Finally settled in to Rumson NJ

Is Spring Here Yet?

Don’t get me wrong, I like snow. But these freezing temperatures are a bit ridiculous. This was my commute into work the other day:

It got so bad the ferry company had to employ tug boats to help pull us through the ice. They also greatly reduced the number of boats going to and from NYC, and even stopped going to one of the NYC stops all together.

In the middle of all of this cold weather, the water heater I love to hate decided to stop working. Twice. Nothing like taking a cold sponge bath before racing off to catch the 6 AM boat so you can be at an important meeting with the client that morning… We tried all the fix-it-yourself remedies, but it turned out to be a part that went bad. Said part has since been fixed, and I’m hopeful the stupid gas water heater with an electric start will keep working for a few more years.

Because the joys of being a winter commuter don’t stop — I have learned what it is like to wake up extra early so you can shovel all the snow out of your driveway for an hour (and take a second shower) so that your car can then make it to the ferry that needs to be tugged through the ice to get to work. To be honest, it was actually sort of serene when I first started to shovel. Just me, the snow, and the sound of the shovel scrapping the gravel…but it quickly grew old.

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We had been planning for a while to take a long weekend in February (when the kids had a short break from school) to go up to the Poconos to a tiny little Ski Resort called Big Bear, and teach them how to ski. This particular resort was perfect for families with little ones learning to ski because the bunny hill had one of those “magic carpets” (moving conveyor belts) that brought you back up to the top of the mountain, thus avoiding the complicated chair lift. The timing of these things never works out and of course I was super busy at work, but I knew it was something the kids had been looking forward to and I couldn’t let them down. Evan was so excited that he actually woke up at 5 AM the Saturday morning we left.

I was really worried about Evan. He has the type of personality where he gets really frustrated if he can’t do something perfectly right away. We tried to tell him that skiing was hard work, that he was going to fall a lot, but that it was just like riding a bike, and he would get better if he just kept trying. He said he understood. He didn’t. He had a complete meltdown only 15 minutes into skiing (right after the photo below was taken). I was convinced the weekend was going to be a disaster. He eventually calmed down and agreed to let JP show him a few more things before his lesson with an official ski instructor started.

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I don’t ski, I only know how to snowboard (barely), so JP had the unenviable position of trying to teach two little ones how to ski for the first time, at the same time. I stood there, at the top of the bunny hill, for moral support as JP explained all the “pizza” and “hotdog” stuff. At one point, he went to help Erin with her skis. This is when Evan decided to practice his “hot dog”. He pointed his skis downhill, got into a crouched stance (not unlike the stance Olympic skiers take before they jump off a tall ramp), and headed straight down. I was screaming “PIZZA” at him the entire time, and JP (who hadn’t been on skis in over 20 years) tried his best to catch up with him. Evan ended up crashing at the bottom of the bunny hill near the place where the magic carpet started. Fortunately, he was ok and he was not deterred from having another go at trying to ski. In fact, he said it was FUN. I don’t think JP agreed…

Evan went off on his lesson a short while later. I was completely amazed at how quickly he took to skiing. The instructor actually came back and told us that “Evan is a natural athlete.” Um, WHAT??? I never in a million years would have expected those words to be said about Evan. Erin also went off for a lesson. She was a trooper, but she had a very hard time learning how to stop, so she did not progress as much. I think her favorite part of the day was the lollypop she got from her instructor at the end.

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I also had a ski lesson. I learned that I do not enjoy skiing. My cerebral palsy greatly affects my ability to put my right ankle/leg in the right position to negotiate turns, and I really struggled. My fear of going even the slightest bit fast didn’t help much. I’ll stick to snow shoeing, thank you very much.

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With the frigid temperatures and ice all over the ground, the kids have been spending a good bit of time in doors. Fortunately, JP has plenty of musical “toys” to keep them entertained while we all wait for spring:

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The only other thing that has happened so far this winter is that I finally broke down and got hearing aids. I have managed to muddle through life thus far coping with my hearing loss by reading lips and guessing. It works about 85% of the time. But when I went back to work, I found that I was really struggling to hear what people were saying. I’m not sure if my coworkers are all “soft-talkers” or if it has to do with the particular acoustics of the building, but I knew it was a problem. My type of conductive hearing loss is progressive. Each time my eustachian tubes fail to drain the fluid from my middle ear, the little hearing bones start to erode away. I have already lost one bone. The long term recourse for this is major reconstructive surgery of my middle ear. But for now, I can get by with hearing aids.

These suckers are expensive. Why the insurance community at large does not view hearing loss as a medical condition is beyond me… Anyway, when I came home with a several thousand dollar quote for hearing aids, JP quickly discovered a lower cost option made possible via Costco. It still hurt, but not as much as it would have. And on the bright side, maybe I’ll actually hear everything you say to me the next time I see you :)

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