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.

Selfie Spree

God help me I’m following advice from a Facebook meme. It wasn’t even one of those funny memes with cats and goats playing hopscotch or even an adorable meme with cuddling baby bunnies. No, the meme that burned into my very soul was one that said, “Take the picture.”

Well, that was just one-third of the meme. I think the whole thing said, “eat the cake, buy the shoes, take the picture.” And since I always eat the cake that part of the meme didn’t apply to me because cake is a constant in my life and has, to date, never let me down unless it has the horrible whipped topping icing. That should be a culinary crime, you know, the whole non-butter cream-icing thing. Note to the world – buttercream is the only cake frosting that matters.

As for buy the shoes I must be low on estrogen or have an inferior X chromosome because not only have I never understood the female shoe fetish (I can’t imagine owning more than a dozen pairs of shoes), but I also refuse to ever wear shoes that hurt my feet. A stiletto masochist I am not. This doesn’t mean I’m a flip-flop free ranger, because I firmly believe that sometimes full foot coverage is very good thing. (Please people get over your naked toes.)

What did call out to me was “take the picture.” Now, I know that “take the picture” probably means document the beauty in your life, but to me it meant take your picture, like actually be in a picture. Getting my photo taken is something I avoid with a vengeance. I hate it.

I know this makes zero sense because one of my past times is wearing my reading glasses while I gaze into a lighted 10X magnifying mirror and look for rogue chin hairs. Go ahead and laugh, but it’s not like your family is going to say, “Hey, when did you start growing a beard?

Here’s what happens, one day you’ll walk out of an important meeting, get into your car, look into your rearview mirror and see a chin hair that’s so long it deserves its own name and perhaps a monogrammed pillowcase.

This is my way of saying it’s not like I don’t look at myself, but for some reason I hate any documentation of my personhood. But, after I read that meme I did some deep thinking. So what, if I’m old-ish? I should take my picture more. I should celebrate me.

I decided the perfect way to kick off my picture taking enterprise was to go on a selfie spree while on vacation with my family. Now, up to this point I was very anti anyone taking selfies. I thought of the selfie as one of the surest signs that society was headed straight to the narcissistic dumpster. And the selfie stick, that ridiculous piece of hardware that makes it easier to take a picture with a crowd or let’s be honest here, get a more flattering angle of your face, was an instrument of Satan.

But I flung all that aside in a quest to celebrate my aging visage. I was going all in. I was going to selfie so hard it would even make a Kardashian blush.

I started my selfie journey at the airport. Nothing says glamour photo like the fluorescent lighting by Southwest gate 36 at KCI. Sure, I looked horrible, but I looked happy. Never mind that my teeth looked yellow and I’m not going to lie that almost took the bloom off the selfie rose because, damn it, I’ve been using very expensive whitening toothpaste.

I choose to ignore my flaws and my jowls. What’s up with jowls sneaking up on your face? It’s like overnight I was suddenly related to Jabba the Hut. Last time I checked the beast was not on our family tree. Maybe ancestory.com doesn’t track relatives from other galaxies.

Whatever, I gave myself a jowl pep talk and after taking 20 more selfies discovered an enthusiastic smile was like jowl camouflage. Call me happy face because this girl’s going to be smiling a whole lot more and it will have nothing to do with my mood.

It didn’t take long for my family to notice that I was becoming Mrs. Selfie. My husband and son could care less, (full disclosure my son did ask me if I could be a little less obvious) but my teenaged daughter was mortified.

Breaking news – mothers aren’t allowed to take selfies.

I tried to explain to her that she needed to think of it as not so much her mother taking a selfie, but that I was entering an era of deep self-exploration.

Her reply to that was, “I didn’t think it was possible, but that creeps me out even more.”

This time I got to roll my eyes at her. As the vacation continued I became a flagrant selfie taker with absolutely no shame. It was liberating. I took selfies in the car (I got a really good one with my head out the window. Not to brag, but the lightening was excellent.) selfies on the ski slopes, selfies on the couch, selfies in front of a fireplace, selfie on top of a snow mound, selfies on a ski lift.

Sometimes I could even cajole my family to take a group selfie, but only if no one else was around to witness it. According to my daughter the only thing getting her through my selfie surge was the fact that I wasn’t posting any of them to social media because that would be “so wrong.”

I knew I had reached the selfie summit when I proudly announced to my family, over dinner, that I was going to publish a selfie coffee table book of our vacation. (I told you I was going full Kardashian). Two out of three family members began choking, another sat there, mouth agape. I can confess that publish maybe a misnomer because all I plan to do is make one of those photo books online that you can then print. Who cares, if all they were processing was selfie and publish. Their bad.

