We have returned triumphantly from Lake Tahoe with collarbones intact.
My overall opinion of ski trips remains unchanged however. In order to really have fun on these things, you either need to be a regular at it, or you need to have invoked the correct incantation, complete with eye of newt and foreskin of programmer. Sadly, our family possessed none of those ingredients.
For the most part things went pretty well on the trip. Our car was in need of some service, so we scheduled the maintenance for this weekend and then we booked a rental for the drive to Tahoe. Good plan, eh? It's all pretty good, until the mechanic at the dealership tells me to leave my key in the car, and when I do, the car then MYSTERIOUSLY LOCKS ITSELF. Granted our car has some funky smarter-than-thou logic that tries to relock itself if it deems that you don't really want to drive it, but this wasn't one of those situations. It had merely decided, using its own poorly-developed automotive improvisational skills, that it needed to lock all the doors, deftly securing much of our weekend luggage in the car, safely out of my grasp.
I informed the mechanic what had occurred and said, "Good thing we're here at the dealership when this happened! You guys can get in there, right?" He looked at me like I had just asked him to deliver my wife's baby.
"No, sir. We'd have to break into the car and we don't have a slimjim. We have no way to get into your car. You brought a spare key, right?"
I looked at him like the obstetrician had just asked me to step in during my wife's cesarean. So, long annoying story made short and annoying, I drove the rental car back home to get our spare key, and 30 minutes later we were back in business. This, combined with some other stupid errands we had to run, caused us to be back at home 2 hours after originally departing for Tahoe. It was a bad omen.
However, despite the I-knew-we-should-never-have-planned-this-trip feeling welling up in my gut, traffic was stellar and we made it to Tahoe in good time. We had dinner with our friends and then snuggled into our condo, resting up for the big day of skiing that lay ahead of us.
Skiing, of course, didn't happen. When we got to the ski resort, at 10:30 the next morning, the lines for rental equipment were Disneyland-huge and they had no classes available for my daughter. Our parenting skills quickly kicked into overdrive, so I sulked while my wife constructed an alternate plan for us. Teamwork is key in a marriage.
We then hooked up with our friends, and spent the morning sledding, having snowball fights, and generally mimicking wholesome folks having wholesome fun. It was a clever ruse and it easily fooled the children. My daughter was thrilled to construct crappy snowballs and hurl them several feet towards my general vicinity. If she did actually manage to throw them more than a few feet, they always disintegrated in mid-air. Usually, however, they exploded at her feet. I did my best not to mock her throwing ability. I read that in Parenting magazine.
We made it through the rest of the weekend, hanging out with our friends, and keeping everyone's kids entertained. It went pretty well. So, today, my daughter and I went for a walk in our neighborhood during the late afternoon and encountered some acquaintances. My daughter bounded up to them and said, "Can I tell you a funny story about my weekend?" I wondered if she'd tell about the snowball fights, or about her dad dragging her sled through the snow, or about getting to straddle the state line, half in California and half in Nevada. I knew this was going to be a cute story, easily showing what a fine parent I was. We had filled the kid's damn weekend with a winter wonderland, and now we'd see what moment would be treasured always in her memory....
My daughter tugged at her pants and exclaimed, "Guess what?! I'm still wearing my underwear from last night! And, I still have my pajamas on under this shirt!"
I nervously laughed my best kids-say-the-darndest-things laugh, and assured the neighbor that my daughter was not wearing her pajamas to the park. I pulled up my daughter's shirt a tiny bit only to reveal her pajamas under her shirt. Doh! It all came rushing back to me: The sudden realization at 9:35 this morning that we were supposed to check out of our condo by 10:00am, and the flurry of packing and panicking that immediately followed that realization. Somewhere in that shuffle, hygiene was apparently compromised. Note that we never actually had a subscription to Parenting magazine. I only read that one copy that we got for free in the mail once.
My neighbors three-year old son attempted to rescue us from the awkward moment by blurting out, "Do you want to see MY underwear?" He immediately tugged off his pants, not really waiting for a reply, revealing his Spiderman briefs. I took this opportunity to make a hasty exit with my daughter, effectively cementing my reputation in the neighborhood as Worst Dad.
So, our weekend in the snow has been immortalized in my daughter's memory as the day her parents forgot to take off her pajamas. I'm so proud.
I hate ski trips.