Crock-Pot Selfie

1347476657304_151538It’s the day I thought would never come. Something so miraculous has happened to me that a week later I’m still giddy. I, with chest thumping pride, can now report that I no longer have the lamest phone in the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia.

Just how lame was my phone you ask?

Not only was it so old that no business entity or craft fair would deign to manufacture or crochet a phone cover, but the AT&T store employees at first passed my phone around with wonder like it was a unicorn. Quickly that thrill was gone and I noticed they had fear in their eyes. I knew what they were thinking. I had seen that look before. When anyone under 25 would gaze at my phone they’d freak out a little.

My best guess is that my outdated phone probed their greatest inner fear — that one day a Pacman-like virus would appear and gobble up advanced technology, taking us all back to the flip phone and texting through mashing a button multiple times. Remember when if you wanted a Y you had to really go for it and click the 9 on your phone three times? Well, I was this close to living that life.

Thanks to my children, who staged an intervention and literally marched me into an AT&T store, I’ve got the latest and greatest in cellular technology (which means by the time you read this my phone will already need six software updates). I thought I would be thrilled with having a phone that was cool. At first I was, thanks to being introduced to the world of 1,000 different emojis. I had been emoji-free my entire life and now that I can send a happy-face-with-sunglasses text, well, it changed me. It spoke to my very soul. Who needs the alphabet to communicate when you can talk via panda emoji?

The downside of the phone is having all the social media apps on it. Yuck. I’ve hit the social media wall. I avoid Facebook during a presidential election year. I’ve got a hunch that when people write about politics they think it makes them sound smart. Sadly, the opposite is usually true. I miss the days when people would just stick a sign in their yard and call it a day.

As for Twitter, something’s wrong with my feed. I don’t know what happened, but slow cooker recipes are all I ever see. It’s not like I haven’t “followed” cool stuff like the Royals, but I never see those tweets. For some reason my account has been algorithmed to show only recipes where your food languishes in a hot tub for a six hours.

I just checked it right now and the first nine things on are it, yep, you guessed it: Crock-Pot crap. I saw a recipe for Crock-Pot Coca-Cola lamb stew. Excuse me for a minute while I go brush my teeth because I threw up in my mouth a little bit. And there was also a Crock-Pot cake tweet. Who makes a cake in a Crock-Pot? Like it’s so much harder to dump the batter in a pan and stick it in the oven for 20 minutes. And don’t get me started on cooking oatmeal in a Crock-Pot. Yes, let’s take something you can make in under 60 seconds with boiling water and stretch out that process to eight hours.

Plus, and here’s something hard-core Crock-Potians never talk about, Crock-Pots can be a huge pain to clean. All that leisurely slow cooking creates a crust of baked-on food residue that remains forever stalwartly clinging to the ceramic base. I don’t care if you lube up your Crock-Pot with enough aerosol vegetable cooking spray that it makes the Exxon Valdez oil spill look like a minor leak — you’re still not going to be able to wipe that thing clean.

Heed this warning: Do not make mac and cheese in a Crock-Pot. I’m pretty sure I got carpal tunnel’s from all the scrubbing it took. I’m talking 30 minutes and six SOS pads to get my Crock-Pot sort of clean and that was after soaking it overnight.

With my new phone I could even have taken a selfie with multiple sad-face emojis or done a snapchat while I was scouring my slow cooker. But, here’s the deal: Now that I’ve got this fancy phone, if you ever see me in a #crockpotselfie, please assume I’m being held against my will and do all you can to stage a dramatic rescue. I suggest using the Trader Joe’s parking lot as a command post.

In fact, bring your Crock-Pots. If you have ever used them to cook oatmeal or mac and cheese, they’ll fit the criteria for WMD’s and that means you can really scare my captors into a speedy hostage release.


