The Shame Trifecta

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 9.12.06 PMYeah, I know summer is over and who cares about my latest waterpark adventure. But just wait. What I have to share is a cautionary tale. Oh, sure loads has been written about Schlitterbahn’s Verruckt. But this is not about plunging down an incline greater than Niagara Falls. This, my friends, is about humiliation.

I had managed, through careful planning, (which means showing up at Schlitterbahn just late enough that every “reservation” slot would be taken) to avoid the Verruckt all summer. But on Labor Day, my luck ran out. Extensive cloud cover, early morning thunderstorms, and I’m sure a general ennui of all things wet, meant the crowds at 10:05 a.m CST were sparse. Combine that with a moving sob story from my daughter about how her friends were afraid to “Verruckt” and I was trapped.

As I stood in line in my one piece swimsuit with extra long swim skirt, because I’m a woman who believes our nation needs to re-embrace the beauty of full butt coverage, I noticed some equipment that looked out-of-place at a Waterpark. It was a huge scale, like the kind you would use to weigh elephants at the zoo or something. What in the name of Verruckt was a calibration system of this magnitude doing at the entrance to a water attraction? And then, oh, Sweet God of Atlantis I discovered the hidden horror of the slide. You have to be weighed before you’re allowed to go on the ride!

I have a strict don’t ask don’t tell policy about my weight. When I go to the doctor’s office I never wear jeans, (denim is hefty fabric that can add at least three pounds). I also, always, take off my belt and shoes, and have been known to slip the nurse a $20 to look the other way as I adjust the scale to read at least 10 pounds less. So, the very last thing, as you can imagine, I want to do at a Waterpark is to be weighed. Am I not suffering enough? I’ve got most of my dimpled, doughy flesh exposed and I have some new spider veins that, no matter what I tell myself, do not look like hipster mom tattoos.

Before I even have to chance to make a run for it a life guard calls for my daughter and I to get on the scale. It’s nothing personal I’m told. Each three person raft, due to mass x acceleration, must have a combined weight of at least 400 pounds. They need to weigh us to figure out how chunky our third raft mate needs to be.

Are you freaking kidding me? I have to step on scale, that I’m sure was purchased from a large animal vet clinic, in front of hundreds of people and have my weight barked out like I’m some attraction at a low rent carnival. This isn’t going to happen. I am so out of here. But my daughter gives me a look that says, “Please Mom” and I cave because if my parenting style had a name it would be called “The Caver.”

Off I march to get on the scale with my head held high and my stomach sucked in. I can do this. I get on first and then my daughter hops on. After which an employee screams out that we need a person weighing at least 150 pounds to join us on the scale. We get a volunteer. A youngish guy, who looks like he runs triathlons, sprints over and jumps on. We have hit the magic number and  been cleared through stage one of Verruckt.

Thrilled that my weigh in session is behind me I, after an intense safety briefing that required all of us vowing to uphold the laws of gravity and not to sue the Schlitterbahn, if said laws of gravity do not work in our favor, proceed to climb up 264 stairs. Where, surprise, surprise, we have to get back on a scale. Did they think ascending up 17 stories might have made us drop a pound or two? The answer to that question was a “No ma’am. It’s another safety check.”

I groan and get on the scale. This one is smaller but still has a livestock vibe. After the weigh in we’re told that the heftiest person goes in the back of the raft. Mr. Triathlon assumes it’s going to be him. But a life guards points at me and hollers, “No, it’s not you. It’s her!” I have now hit the mortification trifecta. Shamed, I enter the raft and my daughter asks me if, “I’m scared.”

I tell her no. After this experience a 60-mph, 168 foot plunge in a rubber raft is nothing. Nothing at all.

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

 

Flushed

bathing-suitIf you’re a woman over forty and enjoy shopping for a swimsuit then I doubt we could ever be friends. Our life experiences and view of the world would be so vastly different I fear we would have little to nothing in common.

Swimsuit shopping is so terrifying I wonder why a pharmaceutical company hasn’t concocted a four-day course of mood altering “Happy Swimsuit Shopping” pills to get women through the rough patch of seeing our mostly naked body on full display in the house of horrors that is the ladies dressing room.

