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!

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.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.




Thursday, December 15, 2016

Mothers, Medicaid Mishaps and More...

Well hello there. It's been awhile since I've posted here, so excuse the dust and the cobwebs.  A lot has happened over the past 2 months. When we last met, I had stolen found a dog, remember? Yeah, the crazy is still around our hood.

But I digress. Let's go back to the beginning of October. I ran a marathon. It was glorious when I was able to stop running. And then all hell broke loose.



I got a call the following day, Sunday Oct. 2 telling me that my Mother had been found in her apartment on the floor, unresponsive and purple. Those of you who are regular readers know that my Mom suffered from COPD and was on hospice care. It was in-home hospice as she wasn't quite to the point where she needed round-the-clock care, but she did have an aide come in every day to check on her, bathe her, help her with laundry and her every day needs. It was that aide who found her. I credit her aide for saving her life and giving us some extra time with my Mom, because technically she wasn't even supposed to be there to check on Mom until the next morning.

They moved my Mom to a nursing care facility that day and I immediately drove to New Jersey to be with her. When I saw her, she did not remember anything that had happened. She had no idea how she ended up on the floor with her oxygen cannula across the room. Maybe that was for the best.

What followed that week was the stuff that nightmares are made of. Mom was receiving the best care possible, but we knew she could no longer live alone in her apartment. We knew, too, that on her fixed income, she couldn't afford to stay at the facility without applying for Medicaid. That's where the fun really began. They told us it would cost $11,000 a month for her to stay. The hospice told us that they would cover the first 5 days of my Mom's stay at the nursing care facility, and the facility told us that if we started the Medicaid application process, she could stay there while the application process was being, well, processed. Our fears that she would be kicked out on the street were unfounded. But we had to act fast, because we had to get the application process started before the 5 days of hospice-paid care were up.

The office staff in the facility gave us the 20 page Medicaid application and some information to get us started. The social coordinator in my Mom's apartment building had a lot of copies of paperwork that we needed but my Brother and I still had a shit ton of legwork to do and not a lot of time in which to do it. We got bank statements, divorce decrees, birth and marriage certificates, bills, and a partridge in a pear tree. You name it, we got it.

Since my Mom lived in Atlantic County, we were informed that THAT was where we had to turn in the application. But when we arrived at the County office building after running around for 2 days like crazy people trying to acquire as much paperwork as possible, we had a door slammed in our faces.

I had checked the County's website and found that the Medicaid Application office was open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  LIES!

Security told us to go in the first door on the right, go to the end of the counter, sign the clipboard and someone would be right with us. LIES! I did as I was told and when I went to reach for the clipboard, this women stopped me and said "Whatta you doing?"

Me: "I'm signing the clipboard. I have a Medicaid application that I need to submit"

Her:  "OH WE CLOSED."

Me: blink......blink......"What?"

Her: "I said we closed. We done at 3:00"

Me:  eyes filling with tears.........."Your website says you're open until 4:30"

Her: "Oh yeah, well that ain't right. I'm just finishing up some stuff, but we closed"

My Brother: .....ready to throw this bitch through a plate glass window

Me: "But I have a Medicaid application that needs to be submitted and we are under time constraints because my Mother is about to be thrown out of her nursing home if I don't get this application submitted" (always with a flair for the dramatic if I do say so myself) LITERALLY crying now

Her: "Lemme see dat"

She takes the application, looks over the first few pages and says: "This ain't even the right form! Where you get this from"

Me: Full on crying......."They gave it to us at the nursing home in Cape May County"

Her: "Then you got to take it to the Medicaid office down there, not here. We can't do nothing with this"

My Brother:.......one plate glass window away from a homicide charge

She WAS kind enough to give me a piece of paper with some phone numbers for Cape May County's social services department and after a few phone calls, I found out where I was SUPPOSED to take the application (which actually WAS the right form, just the wrong county).

Stay tuned, I'm going to finish this saga tomorrow on the blog....


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

I found a dog....

The following events actually happened. Nothing has been embellished. I swear, every single word is true. Honestly, file this under "you can't make this shit up".

