Dear Snarky – My Daughter’s Roommate Wants Her To Spend $2,000 On Dorm Room Decor!!!

Dear Snarky,

I feel like my daughter is being hustled by her new college roommate. My daughter is leaving for college in a month and at first loved her soon to be roommate. Then the girl and her mother went over the top on decorating the dorm room. They want customized linens with monograms, padded headboards for the beds and black out drapes from Pottery Barn.

All of this came in at over $2,000 for each girl! If that’s not ridiculous enough the mom suggested that I send her the money over a Pay Pal account and she’ll just buy everything so it “matches perfectly.”

I don’t know these people and I sure don’t want to send the mom over two grand via Pay Pal. Plus, I don’t have $2,000! I’m paying for college!!!!

How can I put a stop to this without making my daughter’s roommate situation miserable?

Signed, Worried

Dear Worried,

Give me a second to catch my breath. $2,000 to decorate a dorm room and a mom wants money via Pay Pal. Are you kidding me? Yeah, let’s just call all that a great big “Oh hell no.”

Now, turn that frown upside down because I have a fool-proof and super easy way for your daughter to emerge unscathed. All she needs to do is text her new roommate and blame everything on you. She should tell her roommate that you’re a little crazy and obsessively thrifty so there’s no way that she can spend that much on a college dorm room – ever.

Your daughter should then suggest cheaper alternatives for the look as in getting linens from Target or a Home Goods store and having them monogrammed. As for those padded headboards I just found some online for $39.00. Sure, they’re not top of the line, but, oh yeah, it’s dorm.

If the new roommate and her mother turn their noses up at the idea of bargain hunting then your daughter should just stand firm and suggest that her roommate does exactly want she wants for her side of the room and she’ll do the same.

The bottom line is it’s a flipping dorm room and no matter how much money you spend it’s going to smell like a dorm and feel like a dorm. Plus, you go to college to further your education not to win cutest dorm ever.

*If you have a question for Dear Snarky – 21st Century Advice With an Attitude 😉 – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com or PM on my Snarky FB page.

The De-Clutter Challenge

I hate social media. Okay, perhaps I don’t hate it. It’s more that I find it aggravating.

Go ahead and post 1,000 photos of yet another stellar European vacation or even your hot self wearing a bikini and killing it at age 50. None of that bothers me.

I don’t even care when the super moms of the world daily share about their kids breaking another sports record on the same day they received the “great, but totally expected news” that their teen genius got a perfect ACT score. Bring it! I’m all over hitting the “heart” and “wow” emoji for you.

What’s zapping my mojo is when people share life improvement tips that morph into a series of show off moments. The latest one is the 30-day De Clutter Challenge. For the record it’s bad, not as bad as the “Gratitude Posts” that sweep Facebook two years ago, but give it time.

At first I was all about it. There’s a calendar that shows what area of clutter you need to work on every day. I was excited and ready to actually take part in a Facebook group. I clicked on “join” and was raring to go. Count me in on being part of the Summer 2017 De-Clutter frenzy.

What I didn’t expect was all the humble bragging. For example, last week it said to “go through old shoes.” There should have been an asterisk next to that challenge stating “and by ‘go through’ we don’t mean posting on social media about your shoes.”

I get it. A sizeable portion of the female population has a shoe fetish. How else can you explain DSW? But, what I don’t get is fools who pay upwards of a $1,000 for footwear that resembles something a fashion forward Pilgrim would have worn boarding the Mayflower on a breezy fall day in 1620. (I’m talking to you Manolo Blahnik.)

Furthermore, who uses a de-clutter challenge as an opportunity to post about the heartache of deciding what four figure designer shoes to purge? Please, stop. Everyone knows there’s a better chance that these women would rather sell their blood plasma than get rid of single shoe.

The shoe show and tell then lead to closet tours which scared me because I didn’t get all goofy with storage lust. Is something wrong with me because I have no desire to remake a bedroom into a closet with a trio of chandeliers and a “hand bag bar”?

If you’re wondering right now what a “hand bag bar” is let me break it down for you. It’s basically a kitchen island in your closet where you display your purses on Lucite stands.

