So Over It

I think there needs to be a national day of “step away from your computers and smartphones.” We can then use the time to take deep breaths and focus on not being so angry.

For at least two years I’ve been making excuses when people would comment about how mean everyone had gotten on social media. I would blame politics and say it’s making people crazy or worse filter less. Meanwhile, I’m hiding more and more “friends” so I don’t have to experience their meandering rage.

Today, I’m barely on social media (except for my beloved Snarky FB page)  because I’m over it. It’s like when Oreo’s came out with Double Stuffed. They were great, but after eating a sleeve (or two) I discovered I’m more of a chocolate wafer girl. All that filling was just too much. When it was just a dollop it seamlessly melded with the wafer, but once they doubled down the artificial flavor kicked into turbo mode and the Oreo acquired an aftertaste of “I don’t want it anymore.”

The same thing has happened with social media. I don’t want it anymore. It has unleashed the worst in people.

If that’s not depressing enough this blob of emboldened fury has slimed its way into all forms of communication where it seems more and more of us feel like we’ve been ordained to be the royal highness of jerkdom.

It took a neighborhood website to show me how bad things have gotten in the “I’m thinking it so I’m going to say it” department. One would surmise that a neighborhood website would be the place of somewhat civil communication. After all, you live in the same hood and a certain veneer of politeness ensures cul-de-sac harmony.

 It’s not like Facebook where people feel like they can make a hostile comment with nary a care because chances are slim to none that you’re going to ever have to experience any in person awkwardness resulting from that harsh rebuke you wrote on a former high school classmate’s page who now lives in New Jersey.

But your neighbors are a constant in your life. You see them while walking your dog or even getting your mail, which would make it kind of important to dial down the jerk or knee jerk reaction.

Sadly, an innocuous question left by a fellow neighbor about when the Christmas decorations were going to be removed from the entrance of the neighborhood turned into a flurry of erroneous comments about picking on the alleged volunteers who put up the wreaths to who goes to board meetings and how lame the HOA management company is.

It all made me very sad. How does one question get turned around into being about nagging volunteers and then become a dumping ground for neighborhood angst?

No one wants to problem solve anymore. The go to now is just to complain or what I think is even worse make comments that have zero basis in fact.

What’s happened to us?

A decade ago I don’t think this would have occurred. I believe we were still following the other golden rule – hiding our true feelings lest we hurt someone else’s. Now, it’s an open season on just spewing whatever thought pops in your brain. No care or concern is given to the consequences.

I would have thought that a neighborhood website for a small Kansas suburb would be something of a safe space. But it seems we’ve become a society of disgruntled fingers furiously typing away in any on-line forum with a comment section.

Dear Snarky – The Hairy Back Man vs. The HOA

Dear Snarky,covered-in-back-hair

 I don’t know whether to be embarrassed or angry.  We recently moved to a new neighborhood that has a community pool.  My husband and I bring our two young daughters there to swim almost every day. 

 Yesterday we got a letter in the mail. It was from the HOA and it said that neighbors found my husband’s “excessive back hair disturbing” and that there had been “complaints.” The letter went on to request that in “the future he wear a “swim shirt” or some kind of “cover up for his upper body.”

 Yes, my husband is hairy, but he’s a MAN.  It’s never something that I think anyone has found “disturbing” before.  Should we just ignore the letter and go to the pool or buy a cover up for my husband? To be honest right now, I just want to move.

 Signed, Kathy

Dear Kathy,

First off, please know that I doubt any where in your Home Owners Association covenant does it state that furry men have to wear swim shirts.  So, your HOA can just shove it.  In fact, if I were you I’d take a razor and shave HOA’s Suck into your husband’s back (call it hair artistry) and then have him go the pool and do cannon balls.

Now, I know the chances of you actually doing that are slim to none so here’s some advice you might really use. Do whatever is best for your family. If you want to take a stand have your husband go shirtless to the pool and proudly celebrate his abundant follicle forest.

If this is going to make you and your  hubs uncomfortable and keep you away from the pool then buy a swim shirt and just be done with it. Or you can go to another pool where you don’t feel like you’re being judged and enjoy your summer. 

Now if you really want to make splash you could threaten your HOA with legal action. I’m no lawyer, but maybe you should file a civil suit for discrimination based on body hair. Supreme Court here you come!

