So This Just Happened

So, um, yeah, this is ehero_diet_cokembarrassing or sad or embarrassingly sad, but I think my emergency contact should be the drive-thru employees at my local McDonald’s. Apparently, these people really know me.

It doesn’t hurt that I’m a creature of habit. Every morning Monday thru Friday between 7:40 and 7:50 I’m at the drive-thru getting my Diet Coke. I love a McDonald’s Diet Coke like the rest of you love a Starbucks venti-grande-trenta-frappy-soy something or other.

Sure, just like you could make coffee at home, I know I could drink a canned Diet Coke (shudder), but I’m telling you there is something about the carbonation/syrup ratio and the amount of ice in the cup that makes a Mickey D’s Diet Coke the best there is.

The realization that the McDonald’s employees had become part of my posse was when I returned from being out-of-town and multiple workers expressed concern about where I had been. I was touched and then chagrined.

The denouement was when one employee, a lovely young woman who runs that drive-thru with the demeanor of a general invading foreign soil and is always a whirling dervish of multi-tasking, shared, “Since we hadn’t seen you in a while we were talking about if we should ask one of the cops that come through here to do a welfare check on you.”

Oh. My. God.

These were the thoughts swirling through my head like waves of storm churned angst. Had my life really come to this – McDonald’s employees thinking I needed a home visit from law enforcement? Do I look so old that they thought I did a slip and fall in my home and my corpse was slowly moldering away in the foyer on the world’s ickest ceramic tile that needs updating, but who has time to chisel out those monster 24 x 24 tiles of 80’s bad taste.

And back to old. How old do I look? Sure, I look pretty crappy in the morning. I’ve just dropped my daughter off at school and I admit I look rough, most days I still have pillow marks on my face. But, some part of me still thinks I can pull off the no makeup look with non-brushed hair in a ponytail. It’s the morning – I’m going back home to groom. That’s what the Diet Coke is for. It’s grooming caffeine.

And back to old again. Do I seem frail? I’m not frail. I’m going to Pilates, dang it. Do they want to see a plank? I’ll do a plank right now. Yeah, I’m going to get out of my car and do a plank which my daughter, the competitive dancer who knows a thing or two about planks, just the other day called, “surprisingly not awful.”

It took a while for me to recover from the phrase “welfare check.” But the more I thought about it I decided to be delighted that the employees notice me. Thinking back they’ve noticed when I’ve gotten my haircut (when exactly zero of my family members did) and they comment on my son being home from college whenever I add on a Diet Dr. Pepper to my morning order.

So, here’s a shout out to the drive-thru employees at McDonald’s – thanks for caring and handing me my morning Diet Coke with a smile.

Dear Snarky – Girl Scout Cookie Mama Drama

56e543e73a77384aa8a9e62d306083ffDear Snarky,

 One mom in my daughter’s Girl Scout troop is ruining the cookie sale experience for the rest of the girls. This mom owns a very popular, upscale clothing store and every year she has a large table in the center of the store where she has the cookies for sale. This means the mom, not her daughter, sells more at least a 1,500 boxes of cookies!

 How is this fair? The girls are supposed to sell the cookies. A couple of us want to demand this mom stop and get the cookie sale back to what it’s supposed to be – girls selling cookies!

What approach do you think we should take? Go to the Girl Scout leader first or just skip that and go straight to that mom?

 Signed, Tired of This

Dear Tired,

The approach I think you should take is chilling out. Yes, in a perfect Girl Scout world boxes of Thin Mints would only be sold by lovely cherubs learning entrepreneurial skills who pull wagons piled high with cookies as they go door-to-door to delight their neighbors with their baked confections while blue birds sing. But, that’s a Disney movie not real life.

 In fact, I can’t remember the last time I bought a box of cookies from an actual Girl Scout. In the past decade all of my cookie buying has been through a parent either at work or social media.

