Concert Phobia Part 2 – The Truth Will Set You Free

(Before you start reading I have to share with you the back story to this post. The first Concert Phobia piece was published in the Kansas City Star and it stirred up a crap ton of hate emails all from die-hard Rolling Stones fans. So, the next week I wrote this to calm them down and come clean with a painful confession.)

I’ve got a couple of things I need tTrutho apologize for. First up, I lied to you recently. Well, I wouldn’t call it a lie really more of an omission of some salient facts. (That just sounded so slippery and because I didn’t feel the least bit slimy writing it makes me believe that my true calling is politics. Watch out Trump I’m coming for you.) But the story behind the “omission” has to wait a second because I’ve got some rabid Rolling Stones fans I have to placate.

Recently, I wrote about having zero desire to ever attend a live concert event again. In doing so I referenced the Rolling Stones concert at Arrowhead stadium and casually mentioned how I was secretly glad I was not attending because of my concert phobia brought to a head by a 2010 Justin Bieber extravaganza at the Sprint Center. Now, please note nowhere did I mention that I did not love, respect, or revere the Rolling Stones.

Apparently, unbeknownst to me even mentioning the Rolling Stones without some sort of genuflecting is an egregious offense. Add in that I did use the words “mini stroke” and Lipitor when referencing the crowd and well I got myself a whole bunch of hate emails and worse older men stopping me at the grocery store, at the dog park and even one very animated gentleman waylaying me for a lecture on the history of rock and roll while I had one foot inside a Bath and Bodyworks store and was clutching a handful of coupons for two for one candles and pedicure creams that weren’t going to spend themselves.

Okay, every guy over 60 who felt the need to shame me and share that the concert was a “religious experience,” or “even better than when they played at Kemper Arena in 1981” and then tell me that I’m “an idiot” just simmer down. I get it.

Great grandpa Mick Jagger with his 24-inch waist bringing it and putting any twentysomething musician to shame is an inspiration to all of us. I love the Stones it’s just that I’m mentally scarred and unable to handle anything in a concert format. That’s all, no offense was intended.

Now on to the omission apology that is also related to what I recently wrote. My husband pointed out to me that I was not totally honest in listing my concert experiences. He even went so far as to suggest that Justin Bieber is not the real reason for my issues and that ground zero for my neurosis harkens all the way back to July 4, 1986 at the Farm Aid II concert in Manor, Texas.

When he mentioned Farm Aid II I gasped. We had a deal. He was never to bring up that concert. The event was so horrific I can’t bear to think about it, but putting honesty first here I go. For you, I will relive the day the music and my dignity died.

I was a very young news reporter at an Austin TV station and I was assigned to cover the Farm Aid concert. Now because it was 1986 there are four things you should know: 1) Back in the day a female reporter never appeared on camera without a blazer. 2) Cell phones were the size of toaster ovens and almost no one owned one. 3) Imodium was not yet available without a prescription and the travel size moist towelette was still an OCD’ers dream. 4) Texas in July makes Hell look like an all-inclusive resort. On that day it was a balmy 104 out. Now add in 40,000 souls languishing on unshaded turf and you have a picnic in lower purgatory.

So, there’s I was doing a “live shot” from the concert every 20 minutes while I sweated bullets and battled a wide variety of insects that were attracted to my Aqua Netted hair. I also needed to use the restroom – big time – but there was no way I was going into a makeshift latrine that the sun had turned into human refuse crock pot. This girl was going to hold it.

Then the unthinkable happened in mid live shot my bowels betrayed me. Yes, I pooped myself on camera! At first I was stunned. What do I do? The only thing I could think on was “toss to weather, toss to weather!” and make a break for it. I got off camera, took off my blazer, tied it around my waist and tried to do some sort of triage in the latrine of doom. Then I slinked back to the Live Truck, stole the one cell phone the station owned and called my husband – my knight in shining armor.

When he stopped laughing he vowed to brave the traffic and rescue me. “Just make it to the access road,” he promised, “and I’ll get you.” It was all very Last of the  Mohicans when in the movie Daniel Day Lewis’s character tells the love of his life, “No matter what occurs! I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far.”

