Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Good Fight

Despite the fact that I’m opinionated and always think I’m right, I really don’t like to fight. When I was younger, I would throw down with the best of them. Now that I’m older and slower, I backpedal when someone starts arguing with what I have to say. Why bother? The exception to this rule is EN, of course. I married him so I could fight with him regularly. However, our personalities and fighting styles are very different.  He is generally too laid back to really give a shit about much and likely just stops listening while I continue with my rants.

Because I feel like everyone sees this inner combative personality of mine, I was surprised a few months back when Sugar said to me, “Don’t you and Daddy ever fight?” Really? Where have you lived the last ten years, sweet child? I said that I yell all the time and she said, “Yeah, but you don’t fight.” I don’t know if she’s referring to a physical altercation or a screaming match but she’s right. We generally do not fight and when we do it isn’t in the presence of the girls. I remember my parents fighting when I was a kid, and I don’t want my own girls having those memories.

Our last serious, knock-down, drag-out was over two years ago. I was taking two classes and working full-time and upset that no one was having a birthday party for my niece’s 16th birthday, which happened to fall on Easter Sunday. I planned the meal and invited my family and EN decided to pitch a fit that I hadn’t invited his mother too. Normally one extra person would have been ok, but this time, no. I’m the only one that works full time and I’m hosting again? Add to that the fact that there were already extras coming and I knew I didn’t have enough plates, chairs or table space… I was stressed. You really want to fight when I’m stressed? Game ON!

After two days of fighting, two nights of EN sleeping on the couch, he packed his bag and was set to walk out the door. I told him if he walked out he was NEVER coming back because I don’t takesie backsie (greatest line ever, stolen from a Lifetime movie!). We screamed at each other for several hours and in the end, some of the extras that were invited canceled and EN’s mother was invited to attend.

Since I’ve had this dry spell in the fighting arena, I felt the need to find a new sparring partner. I was especially cranky this past spring and felt like brawling. Some current event got Skinny Bitch and me all up in arms, so we bickered for a bit. In the end we agreed on the issue. I wasn’t done fighting though, so I emailed her the next day and asked if she still felt like fighting. She did, and at the same time, we sent each other a list of things we could fight about. Most of the topics were social issues like welfare, education, capital punishment, or current events like the happenings in the Middle East. I went through her list, she went through mine. We agreed on everything. There was nothing to fight about, damn it. I think though, if we ever fight for real, she would be a very worthy opponent. 

Instead, I’ve been fighting with my children about the state of their bedrooms. I’ve been seething with anger about my niece. I’m overloaded with adrenaline and anger and really no place to let it go. I told EN that I need to start running or something, to work of this anxiety.

In the meantime, I went to dinner last night with Rich Auntie, my parents, my niece and Sugar and Spice. Somehow the topic of fighting came up and I mentioned that it had been a long time since EN and I had a good fight. Spice pipes up with her own comment, “Next time, just smack his weenie.”

That one is going to fight dirtier than her mother does.

Ice Princess

A Different Look

Ok, so I was bored with the blog template I had and I'm attempting to change it up. I'm doing my best... but getting frustrated because I really have zero experience with this... Stay tuned and tell me what you think. Yeah, that means click on the friggin' pencil and speak.

Ice Princess

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Soldier Boys

It’s been a long time since I blogged about soldiers, then again, it’s been a long time since I’ve done a damn thing for them. Time to get back on that! Here’s a refresher: I adopted a soldier in November 2009 through I wanted the girls to learn how good it feels to give, and I thought it would be even more special if there was someone specific we were “giving” too. I wanted a connection… Our first soldier was Megan, who was deployed to Iraq. Then there was Sheila, also in Iraq and Melissa in Afghanistan. Of my three Soldier Girls, we are still in touch with two of them. Megan is now in Hawaii and Melissa is in Virginia. It always brightens my day when I hear from them.

I have not sent anything overseas since we put together that mammoth shipment at Christmas time. I can’t get out of this habit. The entire process of sending things overseas makes us so happy. It starts at the store, where my girls are focused on buying for someone else rather than begging for things. They become fun to shop with and we are challenged to find a variety of treats and useful items to send. We always include homemade cookies, so there’s an opportunity to hang out and cook. I’m no fool, I realize they’re just waiting to lick the bowl and eat cookies hot out of the oven but they claim to love “helping mama.” They love writing out cards or making their own and it’s warmed my heart on more than one occasion to look through pictures on Facebook to see pictures the girls have drawn hanging up in a soldier’s room thousands of miles away. We are strangers after all…

At this time, I don’t need to go through the regular organization to adopt soldiers. I know of three that are currently deployed. One soldier is the son of Pinky, another is the husband of Darcy, Sugar’s second grade teacher and the third is our friend Spencer. When Megan visited in November, she brought Spencer. The girls adored him and talked his ears off, then made him play Dance Dance Revolution. My sweet angels stood there and howled with delight as Spencer tried to keep up and begged them to slow the game down. They laughed even harder and said, “It doesn’t go any slower.”  Spencer was a great sport and highly entertained by their love of Sugarland’s “Stuck Like Glue.” While he was here, he mentioned that he might deploy again and I told him then that we would love to adopt him. Spencer tried to say it wasn’t necessary, like I was feeling obligated to take care of him or something. Adopting soldiers just isn’t a big deal for us, we LOVE to do this. The hardest part is wrestling the junk food away from Sugar and Spice so I can ship it out.

