Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fight Nation

I am not sure what is going on with my girls, but they have been behaving like animals lately. Then, just when I think it’s getting better, they are out of control again.

EN and I have opposite work schedules. I work during the day, 8-4:30 pm. EN works from 3 pm until 11 pm. This means he doesn’t see much of Sugar during the week, but does get to spend time with Spice because she goes to afternoon kindergarten.

This means I get up every morning and get myself ready for work, while I attempt to get Sugar ready for school at the same time. I would think that an 11 year old should be able to remember all the same fucking things she’s had to do before school EVERY SINGLE DAY for years, but for some reason she can’t. So every day, I have to remind her to brush her hair, put deodorant on, wash her face, eat her breakfast. I recently took a poll of my Facebook friends to see if their kids were able to practice good hygiene on their own at this age and was told basically that my expectations were too high. Seriously, you’d think the girl would want to look and smell clean.

Our morning routine gets more magical if Spice decides to wake up early too. Somedays, she’s just fine and we all have a wonderful time in the morning, laughing and joking. However, there are other times when her only goal in the morning is to piss her sister off before she leaves the house. Even on those mornings, Sugar can send Spice on 37 errands around the house and Spice will do each and every one without complaint. And we all need to watch out if Sugar’s hair hasn’t properly cooperated into a smooth ponytail.

Then we all go about our respective days and at 4:30, I leave work and rush to two different locations to pick the girls up. We get home at 6:00 pm and I get to cook dinner, help with homework, go through school folders, take care of dogs, clean kitchen, bathe girls, read stories, rub backs and have them in bed for 8:30… because if they stay up one minute later, I will go insane.

Lately, while I am doing all that running around, the girls have started fighting. It’s generally over something stupid, like Sugar’s left butt cheek hovering over Spice’s cushion. If they aren’t fighting, one is antagonizing the other. Or one is tattling on the other. Or one is screaming bloody blue murder about how they have been wronged. Or they have banded together to try to talk their mother into taking them to Toys R Us, Walmart, out to dinner, buy us a hamster, WE SWEAR WE WILL STOP FIGHTING AND WE WILL TAKE CARE OF IT.

Y’all, they even fight about feeding the dogs and will push each other out of the way to get to the bowls first.

And every night I am frustrated. I yell and scream and take away privileges, but nothing helps. They may cry and act sorry, but they’re back to the same old tricks the next night. Every night I have yelled so loud that I’ve seen stars and have a hoarse voice. Some nights they go to bed crying, but most times they are either pissed off at me or each other.

I’ve thought about taking a moment to myself and sitting in the garage like I did when they were babies and wouldn’t stop crying. Only now, they will come hunt me down, sniffing out my need to be alone like a coyote tracks his prey.

The nightly routine has become torture. This torture is compounded by the fact that I’m still not completely settled in the new house. There’s still shit that has no place it belongs. There’s still a clean-up routine that hasn’t been established. Nothing is right and I don’t have the energy to make things right after dealing with fight nation every single night.

The only solution I can come up with is for EN to switch his shift to midnights, because there is no room on day shift. That means I’ll have him do deal with too, and his inability to sleep during the day and his infringing on our routine that’s been exclusive to us for all these years… I can’t decide if his presence will make things better or worse. But if things are worse with him home, I’d be legally able to grab my car keys and leave the three of them home to fight with each other without me. That’s a good thing…

Ice Princess

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Who's That Girl?

I went to a party at my new neighbor’s house and I behaved abysmally. I was THAT girl. Let me list my offenses:

1.       A woman walked in carrying a little Maltese dog under her arm. After she walked by I looked at the others I was sitting with and said, “What’s up with the dog?” While rude, the comment did cause the four girls sitting near me to bust into uproarious laughter. I feel my comment was justified when the woman picked her dog up later in the evening and chastised it for being rude.

2.       A woman was singing the praises of 50 Shades of Gray and said it was the BEST book ever. I loudly announced that her porn was lame and that she should read something by Megan Hart. I guess I nominated myself Know-It-All of the Erotic Fiction Genre. Go me.

3.       I was introduced to the woman whose parents lived in my foreclosed and raped house. I didn’t mention that fact that I lived here, but reminded her that I had met her at a party at her own house. When she walked away, I wiggled my unwaxed eyebrows at the hostess and said, “AWKWARD.” Seriously, what do you say to the person that you KNOW had a hand in trashing the house you just bought… “You people should be arrested for your actions” isn’t going to win friends anywhere.

