Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Target Practice

...And how was everyone's Thanksgiving?

We drove, we ate, we drove again, we ate some more. And then we shopped. And by "we" I mean me and my step-mom, step-sisters, sister-in-law, and two nieces.

We did NOT get up at the crack of night to hit the sales, but we did hit Woodfield Mall on the busiest day of the year. Because we're crazy like that. I love me some Woodfield, but because of the ages of my kids and my holiday work discount elsewhere, the few things I bought at Woodfield were all for moi. Merry Christmas to me.

And then there was Target. I don't have a Target, so I always am up for a Target run when I'm down in the burbs. On Black Friday though, it's a whole new ballgame. And there needs to be rules.

Hey lady, you mind not committing a misdemeanor with cart full of Dora?
Rules for Shopping at Target (or any big box store) during Christmas/Hanukkah/Festivus-time:
1.) Only bring your children if you are shopping for dog food. With the exception of my nieces, every kid in that store was whiny and crabby. And their parents were worse. Guess what? If you want a pleasant shopping experience at this time of year, spring for a sitter or find a relative to leave them with. NO one wants my kids in a large store Christmas shopping, and I'm pretty sure they won't want yours there, either.
It's not the kids' fault. If I bring my kids to a toy store, I expect them to ask for things. Save your after-school special speech on giving for later. They are KIDS.

2.) If you insist on shoving two carts-worth of crap into one cart, at least organize it strategically. This after I almost lost a vital organ to a lady whose cart was so full, she couldn't tell she almost disemboweled me with a snowboard. When Target gets either stoplights or corner mirrors, go hog wild with your piling. Until then, you need to be able to see over the cart and 5 feet past it.

3.) Pay with cash. No, I'm not going on a Dave Ramsey-esque spiel (though I do agree with him on most things), but this is more for your own sanity. Slide card. Enter PIN. Your purchase is $58.97. Is this correct? Press Yes. Do you want this all on this card? Press Yes. Do you want cash back? Press No. What's your favorite color? Press Red. How many fingers am I holding up behind my back? Press Three. How do you like my new keyboard? Press It's Fine. Can I get you a cup of coffee? Press No.

But, if you pay with cash, you a.) make the cashier do his or her job and b.) are not interrogated by a machine. It's win-win.

4.) I know the Christmas displays are pretty and festive and are supposed to make you want to buy stuff, but I honestly don't think there's any family or single adult past the age of 25 that needs more Christmas lights. Who buys them? Are they buying them and then throwing them out December 26th each year? I replaced most of ours with the new-fangled LED lights two years ago, and even then only bought 3 boxes. I'm not judging you, I actually want to know what you do with them year to year. Tell me!

5.) This one's for Target themselves. Hey Target. If it's Black Friday and you have deals on video games and TVs, could you make sure there's more than two people on in that department? Because one guy is always on break, and the other is trying to explain to Grandpa that a Wii game won't work with an X-box.

Coming up soon...teenage lingerie and the store I will never let my daughter go into. Ever.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Variable

Dear Hoover,

I love you, son.

But I do wonder why in every picture with your brother and sister, you must be the one that we have to work around.

The variable, if you will.

Why must you get in touch with your inner Jim Carrey when I'm trying to take a respectable Christmas card picture?

(And yes, these are the actual pictures.)

But I suppose it isn't always just you.

I suppose you are all little variables in your own respect.

But Hoover, you definitely make me sweat it out.

I suppose that's what makes you YOU.

So thanks, I suppose, for cooperating for at least one picture. Out of 24.


Your Snarky Mommy

Monday, November 15, 2010

Let's talk about...what?


Do I have your attention?

Take a deep breath, folks. We're all adults here.

Last week, I was in my bedroom watching How I Met Your Mother and Larry Potter wanders in. Right at the same time Barney was on one of his famous soliloquies. And you know what Barney likes to talk about.

"There's that word again. Sex. How come all these shows say this word?" LP observed.

Hey, Snarky Mom, how'd ya like to have the sex talk with your 3rd grader? I can help!

I was taken aback by his candor. Part of me wanted to tell him they were just talking about the box where you check "male or female" but I think he's on to me that it's more than just this.

So I said, "Yeah, they probably shouldn't say that word as much as they do." Hoping it was the end of that line of conversation. And it was.

But he's right. And it's not like I'm watching Skin-a-max. The shows I watch are all on before 8 p.m. When did Must-See-TV become too racy for families? I mean, sex can be funny, and we all know sex sells, but I shouldn't have to censor what I watch on TBS at 5:30 p.m.

But really, what I'm afraid of is that it will lead to the real scare of parenthood: Having the talk.

