California Dreaming

I feel like I’ve wrestled a Sasquatch. I’m not kidding every bone in my body is sore and as for my mental state well, it’s questionable. The culprit for my misery is driving to California to move my daughter (and her car) back to school. This is something they don’t tell you when you wait till your almost 40 to have your last child – by the time you’re moving that kid to college your knees are angry and your back is so over the schlepping.

Because this is our daughter’s sophomore year I thought I had the whole move in down to a science. In fact, I was very proud, boastful even, that we weren’t taking that much stuff to California. I mean why would we? It’s not like they don’t have Targets in So Cal.

Let me now share with you what a colossal mistake that was because here’s what happens when you “wait till you get there” to buy apartment swag – you spend way too much money and the trips to Target start to enter the double digits. Not to mention that the Southern California Targets are simply not up to snuff.

Okay maybe that’s not 100% accurate. The Target’s are fine. A better way to put it is that I missed my  home Target. Also, my home Target believes in providing you with bags for your purchases.

Sure, in California you can buy a bag but when you do when get major attitude from not only the cashier but also the person behind you. By our seventh Target trip I had gotten over the public shaming and would just announce to everyone within a ten feet radius that I was from Kansas and we’re a free bag state.

Aggravating our already frayed nerves and lower back pain was the fact that my daughter did all the California driving since she knew where everything was. It was like being on the Disneyland Matterhorn bobsleds – a lot of fast starts and stops with whiplash as your reward. Making the excursions even worse was my husband growling every couple of minutes, “Someone tell me again why we let Bella go to school in California?”

Adding to the “we’re idiots” tally was our decision to reward ourselves for all the heavy lifting we did by going to the aforementioned Disneyland because nothing says rest and relaxation like walking 15 miles through a theme park.

After Disney I decided I needed to go to my real happy place – Fashion Island. It’s a swanky outdoor mall in Newport Beach full of shops that I can’t afford but I still like to enjoy the ambience. At one store I decided to treat myself to a fancy skin cream.

As the make up counter guru started testing creams on me she began aggressively feeling my face and then called the other consultants over where they also began poking my cheeks and forehead. At first I thought this was some kind of California face massage thing but it turns out that I was the only woman they had seen in a while who didn’t have fillers or Botox.

I played the Kansas card again and told them this was how we rolled in the sunflower state. It was better than the truth – that I was broke because my daughter goes to school in California and that I was afraid of needles.

Finally, after six days either on the road, at Target or moving stuff into an apartment we made it to the beach and that’s how California gets you. You sit there basking in the low humidity and sunshine watching the waves break and the palm trees sway and suddenly you think, “This is the life” and that thought lasts until you get back in your car and hit traffic.

Mind Blown (okay maybe not blown let’s call it more of a mind gust)

mindblownDo you ever have one of those days where you’re just killing it? I’m talking getting everything on your “To Do” list done and then some? That was me last week. I was a multi-tasking tornado.

Check this out – while my car was having it’s oil changed I walked over to Target to get some shopping done and then – bam – got my first ever flu shot.

Did I have plans to get a flu shot? No, but when I saw a sign advertising a $5 gift card with your flu shot I said why not and I also needed it for some vaccination cred. I have some younger friends who are passionate about not vaccinating their children. And every time I share that this mama is all abroad the full vaccination express I get the question about flu shots. As in, “How can you say that when I know you don’t get a flu vaccine?”

So, here I am at Target getting a flu shot so I can primarily shut down the anti-vaxxers, get a gift card and coming in much lower in priority protect my health when the pharmacist during the injection chit-chat asks me, “Did you know QuikTrip is putting in drive thrus at some of their stores?”

(Quick note for those of you not blessed with a QuickTrip it’s the holy grail of gas plus convenience store and has a unparelled Diet Coke mix.)

Sweet baby Jesus, I felt faint and it wasn’t from having a needle phobia. The sheer magnitude and life changing potential of QuikTrips having drive thrus left me so swoony the pharmacist asked me if I was having a reaction to the shot.

I told him I was most certainly having a reaction and wasn’t to the shot. It was to the QuikTrip news. And yes, I would need a minute to recover. It was just all too much to process – good and bad.

First, the good news. I wouldn’t have to get of my car. This would be beyond excellent because it never fails whenever I’m having a great hair day as in my hair is not only lush with full volume it also smells intoxicating. So intoxicating I’ve been known to let strangers rub their face in it. Okay, maybe not rub their face (that much), but for sure sniff a couple of stands for longer than perhaps is socially acceptable.

This awesome hair day is 9 out of 10 times ruined when I have to venture inside a QuikTrip for my Diet Coke with crushed ice and a smidgen of Rooster Booster. As soon as I breach the threshold of the store my follicles become swathed in the scents of QuikTrip which in no particular order are: B.O, smoke and a mystery smell that I think is a combo platter of fuel, fast food, and foot funk.

Imagine the quality of life upsurge if I could enjoy the greatness of a QuikTrip without leaving the first class caliber air control chamber that is my car? Yeah, I know it’s a lot to take in.

Now for the bad news. Can you even begin to imagine the parking lot nightmare this would create? There’s already so many problems right now. You have the landscape and contractor trucks playing chicken with the folks in cars. You’ve got people, totally lacking in any home training, parking like they’re vision impaired or worse just chilling out by a gas pump while they chow down on their breakfast burrito. Never mind that hordes of drivers are circumnavigating the globe trying to find a vacant pump.