At the end of my vacation selfie splurge I felt invigorated. I had crushed it! I had taken the picture and then some. And now as I now scroll through all the selfies on my cell phone I don’t see a woman aging. I see a woman having a blast annoying her family.

What’s not to love about that?

 

Dear Snarky – Makeover Madness

Dear Snarky,

 My girlfriends and I are really angry over how a friend treated us. This friend dresses like a nun and as a gift to her we wanted to treat her to a surprise make over. She thought she was coming to my apartment for a movie and wine, but instead we plucked her eyebrows, fixed her hair, applied self tanner and put make up on her which she never uses. We also introduced her to a Spanx push up bra.

 When all this was going on she seemed okay, but then she started ghosting us. She didn’t answer our texts or phone calls. Finally she sent us a group text saying that we made her feel uncomfortable and hurt her feelings by criticizing her appearance

 Umm, really because we were trying to be good friends and now she’s being ungrateful. Should we tell her off or apologize to just get the whole mess over with?

 Signed, Make Over Madness

Dear Make Over,

 I get it. You and your friends think you have great taste (emphasis on the word think) and because of your stylish swagger believe that everyone should embrace your fashion aesthetic. But maybe you look like Snookie from her Jersey Shore days (sorry it was the self tanner comment that took me in that direction) and your friend has a very traditional appearance like the Duchess of Cambridge. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t look good. She just doesn’t look like you.

 Also did you ever consider that your friend maybe happy with her appearance? That she has no problem rocking the no make up look and that she likes to keep her chest, shall we say, a little less perky.

 You showed zero regard for what your friend wanted and were more about what you wanted – an ambush makeover. That’s good for a reality TV show, but no so awesome for maintaining a friendship. So yes, you most definitely need to apologize. And the next time you want to give someone a makeover fight the urge and take your next victim, oops sorry I meant friend, for a mani-pedi instead.    

*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 Mystery Of Motherhood

I have found a way to reach out to my deceased mother. It’s amazing. I feel like I’m actually with her. Sometimes I think I can even smell my mom’s Jean Patuou Joy perfume. No, I’m not spending time with a psychic, an Ouija board or any other kind of cosmic intervention. My journey to the great beyond is courtesy of the Hallmark Movie and Mysteries channel.

Don’t scoff, don’t shake your head in disbelief and don’t discount the power of Murder She Wrote and Columbo marathons to make me feel like I’m back home in Texas (circa late 70’s early 80’s) with the hum of the cranked AC almost as loud as the TV and my mom and I sipping ice tea with mint from the garden as we try to outwit TV’s master detectives.

My mother loved a good “who done it.”  She devoured mystery novels like I eat a chocolate fudge Bundt cake – in one sitting. My first chapter books were the Encyclopedia Brown – Boy Detective series. I still remember how proud she was of me when I solved The Case of the Missing Civil War Sword. After Encyclopedia Brown I graduated to Agatha Christie and my life was forever changed.

I was a teen with the hots for Hercule Poirot – Christie’s master detective. Poirot wasn’t exactly the stuff of a girl’s dreams. The character was a middle-aged, mustached, “egg shaped detective” from Belgium. Yet, I was smitten.

I’m not exaggerating while other girls my age were obsessed with the Partridge Family’s David Cassidy I was quoting Poirot.

It is the brain, the little gray cells on which one must rely. One must seek the truth within–not without.”

Is it any wonder my brother came to this close to being forced to be my prom date? I think not.

I still have every Agatha Christie book I ever read, but for some reason re-reading them doesn’t bring my mom back to me like settling into the Hallmark Movie and Mystery channel. I think it’s because watching those shows was a shared experience and my mother always, like within the first ten minutes, had figured who had done it and how they did it. It was impressive and my day, no my month, was made if I happened to blurt out before she did who the killer was.

Her detective chops also made her a mom who was hard to get anything over on. My brother called her a “human polygraph” You didn’t attempt to fib, white lie, hard core fabricate or spin a yarn of falsehoods. She knew in a nano second if you were “spouting untruths.”  It was a 100 percent wasted effort to do anything but be straight up with her.

One day she shared her secret to divining dishonesty. I was on the edge of our living room Scalamandre upholstered love seat all ears and ready for the truth bomb of my lifetime. Her reveal was, well, rather disappointing in it’s simplicity. My mother said, “to find the truth you have to learn to be quiet and listen.”

I gave her a look that said, “Ugh, that’s all you got.” She took one look at my disappointed face and gave me a “tsk, tsk.”

I never would have imagined those dozen words of maternal wisdom would have remained on an audio loop in my brain for the past 30 plus years and that they would have served me so well.

