Memory Lane

Today a call came through our customer support line at work and one of my team answered and the caller asked for me. My team is pretty well trained to not just transfer anything to me and when speaking to customers, they know that they need to first try to assist them before transferring to anyone – let alone me. This caller must have been persistent though as finally my rep called out to me across the room that she had a Doug S on the line and he wants to speak to me and he doesn’t have an order. Big red flags in her book and I’m surprised she didn’t cut him off and tell him to contact the general email box if he wanted to make contact. Something made her ask though and as soon as she did, my mind flashed to a Doug S from my childhood that I think of and wonder about from time to time.

I took the call and he announced himself and, so incredulous was I that this was THE Doug S that I had known, that I made him verify who his sister’s name is. He named her and so I astoundedly greeted him with the kind of “holy cow, what are you doing, how are you, what are you up to, how did you find me, how’s the family, what is going on?” flood of words that no one can answer in the responding sentence.

Doug and his sister are children of a couple that my parents were really good friends with for several years when we were growing up. Because our parents were all friends and would get together, we too hung out quite often as a result of the parents congregating. Doug was my age and his sister was just a year or two younger (as I recall).

Doug began the conversation explaining that his sister had just been going through some old photos at their parents home and came across one of me and so she sent it to him as a quiz to see if he would recognize who was in the photo. He said that he immediately knew it was me and decide to just look me up and give me a call. He had thought about our family often over the years and figured today was the day to finally see where we all were. He said he found a link to me in CO and then followed that and found my workplace and well, we were there speaking, so I knew the rest. He said he wouldn’t take up my work time, so he provided his number and said to give him a call when I had time.

I had to admit that I too would think of him and his family over the years. They were such a great family to be around. I did try to look them up several years ago after Mom and Dad passed away. I wanted to know if their old friends were still around or not and of course I wanted to know what happened to Doug and his sister. The problem was, I had no idea where they had moved as his dad was a minister and like any pastor, they would move around as called to do.

I don’t quite recall what age we were when they moved from our nearby town to across the state, but we did still keep in touch for several years after they moved. I can remember still visiting them for quite a few years. I remember Doug coming to see me at Ohio State my freshman year, but after that, we seemed to be on our own paths and lost touch.

I finished up work, made a stop at the grocery on the way home, made dinner and then sat down and called my old pal. No, his voice was not the same as it had been 40 years ago (yes, believe it or not, it has been that long), but his energy, inflections, and caring attitude was the same. We still talked easily and it was really great to think back on some of the stories and antics that happened. He said it was easy to think of me as he still sports the scar on his foot from when I tried to get him to ride our cow named Queen and in pushing him on, I accidently pushed him over and off the other side and he fell off and cut his foot open on whatever sharp thing happened to be below him when he fell. I could hardly believe that he even remembered the cow’s name.

We found out we had many common threads in our lives. We both had gotten married at about the same time in our lives and have stayed married. We both had a couple of kids. He is ahead of me with grandkids, but I’ll give him that one. He was sorry about my parents passing in the years prior and said he had been saddened to hear it at the time. He was very fond of all of our family just as I was of his, and it’s sad to think that they are gone. Luckily, his parents are still mostly well and live near him.

I relayed that I’ve been going through a few tough months with Ted’s passing. He relayed that he couldn’t comprehend personally since he hadn’t gone through it, but I could feel his sincerity in being a bit heartbroken for me. We finished the conversation with a promise that we wouldn’t wait another 40 years to have the next conversation.

I got off of the phone and felt good. It was a nice reminder that while I am kinda caught up in grieving what I have had for the past 33 years in marriage, it is just a portion of the memories I have in total and I’m not just defined by being a wife or widow or mom or co-worker or friend, or any one thing. I have lots of stories and people and events and experiences that have stitched together this fabric of life that I pull around me. It was nice to be surprised by the past showing up and in seeing that, it made more room for envisioning wonderful moments that will cross my path in the future.

