Dear Snarky – My Sister-in-Law is Lying About Where My Niece is Going to College

Dear Snarky,

 I’m ready to punch my sister-in-law right in the face. She is outright lying about where her daughter is going to college and scamming people.

 This woman posted on Facebook and Instagram that her daughter has been accepted to a college that I know my niece did not get into. I’m sure she didn’t even apply. This college is super competitive. Basically, you have to have a perfect GPA and ACT score to even have a chance of getting in. I looked up the college’s acceptance rate and it’s 4.7 percent!

 My niece is not smart. She’s never even taken an AP class in high school and had to take remedial algebra. (She also gets their, they’re and there mixed up.) 

 Here’s where the scam part comes in – my sister-in-law has started at Go Fund Me page for her daughter to help pay for her tuition. You should see the comments, “so honored to help such a brilliant girl” etc. Barf!

 To cover her ass, she posted that her daughter will be delaying starting school by at least a semester because of the coronavirus. Pluh-ese, this kid is never going to this college or probably any school. They just want money.

 I want to let every know that they are being conned. Is there a way I can do that anonymously? Also, I don’t even have kids so it’s not like I’m competitive with my sister-in-law. I just hate liars.

 Signed, This is so wrong,

Dear Wrong,

Wow, that’s a lot to unpack. If your niece did indeed NOT get into this college that means she and her mom are both involved in the subterfuge. That’s a crap ton of lying. Basically, it’s a long con because you have to write thank you notes for the money and then keep answering questions about when you’re going to go college and give college updates for months. There are a lot of  balls to juggle to keep this scam in play. 

This is why my advice is to keep your mouth shut. I predict the truth is out there and things will fall apart sooner than later. I know 18-year-old girls very well and they like to talk and share confidences. Your niece will not be able to keep this a secret for very long. Plus, although you say you’re not competitive other parents of graduating seniors are. Some ticked off parent(s) will ferret out the truth and/or ask some hard questions.

Of course, I understand your overwhelmingly desire to throw some shade right this very second. But control those impulses. A comeuppance is a coming. Get your popcorn ready for the show.

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

 

 

 

 

Hair Raising Quarantine Issues

If there’s one thing the lock down has taught me it’s that I’m now so over my family. Wait, that’s not what I intended to say. Was I thinking it? Yes, but I did not mean to write that.

It’s not that I don’t have a lovely family. It’s just that being trapped together 24/7 for over a month is proving to be challenging. Weird things are happening. For instance,  my husband wants me to cut his hair.

Umm, that’s a solid no for many reasons. I can’t cut a straight line on a piece of notebook paper so the last thing I want to do is try to cut my husband’s hair. Secondly, we don’t own a decent pair of scissors. Sure, we have scissors but they’re not hair worthy. How do I know this? Because they have problems cutting the aforementioned notebook paper.

Also, you just don’t cut someone’s hair you have to layer it and do all that feathering stuff. I’m not qualified to attempt a bowl cut so there’s no way I’m going to take the plunge into what I think of as advanced cosmetology. But the most important reason I’m not going to cut his hair is because it will define our marriage.

Anytime we get in a fight my husband will bring up the hair cutting episode. I’m sure it will go something like this: “Well, at least I never butchered your scalp” or “Remember when you cut my hair and it was so bad I had to shave my head?”

Who needs that guilt trip for the rest of their life? Not me, that’s who. This is why my husband needs to just wear a baseball hat until the quarantine is lifted or perhaps think of doing a man bun.

If a man bun does happen it will also define our marriage because I will delight in saying, “Why don’t you tell it to your man bun” or “Maybe that man bun of yours was too tight?”

Well, now I’m almost cheering for a man bun because of the fun I’ll have delivering those bon motes and the years of delight I’ll get sending him impromptu pictures of when he had a man bun. It has greatness written all over it.

I must confess though that I have taken to doing some work on my own hair. I promise you I tried to resist. For exactly 33 days, I fought it, I think, valiantly. But then I hit the gray hair wall and it was time for some drastic measures. I became an amateur hair colorist and by that I mean I went and bought a box of Clairol root touch up.

