Suburban Haiku

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Today you are in for a treat. I have never had a guest on my Snarky blog before and I’m honored that Peyton Price is gracing me with her wit. For those of you that don’t know Peyton she is one of the best things on the internet. Peyton is the author of the  Suburban Haiku Series and was recently featured on NPR. I urge you to follow her on Facebook and buy her books. I love this woman!  Here is her take on that suburban classic – The Homeowners Meeting.

The Preserves at North Hampstead

Minutes of the Homeowners Association

Special Meeting to Amend the Bylaws

June 12

The meeting was called to order at 7:23. Roll was taken to establish a quorum. A quorum was not established. The meeting was adjourned.

The meeting was once again called to order at 8:07. Roll was taken to establish a quorum. A quorum was established.

Association President Les Frank opened the floor to motions to amend the Bylaws, recognizing Resident Dee Walker. Ms. Walker moved to amend the bylaws to require all community dog-owners to submit their dogs to DNA testing, thus enabling the Association Grounds Committee to determine “Who is not picking up their poo.”

Resident Edith Lovelace contested the need for such an amendment, stating that she picks up after her trio of teacup schnauzers, making DNA testing an unnecessary cost in her fixed budget. She added “We all know exactly who we are talking about here.” As an alternative, she proposed limiting the requirement to dogs that weigh over 60 pounds.

Resident A.C. Lu commented that the amended amendment constituted discrimination based on size, and questioned whether it could survive a court challenge.

Ms. Lovelace withdrew her amendment to the amendment and proposed an alternate amended amendment limiting DNA testing to “certain breeds.”

Resident A.C. Lu questioned whether discrimination based on breed was any better, adding that many breeds have “special interest groups” to advocate on their behalf.

President Frank noted that maintaining a list of breeds would not be practical, considering the emergence of new breeds such as Jackahuahuas and Chiweenies, and the problems of identifying the lineage of “mutts.”

Resident Olivia Freewell pointed out that identifying lineage is the purpose of DNA testing and questioned whether “a central database registry” might be abused.

A Resident asked “What’s next? Will we be testing deer poop and goose poop? I sure would like to know which birds are <pooping> all over my car. Are you going to test them, too?”

Frank replied that the amendment was limited to canine testing, pointing out practical challenges relating to testing wild animals.

Resident Dan Scully inquired whether the bylaw includes cats, in particular, the one that used his child’s sandbox as a litter box last summer. He added that he has maintained a stool sample “in the chain of custody.”

Several Residents suggested that the Mr. Scully obtain a sandbox cover.

A Resident commented that she had observed dog owners picking up waste when she was working in her garden, but leaving waste behind when she peered out through the blinds. When asked whether she supported or opposed the amendment, she clarified her statement with “Just sayin’.”

Resident Virgil Anthony commented that a town ordinance already requires residents to clean up after their dogs, noting the “total lack of enforcement” and dangers of “increased regulation.” He proposed an amendment establishing a Poop Patrol to identify violators and volunteered for one shift a week. He also moved to amend the budget to include a line item for binoculars, a bullhorn, and hand-held spotlights.

There was a lengthy discussion about what actions a Poop Patrol could take as private citizens.

The Association budget was then reviewed in detail.

10:40 Ms. Walker moved to vote on the proposed amendments. Ms. Freewell seconded the motion.

The motion to amend the Bylaws to require canine DNA testing passed by a vote of 10-6. The motion to establish a Poop Patrol failed by a vote of 1-15.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:43.

Peyton Price is the author of the petty and poignant Suburban Haiku Series. Nosy neighbors can find her on twitter, Facebook, and suburbanhaiku.com.

Dear Snarky for Friday, April 5

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Dear Snarky,

What would do when a neighborhood Easter Egg hunt goes bad? Our Homeowners Association held our Annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday and it got ugly. There is usually one or two parents that get a little overly excited about the egg hunt, but never in my 20 years of living here have I witnessed parents, mostly dads, get what I would call very aggressive in helping their kids get eggs. We had dads shoving kids out-of-the-way so their kid could pick up an egg. Children were also tripped and we had a couple of dads that took their kids baskets, leaving their kids to watch as they, the parent, got the eggs! I’m the “special events” coordinator for the HOA, that means I plan the parties and I’m ready to suggest at the next board meeting that we stop the Easter Egg Hunt.  What would you do?

Signed, Disappointed

 

Dear Disappointed,

First, don’t take it personally. Easter Egg hunts have gotten so out of control that some communities have discontinued them. When my son was 3, two dads, (who I just want to add were also Little League coaches) almost punched each other during a – wait for it- CHURCH Easter Egg hunt where the eggs didn’t have candy in them, but bible verses! Blessed be the irony!  Sadly, this overly competitive species of dad you’re describing is here to stay and it seems they’re increasing in number. My question is where is the wife telling her husband to take a chill pill? Oh, that’s right she’s probably taking pictures of her hubs, tripping an 8-year-old, to put on her Facebook page.