On the other hand, I made some new friends. I ran into a girl that I had met ten years ago when she was still a teenager. We talked about her family and she was stunned by the ridiculous details I remembered about people I knew so long ago. We chatted forever and as I left she told me she loved me and would look me up on Facebook.

Two other girls that laughed harder at Doggie Mama than I did said that I fit in well with them and invited me to join up with them and start a Jersey Shore style, “blond headed white girl brawl.” Be sure to note that in that situation, I was a follower and not a leader. I do realize that if said brawl had materialized, I would have been considered an accomplice.

I’m home now and giggling just a little about my misdeeds. I’m almost always the nice girl at a party. If I disagree with something, I shut up about it, especially with someone I don’t know. I might think wicked thoughts about women carrying dogs around like accessories and the awkwardness of being introduced to skanks, but that obviously wasn’t the case tonight.  

I was THAT girl. And I kinda liked it. 

Ice Princess

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"Everything Nice" is Hereditary

This past weekend we had the pleasure of visiting EN’s 92-year-old grandpa at his new place. He recently moved from the home he’d lived in for a gazillion years to an assisted living facility. I warned him in advance that he’d be a hot commodity there as women far outnumber men. Plus he still has a driver’s license and a car. Great Grandpa gets to be the cool kid. I wonder if any of his harem ever call shotgun?

I’ll admit to being apprehensive about going. I was worried about the state of the facility… Those places can be run-down, smelly, have workers that treat patients badly… It could just be a bad scene. Plus those places are filled with old people. I won’t lie: old people scare the shit out of me. I blame that on a grandfather with a mean streak a mile wide.

The facility was GORGEOUS. The staff members we met were friendly and helpful. And Grandpa seemed happy. We had lunch in the private dining room and were then taken on a grand tour. I’m telling you, if I could afford it, I would move there NOW. I really was awed by how nice it was. My prediction was dead-on: Great Grandpa is a stud. Women everywhere came over to say hello and to be introduced. There were lots of hugs and Grandpa would introduce his lady friends with his arm wrapped around them. I would later find out that Grandpa had talked to his priest about whether or not “relations” between two unmarried 90+ year olds would be ok. Would you believe the priest said no?? In my head, if the old guy is still thinking about it, let him have at it.

EN Senior, Stepmommy and EN’s baby sisters were visiting from Alabama and we also saw a couple other family members. Unlike the magic happening between members of my own family, this get together was drama free and easy. We ate lunch together, then we went to a cousin’s house (formerly Grandpa’s house), then had dinner together. Throughout the entire day, no drama. I guess we don’t see these people enough. Or perhaps we do see them just enough to like each other but not enough to snipe at each other.

One of my favorite characters is EN’s uncle. We have a long, rich history of giving each other shit. It all started when we went south for Senior and Stepmommy’s wedding. After the rehearsal dinner, we decided that we should all go for drinks at the Ruby Tuesday next to the hotel. I said that I needed to change into comfier clothes because I ate too much and he said, “What would Stacey and Clinton say?!” OH MY GOD, Uncle John is talking my language! He knows “What Not to Wear”!!! Since that time we’ve called each other Clinton and Stacey. The next day while everyone was busy with wedding preparations, Clinton and I headed over to the local Walmart to people watch and shop. Our best find was the wide variety of camouflage.  Who knew there were different patterns? We still haven't figured out if one mixes camo or sticks to one pattern at a time. 

While we were at Grandpa’s former house, he suddenly got up from the party and walked across the lawn to visit with the “widow woman” who lives next door. We all giggled, wondering what was going on… then a thought occurred, what if Grandpa isn’t back by the time we need to go to dinner? Who would go get him? I’m eternally grateful that he appeared before we had to fight that out. I assure you, it would have gone the way of a Texas Death Cage Match.

In all, it was a fabulous day. I enjoyed the company of EN’s family and couldn’t help but notice again that he comes from a long line of “everything nice.” These men are some of my favorite in all the world. EN’s sisters are no longer the little girls I met for the first time on my wedding day. Now, they’re grown women with college degrees, both living on their own. And do I really need to say how much it thrills me to see Stepmommy? Seriously, do you know anyone else that would take a weekend trip with the woman who is essentially her mother-in-law without being forced?

On Sunday Sugar said, “Hey Mama, did you notice that Great Grandpa smiled all day? Every time I looked at him he had a cute little smile. I just love him.”

Just call him EN the First.
Sugar and Spice

Ice Princess 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Rely on Potty Humor for a Laugh

Because I am in a bad place and I have nothing but bad things to say, I will share a funny kid story. On Sunday, I was sitting out on the porch and the girls were with me along with a friend from down the street. This friend just so happens to share the same name as Spice, so we’ll call her Spicier.