I am a mom of girls and my other soldiers were girls, so I’m a little mystified as to what to send this time around. I would email the Soldier Girls and they’d talk of shampoo, soaps, lotions and body washes but most men just don’t care about that stuff. Besides, for two of them, I’m working through a wife and a mother. Darcy tells me Bruce loves junk food… Pinky let slip that Brandon chews and she doesn’t approve so you KNOW I’ll send him chewing tobacco. And Spencer, well when he was here, I promised him I wouldn’t let the girls send him anything pink. He responded, “Those girls can send me whatever they want.”

So when we shopped on Saturday, we focused on food. We bought candy, chips, gum, raisins, Easy Mac, Slim Jims, then we came home and baked cookies. The girls spent a lot of time writing out cards and Sugar was focused on writing something different in each one. I love to see them so excited about putting these packages together.

The packages are ready to be sent and I hope they enjoy them.  There’s nothing pink or remotely feminine inside, maybe just a flower or two drawn by Spice. And one package really does contain chewing tobacco. Zippy the lippies, Pinky!

Ice Princess 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Endings... Or New Beginnings?

I am in a place today where I’m not sure if I should feel happy or sad. My babies are growing up and both faced big changes today. Sugar finished her last year at her elementary school and has been promoted to middle school. Spice quasi-graduated from kindergarten in her private daycare and will move on to kindergarten at a public school.

What makes me happy is the impact on my household budget. We are currently over $900 per month on daycare costs. We’ll see that cost at zero through the summer (thanks Mommy!) and go back up to $450 per month once we need to start sending the girls to after school care. Do you hear the sigh of relief I gave just typing that? That means that EN doesn’t need to work six days a week any more. He’ll still have to do that every once in a while, to cover the extras, but for the most part, we’ll be able to make ends meet on a five-day paycheck. It’s been a long hard road.

I’m happy to see my girls maturing and becoming these tremendously fantastic little people. They are now ten and five years old and I feel very comfortable in the mothering cap I sport around town. My chicks can tell me what ails them and what makes them happy. Mothering is easy and life is good.

However, I am sad when I see my girls growing so quickly. Where has the time gone? Only yesterday, they were babies that I cradled in my arms. Today, they walk and talk, read on their own and have their own very brilliant ideas… Ok, so some ideas aren’t really that “brilliant.”

I was sad dropping Sugar off this morning, her last day at her elementary school. Oh, how my heart broke when she said that she would cry today. Her friends are moving on with her, but what makes her sad is leaving the place and the people that make her comfortable. She regularly has lunch with her 3rd grade teacher and will no longer be able to do that. She’s devastated to leave behind this woman that she loves so very much. She’s had a great run at her school. She’s made a lot of friends and her teachers have loved her. I saw her change from a hypochondriac 6-year-old to a ten-year-old that works hard to do well. I credit the women that she’s spent the last four years with that guided her and taught her well. I was only along for the ride, and to make sure she arrived at school every day with the important parts covered.

Spice took part in the kindergarten graduation at her daycare tonight. I won’t lie, I arrived there with attitude, pissed off that she rehearsed for weeks, but wasn’t part of the show. I should have known better. Instead of sitting in the audience with me like she was supposed to, she stayed up front, albeit on the sidelines, and sang every song with the kids she’s spent the last few months with. I’m amazed that she knew every song and every move. A huge feat considering that she’s also had skating and dance recitals recently. She’ll start public kindergarten in September. I hope they are ready for my little Spice Girl.

I was pissed at EN for most of the evening as he missed these great events-fire truck ride and last day of school for the girls, because he was off on his weekend. He could wait for Man Whore for four hours and gallivant across the countryside to help his loser freeloading friends, but he couldn’t wait four freakin’ hours to see the girls ride the fire truck to school. There are no words to describe what it was like when the fire truck pulled into the school yard with 400 kids cheering. That’s a ghost he can contend with on his own.

After the festivities of the day, I took the girls to dinner at our favorite place. We were waited on by our favorite waitress and we had a lovely time chatting. It seemed only right that the song from my very own high school graduation would come on while we were there.

May the good Lord be with you 
Down every road you roam 
And may sunshine and happiness 
surround you when you're far from home 
And may you grow to be proud 
Dignified and true 
And do unto others 
As you'd have done to you 
Be courageous and be brave 
And in my heart you'll always stay 
Forever Young, Forever Young 
Forever Young, Forever Young 

May good fortune be with you 
May your guiding light be strong 
Build a stairway to heaven 
with a prince or a vagabond 

And may you never love in vain 
and in my heart you will remain 
Forever Young, Forever Young 

And when you finally fly away 
I'll be hoping that I served you well 
For all the wisdom of a lifetime 
No one can ever tell 

But whatever road you choose 
I'm right behind you, win or lose 
Forever Young, Forever Young 

Forever Young, Rod Stewart

I couldn’t have said it any better myself. 

Ice Princess

Friday, June 24, 2011

Welcome Mat

One of the reasons I married EN was because he really is one of the nicest guys on earth. Sometimes though, his level of niceness deserves nothing more than a dummy slap to his forehead. I mean seriously, he gets taken advantage of more than I do, and that’s saying something!

