Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bra Shopping

I procrastinate about shopping for bras until it’s absolutely necessary. Given that I’ve been walking around with boobs sagging to my knees due to snapped underwires since we moved, I figured it was time to bite the bullet.

From 7th grade until I had Sugar, I was a solid 36C. They grew exponentially with each baby and won’t seem to go back to their old size, no matter what I do. In the good old days, I could shop anywhere and buy super cute stuff that fit. I never even had to try them on. Now it’s a whole different ball of wax. I have to shop at one or two local stores only, or try my luck online.

Yesterday I went to the same place I bought the last ones. They had measured me there and what I bought fit well. I figured I would walk in, scoop up another batch and be on my way. I planned on buying EXACTLY the same ones I already had because I knew they fit… and I don’t like change. Stick with what you know. Of course nothing goes as planned.

First, this little out-of-the-way shop was crowded. There’s usually no one there. It sells “special sizes” and offers assistance to women who have recently had mastectomies. The last time I was there, I think there was only one other customer. So I was surprised that there were a bunch of (much older) women in the store when I arrived. .

I finally found a busy looking clerk to help me and described what I was looking for. Wouldn’t you know it, there were ten of my make and model hanging on a rack and they were marked down to cheap money… because they were being discontinued. Of course they’re being discontinued… because that’s the ONLY one I like. None of the discontinued rejects were in my size. The sales lady grabbed another brand in my size and encouraged me to try it on. I put it on and did the shirt test-I put my shirt back on over it to see how the girls looked. Y’all, Madonna’s ice cream cone boobs were hiding under my shirt and they were pointed SIDEWAYS. Who the hell wants to wear something like that?

I left the fitting room in a snit and went back to the display of my discontinued favorites. I decided I would buy a few and MAKE them work. They say women wear the wrong size all the time anyway, what does it matter? Suddenly before me, in this store filled with much older women, stands a woman close to my age. She had just left the dressing room and was holding a few bras. I don’t mind saying I looked at her rack. I totally checked her out. Her girls looked fantastic. They were so perky, it looked like she was holding a platter under them. The bra she was wearing was defying gravity.

We struck up a conversation about my discontinued bras and I asked her what she was buying. She mentioned some brand I had never heard of. So I said, “Is that what you’re wearing right now? I don’t mind saying that your boobs look fantastic.” As she thanked me, what I said must have been processed by the old ladies shopping in the store. Suddenly the whole lot of them started howling with laughter. I’m sure at least one peed her pants. Of course the old ladies had to check out her boobs too.

My new friend pointed me in the right direction and one of the older women helped me find the right size. She whispered, “That’s going to be expensive. Why don’t you try Olga? That’s the brand I wear.” I told her that if my boobs were going to look like that other girls, there is limit to the amount of money I would spend.

My new friend checked out and we wished each other well. I tried on my new favorite bra and bought two… and a sports bra. Thank God they were having a sale and I didn’t have to pay full price for the million dollar boulder holders.

During the conversation with my new friend, we lamented about the unattractiveness of bras that fit. We were sad that the cutie muffin bras at places like Victoria’s Secret don’t come in our sizes. A female coworker was with me and she swore that Victoria’s DID sell bigger sizes. She checked when we returned to the office, and wouldn’t you know it, they just now started selling my size. I was beside myself with excitement. For the first time in years, I could buy cute bras. I looked and looked and fell in love with a bunch. I marveled at how cheap they were. Hint: if I think Victoria’s is cheap, imagine what I had just spent on the Silver Platter Bras.  

I called the nearest Victoria’s Secret and asked about their fabulous new sizes… “I’m sorry ma’am, we only sell those sizes online.” Thankfully, they do sell the next closest size, so I’ll have to go in and try some on soon.

Until then I’ll wear this gravity-defying Silver Platter bra and hope that it stops causing me pain and starts making the girls feel like they’re being cradled all day long. Given the price I paid, it’s not too much to ask for, I don’t think. 

Ice Princess

Monday, March 26, 2012

Enabling Irresponsible Behavior

Is there a line between being supportive and enabling? At this very moment with rage roaring through my body, I am feeling like there is no line. To be supportive, to give everything that is expected, enables others to sit back on their asses and take, take, take. The only effort they ever make is to demand more.

I’m not perfect, I’ve never claimed to be. But I’ve tried to be a good role model and positive influence on my niece. I have given her everything she’s asked for. I’ve offered help with homework. I’ve offered her a place to live when things got rough at her house. I went with her to speak to her guidance counselor about graduating from high school last year. I’ve been there every time she has asked.

First, she took the easy out and graduated from some alternative school that required less credits.

Then she decided to take out a school loan to learn how to be a hairdresser. She got a loan at a school she really didn’t want to attend. Then the administration of the school told her to leave until she got her life straightened out. Have you ever known anyone that was kicked out of beauty school ?