You know all except unlike in the book/movie I wasn’t trying to escape from being slaughtered. I only needed an “Oops, I pooped myself” rescue.

So after suffering that kind of humiliation (with a heaping helping of “Oh sweet Jesus” because I’m pretty sure I walked more than one mile to the freeway in clothes that still had lingering crap attached to them) combined with my Justin Bieber trauma and I think I’ve more than earned the right to never have to attend another concert again. 

P.S. Whenever I’m in the bathroom for any length of time my husband will ask through the door if “I’m tossing to weather.” Sigh.

*Attencover_1.3-2tion Snarky Friends, I have a brand 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! 🙂

I Heart Kansas (and Missouri)

KansasMissouriBorderWar*750*This is a something I wrote for the Kansas City Star about the Missouri/Kansas border “wars.”

I got my feelings hurt last week over something very silly – people insulting Kansas. Yep, I was offended that in a 12-hour period two people cast aspersions on the sunflower state.

One comment I was used to hearing. It’s the general “I hate Kansas” statement (which I’ve figured out in the five years I’ve lived here can only mean “I’m beyond jealous of your great schools”). The reason I let this upset me was because the person saying it just moved to KCMO from the East coast. How can you possibly hate Kansas? You just got here. What has Kansas in the 27 days you’ve lived in the Midwest ever done to you?

Then later that evening a woman tells me that she and her husband recently moved from Lake Quivira to Missouri because they didn’t want to “die in Kansas.” WTH? Does your life insurance pay out more if you take your last breath in Missouri? Are funerals cheaper?

Someone please help me out here. I’m confused because when I can throw a rock from my backyard and hit Missouri I just consider all of us wonderful Kansas Citians. In fact, if I’m traveling and someone asks me where I live I say Kansas City and that usually leads to a “What about those Royals?” follow up question. (How great is that? Yay Royals!)

It’s not that I begrudge anyone from taking pride in their state and being all rah-rah about where they live. I just think too much state pride can be a dangerous thing and I know what I’m talking about. I’m from Texas.

May the good Lord or Big Tex (the 55-foot tall statue that looms in all his glory over the State Fair of Texas) not strike me dead for saying this, but Lone Star state folks can be way too full of themselves. It’s one thing to be proud of where you hail from. It’s a problem if that’s the only thing you’ve got going for you.

I’ve witnessed this phenomenon almost my entire life. There are generations of families that don’t embrace dental hygiene or scholastic endeavors, but they’re way up there on a high horse because they all were born in Dallas County. It’s like being a Texan gives them a pass to not do much of anything because they’ve already achieved their dream – living in a state that doesn’t believe in zoning and development codes. (Don’t believe me? Go visit Houston.)

This is why I think all of us border folk need to do a We Are the World like event. You know a whole join hands, sing a song and eat some burnt ends to celebrate the awesomeness that is the greater Kansas City area. We could call it Love Beyond Borders or Borderless or we could be super hip and just call it B as in the “B Event” Seriously, why am I not party planner because I can see the entire event in my head? In fact, brace yourself for genius. We could have the shindig in the abandoned Hy Vee grocery store parking lot on State Line.

I can already smell the aroma wafting from the artisanal BBQ cotton candy booth. And what’s a party without a signature beverage? I suggest a craft beer for the event made from pasteurized Missouri river water and runoff from the Schlitterbahn in KCK. The beverage would be a vivid buff color (kind of like the mighty Mo after a storm) with a robust, almost tornadic head and a delicate sunflower scent with just a hint of hops infused funnel cake laced with a touch of the Quik Trip’s Rooster Booster energy drink. Can you say yum? (Or not).

Imagine throngs (or maybe a couple of Scout troops if you’re not a big thinker like me) of people holding hands across State Line celebrating the unity of Kansas and Missouri. Scratch that, I just got an even better, bolder idea. What if we have a wedding? Are you with me? I think you are because I feel like we both got this idea at the same time. What if Kansas and Missouri get married? Sunflower + Show Me = True Love Forever. The reception alone would be epic. And instead of wedding presents everyone would be asked to make a donation to their respective state’s road repair budget.

