Dear Snarky – Help, I Work With Slobs!

Dear Snarky,

I work for a super hip company that has no dress c0e76277b18840f2a65e83f12d2daecc4--office-humor-work-humorode and everyday I’m literally picking my jaw up from the floor when I see what people wear to work. There’s men and women with wet hair. There’s disgusting feet in flip-flops in the middle of winter. More than half of the work force looks like they’re wearing their pajamas and haven’t bathed in days. The smell is so ripe sometimes I feel nauseous. I like my job – a lot – so I need some advice in how to get past working with slobs.

 Signed, Grossed Out at the Office

Dear Grossed Out,

 Ugh, I feel your pain. Grooming is not what it used to be. I totally blame casual Friday which gave birth to no deodorant Monday and free-range foot fungus Thursday. Since you like your job your only recourse is to learn how to accept those things you cannot change.

There’s not a polite way to tell someone they reek nor; can you ask a co-worker to please consider wearing something other than their Star Wars pajama collection. All you can do is be beacon of sanity by continuing to dress like an adult and being a champion of showers, deodorant, and toothpaste.

Take heart some of this will rub off on your co-workers. Every office needs a leader and you, my friend, you hopefully guide others into the fabulous and exciting world of adulting.

P.S. in the meanwhile you can deal with the noxious office B.O. by putting Vick’s Vapor rub under your nostrils. It’s probably best you don’t ask me how I know this.

Holiday Shopping Puzzlers

il_340x270-1.1358738970_n9r8I actually enjoy holiday shopping but sadly my family has ruined it for me. Now, I get lists where all I have do is point and click to their on-line shopping bag. Efficient? Yes. Fun? No. This means the only real shopping I do is for myself because, yes, I buy my own presents.

There are though a few things that puzzle me about shopping in December and one of them is the music being played in stores. Props to Bath and Body Works for their traditional approach in regard to holiday tuneage. Burl Ives gentle crooning on “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” is something to be treasured and lulled me into buying yet another “Fresh Balsam” holiday candle. And when Johnny Mathis started singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” I felt duty bound to double up on my “Peppermint Twist” bath gel purchase.

Sadly, the music segued to ghastly at the next store I went into. What’s up current singers butchering a classic? Jingle Bells doesn’t required vocal gymnastics? I’m tone deaf but even I don’t think that “dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh” requires a show-offy take on the lyrics.

Another thing that confuses me are coupon conundrums. Pretty much retail speaking, no matter what store you go into everything is marked down by at least 30 percent. You also then have your digital coupons and loyalty savings for a “joining” the store “club” etc. The problem is that the math required to use your coupons is ACT worthy and presents a mathematical brain teaser.

Can you combine the current discount with your coupon and loyalty card? If the answer is no, you then have to try to figure out what will be cheaper just taking the discounted price or going the coupon route combined with the loyalty reduction? And then what if you return the purchase will you get your loyalty bucks back?

The people who say you never use math once you graduate are fools. I use math every time I shop and not to brag but I can add up what’s in my Target cart and I’m usually not off my more than 15 cents. It still amazes my kids. My son once asked me how can I do that but not know basic algebra? I told him my skill set was “everyday math.”

Holiday shopping also woos me to make dumb decisions. As in I recently bought a hat. Not a hat to wear when I walk my dogs, but a fashion statement hat. A beret to be exact. J Crew had all these cute berets laid out on a counter and the fact that they looked like giant macaroons might have influenced my decision to buy one. (I was hungry.) As soon as I attempted to wear my beret in public, I felt very self-conscious, like the people might be feeling sorry for me kind of self-conscious.

I just don’t have the face or the head for a beret. But, then not two days later I was seduced by a fedora at Anthropolgie. It didn’t help that some very lovely young ladies were in the store wearing fedoras. I decided to give it try and let’s just say it wasn’t for me.