Just choosing the color was daunting. Did I want a lightest cool brown, medium golden brown, or light chocolate brown? Honestly, I was leaning towards the light chocolate brown because I was hungry, but I decided to go basic and choose a simple medium brown.

The application process was scary but easy. I prayed I wouldn’t be crying after I left it on for 15 minutes to cover the “stubborn grays.” Thankfully, my hair turned out okay. Not salon worthy but I no longer wince when I look in the mirror. So, I’m considering that a win.

Not a win is now my husband is telling me if I can color my hair I can certainly cut his. He even suggested buying some electric clippers that can also be used for pet grooming. I told him that statement alone was enough to scare me and make the dogs go into hiding.

For now, I’m afraid he’s just going to have to embrace the fact that a man bun might be in his immediate future. Is it wrong  that I can’t wait?

 

Dear Snarky – My Mom is Trying to Buy Her Way Into My Labor and Delivery Room

Dear Snarky,

I’m nine months pregnant with my first child and at this point in the lock down I’m only allowed to have one person in the delivery room with me when I give birth. Of course, that person is going to be my husband. My problem is that my mom at first was  “heartbroken” that she can’t be in the delivery room.

Heartbroken quickly turned to furious because she has been in the delivery room for the birth of all her grandchildren. She’s refusing to understand why my husband would be my first choice to be in the delivery room. My mom even said that, “men are totally worthless and just stand there looking embarrassed and confused.”

Then she offered to pay my husband her entire stimulus check of $1,500 if he would give up his right to be there and let her go instead. Hold on because it gets worse. My husband told her he would think about if she upped it to $3,000.

I almost wanted to kill him. He said he was kidding and just messing with my mother because she deserved it due to her bullying us. But then my mom  came up with the three grand so she definitely thinks she’s going to the delivery room.

How do I stop this madness? Honestly, at this point I think I would rather just go alone.

Signed, Ready to Pop

Dear Ready,

Let’s start with your husband. You’re going to have to cut him some slack. I think he was just enjoying toying with your mom because she was being so ridiculous. Come on, did your mom seriously think that a father would basically sell the rights to see his child being born? That said, no man should ever contribute to the stress levels of a very pregnant woman. So, yes he was being very stupid. That I’ll give you.

As for your mom I have one word – YIKES . The hubris alone is mind boggling. So, your mom thinks she’s more important than your husband, the baby’s father? To that I say, “Okay crazy grandma, you need to get some help.”

On top of that your mom is just a brat. What she’s doing is throwing a temper tantrum because she’s not getting her own way. Granted she’s also throwing money around but it’s still a tantrum.

My advice is I wouldn’t tell your mother anything about the birth until you’re safely ensconced at the hospital with your husband. You would be a fool to let her know that you’re going into labor or are on your way to the hospital because girlfriend the odds are she would meet you there.

Letting her know later takes care of the issue because you will already be at the hospital with your plus one and security will take care of the problem if she shows up in an attempt to take your husband’s place.

Congrats on the baby and please keep me posted on how this turns out.

 

Clueless in the Cul-de-Sac

Who are these people in my neighborhood? As the official Gladys Kravitz (the nosey next-door neighbor from the classic TV series “Bewitched”) of my hood I’ve been flummoxed by the number of people out and about in the streets that I don’t know.

And while I’ll admit brain fog at remembering some of my neighbors I pride myself that I at least know their dogs and I’m seeing canines I never laid eyes on before. At first I just thought the whole, “Who are these new people?” syndrome I was experiencing was me, you know, just being me.

But, then when my husband who’s not known for being blessed with my keen sense of cul-de-sac observational skills remarked, “Did we get a bunch of new neighbors?” I knew I was on to something. This meant an investigation was called for.

What I discovered was shocking, truly shocking. It turns out I’m an embarrassment to the Gladys Kravitz name. I, a self-proclaimed neighborhood know it all, was woefully clueless. The people forced out into the streets to seek the solace of sunshine during the lock down were not just part of my extended neighborhood but we live on the same street.

This prompted another fact-finding mission. How could I have been so unneighborly as to not, well, know my neighbors? I was raised on Mr. “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” Rogers couple that with being from the south where you didn’t just know your neighbors you had a dossier on them should mean I have the training to be a super neighbor.