I’m so old school I still share a closet with my husband. The horrors! And if I was going to display something it would be the pair of jeans I’ve been trying to fit into for two decades. (That right there is what I need help with – letting go of things that will never happen.)

The next day when the challenge was to clean out your frig these same shoe women started posting pictures of their commercial size refrigerators. The appliances, the size of a Sasquatch, were so big I’m positive they would cause my home’s electrical panel to explode. One group member, I kid you not, shared a picture of herself inside her refrigerator. I’m afraid that was the final straw.

I decided to go rogue. I de-cluttered my life from these women. Yep, I dropped out of the group that had become less about home organization and more about overt show boating. Now, not that I would ever humble brag myself, but that’s what I call a very efficient life purge.

Dear Snarky – Does Wingman Duty Include Pretending to Be Married?

Dear Snarky,

My girl friends and I like to go to the bars a couple of times a month. I usually act as my best friends “wingman” and help introduce her to guys. Last week, she asked if I would start wearing a wedding ring, when we hit the bars. (I’m not married or even really dating anyone seriously.) Her reasoning was that if guys thought I was married than I would be a better wingman because the ring would make me approachable yet still off-limits.

 I don’t know what to make of this. I’m not into picking up guys at bars so I have no problem being a wingman for a friend. But wearing a wedding ring when I’m not married not only seems wrong I feel like I could be jinxing myself from getting married.

 Am I overreacting by saying no to my friend? Please help.

 Signed, Confused

Dear Confused,

 You are not overreacting by saying no to pretending to be married. Seriously, how desperate is your friend? And I don’t know a lot about being a wingman, but I think wearing a phony wedding ring goes above and beyond the call of duty for that job description.

 As for the jinx thing – throw that out that window. Here’s some AMAA for you – Advanced Maternal Age Advice. The world is very small. What happens if you’re wearing your fake wedding ring at a bar and you ran into someone you work with or a friend of your family or even your boss and all of sudden you’re faced with the awkward explanation of why you’re pretending to be married?

Trust me you don’t not want to go there. At best people will think it’s weird and worst case scenario “you be crazy.” I don’t think any friendship is worth you sacrificing your credibility and a true friend would never ask you to do that. 

*If you have a question for Dear Snarky – 21st Century Advice With an Attitude 😉 – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com or PM on my Snarky FB page.

The Uhaul Years

Twenty-one years ago I thought being what the doctors called an AMA mom was no big deal. I admit to being a little taken aback when I was first referred to as “Advanced Maternal Age.” It was one of those “Who you talking about?” moments.

How could I be on the cusp of being too old to have a baby? I felt fabulous. So fabulous I was ready to throw down with any non-AMA mom to prove it.

Today, I couldn’t throw down with anyone or anything because I can barely get out of bed.

Being an older parent forces you to reflect on a lot of things. There’s the really depressing stuff as in you’ll have less time with your children because you’ll be dead. But, I always worked that to my advantage.

When my husband would freak out over the toys and other goodies I would buy I would pathetically reply, “It’s not like I’m going to live to see grandbabies. I have to spoil them because they’re twofers – kids and grandkids.”

That personal pity party worked for a while until we had problems walking through our home due to all the Thomas the Tank Engine trains. Finally, I had to acknowledge that my excuse was lame and quite possibly life threatening because those trains created dire tripping hazards.

Other worries being an older mom range from vanity to losing your youthful zeal. I was mistaken for being my children’s grandmother enough times for it to sting. Of course, this only happened in Texas where the average age of having your first child is 17. (Okay, I made that up, but it’s not 35 I can tell you that and there are people I want to high school with that have grandkids my daughter’s age. So there’s some empirical evidence for you.)

As for youthful zeal that was never much of a concern. I’ve always been high energy until a couple of days ago when being AMA finally bit me in the butt because there’s one thing missing in the all documents your doctor gives you to read concerning the downsides of being an older parent and it’s this: You’ll be moving a child in and out of dorms and second and third floor college apartments and it might kill you.

I consider myself a strong-ish person. Not to brag, but I have mad skills as in I can bench press a 50 pound bag of dog food and by that I mean haul it out of my car. So, I wasn’t that concerned about my son’s latest move out of one apartment and into another.

This was a fatal mistake.

