I’m High On Grass

I have an addiction. I knew things had gotten bad when I received a text at 6:45 on a Wednesday morning. It was from my supplier. She wrote in all caps that if I wanted the good stuff I had 30 minutes – tops to get to our agreed upon location. If I was any later she threatened that all the good grass might be gone.

I hauled out of bed, threw on pants, shoved my feet into some flip-flops, and bolted for my car. I didn’t even slow down to change out of my pajama top or brush my teeth. There wasn’t time. I needed that grass and nothing was going to stop me. I made it there in 20 minutes and already there was a line. Just as my supplier had predicted several large crews had beat me to it.


I bided my time hoping that there would be enough grass left for me. Finally, I got my fix. 20 rolls of pristine, premium sod fresh from a grass farm were all mine.

This is the kind of sod that poetry is written about. It’s lush and fragrant. Even the soil underpinnings have a bouquet that conjures up images of a magical farm where unicorns are free ranging with Santa’s reindeers.

I had learned the hard way to steer clear of sod that look tired or wasn’t embracing a green aesthetic. No amount of water or fertilizer would ever bring back a piece of sod that resembled brown, weather-beaten shag carpet from the 70s. In fact, bad sod experiences that took me on a trip of frustration and despair are what fueled my quest for the perfect sod. It was two weeks ago when I knew true joy by discovering this holy grail of sod. It wasn’t easy. I had to become the landscape version of Sherlock Holmes.

If I saw a crew working on a lawn that had yard of the month potential I would stop and question the gardeners who were always willing to share intel unlike the homeowners. Homeowners, it seems, keep secrets especially about how to achieve the perfect vista of grass that shimmers like a field made of ceremonial grade matcha tea. But, I would not be deterred.

One day, purely my happenstance I assure you, I followed a secretive yard owner and discovered the hush, hush, lair of sod nirvana. People were lined up waiting for the sod delivery. After much prodding I found out that there was even a group text message about when the sod truck was coming. All I knew is that I desperately wanted in.

I attempted to make friends with the sod groupies standing in line thinking that this could be a foothold to achieving something that had been out of reach my entire suburban life – yard domination.

Sadly, this wasn’t an arena for wannabes. I was in the presence of hardened lawn professionals who had little time for a person who didn’t know her Blue Grass from her Fescue. As for the couple I had tailed to the sod location, well, let’s just say they totally ignored me but not before giving me some serious side eye.

I deduced the only way I was going to get into this group was to suck up to the sod purveyor. I threw myself on her mercy and confessed I was a yard idiot that needed her sweet, sweet, sod to save me. Fortunately, she took pity on me. Once she took down my cell phone number I knew I had penetrated the inner circle and it felt so good.

My yard is still a work in progress but I have high hopes and I’m now in the sod group text message so dreams really do come true.

Postscript: After this column was published in the Kansas City Star I was removed from the sod group text. I’m not going to lie – I got a little teary eyed over being dumped by the grass groupies.

Not Cool – The Saga of My (sort of) AC Free Childhood

Do you ever have times in your life when you feel like you’ve forsaken the profound teachings and dictates of your parents? It can be a very unsettling feeling. It’s almost like you’re cheating on your childhood. I recently had this experience when in early April I went against one my father’s most revered rituals and turned on my air conditioner.

You see I was brought up to believe that the air conditioner was not to be turned on until Memorial Day and this was in Texas. My dad stood firm in his belief that no matter the outside temperature or the inside swelter factor due to that temperature it was considered unseemly and downright wasteful if you clicked on your AC before the end of May.

I remember growing up and complaining about the heat and my dad’s quick quip would be to “turn on a ceiling fan.” This lead me to speculate that perhaps my dad erroneously thought the ceiling fans in our home had magically cooling properties because for me all they did was whip up the hot air.