EN is off this weekend with his band of misfits attending a biker party in New York. He’s been going for the last four years and somehow got to be in charge of providing food and beverages for all. Quite impressive given that he can barely make an edible grilled cheese at home. However, the fare for the weekend consists of grilled meat, chips and beer. Despite my best efforts, the boys have refused my repeated attempts to send along homemade blueberry muffins and salads with vegetables in them. They insist that chips and beer (hops) are vegetables and the flavored vodka is fruit-based.

EN very diligently takes up a collection for food ($25/each) and charges everyone for the beer they request from the distributor. It goes without saying that they spend more on beer than food, but hey, they are camping in the rain and using portapotties for the weekend. I would need to be under the influence all weekend too.

This year, a group of five guys showed up to sleep here before departing, another one showed up at 4 am and others were expected to meet them at their destination. Some of these guys are “regulars” but others are virgins this year. It’s amazing to watch these guys pack up the night before. There’s a shitstorm of activity and piles of stuff everywhere, somehow it all gets loaded into trucks while beer is being consumed as everyone gets into party mode.

The guys that show up the night before have remained pretty steady. They help load and show up afterwards to help unload. On the other end of the spectrum are the mooches who drop their crap off to be carted in a truck so they can ride their bikes. They don’t help with the packing process, nor do they ever arrive at the destination in time to help set up camp. It is expected that EN and whoever else arrives first save them a "good spot" and collecting food and beer money is also a challenge.

I have mentioned these people before, see posts from December 18 and 19 if you want more information. One guy is EN’s best friend and he’s generally cheap and useless, but a lot of fun to have around. The others are B and T, a couple we’ve known since before we were married. They are mooches like nothing I have ever seen. I dedicate the rest of this rant to their loser-like behavior.

First, let me point out that this weekend has always been a “boys weekend,” yet T insists on going along every year. She also nags the rest of the wives to please come along so she has girls to hang with. Um, no, it sounds miserable and dirty. I’d rather have a root canal. I occasionally take time away from the family, so it’s only right that EN have some time too.

I should mention that she’s always gone along, even before EN and some others started going. If she and her husband want to camp in the mud with thousands of unruly bikers and call that “date weekend” have at it, but leave the rest of us alone. If you are going to tag along with the guys, who are likely behaving badly, keep your mouth shut and don’t act like a whiny shrew.

These two idiots start complaining before they even go. They complain that the $25/person for food is too much and they’ll just buy food from the vendors. You see where this is going, right? Before long, they are too lazy to find a vendor, so they’re eating what EN has bought without paying their fair share. She also nags about how much beer B wants to buy, so he never buys enough, then proceeds to drink everyone else’s. These are the same people who have declined every potluck barbeque, but show up empty-handed just as the meal is being served.

They complain endlessly about how broke they are, yet she does not work. Why should she? She collects a check every month from the federal government. I’m sorry, but if you have the time, skills and energy to annoy people on Facebook and play games all day, there’s no reason why you should get to sit on your fat ass. They have no money, yet they own two motorcyles, one of which they custom built themselves.

It is the custom-built motorcycle that they have driven to this event for the last two years. Last year, it broke down three times before they finally got a ride home and drove back in their truck. The six hour drive took them 18 hours. You’d think they would have learned their lesson. But no. I get a text last night from EN saying that he has arrived and set up camp, but now was going to pick up the two dopes that were stranded 60 miles out. From what I gather, they had another hell ride out there and others within the group offered AAA assistance, which they declined. Why the heck would they take that offer when they could just whine to EN and have him trot off to get them? My left eyeball exploded when I heard this story last night.

What makes me even more angry is that I have known these people for 15 years and I can remember countless times when they have treated EN badly, said negative things about him to me and to others, she’s thrashed on me and made all sorts of false accusations… yet they still expect help at every turn.

I received a text at 10 pm last night that EN was on his way back to camp with his mooches in tow. I sure do hope he was kind enough to cook them dinner when they arrived at their final destination. I also hope he bought her the food she specifically requested but did not pay for. 

Ice Princess

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Firefighter Joey

For years now, Sugar has been trying to win a ride to school in a fire truck. Every year this prize is raffled off during Spring Fling at her school. Every year she buys tickets and carefully fills in her name so it won’t be misread. She passes up other cool prizes like bicycles, gift cards for stores, etc and puts all her tickets in the bucket for the fire truck ride. Every year she is bitterly disappointed when someone else is chosen. This year, she didn’t even stick around to hear who won, and as it turns out, this was her year. Friends told her she won, but I worried for part of the weekend that they might be tricking her. I posted on Facebook and another mother confirmed that Sugar had won this most coveted prize. Sugar kindly said that she would allow her sister to ride along with her. 

I made arrangements with the principal earlier this week. They didn’t want to wait until the last day of school, in case the truck was out on a call that day, there’d be no way to reschedule. Sugar was up by 6:30 waiting for the big moment to arrive. She got into bed with me and chatted my ear off until I finally told her to beat feet. Kids just don’t appreciate that last half hour of sleep.

