Welcome to Snarkfest

Welcome to my snarky corner of the web. Join me as I discuss everything from wine to chocolate. There may be a few other topics mixed in there too. I talk a bunch about my amazing offspring, 18 and 16. I sometimes go on and on about my secret crush on the amazing Mike Rowe. I talk about things that irritate me or things that make me happy. Sometimes I just talk to hear myself talk. Feedback is always appreciated but please make sure it's respectable. No nudity or profanity. I'm the only one allowed to be profane. But any and all snark is welcome and appreciated!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Egg Nazi...

Hey Snarklings. Most of you know that I've got two teens in High School this year, a Senior and a Freshman. Both my girls are band geeks and I couldn't be happier. Band kids are awesome. They are pretty well-behaved (most anyway) and I know and love most of their friends in band. Anywho, every year the whole band packs up and heads to the 4H camp for band camp (NO AMERICAN PIE JOKES NEEDED, TYVM) and we band parents all pitch in to assist. We provide produce, we show up at the school to help load up all the luggage, fans, equipment and instruments. Some parents drive the trucks up, others drive up in their own vehicles to help unload, and during the week, parents sign up to chaperone in the bunks or to help serve meals.



That's where I come in. Every year since 16 was a wide-eyed Freshman, I've gone up to band camp one evening to chaperone in the bunks and then to help with breakfast the following morning. I feel like every parent who has a kid in band should help out in some way, whether it's sleeping over at band camp, serving meals, chaperoning band trips, or one of my favorite things to do, working in the concession stand during Friday night football games. But I digress. Let's get back to breakfast, shall we?

My partners-in-crime and fellow band parents Suzie, Lucy and I woke up at the asscrack of dawn and schlepped over to the building where meals are served. There, we were instructed by the crack staff that is there every year. These awesome ladies, I believe, are on staff at the public schools in the area as cafeteria workers (don't quote me as I'm not 100% sure on this, because they could also be prison guards, could go either way). They quickly put us to work cooking eggs, buttering toast and cutting fruit. Breakfast on that particular morning was eggs, sausage gravy and biscuits, toast, cereal and an enormous selection of fresh fruit (trust me when I tell you, the kids at band camp almost NEVER go hungry). 

My job was serving freshly made scrambled eggs to these bright-eyed, bushy-tailed band kids. All 180 of them. Plus instructors. So there are 200 egg-eating folks all lined up and ready for me to dish them out some steaming scrambled goodness. I started with a big ice cream scooper and those first few kids were giddy with excitement at the serving of delicious eggy delight that appeared on their plates. And that's when it happened. The Egg Nazi appeared. She is the keeper of the kitchen. The master of the meals. I heard her say "THAT'S IT!!! NO MORE!!!" And then she traded my big scrambled egg scoop for a small scrambled egg scoop. She instructed me NOT TO GIVE OUT TOO MUCH to each person because we have to make these eggs last for everyone. "If there are any eggs left" she said, "they can go back for seconds. But I doubt there'll be any left. So you have to just give out a small portion to make them stretch for everyone."

The look on these kids' faces broke my heart as I laid out a smattering of eggs, like, a tablespoon on each plate. Their eyes, nearly filled with tears, looking up at me as if to say "Please, ma'am, may I have some.....more??" Overwhelmed with guilt, I apologized to each child as they looked down at the baby-sized portion of eggs on their plate. "I tried, I swear, but if she catches me giving you more.....she'll kill me"  I whispered through my own guilt-laden tears.

With 1/4 pan of eggs left and less than half the band left to serve I heard the Egg Nazi shout from the kitchen, "Put this fresh pan of eggs out, those eggs out there are getting cold!!" So I traded the old pan for a fresh new pan, but still, I was being watched like a hawk. If I gave even a smidgen more than that baby scoop, I could feel her eyes burning a hole in my skull. I could almost hear her thoughts: "NOT SO MUCH!!!!! ARE YOU CRAZY??? WE'LL RUN OUT!!!" Never have I felt so much guilt, I felt like I was starving these kids. I feared that they wouldn't make it to lunch before passing out on the field because they didn't get enough to eat for breakfast.

When I saw the end of the line, I looked at my pan of eggs. Almost still full, because of the miniscule amount of eggs I was instructed to distribute. Slow, smouldering rage began to burn in my heart, because I realized at that point that WE WERE GOING TO HAVE SO MANY GODDAMN EGGS LEFT OVER WE COULD FEED A SMALL AFRICAN VILLAGE. I seethed. I bit through my bottom lip. I burned with the fire of a thousand suns at the Egg Nazi, for making me starve those poor band kids.