As a got older my loathing of AC deprivation intensified. It’s one thing to sweat like a bear wearing a snowsuit on the surface of the sun when you’re little. It’s a whole other perspiration adventure when you’re a teenage girl attempting to groom. It got so hot in our house I would use my mom’s car as my personal make-up and hair salon. To dry my hair I would drive on the interstate with the windows down and I would park the car with the AC blasting to put on my make up.

Now, I don’t want anyone to think that my father was overly strict because he wasn’t the only parent who believed air conditioning was a luxury. In fact, most adults his age grew up in homes without AC and I attended a high school where only the library had air conditioning. Nothing says optimum learning environment like sweating so much in biology class you literally slid off your lab stool.

All this moisture resulted in some deep thoughts like how did the early settlers survive the heat especially the women with all their skirts, petticoats, corsets and assorted underpinnings? Plus they couldn’t just sit around and fan themselves they had to churn butter, cook over an open fire, and do a plethora of chores from sun up to sun down. Add in the fact that deodorant hadn’t even been invented yet and you have a very ripe situation.

It’s ruminations like these that make me joyous I live in an antiperspirant rich time. Perhaps that is what my father was going for – gratitude. What if instead of being what my siblings and I thought was a dad being ultra thrifty or intent on not making us soft he was teaching us about appreciating what we have?

Because based on my childhood my gratitude for AC is boundless, almost worshipful. It’s something I don’t take for granted and I think as parents there are always some things we use on teach our kids a long-term life lesson.

I know with my kids they had to drive/share an almost 20 year clunker and I’m talking clunker with a capital C. Today my son appreciates cars like I love air conditioning. I told him recently that I can only hope in my advancing years that he will take as good of care of me as he does his car. (He had no comment.)

So, I guess I will tamp down any residual feelings of guilt I have for blasting my AC in April and realize that every parent has somethings that they turn into a teachable moment and for my dad air conditioning was one of them.

Dear Snarky – WTH on a College Reveal Party?

Dear Snarky,

What is wrong with people? I say this while staring at an invitation to a college reveal party. I didn’t even know what the hell that was until I goggled it and found out that you can’t just have a high school grad party now it’s a college reveal party. This party is at the end of May so what is there to reveal? Shouldn’t everybody have shared where they’re going to college by then?

The thing that’s really pissing me off is that “guests are encouraged to bring cash gifts instead of college themed presents.” Also, there’s going to be games for guessing the college and a balloon drop for the reveal.

What has happened that everything has to be a reveal? Am I wrong to be a little bit disgusted by this?

Signed, Yuck

Dear Yuck,

As for answering your first question what’ s wrong with people – well that’s a pretty long list that I don’t have time to formulate right now. So onward to dissecting the college reveal party. All I have to say is blame Pinterest and its spawn the gender reveal party.

Somewhere, someone was taking part in a gender reveal party and thought, “Hey, let’s turn the perfectly nice tradition of a high school grad party and make it stupid by doing college reveals.” Because, sorry, that’s what I think a college reveal party is – dumb.

Does anyone really need to reveal where they’re going to college? Haven’t you already told your family, friends, classmates, teachers, school counselors and updated your Instagram bio? Isn’t it already printed in the high school graduation program?

That said I’m not the party police and if someone wants to go Pinterest crazy and throw a college reveal – go for it. I just hope this is a fad and not something that becomes part of the fabric of graduating from high school.

Now, as for the request for cash – that’s a no-no. Maybe you can have a cash reveal and have the grad guess how much money you’re gifting? If he or she doesn’t guess the right amount they don’t get the gift. I’m thinking that’s one reveal that won’t be catching on anytime soon.

If you have a dilemma for Dear Snarky, “Advice With an Attitude” 😉 email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com

I Have Pothole Superpowers (Yeah, not as good as flying or invisibility but I’ll take what I can get.)

I’ve discovered I have a super power. I’m “Pothole Woman.” It seems I’m equipped with an inner GPS that no matter where I’m driving I somehow manage to encounter the biggest, more gnarly potholes.

