Dear Snarky – My Cousin Borrowed My Clothes and Then Sold Them Online

Dear Snarky,

 My cousin and I have been best friends since we were little. We were born three days apart and a lot of people think we’re twins. Now we’re both 25 and still close.

The  problem is that my cousin borrows my clothes all the time. I usually don’t mind as long as I get them back. Lately, she hasn’t been returning them even when I ask her over and over again. I even went to her house to get my clothes back. Her mom (my aunt) helped me look for 30 minutes and we couldn’t find them.

 A couple of days later I’m on a *popular internet resale clothing site and see what I’m sure are my clothes being sold! They’re all name brands that people want like Lululemon and the name the seller was using is my cousin’s nickname so that’s all the proof I needed.

 I want to confront my cousin and I want the money she made from selling my clothes. What is the best way to do this? My mom thinks I need to do it in front of family so I have witnesses.

 Signed,

 Ripped Off

(*Snarky note: I have removed the name of the resale clothing site from the letter and replaced it with “popular internet clothing site.”)

Dear Ripped, Off,

 Whoa, that’s a brazen move by your cousin. Did she think you were just going to forget about the clothes she borrowed?

 The big issue you’re going to have in a confrontation is that your cousin is going to deny that she’s selling your clothes online and she’s going to ask you to prove it. That’s not going to be easy.

 Problem: 1 – The sites don’t list the sellers real name.

 Problem 2 – Even if you were to buy let’s say a pair of your Lululemon leggings back from what you think is your cousin’s listings it would be very difficult to prove that they were yours.

 This means I would stay totally away from going down the rocky path of accusing your cousin of selling your clothes on the Internet. It’s just going to detour into a shit show where your cousin will play the victim card and you’ll end up being the bad guy for accusing her of stealing. If your goal is to get your clothes back I suggest another route.

 Taking your mom’s advice, I would, with some witnesses present, very politely give your cousin a list of clothing she has borrowed and request (or demand based on how the list goes over) all the items back in 48 hours.

 I would also tell her that if you don’t have all your clothing back in that time frame she will need to reimburse you and you have included the price of each article of clothing she has borrowed from you.

 Are you going to get all your clothes back? Probably not. Hopefully, you will get some of the clothes returned and maybe a little bit of money.

 Sadly, what you’re not going to get back is your relationship with your cousin. It’s going to take a long time to recover from a family member blatantly stealing from you. Going forward I would continue to be very wary of this cousin.

 .

 

 

 

 

Cheez-It Parenting in an Extreme Parenting World

Help, I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole and I can’t get out. Worse, I don’t even know if I want to get out which is quite frankly embarrassing because I feel like I’m in the  ”Real Housewives” of rabbit holes. By that I mean I’m staying in it because on some level it makes me feel a smidge superior.

You know just like when you watch an episode of the “Real Housewives of New York” and you think to yourself, “Well, here I am sitting on my sofa stuffing my face with handfuls of Toasty Cheez-Its while trying not to get orange Cheez-It residue on the seven loads of laundry I’m folding and also hoping that I can soon garner the strength to investigate an iffy smell in my  basement. But hey, at least I’ve never done something as vulgar as throw a drink in someone’s face while riding in a limo.”

Drawing me in deeper is that this rabbit hole has some stellar parental humble bragging. Go ahead and judge but I love to witness a good humble brag in all its audacity, shamelessness, and over the top glory.

The rabbit hole also features another one of my favorite things – the know it all parent. This fusion of pomposity teamed with humble bragging is like a value size box of Toasty Cheez-It – I can’t not partake.

Please note this hole I find myself unable/unwilling to extricate myself from I didn’t even seek out. A friend, without my permission mind you, added me to a Facebook group and down, down I went. I’m currently daily gobsmacked by the postings on the “Unofficial University Parent Collective” for my daughter’s college.

To confuse you further I’m a late bloomer to this group. My daughter will be a junior in college and I’ve just been introduced to this gem. I don’t know whether to be sad or glad about that. A part of me is a bit bereft that I spent the last two years without being able to wallow in the wonder of this forum.