Of course she’s already decided not to go back. They’re all stupid there. But it’s ok. She’ll take her loan from them and apply the money to tuition at a different school. Um, sweetheart, things don’t work that way.

Since she “graduated” last June, I’d estimate that she’s worked maybe 100 hours, earning money for gas, clothes, make-up, whatever else she needs. She’s been too busy sleeping until noon, “hanging out” and stalking the boyfriend who keeps breaking up with her. She deleted me off her Facebook account because I commented on her posts that read, “Stalk them ‘til you get what you want.”

And now, the foolish girl is pregnant. And she thinks I don’t know. It’s obvious that she is and I’m not sure how my parents haven’t figured it out yet, unless they’re just ignoring the white elephant in the room. Or maybe they know and they think I don’t. We’re dysfunctional that way.

I sit at Family Dinner these days and I try to keep my head in a happy place and keep the rage at bay. I look across the table to my sister, who did nothing to raise her daughter to be a productive member of society. She didn’t teach her how to look for a job, how to budget her money or even how to clean a house.

Then I look at my parents and I’m devastated by what I see. They should be at the tail end of paying off their mortgage, but that’s not the case because they refinanced their own house to buy my sister one. They have no retirement account or savings account. My dad is 71 years old and still has to work a full-time job. Meanwhile, any time my niece needs something, she goes to their house and asks for it.

And my dad gives her what she wants. Every time.

Yes, it’s his fault too. He should say no to her. He should tell her to get off her lazy ass and get a job. He should stop letting my sister and her kids mooch off of him. Year after year, I stand by and say nothing.

I’m anxious for my niece to make her big announcement. I can’t decide if I should pretend to be surprised or if I should just say, “Well that’s a relief! Now I know what you were doing all this time you weren’t being a contributing member of society!”

I know that when it comes down to the wire no one will try to encourage my niece to give the baby up for adoption, to give it a chance at a normal life. My sister will think it’s cute and she’ll say over and over that she did the same thing at the same age. She’ll forget to talk about how she’d bring the baby to my house for me to babysit while she “attended an alternative high school.” As it turned out, she was going back home and sleeping all day. She’ll conveniently leave out the parts about being turned in to DCYF for neglect. She’ll not mention that she lived with my parents for years after that and they took care of my niece. She’ll go on and on about how she did it all alone and no one will speak up as she rewrites her own life story.

My niece lacks the ambition, desire and character to work hard to raise this child well. It will be passed from family member to family member to be cared for so my niece can still go out and party with her friends. I know I’ll be told, “We need to be supportive! Princess needs to have a chance to have fun with her friends.”

I have zero desire to wait around and see how this shitshow progresses. At what age are we allowed to stop playing happy family? At what age can I tell my parents that it makes me sick to sit across the table from my sister every other week?

I’m sure at that point, I’ll be given another lecture on being supportive of my sibling and her children in their time of crisis… when I feel in my heart that all these years of support have proven themselves to be nothing more than years of enabling their continued irresponsible behavior.

The only humor in this situation is that my sister will be a grandmother before she’s 40. I hope Granny's weekly "Train Wreck Thursday" nights out aren't impacted by her grandkid.

Ice Princess  

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Will Run for Beer

A benefit to all the walking we have been doing (plus my being sick a while back) is that I’ve finally started to lose some weight. Not much, not even noticeable actually until I step on the scale. It’s coming off very slowly, but that’s the right way to lose, right?

As much as I enjoy walking with the girls and the dogs, I’ve always thought I’d like to give running a shot. There are two issues with this idea:
  1. I would need to buy a sports bra. I’ve tried shopping for one and found that I can only special order, and the boulder holder would cost in the triple digits. I guess the price tag matches the number of alphabets in the cup size. 
  2. I run funny. My first husband saw me run once and never stopped laughing. I shared this problem with my friend Skippy and he said he ran funny, but that didn’t stop him (he runs MARATHONS, y’all). I just need to get over myself.

I am insanely jealous of those that run regularly. Every single person I know that runs is in fabulous shape. Plus, when you run, you get to eat the good shit. I want to be that girl.

Many years ago, I did give running an honest shot, and I loved it. I got an adrenaline rush like I’ve never gotten from any other form of exercise. I would run every morning with my old girl Dusty-she was in charge of dragging my fat ass. We mostly walked, but I tried to run as much as I could. Our running days were over when she stopped on a busy road to gobble up a bagel someone dropped and I took a face plant on the sidewalk. There’s no denying I’m a hot mess.

I knew Ultra had been quite the jock when she was younger, but I couldn’t help but howl with delight when she told me that she was running in an event this weekend. Two miles with her husband and oldest daughter… But she had a good reason for entering the race… participants got to have free beer afterwards. If that’s not a reason to run, I don’t know what is.