 Furthermore, after talking with Girl Scout parents (shout out here to all the Snarky friends who offered their advice on Facebook) here’s the bottom line.

The more cookies a troop sells the more money the troop has to spend on activities. So, the mom selling cookies in her store benefits the entire troop. Sure, her daughter may get a lot of cookie cred and yep the mom could have a booth sale at her store so more girls can be involved and on and on.

But don’t focus on the negative and please don’t make the cookie sale about this mother.  Focus instead  on your daughter and the additional fun she’ll get to have due to the money the troop, as a whole, has made. 

If this advice is hard for you to swallow than may I suggest self medicating by eating a sleeve of the new S’more cookie. I’m told they’re magical. 😉

*If you have a question for Dear Snarky – 21st Century Advice With An Attitude – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com or PM on the Snarky In The Suburbs Facebook page.

Gladys Kravitz 2.0

I’ve entered the full Gladys Kravitzgladys_kravitz zone, and even worse, I’m not ashamed. Not one little bit.

For those of you who aren’t acquainted with the wonder of Gladys she was a character on the 1960/70’s TV show Bewitched and was legendary for her super nosey nature. Being that it’s 2017, I think of myself as the upgraded Gladys. Gladys 2.0, if you will. Because not only am I curious (such an improvement over the word “nosey”) of my surroundings, but I’m also the purveyor of unsolicited advice.

I’m sure you’re thinking, “My that sounds like a delightful personality combo,” and of course, you would be correct. It’s all because I’m a giver and I’ve reached a stage in my life journey where I feel like it’s okay for me to interject myself in stranger’s lives and offer my wisdom whether they asked for it or not.

My husband is certain I’m going to get myself killed or at the very least a beat down by someone who is not appreciative of my charms. I’m willing to take that chance.

Just this morning some lawn crews were doing the leaf suck up thing at my neighbor’s with perhaps the loudest blower ever created. I hate to digress from this treatise on my greatness, but just what the heck on the blowing of leaves? Why do some crews blow the leaves and then vacuum them up? Wouldn’t it be more efficient to go straight to vacuum? That’s your deep thought for the day. Now back to me.

As the crew was using blowers with a decimal rate of a Saturn Moon rocket blasting off I became increasingly concerned with their lack of hearing protection.

So, I did what any advanced middle-aged mom would do who lives with teenagers that don’t listen to her and feels a need to seek out folks who might want to benefit from her awesomeness — I grabbed my yellow ear muff hearing protection headset and ventured off to the unsuspecting lawn crew.

At first they ignored me. I didn’t take it personally. I was sure the sound of their blowers had sent them into some kind of trance. It took me jumping up and down and waving my hands to get their attention. It didn’t matter at all that they looked at me like I might be lacking the full use of my facilities. Heck, I’m very used to that look because again — I have teenagers.

Once I had the crew fully focused on me I gave them an extremely riveting lecture on hearing protection and why they should be using it. I even offered them the opportunity to try out my 3 M Turbo Hearing Protection with AM/FM Tuner. Sadly, I got zero takers. So, I went to Plan B — handouts.

Not just plain handouts, mind you, but color because it made the scary and sobering stats from the Hearing Loss Association of America look even more important. I sweetly suggested they read the packet ASAP then perhaps share it with their associates. Again, all I got were blank stares.

This was starting to hurt my feelings. I’m trying to change lives here and I’m getting nothing. Finally, a woman on the crew reaches up to her ears. At first, I think oh my perhaps she’s going to use sign language because she’s already experiencing catastrophic hearing loss. But, um yeah, that wasn’t’ exactly the problem. She plunged her fingers into her ears and pulled out some impressive looking ear plugs.

“Sorry,” she says, “We can’t hear you what with the ear plugs and all.”

After turning three shades of red I proclaimed, “Excellent, glad to know you’re using hearing protection” and then sprinted back to my house.

Embarrassed? Sort of. Will I stop Gladys-ing? Never. One doesn’t turn their back on a calling.

