Bring Your Own….Ice

by admin on July 1, 2014

I honestly have no idea if I was an absolute boor or if my girlfriend made a mountain out of a molehill.

One of my best friends, for the last 20 years or so, recently bought her first house with her new husband and they’ve enjoyed a veritable round-robin of friends stopping by to help with painting, spackling, renovating and cleaning. There is a convenience store right near their house and, more often than not, they will ask me to stop there on my way over to grab them a six pack of beer or wine coolers for whomever is there, which I am always more than happy to do. While I’m at the store, I ALWAYS grab myself either a large cup of tea or a large soft drink with ice. I like regular, Lipton tea and she is a fancy, flowers and herbs sort of tea drinker. I also prefer ice in my drinks and as they are usually drinking adult beverages, they rarely have ice in their freezer or, indeed, anything other than water in the refrigerator. These are things that we laugh about and she will tease me, occasionally, by buying a small box of “boring” tea and putting a note with my name on it in her pantry.

Last month, they were having a huge barbecue for family and friends as a ‘thank you’ for all of the help that they had gotten with the house. My kids and I had been over the night before to help move tables and get ready. When I left, I asked them if they needed me to pick anything up on the way over the next day and they said that they were all set. I was coming over early with some dishes that she had asked me to make and some that she had made but needed me to keep in my refrigerator as their garage fridge was full to capacity with beer, wine and flavored waters.

On my way, I phoned one more time and asked if they needed anything as I was stopping for tea and they asked if I could get chips and salsa. I asked if they wanted coffee and they did not. It was early in the day, before lunch time, so I picked up the chips and salsa, a large cup of tea for myself and then, realizing that they did not have any ice at the house, that I saw, I called and asked if they needed any. She told me that they weren’t serving any beverages that needed ice and that she didn’t have the freezer space for bags of ice, anyway. I grabbed a large cup of ice that I could stow unobtrusively in one of her freezers, paid for my purchases and went to their house.

Friend and Husband and 3 other friends of theirs and my kids and I unloaded my folding chairs and tables from the car, grabbed the refrigerated dishes and put them where they needed to be, finished setting up the tents and had about an hour to sit and chat amongst ourselves before guests started arriving. The day was surprisingly warm, around 80* or so, and everyone was enjoying themselves, immensely.

About 2 hours into the party, as folks were imbibing more and more, I decided to switch from wine to cola so that someone had their wits about them and so that I could drive home, later. When I ducked into the garage to grab my cup of ice from the freezer out there, Friend followed me to give me “scoop” about someone at the party that she thought I might like to get to know better. As she was talking to me, I opened the freezer, took the cup out, took the lid off and started to fill it with soda. Her eyes popped out of her head and she asked me, “What is THAT?!” Honest to goodness, I thought that there was a bug and I squealed. She pointed, again, directly at my cup and asked me, “You brought ice to my party?” in a very accusatory tone. I was confused but also sensed danger, so I very apologetically admitted that I had. She lost her marbles on me in the garage, accusing me of everything from not appreciating her hospitality to being a teetotaler when I should have been drinking like everyone else was. I was really at a loss as she was so incredibly angry with me, so I apologized profusely, left the half-filled cup in the garage and immediately left the garage to catch my breath.

Her husband found me out front, handed me the soda with ice and told me that he was sorry and that he should have warned me that she had been so nervous about the party that morning that she had started the day with mimosas, so she had a bit of a head start on everyone. He also told me that he had just sent his brother out for ice because folks wanted ice in their mixed drinks. Feeling better, I rejoined the party and had a lovely afternoon, leaving before the non-family-friendly part of the evening began. Both Friend and Husband thanked us for all of our help and Friend followed me out to the car with a giggly, chatty debriefing about the party. As I was getting in the car, she said, “I actually followed you out here so that you could apologize, again, for what you did.”

I’ve always known that she has an argumentative, aggressive streak and it’s part of my job, my ying to her yang, sort of, to keep her in check. I’d never, though, in 20 years, been on the receiving end of it and didn’t know what to say, so I gave her a kiss and a hug and told her to enjoy the rest of her party and call me in the morning.