My mother and aunt showed up to take part in the excitement and the big moment arrived. The fire truck pulled up in front of the house and the girls could barely contain themselves. We took lots of pictures and chatted with Firefighters Joey and Mike. Well, I chatted with them. My mother, aunt and daughters flirted shamelessly with both men, but especially Joey. How could they not? The guy was hot. Spice couldn't even look in his direction without turning a very deep shade of red. Within 30 seconds, my mother had found out he was a former Marine, blah blah. I’m not ashamed to say I gave her a swift kick in the ass. Yes, really. And she had the audacity to ignore me and keep on with the flirting. I’m telling Dad. LOL

Sadly, we only live about two minutes from Sugar’s school, so the ride wasn’t too long but they did drive around a bit. When I got to the school, the teachers had already started lining the kids up outside. Oh yes, the entire school waits outside for the fire truck. The police escort arrived, followed by the speeding fire truck, with lights and sirens blaring. The entire school cheered when they pulled in. It took everything I had not to cry. It was just so cool!  Sugar and Spice both had the biggest smiles. Mike got Sugar down from the truck and said, “Now, we have to walk around to the other side of the truck so everyone can applaud you.” It seemed to me that they enjoyed doing this as much as my girls enjoyed riding in the truck.

Recently, I’ve been thinking that I hate my neighborhood, not crazy for the Mommy Mafia in my town, my commute stinks, I could move closer to the state line and have more job opportunities… There are lots of reasons to leave this town. But today I remembered why I love it here. Schools here are an important part of the community. Local businesses care about the schools and often have nights where they donate a portion of their sales. Many parents care about the school and town and there’s a great sense of community. Dickheads living on my street are excluded from that sentiment.  I love that the different town departments work together as they do. I’ve gone to Mother’s Day lunches at the school and fire fighters and police officers are there, donating their time to serve the mamas. It gives a gal something to feel warm and fuzzy about.

And let’s face it, that Joey was pretty easy on the eyes… 

Ice Princess

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

On a Jet Plane

Check that out! I'm totally breaking my "two posts in one day" rule! I am leaving at a ridiculously early hour tomorrow to fly out to be with Shannon for a bit. She's beyond happy that I'm coming. We'll see how long that happy mood lasts. I'm told by a little bird that she hasn't been doing her exercises so I need to get her to step it up. You know that's a task this old girl can take on.

And check out the list of followers. Yeah, that's right... Follower #7!!! She thought I would nickname her "Lack of Boobs," but given the time and attention she's given to make her girls appear larger than they are, I can't bring myself to do that. For now, I'll call her Fly Girl, not sure if it'll stick. I met Fly Girl on Sugar's first day of preschool, nearly six years ago. During that time, I've watched her mature from a swinging single girl to a married  mama. She always treated both my girls very well. As a matter of fact, when Spice was really little and in trouble at daycare, they'd say, "Do you want to go and sit with Fly Girl?" Basically the equivalent of going to the principal's office. Spice would say, "Sure" and go hang out with her pal. It never occurred to her that she was in trouble!

Fly Girl now works for an airline and generously gave me one of her Buddy Passes to visit with my girl. Truly, there isn't a way that I can think of to thank her for her kindness. She's even kept in touch on the lightest flights, so my Stand By status doesn't leave me stranded at some crappy airport. I will say that I'm not sure I appreciate her gloating about me having to drag my fat ass out of bed at 3:30 am, but given her generosity, I'll let it slide.

I don't know how much I'll be blogging, if at all... Perhaps a short update, maybe a few notes posted that I can elaborate on later, we'll see. I wish you all a fantabulous week and hope that life treats you kindly. If not, I'll be back on Tuesday to help you kick some ass.

Ice Princess


When I found out last Thursday, I was pissed. Then, I settled down and my pissed off-ness turned to devastation. I was so sad for this girl… 18 years old with her whole life ahead of her. Before you begin the journey into adulthood, it’s best to be armed with a high school diploma. I don’t care what you have or don’t have, but there’s nothing more important than that piece of paper. Sure you can get a GED, but in my mind, it shows that you quit something, sometime during the 12 year process and took a test instead.

There were several ways I could have handled the news. My initial reaction was to call her up and yell at her. I wanted to tell her what an important thing she screwed up. She spent twelve years working towards something and fucked it up. I could ignore it and pretend I knew nothing about the situation and let someone else try to help her out. After all, I am not her mother. Or I could do my best for this kid and see what we could do to fix this mess.

My dad told EN about it on Saturday, so I called them when I got home, knowing that they knew. I pretended like I had just heard myself. I asked what the story was and I was told that the school and the guidance counselor screwed up and she didn’t have enough credits to graduate. Knowing that she had been enrolled in a night school class because she was short credits, I said that I thought she probably failed something. As is usually the case, I was told that I was wrong. My sister told them the counselor screwed everything up, so it must be true.

After speaking with my parents, I texted my niece. I asked her how she was doing and if she needed help. “Help with what,” says she. I told her I had heard she wouldn’t be graduating and wondered what needed to be done to make that happen. That offer opened the floodgates and she texted right back, “It wouldn’t be an issue if that douchebag Psychology teacher would just give me two points so I would pass.” Interesting. So I asked her, “Did you earn those two points?” She finally settled down and told me that she was a ½ credit short and would need to go to summer school. I then offered to pay for school, but she would have to live with me while she was taking class. Call it “protecting my investment,” if you will. If I’m dishing out money to help her, you better believe she’s going to be near enough to me so that I can ride her ass constantly.

