Monday, February 27, 2006

I have returned from the Lake of Tahoe! Limbs intact! Sanity intact! Pride int... Limbs intact!

We spent the weekend up at Squaw Valley with a mom and her five year old son. The trip started off on a pretty good note, because the other mom volunteered to drive both kids up in her car in the morning, explaining that it was easier to manage two kids than one. This is a common theory espoused by many parents. The idea is that a single kid requires entertaining, but multiple kids will amuse each other.

So, the wife (and for any new readers, I refer to her as "Hank") and I got to drive up by ourselves. The tone of the weekend was set early on in the drive with this conversation:

Hank: I think I've figured out a way to avoid Lake Tahoe trips in the future...
Me: What????
Hank: I know how to avoid them now.
Me: I thought you loved these trips! If I don't like them, and you don't like them, why have you been forcing me to go on them all these years?
Hank: Well, it just sort of happens.
Me: How does a Tahoe trip "just sort of happen"?
Hank: I don't know. A friend will start talking about how we should hang out together more and pretty soon it's a Tahoe trip. Anyway, do you want to hear my new idea?
Me: Yes. Yes I do.
Hank: I'm going to say that I don't like skiing. Isn't that good? That should work.
Me: That's it? All these years of Tahoe trips could have been avoided if you had just said, "I don't like skiing."
Hank: Yeah. Good, eh?
Me: Well, let's practice this skill. We're going to do a role play. I'll pretend to be your friend Ella (who is a hottie), ok?
Hank: Uh...ok.

(role play begins)

Me (as Ella): Oh, hey, Hank.
Hank: Hi Ella
Ella: Soooooo, I was thinking....Do you want to kiss a little?
Hank: (laughing) No thanks.
Ella: Weird. Whatever. Anyway, we sure are good friends.
Hank: Yeah
Ella: And our kids suuuuure do get along well. That's so great. Don't you think that's great?
Hank: It is really nice.
Ella: It is! And I really enjoy our time together, don't you?
Hank: I do too.
Ella: Gosh, oh, I have a GREAT idea! Does Daisy like playing in the snow?
Hank: Uh....yeah
Ella: Super! I'm totally going to plan a Tahoe trip for us! Oh, I'm so excited! Let's kiss!
Hank: Um, I'm not really into chicks.
Ella: Huh? Oh well, anyway, I'm glad we're all going to Tahoe together. Yay!
Ella: (puckering)
Hank: You're doing this all wrong. Ella is not pushy like that. This is dumb.
Me: Your new idea sucks.

So, don't expect any more Tahoe posts from me. As you can see, Hank has a bold new plan that does not involve kissing her hot friends. I'm all for not going to Tahoe anymore, but we might be throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Anyway, it was fairly relaxing driving up to Tahoe without a small child in the back seat. Meanwhile, our friend's plan of having the kids entertain each other was working pretty well, until it didn't. At around 5:30pm, the kids exploded into exhaustion and frustration and suddenly it was much more difficult caring for her own kid and our kid. Hank and I were still about 10 miles away from their Tahoe condo when we got a call from our friend, urging us to hurry along.

I picked up the pace a bit and promptly got pulled over by the California Highway Patrol for my first speeding ticket in 15 years. Doh! The CHP officer however, despite not being named Ponch or John, was super nice and polite. If you only get one speeding ticket this year, I highly recommend the stretch of Highway 89 about 5 miles north of Squaw Valley. Top notch manners on this guy.

The rest of Friday evening was fairly uneventful and we kicked off Saturday morning by signing the two kids up for ski school. This seemed like a good plan because it would entertain/teach the kids and allow us grownups to ski as little or as much as our bodies could handle. The plan came to a crashing halt when my wife informed the school administrator that Daisy has a serious peanut allergy. The school instructors weren't comfortable with administering the medicine (only needed in case of an emergency), so they told us that the only way Daisy could attend class was if one of her parents stood nearby at all times, ready to administer medicine should one of her classmates thrust peanuts into Daisy's mouth. After several minutes of futile argument, we conceded and I agreed to spend my Saturday standing next to ski school.

I watched Daisy not eat peanuts as she snow plowed and as she parallel skiied. I watched her not eat peanuts on the rope tow and on the "magic carpet". I watched her not eat peanuts during break time when kids were fed non-peanut juice and I watched her not eat peanuts during lunch when they ate non-peanut hot dogs, non-peanut french fries and non-peanut oranges. Basically I watched Daisy not eat peanuts for 6 straight hours on the most perfect skiing day you could imagine. Clear skies, sunshine, warmish weather, and plenty of snow. Nary a peanut in site.

Ski school was occasionally entertaining though. I enjoyed seeing the various techniques employed by the kids as they learned how to snow plow down the gentle slope. Some kids cried their way down the hill, while maintaining perfect "pizza slice" form, but you could hear them bawling the whole way. Another kid kept reciting some personal mantra each time he skiied by, "I am powerful. I can achieve anything. There are no barriers...." He spooked me a bit.

Daisy did pretty well. I only laughed at her twice (from a distance, of course). At one point the instructors introduced the kids to a simple slalom course, explaining that the kids should ski to the right of the first obstacle, to the left of the second, etc. Daisy ending up focusing so hard on the obstacles that she kept plowing straight into them. I could almost see her thinking, "Don't hit the cone! Don't hit the cone..." Bam! Down went cone #1. BAM! Look out, cone #2.

The other amusing time was on the rope tow. This was a simple device where the kids would grab onto a handle and then get pulled up the slope. Sometimes a kid would lose their grip or fall during the ascent. It was not big deal, but it would prevent them from making it to the top of the hill. One time Daisy was ALMOST at the top when she stumbled. She was, however, determined to reach the mini summit, so she hung on for dear life, getting dragged through the snow on her belly, with her skies flapping in the snow still attached to her feet. She made it to the top though.

Our friend's kid was in the same class. He kept amusing me by accidentally skiing backward on about a third of his attempts. He eventually got pretty good at it, learning an awkward backwards snow plow.

The tiniest kids were the best. They were mostly incapable of doing a snow plow, but they were great at pointing downhill and nonchalantly barreling down the slope. Invariably some instructor would have to fling themselves in front of the speeding toddler. That's good comedy. Peanut-free too.

More tomorrow.


zelda1 said...

How sweet, and do I ever remember the days of hiding laughter as my children learned to do things like, well learning to water ski, yes that's big here in the woods of Arkansas. My son would never let go of the rope, so he managed to get pulled, for the most part, at least half way around the lake, holding on for dear life while his skies made this great white water rush behind him. Then there was dancing, I wanted both children to dance well, and my son, just like with sking, well he wasn't so good and I spent a lot of time watching him, just stopping in the middle of heel toe, heel toe, and doing his funky chicken dance, much to the dismay of the dance instructor. But, trust me, those moments on the ski slope will be etched in you mind for years to come and someday, long after the sweet little Daisy hits her teens and becomes someone you don't know, you will have those precious memories, and they will get you through it all. Yes, that is my Mantra, they were so cute and sweet and it might happen that she, the daughter of mine, can return to that sweet little angle that loved to dance with me and make cookies and...well you get it.

Mike said...

Zelda1, it's good that kids provide comedy because they SURE are a lot of work.