As the last person in line walked away with their portion, the Egg Nazi came out from the kitchen, and looked at the mountain of scrambled eggs still left in my pan. She could probably feel the heat from my anger radiating through my skin. "I'm real sorry," she said, "I really thought you were giving out way too much in the beginning but looks like we had plenty."

Since dumping a pan of hot scrambled eggs on the Egg Nazi would probably have gotten me kicked out of band camp, I decided to keep my big mouth shut and carry my giant pan of eggs over to the table so that the children could help themselves to seconds. In the end, few did. It was almost time for them to head out and start practicing their music and their movements, so there was no time to eat the eggs. I'm not sure what the Egg Nazi did with the remainder of those eggs but I can only hope an orphanage in Haiti was well-fed that afternoon.

Next year I'm handing out toast.



Friday, July 22, 2016

Inspirational People

I was asked to write a post about someone who I believe is an inspiration. I've written before about Real Heroes here and here. Today's post is about two things inspirational. One person, another real hero is my friend Susan.

Yeah, she's gorgeous
I met Susan when we first moved here to Mayberry 10 years ago. She was the coach of 16's soccer team (at the time, 16 was 6!). In addition to her mad soccer coaching skillz, she was also a mentor at the elementary school and responsible for helping to create several programs for the kids there including an afternoon runners club to keep kids active and a club for the kids to have fun on Friday nights.

Always thinking of others before herself, Susan is one of the most generous people you will ever meet. She is Mom to two amazing and beautiful young women who are following in their mother's footsteps with their kindness and generosity.

Susan and I during a Tough Mudder race in 2014
Susan is the co-chair of a 5K which raises money for athletic programs in our area, and she recently participated in a 100 mile race to raise money to help the folks in Flint, MI dealing with the water crisis. Last week, however, Susan went above and beyond when she loaded up a truck full of cleaning supplies, water, food and clothing and took it, along with her daughters and my daughter to the southern part of West Virginia, which was devastated by floods the week before.

They brought dehumidifiers to those who desperately needed them, and they put in long hours of labor at a hardware store that had lost almost everything. My daughter and hers were able to appreciate all that they have and to see the loss and devastation suffered at the hands of Mother Nature was most definitely eye-opening for them.

Susan plans on making another trip down to assist with rebuilding the flood-damaged areas, and my daughter was so moved by the first experience that she's definitely signed on for a second trip. Susan just radiates the things I want my daughters to be: kind, generous, compassionate, loving and above all, selfless.

The other inspirational thing I'm writing about today is the premiere of the show Born This Way. The second season of Born This Way premieres on Tuesday, July 26 on A&E. The show features some amazing young adults born with Downs Syndrome and facing life's challenges with grace, courage, determination and love.

You can watch a clip of the season premiere here:

Tell me about someone who inspires you!

**I was compensated for this post but all opinions are my own.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Listen To Your Mother videos are up!!

Back in April I had the privilege of being onstage with some of the most talented and beautiful women I've had the pleasure and fortune to meet. We bonded over Mexican lunches, we laughed and cried and prayed with one another and became sisters.  Their strength and resiliency inspires me to be a better writer, a better wife and mother and a better human being.

Some of my sisters are bloggers, some writers, some vloggers but all are amazing and speak from the heart. So here is my video of  my piece called "Roots and Wings."  I hope you enjoy it. I actually cried the first time I watched it, and I've read the damned thing about 9000 times, but seeing myself read it kind of blew me away.

When you finish mine video, stick around and watch the others. I promise you, you will not be disappointed. You will laugh with Sara Farrell Baker and Vera Ezimora, you'll cry with Shamel Riley Gravely, Lisa Martin, Jamice Holley and Terri Jackson, and you will be moved to action by Aliya, Andria Nacina Cole, Michelle Bond and Samantha Payne, and I hope you will be as proud as I am of Michelle A. Dowell-Vest, whose piece "Mitochondrial Semantics" has been named as one of BlogHer's Voices of the Year.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sometimes a Kiss is Just a Kiss...

Watching the Today Show this morning, I saw that this picture of Bill Belichick is causing quite a controversy. Why? Because the camera person snapped a picture of his daughter giving him a celebratory kiss just moments after his New England Patriots had won the Super Bowl.  Why is this controversial? Because their eyes are closed? Because they are kissing on the lips? According to the article, an 'etiquette expert' says it's wrong. Well who died and made her boss?

Source
Maybe lip kissing among parents and children is not something that is widely accepted, but maybe it is. Am I a pervert for kissing my 76-year old mother on the lips when I visit her 3 or 4 times a year? Does that make it something more sinister than an innocent kiss? When my dad was still alive and I'd see him several times a year, I always kissed him on the lips. Does that make it incest? Perverse? My daughters kiss me on the lips. Oh the horror! Who cares? It's our choice and it doesn't make us the creepy people!

