Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Inspiration in the Mail

Even with the best of intentions, sometimes a girl falls off the wagon. I have extended time off from work and I just finished school. I had all these dreams about what I would get accomplished while I had some “down time.” I was going to join a gym for weight training (new Planet Fitness opening in town). I was going to start riding the exercise bike DAILY. I was going to go through and actually clean this house that hasn’t really been cleaned in years.

I know what you are all thinking, the toilets haven’t been scrubbed, the furniture hasn’t been dusted. That’s not the case at all. We aren’t THAT bad. We have a cleaning service every other week that does basic stuff. But they don’t do stuff like clean my closet of clothes too small for my fat ass. Or toss toys from the girl’s bedrooms. They are filled to the brim with CRAP that needs to be gotten rid of.

I also have “problem areas” in my house that were slightly cluttered before I started school. Now those areas look like total ass, no telling what kind of treasures are buried under piles of things no one felt like putting away. With the exception of the office that was renovated last year and has yet to be fully set back up, most of these clutter spots are in private areas of our house. The top of the washer and dryer are piled with items that aren’t supposed to go in the dryer. It’s pretty spectacular that there are doors that can be closed to hide the disaster. A cedar chest in my bedroom has assorted clothing and household items piled on top of it. No one has really gone through either of the girls clothing and purged items that don’t fit or are worn out.

So I took a month off with all these lofty plans. The first week was dedicated to getting ready for Christmas and submitting my final. This week started off with Christmas recovery as the holiday hangover seemed to take extra long to leave. Then we had a massive snowstorm that just begged people to stay home and sort through their crap. I was too busy playing with my new iPad from Santa and refereeing Sugar and Spice.

I left the house yesterday for the first time since last Thursday (I didn’t go all that time without showering though!). The girls and I went to a movie with our good friends. It’s great when you find a couple whom both of you like. Then when they have kids that are practically mirror images of your own, it’s like a super-duper bonus. We had a blast of a good time, then I came home, dropped the girls off with EN and headed to the library. I was twitching like a junkie in need of a fix.

Oh oh OH… see what’s happened to this post? The point was supposed to be all the things I was going to do and how I was going to get them all done, now I’m rambling on about what it is I’m really doing. Do you see why I never get anything done?

Today EN carried up the mail and what was in the pile but a little advertisement of inspiration. A donation van will be on our street on January 7th and they are willing to take almost everything. That little card gave me the swift kick I needed. The girls and I started today by taking down the Christmas tree and going through the trunk of movies and DVDs. We have a pretty significant pile to get rid of. Santa brought Sugar a new bedding set, so her old set will be washed and added to the donation pile. The girls return to school on Monday and I will have days during which I can go through their rooms. This charity is even willing to take stuffed animals! BONUS! I’m hoping to have boxes full of stuff for them to pick up. Included in that pile will be all the clothes I can’t wear any more. If When I am skinny again, I’m celebrating with a whole new wardrobe.

This is my story and I’m sticking to it. If you don’t hear from me, assume I’ve suffocated under a pile of junk and call the authorities.

xoxo
Ice Princess 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Our Traditions

Our Christmas traditions have evolved since we had kids. The holidays used to be a mad rushing from place to place to ensure that we saw everyone on both sides of the family. Now we take a more laid-back approach that focuses on the girls and making sure they enjoy the holidays to the best of our ability.

On Christmas Eve, we invite everyone over for a get together. Everyone brings hors d’oeuvres to share and we all hang out and enjoy each others company. Years ago, it was just my family and we did this at my mother’s house. Once there were grandchildren involved it made sense to move this to our house because we have more space. We also started to invite EN’s family as well. This year they chose not to attend, a story for another day.

Before the night is over, we exchange our gifts and the family room is lost in a sea of wrapping paper. My parents and aunt just give all the grown ups cash now, so we mostly watch the kids tear into their stuff. There are always screams of delight. This year the hot gifts were Nerf guns that my mother bought for my sister’s boys. Sugar and Spice were jealous that they didn’t get any and begged their cousins to share their guns. Sugar got a fabulous pair of silver sequin UGG-style boots from her favorite store and Spice got a cute pink pair. You better believe they put them on right away. The boots nicely accessorized their pretty Christmas dresses. 

The party is over by 10:00 pm and the girls set out snacks for Santa and his reindeer and are put in bed. By then, they are so tired from the excitement that they generally fall asleep quickly. Either that or they’ve learned how to fake it really well.

In years past, EN and I have stayed up until all hours, sorting, wrapping and piling Santa’s gifts around the tree. Of course Christmas morning always comes way too early and the girls are DYING to go downstairs to see what Santa brought, usually before the sun rises. This year, Spice had already put her new pink boots on before coming into our room.

The mad dash downstairs and opening frenzy doesn’t take nearly as long as it did to prepare… even when they pause to actually look at every item they open. Spice had asked Santa for “the nicest coyote ever”, wearing a pink tutu. Santa worked double-time to create this item at Build-a-Bear. He may have fibbed a little, as the store didn’t have coyotes, but did have a gray wolf. Spice did not notice the difference and was thrilled when she saw it, as indicated by the fist pumps and screams of “WOO HOOO!” Sugar had a bunch of items on her list including a comforter for her bed and some items she HAD TO HAVE from Justice. Santa seemed to come through for both of them.

