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, 19 and 17. 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!

Monday, April 3, 2017

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?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

We are killers.... No really

I killed Jimmy Stewart. I totally didn't mean to, it just happened.

I'm sorry Jimmy. I didn't mean to kill you.

Well, not literally KILLED killed. Let me explain:  In July of 1997 when I was very pregnant with 19, we were watching a Jimmy Stewart movie and I turned to my husband and innocently asked him if Jimmy Stewart was still alive or had he passed. My husband said that he thought he was still alive but wasn't sure.

The very next day, Jimmy Stewart died. I felt awful. REALLY awful. I felt like I had killed an icon. I killed George Bailey.  I had killed Buttons A Clown. I was devastated. Who know I had so much power?

Flash forward to a few years ago. 19 and 17 were talking and the subject of Michael Jackson came up. 19 had innocently mentioned that she thought Michael Jackson had died. And guess what happened the next day. You guessed it. The King of Pop moon-walked his way to the other side. Yep, my daughter killed Michael Jackson. Who knew we had that much power??

Flash forward to this past weekend. Hubs texted the family group chat to let us know that Chuck Berry had died. Now, I'm not gonna lie. I honestly thought Chuck Berry died years ago. So for clarification, I said "Do you mean Chuck Barris? From the Gong Show??" to which my beloved husband said "No, Chuck Barris died years ago. I mean Chuck Berry from Rock and Roll."

Guess what happened today. Go on, guess.

If you guessed that my husband killed Chuck Barris, you'd be correct.

I believe that we, as a family, need to NOT be allowed to mention the names of anyone in Hollywood because we just have so much power. The only one of us who has yet to murder anyone famous is 17. She's the family's only redeeming quality, our little non-murdering offspring.

If you see us on the street, don't fear us, we don't just go around killing anyone, all willy nilly. You are only in danger if you are a celebrity. Apparently.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Dreams of My Mother....

I had another dream about my Mom this morning just before my alarm went off. I did what I always do when I'm having a dream and I don't want to wake up: I hit the snooze and tried to fall back asleep and pick up the dream where it left off.

May 19, 1995, She gave me away at my wedding.
In the dream, I was in the band room at 17's high school and I was chaperoning a band trip (as one does). The band director surprised me by telling me that my Mom was also going on the trip with us. I was so excited! I hadn't seen her in awhile and when I saw her in the room, wearing her black coat and looking very much alive I went to give her a hug and my alarm went off.

Stupid alarm clock. And no matter how hard I tried, I could not fall back to sleep and see how the dream ended. But I already know. She was alive and happy in the dream. She was looking forward to hearing hear granddaughter perform.

Sadly, she never did get to see either of my children perform in their respective ensembles. The closest she ever got was watching a video of them from the comfort of her apartment in Atlantic City. She didn't travel much, she gave up her drivers license several years back when she was diagnosed with Complex Partial Seizure Disorder. Taking the bus was too hard because in her later years she was on oxygen 24/7. One of my biggest regrets was not trying harder to convince her to come to WV to spend time with us and see her girls perform. But again, she was in her 70's and pretty much set in her ways, so really there was no 'convincing' her of anything.

This isn't the first dream I've had of my Mom since she died in November. There have been a few others but they aren't enough. My Mom is just out of reach, and I guess that's normal, but God it's hard. I used to call her every day from the car on my way here or there. I get in the car now and I feel like something is missing. It's hard to explain, but it's like a hole that I can't fill. An emptiness.

When I think back on her life, I don't want to remember the struggles to breathe, the time she spent in the nursing home. I want to remember her as she was when she was younger and the COPD hadn't ravaged her lungs and taken away her freedom. I want my girls to remember how vibrant and funny she was. There is nothing that makes me happier than sitting with my girls and reacting to something one of them says and hearing "Mom, that face you just made, that's TOTALLY a Mom-mom face". That makes me smile. I want them to see the "Mom-mom" in things. I want them to remember how life was with her, how she made people feel, how sarcastic she was, and I want them to emulate her.

She was my role model, our role model and I wish she'd come to me in my dreams every night.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Mom's always with me...

I've been seeing a lot of signs from my dearly departed Mother lately. All good, of course. I know she's letting me know that she's doing okay over there on the other side. She's also making her presence known to my Brother as well. He had a dream a few weeks ago where he was at her funeral (we didn't actually have a funeral with a casket, we had a funeral mass with her ashes). Anyhow, in his dream she was lying in a casket in a funeral parlor, and when he went to say goodbye, Mom opened her eyes and yelled "SURPRISE!!" then she was gone again.

