Grind their bones

This is been an interesting winter for skiing in New England. On Christmas Day, a hearty foot plus of snow fell on the region, and skiiers rejoiced. Right after they finished their figgy pudding, to the slopes! But mere hours after the snow came the cold. Bitter cold.

Last year this time, we planned a weekend trip to the White Mountains. The original weekend has ended up being the installation weekend for our new pastor – so that was out. I moved it to the weekend right after New Years. But as the forecast unfolded, the very day the boys would’ve been hitting the slopes was also the day of record-breaking cold. If these were the temperatures in Boston, next to the water, what would they look like in the mountains of New Hampshire? Not skiing weather, for sure.

Past bitter to dangerous

I figured there were some big upsides from pushing it back to the long weekend. On the downside, it was a bit more expensive to get the rooms, and they weren’t as nice. But an extra day! That’s definitely worth something. And the record cold was supposed to clear out.

What I didn’t figure was the record warm we got to end the week last week. It was 60. Then, over a thirty hour period, it dropped a degree and a half every hour. In the morning we had the windows open. By bedtime it was hovering near single digits. And raining – hard. I’d been afraid of the flash-freeze impact on the roads when I planned our drive up for Friday after work. But the temperatures held. What I didn’t anticipate, because I’d never seen it before, was what the warm rains on the so-frozen snows did to the drive. We went through nearly 100 miles of the densest fog I’ve ever seen in New England. This was San Francisco fog; Central Valley fog. There were times when I had to slow to 10 miles an hour to not overdrive the few feet of visibility I had, clinging to the reflective center line of the road like a lifeline. The fog moved fast, skittering across the road as though chased by some unseen horror. The periodic rips in the fog-cloth only served to show us just how dense it really was. There were a few times where I held my breath as we left some brief intermission of the clouds only to slam again into a near solid-wall of mist. I’ve never seen anything even close to that before. New England fog clings to low-lying spots and is elusive. This was anything but.

I arrive at the hotel as white-knuckled as I’d been LAST year when we drove up through a snow storm. Life lesson – you should never plan a vacation at the same time and place I do.

Saturday was a complete loss for outdoor activities. It was just too wet. The ski resorts lost TWO FEET of snow in just two days. I’m sure they’re tearing their hair out. It was un-ski-able, and several of them closed. We read books, played role-playing games, hung out in the hot tub, watched Jurassic Park on cable (OMG the commercials!), I got a massage and enjoyed the Patriot’s game. But I didn’t step off the hotel grounds all day.

Today was at least cold. A little too cold – teens. But the resorts were open and making snow and by gum, we’re New Englanders now.

That last part is actually a good bit of why I work so hard to make the snow sports happen. I never skied growing up, despite living in striking distance of two of Washington’s greatest ski areas. My father is legally disabled with a knee injury. My mother is a California girl. There was no one who would’ve brought us, and we never went. So the very first time I ever strapped on skis in college, on the very first slope I ever went down, I didn’t do it well. In fact, within the first few turns I snapped my ACL, and have been struggling with the consequences ever since. But instead of concluding that “skiing is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs” I’ve instead decided “if you don’t pick up skiing when you’re young and you bounce then you better never try it”. And since I’m raising New Englanders, I’m bound and determined to do a proper job of it.

Plus, I’ve had this fantasy for years now of having choreless hours to myself with this as my muse:

Dining room view
White Horse Ledge view

I’d finally finish my book. I’d write brilliant blog posts that would go viral. I’d read a book. I’d pray. I’d read poetry and feel it. I’d read history and live it. I’d rest: body, soul and mind. Such daydreams we have! To digress on my active fantasy life, in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series most inns have a library. In my daydreams (alas, not in reality) this incredibly beautiful hotel has one too, on the third floor, with a killer view, where I could sit and read quietly or write or think. It doesn’t, and the public areas are more, uh, golfy than bookish. But still I dream.