We have coffee cake for breakfast and the rest of the day is relaxed. We hang around the house and nibble on leftovers from the night before. Typically, no one gets dressed on Christmas Day, we lounge around in our pajamas all day. This year the girls got a few gifts that they couldn’t wait to wear and put together some pretty ridiculous outfits. EN and I stuck with tradition and were slobs all day.

After rushing around to prepare for the holidays, Christmas Day’s mellowness is needed and treasured. The girls even forgot to fight for most of the day.

I hope that each of you had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed time spent with those you hold dear. I hope the laughs were plentiful and the drama was kept down to a dull roar. We’ll get our dose of drama later this week when we see EN’s mother and sister. I just can’t wait! 

xoxo
Ice Princess

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Terrible Threes

Bad things happen in threes, right? If that’s true, my run of bad luck should be over. It all started on Thanksgiving when I logged into my email account on Comcast. They were loaded with shopping specials for Black Friday and UGGs were featured. Since my niece asked me for a pair, I checked out the deals.

I was pleasantly surprised to see some advertised for $109.99. Since the links were from my ISP, I didn’t even think to question the authenticity of the stores. I made the purchase and have now been waiting for weeks for the boots to show up. I started to panic earlier this week and sent the store a couple of emails. Only then did I decide to research the site and found nothing but bad reviews. The merchandise being sent out to some was not authentic. Others never received their boots, nor did they get a refund. My emails went unanswered and they haven’t credited back my account yet either.

I did the next best thing and contacted my credit union. They were extremely helpful and canceled my debit card and are issuing a new one immediately. They will credit my account and fight with the merchant for their money. Consumer protection rocks.

Yesterday I woke up feeling really dehydrated. I figured it was the pepperoni pizza from the night before and slammed a huge glass of water. I could feel the water hit my stomach and my belly instantly rebelled. Ok, really, not today. I have a house to clean, a few more gifts to wrap and company coming this evening for the Christmas Eve Extravaganza. EN went out to the grocery store, I wrapped all the gifts, the girls placed them under the tree, then I cleaned about half the house. I was running to the bathroom every 30 seconds it seemed. I texted EN and told him I did the best I could but I had to lie down. I wrote him a list and went to bed. I waited awake until he came home, then I crashed… for hours. I woke up still feeling awful, but went ahead and did the cooking for the party while he continued on with his list. Between the two of us, everything was done by the time company arrived.

If you are asking why we didn’t cancel the get together, you’ve obviously never met my mom or aunt (nor have you read earlier posts, but that’s beside the point). You have to be dead to cancel, and if you happen to die before you are supposed to entertain them, they will be forever bitter.

The get together went well. I tried to keep my germs to myself, but there are some people that get up in your business no matter what. Doesn’t help that the biddy brigade got into EN’s Christmas beer… If anyone experiences the same symptoms in the next twelve months, it will be because they were near me on Christmas Eve.

Everyone finally left and I resumed my stalking of the gradebook, a little pissed that my final grade still hadn’t shown up. The grade from the final had gone from “pending” to a 0. What little solid food that was left in my belly turned into water. The final had been turned in for days, nearly twelve hours before it was due. What the hell happened?

At this point, I decide to check my school email. I rarely check it because I never get email there. It was only then that I discovered my professor had attempted to reach me Thursday around 8:30 pm to let me know that she could “see” my final, but could not access it. She gave me until 10:00 pm that night to resend it. Now I was 24 hours late. I immediately plugged in the laptop, sent the professor a thousand emails and sent her the files. Twice.

I stumbled around getting everything together for Santa’s appearance but now was feeling awful physically and emotionally. I had a solid A in that class, but the final was worth so much, my grade would go down to a C. I checked email 47 times before going to bed, but finally headed off to a night of very little sleep.

I was up at 6 am, checked my email again… nothing. The little chicks were up early and anxious to see what Santa brought them… Santa did right by them again this year. A happy Christmas post will be forthcoming.

I was feverishly stalking both the gradebook and my email and got something from the professor around 8:30. She told me to stop panicking and she’ll correct the assignment and change the grade. Thank. God.

Cross your fingers that my bad run is near over. My heart can’t take any more. 

xoxo
Ice Princess

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Beating the Clock Feels Good!

To all of you that doubted my methods, I say “HA!!!” It has been a very productive few days and we are slightly ahead of schedule at this point. EN and I have been married long enough to tag team our way through busy times. 

I finished my final yesterday afternoon and turned it in before Sugar came home on the school bus. I am now anxiously stalking the gradebook, waiting to see how I did. I’ll be on there every ten minutes until the grade posts.

This morning, EN and I drove the girls to their respective schools and delivered gifts to their teachers-Barnes and Noble gift cards, of course. Is there a teacher on this earth that doesn’t love a good book? And if the teachers don’t feel right accepting gifts, they can use them towards classroom supplies. Even though a bit of extra running around was required, Sugar was also armed with the fruit tray for her class party. Perhaps next year I’ll have the time to cut the fruit myself and make a homemade dip. Or not.

We stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts to map out our strategy, have a quick breakfast and we were off. We bought all the gift cards we needed, then Toys R Us, Barnes and Noble and Target. We were home by noon to have lunch and a beer, which we felt we deserved.

We piled the girls gifts up and noticed that yes, it seemed Sugar got a lot more than Spice. EN jumped back into the car while I stayed home and wrapped. My idea to nap was vetoed (sometimes he really is no fun at all). More than half their gifts are wrapped in appropriate Santa paper: Sugar’s in Hannah Montana, Spice’s in Mickey… no gift tags required, and that paper is ONLY used by Santa. They are now safely stored in the basement… And I sit here and write and wait for Sugar to come home on the bus. A very productive day indeed.