She did call me the next morning. To yell at me, again, for bringing a cup of ice to her party. I apologized for upsetting her and pointed out that I had also brought tables, chairs, and food. She said none of that mattered in the face of my obvious denigration of her hostessing skills.

I’m very non-confrontational and find myself walking on eggshells around her, now, the 2 or 3 times that we’ve seen each other since then. Her husband called her out on the whole thing, as well, and they evidently had a house-shaking row over it as she doesn’t understand why no one understands how much I hurt her feelings with my cup of ice. She keeps making snarky comments about whether or not I’ll drink what she’s offering without “dressing it up” and I’ve asked her to please stop it and she responds that she’s just kidding and that I’m too sensitive.

It will all go away soon. It always does with her. But I’m really curious.

Was I totally wrong or is she as crazy about it as it seems? 0623-14

Even if you were wrong in bringing your personal ice, it’s such a minor infraction that a truly gracious hostess and good friend would entirely overlook it.   It’s just not worthy of getting one’s etiquette nose out of joint.   That is what good friends do, they see the faux pas and they cover for you, preferring to see the positive things a friend has contributed to the relationship instead of focusing on a minor slip up.   Her behavior could have been dismissed due to her perhaps excessive alcohol consumption but the fact that she continues to harp on this the next morning and in following interactions between you both speaks volumes as to what it is she actually prioritizes as valuable.    In her case, her reputation as a hostess trumped her friendship with you.   I think you would be justified in cooling the relationship down a bit because maybe this is one of those epiphany moments many of us have when we suddenly realize that a long relationship is actually not very equitable or edifying.

{ 177 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen July 2, 2014 at 11:49 am

I’m really confused by the friend’s reaction.

Every get-together I’ve ever been a part of, someone provides ice, whether it be the host or something brought by one of the party-goers.

Like the Admin., I was going to chalk up the reaction to alcohol, but then friend kept harping on it. I agree that maybe this friendship needs to go its nature course and maybe drift away completely.

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Stella July 2, 2014 at 12:24 pm

I feel like people are being a little harsh on the husband. It sounds like he’s on friendly terms with OP, and the wife has a hard time swallowing her pride. If husband is comfortable being a mediator and knows both parties well enough to do it without meddling, I see nothing wrong with it. My BIL occasionally has to mediate between my sister and me, after my sister has yet again managed to offend me somehow. He’s never spoken in her behalf, but he’s extended dinner invitations to their place when my sister has obviously been too proud to do it after I’ve told her off about being a jerk. Ah, families ;)

But anyway, I think husband seems like a nice and reasonable man who knows when to bridge over his wife’s mistakes. Nothing “Flying Monkey” about that. I imagine the husband rolling his eyes and thinking she needs to put her big girl pants on before going “I’m calling OP now whether you like it or not and you two are going to make nice!”

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merrilee July 2, 2014 at 1:22 pm

@Stella – but he shouldn’t be involved in the friendship, at all. She’s a big girl and she needs to fight her own battles. What I mean by “Flying Monkey” is that she is conforming to a pattern of:
* OP Friend does something that upsets OP
* OP doesn’t contact friend
* Friend cries to husband until husband calls OP to fix it

Husband is carrying wife’s messages for her so she doesn’t ever have to apologize. I know men are ‘fixers’ but he needs to step out of the dynamic.

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missminute July 2, 2014 at 11:32 pm

Who doesn’t provide ice at a party? And what is her aversion to ice? What a control freak.
She reminds me of the Joan Crawford character in Mommy Dearest. “NO. MORE. ICE. CUBES!!!!”

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MaryFran July 3, 2014 at 2:37 pm

I think there’s two ways to go about this. You can do as the admin suggests and cool down the relationship until friend knocks off the comments or you can rib her right back. “Do you think it would be totally unreasonable for you to provide ice at your next party?” “Well, if I can’t bring a cup of ice, I’m not bringing dessert either.”