Let’s gossip for a moment about my pal Ultra. She’s cute and way too little to be in her late 30’s. She recently went to Hawaii and her cousin posted a picture of her with her daughters on Facebook. She was wearing a BIKINI. If she wasn’t so fucking funny, I would hate her. Unlike other FB friends that post bikini pictures on Facebook themselves, I couldn't help but smile at this picture. She's in great shape and really should be proud of the way she looks. Hell, if I looked like that, I'd wear a bikini every day.  

So today she ran. She ran the whole race and finished in a respectable time. And I’m so very, very proud of her. I am also jealous. She did something I dream of doing. I need a bra. I run funny. I have no endurance. But she inspired me. This woman, who hasn’t run in years, went out and did something she wasn’t overly excited about (free beer aside) and didn’t think she could do.

If she can do it, why can’t I? Let’s forget for a moment that she’s in much better shape. Let’s forget the 50 extra pounds that I cart around. Let’s forget that even as a middle schooler I didn’t have the endurance to finish the stupid one-mile PE test we were forced to do. Let’s forget that I came in dead last every single time.

Nicer weather is coming and I live in a new neighborhood where there aren’t so many hills. I could potentially get up a little bit earlier and have one of the dogs drag me around the ‘hood before the sun has fully risen, under the cover of darkness. I could, rather than buying my semi-annual outlet Coach bag, spend the same money on a high-test, earthquake-resistant bra. I could do these things and I should. I’m mortified by several recent instances of people not recognizing me because of the weight I’ve gained.

I spent my 30’s wearing baggy clothes to hide what I have become. I’m sick of doing that. I made these same pledges a year ago and didn’t stick with it. I really want to live the “40’s are the new 30’s” dream. I want to wear clothes that aren’t made of stretchy cotton and spandex. I want to be happy when I look in the mirror. I want to look Scrawny in the face the next time she “complains” that she’s so skinny her pants fall right off her and say, “I know the feeling.”

I need to get off my ass. I need to feel better about who I am and how I look. And Ultra, if you promise to nag me occasionally about my progress, I promise to pay you in beer. I won’t even make you run for it.Well, unless you run funny and I can laugh at you. 

Ice Princess 

Friday, March 23, 2012

New House, New Behaviors

With the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having this week, Sugar and I have rediscovered our love of an evening walk with the dogs. We finally convinced Spice that walks are FUN and the three of us have headed out every night with the three dogs. This week we have logged seven miles. Not overly impressive, but it’s a nice start.

With these walks, we have the chance to meet our new neighbors. Everyone we pass waves from their respective yards. We see a woman who alternately walks and jogs that always calls out, “I love the dog with the little patch on his eye.” We chat with the dentist who is out walking the fattest bulldog I’ve ever met (her name is Winnie… she was supposed to be a boy named Winston). Occasionally they are joined by his teenaged daughter and Winnie’s standard poodle sister, Lola. Unlike our old neighborhood, there is no bitterness or anger. We smile at everyone and they smile back. I’ve forgotten how good that feels.

We have become quite friendly with one family down the street. In fact, we met them before we even moved in. We’ve had dinner together, we watched the Super Bowl together. We seem to have hung out together during the last two time changes and I think that might be a semi-annual Whoop It Up Night.

I will admit here in Blogworld where no one really knows who I am, that I was a bit taken aback by this family when I first met them. Almost the day we moved in, I was asked to watch on or both of their younger children. I thought, “What the hell? I’ve got boxes everywhere and you want me to babysit?” In recent weeks, I’ve come to see the error of my ways.

She’s asking me to watch her kids because she is absolutely willing to watch mine. On a day I worked from home, she took my kids to a local park and out to dinner. She texts me from the bus stop asking where my kids are and telling me she’s willing to keep them until I get home from work.

What the hell?! This is behavior I am not accustomed to. In the old ‘hood, it was every man for himself. If there was a snowstorm and my car didn’t make it up my driveway, they’d watch as I trudged up the hill in high heels with a four year old and a baby in an infant car seat. When I searched and called for hours for my lost dog, no one helped… but they were entirely comfortable shouting “Shut up” out their windows.

On Fridays I leave work early so I’m home in time to meet the bus. Today was another gorgeous day and the girls ran home to dump their backpacks and head outside to ride bikes, ripsticks and scooters. They were hardly in the door before a friend was knocking on the door to come out and play. They shared popsicles and giggled then headed out to play. Then friends from further up the street texted that they were on their way over to play. Suddenly there were five kids running around my yard having a good time.

Normally I would be overwhelmed by this rabid pack of wild children… but today it was more of a pleasure than a pain. They came inside and descended on the playroom. I could hear them running and laughing while I sat on the couch with a book. Yes, they were all well behaved enough so that I could read while they played.