I think we will finish wrapping tonight, so for the first time in years, we will not be up until all hours on Christmas Eve wrapping Santa gifts. I may even bribe EN to run to the grocery store tonight while I wrap, that way no one has to go out tomorrow. Surely he’d rather tap dance through the aisles of the market than wrap?

xoxo
Ice Princess 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Still Not Feeling the Fire!

My brain works funny and I’m the first to admit it. Everything goes into neat little categories, kind of like all the things I have going on are written on graph paper. Any To Do’s even have a little check box afterwards that I mentally check off when I accomplish something. I rarely write a list, because it’s all upstairs in my crazy head.

I learn in a similar fashion. I tried to explain this to EN once and he looked at me like I was crazy. I’ve recently been through over two years of school., trying to earn my BS in Business. I’ve taken courses that were “word based” like Strategic Management, English, World Literature, Organizational Leadership, etc. I find writing classes to be fairly easy, I can baffle almost anyone with my bullshit. Then there are the math classes: Managerial and Financial Accounting, Finite Math, Statistics and Finance. These classes scared the hell out of me and for many of them, I was lost for the first several weeks. The graph paper in my head was all crumpled, but then suddenly I could almost hear a *click* and everything smoothed out and fell into place. The lowest grade I got in any of those classes was an A-. So yeah, I guess I figured them out.

Things that I am doing currently are listed in chronological order and I can’t ever skip ahead. Recently, I’ve had a shipment to soldiers that I coordinated, a trip to the Midwest, a party, a final, and Christmas is fast approaching. Many of these items are obviously already ticked off. I’m down to finishing the final, Christmas shopping and planning my Christmas Eve get together.

And to those friendly souls that chirp “Are you ready for Christmas?” I answer “No, why should I be? It’s not next on my list.” Do not look at me with your pitying, holier than thou attitude. I can see you thinking, “That’s one disorganized chick.” Not true at all. I just haven’t gotten to it yet, but I will. I will feel the fire and it will all come together and it will be good and everyone will be happy.

Aside from the other To Do’s in my way, I have other reasons for not starting Christmas shopping in June with the rest of you. If I start then, I buy too much. Sugar and Spice end up with a room full of unnecessary stuff. I started well in advance the year I had Sugar and she ended up with piles of gifts, all neatly wrapped in Classic Pooh paper to match her nursery. Yes really. That’s the kind of obsessive-compulsive behavior I display when I put forth the effort.

Tonight I hit the mall and started shopping. By tomorrow, the flames will start licking my feet. I will complete the final, which is due by midnight. If I have time, I will hit a store or two and get more gifts. Thursday is completely dedicated to shopping and wrapping. One day truly is enough to shop for the ~16 or so people on my list. On Friday, EN can go to the grocery store while I clean this house that may or may not still have a few beer dribbles on the floor from Saturday. Then, as the witching hour approaches, and my German mother and her sister are on their way here with the rest of the family, there may be a tantrum or two.

But in the end, we will have lots of snacks to nibble on, wrapped gifts to tear into and a clean house as the backdrop. It will be done and to everyone that plans in advance: I only dedicate a few days to this madness while you people are running around for weeks, if not months. HA!

This post was not written to offend any of my organized friends that plan in advance. Maybe by next year I can retrain my brain to shop sensibly in advance and the day before Christmas Eve, we’ll all have time to meet up for margaritas and manicures.

xoxo
Ice Princess 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Spice Girl is Five

At 12:09 pm, five years ago, our Spice came screaming into this world. She was a month early, so we were not really prepared for her arrival and definitely weren’t expecting her before Christmas.

I had a prenatal appointment at 7:20 that morning and planned on going directly to work afterwards. I remember having on a super-cute outfit (as cute as maternity clothes can get), high heels, hair and face done. I specifically remember feeling good that morning, because I never feel good when I’m pregnant. They checked my weight, then took my blood pressure. The nurse told me to lie down and went running from the room. The doctor came in, double checked my blood pressure, sat down on his little wheelie stool and put his head in his hands. Apparently my blood pressure what a smidge high, and they thought it would be best to send me right to the hospital for further tests and monitoring.

Since I drove myself to the doctor’s office, I thought nothing of driving to the hospital. I even stopped for my coffee (I took the one cup/day rule seriously). I’m sure the nurses were rolling their eyes as I walked past in my lipstick and high heels. They must have decided they liked me though, because they offered me breakfast. That sweet nurse threw a bagel in the toaster for me.

During all this I’m calling EN on the cell phone. He has dropped Sugar off at preschool and is at Target doing some Christmas shopping. I tell him I’m at the hospital for testing and will go to work afterwards. He keeps on with the shopping.

Amazingly, the same doctor that delivered Sugar was on duty and came in to look at the test results. In his professional opinion, I should have this baby today. Bed rest for high blood pressure had no impact when I was pregnant with Sugar, I have a child at home, the holidays are coming, let’s just have the c-section and get home for Christmas. He’s saying this as that sweet nurse is walking into the room with my bagel, which she snatches back when she hears that I am having a c-section within hours. Bitch. I could SMELL that bagel!!

I called EN with this change of plans and told him to buy me white socks, no way was I having a baby while wearing black trouser socks. EN finally shows up hours later, no socks, no camera. Figures. At least that bitch of a nurse that tossed my bagel found some socks for me.

