Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Challenge of a Week

Challenges come in many forms. For us this week , it has shown up in a variety of ways in just one week's span of time. At least the view from our Master Window is peaceful.

On Tuesday, the weather was finally so nice, the boys and a neighbor kid decided they would play outside with their airsoft guns. It was beautiful out. Sunny and a warm 45 degrees. I was watching from the front window because I was in the office, and the boys were taking a break on the front porch chairs. They were chatting and reloading their "mags". I think they were being slow about it, in order to catch their breath. It was a typical front porch scene. Just enjoying themselves. Then, IT happened. A new kid walked down the street by himself on the other side, and decided to stare at the boys from behind the front end of a truck. And, he stared for what must have seemed an eternity. He was a 10 year old boy. I know the boys got to feeling uncomfortable with him just watching them, so the neighbor kid says, "what's up?" (a kid way of saying hello?) The new kid say's, "Kendall says when he walks by you riddle him up." (Kendall is a fellow neighborhood boy that plays airsoft with them, and has a way with story telling.) Josh tosses back, "and we'll riddle you too.... (hands up in air waving without any gun) JUST KIDDING, just kidding." He continues to stare. Our neighbor boy remarks to the boys lets push him on, and he shoots off his pistol and says, "and I'll give you 10 seconds to run". It was in the direction of the boy, but the boy was way too far away to actually get shot, and the neighbor boy wasn't really aiming at him. The kid runs down toward the park instead of home never looking back, and we figured that was the end of that. He took the long way home and probably arrived there licky split. I was outside by that time, and gave the boys a quick reminder that we don't shoot at unarmed civilians. It was a general comment, since my own boys didn't do anything that I felt could be punishable, but wanted to be sure the neighbor kid understood the rules we play by. I went to get the mail across the street while the boys continued to discuss what they just saw.

Next I know, the father is at my door with his son, accusing my boys of shooting his son. I let out a chuckle and a sigh, thinking to myself, 'you're at the wrong door', and remarked, "no, they didn't SHOOT him", ready to tell him what happened, but he got so upset he let me know it was totally unappropriate for me to think it funny for teens to intimidate innocent people , and that he was "disappointed in me, and I guess I know what I'm working with." I was so stunned by the rudeness of this man, I simply looked at him with a dropped jaw thinking about an approprate response. Then, he continued to imply I was just an idiot not worth speaking to, I said that I must be unable to help him, stepped back inside the house and shut the door. He clearly was looking for something I just didn't know about.

So, I didn't get much sleep that night. The next day, we decided we would speak directly with the boy as he came home from school that day. Well, his mother came to meet him in front of our house, and she is even more aggressive and rude than the father! However, we found out that the story didn't end with him running. He was so confused, that he ran straight for a porta potty at the park, and called home from his cell phone telling his folks that the boys chased him there and were outside shooting at the porta potty. !!!! Now, they have one confused kid, or an attention seeker. The mother found that it was important to tell us they just moved in, it was his first trip on the bus and walk home, and they know no one in this whole state. (um, I think that applies to alot of us in this new subdivision) Unfortunately, we were unable to even give a simple fact regarding what happened on our porch, except that I informed her that her husband was offensive and rude in his approach at my house. Her simple reply was that she couldn't speak for him. I wondered why she was speaking for her son.

Soon after we stopped the boy to talk with him, he went home and the mother thought she could defend him. I simply wanted the boys to work it out. It easily turned to an argument because she wasn't even there! Of course, she knew what he told her. Since he wasn't willing to stay and sort it out, I was simply amazed at the turn of her conversation, and how twisted things were. She finally consented and said she felt they were attempting to convey they did not intend for that all to happen, and she let them go shake her son's hand and call it good. Both parents are handshakers. They shake and introduce their name, then stab hard. It gave us and the boys plenty to talk about. But, I didn't sleep a single wink of sleep that night, just tortured by the realization that an adult could speak to other adults and children the way they did, had no interest in the other side of the story, and feel like a handshake in the midst of hatred will heal all.

Enter Friday, and our next challenge. The Boise schools were out today, because of a teacher service day. The same neighbor kid got permission to come with us to Bogus to snowboard with us. We left early, and found that there were already a lot of people on the mountain. I guess lots of Boise poeple decided it was a good day to ski. We got all our stuff to the lodge, got our passes, and rented our gear. Then, headed for the lift.