Totally freaked him out but in a good way. That was my Mom's sense of humor.

3 generations of us.
I actually had a dream of her around that same time. She was sitting crossed legged on the floor in her apartment, no oxygen tube, healthy as a horse. She and I were having a conversation as we always did when, in the dream, I remembered that she had died. "OMG, I just realized Mom, we thought you died!" "What?" dream-Mom replied, "well I'm here to tell you, I'm just fine." And I have to believe she is.

Yesterday morning I was listening to my Patsy Cline station on Pandora while I was at my desk, and Brenda Lee's version of "I'm Sorry" came on. Oh my God, you guys, I literally started cracking up! Here's why:

My Mom was seeing an alcoholic assbag for years, beginning in the mid-70's until my freshman year of high school. I could write a book on those years but that's a story for another time. I'm writing now about a specific time that he did some boneheaded dumbass thing that pissed off Mom in a major way. The following day after the offending incident, Mom was at work at the Wildwood Water Department back in New Jersey and she was in her office with 3 other women, her boss, some customers and about a dozen water department employees in the back of the shop.

In walked a middle aged woman who asked if my Mom was Jane. "Yes, I'm Jane, how can I help you?" she replied. All of a sudden, this woman, in front of God and everyone in the office, began belting out "I'm sorry, so sorry, that I was such a fool."  But she didn't stop there. She sang the entire song from start to finish.

The alcoholic assbag hired a singing telegram to go to my Mom's office and apologize for him in grand, musical fashion. This woman really laid it on thick with the most dramatic rendition of "I'm Sorry", complete with hand to heart motions and almost tears. My Mom nearly died of embarrassment that day. She said she was mortified. She wanted nothing more than to crawl under her desk until everyone left the building. I believe she was angrier at him for embarrassing her in front of so many people than she was for the actual infraction that originally inspired her ire.

It's funny how you forget things, and then when something is triggered, those things hit you like a Mack truck. I hadn't thought about that memory in ages, probably because it's been so long since I've actually heard that song but man, when I heard it, it really brought that memory back like it was yesterday, and I thought of Mom and smiled so hard. Yeah, I know she's with me. She reminds me often, and for that, I'm so very thankful.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Adele....

Amid the chaos that was October 2016, my girls and I took some time out to attend a concert in Washington DC. It wasn't just any concert. It was ADELE. Yes, that Adele.

It was kind of a crazy turn of events that led to the show.  The previous year, 19 had been off for Columbus Day as well as the day after, so when I saw that Adele tickets were available over Columbus Day weekend 2016, naturally I assumed the same school holiday would take effect. WRONG.

Poor thing did NOT have off that day, so she had to leave from her last class and drive 3 hours straight to the Metro station outside of DC. In a cool twist of fate, we exited I-270 at the exact same time so we didn't have to go looking or waiting for one another at the station. We parked side by side and rode in together.

The Metro goes directly to the Verizon Center in DC where the concert was held. Once we exited, we found a Chipotle and had a quick bite to eat before braving the long lines to get in to the venue. Once inside, we found our seats up really close to where I believe God lives, section 404. You could feel the excitement in the air.

When the lights went down I reached over and held both my girls' hands. As Adele began to sing "Hello" my eyes filled up with tears. When I looked over at both of my daughters, they also had tears in their eyes. That, my friends, is a special kind of magic.

Our view. Look at her eyes!

The special bond between a mother who is very close to her daughters is something to be cherished, and I'm lucky enough to share that bond with both my girls.  To experience this concert together, to see the tears in my girls' eyes, knowing that they felt how special this experience was, just as much as I felt it, was overwhelming.

I lost my mother 3 weeks after the Adele concert. My mom and I had that special bond, and I'm blessed to share that same close bond with both of my girls. I hope that they, too, will have a similar bond if they are fortunate enough to have daughters of their own.

From the beginning until the end of the Adele concert, we danced, we sang, we laughed and we cried together. It was one of those magical memories for us and I'm blessed that I have two amazing girls with whom I got to share it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

If I wrote cards for Hallmark...

We all know the feelings behind a Hallmark card. Some make you laugh til you pee, some make you cry. Hell sometimes I'll stand in a card store for hours just laughing at the crazy funny cards they have.

I get coupons from Hallmark but lately I can't find any stores in which to use them. The closest card store to me is 30 mins away. So in the absence of real card stores, I decided to see what it would be like if I started writing free-lance for Hallmark. Think they'd be knocking down my door to hire me?

Appropriate for the holidays,  no?