Too soon I was being wheeled to the operating room and I decide that I really don’t want to have this baby today. Apparently there is no mind changing allowed. At 12:09, she entered this world with attitude. EN and I both looked at her and went, “Uh oh.” I’m pretty sure she didn’t want to be born that day and was ticked off when they yanked her out. She still gets the same expression on her face when she’s mad. Amazingly, she weighed the same as her sister when she was born.

We made all the necessary phone calls to family and friends to alert them that our bundle of pissed-offness had arrived. Sugar was delighted that her baby sister arrived in time for Christmas. The rest of the hospital stay was fairly uneventful and we were released to go home on the 23rd. We had no idea at the time that we’d be back at the hospital the next day because she lost too much weight after birth. She would end up spending her first Christmas in the hospital after all.

Spice was an unexpected baby, my sixth pregnancy. We had miscarriages and tubal pregnancies between the two girls, so we are lucky to have had Spice. She’s brought so much to our lives. She makes us laugh every day with her antics. She hugs with her entire body and her attitude is legendary. I like to joke that EN and Sophie are “kindered spirits” and he sasses back that Spice and I are “pissed off spirits.”

Today she is a happy girl. She’s off to preschool, rocking a serious tutu and armed with cupcakes. She’s received a pile of gifts, all is right in her world. She is loved and she is princess for the day. Who am I kidding? She’s going to stretch out her special day to last the entire week.

Happy Birthday Spice!

xoxo
Ice Princess

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Keg Cups!!

Every once in a while, you just have to throw caution to the wind and have a whoop-it-up party just for the hell of it. Times have been stressful, this week should be the last of it, so it was nice to have a houseful of friends over to play. Everyone in attendance was 35+, we are a little old to partake in a “kegger,” but that’s exactly what we did last night.

I kept the party preparations fairly simple: mostly store-bought food, paper plates, a keg of beer and my beloved keg cups. I jokingly told one of my friends that I got carded when buying the cups and they told me I was too old. The plastic flatware was a huge hit. The only thing left at BJ's was a set of SILVER flatware. The crowd oohed and aahed over how nice they were. Are you getting a hint yet as to how classy we all are?! 

I also changed up the guest list, something that stresses me endlessly as I don’t like to mix my people. I have work friends, family and friend friends. I decided to mix them all up last night, and everyone seemed to get along fairly well. Everyone had their game on and played nicely with others.

However, in every crowd, there always has to be a sourpuss, someone who intentionally says or does things that are just downright shitty. The Belle of the Ball award goes out to a friend that we’ve had for 15 years or so. She’s generally bitchy, but occasionally fun. Her husband is a doll, so we deal with her to see him. She claimed to be sick and I wanted to tell her that it really would have been just fine if her husband came alone, but I was wearing my polite hostess face, so I murmured sympathetically in her general direction.

She proceeded to horrify my sister and a friend by complaining about the food and all sorts of other stuff. She claimed the cherry tomatoes were rancid, the beef in the crock pot was greasy, etc, etc. All this from a woman who thinks popping frozen chicken nuggets in the microwave is gourmet cooking. We were happy to send her off and she had one final tantrum as she walked out the door. Yikes. Her poor husband had a helluva long ride home.

The second runner up was a gal that I met at my sister’s. She’s nice enough, but has the class of an ox. I walked into our office and found her using our computer. I assumed that she had asked EN and he said ok… and he assumed that she had asked me. Is that normal behavior? I’ve never seen anyone do that before. She also asked for a toothpick to get some of that greasy (HA!) beef out of her teeth and left it on the counter in the bathroom. We debated about who was going to pick it up and throw it away. I finally sucked it up and did it. *GAG* It should be obvious to all that neither of those chicks are aware of this blog and didn’t read my Miss Manners post about proper party etiquette. Yes, some decorum is expected, even at a kegger.

I do believe everyone had a good time. We laughed uproariously for most of the night. Of course, beer helps that happen, but we know some funny people. My friend from school snorted about 37 times, my work friend laughed so hard she wiped tears from her eyes several times. I think the crowd mix worked, despite the sourpuss saying, “quite the mix of people, some way up here, some way down there.” Yes, you mean bitch, I just demoted you to the bottom of the heap.

Several guests stayed over and left this morning. I don’t think any one of us was feeling that great but we did take a moment of silence to remember the good time had by all. And my darling brother-in-law (he’s in on the blog secret, I better say something nice about that guy!!) even got up early and cleaned up the party mess for me. Thanks Tiny Mike. ;o)

And here I sit in the afternoon, surrounded by keg cups and yummy leftovers (a few rancid tomatoes left, but that greasy beef was a HUGE hit!). I wonder what time is too early to go to bed tonight. 

xoxo
Ice Princess

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I See Rude People!

I’m not Ms. Manners, but there are some behaviors that just bug the heck out of me. We’re all in this world together, it should go without saying that we should make it a pleasant place for us all to be. I don’t know if it’s just the busyness of the holiday season, but I’ve recently come across way too many rude people. Here are a few rules that we should all follow:

If someone says “RSVP,” let the hostess know your intentions. RSVP means ‘r├ępondez s'il vous plait.” That’s French for “respond please.” Seems simple enough to me. If someone invites you to their party, tell them if you are coming. It doesn’t take more than three seconds to call, send an email or a quick text. Capisce? It’s an easy rule. Don’t leave everyone wondering, let us plan for your presence.

