Monday, February 23, 2015

The Mysterious Ski Weekend

My brother, in his lifty days.
He can be judgy.
“Hey, jeans-skier! You back there in the Wranglers ... up to the front of the line, hustle up,” ordered my brother. Often. He was a lifty on Mount Hood and he had a thing for anybody skiing in jeans. I wouldn’t exactly call it admiration. 

Today’s ski lodges are hotbeds of mystery even more tantalizing than the bold nature of jeans skiers. We just returned from a ski weekend, and I have compiled three unsolved capers:

1) How has wood completely bewitched the owners of ski lodges and/or log houses on or about snow covered trails? 
These good folks have been spellbound into believing a cluster of wooden trappings will transmogrify any hot mess into a decorating scheme. For example, take an oak desk, pine paneling, plywood shelves, a wood-look veneer ceiling fan, cherry shelves and a few twigs stuck in a jar. Add a painting of some trees framed in wood and get some curtains in a brown color reminiscent of wood. Waala. The establishment is decorated and the proprietors can go about their business feeling dewy and thrilled.

2) Why do we always sit next to an expert skier at breakfast? 
When I say “sit next to” I mean “sit close enough to overhear a conversation ten feet away." Experts always seem to have booming voices when they talk about how expert they are. On Sunday, we sat next to an Expert explaining to his dining friend that he’d once met a Man who told him that you were an Expert if you didn’t ever hesitate, no matter what. 

The Breakfast Expert said that he never hesitated and thusly proclaimed himself an Expert.

Someone else at the table asked the Expert if he hesitated to go off the trail and through the trees. The Expert said he never did that because he heard what happened to Sonny Bono. Aha. He was caught hesitating! I assumed at this point the Expert would remove his Expert crown.
My pop, leading me astray

Except he didn’t. He simply continued to enjoy using the words “Me" and "Expert” in the same sentence. When one embodies the heart and soul of Expert, one is not beholden to criteria. 

It’s a lie though. You don’t have to be an Expert to fling yourself off the trail into the trees. Case in point: my father.

No one, anywhere on Earth except maybe in a hot desert climate, would classify the old man as an Expert Skier. And yet, while skiing with my dad, I have fallen into a river, slid on my ass down two flights of unexpected stairs and gotten kicked out of a winter carnival when we accidentally snowplowed right through the middle of the ice sculpture competition. If you’re gonna bail, bail early. This applies to relationships, college classes, and skiing with my pop.

3) Why does Tom always make little movies when we go to upstate New York? 

Monday, February 09, 2015

Bring it in a Covered Wagon

Thank the gods we still have our Christmas tree. I found some clippers, shoved aside twinkle lights and pinched off a pine bough. We burned it to a toasty crisp. In the fireplace, because it’s February and we had no heat in the house last night. 

In hindsight, I probably should have been more circumspect in my clipping. The tree now has a silhouette that sort of looks like a toilet. Whatever. Survivalists living off the land, such as ourselves, cannot be troubled by aesthetic matters.

Here’s another incident that proves we’ll be just fine in a zombie apocalypse. Over the summer, our microwave broke and Tom decided to fix it himself. It took him three months to admit it was unfixable.

On the upside of the microwave situation, my husband made $150 selling parts on eBay. Who knew you could unload a used high-voltage capacitor for so much shekel! Then he made $29 on YouTube advertising revenue. Apparently lots of people watch videos featuring the flummoxed owners of sad kitchen appliances suffering through the five stages of grieving. 

On the downside of the microwave situation, we didn’t have a microwave for three months. I had to cook frozen vegetables on the stove like Laura Ingalls Wilder. I foraged our cabinets in search of a metal steamer I knew’d been jammed back there since the late 90s. I felt so close to nature.

Early on, during the first no-heat hours yester eve, I was thinking we should get ourselves off the grid. I put on three pairs of flannel pajama pants and my ski gloves and for once was really happy my laptop heats up like a smelting furnace. I looked into power generators and price shopped nuclear-powered space heaters. This continued until I realized we are off the grid. We have oil heat and we ran out of oil. We need to get on the grid. We’re far too irresponsible and lazy to man our own substation.

Tom went out and hunted down 5 gallons of diesel fuel in an old gas can. Diesel fuel is allegedly the same thing as heating oil, except Diesel fuel is dyed green and costs more. This sounded suspicious to me. Even weekend blacksmiths know what a green flame means. It means e-fucking-vacuate. I changed the batteries in the carbon monoxide alarm carried it around like a tray of hors-d'oeuvres. Tom commented on my helpfulness throughout this whole ordeal.