Friday, February 24, 2012

Week Off with No Agenda

I decided just this week to ask for next week off to join EN and the girls on their vacation week. I'm still working on that "being spontaneous" thing...

The last day of work is always slow. It’s been “almost 2:00” for hours now. I am quite pleased to have next week off with no real plans or things to do-besides setting up my kitchen when it’s done. The last few vacations have involved travel, moving or holidays, so I really hope that we can relax, just a little bit even.

I’m smart enough to realize that we can’t spend the entire week at home. Two little girls would torture each other (and their parents) into slow painful deaths. Our first priority will be to get all the Girl Scout cookies shipped out, and get the house in order. After that, I’m hoping we can go to the movies, maybe do something crafty-I’m sure painting rocks will be the first item on Spice’s agenda… who does that? With the weather we’ve been having, I’m sure we’ll roller blade too.

This weekend we’ll start off with the girls going to my parents because they are finally tiling my kitchen floor. The cabinet that was shipped to replace the damaged cabinet is due to arrive next week. Potentially, in one week’s time, I could have a fully functioning kitchen with electricity and appliances and everything! I haven’t had a refrigerator on the main floor of the house since we moved!  The excitement over these things happening prompted a conversation between Sugar and I this morning about what we should cook first. I expected to hear cookies, cupcakes, brownies… something sweet. No, she’s dying for tuna casserole. Of all the things I’ve ever made for her, that’s what she misses the most?

One of the packages we need to send out is going to our newly adopted soldier. I adopted through the same organization ( and told them we’d like to have a male soldier this time, just to change it up. First, it turns out our guy grew up in the town next to ours. Second, his wish list is quite different than anything our Soldier Girls ever asked for… candy, hunting and fishing magazines, Little Debbie snacks, cookies… No more requests for soap and shampoo that smell yummy! It’s also different to exchange email with a male vs. female. Girls can always find stuff to talk about. Guys are less wordy. I can send him six paragraphs of questions and he’ll answer with one short paragraph.. but all my questions are answered and he’s said a few things on his own too. I guess it must be weird to hear from a stranger from back home. I will also say he is much more vocal about his wish list. The girls always said they didn’t care what was sent, which left me to my own devices. Selfishly, this is always a fun process for me, as I’m chatting with people that I normally would not meet.

Let’s hope for good weather, good times with fun friends and a completed kitchen! I’ll have to find something new to complain about!

Ice Princess

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

An Attack of the Guilties

I’ve seen this situation come up a few times lately and I’m starting to wonder if one of my “inner demons” is actually a widespread issue that women everywhere are facing. It’s certainly not a big deal, but it pains me to no end when it happens.

Skinny Bitch was recently invited out by her Merry Band of PTA Bitches. While she was out, her neighbor came over to see if she could watch their kids so he could take his wife to the emergency room. Killjoy let it slip that Skinny was out with the PTA bitches, never realizing that the wife normally attended these events as well. Now the cat is out of the bag that the group went out without her.

Situation #2: I haven’t seen my old friend Skippy since he left the company I still work for. We’ve tried several times to have lunch, but something always happens that fouls it up. Today we are having lunch, but he asked me not to tell anyone in the office, specifically the girl that I normally have lunch with. He is not overly fond of her and doesn’t want her joining us.

In both those situations, there is someone left stuck in the middle, in a sense. Skinny Bitch and I discussed what happened with her GNO (Girls Night Out for those too fancy to use the whole words!) and she felt awful that Angela found out they went out without her. In the case of my lunch, I also feel badly that someone is being excluded… Is it OK to not include everyone all the time? Or is it not nice and we SHOULD feel like shit because we are consumed with guilt?

I’ve always been of the opinion, that if I’m the planner, I’ll invite everyone that I want there. If I don’t want you there, I won’t invite you. Therefore, when I set something up, I invite everyone so there are no hurt feelings. I end up inviting a shitload of people, everyone I know actually, just to keep the peace. Either that or I lie my fucking ass off and hope that no one finds out what I’ve been up to. If I am NOT the planner, I have no right to invite additional people. That’s rude, right? Unless someone says, “Bring a friend!” it’s generally not acceptable to bring a gaggle with you.

