Hope and Change

demotivation-posters-auto-344194Luckily, I don’t have a family that embarrasses easily.

It could be because after years of living with me they’ve built up a resistance to your everyday, garden-variety mortification. But one thing that makes all of them uncomfortable is when I pay for things with change.

“What’s wrong with change?” I ask them. “Is it not legal tender?”

Lately, I’ve been forced to use change more and more as a payment for goods purchased. Totally, not my fault, by the way. It seems the American financial system hates change.

Back in the day (two months ago), I used to periodically take all the pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters that collected in the kitchen “coin bowl” to one of those automated change-counting machines. And let me tell you something, nothing says living the dream like dumping two quart-sized Ziploc bags stuffed with change into the Coinstar at Walmart. I would hover in eager anticipation as the money “no one wants to use” was turned into dollars.

But then my happy coins to dollar bills metamorphosis was stymied when an almost 10 percent surcharge was levied for the privilege of counting my change. Ten percent! Talk about predatory banking practices. For sure, I get that the coin counting company has to charge something, but 10 percent is a just a little too rich for my blood. I decided to take a stand. I would no longer pay for having my change converted to dollars. I would start spending my dimes, nickels and loads and loads of pennies in an effort to share the joy of coinage.

At first, I sorted all my change into separate Ziplocs. You know, quarters in one, nickels in another, and I kept the bags in my car for easy access for paying for purchases at places like the drive-thru. This proved to be not such a great idea. Last month, I was at McDonald’s, with the windows rolled down, and loudly told my teenaged son, “Hey, grab one of those dime bags for me!”

The McDonald’s employee gave me a weird look and then said, “Ah, ma’am, we don’t do that here” and my son just about crawled out of the car. At first I didn’t get what the big deal was. Like, what’s up? I can’t pay for my Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper with change? Does McDonald’s, home of the Dollar Menu, think they’re too good for 21 dimes, one nickel and two pennies? It took my son explaining to me that a dime bag meant 10 dollars worth of pot.

“Ohhhhhh” was all I said and then I asked him how he would know that. His reply, backed up later by my husband, was that “anybody who’s ever watched a cop show in the last 50 years should know that.”

That incident made me rethink my whole paying in change plan. So, I went to the bank with my purse laden down with a single yet significant bag of coins (by this time I had graduated to the Ziploc gallon-sized freezer bag with reinforced sides) and requested that I wanted to deposit my big old bag of change into my account. A teller quickly told me no. As in “no, we won’t take your coins” and the way she said coins you would have thought I was asking to deposit soiled tokens from Chuck E. Cheese’s.

Unbelievable.

I was close to giving up on my “joy of change” spending plan but I’m no quitter. So, I persevered. My next move was to sort all my change into different bags according to dollar amounts so one bag would have $5 worth of coins, another $10, etc., making it easy to go into the grocery store and take out a bag with $5 worth of change to pay for a half gallon of skim milk. Well, well, well, apparently if you want to really irritate some snippy chick in yoga pants double-fisting a Starbucks and a coconut water, all you need to do is pull out a couple of bags of change. She was behind me in line and when I got my change bag out she audibly sighed and whisper-dissed me by murmuring I “must be crazy or homeless.”

I gave her a look that said, “I can you see your cellulite through your yoga pants,” and then, just because I could, I decided to go “full penny” on her. That’s right, I used pennies. I had planned to use quarters — because I’m not a monster — but the homeless remark really got to me. I had on my dress track pants from Kohl’s for God’s sake. (The crazy, not so much, because, you know, it’s not like I haven’t heard that before.)

As I ever so slowly counted out almost four dollars in pennies I learned something new about coins. They’re not only good for purchasing items, but you can also use them to punish annoying people behind you in line. I call that a financial two-fer.