Thank you Doug for the reach out and catching up.

Love Sal

Five Excellent Ingredients.

You know, they say with five excellent ingredients, you can create a masterpiece. I can attest to this.

I was blessed to go to a show this weekend. It was billed as ROBERTA GAMBARINI/HOUSTON PERSON/ERIC GUNNISON/CHUCK BERGHOFER/LEWIS NASH

My friends had seen Roberta Gamarini recently and have been following Eric Gunnison at venues in Denver for years, so when they invited me to the supper club of Dazzle to see the performance, I easily agreed to go.

I won’t claim to know much about Jazz and had never seen or heard these musicians before, but I can tell you my experience.

The show started with Roberta singing a solo a cappella. She showed her brilliant voice and range and soulful delivery and if music was a meal, this would have been a bite to satisfy and make you think you didn’t need any other ingredients.

This musical performance by all masters of their trade, did make me feel like I was having a meal for the soul.

The sax player was an older gentleman and when he played the saxophone, I could nearly swear that his notes had the words to them just as if he was singing alongside Roberta. I chuckled to myself when he first came upon the stage as his saxophone looked like it hadn’t been polished in years. I guess I’m so use to bright shiny instruments, that it caught my eye that it lacked the luster and shine of the normally seen on polished brass. But when I heard him play, it was as if he had allowed a bit of every note that had ever been produced in it to cling to part of it’s surface so that every following note had just a little more resonance from having come after previously played notes. As I sat there, it really did remind me of how they say that a good smoker/grill gets better the more it is used and that leaving some of the residue helps the next batch gain even more flavor.

The piano player used the piano like it was the backup singer who could have been the main star, but was content to play notes that sang along, and harmonizing beutifully with the main voice. His playing also created visions (at least for me) of a dancer, tapping and twirling off to the side while the singer sang.

The drummer, having those smaller and higher pitched drums than the rock sets, set the beat and accents to the tunes much as the piano player did. He would sometime lay down the beat with what felt like a caress of his drums and symbols and sometimes belting out his notes and showing the voice of his set had just as much range as anyone on the stage. Like the piano, his drumming would also allow me to think of him as another backup singer and dancer as his notes twirled and tapped on the opposite side of the stage.

And then there was the bassist – a gentleman who use to play with Frank Sinatra. Truth be told, they have all played with the greats and are greats on their own, but his years with Frank are the easiest for me to recall and relay. He knew how to let the star shine, but give them everything as a base to sing upon that brings it all together like a fine dish. I did keep coming back to the analogy of food when I listened to them all – together and individually. It wasn’t until the bassist had his first solo routine within a song, that it dawned on me, that in my food analogy, he was the amazing sauce that I smelled cooking throughout and didn’t overpower any bite, but brought it together so wonderfully.

Roberta Gambarini was not just the main attraction and was not just this singer whose amazing voice carried on the waves and flow of the notes the others layed down in accompaniment to her. She would lavish her clear full octave range singing upon us, and then suddenly, she would transform into another instrument on the stage. She would scat sing notes alongside all the other instruments that made for a fifth instrument that could again solo on its own.

It seems that Roberta travels and sings all over the world and picks up good musicians or already established jazz bands to accompany her wherever she goes, so this was one of those five-set shows, that came together with five incredible people that we were lucky enough to see on the fourth of the shows. This meant that they were five superb ingredients that in the food sense would each had been tasty on their own, but given the time to stew in the shows before us, we were served the masterpiece of a dish that had the time to cook and simmer and bubble until what we were served was perfect.

Such a good time and yes, all of those individuals will be playing individually or with different people in the coming days and weeks, but I feel so thankful to have gotten to enjoy them all together and will savor it.

Yes, we were only maybe 12 feet from the stage, so when I say it was an intimate concert experience, I mean it.

Thank you my pals for including me.

Happy Easter everyone. So much to be thankful for.

