Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Surrounded by Happy

Ok, I was supposed to post this over the weekend, but I never got around to doing it as I was busy doing yard work and shit. Seriously. No, really, Friday was a weird day and it’s taken me time to think it though and make it make sense in my head. Nothing overly bad happened, but I felt a little out of sorts when it was over.

My work buddy Skippy’s last day was Friday. We worked together for almost seven years. I kept telling him that was longer than most people stay married these days. We went to lunch one day last week and that was our official “good-bye” but watching him clean out his office really bothered me. We have had some fun times… he’s the guy I shop with at Christmas time, he’s the one that tells me my clothes suck and I tell him the same. I laugh at his shoes and his bowling shirt. I laughed even harder when he tried to sneak his moisturizer through Canadian customs and they threw it out because the container was over the size limit. This devastated Skippy as they no longer make his man moisturizer, I don’t know what he switched to. I once sang with Skippy over lunch at a quarterly review meeting. The VP of Worldwide Sales couldn’t remember what song mentioned Winslow, Arizona, so Skip and I belted out “Take It Easy” by the Eagles. We owned that song, this coming from a girl that never sings in front of anyone, ever.

I gave Skippy his nickname within his first month here. He looks very much like the character from Family Ties. I almost always called him by that name, never realizing that he didn’t like it. Someone in the executive staff heard about the nickname and addressed him by it when he got an award in front of the entire sales force. I was quite pleased that a nickname I had chosen had made it that far. It was only then that I realized he hated the nickname, but allowed me to call him that. I’ll miss that guy, we had a lot of laughs.

I left work a teensy bit early and got home in time to get Sugar from the bus. Today was the day she’s been waiting for: we were headed to the mall for her iPod Touch. Before we did that though, we had the grossest errand in the world. About a year ago, Sugar left a $20 on the table and Bella ate it. How do I know that she ate it? Well, because she got constipated and pooped out the five pieces of $20 bill in the house. Oh yes, so everyone, ask yourselves, what is the cash limit in your head that you’d actually clean up the money? I wouldn’t do it for a dollar bill, or even a five, but a twenty? You bet your ass. I wore gloves and cleaned that money with bleach and stuck it in a baggie. Since Sugar knew better than to leave anything on the table where the fat dog could get it, I figured she could bring it to the bank and ask for new money. I thought EN was going to bring her, but he never did so we stopped at the bank on Friday.

We went in and I had to do the talking. And I lied. I lied to the teller in front of my child. I told her the dog had puked the money, that seems better than pooping it out. Then the teller told me that I needed to try to tape that money up. So I stood there, nearly hyperventilating and taped up that money with sweat dripping from my brow. Sugar looked on in awe as I taped that poop money back together. It was disgusting and I considered just ditching that money, but I’m cheap like that. For your own reference, the very nice, laughing bank ladies told me that they’ll take ruined money and give you new money, so long as what you are turning in is at least 51% of the bill. They also complimented me on my fabulous blue fingernails.

The trip to the mall was uneventful. We got Spice some tap shoes and the iPod for Sugar. I had to pitch in less than $30, so she did a good job saving on her own. I have to give her credit for trying to upsell me though. She tried to get me to throw in an iTunes card and case. She is her father’s child. I caved on the case.

Then we met Skinny Bitch and her girls for ice cream. I don’t get to see these people nearly enough. It is so easy to hang with them. Since we are a matched set, both my girls are occupied and Skinny Bitch and I get to chatter on to our heart’s content. She even had blue toenails in my honor. I’m considering starting a Blue Nail Cult. ;o)

Friday evening was a big night in EN’s world. I’ve said before that I’m not a sports fan. I could care less about who’s playing what, who’s winning, player gossip, anything. I just don’t care. The only thing I care about a little bit, is how the losing team must feel when the game is over. That makes me sad, and I can’t even look at their faces on TV for fear that I will cry myself.

EN is a huge hockey fan. He is a fan of the worst hockey team ever and I’ve given him endless grief about his band o’losers for the last 15 years. I promised him years ago, that in return for taking the shit I dish out, if they ever made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, I would buy him a ticket to the game. I will say that I’m impressed that he’s still a fan of this team as they have a habit of losing spectacularly and heartbreakingly. EN never gave up hope. On Friday night, they did it. They won their last game and will play in the finals.

I’m amused at how quickly everyone blew up my Facebook and cell phone, knowing I would have to buy the ticket. I guess many don’t realize that when I say something, I mean it whole-heartedly and honestly. I said I would buy him a ticket, and you bet your sweet ass that’s exactly what I did on Saturday morning. Just like his daughter, he tried to throw in extras like a new jersey and a ticket for a friend. There is a limit to my generosity and the $550+ I spent on one ticket was it.  

Of course the guy who gave me the hardest time through the years is EN’s best friend (I use that term loosely for many reasons). He was one of the first that texted me Friday night and said, “You better get us good seats.” I assumed, because he is as big a fan as EN, that he had saved money for his own ticket in the event that a miracle happened. However, as soon as it came time to close the deal on tickets, he backed out. I find it ironic that he was one of the first to try to bust my balls, when he’s the guy who never, ever puts his money where his mouth is.

So, the children are happy with their new shoes and gadget, EN is happy with his ticket to Game Four. I am sad for the loss of my coworker and the dent in my savings account. It’s pretty hard to be sad around happy people, I let their moods be contagious. 

Ice Princess

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Blue My Mind

I have not interviewed for an actual job in over eight years. Recently, I’ve spoken with two recruiters, but never an interview for a real job. Today I went on an interview for an actual job.

I applied for this position one day last week when I was pissed off about things that were going on at work. I had no interest in the job and the rate of pay is miserable. I applied anyway. Sure enough, they sent me an email to proofread and fix this week, then invited me in for an interview. I agreed to meet with them.

Since I wasn’t really interested in the job, but didn’t want to go in and be a bitch about it, I handled it my way. I went out yesterday to get my nails done and had them painted blue. A shocking, bright shade of blue. In my mind, who on earth would take a girl with blue nails seriously? I considered wearing flip flops too, but that was over the top, even for me.

I read through their website and went to the interview today. I have to say, the people were so nice that I almost felt bad for having blue nails. As the interview went on, it became obvious that I would never EVER fit into that company. Everyone seemed so conservative, judging by their wardrobes and personalities. My blue polish had more oomph than the entire office. I can only imagine what would happen if I ever worked there and shouted out “WOO HOO” when something exciting happened. People everywhere would drop dead from shock.

As if the pay wasn’t dismal enough, the job sounds supremely boring, another episode of endless nose and ass wiping. Some of their questions led me to believe that it even goes a step further there. The owner asked me how I currently tell my boss what’s been done around the office. I honestly had no idea how to answer that question. I mean, what are you supposed to do? Send a list of “completed tasks” at the end of every day? Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by EVERY SINGLE person I’ve ever worked for. My career has gone like this: I have a job and I know what needs to be done. I go in every day and do my job. If something is left undone, or there’s an issue, I hear about it and it doesn’t go undone again. Having to send an “All Done” list is a mystery to me.

I think that maybe they are looking for someone just starting a career, someone who wants to stay small as they seem to want their business to stay. The owner seemed genuinely shocked when I asked questions specific to the software they produced and was even more surprised that I knew the difference between “client/server” and web-based software. Maybe I just don’t give myself enough credit.

The clincher was at the end of the interview when they told me that I was the current “front runner” and could possibly be called back for a second interview. If that happens, hopefully the shock of my blue nails has worn off by now and they won’t call, I will decline another interview. That just wasn’t my place in the world.

In other news, because I know you are all wondering, the violin made it back home today. It was found someplace within the school and someone turned it in to the music teacher. Sugar wants to go out YESTERDAY to get her iPod Touch. I guess she figures if it’s all ready in her hot little hands, I can’t take it from her. She should know better. I’ve been her mother for ten years.

And even bigger news, I found out today that I was accepted into a Master’s degree program. Apparently I must have inhaled blue nail polish fumes and thought it was a fantabulous idea to apply. I may be certifiable.