I also find myself in this situation when it comes to mixing family, friends and coworkers. I generally do NOT like to mix my peeps. I keep three separate compartments for a reason. I especially do not like to mix family with friends and/or coworkers. I don’t have to claim my friends or coworkers. If they act like idiots in some way, it doesn’t really reflect on me at all. But family? You have no choice but to claim their bad behavior, and I guarantee, when it’s my family, there’s sure to be bad behavior. I don’t want to be part of it. In fact, nine times out of ten, I’m embarrassed by something they say or do, so it’s just plain easier to not mix the peeps.

I end up planning parties and get-togethers under the cover of darkness and I’m guilt-ridden though the entire process. I’m not sure if feeling like that is better or worse than saying, “To hell with it” and inviting everyone… then try to get through the party while holding my breath in fear of a parent getting belligerent or something.

Is it really normal to be so consumed by guilt for having a social life? Is this my own doing? Am I a bitch for not inviting everyone all the time? Or am I a pansy because I feel bad that some are comfortable not liking other people and therefore not including them?  I am so torn by this. It should be perfectly ok to enjoy a meal and not invite the world.

But my guilt leaves a lump in my throat.

Ice Princess 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fear Factor

I think every one of us has a fear of something, whether it be thunder storms or spiders. I have several fears that are pretty standard.

I’m scared of snakes, downright terrified. I can’t see them on TV or in a magazine even. EN once had to lead me through Best Buy because every fucking TV in the store was tuned to some God awful jungle documentary. He shook with laughter while I trembled with fear. Another time I called him at work while I sat in the driveway with Spice. I could not leave my car, there was a snake between me and the house. I demanded that he leave work IMMEDIATELY and drive the 30 minutes home to clear the beast. His response was something along the lines of, “Suck it up, Cupcake.” I started my car back up and drove back and forth several times (hoping I ran that bitch over) until the passenger door was right next to the house. I gathered Spice and we escaped into the house. All these years later, I’m still convinced that the 46 foot long mother fucker is living in my car somewhere. It’s just waiting to get me. I know it is.

I’m sometimes scared of the dark or being home alone. I was positive that once we moved into this foreclosure, the people that raped it would come back and shoot my ass off as I sat watching TV in the evening.

There is something that terrifies me even more than snakes or bitter foreclosers… It’s playing Tooth Fairy for my kids. So far, Sugar is the only one that has lost any teeth, Spice still has a mouthful to go.

I start getting anxious when I’m shown a wiggly tooth. I know what’s coming. We suffer through days, if not weeks, of, “Hey, is this tooth ready to come out yet?” For a wimpy kid, Sugar has no fear when it comes to wrenching her canines right out of her mouth. She will tug and pull and twist until the little sucker comes loose and gushes blood. I’m fairly certain that half her baby teeth could have lived another week or two in her mouth.

She lost her latest tooth on Thursday. Given that it came out IN TWO PIECES, I’m willing to bet she may have used a jackhammer to remove it. Somehow she managed to leave her tooth at Skinny Bitch’s, so I was saved from Doing The Deed last night.

She happily collected her tooth today and proudly showed me the splintered little pieces of baby tooth. She apparently brought it to the nurse at school and was given a cute little carrying case for it. I wanted to suggest that she keep it in the case forever and for always, but that kid will stop at nothing to earn a buck. I knew that tonight would be the night.

My hear t is already racing and I’m sweating like I just ran ten miles. And I have quite some time to go as the girls stayed up later than usual.

When the time is right, I will creep up the stairs slowly and quietly. I will feel my heart pounding and will hear my pulse inside my head. My hand will shake as I slowly reach for the Tooth Fairy Pillow so I can take the tooth and replace with a crumpled dollar bill. I will not breathe during this entire process.

I will close my eyes and try to calm myself. All the while I will be picturing the final scene in the Stephen King movie, Carrie… You know the part of which I speak, when the girl goes to Carrie’s grave and BAM that hand comes out of the ground and grabs her.

That’s fully what I expect my kid to do to me. I expect that she’s not really sleeping, she’s lying in wait like a snake in the grass to bust her mother for being a BIG FAT LIAR! She’ll shout, “I knew there was no such thing as a Tooth Fairy!!” And I will pee my pants like I did when that hand shot out of the ground at the end of the movie.