It’s gotten so bad that I feel safest when I’m driving with the aid of a co-pilot. Someone that’s riding shotgun and is constantly scanning the roadway for the next pothole that is sure to maim me and my car. Last week, I’m certain I escaped a near death scenario thanks to my son.

We had just left a Quiktrip and as I was just the tiniest bit distracted by my delicious Diet Coke with crushed ice and just a smidge of cherry vanilla syrup a humongous pothole appeared. This pothole was so big it was more like one of those sink holes you see in Florida that suck down an entire apartment complex.

Moments before I drove into this vast crevasse my son shouted, “Mom, watch out!” and I successfully managed to cross into the other lane and avoided descending into an orifice of doom. Unfortunately, the driver behind me didn’t have the same luck.

Just as we made it to safety we saw a car being swallowed by the pothole. We stopped and the driver was okay but her petite car needed life support. The tires were trashed and my son reported that the car’s undercarriage was “not good.”

Trust me, if there was ever was a time you need to embrace non-distracted driving it’s now. The current roadways where I live are like a game of Whac-A-Mole. Just when you think you’re on a smooth stretch of roadway another pothole appears out of nowhere. Parking lots are even worse. There’s a pothole by my dry cleaners that if not repaired by May could become another summer swimming facility.

I’m not blaming any municipality for the condition of the roads mainly because I don’t want the emails. Yes, some weeks I just don’t feel like dealing with loads of angry emails and anything around this topic would be chock full of mansplaining, multiple paragraph missives detailing the inner workings of city government and probably a conspiracy theory or two or four million about how the road salt lobby or “Big Salt” is in cahoots with highway construction firms to purposely destroy the roads so they can make more money repairing them.

Instead I’m going to throw all the shade at Mother Nature. Our harsh winter basically terrorized the streets. All that snow and ice and the melting and refreezing created a combo platter of asphalt distress and disintegration. I’m still though confused on why I have pothole super powers. It’s so bad my husband won’t even let me drive his car. Although, he downplays my “gift” and just calls it “an uncanny ability to hit or almost hit every pot hole.”

This ticks me off. It’s not like I’m actively seeking out all the potholes for some quality one-on-one time. It’s more like the potholes are stalking me. This means it’s time for me to offer up my superpower to cities across this great nation of ours to help locate potholes.

I know some folks have tried to get reimbursed by the city the pothole lives in or even get insurance to cover the pothole damage to their cars. But in a lot of these cases the big sticking point is that the city has to have not only known about the pothole but also had enough time to repair them. With my help every pothole could be mapped in a matter of days.

Faster than an asphalt repair patch, more powerful than Google Maps, able to protect your car’s undercarriage in a single second. It’s Pothole Woman!

Dear Snarky – My Best Friend Is a Mean Girl Mom

Dear Snarky,

 I have recently broken off a longstanding friendship with a woman because her daughter is a total  mean girl bitch to my daughter (both our girls go to the same middle school). My “friend” thinks I’m being unreasonable and whatever troubles our girls are having I should just let them work it out. She doesn’t think I should let it impact our 10+ year friendship.

 I think that is a bunch of B.S. The fact that her child is so horrible to my daughter that even teachers have said something about it and my friend, her mother, does nothing is enough of a reason for me to end our friendship.

Do you think I’m being quote “unreasonable” or do you think I’m doing the right thing?

 Signed, Family First

Dear Family,

 Honestly, I’m probably the wrong person to help you because I’m a first class grudge holder. If a friend’s child was consistently mean to my daughter I would terminate that friendship before you could say WTH? I think it would be not only disloyal but also harmful to your daughter for her to see her mother, her number one advocate on planet Earth, still being all nicey-nicey to the mom of the girl terrorizing her.

 I believe you’re doing the right thing and because I’m on roll I’ll even hypothesize that a mean girl is a reflection of her family. So, I would want nothing to do with the child or the parents. I know some people are going to say both of us are overreacting but when it comes to my family I have zero tolerance for people who treat any member like crap.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky “Advice With An Attitude” send your letter to snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com. 😉

Travel Chill

As I’m writing this I’m a mere 12 hours into recovery after spending almost a month traveling. I had short stops at home but for the most part I’ve been bopping back between the East and West Coasts. One of the strangest things about my trips has been traveling with my husband Kliff.