Ice Princess 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lost Violin

I remember being really little and losing a sandal. I can even remember what the sandal looked like. It was yellow leather and had a big ladybug on the top. They were really cute and I was sad about losing the sandal. I remember being in panic mode and telling my parents I had lost this shoe. I got a spanking, then was grounded for all eternity. My friend came to the door shortly after the punishment with the lost sandal, I had simply left it outside somewhere.

Sugar loses stuff all the time, I’m sure I’ve even blogged about it before. There isn’t a week that goes by that she hasn’t lost money, homework, a clothing item, something. Yesterday she had violin lessons at school. Since we were in a rush to pick Spice up for her dance rehearsal, I didn’t notice that she left school without her violin. As we were walking into the rehearsal, Sugar said, “Can we go back to my school so I can get my violin?” First, no, we are about to walk into Spice’s rehearsal. Second, no, by the time we would even get back to the school, it would be closed up for the night.

When I picked Sugar up today, she and the woman that runs the After School Program met me at the door. They told me that the violin was not there and hadn’t been noticed the night before either. Colleen said that the last time Sugar left her violin behind (GASP, yes, it has happened before!) she put it in the music teacher’s office. She’s hoping that someone else found it this time and put it there. I just looked at Sugar and growled, “Get in the car.”

We’ve been home for hours now and that was about the extent of my fury. I have been holding it in. I didn’t scream, swear or shake a child. I simply told her that if the violin wasn’t found, she was going to have to pay for it with the money she’s saving for her iPod Touch. It’s a mean, cruel world… perhaps I’m being overly harsh with her, but she really needs to start paying attention and keeping track of her stuff.

I made her call EN and tell him the violin was lost. She fluffed it off and said that it was probably just in the music teacher’s office. She displayed not an ounce of guilt, sadness or fear that the instrument had been lost. That’s the part that infuriates me. When I lose something, it tears me up inside. I am in agony over whatever it is. I just don’t understand how someone could really not care. And that, my friends, is why Sugar will be using her own money to pay for the lost instrument if it isn’t found. I need to get through to her somehow and to hit her where it hurts. I now know what parents mean when they say, “This hurts me more than it hurts you.” 

I emailed the music teacher and asked him to let me know if the violin had been turned in. I've yet to hear back. I also called the place we rented the instrument from and they told me we'd owe about $250.00 if it's not found by 7/10. It remains to be seen whether I will be kicking in the balance she needs for her iPod, or for a violin. 

Ice Princess 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Woo Hoo and Thanks Y'all

The beginning of the weekend was full of pomp and circumstance and filled with words like processional, recessional, conferral, commencement, invocation and benediction. I’ve heard these words before but was never really part of anything so large.

The Gold Key Ceremony was last night. EN was working, so the girls and I attended with my parents. The gold key was not the Tiffany jewelry of my dreams, but it was pretty cool to be one of the elite. My GPA seems paltry in comparison with all the 4.0s that I heard about. Snorting Girl made the good point that I really don’t want to be part of anything that “ends in zero.” The faculty of the college spoke about many students that had overcome great odds, or done exceptionally well but the most emotional moment for me was being part of the recessional. We followed the faculty and once we entered the hallway, they stopped to either side and applauded the graduates. I nearly cried.

I tried to explain to the girls that I was getting a prize for getting really good grades. Sugar seemed to understand, but it was obvious that Spice did not. After the ceremony she told me that I walked across the stage better than anyone else. Not exactly the point of the evening, but I’ll take it.

Sadly, the girls had a hard time finding me in that crowd, so I realized that they’d never find me today. I noticed that another graduate had a decorated cap, so I realized I needed to do that too. After tucking the chicks in last night, I bedazzled my cap and texted a former classmate who was also graduating to see if she wanted to be bedazzled too. Thank God for all my scrapbooking tools, rhinestones and flowers.

After collecting our graduation cards and exchanging my black tassel for gold, I finally met up with my former classmate. It’s hard when taking online classes to bond with anyone. Patti and I shared a class a year ago and bonded over a comment I made about adopting soldiers. We’ve kept in touch here and there regarding other classes, jobs, and graduation. It’s thanks to Patti for reminding me that graduates needed to be at the venue an hour early today. I would have been late. Therefore, I owed her a bedazzled cap. We finally found each other after panicking a bit, we’re both short and the crowd was huge. We hugged and ran outside where I decorated her hat and we helped each other with our caps, robes, cords and shawl-thing. We were both pleased with the way we looked, our bangs were perfect and we marched off happily.

My bedazzled cap. 
Patti's cap. We weren't really playing with our phones
when we should have been paying attention. It only
appears that way. 

We came across some woman with a way-cool cap and we complimented her on it. She told us that with a little more work, we could have one like hers. I might have suggested beating her up and taking her hat. She told us that our caps were nicely decorated but were on wrong, she pushed our bangs around (damn it!) and fixed us up. We later realized this woman was the Senior Vice President of Student Affairs. I need to be more careful when I threaten to beat someone up.

Finally it was time and we walked into a packed arena. There’s an indescribable feeling that comes over you when you walk into a place with 8,000 people cheering. It takes your breath away. The music, prayers and speeches that followed were tremendous. And thing were even better because, in a crowd of 1,600 graduates, I had a friend sitting next to me. We laughed and joked and told each other more about ourselves. Had I not been with her, I would have been lonely in a crowd of nearly 10,000. Spending these hours together today has bonded us. When I think of this day, I will remember spending it with my dear friend Patti from Holland.

We collected our empty leather folders that we will use to display our degrees, listened to a few more people talk then took part in the recessional. I looked at my friend and said, “Well, I guess it really is over.” She said maybe we should go for our Masters degrees and I asked her when she wanted to start. We agree that we need to find employers to pay for our educations first.

It was a fun day and I was glad that I had a cap that made me easy to find. Every time I turned around to wave at my family, at least one person noticed and waved back. I may have been just one little fish in a sea of graduates today, but it felt damn good to see my name with three stars and to hear my name announced with summa cum laude after it.

An event that I am part of would not be complete without a little drama. I met up with my family at the front of the arena and of course my dad is wearing crankypants. He bitched about the price of parking, then gave attitude to anyone who dared walk in the path of his picture taking. Lets all be sunshiny and happy for just a few minutes, ok?

And so it ends. I find myself feeling a bit hungover as the adrenaline and excitement have left, but I look forward to the Next Big Thing, whatever that might be.

Ice Princess

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sarah Smiles

I finished my classes in December and thought I felt done then. Tonight is the honors ceremony and tomorrow I will walk in the official graduation. I will collect my diploma in the place where we have gone to see hockey games and concerts. For the few seconds it takes to walk across the stage, I will be proud of me. I took on a challenge and I completed the task.

I started this journey by calling the school one random day and speaking with Sarah. I told her my background and said I wanted to take a few business classes to earn a second Associate’s Degree. She said, “Why not go for a Bachelors instead?” I tried to argue that it would take too long and she said, “What’s another year?” And so began my quest for the degree I always wanted, and my relationship with Sarah.

Sarah was my advisor. She was supposed to figure out what classes I needed to take and when. Basically, she was my tour guide on this crazy adventure I signed myself up for. However, our relationship quickly became more than just a student/advisor one and now I’m proud to call her my friend as well.

She says I didn’t, but I think I drove her crazy. I would email her to sign me up for classes rather than sign up for them myself. I would email and ask for recommendations about different professors. I would email to complain about shit assignments, group projects and hard classes. Through it all, she listened, offered advice and told me about tutoring sessions-the only way I made it through Statistics! My greatest complaint was about a terrible professor. I bitched endlessly and she encouraged me to try to stick with it. Professor Fok was an ass and I finally emailed her and said, “He’s a real fok. Remove me from the class.” I ended up taking the term off and taking the class with a man who would end up being one of my favorite professors.

Somehow, our emails started getting more personal. She told me about her life, I told her about mine. We shared a love of books and writing and words. We both hate the word “syllabi” and would type it in all capital letters when we had to use it. I complained about people in my classes that used words like thusly and irregardless in their posts. We are in college and those are not real words. Let’s try to sound educated here, folks.

She has introduced me to many authors I would never have read. She recommended classes that I tried to hate but ended up loving. But most of all, she laughed at my rants and kept me sane when I was about to go over the edge and quit. Without actually coming out and saying so, the message between the lines of her emails was always, “Suck it up, cupcake.” Her support kept me engaged and my ADD (self diagnosed, of course!) in check for well over two years.