Oh, and it gets worse. I’ve worked from home for years. My desk overlooks the street. I literally have a bird’s eye view of all the comings and goings. Plus, I walk my dogs daily this means I’m like a beat cop patrolling the neighborhood.

If you want to know who’s doing home improvement, putting in some new landscaping or even getting their chimney cleaned I’m your girl. I also can forecast whose getting their home ready to put on the market by all the above being done to the same house.

So, where was this know your neighbor disconnect? I had to search inward and discovered that while I know houses I don’t know the people that live in them. Not wanting to do anymore self- flagellation I decided it was time assign blame on something other than myself. The culprit, I surmised, for my neighborly failings is the garage door opener.

This invention made us all stealth. You basically never have to see your neighbors. You enter and exit your vehicle from inside the comfort of your closed garage. Back in the day when you physically had to get out of car to open your garage door it was open season for some neighbor-to-neighbor conversation and or as my Grandma Stella liked to call it “cross examination.”

I have memories of this woman, the original Gladys Kravitz, sitting on her front porch and sprinting like a gazelle on the African Savannah chasing its prey when she saw a neighbor pull into their driveway. She said it was for church pray chain inquires but even at the age of eight I knew better.

Although as much as I would like to blame my lack of neighborly inclinations on the garage door opener I can’t. I have to admit that while I’m nosey, ahem, make the graciously curious, about the coming and goings about a house I need to work on getting to know the inhabitants.

Of course, I need to do this without going full Grandma Stella and true confession time that just might be the hardest part.

Dear Snarky – My Husband is Having a Quarantine Midlife Crisis

Dear Snarky,

I love my husband very much but I’m afraid he’s about to ruin his life and our finances. He’s always wanted to be an artist but became an accountant instead. Since he’s been working from home for a month he’s had time to paint and recently announced to me that he would like to quit his job and pursue his dream of painting full time.

I just about lost it. We have two kids and a mortgage. We literally can’t survive without his income. Also, not to be unkind but his art is very abstract. Frankly, I don’t like it.  Back in the day, he even applied to several art schools and didn’t get in.

How can I convince him that we can’t afford for him to follow his dream right now? I don’t want to crush his happiness but keeping a roof over our children’s heads comes before a 37-year-old’s painting aspirations.

Signed, Painted into a corner

Dear Painted,

It’s never easy being the voice of reason or the dream killer but sometimes tough love is required. Was I devastated when my father told me that I would NOT BE  running off to New York City after high school to become a soap opera star? Hell yes, my “All My Children” dreams were off the charts but  it was the right thing to do.

You need to do the next right thing with your spouse and it’s going to take some finesse. The bottom line is you can support his dreams but with limits. As an adult with family responsibilities it’s not exactly doable for him to just flat out throw caution to the wind and start painting full time BUT you can work out a weekend schedule where he can paint uninterrupted and have his creative freedom.

Because you don’t want your marriage to tank and/or have a spouse who is depressed you should also talk about other career options that are more creative. Maybe it’s not that he loves painting maybe it’s more he hates being an accountant.

I think if you combine being open minded along with being realistic the solution to this quarantine midlife career change can be navigated.

P.S. Keep your opinions about your husband’s paintings to yourself. He never needs to know that you’re not exactly a fan.

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

 

A Failure at Masking My Anxiety

I swear I wasn’t going to write about the coronavirus. I wanted to write about something that would take everyone’s mind off of our current situation. The problem is I have nothing, nada, zero, zilch, else to talk about. Like everyone else my whole existence is being dominated by Covid-19.

I will say the coronavirus has taught me a few lessons about myself. The most eye opening one is that I’m the most annoying member of my family.

 I always thought in any crisis situation I would be a combination of Rambo and Wonder Woman. Fierce, strong with some kick butt superpowers. It seems I’m none of the above.

Instead I stand before you as a woman who has abandoned any semblance of grooming, hasn’t worn an article of clothing that requires a zipper or buttons in a month, obsessively reads about the coronavirus and then tops that off with having an anxiety attack while manically wiping down every surface in my home.

