Location: Oregon, United States

Thursday, May 22, 2008


So the last blog was like a thumbnail sketch of what I've been up to. But there were a couple vignettes within the sketch that are worth telling.

First, a little more about skiing. The program Thomas and I took part in is a ski club. They rent a deluxe coach bus, which takes you up the mountain and then back again when you are done. Spiffy way to go. Some poor slobs had to take school buses up the mountain. The kids on our cushy bus called them "Ghetto buses". Snort. I tried to just be thankful for our glorious accommodations, bathroom included.

That is the upside. The downside is that we had to LEAVE by 6 a.m., which means we had to get up at about 5:15. On a Saturday. The first week this was no big deal. We were so pumped for this thing that it was all fun. The second week when I went downstairs to get Thomas he burst into a low moan, crying, and saying he didn't want to go, that he had decided he didn't want to do this anymore. Of course, I'm not exactly perky at this time of day and have not had my IV drip of caffeine yet. Not to mention that this is the first I've heard about him wanting to bow out. So I make him get up and get dressed, fussing and moaning the whole way, while I try not to engage, knowing that I am one millisecond away from completely biting his head off. He continues to moan and wheedle while we get our breakfast ready to go and pack up the car. I will not have it. I tell him we can have this discussion tomorrow, but not now. It is all I can do just to keep myself firm without laying into him or signing him up for another month of "torture". I tell him he needs to be absolutely quiet. It works for maybe three minutes. We make it to the bus, he curls up into a ball in his chair, still moaning and throwing me "I can't believe you are making me suffer like this" looks. Good Lord. I press my lips together in the thinnest of lines and remain silent. The bus drives away. About an hour into the drive, 7:15 or so, Thomas sits up in his chair and says, "Hey, I have an idea! What if we make a deal? I will not whine about skiing any more today. If I can do that, will you buy me a ______?" (I don't remember what it was, but it was a freaking sweet deal in light of the horrid morning we had just gone through). So I readily agree. And that was it! He was a changed man and we had a lovely day on the mountain. Honestly, I really don't think it had anything to do with our bargain. I think it had everything to do with the fact that his brain woke up at 7:00 and he had the ability to reason. Ugh.

Skiing vignette number two: I think I mentioned on the previous post that we had joined this club with a friend of Thomas' and the friend's mom. For the sake of anonymity, she will be known in this account as "Kathy". Kathy had taken Thomas to Mt. Bachelor last spring during spring break. She was a chaperon for the ski club. So I figured she knew how to ski. On the first day, there were several things she needed to do as a chaperon and we were not able to hook up until just before lunch. We finally did, and took a look at the hills available to us and chose a chair lift that had runs from Green (beginner) to Black (expert). As we made our way to the lift, Thomas and I pulled ahead and she struggled to keep up. First warning sign. We waited for her, and kept making our way to the lift. Once there, she asked the attendant to slow the lift down so she could get on. Second warning sign. Then, as we approached the top, she saw that the lift drops you off at the top of a small hill which slopes downward to a flatter area where you have some space to make ready for the descent down the hill. And she says, "How are you supposed to get off?" And I looked at her and said, "You just ski down the little hill and stop at the bottom." And she said, "I don't, I can't, I, I..." and then we were there and she HAD to get off and she started screaming, "aaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!", with her pitch rising as she swerved in between people at the bottom of the hill, missing them all, then falling down in a heap. Warning sign number three and we haven't even started down the hill yet.

So we begin making it down the hill. After a short distance, Kathy said, "Why don't you guys just go on ahead, and I'll make my way down at my own pace." This was beginning to sound like a good idea because we needed to have Thomas eat lunch in time for him to go to his lesson. So we left and went on down the hill. Then we had lunch, got Thomas hooked up with his lesson, and I skied two more runs. I tried to call Kathy a few times in there on our cell phone (this is a new concept for me, by the way - cell phone use as a way to keep in touch on the mountain! Brilliant!), but she did not answer. On my third run, I happened to notice a Ski Patrol helping some poor soul make it down the hill one little bit at a time and thought, "Oh, what a bummer, that person just got in way over their head." Then I looked again and realized it was Kathy. And all the should-haves came crashing in. I should have realized this run was going to be too much for her. I should have stayed with her. We should have had a better plan for staying in touch or finding one another (her phone had died - so the cell phone idea is great, but not foolproof). By this time, she had been on the hill for 2 1/2 hours. She had fallen and the lens of her glasses had fallen out. She managed to get it back in, but still couldn't see (Thomas and I had purchased goggles after our first run - it was snowing mightily and they were a necessity). In addition, her son had forgotten his snow pants and was wearing hers. So not only was she blinded, terrified, and embarrassed, she was also freezing. The ski patrol had been coaching her down the hill, staying with her and helping her not to give up and die in the snow. I asked if she wanted me to stay with them while they made their way down and she said yes, if I didn't mind. It was the least I could do. After another half hour, we made it to the chalet. Three hours on the mountain for her.



Blogger Mme Powell said...

Yikes. We had some similar (though mercifully less extreme) experiences at Red River over Christmas. People who live in Texas don't get much skiing practice. Not that we Minnesotans are pros or anything. But at least we have snow.

Thanks again for the stories. I love them.

Wouldn't it have been easier to take off the skis and walk down?

9:11 PM  

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