It’s my own fault for lying to my kids… I never should have told them about the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. At the very least, think of the money I would have saved myself.

I need to start delegating more of these shit jobs to EN. If you don’t hear from me, assume I’ve scared myself to death.

Ice Princess 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Heart of the Home

 To me, the kitchen has always been the heart of the home. It’s not that I cook all that much, or that I’m even very good at it, but that’s where we always seem to hang out. This holds true for any of the houses I have lived in as an adult. Maybe it’s just because my friends all like food?

It’s also where I tend to hang out when it’s just my immediate family at home. We’ll sit around the table and chat or paint or do homework. The girls also loved sitting at the breakfast bar in our old house. I think it made them feel big or tall or something. It’s the room that I feel I connect best with the girls, mostly because there are no distractions like TVs in the room.

Since we moved in November, we really haven’t had a functioning kitchen. The refrigerator has been in the basement. The cooktop didn’t work well and the dishwasher only cleaned the dishes if they were scrubbed first. We walked into this home deal knowing that we’d have to tear down and build all new. The cheap cabinets the bank installed weren’t even attached to the wall-we could play musical cabinets if we wanted! The countertop was nothing more than plywood covered in laminate. As soon as those suckers got wet, the laminate separated from the plywood and bubbled up all over.

There are also three wall cabinets, which I'm afraid to put too
much in. My luck, those suckers would smash to
the floor.
Because there's no real way to set up the kitchen, I haven't felt too motivated to do much else in the house. Oh, things are generally put away, but there is a haze of disorganization hanging over everything. Or maybe that's just construction dust. 

Between the move and the holidays, I really didn’t get a chance to talk with a kitchen designer (doesn’t that sound freakin’ fancy?) until a few days before Christmas. We talked to a couple of different designers and one came to the house to take measurements. Both EN and I liked one place and it really helped that several people recommended them highly.

The designer I worked with showed me several lines of cabinetry (do there really need to be so many?!) and I chose one that she called “semi customizable.” This meant that most of what we bought would come in standard sizes, but if we had oddly shaped angles or pieces, they’d be able to customize those for us. Given that our kitchen has 45 degree angles and a weird space for the oven, I knew we’d need some special help.

Fast forward a few weeks and I’ve chosen cabinets, hardware and counter tops. So as to not stress myself, I made only one decision per day. I joined Consumer Reports and was able to pick appliances without panicking too much. Before I knew it, everything I ordered started to come in.

Since EN has friends with experience building and installing cabinetry, we decided to not have the kitchen place do the installation and we’d give the job to our friends. Considering that the cabinetry would be “customized” to fit, we figured it would be a pretty easy install. Instead, the pieces and parts aren’t quite right… The section for the oven isn’t the right size and needs to be hacked to fit customized onsite. The drawer underneath the cooktop must also be hacked to be usable customized. I thought when she asked for the appliance model numbers, everything would work. The cabinet that the oven goes into has an opening that is 17” wide. Who on earth has an oven that small? The opening should also have been large enough to accommodate the attached microwave/convection oven. Instead, they need to customize these pieces. I guess that’s what she meant by “semi customized.”

I am very, very disappointed by this. Given that I spent a decent sum, my expectations were higher. Had I known we’d be doing our own customizing, I would have gone to a regular old hardware store and ordered some of their cabinets and countertops.

I go back and read through this post and I sound like a spoiled brat. I can assure you I am not! Everything that we have, EN and I have worked for. We live within our means and have a savings account. We have no credit card debt and we save for our retirements. We don’t take extravagant vacations every year, nor do we have fancy furniture or electronics in our house. In fact, our TVs are still BOX shaped, not nice and flat like everyone else’s. When we decide to tackle a project, we choose the best we can possibly afford and we have high expectations. It really bothers me when things don’t go like I expect them to.

The cabinets have been customized and installed. The countertops will be installed on Monday and the tile will go in next wekend. Then we can move in the appliances and all the kitchen stuff that has been stored in the basement since November.

We are closing in on the end of the project at this point. All of the elements I wanted in my “dream kitchen” are there and I’m very excited. This is the kitchen I’ve dreamed of for years, it’s almost complete and I can’t wait to use her.