My only superpower seems to be the ability to clean the kitchen 24/7 while yelling at my family, “Would it kill you to put your plate in the dishwasher!”

So yeah, I’m basically a hot mess.

In a surprising turn of events the family member that I pegged as “least likely to survive a crisis” is doing the best. My daughter, someone not known for her go with the flow charms, is calm, focused on school, handwashing, and enjoying “not feeling judged about laying around.”

I wish I had her Zen because the CDC recommendation about wearing masks has further ricochet up my stress levels which quite frankly don’t need to be topped off.

It seems I’m officially pandemic challenged because I’m a failure at making homemade masks. Trust me, I did my due diligence. I watched at least 10 YouTube tutorials for making your own face masks.

I got out bandanas and hair ties, followed the folding and gathering instructions and was all set to keep my family safe. The only problem was not only did my homemade face masks look less than virus worthy they were painful to wear.

Hair ties behind your ears is not something your lobes were meant to sustain for any period of time. After five minutes it felt like my ears were being slowing eviscerated off my head. It was then and there I decided I had to attempt to sew on straps.

To say sewing is not my strong suit would be a vast understatement. I’m the person that can mess up sewing on a button. Sure, I can do but if you look behind the button it’s a mass of knotted thread that resembles a pile of miniature spaghetti noodles.

But if there was ever a time to kick my sewing into high gear it was now. I got out a needle and thread from one of those hotel sewing kits I had stashed in my junk drawer and found some ribbon and started “Operation Mask.”

When I was done I was quite proud of myself. I had made a mask with a jaunty ribbon tie. This feeling of accomplishment lasted all of 20 seconds. That’s how long it took for me to put the mask on and attempt to tie it. I say attempt because one solid tug on the ribbon pulled it right off.

Sigh. I admitted sewing defeat and announced to my family that everyone would be wearing ski gaiters when they left the house. On the plus side, the gaiter covers most of my hair so that’s just another excuse to continue to lower the grooming bar.

Wow, look at me turning a negative into a positive. Maybe I’m getting a little Zen after all.

Dear Snarky – My MIL Has Gone Quarantine Crazy and is Planning a Party That I Don’t Want

Dear Snarky,

 My mother-in-law is driving me crazy. I had a baby in February and since the lock down went into place she has been blasting me with texts, phone calls and emails about how when the shelter in place is lifted we’re going to have the “most amazing baby christening party of all times.”

 It’s gotten pretty bad. She even has a Pinterest board of party ideas and from everything I’ve seen and what she’s told me this woman thinks my husband and I are going to be hosting a party for like a hundred people.

 I have so many problems with this. The first one being I don’t want a huge christening party and second we can’t afford to basically throw what from the Pinterest board I’m seeing looks like a wedding for our baby. I’m on maternity leave and my husband was furloughed from his job so we’re cash strapped and the last thing we want to do with any money we have is blow it on a party as soon as the quarantine is lifted. #mortgage

 How can I get my mother-in-law to understand this is not what my husband and I want and that it’s not going to happen?

 Signed, Trapped

Dear Trapped,

 Let’s start with the positives. It’s wonderful that your mother-in-law is so invested and excited about her new granddaughter. I’m sure it’s hard on her that she hasn’t been able to see the baby as much as she would like. I also think all the party planning is a way for her to channel that frustration and a quarantine distraction.

 That said, it’s never too early to start setting boundaries with your MIL. You need to explicitly, and girlfriend I mean in writing, share that you and your husband will not be hosting a large christening party for your baby girl.

You also need to give a quantitative figure of how many people you will be up for inviting to the party. This is because words like “small” or open to interpretation. One person’s small party may mean 5. Another person’s may mean 500. I suggest sending a very kind email where you share that, you will be drawing the line at (insert number here) people.

 Again, be gentle with your mother-in-law. She probably means well. But to protect her feelings and your wallet now is the time to send that email about what your plans are so when all this is over no one can utter those two phrases that have doomed many, many, family relationships, “I never knew” and “You didn’t tell me.”