I had already cleared a dinner out with our first guest’s parents, but Sugar wanted her friend to come along too. I reminded her that I didn’t have room for five kids in my car. She said that the lone boy didn’t want to go anyway, he’d had enough of the girls. His mom came to get him and I took four little chicks to dinner.

Again, normally I would dread something like this. Instead, I was at a restaurant where I spent $20 to feed the five of us, and ate my dinner with four little girls who ate well and said please and thank you. They were so good I bought them ice cream for dessert.

The evening ended with one guest going home right after dinner, while one stayed and the three girls played. The last guest’s mother came to pick her up and she said, “I’ve been meaning to tell you that I’m home during the day and my son is in Spice’s kindergarten class. If you ever need someone during the day, we’d love to have her.”

What? Another helpful neighbor in the ‘hood? I’m beginning to feel like I’ve woken up in the Twilight Zone. This is NOT what I am used to! I am sure I looked like an idiot standing there staring at her with my mouth hanging open. I thanked her for her offer and said that I’d definitely let her know and we’d be happy to return the favor if she ever needed our help.

Incidentally, when I put the girls to bed tonight, I was scared to look in the playroom, thinking five kids had wreaked havoc on it. I found a playroom that was left in the condition it started off in: perfectly clean, all the toys put away where they belonged.

When we bought this trashed foreclosure in a nice neighborhood, I thought we’d be looked at as the family that could afford to live here only because we bought a dump at a low price. It seems like it would be the type of place where people would look down their noses at you. That hasn’t been the case at all. We’ve had neighbors offer to come over and help rebuild. We’ve had people offer to lend tools if we needed any.

We’ve met friendly people that love to regale us of stories of what this place used to look like. They are interested in our plans for the house and seem excited to see what progress is being made. They have not complained (even though I did!) about the appliances EN left sitting on the front porch for weeks.

It’s also not the type of neighborhood where one feels like they are in a Desperate Housewives sort of clique and can only hang with other hoodies. Neighbors are warm, friendly and willing to help, but they give space. I need to reprogram what goes on in my head and offer to help others as they have offered to help me. I need to relearn how to be warm, friendly and open to accepting assistance.

For the first time since I moved from the Midwest some 25 years ago, I feel like I am accepted and live in a place that feels like home.

Ice Princess 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

We Can't Scout Forever

I believe that kids need lots of activities to keep themselves busy and out of trouble… and off the damn computer games. I don’t mean that they need so many activities that we run from place to place every single day. An activity or two at any given time works for me.

I also try to let them explore whatever they are interested in. Sugar has gone through soccer, softball, dance, gymnastics, Brownies, Girl Scouts, violin, ice skating… The only rule that we have set with her is that if she signs up for something, she is required to stick with it for the entire season or session. When the session is over, it’s her decision to continue or quit. I won’t say I wasn’t devastated when she quit gymnastics. She was so little and cute and had the perfect build, but I can’t be *that* mom. Well, I can’t be her all the time anyway.

I recently found out that Sugar’s Girl Scout troop would be disbanding after this year. Good thing I never got her vest done (I suck, I know). I told Sugar what I had learned and she said immediately, “We need to find another troop for me to join.” I was shocked by her response. It’s not like her troop really does more than meet every other week. They don’t take field trips or do activities outside the normal meeting (which is why I never thought the vest was all that important.) Sugar said she would go to school the following day and ask the girls in her troop what they planned on doing.

The next day she was picked up from school by Skinny Bitch. Sugar asked Skinny and her daughter for advice. She told them that her troop was disbanding and that all her friends weren’t going to be Girl Scouts again. She really wasn’t interested in being the new girl in a different troop. So Skinny said, “I’m sure it’ll be fine if you quit too then.” And Sugar responds, “But my grandma was a Girl Scout through high school.” Like the good friend she is, Skinny Bitch texted me and told me what Sugar had said.

When I picked Sugar up, I pretended that I knew nothing and asked her what happened when she asked her friends about Girl Scouts. She sadly told me that none of them wanted to do it anymore. When I asked what she liked about Scouts so much, she didn’t have an answer. So I threw down the $10 million question: Has anyone ever made you feel like you had to stay in the Girl Scouts? A look of relief washed over her face and the story stumbled out so quickly words tripped over each other.

Apparently, her grandmother (not my mother) had told her that she was a scout for years and years and they did all these exciting things and Sugar really should stick with it until she’s 86. And then: “I don’t want to disappoint Grandma and make her sad.”

There are many things I could have said in response to her statement. Including a snarky, “Well, she’s never been overly concerned about disappointing you, has she?” It was incredibly difficult at that point for me to NOT pull a nutty and bitch endlessly to my kid about my mother-in-law. That’s just not right.

