Monday, October 31, 2011

My Bubble has Burst

Because I'm married to a pessimist, I can't help being one myself. When things go really well, like they did last week, a part of me waits for the other shoe to drop. I try not to voice my fears out loud and I’m always sure to not “count my chickens before they hatch.” Last week, I got so carried away by our good fortune of selling one house and closing on another within the week that I thought perhaps our luck was changing. I was excited and refused to let Chicken Little convince me of the million things that would go wrong.

I didn’t allude to any of this in my last post, but things seemed to get a little shaky during the buyer’s inspection of our current house. They found some rotten wood near an entrance that they want replaced. They want an outlet in the kitchen repaired. They want the furnace serviced. Their inspector told them that the septic was going to back into the house ANY MINUTE and we should have it serviced immediately. Our realtor assured them that we were having that done this week. He was adamant that it get done IMMEDIATELY. So we had that done Friday. The septic guys laughed and said that we could have gone another six months without any problems like that. Great.

Then Saturday, we were notified that the buyers want to do an additional inspection on the foundation with a structural engineer. Part of me thinks, “Ok, their inspector was pretty conservative. They are just playing it safe.” But the other part of me thinks, “OMFG, what if there’s a HUGE problem and they back out?” Then what?

Meanwhile, here it is October and we get a huge snowstorm. We measured the snowfall in our yard in FEET (two) not inches. That much snow landing on trees filled with leaves that haven’t fallen yet equals disaster. Trees are down everywhere, the roads look like the end of the world is near. Our internet and cable service went out around 10 pm on Saturday, electricity went out at midnight. Just our luck, EN had moved the generator over to the new house on Friday! Thankfully, we have a gas fireplace to keep us warm.

On Sunday morning, the snow has stopped so EN goes out to snow blow the driveway and the snowblower is dead. A neighbor came through for us and let us borrow his to clear the driveway and path from the basement door, so EN could continue loading up the UHaul he rented for the weekend.

Meanwhile, his mother starts texting, saying she needs to come over because she doesn’t have power. He informed her that we didn’t have power either and she starts in about “Where’s the generator?” and “Well, you better get on the stick.” Really? Thank you. Your concern for anyone but yourself is overwhelming. Here’s an idea, why don’t you go visit your daughter, who is off in another state with electricity AND a wood stove? I should stop being so hard on Sissy. It’s obvious she was concerned about her mother. She put up a post on Facebook saying so.

The girls love the snow and ran outside to play and sled on Sunday. They stayed out for a few hours, but Spice came back in disgruntled that the snow was too deep and she couldn’t sled because she kept sinking. School was canceled for today, as was trick or treat. The chicks had reached their time limit on liking each other early yesterday.

I spent much of yesterday at my parents’ house. I finished up some laundry, showered and bathed the girls. They were thrilled to have us there, it seemed like they wanted to be needed. I was glad that the girls kept their fighting down to a dull roar.

As the day wound down, power came back on at our current house and EN took one more load to the new house. While he was there, he went into the basement to look at the furnace to see if the generator was big enough to get everything going. Suddenly he hears someone from upstairs shouting “Hello?” Then multiple voices… EN came up the stairs to find three police officers in the kitchen. They were concerned that someone was in the house after it was vacant so long. Huh, nice to see they’re on top of things, but where the hell were they when someone stole the entire interior of the house? Oh, probably that was the weekend they were at my house giving me a summons for not registering my dogs.

Sugar asked her dad if he peed his pants when he heard people running through the house. This entire weekend made me want to pee my pants. 

xoxo
Ice Princess

Friday, October 28, 2011

First Closing Over!

And this, my friends, is how we roll:

Up at 7:00 to get Sugar up for school, lunch packed, then take her to the bus stop. Back home to finish cleaning up, help EN move stuff out of the basement (because he has SO MUCH SHIT the buyers asked him to clean it up for inspection) and get Spice and myself ready for the big day ahead.

11 am: Appraiser shows up at our house and we are off to get the bank check for deposit on new house. While enroute we decide we have no choice but to get McDonalds for lunch. Back to the house to scarf down lunch, EN leaves to meet realtor at other house and I leave to bring Spice to school.

12:15ish: I meet EN and our realtor at the new house for our final walk through, not that it really matters anyway. I’ve discovered that it’s bigger than I remember and the ceilings are higher. My recent dreams (ok, nightmares) must have been indicative of how I was feeling about the real estate transactions. Anytime I saw the new house in my dreams, I felt that it was closing in on me.

1:00 pm: Closing on new house. For the first time ever, I went through the mortgage paperwork and understood EVERYTHING. A big thank you to my math and finance professors who taught me so much. I even looked through the amortization schedule and said I knew how do to those without cheating with a computer. The chick handling the closing looked mortified. I fully embrace the fact that I don’t need to wear a DORK pin on my shirt. I out myself with my words. I probably should have a job where I’m buried in numbers and spreadsheets. Screw dealing with people.

2:30 pm: Oh my, what’s this? THIS is a freakin’ hour of nothing to do. I gathered up cleaing supplies, snacks, iPad for entertainment purposes, toilet paper and paper towels. The back of the Jeep was full. I loaded the dogs in and was off to get the girls from the bus stop.

4:00: Because the buyers of our house were having their home inspection, we went to the new house. Since I knew we’d have hours to kill, I started to clean things up. The place is a disaster. I cleaned for three solid hours and the house doesn’t look much better. It smells really clean and there is one toilet that I scrubbed so well my German mother would be proud. Despite specific instructions, Spice touched another toilet seat WITH HER BARE HANDS, so I had to break from cleaning to disinfect my child. Sugar helped clean a little bit, but Spice was in her glory. I bought a canister of disinfecting wipes JUST FOR HER. That kid will wander around and clean anything for as long as I let her.

At one point, I found myself in the girl’s bathroom and felt claustrophobic. I stood up from the toilet scrubbing to find two girls and three dogs watching me. “Do we all need to be in the fucking bathroom at once?” shouted my inside voice. I clenched my teeth together to hold in my mean words and simply said, “Get out now.” Is it really that interesting to watch your mother tackle a toilet with a brush?