*If you have a question for Dear Snarky email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com or private message me on my Snarky Facebook page. 🙂

 

Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Dumb Ass – Part 4

I woke up the day after my Water Carnival show down all Zippity-Damn-Doo-Dah. I was confident that Barbara Gray had been vanquished for at least a couple of months.  I held on to that happy thought until 10 a.m. I had dropped my kids off at school, gone to a meeting and was pulling into my driveway when I smelled something God awful.  I put my car into the garage and got out to investigate.  That’s when the full force of the odor  began an assault on my olfactory system.  Imagine the worst dirty diaper you’ve ever changed then multiply that by 1,000. I followed my nose and it took me right to Barbara’s house.  She had a landscape crew literally shoveling shit all over her lawn. They were spreading manure in the flower beds, around her trees and shrubs, even raking it through her grass.  Yes, I know it’s just super environmentally friendly to fertilizer with manure, but Barbara wasn’t just fertilizing she was carpeting her entire yard with bovine refuse.  As I stood in her lawn breathing through my nose a neighbor walked over and said, “This is just horrible!”

“I don’t know how Barbara can stand this,” I said while gagging.  “Who wants cow poop all over their yard?”

“Oh, didn’t you know?  She’s at her lake house until next week.  I’m supposed to keep an eye on things for her until she gets back.”

“What?!  Barbara has left town and we’re stuck with crapapalooza.”

This whole landscaping with nature’s number 2 got my snarky senses tingling.  Something besides the crap didn’t smell right.  I walked over to what seemed to be the head landscape guy and asked if he knew when the order was placed for the manure spectacular.  He said, they got a call late yesterday afternoon from Mrs. Gray requesting her yard be “liberally fertilized with cow manure.”

“She said she was going green and wanted to experiment with cow manure as a total lawn fertilizer. I told her it was going smell something awful, but she didn’t’ seem to care.”

I stood there and thought, “Well, well, Barbara you think you can one up my Water Carnival with a strategic crap bomb.  We’ll just see about that.”

I thanked the yard guy, sprinted inside my house and then took a couple of minutes to enjoy breathing again.  Once I was no longer light-headed from a lack of oxygen I got on the phone to do some research.  My first call was to the landscaping service Barbara uses.  I identified myself as a writer for the website – I Want Yard of the Month.com. The nice lady that answered the phone seemed thrilled to be talking to a “journalist.”  Now some of you may remember that I’ve used this whole writer for a website thing before (I Hate People – Part 3) and if you’re thinking I’m lazy because I’m reusing strategy think again.  I use it because it works.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – never underestimate how much people like to talk about themselves or have someone ask their opinion.  I shared with the woman that I was a neighbor of Barbara Gray’s and was fascinated by her use of cow manure as a fertilizer.  I asked if this was a new trend in suburban landscaping.

“Oh no, we do use cow manure in flower beds, but this is the first time someone has asked if we could do their whole yard.  It usually isn’t done on the entire yard because of the smell and the neighbor’s complaints.  There are some HOA’s that don’t allow it.”

“Really?  Some HOA’s have a problem with it – interesting.  Now, I haven’t noticed my neighbor using cow manure before.  Do you know why she changed her weed and feed methods?”

“You know I really can’t say.  I do know that her phone call yesterday afternoon took us all by a complete surprise.  It’s was so, how do I say this, so un-Mrs. Gray.  We even tried to talk her out doing manure over her entire yard, but she insisted.”

“She just decided to do it yesterday.  Wow, you guys work fast!  What time did she call?”

“Oh, it was right after 5 o’clock, but Mrs. Gray is one of our best clients so we try to keep her happy.”

“Hmm, I bet you do.  Now, is there a downside to using cow manure besides the odor?”

“Well, if you’re not careful about the quality of the manure you can get what is called weed seed transfer. That’s when the vegetation the cow eats ends up in it’s poop and those seeds can then end up in your yard.”

Upon hearing this my heart skips a beat and I experience the thrilling rush of retaliation. I try to contain my joy and say in a voice that’s as normal as possible, “How devastating. You mean if you’re not careful you could end up with a yard full of weeds?”