Would Your Neighbor Make the Cut to be on Your Zombie Apocalypse Team?

zombie-pie-chartI spend a lot of time walking my dogs. Mainly because they’re wonderful and what they want they get. And then there’s the fact that if I don’t walk them they get really annoying, not teenage daughter annoying, but close. Well, that’s not really a fair comparison because if my dogs could roll their eyes and do a hair flip then I think they could reach that lofty height.

The good news is I enjoy being outside with my canine sweeties. Most of the time I don’t even bring a phone. It’s just me, the dogs and my thoughts. Not surprising to most of you is that I don’t seem to have any deep thoughts. What I do seem to think about a lot is the world ending. Okay, that might just qualify as a deep thought.

If you’re now thinking “Good God woman you mention a zombie apocalypse at least once a month” all I have to say it you’re right and it’s my son’s fault.

A decade ago (back in his elementary school days) I went to a seminar on how to be a “good boy parent” and the speaker, a renowned child psychologist, insisted that to bond with your son you should play video games with him. All the games were post-apocalyptic and now years later I’m still pondering the topic.

For instance, as I walked my dogs last week in the snow/ice I thought who would I want to team up with in a post-apocalyptic world – the neighbor with a shoveled driveway or the one just guns their car out of the garage and drives over the snow. Think about it. It’s a tough call.

The neighbor who shoveled their driveway demonstrates discipline and certain obedience to societal expectations. The neighbor who just lets their car act as a battering ram through the snow shows an ability to take risks (because their car might get stuck or slide) and perhaps a need to defy authority.

The way I see it you would want both. The disciple of a snow shoveler and the thrill seeking of the non shoveler. I considered it a draw. So, as I continued walking my hounds (full disclosure one of my dogs is a beagle so it’s less of walk and more of me getting vigorously yanked from scent to scent) I thought I would use outdoor Christmas decorations still left up as a tiebreaker.

If a neighbor still has their holiday decor adorning their abode does it show a jolly, optimistic spirit or a total slackneress? I couldn’t decide. So, I had to refine the parameters to include a decoration degree of difficulty.

Deflated inflatables laying like nylon corpses in the yard = no go on being on my end of the world team. Seriously, how hard is it to drag an inflatable out of your front yard? Those neighbors are riding solo on the Armageddon train.

Now, intricate light displays that could have taken days to put up shows dexterity and even some dare-devil qualities. Not everyone is comfortable climbing a ladder and straddling a house gutter while holding light clips in their mouths. Three things that I think you could need if the world was ending or there were zombies. (It always goes back to zombies doesn’t it?)

When I was done walking my dogs I was feeling very accomplished. I had, in a little under an hour, mapped out my neighborhood end of the world survival squad. The only issue is how do you tell your neighbor they’ve made the cut to your team? Email, Post it Note, announcement on the HOA Facebook page?

Hmm, maybe it’s best to keep it to myself because, yikes, what if someone declined to be on my team? That would hurt wouldn’t it? Your neighbor RSVP’ing a “no thanks” to your post apocalyptic posse invite.

I guess that’s something new for me to ponder on my next dog walk.

 

Dear Snarky – I Was Called A Bully At The Pediatrician’s Office

Dear Snarky,5439acf0cfdf9b62964edaa44ecc89db

Last week I took my child to his pediatrician for his well child check up. As we were waiting for the doctor this one mother, who was staring at her phone the entire time, allowed her very sick child, who seemed to be about 5 or 6, wander the waiting room snoting, coughing and sneezing over pretty much every square inch.

Finally, I had enough and I asked the mom to please keep her child from contaminating the waiting room. Well, she didn’t do that, but she did get up and tell the receptionist that I was “bullying her”!!!!! WTH?

 Her claims went all the way to pediatrician, who has known me for almost a decade, and he gave me a lecture about “courtesy.” I’m livid! Do you think I should change pediatricians or just take it because this doctor is one of the best in town?

