I’ve done a fair amount of ridiculous things in my short 40 years on this planet. I won’t name them all for you here today because, suffice to say, I’m not sure there’s enough liquor in the good Town of Wilton to get me through that long list — and I’m relatively sure no one wants to hear about me giving a cat a bath or shaving for the very first time with one of those little pink BIC razors. Dry.
So you’ll just have to trust me when I tell you that nothing … nothing even remotely comes close to another series of excruciating events with our two surly teenagers and overtired toddler who were all three in fine spirits before we even pulled out of the driveway on the fine Friday of our big ski excursion.
And so it began … another whirlwind of a weekend with our party of five set to roughly a four hour drive for three nights in the mountains of starts-with-an-O, ends-with-the-same-letter, complete with a carload fit for a cross country caravan and the impending inauguration of something out of a Woody Allen movie.
I am not a skier. Nor am I very adept at walking in snow boots or packing or planning appropriately for what might well have been the longest four days of my life.
Good thing they had a hot tub because skiing, as it turns out, is one of those great New England pastimes that I want to enjoy or rather, delight in but would just assume celebrate with a nice draft beer at a bar in some warm lodge where I can safely welcome winter and all its insanely overpriced gear from a considerable distance without having to actually partake in the act of almost breaking my neck down something with all the gradual graduation of a laundry shoot.
Ski in, ski out as it turns out encompasses a wide range of possibilities. So when I say that in my head, I envisioned some shuttered little chateau, maybe looking out on the bunniest of hills that you will not fault me at least when I recap for you how it all went down.
Slowly, is the short answer. For some of us anyway. For my husband with a toddler in tow and little-to-no anxiety, apprehension or fear, it went fast or rather they did, barreling down Mount Vesuvius with our (not naming which one) daughter neck and neck like that wintry mix had nothin on them and hot cocoa was going outta style.
Then came the real show, slower than slow, my feet wedged in such a terrific state of a triangle, it’s a miracle I didn’t topple head over feet and roll like a giant snowball down the mountain and into the lodge, where my husband and other two children had already polished off their hot cocoa and were heading back out for more Vesuvius.
And I think if it had just been me, myself and perhaps that fur trimmed Russian Mafia Wife meets something Marisa Tomei wore in My Cousin Vinny coat, inching down the incline of all inclines, I maybe could have made it without so much fanfare, so much pomp and circumstance and pained expressions from passersby … but with my daughter to worry about?
Let’s just say I’m not particularly great in “emergency” situations. Like, you know how Mr. Rogers would always say, “Look for the helpers”? You can cross me off that list, especially in this situation, especially with my legs and poles and skis more tangled than a box full of holiday lights.
So when the nice EMS lady came along, offering to help us, I was more than grateful and slightly embarrassed but mostly grateful.
I mean, here we were standing on the side of this mountain, skis off, debating whether it was better to attempt walking back up or just sort of scooting the rest of the way down on our rear ends when Ski Patrol Glinda descended in her bubble.
“Why don’t we try a nice, slow snow plow down the mountain?” The woman smiled. “That way we can all be safe,” she said, nodding assuredly to my daughter who was still clinging to what little exposed grass she could find, and I was relieved, to be honest.
I mean, really what was I thinking with this whole skiing thing anyway?
- That I was some sort of athlete
- That I actually enjoyed the great outdoors
- That the toes of my left foot weren’t completely devoid of all feeling
- All of the above
“They’re offering to pick us up in a truck … a plow,” I said to my daughter. “They’re going to drive us down the mountain.” Like a goddamn parade …
The woman waited. Patiently. “So let’s just put those skis back on,” she said finally. “And we’ll take it nice and slow…”
And then it dawned on me.
“I don’t think the plow is coming,” I whispered to my daughter. “This must be some sort of a ski move or something …”
“…sort of like a triangle,” the woman said, demonstrating for us the foot wedge maneuver that clearly there was a more clinical term for.
We made it down the mountain. Barely. But despite everything, despite the EMS “rescue operation” and me losing feeling in most of my extremities, despite the fact that skiing with a toddler is kinda like teaching a puppy to bowl, nothing even remotely comes close to spending time together as a family. Except maybe having a nice draft beer in some warm lodge watching winter go by … in about … 18 years. Until then, I’ll just have to plow ahead I guess, quite possibly with my feet in a triangle.
Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.