*Attcover_1.3-2ention Snarky Friends, I have a brand new book out. It’s the second in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Snarky in the Suburbs Trouble In Texas. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! 🙂

Mall Phobia

8e199d75a074ccc7789d1d5ff03cf45dHaving a daughter is one of life’s great joys until, you are forced, against your will, to take her clothes shopping at the mall. I, naive fool that I am, thought that I had gotten through the worst of it. And by that I mean I haven’t darkened the door of a Justice clothing store for a couple of years.

For those of you lucky, lucky, mammals that have never had to cross the threshold of a Justice store it can best be described as a migraine machine. Loud, latest Disney boy band music blaring combined with garish clothes for elementary school girls that feature monkey motifs, scratch and sniff scented T-shirts and the always, classic, faux neon fur. Adding to the ambiance is a section of the store that sells accessories best suited for dressing up for a wedding at Chuck E Cheese. Don’t think I’m exaggerating when I tell you I did the happy dance the day my daughter aged out of cheetah skorts. 

Last week, in anticipation of an impending cold front, my youngest announced that she needed new jeans. I did my maternal duty and suggested that all she needed to do was put them on wet and really try to stretch them out. That plan didn’t work. She was insistent that we should go to the “big mall.”

I shuddered. The “big mall” is where the mean stores are. The stores that hurt your feelings or cause you to weep from sensory assault. The stores no women over 25 and 130 pounds wants to go into. I’m talking about the axis of evil known as Abercrombie and Fitch, Forever 21 and Hollister. I pleaded, I begged, I bargained, but in the end she got her way (shocking not) and I found myself at the mall using a free “Youthberry” beverage sample from Teavana to throw back two, “just in case”, Advils, before I entered Forever 21. 

The problem I have with Forever 21 is that there is just too much of everything. The store feel likes it’s merchandised by chimpanzees that instead of throwing poop at each other hurled clothes. There’s so much crap-a-doodle-doo to churn through that whenever I enter the store I feel as if it might swallow me whole, kind of, like a Florida sinkhole. I lasted about ten minutes before whimpering that I was having a panic attack and needed to leave. 

Next, after fortifying myself with Wetzel’s Pretzel Bites (for medicinal purpose), I followed my daughter and shrieked when she began to venture into Abercrombie and Fitch. I grabbed her by the arm and pulled her back. “You can’t do this,” I told her. “By entering that store you are a willing participant in a hate crime.”

“Oh no Mom, not this again,” she wailed. 

“Oh yes, this again, my darling daughter. As a member of the ‘thighs rub together when I walk’ coalition I can’t let you do this.” 

You see, the CEO of this horrible store is known for saying comments like (and these are the kinder ones) he only wants “good-looking people to wear his clothes” and that there is “no room for fat people” in his company. In that case, jerk face, there is no room in my wallet to buy anything from A&F. 

Knowing there was zero room for negotiation on this my daughter capitulated and we set off for Hollister. Is it just me that thinks the outside of the store looks like the entrance to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney Land? Sadly, the inside, shares the same lightening scheme, as say, being buried alive, and smells like it was carpet bombed with the world’s most gag inducing cologne. Screw Guantanamo, use Hollister as “detainee chambers” and see if that doesn’t get the prisoners spilling secrets.

Before I subjected myself to the ordeal I took a couple of deep cleansing breathes, put a Wetzel napkin over my nose and ventured in. My daughter, used to my Hollister survival skills, didn’t say a word. Mercifully, she was in and out in under five minutes.

She still hadn’t purchased any jeans, that by this time, I was calling “Denim Slacks” just to punish her for making me endure the mall. Not wanting to be persuaded to go to some store called Garage or please, dear Lord no, not Pac Sun, I called an audible with, “You know what store has really nice stuff, no music, no discernible smell of cologne, bright overhead lights that help you read the price tags and a snack bar? Target.” 

My daughter shrugged and countered with, “Can I get a Starbucks?”

I gave her an enthusiastic yes and we both skipped out of the mall. Okay, it was more of a jog but inside I was skipping and singing. I was free, free at last.

