Falling In Love

It finally happened. The day I had been lusting for since mid-July arrived. Last week, the temperature mercifully dropped to 49 degrees. My joy was boundless, my enthusiasm unrestrained. I celebrated in the traditional fashion of my Nordic ancestors by running naked in my backyard screaming “Jeg elsker ikke sveder!” (I love not sweating.)

Okay, I didn’t run naked (I was wearing my p.j.’s) because besides violating some city codes I’m sure it’s against a HOA covenant. I can see right it there next to fence height and width of pickets – “no person(s) shall run a lap around their back yard while donning nothing but their birthday suit.”

You see I have had a life time love affair with chilly weather. It completes me. All you summer lovers can take your clinical strength deodorant, your moisture enriched body parts, flimsy flip-flops, and your triple degree temperatures and go sit beside a dozen Costco space heaters because it’s the fall dang it and we should glory in it.

No, you know what that’s not even good enough. We should respect not just fall but the seasonal change in temperatures. This is a major beef of mine because we live in the Midwest. We’re not Gulf of Mexico or plain old Mexico adjacent so why do we grouse when the temperature finally reflects the wonders of autumn?

As I was driving to work on that chilly October morn with the windows slightly down so I could be blasted with nippy air thus making my car’s seat heater even more delicious I was in my element – cold and cozy. If fall was a food it would be Kettle Corn because it delivers a ying and yang of temperate experiences.

My euphoria was doused when some fools, yes fools, on “news” radio began complaining about the “freezing weather” and wondering when would summer be back.

That was it for me. I couldn’t take it anymore. I pulled my car into the nearest parking lot, found the stations number and gave them a ring-a-ding- ding. I felt duty bound, in the name of seasonal equity, to let these goofs have it.

As I waited for my call to go through I couldn’t decide which way to approach the topic of “hey idiots.” Should I be very motherly and explain in no more than two-syllable words what fall is? Surely they should have learned that in school.

Hmm, maybe I needed to go scientific and discuss with them that 49 degrees is not technically freezing and that perhaps they should put on a sweater and get over themselves.

Or would a public shaming be more appropriate? The duo on the radio were long-time residents of Kansas City. They were supposed to be hearty Midwesterners that can swagger walk through epic snow storms and endure the ravages of ice without so much as a pair of mittens. Not, cry babies who were upset that had to wear long sleeves and perhaps closed toe shoes (gasp!) for a couple of days in October.

Since I couldn’t figure out the best way to make my case for fall I was going to go full cornucopia and just blast them with all three. First, a quick primer on what fall is, followed by a basic science lesson on what constitutes freezing and then a no hold barred scolding (I consider that my specialty).

Finally, my call was answered and I was ready to go. Ugh. It was a recording. I had to resort to text which is not nearly as satisfying, but as autumn’s unofficial champion I was not going to be deterred. Fall repaid me for my effort by soaring into the 80’s three days later.


I’m Fangry

I’m fangry. In fact, this is14925403_1829202370624681_9133056398365006827_n the worst case of fangry I’ve ever had and it’s really ticking me off. To pile on to my misery there is absolutely nothing I can do to alleviate or eliminate it besides getting an attitude adjustment and I’m going to tell you straight up that’s not going to happen. My fangry is too intense and all-consuming.

You see I’m suffering from Fall Angry known as “fangry” which is classified as a seasonal affective disorder. My fangry was brought on by the non-fall like temperatures that have robbed, yes robbed, me from enjoying my favorite season. I feel totally ripped off that we have had almost zero autumnal yumminess.

The fall should herald and embrace the 3 C’s – cool, crisp and cuddly. All we’ve gotten is Summer 2.0 and it reeks. As I write this I’m in a tank top and shorts in freaking November. And for all of you thinking “yay, high-five, this is so great” slow your roll because it’s none of the above.

Fall in the Midwest is a thing of glory. It’s God’s gift for enduring summer. It’s everything you want from a season. The temperatures drop, the humidity takes a holiday and goes to visit Texas, and you’re free, free at last, from the constant hum of your air conditioner. It’s a time to throw open your windows and let your neighbors hear you yell at your kids to rake the leaves.

You also get to mercifully cover up your arms and legs and swathe yourself in cozy sweaters that then allow you to eat loads of pumpkin cinnamon rolls because no one’s going to notice your fat layers in an “on trend” oversize chunky cable knit.

Fall is the season that gives you a hug and whispers, “It’s all going to be okay I’m here now.”

Except it’s not here and I’m ready to issue an APB. I’m not kidding. This is serious. Do you know what’s happening right now because fall has forsaken us or been abducted?

Let me answer that for you in no particular order of importance. My craving for pumpkin pie and/or bread is non-existent. For the first time in years I didn’t even buy a pumpkin candle from Bath and Bodyworks. Who in the hell wants to smell pumpkin when they’re sweating?

I still have all my begonias blooming and it just looks odd – begonias in November. If I wanted begonias in November I would live in Disneyland. (Not that I don’t love Disneyland, but 365 of the Magic Kingdom would be not so magical.)