Instead I told her that she had been a Girl Scout since first grade, so five years now. She’s been with the same troop but had three different leaders and was the only remaining original troop member. If she was done with being a scout, she could quit when her troop disbanded. I told her that she didn’t have an obligation to ANYONE to continue with an activity she really didn’t enjoy. Seriously, if I was going to force her to do anything, she’d still be doing damn gymnastics. Girl was GOOD.

I told her not to worry about Grandma, I would have Daddy talk to her. I told EN that he needed to let his mother know that Sugar’s troop disbanded and she wouldn’t be joining another. End of story. If she has questions, ask EN but be sure to let her know that she is NOT allowed to make Sugar feel bad about her decision.

I’m left scratching my head. My mother-in-law rarely sees my girls even though she lives 20 minutes away. Does she take time out of those infrequent visits to look up from ebay and lecture my girl on loving Girl Scouts? What did she say exactly that would make Sugar feel like she had to continue being a scout?  It’s also interesting to me that there’s never been any mention of EN’s sister being a Girl Scout and if MIL was so into it, wouldn’t she have been the troop leader.

Or again, it’s me being over-sensitive. MIL is just trying her hardest to have something in common with my girl. And what could be more delightful than sharing her experiences… or lecturing her son and daughter-in-law about the proper way to sell the fucking cookies. I mean, we all know that back when she was a Girl Scout she had to bake them over an open fire and box them herself.

My kid. I’m the one that gets to put pressure on her, and I sure as hell will let her slide on something like scouts. Grades? Not so much.

With Spice entering first grade in September, I’m sure we’ll start all over with softball and soccer. So far she hasn’t been interested in much but that will change. And if we can’t find a Brownie troop for her, I know someone who’s just dying to become a scout again.

Ice Princess 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Working Kitchen

For the first time in four months, I have a house with a refrigerator on the main floor. This means no more running to the basement to get what I need. The fridge was finally put in yesterday, so I have a ROOM full of working appliances: stovetop, oven, dishwasher and fridge.

Yesterday, they also installed the last of the upper cabinets and started on the crown molding. There had been a bit of a contest between Little Joey and me. I said that I wouldn’t put anything in the cabinets until the knobs were installed. I didn’t want to get wood shavings from drilling all over my stuff. Joey thought I would break down, but I stayed strong and didn’t put anything in a single cabinet. He finished his day yesterday by getting most of the knobs on.

Since we had a town vote yesterday, I was home with the girls all day and got to watch the progress. Finally around 4:30, they packed up and left. The girls were off with their friends so I started cleaning up the cabinets… I dusted them all and wiped them down, spring cleaning if you will. I started to fall a little bit in love with my new cabinetry.

The girls still weren’t home, so I started moving dishes in. These cabinets are different than what I had before and the layout is completely different too. I puttered and rearranged until the girls came home. Then we ran out to vote and had to come home to get them bathed and ready for bed, so I was sidetracked from my project until about 9 pm.

Even though I encountered all these interruptions, I still thought I could get everything done in a reasonable fashion. I carried boxes up from the basement and unpacked and rearranged for hours. I lost much time debating on the drawers under the stovetop… I wanted to put pots and pans in them… I use pots more than lids, so they should go in the top drawer, right? Oh, wait a minute, lids go ON TOP of pots, so they should be on top, right? And I wonder where Spice got her OCD from? Does anyone get lost in the stupid details as I do?

I was starting to fall out of love with the kitchen. It felt different. I still loved the cabinets I chose and the height of the upper cabinets… but my stuff wasn’t fitting into my kitchen like it did at the old house. The drawer for the silverware isn’t located next to a drawer where I could house small items like measuring cups and spoons, can opener, etc and those things NEED TO GO TOGETHER. Can you see me standing there like Rainman, THE SPOONS MUST GO NEXT TO THE SERVING SPOONS. Dear God, I have lost my ever-lovin' mind.

And now, it’s midnight and my kitchen isn’t done. WHAT? I wanted to do this ALL in ONE night. It should have all just fallen into place. The damn spoons should have jumped into the damn drawer by themselves.

Just when I was starting to finally feel settled in a house that was starting to look like mine, I’m unsettled again. I’m mystified seeing my items in this kitchen that just couldn’t be mine… So I woke up frustrated today. All day I’ve been bothered that things just didn’t feel right. I whined about this to Ultra and she said the following:

"At the risk of sounding like a debbie-downer, I don’t think everything is supposed to fit immediately.  A home vs. a house, takes a bit to create.  Be patient… It will all come together in due time."

Words of wisdom from a bleeding heart liberal.

I’m impressed. 

Ice Princess

Friday, March 9, 2012

This Week's Lessons...

It’s been an interesting week with many lessons learned. I thought I would share some of these with you today…

Lesson One: Mnemonics…

Mnemonics: learning techniques that aid memory. My 7th grade teacher was a big fan of these and I can still remember some to this day. For example:  to remember how to spell adolescent, think “a pineapple smell.” Clever, right?