My relationship with Sarah has been mostly electronic. We email daily and have spoken on the phone a few times. Last summer (or maybe the summer before? I’m getting old and time is all running together!) I asked her if we could meet for lunch and we planned a date. The first thing that struck me about Sarah is that she has a gorgeous smile. Now every time I hear the song “Sarah Smiles” I think of her. I realize it’s a love song, and that’s certainly not how I think of her, but I think of her smile lighting up her whole face.

The second thing that struck me was the way she gives a hug. She stops completely and gives a warm, heartfelt hug. It’s not a little pat-pat on the back, she hugs you like she means it. You feel, when you meet her, that she genuinely cares about you.

During lunch she shared with me that she was leaving her position as an Online Advisor, and would start working with regular students. I was devastated to have my tour guide leave, but as always there was an upside. We could now be friends on Facebook! Yay!

She was no longer my advisor, but that didn’t stop me from complaining to her about school. She never once said that she didn’t have to listen to me bitch anymore and continued to offer assistance when she could. She’s read many of my speeches and papers and encouraged me all along to start a blog.

As much as she was part of my journey, she invited me into her life as well. I heard about the many weddings she’s gone to, her trips, her family, the excitement of her sister getting married, the sadness of her mother-in-law’s recent diagnosis. What started off as a relationship based on my education has morphed into a relationship based on how much we enjoy hearing from one another.

And we both still hate the word syllabi, though I may never have to say or use it again. 

Ice Princess

Thursday, May 19, 2011

TV Dinners

You’ve got to be pretty old to know what TV Dinners are. They are now called Frozen Meals. My mother was a freak about family dinner (gee, I’ve never blogged that before). We’d eat every day at 5:30 and it would be homemade food. Nothing from a box or jar. Granted, we had easy stuff like tacos once a week, but there was never boxed mac and cheese, or spaghetti sauce from a jar. On special occasions, we were allowed to have TV Dinners. I can still hear her saying, “Do you know what kind of shit is in there?” But we adored those meals. And we'd burn our mouths on that dessert every time. 

Good old fashioned TV Dinner.
Who didn't eat the dessert first? 
Modern-day frozen meal. YAY

My personal favorite was a Morton’s Chicken Pot Pie. I remember taking that frozen rock out of the freezer and cooking it in the oven for an hour. But I never lasted that hour. I’d pull that sucker out early and dig in, the bottom was usually still cold. But oh, that pastry, the gravy, even the vegetables. I always put the meat aside for the dog though. Mostly because my mother had once worked in a factory that cut up the bits of chicken for canned soup and would tell us, “You know what kind of shit meat they use?” I avoid the meat in most processed foods just having heard that all my life.
My beloved Chicken Pot Pie. Notice they've changed the
wording on the packaging. 

I can remember my mother going away to visit her mother. My sister and I were left alone with my dad. We’d drop her off at the train station and hit the commissary. It felt like we wandered those aisles for hours and we bought all the things she wouldn’t let us eat: Spam, Tuna Helper, Hamburger Helper, Chef Boyardee, an entire BAG of individually wrapped pieces of grape-flavored Bubble Yum. Then we’d have serious discussions about what we were going to eat first. The only meal I remember specifically was the Tuna Helper. And it’s not the meal I remember, it’s the after-effects. I don’t know if there was something wrong with the way my dad cooked it, or if our delicate constitutions weren’t used to all those preservatives, but we all got sick. All three of us… living in military housing with only one bathroom. It wasn’t pretty. None of us have ever again eaten Tuna Helper. Nor have we gorged to that extent. I do however, invite my dad over for fish sticks when my mother is traveling. We weren’t ever allowed to have those either.

It’s surprising then, that I have decided to follow my doctor’s advice and rely on frozen meals (that’s what we call TV Dinners now!) so that I can better track my caloric intake. For the last week and a half, I’ve been having one of these meals for lunch and sometimes one for dinner too. Since I am the world’s pickiest eater, it’s slim pickins’ on food choices. I won’t eat anything considered meat, like the chicken or turkey, but Salisbury Steak and meatloaf are ok, because that’s shit meat ground up to be processed looking. If I were to open up a box of Chicken Pecan, I would expect a gourmetish meal with decent meat. Instead you get a rubber slab disguised with some kind of sauce. When I eat the meat loaf, my expectations are met.

Then there’s the other foods I won’t eat. I don’t eat cheese, so there goes 90% of the frozen meals right there. They put cheese on EVERRYTHING to fool people into believing the meal has taste. They put cheese on Butternut Ravioli and even salmon. I would never ever desecrate a piece of salmon with cheese. Just ain’t right. I don’t like many green vegetables either, but when you limit your caloric intake to this extent, you will be so hungry that you will chow down on those frozen-then-microwaved green beans like they are bon bons.

Stop reading now if you already think I’m a princess bitch and mean to EN, this will seal the deal for you. He still does the grocery shopping and I have added these meals to the weekly list. Because he is patient and kind, he will spend all kinds of time reading ingredients and trying to choose a variety of frozen meals for me. We text back and forth and he sends me different options and I’ll either give a thumbs up or “That’s fucking bogus. Do you really think I’d eat that?” I’m beginning to think he has a secret deal with the grocery store. He’s probably in the frozen food aisle, sitting in a lawn chair drinking beers while we do this.

But the news is good. I was down nearly four pounds last week and this week is looking good too. 

Ice Princess

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Best Girl

My best girl is having surgery today. She’s been a friend for ¾ of my life, even though we have spent the bulk of our friendship 1000+ miles away from each other. Maybe the distance is what keeps us friends! I have been nervous and wondering all day, but her brother-in-law recently told me via Facebook that everything went well. I am so relieved.

I thought that I had blogged about Shannon many times, but can’t seem to find anything but details from her 40th birthday party in December. Maybe I missed it, maybe I just wrote the post in my head and never posted it. Or maybe I’m going to say the same things all over again and bore you to death with the same details.

I met Shannon when we moved to Omaha near the end of 5th grade. She was sitting right next to where the teacher had placed a chair for the new girl. Shannon was sweet and friendly and started to chat immediately. We’ve been friends since that day. I cannot remember ever having a serious fight with her that lasted more than a few minutes. We spent lots of time together, a sleepover with us never lasted one night. We’d spend days together, switching back and forth between our houses. My parents loved her and her parents loved me.

Our houses were quite different. I came from a family with a mom that either stayed at home or worked part time. Her mom worked full time. At my house, we’d have home-cooked dinners, her parents always took us out to eat. We always hung around at my house or at the pool in my neighborhood. At her house, we’d go boating and I once even went on vacation with them. We played Barbie’s long after it was cool to do so and we’d spend hours reading teen romance novels.

Neither one of us were the popular type, but we weren’t the bottom of the barrel either. Something that we discuss to this day is how she was treated when she got on the school bus every day. Her bus was one of the last stops and though there was plenty of space available, no one would ever let her sit with them. We discuss this often because it still bothers her that she was treated so badly. What bothers me is that I was on that bus. Why the hell did I never stand up for her? Why didn’t I ever push whoever was sitting with me out of the seat and let my girl sit with me? What’s most interesting, is that we both remember these incidents, they happened daily after all… she’s still angry about how she was treated and I’m sad that I never did anything for her. But she holds no grudge towards me, nor can she ever remember being angry that I didn’t offer her a seat. If I could go back all those years, I would certainly grow a backbone, if only so she’d have better memories of that time.

I moved after we had been friends for 3 ½ years. You would think that we wouldn’t have stayed in touch, especially knowing how different we were becoming. I was starting to dress like a “rocker chick” and hang out with the long hairs. She loved music also, but was part of the school band. It’s ok, you can think it out loud, she was a band geek. I remind her of that all the time.

Here we sit at 40. I attended both of her weddings, she attended both of mine. We gave birth to our second daughters within months of each other, something we probably dreamed of doing when we were little.

