I’m the Real Cookie Monster

True confession time here. I’ve been in a long-term relationship with Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies for more than forty years. As I’m writing this I’ve got a shiny foil sleeve of Thin Mints on my desk that I’m slowly savoring. The crunch of the wafer cookie loaded with minty goodness and covered in a yummy chocolate coating is snacking nirvana.

My goal right now is to not eat the entire sleeve but I’m afraid I’m five cookies away from that not happening. The pull of the Thin Mint is just that mighty. It’s my siren song.

This weakness for Thin Mints started when I was child and selling Girl Scout cookies for the first time. At our troop meeting the leader had the awesome suggestion that to be better at selling we needed to taste all the cookies.

Needless to say, I was all in and with extreme pleasure devoured Lemon Crème, Peanut Butter Patties, and Savannahs as fast as a I could. Then a defining moment happened in my life. The Girl Scout leader asked me I wanted to try a Thin Mint.

I picked up the chocolate cookie that at first glance is unassuming. There’s no crème filling, no peanut butter, coconut or chocolate chips peeking out. It’s just a rather smallish cookie with a dull chocolaty finish. But, oh my, when I took my first bite I was hooked. My love affair had begun.

When I hit the streets to sell cookies, by knocking on the doors of complete strangers, by myself, with no parent or older sibling standing guard on the sidewalk because this was life in the 70s, I was preaching the Thin Mint gospel.

If someone didn’t order a box I would urge them to dedicate another dollar (the amount of box of Girl Scout cookies cost in 1974) to the wonder that is the Thin Mint. My sales pitch was so powerful that I sold the most boxes of Thin Mints in my entire Girl Scout Council.

The next year the Girl Scout cookie sale was one of sheer joy. My mother was the cookie mom. This meant all the boxes of Girl Scout cookies for several troops were sent to our house. Our living room was piled high with cases of cookie goodness.

This turned out to be a bit of a problem for me and was perhaps when a fondness for the cookie took an ugly turn to addiction. I covertly opened up a case of Thin Mint cookies, took the boxes to my room, hid them and then at night I would secretly eat Thin Mint after Thin Mint.

As you have probably guessed this did not turn out well. Most especially when my mother discovered the escapade of sheer gluttony I had embarked on.

One would think this shameful episode would have been the wake-up call I needed to stop with my Thin Mint dependency. But no, here I am decades later with six boxes of Thin Mints hidden in my laundry room and three sleeves of cookies in my freezer concealed under a large bag of frozen Tortellini just to make sure no one in my family can find them and, gasp, eat my secret stash.

I wish I could give up the cookie, but I just took another bite of a Thin Mint and I can in all honesty say I don’t see that ever happening. But being a Thin Mint optimist, I prefer to look on the bright side – that my cookie addiction is helping fund the Girl Scouts and that I only buy Thin Mints once a year.

I’ll celebrate that by eating another cookie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Snarky – Overheated at the Office

Dear Snarky,

 I work with a woman who is temperature control freak. She complains that she is always freezing. It could be the middle of August and she would say she was “sooo cold.” Because of her whining louder than anyone else our office thermostat is set so high the rest of us are sweating buckets.

 This annoys me for a lot of reasons but none more than the fact that I’ve seen this woman away from work dressed in shorts in February. For example, a couple of weeks ago it was 38 degrees out and while I was at Target I saw this women in shorts and a T-shirt.

 This really made me mad, so I shot a video of her walking outside in the Target parking lot in summer clothes. The next week I saw her at the soccer fields also in shorts when it was below 45 degrees, so I took a video of that. I sent both videos to my co-workers with the question – 40 degrees in shorts so why is the office so hot?

 The whole thing blew up in my face because the woman showed it to the owner of the company and now I’m in trouble for “stalking her.”

 How do I explain I was just trying to get the office thermostat off of 80 degrees?

 Signed, Hot and bothered

Dear Hot,

 Temperature wars at the office are definitely a thing. So, I can understand you being miserable. I too, would have a problem working in an 80-degree office. But just because you’re dripping sweat didn’t make it cool for you to take videos of this woman.