I blame the stairs. They were deadly. The steps at apartment #1 were mountain goat steep and they were also crumbling. This upped the degree of difficulty because not only were you navigating basically the side of a cliff you were also perilously close to wiping out on concrete rubble. Now imagine walking backwards down these stairs holding the end of a desk that felt like it weighed as much as a Ford F-150.

Once you completed that strength and agility course it was on to apartment #2. Here wooden stairs with a plethora of nails sticking out greeted you. It was as if they were chanting, “I hope you’ve had a recent Tetanus booster.” Having to lug a full size mattress up and up the stairs while leaping over nails made the journey seem like you were playing hopscotch with one of Satan’s minions.

I cursed. I almost cried and then I did cry when my health app on my phone showed I had walked 103 flights of stairs. The next day I had the mobility of a Popsicle stick. I felt like I needed a new hip.

Next year my daughter will be going off to college. This means double the move ins and outs. I hope I survive it. If you see a woman walking while hauling a mattress on her back it will be this AMA cross training for the fall of 2018

 

Dear Snarky – Mean Moms Are Taking Over the Pool!

Dear Snarky,

 There are a group of mean moms that have taken over the pool. They have one mom stay after morning swim practice and save 16 pool lounge chairs. Then when the rest of the moms show up they hang out for hours at the pool gossiping and judging all the other moms that aren’t them.

 I’m so sick of it! They don’t even care if anyone else can hear them making comments about so and so’s swimsuit or cellulite. It’s making me not want to take my kids swimming and we paid for a pool membership that was sort of expensive so please don’t tell me to go somewhere else to swim.

 How can I get these women to back off and shut up?

 Signed, Sad Summer Mom

Dear Sad Summer,

 Sigh, It seems like I get a letter like this every summer. So, here comes some vintage advice. As in any hostile situation with enemy combatants you need to take a direct attack. No wishy-washy maneuvers will get this job done.

I strongly suggest you begin a campaign of cannon balls off the side of the pool that will create a tidal wave worthy splash back on these moms. Then make sure to invest in some XL Super Soakers and engage in a very robust game that results in all of you accidentally on purpose hitting the not so charming ladies with water. Finally, enjoy teaching your children and their friends how to master their flutter and butterfly kicks and smile proudly as they joyfully churn epic amounts of water out of the pool and onto these catty lounge lizards.

 Will all this make the mean pool moms cease and desist? Probably not, but you’ll be happy and that’s exactly what I was going for.

*If you have a question for Dear Snarky – 21st Century Advice With an Attitude 😉 – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com or PM on my Snarky FB page.

Arts Teachers Are The Real Masterpieces

As the school year closes I want to give a shout out to some of the unsung heroes in education – the music and art teachers. For those of you who think that the arts don’t matter or that teaching music and art in the schools is a colossal waste of time and tax payer money (because it should be all about STEM, STEM, STEM) to that I have two words for you – Betsy Parsons. This music and dance teacher was my children’s guardian angel.

More than a decade ago my family moved from Texas to Reno, Nevada. My son was in the middle of 3rd grade and the move was hard on him. Everyday I would pick him up from school and the first words out of his mouth were, “Can we please go back to Texas?” It was so heartbreaking that I actually told my husband I think we need to move back. He got so sad I feared when we were reaching a tipping point.

Enter Betsy Parsons, the music teacher at Roy Gomm elementary. This magnificent woman is gifted with a sixth sense when it comes to children. She saw my little boy and took him under her wing. Choir became his happy place and like many other kids during recess he gathered in the choir room and hung out.

My son didn’t have a stellar voice and he might not have even liked singing in public that much, but he loved Mrs. Parsons and she slowly brought him out of his shell. She made him feel liked he belonged and that enabled him to start flourishing.

This keen teacher even noticed his love of technology and at the age of 10 paid him to design a website for her dance studio – Scene Stealers. The boy, to use a Texas term, was in high cotton. This spurred him on to start his own web design business and by fourth grade he had the swagger befitting a mini mogul.

It was at that dance studio where my daughter found her passion. She did the traditional elementary school sports like soccer and many a Saturday was spent watching her play. But you could tell she was in it more for the Capri Suns than anything else. Then Mrs. Parsons, sensing something in our daughter my husband and I couldn’t even begin to see, introduced her to dance.