To up the “we’re all going to die” factor add in a drive-thru line snaking it’s way through a parking lot or worse a drive thru with two lanes that requires people to merge to one. Trust me there is no better arbiter of brain function than if you’re befuddled by a lane merge. I have extensive research that proves a majority of humans don’t have the I.Q. to pull off the two to one driving maneuver.

Lord, I’m getting nervous just thinking about it. The ecstasy of the drive thru vs. the agony of the parking lot. Seriously, I’m having heart palpitations leaving me no choice but to go my happy place – smelling my hair.

Bite Me

I pulled up in the a6fd4fc6cf89f93e13b59925a0a573bbefter school pick up line topless.

I couldn’t help it. It had to be done. My very survival depended on me having my shirt off.

For clarification purposes and to keep me from getting some sort of indecent exposure rap sheet I wasn’t totally topless. Yes, I had taken off my top, but I did have on a sports bra. Not that I didn’t want to take that off too because I was itching like I have never itched before.

It was as if some sort of alien force was attacking me and my only chance of survival was to scratch as if I was buried alive and trying to claw my way out of a UFO coffin.

I tried, I swear, I tried, to keep my clothes on, but my back felt like if I didn’t scratch every inch I would die. I attempted to maintain some sense of decorum in my scratching frenzy. At first I used my fingernails, then I frantically dug my hairbrush out of my purse and went to itchy town.

All that offered zero relief because I was being semi lady like and scratching through my clothes.

At some point, I reached a critical juncture, I’m sure it was like some a fight or flight scenario where my brain said, “Girlfriend you need to get that top off if this is going to do any good.”

So, knowing I had on a full coverage sports bra I ripped my t-shirt off and experienced the sweet relief of some hairbrush on skin scratching.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but all of a sudden I’ve become ground zero for any sort of insect infestation. This from a woman who hasn’t had a mosquito bite in decades. I, until, two weeks ago considered myself a human citronella candle. No bugs ever bothered me.

Then, in a matter of days, I felt like I was the entrée for a mosquito buffet. Until I found out what I was scratching weren’t mosquito bites. Thus began my quest to nail down what was giving me the worst case of the itchies ever.

There was a good 30 minutes I thought I had bed bugs courtesy of my kids who live to annoy me. My son actually had me convinced, from the comfort of his college apartment, that he was certain his childhood home had bed bugs. Oh, he had me going for a while. It wasn’t until I did a Google search that I ruled those disgusting parasites out as the itch factor. Thank you Lord.

It was while I was at Target, buying a cart full of anti itch products that I overheard a lady asking the pharmacist about a bug bite. He prefaced it with, “I’m not a doctor (quick side bar – how many times a day do you think a pharmacist has to say that?) but it looks like it could be a chigger bite.

So I got on team chigger until I finally receive the diagnosis of oak mites. Yes, my flesh is being feasted on by mites. Yuck! The RX is to avoid pin oak trees. Newsflash – there are more pin oak trees than people in my neighborhood. That’s not a very practical solution to the problem.

This is why I was forced, against all my better judgment, to remove my top and itch with unbridled enthusiasm until I saw my daughter walking towards the car. I almost put my shirt back on, but then I thought I wonder if she’ll even notice because there’s nothing more self-absorbed than a teenage girl. So, I remained topless all the way home and she said nothing. I didn’t even get an eye roll.

This bummed me out a little bit because it seems the only real interaction of have with my daughter these days is annoying her. So, right before I pull in the driveway I requested that she scratch my back.

That got her attention. She made a face that looked she was going to throw up in her mouth. Before she had a chance to ask me where my shirt was I leaned into her, rubbing my sweaty, itchy back on her arm and said, “If you could go right under the back of my sports bra and scratch that would be so great.

She screamed and fled the car. It almost made enduring the agony of the oak mite worth it. As an extra bonus I didn’t put my shirt back on for the rest of the afternoon. It was a two-fer. I had premium access to scratch and my daughter kept saying “hurling was imminent.”

Good times.

 

 

 

 

Dear Snarky – I Had a Parenting Meltdown in Front of the School Principal

dear_snarky_logo-1Dear Snarky,

 Late Friday afternoon I was in Target with my children and they were driving me crazy and really behaving badly so I took both of them into the dressing room and rather loudly chewed them out. Well, as we’re leaving the dressing room stall I see their school principal also coming out. She heard the whole thing! I’m so embarrassed I don’t even want to go into the school. Should I say something to her and try to explain myself or just try to avoid her the rest of the school year.

 Signed, Mortified

Dear Mortified,

Here’s the good news. If the principal thought you were out of line or having a psychotic break than she would have immediately offered you assistance and/or called 911. The way I see it since she didn’t say anything to you at the time or has yet to reach out to you about it or even suggested your kids see the school counselor I’m going to go ahead and give you the “all clear.”

We’re parents not super heroes. Sometimes we’re going to lose it and props to you for at least taking your kids into a dressing room instead of going full cray in the frozen food aisle.  May I suggest that next time you save your parenting meltdowns for the car. That’s my go to – windows up, doors locked and I’m yelling like a lunatic.

*If you have a question for Dear Snarky 21st Century Advice With An Attitude please email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com or send me a private message on my Snarky FB page.

