play tennis.  Scary.  Jack 3 does have something going for him that C.C. doesn’t.  He’s got that late middle-aged sexy thing going on.  When he smiles it’s lethal.

My two sister-in-laws are also real pieces of work.  The oldest Vandy (short for Vanderbilt) is also an attorney and has been engaged for five years to Wilton Passwait.  There’s something not right about this whole engagement thing.  I haven’t figured it out yet, but I will.  The other sister Winny (short for Windsor) is a party girl with a capital P.  She’s also a bit of a dumb ass and skipped regular high school for oh, what’s it called?  It’s something that sounds weird – Oh, I got it, Winny just got back from “Finishing” School in England.   That must where she learned to “finish” a 12 pack of Bud and a freezer size Glad bag of weed. She wants to marry Prince Harry, like that’s going to happen.

I’m working on getting the Winston family under control or at the very least giving me a little breathing room and I’m sure I could do it if I didn’t have my own family problems to deal with. My mother Tiffany, who at 38 and with 2 prison terms in her rearview mirror still oozes hotness.  You think prison would have aged her with the lack of skin care creams and stuff or at least fatten her up.  But noooo,  because she hasn’t seen sunlight in a couple of years her skin is wrinkle free and she’s still got what she calls her two best features – her “heart shaped hiney and bam bam boobs.” (Please note her words not mine.) When she found out I married money she got herself a couple  new outfits from the Jaclyn Smith collection at K Mart, bought a bus ticket  and hightailed it to Highgrove.  Apparently, she watched way too many “Real Housewives” shows while she was in prison because she showed up saying ridiculous bull shit like, “Let’s have some champs.”  I asked what the hell that meant and she explained that all the Housewives call champagne “champs” and then began quoting the entire Season 7 of The Real Housewives of Orange County.  That kind of crap she pulls just annoys me, but I can tolerate it.  What really pissed me off is when she crossed the line and started flirting with my father-in-law.  She really, really crossed the line when she showed up in my kitchen and in front of my four-year said, “Oh my Gawd, what if I did sleep with Jack 3 and got pregnant with your father-in-law’s baby?  You would be it’s half sister and sister-in-law.”  I can’t even begin to process that information.

Worse, yeah, there’s worse, is my grandma.   Mee Maw is 54 and if you squint your eyes while staring into direct sunlight she can look like Marilyn Monroe, the later years, and until six months ago was “managing” the “Big Wheel Keeps on Turning” Gentleman’s Club in Blanton, Mississippi.  The inside of the “club” is designed to resemble a River Boat  and the girls use the fake boat funnels for their poles. (It doesn’t get much classier than that, does it?) Now, she’s tagged along with my mother to look for “investors” for her next business venture.  Awesome, because that’s all I need is my grandmother running a strip club in the Land of the Anal Retentive as my mother-in-law “investigates a run for the Presidency.” But, I’m not going to give up.  I know I can do this. If I just stay focused and on top of all the crazy I can keep everything from going to hell.  Right?