Love Sally

Poems

Poems are a funny thing. Not funny haha, altho some limericks come to mind that make me chuckle. Poems are words, sometimes set to rhyme and sometimes to a cadence and sometimes they just seem to just have words that the person penning it puts together in an abstract way.

I sometime will write a card to someone and make a poem out of it. Sometimes I will set to writing a poem and in that process of finding words and phrases that work, my mind digs into my heart and finds not what I set out to convey, but something else that flows out altogether differently than I had expected.

I have a poem somewhere inside of me for Ted, but I currently cannot even get it started. It feels like trying to pick up a grain of sand just as a dump truck has raised its bed and opened the gate. What you thought could be picked up is now buried under a massive pile.

The beauty of words and poems are that everyone has access to the same words and just through thoughts and ideas and creativity, these words can be put together in so many ways. That is why some days, we can read someone else’s words and you recognize them and identify with it and it feels familiar because if you could have, you might have done it the same way.

Well, that happened to me tonight as I read the following poem. It pulled the words out of my heart and put them in front of me to read and feel. So, while this isn’t my poem, it is very much one I say in my heart to Ted as I go to sleep.

I’ll still work on words of my own and who knows, I may even share it here.

Love Sally

Joy Wins


I know some have been wondering how the wedding went and how we all did emotionally with the sadness of not having Ted with us. Well, it was a great day filled with friends and family and the joy of the day filled our hearts and the room and conquered the dread and tears that had been prevalent leading up to the day.
The wedding couple had their hearts set on their pup being the ring bearer and since the Lake House has a strict “No Dogs” rule inside the facility, they had planned to have it outdoors. A risky business at an elevation of 7200 feet in Colorado in early April. And while it wasn’t balmy by anyone’s meter, it had stopped drizzling rain and the wind settled just long enough to have the ceremony out at the edge of the mostly ice covered lake. Geese flew over the ceremony honking their approval, the ceremony was lovely and all went without a hitch.

I’ve attempted to put together a little slide show of the week of the wedding with a hike with my siblings and prep of the food trays and some of the pics that have been shared with me from friends and family. I left my phone at home, so I didn’t take any pics. I had actually forgotten it, but in reality, I had no place to put it as there wasn’t an extra inch to shove a phone anywhere in my dress. TC did my hair and a bit of makeup to cover the sunburn that we had all gotten a few days prior from hanging out on the deck between and after jobs that everyone was busy trying to complete during their stay.

If the video doesn’t play right, let me know and I’ll repost as some individual pics.

Thanks for all who kept us all in your thoughts and prayers as we navigated such an important day and week.

Love,

Sally

Week of positives

This week seems to be setting up as a week of positives.

It began with finally putting the dress back on and getting it zipped. It didn’t spit a seem, so I’ll consider it good that I don’t have to try the shower method to stretch the fibers. I also found a pair of shoes. The shoes, in opposition to the fitting of the dress, are actually a bit big, but at least one part of me won’t be sausaged into its casing.

My cousin was here helping over the weekend and with most of our severe weather behind us (we hope), we decided to unwrap the bees and see if they made it through the winter. The bees look to be good and thriving and my cousin thinks we have enough to even split the hive and let one of the frames of bees create their own queen to give us a complete second hive. Pretty exciting.

We next got the truck running. We have a full size pickup that hasn’t been run in months as it has been snowed in and not dug out through any of our snow storms this winter. We hooked it to the charger for a few hours and got it going. It wasn’t until after we had a load of misc stuff full and taken down the hill and dumped at the office dumpster that I noticed that the plates had expired way into 2021. I’ll add it to the list of stuff that needs done, but at least I didn’t get pulled over for it.

Then one day this week, as I was driving home in the pouring rain, my driver side windshield wiper started to have an issue as it was clearing off the water as I drove. It was acting as if there was a bump in my windshield that it would catch and flop over each time midway through the upswing oF the wiper. Of coarse there was no bump in the windshield, but at the same spot on each cycle, it was having an issue. While I was varying the speed of the wipers to see if that had an effect, the wiper all of a sudden broke off and flung into the lane next to me. So now I’m still going 65 down the highway and have nothing clearing my drivers side window. I slide myself over a tad in my seat so that I can see out of the middle of the windshield that is still being cleared by the passenger wiper and try to figure out what my options were.