Last Saturday I got into my car to run an errand and saw a small dog walking up my street. I live on a relatively busy street that leads to an even busier county road, read: lots of fast moving cars and idiot drivers. Not the safest place for a dog.

This is a dog. It's not the actual dog I found. I just needed a cute dog picture for the post. So sue me.
I sat in my car toying with the idea of getting out to see what the dog's deal was, or just going about my business and running my errand. Then I thought of my two dogs, Henry and Cosmo. If one of my dogs got out, I would hope that someone would take the time to make sure he didn't run into traffic, to make sure he was kept safe. So I got involved.

That was my first mistake.

I checked the dog for signs of ownership. No collar, no tags, no leash, no identifying marks. I brought the dog into my house and put it in my dog crate (I had my husband put our two boys outside so they didn't think I had brought them a chew toy). I posted the dog's picture on our HOA Facebook page alerting anyone who may be missing a dog to the fact that I had found one. Then I ran my errand.

When I got back, I checked the HOA Facebook page and saw no results, so I decided to check the dog to see if I could provide more details (male or female, coloring, age, etc). That's when I saw that this poor dog was infested with fleas and flea eggs. And it was sitting in my dog crate, with our blankets and our dog towels. Oh hell no. I treat my dogs for fleas with Frontline every month and I can't have an untreated dog infested with fleas in my house. No flipping way. So I called the local animal control office to make sure they were there on the weekend, and I got dressed, put the dog in a carrier and brought it to their office.

Let me make this perfectly clear: had this dog been flea-free, and not shown signs of infestation, I would have kept the dog all day, hoping that the owner could be located. However, that is not the case. This dog, this sweet innocent animal was crawling with fleas, and keeping it around my dogs was not an option.

Upon returning from the animal control office, someone messaged me that they knew who the owner was.

Then the owner saw my FB post on our HOA page and, I shit you not, accused me of stealing her dog.

You read that right. She said I stole her dog. But wait it gets better. These are literally, word for word, the posts she made on my Facebook post. Keep in mind, I found her dog. I made sure it did not get hit by a car. I could've just looked the other way and let someone else deal with it. But I didn't. This was the owner's response to my post. Each sentence was posted in a separate comment.

You can pay the $50 to pick her up

And I will file charges against you for stealing her I saw you drive off

They will not release her and I am coming to your house

!!!!!!!!!   (I'm not lying, that was an actual individual comment right there)

I just called 911

And I am waiting for the officer to call me

That's wrong what you did

And I don't have time for this (apparently she had time to post on FB over and over)

 I am filing a civil case.

You do not steal any pet !! And it's reported

I would shut your mouth !!

(someone posted here that I had done the right thing, the owner responded below)

No let someone steal your dog

See how you react

These people have nothing better to do pretty sad

It was wrong and it's been reported I wont drop it I will do what I have to  !!

Ok so here's the deal. Had the owner spent money on proper care of the dog (ie flea meds), she wouldn't have had to bail her dog out of doggie lockup.

I always try to teach my children to do the right thing. To make good choices and to help others if you are able. And yet, I thought I was doing the right thing, and it came back to bite me in the ass.

Did I do the wrong thing by taking the dog to animal control? Would you have kept a flea-infested animal around your animals? In your flea-free house? Or am I the bad guy here. I'd love to know what you think.

If you liked this post, perhaps you'll enjoy reading about the time I found something on Henry that no dog should have.






Friday, October 28, 2016

Running and math don't mix.


I completed the Freedoms Run Marathon in record time!!! (for me)



My first marathon was the Marine Corps Marathon which I ran in 5:42:34. My average pace for that race was 13:03/mile. Pretty respectable for my first ever marathon.

My second marathon was the Disney Marathon and those of you who have been around awhile know that I ran the Goofy Challenge that year (Half Marathon Saturday, Full Marathon Sunday, lots of pain and suffering Monday) My time for that full marathon was something like 6:40 so that doesn't really count towards being a lickety split runner.  But I did kick ass during the half marathon with a time of 2:39:25 so I wasn't at all disappointed.