The current hot topic is parents asking other parents about what classes and professors their kids should take. The parents in the know are responding with in-depth missives combined with assorted humble brags on their child’s genius by stating that the information that is being offered is based on their kid’s “need for exceptional academic rigor.”

This leaves me with so many questions. Topping the list is are these parents going to class with their adult children because how else could they know so much about the inner workings of a certain professor’s teaching style, homework, grading scale and exam schedule?

To be honest I didn’t know that much about my children’s middle school classes. At some point you have to let the micromanaging go. But the bigger head scratcher is what kid at 18 plus years old would allow his parents that much access into the inner workings of his or her college existence?

Should I be jealous, impressed or mystified? I’m choosing to be mystified because I don’t think I want to live in a world where I know my 20 year old’s homework schedule.

Scenarios like this are what’s keeping me firmly entrenched in the Facebook group. I can’t stop reading the posts. It’s a journey to a land of extreme uber parenting. Meanwhile, I’m the Cheez-It parent just along for the spectacle of it all.

I know I need to stop but someone just posted asking what professors are open to communicating directly with parents and sorry but I’m going back in. I have a feeling some epic humble brag bombs about to be dropped.

Dear Snarky – Pool Protocol, the Office Ass & the Family Slacker

I’ve received a couple of Dear Snarky letters that deserve an answer – a short answer. So, I’ve decided to do one of my favorite things – “Snarky in Seconds.” This means I’ll be answering a couple of letters but forgoing my usual in-depth analysis.

READY, SET, SNARKY!

Dear Snarky,

My neighbors are trying to take advantage of our pool. Since a lot of the local pools are closed this summer because of the coronavirus I’ve had people I barely know hinting for an invitation to come over and swim.

I find this very rude and I don’t like being putting on the spot. Also, if the public pools are closed why would I want my pool full of people?

Signed, My Pool is for Family Only

Dear My Pool,

 Wait, did my neighbor write this about me? Because I want to come over and swim. You know when I first read this I thought lighten up and invite one to two people over for a social distance splish splash. But it’s your pool and you can do exactly what you want. I also understand your fear of having two people come for a swim and then it morphs to 10.

I will caution you though to be ready for some splash back from your friends and neighbors. Your reluctance to issue a swim invite may come back and bite you. In other words don’t need a favor from any of these peeps in the near future.

 Dear Snarky,

Our office has opened up for employees to come back to work but one woman in the office has decided to extend working from home due to some “chronic health concerns.” Well, based on her Instagram she’s not doing much work. I’m thinking of showing her posts to our boss because why should I be back in the office while she’s in her backyard gardening.

Signed, Not Fair

Dear Not Fair,

Unless you have been appointed supreme guardian of the workforce mind your own business. Maybe this woman got up at 4 in the morning and started her work day or maybe the social media posts are from the weekend. Whatever is going on stay out of it. Being the office busy body is not a good look.

Dear Snarky,

How do I tell my sister to stop bragging about all she got done during the quarantine? She’s seriously turned it into a competition. Good for her that she retiled her bathroom and painted half her house. I even told that but she’s now acting like I’m lazy because I “got nothing done.”

Signed,Not a Slacker

Dear Not a Slacker,

 Your sister sounds a tad annoying. Just because you didn’t go all home makeover during the lock down doesn’t mean you weren’t doing stuff. Tell her while she was grouting tile you were focusing on more intellectual pursuits and working to improve your mind.

Needless to say, she doesn’t need to know that perhaps those pursuits were watching Netflix. But hopefully she’ll get the message to get over herself.

Also, it’s your sister so can’t you just tell her to shut up? I know I would.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – advice with an attitude – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com. 😉

 

 

 

Hands Down on this Display of Affection

I’m going to straight up admit I’m a stalker. But, I’d like to think I’m a stalker with a certain level of panache. This means I don’t stalk my children because in a word – boring. It’s so expected that it has no appeal for me. I prefer to stalk strangers.

Yes, I know this sounds super creepy, perhaps even a “Dateline” episode in the making, so let me explain.

I consider myself a keen observer of human behavior so when I see something that makes me go, “hmm.” I feel it is my duty to investigate. Not investigate by getting all up in people’s business but to observe and think deeply as is befitting a scholar on social interaction.