“Yes, there’s a chance that might happen, but then most people don’t use cow manure all over their yard.”

I thank the landscape lady profusely for her time and promise to send her a link to my article just as soon as I post it online.  I then quickly call my neighbor who is keeping on eye on Barbara’s house for her and ask if she knows exactly when Barbara will be back.  I find out she’s gone for an entire week.  Excellent.  I then change into my navy blue capri track pants, throw on a t-shirt, shove my size 11 feet into men’s flip flops (They’re way cheaper people.) and head to our city’s one and only organic nursery.  I was off to buy some seeds.  Why organic you ask?  Because I wanted to buy dandelion seeds and I knew the organic nursery stocked them for the deluxe crunchy set who make their own home-grown dandelion wine. (Yuck.) I was planning on liberating some dandelion seeds right into Barbara’s yard and that was just the beginning.

Field of Dreams

I was greeted by a very attentive garden employee. She was named Saffron Luna and of course, that prompted me to ask if that was the name on her birth certificate.  It was not.   I told her I was helping my daughter with a school project and she had to see which kind of weeds would grow fastest in a manure based soil.  Saffron was full of great suggestions. While dandelions were a no brainer she also suggested thistles, something that was a cousin to crabgrass, clover, chickweed and various nut and onion grasses.  Unfortunately, all they sold were the dandelion seeds, but she know the local Ag Extension office (for you big city types the Ag office in the simplest terms is a cooperative education outreach for farmers) would have some, if not all of, the weed seeds.  Mother Nature had my back because not only was the Extension office more than happy to load me up on “lawn combatants” they also didn’t charge me a thing.  The gentleman there said, “He was pleased to help any youngster with a scientific endeavor.”

Yeah, I know I should have at least blushed or hung my head in shame for fibbing, but I had bigger issues at stake than the truth – revenge.

The trip out to the country and back took up most of my afternoon and I barely was on time picking up my kids from school.  I warned them as they exited the car to use their backpacks to cover their face and not to commence breathing until they were inside the sealed pod that is our house. Based on the fact that, at times, they’re both morons they didn’t obey me and I was serenaded with my daughter screaming, “My eyes are bleeding!” and my son moaning “It’s the Killing Fields!”  To punish them for not doing as they were told I ran into the house and locked the door making them beg for mercy before I would open it. They were locked out for all of 30 seconds, but you would have thought both of them were having limbs amputated.  After they calmed down and did a nasal wash I explained that Operation Retribution was in high gear.  This is when I was betrayed by my own flesh and blood.  My daughter had the nerve to announce, “Mom, this is all your fault! If you hadn’t made Mrs. Gray so mad with the Water Carnival we could all breathe outside.”

My son added, “I would think about doing Operation Give Up because not being able to go outside or open your windows trumps water balloons.”

I shook my head in disgust and said, “Really, this is what you two are all about – giving up, quitting, hugging defeat.  I’m seriously doubting that you two are my children.  There must have been some kind of switched at birth at the hospital because anyone with my DNA surging through them would not be this lazy. Oh my God, or worse, you both are acting just like Nana!  This isn’t the time to quit.  This is the time to shine.  To let your opponent know just what they’re dealing with.  I telling you two, I‘ve got this.”

Then I misquoted Winston Churchill (big time) and made, what I thought was a stirring closing argument.

“We shall fight her in her yard, We shall fight her in the HOA, We shall fight her in the fields and in the streets, We will outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.”

As usual they were not impressed, but I tell you, I gave myself chill bumps.

Before the Dawn’s Early Light

At approximately 3:45 a.m. my alarm went off and I got out of bed ready to begin phase one of Operation Retribution.  Because I had slept in my super sexy nighty – an XL man’s black Hanes T-shirt – I already had on most of my camouflage outfit. All I needed to do was pull on my track pants, lace up my tennis shoes, leash up our black dog and I was good to go.  I slipped out of the house with a dog poop bag filled to the brim with the lawn combatants and then using my elderly dog with bladder control issues as an excuse to be roaming the neighborhood at such an early hour I set out for Barbara’s yard.  Once I got there I began pouring seed from the poop bag into nice little rows.  I felt like a 21st Century Johnny Appleseed.  Everything was going great until something touched my shoulder.

