February 2023

February began with the intent of my Seattle peeps coming to Colorado so that I could begin the introduction and lessons for snow skiing for their almost 5 year old. What transpired instead was a change in Yolekha’s work plans to where instead of quitting Amazon and going a different direction, she opted to go back and so with that, her free time was nixed and it was then proposed that they would fly me out there for skiing in their region. Turns out that my ski pass also included several resorts in Washington, so I was all in.

Somehow a ski weekend turned into three weekends and a few extra days. I mean, it made sense as the baby’s one year birthday was the first weekend and I should be there for that since I am his God Mother. The second weekend was Presidents Day weekend and my pass had black out days for Sat and Sunday, so we would ski Friday and Monday of that weekend, and then since we were loosing a few ski days, I should stay for one more weekend so that we could ski on that final weekend and pick up the days we missed. I couldn’t see any reason to argue, so that was the new plan.

As arranged, the first weekend was dedicated to the birthday. There was a party with friends – most of whom I have now met several times and enjoy very much. There was a party with just the family – Yols Mom and Dad are still living with them as they work on their immigration cards allowing them to visit at any time and we also get along famously. There was a play performed by Amara for our entertainment pleasure, a happy little cake that Amara and Nana made together, and much love and laughter.

When Monday rolled around, Kavir (the baby) started daycare. I would get up with the grandparents and have Gus’s (Yolekha’s dad) morning drink concoction of ginger and spices with him and Maranna (Yol’s Mom). We would get the kids fed as Yol’s and A got themselves and then the kids dressed. I would then accompany to drop off the kids to daycare and then head out as tourist from there. Sometimes I took the bus into Seattle proper to explore there or take a ferry to an island out in the bay to explore a new spot. It was an active week and I’ve learned to really love exploring alone.

By Friday, Adrian, Amara and myself had rented them skis ( I took my own out with me) and headed out for the afternoon and evening skiing at Crystal Mountain near Mount Rainer. The rest of the family drove separately and headed to an Airbnb outside of the park that they had rented for the weekend. Amara did great learning to ski and said it felt like flying to her. Living up to it’s name, it was nearly a crystal clear sky when we first arrived, but by mid afternoon, the clouds began to roll in. Adrian was also learning to ski – although he had been and had lessons a few times before. He felt comfortable enough after a few hours to manage Amara on the bunny slope by himself for a bit and so I headed up to the top to check out and see what the rest of the mountain was like. Unfortunately, those clouds that were rolling in brought some gusting wind at the upper slopes and I could barely see my own way down, let alone the view from the top that I had yearned for. I practically had to feel my way back down and out of the upper whipping winds, but I made it and once again joined my beginner buddies. We stayed for some night skiing, hot chocolate around the fire and then headed to our accommodations.

That day, Kavir was not feeling his best and by later that evening, Adrian was fighting off an illness and then later still, I too started to feel achy and a general feeling of malaise. There were issues with the Airbnb that first day and night and since we knew there was no skiing for the next two days due to the black outs on the passes, coupled with three of us were not feeling our best, we decided to just head back to Seattle and recoup there.

The next week, we all took it pretty easy during the week. I’d still get up and accompany the drop-off to daycare, but then generally, I would return home to read and rest throughout the day as whatever that bug was that some of us contracted still had A and I at about fifty percent energy level. By Thursday though, we decided we could muster up enough vigor to ski on Friday afternoon. This time we ventured to Snoqualmie Pass ski area where the bunny slope was a bit harder. I helped Amara off the lift on the initial run there and skied her to a good starting spot at the top of the slope we were on. I let her go with instructions to make big S turns on her way down to maintain a safe speed and not get out of control. Off she went, and she immediately headed straight down the hill picking up speed. I stood there for a few moments admiring how fearless she was and thinking that she was surely going to turn or even fall down soon so as to not become a down hill racer, but no, she held it together and became a small bullet train with no conductor or brakes. It then finally kicked in that I was responsible for this one and had better point my own ski’s down, get into a tuck position and catch up with my daring apprentice. I flew down the hill and as I approached, I told her I was going to stick out my ski pole and she should grab onto it so that I could then slow us both down. She did, and instead of having any remorse for not making the turns as directed or being scared of her own speed, she beamed at how fun that had been. I slowed my heart, calmed my external voice (my internal one was slightly elevated) and with some discussion, I did get her to agree that for the rest of the day, we would ski with a bit more control and include turns into her downhill repertoire.

We made several more runs and as we were just getting in the queue to go back up for yet another run, my stomach took a sour turn like someone had just poured lemon juice into a glass of milk. Amara relayed that she needed to use the restroom and I realized that I would need one too. Unable to get out of the line, I said we would just ride up and ski straight down to the bathrooms as they were just off to one side of the slope we were on. We made it down and thankfully Adrian said he would take Amara to the bathroom with him this time. I was seriously afraid that in getting all the layers of helmet, gloves, coat, vest, and bibs off of Amara for her to pee first, that I would now be in another race that my bowels might lose to. We all met outside of the bathrooms a bit later and none of us had the gumption to go up and make any more runs. Amara was scheduled for a birthday party later anyway and thus we just headed back home.

I immediately took to my room and onto the bed hoping this wasn’t the next daycare bug to strike me. The hope was false and within an hour I was sick on the floor of the bathroom just outside the bedroom I was staying in. I wasn’t the only one to contract this bug, but I was the one that it hit the hardest. I will say that you may not be sure just how close you are to a family until you are terribly sick while staying with them. Living with all men in my house, I am use to bearing through illnesses while being left alone. No one in my house comes close to qualifying as a nurse and so being sick in my house is more like being in solitary confinement in a prison. Food and water will be left nearby, but the inmate is on their own until well enough to be reestablished into general population. In Seattle though, I had two motherly figures to provide the kind of care that just makes you want to cry – mostly out of gratitude. Even Gus would make me a lemon honey potion to cut through the acids of being sick and give some energy through the sweetness. I was only violently ill for about 24 hours, but it again took a toll and I didn’t finish my stay with the gusto of energy that I normally would have. We still had good talks, good food and a wonderful time together, but seemingly catching every bug in the petri dish of the daycare environment made for a more intimate time that I had expected.

Luckily, when I left, the plane was nearly empty and I had an entire row in which to stretch out and rest once more.

Unfortunately, I arrived home just in time for the last of the daycare bugs to hit and I ended up with the worst cold and cough I have had in years.

I may have been under the weather more than not on the trip, but I still wouldn’t cancel it if I were to have to choose to be sick and go or well and not go. And that was February.

Sally

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