As Sugar and I work almost nightly on her spelling words, I try to come up with funny mnemonics to help her remember words that trouble her. This week’s list is full of words that sound the same but are spelled differently. Honest to Christ I wish I could send half the people on my Facebook list back for lessons on they’re/there/their. My friends are NOT smarter than fifth graders, y’all.

Still this morning she was having trouble with counsel/council, bazaar/bizarre and course/coarse. It stumped me how to help her to remember some of them, but a helpful hint for remembering coarse came to me in a flash. I said, “Sugar, the hairs on his ARSE are coARSE.” Appropriate? Absolutely not, but you can bet your arse she’ll remember how to spell it.

Lesson Two: Customer Service DOES Still Exist.

Last Saturday EN and I took the girls to the Texas Roadhouse for dinner. It is one of our favorite places to go. The girls can act like complete hooligans and no one can hear them because people are too busy listening to loud music and dancing.

I always order the exact same thing, because I’m adventurous like that… We have fried pickles for an appetizer, I drink sweet tea and I get catfish for dinner. Of course we chow down on those rolls and butter when we first arrive.

I’m not sure why I looked at the menu because I knew I was going to have the same thing. In fact, I passed by a cupcake at the party we attended beforehand so I could eat without (much) guilt. I glanced over the menu and was horrified to find that the catfish is no longer listed. The waitress came to take our order and I nearly accosted her… WHERE IS THE CATFISH? I mourned as I ate my dinner and vowed I would write a damn letter. Yeah right. I always say I'm gonna write a letter!

EN reminded me of my vow to tell those Roadhouse people what I think of them, so I actually went through with it. I filled out a little form online and figured I would hear nothing back. Let me tell you something, Texas Roadhouse takes their customer complaints seriously. The manager of the restaurant called my house AND sent me an email. His email wasn’t merely an “I’m sorry you are unhappy, you miserable bitch” response.  He explained why the catfish was no longer on the menu and said he too hoped it would come back someday. Meanwhile, here’s a gift card for a free appetizer. Woo hoo! I guess I’ll have to expand my horizons and perhaps have a STEAK at a steakhouse.

Lesson Three: Maple Syrup Smells Like Little Kid Pee Pants

If your little child is eating pancakes with maple syrup when you leave for work in the morning, do not kiss them on the face when you leave. Limit your smooch to the top of their head. Why? Because maple syrup stinks and the smell does NOT go away. Ever.

Spice was chowing down when Sugar and I left this morning and I made the mistake of grabbing her face and giving her a big kiss. I was driving into work and I caught the scent of syrup. What the… oh, yeah. So now I’m faced with two choices. I can either smell like little kid pee pants all day or I can wash my face, thereby removing my makeup and looking like a freak show all day.

Lesson Four: There Are Still Some Cool Moms Left

My darling angelic Spice was bad at her after-school program the other day. Shocking, yes I know. I’m impressed that she’s gone this long without more drama. Apparently, she was playing with her little kindergarten friend, throwing their snack trash at each other, etc. They were spoken to about that and I think they tried to calm down.

It was time for them to line up and Spice went and spit in her friend’s older brothers hair. My kid spit on another kid. What GIRL spits? Since the boys’ mother is on my Facebook list, I immediately sent her an email apologizing for my kids behavior. She emailed back right away and said, “Apology not necessary. I’m sure next week my kid will do something nasty to her.”

Let’s face it, there are some parents these days that make a big deal out of the smallest incident. I am glad she was laid back about it. When I saw her yesterday, she laughed about the incident and I encouraged her to look through her son’s backpack for the apology note I made Spice write to him.Spice's little kindergarten friend was delighted to regale me with the tale of Spice spitting ON HIS BROTHER'S HAIR. 

Lesson Five: Your Mama Can’t Dance Even If Your Daddy Can Rock And Roll

I’m not going to lie, I dance like Gumby having a seizure. It’s not pretty. There are two instances in which I am a fabulous dancer: in my own mind and after a few drinks. Even after the few drinks I’m still only a fabulous dancer in my own mind. But after the drinks, I don’t mind letting the world bear witness to such madness. I become The Dancing Queen. 

The girls have been dancing a lot lately. They’ve been teaching themselves how to do the LMFAO Shuffle and the SpongeBob dance. I watch that shit and think, “Why do you have to practice that? You aren’t even moving! Easy peasy.” Like the showoff I am, I got up and busted a moved. My children, the little monsters I gave birth to, laughed at me. They didn’t just put their hands in front of their mouths and giggle politely, they guffawed. They hooted. They hollered. They pointed and laughed and screamed, “Do it again, Mama!!” Who invited them to come live at my house anyway?

My sincerest hope is that you took away at least one valuable lesson from this post. It was a week full of upsetting instances that I just can’t bring myself to blog about… so focusing on the ridiculous has given me a smile this morning.