“Holy Crap!, I whispered screamed,  “Who sneaks up on a woman in the middle of the night?”

“Sorry,” said my 60ish down the street neighbor said. He was smoking and I guessed that’s why he was up.  I knew his wife didn’t allow him to smoke in the house.  “I was just so curious about what you were up to I had to come and take a look-see.”

Hmm, what to do, what to do.  Should I confess the truth or try to cover up my actions?  My neighbor, James Robert, is a retired English professor. He’s got a cool, aging hippie vibe.  He and his wife do new age things like travel the world watching sun sets while doing yoga on top of a mountain.  He’s also pretty attractive for an older gentleman.  Not NCIS Mark Harmon attractive, but really who is?  I decide to go with confessing. Barbara has given him plenty of grief over his xeriscaped yard so I knew there was a good chance he would be all over my plan.  I would also throw in that I was just giving karma a nudge.  So, I spilled the beans/seeds.

As soon as I’m done he starts laughing his ass off.  He’s so loud I’m shushing him, like I need more neighbors outside – not.  After he calms down James Robert bends down to pet my dog and says, “I think I can help you in this little plan you’ve got going on.”

“Oh, you’re going to help spread the weed seeds?”

“Nay, I can do better than that.  What would you say if I planted some weed?”

I gave him a confused look and said,”Well, I’m already planting weed. I have clover and chickweed and…”

He interrupted me with, “No, I mean real weed.”

I looked at him again, still confused and then I got it, my eyes bigger than the full moon. “Ohhhh, you mean weed, weed, marijuana!  I gasped and said, “You want to plant pot in Barbara’s yard?”

At this point I was experiencing a wide range of emotions from giddy delight to having Mrs. Stick Up Her Butt growing pot in her yard to the fear of being busted.  I can see it now, “Local Mother of Two Arrested in Pot Sting – Feet to Big for Women’s Prison Slippers.”

My delight overtook my fear so I went for the follow-up question. “Just how would you do that?”

“Easy, I might possibly have access to a couple of marijuana plants that perhaps I could put in those front flower beds right over there.”

“Like full size, already grown plants?”

“Yes, full size plants.”

“Okay, I can’t tell you how happy this is making me, but I can’t have any part in being anywhere near marijuana.  If you do this I can not help you. I’m going to have to go all Mission Impossible and disavow any knowledge of your actions.”

“No problem. Give me the rest of your seed bag and take your doggy inside.  I’ll take care of the rest.”

I felt like I was right in the middle of a drug deal or something.  My heart was thumping out of my chest.  “Okay,” I said, very cautiously, “I’ll just drop my bag here and go back to my house.  It was good talking to you. Tell your wife hi for me” and then I turned tail and ran home.

I was extremely worried that I may have crossed a line so I woke up my husband and told him my story.  He looked at me with sleepy, pissed off eyes and first said, “You were out in the middle of the night with seeds in a dog poop bag spilling them on a neighbor’s yard with our dog as your co-conspirator?”

“Yes.”

Then you accidentally meet up with James Robert and he volunteers to plant pot in Barbara’s yard.?”

I’m thinking his grasp of the story is remarkable for someone who just woke up and say, “Yes.”

Did you ask him to do it?  Did you see the plants? Did you see him plant the plants?”

I answered, “No, no and no.”

“Then go to sleep. For all you know he was just yanking your chain and P.S. you’re might need to go on some kind of medication”

“Not going to happen. I don’t think there’s a medication for making someone un-awesome.”

He said, “You do know your awesome is probably a textbook case of crazy,” and then he rolled over and went back to sleep.

I couldn’t. I was too wired from my nighttime excursion.  I got even more excited the next morning when I took my dogs on an early than normal morning walk and saw about half-dozen pot plants standing tall and proud in Barbara’s front flower beds.  Good Lord, he had done it!  Barbara Gray was now a pot farmer.

Yes, there’s still more, much more – coming soon.


Partly Cloudy With a Chance of Dumb Ass – Part 2

By the time I had pulled into my garage my kids had been fully briefed on what their responsibilities were. Time was of the essence. People would be arriving in minutes.  I was on wine detail which meant taking my Franzi boxed white wine and siphoning it off into a carafe. (Classy, I know.)