New bases in place!

The cabinet that needed on-site "customization." They
did a fabulous job!

I've always wanted a desk in the kitchen!
I’ve discovered in the midst of this project that I really do enjoy cooking and baking and I miss it. I find myself daydreaming about what I could cook or bake first. How pathetic is that?

To make myself feel better about being so pathetic, I told the girls yesterday when I fed them cold cereal for dinner AGAIN, “Once we have a kitchen, I’m going to force tons of vegetables down your throats.”

Silly girls thought I was joking! 

Ice Princess

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Heart-Shaped Holiday

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Every year on Valentine’s Day, I’m reminded of how much I loved this day as a child. My dad always bought me a heart-shaped box of chocolates. In fact, he still does. He buys one for Sugar and Spice too. Even EN gets his favorite candy bar!

I remember prepping for this day for what felt like weeks. At school, the classroom would be decorated and we would put together some sort of mailbox or “mail sack” made out of a little brown paper bag. At home, I can remember writing out Valentines for my class, but I was never one of the fancy kids who gave out conversation hearts along with theirs. Sometimes, I would bring cupcakes made by my mom for the class party. I remember loving the games we played on this day, looking at the cards I got from everyone else and having a party during school hours.

On our first Valentine’s Day with Sugar, I remember writing out little cards for everyone that she was in daycare with. I think there were only three other kids. Sadly, I was the only mom who did this, so I didn’t write out those little cards again until she entered preschool.

Does anyone notice how much these cards have changed? Back in our day, they seemed to have about ten varieties and they all came with those cute little envelopes. Now, there are no envelopes, you fold the cheap cards and seal with a sticker. There are a thousand varieties and some come with accessories. You can get Valentines that come along with candy, pencils, tattoos… Now EVERY kid gives a card + something, not just a little card in an envelope. The only thing I remembered doing special, was writing a little extra message in the cards for my friends. Or actually drawing a heart on the card I was giving to a boy I really liked. I almost always used a red pen and still use one today for Christmas and Valentine’s Day cards. That’s about as creative as this girl gets.

Since Sugar entered preschool, we’ve done cards every year. One year we bought plain cards and puffy glitter stickers and she worked for weeks making each one special. Notice I said we did that “one year.” We went right back to those store-bought cards. Now if we feel like getting fancy, we bring chocolate dipped pretzels to school. Much easier that spelling out H-A-P-P-Y-V-A-L-E-N-T-I-N-E-S-D-A-Y twenty times, despite the fact that she had it written right in front of her. This year, Sugar is in middle school and therefore “too old” to participate in such nonsense. There is no party at school and she didn’t bring cards. However, she did bring a bunch of Valentine-themed pencils to give to her friends. She tried to take 50, but I assured her that as my child, there’s no way on earth that she could possibly like 50 people.

Spice has done cards since she was a baby. Her daycare celebrated every holiday and we always participated. I always contributed a treat, and for years wrote out the cards myself. Before long, she was writing her own name and drawing pictures on every. Single. Card.

I wondered what to expect at this new school, were outside food isn’t allowed to be shared and Halloween was deemed “too scary” to be celebrated. Several weeks ago, we received a list of names of every child in the class. We bought Toy Story cards for the girls and puppies/kittens for the girls. Spice worked for days, making sure each name was properly written and every card had a rendering of something or another. She is meticulous and very creative. No rushing that girl.

Last week, I was surprised to read in the newsletter that if a child chooses to bring in cards for the classroom, they needed to bring one in for every single kid. I am surprised because it never would have occurred to me to do anything but. The thought of excluding someone would never have crossed my mind as a kid or even as an adult. I asked EN if he did cards as a kid and he said he never thought of leaving someone out either. If it’s true that kids purposely exclude someone and that message needs to be said out loud, I’m disappointed in the world we’ve become.

I remember kids in my classes that I really didn’t like for some reason or another. I remember kids being mean to me, but I always, ALWAYS acknowledged them with a card on this day. When I help the girls with their cards and the next name on the list is someone they don’t like, I wonder if they’ll try to skip over that one… Nope, never. I don’t think it occurs to them either.  