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

 

It’s All About the Flour Power

Well, this couldn’t suck more could it? Yes, I get it things could be worse, much worse. So, slow your roll on sending me that email. But in terms of things being suck worthy I’m going to with confidence say Covid-19 rates pretty high.

Cheers though to all of the people out there who are all about taking the pandemic and putting a positive spin on it.

There’s the Instagram and Facebook posts of people celebrating family time with some stunning photography of scenic walks in the woods to festive trampoline “jumps for joy.” Then you have the very photogenic family meal photos where people, people much better than me, are using the lock down to cook amazing meals after doing massive amounts of home organization projects to turn their house into a snuggly “quarantine haven.”

These are good people. These are just not my people because I’m going to confess that I’ve hidden the last of my family’s Charmin Ultra Soft for myself. The rest of my family can use the one ply eight pack I snagged from the Dollar Store because right now I don’t consider them three ply worthy.

I’ve also taken to having very in-depth conversations with family members about flour. Yes, flour. My son wanted to make some homemade bread. This led to me swooping into the kitchen and forcibly grabbing the canister of flour out of his hand.

 I had to explain to him that bread took five to six cups of flour. Not only that but if he made bread that would mean we would be down to one packet of yeast.

As a family with weeks left in lockdown we needed to save our flour for more deserving causes like chocolate chip cookies, cakes, and cinnamon rolls. My son was confused about not only my newfound passion for flour but also my rationing. I clued him in that flour and yeast were both on the top 10 list of things hoarders bought in bulk and currently there was none to found.

He was skeptical of my claim incredulously asking, “Why would people buy all the flour and yeast? Do that many people bake anymore? What happened to gluten being the enemy?”

I told him those were all excellent questions that I had no answers to except that some people are monumental jerks and enjoyed the apparent thrill of cleaning out the grocery stores. I curse them and their many, many, five-pound bags of flour. May they all move up two pant sizes during the lock down. Also, while I’m at it may their plumbing clog from abundant toilet paper usage.

One thing that I did sincerely try to put one of those positive spins on is the family dinner. How lucky I am to have all my chicks home? What could be more uplifting than sharing a meal every evening? Umm, a lot of things.

Cooking dinner every-single-night is not a blast. Neither is cleaning the kitchen. Add in a pandemic and it can be depressing. I had to make a rule that there would be no talking about the coronavirus at dinner. It was making me anxious.

The off shoot of that was that no one had anything else to blab about. We were all working or doing school from home meaning not much was going in our lives. It was either talk about the state of the world or stare at each other. So, back to Covid-19 it was.

I need to Instagram that perfect family moment. All of us sitting around the table looking scared while I hug my last remaining bag of flour and desperately hope no one has found my Charmin stash.

Dear Snarky – I’m Getting Attitude For Taking a Pass On Our Family Easter Dinner

Dear Snarky,

 My parents and sister are acting like spoiled brats and being totally clueless about social distancing.

 Not only are my parents, who are in their late 60s, still going to the grocery store almost every day like they don’t have a care in the world but my sister and her six kids are hanging out with my parents.

She’s even dropping her kids off at their house so they can babysit because she needs “a break” and her Bunko group still got together last week. 

 It’s like the coronavirus is happening to other people. My sister had the nerve to actually call me “selfish” for saying there was no way I was going to attend a family Easter dinner. She also said that I was ignoring my parents.

 I’m not ignoring anyone on purpose I’m following the rules. I also have a child with asthma so you can bet we’re hunkered down at home.

 Why am I being made to feel like the bad guy for sheltering in place? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

 Signed, Ticked Off

Dear Ticked,

 I don’t really have any words of comfort for dealing with idiot family members except know that you are not alone AND that this is the time where you need to unapologetically stick to the rules.

 I would also, and I’m sure you have already done this, explain to your parents and sister why these stay home mandates are so important. Perhaps graphs or a pie chart might help or pictures of overwhelmed hospitals.

 Sadly, the bottom line is it’s hard to herd idiots. Some humans are just predisposed to be morons who thrive at picking and choosing what they want to believe like they’re at an all you can eat buffet of stupidity.

 You can only control your own situation and I applaud you for following the rules. Stay strong and don’t let your family bully or manipulate you into doing anything else. Lives depend on us staying home. You’re doing the right thing.