Since we live so far apart, we rely on husbands who are ok with us occasionally going on girls’ weekends together. We did this for the first time when we were 19 and both dating our first husbands. We went to the Bahamas for a week. The natives there called us “Blondie and Rosie” and I still bring up her getting stuck on the elevator and having to get pulled out. Every time I mention it, she tries to snap, “It wasn’t funny.” And I tell her, “You’re right! It was fucking hilarious!” Next came the get together’s for our weddings and things quieted down for a while between us as we adjusted to being old married ladies.

Suddenly I found myself going through a divorce within months of her having a baby. I figured it was a blissful time for her and why bother her with my news. She called me in February 1997 to say, “I might be getting divorced.” I said, “Holy shit! I’m definitely getting divorced.” However upbeat my friend sounded, I knew things were tough. She was living back at her parents’ with her infant son. I flew out to be with her the following week. As it always happens, being with her is like wearing a glove that fits perfectly. We talk, we laugh, we shop. Except this time, Shannon cried. Shannon doesn’t cry, EVER and I didn’t know what to do with her. Now we talk about that day and I say, “That one time you cried…”

Fast forward and we’re traveling to each other’s second weddings and introducing our new husbands to each other. The next few years are filled with many phone conversations but not a lot of visits. We finally got to see each other again in 2008 when we went to Nashville together. It was fate that the trip would go perfectly: we flew in from different areas, but our gates were right next to each other and our flights arrived within minutes of each other. We took off in our piece of shit rental car without a map, much to her husband’s horror. We found our way and had a blast. We spent one night in, the other night out. We went to the Wildhorse Saloon and saw a fun band. To Shannon’s horror, I told the singer he was smokin’ hot on our way out the door. I try her patience endlessly.

Shannon was born with an illness (or is it a disease or syndrome?) that gave her a bad heart. She’s frequently out of breath and tired, but I never hear her complain. She amazes me every day with her strength and beauty. She’s a great mom and such a hard worker. I’m amazed when I hear how bad things are with her health because she does so much. And seriously, I challenge anyone to shop with her. Bad heart or not, the girl kicks my ass every time.

So today, they replaced a valve and repaired her aorta. I tried to fly out to be with her, but she asked me not to… mostly because she didn’t want to “waste” a visit while recovering. Instead, I spent the morning worrying about her surgery and wondering what I should send her as a get well gift. Flowers are first on my mind, but won’t she get those from lots of people?

Finally, I hit on the perfect idea… I spent time on Amazon and found lots of our old favorite books. I ordered a bunch for her. I also headed to the local used book place and found some old Judy Blume and a Sweet Valley High. Included in her shipment is a copy of “Firefly Lane” by Kristin Hannah, because that is truly the greatest friendship book ever written.

The books will be sent to me and of course I’ll have to reread them quickly before sending them on. In my own defense, I need to refresh my memory, because I'm sure she's going to want to discuss these books like we did all those years ago! I’ll print off this blog post and send that too. Is there a better gift than a walk down memory lane and a love letter from a best friend?

Love you to bits, Shannie Annie!!! 

Ice Princess

Monday, May 16, 2011

Girl's Night

On Saturday night, I went out with a couple of friends, without EN, without the girls. I can’t remember the last time I did this. It’s obvious that this doesn’t happen often because Sugar and Spice had something to say about it and bitched that they weren’t invited along. Even my mother bitched that I should have invited her along too. Step off my little cling-ons!

The relationship that I have with the ladies I went out with is interesting. I have known both of them for years, but I really don’t know them all that well on a personal level. I have been acquainted with Pinky since 2005 when Sugar started attending the daycare she teaches at. I met Heather in probably mid-2006 when we enrolled Spice at the same daycare. Heather also answers to “Payton’s mom.” So without really knowing these women, I have been bonded to them through my children for many years.

Normally, before I go out with “new people” for the first time, I’m really nervous. I stress about what I should say and I worry that I’ll say something stupid. I also worry that we’ll run out of things to talk about and the time will be filled with awkward silences. Oddly, this time I didn’t fret at all. The only reason I can come up with for not fretting is that the three of us have been in each other’s lives for years. I at least was genuinely curious about them and wanted to learn lots more about them. I assumed they would want to know more about me as well. If being nosey failed, I figured we could always fall back on our favorite email topic: BOOKS. The three of us, without a doubt, are huge book nerds. We’ve emailed different “good reads” many, many times. It’s great that we all have pretty similar tastes, but interesting that Pinky reads on a Kindle, Heather reads on a Nook and I read on an iPad!

Another twist is that they are both blog readers. Neither of them know me that well, but they know the blog. They know what I’m pissed about, what makes me laugh… an unfair advantage as I don’t know as much about them. And there’s also the super-duper-top-secret stuff that we talked about. I can’t be a blabbermouth and spread their stories on the Internet… because they’ll know I told!

We met at Applebees for drinks and dinner and really had a nice time. We talked a lot and laughed even more. It was great to spend time with these women without a kid (or twelve!) running around us. It was nice to have dinner out and not have to cut up anyone’s meat, though I would have if asked. I see now why Pinky looks so damn good. I order “fried and large,” she orders, “grilled and small.” I will confess now that I ordered fried and large because I really wanted the biggest bucket of popcorn at the movie, but KNEW that would kill the great dieting progress I made last week. We have to suffer to be beautiful.

After our dinner, we headed off to see “Water for Elephants.” Heather had recommended the book to us and we both gobbled it up. Actually, the first time Heather and I met up for a play date, she had that book in her purse and I knew she was dying to take it out and read it. Now that I’ve read it, I probably would have been just as twitchy as she was.

I’ll post about my love for books another time, but I have to say, “Water for Elephants” was amazing. I loved every bit of it and actually only allowed myself to read a few pages at a time. I wanted to stretch it out. When I was done, I took a few days off because I wanted the characters to live in my head just a little bit longer.

I’m pleased to report that the movie is as good as the book. That almost never happens, usually the movies are a disappointment or are so different than the book that you don’t recognize what you are seeing. I’m almost tempted to re-read the book, only so I can picture the main characters looking as they were cast in the movie.

Nice dinner and an excellent show. But even better than that, I got to spend time with two women that have been on the edge of my life for years. I look forward to holding them a little bit closer. You can never have too many girlfriends.

Ice Princess

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Drama-Free Sleepover Secret!

Since the last sleepover at our house was pretty disastrous, I put a little more thought into this one. It seems that if one chick has a sleepover, the other is in a snit and either doesn’t feel included or is accused of trying to steal the friend. My solution to this problem was to allow both girls to have a friend sleep over.

Sugar came home on the school bus and I shamed her into spending a half hour cleaning her room. She really didn’t need her friend to see what a slob she is. When she was done we headed off to pick up her friend and Spice and her buddy from daycare. Her friend was waiting at the door, anxious to be picked up. The two little ones seemed to have been on cloud nine over their impending date all day and everyone was glad to see those two leave. Four girls squealing in the car are far louder than I thought humanly possible. 

It was a beautiful day so we headed to McDonalds for dinner and outdoor play center. When I walked into McDonalds, the cashiers’ eyes bugged out of her head and she said, “That’s a lot of little girls.” We placed our orders and I was surprised that Sugar and her friend felt they were “too old” for Happy Meals. We headed off to a place to sit and I ended up sitting alone because the girls sat at different tables with two seats each. I was a little miffed that no one would sit with me until Payton’s mom said, “Enjoy the peace.” Duh, why didn’t I think of that?

The friends are good eaters, mine are not. I promised them lots of time at the playground and ice cream afterwards if they would just EAT! After goofing off forever, we finally finished and headed to the play area. It wasn’t open yet. What? It’s the middle of May and 70 degrees out. Little Payton just looked at me and said, “I told you it wasn’t open.” We headed off to a local park but didn’t stay too long. The bugs were bad and Spice had a bathroom emergency. After standing with her in a porta-potty last year while she pooped I was not in a hurry to do that again. The urgency subsided a bit and I was able to stop to get ice cream and chocolate sauce from the store on the way home.

The night was fairly easy. Sugar and her friend were in her bedroom, Spice and her friend were in the family room. Everyone played fairly nicely together. Spice had a fit about something ridiculous and started bitching and crying at her friend. As she ranted, stomped and screamed with her hair flying all over the place, her friend stood still and watched her with a blank, open-mouthed stare. Spice finished her tantrum, her friend didn’t say a word and then they went back to doing whatever it was they were doing before the fit started. They remind me of an old married couple more and more, every time I see them interact.