It went down something like this:

Me: So it was nice that Maddy came back around on Friday.
Sugar: Yeah, she was better than the last time she was here. She threw that toilet paper right in the toilet!
Me: Well it could have been worse, I could have made you use the wet toilet paper.
Sugar: That’s gross!! You know what goes in a toilet? I crapped in there this morning!
Spicier: Oh, not me. I only crap on Fridays.

I laugh every time I think about this exchange. I laughed as I typed it and I laughed again as I reread it. Nothing like stupid potty humor to pull me out of the family melodrama I’m wallowing in.

I’ll be back soon… I’ve worked hard to reach TWELVE WHOLE FOLLOWERS. I’ll try to bring back the hot mess y’all are used to in the near future.

Ice Princess

Monday, May 7, 2012

A.K.A Julie McCoy

Birthday Extravaganza is over for another year. It’s exhausting having two birthdays in one week. Who am I kidding, my birthday is all but forgotten since Sugar came along. It’s our fault that it’s this way. When she was about two, we took her to the Olive Garden on MY birthday (hers was still two days away!) and she had a screaming fit that they sang Happy Birthday to me and not her. What did we do about it? We asked them to come and sing to her. Yeah, we did. Our own fault. Totally.

Now’s she’s the ripe old age of eleven and still expects parades and roses and hamsters on every birthday. Spice is the same way, so obviously I’m doing something wrong in the way I am raising them. Or I could take a glance over at some behaviors I see on the OTHER SIDE of the family tree and blame them. But, then I'm scared because said individuals are in their 60's and 40's and MY KIDS WON'T BE LIKE THAT FOREVER, WILL THEY??

On Saturday morning, the girls finally started back up with their ice skating lessons. We hadn’t brought them since last year because we were busy with the move and kitchen remodel. There’s one eight-week session left before summer, so we signed them up. We are too late for taking part in the recital, so it’s just lessons for now. I paid for the lessons and settled down to read my book while they skated. I never even picked it up. I was surprised and in awe of how much they retained. Spice didn’t even do her “lay down and play dead on the ice" trick this time. Sugar is learning new jumps. I feel a little twinkly inside when I watch them.

I should state here that Sugar and I had long-standing plans for a shopping trip Saturday afternoon, just her and me. As we were about 45 minutes from home at the rink and Spice was with us, I figured it would be obvious that we were going home to leave Spice with her dad and hang out for a while. But no, we get in the car and Sugar says, “What are we doing next?” Really? “We are going home. You said this shopping trip was to be you and I, what would I do with Spice, leave her in the car??” So we went home and I took a nap, then got ready for the mall.

I’ll be honest, I was dreading it. I’ve been feeling like anything I do for Sugar just is not enough. I feel like I never EVER meet her expectations. I don’t buy her enough things, I don’t spend enough time with her, I don’t do enough for her… I just don’t understand where I’ve gone so terribly wrong. I knew that this year she wanted a dog/rabbit/guinea pig/gerbil/hamster for her birthday and EN and I agreed that we have enough pets so we told her no… and kept telling her no, despite posters, cards, texts and emails sent in an attempt to convince us that a new pet was a good idea. I figured that the final round of “No pet for your birthday” would be fought at the mall and we’d leave angry.

However, I was surprised beyond belief at what a nice time we had. She never even mentioned the hamster. We shopped in her favorite stores. We sat side by side and she got her first pedicure ever. She used the money I gave her in lieu of a party to buy a new iPod. We left happy and our feet looked fabulous.

Man with tattoos like that should be rubbing on Mama's
feet, not Sugar's... Just sayin'.

Next on the agenda was dinner with Fly Girl and Bella, and EN and Spice. We went to a Japanese grill where the food is cooked right in front of you. I’m embarrassed to say that was the first time I went to a place like that. We loved it! Spice asked on Sunday if we could have that for dinner again. They never eat that well and both nearly cleared their plates-and Sugar was using chopsticks! Why is it that my kid can use them (I taught her!!) but I can’t?

On Sunday Sugar was off to an indoor water park with her Girl Scout troop. When I picked her up in the afternoon, I was asked to drive another girl home. As soon as the friend got out of the car, Sugar says, “What’s next?” What’s next is that I am going to go home and nap because I’m exhausted thinking about spending the day at a water park.