For example, earlier this month when it was almost 100 degrees with a humidity level so out of control that I felt as if my entire body was being brined in liquid Pepto-Bismol I observed a couple that seemed to be middle age-ish holding hands while power walking in my neighborhood.

My first reaction was yuck. The sheer act of holding hands would be a squishy, high moisture endeavor. It would also take some effort.

The weather wasn’t conducive to any form of lackadaisical hand holding. Thanks to humidity being our new overlord holding hands in this swamp fire would require some serious gripping.

I decided the only course of action I had was to follow, stalk, shadow (go ahead and pick your favorite verb) this couple. My curiosity as to why anyone would willingly hold hands was overriding my extreme discomfort of extending my time out in the heat.

So, off I went, keeping a discreet distance behind them while being amazed that they never let go of each other’s hands. Meanwhile, my hands were busy constantly using my T-shirt to wipe sweat off my face.

I was perspiring so much I didn’t even care that the act of using the bottom of my shirt to soak up my face sweat was exposing my flab rolls which haven’t seen sun in probably three decades.

Because I’m no amateur stalker I was also timing this outing and at 15 minutes in this couple had yet to release their hands. It could have been heat exhaustion causing some sort of delirium, because this is about the time I started singing, “I Want to Know What Love Is” by Foreigner.

I was full on belting out, “I want to know what love is, I want you to show me!”

The reason for this solo musical performance is because I was imagining that this couple must have some great love story. What other reason could there be for the obsessive hand holding?

Then I started feeling sorry for myself – again probably sun stroke related – that I couldn’t imagine a love so great where I would want to hold anyone’s hand while walking in this festering combo platter of 98 degrees with a side of soggy.

At 20 minutes into my stalking caper I had to give up. The couple were still hand in hand and yet I was fully saturated in sweat and crying from the sunscreen that was waving the white flag of surrender and now melting into my eyes.

When I finally got back to my house red faced and near collapse resembling someone who had clawed their way out of a bog I immediately asked my husband if he wanted to go outside and hold hands. He looked at me and said, “That’s a solid no.”

This made me happy because my stalking had taught me that there is perhaps no greater love than someone who shares your feelings about humidity infused hand holding.

When Road Construction Gives You Home Improvement Flashbacks

Every time I drive down a street near my home that has been eviscerated by road construction I visibly shudder. It’s been a construction hot mess for more than a year. For me it’s the equivalent of a kitchen remodel that took a tragic turn.

I’ve survived my share of home renovations projects and there’s nothing like a “little kitchen update” to threaten your mental health, your marriage and your finances. Looking back, it all started out so innocently. I was so full of hope, so focused on the future, so excited about being the master of my domain in a gleaming, updated kitchen.

But then the kitchen “refresh” that started off so promising quickly detoured into the land of panic and angst when possible mold issues were discovered, and we were told our house was apparently being held up by toothpicks and one wrong move or clap of thunder could bring it tumbling down.

This was my one and only kitchen remodel and it was so long ago “classy” laminate countertops were still a thing. But, after surviving that fiasco (Where the contractor was the husband of my son’s elementary school principal. So, yeah brilliant move on my part. ) I vowed never again.

Because never again do I want to be afraid to answer my phone or walk through my front door and hear, “Mrs. Kuehl, we have a problem we didn’t anticipate.”

“Didn’t anticipate” means one thing and one thing only – that you’re going to be washing dishes in your bathtub for another two months while fearing financial ruin.

Memories like this is why I get a case of the heebie jeebies while dodging cones on the entrance to my neighborhood. I imagine that back in April of last year the city public works department was fearless and optimistic about this renovation. But like my kitchen gut job from long ago things didn’t go as planned.

To be sure it’s a big project. Storm sewers are being replaced which in kitchen reno parlance means a gut job. Then you have to put in new curbs, asphalt, sidewalks etc. Now, more than 13 months later it looks better but again in kitchen speak it appears that they’re waiting on the cabinets to be installed and I have a feeling those might be on back order.

This means drivers are still participating in the fun filled games of “construction cone connect a dot” and “What way can we drive on the road today? Northbound, southbound or not at all?”

That said, I have nothing but respect for all the people that have worked on this project. They have been busting it for months. In fact, I’ve driven by them so often I feel like we’ve established a personal connection.

