Monday, January 23, 2006

I paid the bills today, oh boy

The above sung to the tune of the Beatles A Day In Life.

Well, I hurt ALL over. I guess it was a good day, but it may be a few days before I know for sure. We had some serious conflicts of interest.

The kids all had speech over at Penn State. I needed to write six simple pages of math for someone and I thought for sure it wouldn't be a problem. But it was--it was a much bigger job than I thought it was and I was plagued by problems with opening the files. Files I was sure I'd opened before . . . wouldn't open. I had to have a bunch of them resent.

I worked like a crazy woman until 2pm when it became crystal clear that I didn't have a snowball's chance of getting done before end of business today. In the meantime I had the problem that I'd promised Max I'd go skiing with him.

Realizing that I *couldn't* make the deadline and realizing that Max *couldn't* continue in the ski lessons we'd signed him up for unless I spent one afternoon doing it with him, we made plans for me to go ahead and go with him, then hurry home afterwards and get back to work. Five minutes before we left we found out that the school had cancelled the ski trip because of slushy weather. I looked at Max, Max looked at me. I remembered that I *couldn't* make my deadline no matter what I did--all I stood to lose by going with him anyway was a few hours of sleep tonight. If I went with him, we'd have short lines, wide open spaces on the hills, and we wouldn't hold up the ski lift too much every time we fell off the lift.

So we went and I *think* that was the right thing to do (again, I won't really know until I a) succeed in turning this in before my boss gets to work in the morning and b) she calls and offers me more work on this same project).

Max was pet-ri-fied. We got our stuff, stomped out in the slush to the spot where the fake snow started, and put our skis on. Max immediately slid backwards. I forgot how much you just don't KNOW when you first put on skis. You don't know to instinctively keep yourself perpendicular to the slope of the hill. You don't know not to cross the ski tips. You don't know not to use your stick thingies for anything other than balance (or help getting up). They certainly won't help you not slide backwards down a hill.

So I taught and coached and coaxed and taught and coached and coaxed and joked and made light of and encouraged and joked and (hey, I was getting laughs from *other* people's kids) 35 minutes after he'd first put on skis he was slowly attempting five to ten feet at at time and then stopping with the snow plow. The kid had analyzed his problem correctly -- he couldn't snow plow. But we fixed that. It took us I think another half hour to get to the bottom of the hill the first time. He fell down once, pretty close to the bottom. I was behind him and helped him up.

We got on the ski lift, which for those of you who might not remember, is an athletic event when you're not very good at skiing. We got off the ski lift and he fell down. It took us another hour to go down the hill two more times. My ex-accountant called and we had a nice talk while Max was picking himself up again from getting off the ski lift the second time. (That sounds heartless, but I swear he was starting to get the hang of things by this time and at some point you have to let a guy learn to get back up again by himself.)

After our third trip we took a break and went to get what is arguably the WORST cheeseburger I have EVER EVER EVER eaten. First, it was still pink in the middle. Second, it tasted like liver. This was NOT the good part of the cow. Assuming it was cow at all. I stopped eating once I noticed the pink. I like my burgers medium rare, but given the taste of the burger, I couldn't take a chance.

After we could feel our feet again, we went out again. Max fell down MORE now, because he (and I) was getting really tired. But his attitude had done a 180 since the previous week (and, um, the first twenty minutes we were on that hill). He fell -- and got up again by himself. He got good at undoing his bindings and good at putting the skis back on. I encouraged him to go in his own chair on the chairlift thinking maybe he wouldn't crash if he wasn't worried about hitting me. Sure enough -- success. I gave a mini-lesson on turns and the second time he not only didn't crash, but he turned nicely to the right.

Ta-da! We'd been there about 3 hours at this point and my legs were noodles. We headed back inside, turned in our skis and boots in time to see about 75 college students show up for an evening Penn State skiing class--that explained the sudden influx of snowboarders on the bunny slopes in the last 30 minutes we were there. I'd never seen so many young men falling down in one spot in my life.

So there. It was a bit of blind leading the blind. If you know me well you know that I never graduate beyond the intermediate slopes and I prefer to ski alone because anyone with any talent is so much faster than me that I immediately feel rushed (and STILL slowing them down). I didn't know anything technical to teach him, just a few observations about why snow plowing works and why you can't stand up on skis with the tips pointing down hill. I think this was good as Max really just needed someone to go down with him, hollar out the simple and obvious (look up!) on an as needed basis, and occasionally help hoist him back on his feet.

I got a Really Big Hug at the end of it all. He's looking forward to next week. He knows he can do it now.

Of course now it's 8pm and I'm sore everywhere, mentally and physically exhausted, happy, but hoping that the next few pages go a LOT faster than the first few.

But I *think* that was the right thing to do.


Writing and Living said...

Well, when you are ready to leave this world and Max is sitting next to you holding your hand, I doubt he will be remembering the day you met your deadline, but he just might be thinking of the day you took him skiing. You did the right thing.

Dy said...

Yep, Staci nailed it. It was the right thing. That hug at the end clenched it. :-) You're doing the right thing, and I'm so happy for you.

Although reading about your soreness brought back painful memories of the time Zorak taught me to ski... we had a lot of fun, but let's face it, I learned from a guy who used to ski in jams and a trenchcoat w/ beer in every pocket. I wish I'd had you to teach me! (And come to think of it, that you're teaching Max probably reduces the likelihood of him ever skiing with beer in his pockets! Double bonus!)


Faithful said...

Faithful again here and I just wanted to say Thank You for providing me the referral to the Skin Mama's blog. Hopefully she will be back up on her feet soon.
Also, I love reading your blog!
Take care....

JoVE said...

What I love about teaching things like that to my kid is how it makes me pay attention to how I actually do it so I can work out how to explain it. I bet you become a better skier for it too.