If you are a cheek kisser, more power to you. That's awesome. Some families show no affection towards one another. So cheek kissing is fantastic. Some families fight, and that's sad. Other families, like mine, are lip kissers. To us lip kissers, there's nothing wrong, sinister, perverted or incestuous about it. Mouths are closed and it's quick. I can tell right away if someone prefers not to be a lip kisser as I'm going in for the quick peck, so I'll hit the cheek instead. No problem. No harm. No foul.

This picture was snapped in a split second. Eyes are closed because.....PEOPLE BLINK! SHOCKER!! To me, there's nothing wrong at all with this image. It shows a happy father kissing a happy daughter in celebration of a Super Bowl win. Nothing more, nothing less. It should not be compared to Woody Allen's relationship with his step-daughter because the two are nothing alike.

It's just a kiss, folks. Lighten up.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Kids: They cost. A LOT.....

I had no idea how much these kids would end up costing me when I had them. Sure it was expensive to deliver them by C-section in the hospital. Insurance picked up the tab on that one. Thanks, Aetna! But these kids I have are bleeding me dry, one activity at a time. Allow me to sound like an old fart for a moment. When I was a kid, I was involved in NOTHING. I wasn't musically inclined (my school didn't have a band anyway), I wasn't athletically inclined, I had very few hobbies that required equipment. I read. I rode my bike. I wasn't a clothes horse, and when I turned 13, I started working.

I started as a set-up girl in a restaurant, and when I turned 14, I moved up to waitress. I always worked for my spending money. After my summer as a waitress, the restaurant where I worked burned to the ground (I grew up in Wildwood, the restaurant was on the Boardwalk, we called it Jewish lightning when a Boardwalk block burned down). For the next 4 summers I worked in an arcade on the Boardwalk where I made a little money, and met lots of cute boys. OH the cute boys! But I digress. I had a J O B. I don't ever remember nickel and diming my Mom for stuff.



Fast forward to today. These kids today. Two daughters. Two talented, athletic, musically gifted daughters. Oh my aching wallet.

Let's start with 14. Sax player. Sax lessons. We bought her a sax, reeds, nice neck strap, more reeds. She plays volleyball. She's on a team that travels. That's not cheap. Gas, snacks, dinner after her tournaments, sometimes hotel rooms. She plays basketball. She goes to basketball camp every summer. Thank goodness her grandparents pay for that. She also has ginormous feet. Did I mention those feet don't ever seem to stop growing? You know what's totally not fair? I went shopping for basketball shoes for her last year, and the biggest size I could find in women's was an 11. She needed a women's 11.5. So we had to go up to a men's size. And the men's basketball shoes were, no lie, $60 more expensive than the women's shoes were.

Moving on to 16. Trumpet player, trumpet lessons, sheet music, and now she tells me she needs a Harmon Mute. I don't know what that is but I have no doubt it's going to cost me more than a gallon of milk (or gas). She runs track and plays basketball. Thankfully her feet may have slowed down in the growth department because she has been in the same basketball shoes for 2 seasons (thank you baby Jesus). But she DOES need track spikes.

What?

Track spikes, mom.

Can we get them at the running store in town?

No, mom, not cross country spikes, track spikes are different. We can order them from Dick's.

But I have a gift certificate for the store in town.

I laugh at your gift certificates! BAH!!

Sunday we went shopping for prom gowns. HO-LEEEEE SHIT. Can I just tell you that I think my prom gown for my junior prom may have cost a total of $89? And that was INCLUDING alterations.  The first dress store we went to scared the pee out of me. I didn't see a single prom gown in that store for under $289. And I know that she'd have to have a few alterations done so we were definitely going over $300. Next store we found was a little more reasonably priced but not by much. We STILL ended up going over $300. We said 'yes' to the dress. And my wallet died a little more.

Next year will be 16's senior year and 14's freshman year in high school. And the band is going to Disney. So that'll be two in the band going to Disney. And my wallet will die a little more. Then 16 will be 18 and go away to college. And my savings will die a lot.

At this rate, hubby and I will be working until we turn 128. But our daughters will be well-rounded, responsible, beautiful adults. And hopefully, they will take care of us in our old age. Hopefully they'll wipe our drool, or our butts, and they'll thank us for making them the well-rounded, responsible, beautiful adults that they become. Money is overrated, right? Retirement is going to be boring and who wants to be bored, right?

Monday, June 27, 2016

Almost heaven....






Those words really didn't mean much to me before my oldest daughter went to college last August at West Virginia University. They sing that song after every home football game and it brings chills. Now those words touch my heart in ways I never knew they would. This week I cry whenever I hear that song. I cry for my state because of the recent flooding. I cry because as of this morning, 23 people have died in my state.