 This is totally my personal opinion, and I know some people will disagree, but I don’t like people videoing other humans without their permission. It’s one thing to have some random strangers in the background while you tape your kids at a birthday party but to make a co-worker the focus of a video without asking is just wrong. And then to send the video to co-workers – again not cool.

 You messed up. I get it, this “always cold co-worker” was wearing shorts outside when the temperature was in the 40’s and you’re thinking WTH? But you crossed a line when you took videos of her. You should have taken your temperature concerns to management instead of becoming an amateur film maker. Admit it –  what you did was immature.

 I would apologize profusely and offer to buy this woman a state-of-the-art space heater for her desk. Yes, this woman is wrong for holding everyone in the office hostage to her temperature needs and yes it’s compounded by the fact when she’s not at work she’s outside in shorts in February. But by taking the videos and sharing them with co-workers you made yourself the problem.

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

 

Dear Snarky My Life Coach Embarrassed Me

Dear Snarky,

I need your help to get someone banned from their job. I have been seeing a life coach for several months. I really liked this woman and I found her advice helpful. Our relationship after a couple of sessions was really less life coaching and more like two girlfriends talking over coffee except I was paying her 50 bucks an hour.

A couple of days ago I was at my son’s middle school basketball game and he got called for a foul. When this happened, a woman stood up on the bleachers and shouted at me, “Maybe you need to add teaching your son to play basketball to your personal goal list!”

The woman screaming at me was my life coach. It turns out her son was on the opposing team and he was the kid who my son got called for fouling. I didn’t notice that she was at the game because she was above me in the bleachers. When I looked up and saw that she was the person yelling at me I almost cried. It was so embarrassing.

I can’t believe this happened and that this woman was so unprofessional. I think other people need to be warned about. Isn’t what I tell her supposed to stay confidential? I would think she could lose her accreditation over this.

What steps do you suggest I take?

Signed, Disappointed and embarrassed

Dear Disappointed,

I hate to be the bearer of more disappointing news because I know you feel like your trust has been 100 percent violated BUT I don’t think there’s much you can do to this loser of a life coach. It’s currently an unregulated industry. You’re not required to have any certification to be life coach. In fact, I could decide to be a life coach right now. Hmm, I’m kind of liking that idea. . . Sorry, I got distracted now back to you.

What you can do is post a bad Google or Yelp review and do a vigorous word -of-mouth campaign that this life coach is less than awesome. The most important thing you need to do is move on. If writing this life coach, a “you’re horrible” letter helps you do this then by all means start typing.

And here’s another fun fact from a non-life coach – you don’t need to waste any more time marinating in what happened at the basketball game. Wallowing in this episode is taking time away from getting your life in order and/or living more fully which, is what, I’m guessing, you were seeing a life coach about.

I also don’t think this should stop you from having a life coach. You did say you found it helpful. I know some people who are life coaches and they have excellent reputations. I would suggest doing more research and asking people who you respect for life coach recommendations if you decide to venture in this direction again.

Until then, there’s always me, Dear Snarky.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sprinkling Our Outrage

The human brain is fascinating. It lets us conveniently forget unsettling facts and allows us to process information in a way that shields us from thinking too deeply or even logically. My current deep thoughts about brain science are brought on by the outrage over the Super Bowl halftime show. I know totally old news, right?

But is it? Because I think it’s a case study in how people chose to get all riled up about the little things instead of saving their fury for bigger issues.

I must confess that I didn’t even see the halftime show. But after all the “clutching my pearls” horror about J. Lo and Shakira’s 12 minutes on stage flooding my social media newsfeeds I went back and watched it.

My fundamental takeaway as a 50 something woman viewing the performance is that Jennifer Lopez at 50 is now my spirit animal. Just wow.

That said, I can understand how some people, people who have never experienced a swimming pool or been on the Internet in the past 20 years might have been dismayed to see women exposing more than their clavicles. For the rest of humanity who sees more skin revealed at their local Walmart I just didn’t get all the “world is coming to an end” verbal ragers on social media.

It boggles my  mind, like really astounds me, that with all the horrific and frightening things happening right now why would any of us focus this much energy and emotion on a Super Bowl halftime show that lasted 720 seconds?