I would suggest taking a year off from the hunting of eggs and have your neighbors gather for a spring party where kids can decorate an egg-shaped cookie and have every family bring a canned good for a food bank. It sounds like your HOA needs some good karma and this might just help it along.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky please email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com

***For all things wonderfully Snarky go to www.snarkygear.com where you can find T-shirts, ecards for Facebook and 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.

Partly Cloudy With a Chance of Dumb Ass – Part 1

Water SprinklerI do a lot of things I’m not very proud of.  The good news is I have, what I consider to be, a gift of being able to justify my bad behavior.

Earlier this month I went on what could be called a HOA crime spree.  I dampened neighborhood property without verbal permission or written permit.  I trespassed.  I illegally parked a three-ton vehicle with an attached trailer and I committed larceny with intent to permanently deprive. Am I a bad person? No.

Here’s my defense. The weather made me do it. If I was given the opportunity to plead my case to a jury of my peers – any female over the age of 18 afflicted with terminal frizzy hair and water retention issues – I would be assured a speedy acquittal. The extreme and almost unprecedented early spring humidity was playing havoc with my grooming.

My hair was out of control even though I had upgraded to salon strength de-frizz balm and the excess moisture in the air was causing my body to experience acute bloating boarding on head to toe edema. (Seriously, even my XL my capri track pants were snug and my boobage was swelling out of my Champion athletic bra. What’s with humidity and boob swelling anyways?  Ladies forget the breast enlargement – just move to a humid climate.)

All of this combined to make me not responsible for my actions due to mental defect brought on by acute water vapor coupled with bipolar barometric pressure.

I know, right now you’re thinking, “Oh my God, why isn’t she an attorney? Clearly Snarky is one of the great legal minds of this millennium.”  Well, here’s the crappy deal – that stupid LSAT and of course, my college GPA kept me out of any kind of law school, even ones in Puerto Rico.

I say they base your law school acceptance on the craftiness of your mind, not your ability to memorize something like Pollock v. The Farmers’ Loan and Trust Co. I could so do the whole Supreme Court thing and bonus – I look my best in black and white not to mention those full length judges robes would not only hide my cankles, but provide camo for back flab and other unsightly bulges.

My crime spree started on the morning of April 2 when I was doing my most favorite things in the whole wide world; minding my own business, listening to Christian soft jazz as sung by the Kid’s Bop Choir, while doing a little meditative prayer, kegeling and hosing off my deck. (Okay, I was so doing only one of those things.)

As I was braving the humidity I was blissfully unaware that evil was lurking. It took less than 10 minutes for yard terrorist Barbara Gray, (A Very Snarky Christmas) looking Downey fresh and spring like in one of those so simple, but costs a fortune linen shift dresses that say “I take a vacation that’s not based on how many Marriott points I have” (Damn her), to emerge from her House of Horrors and begin verbally bitch slapping me with complaints that I had “gotten her grass MOIST.”

Any other day I probably would have just let her have a little tantrum and moved on. We all know that’s what I’m all about – forgiveness and adhering to the Golden Rule. But today, due to the humidity level from the basement of Hell (BTW – Hell, not a dry heat), I was not in the best of moods and her harangue set me off for many reasons.

First off, I know for a fact that I did not get her grass “moist.” I share just the tiniest sliver of property line with her. I informed Barbara that my hose, “Did not have super powers nor was I Elasti-Girl from the Incredibles.”  Second, and perhaps most important, was her use of the word – “moist?”

Really, you just can’t say wet you have to say moist?  Ick. Now, being a long-term Suburbanite I know there are cases when you don’t want your yard to get wet, like you’ve just put on some kind of fertilizer or weed and feed application. As a kind and gracious person I asked Barbara, “Did you have some kind of yard work done where your lawn can’t get wet?”

She looked down her very regal (I’m guessing a tip rhinoplasty or the very least a  cartilage reshaping) nose at me and said, “No, I just don’t want your water on my yard.”

“R-e-a-l-l-y,” I said, using my best you are such a dumb ass voice, “You do know that all of our water comes from the same place?”

“I don’t care. I just don’t want YOUR water on MY grass. Got it?”

“Oh, I’ve got it alright.” I said, in trying to sound like a tough chick.Then I aimed my hose in her general direction as she sprinted off.  You could hear her cloven hoofs going clippty-clop. I was hoping she’d wipe out and her designer nose would get a big ole whiff of grass. Unfortunately she made it safely back to her yard – for now.

I immediately went inside for a restorative burst of air conditioning and tried to compose myself. It took one 12 oz Diet Coke with a twist of lime and just a wee bit of the only booze I had in the house, Skinny Girl Margarita mix. I assure you it was for medicinal purposes only. I mean who drinks before noon, on a weekday, by herself, at home?

Not me. I mean, not me, all the time. After a couple of very unladylike chugs of my special Diet Coke I hit the shower. It was there I had my epiphany probably brought by the sudsy power of Irish Spring body wash and Suave shampoo.

