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15 Tips to Help Moms Survive Life in Suburbia

15 Rules to Survive Life in the Suburbs #humor #mom #funny #suburbia #suburbsNearly a decade ago, I moved to the suburbs from NYC (it’s the sole reason I started my blog).  In that time I’ve learned some pretty important things to ensure my survival, nay, my sanity.

If my ‘burb sent out a handbook it would look something like this. Feel free to use it as a mini-survival guide. Good luck and in the words of that guy on Hill Street Blues, ‘Hey, let’s be careful out there.’

  1. All children must be signed up for multiple sports and extracurricular activities, to ensure that no family can plan anything on a Saturday until their kids are too old to want to spend Saturday’s with their family.
  2. Do NOT be alarmed if you try to enter the wrong minivan or SUV, this is common. Try to lessen the confusion by putting fun stickers on your back windshield representing each of your children performing their favorite activity.
  3. You can paint your house one of 477 shades of tan.  Other colors will be categorically denied, so don’t even try it!
  4. If your child has strep or hand foot and mouth, be aware that the entire town will know about it before you get his/her prescription filled. PS this same urgency in passing news applies to affairs as well!
  5. As a suburban mom you are expected to start some kind of craft business immediately. Your choices are: hair accessories, jewelry, embellished clothing, or things you can print on card stock — anything else must be cleared through the Chamber of Commerce.
  6. If you already have a job, you are expected to purchase these crafted goods, in bulk, at the myriad of local holiday boutiques that celebrate everything from Ramadan to Flag Day.  Like PTA meetings, being absent is frowned upon.
  7. If you do not find a grocery store or Starbucks within one mile of your current position, you’re lost and have entered an inferior neighborhood! Please stay calm and return to your suburb immediately.
  8. You are required to join a gym.  There, you must take spin classes with disco lighting, pretzel yourself into a reformer, and learn the art-form that is Zumba.
  9. You will be expected to pressure clean anything and everything from your sidewalk to your dog. Be prepared.
  10. Make sure your dog is cute, as neighbors will constantly stop to pet it. Be warned, the same neighbors will turn you in to the association the first time Rufus barks after 9PM. (Don’t name your dog Rufus)
  11. Make an immediate trip to lululemon/Athetica/GapBody/Target … and pick up workout/athletic/golf/tennis gear that’s trendier than simply wearing sweatpants.  Wear these goods at least 50 -100% of the time; in the winter, simply wear your athletic gear with Uggs.
  12. You will need to attend a mind-numbing amount of birthday lunches/dinners for ladies turning anywhere from 30-50.  Get there early, as who you sit next to (or don’t sit next to) can make or break your day.
  13. Cut back on sex ASAP, as you will find yourself in conversations where moms discuss their infrequent, and unsatisfying sex life regularly — at lunches, parties, dinners, play-dates.
  14. And stop giving blow-jobs! People in the ‘burbs are only expected to give them on birthdays and anniversaries (it’s one of the perks).
  15. Living in the ‘burbs is a little like reading Us Weekly: Everything is sensationalized. It’s fun to discuss “who wore it best,” but not as much fun as playing Fashion Police. You will find yourself looking for cellulite/wrinkles on young skinny moms. And gossip is treated as gospel.

I hope this helps you fit into the suburban life you’ve chosen.  Maybe I’ll see you at the next boutique sale — I’ll be selling picture frames with random findings glued on to them!

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The True Bane of Suburbia

The bane of suburbia… the teenage wannabe gangsta.  Beware their 8 Mile lingo, tee-shirts with moderately offensive sayings, and fro-yo addiction.  They’re hoodlums alright. Well, they wear hoodies and they live in the hood, well, the middle class suburban neighbor’hood.  

So the last two days I’ve taken my son to the skate park at the Kirshberg YMCA in middle/upper class USA.  Be careful with the bigger kids, I warned my son, I don’t know if they’re so good.

“What, those kids are bad?  How do you know?”

“Well, for one, none of them are wearing helmets or pads.”

“Mommmm.”