All through the cleaning, the dogs ran amuck and the girls were nearly as crazy. I received numerous texts from EN and the realtor with questions/issues with the house. In the grand scheme of things, we have a few items they want taken care of, but they’re still going ahead with the purchase of the house. YAY

7:00 pm: We leave the house and it is snowing. I carefully shut off every light and make sure to lock every door. I have the ONE KEY to the house in my hand and I drop it as I’m getting into the car. Yes, I dropped the key, on the dark driveway, in the snow. I looked frantically for about 20 minutes and Sugar kept getting out to help complain about her feet getting cold and wet. I tried using my cell phone for light and even moved the car around to shine the lights on the entire driveway. No key. I have no idea where it went.

I wasn’t kidding when I told my boss I was too busy to come into work on Thursday. I’m glad I didn’t take today off as well. I might just feel pressure to continue cleaning or something else equally bogus.

xoxo
Ice Princess 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lucky Star

When I woke up on Sunday morning, I felt very “light.” I hadn’t felt that way in a long time. It took me a minute to realize that I did NOT in fact wake up as a size 6, but instead, even better, WE SOLD OUR HOUSE ON SATURDAY. Holy crap, it finally happened…

I shouldn’t complain or use the word “finally.” We only had our house listed for 45 days. Our realtor had mentioned when we listed that some houses were sitting on the market for TEN months. That’s a serious amount of time.

The buyers saw the house for the first time on Friday night. We returned home and I felt a little funny. There were a few times that I would return after a showing and felt like, “Whoever was here HATED this house.” We’d later get the feedback and I was usually right. On this night, I didn’t know what to feel, it was weird.

Within an hour, someone set up a second showing and our realtor was calling on the phone. She told me that the people who had come are relocating from a different state and had spent the day looking at a ton of houses. Our house made the final three and they expected to make a decision the following day. She called back a few minutes later and told me that their final three was now down to two, as one turned out to be a short sale.

We happy danced around, cleaned even though everything was already clean and we went to bed. The next morning we made our beds (after we move, I’m not making a bed for six months) and piled into the car with the girls and the dogs. EN had an errand he wanted to run, so we drove forever, I sat in the car FOR EONS with two girls and three dogs, finally we got to go back home. By this time, Spice was possessed by the devil, so I lay down with her with my cell phone by my head.

At 2:00 pm, we got a phone call and an offer. The offer was as close to perfect as you can get: within $5,000 of asking price. They wanted a quick close and didn’t ask for help with their closing costs. In the meantime, we’re running around again because we have another showing at 3:30. We went to the new house to celebrate our offer, which we absolutely accepted. Now our biggest worry was whether or not the bank could bring themselves to pull the deed and power of attorney for the new house out of their asses so we could close.

On Tuesday, I got an email from the realtor saying that the bank had finally gotten their shit straight and we could close on the new house on Thursday. Seriously? We sold our house Saturday and buy another on Thursday? Just when I whined to the realtor about where I was going to go with the girls and dogs for three hours on Thursday while they inspect our house? I HAVE ANOTHER HOUSE TO GO TO! Could things have worked out more perfectly?

Of course we have the next few weeks to get through: the appraisal, inspection, two closings, the move, but the biggest worry, the worry of financial ruin, is behind us. If everything goes according to plan, we will not have to make double mortgage payments in any month. Our house sold for enough money that we’ll be able to make a good dent in the necessary repairs to the new house.

In the meantime we have gotten the feedback from the people who came to see the house Saturday afternoon. Their comments were so rude that had we not gotten the offer, I would have pulled the house from the market and backed out of the other deal. Their realtor commented on the landscaping, the clutter and the “depersonalization” needed within the house. People, you are coming here to look at my fucking house. Everything in it and around it is changeable. If you can’t see past the FIVE pictures of Sugar and Spice hanging in my house, get the fuck out. There is no need to be rude. This is not House Hunters on HGTV.

As for the mother that has offered her brilliant advice, called and texted repeatedly, making comments about how all the ‘bad omens’ were indicating that we should back out of the deal… Screw you lady. Your bad omens are the lucky stars hanging over my shoulder. AND if you keep hinting to your son about the financial ruin his wife is putting him in, not only are you never going to live there, you can kiss visiting good-bye as well.  

xoxo
Ice Princess

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Intentional Misrepresentations

As we often do in the morning, Sugar and I chatted in the kitchen, then we checked the ongoing Words games and breezed through Facebook quickly. I don’t exaggerate the word “quickly,” as sometimes people post things I don’t want her reading. This morning, I stumbled across this status:

By the time you read this ill be gone ....for the first time in my life im leaving this city , not the way i had planned , but maybe if i leave i can stop looking . No matter how much a person changes they still have to pay the price for what they've done, so i know i have a long road ahead of me , but i know ill see you again , this side or the other ...........

This was put up by a woman that I know fairly well. She’s recently been through some really hard times, long-term boyfriend cheating on her, etc. Naturally, I was concerned. My mind raced with what this status might mean: is she moving away? Is she suicidal? Homicidal?

So, I panic. I’ve heard a thousand news stories about how people have used a Facebook status to confess to crimes, bully or cry for help. I did not want to be one of the people that just sat back. Since I no longer had her cell phone number, I forwarded the status to Tiny Mike to see if there was reason for concern. He agreed, gave me her number and texted her himself. I also replied to her post and asked if she was ok. After a while when she didn’t respond, I texted her boyfriend to see if things were ok.

And then I waited.

And waited…

And waited….

40 minutes later I hear back from her boyfriend. (Yes, she stayed with the cheater!) He found my text to be amusing and told me that she was quoting from the movie, The Town. I was immediately bullshit and my pulse raged in my head. Have these people not heard of the boy who cried wolf? Do these people not remember the drama they just brought down on an entire group of friends? What the hell? In what world is this ok to do?

I immediately removed my comment from her post, and then made up my own snarky status about following proper writing guidelines when quoting from lyrics and movies. I was nice enough not to mention punctuation and capitalization rules. I’m angry because I was basically made a fool of (not that anyone really knew that but me!). I see people do this on Facebook all the time. The put up little snippets, just a few words, to either get people to fish, get attention, spread rumors, or start shit with someone else. That behavior is unnecessary and uncalled for. The people on my friend list are part of my world, but certainly not the center of my universe.