My daydreams got off to a great start this morning! We had the famous brunch. I drove the boys to Attitash and pushed them out of the car. “Bye guys!” Then I hightailed it back to the hotel to brew coffee, stare out the window, and write the next major scene in my long-neglected novel. Heck, it’s the penultimate scene. I’m almost there. After about 2000 words, I decided to exercise both mind and body and put on my work out gear. This is the first time in the history of me I’ve actually followed through one of my resolutions to run while on vacation. I’d really like to do a serious hike this summer, so I have motivation to get fit.

I’d been on for about 3 minutes when I got a call from Adam. “Thane fell and hurt his wrist. We’re going to talk to the medical folk and see what they think.” I only had time to just start regretting my 6 mph pace when I got another call, “He needs to go for xrays at the hospital.” It is, perhaps, a blessing to be in the right place to take your child to the hospital yourself. Last time I got a call that my son had hurt himself on the slopes… you remember, a week before Christmas? (It was Grey. He fell on his head. He’s fine.) I’d been 3.5 hours away and had to trust my friend who’d taken him, and then my husband to pick him up. I high-tailed it to retrieve my child, and a sorry state he looked. He had this massive sling encompassing his right arm.

The local hospital deal with so many skiing patients they return the splits to the ski resort listed on a regular basis. They have codes for which mountain you hurt yourself on.

The hospital was close and *very* well set up to deal with out-of-staters with skiing injuries. In a hilarious turn of events, while waiting with my son I got a LinkedIn message from a former coworker who had worked with me years ago. His daughter had a rather more serious leg injury in the room across the hall. It was a weird place to catch up, but we did so anyway!

Anyway, while we waited I watched Thane use his hand. I figured it definitely wasn’t broken. It might not even be much of a sprain! He had good range of motion, was tolerating the pain well, and didn’t see THAT bothered. There was little bruising or swelling, and he can move his fingers, turn his hands and be touched. But then when he went in for xrays I saw a … wrinkle in a bone where it didn’t look like there should be one. I am no doctor, and I had trouble making out the ultrasounds that proved he was a male issue, so I didn’t put too much credit on it. But I began to doubt.

I’m struck by how big he looks here

In a remarkably short amount of time we were having a conversation with a nice (and very experienced in snowboarding injury) doctor. It’s a buckle fracture. Thane has a splint to prevent him from moving it too much. Ibuprofen for pain. And a followup prescribed with his PCP and probably orthopedist. But he may only have to wear the splint for a week or two. It’s about as unserious as a broken wrist can be. I took him out to his first ever Taco Bell, and then we picked up his brother and father.

He was very excited to win his bet with me about the nature of the injury

The slopes were apparently treacherous today – a sturdy remnant of ice limned by a bare modesty of created snow. Adam says it’s the worst he’s ever skied on. He feels guilty for bringing his son there to be injured. We both feel badly about basketball. Thane’s been doing SO WELL on the courts lately, and he has an amazing coach this year. I’d venture this is at least a two week outage on the courts. Given that it’s his dominant shooting/dribbling hand, maybe more. Thane was a trooper the whole way through. He’s so sturdy and reliable and tough.

I “treated his pain” by playing a bunch of Plants vs. Zombies mini games while he offered expert advice. But when the time came to turn out the lights and go to sleep, the whimpering began. The pain had broken through (I was probably late offering his next dose of Ibuprofen, but during the video games he wasn’t feeling any pain). And he was thinking through the implications. How would he be able to write in school? How long would he be forced to wear this uncomfortable brace? How could he sleep with it? He was, for the first time he could remember, broken and unmendable. He was away from home, and it was dark, and he had a broken wrist.

Thus, in the end, we all confront our brokenness and fears and not all the love in the world can wipe them away. May all your healing in times to come be as fast and complete as this one will be, my sweet son.

Broken, but healing
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White Mountain Hotel: historic without history

White Mountain Hotel - taking in fading light. Not in black and white.
White Mountain Hotel – taken in fading light. Not in black and white.