That’s the enduring power of motherhood. Your mom never really leaves you. I still feel like my mother is with me. Still gently prodding me to be better and even to this day I hear her telling me to sit up straight or in her words, “Hand to God child, you’re one slump away from getting a dowagers hump.”

And on those days when I really, really miss her I turn on Columbo and suddenly all is right with the world.

 

Dear Snarky – Help! My Husband Won’t Stop Farting

 I’m at the end of my rope in regards to my husband and his selfishness. He’s lactose intolerant, like officially diagnosed by a doctor as being allergic to dairy, yet he’s still eating ice cream to the tune of a couple of gallons a week. This has my man farting non-stop and I mean loud, smelly farts.

 I cannot begin to tell you how embarrassing this is. We were at Target yesterday and he was carpet-bombing the entire store. It’s so bad I don’t want to go out in public with him anymore. I’ve begged him to not eat ice cream if we are going out. He tells me farting is natural and I should just get over it and he won’t switch to lactose free ice cream because “it’s not as good.”

I’m at the point I want to tell him to choose between ice cream and me. Help me Snarky figure this out so I don’t want to murder my husband.

 Signed, The Non-Gassy Spouse

Dear Non Gassy,

You should without hesitation tell your husband it’s me or ice cream sweetheart because while farting is a natural bodily function it’s gross to consistently free range fart in a public setting.  Furthermore, the fact that he’s gorging himself on gallons of ice cream when he knows the end result will be fartopia is just all kinds of wrong. 

For the love of Gas Ex I don’t understand how a grown man feels okay walking around expelling noxious fumes without a care in the world? And even if he doesn’t give a flip about it since he’s your husband he should care about you and your feelings. 

 So go ahead girlfriend and throw down the ultimatum. Your husband needs a wake up call or else your marriage is going to be a rocky road and I’m not talking about the ice cream flavor.

*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.

Do I Suck At Being A Mother? ( Deep Thoughts At the Grocery Store)

I think I may be a bad mother. No, correction I think I may be considered a bad mother if you apply 21st century suburban perimeters to my parenting skills. Okay, I’m going to change that again because this admitting you’re a bad mother thing is hard. I’m a bad mother, but only in regards to the teenage years.

I’m sure you’re wondering how I came to this watershed event of questioning my parenting greatness. It happened at the grocery store. Yeah, the flipping grocery store. There I was trying to decide if I wanted to buy the classic Cheez It or the new Cheez It Bacon and Cheese duo, which is quite the taste sensation, but you feel a tad greasy and a smidge shameful after eating them. So, as I was reaching for the Bacon and Cheese Cheez It (Of course, I decided the greasy shame would be worth it.) two mothers that I know strolled into the same aisle. As moms do we started talking about our kids and that’s when it hit me.

I stink at motherhood.

These moms, who both did not have carts with any processed snack foods, began rhapsodizing about all the things they were planning on doing to ensure their teens last summer before they graduate high school would be “magical.” Instead of nodding my head and just rolling with the conversation I had to open my mouth and blurt out, “My definition of a magical teen summer is making sure my kids get  jobs that run June through August.”

This was not the right thing to say. I got “THE LOOK” x 2. Any mom knows what the look is. It’s a judgmental side eye delivered by another mother that’s accompanied with the slow burn of sanctimony.

At first I was confused. What did I say that was wrong? Summer jobs and teenagers go together like bacon and cheese infused into a cracker. It’s a good thing – right? Well apparently not because according to these moms by making my children work I was “robbing them of memories.”

Oh how I wished they hadn’t gone there. I’m not a memory mom. A long time ago I took a pledge to not base my parenting and every moment of my life ensuring my kids would be living in their own personal fairy tale thus ensuing a childhood resplendent with momentous memories. Sorry, but I have/had no interest in raising a prince or princess. Primarily because for that happen you have to be their servant. I took a firm pass on that job.

For a brief moment I thought about defending myself and then just accepted that in these moms eyes I was a bad parent. It hurt a little. No mother wants anyone to think she’s failing at raising her children. I, adroitly as I could, made an excuse to leave that conversation and hauled over to the frozen food section.

As I stared at the Eggo chocolate chip waffles I had a moment of deep reflection. Had I made a mistake by years ago not embracing the “memory mom” movement? Would my kids look back on their childhood and shudder because I never packed their lunch boxes with food origamied and styled to look like Cinderella’s castle? Seriously, I was Smuckers Uncrustable mom. Good Lord, the horrors of eating a sandwich that wasn’t sculpted into Thomas the Tank Engine.

I got so upset I had to lean my head against the cold glass doors of the freezer section for relief. Then one of the memory moms walked by and she was on her phone. It sounded like she was having a fight with one of her kids. I stood up, held my head high, and thought that’s the problem with parenting in Fantasy Land, no matter what, reality always finds a way to creep in.