I am infuriated that people use an outlet like Facebook for purposes that I just can’t seem to make sense of. What was the point of that quote? We all know what she recently went through and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to draw the same conclusions I and many others did.If she liked the quote, that's fine and good, but let everyone know where it came from. I think it's more likely that she knew she'd generate concern and attention and I am regretful that I have her one fucking iota of concern. 

She has since posted an explanation and, “Thanks for all the love” comment. Perhaps I need to be less gullible and maybe not take someone’s status seriously. Or maybe I should just see if that UNFRIEND button really works. 

xoxo
Ice Princess

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Naughty Table

If you go to a wedding in the Midwest, you can sit wherever you want, there is no “assigned seating.” Here though, the bride sets up a seating chart and everyone grabs their little place card and finds out what table they are sitting at. What brides don’t tell you though is that there is always a Naughty Table. This is the table where the bride places all the people that she's afraid might misbehave. The bride assigns the next logical number so it’s not outwardly noted that there is a Naughty Table, but if you are at it or around it, you will be aware of who the Naughties are by the end of the night.

The Naughty Table, in my mind, is the table that will likely have the most fun. They will be loud and obnoxious and will likely drink more than their fair share. Therefore this table will be the one furthest from the head table and closest to the bar. At my wedding to EN this was table 10. When the wedding coordinator came in to tell us that the crowd was getting rambunctious and that we should wrap up with the picture taking, we figured it was that table. Little did we know that they had built a pyramid out of coffee cups and passed the table camera around so everyone could take crotch shots of themselves. Our Naughty Table was comprised of fun peeps that EN and I had collected over the years. Most didn’t know each other, but they got along famously an hour into the reception.

On Saturday, EN and I had the pleasure of being seated at the Naughty Table with my sister and her friends. We knew in advance who we would be seated with, but were pleasantly surprised to be seated so close to the bar. I guess the bride didn’t want us stumbling around all over the place.

We were a classy bunch and that became apparent from the moment we sat down. One guy picked up a plate and said, “Look, they gave us white chocolate flowers.” Um, that’s butter, you fool. Then they served salads and no one knew which fork to use. HAVE YOU PEOPLE NOT SEEN PRETTY WOMAN? Start on the outside, work your way in. The DESSERT fork is the one at the top of your plate. Sheesh. Now that I’ve spoken up about the non-chocolate and the forks, I saw confirmation on the faces of my sisters’ friends, “Yep, that Ice Princess is a snotty bitch.”

The wedding was very pretty. The bride looked beautiful and the groom was quite handsome. They seemed very happy and in love. Given that we had lots of rain on the days leading up to the wedding, I was happy that their day ended up being really beautiful.

I was disappointed that the groom didn’t Electric Slide all night. However, since I had bragged on Facebook that I would be showing off all my new zumba moves, he came over and danced it up in front of me. When I expressed my surprise he said, “You don’t think you were the only one that’s been to zumba?”

The best part of the evening was when the photographer came around to take pictures of all the tables, including Naughty #9. The bride and groom posed with us and the photographer told EN he needed to look happier (probably his tie was choking him). Creig leaned forward and smooched EN on the cheek and said, “I bet you ain’t ever been kissed by a Halfrican before!” The table erupted in laughter and the groom continued, “EN’s from up north. They don’t like black people up there.”

For the most part, the Naughty Table at this wedding behaved. We didn’t get too loud, we didn’t trip over each other on the dance floor, we didn’t spill excess amounts of anything. There was a small fire when my sister tossed her napkin into a candle (quickly contained. No one noticed). There was a skirmish when one girl returned to the table with a pile of chocolate covered fruit from the chocolate fountain. As she approached the table, her boyfriend stretched his arm back and got an elbow full of chocolate. He had a hissy fit and they left shortly thereafter. There may also have been some petty thievery grand larceny going on. At first I thought it was funny that some of my table mates grabbed a few items from the baskets in the bathrooms. I was less amused when I heard that they took so much they couldn’t close their pocketbooks. Even worse, one gal grabbed the centerpiece and left with that and two others snatched the bows off their chairs. I got the “Ice Princess is a snotty bitch” look again when I told them that it was likely the bride had to rent those bows.

It had been a very long time since we’ve gone to a wedding and it was nice to travel down that road when we’re really at a place now where most of our friends are getting divorced! Many of the traditions have stayed the same. It’s good to keep up on these trends as I will someday have two weddings to pay for. I tell you one thing; my sister will be seated alone at a card table with no tablecloth and plastic cutlery and paper plates. We’ll call it “Naughty Table for One.”

xoxo
Ice Princess

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hella Day

My life seems to run in a long stretch of boring, then BAM! 4000 things in one day and I’m overwhelmed in advance. Tomorrow is sure to be hella day. Grab a beer and get comfy before reading this. At least the first part, I’m positive you won’t believe. I assure you, I am telling the truth.

My day will begin with a 9 am Zumba class. Yes, you read that right. I’m going to Zumba. At 9 am. On a Saturday. Surely you understand that I will get up at the very last second and bolt out the door before coffee. This could be tragic. I’m going with a coworker who busts a move every chance she gets. So not only will I be publicly humiliating myself, I’ll do it in the presence of a coordinated coworker. Anyone that knows me knows that I can fall off an exercise bike and have as much dancing finesse as Carson Kressley.Now that that bitch has been practicing 10 hours a day, he could clean the floor with me. If I’m never heard from again, remember that I loved you all. Tell Sugar and Spice about this blog when they’re old enough to know that everything was written with love.

After that, we have a house showing. I wanted to decline it because of what is still to come on this busy day. However, being frightened of being broke, I accepted the appointment and will disappear for the hour that the house hunters asked for.

After this, we have an evening wedding for some friends of ours that we actually met through my sister. The wedding could be a wild time, but what will happen during the primping and prepping is sure to rival even the most gruesome of Animal Planet shows.

