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.

Would Your Neighbor Make the Cut to be on Your Zombie Apocalypse Team?

zombie-pie-chartI spend a lot of time walking my dogs. Mainly because they’re wonderful and what they want they get. And then there’s the fact that if I don’t walk them they get really annoying, not teenage daughter annoying, but close. Well, that’s not really a fair comparison because if my dogs could roll their eyes and do a hair flip then I think they could reach that lofty height.

The good news is I enjoy being outside with my canine sweeties. Most of the time I don’t even bring a phone. It’s just me, the dogs and my thoughts. Not surprising to most of you is that I don’t seem to have any deep thoughts. What I do seem to think about a lot is the world ending. Okay, that might just qualify as a deep thought.

If you’re now thinking “Good God woman you mention a zombie apocalypse at least once a month” all I have to say it you’re right and it’s my son’s fault.

A decade ago (back in his elementary school days) I went to a seminar on how to be a “good boy parent” and the speaker, a renowned child psychologist, insisted that to bond with your son you should play video games with him. All the games were post-apocalyptic and now years later I’m still pondering the topic.

For instance, as I walked my dogs last week in the snow/ice I thought who would I want to team up with in a post-apocalyptic world – the neighbor with a shoveled driveway or the one just guns their car out of the garage and drives over the snow. Think about it. It’s a tough call.

The neighbor who shoveled their driveway demonstrates discipline and certain obedience to societal expectations. The neighbor who just lets their car act as a battering ram through the snow shows an ability to take risks (because their car might get stuck or slide) and perhaps a need to defy authority.

The way I see it you would want both. The disciple of a snow shoveler and the thrill seeking of the non shoveler. I considered it a draw. So, as I continued walking my hounds (full disclosure one of my dogs is a beagle so it’s less of walk and more of me getting vigorously yanked from scent to scent) I thought I would use outdoor Christmas decorations still left up as a tiebreaker.

If a neighbor still has their holiday decor adorning their abode does it show a jolly, optimistic spirit or a total slackneress? I couldn’t decide. So, I had to refine the parameters to include a decoration degree of difficulty.

Deflated inflatables laying like nylon corpses in the yard = no go on being on my end of the world team. Seriously, how hard is it to drag an inflatable out of your front yard? Those neighbors are riding solo on the Armageddon train.

Now, intricate light displays that could have taken days to put up shows dexterity and even some dare-devil qualities. Not everyone is comfortable climbing a ladder and straddling a house gutter while holding light clips in their mouths. Three things that I think you could need if the world was ending or there were zombies. (It always goes back to zombies doesn’t it?)

When I was done walking my dogs I was feeling very accomplished. I had, in a little under an hour, mapped out my neighborhood end of the world survival squad. The only issue is how do you tell your neighbor they’ve made the cut to your team? Email, Post it Note, announcement on the HOA Facebook page?

Hmm, maybe it’s best to keep it to myself because, yikes, what if someone declined to be on my team? That would hurt wouldn’t it? Your neighbor RSVP’ing a “no thanks” to your post apocalyptic posse invite.

I guess that’s something new for me to ponder on my next dog walk.

 

Partly Cloudy With A Chance of Dumb Ass – Part 5

Not one to rest on my laurels I was all over another opportunity that presented itself to me later in the day.  I volunteer at a non-profit that takes people’s used cars as donations and then sells the, usually very crapped out, cars to a dealer for cash.   I was working the phones for them when a call came in from a woman who wanted to donate her recently deceased father-in-law’s car.  She sounded very embarrassed about the condition of the vehicle and I assured her we had gotten cars donated that a good junk yard would have turned away.  Her problem was they were about to put her father-in-law’s house on the market and they needed the car out of the driveway as soon as possible.

“The car can’t be that bad,” I said.

“Oh, trust me it is,” the woman replied, “It’s a 1975 rusted out, dented, moldy AMC Pacer with the roof caving in. Oh and raccoons got into a couple of years ago and shredded most of the interior.”

I hope right now you’re thinking what I was thinking because I was thinking – I’ve got to get my hands on that car.  She had me at AMC Pacer.

“That does sound bad,” I said, “But we still would love the donation.”

“Well, there’s one more things. The Pacer has one of those tin can travel trailers attached to it.  The trailer is in worst shape than the Pacer. It even has a couple of bullet holes in it,”

I  gasped in delight, but the woman thought I was gasping about the violence of bullet holes so she quickly said, ‘Oh no, it’s not what you think.  The bullet holes are from a hunting trip when a bunch of men got drunk and used the trailer for target practice.”