Dear Snarky – Poop Problems

Dear Snarky,

 What should I do? My neighbor has not one but THREE dogs. I know what you are thinking, “Oh, they probably bark a lot!” No, they POOP a lot and in my backyard too! The neighbor just lets them run free, do their business and come back inside.

 Nope, she is not out there watching if they go number 2 or not. Now, my backyard is a minefield of doggy doo. It seems like collecting the piles and leaving them on her doorstep would not be neighborly. What would you do?

 Sincerely, Steaming Mad

 PS- I don’t hate dogs, I have two of them myself. I just hate the inconsiderate humans that manage them.

Dear Steaming,

 Ugh, it’s a tale as old as time – people not policing their dog’s poop. And this is even worse because you know it’s a neighbor who is so flagrantly flaunting, in your very face, her “I don’t care attitude” in regards to decent behavior.

 This is why I feel you have to deploy the nuclear option – public shaming. Yep, you need to create a sign and put it up in your backyard for several days so your neighbor can’t help but see it. The sign should say:  “I know whose 3 dogs are using my yard as their bathroom and as a neighborhood courtesy you need to pick up after your dogs.”

 This will do three things – all positive.

 1) Start a neighborhood conversation about dog poop picking up.

2) Put any non dog poop picker upper on high alert 

3) Let your neighbor know that you’re on to her and it needs to stop.

 Now, you might be saying – “Yikes, this seems harsh.” But if your neighbor wanted to be your friend, or had even the slightest good manners, she wouldn’t have let her dogs daily abuse use your yard by making it a public toilet. It’s time, in this situation, for you to poop or get off the pot.    

*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.

Take A Guess What The “Average” Wedding Costs

I’m lucky to be alive. A couple of days ago I thought, for sure, I was about surrender my mortal coil. I was driving on I-35 and came this close to death. It was totally operator error on my part. Yet it wasn’t due to distracted driving because I wasn’t looking at my phone or even talking on it. I was listening to the radio when a news report mentioned that the cost of an average wedding is now 40 grand. 40-flipping-thousand dollars! That statement severely sidetracked my brain so much I almost didn’t notice that traffic was coming to a stand still.

Please everyone try to wrap your brain around that fact that people are spending $40,000 for an AVERAGE wedding. What qualifies as above average – a reception with an open bar and martini station on Mars?

When you do the math that figure becomes even more staggering. Let’s say the average wedding lasts six hours (and that’s being generous by two) so this means you’re spending almost $7,000 an hour on your wedding. Now factor in the fact the 40 to 50 percent of all marriages fail and your return on investment on that forty grand is dismal.

I told myself the radio news report must be flawed with sub par research and that made me feel better for a hot minute. Then local wedding planners started calling in and sharing that $40,000 was a “sort of okay” to “mediumish budget” and that a “decent” reception venue is upwards of $10,000 and that doesn’t include anything extra like food or booze. We’re talking just four walls, tables and chairs.

But wait, it gets worse. It’s not the parents footing the bill for most weddings. It’s the couple. Where are these young people getting that kind of cash and why do they feel the need to fete themselves to the tune of 40 K? (And two words for you – student loans. As in have you paid off your student loans before you drop a couple of years worth of college tuition on your wedding?)

This AMAM (advanced middle-aged mom) has the answer. Okay, not an answer exactly, but I have a theory about why we have this whacked out “average” wedding cost – social media. (Long time readers know that social media is my go to for almost any problem. I suggest you don’t question it and just assume I’m correct.)

I believe, no scratch that, I know that weddings have become an Olympic sport. The competition to be the couple that has the best nuptial celebration is fierce. And the judging happens on social media with the wedding picture palooza throw down.

Lucky for the world at large this problem solving AMAM has a solution. If the wedding is all about the pictorial splendor you’re sharing on social media than I say ditch the reception and rent some green screens. This would allow the couple and their bridal party to stand in front of a green screen and have the photographer digital overlay anything they want.

The love birds exchanging vows in front of a 13th century castle in Scotland– no problem. The bride throwing her bouquet off a yacht in a tropical paradise– done. The reception taking place at the Palace of Versailles – fait accompli.  

 The magic of green screens would allow any couple to have an “vintage” reception in the church fellowship hall with cake, punch and everyone’s favorite wedding candy, pastel Jordan almonds, for a couple of grand. Then for social media accolades they can green screen it up and share their faux wedding. I’ll leave it totally up to the newlyweds if they want to mention that the pictures of them in a gondola in Venice are “digitally enhanced.”

But you know what would be real? You would be legally married and it you wouldn’t have cost you $40,000. That’s the wedding gift that keeps on giving.