Dear Snarky – Coronavirus as a Halloween Costume

Dear Snarky,

I want to punch the father of my son right in the face. We share a two-year-old boy. Up to this point everything has been fine with custody and creating a loving environment for him. Both my ex and I were in agreement on almost everything related to our son.

Then out of the blue I get a text from him asking for my permission to let our son go in a coronavirus costume that his girlfriend “made out of felt for Halloween.”

WHAT!!!!

Apparently, my son’s father has a new girlfriend and this woman wants to go as a “sexy nurse” and my ex is going as a bottle of hand sanitizer.

I was off the charts livid. My baby boy as the coronavirus – Are. You. Kidding. Me? It’s tasteless and tone deaf. Our son is not a “Saturday Night Live” skit.

How can I stop this because even if I say no this could still happen?

Signed, Out of My Mind Angry

Dear Out of My Mind,

Okay, like is this even real? I’m thinking this can’t be real. There can’t be a human on planet Earth that is dumb enough to think a toddler in a coronavirus costume is even the tiniest bit appropriate.

Do we dress as a cancer cell for Halloween? Hell no. Do we wear an Alzheimer gene costume on October 31?  Again hell no. The whole thing is depraved and shows zero sensitivity to the suffering the world has gone through.

There is though some hope. The fact that your ex texted you and asked for your permission might  be his way of saying “help me make sure this doesn’t happen.”

My guess is he wants you to be the bad guy and throw a huge fit so he can tell his girlfriend that you threatened legal action if your baby is in that costume.

Oh yeah, because that’s exactly what I would do – tell your ex if a coronavirus costume even comes within five feet of your son you will talk to your lawyer regarding taking legal action concerning his parenting decision making process.

Hopefully, that will shut down the worst costume idea in the history of Trick-or-Treat and bonus maybe it will scare off this new girlfriend as well.

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

Zoom Meeting Personality Profiles

Seven months ago, I had never heard of Zoom. No, that’s not entirely true. As a child of the 70s I was familiar with “Zoom” and by that I mean the PBS kids show.

Back in the day I was all about “Come on and zooma, zooma, zooma-Zoom!”

I was so into it I begged my mother to let me try out to be a “Zoom Kid.” My pleas were met with one of her signature eye rolls as she took a drag on her Winston Light 100’s cigarette because again it was the 70s.

But this current Zooming we’re all doing was not something I’d ever experienced until the pandemic. Now, I feel like a Zoom veteran. I know this because my Zoom familiarity has morphed into me attaching monikers to almost everyone I interact with on my computer screen.

In my time spent on Zoom I broke down what I think are the five basic personality types that you can expect to find on any multi person computer screen meeting.

My least favorite is the “Pivoter.” This Zoomer after 210 days is still all about letting you know that you have to be agile and open to change.

Yeah, we get it. This is the new normal so you can hop off your pivot soap box. We’re all pivoting. If I pivot anymore I might pass out from dizziness.

The biggest downside to the “Pivoter” is that they seem more focused on pontificating about change than actually doing any what’s that called? Oh yeah, work.

Next is the Zoom “Poser.” This person seems like the employee of the month. He or she is attentive, is actually sitting up straight and appears to be wearing a shirt that’s not wrinkled.

This person also is a busy bee taking lots of notes on a secondary laptop. What you don’t know is that the Poser is actually barely listening and doing work that the Zoom meeting is sucking time from.

The telltale sign of a “Poser” is when asked a question they will ask you to “please repeat it” because there was some “internet drop out on their end” to disguise that they were barely engaged in the meeting.

The “Glamour Zoomer gets nothing but respect from me. Mainly because I admire anyone who does a full groom for a Zoom meeting. I don’t think I’ve fully brushed my hair since March 14.

These people not only go all out in the use of cosmetics but also have a ring light rig to assure that they’re looking their optimum on screen. They’ve also placed their computer on a stack of books to ensure they’re not looking “double chinny.”