Sugar and her friend stayed busy with their iPods and DS’s. They made movies of each other and dressed Lola in a variety of outfits. The night was so peaceful that I had the opportunity to finish one book and start another. Bliss.

The littles settled in early and the bigs wanted to stay up as late as they could. I started fading around 11 and went upstairs. I told the big girls to go down to the family room and watch a movie quietly as the little ones were already sleeping there. Instead, they came into my room and sat on the bed and talked to me for an hour. Given the position I was sleeping in when I woke up around 1 am, I think I may have fallen asleep as they nattered on to me.

The morning was easy and the friends went home early. My solution to the sleepover drama was a perfect one. Everyone was entertained and happy and had someone to play with. Even the dogs were played with a lot. And the best part? Everyone was so tired that they all took naps on Saturday afternoon. BONUS!

Ice Princess

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Work Woes

I’m done whining (for now), so let’s move on to bitching. One of my first posts as a blogger was about job woes. I came back from vacation a week and a half ago with high hopes. I felt rested and relaxed and thought nothing could bother me. And nothing did… that first day back.

Then came Tuesday. I knew that we were having furniture delivered for a newly built conference room. I had been sending emails for months asking for assistance in moving the old furniture out. Before leaving on Monday, I sent one last reminder, thinking the conference room would be empty when I came in. I walked in to find the room still full of junk so I started moving it out on my own, wearing a skirt and flip flops.  A couple of engineers came out to help, then scurried back to their offices. I was left with the biggest pieces to move on my own.

By the time Fancypants came in, I was in tears. He looked at me trying to push a supply cabinet out the door and said, “What the hell are you doing?” I told him that the new furniture was being delivered and I needed to get the old shit out. Since he knew that another manager wanted to keep the old stuff, he asked where that guy was. Not sure, he never answered my emails. So Fancypants grabbed another guy and moved the remaining pieces out. He came by my office later and told me that I should ask him for help from now on. Seriously? This guy thinks filling out his own shipping label is beneath him and he’s suddenly willing to help? I guess it’s true, guys don’t like to see anyone crying.

A week and a half later, all the items that were moved out of the conference room are still littering the hallways. We have to walk around desks and chairs, cabinetry, etc. I have waited for things to be moved and nothing has happened. One would think that the manager that wanted all the shit saved would snap it up. I have continued to send emails and they continue to not respond at all. I’ve mentioned before, I think that’s the rudest behavior ever. Instead, I occasionally am able to corner someone and put them on the spot. No sorry, we aren’t helping you. First of all, it’s not “me” that needs to be helped. We all work here, don’t we want to make this a nice place to be? Unfortunately, no one cares. No one cleans up after themselves. Hell, they’ll even steal someone else’s lunch. Second, I was not the one that requested any of this construction work. The engineers did, and as soon as they got what they wanted, they left everything else to sit about and rot.

Because I can’t stand seeing this place look like this, I am working with the girl that managed the construction. She works in our Ottawa office and has never been here. Are you shaking your head, thinking that makes no sense? Yeah, that’s what I think too. She has hired some handyman who is supposed to come in and build out two offices and dispose of the rest of the junk, once the employees are allowed to take what they want (engineers love free shit). I get to go ahead and tag everything that needs to be moved out, but I can’t do this yet… as we still have not gotten a response saying it’s ok to go through with this plan.

That situation had me hating life already. Then last night at 7:30 I see a message come across my phone that my boss has hired a new Account Manager. Funny, no one told me! I knew an Account Manager had quit and I assumed he was gone because he stopped responding to emails. However, no one ever told me when his last day was. I knew my boss had interviewed one person, only because I saw it in his calendar, he never told me…

I spent today working on getting this guy who starts ON MONDAY, equipment, log in information, etc. Since I don’t know when the last guy left, I don’t know where his equipment was sent. I don’t know where the new guy lives, so I don’t know if he’ll need office space or if I need to fill out forms for him to have a home office setup. We used to have an easy, breezy way of sharing information around here and now no one speaks or even answers an email. How does it make sense that the person that needs to take care of all this is left completely in the dark?

I looked on monster.com to stop myself from sending vile emails to those that have annoyed me and found a couple of jobs that I applied for. They don’t sound interesting or fun, but I’m starting to feel desperate here. I need to get the hell out.

If anyone you know is looking to hire a bossy bitch, let me know.  

Ice Princess

Monday, May 9, 2011

How to be Insensitive

Why break a whiny streak when I can just keep going on and on? Part of the point of this blog was for me to have a place to complain about crap without blowing up inside, or screaming at someone who may or may not deserve it.

I’ve been waiting for someone to give me shit about Bella taking off on me. I’ve been waiting for someone to question the way I take care of my pets and it came today. I’m not even altogether surprised as to the direction it came from either. The lecture started in bits the night Bella went missing. A coworker/friend starting texting around the time Bella took off. Immediately she said, “Why wasn’t she on a leash?” I repeated myself countless times, she wasn’t on a leash because she bolted out the door. But apparently, when you are so right about something you cannot hear the response of the person you are questioning.

So I will say it again in blog world, nice and clear so there are no further misunderstandings: I never let my dogs out without being tied to their run. Ever. However, there are times when their interest is piqued by something outside, and they make a run for it. Dogs are like Houdini when they want to be. They can get through a barely cracked door or push aside a human ten times their size just to break free. It happens. I do everything I can to prevent it, but occasionally the beasts bust free. It could be as a result of a child not closing the door properly, or two pups hip-checking their mama…

My coworker went on to say that I should have gone outside with food to bribe them into coming home. Seriously folks, I have had dogs my entire life… you think we didn’t try that? We shook the doggie snacks in the yard, we put a food dish outside.  Bella did not return home on her own.

She continued on to say that she had looked at my pictures on Facebook and thought that I had exaggerated the extent of Bella’s injuries. In any of my posts, I tried to be as honest as possible. A blood-soaked dog came home to me on Thursday morning. Bella is covered in bite wounds and cuts. The one above her eye was split down to the bone. Her belly is so bruised that it is almost black in spots. It hurts her to stand up and she walks like a ten-year-old dog. And she’s terrified. That poor girl is so scared she can barely bring herself to go outside to do her business. The sound of Indy growling sends her seeking cover under me. How severely injured did she need to look so my words were justified? Should I have put close-up pictures on Facebook of her swollen and stitched chest? Or how about the bite marks all over her body? It looks like she was attacked with a double-tined fork. I did not exaggerate her injuries and I’m sorry my photos don’t do them justice, or capture the fear that’s in her eyes almost all the time.

I accept blame in this. I shouldn’t have been so easy to hip-check aside and I should have gone driving around faster. Hindsight is 20/20. I cannot believe she had the audacity to stand in front of me and talk to me like that. Who does that? What kind of insensitive boob says shit like that to someone when the incident is still so fresh? 

On a more positive note, Bella’s recovery continues to go well. She’s eating and drinking, lying still when we put the compresses on her injuries. It took a bit of work to get her to take her pills twice a day. She wasn’t falling for sneaking them into chicken and rice and we can’t really force them into her mouth because she has stitches around her face. Peanut butter crackers do the trick. 

We continue spending lots of time snuggling with her and making her feel comfortable and safe. That's the most we can give her right now. 

Ice Princess

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Doormat in the Making

This will be yet another whiney post. I am sorry, the last week has been extremely rough around these parts.

Last week I mentioned the issue with Sugar’s birthday. She wanted to bring her friends to see a movie, but BFFL asked to do something else. She later changed her mind. The same night, I get an email from BFFL’s mom stating that her ten-year-old daughters do not feel that they can stay awake for a 7:00 pm showing of “Soul Surfer” on a Saturday night. Without even giving it a second thought, I invited them to sleep over on the 13th, when Sugar’s other friend is coming over. They are busy that night and unable to attend. After I thought about it, I thought that perhaps BFFL really just doesn’t want to see that movie. How sad that she’s not even willing to go see it with her best friend. I really shouldn’t be surprised because the last time this girl slept over, Sugar bought a special movie for her friends to watch and BFFL said, “I don’t want to watch that.” So they didn’t.