August – The Bipolar Month

awesome-comics-derp-and-derpina-funny-Favim.com-799200I have a love hate relationship with the month of August. The hate comes, I think, from being water-logged. By now I have clocked so many hours in a pool or at a waterpark I feel like the Center for Disease Control should have me on a retainer for some sort of long-term chlorine exposure experiment.

 I’m also extremely weary of the swimsuit/bathroom shimmy. Now, if you’re a guy or a woman who has only worn a bikini her whole life (and may I just say right now that I admire either your self-confidence and/or dedication to the burpee) you won’t know what I’m talking about. So, let me try to explain to those of you who have never experienced the hand-to-hand combat of peeling off a wet, Lycra infused one piece.

 Imagine if your body was being hugged to death by a slippery, yet very tenacious and amorous seal. Now, envision trying to remove that seal from your body. You tug, you pull and eventually you hop and up down trying to enlist gravity to be on your team. Finally, you manage to roll your one piece down far enough so you can use the bathroom. That, my friends was the easy part because now you have to do the ultimate heave-ho and get that wet sucker back on.

 It’s a Sisyphean task. No matter how hard you yank your swimsuit up it barely moves. Wet Lycra must have the adhesion quality of duct tape infused with Gorilla Glue. By the time I have my suit at my stomach I usually resort to prayer and request divine intervention for the final journey – up and over the boobs. Last month at the Schlitterbahn water park it was such an arduous task getting my swimsuit off and on that by 2 p.m. I had reached my Fitbit goal for the day. It had to be all the jumping.

 Right about now I’m also sick of being hot. Heat is the enemy. Yes, I know lots of folks love living the 110-degree life. I just don’t happen to be one of them. Primarily because I find hot weather unattractive. There’s the sweating, the bad hair days, the melting make up and all the shaving. Could anything be more yuck?

 Now, let’s take a gander at fall and winter, summer’s much more beautiful sisters. These seasons are all about long sleeves, long pants and cable knit sweaters so bulky they conceal a wide variety of sins like weekly trips to the Krispy Kreme drive thru. And then there’s my favorite thing in the whole wide world – low humidity.

When that first crisp hint of autumn is in the air I become giddy. It’s life affirming and that’s just me talking about my hair. It’s got a bounce, a shine, a sheen that says, “Here you go brave girl. This is just for you for surviving summer.”

 August also brings unwanted attention to my lackluster parenting skills. Every summer I become a slacker mom. Anything that smacks of school from reading logs to summer assignments and “must have this done before school starts” packets I completely ignore nagging my kids about until the calendar says August 1.

Then it’s time for me to go into what I call the hurry and harass mode. Hurry, as in, “What do you mean you haven’t even gotten the book yet? You better get a move on it right now!” After that I follow-up with a level of harassment so fierce that my kids accuse me a being a bully or worse a “summer buzz buster.”

 All this school talk brings me to what I love about August. Yep, you guessed it – school starting! I’m not and never have been one of those moms that does the big boo hoo about her precious flock going back to school. The crocodile tears mothers are the worst.

Primarily because their angst is so disingenuous. I believe that these moms are confused and feel that to maintain their “Mother of the Year” street cred they must act inconsolable about their children being gone seven, wonderful, delicious, hours a day.

 So for you ladies getting ready to assault social media with your tales of abandonment because school has started and giving an Meryl Streep level performance of misery and despair at “Meet the Teacher” night may I suggest you rethink this strategy because no one is buying it. Mainly because if you’re that bereft about being child free why wouldn’t you just home school? 

 A couple of years ago at one of those back-to-school coffees I asked a mom who was clutching a handful of Kleenex that question. Let’s just say it didn’t go well.

 Of course, a downside to school starting, besides the phony mom weeping, is school supply shopping. I’m still in recovery from being at Target during a school sales tax holiday. You would have thought it was T minus 24 hours till the rapture. You know if the rapture was all about going to heaven with Trapper Keepers and college ruled notebooks. The best/worst was when two moms began fighting over the last couple of three-ring binder folders.

 It was intense. I got really scared when one mom reached into her cart and started gesturing with a ruler and not one of those plastic floppy rulers. Oh no, she was going all back in the day, little red schoolhouse with a hardcore wooden one. I was like, “Uh oh, it’s a throw down” and settled in with my Diet Coke for what I was sure was going to dinner theatre – Target style. The one-act drama was interrupted when an employee saved the day by restocking folders.

 But trumping even theatrics at Target and school starting the biggest gift August brings is one of new beginnings. For anyone with children still pursing their educational journey this month is when the New Year starts. Forget about January 1. August is where it’s at.

There’s excitement and hope for what the school year will bring. Resolutions are made. New routines are established and parents everywhere, engulfed in the fumes of new backpacks and number two pencils, are wishing for their children to have their very best year yet.

*Attention 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! 🙂 

 

 

Holiday Decorating = Marital Counseling

I donfunny-pictures-lights-house-christmas-harder-than-you’t admit to being a genius, but I’m telling you I’ve had some pretty good ideas. One of my best is that Waterparks should have on site dermatologists to scan for potentially cancerous moles. Why isn’t this being done? It’s a flesh rich, almost naked environment that is prime mole diagnosis territory. Think of the lives that could be saved! I can’t be the only person that has been behind someone in line for the Colon Irrigation tube slide and not thought, “Wow, that guy’s mole looks suspicious.” Of course, there’s always the off chance that it’s a tattoo designed to look like emerging melanoma, but still it’s not like Mr. Tattoo wouldn’t benefit from the keen eye of a dermatologist.

