Last night we tried to get some practice ice. Note, "Tried."
We arrived thirty minutes early, got a snack, put on skates, and waited. As time ticked by, a nice lady came down from the booth and asked if we were going to skate.
"Yes," I replied.
"Are you registered?"
"Did you turn in your coupon?"
I held it up. "No...."
"Oh, dear," she scuttled back up to the booth.
Let me start by saying how foolish of me it was to assume that a convenient time to skate would have oodles of time available.
There are 26 spaces available on Practice Ice. As many as 13 of those are pre-sold. The remaining 13 can be sold as walk-on, but for this particular time slot, those are apparently gone by noon, a full seven hours before the ice.
Bitch Monitor rolled her eyes at me and in tones I'm sure she reserves for her toddlers, explained the process. "You have to turn in a coupon in the morning to get a space. Call your coach."
"Yes, but I work. How can I turn in a coupon in the morning."
More eye rolling. "What I'm saying is that you have to call your coach in the morning, and tell her you want to come. She will turn in a coupon for you."
"Okay. Thank you."
And as we left, the first nice lady stopped us. "You couldn't get on? I'm so sorry. Next time, then. I want to hear your music," she said to Stitch.
She was the only nice soul I encountered that evening, and we went home deflated.
I'm telling you this as a warning: No one is going to tell you shit about the nuts and bolts of this process. People will feign ignorance, dodge questions, or worse, fluff you up with lovely poems or quotes about character building and self esteem. After you're done listening to a Frost poem about paths, you're going to meet a greasy haired bitch of an ice monitor in a booth who rolls her eyes at you and acts like you're trying to see the wizard.
I suppose I understand why all the other skating moms don't really talk to the newbies. I'm sure they had their deflated and depressing evenings, too. They've done their rounds, earned their stripes and they just don't feel like messing with anyone who doesn't get it. So they hang in their clusters of coffee and chatter, and don't even notice the new moms like me.
So Stitch and I went home, where I made soup and studied the Ice Schedule. There was a glaring time staring out at me, and from a distant past I could hear an echo, "Five in the morning, morning, morning..." Would Greasy be there then?
I began a more arduous task, reinstalling the OS on my phone while I played Spider and debated my options. This whole skating thing is getting more and more involved. I keep thinking that at some point it will settle. We will have a routine and a schedule and that will be it. But there's always something new and something more to contend with. Is this what every Alpha Parent deals with? Hell, at this point I'd be glad for the company of Nutso just to have someone to talk to.
After forty minutes of downloading, battery charging, system checking and other technologic nonsense, I looked at my phone and saw it had an OS update anyway that had nothing at all to do with my preparations of the past half hour. Well, fuck it anyway. I guess things will work out in the end if I'm patient.
("Five in the morning, morning, morning....")