It was as if a new child was born. She fell in love with the art form. Dance became her reason for breathing. She still can’t get enough of it.  Today, as a teenager she dances at least 20 hours a week. It defines her. To think what her life would be like if someone had never recognized her innate talent scares me.

This is why the arts are so important for every child. On one hand you have my son with no real zeal for music, yet music and more importantly his music teacher lifted him up and gave him a refuge. A place where he could grow.

Music and arts education isn’t just for the students who have a talent for it. It’s for every child because every kid will take what he or she needs from it. Some will walk out a little more knowledgeable about the arts and some will be saved by it.

For other children, like my daughter, an arts teacher will discern something in them that nobody else does and will unearth a God-given gift that will influence every part of their life.

Arts education in schools is so much more than learning to play an instrument, reading music or picking up a paintbrush. It’s about allowing children to expand their universe and to find beauty in the world.

It’s also about teachers like Betsy Parsons who rescued a family.

 

Welcome to JFF – Jerk Free Flying

I’ve got a good story to tell you. It’s kind of one of those tales from the “olden days.” But that makes me sound like I’m working a Little House on the Prairie vibe and who wants that?  So, I’m going to call it a throw back. Oh yeah, saying throwback is sooo much better. I may even be feeling kind of hip.

Now before I begin my throwback I must warn that what I’m about to share may shock and even frighten you. Perhaps making you question everything you thought you knew about the world, especially if you were born after 1979.

Ready because I’m about to blow your mind? Here goes, people,  as in bipedal mammals, scientifically referred to as Homo sapiens, used to dress up, as in donning one step below evening wear to board a plane.

Are you still with me? I know that was a lot to take in. If you’re feeling faint there’s no shame in sitting down and doing a couple of cleansing exhales.

Better now? I hope so because I want you to join me on a journey back to 1972. Mark Spitz was swimming up a storm to Olympic Gold Medal glory, Watergate was getting juicy, the hand-held calculator had been invented and my mother was having a nervous breakdown.

The stress from the extensive clothing and grooming required for her family of six to fly on a 747 Boeing Jumbo Jet was this close to stroking her out.

There were haircuts for everyone, new outfits were purchased, shoes were shined, clothes were starched and lectures on good manners were given repeatedly (along with threats if those good manners weren’t used). My mother’s favorite refrain during the pre-airline boarding time was, “I want all of you to act like you’re about to be at Buckingham Palace taking tea with the Queen of England.”

When my eldest brother (bravely I thought) asked, “Why the Queen of England and not the President?”

My mother pursed his lips and hissed, “Because no one wants to take tea with Richard Nixon.”

Being the youngest I could care less who I took tea with all I wanted to do was admire myself in my smashing new sailor dress with nautical navy and white stripes, a jaunty collar with embroidered anchors accessorized with a red hair bow and patent leather Mary Jane shoes that I had polished with Vaseline (Don’t ask why. It was a thing.) I was the epitome of 70’s styling.

In fact, my whole family was fancy. My brothers had on seersucker suits and my dad was working a bow tie. My mom’s look could best be described as aging Texas debutante the maternal years. She even had on white gloves.

When we boarded the plane there were 400 more passengers dressed exactly like use. Looking back it was as if the entire cast of Mad Men had been on the jet. There wasn’t a speck of denim  or a  tennis shoe in sight. Air travel was something “you didn’t disrespect with common clothes or common behavior.” (Again, words from my mother.)

I never would have imagined all those years ago that in the future flying would have soared right by common and taken a sharp, whiplash inducing detour to ugly, really, really, ugly. With the beat downs, drag offs, baby strollers being brandished as WMD’s and all the other assorted melees we might as well attach wings to an outlaw biker bar.

I feel like something has to be done. Being worried about terrorism when you fly is stressful enough. We shouldn’t have to live in fear about a crazed flight attendant or a passenger “that’s not afraid to mix it up.”