Perfect 'Thank You' card for those holiday pot luck gatherings

Come on, admit it. We ALL know someone who could use this bit of truth in a card.
Again, painful truth that no one else will tell you.
What the hell, one more tequila!
I think this one speaks for itself.
So how about it, Hallmark? I've got a ton of great ideas floating around in my sick, twisted brain! Call me!

Friday, December 16, 2016

How Ted Danson figures into my Mom's story......

Welcome back, Snarklings. If you're behind on the events of the past few weeks, you can catch up here. I'll wait.

Now that we're all caught up and pleased as punch that my Brother did NOT, in fact, end up in jail for throwing someone through a plate glass window, let's continue, shall we?

By Thursday of that first week of October, we had gotten my Mom settled into the nursing care facility, run around Southern New Jersey like chickens without heads gathering paperwork and trying somewhat successfully NOT to kill public servants. Thursday morning I sat with the nicest, sweetest lady at the Cape May County Medicaid office who took my hand and walked me through the application process and not once did I want to punch her in the junk. She was awesome and kind and everything that the Atlantic County office had not been. Application submitted October 6.

I had been living at the home of one of my life-long friends for the week and by Friday, I needed to get back to my family, yet was heartbroken at the idea of leaving my Mom. I cried when I left her but knew that I'd be back within a few days.

I was back that Sunday and stayed through Columbus Day before heading back the 4 hours to my home in West Virginia. I went back and forth several more times, each time so happy to see her sitting up in bed, walking around (albeit getting out of breath each time. COPD steals your lungs little by little).

The last time I saw my Mother alive was Sunday, October 30th. She had developed an upper respiratory infection that they were trying to treat and her breathing sounded really labored. But she smiled through the visit. 17 had her Homecoming dance the night before and Mom loved seeing the pics of 17 and her boyfriend, all dressed up. We laughed all day and again, I cried before I left because I would miss her until the next time I saw her. I cried every time I left my Mom because you just never know when the last time is that you'll see someone.

I got a call the next day from my Brother that Mom was confused and not doing well at all. The infection was getting worse. She thought it was still Sunday and thought I was still there with her. He said that they were going to increase her morphine to relax her breathing. I spoke with her briefly, told her I loved her and hung up.

I knew that with the morphine increase, she may have been sleeping more or a little out of it so when I called each day, I'd call the nurses station to check on her condition and always passed along my "please tell her I love her" message.

Wednesday November 2, they called me to tell me that her condition had deteriorated and that the family should plan on coming to see her. That's never a good thing.

I went to the school and picked up 17, packed a bag, made arrangements for the dogs to be cared for and off to New Jersey we went. I contacted 19 to let her know and she planned to drive from Morgantown, WV to Cape May County, New Jersey as soon as her last class was over.

The morphine was strong but my mother's lungs were weak. So weak. She was drowsy and not at all coherent when we arrived but I rubbed her back, held her hand and told her how much we loved her. 19 arrived in time to say her 'goodbye' and 'I love you' as well.

As I lay on the couch in the common room that night, the girls slept together in my Mother's room. The Cubs had won the World Series that night and it was one hell of a baseball game. My Mom, had she been coherent, would have loved it. At 3:10, the nurse came in and told me it would only be a matter of time.

I sat there a little while longer, and in my head I said this to my mother:

"You know that we love you, and that we don't want you to suffer anymore. You need to go. You need to be free of this pain, you need to breathe free. It's time. Time to be with your Mom and Dad, and with my Dad. Give them all my love, but most of all, go with our love and be free from this pain."

Minutes later the nurse came back. Mom was gone. She was finally at peace. No more oxygen tubes, no more morphine. No more struggling to take each breath. She was free.

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A few weeks later, we had a luncheon for my Mom's friends and neighbors in Atlantic City. At that time I read a brief eulogy and part of it said this:

"My Mother always hated the actor, Ted Danson. He was in a movie in 1984 called "Something About Amelia" about a father who molests his teenage daughter. After seeing that movie, poor Ted was always referred to as "that child molesting bastard" by Mom. She totally knew it was a movie and he was an actor playing a role, but she said he really was a good actor because she believed he was a child molesting bastard.

Recently my company partnered with Oceana, and Ted Danson is a Board Member there. I couldn't tell my Mom that my bosses had met Ted Danson though. I can hear her now saying: "Why are you guys working with that child molesting bastard?"

As if on cue, Ted Danson appeared on the television in the room in which we were having our lunch. It was a commercial for shopping small businesses on Saturday, but I'm telling you, that was my Mother telling us she was in the room with us. There is no doubt in my mind that my Mom was there with us. We all had a really good laugh, and that's how my Mother would've wanted it.