I will never ski again. This is not a mournful expression, but a promise to myself to ease my anxiety even looking at the slopes. Skiing, which I have only done once, and only for half a run, cost me great pain and brought me no pleasure. But I am raising New Englanders, and we love the mountains of New Hampshire, so… here I am, close to the shadow of Chocorua, in the snow.

For the second year we are staying at the
White Mountain Hotel
. It’s a grand old inn, nestled between a state park containing a truly impressive thousand foot granite cliff, and a state park containing a picturesque mountain lake. It has a gazebo, a pool heated to 90+ degrees where my children swim in the driving snow, a grand entryway with a roaring fireplace, and an elegant dining room with an unparalleled view of the mountains around Conway.

It is charming, comfortable and soothes my heart with the glimpses of mountain majesty through every window. From the warm couch in my comfortable room, I’ve all day watched a line of cold-looking people wait their turn in 17 degree weather to scale White Horse Ledge. That sounds hard enough in good weather!

This grand hotel is also just that level of worn that makes you think of ghosts. I polled through the histories of the region, to see if I could find the provenance of this grand old lady on the hill. It has the feel of history to it. One book I found (thank you Google Books!) had descriptions of hotels and I wondered if it might be this one, under a different name.

Sunset Pavilion
Sunset Pavilion
(The History of the White Mountains: From the First Settlement of Upper Coos and Pequaket by Lucy Crawford, 1883)

My favorite line there is from another ad, which speaks of “the beautiful views of weird Chocorua”. Mount Chocorua haunts me. I once tried to climb it and failed, and have been thwarted in climbing it ever since. (It’s too long and risky to go alone. My children cannot yet tackle it. And I can’t go with my husband because who would watch the children? And so I watch it and it taunts me in its loveliness. Someday!)

Chocorua is the peak to the right in this picture of White Lake
Chocorua is the peak to the right in this picture of White Lake

I began to wonder why the hotel didn’t boast of it’s history anywhere I could see. Where was the “built in 18XX”, or the faded picture on the wall to give it that great sense of gravitas that so rightly belonged to it? Although I scanned the histories and advertisements, I found nothing that boasted of this spot between cliff and lake. I pondered the scandal that might cause them to try to blot out all prior histories. A murder perhaps? Was this hotel featured in some haunting book? Like, oh, The Shining?

Finally, I looked up specifically when this hotel was built. 1990. So much for that romantic fancy! And so much for my quiet afternoon – time to pick up my skiiers!

My snow bunnies
My snow bunnies

Winter Sports

This is why we don't wait for good weather to get outside
This is why we don’t wait for good weather to get outside

Last year, for a period of about two months, we could not take a walk. Every week we got pounded by another storm. Every week we’d laboriously clear the new fallen snow – moving it on top of the shoulder-high piles of snow that had already fallen. We struggled to make it to work. By the time the last foot fell, I was pretty sure that if another storm came it would be physically impossible to dig ourselves out – there was no where left to put snow. Everywhere we walked, we walked in narrow channels between vast and dirty snow banks. My awesome neighbors had a rotating potluck on storm nights so we could get out of our own walls, but eventually the entire world felt constrained and constricted. The walls seemed to compress under the weight of the frigid winter, as though it might finally crush us.

Family snow portrait
Family snow portrait

But some people seemed less claustrophobic. The skiers were ecstatic at the powder. The cross country folks went places they’d never gone before. The snow-shoers had the Fells to themselves. In the heart of this winter vice, we rented snow shoes to see if we’d like it. It was like taking the first deep breath for weeks, to get out into those woods again. My mother must have heard us gushing, because for Christmas this year we got the great gift of four sets of snow shoes, so we can break down those walls again.

Liberty!
Liberty!

2015 was also the first year that the Y offered ski lessons for the boys after school. They got picked up from the Y and taken to Nashoba Valley, where they were learning to ski like proper New Englanders. We signed them up again this year (with a ski group that doubled in size since last year!).