I was bummed. I want to be the kind of woman who can pull off a hat. But then I started thinking positive about my beret. I was going to wear it but only when I go out with my daughter. At 18 she’ll be mortified to see me styling a huge hot pink wool macaroon that’s perched on my head at a very jaunty angle. Hmm, maybe that beret wasn’t such a bad purchase after all.

 

 

A Dear Snarky Holiday Buffet

So many Christmas conundrums. So little time. In an attempt to help spread some holiday happiness I bring you a trio of letters. Let’s hope my answers deliver a soupçon of seasonal sanity to your family gatherings.

Screen Shot 2018-12-17 at 10.12.49 AMDear Snarky,

My mother-in-law spoils my children and goes overboard with presents. I’ve told her to stop but she won’t listen to me. I don’t think I can handle another Christmas where she’s trying to one up my husband and I in the gift department.

 Signed, Present Overkill

Dear Overkill,

Calm yourself and count your blessings. It’s a grandmother’s prerogative and great joy to spoil her grandchildren. If your kids are drowning in presents, I suggest discreetly donating some of the goodies to charity after the first of the year. P.S. Quit looking so hard for something to get your nose out of joint about. There are parents out there that would be THRILLED for their kids’ grandparents to so much as send a card.

Dear Snarky,

My weirdo and single sister actually expects us to buy a gift for her dog. She says her dog is like her child and since she buys presents for my four kids all the time, we can get her dog something.

Signed, No Way

Dear No Way,

Umm, no way, I say, yes way. Drag yourself off of your high horse and go get your sister’s dog a $10 chew toy and get over yourself. Also, being a pet lover and a single doesn’t make you a weirdo. It probably makes you very happy.

Dear Snarky,

My in-laws make the whole family go to Midnight Mass and I think it ruins Christmas morning for my kids (ages 8 and 10) because they’re so tired the next day. How do I get this tradition to stop?

 Signed, Not a Fan 

Dear Not a Fan,

Grab some caffeine and accept this hard truth. Midnight Mass isn’t going anywhere, and you know where you’re going – uh huh, that’s right to Midnight Mass. So, suck it up, have your kids take a nap and deal with traditions that are older than you are.

*I hope your holidays are drama free BUT if they’re not you know where to send your letter. snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com 😉

I Finally Got a Clue

clue-boardMy family loves board games. Well, that’s actually a lie. The truth is my daughter loves board games and forces us to play them with her. This is why on Thanksgiving while feeling very uncomfortably full or as my Southern relatives like to call it “tick stuffed” (yeah, I know – yuck) we all settled in for a not so riveting game of Clue.

Clue was bad when I played it with my kids when they were in elementary school and they fought over who was going to be Colonel Mustard. But playing it with four adults is mind numbing. The game has zero excitement. It’s not like Scrabble where you get all jazzed when you get a Q and a U, and that triple word score is wide opening and waiting or even Life with the cool spinner thing or Monopoly where you’ve got money and houses to keep you awake. Heck, I’ll even take the game Are You Smarter Than a 5thGrader? over Clue which, spoiler alert, apparently, I am not.

My son, for years, has managed to avoid playing board games, but this Thanksgiving even he fell prey to his just home from college sister’s pleas. As we settled in to play, I was already miffed because

I got stuck with the maid token – Mrs. White. I already felt like a servant after cooking a Thanksgiving dinner and then cleaning the kitchen with some very lackluster family assistance. I wanted to be the erudite Professor Plum but someone (cough, cough, my husband) got to him first and wouldn’t relinquish him.

My mood didn’t approve when I kept on getting lame rolls of the dice and for some reason the game dragged on longer than usual. In what universe does it take more than 15 minutes to play Clue? Usually it’s seven minutes max before it’s Miss Scarlett in the conservatory with the rope.  When I asked why the game was never-ending the response, I received rattled my entire world.

It seems for my entire life I had not only been playing Clue wrong but had also taught my children a half-baked or “sketchy way” to play the game. My son, after 22 years of being on this earth, had actually read the directions to the game and for the first time in my life I was playing it the correct way.