This is why I feel we need to kick it old school and in homage to my mother (and all the cotillion and etiquette classes I was forced to attend) establish a mandatory manners class for anyone who steps on a plane – pilots, flight attendants and passengers. I’m thinking if you’re going to be fastening a seat belt and putting your tray table in an upright position you’re taking this class. We could call it Air Etiquette or something more to the point like Jerk Free Flying. Hmm, I like that and the acronym is snazzy – JFF.

JFF would be offered in two separate classes – one for airline staff and one for passengers. The airport staff class would be taught by kindergarten teachers. Is there anyone better and more qualified to teach a class on crowd control, using your inside voice, sharing is caring, playing well with others, getting the best out of an uncooperative, hyper humans and turning around a tantrum?

Heck no.

I daresay if some flight attendants had the happy, persuasive, demeanor of your kid’s kindergarten teacher a lot of the recent incidents would have never happened, been nipped in the bud or solved with a cookie. Included in the airport staff class would be a lecture on “Your Word Is Your Bond.” Any staff that has problems understanding that concept would be forced to watch special episodes of Barney where the purple dinosaur explains and sings about such fundamental moral issues.

As for that passenger JFF class it needs three areas of focus. 1) You’re not that fascinating or special so please follow the rules of the airline and common decency. 2) Silence is golden especially at 50,000 feet. 3) And although your seat can go back does it really have to go all the way back?

An exam would also be given to test passenger’s spatial relationships skills. For example, you have a “carry on” the size of a baby hippo. The overhead bin has room for a something the size of a Chihuahua. How do you think you’re going to stuff your hippo into the bin?

A) By recklessly taking out other items already in the bin because your stuff is more important.

B) By repeatedly jamming your hippo in the bin and not caring if the bin doors won’t shut because that’s not your problem

C) Throwing a hissy fit because there’s not enough bin space for your hippo?

D) None of the above because you’re not crazy

If you answered anything besides D you’re not allowed to board a commercial aircraft – ever.

Just imagine a plane full of passengers who have graduated with honors from the Jerk Free Flying School and airline employees who radiate sunshine and have the problem solving skills of the very best kindergarten teachers. Can you say hello to fabulous?

Sure, there would still be fools who would think Family Guy fleece pajama bottoms are suitable day wear for boarding a plane. Plus, I don’t think there’s anything we can do about folks wearing flip-flops with toe nails so long they’re curling under the rubber sole, but at least they wouldn’t recline their seat all the way back.

I call that a win. So come on let’s do this! Who’s with me on starting the Jerk Free Flying School?

 

 

 

 

Dear Snarky – A Greedy Grad Has Me Steaming!

Dear Snarky.

 I’m in the middle of a very awkward neighborhood situation. Recently, my family was invited to a high school grad party for our neighbor’s daughter. On the invite it said, “in lieu of a gift please bring $50 for Emily’s dorm fund.”

 First, what is a dorm fund? I’ve never heard of that. Secondly, who spends that much on a graduation gift for an 18-year-old? Third, who requires a cash donation to get into the party?

 Because that’s what happened my family showed up at the party with not $50 in cash, but a $15 Target gift card and we were TURNED AWAY and by that I mean the grad asked us to leave because we didn’t bring the “right present.”

 I want to know how to handle this situation. Do I go have it out with my neighbor and demand an apology?

 Signed, Greedy Neighbors

Dear Greedy,

You are going to do absolutely nothing. Think about what can you really do? Your neighbors are crude idiots. If you believe you’re going to go over and talk this out and get an apology you’re sadly mistaken. They will never admit that they were acting grotesquely greedy and that their actions were at the best mean-spirited and at the worst disgusting.

If I were you I would wear being asked to leave the party like a badge of honor. You were like Superman fighting for truth, justice and good manners.  No one hosting a party should ever demand cash at the door and have guests bounced unless they’re running a nightclub.

So girlfriend just own it and be proud. Also, go treat yourself to something nice with that Target gift card.

*If you have a question for Dear Snarky – 21st Century Advice With an Attitude 😉 – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com or PM on my Snarky FB page.

I’m Going To Tap That

It’s not an exaggeration when I tell you that I’m the least coordinated mammal ever to roam the grassy plains of the Midwest.  I’m not even ashamed of it. Sure, getting picked dead last for every team in every sporting discipline was not one of my fondest childhood memories, but I’ve learned to own my physical awkwardness.