I’m thinking to myself, “Awesome!” But I say to her in a voice of sweet innocence, “It’s okay.  I was just taken aback for a minute.”

In a very relieved tone she says,  “I was worried you were going to back out and you still might because the problem is you have to take both the car and the trailer.  You see the tow hitch on the back of the Pacer is so rusted out we can’t get the trailer off.”

“Oh no worries, no worries at all – we’ll take both,” I say as I’m rubbing my hands together in unfettered joy.  Let me ask you something – can your still drive the Pacer?”

“Barely.”

“Well, here’s the deal our parking area where we store the cars before the dealer we sell them to comes and hauls them away is full right now. But, if you could manage to drive the car and the trailer to my house I could store it for you and then when there’s room in our lot we can move it there.”

“Oh Bless you!  You’re an angel.  I’ll get with my husband as soon as I hang up the phone and see about moving the car today.”

I gave her Barbara Gray’s address and told her to make sure to pull the car and the trailer into the driveway as far as it will go.  I also told her I was going to be gone all day so she just needed to leave the key to the Pacer in the front seat of the car since I was pretty sure no one was going to steal it.

By 3:30 that afternoon Barbara had not only six pot plants in her front yard, but the world’s most disgusting AMC Pacer that was being upstaged by a vintage trailer that probably housed meth chefs in a former life, decorated with bullet holes.  I did exactly what you would have done.  I took pictures, lots of them.  Then I called the HOA and requested an emergency meeting.

The Devil’s Minor League – The HOA 

Our HOA board is composed mostly of retired people in very bad moods with control freak tendencies boarding on the psychotic which is why Barbara, as the recording secretary, fits in so nicely.  I think because they’re bored they fill up the days by ensuring their suburban enclave meets their level of perfection.  These folks also love, love, love meetings.  To request an emergency one, I have no doubt, gives them a non-viagra aided climax.  My meeting request was quickly approved and scheduled for 10 a.m. the next day.  I suggested we all meet in Barbara’s yard and added that it wouldn’t be awkward because I knew she would be out-of-town.

As befitting such an important and solemn occasion as an emergency HOA meeting in a neighbor’s manure laden lawn I showed up the next morning dressed in my burb finest – jeans, a T.J. Maxx cashmere twin set with pearls and my hair in a headband. I looked like Hillary Clinton, circa 1992. I carried a basked of mini muffins that I passed around and I also had handouts.  Nothing says I’m a serious person who once worked at an important job a decade ago as color handouts.  My handouts, in extra-large type, thank you very much, for the mature set, listed the HOA “crimes” Barbara had committed including, but not limited to; use of unapproved lawn fertilizer resulting in endangerment of the health of other homeowners, possible growing of illegal vegetation, violation of the parking rules and having a vehicle or lawn ornament that reflects negatively on the beauty of the neighborhood.  I also noted as a HOA board member she should know better.

The board, 4 retired dudes, 2 ladies who lunch and also do hard time as members of the Garden Club and my friend Kelly (Board treasurer. She very nicely left work so she could be there for me. ) were “aghast,” “taken aback” and “saddened” by Barbara’s “egregious” and “blatant disrespect of the covenants of the HOA.”  Kelly was getting me off my game a little bit because she was trying not to laugh and the effort was making her entire body shake. I couldn’t make eye contact with her for fear I would start howling. To try to regain my composure I proposed a moment of silence where we could all reflect or pray, depending on your religious affiliation or lack thereof, for Barbara’s soul.  One gentleman requested we form a pray circle and hold hands.  That pushed Kelly right over the edge.  She got the hiccups from excessive laughter suppression and had to excuse herself to go and get a drink of water. I told everyone the manure smell was most likely causing a partial larynx paralysis.

After the moment of silence the HOA board president opened the meeting up for discussion.  I thought the two garden club groupies would try to have Barbara’s back and might defend her.  I was wrong – kind of – they did  have her back, but it was to stick a knife in it.   They also aimed for her jugular by making a motion for the HOA Death Penalty – Ineligible to participate in Yard of the Month for two years!  They had a quorum and took a vote.  It was unanimous – The Death Penalty wins!  The Death Penalty Wins!  One of the woman wanted to call Barbara and inform her immediately of their decision.  No, no and no, this can’t happen. I don’t want her rushing home.  I need a couple of days for my damn seeds to germinate and those pot plants to take root.  This is when being prepared and forcing yourself to read 13 pages of HOA rules pays off big.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” I said, “According to the covenant you have to send the rule violations in writing via registered mail. It would be a flagrant violation of our own policy and might render the charges against Barbara null and void.”