Never on the receiving end of this talk, I vowed (self-righteously before I had kids) that I would take the taboo out of sex. That I would have open and honest conversations about it, starting at a young age, so my kids would feel comfortable talking to me about anything and so they would grow up knowing what were the facts and the fictions of sex and the human body. I likened it to talking about smoking at a young age; if I talked about it around the dinner table, maybe they wouldn't be in such a rush to try it.

And, admittedly, my theory on this was still in place when Larry Potter was born 8 years ago. Disgruntled Husband wasn't on-board, but I was convinced he'd come around. But then LP started talking at 7 months. At the age of 2, it was apparent that he was not a shy boy. At 3, he was swearing at the babysitter and repeating every conversation in our house to perfect strangers.

I'm not sure if my theory on the sex talk changed because my own thoughts on it changed or because of how I saw that LP interacted with the rest of the world. But one thing was for certain: if I explained the birds and the bees to him, he would most definitely be the kid to tell the rest of the class, maybe even the school.

There's always that kid. And mine would not be him.

So, minus a stray word or two he overhears on television, there has been no sex talk. No body part talk, minus the equipment they each possess. But that hasn't stopped LP.

A few years ago, we were chatting around the table about how many kids they wanted to have when they were grown-ups. Hoover said 13. And then LP said, "I know what you need for 13 kids. 13 sperm." My head whipped around so fast, I may have gotten some form of self-inflicted whiplash.

He said it was in a book in his classroom. Okay, I can handle that. School is, after all, where his mother learned the majority of her own reproduction education. (The rest was on the bus, but I'm pretty sure nothing could be reproduced with the methods those kids were talking about.)

Say, have you had any Eggs Benedict lately?
A few weeks later, he informed me that a woman got pregnant if she eats an egg and has sperm in her body. I only corrected the part on the "eating an egg" part. God help me if when he asks how the sperm gets in there.

Last year, he told me he looked up the human body in the World Book in the library, and told me he knew what a "girl's hole" is called. He was right, but then again, he also said it's what they pee out of.

Ay yi yi. I don't like this line of information.

But I suppose it is necessary. I try to answer his questions as honestly as I can, without going overboard. Though he's never asked the dreaded "how did a baby get in there" question, I know it's coming at some point. But to his credit, he seems to have some discretion with his brother and sister. For now.

I suppose someday, he'll have to know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Like maybe on his wedding day. For now though, I'm going to keep Barney off the television. And keep my kids off the bus.

Monday, November 8, 2010

School Robocalls

I know I vowed to not be a B this year at my kids' school, but I have my limits. Sometimes, it's truly necessary and appropriate to come out with your B flag flying.

Last year, our school district switched their phone systems, and seemingly at the same time, their method of Robo-calling. You know what I'm talking about...the recorded messages to let you know about school spirit days or that the school is under lockdown and to come pick up your kid with a hazmat suit.

And generally, I'm home to receive these calls, which is great. Hey, anytime the school comes up on the caller ID and it's not a live voice, it's good. (Seriously, when Larry Potter was in kindergarten and the phone rang with the school on the caller ID, I answered and when his teacher said hello back, I said in my scariest voice "What did he do?") 

But when I'm not home or happen to be unavailable (read: asleep or in the can) and Robocall leaves a message, it's not a real message. Instead of hearing about the lame awesome party coming up for those that sold their quota, I get "Your call has been placed on hold for up-to two minutes."

It's obviously only your phone that I can't leave a message on.

And now, the fun part. That's fun in quotation marks. If Robocall doesn't get a live person, it calls until it does...until it hits four or five times. Then it gives up. And each time it calls, I get the "Your call has been placed on hold for up-to two minutes" message.

So, so far, that's four or five messages, in a 45 minute timespan, right? Did I mention that I have two kids at the school?

This morning, there were EIGHT non-messages on my voicemail. Because we dared to be driving back from my dad's house while they called.

Last year, I called the school office and complained. And it kept happening. So I wrote a letter to the editor in our local paper about it. Then, I had the district business manager call and kiss my ass smooth things over with me. She told me that they use a company out of Atlanta for their automated calls and that they haven't had any complaints from any other parents.

After seconds hours of hard investigative research, Business Manager (BM...ha) determined that it must be my phone service and I should call my carrier. Except I don't exactly have an anomaly of a phone carrier...around here it's either Charter or Verizon, and I have Charter. And I'm sure I'm the only one in the whole district who does. Right?

And the whole I-have-two-kids-in-your-school-so-I-get-twice-as-many-calls? It's not possible, says BM. It's a good thing she's not teaching sex-ed, because I'd hate to have a bunch of girls get pregnant because the BM told them that "it's not possible" to get pregnant the first time. Hey BM--if it's not possible, why is my voicemail filling up.