As I general rule I go discount when shopping for swimsuits. No Nordstrom’s or Sak’s dressing rooms for me. Those stores have three-way mirrors and my mental health would be at risk if I was forced to get an up close and personal view of my ever-growing backside. (Yes, I know other people have to see it but that’s their problem.) Oh sure, you can make excuses about the fluorescent lights making it worse than it really is but you know common sense and science won’t support your hypothesis that the lights are adding 20 pounds.

This season of swimsuit shopping has an added degree of difficulty because of a new Waterpark ride. I’m now going to have to find a swimsuit that not only covers me with a nod to modesty, utilizes some form of black magic to slenderize me BUT also has a top with the tensile strength of Kryptonite. Curse you Verruckt!

That’s a new water park slide that is supposedly taller than Niagara Falls and exceeds speeds of 60 miles per hour. My daughter is a waterslide junkie and all winter has talked and talked about spending tScreen Shot 2014-05-23 at 9.59.24 PMhe summer with me and the slide. Like together, in a raft, plunging to, if not our death, imminent swimsuit loss.

You can’t tell me riding a raft down an incline that steep isn’t going to cause 3 out 5 women to experience, at the very least a significant wardrobe malfunction. It’s one thing for a little peek a boo at 20 but at my age it becomes a peek of eww followed by eternal shame.

Sadly, oh very sadly, I am familiar with that kind of shame. August 2011, Denver, Colorado. I was riding the Ripqurl which is basically like being flushed down a toilet that looks like it was designed for the love child of a Sasquatch and Shamu. My daughter and I took off fast and hit the toilet bowl portion of the ride screaming. We start circling the bowl and my daughter makes a rookie mistake. She thinks this is the end of the ride and abandons tube while we’re still circling.

Her slim, lithe body gracefully slides down the exit tube. I do not. The force of my daughter jumping off the tube causes me to be dumped out. Our tube is AWOL. I’m free floating, circling the bowl, topless! The force of the water jets has pushed down the top of my one piece swimsuit. You don’t know humiliation till you’ve gone bare breasted at a packed Waterpark. It took me till the end of the ride to get my suit yanked up and then some people clapped. Jerks.

Now, I’ve got a case of PTSD about Waterpark slides. Add in shopping for a swimsuit that meets all my criteria and I’m a hot mess.

You know what someone needs to do? Invent what is basically a swim skirt for your chest. Any mother knows the healing properties of a swim skirt. It’s a gift from the almighty that doesn’t look too terribly mommyish. It’s more sporty, like you’ve just played some tennis and don’t have time to change before you go do aqua yoga on your paddle board.

The best thing is it covers your upper thighs and lower butt allowing you to do nifty things like bend over without flashing the family of four in the pool chairs next to you. I think I’m on to something here. Sure, there’s those waterproof T-shirts or Rash Guard things you can wear but they’re hot and puff up in the water making you look like you’re 11 months pregnant. Until then, if you see a women riding the Verruckt in a full length, turtleneck, swimsuit cover up, wave. It will be me.

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

I Hate People – Part 3

waterparksI know I’ve complained repeatedly about my feelings regarding waterparks.(See 9 Much Needed Waterpark Improvements and Excuse Me There’s a Turd in the Wavepool.) A reasonable person would think that I had exhausted all my rage and shame. But, you would be wrong because my vacation included a waterpark sojourn that resulted in one of the most embarrassing moments in the annuals of being me.

There were no advanced plans to go to a waterpark. It was never even on the vacation agenda. I, a naive, hopeful creature, thought this trip would be blissfully waterpark free,  But, all it took was for my daughter to spot a waterpark lurking way off in the distance from the 31st floor of our hotel to condemn me to the fate of going down the Spiral Flusher 2000. She begged to go and I caved and volunteered her father for the honor of escorting her.

My husband was too quick. He double crossed me and said he had already promised our son that he would take him to look at colleges in the area. Huh? Our son had just turned 15. He hasn’t even taken his PSAT and I still have to remind him to wear his retainer and use deodorant and they were going to look at colleges. Please, I didn’t believe that for a moment. But he had me, especially when my son perked up and said yes, they had talked about and he was excited.

