Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ski Hell; The Slope

She was kind of surprised how many curse words she knew and had just always maintained enough self control not to say out loud. They all got used on the way down the slope that day. 

Let us just start by saying that if you remember the introduction to the Wide Wide World of Sports then you have a pretty good idea what she went through.  To this day the word "snowplow" causes her to cringe. Tangled body parts, flying skis, embittering frustration kind of sums it up. He tried to be helpful and do the thing where the experienced skier puts the beginner in front and "guides" them. Uh huh. Tangled body parts, flying skis and embittered frustration X two.  He tried letting her go it alone and instructing her from down the slope a few yards.  This was all taking an excruciatingly long time and he was dividing the amount of the lift ticket into the number of runs they would likely make at this pace. Then....she cried. Oh she was still screaming obscenities, just in between sobs. He couldn't really make out what she was saying at that point...lucky for him.  Later she would love every single thing she hated that day; the feel of the snow under her skis, standing at the top of a mountain, wiping out dramatically and being able to brag about how bad it was over lunch in the lodge.  But that day. That day after 2 solid hours of pain and agony for her and him and any other skiers who came within earshot, she gave up. She sat down and slid the rest of the way down the mountain on her butt.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Ski Hell; The Lift

It was very quaint.  North Carolina ski areas like Sugar Mountain in the early 80s before everything was ultra developed were rustic and fun. Log cabins and stores and buildings steeped in small town nostalgia and covered with Christmas lights set the mood.

Early the first morning they were off to rent skis and head to the slopes.  She hoped she wouldn't have to use the much work to get out of all those clothes. It was cloudy and snowing lightly as they put on their skis and headed toward the lift. So much work hauling all that gear in those uncomfortable boots but my owner is nothing if not a good sport...well at first. It would have helped if he hadn't lied to her when she asked where they were going. "Bunny slope". He helped her onto the lift and she enjoyed the ride, although she began to wonder where this mysterious bunny slope was since they seemed to be climbing steadily higher up the mountain. "Are we going to the bunny slope?"
"Oh no", he said "to the top". 

Now that would have been  bad enough if he had explained to her that coming up soon was a snowy ramp and when the lift approached it she should put her skis on it and prepare to stand up, ski down it and move rapidly out of the way. He didn't.  

From what I could gather from my place in the closet later in the evening it went something like this:

He stood up and skied down the ramp. She was caught by surprise and didn't immediately move.  He (along with a few other people) began to yell, "JUMP", which she did. Skis immediately went flying out from under her and her and she fell backwards and hit her head on the packed snow and ice. While she tried to stand up on the hellish devices attached to her feet, no one helped except to holler in the most irritatingly excited voices she had ever heard, "MOVE" and "GET OUT OF THE WAY"! She sort of pathetically crawled over to the side where he asked, "Why didn't you stand up and get off the lift when I did"?  She was fuming but sure that making a fool of herself and nearly killing herself  so early in the day that it had to get better. Now came the skiing part, and that would be fun, right?

Friday, July 23, 2010

First Ski Trip (as told to me by my predecessor)

Allow me to start by saying that I admire him. He served my owner faithfully but like so many of our kind a broken zipper was his undoing. Still in the briefest passing he related to me over two decades of misadventures with her. This being the first: 

I was purchased specifically for the ski trip. Soft, navy blue, Oscar de le Renta. Oh I was something in my day. She was always hard on a zipper though, determined to carry as little as possible and then pushing hard to make sure I fit under the seat. Never keen to check bags, that one.  This trip however, our first, was a road trip. 

He thought introducing her to skiing would be a lovely holiday gift. He gave her ski pants on Christmas Eve and a Garfield figurine on skis.  On the day after Christmas he picked her up and away we drove under a cloudy winter sky. Destination: North Carolina. I know, I know it doesn't sound exciting as a ski destination but as I recall it was actually quite lovely. The soundtrack for this trip and many ski trips and fall and winter road trips for years to follow was very early Dan Fogelberg. He had  lived in that region in the early 70s and the music seemed written for mountains, and stark snowy landscapes, and young lovers...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

High Shelf Hiatus

I was lost! Somehow between Shanghai and Chicago, and a gate change the baggage handlers (who are very rough) said "What the ______we'll put it on the next flight".  So there I was alone and confused, meanwhile in Atlanta my owner and her family were looking for me among the bags going round and round on that ride.  Finally they reported me missing and went to the hotel. I was delivered there in the middle of the night and hid from my owner under the desk until she came for me...surprise! I was so happy to be able to deliver an authentic Chinese calligraphy set and a few other things I had been working hard to keep safe. 

She did have Febreeze...I think she suspected I would come home not smelling quite my best.  I have been sprayed down, left open to air out and I am now parked on the top closet shelf awaiting my next mission. Usually during these dark quiet times I think about trips from times past and some of the stories that my predecessors have told me...
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