Sunday, January 15, 2012

Neither Snow Nor Sleet...

Nor hail nor tornadoes,
Nor really, really hot days,
Nor windchill that makes random body parts fall off,
Shall keep us from our appointed path of ice skating.

At least I think that's how it goes....

We've been planning this for weeks; ever since Tiggy's birthday party, in fact--the whole hoard getting to go skating on a nice day when we had plenty of time to skate and on ice that had hardened acceptably.

The first day we'd planned to do it, Noni and her brood went into Williston for errands. That is always quite an undertaking, but they still would have made it out in time if SOMEONE hadn't decided that they needed a perm. Four hours later (I kid you not!), SOMEONE had changed her mind, but it was too late.

Caleb and I managed to get out on the ice one of the days, but it was tricky. After many layers of snow falling, then melting partway into the ice, the surface was pitted with, well, pits. It was hard to really let yourself build up momentum when the next second might find you stopping rather unexpectedly. At least your feet would stop. The rest of you would keep on going. I'm sure there's a physics lesson in there somewhere!

Last week the weather was much too warm for skating, but on the 50-degree day, the ice melted nicely and leveled out all the terrible rough places Caleb and I had struggled with. This week has had cold temperatures, and the ice re-froze smooth and beautiful. We made a firm commitment. The weather forecasted a high of 40 degrees for Sunday. We were going skating.

Somewhere along the way, quite behind my back, the forecast changed to a high of around 8 degrees, with significant windchill. Even a few wind-blown snow pellets added in for kicks and jollies. Stupid weather. I think it is toying with me! But we were undaunted. The serious windchill of 30 below didn't even start until evening, so what wasn't to like?

The first tiny hint of trouble occured earlier in the day when I jumped out of the car to take a quick picture. It was a VERY quick picture. The wind was bitter, bitter cold and even though my hands were only outside for about a minute, I was already experiencing significant pain. Hmmmmmmm. Oh, well, we will just bundle up. With a sigh, I relinquished all hope of attractiveness while skating. Sometimes it is better to be intact than attractive.

That philosophy was not shared by Tiggy, who showed up in tight jeans and a cute sweater. SOMEONE was hoping to recreate the cuteness of her birthday party skating trip. I wouldn't even let her stir out of the house until she added gloves and a pair of sweats that made her look like a wannabe rapper. At least she was sensible enough to bring a long coat.

Damon was prepared for a blizzard. If you didn't know he was in there, you might have been alarmed to observe a moving mountain of Carhart gear! Poor Devon was feeling sick and could only languish on the couch while we made our excited preparations. He was the lucky one, as it turned out.

We hiked out to the pond and were immediately confronted with our first difficulty. How do you put on skates while wearing the bulky gloves necessary to keep your skin from freezing? The answer is, you don't. You choose to have warm hands or ice skates. Poor Noni had to drop out right there because her skates needed a whole re-lacing and her hands just couldn't take it. And in a regrettable example of survival-of-the-fittest, none of us loved her enough to take our hands out of shelter and help her. I at least tried to soothe her disappointment by letting her hold the camera and take pictures of us while we skated.

She seemed grateful, but judging by some of the photos, she may have held a bit residual resentment.

We skated on the big pond for a little, but Caleb and I wanted everyone to get to see the other pond before the cold became unbearable. We were the only ones who'd ever skated on the small pond because its ice was too unstable the day of the party. It's FUN, though, all nice and smooth and round. To get there, you engage in the little known sport of cross-country ice skate hiking. I don't think it will ever make it as an Olympic event. Damon and Someone-Else-Whose-Name-Shall-Not-Be-Mentioned-To-Protect-Her-Privacy gave up and crawled the last little bit.

Tiggy and I skated, but the boys quickly became distracted by all the cracks in the ice. You could see down through the ice for many inches, so it wasn't thin, but it had many deep cracks running every which way across it. Scientific discovery demanded experimentation to answer the burning question, "What will happen if you spit in an ice crack?" The answer is that the spit be sucked run down through the crack and you will be able to observe its progress through the ice. SIGH!

We did find one new diverting game to play, at least us girls with the long coats. The wind was blowing briskly the whole time, so I decided to harness its energy instead of fighting it. We would skate to the far side of the pond, open our jackets, and sail across. Good fun, but not very graceful in appearance, to put it delicately.

All together, we probably spent about 30 minutes outside before the cold drove us to surrender. I hope we can eventually achieve the serendipitous meeting of available time and good skating weather. Until then, I think we will have to confine ourselves to more indoor sports.

In search of a large city to decimate...


  1. Tina you have quite a talent for taking an ordinary situation and putting a humorous twist on it.I always enjoy reading about your adventures in N.D. / MT.

  2. Thank you! I try to make life interesting, even though my family occasionally questions my sanity.... :)

  3. What lovely pictures you have this time! :D