 P.S. Your sister sounds like a total tool.

Covidiots

When we make it through the other side of this Covid-19 nightmare I’m hoping future generations won’t look back and say, “What a bunch of idiots.”

Because that’s what I’m thinking right now – idiots. Spoiled, selfish, willfully clueless stooges.

I don’t remember ever being more disappointed in humans. I’m literally going to go running in the streets screaming, while maintaining a safe space six feet distance from other pedestrians, if I hear one more person justify taking their spring break trip in the midst of a pandemic because they had “already paid for it” or “didn’t know it was that bad.”

Are-You-Kidding-Me? You knew it was “that bad” because when the majority of spring breaks happened almost every single college and university in the country had closed down because of the coronavirus. Institutes of higher learning don’t take the unprecedented action of sending more than 20 million students home on a lark. They do it because things are bad, tragically bad.

And that “we already paid for it” argument, well, guess what? The rest of us are now paying for it. It doesn’t matter that you posted on Facebook that you “came home healthy” or your teens are “sunburn and feeling great” because you can have Covid-19 and not know it nor show symptoms and yet you can still spread it with a vengeance. And P.S. as a citizen of the world you should be informed enough to already have this knowledge.

Also, if you have a college aged student that you are supporting financially and you shared on social media that you “can’t tell a 19-year-old to not go on spring break” I’m going to conjecture that the coronavirus might not be your biggest problem.

The fact is the spring breakers knew all this and still chose to go for no better reason than that they wanted to. Damn the science and those pesky guidelines. Those apparently are for other people.

There are friends I’m deeply disappointed with because they’ve been so self-indulgent. Please note these are people I thought were very intelligent who valued science. But I guess science is now something you pick and choose when to believe as befits your lifestyle or spring break travel plans.

If I sound harsh sorry not sorry because I know I’m not alone. There are now therapy websites giving suggestions for how to deal with family and friends that are not following the Center for Disease Control guidelines. #covidiots.

But what about strangers that have chosen being oblivious as their current course of action during this siege? The people who apparently have zero spatial awareness and no compunction about getting within kissing distance of you while in the self-check-out line or the people treating a trip to the grocery store like it’s a family reunion?

Public health officials and grocery stores are pleading with people to only send one person per family. Why is that so hard to understand? The grocery store is not a “fun outing” it’s a tactical Ninja maneuver where you want to avoid people and get in and out as quickly as possible.

And I feel immensely stabby when I still see people still clinging to the “It’s just like the flu. The flu kills more people” mantra. Are these people so brain impaired that they live in a constant state of denial or do they cling to falsehoods in an effort to justify their behavior of doing whatever they damn well please?

While I’m on the topic of denial let’s talk about all the claims of “fake news” or the “hysterical media.” My thoughts on this are if you think the news is fake or the media is blowing the coronavirus out of proportion than check out the World Health Organization or the CDC websites. Also, here’s the deal about throwing around the phrase “fake news” – just because you don’t like the news doesn’t make it fake.

For instance, I’m overweight. That is a fact. Do I like being told that? No. But it doesn’t make the information any less accurate. So, just because you are choosing not to believe the Covid-19 data doesn’t erase its scientific merit and calling it fake doesn’t give you a magical shield of protection it just makes you an egocentric ignoramus. Quite possibly an ignoramus that is not going to follow best practices and result in us being under lockdown well into the summer.

As for the hoarders I can’t go there right now. It’s hurts my heart too much. I currently don’t have the emotional bandwidth to fully digest this level of selfishness.

Perhaps, nothing symbolized to me people’s lack of concern for anyone but themselves more than when I found two used latex gloves in the parking lot of my grocery store. The gloves were by the cart corral and I can only surmise that this gloved person upon returning their cart, took off the gloves and threw them on the pavement because they didn’t need them anymore nor did they want the germ laden gloves in their car.

So, bye-bye gloves and hello some overworked grocery store employee having to pick up your pandemic detritus.

I’m urging everyone, myself very much included, to try to do better so that not only do we come out of this healthy but with a newfound sense of compassion and intelligence that supersedes are own immediate wants and needs.