Then, this summer, came word that Stoneham Town Common would host a free, open to the public ice skating rink. For the price of a pair of skates, we could all glide around the common whenever we wanted, with our friends and families. Plus, Grey has started getting invited to open time at the Stoneham Arena (ice rink) on Fridays by one of his friends. When the local used sporting goods store announced they were going out of business, we quickly procured four pairs of ice skates.

So in the course of one year, we went from people with no winter sport proclivities to folks with snow shoes, ice skates and kids who know how to ski. (That’s what last winter did to us!) And now we find ourselves in our summer stomping grounds in the White Mountains. We have switched our regular tent for an unexpectedly swanky White Mountain Resort. I do not ski. I actually cringe if I start thinking too much about skiing, due to major knee injuries from the first and only time I went skiing. But Adam likes snowboarding, and the kids enjoy the slopes too. (Even if they do seem to be geniuses at losing ski gear.) So I’m enjoying hanging out in the resort and working on my book while the guys are skiing. (Edited: here are a few pictures I took!)

Well, at least that was the concept. In reality, it’s difficult to manage two not-strong-yet skiers simultaneously. Right now I have on my left a sweet little Thane-boy narrating the creation of Lego elements telling the story of Lloyd Alexander’s “Book of Three”, which he’s reading at the moment. Adam and Grey are skiing together. They’ll switch off in a little bit.

Brunch was tasty AND scenic
Brunch was tasty AND scenic

I’m enjoying the hygge of a mountain lodge. The scenery here is downright spectacular. The food is unexpectedly excellent. Last night, all the boys were asleep by 8:30. If the time spent skiing hadn’t gotten them to bed early, the hour the kids spent in the heated-to-99-degree pool while having a snowball fight would’ve helped them nod off. I wasn’t tired, though, so I got to spend two hours in front of the roaring fireplace working on my novel and listening to the guy behind me hold court for two hours. (I’m not sure anyone else in his party got a single word in that entire time.)

Of course, the hilarious thing is that this winter has so far been record-shatteringly warm. That ice rink on the common will open nearly a month after it was scheduled to. There hasn’t been enough snow to snow shoe on yet this year. In a Murphy’s Law moment, some of the heaviest snow of the year so far fell JUST as we were driving up here. I had an hour of white-knuckle driving of the highest degree. We haven’t gotten to try the rink yet. A repeat of last year is statistically unlikely, but it’s possible that this winter will be the inverse of last year’s unusual weather. (Of course, we’ll all remind you that the snow started after the Superbowl last year – it hadn’t kicked off by now.)

But when the snow comes, if the snow comes, we’ll be ready to enjoy it!

PS – Here’s a video Adam took of just how white-knuckle the driving was!

Raising New Englanders

I was trying to get them to show me their ski tags for my blog post.

I am not a New Englander. I visited New England once when I was 14. Then again – for colleges – when I was 17. Most of my New England knowledge came from a weird combination of books and stereotypes. (Little Women, Daddy Long-Legs, Hawkeye from M*A*S*H … I would say the LL Bean catalog, but we actually didn’t get it.) Then, I came here for college. Early in the process I was targeting Pennsylvania. My first choice school was Williams, in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. But I found myself, a hot August day, in a double-dorm-room in a hundred-year-old stone building in historic New London with a roommate who was profoundly *from* a town fifteen miles away.

Since then, I have acclimated. I remember the shock and horror with which I discovered Dunkin’ Donuts doesn’t carry maple bars. (A fact which still mystifies me – why they’re a regional delicacy of a place with no maple tradition and entirely unknown in Vermont/New Hampshire/Montreal.) I mastered rotaries. I cheered on the Red Sox to their World Series pennants. I learned that “Wooster” and “Worcester” were in fact the same place. I have eaten lobstah in Glostah (Gloucester), listened to the Boston Symphony in Symphony Hall, developed a finely honed snow shoveling methodology, consider stop signs advisory and can’t help raising my fist to the chorus of “SO GOOD!”