He basically had me at “read the directions.” Who reads the directions to Clue? The game is self-explanatory. You roll the dice, mark some stuff down and then make a guess. Who needs directions for that? Well, apparently, I did.

But, was it really my fault we had been playing it wrong for years? My own mother had taught me how to play Clue. How could she be wrong? Hmm, could that be the issue? Did my mom teach me an abbreviated version to get the game over with faster so she could continue on her way with all her other mom duties?

Within seconds I immediately knew that’s how it must have went down. What mom in 1973 had time to play a long-winded game of Clue. Heck, the microwave hadn’t even been invented yet. I’m sure she jettisoned the directions for a mom version that would get her in and out of the game in under 10 minutes. I had then, unknowingly, carried on the tradition.

Instead of feeling betrayed I was bowing to my mother’s genius and wondering what other 70’s parenting hacks she had employed. I do remember that Monopoly went by rather fast and sometimes she thought there was a gas leak in the house and for our safety she told us it was best everyone played outside for h-o-u-r-s.

Oh, well-played, mom. Well played.

Is It Really Christmas Without a Hallmark Holiday Movie?

Fake snow, meeting cute, and the classic two second end of movie smooch means Christmas is here and warning I’ll throw down with anyone who doesn’t agree with me.

7630691b97cea747523bafd470b871e4

 Being an influencer is a huge deal right now.  You’ve got your YouTube influencers that include people with make-up tutorials that teach you how to do the “perfect face” which really bothers me because who wants to use 23 different cosmetic products and take two hours before you can leave the house? Never mind all that blending of seven different foundations. I want to live my life, not spend it seamlessly merging liquid and powder concealers and inner eye shimmer. And then there’s the fashion and foodie influencers and on and on.  All of this kind of makes me mad, because I was an influencer before it was a thing.

Case in point, I feel like I’m single handedly responsible for the current Hallmark holiday movie craze because I was a fanatical Hallmark holiday movie watcher before those movies were cool.  18 long years ago I was watching Hallmark holiday movies and enthusiastically proclaiming their greatness in the face of friends and family giving me the side eye.

But did I care? No, because “Special Delivery” staring Andy Dick (yes, comedian Andy Dick, in a sweet movie full of hope and redemption – go figure?) or “The Flight of the Reindeer” featuring the cinematic talents of Beau Bridges and Richard Thompson proving that reindeer really can fly should be celebrated by all of humanity with a box of Kleenex and a side of gingerbread.

Yes, I know for all you new converts that it’s hard to fathom that there was ever a Hallmark holiday movie made without the acting talents of Lacey Chabert or Candace Cameron Bure. But I can assure you, back in the day the movies were made without the allure of 80s and 90s TV stars. Totally mind-blowing, right? But for true hardcore Hallmark holiday aficionados this is our truth.

The whole Hallmark bandwagon started to blossom in 2011 when the networked launched their “Countdown to Christmas.” Before you could say, “Jingle Bells,” people were hooked and acting like they had discovered holiday paradise when, in fact, it had been around for a solid decade.

I can remember the moment like it was yesterday. I was at a party when two women dressed in “This is my Hallmark Christmas movie watching shirt” dared to attempt to one up me about Hallmark movies. I wasn’t having it, not one bit. One of the women, who I’m sure was a little tipsy on spiked eggnog, spouted off about how the first Hallmark holiday movie was “Matchmaker Santa.” Are. You. Kidding. Me.? Just because it starred Lacey Chabert before her, some would say, overzealous Botox injections doesn’t mean it was the first Hallmark holiday movie. I know for a fact that movie is from 2012.

I got in both of those women’s faces and let them know that they were frauds in their Hallmark shirts, nothing more than wannabes. I told them that I have been “Hallmarking” for almost two decades.

