"...it's how many times you're here in a day." Such was what I overheard a parent say in the stands once.
With Stitch gone, I cleaned up a bit and walked to the rink. I was meeting Costume Lady #3 to "help." I wasn't too sure what we'd be doing, but just cleaning up seemed like a good task.
I arrived with twenty minutes left in the Pre-Style classes left. I ran into Lady Cluck on my way in, said hey and went to go check on her kids. Her kids were fine, her older daughter trying a two foot spin. And I saw Shuffles. I realized I hadn't seen Shuffles in months. He was in an Alpha class, miserably going round and round, both feet still planted firmly on the ice. Oh, Shuffles, I sympathize. That first lift is hard.
I went back out and, just out of some sick desire for punishment, went to say hello to Nutso. She seemed happy enough to see me, and asked where Stitch was. I told her he's gone and would be back in the fall.
"What level is he in now? We don't see him."
"Oh, uh, he'll be going into Freestyle 2 when he gets back." I suddenly felt a little dirty, even though I knew and had proof that Stitch's levels were all legit.
Nutso was smiling. "That's nice! Well, Precious has said that she doesn't want to be a Toy Soldier for Ice Show, which means she has to be in Delta. I would be surprised if she doesn't pass Gamma, so it should be okay."
"Should be. Mohawks are tricky, though. Stitch had a weak side. Still does, actually." And, I was learning that I did, too. "I'm not sure if I should enroll him in the Saturday package. I need to ask Coach." Nutso didn't need to know the reasons for my ambivalence.
"Are you still doing Privates?" she asked.
"Uh, yes. Coach does really well with Stitch, I'm really happy. I just don't know about that Saturday thing."
"Oh!" she threw up her hands. "That is my goal! That is the best deal! Once I can get the kids into that Saturday Package, I will consider my life complete!"
"It's all the skating they need, all in one day! One morning! It's perfect! What is it, three hours?"
"I can't remember. I know it's a good deal, but they need to be on the ice more than once a week."
"Oh, sure, if they're competitive," she leaned across the table at me. "But not for my kids. Once a week is plenty for them."
As I was processing this, Lady Cluck walked behind us, making the sign of the cross as she went into the rink. Nutso laughed, thinking it was a joke.
"So, if Stitch is gone, why are you here?" Nutso asked.
"Oh, gonna help with costumes today."
"What, for Winter Show? Now?"
"Yes." And really, things should be farther along than they are.
"Well," Nutso saw an opportunity to whine. "Why don't they do that out here? So the parents can see? We should have some input!"
"These are for the soloists and specialty groups. The Basic Skills groups will just get the PreFab costumes, that seems to be the norm."
Nutso blinked, and I think I broke her brain.
"Well," I stood up. "Imma gonna head in. Still hot from the walk here."
"Tell me how Shuffles is doing!" she called after me.
Lady, he's miserable. He has been for a long time.
After taking skates off kids and talking more with Lady Cluck, I went to go "do costumes."
The costume room was a pit of spangles, velvet and a lost box of fabric without which no work could be done. Costume Lady #3 sighed and lamented at the lost box, whereupon Costume Lady #2 showed up and said, "But you took it home. Remember?"
They bickered back and forth while I picked through a box leftover from the costume sale, trying to organize it. It was a matter of minutes before I had a headband of silver sequins and was wearing purple lame gloves like Madonna. "I can put things away," I offered.
So they set me to rehanging things. Costume Lady #3 apologized and went home. I rehung things for a little over an hour, marveling at just how many leftover PreFab costume packages there were. In fact, most of the room is storage. I did enjoy the debate of "we don't have nearly enough sequins," when I looked over and saw a cabinet full of more sequins than I could possibly dream of.
I was up and down on a ladder once too often before I realized I'd forgotten to eat breakfast. I told Costume Lady #2 to call me whenever, I was free all week in the evenings, and went home to grab lunch. I'd be back later that evening, to conquer my new nemesis; The Hockey Circle. He and I had some unfinished business concerning my outside edges.