I came up with my newest awesome idea while at Target this past weekend. Yes, Target. I find the store very inspirational and intellectually stimulating. I was also eating Pepperidge Farm Gingerbread cookies and I think that helped sharpen my thought process. Ginger has been proven to boost the knowledge noggin. Okay, scratch that. I just checked the ingredients absolutely no ginger in the cookie. Let’s just go with the sugar invigorated my sensory stimuli. Any who, as I was munching away on cookies I made my way over to the Christmas lights. I was in need of only a single, 100 count, LED, ice white package of bulbs.

When I reached the holiday decor area I had a little trouble getting to the lights. It was jammed packed with people studying and debating their choices. Seriously, it was the Algonquin roundtable of exterior illumination. There were guys debating the superior lighting power of the C7 compared to the C9, the sphere versus the ball and if the rope light is an adequate substitution for the icicle as it relates to decorating tree trunks.

I was enthralled and was about to ask this collection of bulb brainiacs a question when the bickering started. Not, as you might think, between the glow gurus, but between the husbands and wives. There were spousal disagreements over lighting schemes. For the men, it seems bigger is better (of course). For the women, it was more of a taste issue. Why go for the C9 bulb when twinkle lights will “just look classier.”

This is when I had the stellar idea that retail stores that sell Christmas lights should offer free marital counseling the two days after Thanksgiving. Call it a humanitarian public service. A therapist could be on hand to not only act as a referee, but to impart knowledge on problem solving and maybe even do relationship building exercises using the holiday inflatable or blow up as a “yardstick of feelings.”

I have a theory about inflatables. I think they’re making up for some sort of emotional deficiency in a marriage. The more blow-ups in someone’s yard the less affection they may be getting at home. Is there anything sadder looking than an inflatable suffering from erectile dysfunction? It’s pitiful, those heaps of crumpled nylon littering a yard in fabric tombstones that might as well read “R.I.P. Good Taste.” Then when the blowups are getting jets of air shot up their infrastructure they bob and weave like they’ve got their swagger back and yet we all know it’s only a matter of time before their spirits are deflated again and again. If that’s not a metaphor for a marriage in trouble I don’t know what is.

Another holiday light themed till death do us part red flag is the wife who urges, coaxes, maybe even sweet talks her husband into climbing on a ladder, that has seen much better days, and venturing up and up and away to the tippy top of their three-story house. As the hubs is clutching a spool of commercial grade C9 lights, that act as an unbalanced load causing him to sway to and fro, he hoists himself onto the roof as the wife cheers, “go just a little bit higher” which is code for “I just paid your life insurance policy and this will be so much better and quicker than a divorce.”

And don’t even me started on the husband who asks his wife to “plug in” the lights while assuring her that the puddle she is standing in won’t matter because the “the electricity is grounded.”

You see there’s a lot of marriage angst and in extreme circumstances death scenarios involved in this whole outside holiday light thing. Imagine the number of marriages that could be rescued and second-degree murder charges averted if a counselor, therapist, or registered smile maker (they have those in California) lurked around the holiday aisles.

Target are you listening?

 

 **For more Snarky check out my book  Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. 

Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. 

Admit it – We’ve All Wanted to Escape From Our Family on Thanksgiving

Andthg_37 now for something to make me really unpopular . . . I’m going to confess that I don’t get what all the fuss is about regarding having to work on Thanksgiving. Right now, all of my social media newsfeeds are flush with what I’m going to call the “No Work Thanksgiving” movement.

Based on the fervent “likes”, “shares,” and “retweets” one would think working on Thanksgiving is a major societal problem of the 21st century. The thing that really makes me laugh is the sanctimonious chatter about how working on Thanksgiving is “robbing people of family time.” Yeah, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. And in the spirit of full disclosure I’ve worked many Thanksgivings and LOVED it! Like skipping out of the house, loving it. (I also loved the money because I really needed the money.)

Before you think I’m anti family (or anti my family) let’s examine the holiday. It’s not even a religious occasion. I would understand this level of outrage if, indeed, it was a holy day. But it’s a Federal holiday that came about in 1863, when, President Lincoln declared the fourth Thursday in the month of November as a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” Okay, I will now concede that sounds religious, but really, how many people go to church on Thanksgiving?

And if you’re going to be angry about a holiday that’s gone full retail where’s the Fourth of July fury? That’s a huge day in American history, but no one cares that Victoria’s Secret dares to cheapen the birthday of this great country of ours with a “Let Freedom Ring” three thongs and a cheekster for $13 sale.

It’s also a day that requires hours of hard culinary labor. Anyone who says they don’t believe people should have to work on Thanksgiving must never have hosted the holiday at their home. Sure, the reward of toiling in the kitchen is grand and glorious. You, for doing all the pre meal prep, cooking and cleaning, get the thank you gift of gazing upon the wonder that is your Uncle T.J. stuffing his face at the speed of light so he resume his prone position on the couch to watch football.