My trees have barely lost any leaves, which means that in December, in the midst of all the holiday havoc, I’ll be doing hard time in the yard. Like I need raking leaves and bagging leaves  on my “to do” list.

Oh and Halloween was weird. Trick-or-treaters in shorts and flip-flops – ugh. It’s unseemly that’s what it was.

And two more words for you – oak mites. Those jerks, along with assorted gnats and flies, are still around ruining my life because we haven’t even gotten close to a hard freeze.

Then to turbo kick my fangry into Defcon 5 I’m being told that this weather trend probably means we’re going to have a mild winter and then record-breaking summer heat. Noooo!

That terrifying prognostication reminds me that I need to do a public service announcement. To everyone out there, most especially folks who broadcast the weather or coo the time and temp, it’s heartless of you to say in November, in the Midwest, that “it’s a beautiful 84 degrees out.” There is nothing the least bit attractive about running your A.C. in November.

The correct verbiage to use, in an effort to be sensitive to fangry sufferers everywhere, is that, “It’s 84 degrees and I’m sorry, very sorry.”



To Rake, or Not to Rake, That Is The Question

b5b97e47293b2ac67801194aa8ddd9daI have lived all over the United States – From the mountains, to the prairies, To the oceans, white with foam I’ve unpacked moving boxes. In fact, you know you get around a lot when there are multiple moving stickers on the underside of your furniture. I considered it the suburban version of carbon dating. One of the hardest things about moving can be deciphering the unwritten code of your new neighborhood as it pertains to outdoor maintenance. Primarily leaf raking and redistributing snow.

For example, in Texas when it snows, and by that a mean a smattering, maybe a quarter cup of semi-frozen precipitation gently falling from the sky, everyone freaks out. The whole city goes into lockdown. Grocery stores get picked clean of perishables, booze and ammo. For days prior to the 32 degrees with a chance of crystallized vapor forecast, news crews position their live trucks outside the Super Target to interview frenzied shoppers about the status of their provisions. The one thing no Texan worries about is clearing their driveway. Mainly, because no one owns, or perhaps has ever seen, a snow shovel.

When my family lived in the Lake Tahoe region of Nevada anyone who shoveled snow was a chump and a seasonal hater. You do not vanquish your driveway of the white stuff no matter how much Mother Nature dumped on it. To shovel your driveway means three things: 1) You aren’t a native and 2) because you aren’t a native you don’t own a vehicle big enough to plow through and over 12 foot snow drifts which means 3) you must not ski because with this much new snow you should be heading to the slopes not wasting time on driveway beautification.

(As for our brief sojourn in Los Angeles, folks there get freaked out when it rains. I had a neighbor who refused to drive in the rain and another one who had NEVER driven in the rain. Earthquakes though didn’t bother either of them. Go figure.)

Now based on these experiences, when my family moved to the middle of the country four years ago, I was lackadaisical about snow removal. My husband still had his big “Lake Tahoe” vehicle and no snowstorm could stop that bad boy from going anywhere. (Note: bad boy is referring to the car not my husband just in case anyone was getting confused.) Little did we know our non-shoveling practices were proving confusing to the neighbors. I started to catch on when people would seek me out and volunteer to “help me” shovel my driveway. This is when I learned that in the Midwest a non-shoveled driveway is sign of slothful living or you have a heart condition that prohibits interaction with a snow shovel. Now, I consider myself an almost native because not only do I shovel my driveway with a vengeance (and I own two different kinds of shovels. One for clearing large areas and one for detail work on porches, patios and porticos) but I’m one of those crazies that go out mid blizzard to get an early start on snow removal.

My lack of knowledge about the etiquette of snow removal was nothing compared to my leaf raking ignorance. Once again, I must blame Texas, Los Angeles and Nevada for my stupidity. In L.A. and the Lone Star state there are no leaves to rake. The trees never shed their green. In northern Nevada if you rake your leaves you’re an environmental terrorist. There’s not even any kind of leaf pickup and just say no to being able to find any leaf bags. Your residential layer of leaves are meant to stay on our yard so they can act as a winter blanket, a snow barrier, a compost cover, whatever you want to call it, until Spring when you then gently mulch the leaf refuse with your solar-powered mower.

This is my way of saying, I did not know that leaf raking is considered a competitive sport in the Midwest. I was woefully unaware that the number of brown leaf bags lining your curb was how you keep score or that there was something called “yarpet” which is where you strive for your lawn to look like green carpet unmarred by unattractive, past their expiration date, crumpled leaves. In fact, it wasn’t until a neighbor put up a makeshift leaf fence, which consisted of chicken wire strung between two stakes, that I got the hint. (It took awhile. I stared at that fence for days wondering what it was all about. Thinking it was yard art or maybe a weird kind of Native American dream catcher.) Finally, I had my Oprah Aha moment and embraced leaf removal. Last weekend, I filled 17 bags. Yeah, that’s right, I’m now a proud middle nation dweller and I have the yarpet to prove it.

**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.