I also want to give the public works department a social distancing hug. Why? Because I remember how I felt during my kitchen remodel (chest pains coupled with a nervous breakdown) and I imagine overseeing a construction task like this has to be a million times worse.

Here’s hoping that when the project is finally done there’s some kind of celebration. At the very least we should have a car parade. All of us joyously honking our horns as we drive down the street exuberantly and, at long last , using all the lanes.

Dear Snarky – I Don’t Want to Share My Wedding Dress

Dear Snarky,

My brother’s fiancée has asked to borrow my bridal gown for her wedding next year. I recently got married and to be honest I don’t want her to wear my dress. We’re not even close to the same size. (She’s petite and I’m 5’10) . Plus, my dress was super expensive and one-of-a-kind. It was designed just for me. I’m emotionally attached to it so I can’t even think about someone else wearing it.

I’m also still extremely angry that this woman tried on my dress without permission. My gown is being stored at my parents’ house and when she was at their home alone with my brother she put it one AND posted pictures on Instagram!

For that and many other reasons I don’t like her. She’s very materialistic and super needy. My parents are also picking up vibes that she and her mother mistakenly thought /hoped that my mom and dad would be picking up the tab for her dream wedding or at least helping out with costs and that’s not happening. As my dad puts he’s still recovering from my wedding and my sister’s.

How do I tell my brother’s fiancée that she can’t borrow my dress without causing some big scene or making everyone feel uncomfortable? Most of all I don’t want my brother to be caught in the middle.

Signed, Not Sharing

Dear Not Sharing,

Let’s break this down.

  1. Your brother is already stuck in the middle of all of this so that ship has sailed.

2. You have every right in the world to tell your possible sister-in-law NO she can’t borrow your wedding dress. I suggest going with some subterfuge in an effort to keep the drama at a minimum. Be very straight forward with her and say, “I’m flattered you asked but I’m saving it for my future daughter to wear someday.”

3. Even if this isn’t your plan, as in maybe you don’t even want kids, I’m going to recommend going with this because it’s hard to argue with someone’s desire to save their bridal gown solely for their child.

4. DO NOT feel the need to explain yourself any further and if she tries to pick a fight with you or have your brother guilt trip you – stay firm. Your plan is saving your dress for a future daughter. She’s not your daughter so end of discussion.

Lastly, this woman lost her chance at “borrowing” anything of yours when she tried your bridal gown on without permission and posted pictures on social media. That was a BOLD move infused with many warning signs. Hopefully, your brother saw flashing lights saying “don’t do it” because I have a feeling this wedding may not make it to the altar and if it does – watch out.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – advice with an attitude – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com. 😉

 

 

Home Alone (But Not For Long Enough)

It has been 77 days. 77 long, long days. But it has finally happened. I’m alone in my home. Blissfully alone.

Ah, the sounds of silence because what I’m not hearing is someone on a Zoom call or in a Zoom class or in the kitchen yelling, “Who ate all the Doritos?”

This feeling I’m experiencing is close to euphoria. At long last the house is all mine. As someone who has worked from home for more than a decade the influx of other humans, albeit family members, into my daily workspace has been extremely annoying.

Gone was my routine of working in uninterrupted quiet. Instead I got to enjoy my husband on Zoom calls for literally nine hours a day. It got so bad I put Post It notes in his home office that asked: Could this Zoom meeting have been an email?

My daughter’s college Zoom classes were less annoying because I began crushing on one of her college professors. Whenever I heard this man’s voice I would stop what I was doing and began eavesdropping on her class. This professor has the most delicious vocal cadence. It was equal parts soothing and yet with a certain impish quality I couldn’t get enough of.

My daughter upon noticing me lurking become annoyed and a “little bit creeped out” by my “obsession” with her professor and started shutting her door during her Zoom classes. When I found myself covertly listening in I had to admit she might be right. Maybe it was an obsession.

An obsession I was perfectly fine with because hey, it’s a pandemic. A girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do and this man’s voice was lowering my blood pressure.

Another thing that was most irritating was how much my family disrespected my work zone. It didn’t matter what I was doing they would wander in and out of my office all day. Most of the time their interruptions were for trivial issues like, “Do you think you can get this stain out?”