I made it to the next exit and as I pulled into a store filled area, I asked Siri to tell me where the closest auto parts store was. Siri recommended the Chevy dealership just down the road a mile or so. I was right across from the mall, but couldn’t think of anywhere in the mall that would have wipers. The Subaru dealership is also just down the road just past the Chevy, Honda and other dealerships that always seem to build in rows. Resigning myself to pay dealership prices, I head in that direction.

I know you are wondering what the positive is on this story, but I’m getting there.

I drove into the service bay at the Subaru dealership and stepped up to the counter and the nice gal asked what I was there to have done. I explained that my drivers side wiper had flown off on the highway, so I needed a replacement wiper. Seeming to not quite get it that I would show up in a downpour with no wiper, she went to check the car out for herself. She shook her head as if there was a sieve in her brain and with the slight jiggle, the pieces would sift through and begin to make sense. She got back to her station behind the desk and picked up the phone. I assumed she was calling the parts dept to bring up a high dollar Subaru blade but no one seemed to be answering on the other end of her line. She excused herself and left the service bay. A few minutes later she returned with two blades and had snagged one of the guys to swap out my blades. I told them that one of the auto parts places had just changed the passenger one a week or so ago, but they said that they replace in pairs. Great, I was thinking, now they are going to gouge me for two blade on some technicality.

Turns out, the passenger blade wasn’t even installed correctly and it was lucky that it too hadn’t come off. So, as I’m starting to feel lucky at any cost of this new set of wipers, the guy puts down the new blades and the girl says she will open the bay door for me and I’m free to go. Literally Free. They charged me nothing for the blades or swapping them out. How lucky was I to have it happen where there was only the dealership and not a parts store.

The week is of coarse, ending on the positives of two of my siblings being here.

My sister and her husband arrived last night and she is already making me laugh every time I try on the dress or shoes. I had to try it on to see where my necklace fell into place at on the dress (in case I needed to take it to be adjusted) and we laughed all the way through the fitting.

My oldest Brother arrives today, so more hilarity will be forthcoming with him as well.

I hope your week has had a good string of positives too.

Love Sally

Mixing sports

I went skiing last week and a hockey fight broke out.

Well, not quite, but nearly. Here’s what happened.

I took off one day last week to go skiing with two of Ted’s ICU nurses. The plan was for us to meet up at the ski area and I told them which parking lot I was shooting for, as it has a bathroom and you can ski into and out of it to begin and end your day. I was up early that morning, so I decided to go a bit early to see if I could get a good spot.

When I arrived there was a car in front of me to begin a row with a traffic cone next to them that I took for marking as far over as they should park. I parked right behind the car to start the next row, but knowing that I didn’t have a cone, that someone would eventually use the space available between me and the driving path between me and the bathroom to park another vehicle. I decided to throw out my skis and backpack in that spot so no one would park there.

While the parking lot was still mostly unfilled, no one seemed to bother, but as spaces became fewer I had a couple people ask but move on without issue when I said I was saving a space. That was until I noticed a young guy and his gal about to drive up and over my skis.

I got out of my car, and shook my head at him and said that I was saving the spot for a couple ICU nurses and he couldn’t park there. He rolled his window down and said that he was a medic and first responder, so he should get the spot. I shook my head no. He got out of the car and said he was going to move my skis. I stood firm and told him No, he wasn’t going to touch my skis. He approached me and then said he had also just gotten back from a tour in Iraq (I can’t keep up on where we have any bits of troops left abroad, so I wasn’t sure to call bullshit on that one, but it felt like he was fibbing). He then kept yelling that I was telling him that my nurses were better than him. After he stopped with that little mantra, I simply replied that no, I wasn’t saying that they were better than him, I was saying that I know them, and I don’t know him, and therefore my loyalty to hold this coveted spot is to them and not him. He then changed tactics that no one can hold a space in this lot, that’s not what this mountain is all about. Again calmly, I said well, today I am and continued to stand my ground. Exacerbated, he finally got into the car and left.