That’s when I threw their smug faces a curve ball and said to my husband, “Oh, I’ll do the college thing. No worries, you can do the waterpark. Really, don’t you think it’s your turn to do the waterpark?”

Dang it, that didn’t work because my son quickly responded with,“But, I really want Dad to take me.”

Causing my husband just as quickly chimed in with, “You know father-son bonding time.”

They had me. It was low of my husband, exceeding low (and he would pay for it later, oh yes, he would pay) to play the “father son” card, but he did and I was screwed. I drew the short straw. I was going to yet another waterpark. I sighed, almost teared up and resigned myself to the fact that it was time to pull on my chocolate-brown, (well, it was brown when I bought it, but it had now, thanks to the wonders of  chlorine, taken on the hue of a Snookie spray tan) one piece, one more time.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get worse my 10-year-old got very excited and squealed, “Mom, I just looked up the waterpark on Dad’s phone and it’s not just a waterpark it’s an amusement park too! It’s got roller-coasters and everything.”  Oh sweet, sweet God of Atlantis what have you wrought? I thought as I choked back a sob.

Nothing and I mean nothing is worse than a hybrid water/amusement park. If you go strictly to an amusement park you get to be fully clothed and experience the wonder of cotton candy, funnel cake and vomit from the ghosts of rides past stuck to your hands, feet, face and neck and enjoy a continuous bout of nausea due to the G-force of the triple loop coaster.

If you go to a waterpark you’re mostly naked, barefoot and if you have any sense use the inner tubes for the rides as your fat camo. But, if you’re at a hybrid water/amusement park that means you get to strut your stuff in a swimsuit at the water zone and then lucky, lucky, you all you have to do is just put on a pair of tennis shoes with that swimsuit and you’re ready to walk around the amusement area.

Can you picture it? Is there anything less appealing? A mass of people waiting in line for the roller coaster clad only in swim-wear and tennis shoes, with wet, unregulated, body hair blowing in the steamy breeze. Yes, you could pull on a pair of shorts or please Lord, capris to walk around in, but all the amusement park rides include some kind of water grand finale. So, you’re wet all the time. Not refreshingly waterpark wet, but theme park recycled, brownish, non-potable, swamp water wet.

If you wear shorts or a beloved pair of capris (and people this is how I know there is a God because capris or crop pants have been in style for almost a decade -don’t tell me that’s not the work of a higher power) they get soaked and your inner thighs get to go “squish, squashy” all day as they work themselves into an extreme case of 3rd degree thigh burn due to excessive fabric friction. You are basically walking around in a crock pot of fermenting flesh stew seasoned with sweat and off brand hair care products.  Yummy, it’s not. But, off I go with a very excited daughter holding my hand.

We must have a plan I told her. “Let’s do the amusement park rides first and then the water zone. I don’t want to be flitting back and forth. We need to stay focused.” That plan lasted about 45 minutes. The lure of the waterpark slides keep calling. So our day went something like this: roller-coaster, log plume ride, rapid river ride, back to waterpark for body slides then back to roller-coaster for what my child described as a “blow dry.”

To mitigate my misery I people watched and keep a tally of tramp stamps versus belly tats. It’s while I was playing this mental agility game to past the time as my daughter downed  Dipping Dots that cost more than my first car that I noticed a woman in Uggs, freaking knee-high, fur-lined Uggs in triple digit heat. I was entranced. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her. I needed to know more, like why in the hell you would wear Uggs in the middle of the summer to a water/amusement park? And not just that, but Uggs with a tankini. Who does that?

She looked maybe 40 and with those hot pink Uggs and her white swimsuit it was off-putting. She closely resembled a Benadryl capsule. I told my daughter I was going to go talk to the Crazy Ugg Lady who by this time was sitting just one picnic table over. My little one gave me attitude about it, but I said, “Hey, chill out. You have a bowl of Dipping Dots bigger than your head to eat.”  She shoveled more dots in her mouth and gave me the sigh/eye roll combo platter and watched me make my move to Uggs.

I got Uggs attention by how else, but commenting on her footwear. “Wow” I said, Uggs at a waterpark, aren’t you brave?”

She looked up at me and beamed. You would have thought I said, “Your royal highness you are a creature of beauty and perfection and bring light to a world plagued by darkness.” Let me tell you something, these Ugg chicks are easy. Note to guys who need a pick up line or serial killers – one comment about their boots and they’re yours.