The worst Zoomer has to be the “Comedian.” Aren’t Zoomers suffering enough having to endure a meeting that is hitting the two-hour mark? Does anyone really need it prolonged by witless zingers and jokes so lame they can’t even live up to the subterrain chuckle standards of a dad joke?

Here’s my public service announcement for the day. If you’re not funny in person you will be tragically not hilarious during a Zoom meeting.

Rounding out my Zoom personality profile is the “Constant Commenter.” This person has never met a meeting they didn’t like. Not only can they now easily dominate the on-screen conversation by talking over you but they’ve also brought gifts in the form of multiple PowerPoints.

This is when your only option for survival is to pull the plug on your internet and plead at home connectivity issues.

For the record I’m not saying I’ve ever done this. I’m just saying it works.

Hike or Murder?

You never really think it’s going to happen to you. Sure, you’ve seen movies and TV shows about it and even probably read your share of books focused on the topic. But seriously, what woman thinks her husband is actively trying to kill her?

It all started with a hike. This hike was described to me by my husband as a way to escape the pandemic and commune with the wilderness. Well, consider me sold. I was up for it and  excited about traipsing through the forest.

What I didn’t know was that this hike was in reality a death march.

When we arrived at the hiking path I was raring to go until I read an extensive warning sign at the entrance to the trail. It was full on doom and gloom.

I soon began to feel more than a little apprehensive. The sign even stated that before beginning the hike you needed to have on your person “10 essential items” from a compass to a first aid kit. We had one single thing on the list and that was water. There was also a bear caution poster that told you to “think like a bear.”

Hmm, not a bear but if I was one I believe my thought process would be, “My that human looks tasty.” Not to brag but I consider my plump body a most excellent bear meal or at the very least a lovely and abundant appetizer.

After reading all the signage I was ready to hike alright – back to the car.

But my husband assured me we would be bear aware and if we stayed on the trail it would be fine. Because I naively trusted him, based on decades of marriage, off we went.

For the first 10 minutes the trail was well defined and then it quickly morphed into rock quarry on a steep incline. I looked at my husband and asked him if anything about my appearance resembled  a freaking mountain goat? I didn’t think so and I was certain my DSW tennis shoes weren’t hiding cloven hoofs.

Things got worse from there because we weren’t on a hike. We were scaling a mountain. Up, up and up we went with my husband shouting words of encouragement that, “it was going to be so worth it.”

  About 45 minutes into this “hike” I was close to praying that a bear would “rescue me” because at least I could quit climbing over boulders precariously perched on the side of a mountain. At this point I wasn’t even walking upright. I was bent over like the earliest prehistoric man using my hands as I climbed the rocks to make sure I wouldn’t fall.

Once we were an hour into this trek of doom I figured out what was really going on. My husband was trying to kill me. It’s a simple but effective plan. A guy takes his wife out for a hike and oops she plunges to her death off the side of a mountain.

No one would doubt his story. Chubby, slightly older lady falls. It happens. I was so certain that this was my fate I screamed in anguish, “Why are you trying to kill me?”

He actually laughed at my misery and then minutes later yelled, “We’re here!”

Here was a beautiful lake tucked into the side of a mountain. Yes, it was indeed totally worth it.

Later, I told my husband I didn’t think he was really trying to murder me. I blamed the altitude. But, I don’t know. The more I think about it that hike had all the trappings of a “Dateline” episode in the making.

Dear Snarky – My Mother-In-Law is a Serial Liar

Dear Snarky,

 I’ve got a big gripe about my mother-in-law. She’s a huge liar about her adult children. But she’s sneaky about it. She doesn’t come right out and lie she hints and I’m about to hit my breaking point and feel like I need to call her out.

 The straw that broke the camel’s back was when she posted on both Facebook and Instagram that my sister-in-law was in medical school. This is how she said it: “Whose daughter just might be in med school?”

 Here’s the real deal she’s not. My sister-in-law is veterinarian tech. She doesn’t even want to be a vet. She’s loves being a vet tech.

