Thursday, March 20, 2014

Saying goodbye to winter?

The calendar says that today is the first day of spring, yet when I look outside it appears that the end of the world is coming instead. The sky is gloomy gray and the pretty white snow has been reduced to piles of filthy black muck. Despite the handful of 50 degree days we have enjoyed in the past week or so, the thermometer is having a hard time budging away from the freezing range.

In a word: Bluck

This winter has been downright miserable, with not one but two blizzards that kept me and the kids indoors for large chunks of time. Days spent below zero were too many to count. Snow I can handle. But wind chills that knock the air out of your lungs and freeze the snot to your scarf are definitely not for me. The hubby and I grew up in this snowy town, and we knew what we were getting into when we moved back. He loves winter. Loves the snow, loves winter sports, and is the only person I know who doesn't mind shoveling.

Even he has started to complain.

Here's the thing about growing up in a town made famous by its plow to people ratio. You have to love something about winter or you won't survive. As children, we both remember dragging our sleds to nearby hills and spending hours digging forts into the giant snowplow drifts. The elementary school across from my childhood home was famous for the massive mounds that my friends and I would ride down time and time again, smacking our bottoms on the concrete as we'd ricochet off the giant plow curves. It was awesome. Hubby had a similar experience on the court across from his house. Then at some point the town decided it was unsafe to create such massive hills and started spreading out the snow. It was a sad day. We live on a court and I could just imagine how fun it would be if the plow made a giant sledding hill right outside our front door. Thankfully we have a park not too far from the house and were able to get out there a few times this year when the wind wasn't blindingly strong.

One of the other memories I have from childhood is something that I never got to do. Skiing. Our family never went, and I can remember feeling jealous of the kids who would come into school Monday morning, proudly displaying the lift ticket clipped on their jacket, regaling the class with stories of near misses and broken bones. My husband tried to take me when we were first married, but his philosophy is much like Charles Del Mar's advice in Better Off Dead.
He took me up the ski lift. I was a nervous wreck. Fell off the lift when it got to the end. The easy hills were all closed, so he took me down a medium hill. Tried to ski backwards while I went forward. I fell several more times and ended up going down the hill on my bottom. Spent the afternoon in the lodge feeling like a giant failure. My sister-in-law finally offered to help me on the bunny hill (something we should have done FIRST) and I felt a bit more confident. Actually went skiing one more time with some friends when we lived on the west coast. But it's just not for me. And now the boys want to learn, and hubby insists that I try again. I am just too old at this point and would rather keep all my limbs in one piece. We went out to the slopes this past weekend for a final winter hurrah. I took J to a nearby sledding hill while DH took P skiing and tried to keep him on his feet. It is important to my husband that the boys have a winter sport to look forward to, and I completely understand. It is part of your identity growing up in this town, and I proudly sent him off to school on Monday with the lift ticket attached to his jacket. Hopefully he will feel a sense of confidence and belonging that I always missed. And no one will make fun of him when he falls off the ski lift and has to schooch down the hill on his bum.

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