As for the whole “robbing people of family time” argument let’s be honest here. Most of us don’t have fairy tale families where our Thanksgiving is 24-hour extended kin group hug. For a lot of us, a whole day consumed with a cornucopia of relatives, in a confined space, with no chance of escape, is akin to tip toeing barefoot through the hot coals of hell. Add in second cousins, who have been drinking alcohol since 10 a.m. and you have me volunteering to work every holiday. In fact, many times as I have been bolting for the door to get to work my husband has begged, “Please, please, take me with you.”

The “No Work Thanksgiving” moment doesn’t just focus its ire on the merchants that chose to be open on Turkey Day there’s also a heaping helping of disgust for folks who dare to shop on mashed potatoes with gravy Thursday. Lots of time is spent on social media dissing people camped outside a Best Buy to get a “bitching deal” on a TV that’s bigger than most people’s first homes.

Here’s my take on that. If you have a family member (or members) that has chosen standing outside a Best Buy instead of gracing your table for Thanksgiving you should be rejoicing, like Hallelujah chorus rejoicing, because you’ve been saved for spending an entire day with this level of nitwit. In fact, I would go so far as saying you need to write a thank you note to Best Buy for their awesome system of herding and corralling humans that don’t need to be free ranging it on Thanksgiving. It’s like having a babysitter for the ickier part of your family tree.

(Now, just to be fair, I must also defend the Best Buy campers. I’ve been told by some that they have a “great time waiting in line” and that it “beats the hell out of spending the day with family.”)

As for the folks that hit the malls and Target Thanksgiving evening all I have to say is you go girls (and men being forced against their will to Kohl’s for their fleece sale). Two years ago, I interviewed a group of woman, four sisters-in-laws, who were having a blast Target on Thanksgiving night. They didn’t really care about the shopping. For them it was all about taking a break from a surly mother-in-law and husbands who needed to up their game on the kid watching duty. Technically, they were family members spending time together. They just weren’t doing it at a table while passing Great Grandma Eunice’s sweet potato, cornflake, and marshmallow fluff casserole.

**For more Snarky check out my book  Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. 

Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. 

To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link – http://is.gd/iEgnJ (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.

School Supplies + Tax Free Shopping = Cray X Cray

Cartoon10080202There are many different ways to approach shopping for school supplies. Some families order their bounty from the PTO. It’s a way to cross yet another fundraiser off the list. Others wait until after the first day of school just to make sure the teacher hasn’t made any changes or additions to their must have’s. But, I think most parents, in eager anticipation of the start of school, hit the shopping aisles at least a week before the big day.

As I seasoned mother I’m used to crowds associated with back to school shopping. But surprisingly I have never, ever, ventured out during a tax-free weekend. Last Saturday, I was at Target pushing my cart to the office supply aisle to buy some computer paper when I was overwhelmed by a horde of school supply shoppers. I had to abandon cart and by that I mean leave it in the men’s underwear section, grab my purse, fresh from the snack bar Diet Coke and shimmy down two aisles just to get close to the computer paper.

Now a somewhat sane person or an individual with superior time management skills would have taken one look at the hustle and bustle, promptly turned around and ventured off to less crowded environs. But none of the above describes me at all. Sure, I thought about leaving but then I heard a mom threaten her two daughters with “ugly notebooks” if they didn’t behave. A parent using school supplies as a punishment, well you just know I had to stay and see how this played out. I took a sip of my Diet Coke and settled in by the bin of wide ruled paper.

Disappointingly, the mother demonstrated very 21st century parenting techniques and did not follow through on her ultimatum at all. Her girls continued to throw pencil cases at one another and they still got pretty spiral notebooks with flowers on them.

As I was standing there contemplating the general lack of follow through in parenting (myself included) a grandma asked me if I knew where and what a dry erase marker was. Indeed I did and it was my pleasure to explain to her the wonders of the white board. I found out she was there buying school supplies for her three grandchildren while the family was on vacation. I told her she deserved a medal. The grandma laughed and confessed that if she had known how long the school supply lists were she might have changed her mind about helping out.

This got us talking about back in the day and the grandma said when she was a kid she went to school with a notebook and a pencil. That got me thinking and I’m pretty sure all I brought to school was lunch. Hmm, when did school supply lists start exceeding one page? Another question for you, what do kids do with all those Post It Notes and 3 X 5 index cards we have to buy? I’m certain in my parenting career I’ve bought enough Post It Notes and index cards to circle the earth. And what’s up with the graphing calculator that exceeds $100? Ouch, on that one.

I might have continued my visit with the grandma but two women were getting agitated over who was going to get the last pink composition notebook. My attention, as you can imagine, was immediately diverted. My money was on the bigger mom being the victor in the notebook grab and go. And this is why I don’t gamble; the smaller mother had some mighty long fingernails, and like a hawk grabbing a Yorki Poo from a backyard that’s country club golf course adjacent, the mini mom extended her talons, clutched the notebook and took off.

I figured that was my excitement for the day (and really it was kind of exciting) so I got my computer paper, found my cart and continued shopping on the other side of the store. While I was pursuing cleaning supplies two youngish moms were having an in-depth conversation about the boxes of Kleenex that were stacked on two shelves below the bleach. Both moms had Kleenex on their kid’s school supply list and their dilemma was whether to go generic Kleenex and get the basic blow your nose variety in the non decorator box or really show you care and buy expensive tissue.