**For more Snarky check out my book  Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. 

Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good. Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival. If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you.

To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link – http://is.gd/iEgnJ (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.

 

The Real Housewives of Chuck E Cheese

529303_605940079435449_1146315165_n*After watching the season finale of The Real Housewives of Orange County  (Go ahead and judge.  I deserve your scorn) and being held hostage at Chuck E Cheese for three hours – ground zero for any E. Coli outbreaks, rouge flesh-eating viruses, antibiotic resistant staff infections and the future birth place of a worldwide Zombie attack plus the headquarters  for the Crappiest Moms on the Earth Award Ceremony – I did a full body Purell and wrote this. Thanks to my Snarky FB friends for their housewife name suggestions.

Fierce, fabulous and frightening The Real Housewives of Chuck E Cheese gives you a glimpse into the gritty, yet oh so girly world of five women who know how to take that fork from the salad bar and make it into a first class prison shiv. So, don’t get in front of them at the token machine or really even make eye contact. For these ladies shanking is a form of artistic expression. Join them in their journey as they try to have it all and juggle the demands of being a common law wife, mother, exotic dancer and/or gentlemen’s club hostess. The Real Housewives of Chuck E Cheese will take you inside their homes. Forget about the gated communities of Orange County or the Italian themed McMansions in New Jersey. That was so early 2000’s. These housewives experience the heavily armed community of meth dealers where the only Home Owners Association rules are no generic aluminum foil on your windows. It’s Reynold’s Wrap all the way. There’s also the whirlwind glamour of trailer parks favored by only the most discerning tornadoes and living large in a “vintage” 1984 Econoline Van.

Let’s meet three of our housewives. The other two had previous commitments one with her probation officers. The other at an STD clinic.

“Hi, y’all I’m Clitoria Cummings. Go ahead look at me. Drink it all in. I know your eyes are on my boobies. No, they are not real. My step-daddy got em for me so I could make more money working the pole at his club the Meow Factory. Yeah, I know they’re a little crooked. Okay, a whole lot crooked, but you know they were on sale, clearance really. They’re irregulars and a non doctor put them in. It’s like he was a doctor and then something happened and he wasn’t a doctor. He could be in jail for all I know.   don’t really remember. I just love my big boobies and I don’t care if they’re a little lopsided. I mean my blonde hair’s not real either, but who’s complaining? Not me. A day don’t go by that someone doesn’t tell that I look like Pamela Anderson. So, I’ve got one word for you – Jealous. Now, you’ve gotta meet my babies. They’re twins. Come here girls, right now get out of that ball pit. Here come my darlings. Everyone meet Vajazzle and Bedazzle. They’re four and just precious, precious little angels. Yeah, I’ve bleached their hair so it matches mine. It’s Clariol Beach Blonde in case you want to copy us. I hear that’s what Lady Gaga uses. My first choice for a show to be on was Toddlers and Tiara’s, but they didn’t’ pick us. Their loss. So, here we are at the Real Housewives and that’s okay. We’ll just work our way to that Tiara show. I’m all about having goals and that’s what makes me better than most.”

“Shut up Clitoria!  Let someone else get a word in. Hi, I’m Sh’Dynasty, It’s French and pronounced like Shady Nasty and I’m good with that. Most peps just call me Nasty and it works. I’ve got it going on all, girl. Forget looking like Pamela Anderson, isn’t she like 100 by now? I’m a combination of J.Lo and J. Wow which makes me a Nasty Low or Nasty Wow. I haven’t really figured out how that’s going to work, but whatever you call me I’m all that. I can’t help it. Just like I can’t help it that I have four boys by four different baby daddies. That happens when the good Lord puts you on earth to make men horny. Hey, I see you staring at me. Are you looking at me and trying to think we’re you’ve seen me before? Bam!  I was on 16 and Pregnant about five years ago. I was just on a little bit cause I ‘beat up’ my boyfriend, like slapping him upside the head is soo bad. I still can’t believe his mama called the cops. Well, when that happened I got sent to a teen jail and had to take anger management classes. He should have been made to go to “man up” classes. What a baby. A tiny, tiny mama’s boy. Good thing I don’t see him anymore. I just cash his checks that his mama has to sign because he’s a ‘No Money Honey’.”