My theory is because it’s easy. It’s outrage for the lazy who want to bask in the attention from making a statement that has no real impact on anyone’s lives. It also makes me think of sprinkles. Sprinkles on cupcakes to be exact.

Years ago, my children attended an elementary school that banned sprinkles on cupcakes. The reasoning was that during school parties the cavalcade of sprinkle enriched treats that were brought in created a mess.

I totally understood the ban because sprinkles, much like Christmas tree tinsel, is the gift that keeps on giving. You think you’ve got it all cleaned up but weeks later you’re still finding tinsel or in this case sprinkles.

The backlash from the sprinkle ban was intense. There was even a “Save the Sprinkles” petition. Meanwhile, the state legislature was annihilating the school funding budget which was already gutted. Yet, this issue that had a real and lasting impact of education didn’t even garner half the attention the sprinkle ban did.

It’s because being pro sprinkles was so much easier than doing any work that was focused on advocating for education funding. Sprinkles are colorful, fun, easy. A grassroots effort to fight the legislature not so much.

Never mind that our kids could survive and even, fingers crossed, thrive in a sprinkle free learning environment. Something you couldn’t say about schools without art education and increased class sizes.

The sprinkle protest much like the recent halftime show fury quickly died down and was replaced with more interchangeable outrage over things that have zero impact on our lives but yet bring some form of, dare I say, enjoyment over getting all worked up about.

It makes me wonder what we could accomplish if we retrained our brains to think more deeply and instead of reacting over the trivial focused our attention on issues that have a real impact on our lives, our future, our humanity.

But I know that sounds like a whole lot less fun and and requires a whole lot more effort than going off on two middle-aged women dancing and singing during halftime at a football game.

Dear Snarky – I Tried to Give a New Mom at School the Inside Scoop and it Backfired

Dear Snarky,

A new family has moved into our neighborhood. One of the kid’s is in my daughter’s class. I met her mother and she seemed really nice. The problem is there’s a mom at the school who tricks  other parents into watching her kids.

It goes something like this: The mom suggests you start a carpool. You agree. Then before you know it you’re doing all the driving and the mom starts sending you texts asking if her kids can go home with you and she’ll pick them later and by later it turns out she means like way after dinner.

I saw this mom being really nice to the new mom and I knew what was up. She was going to start using the new mom as her latest free childcare.

I, being a really nice person, decided to warn the new mom about this woman. The new mom then told the other mom about what I said and now they’re both saying means things about me.

I’m really angry because all I did was give the new mom a head’s up, which by the way I wish someone had done for me, and now I’m the horrible mom. It’s really pissing me off.

Is there any way I can turn this around? It’s getting to me. I’m not going to lie the Valentine’s Day party at school was rough.

Signed, Just trying to help out

Dear Just Trying,

File this under no good deed goes unpunished and mind your own business. The problem here is that while trying to do what you thought was a kind thing (and I’m hoping that was your motivation) with your heads up to the new mom you entered into unknown territory.

 And by that, I mean you didn’t know the new mom well enough to judge how she would handle what you told her. Some mothers, for example – me, would be most appreciative of being told a little inside info. Other mothers are going to think that what you shared was mean spirited and perhaps gossipy. And there’s the third unknown that maybe this new mom is a pot stirrer and she’s going make her mark by really living large on what you shared.

 I think we all know which way this turned out. That said, there is really nothing you can do. I would ignore it. Keep your mouth firmly shut. To say anything else is just going to extend the life span of this drama.

I enthusiastically suggest in the future you need to be a little more circumspect about what you share with strangers and yes, this woman was essentially a stranger. What did you really know about her besides the fact that your kids attend the same school?

 Also, you can take some satisfaction from knowing that the new mom will most likely become the de facto childcare are provider for this woman. When this happens fight the urge to say, “I told you so.”

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

 

Pet Therapy For Troubled Times

I recently thought I might need some pet therapy. My dogs and cat are just fine, thank you and I don’t need a licensed emotional support animal because according to the quickest of Google searches I can get a “certified support canine” I.D. card for both my dogs for a mere $29.99.