I texted my sister at that point, to tell her my idea. She responded that she was going to try to get a meeting with the teacher and get the principal involved. I was dying to ask why nothing had been done yet. It’s now Saturday, they got this news Thursday, where’s the holdup? Then she told me the same thing she had told my parents: the counselor messed up. Our conversation was going nowhere good so we just stopped communicating.

On Sunday, I asked my niece for the name of her guidance counselor and told her I’d try to get us in there Monday morning to talk with her. I decided to email instead,  and got an answer nearly right away. I was informed that because my niece was now 18, she could designate anyone to see her school records. A few emails back and forth and we had an appointment for 11 am. I asked the counselor to have academic and attendance records available for me to look at.

So, it was weird going back to my old high school. It looks almost nothing like it used to but it still smelled the same and felt the same. I got there early enough to stop in and see an old teacher. I was amused to see that he’s still the same guy I remember: same gestures, same laugh.

We met with the counselor and found out that my niece had been accepted into the night school graduation. This thrilled my niece because it meant no summer school. It is a diploma, but it is not from a high school. I asked her if that’s what she absolutely wanted to do and she said yes. Then the counselor slid the information I requested towards me. While I was looking over her transcript, my niece started to argue the F she got in Military History, saying that she had done “all the work, well except  some.” The counselor said, “You need to go to class to pass.” She started to argue that she had been and the counselor took back one of the attendance printouts and said, “You missed 23 days in that class since the beginning of February.” More arguing from my niece, etc. Apparently it’s common knowledge that schools, counselors and teachers LIE about who’s in class!

The information in the documents was astounding: 20 absences and 60 tardies this school year alone. Let’s do some math, shall we? That means that over 40% of the time, she was either late or not there at all. Her academic transcript was even more interesting. Her GPA is a stellar 1.52 and her class ranking is 437 out of 500 or so. She had four years to earn 27 credits, but in grades 9 and 10 she didn’t even earn six credits each year. There are 31 final grades listed, seven of those are Fs, 11 are Ds. To be fair, I should mention that there is one A and 4 Bs.

So yes, I do believe my sister’s assessment is correct: the school obviously fucked up here (sarcasm font!). It’s apparent that she worked hard throughout her entire high school career. What exactly it was that she was working on is beyond me.

I’m not sure who I’m more upset with: the kid who never tried or the mother that saw this problem looming for four years and did absolutely nothing about it. I also struggle with nature vs. nurture in this situation: should an 18-year-old know better, know to go to class and be on time each day? Should they know that without being taught? Or do they simply repeat the same behaviors they see, and the behaviors they’ve used in the past with no consequences?

I am still tremendously sad. 

Ice Princess

Friday, June 10, 2011

It's Important to Me...

The other night I told the girls that before they went to sleep they should pray for the Bruins to kick ass. Spice lit up and said, “You are gonna let us say ASS to God?!” Why not? Just this once, it’s practically a special occasion. They trotted off to bed, prayed for the ass-kicking and fell right to sleep.

Yes, horrified readers, I let the girls use the word “ass.” If that makes me a bad mother in your eyes, that’s ok with me. Because unlike you, there is a group of people who think I am an uptight, rigid, pain-in-the-ass mother. What with my being a stickler for following laws and rules and all. I force my kids to sit in their car seats with seat belts on, I don’t let them call shotgun and sit in the front seat and I force them to go to school on a regular basis. Call the authorities, there is abuse going on over here!

There are rules in my house, some can be broken, some cannot. I’ll allow the word “ass” in a song or when Daddy’s team is playing a big game. I’ll allow ice cream for dinner if it’s hot and I don’t feel like cooking. I allow the girls to keep their rooms looking like dumps and I let them dress like train wrecks as long as the important parts are covered. Bedtime is somewhat flexible on non-school nights, and the place where they choose to sleep varies.

I am not flexible when it comes to treating others respectfully and kindly. There is hell to pay when this rule is broken. Ask the Sandbox Bully how her night went after her shenanigans earlier this week. We keep our bathroom clean, clothes in the hamper, help around the house and always say “please” and “thank you.”

My biggest sticking point is related to the education of my girls. One of the greatest gifts that I can give them as a mother is my support, involvement and encouragement in their educations. That is not to say I volunteer for every field trip, attend PTA meetings, and act as room mother.  It IS to say that I know what’s going on with my child’s education EVERY SINGLE DAY. We talk about their school days (if I haven’t already had a *ahem* report from a teacher). We work on their homework together and we absolutely read and work on spelling words daily. I’m sure as they get older, they will want me to me less involved with their schooling and I will let go. If there ever comes a time when their grades are less than stellar, you bet your ass I’ll be all over them again.

In my opinion, getting your child through school is a two-part process. First, they have a school to go to every day and a teacher (or teachers) that teach them. Second, they have parents or other family members that guide them and encourage them to do well in school. It is my job as a parent  to make sure my kids are well rested and fed before being sent off to school. It’s my job to send them to school regularly, no sick days for hangnails! It’s my job to make sure their homework is done to the best of their ability (even though I really want to do the damn math myself and get it over with faster). It is my job to provide them a clean, quiet place where they can do their homework with my assistance when they need it. It is my job to know how my girls are doing in their classes at all times. I do this by asking the girls how their respective days were. If I have questions, I check in with the teacher. I do this by looking over every progress report and report card and again, if I have questions, I check in with their teacher. Their teachers know me by sight and by name. That way, if there’s ever an issue, they are comfortable addressing it with me.