It’s been a very long time since it’s just been the two of us together wheeling our suitcases. For the last twenty something years our trips have included at least one of our children. So, it’s been a tad weird to have it be just the two of us and all of this alone time has made me notice travel traits about my husband that I’ve either missed or overlooked because I was busy dispensing antibacterial hand gel to a kid.

The primary thing I discovered about “Travel Kliff” is that he never gets ruffled. It seems nothing can upset his out-of-town mojo. Not potential weather delays, not that we’re perhaps on 737 Max or even a hotel fire. Yes, an impending hotel inferno was met with a casual calm that was equal parts eerie and impressive.

When we were in D.C. last month in the middle of a frigid Georgetown night the hotel fire alarm not only went off but a man who seemed more than a little panicked was on a loudspeaker yelling at all the guests to evacuate with haste. All of that was almost drowned out by the screeching sounds of sirens from a cavalcade of fire trucks. As I’m throwing a coat on over my pajamas while grabbing my shoes and racing for the door I look behind me and notice that my husband is brushing his teeth.

I’m all for best practices when it comes to dental hygiene but I’m thinking when you’re on the 10th floor of a hotel that is quite possibly on fire it’s okay to take a hard pass on fresh breath. For a brief moment I was confused and speechless but then I found my voice and screamed, “Let’s go! It’s not like you’re going to make out with a fire fighter!”

My panic pronouncement was greeted with an eye roll as we finally headed towards the exit. Our progress was impeded when my husband decided to be the last man standing and held the door for the other hotel guests so they could charge down 10 flights of stairs.

This had me torn. It was my own little “Sophie’s choice.” Do I stay by my husband’s side as he chivalrously holds the exit door or do I tell him, “See you outside. It’s been real” and make a run for the stairs?

Thankfully, I didn’t have to make a decision because he pushed me towards the stairs and soon followed. When we finally made it outside the hotel the scene was impressive. There were loads of fire trucks, lots of disgruntled, freezing cold guests and me assuaging my panic by texting our children at 2 a.m. to let them know that we had escaped certain death but not before their dad had brushed his teeth.

Fortunately, the hotel fire was apparently not a fire because we were all let back into the hotel but not before some fire fighting robot thing attached to ladder did recon through some of the upper windows.

When we were finally safe and sound in our room I told my husband I was very impressed with his almost action hero attitude in an emergency situation. Too bad he didn’t hear me. He was in the bathroom flossing.


My Journey of Self Discovery Took a Detour at Bangs and a Spray Tan

I’ve just experienced two life-changing events.  What has happened to me recently has totally turned my world upside down. Things I thought were bad turned out to be good maybe even great. All of this has caused me to rethink my long ingrained opinions about what I thought was right.

It has been scary, this journey of self-discovery and reexamination. It has made me question everything. How could I live to be five decades and counting with such concrete opinions and then discover that I was flat-out wrong.

The two monumental things that have caused this seismic shift in my thought process are bangs and spray tans. (Uh-huh, you read that right.) For as long as I can remember, I have thought both were not just hideous but ridiculous.

To clarify I don’t dislike bangs in general I just hated them on me. I have always assumed that my square face would look creepy with bangs. When any hair stylist would mention bangs to me I would do a condescending laugh. But, two weeks ago I went where I have never imagined I would venture to – over to the bang side.

In a surprise to no one that knows me my bang conversion was based solely on cheapness. I have some Defcon 1 forehead wrinkles and the whole Botox cha-ching was never an option. The more affordable way to go was to just cover them up with hair. I thought of it like a blanket for my wrinkles.