“Boys, come here! Quit taking people’s tokens, okay take just a few more and get over here and two of you go sneeze on the pizza. Mama wants it and that woman sitting there with a stick up her butt and that Purell on her table will not take one bite of it if you boys go sneeze on it. Good job!  Now say hi to the camera. These two, right here, F-150 and Denali, are my oldest and then I’ve got me two more sons Ford Ranger and Durango. The little ones came about from conjugal visits, if you can believe that. At first, I thought a conjugal visit or a “conjee,” that’s what we girls call them, would be amazing, something to brag about with your friends, like ‘I had me an awesome congee.’  So, not awesome. I was all excited and used my mandarin orange twilight thunder musk body lotion and got a spray tan with a coupon I had been saving and it was a big waste. They take you to this room and before you can say, ‘Yuck, that orange prison jumpsuit is so not your color,’ he was done.  Really, I’ve had sneezes that had lasted longer, if you know what I mean. But, I’m lucky. I have my four boys and I did me an  Angelina Jolie. I went and got a tattoo for each baby. Look, can you see’em? If I had known I’d be having this many kids I would have started the first one higher up on my back cause if I have any more there are gonna be tats on my butt crack. Which wouldn’t be that bad. It’s a look I could definitely pull off.”

“Oh yeah, Nasty keep on telling yourself that meanwhile your back fat makes almost two of your kid’s names disappear. Hi there, I’m Crystal Chandra Lear and I’m a star –  almost.  I just got me an agent. He works in the adult romantical film business and I’m feeling confident that my career is about to take off. Yeah, I know Clitora thinks her stuff don’t stink because she’s the headliner at the Meow Factory. But, let me tell you something with those weird boobs of hers she’s a freak show. When she hangs upside down on the pole those things don’t even move, not a jiggle. There’s a reason us girls call those puppies the ‘Rocky Mountains’. I’ve felt concrete that was softer. Hell, I’ve seen parking lots softer and smaller than those things. My agent told me in today’s business it’s all about reality. People want to see real things. Those boobies So. Not. Real.

In case you’re wondering why I kinda look like Nasty we’re sisters except I’m the hot sister, but you know that cause you’re looking at me now thinking yeah, she’s hot, smokin hot. Nasty just hasn’t accepted that yet. I’ve got two kids, a boy and a girl and I didn’t bring them to Chuckie’s today. I’m working. This is work for me and when it’s work time I don’t want no kids around touching me, messing up hair or nothing. My sister and I share a husband, not like he’s married to both of us or anything because that would be creepy, but I had him first and then I threw him out after he blew up our trailer cooking meth and then my sister, because she’s always wants what I have even if it’s a leftover, took him in. Now, our kids are half sisters and brothers and cousins. I guess that’s what you call a bonus. Neither of us are with him now because after the trailer blew up he needed some money and went and done volunteered himself for one of those drug company trial experiments. He got himself what they call a penile implant and according to the doctors it didn’t take. It kind of made him all shrinky, all the time and he didn’t have that much to work with in the first place. I feel sorry for him. I really do, but I don’t have time for a half man when I’m all woman.”

The drama of the Dollar Store, the agony of a corrective tramp stamp procedure, the science of in breeding. You won’t be able to get enough of The Real Housewives of Chuck E Cheese. Bravo’s classiest housewives yet. Check your local listings for dates and times.

For all thinks wonderfully Snarky go to www.snarkygear.com where you can find T-shirts, ecards for Facebook and my brand new book – Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School.  Here’s a little ditty about it:

The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.

 If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you.

To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link – http://is.gd/iEgnJ (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.