West Virginia has become my state. I was born in Philly, raised in Jersey but now I live in West Virginia. It's my state, and the people of my state are hurting. I feel helpless to do anything to help them.

My oldest and I were in the store the other day shopping for some things for her new apartment up at WVU and the fire department was set up outside the store to collect donations that were earmarked for those affected by this horrible tragedy. In addition to her apartment needs, we bought some bleach, some scrub brushes, rubber gloves and a case of drinking water.  We dropped our donations off on our way out and tearfully thanked the fire fighters for their efforts to help the flood victims.

I don't feel like I'm doing enough.

This morning, I had to do some research on where exactly those 23 people lost their lives. I searched news stories all morning to determine that 15 people lost their lives in Greenbrier County, 6 died in Kanawha County, in Ohio County a 4 year old boy died,  and Jackson County an 8 year old boy died. And I cried. I cried while doing my job this morning, and that's never happened to me before. Usually I'm looking at disasters or environmental issues in other parts of the world. Places that don't affect me. Places where I don't live.

On social media, I'm sharing the hell out of supply donation drop off centers, disaster relief websites and places where one can donate money to aid in the relief efforts.

I still don't feel like I'm doing enough.

I've seen the hashtag #PrayForWV and it's a lovely idea. If you don't have the funds available to buy and donate supplies, if you don't have the extra money to donate to the Red Cross or any other relief agencies, please DO send prayers. Those people need our prayers.

But if you can skip that Venti half caff with an double shot of whatever from Starbucks, please consider skipping it today. Donate that $5 for this disaster.  Send your prayers, but if you can, please send donations.

WV VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster)
The Red Cross Disaster Relief 
1-800-RED-CROSS
If you text REDCROSS to 90999 you can donate $10

Anything at this point will help. And if you can't donate, send prayers. And then share all of this information with someone who maybe CAN donate a little money.  All of your efforts are appreciated.




Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I used to know where my stuff was....

I went looking for my makeup removing towelettes this morning. Couldn't find them. Why? Because I have teenagers. This got me thinking about how things have definitely changed since my babies turned into teens. For instance, I remember when I used to be able to go into my makeup bag, locate my eyeliner, put on that eyeliner and then put it back in my makeup bag. Now I can't find my makeup bag. Because, teens.



And when I look in that 10x magnifying mirror at all the dark hair crawling around over my eyes like a caterpillar moving across my forehead, I mourn the loss of my tweezers, which have disappeared into the abyss that is the girls bathroom in my house. Those girls, however, have PERFECTLY coiffed eyebrows. Thanks to my tweezers. Wherever they are.

Their nails are perfectly clipped, thanks to my nail clippers. Which I haven't seen in weeks. MY toenails are practically clawing at the ground when I walk because they've gotten so long. But in order to clip them, someone would have to locate my nail clippers. Naturally, NO ONE knows where they are because apparently I'M the only one in the house that uses them. Their nails are perfectly clipped, but I'M the only one who uses the nail clippers. Whatever.

Scissors? Tape? I buy them new every Christmas. Why? Teens.

I don't bother painting my nails anymore, because why bother? My nail polish remover and cotton balls have mysteriously vanished into thin air. Naturally, no one has seen them. My husband takes pleasure in helping me out by telling me that he never uses the stuff. Thanks honey, you're a huge help.

Stuff my husband doesn't use. Just so you know.
I've taken to hiding things that I just refuse to have stolen part with. My deodorant is now in my sock drawer. Shampoo and conditioner? I hide those in my closet under my shoe rack and take them in when I shower each day. Razor? Underwear drawer. Shaving cream? The garage, where else??

One good thing about being shorter and heavier than my girls: they don't steal my pants. Oh sure, back a few years ago when 17 was a freshman and I was 30 lbs lighter, I attended her band concert and asked my husband what pants she had on (I could see her white socks like she was Michael Jackson without the glove) and he told me they were mine. She was wearing my size 6 pants. Sure she was too tall for them (hence the white socks showing) but they fit her. See? Maybe there IS an upside to being short and heavy. That's my new story and I'm sticking with it. So pass me another donut.

Yep, I remember back when I could find things, like money in my wallet, food in my pantry, quiet in my house and the ever-important thing to find: my sanity. But alas, those days are gone. They've been replaced by teenagers.
----------------------------------------------------------
EDIT: Hey folks if you're reading this on a mobile device and wish to share it, the link to share it to Twitter isn't working right now (all other links DO work from mobile devices). If you wish to share it to Twitter, please tap on "View web version" and use the Twitter share button. Thanks!