I was there when the sets were tacky, and it looked like they were filming all their interiors in an abandon Sears. I was there when the Christmas décor looked like Hobby Lobby rejects purloined from the 75 percent off bin and all the fake snow had a hint of beige like it was a cast-off from a Christmas carnival. I was a loyal fan when all the actors looked like they did their own hair and makeup. How can anyone forget the 2004 “Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus” when poor Crystal Bernard’s hair looked like she was wearing a wig made from the straw in Rudolph’s stall. If ever there was a cry for a deep conditioning treatment and a stylist who knew their way around a round brush this was it.

To say I unloaded my Christmas bucket would be an understatement. But it had to be done. Hallmark holiday movies, most shot in the summer and made in about a month, starring a 42-year-old Candance Cameron Bure (aka Her Royal Highness of Hallmark) as a twentysomething spunky up and coming executive should be respected. They’re all future classics. 50 years from now, forget about “A Wonderful Life” because weary mothers will be watching “Snowmance” from 2017 pondering the fashion choices (Why all the flannel?)but never questioning the plot where a snowman comes to life and turns out to be, of course, the most perfect man ever.

Pass me the hot coca because I’ll drink to that all month long.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Christmas “Do Not Want” List

I have no idea what I want for Christmas besides the mom trifecta of world peace, love and the eradication of disease and famine from our planet. I do thodfb611ed1d99e87277defbdda9836e41--birthday-cards-happy-birthdayugh know what I don’t want and what I will be ticked off if I get.

It’s not that I’m picky. In fact, I consider myself a low maintenance human (currently open to debate by my family) who has no need for anything flashy. No jewels or designer apparel appeals to me. The only exception I’ll make is designer cleaning appliances. Because without a doubt, one of my best Christmas presents in the history of me breathing has been my Dyson with some super over-the-top pet hair attachments.

It’s my chore bestie and I can’t imagine my life without it. Go ahead and make fun, but I’m telling you my vacuum has life changing properties. You don’t know true joy until you see its suction prowess in regard to kitty litter eradication.

In terms of what I don’t want, well I’ll stick to my top three staring with one of those DNA family tree deep probes. I just read that these kits are predicted to be one of the top gifts for Christmas. Ugh.

I get people wanting to find out that they’re half Scottish, so they can use that as an excuse to stuff themselves with Walker’s shortbread cookies to make up for lost time, but what I don’t want during the holiday is discovering I have a gene pool floating with every worst-case medical diagnosis known to 21stcentury medicine. And as a proud hypochondriac all that information would be like throwing lighter fluid on my already extensive list of ailments, I’m positive I have.

Another gift that I don’t want, or need is new freaking phone. I’ve tried in earnest to explain to my children that perhaps one shouldn’t get a new phone until the one you have is worn out or no longer compatible with current technology. I don’t think my iPhone 6 is obsolete. It’s not cracked, still holds a charge and I can text with wild abandon so why do I need an iPhone 10 that will up by cell phone bill by at least $25 a month? I’m still miffed I was shamed into parting with by precious iPhone 3 G.

But what will really trigger a conniption fit is if I, or anyone that resides in my home, gets another Alexa, Echo or other subversive spying device. I hate those things and know they’re ground zero for world-wide robot domination.

The other night I was home all alone, my husband was a thousand miles away in Washington D.C., and as I’m drifting off to sleep, I hear what sounds like a demented serial killer singing “Good night, Sherry” over and over.

At first, I thought maybe I was hearing something or one of my dogs had mastered the English language. But then I heard it again and again. I was now knocking at the Defcon 1 door of hysteria. My fist through was to flee the premises. But where was the killer? Was he or she waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs? I called my son for help who informed that was “probably Dad because he’s hooked up all the Echoes, so he can communicate remotely from his phone.” Are. You. Kidding. Me?

Yes, it was indeed my husband. Who, “didn’t mean to scare me” and “just wanted to say goodnight.” Whatever, because you not what I said goodnight and goodbye to – ever single Alexa/Echo in our home. Those spying robot overloads will no longer rule my domain and I’ll consider that the perfect Christmas present.