“Plus, none of them is lucky enough to have his mom cheer him on from the sidelines.”

“Come on.”

“Oh, aaaaand I saw one of them smoking!”

“No way.  No one was smoking” my little innocent said, aghast.  (Kids are really anti-smoking these days.  If only they knew what chimneys their grandparents were.)

“Yo G, I got 4S” one of the older kids yelled to the others.

“No way, Seri is my bitch, yo.” Another yelled back… through his braces.

Wow, you know who thinks these kids are baaad? They do.  I mean, really?  Is this what happens when you’re so bored of suburbia?  Can their parents stop laughing long enough to tell them how ridiculous they sound?

“WHAT’S UP WITH ALL THE LITTLE KIDS?” inquired one of the white suburbanites, who got dropped off in his momma’s Beamer.

“I know, yo.  Is that one on a rip stick?” The one wearing the unfortunate fashion statement of a tee-shirt, which said, “Smell my Bag,” asked…  referring to MY little kid.

My ears perked up, ready to jump in with something like, “You got a problem with my son biatch???”  Oh, I can do “thug wannabe” just as good as these pishers.  Plus, I’ve actually lived in a city, that’s street cred, G… Props.

“Shit, that kid is bad ass, that’s hard to do.” One marveled.

Phew, he’s lucky he called my kid “bad ass,” ‘cause homie was about to get a beat down.  Plus, he  IS bad ass.  I wonder if he knows it?

“Mom, mom watch me do this… mooooooooommmm watch!  Are you watching???” Jake yelled, unaware.

Well, that answered that question.  

Frankly, Jake had no problem with these boys.  He climbed up to the highest ramp and chilled at the top, as all the suburban gangsta’s tried to decide where to go next.  (Hollister, Starbucks, Jamba Juice?)  I know, you wouldn’t want to run into them in a dark alley. It would look like this (insert squiggly dream sequence lines here.)~~~~

“Yo bro, where do you think you’re going, BIATCH?”

“Umm, I was going to Abercrombie, but take what you want…”

“F@ck that, we were going there too!  I got a sick coupon, G.”

As I contemplated the irony of this scene a new playa‘ walked up to me and asked, “Are my eyes ridiculously dilated?”

Oh, this one’s the real deal, huh? Doing drugs at the park and flippant enough to ask an adult about his “tells”?

“Um. yep, kinda.” I answered, “Why do you wanna know?” I followed.  Look, if he’s insolent enough to ask, I get to ask back.

Oh, because, I just went to Dr. Rothberg, you know the ophthalmologist?  He did those drops and I don’t know if I should skate in the sun before they wear off.” He replied like a kid debating whether to wait the full half hour after eating, to go into the pool.

“Well, sure sure not a great idea.” I said, trying to squelch my laughter.

“Ok then,” he said as if I had given him sound parental advice.  Then he walked into the ramped- up hockey rink and yelled to his boyz, “F@ck this shit, I’m gonna get a f@cking smoothie, yo.”

“Yeah f@ck this, let’s get smoothies,” Smell my bag, concurred.

“No way, bro, I want fro yo, yo.” piped another…

And they were gone, those crazy hooligans arguing off into the sunset about toppings and calorie counts, and spoiling their appetites.

f@ckin’ thugs.

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Wanna Know Why Moms Can’t Relax? – Shit Like This:

funny mom cartoon

Yes, every one of us has had an attempt to get a little peace backfire like this (and you men think our lives are so rosy)…

I’m finally getting a long overdue pedicure and a long overdue moment of respite ( or so I think). This current span has been about 2 months or 68 days, but who’s counting? I like to let the nails grow unattractively long in the true spirit of martyrdom. Then I wear sandals and constantly draw attention to how badly I need a pedicure, by saying things like “How badly do I need a pedicure?”

The trick is to go as infrequently as possible and only surrender when your nails split and a jagged edge pulls threads in your sheets, thereby making a 3 AM roll over feel like chewing on a metal gum wrapper. Eeeek.