But in one way, I remain distinctly un-New England. My junior year of college, I was invited with my college friends on a ski trip. They’d gone the prior year. I don’t remember why I didn’t go (it was probably some rot about seeing my parents more than twice a year). It felt deliciously grownup to be invited. I distinctly recall that we drove the Kankamagus – home to my frequent summer journeys in my adult life – in the crystalline snow of February. I’d never gone skiing before, despite living in close proximity to epic mountains. We rented equipment (I following the advise of my long time boyfriend) and hit the slopes.

Adam gave me a few lessons – which I accomplished well. After an hour or so, he deemed me ready to hit the slopes of Loon and try my first modest trail. The first few minutes of your first skiing ever are more terrifying than exhilarating, and I comforted myself that this was a thing people did. Look at all the people around me, skiing? Seconds in to the trip, I took a turn wrong. My leg did something wrong. I don’t clearly remember too much of what happened next. The ski patrol. The sled. The inability to hold weight on my leg. I limped back to our condo and have never – since that day – gone skiing again. I had torn my ACL – it took months before I could walk without limping. I tore my MCLS also later, and had major knee surgery and still feel my knee as an alertness of the possibility of pain. I will never ski again.

But.

I’m raising New Englanders. Grey and Thane are locals. They were *born* here. They belong here. They are from here in a way I will never be. And New Englanders? LOVE winter sports. There are ice rinks all over the place. It seems like every car has ski racks. To be from the New England suburbs (I don’t pretend that this is not a combination of both location AND privilege, because it certainly is) and not ski, or know how to skate well… not cool. Not cool at all.

So I was *thrilled* when our YMCA afterschool program offered (get this) SKIING LESSONS! I signed up before they even had official signups. They pick the kids up from school and take them directly to Nashoba Valley for ski lessons. The kids return around 7, having had an amazing adventure with their friends. Apparently Grey & Thane have been improving in their three lessons already, and there has been pretty much no whining. (I thought that 18 degree weather and a hard new skills would equal whining. I was wrong.)

The Y teachers/ski instructors are freaking saints. My two lunatics are on the left.
The Y teachers/ski instructors are freaking saints. My two lunatics are on the left.

I was feeling all satisfied by having done New-England-right by my kids using the proxy of the Y, when somehow word came to my husband? Kids? That there’s an open skate time in the Stoneham Arena on Sunday from 4:00 – 5:30. The kids begged. Adam took them. I had a quiet ninety minutes. They have, by husbandly reports, improved by leaps and bounds.

Grey skating

Thane skating

Truthfully, I confess to be a little bit ashamed of how scared my knee makes me to do things like this. I mean, professional athletes have the same surgery, and they’re back smashing into each other scant months later. (See also: Gronk). But I think I might have a legitimate panic attack if I ever strapped on skis again. Even having my children doing it is easier if I don’t think too hard about it. The slicing and twisting nature of skates (did I mention I’ve only been skating two or three times? I’m a better roller-skater) makes me uneasy. My knee throbs just thinking about it. My failure to responsibly overcome this fear is no testament to me. But I’m extremely grateful that despite my unease, my children are learning to love snow and ice, and to be – well – real New Englanders.


I have just uploaded my January pictures. We had a great adventure in Cambridge at Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. I also got some more great blizzard-day pics!

Turns out you need your knees

Back in my Sophomore or Junior year of college, I once went on one of those “Spring Break” trips college students are supposed to do. However, I hung with a crowd that was responsible, practical and quite nice — so our Spring Break blowout was a ski trip to Loon Mountain in New Hampshire. The wildest we got was a reenactment of Braveheart in the living room. I recall now the 12 or so of us descending on parental houses on our way up and greatly admire the fortitude of those parents putting up with us!

It was my first time skiing. My father has very bad knees and my mother no powder-ambitions, so despite living quite close to some first rate skiing, I had never in my life strapped on those devices. Our first day my then boyfriend, now husband, patiently took me on the bunny slopes, showing me how to move about on my rented skiis. I did pretty well. After an hour or two, he decided that I was ready for my first gentle slope.