 I don’t understand why she thinks it’s okay to blatantly lie about her kids. Her other recent whopper was that my husband was being recruited by multiple colleges for a coaching position. Except she said, “When you son gets recruited by Division 1 colleges for a coaching positions” and she showed a meme of a someone jumping up and down.

 My husband is a high school math teacher and coaches the baseball team for fun and the extra money. No college is looking for a math teacher to coach their team.

 I feel like the family needs to shut down her lying but both my husband and sister-in-law say it’s not worth the drama and that everybody know she’s lies already so no one believes her anyway. My father-in-law says, “she exaggerates but it’s harmless.”

 I don’t agree and need your advice if I should be the one that tells her stop it.

 Signed, I Don’t Like Liars

 Dear Don’t Like Liars,

 Perhaps you should post on social media – Guess who has a crazy ass mother-in-law?

 It’s obvious this woman has some serious issues and what she’s doing, contrary to what your father thinks, it’s not harmless.

 Besides spinning huge fabrications about her children’s life’s she’s also letting them know she’s not that proud of them. When she constantly embellishes their professions she’s telling them, “Yeah, I’m not happy with what your real career is so I’m going fib and let you know what I think you should be doing.”

 What she really needs is therapy to get to the root of the problem – why she lies? That said, as the daughter-in-law this is not your battle. It’s up to your husband, his sister and their dad to intervene.

 My best guess is that over the years they probably tried and it was such a cluster that it was easier to just make excuses and/or ignore the egregious lying.

 I’m not saying you should do nothing. I would definitely talk with your husband and his sister and urge them both to get help for their mother. I would also maybe even involve a professional in the discussion.

 What you can’t do is lead the charge. Your role should be one of support and gentle shoving to move the family in the right direction on this mental health issue.

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

Dear Snarky – My Fiancé Keeps on Postponing Our Wedding

Dear Snarky,

I’m confused what is going on with my fiancé right now. He keeps on pushing back our wedding date. We were originally scheduled to get married in February of 2021 but he wanted to change it to the summer of 2021 so we wouldn’t be getting married during flu season. Now he wants to wait until 2022 to make sure everyone can get a COVID vaccine before the wedding.

I don’t get it. We had always planned to have a very small wedding so it’s not like it’s a crowd size issue thing. I also told him I was against waiting till 2022 to get married and would be open to the wedding being just the two of us so we wouldn’t have to worry about COVID but whatever option I offer up he shoots down.

My mother says I need to “read the handwriting on the wall” and break the engagement but she never liked my fiancé much so I feel her advice is not very open minded. What do you think?

Signed, 2022 Bride

Dear Bride,

I’m going to give you the exact same advice I would give my daughter. This whole marriage thing  (ahem) doesn’t look good. I say this because it certainly sounds like you fiancé is finding every reason he can to postpone your wedding.

This is when you need to quit laying in bed at night re-examining everything he says, second guessing your feelings and hemming and hawing and just ask him the hard question – Do you still want to still marry me?

If he says yes then follow up with, “Would you be up for the two of us getting married on our original February date?”

If he can’t answer this question with another enthusiastic YES and proceeds to make excuses then I think you know he’s doesn’t really want to marry you.

For sure he may like being with you, he may even love you but he does not want to make a life long commitment to you.

I suggest breaking it off with him pronto. You gain nothing but misery and disappointment staying with a man who not only doesn’t want to marry you but also doesn’t have the stones to be honest with you about his feelings and instead throws up one excuse after another. 

Hear me loud and clear on this – You. Deserve. Better.

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

 

 

 

 

College Drop Off in the Time of Covid

It’s not the kind of text you ever want to receive. I’m talking about the angry husband text that’s disguised as the nice husband text. The key words are, “not trying to be difficult . . .”

Oh my, those words are code for, “What were you thinking?”

Worse, the text came with a picture showing a multitude of tiny screws.

Uh oh, I did mess up. It seems the desk, dresser, and headboard I ordered for the bedroom of my daughter’s new college abode had more in common with a jigsaw puzzle than actual furniture.