When I approached this idea with my hair stylist she was apprehensive causing me to point-blank ask her if it was because I have a face the shape of a box? She deferred comment on that instead suggesting that before I go “full bang” I try the “side swept” look. I concurred and the rest of the story is that I, a decades long anti bangs human, am now in love with the fringe of it all. My wrinkles aren’t exactly covered but their distracted by the gentle swaying of the side swept bangs.

The other about-face in my thought process was the act of getting a spray tan. Full disclosure I have made fun of people who get spray tans for y-e-a-r-s. But in the name of research for a story  I recently got sprayed. It all felt very Kardashian-esque because the spray tan artiste makes house calls. Yes, in the comfort of my home I stepped into a spray tan tent while a certified spray-tanning expert began my Malibu Barbie transformation.

I did deviate from spray tan protocol and didn’t go the naked route (I wore a swimsuit) because I liked Holly, my spray tan friend, and didn’t want to scare her with an up close and personal look at the ravages of time combined with a Girl Scout Thin Mint cookie obsession. The whole thing took 10 minutes tops and by the next day I was sun-kissed.

The only downside was when I woke up in the morning and staggered to the bathroom I had forgotten I had been spray tanned and screamed when I looked in the mirror and saw a very well basted face staring back at me. But other than that it was nirvana and combined with my bangs I’m now beyond fabulous (or at least as fabulous as I’m going to get).

It was also taught me a lesson that maybe I don’t know everything but let’s keep that between us. It’s not something my children need to hear me confess.

I’m Still Suffering From School Project PTSD

I recently walked into a Michaels craft store and had a post-traumatic stress episode so intense I had to grab onto a shopping cart for support. Trust me, I don’t have anything against Michaels. What was a mighty punch in my emotional baggage was the flood of panicked memories of school projects, from last-minute dioramas to the dreaded Invention Convention entries to, God help me, science fair projects. It’s been almost a good 10 years since I’ve had to “assist” with anything related to a science fair, but to this day, I can’t even look at one of those three-sided display boards without feeling like I’m going to heave.

Michaels, Hobby Lobby and basically any store that sells poster board, modeling clay and fabric that resembles a prehistoric woolly mammoth’s pelt are not my happy places. The smell of foam board alone mixed with the off-gassing of a Sharpie Magnum marker is enough to make me have an anxiety attack. For me, the least crafty mammal with opposable thumbs in the free world, Michaels represents numerous parenting fails. It was where I was vanquished – where I had to fly the white flag of surrender in the winner-take-all game of competitive parenting — sub category: school projects.

It all started back when my son was very young with what I thought was an innocuous 100th day of school assignment. The teacher wanted each child to bring in 100 items of one thing, like 100 Legos or 100 pennies. My son, at the time, loved trains, so he brought in 100 train stickers. Imagine my shock and awe when, the morning the assignment was due, I witnessed children and parents bringing in works of art related to the 100th day of school.

There was one child who had a neon sign that was the number 100 and it was covered in 100 colored bulbs. A little girl and her mother proudly carried in a puppet stage with 100 mini puppets. Another mom had baked 100 cookies that were the numbers 1 to 100.But wait, there’s more: They were painstakingly decorated in royal icing, with each cookie having their own personality. The number 50 was in a suit. Number 75 had on a ball gown. Twenty-five had glasses and a book. It was breathtaking. I’m sure it took days and days of decorating.

Meanwhile, my kid is clutching a couple of sheets of train stickers. They good news is he didn’t seem to care that he was, umm, let’s say, project challenged. His main focus, along with the other kids, seemed to be when they would be allowed to eat one of those number cookies.

I, on the other hand, was mortified. There was a dumpster fire of psychological turmoil searing my mom brain. Had I let my precious boy down? Was I somehow lacking as a mother because I didn’t bring in 100 handmade trains that were not only edible but also puppets? Would other parents perceive my lack of walking into a classroom without a showstopper project as a metaphor that I didn’t love my child? I barely made it to my car before I started doing the ugly cry.

My husband tried to lift my spirits with logic, which, any women will tell you, is always a bad move. I didn’t need to hear about how the project should be, at the very least, partially done by the kids and that the other moms “weren’t doing their child any favors by doing their homework.” What I needed was retribution, and I would get it with the next project.