Technically Annoying

I’m not a Luddite. I don’t eschew technology. I, by no means, dream of being Wilma Flintstone and using a baby wooly mammoth as a vacuum cleaner. I don’t know a lot about wooly mammoths, but I’m betting they shed worse than any german shepherd and I’m sure not even a case of Gain Febreze would dilute their pre-historic stench.  I embrace technology. Why, I wake up every morning and kiss my phone. What I have trouble with is how technology has turned some parents into total idiots.

I’m not talking about the general daily rudeness of people talking incessantly on their phones anywhere and at anytime. That, I’m sad to say, I’ve gotten used to. I’m almost ready to declare, “I surrender” on social media taking over our lives. Once moms took their obsession in utero, I got my white flag ready. What? You’re kidding me – you haven’t been to a baby shower where the mother-to-be hasn’t made a Facebook page for her fetus?  It’s so 2007 for your unborn child not to already have a Twitter handle? At the last baby shower I attended all the guests were asked to whip out their smart phones and “like” the FB page of the 27 week gestation guest of honor.  The unborn child’s status update was, “Knowing I’m going to love all the great gifts I’m going to get at my baby shower today!”  The profile picture was the most recent sonogram.  The baby also had a Twitter account. The mother was tweeting “for the baby,” during the shower.  After she opened a gift, there she would go, right to her phone, and tweet something about each present. Here’s what she tweeted about mine, “I’m not even here yet, but I already love this super soft blanket.  Mommy could you please put it on your tummy right now?”  (P.S. A Tweet does not replace a thank you note.)

Some of you may think this is just sooo adorable and you’d be wrong.  Wrong, because it’s cloying obnoxious.  Your not yet born child does not need to reach out from the womb and start “liking” Pampers on Facebook and following mommy’s ob/gyn on Twitter.  A pregnant woman should have more loftier concerns then trying to increase her “two month’s away from due date” baby’s FB friends.  One pregnant mom told me her goal was for her baby to have “at least 500 friends before she was even born.” I gently tried to tell her goal should be to get some sleep because that was soon going to be in short supply.  Sleep or Facebook?  What a 21st century maternal conundrum.

Just as I was learning to deal with/disguise my social media irritation every man, woman and child had to go out and get an i Pad.  Did you know the i Pad 2 is the number one requested birthday gift from any child hitting the 12 month mark?  Okay, I made that up, but I did, just last week, attend the first birthday party for a precious boy and he got, you guessed it, an i Pad 2.   His mother remarked that, “He just started using my i Pad so I figured he needed one of his own.”  What did he like best about it using it for teething or slobbering?  That mother’s ridiculous remark was one upped by another mom who contributed that her baby was using an i Pad at four months.  Really, mothers, an i Pad competition? Can’t you just stick to the time-honored tradition of bragging that your child started sleeping through the night when they were only 96 hours old?

Whatever, that whole gift thing is none of my business. What is my business is when parents think their i Pad has super powers like invisibility.  Try enjoying your child’s next band or choir concert when the i Padrent sitting in front of you is hoisting their 7.31 x 9.50 tablet in the air – rendering you blind.  Alert Snarky reader Annie recently commented on this experience. “You get this screen glow and can see them zooming in on their child.  Go ahead and try to look around you can’t. It’s a big, bright light right there in your face.” 

 I’m predicting that before the end of the school year, somewhere in America, there will be a i Padrent throw down.  Two tablet wielding parents will be ready to rumble because one parent’s i Pad 2 blocked the other’s parents i Pad from recording for posterity, Facebook and You Tube their kid singing, My Country Tis of Thee.  I can see the other parents crowding around, forming a circle, chanting, “Fight, fight, fight” as they put their tablets in record mode.

I know what I’m talking about. I got into with a i Padrent last week.  There I was minding my own business (really I was) at the movies.  I had taken my daughter to see Disney’s Arrietty.  The coming attractions had just started when a mom comes in with her two boys.  One looked about 7, the other seemed to be 4.  She pulls two gallon size Ziploc bags from her purse that are stuffed with what I’m guessing, due to the sheer quantity, is left over Halloween, Christmas and Valentine Day’s candy.  She gets her boys settled in the row right in front of us and then leaves. Not the theatre, mind you, but she goes and sits 16 rows in front of her kids.  (Yes, I counted.)  I’m thinking WTH?  What mom doesn’t sit with her young children.  The mystery is solved when she pulls out an i Pad, puts on some huge headphones that resemble what you would wear on an airport tarmac to direct planes to their gate and begins to watch something on her screen.