Most importantly do not, under any circumstance, remove the polish. This way you have undeniable proof of your hectic schedule. It implies that your “me time” is so sparse that you don’t even have enough to simply wet a cotton ball.

Today I arrived with the red so far at the tip it looked as if I was wearing a vampire’s French pedicure. Sarabeth, whose real name is Choi Jae Hua, or Yi Hae-Won or something else I can’t pronounce, looks at my feet with a “Tsk.” “I know it’s been a long time,” I say with the joy of squeezing in one last sympathizer. Then she looks up at me and asks if I’m aware there’s a Hello Kitty sticker on the bottom of my foot. “Oh, my daughter was looking for that, if only it were so easy to find my keys.” She then asks if it’s okay to remove it. “Well if you can’t work around it.” I’m not sure if she can hear me; my chair is set on high-multifunction-10. Its “Human Hand” technology is loudly knocking me out of my seat while it heats my tush, vibrates my thighs, froths milk for my cappuccino, and sorts my mail.

I lie, well shimmy back, trying to enjoy my favorite part, the massage. I can’t seem to relax. I am so keenly aware of every left over scrub granule that is kneaded into my legs. Worse, I can sense her daydreaming of the family she has left behind and I’m sure she’s totally resenting me for not shaving, detesting America for making her touch feet, and cursing her boss for making today “$20 Tuesday.” I finally start to relax as she coincidentally realizes she has massaged long enough.

She halts to do the required Korean calf knocking, which she follows with the “Ten Toe Pop” event. She’s seems let down when she can’t get a good snap out of the last two toes (not unlike that annoying handshake of the mid-nineties).

“Okay, pick you color” she says pointing to the wall. I can’t decide between “After Sex” or a hue one shade darker, “3 Bottles of Whine.” I don’t understand why all the colors are sexual innuendos. In the end I go with “Popped Cherry,” which is a medium shade of…well, you get the picture. I spend most of the polish application staring at the tranquil paintings of nude women relaxing on furniture. The woman in the painting across from me appears to be giving herself a breast exam on a plush sofa.

I decided to heighten my relaxation by purchasing a 10 minute massage. I swiftly wriggle myself into the pretzel seat after viewing a short video demonstration by Cirque De Soleil. Then she literally beats the tension out of me. “Excuse me Sarabeth, that knot you’re trying to knead out, I think that’s bone.” She ignores me as she does not recognize the sound of her own name. Probably because she picked the tag out of a basket this morning.

No matter, she manages to pummel it smooth regardless. Then she grabs my wrists, pulls my arms back and relentlessly yanks trying to crack my shoulder blades. She ends with vigorous karate chopping to the back of my neck. Sarabeth then signals someone, and an EMT rushes in with the Jaws of Life to free me from the chair. I walk away totally relaxed, one arm carelessly dangling from the socket. No worries. I’m sure it’s nothing a good orthopedist can’t fix. Seriously, ALL of my attempts at relaxation seem to stress me out!

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The 1st Annual Toony Awards

BLUE'S CLUES

Leo: “Hello I’m Leo here with June of the Little Einstein’s and welcome to the Red Carpet for the annual Toony Awards. Unfortunately, my sister Annie is with Rocket and Cooper Anderson in the Gobi Desert. I’m told they’re singing baba waba Osama to Beethoven’s 9th, in a bunker that strangely resembles Salvador Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory” picture of melting clocks.

Quincy is not here because he is attending a rally for “Out” magazine. Not that an effeminate black male who is scared of the dark and plays multiple instruments including the flute, piccolo, and triangle has to be gay, he’s just exploring his options.

But, we are on a very important mission right here in Orlando Florida, cartoon capital of the world. Let’s check in on June who is with the cast of Blue’s Clues.”

June: “Hi Joe, I want to ask what is on everyone’s mind… What are you wearing?”

Joe: “I have on an green on green striped tuxedo by Ralph Lauren purple label. Side Table drawer is wearing a runner from Isaac Mizrahi for Target and a vintage Tiffany lamp.”

June: “Well she is truly glowing. Teehee.  Let me ask you Joe, is your acceptance speech written in your handy dandy notebook?”