Next, if you tell someone you are going to do something, do it… or let them know you cannot. I dealt with several instances of this recently. The first had to do with the shipment I put together for Afghanistan. I had four or five people that responded to me, saying they were interested in contributing, but then when it came down to the last days, they couldn’t be bothered to respond to my emails. It’s a busy time of year and we all have things that are more important, so if you need to back out it’s ok. Really, it is. Let someone know that you are no longer able to take part in such an activity. Again, it takes only a few seconds and it alleviates the coordinator (me, in this case) from wondering and worrying that she will have to run around at the last minute to collect donations from you so you can participate.

The second instance had to do with my friend’s party in the Midwest. We are still mutually friends with another gal from elementary school, so I talked to Shannon’s mom about inviting her. Colleen was excited about the idea, so I sent the information to our friend. She responded immediately and said she’d be there. As the party approached, I sent her a reminder and never heard anything back until I got a lame email three days after the party. Seriously? That’s being a passive aggressive bitch, next time don’t leave us hanging. We didn’t miss you anyway and it’s left us with a sour taste in our mouths. You will not be invited to the next party.

If someone invites you to attend a function, show up and show up on time. My mother-in-law is the queen of breaking this rule. I have a big Christmas Eve get together with my family and I started including EN’s family so we could all be together. His mother usually shows up an hour late at minimum. One year, she didn’t bother to show up at all and I was the woman watching her husband and children staring out the window wondering where that broad was. Sugar was really young at the time and kept crying about Grandma not being there. Thanks for adding drama to a night that should have been dramaless. Her excuse? She’s southern and southern people are very laid back about party times and attendance. We should all just wait with breathless anticipation to see if the Queen can be bothered to honor us with her presence. It’s rude and I don’t like dealing with disappointed people.

If you attend a function, rest assured that the hostess has provided food and drink to meet the tastes and needs of her guests. If it’s a less formal party, the hostess has probably let everyone know what will be served and invited guests to bring their own party fare if their tastes are different. Do not walk into the house and bitch that you don’t like what is being served. It’s FREE, eat it or wear it.

If you are a guest in someone’s home, you should, without a doubt, treat other guests with respect. Do not insult them, do not tell them to remove their hats because they are indoors. This is my house and I make the rules. If you don’t like them, you can leave.

Ahhh, thank you. That’s off my chest and I feel better. Now I can get working on party preparations for this evening… Rude people need not attend.

xoxo
Ice Princess

Friday, December 17, 2010

Twilight Zone

I should be doing something productive right now, but I have a feeling a friend or two will start trashing me if I don’t get something new up here. You know who you are… ;o)

This week was great. Really great. The best part: I worked today for the last time for an entire month. I have unused sabbatical time and holidays to lump together and really take some down time. And I don’t even have to give birth to some dreadful baby to get that kind of time off. Bonus! Even better, I FINISH SCHOOL next week. I mean finish-finish, like I will be the proud owner of a BS in Business Studies after next week. This is what I’ve worked so hard for, right?

All week at work, I have felt like I was in the “Twilight Zone.” My three pals were acting like everything was back to normal for the most part. We laughed, we joked and we tormented the shit out of each other. There are days when it is obvious there are no HR people in our office. We are evil, vicious and we think we are hysterical. It felt so good to have that back that I wanted to cry.

What’s strangest of all, is that I went into work on Tuesday morning and had a card waiting on my desk from the guy that was the meanest to me all year long. Inside the card was a very nice-sized gift card. WTF? A gift card the day after I ranted at EN and said those sons of bitches were gettin’ nuttin for Christmas?

Another pal and I even made the time yesterday to take our annual trip to a local store that we call The Tree. Skippy has always been pretty nice, even through the worst times this year. He is a gem to shop with, almost like shopping with your best girlfriend. We were the only two shoppers at The Tree that weren’t old enough to collect Social Security. We yuk it up through the aisles and have a good time for ourselves. Some older woman tried to push him out of her way and he said, “Hey! She’s just showing me her bargains.” The woman turned around and said, “Is that all she’s showing you?” Gasp!

We had lunch together several times and there were many laughs, delightful. Today was much more of the same and I received many more Christmas gifts-enough to pay half for the iPad I really want. I’m practically speechless. My boss was a gem today and kept hugging me. There was a warm, happy feeling in the office that hasn’t been there for so long. I left today happy to have a month off, but sad because there’s a part of me that will miss my dudes.

The only downer was that my nemesis did feel the need to give me some grief about taking so much time off, who was going to fill my shoes, blah blah blah. It’s weird how he goes from one extreme to another.

I’m interested to see what mood will greet me when I return to the office. In the meantime, I have shopping to do, a final to write, homework, party planning… The first week off will be harder than going to work every day.

xoxo
Ice Princess 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Memory Lane

It’s always great to go back to a place where you spent a lot of time as a child. Being an Air Force brat, I don’t often have the chance to do that since I moved to this area at 15. All my memories of this place are teenage-hood and beyond. I had the opportunity this past weekend to spend some time with a very dear friend and her family in the town that I lived in for about five years.