She smiled at me and said, “Oh my God, I just love my Uggs so much I wear them everywhere! I even wore them when I gave birth.”

“Seriously,” I said, “Are you talking about a home birth or something or do you mean, feet, pardon, Uggs in stirrups, kind of birth?”

She laughed, “I wore these pink Uggs right here since I was having a girl and they were in stirrups for sure. That’s the way I roll! I have 23 pairs of Uggs and counting,” she proudly proclaimed.

This is when the evil forces that sometimes rule my life emerged. (Can you blame me?  I get a stirrup over-share and I’m not going to run with it.) So I said, “This is just so great seeing you here in your Uggs.  I write a blog called I Hug Uggs and I’m sure my readers would be dying to know how your love of Uggs trumps heat stroke?”

“What?” She said, “What do ya mean heat stroke?”

I replied, “It’s like hell out here and I’m sure your feet are on fire in those fur lined boots.” I said all this very slowly thinking she might already be in the early stages of some kind of a heat related health emergency.

She laughed and said, “Oh no, my feet are awesome. The wool sucks up the sweat.”  Then she began to take off one Ugg so she could show me her dry foot.  Ewww, I thought, but in the name of research I wanted to see if her foot really was dry so I stood still as her very much in need of a pedi-egg lower limb emerged and it was not just dripping sweat, but oozing, much like Niagara Falls oozies water.

Uggs seemed surprised to see her foot wet and then rammed her hand inside her boot for a secondary investigation. Her hand also come out slick with foot juice.

“Well, it looks like even the mighty Ugg can’t withstand 102 degrees at a theme park.”  I chirped.

She acted very sad, despondent even, so I added, “I mean what boot could. It’s beyond disgusting out here. If you had any other boot on I’m sure it would have been much, much worse.” That perked her right up and off she went on a passionate defense of her beloved Ugg.

God, I wish someone loved me as much as this woman loved her Australian sheep lined suede boots. Really, I could possible die happy right now if I knew someone in this big wide world of ours was that in love with me. No doubt she wants to rewrite the Declaration of Independence to read – Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Uggs!  I tried to be polite and listen, after all I had encouraged her, but finally I begged off claiming my daughter and I had to get back to the rides, specifically the Spiral Flusher 2000.

The Flusher lived up to it’s name. It was a gigantic toilet bowl that you approached via a mighty slide clocking about 40 miles per hour as you rode an inner-tube down a steep incline. When you hit the toilet bowl you would make like a turd and circle the drain, so to speak, a couple of times and then get plunged down a hole to an exit tube.

The line for the Flusher was long and you had to drag a double inner-tube up about 6 million flights of stairs.  My daughter really wanted to “get flushed” so we waited for close to 90 minutes behind a group of dudes that were ground zero for the man boob epidemic currently sweeping the country. These guys weren’t fat. They had that beefy, weight lifter look, kind of like the husbands in The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Their bodies said we lift weights, but might be skimping just a bit on the cardio portion of a workout. I attributed their B cup breast to steroids. Knowledge I accumulated from an episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County when Tamara’s son had to have breast reduction due to a steroid addiction. (Who says T.V. doesn’t educate?)

These busty dudes also had quite an impressive collection of tattoos. I was thinking at least two of the guys need to tattoo themselves a bra sooner than later. They had some mighty pert cleavage. I struck up a conversation with them because that’s what you do when you’re waiting in line right – talk in-depth to strangers about very personal issues?  I played the caring mother card and inquired first about their tats and then about their boobs. I just asked them right out. “Guys, what’s with the mammary muscle?”

I knew this would stump the dudes thus letting me explain to them in pseudo medical terms that they have a nice rack and probably could breast-feed an infant in a pinch or at the very least make a nice set of pacifiers. The young men explained to me that man boob was in. “It’s like a chest six pack.”

Gag, I thought. These guys are dumber than they look. I, for one, would never want to date a guy that had nicer breasts than me. Isn’t there enough competition on the boob front with females?  Do we have to start competing with the male of the species in the clevage category?  Because if we do I give up.  It’s bad enough I’m not even the 15th prettiest girl in the room, but now me – Cankles McHefty – has to consider dudes as participants in the Bust Bowl.