Allow me to explain:  my beloved EN thinks that “dressing up” means Harley t-shirts without holes in them. His tantrums on “dress up days” are legendary. In fact, a friend of his witnessed this shitshow many years ago and just shook his head and called him Feminine JJ. Fast forward 14 years and that nickname runs thorugh my head (in neon blinky lights) every time we need to go to an event that I deem his wardrobe unacceptable. In the past, I have waited until it was time to go before asking what he’ll wear. This time, I tried to tackle the problem days in advance. A few days ago, our exchange went something like this:

Me: What are you wearing Saturday?
Feminine JJ: Black cargo pants, boots, shirt and tie.
Me: You fucking serious?
FJJ: Yeah why?
Me: You don’t wear cargo pants to a wedding. Go by yourself.

After marveling at the idiocy of the exchange, I called him rather than continuing with the flurry of texts. I reiterated to Feminine JJ that he was NOT going to wear cargo pants and beat up biker boots to a wedding. He immediately said that he had nothing to wear and I assured Princess that he had not one but TWO pairs of acceptable dress pants on the top of the washer and that he better get his happy ass trying them on. For two days, he didn’t have time to do that. Finally today he says that one pair fits and he’ll wear them with proper dress shoes. Oh and can I please rewash them? Add laundry to my list of things to do.

Tomorrow night will culminate with a wedding where there may or may not be some interesting drama. I have to say, I love this couple… this is the man that Electric Slides to every song. His wife-to-be is such an adorable, sweet woman that I wonder sometimes how she fits into this crowd. Then I remember that they met at a bar right after she won a hot dog eating contest. Seriously, how can you not love a gal with talents like that?

Picture my big night out here, folks… Creig will be Electric Sliding all over the damn place. Laurie will be downing hot dogs, Feminine JJ will be bitching about how nothing on his outfit advertises bikes, boobs or beer, and I’ll be impressing everyone with my fabulous new Zumba moves.

Ladies and Gentlemen, there will be no pictures. 

xoxo
Ice Princess

Thursday, October 13, 2011

On Being Spontaneous

The only thing I hate worse than waking up before the ass crack of dawn, is waking up when it’s darker than usual because it’s pouring rain. I immediately put on my crankypants and held on for the shitty ride. Preparing for the day was filled with shenanigans, as usual and the commute in just sucked. Can anyone tell me why people think it’s funny to speed up and block a car out when the car is signaling to get in front of them? The driver wouldn’t have even had to wait if he continued at the pace he was going, but no, I might add a nanosecond onto his morning commute. For the first time in a very long time, I felt a little road ragey and flipped him a single digit salute.

By the time I got to work, I was downright surly. Driving in a down pour sucks. Dealing with Mario Andretti in a Subaru is annoying, and to add insult to injury our coffee pot spewed grounds into not one but TWO cups of coffee today. I just want to go home and go back to bed. There is so much hanging over our heads today: will the people coming for the second showing today like the hosue enough to put an offer in on it? Will we actually close on the new place tomorrow? It’s 1:30 now and I haven’t heard a word, I’m thinking probably not.

Then a message comes across from Skinny Bitch this morning about how excited she is to see Sugarland tonight. She’s typically not a country music fan and told me several weeks ago that she was going with Crazy Bitch. I told her what videos to look at on Youtube and mentioned to her that I had blogged about them way back a year ago. And then I thought, “Wouldn’t Sugar and Spice love to see Sugarland?” I looked into buying tickets and reminded myself that we could potentially have two mortgages and I passed them by.

This morning I looked again. I emailed several and said, “What would you do?” I called EN and asked him the same. He immediately said the girls would love it and I absolutely should take them. I’m the mom that never lets them stay up late on a school night. I’m the mom that is never spontaneous. I’m the mom that counts money in her sleep because I’m so worried about what we are doing with multiple mortgages.

In the end I said FUCK IT. I bought the tickets in a section near where Skinny Bitch will be. Being spontaneous is both exhilarating and exasperating. Without a doubt, the girls and I will have an absolute blast tonight. For maybe a whole day the will allow me to wear a “Mother of the Year” pin. However, due to the last minute planning… I don’t think I have anything that will match my bright red cowboy boots. 

xoxo
Ice Princess

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Near Tears during Open House!

Last night, yet another Open House. Of course we attended, and yes I meant to say “we.” I didn’t get a babysitter this time because I was told that it was ok to bring your kids. I armed Sugar with her iPod and Spice with crayons and a notebook and we were off.

We went immediately to Sugar’s class because we arrived at exactly the time we were supposed to. This meant that every parking spot was full and we had to walk for miles. Sugar bitched and moaned about the book fair, meeting the gym teacher and a thousand other things. I thought it was most important to figure out if there was a schedule of events and go from there. We went to her classroom, she showed me her desk and we waited to talk to the teacher.

As soon as we got the word that the presentation would be at 7:00, we headed to the gym to meet the teacher. Spice sat on the bleachers and colored while we listened to what the gym teacher had to say. She showed us all the rock climbing wall and talked about how they learn to do that. She spoke to each parent briefly and I was thrilled when she told me how sweet my girl is. I love to hear stuff like that. I’m told that she enjoys being on a team, helping out and doing things on her own. She’s a “joy to have in class.” Gym was always my worst subject, so I was pleased to hear that Sugar does so well. Proof that she does have some of her father in her.

We went back to her class and I spoke to her teacher long enough to ask how Sugar was doing in class. As you might remember from last year, Sugar had a few rough patches with her 4th grade teacher. I’ve been watching her grades, ok stalking the grade book, so I thought everything was ok. Her teacher confirmed that she is doing really well. I asked if she seemed to have problems paying attention and her teacher told me they’ve never had a problem. Come again? Every report card from every teacher mentions her attention span (or lack thereof). I am stunned and amazed and I’m not sure how that happened. Perhaps Sugar is still honeymooning with her teachers and her school and she’ll lapse back into it in a few weeks. Meanwhile I’m walking on clouds.

Then it was time for the presentation. We learned more about the SmartBoard and how it works. I would love one of these for my very own! They talked about the curriculum and what the kids would learn this year, once they get through the shit-ass standardized testing they’re having right now. “Everyday Math” or EveryParent’s Nightmare got quite a bit of attention. Turns out I’m not the only one that thinks it sucks. In fact the teacher mentioned that some kids even learn better the old fashioned way.