I texted the gals that they had better be close as I was just about in a fight to save their spot and they assured me that they were only minutes away.

Just then a truck pulled up and parked nearly in the drive path and close to my skis – not actually leaving enough space for a car between us. I got out to speak to them and saw that it was two older gentlemen. Shit. I could tell young folks to go find a farther spot all day long, but I don’t have it in me to tell somebody older to go pound sand. But still I knocked on the drivers window near me to have a conversation.

I told these two older guys about spending weeks upon weeks in the hospital and feeling blessed to have these nurses even willing to stay in touch with me and wanting to have a spot for them when they arrive. They were sympathetic, but when I started crying as I told them my husband passed away, they were fully vested and promised to allow the gals to park.

Turns out, that while I can’t say no to a couple of old guys, they also can’t say no to an older crying gal. 😁

The gals showed up, we moved my car a bit closer to the car next to me, the guys moved their truck over a smudge in the other direction and the gals pulled in right between us.

We had a really fun day on the slopes with good stories shared on lifts and in the lodge over a break, good laughs and good snow.

Thanks to the gals for meeting me and to the guys for helping me save them a spot in the parking lot.

Love. Sal

It’s Hard

People have been mentioning that I haven’t been writing lately and of coarse they are correct. It was not hard to write everyday while Ted was in the hospital because I was just updating everyone on his condition and adding a segment or two of my day in as well. Now that he is gone, it’s hard to find the points that feel like people would be interested in. I mean, good things happen every day, but when I think I may write about it, it’s hard for me to sit down and formulate the words and get a story out. At the root of it, is that every story right now still has Ted interwoven into every weave and thread of the narrative and it makes me cry and so I decide I don’t want to write and just relive all of my sad moments for others to read when there is enough heartache and sadness out there in this mixed up world.

I will though, relay some info to keep the interested updated.

Currently on our immediate horizon is Galen and Ciara’s wedding on 4/5/22. Yes it is a Tuesday. It is the same date that Galen bended a knee and proposed, and it also happens to be off season and a less expensive day for the rental of the lovely Evergreen Lake House where the nuptials will occur. It is a small affair with just a few family and friends. Honestly, our input into this event has been minimal as we are all struggling mightily to face such an important day without Ted’s physical presence.

A few weeks back when I was asked to choose a song for the mother son dance, I struggled. Online suggestions included many country and western ideas, but we are more of a rock and roll family. I was texting Ted’s ICU nurses and mentioned I could use some ideas and they quickly responded with some good selections. They had after all, listened to Teds play lists for many weeks as he was in their care. I then messaged those selections to the kids and also received a thumbs up from Ciara. The following day, I called Galen to speak to him personally to see if he was indeed ok with the tune, or if I should keep looking. He suddenly needed to stop what he was doing and try to gain composure as he admitted that he hasn’t been involved in any of the music and couldn’t hardly stand to even think of it now. As he choked out the words, that every tune that he would or could think of, was all of Ted’s play lists, and it just hurt too much to think about it. He relayed that it was hard for him to even think about his own wedding sometimes. I then realized that I too had been avoiding asking about and offering input about the day. I hadn’t even seen an invitation, so, it wasn’t until Ciara’s bridal shower recently that I even thought to inquire what time the actual ceremony was at. Noon is that answer.

We are all on the struggle bus right now.

It dawned upon me last week that I had purchased a dress to wear for the wedding before Ted was hospitalized and well, being the emotional eater that I am, I may not even fit into it. I started my spring cleanse in hopes that I can drop some of those grief and stress pounds. I finally slipped it on the other night, but it has a long zipper up the back that is hard to zip two handed and with myI lack the arm flexibility to reach back there, let’s just say that I still don’t know if the dress will close.