By all means come on in and disturb my work, which is usually deadline sensitive, to discuss your laundry concerns. The bigger problem here is I’m a sucker for laundry remediation. If someone shows me a stain I’m immediately all in duel wielding OxiClean and Shout.

This means my normally quiet and orderly workday became one of stops and start as if I were in a bumper car with a laptop.

Then there was the issue of the Internet being a diva. With all the assorted Zoom and Google meetings it was almost impossible for me to get a sustained signal. Also, I was apparently low human on the totem pole because my need for any connectivity was superseded by everyone else in the family

This led to me literally loitering outside a McDonalds’s, parking my car as close as I could to the building, and suckling at the teat of their internet. By the way, three words I never thought I would use in the same sentence – McDonalds, suckling and teat.

What’s that? Wait a minute. I hear something. Is that my garage door opening? Is my husband home? How can this be? He’s only been gone three hours. I haven’t even had one of my celebratory “Yay I’m alone” cupcakes.

“Why are you back?” I demanded in a very curt voice.

He sighs and shares that the air conditioner at his office is broken and it’s, “probably close to 90 degrees in there.”

Before I have to chance to tell him to grab a fan and go back he’s sprinting upstairs, yelling, “I can’t talk. I’ve got a Zoom meeting.”

Noooooo!

Dear Snarky – When a Grad Party Cancellation Gets F-Bomby

Dear Snarky,

I’m so angry at my family! My daughter’s very small high school graduation party was scheduled for this weekend and now I’ve had to cancel it because so many of my family members are idiots. They’re not following any of the coronavirus rules and my brother and his girlfriend were at that packed Lake of the Ozarks pool party.

I sent out an email telling them that “due to their behavior” the grad party was off for the foreseeable future. O.M.G. the responses I got back were ridiculous. My brother even cursed at me, like the F word cursing.

I need your help because right now I hate my family. How come they just couldn’t say something like, “Okay, can’t wait till it’s rescheduled?” Or, “Keep us posted.” But instead I get pot shots at my intelligence, and F bombs.

I plan on emailing them back and letting them all know I didn’t appreciate their reaction. What is the best thing to say to get my point across?

Signed, Still in Shock

Dear Shock,

It times like this that we have to look inward at our own actions and think, “Hmm, is there a different way I could have worded that party cancellation email? And as I’m sure you already know the answer to that question is yes.

Because you seem like a smart person I’m going to conjecture that you took great delight in calling your family out on their actions. You had to know that by sending that email that cast aspersions on their behavior you were going to stir up some drama.

Come on, you can’t act all innocent and hurt feelings now when you knew something like this was bound to happen. That said, you have every right to cancel the grad party and based on what you told me it was probably in the best interest of public health to do so.

But you could have channeled your inner Miss Manners and said that due to ever present current Covid-19 concerns you have decided to postpone the party for a later date.

As for emailing family members back that were jerks – just don’t. It’s not worth your time and since emotions seem to be running very high I fear it might result in more cursing and name calling. I will suggest that when you do have the grad party that you take the road less traveled – the high road – and show your family the type of gracious behavior you wish they would emulate.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – advice with an attitude – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com. 😉

 

Bored In Dream Land

I’m not a dreamer. Yes, I have dreams as in hopes and wishes but as far as dreaming while I sleep I’ve never been someone who remembers my dreams and then likes to start a morning conversation with, “You are not going to believe the dream I had last night.”

Yes, I know everyone dreams while they sleep. Some studies show that at least two hours of our nightly slumber is dream filled. The fact that I can’t remember my dreams used to bother me because I was certain that my nocturnal musings were probably epic. After all, I have a very active wide-awake imagination so I just assumed that my dreams while snoozing would be that times a million.

I was shattered to recently discover that I’m a boring dreamer. Yes, I’ve begun to remember some of my dreams and all I can say is that they’re beyond dull. My dreams are like the guest at a party that you try to avoid because you don’t want to be trapped talking to the most uninteresting person in the room.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but my dreams hurt my feelings. Who wants to have dreams that are about as exciting as your Target shopping list? Also, and more importantly, I’m insulted that my slumbering brain is so unimaginative. It’s not that I want nightmares but come on my brain should be doing better than recipe dreams.