They talked about helping with homework and when to draw the line. They said if your kid doesn’t understand the work at home, we didn’t reach your child when we taught the lesson. Write a note and send the incomplete assignment back. They further encouraged us to keep in touch if there are things going on outside the classroom that might make your kid come to school feeling “fragile.” They also told parents to please let them know if there was something going on in school that was bothering them. The teachers are sometimes the last to know.

And then… then the teachers thanked the parents for raising such nice kids. They said that the behavior shown by this group of kids is what they typically see in June, after they’ve matured through the school year. They keep pinching themselves to see if they’re dreaming. They talked of their students’ impatience to learn, their kindness towards their classmates, their excitement to be part of this team. I know they were speaking to everyone in the room, but my heart just filled up and I wanted to cry… big, heaving, nose-running tears. They thanked the parents for being such an active part of their child’s education.

I just can’t get over it. Last year Sugar struggled to conform. She worked hard to please her teacher and do things right the first time. She had several incidents where she was publicly chastised and I worried that there was something wrong with my kid. I worried that she had problems understanding, reasoning and drawing conclusions. Perhaps instead, she was just paired up with the wrong teacher?

I’m thrilled with her placement and glad that I reached out to her 3rd grade teacher for assistance while filling out the placement forms. She told me that Sugar excels when she’s comfortable in her surroundings and encouraged to explore. She needs to feel safe to express her ideas.

Maybe these teachers coddle their students, or maybe they are just incredibly caring and nurturing. Whatever the case, if I could have hand-picked her teachers this year, these are the ones I would have chosen. 

xoxo
Ice Princess

Monday, October 10, 2011

Blogiversary

It’s official. I’ve been blogging for a year today. Who would have thought? I certainly didn’t. I thought that blogging would be yet another one of my brilliant ideas that lasts thirty seconds. If nothing else, I can go back and read about all the things I was going to do.

That’s where blogging makes me feel like a failure and a disappointment. I talk about all the things I want to do-walks for charity, losing weight, certifications, new job… I look back and read these posts about what I want to do and I end up in a funk. I’m a fucking failure. I had great intentions of participating in two charity walks this year. I missed one due to prior plans and I’ll miss the second due to a wedding. I’ve tried a thousand different things to lose weight and am sorely disappointed here too. I’m still fat. I’m hoping that the setting of the new house encourages me to get out and walk or bike ride or something. I can’t stay fat forever. As for the new job, sigh… what can I say? I’ve sent out gazillions of resumes and went on ONE WHOLE interview. A stellar success, I tell you.

On the other hand, I get to look back and reread so much of what’s gone on over the last year. There are my accomplishments: graduating and um, yeah that’s about it! But even better, I find myself laughing out loud at the funny stuff my girls have done. These memories would be lost in everyday life. In fact, I read these posts and don’t remember the incidents… but sit back after reading and think, “God, I’m glad I wrote that down. “ I’m sad that I didn’t take this on earlier. All the years of everyday stuff that I’ve lost. Someday I’ll be able to share this with the girls and we’ll look back fondly at the times we’ve long since forgotten.

The blog has also been a great place to vent. Only those that I want reading the blog know about it. I have the space and freedom to say what I want and I think it makes me a nicer person to deal with. And by being a blogger, I surf around and read other people’s blogs. I am in love with the writing, recipes, photography and children of women that I’ll never meet. I’ve recently started following others and even commenting now and then.

Reading the comments on blogs can be more interesting than the posts themselves. I don’t understand the readers that leave flaming comments on someone’s blog. You know what, if you don’t like it, don’t come back! A blog is a person’s own space in the world. Leave it alone, there’s no need for mean people.

In the last year, the blog has been looked at 4,500 times. There are eight followers and five set up for email notifications. That may not be much, especially when I look at some of my favorite blogs and see that they have THOUSANDS of visitors PER DAY, but it’s my own space. Since becoming part of Blogher, I’ve had a few posts featured under the “More from Blogher” heading on other blogs, so I see some additional traffic. I don’t know if posts are selected randomly or not, but it delights me to look at the feed and see that people I don’t know have stopped by.

And to you, my peeps… EN, Fly Girl, Stepmommy, Skinny Bitch, Pinky, Boo, Snorting Girl and Facebook Poker, Ultra, Michelle and Sarah… I thank you for popping in regularly and emailing, texting and calling with your commentary. Y’all are allowed to comment, you know… ;o)

Hugs and kisses to you all. Let’s see where we are in a year from now, shall we? Feel free to set your own goal (IN THE COMMENTS SECTION, PEOPLE) and we can remind ourselves next year how far we’ve come, how much or little we have changed, where we've gone in this journey that we call life. 

xoxo
Ice Princess

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sugar Time and The Blessed Reunion

I had the pleasure today of bringing Sugar to the local Girl Scout store to buy her Juniors vest that I never got around to getting last year. Of course we also needed a slew of patches, not that I knew what I needed to get. The woman working there must have been in the first Girl Scout troop ever formed. She was old and crotchety. I can’t say as I blame her. Their expected shipment was late and they were out of everything that me and 100 other customers were looking for. To top it off, I waited in line twice and both times, other evil Girl Scouts and their mothers cut in front of me. I must have wearing my Invisible Ice Princess cape today.

Sugar and I were in no great hurry to get home so we ran another errand, then stopped by to check out a new cafĂ©. I noticed it several weeks ago, it’s impossible to miss the bright purple awnings. We pulled in and decided to have lunch. The menu wasn’t very big, but Sugar and I each found something to order. As we waited for our food, she colored and made a puppy out of the Wiki Stix they provided. I indulged in a little “people watching.”

Before going on, I should mention that I’m a little strict when we eat out. I expect my kids to behave and use their best manners. This doesn’t always occur and we’ve had interesting experiences in restaurants in the past. When Sugar was about two, she decided that she didn’t want her hot dog and sent it sailing through the air. As fast as I moved after it, there was no catching the flying dog. I made my apologies and beat feet out of there. Fast forward five years and Spice had a tantrum in the same restaurant. She picked up her plate and banged it against the table repeatedly while shouting, “I’M ALL DONE!” This is a restaurant that we go to a lot. We know the owners and the wait staff, so it was embarrassing. The wait staff took it in stride and even laughed about it. Years later, our waitress mentions Spice’s impatience every time we see her.