Just call me Julie Fucking McCoy. Remember her? The Cruise Director on The Love Boat? I don’t know if it’s the way I’ve raised my kids or if it’s society in general today, but I feel like they expect to have one activity stacked on top of another all weekend long. What’s wrong with taking the damn dog for a walk? Or playing with friends? What’s wrong with just hanging out?

I don’t think my kids are overly spoiled. In fact, I’ve seen them behave very graciously when they receive praise, cards, phone calls, gifts… In fact, I posted on my Facebook that it was Sugar’s party and she was near tears when she read the 20 comments, “These people took time out of their day to wish ME a happy birthday?” Then she asked if she could use my account (because I am Mean Mama and won’t let her have Facebook yet) to say thank you to everyone.

Given that they show other adults their best sides most of the time, I should probably shut up and put up, but I find myself to be so frustrated. I just can’t figure out why I’m so exhausted from trying to do it all, yet I’m made to feel like I’ll never do enough. At least this weekend, for a brief instant, all was right in the world and we had a wonderful time together. 

Ice Princess

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Laters, Baby...

If you knew where the title of this post came from, I know what you’ve been reading. If you don’t know what the title refers to, I have to ask… DO YOU LIVE UNDER A ROCK? HOW CAN YOU NOT HAVE HEARD OF THIS SERIES OF BOOKS?

I’m referring of course to the book 50 Shades of Gray. It’s been the hot topic on talk shows, the Internet, magazines, and playgrounds everywhere. Women are reading porn these days and they are all too happy to tell their friends all about it.

Back in the olden days (like last year), women may have read smut, but they didn’t talk about it. If they did, they owned up to reading something written by that bad girl Jackie Collins if they felt the need to read something racy. The popularity and main stream discussions of this book seem to have made the reading of down and dirty raunch acceptable.

I’m ok with this. In fact, I embrace it. If men can walk into a store and buy a Playboy without shame, why can’t a woman read a novel that causes her nether regions to smoke like a Grateful Dead concert?

Ultra and I discussed this book, but she read it before me. She recommended that I DROP EVERYTHING and read it. Then she was completely annoyed with my commentary about the book when I started it. Who can blame her? I’m a picky pain in the ass. I even annoy myself sometimes.

I liked the characters in the book, but the “good parts” didn’t make my loins ache as I was under the impression they would. I found the speed that Ana went from being a virgin to letting Christian tie her up a little unrealistic. I also found myself to be uncomfortable with the dominant/submissive angle of the story. Not my gig.

But as uncomfortable as I found that to be, nothing prepared me for an email from my mother. She had been at her hair salon and her stylist asked her if she had read the books. She recommended these books to my mother, so my mom felt the need to ask me if I had heard of the series. Y’all… I’m not discussing this shit with my mother. I just can’t. Despite some very vivid memories of walking in on my parents, I’ve convinced myself at this point that my birth was as a direct result of an immaculate conception. I don’t care what you have to say, that’s how it happened. My parents do not DO IT and my mother should have ZERO interest in smut. I won’t have it!

I told my mom that I had read the first book and it wasn’t really something I thought she would like. I didn’t say out loud, but if it is something she’d like, I don’t want to discuss it. My virgin ears would bleed.

Back to the books… I’ve read the first and plan on reading the rest of the series. However, I can’t read multiple books by the same author back to back because I end up annoyed by similar story lines, word usage, etc. I TOLD YOU, I am a total pain in the ass.

I’d also like to take a moment to enlighten the girlfriends about an unsung hero in the smut genre, if there is such a thing. I believe it’s properly referred to as erotic fiction. If you are in the mood, or NEED to get IN THE MOOD, check out Megan Hart. You can go right onto and read an excerpt from her novel, Tempted. If that shit doesn’t set your panties on fire, I can’t help you.

And if this post about erotic fiction offends you, know that I am offended too. I would never read shit like that. Ever.

Ice Princess 

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Sadness of Suicide

I sit here feeling a little sad at the end of a week that should have been filled with rainbows, butterflies and unicorns because it was Birthday Week. My birthday was Tuesday, Sugar’s was yesterday. A celebration in Sugar’s honor MUST last more than one day. There needs to be dinners with immediate family and one with grandparents, shopping trips to spend birthday money, cookies for school, cake for home. Everyone deserves to feel special on their birthday, so I indulge her. I draw the line at parades and hamsters.

A boy that went to Sugar’s school killed himself this week. He was young, only in 7th grade. Rumors say he ran away from home and shot himself because his girlfriend broke up with him. He did not die immediately and his family was able to donate his organs. This beautiful young boy will live on in the lives of seven people who were recipients of his life-saving gifts. If there was ever a ray of sunshine in a devastating situation, this would be it. The family has responded to friends asking “How can I help” with a request that everyone donate blood and sign up to be organ donors. Truly amazing requests.