Since my friend’s surprise birthday party was ruined by her husband (do ALL men have big mouths?!), I worked with her mother and flew in to surprise her. I spent much of last week sending Shannon whiny emails about how sad I was to miss her party. I flew out on Friday and her mom picked me up from the airport. I’m still so tempted to call her Mrs. C when I see her. It’s work to remember to call her by her first name. We ran a few party errands, then she drove me by my old house. It doesn’t look warm and inviting like it used to… it looks old and unloved, so that was disappointing. But going back to Shannon’s parents house is always fun for me. I look around at all the changes they’ve made, the orange countertops are gone, the multi-colored shag carpet is gone, the little gold tree with dangly leaves is gone from the top of the piano. The house looks fabulous, up-to-date, but it still felt like the same place I remember from decades ago. I complemented her profusely on her beautiful home, but couldn’t stop myself from asking where that little gold tree had gone. Colleen put her hands on her hips, cocked her eyebrow and said, “I think I sold that thing at a yard sale!” Of course I have no use for a gold tree with dangly leaves, but if I ever saw one, I would buy it and put it in my house just because it’s a great childhood memory. I can remember looking at that tree thinking, “They’re rich!! They have a tree made of GOLD!!!”  

The party was in a private room of a local bar. The room looked fantastic and there wasn’t much to do but wait. I had a blast with Shannon’s parents and the waitstaff, talking about my connection to the party, etc. We talked about how Shannon’s parents used to both smoke unfiltered Lucky Strikes, so I told them, “You can rest assured we never stole your cigarettes.” Her dad looked at me real close and said, “How about the liquor cabinet?” Oh shit, um… did your Peach Schnapps ever taste watered down!?

Shannon arrived at the party and seemed truly stunned to see me. I am glad she didn’t cry, I would have been in trouble all night for ruining her make-up. I knew many of the other guests, so I had a great night catching up with people that I really enjoy. The party turned into a “Dueling Piano” show and everyone had a blast. The crowd requests songs and everyone sings along. Much fun to be had, much alcohol consumed (ouch!).

I got to spend the rest of the weekend getting to know Shannon’s kids. I hadn’t seen her son since he was seven. He’s now 14 and about 6’2, what a nice guy he’s grown up to be. She also has two daughters, one of whom is my goddaughter. I love her girls madly and it was great to see that ALL sisters fight the same way Sugar and Spice do. I hope to see those little girls again soon, before they’re too cool to hang with their mother’s old friend.

We spent a little time shopping. We got to eat Godfather’s Pizza, which was just as good as I remember it and we even had a six-pack of Coke in glass bottles. It was all the things I remember about hanging with my old pal. Except we didn’t set up elaborate Barbie houses, or read teen romance novels until 3 am… It was a wonderful weekend and I’m so glad I worked double time last week to be able to take time off from work and school to have this weekend with Shannon. I only lived near her for five years and I moved away well over 20 years ago. It’s amazing that we’ve kept in touch all these years and I still consider her one of the greatest people I know.

xoxo
Ice Princess 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Spice's Current FASScination

This summer EN was driving down the road with the girls in the car and they were singing along to one of their favorite Kid Rock songs, “Lowlife.” It was the time of year when many were out working in their yards and they happened by an older gentleman bent over with droopy drawers. EN made the mistake of singing out “I’m a buttcrack” rather than lowlife, and Spice’s love for the word “buttcrack” was born. It has been well over six months now and we still hear the word on a daily basis.

Her use of the word is imaginative and should be applauded in some instances. When we drive by the neighbors chickens, she flaps her wings and shouts out, “Brock brock BUTTCRACK.” She and Sugar have had endless debates as to whether animals have buttcracks. The conclusion on dogs is this: those with short hair definitely do not have buttcracks, but the fluffier dogs may be hiding buttcracks under their fur.

Buttcrack can be used in a variety of ways. She has asked for chicken buttcracks for breakfast and uses the word in place of others when she’s singing along to other songs. For example, she recently sang, “On the first day of Buttcrack my buttcrack gave to me…” I’m impressed that she always fills in a two syllable word with this new favorite. Not bad for a four year old.

In keeping with the buttcrack theme, this past weekend I introduced the girls to “Baby got Back” from the 1980’s. Their favorite line, of course, is “I like big butts and I cannot lie.” A proud mothering moment for me.

We know this is inappropriate behavior and language, but in the privacy of our own home, must we be proper all the time? The director of Spice’s preschool is aware of her love for the word and will occasionally taunt her with a “brock brock…” waiting for Spice to shout out “BUTTCRACK!!” As of today, my little cherub has not yet taken the bait and just looks at the director like she’s crazy.

After another night of homework hell with Sugar last night, she did something totally out of character for her. She is the proper, good girl, almost all the time. I was sitting on my bed with Spice, reading a story when Sugar came into the room, dropped her pants, bent over and shouted “BUTTCRACK!” We sat in stunned silence for a millisecond, then we shouted with laughter. It was totally unexpected, out of character, and just plain funny. We laughed together for a long time.

This morning as I was getting ready for work, Spice came into our bedroom, turned on the light and said, “Daddy, I have something to show you.” As he often pretends to look at whatever it is being shown, she persisted and waited until he had both eyes open and was looking at her. She dropped her pants, bent over and hollered “BUTTCRACK” loud enough for the universe to hear her.

EN rolled over, pulled the covers over his head and said, “Please don’t do that at school.”

xoxo
Ice Princess 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Terrible Tuesday

This post is a whiny one. I have had a shitty day. There may be an F Bomb, or three, in this post and I have no desire to clean up the language today. So if you have a delicate constitution, move along. I’m not in the mood to wipe any more ass.