Joe: “It actually is, and the notebook was encrusted by Judith Leiber to look like a handbag.”

June: “Fabulous may I see it? I see a crying boy in a monochromatic shirt, a can of gasoline, and a pack of matches. Hmm, these clues can be so hard to decipher. Leo back to you”

Leo: “Well it looks like another banner year for the Latinos. Regretfully, Handy Manny will not be able to make it due to a citizenship issue however, he did build the stage. Dora is up for best actress in a Series Over-Using the Word “Aaabre”. She appears to be solomente. This is a smart call after last year’s awkward celebratory french kiss with her cousin Diego and that highly disturbing make-out session with her pet monkey, Boots. June do you have any celebs over there?”

June: “Yes, I am watching the Mystery Mobile pull up, and what an entrance! Shaggy, Scooby and what looks like the 1976 Harlem Globetrotters have appeared like magic out of a huge puff of smoke. They seem to be heading this way however, it may take some time as there legs are spinning, but they are actually not moving…Ah, welcome fellas today must be very exciting.”

Scooby: “Reah, reah, rexciting.”

Shaggy: “Hey, like do you have any snacks, we’ve like got the munchies.”

Scooby: “Reah, runchies.”

June: “I actually do not, try the E! booth they don’t pay that vampire Seacrest the big bucks for nothin’. Hey Leo, getta load of that clown walking down the carpet.”

Leo: “Yes, June there’s JoJo and right behind her are the Disney princesses, who as you probably heard spearheaded a recent movement forcing cartoonists to draw underwear on all female characters. This of course is in response to circulating internet pictures of a fully plucked Daisy Duck exiting a limo on her way to Minnie Mouse’s “2 Weeks Jack Free” celebration… Monterey Jack, that is. Let’s ponder that while I send it back to June and the cast of Rugrats.”

June: “Hi, Tommy and Angelina Pickles, your show is up for it’s holiday special “Santa Woks” is that a cooking show?”

Tommy: “No, I have a wittle twouble tawking… I’m 1.”

June: “I see, well as you probably know you are one of the only Jewish cartoon families ever drawn aside from the short lived series “Moisha and the Shiksa.” And here you are nominated for a Christmas special. Angelica, don’t you feel it’s your responsibility to be role models to young Jewish children and to break stereotypes?”

Angelica: “We took our image very seriously as we calculated the estimated earnings of ‘Santa Woks’ vs. our original script ’2000 years of Bondage.’ Which by the way we are producing, but in another film genre. We just signed Ron Jeremy on to play Moses’s staff”

June: “Well I’m sure Quincy will want to check that out. Leo back to you.”

Leo: “Everyone is still waiting to see if Barney will walk the red carpet. He has been rather elusive after rare footage was released on YouTube of him purveying fire whiskey to minors and singing “I love you, you love me” to Callou, Little Bear, and Oswald during a raucous sleepover. This ended in the wee hours of the morning after they allegedly took turns riding Thomas the Train.”

“Well that’s our time…Enjoy the show! Leo OUT!”

What have you done for me lately? Too much!

In one week Suburban Jungle will celebrate it’s first birthday! Yes, one year of building a following of tons of readers and 1000’s of visitors each month… sometimes each week.  One year of amazing comments, personal email responses, and whispers at the grocery store.  The gestation period for this baby was about 7 years longer than the standard 9 months, but it was well worth it.

I started this blog after signing up for FB.  Before I knew it, I had hundreds of FB friends, because I am extremely popular.  I realized, here is a huge audience of people that I can awkwardly and annoyingly push my material on.  Due to nostalgia induced guilt, they just might read it. Since then, it has grown into a legitimate site, read by people all over the planet, literally.  I have become a contributing writer for CityMommy, NewParent, SheJustGotMarried, and the JewishTimes.  I have been mentioned in Good Housekeeping, and I am contributing to a hilarious book!

