Monday, January 3, 2011

To the New Year!

After many ignored petitions to The Snow Maker, we finally got a forecast for 100% snow!  Woo hoo!!!  The morning of December 30th was cold but with still no snow.  The boys were invited to a friends house, here in the hood so I took them over and returned home to get my house in order before my guests and the New Year arrived.  Around 10:30 the snow began to fall.  Big, beautiful, fluffy flakes of snow!!! 

"Yea!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!" 

Cleaning house seemed so much more fun when a glance up at the window and the view was of a winter wonderland.  My friend, Lauren and her fiance were flying in that afternoon.  I was so thrilled that there would be snow on their mountain visit!

After the house was clean I went back to get the boys and to visit with my friend for awhile.  She invited me into her garage.  It seems strange, I know, but there was a cozy corner in there with a couch facing a stove.  She had a lovely fire burning and so we were quite warm there with our tea.  (The stove is connected to vents that run into the house so this heats their home.  Isn't that interesting?)  Anywhoo, while we visited the snow continued to fall.

"I hope you don't have trouble getting out of my drive way," she said.

"Oh.  I hadn't thought of that.  Do people often have a hard time with it?"

"When there is snow," she nodded.  Then she tells me that sometimes she even has a hard time getting up her drive with her 4 wheel drive.


I don't have 4wd.  I have a Ford Taurus.  Aaron drives the Explorer because of his commute.  Plus he was going to pick up our guests at the airport that day so he really needed it.

Aaron text that he had my friends and that they were on their way home.  It would be a long slow drive with the icy roads.  I decided to head home.  I wanted to have banana bread baking when they arrived and a fire going in the fireplace.  I rounded up the boys and we headed out.

As my friend had predicted, I could not get out of her driveway.  At the very top of her drive, the car sat and spun her tires.  I got out and sort of dug the snow away from the front of the tires.  I got back in the car and gave it another go.  The little path I dug worked and I went just as far as I had dug.  About 5 inches.  I tried to call my friend to see if she could give me some instruction but she was on the phone.  So I called Caren.

"Try going in reverse back down her drive and park your car.  Then I'll pick you up."

I looked down the steep driveway that was lined with forest on either side.

"Um...Caren, I don't think I can maneuver that."

"I'll try calling her then.  She has an ATV with a plow on it.  Maybe she can plow you out."  Caren was able to get ahold of her and my friend came hiking up her driveway. 

"My husband took the ATV hunting!" she shouted.


About this time a Monster Truck  pulled up.  I kid you not, this thing pretty much roared "Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!" from it's exhaust pipe.  The window rolled down and out popped the head of, what appeared to be, a 14 year old boy.

"Do you ladies need help?"  At least it sounded like his voice had already changed.

"Yes!" my friend answered.

"Give me about 5 minutes.  I'll run home and get my chain."

I was glad that it appeared that I would be rescued but leery of my heroes youth.

"Do you think he will know what he's doing?"  I asked my friend.

"Oh sure!" 

True to his word, Baby Face returned with his Monster Truck and chain.  He asked that my friend stand up the road a little, just ahead of the curve, so that if other cards were coming she could let them know what was going on up ahead.

I like that.  That shows wisdom.  Maybe he does know what to do.

Baby Face then arranged his truck to be in front of my car.  He layed down in the snow and hooked the chain to something under my car. 

"You're sure you know what you're doing?"


After that was accomplished he came to me with this huge chain in his hand and says, "I'm going to attach this to my truck.  I need you to hold this end while I drive up a bit to tighten it up."

I whispered a trashy version of "poop" as he placed the heavy chain in my hand and I placed my trust in Baby Face.

As he hooked the other end to his truck my friend up the road yells, "I sure wish I had my camera right now!"

There I stood, ankle deep in snow.  My sons are in my car with a chain attached to it.  I am holding the chain that is now attached to a Monster Truck and the Baby Face driver is slowly pulling the truck up and the chain tightens.  I would've loved for her to have had a camera too.  I had visions of being dragged down the road behind this truck.

Baby Face poked out of the window again.

"OK, now I need you to drive your car as I pull you out.  Don't gun it though or you are going to fly into the back of my truck.  OK?"

"Got it."

I got back in the car and the boys were so excited.

"That is the coolest truck ever, Mom!"  Drew shouted.

"Yep."  I tried to get buckled.  Before I got it snapped though, Baby Face pulled forward.

Poop!  (Except I thought the other colorful version again.)

I quickly put the car in gear and pulled up.  With as much ease as picking a flower, the Monster Truck plucked us right out of my friends driveway.  Baby Face climbed out of his truck and unhooked everything. 

"Thank you so much!"  I called to him.

"No problem.  Good luck getting home!"

Yeah, really.  I still have to get up our driveway...

I followed behind the Monster Truck.

"Mom, don't you think you should do something for him?" Gabriel asked.

"You are right son.  I would love to."

"Don't you have any money?" 

"Not on me dear.  He lives nearby so we will see where he goes and then I'll do something nice after the snow is gone."

"His parents must be so proud of him," Gabe said.