Last night was a flurry of getting everything together, both before the girls went to bed and after. We organzinzed the stuff for Spice’s day and wrote out EN’s cards. I bought them each a small gift (no candy, they already got that from my dad!) and fancy tissue paper and gift bags.

I awoke this morning to find roses from EN and the girls woke up early to check out their gift bags. Tonight EN will be working… In lieu of making my heart-shaped meat loaf (yes I really did that!) in my kitchenless home, I will take the chicks to dinner.

Wishing you all a happy, lovey day!

Ice Princess

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Stranger Danger

Back many moons ago, when Sugar entered first grade, I thought it would be super cute to get her a fancy backpack with her name embroidered on it. I was excited and perused some high falutin’ website looking for just the right one. Then a thought occurred to me…

Me: Hey Sugar, if a person knows your name, are they a stranger?
Sugar: Of course not! Anybody that knows my name is my friend.

Fabulous. There goes the cute back pack. Disney Princess it is.

Fast forward a few years and now she’s in 5th grade. I thought that I had gotten so much better about teaching her (and Spice) about strangers… about how kids aren’t supposed to talk to them… about how kids should tell their parents when they see a stranger lurking… about how it’s ok to run screaming if a stranger talks to them. We’ve talked about this shit. I’ve drilled it into their heads. Wherein lies the mystery?  

Over the last year or two, there have been various stories of a man approaching girls waiting at bus stops and trying to get them into his car. I don’t know how many cases there have been, and I don’t know if they are related. The first time this happened, there were whispered comments about the story being made up. Then it happened again. Then it happened in towns surrounding ours. Then there was nothing.

In January I received an emergency email from the school district. There was another incident. A female middle-school student was waiting alone for the morning school bus and a man came along and asked her if she needed a ride. He grabbed her; she lost her balance and hit her face on the car. He let go of her and took off. I silently thanked God that he was unsuccessful in his attempt.  And still I wonder: are these attempts related or not? No one is really saying. I guess I could try to find all the news stories and draw my own conclusions…

Every morning, I drive Sugar to the bus stop. Our new bus stop has heavy parental presence. I normally stay until the bus comes but occasionally Sugar will want to wait with her friends. Since there are other parents there I was ok with letting her stand outside with her friends. The few times I left her at the bus stop I passed the bus on its way up the street.

Yesterday morning Sugar and I left at our usual time. Even though there is only a cul-de-sac and one house to the left, I try to be good about checking to see if anyone’s coming from that direction… not that there ever has been, but better to be safe. When I glanced to the left, I noticed a car idling in the circle. I mentioned it to Sugar and said, “Seems weird.”

My brilliant child said, “Oh that car? It was there yesterday too.” Come again? While pressing on my left eyeball to keep it in my skull, I said, “You mean to tell me that there was a car sitting there and you didn’t think to tell your mother?” I’ll admit, when we first moved in, there was a lot going on down at the circle. People trucked in their four-wheelers or hunted back there. We kept the girls from going down there. Now that it’s winter, it’s quiet there. No one goes there and just sits

We sat at the bus stop while I replayed the idling car in my head. My Mommy Alarm clicked to high. Something really bothered me about that car sitting down there, all by its lonesome… a weird place to hang out. I watched out my side mirror, but couldn’t see all the way to where the car had been sitting. I told myself to be prepared to get his plate number if he drove past. Too soon, he was roaring down the road in his car. Too fast for me to get a good look at him, too fast for me to get his plate number. Son of a bitch! The driver seemed to take great pains in avoiding eye contact, or perhaps it was my Mommy Alert being on high that made it seem that way.

Sugar got on the bus and I started the drive to work. I considered stopping in at the police station, but thought better of it. I finally just called the police and reported the incident. Maybe it was nothing, maybe it was significant. I felt stupid that I was unable to give them a plate number or even a very good description of the driver. But this girl knows cars. I was able to give them the color, make and model. I am pretty sure my judgment on the year of the car was pretty accurate too.

The woman that I reported the incident to asked a bunch of questions and thanked me for calling. I wasn’t sure if they’d take my call seriously or not. EN and a neighbor both told me that the cops were all over the ‘hood all day. This morning, every time I glanced out my window, a cruiser was driving by. While we waited at the bus stop, the cruiser drove by twice, then pulled up ahead and waited for the bus to come.