Granted the I.D. cards look about as official as a fake I.D. a college student would attempt to use to get into a bar but still to the less than discerning eye the canine support I.D. might fool you and bonus having you oohing and aahing.

This is because the I.D. has a picture of your dog on it. Thus, rendering it adorable and then there’s the “full access required by law” red, white and blue banner on the card that does give it a dash of official government document gravitas.

But faux support canine I.D.’s aside my pet therapy issue stems from the fact that I think I’ve been enjoying my dogs company far too much. I realize being an almost empty nester (and by “almost” I mean I don’t consider my nest empty until my children have vacated my home and my wallet) I could be projecting the affection I used to lavish on my children onto my pets.

But I fear my affliction goes way beyond that. If given the option of going out or staying home with my dogs, it’s almost always advantage dogs.

I was really worried about myself until I did some research and came up with a theory totally not supported by voluminous scientific data because, well, let’s just say that sounded like a lot of work. My non peer reviewed hypothesis is that the reason more people are favoring animal companionship over human interaction is due to the hostile political climate. (Note: I am referencing all politics – no matter what party you may align yourself with.)

To support this statement, I tracked the increase in pet ownership since the divisive 2016 presidential election. This also turned out to be divisive because the American Pet Products Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association stats don’t match up – at all.

I’m clueless about what the methodology was for each organizations numbers but I think maybe one group must have gone full Dr. Doolittle and talked to the pets and the other group polled humans. This madness forced me to use math (my least favorite thing) and average the numbers that showed pet ownership has, indeed, increased every year since 2016.

I then conducted my own survey and interviewed friends and acquaintances about their social interaction choices. The question I asked was if given a choice would they rather go out or stay home with their pets?

Pets was the top choice more than 70 percent of the time. And because I consider myself a social scientist with about the same level of authenticity as those “certified support canine” I.D.’s I organized a focus group.

The group backed up my hypothesis. The most overwhelming sentiment was that people would rather enjoy the company of their pet than venture out to a social gathering where someone will invariably turn the topic to politics. One woman shared that after attending a black-tie event where a man she didn’t know told her that her political beliefs were “based on false memories” she pretty much swore off voluntarily leaving her house or her dogs.

All my research made me feel not only much better but superior even. Why would anyone choose to leave the unconditional love of their pets  to venture out into the politically charged conversational chaos if you didn’t have too? Maybe by staying home with my canine companions I’m living my best life in an angry world.

 

Dear Snarky – The Super Bowl Ruined My Super Proposal

Dear Snarky,

 The Super Bowl ruined my engagement and I don’t know what to do about it. My boyfriend of almost two years had planned to ask me to marry him during the Super Bowl. It wasn’t going to be a surprise or anything because we had talked about it a lot and made plans. I even had a cute hashtag for it. I was going to use #SuperProposal.

 While we were watching the game with thousands of other fans in downtown Kansas City he started to get weird and then after the third quarter he told me that the Chiefs losing by 10 points was a sign that we shouldn’t get married. Then after the fourth quarter interception by the 49’ers he left me, like he disappeared from the party zone.

 While everyone was celebrating the Chiefs win, I was standing in the crowd crying because I wasn’t engaged, and I was all alone. My mom says I should cut my boyfriend some slack because “sports can make guys do weird things.” I’m thinking I shouldn’t let him off that easy. What do you think I should do?

 Signed, #noproposal

Dear No Proposal,

 You need to make like Mahomes and throw this guy about 40 yards because here’s a hash tag for you #YourBoyfriendIsAloser. First and foremost, the fact that he gave up on his team in the 3rd quarter speaks to a total lack of character.

 And using the Chiefs being down by 10 points as an excuse to call off the proposal is beyond childish. If this dude was getting cold feet about the proposal he should have manned up and said so and not blamed it on a football score. And trust me if he used that as a reason to not propose he DID NOT want to get engaged.

 Lastly and much more importantly, it is outrageous and unforgivable that this man/child disappeared into the crowd and left you and shame on your mom for making excuses for him. If some guy pulled this on my daughter he would be dropped kicked.