As I lathered, rinsed and repeated I thought about the conundrum that is Barbara Gray. You would think she would have learned not to irritate me by now. I had brought down some major schemes on her and yet she always comes back for more. I think she has some freaky control issues that need addressing by a tag team of mental health professionals.  But, until that happens there is nothing I can do – except – continue with a course of corrective behavior training.

Any good parent knows the key to success in disciplining your child or dog is consistency. I need to be consistent with Barbara. It’s obvious her “moist” yard comment was a sign of her acting out.  To do nothing would just reward her negative behavior. I had no choice, but to strike back.  It was my duty as her neighbor to continue to teach her life’s hard lessons. I was going to throw an impromptu Water Carnival. This party would be 50% Family Fun magazine goodness and 50% Redneck Hillbilly which, if I’m doing the math correctly, equals 100% awesome.

More Tomorrow

A Very Snarky Christmas

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One of my favorite things about the holidays is baking. It gives me an excuse to feast on cookie dough. Yeah, I know you’re not supposed to because of the whole “raw egg can kill you” thing, but God bless Betty Crocker if that’s what sends me to the great beyond so be it. I’m one of those people who thinks that sometimes the dough if better than the finished product. I have a theory, well more of an ongoing research project, that the prettier the cookie the worse it tastes.

Take the elaborately decorated sugar cookie – not so yummy. The first clue the cookie is going to be all for show is that you can actually tell what it is. Of course, you know it’s a cookie, but I mean you can tell it’s Rudolph or Santa’s sleigh because the frosting doesn’t overwhelm the shape. This is a warning. It means the frosting is not buttercream. It’s the demon spawn of buttercream . . . royal icing.

Royal icing in the cookie world is like a beauty contestant  – all style no substance. And by substance I mean no rich, buttery, melt in your mouth, goodness. Do you know what’s in royal icing? Things like water and meringue powder. Does that say delicious to you? Of course it doesn’t, but people use it because it does nifty things like “harden”, maintains a “high gloss” and works like “cement.” Based on those descriptions you might as well spray your cookies with Extra Hold Aqua Net. I’m sure the taste would be about the same.

This is why I’m pro the less attractive sugar cookie or the cookie that would win Miss Congeniality (robust personality, but not that cute) in the baked goods beauty pageant. Because a cookie that has you wondering if it’s supposed to be shaped like a Christmas stocking or a vacuum cleaner usually means it’s got a delicious, overlay and overload of  buttercream frosting. That said, do not make the mistake, like I did, of taking Miss Congeniality cookies to a cookie exchange. Your feelings could get hurt.

What’s up with these cookie exchanges? I swear it’s like sorority rush or the NFL draft (which having been in a sorority and having watched the NFL draft I’m here to tell you both of these institutions have way more in common than you would think). You go into the party with your platters of cookies and then people select, maybe bid, on the ones they want to take home. Well, my Miss Congeniality cookie was the lonely girl sitting solo in the middle school cafeteria. There wasn’t one taker.

The real taste bud taser was that a woman who brought multi colored “cookie presents” was acting like she had just won Top Chef and guests were oohing and ahhing over her treats. How many Mistletoe Mojitos had these women consumed? Couldn’t they tell these squares were made out of Fruity Pebbles cereal and melted marshmallows? It was just a jacked up Rice Krispy Treat. Sure, Mrs. Top Chef had decorated each square to look like a present with a fondant bow, but that still didn’t excuse her hubris. She kept talking about the “flavor profile” of her cookies. Really? Fruity Pebbles cereal has a flavor profile? What is it red dye and palm oil?

This is when I kind of panicked. I felt sorry for my cookies and I wanted them to find a good home. So, I thought WWPDD (What Would the Pillsbury Doughboy Do)? I tell you what he would do. It would be not let a mighty fine sugar cookie made with the finest of ingredients get bested by freaking Fruity Pebbles. So, I went for the soft spot of any cookie exchange – caloric content.

The cookie exchange is quite the dichotomy. You have a bunch of women wearing Spanx, who work out twice a day and have either just finished a juice cleanse or are about to start one surrounded by their mortal enemies – carbohydrates and sucrose. So, I shared that my cookies were more energy bars than desserts. (People will eat an energy bar that has as many calories as a Snicker as long as they think it’s full of “good carbs.”) Then I backed up that claim with more fabrications. I might have casually mentioned that protein powder was mixed in with the flour and that a flax and sesame seed oil reduction replaced most of the butter.

Before you could say Merry Christmas women were putting down those Fruity Pebbles squares and going for my Miss Congenialities. Was it wrong of me to lie? Of course, but it’s the holidays and my gift to everyone was guilt free eating. Sorry, but I can’t feel bad about that – ever.

There’s more Snarky coming your way in book form!  (Two books to be exact.) Come on, admit it, your holidays would be so much better with a heaping helping of Snarky. And because I adore you so very much all you need to do is just click on one of the links and presto you can get yourself some Snarky for only, wait for it, wait for it, 99 cents!  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. 🙂

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