By teaching my girls to be hard-working students, I think I’m giving them a good foundation for college, if that’s what they choose… and for their careers. They will have learned that some days you don’t feel that great, but you still need to go to work. They’ll learn that they have to do the job they are paid to do, even when their boss is an asshole. There are times to be flexible, and there are times when you need to put up and shut up and get through. It’s all about putting forth effort and succeeding.

Yesterday my heart was broken because of a failure out my control. I can point the finger at her and say she didn’t really try, but I can also say that she was never really taught to respect the opportunities that education would provide for her.

I started with prayer talk, and I’ll end with that too: “God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.” There’s nothing that I could have done about yesterday that ever would have made a damn bit of difference. The situation was out of my control and I need to accept that.

Ice Princess 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Inappropriate Laughter

One of my worst habits is laughing at inappropriate times. Shows like “America’s Funniest Videos” were made for people like me. I howl with delight when someone gets hit with a baseball bat, breaks a chair when they sit in it, or falls just walking down the street. When watching the show, it’s ok to laugh, but in real life, sometimes laughing is inappropriate.

I was once away with a group of friends and someone was goofing off and broke a glass at the house we were renting. I laughed my head off, couldn’t help it. They yelled at me because something had BROKEN and we were all going to be in TROUBLE. I laugh hysterically when my boss tells a story from when he was young and a friend of his got knocked in the head with a candlepin bowling ball. Now all he has to do is mimic a ball smacking into his forehead and I’m in stitches.

I laugh at myself too. I once fell in an icy parking lot when I was about seven months pregnant with Sugar. I ripped my nylons to shreds and had to go into a business meeting like that. The fall happened in front of a ton of people and it hurt, but I stood up and laughed about it… all in an effort to not cry.

One time EN fell off a ladder when he electrocuted himself. Another time, his sister popped the clutch on the motorcycle he was teaching her to ride and the bike rode up his leg and left a skid mark on his jeans before it stalled. Both those incidents could have ended tragically and what was I doing? Yep, you guessed it, I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe. Even picturing both those situations over ten years later, I’m still trying to contain my laughter, silently shaking in my chair.

It should come as no surprise then, when I hear that one of my children has behaved badly, my first reaction is to laugh. This week Spice did something very naughty and I was spoken to by the owner of the day care she goes to. Let me back up and say that countless times over the years I have watched this woman natter on to parents about their kids’ bad days in a public forum. In five years I have never been in those shoes and thought I was home free as we will be leaving the daycare in just over two weeks. Thank you Spice for ruining a near-perfect run.

It appears that on Monday, Spice grabbed onto a little boy playing in the sandbox and pulled him by the neck of the shirt. She then proceeded to dump handfuls of sand down his shirt. Meanwhile, one of her boyfriends stood in front of this little boy and slapped him across the face repeatedly. This is bad, bad, very bad behavior. I am distraught that my child would do something like that to another kid, especially seeing as it’s someone she likes. That’s on the outside. On the inside, I’m laughing so hard I’m afraid the giggles will come bubbling out. How the hell did this happen? Was it a planned attack or spur-of-the-moment? I have asked her over and over why she did something like that and she just shrugs and says she doesn’t know why.

For those of you that are horrified by me laughing at the Sandbox Bully, I can assure you that she was punished to the fullest extent of Ice Princess Law. Furthermore, she never had any idea that I was laughing on the inside.

I don’t know why I laugh at inappropriate times. Maybe it’s to cover another reaction, like crying or screaming. Maybe I’m laughing out of sheer relief when the situation could have ended badly? Or perhaps I’m just laughing while my brain scrambles around trying to find the right thing to say.

In any case, I apologize in advance if I ever laugh at you. I hope it helps you to know that I always laugh harder at myself than I do at anyone else. 

Ice Princess

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Stars are in Proper Alignment

It has been a while since I mentioned my pal Shannon. She had her surgery in May, but the recovery process hasn’t been as smooth as everyone thought it would be. She seems to have suffered a small stroke while still in the hospital and has some issues with her right side. She stayed in the hospital a few extra days but has been home for a while now. We’ve talked a few times, and then she texted me last week to let me know she had fluid in her lungs and was having it drained out.

I called her last Thursday because she suddenly stopped answering texts. She told me that she’s having issues with her right hand and couldn’t text that well. I could tell that she wasn’t feeling great and that she was a little depressed. I did the only thing a friend of 30 years could do: I bullied her. I poked at her and cornered her. I begged her to let me come out and help her. At first she put up a good fight, like she has since she first mentioned the surgery. Then I pulled the gloves off and said, “What would you do if it was me in your shoes?” I knew I won when there was silence on the phone for a second.

We started talking about dates and said that in two weeks there would be no one with her during the day. Since we have so much going on, I told her I thought I could probably make it in July. She said that was fine and she was looking forward to my visit. I started pricing tickets immediately and found the best prices and reminded myself to call her with options this week.