Ugh. It was going to take hours to put this furniture together and I wasn’t one hundred percent certain that once it was assembled that it would be sturdy enough to withstand a door slamming.

Worse, maybe this was a sign that we made a horrible decision to allow our daughter to go back to college during the COVID terror in California of all places. Maybe all those baby screws represented our hearts breaking?

I was still very conflicted over acquiescing to my youngest child’s pleas to return to school. The university didn’t exactly make it easier. I felt like I was playing a shell game. The first cup was in person school, the second was hybrid and the third was virtual. These cups have never stopped swirling the entire summer. But the fact that virtual could move to hybrid sooner than later was my daughter’s strongest selling point about why she needed to be back at school.

Just getting her (and us) out to California was DefCon 1 anxiety inducing. The worst was being on a plane. I felt like I was writing a love letter to the coronavirus. I tripled masked, wore a shield and clutched a Ziploc bag of Clorox wipes so hard my carpel tunnel’s flared.

Fortunately, the airline was not messing around. It was a mask palooza and a plane full of empty seats. When we got to California it was super locked down. Indoor dining, bars, gyms, nail salons, malls etc. were all still closed. It was also the land of a free drive thru rapid response COVID test on every corner.

As I was pondering getting a test because I always wonder if I’m asymptotic my husband sent me another text, “Why don’t we just buy real furniture? You know the kind that doesn’t come in a million pieces.”

That text was easy to answer because I went for my husband’s Achilles heel – fiscal responsibility. I wrote back, “Well, we’ve already paid for this furniture and you can’t ship it back. Besides “real” furniture would be three times the price.”

That shut down the text conversation. But it didn’t shut down my fears. It’s never easy leaving a child at college but the coronavirus has turbo charged my list of worst-case scenarios. My chest hurt and it wasn’t from COVID-19.

When I returned from Target bearing bags full of bathroom supplies I walked into my child’s college bedroom and saw my husband and daughter diligently working as a team to put her furniture together.

The scene made me smile and eased the ache in my chest. You can’t bubble wrap an emerging adult but you can let them know that you’ll always be there to help them figure out how to build furniture and their lives – no matter the number of pieces.

Dear Snarky – My Sister Is Giving Thanksgiving the Bird

Dear Snarky,

My sister has lost her ever loving mind. We’re already making plans for the holidays and it’s my sister’s turn to host Thanksgiving. Yesterday she sent out a family group text saying all of us have to get a COVID test before we can enter her home AND she would prefer the test be a rapid response taken not any earlier than the day before Thanksgiving.

She even included a link to where you can get a rapid response test. What she didn’t include is that they cost like $100 and that’s with insurance.

Her text, as you can imagine, started a whole mess. We were already going to be socially distancing for dinner. So, my other sister and I thought we had worked everything out.

Now, what should have been a nice meal has turned into family members fighting and even politics has been brought into it and that’s gotten ugly.

Is there any way we can save this Thanksgiving?

Signed, Turkey Trouble

Dear Turkey Trouble,

Slow clap for your sister. I think she’s a freaking genius. What she really wants to do is get out of  hosting Thanksgiving.

Her reasons could be multi layered. I can 100 percent understand her not wanting extended family in her home during a pandemic and I can also totally get that maybe she just doesn’t want the hassle.

I mean, come one, hosting is a lot of work. Add in the political differences in your family and the fact that Thanksgiving is a mere 23 days after the Presidential election and all I have to say is that your sister may be trying to save herself a whole lot of drama.

Perhaps instead of trying to “save” Thanksgiving you reimagine it. It sounds like no one in your family wants to go the rapid response COVID test route. So, I suggest each family does their own dinner.

You can even all eat at the same time and Zoom your meal. If you live close to one another you could drop off your favorite Thanksgiving side or dessert at each family member’s house as a way to share the experience.