I had to wait a couple of months, but then it was time to make my move. The assignment was to draw an outline of your child on a roll of brown butcher paper, and then your kid would decorate the image as a character from his or her favorite book. My son was all about Thomas the Tank Engine books, so “he” was going to design the image to be a train conductor. But, I barely let him pick up a crayon because I had commenced on a coloring tour de force. Not only did I color the image, but I even glued real brass buttons on the uniform for a 3D effect.I thought it was a masterpiece — until we got to school.

One mom had made her child’s full-body image into a pillow decorated as Cinderella. And forget about crayons; she had sewn on a gown and all the accoutrements. Another mom had taken a photo of her son’s face and blown it up so it was life-size, and then she decked out the image with real leather chaps, a cowboy hat and a lasso. Going into that school with my coloring project was a long, lonely slog of maternal shame.

Again, my son didn’t seem to care that his homework was sub par. He was too busy wanting to get his hands on the cowboy lasso. It was then and there that I entered a lonely world rife with doubt and self-recrimination. I was going to be the parent that took a backseat to “helping” with school projects.

Oh, sure, you can bet my battle cry was the sanctimonious, “My husband and I don’t believe in doing our children’s homework.” But inside, I was d-y-i-n-g. Every god-awful diorama, mammoth tusk and project board with lettering so crooked you had to turn your head sideways to read it was like a stab to my heart. But I walked into every single school open house, science fair and invention contest with my head held high.

I knew moms were thinking, “Who let their kid turn that in?” Moms who had relatives who were welders and could make fourth-grade inventions that required advanced training in oceanic combustion science. Or moms who could sew and design a fabric replica of a person’s autoimmune system. Or even moms who  knew how to make snow continually fall on her child’s Alaska-based Athapaskan Indian tribe diorama. It was brutal. Not even both my kids trying to soothe me with the words, “Don’t worry, Mom, everyone gets an A,” helped.

My grand hope is that someday, with enough passage of time, I can once again walk into a craft store and not have chest pains when I catch a whiff of Crayola air-dry modeling clay. Until then, I remain a mother still in recovery from 18 years of school projects.

Cheating Our Children

At my age I considered myself almost “unsuprisable.” It takes a lot for me to be shocked most especially in the category of asinine human behavior but the recent college admission cheating scandal had me doing a deep WTH?

This story of parents paying a company upwards of a half million dollars to help their kids cheat on college entrance exams and/or bribing college coaches to secure their child a coveted spot on a collegiate athletic team (in all of these cases the child either had never played the sport or didn’t play the sport at a competitive level) solely for the purpose of getting admission to an elite university is so 21st century parenting that I really don’t know why I’m surprised.

In fact, I’m almost embarrassed that I’m surprised. All you have to do is endure any school drop off and pick up line and know that it’s full of parents who firmly believe the rules don’t apply to them or their children. Also, as a parent who has recently gone through the college admission process (including USC which is one the schools that had coaches taking bribes) I should be copping a “tell me something I don’t know” attitude.

Getting into college today has birthed an entire industry from college test prep centers to “collegiate coaches” who do everything from fill out your child’s common app to writing the essays and securing letters of recommendation. When your kid is applying to college you hear a lot of stuff thorough the parent grapevine like stories about a former teacher who now “makes a good living” writing “amazing” recommendation letters for kids she doesn’t even know.

It’s almost like you’re a huge loser if, as a parent, you’re not just involved in your kid’s college application process but you’ve taken it over. If you want to suck the air out of room just tell a group of moms that the only thing you’ve done to help your child apply to college is to give her or him a credit card for the application fee.

My husband and I through ignorance or through having very stubborn children had zero to do with their college application process. We never even read or proofed any of their essays. Last year, after I was mom shamed for not even knowing what my kid was writing about I did ask my daughter if she wanted me to take a look at some of her college essays. She did an eye roll and shared that “she had it under control” and then had to add, “Mom, you do realize that I find grammatical errors in almost everything you write so I think I’m good on my own.” Ouch, but also kind of true.

