The Shame Trifecta

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 9.12.06 PMYeah, I know summer is over and who cares about my latest waterpark adventure. But just wait. What I have to share is a cautionary tale. Oh, sure loads has been written about Schlitterbahn’s Verruckt. But this is not about plunging down an incline greater than Niagara Falls. This, my friends, is about humiliation.

I had managed, through careful planning, (which means showing up at Schlitterbahn just late enough that every “reservation” slot would be taken) to avoid the Verruckt all summer. But on Labor Day, my luck ran out. Extensive cloud cover, early morning thunderstorms, and I’m sure a general ennui of all things wet, meant the crowds at 10:05 a.m CST were sparse. Combine that with a moving sob story from my daughter about how her friends were afraid to “Verruckt” and I was trapped.

As I stood in line in my one piece swimsuit with extra long swim skirt, because I’m a woman who believes our nation needs to re-embrace the beauty of full butt coverage, I noticed some equipment that looked out-of-place at a Waterpark. It was a huge scale, like the kind you would use to weigh elephants at the zoo or something. What in the name of Verruckt was a calibration system of this magnitude doing at the entrance to a water attraction? And then, oh, Sweet God of Atlantis I discovered the hidden horror of the slide. You have to be weighed before you’re allowed to go on the ride!

I have a strict don’t ask don’t tell policy about my weight. When I go to the doctor’s office I never wear jeans, (denim is hefty fabric that can add at least three pounds). I also, always, take off my belt and shoes, and have been known to slip the nurse a $20 to look the other way as I adjust the scale to read at least 10 pounds less. So, the very last thing, as you can imagine, I want to do at a Waterpark is to be weighed. Am I not suffering enough? I’ve got most of my dimpled, doughy flesh exposed and I have some new spider veins that, no matter what I tell myself, do not look like hipster mom tattoos.

Before I even have to chance to make a run for it a life guard calls for my daughter and I to get on the scale. It’s nothing personal I’m told. Each three person raft, due to mass x acceleration, must have a combined weight of at least 400 pounds. They need to weigh us to figure out how chunky our third raft mate needs to be.

Are you freaking kidding me? I have to step on scale, that I’m sure was purchased from a large animal vet clinic, in front of hundreds of people and have my weight barked out like I’m some attraction at a low rent carnival. This isn’t going to happen. I am so out of here. But my daughter gives me a look that says, “Please Mom” and I cave because if my parenting style had a name it would be called “The Caver.”

Off I march to get on the scale with my head held high and my stomach sucked in. I can do this. I get on first and then my daughter hops on. After which an employee screams out that we need a person weighing at least 150 pounds to join us on the scale. We get a volunteer. A youngish guy, who looks like he runs triathlons, sprints over and jumps on. We have hit the magic number and  been cleared through stage one of Verruckt.

Thrilled that my weigh in session is behind me I, after an intense safety briefing that required all of us vowing to uphold the laws of gravity and not to sue the Schlitterbahn, if said laws of gravity do not work in our favor, proceed to climb up 264 stairs. Where, surprise, surprise, we have to get back on a scale. Did they think ascending up 17 stories might have made us drop a pound or two? The answer to that question was a “No ma’am. It’s another safety check.”

I groan and get on the scale. This one is smaller but still has a livestock vibe. After the weigh in we’re told that the heftiest person goes in the back of the raft. Mr. Triathlon assumes it’s going to be him. But a life guards points at me and hollers, “No, it’s not you. It’s her!” I have now hit the mortification trifecta. Shamed, I enter the raft and my daughter asks me if, “I’m scared.”

I tell her no. After this experience a 60-mph, 168 foot plunge in a rubber raft is nothing. Nothing at all.

*Attencover_1.3-2tion Snarky Friends, I have a new book out and for a limited time only it’s just 99 cents for a heaping helping of Snark! You are now gazing at the second book in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Snarky in the Suburbs Trouble In Texas. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! 🙂


Radio Snarky – Swimsuits Ugh!

Here is some new Radio Snarky! Click below for a 60 second slice of Snark.  swimsuit_season_1-03_large

It’s coming. It’s going to happen before you know it. It’s been EVER SO s-l-o-w-ly creeping up on you. You’ve been ignoring it. Making excuses. Telling yourself you have time. But now judgement day is in less than three months. The clock is tick, tick, ticking. Quickly go the minutes, hours and days until YOU have to wear a swimsuit.