This way we would all be family. No hate just sweet, sweet, state-on-state love kind of like when the Royals were on their World Series journey last year. That’s when we were all proud, beaming, borderless, Kansas Citians.

*Attencover_1.3-2tion 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! 🙂

To Rake, or Not to Rake, That Is The Question

b5b97e47293b2ac67801194aa8ddd9daI have lived all over the United States – From the mountains, to the prairies, To the oceans, white with foam I’ve unpacked moving boxes. In fact, you know you get around a lot when there are multiple moving stickers on the underside of your furniture. I considered it the suburban version of carbon dating. One of the hardest things about moving can be deciphering the unwritten code of your new neighborhood as it pertains to outdoor maintenance. Primarily leaf raking and redistributing snow.

For example, in Texas when it snows, and by that a mean a smattering, maybe a quarter cup of semi-frozen precipitation gently falling from the sky, everyone freaks out. The whole city goes into lockdown. Grocery stores get picked clean of perishables, booze and ammo. For days prior to the 32 degrees with a chance of crystallized vapor forecast, news crews position their live trucks outside the Super Target to interview frenzied shoppers about the status of their provisions. The one thing no Texan worries about is clearing their driveway. Mainly, because no one owns, or perhaps has ever seen, a snow shovel.

When my family lived in the Lake Tahoe region of Nevada anyone who shoveled snow was a chump and a seasonal hater. You do not vanquish your driveway of the white stuff no matter how much Mother Nature dumped on it. To shovel your driveway means three things: 1) You aren’t a native and 2) because you aren’t a native you don’t own a vehicle big enough to plow through and over 12 foot snow drifts which means 3) you must not ski because with this much new snow you should be heading to the slopes not wasting time on driveway beautification.

(As for our brief sojourn in Los Angeles, folks there get freaked out when it rains. I had a neighbor who refused to drive in the rain and another one who had NEVER driven in the rain. Earthquakes though didn’t bother either of them. Go figure.)

Now based on these experiences, when my family moved to the middle of the country four years ago, I was lackadaisical about snow removal. My husband still had his big “Lake Tahoe” vehicle and no snowstorm could stop that bad boy from going anywhere. (Note: bad boy is referring to the car not my husband just in case anyone was getting confused.) Little did we know our non-shoveling practices were proving confusing to the neighbors. I started to catch on when people would seek me out and volunteer to “help me” shovel my driveway. This is when I learned that in the Midwest a non-shoveled driveway is sign of slothful living or you have a heart condition that prohibits interaction with a snow shovel. Now, I consider myself an almost native because not only do I shovel my driveway with a vengeance (and I own two different kinds of shovels. One for clearing large areas and one for detail work on porches, patios and porticos) but I’m one of those crazies that go out mid blizzard to get an early start on snow removal.

My lack of knowledge about the etiquette of snow removal was nothing compared to my leaf raking ignorance. Once again, I must blame Texas, Los Angeles and Nevada for my stupidity. In L.A. and the Lone Star state there are no leaves to rake. The trees never shed their green. In northern Nevada if you rake your leaves you’re an environmental terrorist. There’s not even any kind of leaf pickup and just say no to being able to find any leaf bags. Your residential layer of leaves are meant to stay on our yard so they can act as a winter blanket, a snow barrier, a compost cover, whatever you want to call it, until Spring when you then gently mulch the leaf refuse with your solar-powered mower.

This is my way of saying, I did not know that leaf raking is considered a competitive sport in the Midwest. I was woefully unaware that the number of brown leaf bags lining your curb was how you keep score or that there was something called “yarpet” which is where you strive for your lawn to look like green carpet unmarred by unattractive, past their expiration date, crumpled leaves. In fact, it wasn’t until a neighbor put up a makeshift leaf fence, which consisted of chicken wire strung between two stakes, that I got the hint. (It took awhile. I stared at that fence for days wondering what it was all about. Thinking it was yard art or maybe a weird kind of Native American dream catcher.) Finally, I had my Oprah Aha moment and embraced leaf removal. Last weekend, I filled 17 bags. Yeah, that’s right, I’m now a proud middle nation dweller and I have the yarpet to prove it.

**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 – (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.