When my kids misbehave so publicly, I’m mortified and I work double time to get the behavior to stop. Sometimes the Evil Mommy Eye works, sometimes it doesn’t. Worst case, I clean up their messes, smile apologetically at diners seated near us and we hurry out of the restaurant. I hope it’s obvious to anyone witnessing the buffoonery that the behavior exhibited by my children is not acceptable to me, their parent.

Directly in my line of sight today was a family that I guessed to be grandparents, a mother and her two kids. I first noticed them when the little girl took the lid off her ice water and dumped the contents into her macaroni and cheese. None of the adults said anything to her, they simply took the cup from her. After that, the little girl got up from her chair and wandered around the table, snatching food from her older brother, then moseying around the restaurant. She kept chewing her food and opening her mouth really wide so everyone else in the place could see what she was eating. She went to the table next to them, which was set up for the next round of customers. She fiddled with the silverware, even sticking a spoon or two in her mouth, perhaps checking to see which one fit best, I don’t know. She walked down the hall to the bathrooms and was clearly out of her mother’s sight. She came back and swiped more food from her brother. All the while, none of the three adults at the table addressed her behavior. Clearly, they weren’t paying attention anyway. I was appalled by her behavior and the lack of attention that any of the adults paid her. I wished that I was one of those people that could speak up when they see shit like that happen. If you don’t want to discipline your kids, fine, but have some respect for the rest of the people trying to enjoy their meal. See food mac and cheese is disgusting and watching a kid do somersaults between tables isn’t cute.

By the time we got home, it was almost time for my reunion with Gretchen. I got to the salon early and waited for a bit while she finished up with another client. Then it was my turn and it was glorious! We had a gazillion things to talk about, our conversation was a continuation of our phone chat the other day. I am not afraid to say to her, “This is what I have to spend and this is what I want done. Can you make it happen?”

In the midst of our chatter, she managed to get my hair cut and colored. I was delighted when she sat down next to me after putting me under the dryer so we could continue our chat. Some relationships feel like a comfy pair of slippers. No matter how long you go without wearing them, they fit perfectly the next time you put them on.

It was a great day, spending a little one on one time with Sugar. We talked about little bits of things, and mostly enjoyed having each other’s full attention. I’m sure to have date with Spice in the near future, so she can have some special time too. It was an added bonus to hook back up with an old friend and find that we still like each other and have even more in common than we thought we did.

xoxo
Ice Princess 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Reunited!

Many years ago I went to a hairstylist in my town that I adored. I started going to her right after she and her friend opened their little salon. It was so cute and the hair girls were so much fun. We would laugh it up the entire time I was in there. We’d talk about music, shopping, small-town living, and anything else we could think of. We got pregnant around the same time and had even more to talk about. Usually when you’re getting your hair done, you shut up while the hair dryer is on. Not in this case. We’d talk LOUDER so we could still hear each other. It became normal that my throat would hurt when I left the salon.

Suddenly, their salon got so busy that I just couldn’t get in on Saturdays, the only day EN is around to watch the girls. I moved on to the hair girl I had until divorcing her a few months ago. Of COURSE I didn’t divorce her to her face, but did so via blogging… which she doesn’t read. http://bucketofice.blogspot.com/2011/08/divorcing-hair-girl.html . The day before my last appointment with her, I simply called and canceled. I hemmed and hawed through a lame-ass excuse and sounded like a dope, but the break was clean.

Several weeks later, I have roots longer than highlights and my bangs hang in my eyes like a scraggly dog. I look stunning. I have several issues, I like the basic color that Divorced has been doing, not crazy for the cut… Also, in the days of hoarding money, I do not want to spend a bazillion dollars to look good. I also don’t want to go to some new chick and say, “I want to look good, but I currently don’t want to spend jack shit.”

After thinking about it for a good long time, all while NOT trimming my own bangs (WOOT!), I bit the bullet yesterday and called the girl I used to see. I felt like I was calling an ex and begging for a reconciliation. Of course she was with a customer and would need to call me back. Just when I had given up hope, she called me an hour and a half later. I started with, “You probably don’t even remember me…” and she said, “Of course I do!!!” That was it, game on. We laughed it up something fierce. We talked about our kids, caught up on our lives, discussed which concerts we had seen recently and who loves Bret Michaels more. Oh yeah and I gave her the basic idea of what I needed done to my hair.

Will wonders ever cease? She has an opening this Saturday at 3:00. It was meant to be. Fate. Kismet. Good karma… I said, “WHAT? You are always booked?” She said, “I guess I just got to be too busy on Saturdays and lots of people left like you did.” I was sure to say, “See, it was your fault then.” Brave comment, given that she’s going to be working on my head with scissors and hair dye on Saturday. We were so crazy on the phone that Sugar said, “Who was that?” when I hung up, obviously embarrassed by her mother’s behavior.

It’s with great excitement that I head off tomorrow afternoon to see Gretchen. In fact, I’m so excited about seeing her, I sent her a friend request on Facebook. I’d be withholding information if I didn’t say that I really sent that invitation just to prove that I have in fact actually touched Bret Michaels.  

Reunited and it feels so good!

xoxo
Ice Princess 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Boot Camp for Five Year Olds

I’m going to continue on down my merry road of school-related rants today. The beginning of a new school year and two new schools gives me so much to bitch about! Today’s topic: kindergarten and everything I’m learning while my child is in kindergarten.

Public kindergarten is fairly new in my town. Our state is so progressive education-wise that public kindergarten wasn’t even a mandatory offering until recently (2009 I believe). Our legislation obviously never read “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum. We were thrilled when our town finally built the kindergarten but were disappointed that our schedules didn’t allow us to provide middle of the day transportation for Sugar. Therefore, she went to private kindergarten which really was an extension of daycare: same place, same kids, different teacher.