I think I have said this before, I am not a morning person. I need my space. I need to shower and dress and have a minute or two to myself. I realize that it has been a whopping ten hours or so since anyone has had their head buried in my ass, but really people, give me space. There’s nothing you need in this bathroom, there are two others in this house. It annoys me endlessly when any one of the people that live here stand with their ear pressed to the door, and start knocking incessantly the moment they hear the shower turn off and the shower curtain open. There is another parent lying not ten feet from the bathroom door, he can take care of your needs until I am ready to face you, my adoring fans. The knocking began immediately and didn’t stop until I opened the door. This just starts the day on a bad note.

On the ride into work I pass two gas stations within a mile of my house. The first one looked busy, so I traveled on to the second one. Wouldn’t you know it, that stupid bitch I have to follow every single day pulls in too and she takes the pump on the other side of mine. Great. Then I discover that my pump isn’t working and all the others are full. I get back into the car and text EN to ask if there’s a convenient gas station in the town that he works in. He answered my multiple, shrieking texts two hours later. Thanks for the help buddy.

At work I decide today is the day I will put up the Christmas tree. One entire strand of lights is out, so I toss it. I don’t have the time or patience to fix shit. One of my buddies came along to string the lights, not a girls job after all. He did a fabulous job and the tree is nicely decorated. During the decorating, I receive emails from an employee in another office. I share that I’m putting up the tree and she sends a horrified, “we decorate NONDENOMONATIONALLY in this office.” Yeah? Well we do too. If you are Jewish, the fucking tree is a Hanukkah bush. If you practice Kwanzaa, it’s a Kwanzaa shrub. Shove your political correctness.

My mood is now lifted slightly, my three buddies are all in the office and all seem to be in a good mood. We laugh a little and a couple of us reminisce about the time I asked one if his wife knew he was wearing her blouse. Or the time he told me my shirt was too printy. We laugh uproariously and both admit to never wearing those articles of clothing again. Until late afternoon came around and I said something that would have been met with hysterical laughter even a few months ago. I got a curt “all right then” response. Those three words had the same impact that dropping the blade of the paper cutter onto my fingers would have had. There goes that. I stayed shut up until I left the building.

My sweet cherubs started fighting before they even got into the car. Now that Sugar no longer needs a booster seat, and Spice is legal to sit in one, they BOTH want to sit in it. Let the games begin. Thankfully, they played some good shit on our Christmas station and everyone forgot they were pissed off.

Homework was a delight tonight. If I ever meet the fucker that came up with the Everyday Math concept, I will rip his face off. That shit makes no sense and what makes even less sense is that they stop using it in middle school. So Sugar and I scream, yell and cry, but we get her math assignment done. During the process, I have ruined the child and her Everyday Math skills. I showed her how to multiply MY way, the way that makes sense. I used the same methods I use in college that have earned me an A in both Statistics and Finance. What the hell was I supposed to do? She “forgot” how to multiply and the lattice method of multiplication is like trying to read from right to left, it just isn’t right. Her teacher can have at it tomorrow and they can work together on relearning the dumb way of doing things.

Tomorrow can only get better. Right?

xoxo
Ice Princess

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Very Busy Weekend!

All of my Facebook friends started changing their profile pictures to reflect a favorite cartoon character from their childhood. I held out until this morning when I finally settled on Wonder Woman. After this insanely crazy weekend, I really feel like I channeled Wonder Woman to get it all done.

The shipment to Afghanistan is ready to go. I’m blogging tonight because I am trying to stay awake until EN gets home so we can add the letter and packing list to each of the twelve boxes, then tape and address them all. We were great planners and boxed all like items together as only two obsessive-compulsive people could… but we are low on ink in the home printer, so EN had to make copies of everything at work tonight. If he forgets everything and I have to write it all out twelve times, I may come unglued. We’ll see then how well my Wonder Woman bracelets work!

The weekend started off with a trip to Walmart to buy a few items that needed to be included in the shipment. I had enough money from my company’s donation (I hope-we’ll see how much shipping all this will cost tomorrow morning!) to buy a stack of iTunes cards for our soldier to hand out to her nearest and dearest. Then we came home, had dinner, baked one batch of cookies, a bit of homework.

Saturday was another rushed day. Another batch of cookies. A week’s worth of laundry. More homework. Coordinating with various friends as to drop off times and locations. Starting the packing process. Trying to keep the house from looking like something exploded in here. I realized today that I only had time to sit down and eat once yesterday, a hamburger that EN grilled for me. I really should be skinny!

Today, more craziness… Two batches of white chocolate peppermint bark, more laundry, more packing of boxes. And I took a whole hour to myself to run to Macy’s to buy a few needed items. Then of course, dinner at my parents. We even left early because I was scared to sit down for even a minute. I’m sure I would have fallen right to sleep. We didn’t get home until late, so then it was a mad rush to bathe and bed down the girls, finish an essay… and now here I sit.

Through it all, I remember that I live with some good peeps. EN goes along with my crazy plans to get donations and send everything out. The girls were in awe over the volume of the donations and behaved well, knowing that there was a lot going on. Sugar tried extra hard to get along with her little sister and keep her occupied. And Spice did her best to entertain, to keep things light. She walked around this morning in a winter hat, nightgown, too-small shoes from the summer, with a handful of dog kibble near her bum. She’d drop a few pieces every now and then and exclaim, “look at those tiny poops!”