"I'm sure you're right buddy!" I laughed, "I will be sure to let his parents know what he did."

I was nervous the rest of the drive down.  Going up the hill was icy but the car went slow.  I would be fighting gravity and ice on the way down.  I came to the biggest part of the hill.  The part where we would go down.  The part that when I walk up, I try not too talk too much because I need every bit of  breath I have.  (Stop laughing Caren.  I really do try not to talk on that stretch!)  I turned the car and shifted into neutral.  We slowly rolled down the hill.  Everything was so beautiful!  I cheered for the pretty snow that was still falling. 

Our street is at the bottom of this big hill and then ours is up the side of a hill as well.  Clear as mud?  Basically, when we got down this big hill I had to turn my car up another hill.  The car went about 6 feet and got stuck again.  It just could not climb up these icy roads.  I took out my phone:

"Caren?  I'm stuck again."

"Try going in at the second entrance.  It's not as steep.  Maybe you can make that and if not back out and drive down to the fire station.  Lot's of people park down there because they can't get up.  I can pick you up there."

"OK.  I'll try the second entrance.  Stay by your phone though in case I need you to get me at the station."

So, I backed out and slid down to the next entrance.  Caren, was right and my car went up with only little difficulty.  But then....rrrrrr....the car got stuck again.  This time, I'm only about a house away from Caren's.  She has a low spot in her yard that I hoped I could park in. 

In the trunk of my car was Gabriel's Homework Halloween costume.  It was made of poster board.  I got out of the car and used the poster board to dig, dig, dig two trails in front of my tires.  This time I dug them long enough for me to reach Caren's driveway.  I got back in the car and called Caren again.

"It's me.  I got stuck again but I think I can get into the low part of your driveway and park in your yard.  Would that be OK?  Because I know I won't be able to make it up my drive."

"Sure!  If that doesn't work you can at least park down in front of your property near your drive.  But try to get up in my yard because otherwise when they do come to plow, your car is going to be covered."

"K.  I'll call you if there is another glitch."  And then to the boys: "OK fellas.  We are going to try again!"

Drew began to pray, "Lord please, please make the snow stop so we can get home."

"No Lord!  Don't let the snow stop!  We love it!!!!"  Gabriel countered.

"Guys, it's all good.  If you are going to pray anything, pray that I can get this car into Ms. Caren's yard."

But I couldn't.  The trails I dug worked and I got to the base of her driveway but I could not go up it.  I backed out and went to park down near our house as Caren had suggested.  Then the boys and I hiked up the driveway in the snow.

As difficult as all of this sounds it was so much fun!  The kids and I got in as fast as we could and got the hot cocoa going.  I lit a fire and got started on the banana bread.  It was not even in the oven when Aaron, Lauren and Ryan walked in.  This means, that it took almost as long for me to get home from a house in our neighborhood as it did for them to get to our house on the slow track from the airport!  Ha!

We had a great visit with our friends.  We sled in our front yard and built a snowman.  He's a sad little guy because the snow was not very wet and did not pack well.  We had a pretty pathetic snowball fight too but it was still fun.  Aaron shoveled the driveway while we all played.  Yeah.  He shoveled our 250 ft. long driveway.  That's on a hill.  This is fun to him though so...  New Year's Eve we played board games until midnight.  We had a champagne toast to the year and then I cried while we sang Auld Lang Syne. 

I have resolved to watch my language more this year.  I would like to be more lady-like.  So, I will not say anything that my kids can't say.  Also, I hope to watch how much I talk.  To not delve out opinions unless requested and to watch my mouth in general.  No more negative talk to myself.  That goes for you too thoughts.  At least I hope to achieve this.  New Year's Day was a fail on all of the above. 

Day two of 2011, we took our guests skiing.

Skiing is not something I'm really a fan of.  I have not been in 14 years so I was nervous.  At first I was excitedly nervous but as the car got closer and closer to the slopes the excited part quieted and the nervous part grew.  My kids were nervous too.  Drew said that only idiots would ski.  It's too dangerous.

"Only idiots let fear keep them from doing things in life, son.  It's OK to be scared but if you let the fear rule you, you will never do anything fun in life."  I told my sons this and tried to believe it myself.

Aaron took the boys to lessons and Lauren, Ryan and I hit the slopes.  I made them promise not to leave me.  They promised.

Before we entered the lift we double checked to be sure we were going on a green.  I was shaking I was so scared and cold.  Before I could get out of it though a lift chair scooped up the three of us.  Ryan and Lauren were comfortably admiring the beautiful views.  I clung to the lifts bar for dear life.

"I change my mind.  I want off.  I want off!"

LauRyan just sort of laughed and tried to encourage me to enjoy the view.  Wind kicked up the powder at the top of the mountain.

"Look at that!"  Lauren gushed, "I love that!  So pretty!"

All I saw was strong wind.  Wind that will probably accelerate my descent down the mountain.   I saw cold powdery snow that would soon be whipped up into my face.  The lift was incredibly long.  Even LauRyan was wondering when we would reach the top.  I could see skiers below.  Many were going really fast.  "Shredding" they call it.  Some were falling.