I decided I should help them out and told them you can never go wrong with spending a little more on your school Kleenex purchase. Consider it preliminary sucking it. Oh, and this is most important put our kid’s name in Sharpie on the Kleenex box. That way the teacher knows you spent the big bucks and went Ultra Soft with Lotion.

In fact, put your kid’s name on everything most especially the graphing calculator that cost more than my first car payment.

**For more Snarky check out my book  Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. 

Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good. Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival. If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you.

To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link – http://is.gd/iEgnJ (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Things I Learned at Target on New Year’s Eve

target-logo-redLike any good middle-aged, middle class female I’m at Target on New Year’s Eve on a quest to pick through the last of the holiday clearance. It’s in these hallowed four aisles of discount Christmas trees, ornaments, gift wrap and stocking stuffers that I have learned three life lessons I will embrace fully as I enter into a new year.

1) Teachers Deserve Better

As I’m trying to decide if I need to take advantage of the 50% off and upgrade to all LED Christmas lights I start talking to a woman swathed head-to-toe in so much North Face outerwear the logos are giving me vertigo. She’s pushing a cart that’s loaded up with a wide variety of Christmas sweets from Reece Peanut Butter Cups to carmel corn. Mrs. North Face very excitedly shares with me that she’s stockpiling Target food leftovers to use as teacher’s gifts. For clarification purposes I ask, “You really give your kids’ teachers year old food items from Target as presents?”

“No,” she says and gives me a look like I’m a dumb ass. “I would never do that!”

I hear this and I’m relieved and a little ashamed of myself for thinking the worst. But, she then quickly adds, “I take all the food I buy and put it into a rotation system in my basement. The stuff I’m buying now I won’t use until 2015.” Mrs. North Face smiles really big, kind of winks at me and says, “It’s not like they’ll ever know – right?”

I slowly start backing my cart away from her and say, “Somehow I think they’ll know. I’m not an expert in food science or anything, but I’m going to take an educated guess and tell you your teachers gifts probably get chucked straight into the trash can.”

“They do not!” She says agitated. “I always get thanked by all the teachers.”

I quickly say, while escaping to the gift wrap aisle, “I think that speaks more to the teachers’ good manners than yours.”

Dear Teachers, Beware and on the lookout for any blonde, North Face clad mom bearing expired Poppy Cock, candy coated pretzels, and assorted truffles in about 350 days.

2) You Can’t Fight the Side Boob

2013 will be the year I give into the side boob. This year I tried to do all I could to reverse this horrific fashion trend, but now, on this last day of 2012 I surrender. It was a woman in the Christmas card aisle that showed me it was time to call it quits to my valiant fight. This 60-ish mom/grandma was not looking at cards but trying on the last of the very picked over Christmas T-shirts from the junior department that were located at the end of the aisle. She took off the T-shirt she had on and wearing only her jog bra began pulling a holiday shirt over her head. She adjusted the shirt looked at her friend and said, “It’s cute. I just wished it was sleeveless because you know how much I like showing a little side boob.”

Her friend suggested enlarging the arm pit area of the shirt for maximum side boobage. I gasped and had to ask, “What’s up with the side boob? If you ask me it’s the least attractive part of the breast.”

Grandma shared, “Well, you’re probably right about that, but here’s the thing, every women looks good with side boob. Your breasts may sag and all, but no matter what the shape your tits are in you’ve still got a decent side boob.”

So, there you have it – the side boob is ageless. It’s the last part of the breast to plummet to your knees. That means this fashion trend is here to stay and I’m sure by Spring 2013 there will be a Kris Kardashian Jenner Side Boob clothing line at Sears.

3) The World is Still Quickly Coming to an End

Yeah, I know December 21 came and went without a big kaboom, but don’t get too comfortable because I have proof the world is still coming-to-an end sooner than later. I obtained this confirmation while standing in the ornament aisle. I was, is as my habit, eavesdropping on a mother and her two daughters. The girls looked to be around eight and nine and were all pumped up about a rumor they heard while at the mall. According to suburban mall lore Victoria’s Secret might be opening up a children’s version of their store! There you have it – that’s your evidence the world is ending. Because that’s all we need as a society is for elementary aged girls to be jumping on the train to Tramp Town with stops in Slutsburg and Whoreville. I know I always wished there was a “fun” place to shop for thongs with my little girl. Talk about mother daughter bonding! Once this happens, I have no doubt, some force of nature will be unleashed and swallow the earth whole and we will so richly deserve our demise.

Happy New Year!

 

Hey, Snarky friends please re-like my page on Facebook. I got hacked and had to start my page from scratch. Thanks! Click on the FB icon located at the top right hand of blog and let your friends know that Snarky is back.

 **For more Snarky check out my book  Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. 

Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. 

 

Snarky Saves the World – The Finale

Long time no see Snarky readers.  Sorry for the delay, but my summer has been demanding, which is a good thing because oh the stories I have to tell.  Let’s get the Snarky & Aliens thing done and then move on to other topics like my in-depth investigative report on volunteering (It’s riveting journalism, I promise.) and a little something about me and my brother. Can you believe someone saw us together at the pool and thought I was cheating on my husband with my brother? Ick.  Well, of course, no one knew he was my brother, but well, it’s a good story and involves sunblock so just wait this and more are coming soon.  Now, on to those aliens. Just in case you’ve forgotten the story line I was being amazing and . . . What, not enough information for you?  Then go back and re-read Parts 1, 2, & 3.