 If you marry this dolt it will result in #SuperMisery. Marriage is hard and you will endure many sad and challenging situations like a death in the family, financial problems and parenting issues. If this guy ghosted you due to a Super Bowl score then there is no way in hell he’s ready to be a husband.

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

 

 

 

Family Drama Can Be a Royal Pain

Family drama is fascinating especially when it’s not your family having all the drama. This is why I’ve been keenly interested in the whole Meghan Markle/Prince Harry saga. It’s like a “Real Housewives” reunion show without the hair pulling and of course, a whole lot more money, historical ramifications, one-of-a-kind tiaras and real estate.

I feel uniquely qualified to comment on this whole hullabaloo because I’ve been a loyal reader of Majesty Magazine “the quality royal publication” since the age of 11, got up super early to watch Princess Di’s wedding while eating scones (overrated biscuits in my opinion), and most importantly Princess Di and I were born the same year.

When she got married at the, I would say, too young age of 20 I felt for her – keenly. What was she doing? Her betrothed could not in any realm be classified as a dashing prince. To me Prince Charles exuded all the charm of a cold cafeteria fish stick that you got stuck with because you were last in the middle school lunch line.

There is no question that Charles is loaded and has access to multiple castle like dwellings but still a young woman of 20 yearns for more. 20-year-olds still dream of romance and swooning passions. Not getting married to a man/prince who upon being asked in an engagement interview if he’s in love dourly utters, “Whatever love means.”

Hindsight being what it is she should have ditched him then and there. Who marries a guy that is too lazy to even pretend that he has, at the very least, a fondness for his bride? But alas, they got married and we all sadly know how that ended.

Now fast forward to this month’s royal shake up and I find myself confused and perchance a little impressed. My confusion comes from the fact that Meghan and Harry, a couple creeping up on 40, and with Meghan having a previous marriage under her Hermès belt, were both so seemingly naïve about family dynamics. No one just gets married and presto fits into their new family. It can be an eternal struggle.

I still have the psychological battle wounds from December of 1998 when my husband and I told my in-laws that we would not be spending Christmas morning with them. It was rough and emotional. And I, not being the blood family member, was blamed for the decision and was accused of “ruining Christmas.”

The histrionics were impressive, and my in-laws seemed to conveniently forget that we were already spending Christmas Eve with them. Meanwhile, my dad was beyond ticked off that I had to see my husband’s family at all because, and this is an exact quote, “A daughter’s gift is always putting her own parent’s first.” (20 plus years later I’m still in awe he uttered those words with a straight face.)

Finally, we pulled what I’m now going to call a “Meghan and Harry” and just did what we wanted because there’s no way you’re going to please everyone in your family – ever.

What impresses me about this latest royal melt down is that the Queen is still a force to be reckoned with. At 93 she has still got it – big time. With equal parts love and harsh common sense, she swiftly said a great big no to the whole part-time royal scenario. But I also have to give props to the newly liberated Harry and Meghan. They got their monarchical umbilical cord cut in under two weeks. Let’s hope it turns out to be what they wanted.

I wish this duo nothing but the best of luck in their new adventure, but I have to caution them that being a member of any family is inherently messy and while you can run you can’t hide – crown or no crown.

 

 

 

Dear Snarky – Is It Wrong to Keep My Super Bowl Party Chiefs Fans Only?

Dear Snarky,

I’m so mad right now when I should be in a great mood. Finally, after 50 years, the Kansas City Chiefs are going to the Super Bowl. I have been a loyal Chiefs fan since the day I was born. I’m so flipping excited about the Chiefs being in the Super Bowl that my husband and I are throwing a major party.

 I invited all of our friends who love the Chiefs as much as we do. My problem is I have a friend who I like except when it comes to football. She’s a huge Patriots fan and hates the Chiefs. She is so obnoxious about it and trash talks the Chiefs all the time. 

 Because of this I didn’t invite her to my Super Bowl party and now she’s pissed and getting our friends to constantly bug me to invite her to the party.

 I really don’t want to listen to her mouth the entire game but I’m getting worn down by all the texts and phone calls. Do you think I’m right to stick with my original decision to not invite her?