Of all the things I accomplished this weekend, there wasn’t anything I HAD to do. All the things I did, I did because I wanted to. I don’t want to be thanked, praised or complimented. I do things like this because it makes my heart smile a little. It feels good to be Wonder Woman! 

xoxo
Ice Princess

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Taste of Home

Someone once told me that I should use my powers for good, not evil. I wasn’t aware that I had such powers, but maybe it’s true. I’ve been working for the last month on our annual (ok, so it’s only the second year) shipment to the soldiers. Our third adoptee through adoptaussoldier.org is currently stationed at a hospital in Afghanistan. Their needs are a little different than the soldier we shipped to last year. Since we are able to donate to patients and staff alike, we opened up the contributions from only home baked goods to include store bought items as well. I am completely stunned by the generosity of my friends.

I don’t do much on this, really. I send out a few emails, people tell me they want to participate and start bringing stuff that they want to ship. As you can see, my dining room table is piled with a variety of items… food and snacks, games, activity books, socks and gloves, sample sized toiletries. It is a breathtaking pile of loot. And there’s still more to come. Several people have contacted me to say they will be dropping off homemade items today and tomorrow morning… I am so lucky to know such great people.

What is especially great about these people is that they are everyday people with average incomes. None of us are wealthy, we all work for a living. Most of us don’t take an annual fabulous vacation and we live on a budget. That’s what makes these donations so great. People have worked hard for their money and made a donation out of the goodness and kindness of their hearts. And best of all, they are excited to be a part of this madness and actually thank ME for letting them contribute.

I never served in our armed forces, but I have lots of family members who have. I only imagine what it’s like for these young soldiers today to be so far away from home during the holidays. I hope that the little bit we are sending along shows them that their service is appreciated by a bunch of average people back home. And I hope they enjoy a little taste of home this Christmas.

xoxo
Ice Princess

Friday, December 3, 2010

Frivolity

Frivolity is a real word. I know this because I looked it up on dictionary.com. It means “the quality or state of being frivolous.” I am generally not a frivolous person: my clothes are old, I wear what I can squeeze my fat ass into. I use inexpensive make-up and I haven’t even bought many shoes since I had the girls. My weakness is Coach. I love my Coach bags and will buy myself one or two a year, always from the outlet and always with a coupon. I usually carry a big bag and my argument for this is that a large handbag diminishes the appearance of a fat ass.

When I buy gifts for others, I’m typically not frivolous then either. I’m practical. I buy EN clothes, tools and other ridiculous crap that he thinks he needs. I buy the same boring gifts (ok, gift cards) for everyone else on my list. It’s what they want, it’s what they need. I go a little crazy with the girls though, you just can’t buy only “practical” gifts for kids. Can you imagine them going back to school and talking about what they got for Christmas? “I got 37 pairs of underwear and 25 pairs of socks.” That borders on child abuse if you ask me. ;o)

I have, however, been frivolous for the past two Christmases. I’m not sure why I did this last year, I don’t know what prompted me… but I did it, so I felt I HAD to do it again this year.

In addition to hitting up my friends and family for donations to send to Iraq for Megan’s unit last year, the girls and I put together a littler “personal” package for Megan. We included standard, practical items… but I also bought her a hot pink Coach wristlet. I know, what’s a girl in Iraq going to do with a wristlet? And hot pink doesn’t exactly match Army camouflage, does it? I know I could have taken the money I spend on that little bag and put it towards more useful items, but I didn’t want to. I wanted her to have something pretty and girly. I wanted her to remember that she might be seeing much ugliness in the year of her deployment, but there’s still some “pretty” that a girl can appreciate. Most of all, I hoped that this would be an item that she would keep for a long time. Something that she might look at someday, when she’s financially secure, maybe with a family of her own… maybe that silly little bag would encourage her to do something nice, something frivolous for someone she doesn’t know.

Sugar and I hit the local Coach outlet store the day before Thanksgiving. We looked long and hard, and didn’t even consider anything that wasn’t hot pink. We bought Melissa, our third adopted soldier, a cute little bag and shipped it out earlier this week.

I guess sending hot pink Coach bags is my way of “paying it forward.” 

xoxo
Ice Princess

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Nothing Gold Can Stay

I was blessed for so many years to work with a group of people that I loved, and that loved me. There were three, sometimes four of us that would go to lunch frequently, chat daily, email funny stuff back and forth, pick on each other… nothing was ever politically correct and I’ve never laughed harder or loved a bunch of coworkers as I did those three guys.

Besides working at the same place, the only thing we have in common is that we each have two daughters, all different ages, but none of us have boys, and none have more than two children. The basis for our friendship was probably nothing more than being coworkers, but we each have a great sense of humor and we can all dish it out as well as we can take it. There is a specific quality, quirk or habit that each of us gets grief for. Alliances are created and redrawn on a regular basis. I never knew what was going to happen next. But I always knew that sooner or later, we’d laugh our fool heads off over something ridiculous, whether it was Skippy wearing a shirt that we swore was his wife's (we even called it a blouse), or making fun of Fancypants for being such a snob... 

I’m trying to figure out when things changed, when we went from the laughing group of coworkers, to the four people that each sit in their own offices, not speaking, but the mood and the vibe is not good. Somedays it feels downright surly and the office has become a place that I don’t want to be.

I could think for days about when the change occurred, or why it happened. There are a few things that might have been the cause but figuring that out won’t make a damn bit of difference. There’s a smell of bitterness in the air, and an aura of indifference. I sit at my desk, alone, watching the others go off without me, wondering if they laugh that I’m left out, or if they miss my presence.

For a brief, shining moment, I got to be one of the cool kids.  Having that status taken away without knowing why hurts as bad today as I thought I would in high school. Only then no one ever let me be a cool kid.

xoxo
Ice Princess