Oh, it might not feel like it but summer is around the corner and if you do the swim suit math – how many pounds can I lose in 90 days X a Juice Cleanse divided by the Detox Sugar Diet multiplied by the square root of a going back to the gym = at the very best a swim skirt.

There, there, it’s okay if you’re crying a little or a lot because, I, Snarky in the Suburbs, am here for you. So friend go ahead and eat that 600 calorie sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies it’s all going to be okay. If you take my fashion advice and join me in going full beach towel this summer.

Oh sure, the swim skirt is supposed to act as flab camo but let’s be real that skirt barely provides complete butt coverage and in no way conceals that nasty enemy combatant known as wandering cellulite that starts mid fanny and enjoys talking long, meandering walks down the back of your thighs.

This is why the beach towel, a big, fluffy, beach towel will be your most beloved summer 2014 fashion accessory. Wrap it around your waist and you’re good to go . . . to the snack bar.




Your Swimsuit Shopping Survival Guide

11005140_367942900076426_1436330351_nI have seen evil, my friends, and it is the 3 way mirror.

Truly, an instrument of Satan designed to ravage and shred the self-esteem of any female over the age of 30.  I can see the devil having an “ah ha” moment one morning while polishing his horns.  “Yes,” he snarls, “The three way mirror will be one of my finest designs.  It will be purgatory on earth,  my new best friend forever.”

He calls for his minions and they take three mirrors and angle them so the human form could be captured front, side and back.  I’m okay with seeing the front. The side I was better with before my body decided to look like it was perennially 4 months pregnant. The back I’d like to never have to expose my corneas to again in my life.

In hell, I’m sure everyone has eyes in the back of their head. That way you’re forced to eternally view your backside 24/7.  Who looks better in the back than the front anyway?  The words back and rear both have negative connotations.  Who wants to go backwards or be at the rear of the line.  Not me, I’m all about the front until that insidious time of year rolls around – swimsuit shopping.

It’s not a task for the faint of heart.  I find swimsuit shopping the pinnacle of shame and an act of self-flagellation.  There you are – all of you – exposed.  Every bad choice you’ve made 364 days prior has laid claim to your thighs, belly,  butt and the bane of middle age – the dynamic duo of back fat and arm flab. (I can verify that, yes, your arms can have cellulite.) Every piece of Halloween candy you stole from your child’s bag, the numerous servings of pumpkin pie you hoarked down at Thanksgiving, the Krispy Kremes you inhaled in the privacy of your car, the workouts you missed or phoned in – they’ve all made their mark and the older you get the more they attack from the rear.

Yes, they’re vicious backstabbers. To make matter worse all your crimes against your own humanity are bathed in the freaky death glow of a retail clothing store’s florescent lights.

It takes courage to muster up the strength to try on those swimsuits.  But, like getting a mammogram once a year, it must be done.  As a mom you’re required to go swimming with your children. I even like swimming, a lot, as long as three-fourths of my body is covered by water at all times. I have three battle plans for swimsuit shopping.  1) Go into stores and try on swimsuits.  2) Go into stores pick out swimsuits and try on at home.  3) Purchase swimsuits on-line and then mail back suits tattooed with your tear stains.

By far, the most gutsy move is to try on the swimsuits at the store. You’re really putting yourself out there. You’re the Navy Seal of swimsuit shoppers. For this plan to be a success you have to move fast. I always like to do a little store recon before shopping begins in earnest.

The trick is you’re in and your out.  You don’t want a sales clerk helping you.  It’s mortifying to have a stranger assisting in your swimsuit selection and then knocking on the dressing room door asking “Is everything okay?”  Of course not “everything is okay.”  I’m naked and trying to squeeze my flab into a lycra swimsuit that looks like it’s an infant’s onsie. Oh and while I’m at it, thank you to both my kids for being addicted to one boob during breast-feeding so my chest is permanently lopsided.  (Just to get even at those two I should use their college fund for a breast re-do.)

Under no circumstances should you ever leave the safety of your dressing room (it’s your foxhole) to walk out and look at yourself in the even bigger three-way dressing room mirror. Trust me on this one – you will not survive that journey.  Once you have selected the least objectionable swimsuit, pay and then run to your car, lock the door, drive to a secluded area of the parking lot and sob.

