Wish You Were Here: It’s All Downhill From Here

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A little over a year ago my mother-in-law made some marvelous holiday plans to fly us all out to a resort.

We don’t travel much so this announcement, according to my two daughters at least, was probably on par with homework being permanently canceled and finding a money tree in our backyard. They wanted in. I wanted in. My husband wanted in but also kinda wanted to stay home with his arugula.

Did I have mixed feelings about 10 days in Turks and Caicos with my in-laws? Does Turks and Caicos start with a T? Did I think I might need a terrific amount of tranquilizers not only to get through the plane ride itself but for the number of times I’d likely kick myself for thinking any vacation with a toddler was any vacation at all?

So I guess all things told, it was probably best I had a mild tantrum, pleaded with my husband not to make us go, and resigned myself to the fact that no Turks tan was worth my unvaccinated 2-year-old getting (will it ever be over already) COVID.

How we went from, “I’m not going on vacation. Period.” to “Let’s take the kids on a long weekend to a (flightless, in-lawless) ski resort (which, being completely transparent here, may well have come close to the cost of those ten days in T & C) because we could never disappoint our children on (Jesus, Mary and Rudolph) Christmas,” I’ll never know.

But there we were, or I should say almost or not even close really because it was literally three days before the trip and Jon was changing his mind. “There’s only 20 trails open,” he said, presenting me with a blueprint of something I’d most definitely need a magnifying glass for or at least a degree in cartography. “It’s not worth it. We won’t even be able to go down (what sounded like) black hexagon diamond tooth dragon comb and what are all those boxes?”

“What boxes?”

“The boxes in the corner,” he said, pointing to the aftermath of my Amazon order.

“Oh … those boxes. Helmets … you know for skiing … for our trip … the one you want to cancel…”

“Why would you need a helmet to ski?”

Can I just say there are times (many) in our relationship when my husband says something so (from my POV) egregious that I want (foolishly) to think he doesn’t actually believe we don’t need helmets or seatbelts or flu shots but is just looking for a reaction out of me.

“A helmet,” I said. “For your head.” Still nothing. “So you don’t get a concussion.” Like I’m speaking reindeer. “So you don’t end up like Sonny Bono.”

But he just smirked, like I was telling him to stop a pipeline fracture with a light flow tampon, and then we argued. For the better part of what could have been a relatively (it’s never relaxing) quiet (it’s never that either) morning, we wasted time hashing and rehashing and maybe making hash browns? All the same stuff, stuff we never seem to agree on — refrigerating milk, locking our vehicles at night, whether chicken bones are compostable (don’t get me started). We fight about compost the way normal people fight about money and a part of me can’t help but think, ‘How hard do you continue to try at something when inevitably you know what the end result will be.’ 

He was not wearing a helmet.

“Fine,” I said, putting it back in the box. “Don’t wear it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you and don’t complain to me when you can’t spell Turks and Caicos or remember the last thing you said before crashing into some tree on black hexagon diamond tooth dragon comb.”

So here was the thing, I was kinda regretting this and we hadn’t even left yet and it’s not just the protective wear protest he’s putting up or the fact that I still couldn’t manage to deter the cat from mistaking our holiday tree for a Holiday Inn and sometimes peeing on it. I think really I should just skip the ornaments and go with urinal cakes next year. Or that I’d managed to pack exactly no ski equipment but eight bottles of wine. It just didn’t seem worth the hassle or the headache or the hefty credit card bill that I’d definitely be saddled with come January and so “maybe you’re right,” I told him, (his three most favorite words). “Maybe it’s just not worth it and…”

“You know I was talking to my parents and they think maybe we can still make the Turks trip work …. I mean, it might mean a little last-minute planning and I would have to see if we could still get tickets and…”

“You know, on second thought … skiing sounds marvelous.”

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.