The whole icky boob thing was a foreshadowing of the disaster to come. Finally, after frying the sun it was my turn to board the double tube with my daughter and get flushed. I was in the back of the tube and my daughter was in the front. We took off fast and hit the toilet bowl portion of the ride screaming. We start circling the bowl and my daughter makes a rookie mistake. She thinks this is the end of the ride and abandons tube while we’re still circling the bowl. Her slim, lithe body gracefully slides down the exit tube. I do not.

The force of my daughter jumping off the tube causes me to be dumped out. Our tube is AWOL. I’m free floating, circling the bowl, bare breasted!!! The top on my one piece has been pushed down due to the water jets and pressure that make the tube circle the bowl. People, I’m riding the toilet bowl with my middle-aged, I’ve breast-fed two kids, one for longer than is socially acceptable in most 3rd world countries, girls stripped naked.

I try to grab the straps of my suit and pull it up while I circle the bowl. But, you weren’t meant to ride the bowl without a tube and my body is taking a beating. I then attempt to roll over on my stomach, like an harpooned Shamu, to disguise my topless self. Which results in my nipples are getting bitch slapped by the water jets. It was much worse than that case of mastitis I had when my son was 4 weeks old. The pain, oh the pain.

I finally cross my arms over my chest and ride out the agony of the toilet bowl. As I’m dumped down the exit tube I yank up my suit and try to make a quick exit. But no, the man boobs are waiting for me and laughing their asses off. I, with all the dignity I can muster, look them all in the eye and say, “Hey, you showed me yours, I showed you mine.  Jealous?”

I then walk away, my head held high, my spider veins glistening in the sun and my chest throbbing. I find my daughter and tell her it might just be time to call it a day.  My nipples and I have had enough.

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

 

9 Much Needed Waterpark Improvements

lets-go-to-the-water-parkA Waterpark, at first glance, is all fun in the sun. You splash, you slide, you tube, you get cooled off. But, anyone who has ever spent more than ten minutes at one knows that, in fact, a Waterpark is where Satan comes to vacation.

All Waterparks could use some major improvements and I’m not talking about upping the slide or water coaster thrill factor. The improvements I suggest would ensure the health and safety of anyone who is brave enough to plunge their pinkie toe into the chlorine infused swill that passes for pool water. In general, I would rather lick the bed spread at the Brokeback Mountain Motel & Trailer Park than swallow any Waterpark H20.

Think about it – you are subjecting your body to an orifice stew, a jambalaya of human excretions. Add in other assorted filth like hair dander, lice, skin infections up to and including infected tramp stamps, open sores, pink eye, puss weeping wounds, ring worm, incontinent toddlers and too lazy to leave the pool and pee children and adults, swim diapers whose structural integrity has been breached due to a massive number #2 brought on by the colonic hydrotherapy effect of the tube slide. (Seriously anyone who is constipated needs to slam down a fiber bar, chase that with some Citrus Metamucil and then head to their nearest Waterpark to do a couple of runs on a “speed” slide for an intense rectal refresh.)  Mix it all together in the wave pool and then ask yourself is there enough chlorine in the world to deactivate this liquid equivalent of a dirty bomb? That would be a NO. In my ongoing crusade to improve the lives of others (I’m a giver, people, I give and give) here is my list of urgent Waterpark improvements.

All Waterparks should implement a “Pre Park” experience. This would be a series of “attractions” that park goers would “enjoy” before they are permitted to enter the Primary Park.

Your adventure would begin with a ride on the Antibacterial Wash Coaster. After paying more than your monthly mortgage for your family’s tickets you would immediately proceed to this Coaster. Here a perky attendant will instruct you to stow your belongings, hand out goggles and then help you load into rafts. You will then be warned to not open your mouth under any circumstances due to a slight chance that you could ingest a toxic chemical or two.

After that hang on and get ready to blast off to the tunnel of clean. The coaster starts off slowly, climbing up an incline, as you’re misted with a color safe bleach based water spray. Just as the coaster plunges down a hill you experience the thrill of an antibacterial hand gel thunderstorm. This is when you notice that a lot of gel is getting blown up your backside. Due to clever engineering the bottom of each raft has holes, much like a spaghetti strainer, creating the patented “Hygiene Express Experience” for the ultimate in below the belly button cleanliness.