Last week I had also emailed her mother to see how things were going. I knew Shannon was likely glossing over a few things. Her mom had been out of work taking care of Shannon last week and didn’t respond until Monday. She said that it was probably a great idea for me to come out as Shannon wasn’t in a very good place at the moment, and was also starting rehab soon.

Just for kicks, I looked up airline tickets for next week, knowing she’d need help then. I found some for the same price as my trip in July. The only issue was that I would miss my niece’s high school graduation. Had her graduation been something that she worked hard for and was proud of, I might have had a harder time not being there. I texted my niece and she said she didn’t mind if I wasn’t there. Of course not, I already gave her a gift!

Traveling on the 15th meant that I had a week and a half to clear my plan with EN and the girls, ask for time off, find someone to sit with the girls while EN was at work, beg my mother not to be pissed at me for missing the graduation, and on it went. EN was on board immediately and told me to do what I needed to do. My mother-in-law said she’d stay with the girls, and as I thought, my mother was pissed. Because that was something that needed to be ok, I pretty much decided to wait until July. She called me back an hour later and apologized (holy shit, there may be an apocalypse) and told me to go. My boss answered my email immediately and gave me the requested time off. All that was left to do was discuss it with the girls and book the travel.

On my way home I called Shannon and asked if next week was still good. She sounded so very excited when she heard I might be coming that soon. I picked the girls up and we discussed the trip. Both knew it was on the horizon, and were a little shocked that I would go so soon, but they were both behind me going.

After the girls went to bed, I texted a friend that works at the local airport and asked if she would be working next Wednesday. It had been months since I have seen her and I wanted to visit while I was at the airport. She asked me where I was going and I told her. She texted me back and asked me not to buy a ticket as she gets “buddy passes” as an employee of Southwest Airlines.

I try to do nice things for people as often as possible. It honestly shocks the shit out of me when something like that happens to me. I bawled like a baby. I cried so hard the tears fell off my face and landed on my boobs. Not a pretty sight. For the life of me, I couldn’t stop crying. I kept thanking my friend and she told me that she likes to “pay it forward” when she can.

Other than the mundane tasks of packing and making sure the house is in order before I leave, everything is in place for me to leave in a week. I told Shannon I would cook for her, clean for her, drive her around, basically whatever she needed. I’m picturing something halfway between “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Thelma and Louise” and I can’t wait.

Spice probably said it best when she told me that I needed to “put a little love in her heart.” Yes, definitely, that’s my number one priority next week. 

Ice Princess

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Triple Play

When you sign your kids up for activities like dance and ice skating there’s always a show at the end of the season. The lessons focus on learning new moves, but an equally important component is the practice for the all-important recital.

When we signed the girls up for their activities through this last school year, we had no idea that the dance and ice skating recitals would be on the same day. When the dates were announced we told Spice that she would need to choose only one recital to participate in. She chose ice skating and she let the dance instructor know. When I picked her up from daycare that day she told me that the dance instructor told her that she was “needed” for the show. That same message was replayed by the daycare owner as I walked out. I asked her for the show time and told her I would see if we could make it work. We got the times for both shows and decided that if the stars were in alignment, we could attend both. Yesterday was the big day.

The day started early with me running around the house attempting to get my three little ducklings organized and out the door. EN is not the best helper in the world when it comes to sticking to a schedule and getting somewhere ON TIME. I spent the morning screaming with my drill sergeant hat firmly in place.

The night before we had gone to a dress rehearsal for the skating show. Sugar’s coach gave me grief about Sugar having missed two practices. The routine had changed and Sugar had no idea what she was doing. Rather than calling her a stupid bitch and smacking her like I wanted to, I told her that I take my kids’ activities very seriously and she missed the practices for a very good reason. One practice was held the same day as my graduation and we didn’t know about the other practice until 1 ½ hours beforehand. She told me to have Sugar at the rink “by noon at the absolute latest” so she could practice more with her. I repeated “noon?” and she said, “at the ABSOLUTE LATEST.” I assumed that meant to be there even earlier.

We got to the rink around 11:20 and I was pissed to learn that the coach was busy doing other stuff and they weren’t even going to practice on the ice, they were just going to do the routine in the locker room before the show. I know these coaches put a lot into teaching the kids and I might have been less angry if I didn’t know that this woman once told someone we know in common that she didn’t realize that Sugar even had a mother. Now when I see her, steam comes out my ears. EN has always brought the girls to their skating lessons on Saturday morning because that’s when I did the bulk of my homework when I was in school. Whoever would have thought that would make Sugar and Spice look like “motherless children.”

The skating recital started on time and was fantastic. Sugar performed her routine like she’s known it for months. Spice skated with her serious “don’t look at me and don’t scream my name” face. It makes me tremendously proud to see them do so well, especially because I can barely skate. What I really liked about this show is that they allowed the kids to stand along the glass and watch the entire thing. In many cases the kids are kept backstage or in locker rooms and don’t get to see what else goes on.

When the show was over we bolted to the car and barely left the rink when we were in a car accident. We barely felt the bump and everyone is ok. I have been complaining about my car and considering trading it in because the cost of gas is killing me. Now I’m glad we had the Jeep. Our rear bumper will need to be replaced but the other car looked to be totaled. EN got out and called the police and dealt with the insurance and the cop came over to the car to see if we were all right. He said we’d be on our way shortly and I laughed and snapped my fingers at him and said, “Get moving, we have another recital to get to.” Thankfully he had a great sense of humor and laughed.