I  stood in the middle of the field with my hands shaking surveying the damage from my up close and personal alien experience.  The pods I had shot at were gone, but they had left behind some jelly looking stuff that was clinging to the grass.  The pod I had sprayed with Febreze was still knocked out or dead – who can tell,  it’s a damn alien.  The kids and ABC had circled around the thing that looked like an XL Tide detergent packet and were looking at me for some kind of guidance.  The only thing that came to mind besides cry and run while peeing my pants was my C.S.I. training and by that, I mean, of course, the 381 episodes I had watched of the TV show C.S.I. over the years.  (That number is based solely on C.S.I. viewings not C.S.I. Miami (totally bummed that got the axe) and C.S.I. New York (really wished it had gotten the axe  instead of C.S.I. Miami).  That number also doesn’t take into account the hours spent watching N.C.I.S. with the always exquisite Mark Harmon.)

So, I put on my C.S.I. game face and said, “We need to somehow get this pod back to the school.”

Because any crime scene investigator knows you need to bring the body or slimy pod back to the lab/morgue.  This prompted my son to get very excited and say, “Yeeees! An alien autopsy.  How cool.”

ABC started shaking and whined, “Alien autopsy?  Are you serious? “

“Yeah, I’m serious. We’ve got a dermatologist and a veterinarian back at the school between the two of them they should be able to tell us what we’re dealing with.”

“This is so gross,” ABC said still whining.  “How are we going to get it to the school?  There is not enough Franzia in the world to make me touch that thing.”

Before I could even come up with a reply.  The three teenagers – Will, Hyatt and Grace had dumped the stuff out of the large lawn cart/wheelbarrow I had brought from home and were using sticks to roll the alien into a blanket they had spread out.  They then picked up the blanket and dropped the alien into the lawn cart.  I looked at ABC and said, “I guess that’s how.”

I gathered up my weapons shoving the “Queen of the Rodeo” back in the folding chair bag and zipping Little Miss Texas into my fanny pack.  Our only source of protection on the trek back to the school was my travel size can of Gain Febreze.  I also took a small bottle of Bath and Body Works peach scented hand gel out of my fanny pack and gave it to my son. I told him to squirt it if we were ambushed by any extra terrestrial life forms.  I figured if Febreze brought down an alien peachy scented hand gel might also do the trick.  With all weapons and children accounted for we began our run/jog to the school.  Will, Hyatt and Grace were out in front armed with the hand gel.  I was in the middle of the pack pushing the lawn cart and holding my daughter’s hand.  ABC kept falling behind which made me so nervous I had Grace and Will hold her hands to keep her in my visual range.  Will told her she might run faster if she quit sucking on the straw inserted into the bag of Franzia.  “The reason you can’t keep up with us,” he said, “Is because you’re using all your energy to drink.”

I guess that shamed her a bit, because ABC let go of her death suck on the Franzia and really started to run.  I was impressed, that girl was fast.

Back at the School

We arrived back at the school and still in my C.S.I. mode I call a meeting of all the adults in a corner of the cafeteria.  I had already cautioned my children and Grace and Hyatt to say NOTHING about aliens to the other kids.  When I recounted our near death experience to the adults I was faced with some skepticism.  I was pissed! There I am standing in the middle of a circle relaying ABC’s and I up close and very personal experience with lethal, 3 foot tall, aliens that resemble Tide detergent pods and I’m getting at the very least some raised eyebrows and at the very worst I was called a liar by that ass hat Charity.

“Hmm,” she said while filing her nails, (And about that – who gives themselves a manicure in the midst of alien take over of planet Earth? Does she think having well-groomed nails and neatly trimmed cuticles will be the one thing that saves her from an alien abduction?)  “I’m having a big problem believing this s-t-o-r-y.  Seriously, aliens?  How much Franzia did you two have.”

Then something unexpected happened, that really made me suck in my stomach and wish I had thought to grab a hair brush from my bathroom when I was home.  The sexiest school janitor ever, Mr. Miller, comes to my defense.  He has a western/southern drawl thing going on that makes you want to, at the very least, run your fingers through his hair, and says, “Back off Blondie (to Charity), I believe everything this woman has said.  Any lady who knows how to handle a Remington 870 Wingmaster is no liar.  BTdubs, Go job on the recon.  I’ve got your back the next time you leave the school.”

I believe he just made me blush.  That was the sweetest thing a man has ever said to me and best of all it made Charity shut up, sort of.  Her and Jacardi were still rolling their eyes. So, I said, “I need all of you to step into the hall for just a minute.”

Once I had everybody’s attention I directed them to look inside my wheelbarrow that I had brought inside the school and said, “For your viewing pleasure – an alien.”