The public kindergarten is an entire new world for my family. We have loads of new rules to learn. Some were presented to us in the beginning and Spice is nearly over her “no cupcakes on your birthday” snit. We got a newsletter on Tuesday and now have new battles to face. This week’s whinefest will be directed at Halloween and Open House.

In my little world Halloween was always celebrated by dressing in a costume and trick or treating. At school, we’d all put on our costumes and have an afternoon party with junk food and fun games. Just as our sugar highs were reaching warp speed, our teachers shipped our happy asses home. I was thrilled when we moved to this small town where Main Street is shut down and the elementary kids march in a Halloween parade. Cutest thing ever. I knew that the half-day kindergarten program wouldn’t work for parade attendance, but I was surprised to see the following note in the newsletter:

“Our Fall and Harvest Theme Day will be here before you know it on Thursday, October 27th. I’d like to take this opportunity to give you a bit of background on the day. With decades of experience as early childhood professionals we are well aware that Halloween, the wearing of costumes and the agitation that accompanies the day can be extremely upsetting and frightening to some young children. As a staff we are committed to maintaining a calm, safe learning environment for all children every day of the school year… As this is not a celebration of Halloween we politely ask that you do not send your child in a costume and do not send edible treats for the class.”

I am one of those neglectful moms. You know the ones I’m talking about, those that work outside the home. Therefore, my girls have been in daycare for most of their lives. I can say with absolute certainty, neither of my children have ever been frightened by Halloween costumes. The Easter Bunny, well that’s an entirely different story but while we’re banning Halloween, perhaps the fucking bunny is next on the chopping block.

I really am aghast that there will be no Halloween party at Spice’s school. Perhaps I’ll let her wear two tutus that day… maybe even with a crown. I dare them to call me and chew me out for allowing a costume to be worn to school. My kid eats breakfast in that “costume” every freaking day. It’s not a costume it's haute couture. 

Now, the Open House. This has been on my calendar since school started and I was excited to go. Open House was always fun for me as a kid. I went to school in four different places and Open House was always the night we brought our parents in and showed them all the work we’ve done so far. As a matter of fact, Open House meant the same thing at Sugar’s school. For some reason I had an inkling that things might be a little different at this Boot Camp for Five Year Olds. I called ahead last week and was told it was for parents only. Surely I missed the memo. I went back through everything I had gotten from the school and went on the school’s website. Nope, no mention of it being “parents only.” Surely they are going to let parents know to leave their kids at home? Surely they are going to give enough notice so parents can find a sitter if they need to? On Monday they sent home a cute little note, “Don’t forget Open House! Children will be happier staying at home.” Thanks for the notice and I’m glad I planned ahead.

Which brings me to my final rant of the day (swear!)… Last night I was delighted to attend Open House at Boot Camp. There are some seriously cute projects hanging about and I was amused that Spice had drawn her teacher a picture of a handbag. I wasn’t sure who any of the parents were, but there was the typical teacher hog and I did overhear Big Head’s (aka Crying Girl) mom whining about something. I daresay the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. What surprised me the most is the lack of attendance? There are around 20 in Spice’s class, but there were only eight or nine parents in the room. I tend to think of Parents Night as mandatory, especially for the kindergarteners who are just beginning this magical journey.

My memories of kindergarten are pretty vivid. I loved school and my teacher. She was a gorgeous black woman named Mrs. Parker and she always had beautifully polished nails. The incident that I remember the most though, involved two of my classmates hitting up the local Foodmart before school. The didn’t have any money, so they just took the ice cream they wanted. Mrs. Parker had to go bail them out. Too bad I don’t know where any of those people are now. I know a great boot camp Mrs. Parker could have sent those bad boys to. 

xoxo
Ice Princess

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Progress Report

Since I started blogging, I have talked endlessly about helping Sugar with her homework, how we fight over math, and how we take a spelling test every night. In doing this, we spend time together (we don’t always fight!) and I can see how she’s doing in school. I’ve also even learned how to spell words like turquoise and rhinoceros without relying on spell check. Side note: last week “dungarees” was on the list. Does anyone EVER use this word anymore? I’m positive I’ve never even heard my 70-year-old dad use that gem.  

When Sugar started at the middle school, I was really worried. She has to work pretty hard to learn and for the first time ever, she’ll be getting actual grades this year. I know she wants to do well, but sometimes she doesn’t want it enough to work at it. I’ve been trying to have more fun with it this year to keep her interested. We’ve really been working hard at working together. It’s very difficult when the child learns and thinks in a way that is foreign to the mama.

Another way I monitor progress is by checking in on her school website. There is a login and password and I can see all her grades. Greatest. Invention. Ever. Since I finished school in December, I’ve been missing the stalking of the grade book. Now I’m back and it’s glorious to log in and see every blessed assignment. Oh yeah, if they give out prizes at the end of the year to the mom with the best stalking abilities, I might be a contender.

Yesterday Sugar came home with a “Safety Net Progress Report.” I looked it over and saw that it was basically the same information I’ve been looking at in PowerSchool. In fact, there’s enough detail listed that I could figure out which assignments were which and have even discussed some of them with Sugar. Her progress report was not a surprise to me mostly because I have been paying attention. I should also mention here that we hooted, hollered and high fived at how well she’s been doing. I’m very proud, she’s been working hard.

Later in the evening, I get a text from Skinny Bitch that someone on her Facebook friends list posted that her daughter brought home a Progress Report with all F’s on it. In so many ways, there’s so much wrong there… First, posting something like that publicly on Facebook? Do you really want everyone to know that your daughter is failing every class? Even worse, how would your daughter feel if she knew you had done that? I know some people are on my friend list only because their children are friends with my children… So now, there’s potential for this child’s friends to see that she’s failing everything.

Second, there are plenty of opportunities for parents to see how their kids are doing in school, even if they don’t have access to the Internet. Teachers send completed work home.  Teachers assign homework which can be checked by a parent before it’s turned in. In fact, our district loves that shiteous Everyday Math and sends home an answer key. So even if we are NOT smarter than our fifth graders, we can easily check their work! In addition, all completed assignments are sent home on Fridays in the Friday Folder, which is to be signed by the parent, stating that we have looked at our child’s work for the week. How on earth could these grades be a surprise to this mom?