 Signed, Devastated

Dear Devastated,

 Since I wasn’t there I don’t know if you were doing a polite, “You Hoo” to the mother of Typhoid Mary or if you were a shrew to an exhausted mom of a sick kid. That said I’m going to give both of you a pass and point my finger at the pediatrician office. 

1) They should have clearly defined sick kid and well kid parts of their waiting room or at the very least signage telling parents to corral their germs. 2) If my pediatrician, who has known my family for 10 years, attempted to give me a lecture on courtesy I would not go back. Because 3) the doctor should have a better trained staff that handles patient issues more delicately and doesn’t go tattle to the doctor about two moms having some issues in the waiting room. And finally the doctor’s focus should be on your child’s health not reprimanding you in front of your kid about an issue that is not related to the reason you have an appointment.

Maybe his practice needs to focus more on the spread of infectious diseases in his waiting room and less on scolding parents. Anyway you slice it – the way this was handled points to a pediatric team I wouldn’t want as my child’s trusted health partner. Do not walk, but run to a new doctor.

*If you have a question for Dear Snarky “21st Century Advice With An Attitude” please email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com or private message me on my Snarky Facebook page.

Dear Snarky – A Family Member Is Killing Our TV Buzz

Dear Snarky,

 My cousin is driving my entire family crazy. Her new thing is to tell everyone about how bad TV is and to constantly point out that her family doesn’t even own a TV because she’s raising “better citizens of the world.” 

It wouldn’t be so bad if she didn’t come to family get togethers when we’re watching awards shows or  football and  constantly bitch about TV. She even posts on social media about the evils of owning a television.

b0f941a510839a9aff7c97e959e8cf14 I need something that will make her stop so she doesn’t ruin the Superbowl and the Oscars. Can you help?

 Signed, I Love TV

Dear Love TV,

 The easiest thing to do would be to simply not invite her. Why haven’t you thought of that? Don’t be afraid to say, “We didn’t think you would be interested because there would be a TV on and we know how that’s a trigger for your non medicated issues.” (Okay, that maybe a little mean so feel free to sweeten that sentence up.)

 My guess though is that you cousin is a fraud. If she’s posting on social media with her smart phone than she’s probably also watching an assortment of yummy television shows on her phone, on her tablet, on her laptop, desktop or all of the above.

 So, the next time your cousin gets on her high horse inform her that a screen is screen. It doesn’t matter if its 52 inches or 5. The American Academy of Pediatrics says in terms of viewing time it all counts the same. This means unless your cousin is ready to go completely screen free she needs to change the channel to shut up.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky “21st Century Advice With An Attitude” email at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com or private message me on my Snarky Facebook page.

A Whale of a Tale

Who goes miles out into the Pacific Ocean in a raft, gets a beat down by the waves and weather, has a celestial vision of some sort because death is just one whale tale sashay away and pays a mighty fee for the privilege?91f4d20b14b5a0adcbb47765c5db07f1

Short answer — me.

I’d like to start out my tale of woe by saying screw you bucket list because you almost wiped out my entire family. And I think karma was in play because I kind of lied that seeing migrating whales was even on my bucket list.

Here’s the deal: We were in Southern California over the holidays and I wanted to experience some whales up close and personal in their natural habitat. The problem was the price for “extreme whale watching” was mighty hefty so I told my husband we had to drop that much cash because it was “on my bucket list.”

I’ve got to give my husband credit because he looked extremely skeptical that I even had a bucket list beyond stocking a deep freeze with 500 cases of Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies. But because, he’s a really good guy, he agreed that the monetary expenditure was worth it for a “once in a lifetime family experience.”

I had done my research and selected the “aquatic adventure” that got you the nearest to the migration “without disturbing the whales.” This meant that my family of four would be cruising the open seas in what the website described as an “authentic Navy Seal zodiac.”

Are you kidding me? How cool is that?