My daughter was to get into a swimsuit pronto, head to the backyard and start turning on the hoses.  My son was instructed to break out the trebuchet. That command got him interested. “My trebuchet”, he said excitedly. “We still have the trebuchet!  I wonder if it works? Where is it?”

“I dug it out of the deepest corner of the basement and it looks to be in pretty decent shape.  I wheeled it out into the yard.  Go make sure it can still catapult,”

A trebuchet, in it’s simplest terms, is a geeky boy’s best friend when his parents just say no to an air gun. It’s loosely related to a catapult and was used in the Middle Ages to fling projectiles over enemy fortifications.  My son had built a mini-trebuchet in seventh grade using a radio flyer wagon, scrap wood and my gently used Spanx. His trebuchet had amazing accuracy in flinging water balloons and seemed to me to be just the thing for a successful Water Carnival.

As soon as I got the Frenzi into a carafe party helped arrived.  My friends Kelly, Nikki and ABC all walked in with screaming kids that immediately descended into the backyard. (For detailed friend descriptions please read My Friends and really let’s try to keep up on the Snarky.)  I told not yet 30 and gorgeous Nikki, “You’re on kid patrol and I think you know why?”

“I’m guessing it’s because I have the youngest kids,” she said.

“No,” it’s because you walked into my kitchen wearing cut offs and a bikini top.  You’re being punished for being young and beautiful with no visible sign of cellulite or spider veins.

Nikki laughed and said, “Should I wrap a beach towel around myself to make you feel better?”

“No, I’m afraid the damage is already done. My self-esteem will now require a Franzi I.V.”

“And I know how much you’ll hate that,” she said and still laughing walked outside and started running through the Dora the Explorer sprinkler with her two kids.

Kelly looked at me and said,  “I better not get “Annoying Mom” hostess duty again. I always get that.”

I gave Kelly a guilty look and then launched into a pep talk.  “It’s because you’re so good at it.  You can stand there and converse with those women without saying things like “Shut up, please just shut up?”  I can’t do that and we all know ABC sure as hell can’t. Really, you have a talent.  It would be rude of me not to let you use it.”

“Let me get this straight. You’re telling me I have a talent for chatting up obnoxious moms?”

“Yes, you’re a diplomat. An ambassador. An envoy bridging the gap between the awesome (I said pointing to the three of us left in the kitchen) and the icky.”

“Great,” she said with zero enthusiasm. “It looks like the icky are arriving so it’s off to the backyard for me.”

ABC then quickly volunteered to be the “wine hostess.”

“Just exactly does one do as a wine hostess?” I inquired.

“Easy, I keep the Franzi flowing.”

“How do you know it’s Franzi in the carafe?  It could be something fancy?”

“Seriously, I could smell the Franzi from your driveway?”

“My driveway says boxed wine?”

“No, your driveway says boxed wine with a coupon.”

I smiled and said, “You got that right!” and gave her a high-five.  ABC grabbed the  carafe.  I got the plastic wine glasses and the fruit tray and we both headed outside.

It took only about 20 minutes for the Water Carnival to be in full swing.  So many  things were in my favor for a successful event.  It was an unusually hot and humid day and it was way too early for any of the local pools to open so running around in the backyard was still considered not that “uncool” for the over age 9 set.  It was also a Monday.  The one day of the week my kids didn’t have any after school obligations and from the turn out it looked like a lot of families had similar schedules.

The sprinkler and hose back-splashed into Barbara Gray’s yard. Because my neighborhood has a golf course that runs through it fences are not allowed for any home that backs up to a fairway.  It you do have a fence it must be no taller than four feet and have spacing between the slates to “ensure a seamless neighborhood vista.”

What this means is that while I have a fence, (A white picket one.  Yes, the irony.) Barbara does not and my fence offers no protection from keeping water out of her yard.  To further ensure that her lawn would be a soaking mess I told all the boys under the age of 10 “under no circumstances” should they let water get in “that” yard.  The lady was “very mean and she would get super angry” if her yard got wet.  It was like rubbing a bull’s face in a red flag. Those boys made it their mission to flood Barbara’s yard.