And if you live far away and have access to fried catfish, send me some. Please and thank you.

Ice Princess

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I meant to blog about this when it happened, but we see how good I’ve been at keeping up the blog. I will say that my house is finally coming together, so I’m feeling like I’ll have more time to write. I also need to find my funny bone. I used to be really funny in this space. What the hell happened?

Onto the topic at hand… On February 16th, everything they had practiced for came true: Sugar’s school had a real lockdown. Sugar and the rest of the 5th grade were outside having recess when suddenly adults started screaming at them to get inside. They were basically locked in their classrooms with the lights out for 45 minutes. Sugar has mentioned a few times about something dark covering the doors and windows, but I’m not real clear on what that process is, or what kind of equipment is used for that.

When a facility is under lockdown, no one is allowed to enter or leave the room they are in. That means that scared little kids that need to pee have to hide in a closet and go in a bucket. I am glad that these procedures are in place and my child is kept safe when she is not in my care. I’m glad that these procedures are practiced throughout the year.

It reminds me of the precautions that were taken when I lived in Germany as a kid. In the 1970’s there was a  group of terrorists called the Baader Meinhof Group that protested the middle-class values of West Germany. I don't really know why, but American military personnel were thought to be at risk as well. As we lived in military housing away from the base that our school was at, we had a long ride to school in blue Air Force school busses. To reduce the risk, German tour busses were brought in to transport us to school. If I remember correctly, there was an armed MP at the front and rear of every bus. My parents still talk about the first day I rode home on a bus with armed soldiers. I came screaming in the house, locked the door behind me and cried that the police were coming to arrest me. Even though I was a student in public schools during mostly peaceful times, I’m no stranger to having schools shield their students from harm. Those bus rides are some of my most vivid memories of elementary school. 

However, I have an issue with the lockdown at Sugar's school. Come on, you knew I would! When Skinny Bitch went to the school to pick up the girls, she was blindsided with this news of a real lockdown. Who told her about it? Our daughters. I am on every possible email notification list so it should be fairly easy to let me know what’s going on BEFORE MY KID TELLS ME.

Instead, our kids get in the car and tell Skinny Bitch what had gone on. She immediately lets me know and I went online to see what information I could find. Nothing. She gets home and goes through her daughters bag to find a note that said there had been a lockdown and that, "administrators received information, that if true, would potentially place students and staff in an at-risk situation." Because that explanation didn’t seem adequate, Skinny called the school. As hard as she argued, she wasn’t given any further information.

Since that day, we’ve not been given any information about why there was a lockdown. Did someone write something threatening on a bathroom wall? Did someone bring a gun to school? Was the creepy guy in the green car lurking out in the parking lot? Not only is this frustrating to parents, it limits our parenting as well. Our kids are scared and we don’t know what to tell them. We don’t know how to reassure them. We were given zero information and I think that sucks donkey balls.

Yesterday, Skinny starts texting in a panic that she’s waiting in the pick-up line and cars aren’t moving, but all the students seem to be waiting outside. I immediately went online to see if there was anything on the school website. I couldn’t even get it to load. I check the local news station, nothing there either.

Finally, cars start moving and Skinny collects the girls. Skinny sees men in HAZ-MAT gear and a police officer tells her there’s a spill of some kind. Suddenly, I am getting email, voice mail and texts from a variety of people… the story has hit the news. Apparently, someone in Texas mailed envelopes containing white powder to schools in NH, RI and ME and our middle school was one of the lucky recipients.

There are updates on the school website and Facebook. They are bending over backwards to provide information to the parents as to why there was another lockdown, busses were late, etc. they couldn’t say or do ENOUGH to reassure parents that their children were ok. In fact, they even apologize for the late notice to inform parents of the situation.

Late notice? I’m still waiting for my explanation for the February 16th lockdown. Are we only timely and efficient when the fucking media is involved? 

Ice Princess

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Changing Behavior

Our week off started with the girls going to my parents as we thought the floors would be tiled that weekend. Just after they left, I found out tiling wouldn’t occur until Monday. I immediately called my mother and offered to pick the girls up and bring them back home. Nope, the girls wanted to stay and my parents wanted to keep them. I just couldn’t bring myself to argue with any of them.

It was a Friday night and I knew that I should just go to bed early, I was still so tired. I started texting with Snorting Girl who was out with her husband. Before I knew it, I was headed out the door to meet my friends. It needs to be said that Snorting Girl and Facebook Poker are on the VERY SHORT list of “People I love the most in this world.” Being with them is easy. And fun. And we laugh every time until our stomachs hurt. That’s not to say we’re superficial and just sit around cracking jokes and drinking beer all night. We talk politics and business and books and adopting soldiers… and then we go back to laughing and ordering more beer. I am light when I am with them, I smile constantly. I love them and I am comfortable with them. I feel like I get to be one of the cool kids. They treat me like I am smart and funny and pretty and just fucking amazing. There is a level of comfort in hanging with them that is hard to find.