I brought up my dilemma of not fitting into the dress last night while visiting some friends. One of them asked what kind of fiber it was woven of. She relayed, that given a natural fiber that can stretch, I could put it on and stand in the shower to wet the entire dress down, and then wear it till it is mostly dry and it would then have formed to my body. I have to giggle at that idea, but I know that I’ll look at the label now just to see if the option is there.

So, I’ll let you know how it goes after another week of low cal eating.

Love

Sally

Gauging the Fog

I have recently returned from a quick trip to Seattle. My peeps had just purchased a home when I had last visited, but had closed on the property the day after I had left, so while I had seen the outside briefly, I didn’t really have a sense of the space. So this was my first time seeing the new home and the extraordinary views they now had of the Seattle Bay.

After a few mornings of just standing in their beautiful home and looking out, I decided that waking up each morning overlooking the bay in Seattle epitomizes my life right now. There are days when the view is clear and your eyes and heart are drawn beyond the structures in front and you feel transported out into the very arms of nature and life. Possibilities and adventures are there and can keenly be felt.

Then there are mornings of heavy fog where only the immediate water nearby can be viewed and you can see nothing beyond. The mountains, the other shorelines, all points of reference, are now gone. And while parts of you are sure there is still the same views beyond, you can’t quite picture it fully without the slightest bit of reference to be had. With the view beyond restricted, you are forced to just notice that which is immediately in front. You feel forced to slow down and navigate with caution. When clear, it is easy to ignore that what must be passed through to reach the water and go beyond, but with the fog, the obstacles are the only points that seem to come into focus. The feelings of just cocooning and not venturing out are most prevalent. Grief is like those clouds.

The connection to the bay and the views from my friends home was an easy analogy to make, but the reality was that the morning fog that physically consumed the bay and skyline was truly contrasted by the sunshine that came each day from within the house with a lively three year old and the anticipation of another babe in just a few weeks time, and – surprisingly for this time of year – from the sunshine that burned off those clouds and made for brightness outside as well.

We practiced riding a bike with no training wheels.

We hung out telling stories and pretending to be Disney movie characters.

We walked to the beach nearby.

We spread some of Ted in the yard, and shared some of their memories of him, so that he is now part of their space too.

People ask “how are you?”, but don’t realize what an impossible question that is. The answer changes with every breath, every thought, every song, every transformative breeze that is felt, heard and sensed.

It might be easier to say how close or far the fog is in my emotional view than to answer how I am on any given day.

Rest assured that most days, the clouds might sweep in, but get burned off by the brightness of my friends and family who fill my life with support and love from the calls, texts and cards. Thank for being part of the sunshine in my life.

Love, Sally

Memorial Dates Set

The Memorial Dates have been set. I will try to get post cards out for reminders. Here is a copy.

I’ll have more info closer to the dates, but we hope you can come to one or the other.

Thank you for all who are stepping in to help out with the plans.

Love Sally

Update on yesterday’s blog on the chain saw carburetor replacement outcome. It started on the second pull and I was able to get the current pile of wood cut up as planned. Yeah for inexpensive parts and decent instruction on some YouTube videos.


Things I Learned This Week

Last week was a hard week. It was the one month anniversary of Ted’s death and honestly, it was harder than the week he died. In that month, the reality sets in further. I’ve realized for quite a few years now, I did my end of the things around the house and let Ted do his things around the house and now, I’m having to do both and it feels like I have two full time jobs. I mean, I am use to coming home and having things to do after work, but they were my things to do and didn’t require too much thought, so I could do them on autopilot. Now, I have to think about the things Ted did and get them done too and they require much more thought and work. Hence, I feel like I’m working two jobs.