We got home and had about an hour to “relax” and get Spice ready for her dance recital. I dressed her, redid her hair and face and we were off. Another super-cute show. I just love watching them perform the routines they’ve worked so hard at. I’ve watched Spice do her numbers at home a thousand times and probably could have gotten up there and done them right next to her.

It’s also nice to have the rest of the family and some friends along to see the girls in their various performances. My nephew watches Sugar skate and tells me that she’s better than anyone else. My parents and EN’s mother always seem to enjoy the shows too. Spice and Payton’s favorite guy came to watch the show as well. The girls noticed him in the audience when they were on stage and were happy to see him there. Unfortunately for Ben, the evening turned sour when Spice squawked at him for trying to kiss her. Ben needs to choose a nicer girlfriend.

The girls left with my parents and EN and I headed out for Part Three of our day: another Dueling Piano show. This time we met up with a group of about 20, including my sister, Tiny Mike and their friends. The only friend I had along was Skinny Bitch and her sister. As always I worry before mixing people, but it’s really hard to not have fun at a show like this. Everyone had their game on and danced, sang and carried on like we were playing the dashboard drums and singing in the shower. I had the pleasure of sitting between Tiny Mike and Skinny Bitch for part of the night and they called each other by their nicknames.

I had met Skinny Bitch’s sister once and she seemed like a nice lady. I was stunned when this nice lady whooped it up with the best of them and knew every single word to Buckcherry’s “Crazy Bitch.” I told Skinny Bitch this morning that they are now to be called The Bitch Sisters: Skinny and Crazy.

The night was not drama-free. One guy came with both his girlfriends. One knows about the other, one does not. I stayed away from them for fear of telling him exactly what I thought of his behavior. Another in the group started hitting on some woman and wouldn’t drop it, so her husband got pissed. EN’s hockey team lost which made him very unhappy.

In all, it was an exhausting day but if I had to do it all over again, I would.

Ice Princess 

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Boobs have always been a hot topic in our house. Sugar talked about them a bit when she was little, but Spice has always been infatuated. Perhaps I nursed her too long, who knows. She grabbed hold of my friend Cindy’s when she was real little and as soon as she could speak in a complete sentence, she asked the Director of her daycare, “Miss Kim, where are your boobs?” Thankfully Kim had a good sense of humor about it and found Spice’s comment to be hysterical.

I recently started rereading the old books I bought for my friend, so I could know what she was talking about when she called to discuss, and found myself laughing again through, “We must, we must, we must increase our bust” in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume. I’m pretty sure every girl who was a preteen in my era remembers this. It’s a book that should still be read as many of the issues are timeless.

For example, take the issue of Margaret and her friends discussing the girl who developed before anyone else. It’s interesting to see their perceptions of the poor girl, and how they never gave her a chance to prove that she really is just like them. It was probably worse for her as she was the one that actually had to walk around with boobs when no one else had them yet. There’s really no way to hide a rack.  

Sugar came home from school this week and told me that her BFFL has been making fun of two girls in their class because they have to wear bras. She’s apparently been gossiping about these girls behind their backs. Sugar maintains that she didn’t participate and even said, “That’s really mean.” If she stood up for the other girls, I’m quite proud of her. We talked again about how some people develop earlier, some later, and how uncomfortable it can be for those girls. I really hope that she truly is as sensitive to these girls as she tells me she is.

I’m bothered on so many levels about this specific issue. As a female, it’s probably because I was lucky enough to be endowed at a young age. I can remember the looks. Even better was the time a football player whipped a volleyball at my chest. I swear they are still swollen and that’s why they’re so big. Really, it could be true.

As a mother my heart breaks for these girls and I hope Sugar doesn’t have a hard time. She’s so little and skinny, it’ll be very obvious once she develops. I discuss this endlessly with Skinny Bitch because we have daughters the same age.  However, Skinny Bitch’s daughter has had the good fortune of developing early. I’m in awe of how laid back her daughter is about her body. She doesn’t care that she has to wear a bra. She doesn’t care that it might stick out a little in a sleeveless dress. She’s ok with her body and I’m amazed by that. I think it speaks volumes about how she’s been raised. I hope that Sugar and Spice are the same way when their time comes.

Skinny Bitch and I have also discussed other issues that we’ll soon face, if we haven’t already: body odor, shaving, periods. We have much to look forward to! We have both addressed the body odor issue by providing our little Stinky Pit Pre-Teens with deodorant. We are stumped about shaving: do you shave your girls’ underarms for the first time, or just hand them a razor and let them have at it? And periods, well, that’s just all bad and there’s no fun way to discuss THAT. Of course there are many other topics that I can’t even allow myself to think of at this point.

While Sugar contemplates the body changes facing she and her friends in the near future, Spice keeps focused on her beloved Barbie princesses. A recent bedtime conversation:

Spice: Mama, that’s Prince Eric, Ariel’s boyfriend.
Me: Oh? I thought they got married?
Spice: Oh no, Mama! He’s not going to marry her. He’s going to marry the octopus because she has big boobs! 

Ice Princess