As you can imagine, the shining beacon that is the i Pad screen can be seen fairly well in a dark movie theatre.  Also, her two boys that are sitting 16 rows behind her are not happy campers.  They’re fighting, using their outdoor voices and when not enjoying kicking seats are standing up in them, presumably to better see their mother.  I wait a good 15 minutes to see if A) The boys settle down and get into the movie or B) Pray that someone, who is not me, will go alert the mother to her children’s distress.  None of the above occurred. Oh sure, other people in the theatre complained to their seat mates about the boys and one grandma kept shushing them, but no one got up.  Tag, I was it.

I get up, walk down to the mother and see she’s watching The Bachelor.  “Good Lord, woman,” I think, The Bachelor.  You’re ruining the movie for everyone in the theatre and ditched your boys so you can watch The Bachelor!” Talk about a cry for help.  I lean over to her and say, “Excuse me, but your two boys seem to be missing you a lot.  You might want to sit with them.”

“Huh?  What?” she says in a peeved voice as she takes off her industrial grade headphones. From the looks of it I’ve interrupted her during one of The Bachelor’s riveting rose ceremonies.  Is she expecting me to apologize or something?  I repeat my previous plea and get another dirty look from her.  To appease me, I guess, she stands up and waves at her boys, but makes no move to go sit with them. So again, I gently advise her to sit with her kids and because I ‘m thinking this mom in spatially challenged add, “You know that i Pad screen is incredibly distracting. If you don’t want people to be bothered by it you could go grab your kids and move to the very back row.”

That really ticks her off and I’m guessing she’s also picked up on the fact that I’m not going back to my seat until she goes to her boys. So she grabs her tote bag, her i Pad, motions to her kids and they mercifully leave the theatre.  When this happens the crowd, or at least, the other parents in the audience applaud.  I’m feeling pretty good about my problem solving abilities until after the movie my daughter and I are getting a drink refill (free with purchase of a large beverage) and we hear people leaving another movie complaining about a mom, two rowdy young boys and an i Pad.  The woman didn’t leave she just switched theaters!   If only I had a cloak of invisibility I would have taken her i Pad and submerged it in a vat of movie theatre butter.  Instead, I braced myself for, what I’m sure will be, more upcoming adventures in i Padrenting – The Technically Annoying Years.

**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 – (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.   Thanks also to all the Pinterest folks that are sharing the Snark. Cheers!

Facebook – Marriage Buster

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Facebook breaking up marriages?  C’mon, what an embarrassing reason to give for your marriage disintegrating. If my marriage was going south I would try to think up something a little better than Facebook to blame it on. Where’s the creativity and spite in blaming Facebook?  At least that’s what I thought yesterday. Today, I have changed my mind while standing in line at the post office. There I was waiting to mail a package.  I had number 145. Unfortunately for me when I walked in they were just on number 112. The line almost went out the door. What’s the problem, I thought. I look at the counter and one lone woman is working and she’s helping someone get their passport.  Talk about something that takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r. Then I look over to my left and get uber ticked off.  Two postal employees are chit chatting.  The line is heading out the door and two employees are gabbing. Ugh. (My apologies for any postal workers who reads this.  I know you work hard but perception is everything. If your employees are on break for self-preservation purposes alone, they shouldn’t be talking at the counter when there’s a line. At the very least get thee to the break room.) This is what worries me about any kind of national healthcare. If it’s going to be run like the postal service God help us all. After I choked down my anger and talk myself out of going to Fed-X I notice the guy in front of me – Mr. 144 is having a rather animated conversation on his cell phone. Having nothing better to occupy myself with and due to the fact that he is being rather loud I listen in on his call. Jackpot!  His call is fascinating. It seems Mr. 144’s wife has been having a Facebook affair.  What a shame I think.  Mr. 144 is awfully cute.  He seems to be in his late 20’s, well dressed with really good hair. I’m talking “soap opera” good hair. I shift my box to my other side and begin to listen in earnest.