Sure, it’s not a traditional big family Thanksgiving but hey, it’s 2020 and if the pandemic has taught us anything it’s learning to be flexible and open to change. The good news with this whole situation is that you’ve got more than two months to figure it out. 

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

Lawn Therapy 

Being erroneously told when we bought our house a decade ago that “yards here don’t need a sprinkler system” is on page 16 in my “Big Book of Complaining.” Long time readers have heard me gripe about my lack of lawn irrigation before (cough, cough in July) and are probably now thinking, “Wow, woman let it go.”

I’m attempting to finally get over it by being optimistic about all things I discovered while dragging multiple hoses and sprinklers around my yard. My newest introspection happened this morning and it’s that I’m a grooming slacker.

I say this because every day at 7:30 a.m. I see an older woman walking her dog and she is elegantly turned out. The pièce de résistance is that she’s always wearing a hat. Not one of those pitiful sun hats you get at Home Depot mind you but a very nice chapeau that looks totally in style and Vogue magazine worthy.

Meanwhile I’m still in the T-shirt I slept in and some stretched out leggings from Old Navy doing sprinkler duty. Of course, I could make a pandemic inspired excuse for my appearance but it would be a waste of time. I’ve never been as stylish as this dog walker. The best I could hope for is to wear socks that match.

As I untangled hoses looking at my mismatched socks I began pondering the oft heard phrase “getting back to normal.” Is that really going to happen? I’ve got my doubts.

It’s not that I don’t think there will be a successful vaccine for the coronavirus. I just worry people won’t take it. I have some much younger friends and they are solidly against getting the vaccine.

These women, up to this point, have been pro vaccines but they want “years and years of research” and “other people taking the COVID-19 vaccine” before anyone in their family “gets a shot.” Their thinking is that they ‘ll take a hard pass on the vaccine and let herd immunity do its thing.

I tried to tell them that for a vaccine to work people have to be vaccinated. To reach herd immunity takes time and a vast number of vaccines have to happen. I might as well have been talking to a sprinkler head because these women were not having any of it due to “stuff they had read online.”

If we’re all still in our houses wearing masks five years from now thank a conspiracy theory.

 This thought was interrupted by a neighbor I’d like to douse with my hose who walked by and made a not so flattering comment about my grass. My brain now shifted to thinking about how people have lost their filters and how everyone now thinks they’re funny. Of course, I’m blaming the internet.

On social media it’s easy to think you’re hilarious and yet if you said the same thing to an actual person you’d probably come off as a jerk.

But here’s the rub – if I questioned my neighbor about his yard insults his reply would most likely be that I “can’t take a joke.”

My least favorite phrase because what the person is saying is that you’re not smart enough to get their joke. When the reality is that they’re the stooge but sadly few of us will be that truthful with ourselves.

This is why people need significant others and/or good friends. We all need someone to say, “Hey, you’re being an idiot” or “Did you know your socks don’t match.”

Wait, has dragging hoses turned in a psyche deep dive? Maybe that’s the upside to not having a sprinkler system – lawn therapy.

Dear Snarky – My Daughter Got Kicked Out of Her Sorority Because of Me

Dear Snarky,

I’m devastated. My daughter has been kicked out of the sorority she just got into. The worst thing is it’s not her fault. It’s mine. Sorority recruitment this year was all virtual because of the pandemic. This means that the girls didn’t meet with any sorority members in person at rush parties. It was all over the computer.

My daughter wasn’t feeling that great and she was very nervous about all the Zoom recruitment so she did it from home. This gave me the idea to have her younger sister, who is a junior in high school and very outgoing, pretend to be her. They look a lot alike so it would be hard for anyone to know the difference.

It worked out wonderfully and my college daughter got into a great sorority and was very happy until someone at the sorority found out and her pledge bid, or whatever you call it, got rescinded.

I got involved and tried to plead my daughter’s case putting all the blame on me but it didn’t matter they kicked her out.

How do I fix this?

