Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The rest of the ski trip story

So, I hinted that I would tell the rest of the ski trip story in my dreamcatcher post last week. A whole lot of work is marching across my desk this summer, and various personal events which I refuse to give up (seeing an old friend, work reunion, camping trip this weekend) are conspiring to keep me so busy and tired I am having trouble putting sentences together coherently. So, before I even start writing, you've already heard the excuses!

This trip, about 3 years ago, started out with me stoically deciding to take the boys on the 6 hour trip to Tahoe alone, after DH had come down with the flu. Our California boys only get to see snow once a year, so I didn't want to disappoint them. Besides, we were going with 2 other families, and the boys would be in ski lessons most of the day. All I really had to do was hang out in the overcrowded restaurant area* waiting for them to get done, then take the tuckered out boys back to the hotel for hot chocolates and warm snuggles.

*BTW, I always thought ski lodges were these big carpeted spaces with soft armchairs and warm glowing fires, where the non-skiers waited snugly (and smugly) for their companions to return.... Boy, was that a disappointment my first time in Tahoe! Instead, the non-skiers hang out in uncomfortable plastic stacking chairs, in spaces just barely big enough for people to squeeze between the tables--and everyone is decked out in ski jackets that double their volume.

As mentioned in the previous post, after enduring the stress of caravaning through hours of ski weekend traffic, we finally arrived, only to discover that Teddy also had the flu. My dreamcatcher post chronicles the trials of the first night.

The quandary...we've just driven 6 hours across the whole state of California, and Barley (age 4) is eager to take his first ski lessons ever! Teddy (age 7) is sick, with a fever. Do I throw them both in the car in the morning and head home, or try to stick it out somehow? Sticking it out means getting Barley dressed for snow and ready by 7:00am, since the kids ski lessons may sell out.

Somehow, I manage to get both boys ready in the morning, giving Teddy a good dose of children's Advil. He hates the flavor, but I have not been able to buy any yet, and this was all our friends had packed. At least they remembered to pack medicine--and a thermometer! (Yeah, they are travelling pros--unlike DH and me, who look like Keystone Cops when packing for a trip....note to self, find updated expression to replace "Keystone Cops"...)

We get up the mountain, and stand in line for 20 minutes to sign Barley up for the day and pay our fees. I tell Teddy to stay in a corner away from other people, and cover his mouth with a scarf to limit the infection zone. Once Barley is off my hands, I take Teddy to a little tiny bunny hill, and give him a sled ride in the snow. I pull him up, and ride down with him, so he needs to exert no more energy than just sitting up straight for a minute.

Even so, after 2 or 3 trips down the "hill" he tells me he is tired, and wants to go back to the hotel room. I understand his need. Problem is, the ski lesson contract I just signed for Barley stipulates that a parent must stay on the premises during the entire length of the day...hence my previous stays in the overcrowded cafeteria space. If the child misbehaves, gets sick, or starts crying and can't be calmed, they put a note up on a parent notice board, and I need to be there to go get him. What to do...what to do?

Looking for something that can help entertain Teddy for another 4 hours, without overtaxing him, my eyes light upon...the parking lot tram! It is an open air vehicle that picks up from the various snow-covered parking lots and delivers you to the ski lodge. A lot like the trams at Disney world, except colder and with thick ridged snow tires and a plow in front. I persuade Teddy to go on this "fun ride" with me, and the two of us huddle in our ski jackets, as we ride through one parking lot, then another, then another, in a huge circle. The soft swaying of the vehicle is somewhat relaxing, and we are going so slow that the frequent stops and starts are not jarring.

After 3 trips around all the parking lots, the driver finally notices that we have not gotten off, and asks if we know what lot we are parked in? I just smile and wave, and say, no, we're good--just enjoying the ride! The 20-something young man shrugs his shoulders at the crazy tourists and keeps driving.

When Teddy has finally had enough (30 minutes), we walked to the car, where he was able to lean his car seat back and take a nap. I called our friends who were also there, and asked if they could watch for Barley's name and pick him up if anything happened. Their daughter was in the same ski lessons for the day. I had managed to kill about an hour, and my bag of tricks was empty.

Teddy and I drove the 40 minutes back to the hotel, and when Barley was dropped off later, exuberant from his first ski lesson, I poured hot cocoa and we all settled down to see what brain-numbing cartoons were on TV. The next morning we skipped the caravan with our friends, ate fast food and made only potty breaks for the return trip. Thankfully, neither Barley nor I got sick that weekend. DH was feeling better after a few days rest in a quiet house, so I was able to hand off as soon as I pulled in at home. Thank goodness there are 2 of us.


  1. That is why you moved away from the cold & snow right? Then you throw yourself back into it, single handedly. DH had better enjoy his time off!

  2. Wow! Great story! Talk about momma determination and sacrifice. Or, in military talk, "You got guts, girl." I am enjoying your writing very much, thank you.


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