Because of you, I am looking for an agent and working on pitching two books.  I have gotten multiple calls about writing a pilot and am very seriously working towards getting many of my articles published… articles that started out as blog posts, for your entertainment.  If I did not have such amazing people following the blog, commenting, calling, and emailing, I don’t think I would have been so inspired to pursue this dream.  So, I want to thank you.

This is around the time I would start to insult you, by saying something like, “It was you, the little people, the peons, that helped me, a titan of brilliant creativity.  Who would ever have imagined?”  But I wouldn’t dare, because I still need you little people.

I need you now more than ever.  Because I am focusing on making this a career, I can not focus on marketing the blog.  I need those of you who are technologically savvy to Stumble me, Mixx me, Digg me, Blog Roll me, Tweet me, and Tickle me.  I made the last one up, but who doesn’t like a good tickle?  For those of you who don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about, please pass me on to friends, neighbors, class lists, and Mommy And Me programs.

This is an official amendment to our contract, like getting an annoying packet explaining the change in your insurance coverage.  I write a blog that is mostly article driven.  If I want consistent traffic without marketing, I need to be more “bloggish,” and POST, POST, POST.  So rather than let the Suburban Jungle suffer, I will enhance it with more frequent posts.  Not all will be articles, I am still just one insanely talented person.  But, I promise they will be witty, relatable, and sometimes short.

I will continue to give you the articles you love so much, and in return you will continue to enjoy the posts… that’s an order. You will talk about me at lunches, PTA meetings, water coolers, and play-dates.  You will sign up friends to the email subscription with out their permission.  You will annoy them with requests to join the Suburban Jungle group or networked blog on FB, and insist that they follow me on twitter.  Most importantly, you will ignore all spelling and grammatical errors.

I will hold you to our contract, which like an insurance company, I have the right to amend at any time, without prior notice.  Thanks for reading and inspiring every word!  You are truly the best audience ever!

Much Love,

Jenny from the blog

I always love feedback and hope to hear from you.

The FB Suburban Jungle group will receive articles only… not the entire feed, for the full experience sign up for the FB networked blogs thing-a-ma-who-ha.

I will not have as much time to post on LinkedIn, so if you find me there, sign up directly on my site, and feel free to link to me.

Is it just me or does money seem tight these days?

I don’t know about you guys, but I have watched my investments plummet.  it’s probably just me.  I must have made bad choices.  Reeling from the tech fallout of 2002, I cautiously invested in low risk things like bonds, and solid proven companies like GE and CitiBank.  What was I thinking?

Oddly, I also assumed that my husband would receive his weekly commission based paychecks well, weekly.  I appear to have been wrong on both counts. The constant chatter I hear on line at the supermarket, where people are pulling coupons out of their Chanel bags to save a buck on T.P. (one ply), makes me think, “maybe I‘m not alone.”

I want to know when I started to sound desperate and entitled?  Was it when I complained that I have to make my own coffee? Or when in an attempt to avoid such a dreadful task, I offered my barista a BJ in return for a Grande latte?

You know Sally Struthers once said, that a child in a third world country could live on the price of just one cup of coffee a day.  There’s probably a Starbucks like every 8 huts in Ethiopia, but how can I buy them coffee everyday when I can’t afford my own?  Oh, the irony.  You know Sally also said, “Stop calling my husband Meathead, Daddy.“ so I don’t know why I’m letting her make me feel guilty in the first place.

Here in the first world — America, there are people who struggle everyday of their lives and in the face of that I still manage to be upset that my husband and I haven’t exchanged gifts this year.

In an attempt to be frugal and responsible I recently returned $200 worth of “barely” used makeup and creams to Sephora.  Look, we all know that stuff looks perfect in the blinding color melting lights of the store and not so perfect in the natural lighting of … reality.

That was a resourceful plan.  Unfortunately,  I couldn’t use the credit to buy groceries or vaccines, so I did the next best thing and prudently bought myself new creams and make-up that probably won’t look good in reality either.  I may have, in a hopeless attempt to feign normalcy, wrapped those items and given them to my husband to give me for Valentine’s day.  Don’t judge, the manager said I could bring back anything that was barely used.  Under that premise, I’m going to try to return my diaphragm to Walgreens tomorrow.