Battle Plan two is for the inner wimp in all of us. The F Troop of shoppers.  You go into the store and if a sales clerk asks if you need assistance pretend you are selecting swimsuits for a friend.  I have even hit rock bottom and told a clerk I was picking out swimsuits for my mother. (I know the shame, the shame.)  Determine the maximum you can afford to put on your credit card, charge away and proceed to the sanctity of your bedroom for the try on.

I would recommend at this point bringing out the heavy artillery – any kind of alcohol.  For this plan to be a success do not allow your daughter into your bedroom or ask her opinion.  For I have found that daughters are like heat seeking missiles when it comes to your ego.  They always make a direct hit.  I would like to think that our precious daughters don’t intended to inflict pain, but they innocently speak the unfiltered truth.  As in, “I think that would look better on a younger Mommy” or “I’m not going to look like you when I get older am I?”  Ouch.

Battle Plan three on-line shopping calls for blitzkrieg of ordering.  Do not try on the swimsuits until they all arrive.  You don’t want to experience try-on fatigue and depression.  Follow same advice as Battle Plan two and pray.  Select a swimsuit that was the least horrifying and give yourself a pep talk, buy some self-tanner and tell yourself that bronzed legs really do make you look thinner.  Above all be realistic and know that swimsuit shopping comes with some degree of P.T.S.D. (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  You will be re-experiencing the original trauma(s) through flashbacks or nightmares. Sorry.

By purchasing a new swimsuit you have won the battle, but, alas, not the war. Shopping for the swimsuit was an air strike.  Now, you must wear the swimsuit in public.  That’s boots on the ground, hand to hand combat. Your best ammo will be a cover-up. It’s the I.E.D (improvised explosive device) of swim-wear.  The best being the full coverage sarong or the maxi dress.  Armed with one of these you can make it to the pool embarrassment free.  Sooner or later, you will have to de-sarong and get in the water.  Here is my time-tested strategy for the fastest way to conquer the water.

Pick the chair closest to a pool entry.  Who cares if your kids don’t want to sit there and forget sitting in the shade.  Pool proximity is vital. Now, grab a stack of beach towels and place them on your chair.  Right before you de-sarong get a kick board and my personal favorite a pool frisbee.  Walk to the edge of the pool, quickly de-sarong and throw it on your chair.  Now use the frisbee and kick board as fat camouflage.  With one hand take the kick-board and hold in your lower stomach and upper thigh region. With your other hand grab the frisbee and place in on your backside for full lower butt coverage. This distracts the eye from both your flab abs and cellulite dimpled lower body.  Now quickly jump in the water.

Do not ever slowly wade into a pool.  The slow wader is a dead man walking.  You might as well shout, “Cue the spotlight and magnifying mirror!”  If you don’t own a kick-board or frisbee I also recommend using your child at fat cammo.  Place your child in front of you.  Drape your arm over your child (almost like a sash) and then walk to the edge of pool and jump in. This works even better if you have two children.  Place one in back and one in front and hit the water as a trio. I call it the “happy family” move.

When it’s time to get out of the pool swim as close as you can to your chair.  Let your child get out first and have them walk to the side with one of the towels you left stacked on your chair.  You haul yourself out of the water while simultaneously grabbing the towel (yes, it does take some practice).  Then with your non-towel hand grab your cover up.

As well as this goes never let your guard down.  Always be on the look out for a sniper.  The sniper is the middle-aged mom who looks incredible in a swimsuit.  She’s constantly running covert surveillance checking out every other mom at the pool.  Her trademark: working a bikini that you haven’t had the guts to wear since college.  She’ll also most likely have a belly piercing, one tramp stamp, a tan, make-up and hair that’s never going to see chlorine . The bikini sniper should be approached with extreme caution and avoided it all possible. Her mission to take a kill shot at your self-esteem.

Above all brave warrior do not surrender.  Be strong.  You can survive summer in a swimsuit. Satan’s 3 way mirror and body image distress will not hold you hostage.  Your secret weapon, your B.F.F., is the waterpark.  Go and know that someone there will look much worse than you.  Find that person and sit by them.

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