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Cami July 4, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Honestly, OP, your “friend” sounds like a drama queen and you are her loyal page AND whipping boy. You need to take a hard and long look at this relationship and ask yourself what you gain from it.

You help renovate her house. As a result of your hard work, she invites you to be one of the honorees at a thank you party BUT must provide food and furniture for it?! Seriously? Please think about that for a second. You are the honoree, but must provide the goods to honor yourself?! Did she also ask you to write out your own thank you note and put a stamp on it?

Then not only do you have to provide the goods to honor yourself, she freaks out because you dared to ruin “her” party by bringing ice? First of all, she was only providing the location for this party, so her claim to being the hostess is less than solid — especially given the fact that this location is only ready for a party due to the generosity and hard work of others. Secondly, providing ice to guests for their drinks on a hot day IS one of the first requirements of being a hostess in this country. Thirdly, well, she’s just wackadoo for freaking out like that.

But most importantly is that you state this is a long term pattern. Ask yourself why.

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scrubber J July 5, 2014 at 12:10 pm

I reread this to see if I was missing something. Honestly, first world problems. And even then, how is this a problem? This doesn’t sound like a friend, sounds like dramatic people who are usually too drunk or stoned to have rational reactions to life. I brought ice in a cup. And? Nice husband or not, sounds like you need people more your emotional level. This is just weird.

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Goldie July 7, 2014 at 10:02 am

Ah how happy I would be to trade my problems for your friend’s, OP. Did I read it correctly that you and her other friends have helped her and her husband move, paint, renovate, clean, brought the lawn furniture for their party, brought food and drinks for the party, and she is now all bent out of shape because one of them also brought ice? The horrors!!! Also, really, who doesn’t provide ice at a party?

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OP July 7, 2014 at 10:51 am

My friend and her husband had a barbecue for the 4th of July. She had asked me if I could make 2 of my specialties and I told her that since we had plans earlier in the day and the day before, I just wouldn’t be able to but if she needed anything picked up on my way, I’d be more than happy to do that. I could have but, as discussed, I’m not bending over backward and am being very tentative.

I texted her that I was on my way and she texted back and asked me to ‘bring ice”. I was VERY wary, but stopped for ice.

We walked in with each kid carrying a bag of ice and she gave hugs and kisses and asked me, very specifically, to put the ice in a VERY large marine cooler. Still wary, I did. When I opened the lid of the cooler there was a beautifully scrapbooked, laminated note inside the lid that simply said, “OP’s ice” with pictures of she and I and the kids through the years. Throughout the day, if anyone was looking for ice and went to that cooler, she would tell them that if they wanted THAT ice, they had to ask me for some but that there was “public” ice in another cooler right next to it. All of it was very tongue-in-cheek and funny and, for anyone who didn’t know, she explained that she “decided to have a fit at OP for using ice in her drink because…no reason…so now I have presented her with more ice than she can possibly use by way of apology.”

And THIS is why, even though she’s frequently absolutely loony-tunes, we are still friends. And why she gets away with the loony-tunes with so many other people. She knows she’s frequently crazy and, as they say, knowing is half the battle.

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SplishFish July 8, 2014 at 9:19 am

“decided to have a fit at OP for using ice in her drink because…no reason…so now I have presented her with more ice than she can possibly use by way of apology.”

So… she has *you* buy the ice she “presented” you with? How is that an apology, exactly?

This very back-handed “apology” is just more drama-mongering. Do you feel apologized to? Do you feel that she is really sorry for her actions?

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Brit July 8, 2014 at 10:39 am

I’m glad you are happy but wow, your definition of ‘crazy’ is exactly like mine of ‘total b*tch’.

Then again, I don’t think ‘knowing’ you’re crazy counts for anything if you’re going to let it out every time you feel like it.

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lkb July 14, 2014 at 8:13 am

Wow! I guess this is definitely a situation of “know your audience”. If I were the OP, I think I either would have flounced away in tears or put the ice I bought “where the sun don’t shine” or pushed the “friend’s” face into the personalized cooler. Or all of the above. This is two occasions which I call public humiliation. All over some ice.

The only nice part was the scrapbook note with pictures.

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