Fast forward 24 hours and EN and I are out with another couple for dinner. They invited us to tag along to their favorite restaurant. They got there first and said they’d be at the bar. I assumed they put us in for a table, we were meeting for dinner after all. We arrived and found that there was one empty seat on either side of our friends. It quickly became apparent that we would eat our meal at the bar too. That meant that I sat next to the wife and EN sat next to the husband and this deaf girl couldn’t hear jack shit but the wife bitching in my ear. For approximately three hours she bitched. She again reminded me of the money they don’t have (yet they were able to lay out considerable coin for their share of dinner and drinks). She again complained about being underweight and gaining ten pounds. She complained about her health, her son, her husband, her dog, her house and her job. I ate my dinner, nodded and smiled, and didn’t overindulge in drinks for fear that I might have too much and tell her to stop being such a bitch.

Suddenly, old friends of EN’s that we haven’t seen in five years are standing in front of me. We do the hug hug, kiss kiss thing… And the wife repeatedly says, “Chris said it was you but I couldn’t believe it. We had to look your pictures up on Facebook.”

What is it exactly that you are trying to say Princess? Are you commenting on my weight gain, or are you commenting on my hair being more heavily frosted to hide the gray? And why do we have to continue beating the same dead horse? Ok, I get it, you are gloating that I’m fat and you aren’t. If I wanted to be a bitch back, I could have said, “I’d be skinny too if I put liposuction and a tummy tuck on a credit card like you did!”

Then the conversation takes a turn and we are talking about our new house. Princess is talking about all the pictures she’s looked at on Facebook, and then the scrawny little wife next to me pipes in and starts giving her two cents about my house, all the things she hates about it, the unsafe conditions (she feels that our front porch should have a railing so she doesn’t get drunk and fall off) and the way it was torn apart. I let them natter on for a while when Princess turns to me and says, “How are you paying for all this remodeling?” Come again? I haven’t seen you in five years and you feel like it’s ok to cattily comment about my weight, then ask about my finances? What the fuck? I’m sure I will say it again in this post, but where do people get off thinking they can just spout off with rude shit like that?

Fast forward a week and Scrawny is at my house so I can help her husband with his resume (QUESTION: she claims to be perfect, why can’t she do his resume?) and she starts bitching. She doesn’t like my dog licking her. She doesn’t like my kids talking. Her eyes wander to take in the mess and she talks about her OCD and loving to clean.

Then Sugar pulls a tantrum about some brownies that I just took out of the oven. I told her they weren’t ready to be cut yet and she kept pestering. Finally I scooped a steaming hot brownie out of the pan and shoved it at her in a paper towel and yelled at her to eat it. I immediately felt badly for yelling at her in front of company. I knew I embarrassed her in front of the grown up she currently has a mad crush on. All the Mother of the Year points I earned for baking brownies were taken away. I have no excuse for my shitty behavior other than being totally stressed by the perfect specimen (Scrawny) sitting in front of me.

As it turns out, while I was yelling at Sugar, Scrawny piped up with, “Just smack her.” Thankfully, I didn’t hear this comment when she said it. EN told me about it afterwards. Now I’m back to my comment from above: where the fuck do people get off talking to others like that?

Within a week, I had two different people comment on the state of my house, the behavior of my pets and children, my weight, my finances. Perhaps I am being oversensitive. Perhaps I’m reading too much into their commentary. I’m sure it’s me… In fact, I KNOW it’s me… because I’m constantly reminded that I read too much into the actual fucking words that spew forth from the mouths of people around me.

I feel like I should take stock of my life and of the people in it. I can choose to keep everyone “IN” and have to deal with the behaviors that I don’t care for. This is how I’ve lived my life for the last 15 or so years. I became conscious of how cynical and contrary I was, so I went to the extreme opposite behavior and became a doormat. I allow people to say whatever they want to me and I don’t stand up for myself. I have allowed people to come into my home and comment on the dust or the dishes in the sink or whatever.  I allow them to talk shit about my kids, pets and spouse.

The other choice I have is to 86 the people that hurt me with their commentary. There’s a level of rudenss that I really feel I shouldn’t have to put up with, no matter who is piping up.

I need to work on finding the balance between being a doormat and being a bitch. I’ve got some good friends on my list and I’d say that my Friend Card is damn near full. I have people I can laugh with and talk to and play with. I don’t need to put up with the bullshit that annoys me.

It’s easy for me to write on a blog how much some behavior annoys and hurts me, but in real life I lack the ability to handle it like a grown up. It’s just not ok at the age of 40 to throw sand at the girl sitting next to you when she calls you a fat slob. 

Ice Princess