During the email exchange with BFFL’s mom she asked if Sugar had told me about what happened in school that day. She hadn’t mentioned anything, except what a wonderful day she had. I called her downstairs and asked what happened. She tried to tell me "nothing" but I kept asking anyway. As it turns out, the initial incident occurred on Tuesday when BFFL and Sugar decided to take a classmate’s hat and hide it. The classmate was very upset and scrambled around looking for his hat. BFFL and Sugar pretended not to know anything about it. That night, BFFL went home and confessed to her mother, who then emailed their teacher. On Wednesday, BFFL and Sugar stayed in for recess and had to write apology notes to the other kid. I cannot believe that my child did something like that to someone. To say that I was livid might just be an understatement. Sugar maintains that it was BFFL’s idea and she simply went along with it. In my mind, Sugar is equally guilty, if not more so, given that she was the one that actually took the hat and hid it.

There was another annoying incident that occurred last week. On Tuesday, Sugar had a few leftover cupcakes from her classroom celebration. Her teacher let her bring the cupcakes to her former teachers. BFFL had the same teachers and went along with Sugar to pass them out. She told me that they had presented the cupcakes to their old teachers from both of them, since BFFL’s birthday had occurred over vacation and she didn’t bring cupcakes to school. Part of me is happy that Sugar was generous enough to share the credit, but really, wasn’t it HER birthday and HER cupcakes that she was passing out?

Given what happened last week with Bella, I thought that perhaps BFFL would decide that she could stay up for such a late movie and would come along. I really thought things would change, especially since BFFL called her at 8:45 on Thursday night to find out about Bella and to inquire whether Sugar would be in school on Friday. Even funnier, Sugar was already in bed as it was a school night. How interesting that BFFL had the energy to be up so late!

The more I hear about this girl, the less I like her. The more I hear, the more I want to shake Sugar and tell her to stop letting BFFL walk all over her. My kid really needs to grow a backbone and stand up for herself. Otherwise, she’s going to grow up to be a doormat like her mother.

And that just pisses me off.

Ice Princess 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Love Thy Neighbor

When Sugar was a baby, I looked around our small, one bathroom house and told EN that I thought we needed to move to a bigger house that was in a neighborhood. I wanted Sugar to grow up being able to play with friends in a nice area.

We found a realtor and started looking at houses to get a feel for what we wanted. We weren’t concerned about finding a buyer for our house because the market was fantastic. One night we took a drive out to an area that had just been listed. By the time we got there, it was dark and all we could see was the road where the 17 houses would be built. In the darkness, we could make out the shadow of a mountain across the lots. It felt right and we drove back the next day to make sure it was as great as we thought.

Six months later, we were the first family to move into the neighborhood. Within two years, all the houses were built and we had some great friendships on the block. We started doing annual block parties and I had a group of five other women that I would hang with regularly.

At the third annual block party, the shit hit the fan. One husband found his wife kissing someone else’s husband. Unbeknownst to us at the time another affair started. This affair was between one of the women in my little group and the husband of another in our group. Before long the affair was discovered and the neighborhood was in an uproar. Since then, there were two block parties which were poorly attended and have petered out altogether. There are no friendships. You don’t call your neighbor to borrow a cup of sugar. You don’t leave your kids playing at the neighbors while you quickly run to get a needed item at the store. That just isn’t done.

I mention those behaviors like it’s something new, a change that occurred when everyone decided they hated everyone else. While we may have all been friendly, it’s never been the type of place where one family helps another. I have tried to be helpful, thinking favors would be returned. I have watched kids while their mom ran to the store. I have taken load after load of laundry to put in my dryer when the neighbors’ broke. I have taken care of many cats while their owners were on vacation.

However, I have had issues at night when I’ve been home alone and my supposed ‘best friend’ next door couldn’t even be bothered to answer my phone call. We have had to pay another “friend’ to watch Spice for two hours. I have been stuck at the bottom of my driveway after a surprise snowstorm. I schlepped up my driveway in high heels, carrying Spice in an infant carrier and Sugar in my other arm. The neighbors were out snow blowing their own driveways and never offered assistance. I have trudged to the laundromat with my own wet laundry while I waited for my new clothes dryer to arrive. There were a few times when the husband from across the street would help me, but he’s since moved away.

This has been something that has bothered me for a long time, but it didn’t strike me how bad it was until Wednesday night. Bella had taken off and I spent hours hunting for her on my own. When I started looking it was still light out, so it’s possible that someone from the four houses directly surrounding ours saw me. If they didn’t see me, they should have heard me as I called her name for hours.

There is no “possible” and there is no “should have.” I KNOW without a doubt that several people saw me. I made eye contact with the woman across the street as she watched me out her bedroom window. Another neighbor drove past me as I stood in the street. A third carried his trash can home and never looked back when I called for Bella. I KNOW people heard me because someone yelled “shut up” at me as I called Bella’s name. And still, I look and wait and worry alone.

I don’t say this to seem cynical, whiny or like I’m expecting a handout. Even when I take my rose-colored glasses off, I think that neighbors should be neighborly and help each other out. If not an offer of help, a display of human warmth and compassion doesn’t seem like too much to ask. We have known every neighbor for at least three years. They are aware of our schedule and know I’m home alone. I don’t think it’s expecting too much to think someone might have had the decency to call to see if everything was ok. Or is that too much to ask?

My supposed ‘best friend’ was home on Wednesday night as I called for Bella. She lives right next door, there’s no way she didn’t hear me calling the dog. EN texted her husband first thing in the morning to alert him and she popped right over, putting on a great concerned friend act. EN told her where Bella had last been seen and she said, “Oh, I’ll take a drive up and look. All these years living here, I’ve wanted to see Mr. M’s house.” We are delighted to provide you with the opportunity to be nosy! You are welcome! It took her five minutes to get bored being concerned and she was gone. I didn’t hear from her again until 7:30 or so last night.

While I am infuriated by the assholes in the ‘hood, I have to also admit to being pleasantly surprised by Mr. M. I’ve heard rumors about him for years, mostly people saying what a bastard he is. I didn’t find this to be the case at all. He was gracious and ever so willing to help. When I went up on Wednesday night, he came out of the house in his bathrobe and slippers to show me where he had seen the dogs. He told me to stay and call them as long as I wanted. When he found Bella on Thursday morning, it was obvious by his honking and dancing around in his truck that he was thrilled to be the one to bring Boo home to her mama. I should have realized he was a good man. Who else pays people to feed the wild turkeys in their yard while they winter in Florida? In fact, when EN searched through the woods around Mr. M’s house, he found loads of feeders for the wild animals that live around him.

A friend suggested that I put a post on Facebook regarding Bella. I cannot believe the outpouring of love and support I received, some from friends, some from strangers. Many friends reposted my plea and kept their own friends up-to-date throughout the day. The animal shelter near me jumped all over it and kept their own fans up-to-date.

My friends are amazing too… Skinny Bitch drove around for hours looking and accosting innocent joggers. Michelle texted me throughout the day and suggested other places that I could post information about a missing dog. Many, many friends and family members offered support through the day. Friends and strangers were amazing, yet I live surrounded by pricks that wouldn’t piss on me if I was on fire.

I wish I could pick my neighbors the same way I chose my friends. Maybe it’s time to move.

Ice Princess 

Survival of the Fattest

I’m going to break my rule and post twice today. Maybe. I have much to say about this week, but it really needs to be said in two separate posts. Given all that our beloved Bella Boo has gone through, I think her story is worthy of its own post and doesn’t need to be cluttered up by some external factors that likely had an impact on how quickly she was found.

As my rotten dogs are prone to do when it’s spring time and the air smells yummy, they knocked me out of their way as I was taking Lola out on Wednesday night around 7:30. Since they were overly brutal and rude I was pissed and yelled something like, “Go ahead! Take off! See if I come and look for you.” Poor Sugar was horrified and ran outside with dog treats to coax them back into the house. I put Lola in the house and yelled for them myself.

I got the girls tucked into bed and went downstairs, expecting to find Indy and Bella waiting at the back door with their tails between their legs. My heart dropped when I saw that they weren’t there. At this point, I have a tough choice to make. I am home alone with two girls and have two dogs running loose. What is a girl to do? In retrospect, I could have pulled the girls out of their beds and taken them with me, but I wasn’t thinking clearly.