As is obvious, I am using as many creative saving outlets as possible.  Yesterday, I caught myself thriftily gazing upon my husband’s pile of dry cleaning and wondering how much of it a little spritz, elbow grease, and a strong wind couldn‘t fix.  That thought gave me quite a chuckle and then I spit on the stains, rubbed them together, and blew them with my hair dryer.  It worked… I may have discovered the “Ancient Chinese Secret.“  Let‘s keep that one between us.  I’m using the money I saved to stave off my barista for couple weeks.

This morning I went so far as to wrap a barely read book for Ryan’s book exchange.  Actually, that one kinda falls under laziness.  A big sorry to the recipient, I think the one time we read it, Ryan had hand foot mouth, but I’m sure the dog hair tumbleweeds and pet dander in my house just scrubbed those germs right off.

PS  I am still negotiating with said barista.  He countered my offer with a week of free Grandes with extra whip (wink wink).  To which I replied, “Make them Ventis, and we got a deal.”  He drives a hard bargain, but I am confident that I am coming out ahead on this one, pun always intended.

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A Confession of A Mother’s Addiction

I have many addictions, most of which are harmless and routine. My penchant for pot…child’s play. An affinity for gambling and my small cocaine habit…blips on the radar. Compulsively stealing Percacet, Oxyconton and other prescription drugs from people’s medicine cabinets…a mere misdemeanor. But G-d do I love me some sleep. You know the stuff. That in the bed, eyes closed, not awake kind of sleep. I am currently not sleeping to write this and I am just jonesing for some shut eye. Ahhh…sweet, sweet slumber.

I’ve been addicted to sleep for as long as I can remember. Even as a small child, my Mom tells fantastic tales of my having to sleep multiple times each day. Sometimes I sleep for long stretches; I go to bed at one time and wake up at a totally different time. I know this as it is dark when I start to sleep, and light when I wake up. I also I have a clock.

I am so dependent on sleep that if I skip a single day, one day, I start to go through severe withdrawal. My head aches, my eyes twitch and dark circles form puddles under them. My speech is slurred and nonsensical, and my decision- making becomes impaired. I have this overall look of exhaustion that is a tell-tale sign of my addiction. Like any hard-core addict, I make excuses. “I fell.” “My husband is beating me.” “I’ve been shooting up.”

I get so high on sleep, that I completely lose my appetite. Some nights I can go ten hours without eating. In fact, I rarely eat when I’m sleeping. There are other side effects, like crazy hallucinations. I’ll be having sex with Ben Affleck and a shark will eat him and then I’ll scream and freefall off some huge ledge and end up on Oprah’s talk show couch, except Oprah is a white male midget with 8 tentacles, each of which is attempting to feel me up, which is odd because he’s gay.

You would think that would scare me straight, but it’s doesn’t. I’ve tried over and over to kick the habit. In college, I used tons of caffeine and ephedrine in hopes of weaning myself off sleep. But I ended up partying all night, only to relapse all day and miss extremely practical classes, like bio 403 -The history of infectious diseases.

After having babies, I used breast feeding as a form of “rehab,” but I fell off the wagon and did something too horrible to discuss. That’s right, I got my own kids hooked on the stuff, like little crack babies. I forced them to try it, and they were so smitten with the sandman, they indulged two, maybe three times a day. Ashamed as I am to admit it, I even joined them from time to time.

Look, I am not proud of what I’ve done. For years I’ve tried to hide it. Only a select few guessed… my carpool, they knew. I knew they knew, but I still relied on explanations. “You say I look so fresh faced and well rested? Well…that must be my Nars bronzer, Orgasm.” “Oh, that dewy glow, that’s cause I just had an actual orgasm.”

Now I am telling the world, because the first step is admitting you have a problem. “Hi, my name is Jenny, and I’m addicted to sleep. I apologize if my habit has harmed or affected those around me and I vow to get help… in the morning.

Woman sleeping comfortably photo