They all agreed and the meeting was adjourned with the president vowing to get the letter written and mailed today.  I waited until everyone left, checked on the pot plants, gave them a little water and then did a happy dance.

But, wait there’s more – click your way over to the finale!

Get your Snarky fix by buying the book!  Snarky in the Suburbs – Back to School – check it out on Amazon.  http://tinyurl.com/snarkybook

Here’s a little lookie loo: 

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 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.


When Bunko Is Code for Bible Study

Picture 6

*This post is one of the first I wrote for my blog when I started over-sharing. I’m re-running it because tonight I’m going back to Bunko. Let’s hope it’s improved – greatly.

Bunko is a dice game that is popular among middle-aged chicks in the burbs. The best thing about it is that it requires no skill. You don’t want to have to think when you play bunko. You just roll the dice, blab, roll the dice again and blab, blab some more. Which is perfect because bunko is really an excuse to escape your husband and children, drink heavily during a weekday evening and gossip enthusiastically and in length about the people that aren’t there.  In a word – heaven. Except my friends I have found an alternative Bunko universe.  Where there are no alcoholic spirits and no gossip.  I’m talking about good, clean fun and who wants to waste their Friday night on that?

Let me set the stage.  As a neighborhood newbie I’m excited to be invited to Bunko. I can get some tacky tidbits on the neighbors and hopefully a little inside scoop on the moms at the elementary school. Good times. I’ve been instructed to arrive with the “fun” beverage of my choice. Ladies, it’s time to break out the “jingle juice” – vodka, o.j, orange liqueur, and a splash of cranberry. Yummy. I walk over to my neighbors ready to get my groove on with my pitcher of vodka sunshine. First clue something was wrong – I was the only one clutching an alcoholic beverage. Oops.  I was adrift in a sea of Diet Pepsi, decaf coffee and root beer (Yes, root beer.  Don’t you think that’s odd for a party with everyone over the legal drinking age by about twenty years?) Second clue, the bibles (please note the plural) on the tables.

In this Bunko universe the dice are only for holy rolling. Oh yeah, you read that right. Holy freaking Rolling! You sit down and roll those dice and whatever number they land on you start thinking about a bible verse with those numbers. Confused and perhaps a little scared? I was. (Basically, I’m thinking I’m being punked?  Is this some bizarre form of neighborhood initiation?) Let me explain further.  For instance, it’s my turn to roll the dice and one dice rolls 3, the other a 1.  Let’s get our bibles and see what verse we can find to share with the group. Oh goodie, here’s one Proverbs 3:1: “My son, do not forget my teaching . . .”  Now, Proverbs 3:1 is a perfectly good bible verse but Bunko isn’t about the bible or at least it shouldn’t be. It’s about getting tipsy and bossiping (bitch gossiping) and if you’re really lucky someone will reveal a scandalous tidbit about themselves that you can dine out on for years!

But, I digress, so let’s get back to the rules of Bible Bunko. You read your bible verse. The group ponders and discusses the verse and then the next person rolls her bible dice. This goes on for h-o-u-r-s. Whatever, it wasn’t really hours, but it felt like it. Imagine the most boring church sermon you’ve had to ever sit through while wearing a skirt that was so tight it was compressing your abdominal cavity. Combine that with enduring the most long-winded, repetitive college professor who excels at monotone droning in a two-hour lecture class and you’ve got my evening vibe. So, what’s a girl to do?  Hatch an escape plan, course. I would like to go on record and state that I did try my best to be an adult and stay the entire time but I caved. I couldn’t do it.

Escape Plan: Step one  – I start drinking the jingle juice. Liquid fortification was first on my list. Step two – after the 16th bible verse is discussed I go to the bathroom and call my son.  I tell him to call me in 5 minutes or get grounded.  Step Three:  phone rings 5 minutes later. I use the standard “family needs me line”  and run, not walk or skip, but full on run home, hugging my precious left over jingle juice to my chest and giving the pitcher little kisses as I’m sprinting.  Safe at last, I cross the threshold to my house,  bolt the door, guzzle the left over jingle juice and pray not for God’s forgiveness, but to help these women find a way to loosen up their spanx and have some fun.  Really, all that inner virtue and righteousness will give you wrinkles and who’s want’s that? Not me!

***For all things wonderfully Snarky go to www.snarkygear.com where you can find the new Spring/Summer  Snarky line of clothing and accessories. Plus, there’s my book – Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. (Click here for purchase information.) 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.