Get outside, Family!

Get outside, Family!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Great Sandwich Caper, and other tales of winter woe

My family has had three lousy experiences this season while skiing that could’ve ruined what have otherwise been some wonderful weekends. I’m happy to say we shook it off….pretty much. I think it was the skiing the helped us keep our cool.

First, we came home from an overnight trip to find that our mailbox post had been sheared off. We thought at first a car must have slid on the icy road and hit it. Then we noticed the S-curved tire marks scoring our neighbors’ yards and that two other mailbox posts and a lamp post had been knocked over. The tire tracks reminded me of the carved turns of an expert skier, they were so smooth and intentional. Yeah, we got pretty irritated.

The following weekend, a surprise awaited us when we came inside the resort lodge to eat lunch. I had made sandwiches for us that morning, put them in a backpack and left the pack beneath a picnic table. Like lots and lots of other people. When we opened the pack, we found that someone had eaten three of our four sandwiches! And. They. Left. Behind.The. CRUSTS! That was the worst part. How can you not eat the crusts on a lovingly homemade sandwich?!  I’m telling you, the mustard and mayo extended all the way to the edges. Didn’t their parents teach them anything?!

And then on the weekend after that, my son returned to his skis after a break and found that his poles had vanished. Yep, we’d left them in a ski stand unlocked. My son had to fight back tears. In the moment, it just felt like the last straw, like I was ready to enter into war with Those That Do Me Wrong.

What is the lesson here? Lock up our ski poles and lunch? Install night vision security cameras and automatic laser guns aimed at tire level (the kids’ idea) outside our home? Basically expect the worst and get ready for it? In our initial anger – and I was angry about those sandwiches -- we plotted all these things and more. But, I don’t know, we got tired of being angry. It got boring. I think the fun we’ve been having just overpowered the bad juju.
Keeping calm, skiing on
That's not always enough, at least at first. I overheard an angry father complaining that his family had been waiting for an hour to rent snowboards. Apparently the computer system had crashed.  I’ve seen people get nasty over tables in the crowded cafeteria, and it’s not uncommon to hear little kids wailing in the rental shop. Skiing can be a lot of work, especially when you’ve got young kids to dress and equip and get to the bathroom. Especially when it’s still kind of new, because that makes anybody a little jittery, a lot excited, and maybe nervous.

It can be easy to take things personally when things go poorly on a ski day. I was pretty short with my son in the immediate aftermath of the poles going MIA, not because I was angry with him but because of the hassle and the hurt feelings of having something taken. Fortunately, we decided to take a short walk outdoors to think. It was cooler, we breathed. The sun was shining and the slopes looked gorgeous. A simple solution appeared: I sent him off with my poles and took a break, which I actually kind of needed.

The truth was, we had encountered a lot of really nice that day. A group of teen snowboarders let us cut right in front of them in the lift line when my son started to accidentally slide toward them. Several people stopped to help anytime anyone of us fell. A group politely asked for our lunch table when we were packing up.

I'm sure we'll have other rough moments, but I think we can handle it. If I don't have change for a token to lock up our lunch, I won't sweat it. We will ski. We will be together. And the rest just doesn’t matter that much.

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