Signed, Devastated Mama Bear

Dear Mama Bear,

Umm, haven’t you’ve done enough? You should have stayed the hell out of your daughter’s sorority recruitment. I think you were worried about your daughter doing virtual rush and when she said she wasn’t feeling well you took that as your golden opportunity to insert your more outgoing daughter into the mix.

What you did was wrong. It was a lie. A falsehood. A fraud. The fact that you engineered all this and involved your minor child is all kinds of messed up. Were you at no time worried about what you were teaching your daughters?

Also, what about the self-esteem of your college freshman? How does she feel knowing that you thought her younger sister was a better way to go? That’s right, you told your daughter with your actions that she wasn’t good enough and her baby sister was better.

As for the sorority finding out – well, you know what they say a secret isn’t a secret if more than one person knows it. I would bet money that your youngest daughter couldn’t help but brag to friends how she “got into a sorority.”

The bottom line is you can’t fix this. Forget about the sorority and focus on the damage you’ve done to your daughters. It’s not good Mama Bear, not good at all. I’m also going to guess that this isn’t the first time you’ve messed with your oldest daughter’s confidence and favored your younger daughter. This family dynamic is crying out for therapy. I hope you get some.

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

Social Media is Breaking Me

I’m doing a pause on social media. I’m thinking of it as a little vacation for my mental wellbeing. And yes I know what you’re thinking. It’s probably the exact same thing my husband was when I told him this and he sarcastically responded, “There goes most of your column fodder.”

Indeed, a wealth of aggravation in which to serve as writing prompts has now left the building but I need this break desperately.

There is a slight caveat to this whole “break” business. I have to be on social media daily for some work-related projects. Then there’s the one true love of my life – my Snarky in the Suburbs Facebook page which I could never abandon. But I have successfully managed to modify my accounts so that I don’t see a lot of posts from most of the humans I know while I’m on social media

This is key because reading, really even glancing at the recent posts from “friends” was making me sad. Again, another tiny caveat – I start out angry and then morph to sad. This sadness is not just a momentary blip but an intense feeling like a weighted blanket of despair.

It’s odd but the posts that finally had me saying bye-bye weren’t that shocking. They were just so selfish and tone deaf I couldn’t take it anymore.

It started out with the incredibly moronic social media trend called “Challenge Accepted.” This is where women nominate other women to post black and white photos of themselves with lofty hashtags like #womensupportingwomen and #FemaleEmpowerment

Are you kidding me? How does sharing a (usually sexy) photo of yourself on Facebook in any way support other women or stand for  female empowerment? Short answer: it doesn’t. Good lord for most of these women the real challenge would be not to post a selfie on social media.

The comments that accompanied these photos were just as annoying. “So pretty.” “OMG, you’re still hot.” “Werk it gurl.” Yes, by all means let’s associate female empowerment with being hot. Haven’t we as women been trying to for oh, I don’t know centuries to not be judged solely on our appearance?

But sure, let’s go ahead during a raging pandemic amidst a time of racial and social injustice upheaval and post a black and white photo of our face and feel like we’re now an activist for positive world change.

The final push off the social media ledge was the unapologetic, self-centeredness of a group of mothers. Hissy fits were being had because some schools had made the decision to start the year with virtual instruction. There was extended bitching about how their children were “being robbed,” how “everything needed to go back to normal no matter what” and that they were “tired of doing teachers’ jobs for them.”

Nowhere in this “poor me” harangue was there any concern for their children’s educators or school’s support staff health. It was all me, me, me. What I want. What I need. What I demand.

 It haunted me.

I would have thought all the conspiracy theories, the blatant disregard for science, and the total absence of common sense would have been the trifecta that caused me to run away from social media but no it was the total lack of compassion from mothers for anyone but themselves that was the straw that broke my news feeds back.

What has happened to us? When did we reach the point where it’s appropriate behavior to show zero regard for your fellow human beings? Even worse we’re not just showing it but  shouting it from the metaphorical rooftop of social media and getting a whole lot of hearts and thumbs up in the process.

I need a break. A break from a world where you’re cheered for being a self-involved fool.