Apparently, they are taking my call seriously. I’m not sure what I said that triggered their response. Perhaps the green car I described matched the description given by the girl that was grabbed in January. I just don’t know. As much as it was eerie seeing so much police presence, it was reassuring at the same time. I’m glad to know they aren’t all hanging at the Dunkins down the road talking about the crazy broad who called to report a green car idling at the corner.

And maybe, just maybe, they’re a step closer to finding the guy responsible for these various incidents. This gave me a chance to remind my girls that they need to tell their parents when something is amiss... and that the "something amiss" isn't necessarily a bad guy wearing all black hiding in the bushes.  

Ice Princess

Monday, February 6, 2012

Another Stupid Bowl

Last year I blogged about the Super Bowl. I even called it the Stupid Bowl. If I had known then what this year would bring, I would have called this year the Stupid Bowl. I don’t have a problem with sports in general, but I do have a problem with poor sportsmanship. I’ve lived in a lot of places in my life, and I can honestly say, there’s nothing more obnoxious than a New England sports fan, whether they win or lose. They were annoying enough before, but now that we have Facebook where anyone can write whatever they want, and it bleeds into your brain, the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl about killed me.

In New England it works like this: we spend the entire sport season rooting our team on, digging on other teams when they win, whining about the bad calls that caused our beloved Patriots/Bruins/Celtics/Red Sox to lose… It is never, ever the fault of the actual players when they lose. God forbid! Something external is ALWAYS blamed for a loss. This phenomena has driven me crazy for years, but this year bothered me worse than any other.

There was just no escaping the constant commentary. Every football game led to post after post with comment after ridiculous comment on Facebook. Without a doubt, Facebook has turned me from someone who could care less about sports, to someone who HATES sports. One person in particular drives me crazy. Any time there’s a game, she fills my newsfeed with a play-by-play account of the game in her badly worded posts, loaded with misspellings and misinformation. I should defriend her, I know I should… she’s turning me into a bitter mean girl (like I needed help!).

And so I’ve suffered dreadfully these last weeks, reading her posts and keeping my mouth shut. If you think biting your tongue is hard, try keeping your fingers from typing.

Last night as we watched the game at our neighbor’s house, I purposely gave EN my phone. I knew I’d start commenting on her irrational shit, just because I had reached the end of my rope. But if I commented, that makes me the same as every other whiner. I have enough issues on my own without becoming some combative Facebooker.

These posts were put up by the same person after the game ended (I left her grammatical errors intact)…


There are no words to describe the pain in our hearts here in new england we watched a dream yet again slip through our hands to the hands of the Ny Giants , but I will never give up hope that one day we will win ourselves another SB and untill that day ill still love my New England Patriots . I feel sorry for the Kraft family as they wanted this so bad ...... I am sorry . Good Night going to bed now n cry.

Hey at least we made it to one of the best games in nfl history right ?? so thats something to be proud of . some ones got to win n someone has to loose...... Patriots are always going to be winners in my book .

Three separate posts within 30 minutes. I wanted to say, “Please go to bed like you promised in the second post!!”

Being combative is in my blood. I come from a long line. I had a grandfather who argued with everyone over anything. In fact, he was so belligerent; he needed to be restrained in the hospital because he punched a nurse. In the face. Both my parents know everything about everything and the only time one can speak is to agree, and my sister is the same way. It’s taken me years to “unlearn” those traits, being combative, being contrary.

No one likes the girl who argues just for the sake of arguing. No one likes the girl who picks “the other team” just to be mean. No one likes that girl, yet I used to be that girl and I almost became her again, over nothing dumber than a bunch of dumb guys running around wearing tight pants, chasing a ball… Really?

That’s not me. I’m the girl that doesn’t give a shit. What I do care about is that sports don’t matter. In the grand scheme of life, we have our health, our happiness and our families… Who won Stupid Bowl 46 isn’t going to matter the day after, or next week. Take the loss like a grown up, digest it and congratulate the other team. Really, it doesn’t matter. It’s never going to matter… it’s a game, an interruption in this greater game we call life. 

Ice Princess