Remember to keep those arms up in the air as your coaster races downhill for the optimum in pit purification. Your Wash Coaster ride concludes with a clean rinse as you come to a gentle stop and journey through the grotto of hot air for a blow dry. Everyone emerges from the Wash Coaster “sanitized for their own protection” and is almost ready to get in the water.

Your next pre-park experience is the Sunscreen Spray Park where you are required to frolic in the Sunscreen Shower, SPF 70 Super Soaker and the Geyser of Coppertone.

After being saturated with sunscreen you then move on to the U.S.S. Toenail Clipper.  Shaped like a sailing vessel from the 1800’s this ship is where you can walk the plank to a good toenail clipping. No one is allowed into the “central” park without a toenail inspection. Cast members (fresh from graduating beauty college with honors) dressed in vintage sailing attire will  examine each patron’s pedicure and if one’s toenail are deemed long enough to be classified as a saber, sword or any kind of cutting utensil they are required to submit to a clip and file job before proceeding into the park. This is all done to ensure than no one’s Waterpark experience is impaired by being shanked by someone’s disgustingly long toenails in the Wavepool. The big toe is especially lethal. I mean, really, have you checked out people’s toenails at Waterparks?

Once your toenails are ship shaped it’s on to the Shave Shanty where those in need of a little razor TLC can be treated to the latest in hair removal technology.  Legs that would turn on Chewbacca, armpit ringlets, braidable back hair, beards that present a drowning hazard due to their ability to ensnare small children are all in a days work for this talented team of shaving specialists.

To ensure that the Waterpark remains a family friendly venue guest with tattoos that exhibit foul language, hate speech, sexual innuendo or any reference – written or visual to “back door action” will be asked to visit Disappearing Tattoo Island. Here make up artists will apply water and sweat proof cosmetics to mask your stupidity for the duration of your stay at the park.

You’re almost ready to enter the water, but first everyone is treated to the Swimsuit Obstacle Course.  Guests can run or walk the course that is designed to test the staying power of your swim-wear. If your suit can survive the high pressure water cannon, the soaking wet stair climb, and the bottoms up bend over without flashing any of your upstairs or downstairs junk then you can at last proceed into the main park. If your suit doesn’t pass the test than you will be re-directed to the gift shop to purchase a sensible tank suit or some nifty board shorts. If you decline the purchase opportunity a certified Wardrobe Malfunction Consultant will help secure duct tape to your swim-wear to ensure it neither slips nor slides during your visit.

Congratulations you are now permitted to enter the Waterpark where more improvements await you. Most guests will rush to the newest, high thrill rides, because of their popularity long lines are the norm. This Waterpark improvement will put the waiting to good use with a potentially lifesaving Moletopia adventure. Moletopia is a ride kiosk that will be staffed by a dermatologist who will do a cursory mole and skin cancer check – all covered by your paid park admission. You can’t tell me you haven’t stood behind someone in a Waterpark line and noticed that the moles on the dude in front in you look “suspicious.” If the doctor thinks something looks amiss then the park guest will be gently encouraged to have it checked out by their personal physician.

All Waterparks have lifeguards, but this improvement will up the park experience exponentially. Manner Mermaids will stroll the park offering etiquette guidance to unruly and slovenly guests. These elegant, refined first ladies of the sea will gently instruct park goers on manners and answer universal questions like – If a piece of funnel cake goes down by swimsuit is it okay to stick my hand in there, root around like I’m searching for a winning lotto ticket, finally locate the morsel of cake, crotch adjacent, and eat it?

The Manner Mermaids will also be on the lookout for park patrons who to delicately describe it “over towel.” These are the guests who take drying off to the extreme. The folks who go all tug of war with their towel specifically in the genital zone. I’m personally still recovering from the visual of a woman who flossed her privates with a towel for close to 10 minutes. There she was in full view doing what can best be described as going to third base with a large piece of terry cloth. I finally, in the name of decency, had to intervene and suggest that she was “probably as dried off as she was going to get.”