The Smoking Thanksgiving

Change is smokingturkehard especially when it comes to trying to “update” your holiday traditions.

Back in early October I made a momentous announcement to my family and like any announcement that would shake my husband and children to their very core I did it over Snapchat and text. Snapchat so they would actually read it, and text to date and time stamp it in case I ever needed to do the, “I told you this back in (insert date and time here) and here’s the text to prove it.”

As I feared my family took the “big news” like huge, whining babies. When I hit send on my proclamation that Thanksgiving would be “a-changing” there was a communal freak out. I don’t know, maybe I shouldn’t have included my four-point plan for a Thanksgiving refresh with bullet points in the text, but I was proud of all the work I had put into it. Not to brag, but it was PowerPoint worthy.

The problem, of course, isn’t me. It’s my family. They are very averse to any change regarding the holidays. Good Lord, they still bring up, at least a couple of times a year, the horror of the Thanksgiving of 2005. The heinous act that was committed 13 years ago was that we went out to eat for Thanksgiving (first and last time) and it was – brace yourself for this unspeakable act – a buffet – deep breath – at a casino.

In my defense, we had just moved to Reno, Nevada and all the best restaurants were in the casinos and they advertised really scrumptious Thanksgiving menus. How was I, a recent transplant to the gambling state, to know that we would be seated in the overflow dining area situated amongst a valley of hundreds of slot machines.

This resulted in us being serenaded with the nonstop ping, ping, ping of the one arm bandits while being basted in cigarette smoke from the ardent casino patrons. The smoking was so ferocious that a nicotine cloud seemed to be lingering over the dessert section. The pumpkin pie tasted like it has been infused with tobacco juice.

I will confess it wasn’t very Martha Stewart-esque. It was more like how I would imagine Thanksgiving would be in hell, but I’m guessing there wouldn’t be a Thanksgiving in hell because, you know, it’s hell. What would you even be thankful for?

This one-time misstep has resulted in my family being very anti any changes in their holiday ritual. A couple of years ago I wanted to eat Thanksgiving at 6 pm instead of our customary 2 p.m. and you would have thought I told my kids I didn’t love them anymore. The angst was real.

This year, though, I thought things might be different. After all, everyone is a whole lot older and should be able to roll with change better. I was, of course, wrong. And here’s the kicker; all I wanted to do was elevate our dining ritual. It was just a couple of tweaks like replacing the sweet potato casserole that’s more mini marshmallows than actual vegetable with a yam soufflé, and RIP’ing the canned cranberry because nothing says gracious entertaining like a burgundy tube of goo tatted with rings from the can it was birthed out of.

I also wanted to buy the pies. This was the one that really elicited a protest. Apparently I’m living with such devout food connoisseurs that a store-bought pie is verboten. It’s hard to explain that level of devotion to “everything should be homemade” when you know your daughter is on a first name basis with the Taco Bell drive thru employees and got “depressed” when the nacho fries were no longer on the menu.

In the end I had no choice but to totally cave to their tyranny. In the spirit of family harmony and holiday traditions I’m keeping everything status quo. It’s basically self-preservation, because I don’t want to hear for the rest of my life how the turkey day of 2018 was the worst ever. I’ll reserve that distinction solely for the “Smoking Casino Thanksgiving.”

 

 

Dear Snarky – My Sister-in-Law is Pocketing Money Meant for Our Parents Christmas Gifts

Dear Snarky,problem

 I think my sister-in-law is stealing from the family. For the past couple of years, she has volunteered to be the person who buys my mom and dad their Christmas gift from all of us kids. There are six of us and we each chip in $200. So, that’s $1,200. The first year the gifts were good, as in they looked like we spent $1,200 on them, but then for the past two years the gifts have been really cheap. So, cheap, everyone but my brother (her husband), thinks my sister-in-law is pocketing at least half of the $1,200. Our solution last weekend was to tell her that I wanted a turn buying the gifts this Christmas but she got livid.