So after feeling sad, overwhelmed, and sad some more, I decided to give myself a break and go skiiing. The place we always go to had been closed for lack of snow, but in the past two weeks had gotten massive dumps, so I decided to go. I didn’t bother asking if anyone wanted to go because I already know that none of my pals in evergreen have a pass to this resort and really, I just wanted to go and see how it would be going alone.

Well, I wasn’t totally alone. I did take a bit of Ted in a container with me. I learned that CO makes some wonderful seal tight containers for various products that are sold in the state that work quite well for sealing up some ashes to travel with.

I swear I could hear Ted bitching about the traffic as soon as I got close enough to see there was a line to even get onto the highway. I contemplated turning around and ditching the idea, but then figured this was my experimental day, so I should just go ahead and see how much time it would take in crappy crappy traffic to get to the mountain.

I had started an audio book recently, so I put that on for part of the time and while traffic was stop and go, it was moving, so while it took a half an hour longer than it should have taken, it wasn’t horrid. I got to the mountain and the parking lots were already full – and I had left a full hour before I would have gotten Ted out of the door. I bluffed my way into our favorite lot and found a spot just a few rows from the front. I thanked my parking angels for keeping that one open for me.

When we ski normally, we have a backpack that Ted always carries. It has the goggles in case we need them, a couple of beers for the lift or to share at one of our favorite stopping spots in the trees, the sunscreen, water, snacks and whatever else we think we may need. I think it is a pain to ski with the pack on. It changes your center of gravity slightly, you have to take it off and on each time you get onto a lift and it can get heavy with all that in it. I didn’t even bring it along. I instead, put a water in one pocket, a beer in another, Ted’s little container of ashes in another, and since I had forgotten my skiing sunglasses and had to wear my goggles, I didn’t need space to store them. So, I learned I could ski without the pack.

With the amount of people in the lots and who were already there, I opted for the small older two person lift that had no one waiting to get on. The lift got me to mid mountain where I could ski down the back side and catch the high speed lift to the tip top that allowed me to ski the gladed area with beautiful trees and always good snow. The lines for this lift were long, but since I was not with anyone, I learned what it was like get into the line for single skiers and make my way on fairly quickly. It’s kinda like the express lane on the highway. You have your own lane and as others make their way with their groups of folks, you get to join in at the last moment to make sure the chairs are all full. You never know who you will ride up with and it’s kinda fun to be the fly on the wall at the end of a six person chair and hear what they are all excited about as you ride up with them.

I took our favorite runs. I left some of Ted on one run that had such good powder and trees that I knew he would love to have been part of that powder and so I obliged and left some ashes there. I then had several more runs and was ready to share my beer in our favorite stopping spot and left some more of him at that spot after toasting my beer to him. Here’s the thing. It is easy to slam a beer when skiing with friends as it gets passed around and in no time, it is gone and the can goes back in the pack and we all ski on. I learned that Ted must have been drinking more than half of an open can when we would stop if it were just he and I, because a full one all to myself felt like I was drinking a keg.

So, I learned that a great ski day is a great ski day and a gift whether it be with a group or all by oneself. Nature is always a good friend to hang out with and never seems to disappoint.

Also on my learning for the week was how to swap out a carburetor, gas pump bulb, hoses and spark plug on a small chainsaw. Last week, Devin and I brought over some wood to be cut and split. I have always done the cutting in our house as Ted was an Osha nightmare on so many things, but put a chainsaw in his hands and it got truly scary to watch. I don’t mind. I actually like cutting wood. Problem is, I never had to deal with the chainsaw itself. Ted would always get it up and running and just hand it to me when ready. When I got the saw out, it wouldn’t start. Oh, it would run for a second if I sprayed the starter fluid in, but it obviously wasn’t getting gas. A few google searches later, I determined that it wasn’t getting gas due to either a gas line or the carburetor. A kit to cover both issues is cheap enough, so I ordered it and learned how to swap out all said parts. I still have the spark plug to do, but that is the easiest part, so fingers crossed that the guys on YouTube didn’t steer me wrong and that saw will be humming up a storm later.