My final improvement would be installing a Clock of Respectability at the end of each tube and body slide. This would a covered area where you could disembark from a tube or slide without embarrassment. There is truly no way to gracefully alight from a slide or tube if you’re over the age of 40. I have had the humiliation of finding myself tossed out of  a tube and landing doggie style at the end of a ride. It was painfully unpleasant and I dare say a cornea scalding sight to behold for my fellow tubers. Inside the Cloak of Respectability would feature an array of implements to aid you in restoring your swimsuit back to it’s pre-slide position. There would be tweezers for the simple swimsuit de-wedgie procedure and surgical grade forceps for the delicate crack chasm operation where you discover a portion of your swimsuit has become entangled with your lower intestine.

I’m positive these improvements would result in increased attendance at all Waterparks and I have no doubt that they would give new meaning to the phrase – “good, clean fun.”

***For all things wonderfully Snarky go to www.snarkygear.com where you can find the new summer Snarky line of clothing and accessories. (Snarky Tervis Tumbler 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. 
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Your Swimsuit Shopping Survival Guide

11005140_367942900076426_1436330351_nI have seen evil, my friends, and it is the 3 way mirror.

Truly, an instrument of Satan designed to ravage and shred the self-esteem of any female over the age of 30.  I can see the devil having an “ah ha” moment one morning while polishing his horns.  “Yes,” he snarls, “The three way mirror will be one of my finest designs.  It will be purgatory on earth,  my new best friend forever.”

He calls for his minions and they take three mirrors and angle them so the human form could be captured front, side and back.  I’m okay with seeing the front. The side I was better with before my body decided to look like it was perennially 4 months pregnant. The back I’d like to never have to expose my corneas to again in my life.

In hell, I’m sure everyone has eyes in the back of their head. That way you’re forced to eternally view your backside 24/7.  Who looks better in the back than the front anyway?  The words back and rear both have negative connotations.  Who wants to go backwards or be at the rear of the line.  Not me, I’m all about the front until that insidious time of year rolls around – swimsuit shopping.

It’s not a task for the faint of heart.  I find swimsuit shopping the pinnacle of shame and an act of self-flagellation.  There you are – all of you – exposed.  Every bad choice you’ve made 364 days prior has laid claim to your thighs, belly,  butt and the bane of middle age – the dynamic duo of back fat and arm flab. (I can verify that, yes, your arms can have cellulite.) Every piece of Halloween candy you stole from your child’s bag, the numerous servings of pumpkin pie you hoarked down at Thanksgiving, the Krispy Kremes you inhaled in the privacy of your car, the workouts you missed or phoned in – they’ve all made their mark and the older you get the more they attack from the rear.

Yes, they’re vicious backstabbers. To make matter worse all your crimes against your own humanity are bathed in the freaky death glow of a retail clothing store’s florescent lights.

It takes courage to muster up the strength to try on those swimsuits.  But, like getting a mammogram once a year, it must be done.  As a mom you’re required to go swimming with your children. I even like swimming, a lot, as long as three-fourths of my body is covered by water at all times. I have three battle plans for swimsuit shopping.  1) Go into stores and try on swimsuits.  2) Go into stores pick out swimsuits and try on at home.  3) Purchase swimsuits on-line and then mail back suits tattooed with your tear stains.

By far, the most gutsy move is to try on the swimsuits at the store. You’re really putting yourself out there. You’re the Navy Seal of swimsuit shoppers. For this plan to be a success you have to move fast. I always like to do a little store recon before shopping begins in earnest.

The trick is you’re in and your out.  You don’t want a sales clerk helping you.  It’s mortifying to have a stranger assisting in your swimsuit selection and then knocking on the dressing room door asking “Is everything okay?”  Of course not “everything is okay.”  I’m naked and trying to squeeze my flab into a lycra swimsuit that looks like it’s an infant’s onsie. Oh and while I’m at it, thank you to both my kids for being addicted to one boob during breast-feeding so my chest is permanently lopsided.  (Just to get even at those two I should use their college fund for a breast re-do.)

Under no circumstances should you ever leave the safety of your dressing room (it’s your foxhole) to walk out and look at yourself in the even bigger three-way dressing room mirror. Trust me on this one – you will not survive that journey.  Once you have selected the least objectionable swimsuit, pay and then run to your car, lock the door, drive to a secluded area of the parking lot and sob.