True confession time here. I’ve always wanted to be a Navy Seal and I could have been, you know, except for the whole physical and mental endurance part. I was totally psyched for my whale watching/Navy Seal wannabe excursion right up to the point until we saw the “boat” because it wasn’t a boat, it was a rubber raft.

I’m dead serious when I tell you it was one step above a pool float. Basically it was a pool float with an engine and a guy who called himself a “captain.” It made the SS Minnow look like a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier.

Of course, because apparently we’re a family of idiots, we all got on the raft and motored off into the deep waters of the Pacific to where the gray whales would be migrating. It was all good, a bit of a bladder buster as the raft was pummeled by the waves, but spirits were still high. Then the weather dramatically changed from mild to mental. A rainstorm of biblical proportions hammered us and churned up the ocean right as we spotted our first whale.

The whale was spectacular, but one thing they don’t tell you about the “up close” viewing of a 35 ton mammal is that it could sink your raft in a blink of an eye especially when it’s raining so hard the captain shares that he “can’t see to steer away from the whales.”

We were doomed.

As I looked around to tell my family I loved them and suggest we do a group hug so as we sank the bottom of the Pacific to become shark chum we would be together forever, I noticed my daughter was too busy recording our death for her “Snapchat story” to even blow me a kiss.

“Bella!” I screamed over the killer waves, “Put down your phone for a final hug!”

My son yelled back, “Let her die as she lived always looking at her phone.”

Even in my final moments of life I had to give it up to my son for such a profound and accurate statement.

My husband hollered, “Way to go on the whale watching Sherry!”

Really, we’re taking our final breaths of sweet, sweet, life and he’s sarcastic? Unbelievable.

Then just as I thought I saw Jesus (or maybe it was mist) surfing on the back of a gray whale the skies cleared and the ocean calmed. We were going to live, but I fear I’ll never live down my “bucket list” adventure.

Dear Snarky – What Can I Do About the Slackers At the Gym?

dear_snarky_logo-1Dear Snarky,

 I’m a gym rat and I hate January because all the slackers come out of the woodwork and pretty much ruin the gym. Hello, how hard is it to wipe down the equipment and not expel gas in public? Do you have any helpful hints for how I can  handle these situations for the next month until the gym newbies give up and go off and eat their Valentine’s Day candy?

 Signed, Serious About My Workout

Dear Serious,

 Is it wrong that I want you to fall off a treadmill and get a 10 pound kettle bell to the face? You, “gym rat” are what makes a lot of fitness centers suck. Instead of being a gigantic, judgmental ass why don’t you use your “rat” talents and help newcomers to the gym learn the rules such as wiping down equipment and wear to find the supplies to do the job.

 Because here’s what happens when you think you’re the only one good enough to be at the gym – it closes. Fitness centers have some of the highest business failure rates in the country. If you want to keep on being at your gym then it’s going to need new members to survive.

Your crappy attitude towards so-called “newbies” is going to make them go somewhere more welcoming and before you know it your gym is going to be out of business and you’ll be stuck with a 12 month membership that is worthless.

So, my suggestion, jerk face, is that you change your gym game and attempt to make every new member feel welcome.

*If you have a question for Dear Snarky “21st Century Advice With An Attitude” please send me a private message on my Snarky Facebook page or email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com.

 

 

I Spent My Christmas Morning With The TSA

I spent my holiday brescreen-shot-2017-01-06-at-8-24-16-amak traveling and as always it was an education. First, who knew that the airport would be packed on Christmas morning, like the hordes hauling ass from a zombie apocalypse packed. I  mistakenly assumed that December 25 would find most families at homes with their loved ones not exchanging tidings of comfort and joy with the TSA.

The vast number of people traveling at 10 a.m. so flummoxed me that I began doing a little Q and A. I thought, perhaps, the majority of travelers were doing a last-minute rush to grandma’s house, but no, based on my research it seemed that most people were at the airport to flee their family, not reconnect.