And if the grades were in fact, NOT a surprise to this mom, what is she doing about it? Parents are given so many tools to use to ensure that their kids are getting the best education that can be given. We just have to maybe, stop for a moment and pay attention.

After meeting the basic needs of our children, there are a million things that we can give our kids. We can buy them craploads of “stuff.” We can pay for them to learn how to dance, sing, craft, or a thousand other things. We can sign them up to play their favorite sport. However, our kids grow up and toys are discarded. Gymnastics is deemed ‘boring’ and now there’s a desire for ice skating lessons instead.

However, we send our kids off to school at the ripe old age of five for kindergarten. They continue for the next 13 years until they (hopefully) graduate from high school. They start off with the basics of ABCs and 1-2-3s, and build on that until they’re trying to learn some crazy shit like Geometry. There’s really no reason whatsoever to not work alongside your kid for as long as they let you. It’s time spent together and you are showing interest in what they are learning. You’ll be amazed at what other information you learn about their school day during this time. It’s free to do and you can even learn something yourself-at the very least you can learn that you can put a math problem in Google and the solution pops right up. Not that you’ll be looking for answers mind you, but the steps on how to correctly get to the answer!

Your kids might lose their edge in baseball or ballet, but reading, writing and arithmetic… these skills they’ll have forever. No one can ever take what’s learned though a good education away from a child. So whether you stay at home or work full time, find just a few minutes on a regular basis to pay attention to what your kids are doing in school. It’s so worth it.

xoxo
Ice Princess

Side note: I do realize there comes a day when my kid will have no interest in me looking at their homework. However, there’s still PowerSchool and I can still go online to see what work is being done, and what isn’t. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Thirteen Years

I'll always remember the song they were playin',
The first time we danced and I knew,
As we swayed to the music and held to each other,
I fell in love with you.

Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?
Would you be my partner every night?
When we're together, it feels so right.
Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?

I'll always remember that magic moment,
When I held you close to me.
'Cause we moved together, I knew forever,
You're all I'll ever need

Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?
Would you be my partner every night?
When we're together, it feels so right.
Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?


-Anne Murray 

Today is our 13th wedding anniversary. I should be in the mood to blog some romantic bullshit about how EN is still the love of my life and I’d do it all over again.

For some reason today, I’m thinking more about the actual wedding than the last thirteen years. The wedding I didn’t want to have… I knew it would be up to us to pay for and we had NO money. But when you pay for your own wedding, you get to call your own shots. There’s no father bitching that you are spending a gazillion dollars on filet mignon. No one else’s opinion matters. Your day is actually yours. Had my mother-in-law gotten that memo, the day would have been fabulous. But those are stories for another day.

My favorite memories of that day… That was the only day EVER that my father told me I was beautiful… The dope I married didn’t recognize me when I started down the aisle… The best wedding cake ever (so good in fact, we still go there for birthday cakes!)… EN and Senior dancing on the speakers to YMCA-EN wore an Indian headdress, his dad wore a construction hat. My friend John caught the garter and EN's slutty coworker caught the bouquet. As John was sliding the garter up her leg, she screeched, "Not too high. I don't have any underwear on." You don't find that kind of class just anywhere, folks! I remember standing in the back of the room, taking a breather and looking out at the full dance floor. Everyone was dancing around with their arms in the air, it looked like the front rows of a concert. I remember laughing and dancing and being happy, but I also remember being wildly annoyed by people that need to be the center of attention no matter whose day it is.

We’ve come a long way since then. We’ve changed a lot. We’ve added to our family. The only thing that hasn’t changed is that he’s still the one.

Happy Anniversary!


xoxo
Ice Princess

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Family Date

Since we put the offer in on the new house, I have been in “hoarding money” mode, knowing that there might come a time when we have to carry two mortgages. It all looks good on paper, but the thought scares the shit out of me. I have even turned down play dates to McDonalds, that $15 might be needed someday. I’ve liquidated stock options (they were due anyway) and I plan on cashing out the CD that is due to be rolled over. All that money will sit in savings in the event that we will need to dip in for monthly bills on two houses. The thought of struggling gives me nightmares.

The closing on the new house has been pushed off and pushed off, so now it looks like we won’t close until October 14, meaning the first month that we might have to pay two mortgages is December. Nice timing for the holidays. We’re smart like that. There has been some interest in our current house and we had two showings this week. One family asked if we would accept an offer contingent on them selling their house. We told them to sell their current house, then make the offer. I know this family loved our house, they stayed here for almost an hour. But an offer with that kind of contingency ups the ante on scary nightmares.

Fly Girl reminded me this week that the greatest fair in our state was going on and I thought I would really like to go with the family. The thought of all that fair food made my mouth water. Life isn’t scary after tossing back fried dough and a blooming onion. We planned to go Saturday, but woke to a pretty steady rain. I’m not the fun mom who thinks schlepping through muddy fairgrounds is a good time. We adjusted our plans and decided to go to the movies instead.

We all really wanted to see Dolphin Tale, but I know Sugar will be going to see that to celebrate her friend’s birthday. We opted for The Lion King even though we have seen it a million times. It was playing in 3D, which meant that tickets for the four of us set us back almost $50 (damn, I remember going to the dollar theater as a teen!), then we added in our vat of popcorn, candy and soda.

The four of us sat there with our dorky 3D glasses on and were riveted to the screen. I had forgotten how much I love that movie. Timon is one of my favorite Disney characters ever, behind Chip and Dale, of course. I guess I have a thing for annoying little big-mouthed characters. We chomped down our industrial-sized bag of popcorn, finishing long before the movie did. We balanced the salt and butter with a bag of Sour Patch watermelon candy and a bucket of Sprite. This is the only time the girls are allowed soda, so you know they sucked that baby back.

We stopped on the way home for a to-go order of the world’s best chicken tenders. We drove home in a car filled with yummy smells, looking forward to a great dinner. We were all content and happy, having gone out together-all four of us-for the first time in a long time.

I hope you feel as content after your weekend as I do. 

xoxo
Ice Princess