My finish time for the Freedoms Run was 5:40:22, a full 2 minutes and 12 seconds faster than my first full marathon. My average pace was 12:59/mile. I couldn't be happier about that than if Mike Rowe himself was waiting for me at the finish line to present me with my finisher's medal and a big wet sloppy kiss.

I had so much love and support that weekend, it was ridiculous. The morning started at 5:00 when I got up and dressed. My friend Susan was going to drive me to the shuttle bus to get to the starting line, but she feigned car trouble and instead told me she brought me another driver. Who should pop out from behind the car but my dear friend Jazzy Jen Powers, who came up from North Carolina just to cheer me on for my marathon. I cried when I finally realized who she was (in my defense, it was 5:30 a.m., pitch black outside and I was wearing sunglasses). She dropped me off at the shuttles with the promise of Pad Thai and wine that night, post-race. I can think of nothing better than good food and good friends to celebrate my victory.

The race started off with a little drizzle and about a mile in, it was a full on down-pour. It was during the second mile that I realized something. My washing machine is apparently not doing its job. The rinse cycle on my washer isn't getting all the detergent out of my clothes. How do I know this? Because I had, literally, a cuff of soap bubbles around each leg of my running capris from the downpour. I'm not kidding. I literally was leaving a trail of bubbles all over mile 2.

Luckily the rain eased up by mile 5, however, that's when I crossed the Potomac River and started running on the C&O Canal Towpath. The C&O that day resembled both Tough Mudder courses that I've run in the past. No lying, the towpath was nothing but 4" deep mud puddles as far as the eye can see. Normally, the towpath is one of my favorite places to run. Now, I don't care if I ever see it again. It was a muddy, slippery and dangerous mess.

At mile 15 I was able to get off the towpath and onto solid ground. That was the good news. The bad news is that at mile 15, the serious hills start, and they don't stop for another 6 miles. But more good news, my fake husband Joseph and one of my running sisters, Paula, met me at mile 15 and ran those hills with me. What a sweet blessed relief to be running with people I know and love, who were there to get me through the roughest part of the race!

My fake husband Joseph and I in the hills of Antietam Battlefield
We killed the hills of Antietam Battlefield and I was on track to PR this race after trying to do math in my head. Running and math don't mix. Just saying. Joseph left just before we left the Battlefield en route to Nutters for some ice cream while Paula and I trudged on. About 2 miles later, Paula had gotten her planned 8 miles in and she took her leave just as Joseph decided to join me again. Apparently, Nutters was closed, no ice cream for him, so what else could he do? He wanted me to PR and wanted to help make that happen.

It totally worked. I ran across that finish 2 minutes and 12 seconds faster than I did for my first full marathon. This time I was about 25 pounds heavier and 6 years older. And my family and friends were all waiting for me at that finish line. I cried as they ran the home stretch with me. PSA: running and crying are not possible at the same time, I ended up hyperventilating and nearly died.

Dear sweet baby Jesus can I stop running now??

My baby girl at the finish line, presenting me with a hug and my finishers medal

Me and the beautiful Jazzy Jen Powers who was with me at the start and the finish of my marathon

I could not have done this race without the love and support of my family, who I abandoned every Sunday from July through October for my long runs. Or Susan Reichel who biked alongside me through hill and dale, singing to me, threatening to hit me with her bike, making me coconut water concoctions that helped me survive the hot, treacherous hills of Maryland and West Virginia. Or Joseph Bertone and Paula Masters who got me through Antietam on a wet, cold October day. Or my running sister Lisa Kingsbury who is one of my biggest champions. If you sent a text, a call, a FB note, please know that your love and support meant the world to me.

The night I finished running, we did go for Pad Thai and wine, then spent the evening pretending to play cards but really gorged ourselves on more wine and chocolate (because my husband is amazing, he went to the store and bought all the chocolate he could find for us). And we laughed and talked well into the evening. It was an amazing weekend with wonderful friends and lots of pain. But all well worth it.

You can read about the events leading up to my full marathon here.