As I stood watching the “moist” mayhem I was forced to play gracious hostess and converse with the three annoying moms I had invited Organica, Zillow and TBTT.  They were here because I had been blowing them off for almost year with one of those, “Yeah, we do really need to get our kids together soon” and they had children who were holy terrors that I knew they would deliver a huge water mess.

I had just broken out the Otter pops and was beginning to circulate them to the kids when “Organica” just couldn’t help herself and had to ask me if the Otter Pops were homemade.  I said, “Um no.”  She then questioned if they were naturally free of additives and part of the Rainforest Alliance Pact?” It took all the etiquette training my mother had forced upon me and that includes two years participating in Cotillion to not holler, “Are you shitting me?”

Instead I sweetly smiled at her and said, “Oh yes, these Otter Pops are made with amniotic fluid from free range wood nymphs that live in the fair trade enchanted forest and are sweetened with localvore pixie dust.”

You could see Organica trying to process what I had just said.  All the buzz phrases she longed to hear were there – free range, localvoire, fair trade. It took a couple of seconds before she said a bewildered, “Huh?”

“I’m just teasing you,” I said. “No worries, this brand of Otter Pops are from Whole Foods.”

She smiled and I smiled because the water, high fructose corn syrup and red dye #2 ice pops were from Costco.  But, I’ve learned when a mom questions me about food the simplest way to shut them up is to just say, “Whole Foods.”

Sidebar time – Sorry I know it slows the story down, but I feel I must take a moment to add in this rant.  Curse you Williams Sonoma for taking a simple thing of summer beauty like a box of popsicles that cost me all of $2.00 and ruining it with your $50 Zoku Quick Pop Maker.  It started last summer when every mom was talking about making her own gourmet, organic popsicles for her kids with her Zoku.  As in, “OMG, I just made the best beet juice and carrot Zoku pops ever.” Gag. Now it’s white trash to grab a 150 count bag of Otter Pops out of your fridge. Frozen ice has gone fancy.  Suburban popsicles are now homemade veggie juices sweetened with stevia. Way to go, Williams Sonoma. Thanks for killing another part of the innocence of summer.  Okay, I got that out of my system and I feel way better.  Now, back my story.

The next mom to irritate me was Zillow.  Zillow is a former realtor (brought down by the economic collapse and currently a co-founder of a Cupcakery) who goes around telling everyone what their home is currently worth.  She’s a soothsayer of doom because right now most people’s houses aren’t worth what they should be and really is it ever a good time to tell someone that they’re “this close” to being upside down on their mortgage?  Zillow greeted me with a, “You’ll never sell this house until you get some marble in that kitchen.”

“Good to know,” I said in a curt attempt to shut her up.

It didn’t work. She continued on with, “I don’t even know how you can cook in a kitchen without marble. It’s so 1980’s.”

“Gee Zillow, I’ve probably made thousands of meals in that kitchen without marble countertops. I guess I’m kicking it old school.”

“I’m just saying it’s a shame you can’t go more upscale.”

I thanked her for her concern and immediately walked back into my non-marble kitchen while texting my son who was in the backyard and instructed him to trebuchet the woman in the yellow top on the deck with at least two water balloons ASAP. I then took a great big sip of Franzia and counted to 10.  By the time I had gotten to nine I heard screams from Zillow.  The trebuchet had made a direct hit.

I laid low after that happened and busied myself with filling up more water balloons.  Unfortunately TBTT found me. The TBTT stands for “Too Busy Too Tinkle.” This woman’s goal is to be the busiest mom in the 48 contiguous United States. She validates her self-worth by being so incredibly, extraordinarily busy (in her own mind) that she has zero time to empty her bladder.

Every conversation I’ve ever had with her starts with some version, “Oh my God. I’m about to wet my pants. I’ve been so busy I haven’t gone to the bathroom since 6:15 this morning.”

I’ve called her out on this a few times. I mentioned how it’s not really a good thing not to answer nature’s call and even that it’s a tad awkward to start every conversation with an over share of your bodily functions.  he’s yet to take a hint. This afternoon she greeted me with, “Girl, where’s your bathroom I’ve got to pee like a racehorse. I’ve had four coffees, three meetings and no time to go potty.”