Shrieks, screams, a lot of Holy F&%k’s and tons of prayers later everybody over the age of 21 had gotten their fill of seeing an alien. You’ll be pleased to know that Charity vomited.  Jacardi fainted and Elizabeth had a severe bout of explosive diarrhea that resulted in her being forced to wear girls size 16 gym shorts.  After all that drama I said, “Now, that I’ve gotten everybody’s attention I’d like to suggest a plan.  Dr. Chaing can you take your dermatologist expertise and combine it with Dr. Debby’s veterinarian knowledge and see what we’re dealing with here.  I’m especially interested in their noses or whatever they use to smell, because bullets didn’t bring them down – Febreze did.  I’m thinking maybe their allergic to highly perfumed smell goods. ”

Both doctors agree to see what they can find out and with the sexy janitor’s help wheel the alien into the nurses office.  I figure we can’t really formulate any kind of plan until the autopsy is done so I leave the doctors alone to find my son.  I’ve got a question for him that’s been bugging me.  I walk back into the cafeteria where everybody is eating ice cream sandwiches from the school’s freezer before they melt into goo. I take his arm and gently pull him into a corner.  “I’m curious,” I say, “How come you never seemed to be scared out there today?  In fact, none of you were scared.  You, Hyatt and Grace all acted like you stumble onto aliens everyday.  Is it all the video games you play?”

“No, mom,” he says, while shoving the rest of the ice cream sandwich in his mouth, “We’ve just been brought up expecting some kind of certain doom.”

“What does that mean?”  I asked, “Your dad and I have not raised you to think that one day a swarm of aliens will appear and try to purge the human race.”

“No, Mom,” he sighed, “What I mean is that we’ve grown up with 9/11, a couple of wars, global warming, getting felt up at the airport, school shootings, well, really shootings everywhere and my generation, I guess, just expects the unexpected.  We’re not, “Why me?” we’re like “Oh yeah, of course it’s going to me.  I’m the one that’s going to be offed today?”

I stared at him and then gave him a big hug.  What he said was the scariest thing that had happened to me today.  Not the aliens, not seeing an alien spaceship thing that looked like a Dyson vacuum, not firing two guns at aliens and then running for my life, but hearing my son tell me that his generation is growing up with a not if, but when mentality when it comes to bad things happening.  Horrific events have become their status quo. I didn’t have time to think about what all that meant because in mid hug with my son, The sexy janitor walked over to me and said, “I think you need to see something.”

I followed him back to the nurses office and it looked like tubs of purple and orange jello had exploded.  Dr. Chaing, The Tri-State Restalyne Queen was looking queasy and was standing as far away from the jello explosion as possible.  Dr. Debby was elbow deep in alien. She was wearing industrial size rubber gloves courtesy of the janitor’s closet, goggles from the science lab and a black trash-bag over her clothes.  The veterinarian had carved and yanked the alien pod apart.  I was doing my best not to gag and forced myself to go to my happy place, which is usually Target, but with the whole alien thing, it had fallen way down on my list of Happy Places so I went to my H.P. runner-up –  cupcakes frosted with butter-cream.  Thank goodness the janitor was standing next to me.  If I had to faint I could fall into this big, tan, biceps enriched arms.  The doctors explained that the alien specimen had massive olfactory receptor neurons and that their gel pods were probably olfactory mucus that contained an abundance of sensory nerve fibers.

“Okay,” I said, “So, are you two telling me that our alien was just one big freaking nose.”

Dr. Chaing, answered, “Well, yes and no.  It had a brain, but mainly it was all nose.”

Dr. Debby got all excited and while holding a ruler starts gesturing wildly, “I’m guessing it’s sense of smell is unlike anything we have here on earth.  Bears have the best sense of smell of any animal.  It’s more then 2,000 times better than a human.  This thing, whatever it is based on the size of this olfactory nerve here (she jabs at it with the ruler) is probably a couple of million times better than a bear.”

Suddenly a light bulb goes off in my astounded brain, “That’s why the Febreze killed it!  It’s big old nose couldn’t handle the scent.  Oh, my God!  Oh, my God! Do you know what’s this means?  We’ve found a way to run off the aliens!  All we need to do is make the world’s largest scent bomb and drop it on the Target.”

And then my joy was partially diluted when I realized that we may have Charity to thank for still being alive.  Her freaking Scents for School collection must have acted like a shield protecting all us from the aliens.  I mean it’s not like I’m not thrilled that we weren’t abducted, but yikes having Charity to thank for my life and my children’s.  That’s a bitter pill to swallow.  I tamp the thought of being indebted for life to Charity way, way, back in my brain and focused on building a scent bomb.  I knew Charity had an enormous Kate Spade “Eat Cake for Breakfast” tote full of scents, (So ridiculous, a woman who looks like she eats her finger for breakfast carrying a bag that has in bold 36 point font that words “Eat Cake for Breakfast.  Seriously obnoxious.  I, of course, could carry that bag and everyone would say, “Yes, you do look like you enjoy cakes and a 12 pack of glazed donuts every morning’) but I didn’t think that would be enough to vanquish the Dyson.  Then, I got an idea.  If the Scents for School created a shield that protected us then there must be outposts all over the town where people survived the attack like the Yankee Candle store and the Bath and Body Works shop at the Town and Country Esplanade.  I haven’t been in a Yankee Candle store yet that didn’t give me a headache and I don’t have olfactory glands the size of a Frisbee.  We need to go to those stores, liberate the smell good folk, load up on scent ammo, especially the nauseatingly potent Bath and Body Works Signature collection Twilight Woods and get to work making that bomb. Time for another meeting.  I needed volunteers.

Yes, I know it’s not done.  I’ve got about two more pages to write which I’m doing right now.  Meanwhile, many thanks for all of you who “liked” me on Facebook!  May the Snark Be With You.  For those that haven’t done the deed yet 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.