 So, my big mouth sister told her that we know she’s stealing. This sent my sister-in-law to mom crying about how she’s bullied by the family. Now my mom is angry at all of us and I’m kind of already over spending the holidays with anyone I’m related too.

 Is there any way we can patch this up so Christmas isn’t ruined?

 Signed, Not feeling It

Dear Not Feeling It,

To be totally honest I’m in awe that you and your siblings pony up $1,200 to spend on gifts for your parents. It makes my Bath and Body Works Scented Lotion set from my kids look really, really lame. But putting that aside I feel that the best solution would be for all the kids to start a new tradition of getting your parents individual presents. That way everyone oversees their own money and expenditures.

As for your sister-in-law, you and your siblings are going to have to apologize for accusing her of stealing. She might have been but there were a million better ways to solve that problem than just blurting it out. So, give her an apology and remember extended family relationships require finesse. Wait a minute I’ve just thought of the perfect present – family therapy – it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky “Advice with an Attitude” 😉 send an email to snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com.

Dear Snarky – My Mother-In-Law Thought Helping Out After I Just Had a Baby Was Supposed to Be a Vacation

Dear Snarky,xmjr57fd2hwy

 I can’t believe the latest stunt my mother-in-law pulled. I just had my second baby (my first is only 18 months old) and my mother-in- law literally begged to come stay with us and help. I was hesitant because she’s not exactly grandmother of the year, but my husband said we should give his mom a chance to redeem herself. The entire two weeks she was here she did nothing except complain that she was bored and ask when were we going to “finally” do something fun. 

 Then after she left she posted on Facebook that it was the “worst vacation ever.” WTH? Who thinks offering to help your daughter-in-law after she just had a baby is going to be a vacation?

 I told my husband we are done with his mom and he thinks I’m being “postpartum overly emotional” Who’s right here?

 Signed, Not Happy

Dear Not Happy,

You know who needs to take a vacation? You, from your mother-in-law. Perhaps, she doesn’t need to be shunned for life, but you deserve the mental break from having to deal with that hot mess because anyone with a functioning brain stem knows that a “visit” to a house with a new baby and an 18-month-old is not going to be cocktails on the beach. 

Also, it sounds like your husband has some mommy issues and feels like he needs to defend her behavior – so, my condolences to you. Hopefully, as he matures into, what’s that word, oh yeah, a man he’ll wise up to his mother’s head games.

As for now, let your angry go. Your mother-in-law isn’t worth the emotional investment. You need to focus on the positives – your babies.

Dear Snarky My Sister Doesn’t Give a Shit

Dear Snarky,

I’ve got a summer family feud brewing. My sister is doing some ridiculous thing called “free training” her bScreen Shot 2018-06-15 at 1.21.07 PMaby. This is when your baby never wears a diaper and just does his business anywhere. It’s supposed to be a gentler form of potty training. To each his own, but my problem is when my sister’s family stayed at my house over Memorial Day weekend and my “free training” nephew used not only my entire home as his bathroom, but he also pooped in the pool resulting in us having to do a shock treatment and making the pool unusable for most of the long weekend.

All of this made me dis-invite my sister and her family for July 4th. My sister is now furious and is accusing me of not respecting her parenting style.

I need to shut this down now. Any advice?

Signed, What’s Wrong with a Diaper?

Dear Diaper,

The only way to shut this down is to give in to your sister and I strongly suggest you don’t do that. Because here’s the deal – just because someone has a preferred parenting style doesn’t mean they can subject the rest of the world to it.

It is totally your sister’s own business if she doesn’t want to put a diaper on her son and let him view his home and yard as one great big toilet. It’s whole other box of Pampers if she feels it’s okay for her off spring to soil property outside of their home. Beyond the disgusting factor, which is off the charts high, it’s also a public health issue.

The fact that your sister thought it was okay to let her child defecate all over your home makes me think she’s about 10 kinds of crazy. Do not cave on this issue. Just tell her that you respect your home more than her parenting style.

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