Bucket List Item #46 was a qualified success.
Said Item number 46 was skiing, something I had never done before this lovely spring break on an escapade with my pretend family the Banks, despite the fact that I grew up here in the midst of the greatest snow on earth.
See, I had lots of fun. We had some excellent adventures. We rode the ski lift twenty something times and quoted bon qui qui a fair amount as well. We gathered good quote bookage from the kids on the mountain. For example:
little girl addressing her sister, somewhat condescendingly:
"katie, I think I am just a better skier than you."
little boy laying on the mountain with his mom standing over him:
"But I have to pee!"
teensy child careening down the mountain:
We laughed hard about that one, and only felt kinda bad about it.
In short, I loved it! I also had a panic attack on the top of a mountain and bum slid some of the way down. For reals, it was a group effort getting me down from the top of that hill.
The day started off with some spectacular crashes on the bunny slopes, which was fine cause Justin always waited for me to get ready to go again, only told me once that I was "being a girl!", and didn't make fun when I hyperextended my knee, an experience that may or may not have included some expletives. They were all really nice about teaching me, and I was getting pretty good at following instructions, soaring down those bunny slopes and learning to "walk like a duck".
Then Justin decided he wanted to take on the big hill and go all the way to the top. I said I would wait at the bottom. Turns out though, dear Justin is very persuasive. For example:
using the tone: "But I want you to come with me."
making the fact: "I'll stay with you the whole time!"
anticipating both his brother's response and my entirely predictable reaction:
"She'll be fine! She can do it, right Brandon?"
"Oh, I know she can't do it."
"Fine! Well, I am doing it now!"
The ride up to the top:
Getting steeper and scarier.
"Justin. Justin. Justin!"
"Calm down, honey. You're fine."
"NO. I am NOT."
"Look at that teensy kid. If they can do it, so can you."
Passing the point we thought was the top, continuing to rise what looks like several hundred feet of narrow switchbacks:
" Oh. My." Ragged Breathing.
"You're fine. Breathe normal, hon."
"Justin. Shut up and get me off this thing. I'm gonna kill you, for reals."
( This point in the story is where my mom interrupted, saying, "You are so sweet.")
So we are going down the mountain. Justin is going along, waiting at the bottom of the hills for me to slowly catch up. I am crashing every five feet cause I am paralyzed with fear and therefore unable to turn, especially in such narrow tree lined deathtraps. Finally we come to a hill. I am crashed at the top, Justin is waiting concerned at the bottom. My feet are pointing inward and I am unable to right them. I am terrified and in pain, trying to listen to the instructions being lovingly called from the bottom of the slope but really only taking in the fact that the next part down is a drop off so steep I can't see over the edge. I finally get my feet out of the skis and right myself when I am overcome with terror and end up throwing my skis and poles down the hill so I can just slide down. The problem is that once I start I find I cannot stop, and the ledge I can't see over is fast approaching. After some desperate finger clawing into the ice, the kind you see in movies, I am able to stop next to Justin where it isn't so steep.
So there we are. I am laying on the hill hyperventilating a little bit not wearing skis with no notion of how I am gonna get off this mountain. My devoted and patient friend keeps telling me I am fine, which isn't really helping. He is trying to figure out what to do with the emotional wreck laying at his feet, and the emotional wreck is praying hard, when who should ski past but Justin's dad and little brother.
Amy: " oh my gosh. prayer works."
So Michael Banks ended up coaxing me back into my skis and into a standing position. Justin skis down the mountain with Dalen, which is fine with me cause I love him dearly but he wasn't helping. I am left alone with his father, which is a miracle because this patient saint of a man patiently stayed with me while I actually stair stepped sideways down the slopes, fell over some more, prayed some more, tried some more to control my breathing. We eventually made it to the bunny slopes and I breathed a sigh of relief.
Off we went. I got down to the car okay by myself, except that one time I crashed into the netting and spent ten minutes untangling my skis from the mesh. I get down and start taking off my skis, with difficulty because my whole body feels like jelly by now.
And then Justin showed up again. (Poor boy, he's out of practice dealing with emotional wreck version of me. A sure sign we live too far away from each other.)
The adventure ended with a text message from my sister reading "You alive?"to which I replied:
"By the grace of God and Michael Banks."