Here’s what went down. His wife, apparently, made contact with a friend of a friend on Facebook. They noticed they were both commenting on the same posts and thought each other were hilarious. (Please, who doesn’t think they’re hilarious on FaceBook?) That lead to a FB relationship which lead to his wife thinking she found “true love.” Now, his wife wants a trial separation so she can see if she and her FB honey are “really meant to be.”  Yes, I got all that from his phone call. I was standing so close to Mr. 144 I could hear his wife’s voice spilling out of his phone. The poor guy hangs up and looks really sad. That’s my cue to do what I do best – offer unsolicited advice to strangers. You may think it’s rude or pushy. My husband is pretty sure it will someday get me killed. I like to think of it as doing the lord’s work. I make my move with the perfectly polite, “Excuse me sir, but I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation.”   Mr. 144 looks embarrassed and apologizes. I tell him he has nothing to be embarrassed about and then I go for it.  I say, “I think you should tell your wife to go ahead and run off with her Facebook Fantasy.”  Now, in my vast experience of butting into people’s lives this could go either way – he could tell me to shut the @#%$ up or I’ve just made a new friend for the next ten minutes. It totally went the new friend route. He perks up and says, “Why do you say that?”

“Well, of course, I don’t know you at all and you could be a terrible husband or even a serial killer but I’m going guess you’re an okay guy and your wife on the phone sounded a little crazed. I say tell her she can have the trial separation. It will probably scare her straight”

“Really?” he says sounding all intrigued.

“Plus,she might start thinking maybe there’s someone you have your eye on during the whole trial separation thing. That,” I say, “will be a total bonus for you.”

By this time there’s four people now listening to my post office therapy session. In front of us one middle age married guy and an elderly woman with a sassy look about her. Behind us a pretty, 20-something woman and a mom who looks to be right about my age. Middle aged married man butts in agrees with my advice. But, he goes somewhat overboard. He tells Mr. 144, since he doesn’t have kids he should get out of the marriage sooner than later. He then asks him if he and his wife own a home or any property?  Mr. 144 says no.  That piece of information makes married middle-aged man break into a Cheshire cat grin.

“Oh yes,” he says, “Get out, get out now.  It will be a clean break.”

I interrupt before married, bitter, middle-aged man can get any more enthusiastic about matrimonial destruction. Time to go for the seasoned advice of the octogenarian.  Grandma, who decided she would channel Betty White and comes right out and asks Mr. 144 about his sex life.  Her wisdom – “if it’s good keep her, it’s average or below get rid of her.”  I can’t let this opportunity pass so I ask her “Why’d you go there?”

“I was married 62 years” she says. “ Believe me it’s always all about sex even when you’re my age.”

Hmm, didn’t know that. I don’t know whether to be delighted or disturbed by the information. The mom that looks like me chimes in.  She asks Mr. 144 if he’s sure his wife is talking about running off her a guy she met on Facebook or could it be a woman?

I immediately interrupt. “Really,” I say, “like this is helping.”

The look-alike mom says, “That’s what I did.”

“Did what?” I ask.

“Fell in love with a woman.”

“Oh, okay then.”  So, I ask Mr. 141, “Do you think it’s a man or a woman she’s thinking of running off with?”

He doesn’t answer right away and then says, “It’s a man. Definitely a man.”

My last “helper” is the cute twenty-something girl. She says, “You’re like so hot so I like for sure totally would so not put up with that. Seriously, I would like maybe go out with you.”

Now, Mr. 141 is looking a little less like a sad sack. I’m about to wrap up the community conversation when the grandma suggests that Mr. 141 calls his wife and tells her to take a hike right now.