That doesn’t mean that participating in an adult tap class didn’t have me recently hyperventilating. Usually, as an act of kindness, I would have spared the general public from seeing me partake in any endeavor that would require foot coordination beyond putting one hoof in front of the other, but the tap class was a fundraiser for charity and I would be among friends so I gave myself a pep talk and signed up.

The evening of the tap class I was nervous. The fact that I was wearing men’s size 11 tap shoes didn’t help. Well, that’s a lie the “clown shoe” did provide some comic relief for my fellow tappers. What these women didn’t know was that sadly my foot was snug in a dude’s size 11 shoe. (Hey, I’m tall. I need big feet to be in proportion)

Lucky for me the tap class was being taught by my daughter’s tap teachers at her dance studio. This meant they had seen me in action and by that I mean attempting to walk upright, so I felt certain they wouldn’t expect much from me. I also hide myself in the back row so I could sort of disappear.

And really I thought how hard could this tap class be. Everyone there was a mother with probably limited skills and I was in the beginner class. I couldn’t imagine we would do anything beyond stomping our feet, marching around the room and making some boisterous clickety-clack sounds.

Yeah, I was wrong about that. Say hello to tap teacher extraordinaire Teri Day. To her we weren’t a bunch of moms escaping our families on a Friday evening we were women she was going turn into tappers. There was no messing around. Thirty seconds into the class and she’s got us step, ball changing and then she’s taking us right on over to something called a paradiddle.

Sure paradiddle is fun to say. I could say it all day long– paradiddle, paradiddle, paradiddle, but my men’s size 11’s were not having it. It was hard.

You had to dig your right heel and whack the floor and then do what’s called a spank where you brush your foot back and finish off with stepping down on the ball of your foot. Were we dancing or doing algebraic equations with our feet?

Add in that this woman would not let up. Next thing I know she’s got us attempting to do toe stands and that’s scary the whole tippy toes in tap shoes thing. And before I could even have a solid freak out about that we’re doing a whole routine.

Jesus take the wheel because I was tapping, as in paradiddling the heck out of it. Me, the girl who can’t walk and chew gum.

No doubt, I was the worst tapper in the history of dance, but in my mind I was killing it. I left the tap class like I walking, no tapping, on sunshine.

When I told my daughter about my tapping triumph she was not impressed. “Mom,” she said, “It’s less about you tapping and more about Teri Day being a tap God. There’s no one she can’t turn into a tapper.”

So, I guess you’re saying she’s got the mad skills not me.”

“Exactly,” was my daughter’s succinct reply.

Whatever, in my mind I’m still a tapper. So paradiddle on that.

 

 

 

Dear Snarky – My Ex Husband Brought A Date To Field Day!

Dear Snarky,

 My ex-husband hit a new low last week. We have been divorced for 6 months and for our son’s sake have tried to keep everything friendly. I thought we both were doing a decent job of that until my ex brought some random chick to my son’s elementary school field day.

 This girl, because she looked about 19, had on shorts that left nothing to the imagination and a bra top. My husband was all over her and it became the talk of Field Day. I tried to ignore it and focus on my son, but as you can imagine I was ready to walk up and punch both of them in the face.

 Because of what happened during Field Day I want to tell him that he can’t bring this girl to our son’s 5th grade graduation next week, but I’m afraid that might blow up in my face.

 Signed, Divorced Mama

 Dear Mama,

 First, I want to applaud you for keeping your emotions under control during Field Day and ignoring your jerk of an ex and his groping Olympics. By doing so you totally derailed his plan of getting a reaction from you. Because you see that’s what he wanted. His main reason for bringing a scantily dressed date to Field Day was to mess with you.

 This is why you need to say nothing to him about bringing a date to the 5th grade graduation. It will only embolden your ex to up his game. The best way to shut down this kind of behavior for good is to act oblivious to this idiot’s attention seeking antics.

 So go to your son’s graduation, enjoy your day and high five yourself for acting like a grown up. Your son needs that from you because it’s obvious his father doesn’t have that skill set.

*If you have a question for Dear Snarky – 21st Century Advice With an Attitude 😉 – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com or PM on my Snarky FB page.