Instead, I got in my car and took a quick ride up our neighbor’s ½ mile long driveway, as that was the direction the dogs were heading in. I saw no sign of them, so I returned home. The girls were waiting to hear whether I found them and were disappointed when I came home alone.

Around 8:30, Indy came running home without Bella. What a chivalrous little man, leaving his fat girlfriend to find her own way home. He seemed off and followed me around as I kept going down the driveway, calling for Bella. I called for her out the back door and at the bottom of the driveway for four hours. There was no sign of her.

At 9:45 EN called and asked me to please call Mr. M, the neighbor, and let him know he’d be up there when he got home from work. Mr. M is somewhat reclusive and it’s rumored that he doesn’t like trespassers and is armed. I called him, told him who I was and he said, “Oh, are you calling about those two little white dogs?” He told me to come up right away so he could show me where he saw them. I drove up quickly, but still found no trace of Bella.

EN arrived home around 11:30 and immediately went looking for our girl. He walked and drove around until 2:30 am. It’s pretty hard to search for a dog when it’s pitch black outside. As we were going to bed, Sugar woke up and was devastated that we still hadn’t found Bella.

We started looking for her again before 7:30 am and the woods around our house seemed eerily quiet. I wasn’t sure if that was a good or bad sign. I worked on “Lost Dog” signs, EN drove and walked some more, Sugar rode down the street countless times on her bicycle, Spice called and called for Bella. Skinny Bitch drove around and looked, Michelle helped post notices on various local websites. My heart felt heavier and heavier as the morning wore on.

Spice and I were home alone when someone came flying up our driveway, honking like mad. I ran outside and it was Mr. M from next door, waving, smiling and pointing down to the passenger floor. I flung the door open and there sat my sweet Bella Boo. I completely fucking lost it. Mr. M said, “Hey, she’s ok!!” Spice is screaming in the background and I can’t get Bella out of the car. She growled, whined and tried to snap. Mr. M looked surprised and said again, “But she’s ok, she scratched on my door and jumped in all by herself.” Given her condition, I believe that she used her last bit of energy to find her way to safety.

Bella Boo was covered in blood. She had a gash on her head and there was blood all around it. When we finally got her out of the truck I could see that she was covered in puncture wounds. She was filthy, her beautiful white fur was matted and crusty… and just blood everywhere. She was sad and terrified and bolted into the house. The other dogs sniffed her and ran in fright. She sat in her bed and shook with fear. She had the most pathetic look on her face.

EN came home and took her to the closest vet immediately. At this point I’m fuzzy on what happened when, but Bella Boo is badly injured and will require surgery so they can put drains in the worst of her wounds (belly and chest) and suture the rest of her injuries. They did lots of tests to clear her for surgery, but were unable to do it yesterday because one lung had a lot of fluid in it. EN brought her to an emergency vet in the evening yesterday so she could be cared for around the clock.

For now, we wait to hear whether she’s cleared for surgery today. We had no news through the night, which is good news. We are hopeful that today she will have surgery and can come home tonight.

Through it all, I feel completely at fault and should have handled their escape differently. I never let them out without leashes so I was pissed when they pushed me and bolted. I should have immediately put the girls in the car and gone after them. I feel incredibly guilty that my inaction had such a horrific impact on my sweet Bella.

It is thought that Bella Boo came across a lone coyote. Given her friendly, sweet nature, I think she probably tried to be friends with it. The worst of her injuries were on her belly and chest so I wonder if she rolled over in the standard doggie submissive pose. Her sparkly eyes radiate fear and sadness and I pray for her mental recovery as well. That poor sweet dog loves everyone and is always so happy. It’s her household job to be the happy, goofy one. Possibly her extra girth helped her survive. Had she been thinner, it might have been easier for the coyote to get to her internal organs. I don’t know this to be true, I’m just guessing.

I’m sure she’ll have nightmares about this for a long time, I know I will. 

Ice Princess

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Big Four Oh!

In the scramble of reentering real life after being on vacation and Sugar’s birthday, I never even mentioned that I had a birthday myself on Sunday. And it was a Big Birthday, but I’m not concerned because they say 40 is the new 30. As far as I’m concerned, I just knocked ten years off. I wonder if the change to 40 comes with free Botox or liposuction?

I expected to wake up on the morning of my 40th birthday and feel older or meaner or something, but I find that I feel exactly the same as I did before I reached The Big 4-0. I think I like 40 and I think this will be my decade. Not sure what I will accomplish as I haven’t set many specific goals, but I enter this decade with a new degree, I’m at a comfortable place in my relationship with EN and my girls are currently in stages that are “lower maintenance.” I look forward to maybe taking some time to relax more.

Obviously, my “40 by 40” weight loss plan was a big old bust. I haven’t even been to the gym in weeks. However, I have a new plan that I’m going to start. One of these days. I need to get through fun birthday stuff first. I spoke with my doctor about my lack of weight loss and tremendous increase in exercise. That doctor, the man that I love dearly, laughed and said, “Do you know how long you have to walk on a treadmill to work off let’s say-a doughnut?” So the man suggests that I work on PORTION CONTROL. He assures me that a batch of brownies is not a single serving (I think he’s wrong, but whatever) and that people need to relearn proper serving sizes to get control of their weight. The good doctor suggests using frozen low-cal meals to get a handle on portions. Years ago I used Jenny Craig and lost a significant amount of weight pretty quickly, so he could be right.

The problem is, I’m the world’s pickiest eater. I don’t like much, especially frozen food. But I’m desperate and miserable enough to try this. I started researching and have looked at Lean Cuisine and Weight Watcher frozen meal websites. I am pleasantly surprised to learn that they have tons of meals that sound like stuff I would eat. But sounding good doesn’t necessarily mean they will taste good. However, I am willing to give this plan a shot. I should mention that the last two times I lost significant amounts of weight, I ended up pregnant within months. Given that my tubes are tied and I take the pill for endometriosis, I should be safe. But maybe EN should get a vasectomy just to be triple sure. I’ll have to give that further thought.

But, back to the real point of this post, my birthday. The day was very nice, and I’m impressed that EN plans ahead now. He’s actually a better birthday planner than me. I’m the gal that stops for a cake and card at the supermarket on her way home from work. He shopped for presents, wrapping paper and cards. He even went to the fancy bakery that made our wedding cake and ordered a birthday cake for me. But for all his planning and goodness, he did put “Happy 40th Birthday” on the cake. He has to get his digs in where he can.
We went out to dinner to one of my favorite places. The girls still hadn’t caught up on all the sleep they lacked on vacation, so they were a bit challenging to get there. Spice insisted on wearing a sundress with her Uggs, which looked hysterical.

We ordered a sampler plate for an appetizer and Sugar dug right in to the calamari. I won’t eat this and EN loves it. I believe Sugar thought she was eating onion rings. I expected her to gag when she felt the consistency of the first one. That didn’t happen and she just kept shoveling them in. EN finally ruined it when he asked her if she knew what she was eating. As soon as he told her what it was, she didn’t eat another bite.
I am happy to say that turning 40 wasn’t the painful experience I thought it would be. Loads of people wished me a good day via Facebook, which I love, and I was barraged with phone calls. I actually ended up having to spread them out over a few days, so I could spend good time with everyone that called.  A big thank you to all the peeps that made me feel so good. 

Ice Princess

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sugar is TEN!

Today I have been a mother for a decade. I’ve spent 25% of my life being a mother. But this post really isn’t about me, it needs to be about my birthday girl!

I told Sugar yesterday that she should enjoy her last day as a “single digit” because as of today and for the next 89 years, she will be a double digit. Instead of thrilling her like I thought it would, it seemed to make her a little sad. She said, “Nine was a great year.”

Like all mothers, on my girls’ birthdays I think back to the day they were born. My body is not good at being pregnant, so they decided to induce me weeks before my due date. They checked me and my ridiculously high blood pressure into the hospital on May 2 and planned to induce me bright and early the next morning.