This suicide brought back memories of my own 5th grade year. A girl in my class took a bunch of Tylenol in an attempt to take her own life. Fortunately, she survived. I’m not sure to this day why she attempted to take her own life. I imagine it had something to do with the fact that she was probably teased for being the first girl to develop. She was an 11 year old stuck in the body of a gorgeous 16 year old. I remember that she had boobs and curves where we all remained flat chested and stick straight. I remember that she was one of the lucky girls with clear skin, light blue eyes and jet black hair. As I moved from that area a few years later, I only guess that she grew up to be a beautiful woman. I do hope the sadness and pain she felt in elementary school no longer plagues her.

Until Wednesday, I was completely unaware of a similar happening in my little town. I became aware of the situation when Skinny Bitch texted me to ask if I had received an email alert from the school. She saw some chatter about it on Facebook and was unable to check her email at the moment. When I checked, I found an ambiguous letter that talked about a 7th grader being in critical condition in a hospital about an hour away. They went on to say that crisis counselors, guidance counselors and staff would be on hand to talk with the students.

Once again, parents are left in the dark. A letter from the superintendent and principal can only mean that we should have serious discussions with our children. But what topic exactly are we to discuss? A fellow student is in critical condition as a result of…???  Do we discuss the dangers of drugs? Do we discuss the dangers of wearing helmets while skateboarding and bicycling?

So we’re left to put our ears to the Mommy Mafia Underground. Some quick digging got me answers, but now I’m faced with having a discussion with my daughter based on rumor and innuendo. There was nothing in the media, there were no facts. I am unable to lead a discussion about what I know to be true.

I let Sugar guide the conversation. I asked her if anything had happened at school and she said no. I could have lectured her about the dangers of drugs, strangers and making smart choices, but I like to have a general idea of what the lesson should be.

I’m not suggesting that the school should have sent a detailed note about this student and what had occurred. I’m simply asking that they offer better information so parents know what is going on. They easily could have added a few words like, “A 7th grade student is in critical condition after attempting to take his own life.” Or, they could have said that counselors were on hand to discuss suicide prevention.

On Thursday, the middle schoolers went to school and each class was visited by the counselors… who led discussions about suicide.  I appreciate that the well-being of every student is a concern to the district and the administration. I appreciate that they “mobilized a team of professionals.” However, I do not appreciate that parents weren’t notified of these impending discussions before sending our kids off to school Thursday morning.

The principal and superintendent did in fact send another letter home Thursday to inform parents that discussions had occurred within classrooms throughout the day. I’m dumbfounded that they couldn’t be bothered to inform parents of this so that we could prep our kids before their school day began on Thursday.

I realize that many parents today put the burden on the schools and would like them to handle the “tough stuff.” As my girl is very sensitive, I’d prefer to give a heads up so she’s not taken aback when news such as this is thrown at her. Before this week, I’m pretty certain that she had no idea what the word suicide even meant.

But that’s all beside the point… the point really is that devastating losses like this occur far too often. We can’t blame society or bullying or even weapons. I think it’s more important to remember how hard it is to be a teenager and how much it fucking sucked when you developed before your friends… or when you had painful acne that blew up all over your face… or when just being in your own skin made you want to curl up in a ball and cry. The raging hormones and self-doubt were crippling. It takes my breath away when I recall certain instances in middle school.

The only thing I can think of to keep my girls safe is to keep them close and to surround them with a village of people that they can trust and rely on. I understand that it’s often hard to talk to your parents when you are going through these things. I strive to keep my girls involved in activities and have them around their extended families and my friends. I want them to see that there are people that love them and think they are special and beautiful and important, even when they think they are small and insignificant. I want them to feel comfortable around adults whose friendships I cherish just so they know that someday, if they need a grown up to talk to and Mama just isn’t the right one, they have choices.

I go a step further and try to earn the trust of Sugar and Spice’s friends. I try to remember to ask them about things that are important to them. I try to compliment them to help build self-confidence. If there is one message I could pass on to every kid I know, every single day, it would be a line from The Help by Kathryn Stockett, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

There is no one to blame when a suicide occurs. I only wish that the victim could be given the gift of seeing into the future and how much their action will affect their love ones. Not in the sense of “look how much you hurt your family,” but in the sense of, “look at the outpouring of love and kindness there is for you.”

May you rest in peace, BP. 

Ice Princess