A First Time Event…
Last week, I had the opportunity to have a new experience. For all you younger friends out there, when you get to be old like me there isn’t much under the sun that actually qualifies as a new experience. Most everything I do that is new or exciting, is really something that is similar to something that I have done before. An example would be something that happened last Monday. It was a cold, wet snowy rain when I left the house to go to work. Before I left the house, one of the ramp workers texted me and told me to wear some boots because there was slush covering the entire ramp. I wear low top boots with my work uniform so I told him that I had it covered and went out the door.
Walking to the ramp office from the parking lot, I realized that he wasn’t kidding because the slush was knee deep in places. I picked my steps carefully and made it into the office with dry feet. I expected the area around the airplane to be cleared off but the mechanic said it was worse. He looked at my “nice” boots and told me that my feet would be covered in slush before I got to the airplane so he took off his boots and gave them to me. I wouldn’t have called them boots, I would call them waders. After they were on, I gave my phone to the Captain and took this picture. The mechanic has been calling me Captain Ahab ever since.
I am not sure if I have ever worn knee high waders but they were not too different than other types of boots that I have worn. On Wednesday though, I did have a totally new experience. For years, my wife has told me that she wanted to go snow skiing. About a month ago, she actually made the reservations. Last week, the kids were out of school for winter break and I had just got back from my trip about 6:00 AM and we were out the door 30 minutes later. We piled into the truck and drove a couple hours south to Winterplace Resort near Beckley, West Virginia. After being up all night, I tried to sleep in the back seat but it eluded me. Reaching the resort, it took us twenty minutes to get all the snow gear out and on our bodies. It is amazing how much stuff you actually need to toss your body off a mountain.
When we went inside, we stood in line with a bus load of kids and got more gear. It felt more like day one of boot camp than a snow adventure because I was packed down with arm full of gear and being shuffled down the winding rope lined walkways with hundreds of other people pretending to be cattle. Finally, we got to the guy who was giving out the skis. He took my boots, clamped them in the binder and handed them over. Now I had my skis, and the kid’s skis too. My wife had their boots and the rest of their crap while they were running around like a couple of hellions asking us if we would hurry up. It took another thirty minutes to get those cement block boots strapped around my ankles. I did a graceful Frankenstein strut up the stairs out into the cold air.
I was a sweaty mess and immediately took off my jacket, my special needs helmet, my sunglasses, my gloves, my jacket, my sweatshirt, my snow bibs and smiled when the cold air reached the long sleeve shirt and jeans. After my brain temperature lower to heat stroke level, I realized that the closest refreshments were back in the cafeteria. So I put all those clothes back on and went inside. I downed a sports drink and hustled back out for the ten o clock snow skiing class.
I was late and one of the instructors was lining up the students when our instructor, Corey swooped in to teach us how to ski. A man in the prime of his life, Corey live his life hanging out on the slopes talking up the baby mama’s all day and spending the nights partying like a rock star. Corey deftly kicked out of his custom painted skis of the bikini clad brunette and began to drone on about how to safely ski. Corey stared at me like a hawk who is looking at the little field mouse that will be dinner. He scanned the line searching for my wife. When he found her, he gave her the subtle wink and a nod because he was everything that the baby mama’s dream about at night. If he is the dream, I am the nightmare. Short, fat, sweaty with blood shot, droopy eyes struggling to stay upright in my jacked up walking boots and wearing my special needs helmet. Fortunately, my wife has a soft spot for men that used to lick the windows on the short bus. In this case, it sucked to be Corey.
After the two hour, painfully horrible ski lesson of how to slow down, stop, walk up hill, and kick the skis off when we fell, it was time to actually try skiing. When it was my turn, Corey watched with admiration as I took all of his advice and actually traveled twenty feet before I fell. I couldn’t believe it; I really was embarrassed. Ten minutes later, after wallowing around on the snow like an awkward walrus, I finally got a boot out of my ski and was able to stand up. I got the ski back on and made it almost 50 feet down the bunny slope before I fell a second time. I didn’t feel bad until the fifteen-year-old “real” special needs kid asked me if I was alright. That kid’s Mom never saw his act of kindness because Corey was talking her up. Finally, I made my way to my family at the bottom of the tiny hill. Corey was gone chasing after another ski vixen and we were cut loose on our own.
We set out and attempted the bunny slope again, and once again I fell. The good news was that I was figuring out how to get the skis off and stand up faster. I got onto the ski lift okay and we went to the top of the mountain. But I nearly got decapitated trying to get off the ski lift, this skiing thing was kicking my butt. We spent an hour on the slopes, mostly waiting on me to make it down the mountain. Everyone was hungry so we ate lunch and headed over to the snow tube park so the kids could try that. While they threw their tiny bodies off the mountain, my wife helped me figure out why I couldn’t stay upright. The key was not letting the front of the skis cross. Thanks to Corey hitting on every baby mama in line, I thought a wedge was when the tips of the skis crossed and formed a “X”. Every time I had any momentum, I crossed the skis and I tumbled. After the tubing, we went back to the slopes and tried it again.
This time, my wife stayed behind to drink some hot chocolate and wait on us. She didn’t think that we would be out on the slopes very long. Two and a half hours later, I made my way back to the lodge completely wiped out after being up all night working and skiing all day. The trick to not letting the tips of the ski cross was the magic pill that I needed to stay upright. I didn’t fall once the rest of the afternoon on the slopes. Now to be honest, I only successfully skied away from the lift only once. Every other time I busted my face getting off that contraption. My kids laughed at me, the ski lift operators laughed at me, I’m sure Corey would have laughed if he hadn’t been distracted by a ski bimbo.
I really thought the next morning, that I would not be able to get out of bed. But to my surprise, I wasn’t sore at all. I was amazed how much fun it was and now I am hooked. Now that I have mastered the bunny slope, my next goal is to try one of those black diamonds.
Until next time, keep on rockin.