"I want off!  When will they let us off? $#%*, $#%*!  As soon as we can I'm getting off and if it's a blue instead of a green they can drive me down."

"You will be fine.  Remember what you told your kids this morning?"  Lauren reminded me.

I tried hard not to cry.

"Why are all of my friends so adventurous?!"  I lamented, "they make me float rivers..."

"Please.  Floating a river is not scary!  That's relaxing," Lauren said.

"Yeah, well I got dumped and went down the rapids with no $%#@*  tube!  I want off!"

"Michal, that's enough," was Lauren's honey toned response.

Then we saw, what looked like a place to get off.  But apparently it was only for getting on.  I thought I would try anyway.  I called to the guys manning the lift, "Could I please get off here?!"

"Ah... hell no!"  he laughed.

Lauren and Ryan laughed too!  It was kind of funny.  Kind of.

We were only half way up at this point.  The lift ride took 15 minutes, people!  The high that day was only about 20 degrees and it was getting colder as we went up.

"I can't feel my face," Ryan said.  But he said it like that was cool.

We finally reached the top and the views were so amazing and majestic that it scared me even more.  We were waaaaaaaaay up there.  LauRyan let me go as slow as I liked.  It all came back to me.  I was still very afraid but the ski lift ride was more scary then the actual skiing.  There was a couple of moments where things were so pretty and quiet.  I allowed the beauty to calm my spirit a bit.  I tried to go where Lauren went.  Seeing her make it safely was reassuring.  About half way down, Lauren took off on her own and Ryan would go and then stop to wait for me.  It endeared him to me all the more!  Other skiers swish, swish, swished around me.  At one point a father and his 3 year old daughter blew past me.  The humility of that and the fact that I was getting cold caused me to pick up my pace a bit.  Once I got to the bottom Ryan directed me to the bar.  We would find Lauren there waiting for us with Bloody Mary's.  God bless that woman.

"I am sorry I was so slow guys,"  I apologized.

"Not at all.  I am so proud of you!  You conquered your fear!"  Lauren gave me a little hug and passed me my drink.  So good!

The second run was a little easier.  The lift was still scary but better since I knew what was coming.  For some reason when it was time to get off I was not quite ready.  My ski's never touched the earth and I quickly realized that I would have to jump.  It sounds much scarier then it was.  I was only like a foot high.  Still, I fell flat on my back.  It didn't hurt that bad.  What hurt was the snowboarder who was unloading after me.  He careened into my leg.  I have a beautiful bruised egg just above my knee.  Another chair full of people unloaded (and fell while trying to avoid me) before the guys manning the lift noticed. 

"Here, let me help you out of the way so no one runs into you," one offered.

"Too late," I told him.

I got back into my ski's and headed out down the slope.  I had told LauRyan not to worry about me so much this time.  It was agreed that when they got to the bottom they would immediately board the lift again to try some other runs and I would go rest in the lodge a bit.  They would still stop periodically to look up the slope to see how I was doing.  At one point though I lost a ski.  I didn't fall.  I was going so slow I sort of walked out of it.  I don't think I ever got back in it right when I lost it on my jump off of the lift.  So I tried to get it on but the snow was too deep and my ski would just sink into it instead of snapping onto my boot.  I decided to walk a ways until I was in a safer spot and also a more solid spot.  I was way too far up the mountain to try and walk the whole thing.

I was worried for LauRyan.  I did not want them to be waiting for me and I knew they would be worried for me.  Just then a snow "ambulance" flew up the slope. 

Oh great.  They are going to think that's for me. 

I finally got to a place where I would try to get the skis on again.  It was a lot of work.  I kept wondering where ski patrol was.  Shouldn't there be someone coming by to check on people?  It took about 5 minutes but I finally got my skis on.  Just as I snapped on the last one Ski Patrol swooped in.

"Do you need any help?"

"Nope.  Just got it."

"Great!  Have fun!  Skiing is easier then walking."

"You have'nt seen me ski yet."

The ski "ambulance" went by again with a body dragging behind it.  I tried to pick up my pace because I knew Lauren and Ryan would be worried about me.  Sure enough, when I got to the bottom, Ryan was waiting.  They did not get back on the lift for another run.  They too had seen the ski "ambulance" and wanted to make sure I was alright first.  Ryan again directed me to the bar where Lauren was waiting with another round of Bloody Mary's for us.  As soon as I walked in she came running to me with open arms and a relief washed face.

I suck.

(Dang it!  I can't say that either.)

I did not go back out.  I waited instead for Aaron and the boys while my friends went back out for several more quick runs.  It seems the 2 mile run that took me 30 minutes should really only take about 8 minutes.  Hm.

Today I am sore and bruised but very happy to have that under my belt.  My kids did not enjoy their ski experience either but we are all quite proud of ourselves for Doing it Scared.  My guests are gone and I spent the day putting the house back together.  This afternoon I leashed Drake and we went for a walk up the snow covered hill.  A feeling of normalcy swept over me and then just as quickly I realized how un-normal this is.  Again, I find that I am so undeservedly blessed.

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