I made it halfway down that slope on my own power. The second half was in the back of one of those ski patrol sled thingies. I had badly injured my knee.

I’ve never gone skiing again. I couldn’t walk properly for nearly six months.

The rest of that fateful trip was spent in agony. I hadn’t learned critical lessons like: pain killers help kill pain, going to a doctor when you’ve seriously messed up your knee is a good idea, or the critical “Always pack enough books so that if you bust your knee on the first day of a weeklong skiing trip you will still have enough to read.” The “bookstore” in town carried pretty much nothing I wanted to read. It’s a spot that happens to be convenient to our summer camping trips now, so I return not-irregularly, and always wince when I do.

So why do I bring up this fateful memory, now in the lushness of mid-May?

Well, I’ve had highly intermittent trouble with this knee. I likely tore the meniscus badly. The meniscus provides side-to-side stabilization, and does not heal once it’s been injured. So every once in a while doing something simple like stepping across a log, or putting a child into a car it “goes”. The knee slips out of position. It hurts like Hades for about 5 minutes, then I can at least go about my business. It aches for 24 hours, then is forgotten.

Yesterday, a lovely fine day, my husband and sons were playing baseball in our stamp-sized back yard, and Grey hit a “home run” over the fence. I had a few extra moments, so I figured I’d make myself useful by shagging balls. Now, there is no easy way down from my yard to the downhill yards. We have a 12 foot cement wall separating us. So at one point I had to jump down about 4 feet to the next landing (my neighbors yard is lower and terraced instead of having one big wall). I was quite careful (and had done this many times before). But this time, when I landed, excruciating agony was my reward. I laid there, frantic in pain, and called for my husband. He fetched me, helped me back up (the long way) and got me to ice my leg and take ibuprofin. (See? That right there? That’s called maturity and learning from your mistakes.) Thirty minutes later, out of town friends of ours appeared at our doorstep for dinner.

As it became obvious my leg was not going to “bounce back” (and I worked my way through a full injury-shock cycle), I called my neighbors, who are Physicians Assistants. My friend the ER PA came over, looked at my leg, and explained exactly what I should do. (Which involved going to the ER, getting an X-ray so if we need an MRI we won’t have to jump through that hoop, and getting crutches.) Now, usually going to the ER would be really hard for us. There aren’t any grandparents around to call for backup (although we do have great friends and neighbors we could’ve leaned on if we had to). But this time… voila! There were our Maine friends right there, happy to help. So that’s how it all transpired.

It’s not yet clear to me how badly injured I am or am not. It definitely not just a slip. I think there must be some additional injury or tearing (although it might be just a sprain?) I’m set up for a full-fledged Incident, with orthopedics etc. I have a knee immobilizer, crutches, and plenty of Ibuprofin. I slept in a looong time this morning, reckoning nothing does better for healing than sleep. My husband has set me up on the couch, and my plan is to let the knee be for as long as I can. I’m starting to feel hopeful I’ll be able to move about somewhat tomorrow (you know, go to work?) and not be a bump on a log for the whole week.

But I’m struck by how lucky I am in all of this. I have done that same “shagging balls” when I was home alone with the kids. I don’t know what I would’ve done if they were in the backyard and I was direly injured hidden in the fields behind them — especially if I hadn’t had my cell phone with me. But this time, my husband was right there and ready to help. Then having a neighbor so helpful and nearby was truly amazing. It certainly helped me prevent repeating my mistakes from the initial injury. Next, having friends happen to be in the neighborhood who could and would watch after my children while I went to the ER with my husband was a tremendous stroke of fortune. Handing over my insurance card at the ER, I considered how blessed I am to have good insurance, so I could seek treatment for this injury and afford to pay for it. And of course, I’m so lucky to be married to a loving, capable partner who can take care of me and our family through all of this. Finally, it just so happens that this is a week when it’s ok that I’m not 100%. Those weeks are rare.