When I shared my research with my son he nodded his head and remarked, “Yeah, it’s the perfect family dodge. Oops sorry can’t do the whole Christmas day thing. I’ve got a plane to catch.”

His quickness in embracing the “family dodge” gave me a momentary feeling of panic as in I think I’m going to be seeing a “family dodge” from him in my future. So, I did what any mother would do a preemptive strike.

“I’m just going to let you know right now that if you ever schedule a flight on Christmas morning in an effort to avoid me I’ll just find another way to seek out the pleasure of your company like say staying with you for a couple of delightful weeks in the new year”

My college aged son got pale. Yep, he got the message.

As I sat in the Southwest terminal I began to get overly nosey of what my fellow passengers back stories were. I knew why I was here on Christmas. Two words – cheap fares. Were all of us mulling around gate 40 guilty of sacrificing the sanctity of a Christmas morn to save a couple of bucks? If so did that make us thrifty or holiday spirit hum bugs?

I’m totally going with thrifty with maybe a side of “I’m so over the holidays.”  I could tell a lot of the passengers had reached their limit on the ho, ho, ho of it all simply by their seat selections on the plane.

For example, If you’re a family that has a C boarding pass on Southwest than that means no way, no how, do you want to sit together or even be in the same general vicinity. A C boarding pass all but guarantees you’ll be shoved in a middle seat and you won’t see anyone you share DNA with until the flight lands.

An even bigger cry for alone time is when you get yourself a Southwest business select ticket thus allowing you to board first and the rest of your family is stuck with B 28, 29 and 30. Please don’t ask me how I know this and spoiler alert I was B 29.

And you know a mom has really hit the holiday wall when as the rest of her family is taking advantage of the early boarding she skips out for a “last minute bathroom run” while encouraging her family to get on the plane. When she finally boards there is no seat remotely by her family and she spends the entire flight blissfully reading a book in the back of the plane while her husband handles the kids in the bulkhead.

Not exactly warm and fuzzy Christmas morning moments. But, anyone who’s honest will tell you that there is a portion of the holidays that are more about surviving than enjoying. And a packed plane with “limited drink service due to turbulence” is definitely one of those moments.

 

Dear Snarky – I Don’t Want My Sister (The “One Upper”) To Be In My Wedding

429d4ed99491a83e17d815657b9caff3Dear Snarky,

 I don’t think I’ve ever been more disappointed in a human being. At Thanksgiving dinner, with my entire family, my boyfriend and I announced that we were engaged. Before the first person could even get out a congratulations my sister blurted out that she was pregnant with her first child. Of course it then became all about my sister.

 At Christmas I found out that my sister was never pregnant and that she mistakenly thought she was and wanted to share the “happy news.” When I asked her if she had even taken a pregnancy test she said no she just “felt pregnant.”  

 I think she “just felt” that she has to always be the center of attention. That’s her thing – one upping everyone.

 I’m so angry I told my mother there is no way my sister is going to be my maid of honor, let alone a bridesmaid, because she has a history of making every event all about her. My mom says my sister has to be my maid of honor because she’s family. My fiancé says we’re paying for our own wedding and I should do exactly what I want.

 Do you agree? I need a non-family opinion.

 Signed, The Bitter Bride

Dear Bitter,

 Girl, I’m on Team Bride! It’s your wedding, your day and your money. You have the right to select bridesmaids who are your best friends and don’t go out of their way to aggressively hurt your feelings. I’ve been to a couple of weddings where a sister wasn’t a bridesmaid. It happens.

 Although, I have to point out that since your sister suffers from some sort of narcissistic disorder she’s probably going to do something to make herself the center of attention regardless of whether or not she’s in the wedding party. So, brace yourself for that scenario.

 I suggest if you want to totally eliminate drama that you consider the option of a very romantic elopement. Bonus – you’ll save a ton of money!

*If you have a question for Dear Snarky, “21st Century Advice With An Attitude” email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com or send me a PM on the Snarky FB page. 😉