Yes, that’s right I’m dreaming about recipes. I would be okay with that if my recipe dreams included some excitement like I was a pastry diva or master chef. Also, technically I’m not even dreaming about actual recipes. I’m dreaming about recipe websites.

Am I okay?

Really, am I because whose imagination when given free range stagnates on recipe websites? Oh, and it gets worse because these dreams are a little angry. I wake up mad and it’s not because I wasted dreamtime on websites. It’s because the recipe websites are lacking in the speedy delivery of recipes.

If this doesn’t make sense to you let me explain that a plethora of cooking blog/recipe purveyor websites seem to attach a novella to every single recipe. This means you have to scroll through about 3,000 words before you get to what you’re looking for – the actual ingredients and instructions.

Worse, those 3,000 words have nothing whatsoever to do with cooking. If I search online for the “best lemon pie” chances are before I get to the recipe I’ll have to endure a mood piece about the emotions the pie evoked because the color of the custard reminded the baker of a bridesmaid dress she wore in 1998.

Honestly, no one googling “lemon pie” cares about the tales of a bridesmaid. (Although a dress the color of a good lemon curd does sounds like a winner.)  Most people just want the recipe.

I most especially want to see the recipe if I’m standing in the baking aisle of the grocery store with a mask on that’s fogging up my readers as I search on my phone for lemon pie ingredients.

I talked to a friend about my boring dreams that leave me angry and she said to blame it on the pandemic. Her theory is that my virus anxiety is manifesting itself into drab dreams that reflect our collective state of boredom and that my anger being directed at the recipes is actually towards the coronavirus.

She might be right, but honestly upon further reflection I think my subconscious is telling me, “Girl, you really need to get a life.” As for my irritability well who wouldn’t be a little steamed about having to endure online ramblings about the “bridal luminosity” of lemon custard?

 

Dear Snarky – I Feel Like My Friends Are Gaslighting Me

Dear Snarky,

 I think I have flushed some longstanding friendships down the toilet. One of my friends was driving me absolutely crazy by whining nonstop on social media, group texts etc about how hurt and devastated she was that her 11-year-old son didn’t have his 5th grade graduation.

 She literally wouldn’t shut up about it. A couple of days ago I couldn’t take it anymore, so I told her in a group text that no one really cares about a 5th grade graduation that lasts 30 minutes and takes place in the cafeteria. I also said she needs to get woke to the fact that she was doing more whining than seniors in high school and college who were really missing out on graduation.

 I knew she would get mad at me for pointing out the obvious but what really angered me is that after I sent that text friends in the group text called me and were thanking me for “finally saying what needed to be said” BUT then they didn’t have my back and in another group text were calling me out for “being mean.”

 I felt like I was being gaslighted and right now I’m confused. Are any of these women my actual friends? Why all this playing both sides B.S.?

 Signed, Defriended

Dear Defriended,

 These women suck. All of them. To begin with they knew exactly what they were doing by calling you on the phone and not texting you. The phone call doesn’t exactly leave the evidence trail a text does. If you say, “But on the phone you told me that you agreed with me.” They can respond with, “I never said that” or “You got what I said mixed up.”

 This proves that the phone calls were calculated and that their plan all along was to play both sides which is super lame.

 As for the whiny mom going on and on about her kid missing out on a 5th grade graduation well at best she was tone deaf and at worst she’s a moron. You need to be very careful what you complain about right now. If in the middle of a pandemic your family is healthy and you’re able to pay your bills you should count yourself very, very, lucky.

 I don’t want to dismiss this mom’s sadness about a 5th grade milestone but if that’s the worst thing that has happened to you these last few months then gratitude is in order.

 In fact, I applaud you for telling your friend to get some perspective. Perhaps, you might have not done it in a group text and been a tad more diplomatic, but what’s done is done and the woman sounds annoying as hell so hey, maybe delivering some unfiltered honesty was what was needed.

 Right now, I advise taking a break from all these women for a little while and really think about if you want friends that have problems taking a stand and more importantly being honest. I personally think you can do better.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – advice with an attitude – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com. 😉