Parents meddling/micromanaging, and ultimately cheating for their children in the college application process is just another symptom of competitive parenting that begins immediately post womb. I remember being sleep deprived and flabbergasted by mothers whose infants were doing “baby sign language” while my four-month old was trying to eat his toes. Then there’s toddlers reading chapter books by age three, doing algebraic math equations by four and my personal favorite parents doing everything including threats of lawsuits to get their child a “gifted and talented” designation. And I’m not even going to touch upon all the crazy sports parents. We’ve taken our kids childhood and turned it into 18 years of plotting how to get our progeny ahead.

What a tragic waste of a childhood and what a waste of what might have been. Our kids shouldn’t be reduced to be our mini-mes nor should they be groomed to be reflections of our perceived awesomeness. We should practice basic human decency and allow our children to be their own person, to achieve something on their own without a parent scheming in the background, and to learn that failure is an opportunity for growth not something that might make us, the parent, look bad. When did parenting become more about us and less about what is good for our children?

Squirelly Anxiety

People telling me that I should be anxious is making me anxious. Apparently, Americans are in a very anxious state or at least that’s what I’m hearing, seeing and reading. I did a Google search about what are the top things making people anxious and could totally relate with anxiety number one – money.

I’ve been in a perennial state of being anxious about paying for college, retirement savings and all the other cash sucks for so long that it’s almost like I’m not anxious. I just consider the rumble in my brain of “Holy crap, I’m going to need to get a second job and a vigorous plasma donation schedule to make all this work out” as my new normal.

The second and third anxiety inducers on the list made me wonder if I had somehow gotten hold of the Kardarshian’s catalog of angst, especially number three – wrinkles. Who’s lucky enough that their third biggest anxiety is wrinkles?

Seriously, if getting wrinkles is at the top of your worry list you should consider yourself blessed beyond measure. It’s right up there with women who complain about how their elbows look. Do you know how much free time and lack of any obligations you would have to have that  your primary worry centers around the attractiveness of your elbows?

I’m stunned that my current and, as of right now, biggest anxiety, didn’t even break the top 100. I can’t be the only human freaking out over the full-scale squirrel invasion that is happening in the metro. Yes, squirrels are taking over and apparently my house is being used as ground zero.

Have you noticed that huge swath of squirrels are just prancing around like they own the city? And not only have squirrels increased in number, they’ve become much more brazen. I call it squirrel swagger.

I knew I was in trouble when the squirrels in my yard didn’t even scurry when they saw me. It was almost like they were taunting me or giving me the one acorn salute. Then things got much more personal. They laid claim to my home.

There I was one night at my most vulnerable, stark naked in my closet, when I heard a racket that sounded like a person buried alive trying to claw their way out of a coffin. I quickly alerted my husband and his response was a droll, “It’s the wind.”

I told him that I was fairly certain that I knew what wind sounded like and it wasn’t a hearty northern breeze making this sound. I got his standard issue follow-up to most of my complaints or quips the “You’re probably just crazy” murmur.

I, not being crazy, persevered, and discovered the very next day that the squirrels had done a little demo on my roof trim making their way into my house. Before you could say vermin, I speed dialed “Mr. Rodent.”

Mr. Rodent informed me that squirrels had basically turned my home into their own private Costco of nut storage. Apparently the winter we’ve been experiencing has resulted in very aggressive squirrels in search of a warm refuge with bountiful nut storage.

All I knew is that I wanted the nut Costco closed. Non-kill cages were put up and you would think that would solve the immediate problem except no squirrels were every found in the cages. Yep, that’s right they had outsmarted us.

So, now I lay in bed every night fearful about what they’re planning next. I had a dream that the squirrels had taken over my entire home and were holding a winter clearance sale. I ask you who has time to have wrinkle or elbow anxiety when there’s going to be a rodent uprising?