 Signed, Keeping My Home for Mahomies

Dear Mahomies,

 When your beloved football team that you’ve rooted for since birth heads to the Super Bowl you are perfectly within your rights to not invite someone who enjoys disparaging your team to your home for a Super Bowl party.

 I would have a conversation with this woman pronto and just tell her straight up that she wasn’t invited because she has enthusiastically and repeatedly stated that she hates the Chiefs so why in the world would she think that you would extend an invitation to her for a C-H-I-E-F-S Super Bowl party?

 Furthermore, the fact that she’s being a self-involved moron and harassing your friend group for an invite makes me think that you might want to reconsider her as a friend – just saying. At the very least she should get an unsportsmanlike conduct call. 

 Also, if you take the football team rivalry totally out of the equation you still have a grown woman with horrible manners and social skills. You never impinge about your friends to harass another friend for an invite to a party. Period. 

 My advice is to not make any changes to your guest list. You have every right to keep your house a Mahomie only zone.  

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

 

Why Can’t Women Just Be the Boss and Other Reflections on the Word Bossy

People I’m worried. I’m not feeling this new year. And by not feeling I mean it’s making me angry. Loyal readers might be shaking their heads and saying, “Umm didn’t you just have a sizable rant-a-thon last week?”

To that question I answer a resounding yes. But it appears that perhaps 2020 is the year of the rant. To be honest this makes me a little bit excited because I feel likes it plays to my strong suit – aggressive pontificating. My family calls it complaining but that just shows their lack of appreciation for my oratorical gifts. All they hear is blah, blah, blah. Their loss, I assure you.

This latest rant was born at Target on a Sunday afternoon. There I was blissfully walking the aisles taking in the clearance wares when I spied a hot pinkish water bottle geared towards girls decorated with the phrase, “I’m not bossy I am the boss.”

Really? What is it with the female gender being tied to the word bossy? I must confess I was already sensitive because upon entering Target I saw a woman in a T-shirt declaring herself a “Boss Babe.” Just yuck on that and now let me break it down why all this bossy stuff ticks me off.

It’s because I believe the word bossy is almost always applied to females and it’s used as a pejorative. Almost, a substitute, if you will, for the other B word. Never, as in almost never ever, do I hear a male being called bossy.

Even boys get a bossy pass. We call them “determined” or “single minded.” But girls well, they’re bossy. I admit to being guilty of this as well. I can’t remember calling my son “bossy,” but I told my daughter she was a “bossy boots” a lot.

It wasn’t until she was about six years old when she asked me why I just called her “bossy boots” and not her brother? She felt like “bossy boots” was a bit of a slight and you know what? She was right.

It took a parent/teacher conference for me to have a larger awakening. It happened when a teacher told me my daughter was bossy. This same teacher had just described my son (who is as bossy as his sister, perhaps even more so) as “commanding.” This made me literally laugh out loud.

I asked her if she thought both of my children were equally bossy. She quickly replied, “yes” while laughing with me. I then then asked why did she call my daughter bossy and yet my son got commanding? One word sounds like a compliment the other not so much.

The teacher admitted she didn’t know why and then said apologetically that she always thought of assertive girls as bossy.

I couldn’t get mad at the teacher because I had done the same thing. But, from that day on I eliminated the word bossy from my vocabulary.

Then, just a couple of a years later “Girl Boss” and “Lady Boss” became a part of the lexicon. This infuriated me. Why can’t you just be the boss – no gender attached? We don’t typically call men “Dude Boss “or “Guy Boss.”

And for the love of equality why is there the phrase “Boss Babe?” Plus, if you’re wearing an article of clothing that proclaims you as a “Boss Babe” perhaps you should reconsider your choice of attire until men wearing “Boss Beefcake” shirts become part of the fashion landscape.

As we dive into 2020, I think the using the word bossy to describe confident females needs to get drop kicked right out of this new decade. The word has reached its expiration date.

Postscript – Today when I was scrolling through my Facebook feed I saw a national all female organization refer to a member who just got a substantial city building contract as a “Builder Babe.”  Sigh.