I hurriedly say, “Um no, no, not a good idea. Hey, were just passing time in the post office. You should think all this through. Remember we’re all total strangers. What do we know.”   But, as I’m saying this he’s calling his wife and putting her on speaker phone. This could go down as my worst unsolicited advice session in my history of offering unsolicited advice.

The wife says hello, Mr. 144, begins telling his wife to go ahead and run off with her Facebook boyfriend. Then grandma leans into his phone and says, “I’m looking at a girl right now that’s ready to show your husband a good time.”

The “girl” (twenty-something) pipes up, “Yeah, that’s right I think your husband is hot.”

Then, the mom who looks like me says, “I do him if I weren’t gay.”

The middle-aged married man grabs the phone out of Mr. 144 hands and says “I’m a lawyer and I’ve already told him to dump you.”

I’m shushing everyone, but it’s not working. They’re having a great time. The wife on the other end of the phone sounds weird. Almost like her voice is echoing.  Oh shit!  His wife is here at the post office and she’s walking towards Mr. 144.

Sweet Alexander Graham Bell we’re all screwed. Mr. 144 looks pale. Since I started all this I stand right beside him. I do admit to holding my box very close to my chest and face as body armor. Mrs. 144 is ticked off. She starts in on Mr. 144.  “What’s going on?  How dare you let these people get involved in our personal life!”

Poor Mr. 144.  Then I have an idea. I introduce myself to Mrs. 144 and by introduce myself I mean say I’m a lady who was trying to offer some advice to your husband because I inadvertently heard some of their previous cell phone conversation. She calls be a “dirty eavesdropper” and she’s got a sort of point there so I don’t argue. But, is it really eavesdropping if you can hear someone’s cell phone conversation from six feet away?  I decided to go in for the kill, “Hey, you might want to get off your high horse and calm down. This is just Facebook in real life.”

She looks at my like she’s wants to punch me and screws up her face and says, “What?”

“Consider me and the rest of us as “comments.”  She’s still giving me the stink eye so I say, “Hey, your husband posted his “status” at the post office by having a cell phone conversation we all could hear and the rest of us just responded with our “comments.” As for this one (I lean my head towards twenty-something) she was just giving your husband a flirty “friend request” or perhaps a naughty “poke,” grandma over there was writing on your husband’s “wall” and this guy ( I look at the middle-aged married man) was just sharing a “link” about divorce with your husband.”

She still looks supremely ticked off, but lucky for me my number was called so I haul over to the safety of the postal counter to mail my package. I try to drag out the transaction and even considered updating my passport so Mr and Mrs. 144 would have left the post office before me. No such luck. There they are arguing by the stamp vending machine and P.O. box area. Why don’t they go home or at the very least to one of their cars to fight? I’m now considering my exit strategy from the post office when Mrs. 144 calls out to me. Oh goody. I walk over and say, “Yes.”  She tells me it’s none of my business, but they have decided to not have that trial separation.   “Congratulations,” I say, “that’s great” and continuing walking. My plan is to go across the street to the Quickie Mart, grab a Diet Coke and make sure the coast is clear before I get in my car. No way do I want to be followed home by Mrs. 144. I kill some time at the Quickie Mart and then go back to the post office parking lot. Yes, it looks like Mr. 144 is gone, but dang it his wife is still there.

She walks up to me and says, “Hey let’s friend each on Facebook.”

Unbelievable. Stunned for a second, I reply, “Awesome,” and then give her the name of  my archenemy. The PTA President at my daughter’s elementary school.

She taps on her phone, giggles and says, “ Okay, I just sent you a friend request. You’ll be my 3,873 friend!”

After that, thank you lord, she takes off in her car. Wow, I think she’s not in love with a friend of a friend she’s in love with Facebook all 3,873 friends and counting.  Mr. 144 doesn’t stand a chance against those numbers.

***For all things wonderfully Snarky go to 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 – (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.