We got up early on the 3rd and EN went home to shower and let the dogs out. I planned on getting in the shower myself but my blood pressure refused to go down, so the nurses kept me lying on my side in bed. My mother called to see how I was doing and said she’d be up to sit in the waiting room while I labored. The baby monitor started doing funny things and I was feeling worse by the minute. The nurses kept asking me how far away EN had gone and where the hell he might be. I wanted to share his favorite line with them, “Fucking off takes time, sorry I’m late.” But I couldn’t bring myself to say it.

As it turns out, EN put the car into gear rather than reverse leaving the hospital lot and hit another car. He started to write a note when the driver of the other car showed up and took off quickly. The damage was so minimal that it wasn’t noticeable anyway.

EN finally showed up and the baby monitor went crazy so they decided a c-section would be the best thing to do. I will be forever grateful for that decision as it turned out that Sugar had flipped herself back around and was breech with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck twice. The biggest surprise of all was that she was a girl. We chose not to find out the sex of the baby, but I swore I was having a boy. If you know me, you know that I’m always right about everything, so being wrong was a stunner.

I remember telling her “Hi Baby” and then commenting that she was so tiny. She weighed in at a whopping 4 lbs, 14 oz. Unlike some tiny babies that have gigantic ears or a big nose, everything about Sugar was tiny. She was so very precious. The doctors were concerned about her so they brought her to the NICU where she spent her first 24 hours. I could see that EN was so torn-was he supposed to stay in the OR while they sewed me up, or should he follow the baby. I told him to just go and be with her.

The nurses wheeled me back to my room just before my mother showed up. I said, “Oh did you see her?” She looked confused and said, “Who?” I told her that they had done an emergency c-section and my baby girl was in the NICU. She dropped everything she was carrying and left. Obviously, I no longer rate.

As I felt so miserable being pregnant, I can honestly say I felt fabulous within hours of having her. It helped that she was so little and sweet, we just couldn’t stop looking at her! The nurses kept nagging me for a name and I was unable to come up with one. I needed to really look at her first. We finally named her and when they woke me up and said she was hungry, I said, “Who’s that?” Lots of drugs, that’s my story.

Sugar started off sweet and was a very good baby. From the very first day, we could pack her up and take her anywhere and she would adapt. She always loved being around people and charming them with her smile, then her laugh, now her silly jokes.

To Sugar, life is an adventure filled with sunshine and rainbows. It is always her expectation that she will have a FABULOUS day, surrounded by people that love her and will be nice to her. It absolutely devastates her when that turns out to not be the case. It goes against everything she is, to the core of her being, when someone speaks harshly to her or doesn’t like her. She expects that the entire world will love her, if only because she loves the entire world… unconditionally. She has the sweetest heart of anyone I’ve ever met. That is not to say that she always behaves like a perfect angel and is kind to her sister, but her true nature is to face each day with a smile.

Now that she’s ten and about to enter middle school I’m seeing signs that perhaps she is too kind and easygoing. I have been seeing more and more instances of her being taken advantage of, and it seems the only person she can bring herself to be mean to is her sister. Just yesterday she invited three friends to see the movie “Soul Surfer” with her to celebrate her birthday. Her best friend said, “Yeah, I don’t want to see that. Pick something else.” True to her character, Sugar came home and asked if we should do something else instead.

I know she would do anything to make her friend happy but I felt like I needed to put my foot down. I reminded her that it was HER birthday and she could do whatever she wanted. Her best friend’s mother may have had a similar talk with her own daughter, because BFFL called first thing this morning to wish her a happy birthday, then mentioned that they should each wear their shared “Best Friend” necklace. When I picked her up from school she said that her friend changed her mind and was now willing to go see the movie. I find myself in the strange position of wanting to teach her to be tougher, but also wanting to maintain that sweetness that is her.

While we sometimes have mother daughter issues, I am always proud of how hard she works on doing well at school and what a good friend she is. She has a great sense of humor and has greets every day with an excited grin. I am blessed to be her mother. I adore her even when she’s conning her sister out of her favorite toys, because I too am an oldest child and would have absolutely done the same thing.

Happy birthday to my sweet baby girl. 

Ice Princess

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Back to Reality

We have returned to reality. We flew home yesterday without issue and shivered as we walked outside. It’s funny how quickly we acclimated to the warm sunshine of Myrtle Beach. In all, I have very few complaints about the week away. It was a little bit of heaven. The only thing missing was EN being with us.

It was somewhat difficult traveling with family. My sister parents much differently than I do and it was sometimes hard to keep rules in place with my girls when her kids had more freedom. Her kids really don’t have a set bedtime and then sleep until all hours. If my girls stay up late, they still get up early and then suffer from extreme cases of crankypants by midday. My girls know their mama well enough though, and really behaved well.  It was hard to fight when we were all feeling so relaxed. We spent oodles of time on the beach, shopping and just hanging out. It was fabulous spending time together without the pressures of everyday life weighing us down. We had no appointments or commitments and just flew by the seat of our pants.

My outrageous sunburn is finally fading to peeling skin. Most of it is hidden under clothes but for my nose. It’s still raging red with flakes of skin shooting off all over the place. Another day of me being amazed at how smoking hot I am.

I was also lucky enough to get sick while I was away. This is becoming tradition. I was sick on our cruise in 2000. I got sick when we went to Mexico in 2005. On Wednesday I woke up with a sore throat. I thought it was as a result of having too many Bud Light Limes the night before. You know, that citrus can do a real number on you… By Thursday I was miserable and had a sore throat, stuffed nose and fever by the end of the day. Thankfully my sister was very kind to me and told me to go lay down while she took charge of the girls. She told me to go to an urgent care facility for some antibiotics, but I chose instead to hit CVS and stock up on drugs. During the flight home, I realized I should have listened to her.

I have hearing problems anyway and still at my ripe old age suffer from ear infections regularly. I know better than to fly in that condition, but I ignored the problem. So I was stuck flying home in misery. My ears were nearly complelety blocked in the air and I couldn’t hear a word my girls said to me. They’ve popped a little since then, but I’m still having issues. It could also be that I got used to to the sound of the ocean out my bedroom window and the yelling of my sister’s family.  I always thought we were a loud family. We have nothing on my sister’s!

We have some great memories of this vacation. My sister and I realized together, like deprived children, that we had always wanted to have some of those tacky Old Time Photos taken and never had. The kids got decked out and had pictures taken. It’s really hard to say who enjoyed it more. The four youngest kids got henna tattoos. After all, what’s a trip to the beach without a tattoo? We consumed gallons of ice cream. We collected hundreds of seashells and leapt away from dozens of washed-up jellyfish. Spice performed some wacky shovel burying ceremony on the beach and screamed at anyone who dared to kick one over. We couldn’t figure out what that was about and were too scared to ask. The girls were introduced to buffet-style restaurants. Spice was delighted to find loads of “that orange stuff” (cantaloupe) and “that white gravy that I love so much” (Southern-style sausage gravy). I also introduced them to hush puppies, quite possibly the yummiest bits of badness in the world. Sugar and her cousins boogie boarded nearly every day, while Spice simply walked around with hers attached to her wrist. We walked the beach daily and just hung out together without a care in the world.

By Friday, the girls were dying to come home. They missed their dogs and their dad. Spice cried a couple of times because she missed her daddy so much. She cried Friday night and again at the airport on Saturday. More than anything, I think she was simply exhausted. Why waste your vacation time sleeping?

After we collected our luggage and walked out to meet EN, Spice was an absolute wreck. She took one look at EN and broke down in tears. She stood on the airport curb sobbing like her little heart had broken. Then Sugar started. I think their hearts just overflowed with happy when they saw their favorite guy.

Even though EN couldn’t go, I’m glad I seized the opportunity to spend a week away with my girls. I feel closer to them and I am quite proud of them. They behaved well. They were polite and happy. They enjoy meeting new people and caught the attention of everyone from the women working at the Harley store, to the flight attendants and pilots. They are always thrilled to experience something new. I knew the vacation was a huge success when Sugar said, “I guess we don’t have to go to Disney to have a blast. When can we go back to Myrtle Beach?”

So tomorrow, we go back to school and work and obligations. I hope the carefree feeling of the sand between our toes and the sea breeze in our hair sticks with us for just a little bit. 

Ice Princess