No one gets through life without bad luck. We all get sick or injured sometimes. I feel remarkably blessed, though, that my bad luck came with so much good luck associated with it.

My son is trying to kill me

The other day I picked up a two year old girl. I’m quite accustomed to picking up young children, since one (not naming any names THANE) walks wonderfully well, but not in the directions I want him to go. Therefore, traipsing between engagements, he gets carried. So when I picked up this little girl, I thought I knew what I was doing.

I nearly threw the poor child into the ceiling, she was so light. Featherlike, even!

My son is not. No, not he. Not Mr. I’m Wearing 2T Clothes at 13 Months. Not Mr. I Eat More Than My Four Year Old Brother (Please Pass the Cheese).

We’ve decided to call him Mr. Moon, actually, because 1) he is entirely made of cheese 2) he weighs as much as a huge lump of rock.

I digress. That sweet child is attempting to kill me, his loving mother.

Friday when I went to pick him up from daycare it was slippery. I had just gotten my young son from Abuela and had given him his first 20 “I missed you” kisses on the cheeks and was walking down the stairs to the car, holding his massive weight in front of me. Now you think you know what’s coming, but you’re wrong. I can’t blame the fact that there was one more step than I expected on the slipperiness. I just plain missed it. I tumbled to the ground, using my body in ways it was not intended to be used in order to keep my baby from hitting the pavement. Better yet, Abuela was still watching from the door. If my body is going to already have to take a hit, couldn’t my dignity at least be unblemished? But nooooooo. FYI, he’s heavy and has a lot of inertia.

Yesterday I had a less than delightful day and was glad to be trudging home. My husband was doing aikido until about 8:30, so I was on my own with the boys. Grey was just telling me how his preschool teacher was unhappy with his attention span and filling me in on exactly which joke drove her nuts during Circle time, while I carried Thane to the car through the snow.

Flash back a million years to college. One year for Spring Break about 10 of us rented a condo and went on a ski vacation. This was possibly the most exciting vacation I’d taken without parental supervision, although we were the tamest, most polite bunch of college students you’d ever want to meet. (Except for the home made pudding. Don’t ask.) The very first day, my boyfriend (now husband) took me on my very first ski trip. We spent an hour or so on the bunny slope. I was doing well. Then we went down our first real run.

I made it the rest of the way down the hill in the back of one of those ski patrol sled thingies. That was the first and last time I ever went skiing. I didn’t walk properly for about 6 months. As a permanent reminder, I have a torn meniscus in my left knee.

You actually need your knee ligaments for less than you might think. I live my life quite happily without it, most of the time. I backpack and play raquetball. I hoist my kids around. But every once in a while my knee is in some position where it needs the support of ligaments it no longer possesses. When that happens, I crumble to the ground in blinding pain.

And so it happened. I took a step. My knee collapsed into agony and so did I, once again holding Thane and attempting to keep him from hitting the ground with me. For a very, very long five minutes I was kneeling in the dark in the snow next to my car trying very hard not to cry while Grey (oblivious) whined about why I hadn’t opened his door and Thane squawked protest to my death-grip on him. And what can you do, so vulnerable, in pain, responsible? You pull yourself together, attempt to stand, buckle people into their car seats, and call various members of your family to complain.

My knee is very achy today. If experience is true, it’ll be sore and stiff for a week, and gradually get back to normal.

I’m hoping my “bad luck in threes” was actually fulfilled this morning. Right in front of me, a driver failed to notice the slowing traffic and plowed into the car in front of him, making a nice 4 car pileup that I had front row seats for. A state patrol officer was right there. No one was hurt — I pulled over to see if they needed my eye-witness report which they didn’t.

I do hope that there isn’t another fall ahead with me holding Mr. I Put Lead Weights in My Diaper, because I’ve been very lucky so far to only hurt myself.

Wish me good luck trying to avoid his next assassination attempt!

Little innocent me? Never. You don't have any cheese, do you?
Little innocent me? Never. You don't have any cheese, do you?