I debated whether or not I wanted to take the chair first, or go for the magic carpet for a practice run. After negotiating in my mind, I decided I'd rather only sit and boot up once rather than several times for such short runs. I got off the chair and headed for the slopes. I was amazed to see how many people cluttered the run. It looked like an obstacle course. I also realized the snow was very different from last week. Last week, as all previous weeks, was fresh powder, soft and moveable. This week, it hadn't snowed in days, was warm during the day and freezing at night. The slope was crusty icey. And, I was aiming straight for a kid sitting down in front of me. You always go for where you're looking, and especially when I couldn't get my board to turn or stop in the ice, I was quickly reaching this young girl. I finally just dumped myself down to stop, and landed pretty hard on my butt. I got up again, moved myself off to the side, and the next time I fell, I could tell I was really sore. By the time I had gotten myself to the bottom of the hill, I was in enough pain that I knew I wasn't going down the slopes anymore before lesson time. When the family came in for lunch before the lesson, I realized I wasn't going to do the lesson either. So, I hung out on the snow pile outside a building, resting my backside in cold ice knowing that icing a bruise is always a good thing.

Unfortunately, by the time their lesson was over 2 hrs. later, I was in such pain I could hardly walk. They all packed up, and we headed down the mountain. We decided to take me in to the chiropractor, since he has an xray machine, is usually a quick visit, and a lot less expensive than going to an emergency room. The chiropractor was in, and after a quick exam, decided to do an xray. Sure enough, he was fairly convinced I cracked my tailbone. He did say that even if we did go in to the Dr, they wouldn't do anything, as we suspected. I just need to take time to heal, sit on a donut, and don't bend over.

Now that it is a couple days later, I'm more sore than before, and wondering if I really want a snow pass that we intended to buy on this weekend's half price sale. I found out that they sell " bomber protection" for snowboarding. These are shorts that have 1/2" foam padding along the hips and tailbone plus an additional plastic protector running on the outside of the tailbone protection. I know that if I attempt this again, I'll be wearing those $75 shorts! Plus, knee padding and wrist guards in addition to the helmet we already wear. Snow might be more forgiving than a street and rollerskating, but not much!

So, there ends a week of working on challenges, every day.

Friday, February 8, 2008

A Glorious Winter

Winter. Cold and snowy. Isn't that Winter? Well, apparantly, we are getting a special treat this year. According to the local news, we've had more snow this year than the last 6 years total. There is a run on snow shovels at the hardware store. We now own snow boots, tire chains, hats, gloves, and have anti-freezing window wiper fluid. I find it fun though to wake up and see the new snow scene. And, the ski season has been terrific!

Today we were glad to see that Bogus Basin Road was open for business. Yesterday, they closed it at 1pm due to an accident pile-up and strong winds blowing snow across the road. But, all was well today, and we were there plenty early to get familiar with the new routine of renting snowboards. I like the boots! In fact, we were all more comfortable with the snowboard boots instead of the lean forward hard and tight ski boots. They are so much easier to walk in too, especially on the stairs.

There were 17 of us for the class, so they split us up into a young class and the older "kid" class. It started off really slow, since most of us didn't even know what "foot" we were in order to determine wether we were "goofy" or "regular". Say what? I've been called Tigger before, but never Goofy. Alas, I found out I'm goofy. So was Dave and Zach. Josh rode "regular". This all simply means that we "goofy's" naturally use our right foot forward instead of the left. After we all got our feet in the right place and learned how to fasten our feet in, we were ready for the lesson. A first lesson in snowboarding is usually alot of one foot in and one foot out pushing ourselves along. Yes, we did this back and forth. Then, we progressed to pushing ourselves up a tiny incline and learning how to skate down turning to the left or right. Apparantly we all did well, because we all got to take the "magic carpet" up to the bunny hill.

Beginning snowboarders spend alot of time on their butts. We fall, of course. But, we also sit and wait for everyone to get up the conveyor belt (Magic Carpet), and then we need to sit to strap in our second foot. In some amazing way, the kids can bounce up from sitting to a standing position. I guess I don't have the stomach muscles, or maybe I don't have the flexibilty, but I cannot be sitting on my bum, reach my hand to the bottom of the board under my feet, and stand up. Out of our class of 9, I was the only one that couldn't just stand up, however, I learned really fast how to roll over and stand up from my knees.

After the second or third time up and down, our instructor informed us that we were the fastest moving class he ever had! Well, I don't think I was able to go 3 feet before I was back on the ground again on the first run, but somehow on the second run, it clicked and it was much easier.
After class, we all decided to be brave and took the chair lift up and tackled the big hill. We all survived, and all of us but Dave thought we did better than we thought we would. Dave figured because he was such a confident skier that he would master this fairly quickly. He found it harder than he expected. I guess the rest of us had less expectation.

Forecast for this week says 40 degrees. I guess our snow will melt quickly. After all this, Zach is sad to see the snow melting. He spends most of his available time building snow piles, as big and tall as he can make them.