So this year, it starts happening, and I ignore it because I'm trying not to be a pain-in-the-ass parent. But then my friend tells me that she gets the same thing. And then I don't get a Robocall message. Again. And it may or may not have been a PMS kind of day. So I called.

And I was told with an exaggerated sigh that there's nothing she can do and it's just me. When I told BM that it wasn't just me, she asked why she hadn't gotten any calls about it. I said, before I could stop myself, that maybe it's because people would get the runaround, like I did.

There was silence.

And I then I said it was the school's responsibility to make sure I, as a parent, was notified of anything going on at the school - emergency or otherwise.

She said she'd get back to me.

Fast forward to this morning and my 8 messages, all of which are on-hold somewhere in the universe. I left BM a message. I also looked up the state statute on phone harassment. Perhaps I married the two.

I'm still waiting for a phone call back.

(Aren't you glad I'm not in your school district?)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Snarky Contest

There's nothing I like more than a snarky true story.

I have my own snarky stories, but for the sake of my marriage and relationship with certain individuals, I can't write them in this forum. Bummer, because they're really good.

But that doesn't stop YOU from telling yours!

Did you hear about what my mother-in-law said?

So, today I have figuratively given birth to the Snarky Mom Snarkiest Mom contest. And no, you don't have to be a mom to participate. But you do have to be snarky. Or tell a story about someone who was exceedingly snarky.

Here are the rules:
1.) The story has to be true. (Don't ask me how I'll know if it's not. I have my ways. Muhahahaha)
2.) It needs to be posted as a comment here, on the Facebook page, or emailed to mamasnarky@gmail.com by Friday night at 9 p.m. Central Time.

Some suggestions...I like a good mother-in-law story. Or a good husband story. Or even a miscellaneous relative story. Tell me the good stuff. You know, like the time your husband went to ballgame while you were at home having a miscarriage, or the fight you had with your mother-in-law about asking her not to call before 8 a.m.

I will change the names to protect the guilty.

I will post all the entries over the weekend and declare a winner on Monday morning. The winner will receive a copy of one of my favorite books...Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster. (Seriously, I love Jen Lancaster. Thanks to Jenny and Betsy for making me suggesting I read her stuff.

Make me proud! Let me live vicariously through you all!

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like...November!

We survived Halloween last night. Two vampires and a butterfly descended upon our Beer and Cheese neighborhood, and one large Spongebob, complete with orange nylons. And for the record, that was Disgruntled Husband. If someone would have asked me what I was going as, my answer would have been "Embarrassed." But no one asked.

So the candy has been pooled and hidden. The pumpkins carved and set outside to rot. The costumes opened and stained. So you know what that means.

Bring on Christmas!

I know, I know. It's not the most popular of positions to have. DH holds firm to his "No-Christmas-Until-After-Thanksgiving" rule, going so far as to yell it at the top of his lungs in crowded discount retailers. (See my costume above.)

I love Christmas. Now, I agree that before Halloween is ridiculous, but after? It's fair game. I mean, I know Thanksgiving is the next holiday, but to me, it's just a less commercial version of Christmas...you eat, you see family, you go home. And with my family, we generally start our shopping as a gaggle of women the day after Thanksgiving. Because we're crazy.

On the flip side of things though, I HATE having Christmas decorations up after Christmas. It's like keeping a dead flower around. It was nice while it lasted, but then it just becomes sad. DH likes the tree up until at least after New Years. Which generally means that if I want it down by the 28th, I have to do it myself. And there's nothing more depressing than taking down your Christmas tree, unless you're taking it down by yourself.

It's this time of year that I can watch Christmas movies and listen to Christmas music before I get sick of it. I've scoured the WOLX web site to see when they're starting their Christmas music 24/7, but no mention of it. As far as the movies go, I have both Christmas Vacation and the Family Stone (which is one of my favorite Christmas movies ever...and just for the set decorating!) on DVD, so I can watch whenever I want. But it's just so much more satisfying when I catch either on TV.

One way I start to get in the Christmas spirit is to find a Christmas-y candle and light it. Check. Another way...a little more fun...is the Santa Sez website. How I love this site, let me count the ways. Type in whatever you want Santa to do...and most of the time, he'll do it! My boys love to watch this, but I admit, I love to watch it even without the kids nearby.

Every year, I order a wreath from QVC...they're fresh from Maine and beautiful. So I did this the other night, and may have gone overboard...let's just say our home will be festive. And something else I saw...you can order a live Christmas tree and have it delivered! Holy crap! This is AWESOME...yet, we won't be doing it. I think part of the fun of this one would be watching my UPS driver try to deliver it. Watching that would definitely be worth the $24 shipping. I've had less fun for more money.

Bring on the evergreens. Bring on the cinnamon. Bring on the Snarky Christmas posts. And next month, around say the 12th of December, someone please remind me that I actually like this time of year.