I directed her to my half bath and when she came out I began my version of “Word Problems They Didn’t Teach You in School.”  TBTT, I said, I just timed how longed you peed. It was exactly 46 seconds. The entire time you were in the bathroom comprised 1 minute and 36 seconds – that includes pants down and up, toilet flush and hand washing.  You mean to tell me that in the, I’m guessing 10 hours you’ve been up, you didn’t have 1 minute and 36 seconds to void your bladder?”

“Oh my God, you timed my pee?  That’s so gross.”

“No grosser then you telling me you have to pee like a racehorse. I’m just trying to help, to illustrate that you do, indeed, have time to use the bathroom.”

“I don’t expect someone like you to get it. I mean you’d have to be a really busy person to understand what it’s like to constantly be doing stuff all the time. It’s not just that I don’t have time to pee. It’s that I’m so busy I forget that I have to pee.”

I didn’t see myself winning this to pee or not to pee argument so I agreed with TBTT and said, “Yes, you’re right. I could never grasp being so devoid of time management skills that I couldn’t take a couple of minutes to go to the bathroom. “

She smiled at me and said, “I know, I know, I need to slow down, but it’s who I am. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

“Well,” I said, here’s hoping a bladder infection doesn’t kill you” and off I went to deliver the water balloons to the boys lined up at the trebuchet.

As you would expect of boys as soon as they saw me they attacked me with a water balloons.  I was soaking wet. So I took off my t-shirt and was styling in an outfit of jog bra, capri track pants and flip-flops.

I walked over to where Nikki, ABC and Kelly (who had escaped the trio of annoyance) were standing and surveyed my yard. I felt like Francis Scott Key observing the battle of Fort McHenry.  Over the ramparts I watched sprinklers gallantly streaming. There was the rockets wet glare as kids shot each other in the eye with super soakers and the mini trebuchet, courtesy of XL Spanx, was brilliantly delivering water balloons bursting in not just in the air, but Barbara Gray’s yard. It was a H2o dream come true.

Kids were slip n sliding, bathing in wheel barrows and plastic wading pools, blowing bubbles, and screaming – a lot. The only thing missing was Barbara Gray but just as a flock of clouds obscured the sun she emerged out on her back deck, took inventory of the chaos and give me a look, I fear, would have killed a weaker woman.

I looked right back at her, balled my hands into fists, raised them to my eyes and did the whole boo hoo thing. She just stood there and glared. I was loving it!  Until my husband pulled into the driveway. Crap, he was home way early.

My house has the garages on the side so when you pull into the driveway you can see right into a portion of the backyard.  I looked up and there he was sitting in his car staring at me and my what a pretty picture I make.

I’m soppy wet in a jog bra with my dimpled stomach, that hasn’t seen the sun since 1995, curling over the waistband of my Target capris.  My handsome husband gets out of his car, briefcase in one hand, keys in the other and continues to stare and then starts shaking his head. What choice did I have but to blow him a kiss.  He looks at me, kind of smiles and reaches up with his hand that’s holding the car keys and catches it.

This was a definitive moment in my 20 plus year marriage.  I don’t have one of those grand romantic marriages that Nicholas Sparks writes about. The closest I’ve had to a “Notebook” moment of making mad, passionate love in the rain was when my husband and I snuggled under a large Hefty trash bag during an angry thunderstorm at a University of Texas Football game. But, the one thing I knew at that moment, on this day, was that I was loved. Not even belly fat and job bra that had seen better days  scared this man and for a second that made me the luckiest woman in the world.

Too bad that moment lasted just a millisecond because Barbara had left her deck and was walking towards my house with an umbrella. She demanded the sprinklers be repositioned and all these “shenanigans” stopped.

I said, “No problem, the party is almost over. I told the boys over and over again to not get your yard wet. Please accept my sincere apologies,” and then  I offered her an Otter Pop.

She waved her hand at the Otter Pop like it was turd on a stick and squished her way through my very wet grass to her almost as wet backyard. Then right as she’s plopping herself in a chair on her deck the trebuchet launches three balloons. They hit her, not in the face, but right at her feet.  I see the balloons explode, the water splashing up and soaking her linen dress and then to make it even more perfect she curses. I answer back with an, “Oops, sorry!”

It was a good to be me right up until 10 o’clock the next morning when the shit hit the fan – literally.

More to come.