Battle Plan two is for the inner wimp in all of us. The F Troop of shoppers.  You go into the store and if a sales clerk asks if you need assistance pretend you are selecting swimsuits for a friend.  I have even hit rock bottom and told a clerk I was picking out swimsuits for my mother. (I know the shame, the shame.)  Determine the maximum you can afford to put on your credit card, charge away and proceed to the sanctity of your bedroom for the try on.

I would recommend at this point bringing out the heavy artillery – any kind of alcohol.  For this plan to be a success do not allow your daughter into your bedroom or ask her opinion.  For I have found that daughters are like heat seeking missiles when it comes to your ego.  They always make a direct hit.  I would like to think that our precious daughters don’t intended to inflict pain, but they innocently speak the unfiltered truth.  As in, “I think that would look better on a younger Mommy” or “I’m not going to look like you when I get older am I?”  Ouch.

Battle Plan three on-line shopping calls for blitzkrieg of ordering.  Do not try on the swimsuits until they all arrive.  You don’t want to experience try-on fatigue and depression.  Follow same advice as Battle Plan two and pray.  Select a swimsuit that was the least horrifying and give yourself a pep talk, buy some self-tanner and tell yourself that bronzed legs really do make you look thinner.  Above all be realistic and know that swimsuit shopping comes with some degree of P.T.S.D. (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  You will be re-experiencing the original trauma(s) through flashbacks or nightmares. Sorry.

By purchasing a new swimsuit you have won the battle, but, alas, not the war. Shopping for the swimsuit was an air strike.  Now, you must wear the swimsuit in public.  That’s boots on the ground, hand to hand combat. Your best ammo will be a cover-up. It’s the I.E.D (improvised explosive device) of swim-wear.  The best being the full coverage sarong or the maxi dress.  Armed with one of these you can make it to the pool embarrassment free.  Sooner or later, you will have to de-sarong and get in the water.  Here is my time-tested strategy for the fastest way to conquer the water.

Pick the chair closest to a pool entry.  Who cares if your kids don’t want to sit there and forget sitting in the shade.  Pool proximity is vital. Now, grab a stack of beach towels and place them on your chair.  Right before you de-sarong get a kick board and my personal favorite a pool frisbee.  Walk to the edge of the pool, quickly de-sarong and throw it on your chair.  Now use the frisbee and kick board as fat camouflage.  With one hand take the kick-board and hold in your lower stomach and upper thigh region. With your other hand grab the frisbee and place in on your backside for full lower butt coverage. This distracts the eye from both your flab abs and cellulite dimpled lower body.  Now quickly jump in the water.

Do not ever slowly wade into a pool.  The slow wader is a dead man walking.  You might as well shout, “Cue the spotlight and magnifying mirror!”  If you don’t own a kick-board or frisbee I also recommend using your child at fat cammo.  Place your child in front of you.  Drape your arm over your child (almost like a sash) and then walk to the edge of pool and jump in. This works even better if you have two children.  Place one in back and one in front and hit the water as a trio. I call it the “happy family” move.

When it’s time to get out of the pool swim as close as you can to your chair.  Let your child get out first and have them walk to the side with one of the towels you left stacked on your chair.  You haul yourself out of the water while simultaneously grabbing the towel (yes, it does take some practice).  Then with your non-towel hand grab your cover up.

As well as this goes never let your guard down.  Always be on the look out for a sniper.  The sniper is the middle-aged mom who looks incredible in a swimsuit.  She’s constantly running covert surveillance checking out every other mom at the pool.  Her trademark: working a bikini that you haven’t had the guts to wear since college.  She’ll also most likely have a belly piercing, one tramp stamp, a tan, make-up and hair that’s never going to see chlorine . The bikini sniper should be approached with extreme caution and avoided it all possible. Her mission to take a kill shot at your self-esteem.

Above all brave warrior do not surrender.  Be strong.  You can survive summer in a swimsuit. Satan’s 3 way mirror and body image distress will not hold you hostage.  Your secret weapon, your B.F.F., is the waterpark.  Go and know that someone there will look much worse than you.  Find that person and sit by them.

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