I think the last thing I learned this week I learned in theory as I didn’t actually put it into practice. You see, yesterday, it started to snow in the afternoon at our house. It wasn’t snowing down in town at our office till several hours later, but thinking the roads might be dicey, I left work on time so as to get home as quickly as possible. I did have to make a stop over to Ted’s office to pick up the computer to start the quarterly taxes at home this weekend, but the snow was only an inch or two where I was. As soon as I got onto the highway, thing began to back up. Devin had just phoned me and wanted me to pick up some PHO on the way home, so I asked him to check the maps to see if I should take the frontage road or go up the canyon instead of on I70 which was looking like a parking lot. He said that the frontage road was the way to go, so I exited and started my adventure up the road overlooking the highway.

Initially, it was slow, but we were moving. The issue for all roads at this point was that the higher we climbed, the more snow had fallen and what had fallen had melted and frozen to the road. There were many areas with cars that just couldn’t move, so people had to maneuver around them. From my vantage, traffic wasn’t moving anywhere. When I asked Waze or Maps which way to go home, every route was now over two hours in delays, so I decided to just stay the course on the frontage road and continue on, at the now snails pace we were at. We would literally move 10 – 30 feet and then stop for 3-5 minutes and then continue on. Still listening to the same book that had gotten me through ski traffic the prior weekend, I was fairly entertained and just curious on exactly how long this could really take. The answer was REALLY LONG. An hour and half later, not having moved more than a mile – if even that, I was starting to wonder if I would have enough gas in the tank or what to do about the fact that my bladder was now getting full and needing some relief.

At one spot, there was a small lot off to the side for service vehicles and I saw one person exit the passenger side of a car 6 cars ahead of me and run off. A minute or two later, having only moved such a short distance, said person joined back to the car. I knew what they had gone to do and was wondering if I would be able to just put mine in park and run off the same way. Turns out, that was maybe the one spot that we moved enough that I missed that opportunity and that was the only area where you could have gotten out and not been in the spotlight of the cars behind you. The frontage road is build up against the mountain, and so there is no shoulder or space to run off into like a field or something as you would have if on flat land. I began to ponder more and more just where could one relieve themselves outside of the vehicle in a situation such as this. What I learned, or should say supposed, was that given that for much of the time, we were not moving at all, that I should get fairly close to the car in front of me, turn off my headlights, park my car, and swat in between the two cars. I would be low enough and out of their sight lines, the cars behind me would not be able to see through my car, and there was no traffic coming the opposite direction except for the few people that were giving up and turning around. It really could work. I was sure of it. I just needed to make sure I was centered so that my liquid pouring onto the road would not freeze in a spot that would cause my car to not be able to get traction and inch forward when the line began to move once more.

I started to watch the line of cars in front of me and calculate and keep track of how much time we were stopped each time and how much time I would need to exit, pee, return and move. I even turned off my audio book so that I could properly concentrate on the calculations. I mean it really felt like we were only moving when one of the cars in front of us was turning around and going back down then hill, so, with the right stretch of road, I would be able to see and totally make it happen. It was about this time, that we were on a stretch were I could see I70 once again and could see that while it was slow, it was indeed now moving. I was closer to reaching the next onramp to the highway ahead, then if I turned back, but turning back would allow me to stop and refuel, pee and get on the highway back down the hill, so I became one of the cars that gave up on the route and retreated.

It still took me another hour to get home, but I made it and now have a plan that could work if ever needed in the future. As I write this though, I just remembered that some of the new cars have rearview cameras that don’t just work when in reverse. I could just see people in the car in front taking a video of the middle aged woman peeing right in front of their backup camera and sending it viral. Oh well, people need a story and that would certainly give them one.

Those were some of my learned lessons this week and I’m sure there will be more. Here’s to hoping the chain saw works and if I can get the books done, maybe I’ll just ski again tomorrow.

Here’s a pic from our spot skiing together last March.

Love Sally