Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

And Happy New Year!

It has been a year of tragedy, tears, laughter and joy. It has been a year filled with challenges and blessings.

I am very grateful to be blessed the way I am. I have a wonderful family and wonderful friends.

I am constantly humbled and in awe of what I have been entrusted with.

I am also humbled and in awe of the Rock of my salvation.

I hope blessings rain down on you and your family for the rest of this year and throughout 2009!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's A Wrap!

Ya know, through it all, memories were created and isn't that what you're trying to do on a vacation? Without question there will be memories from this ski trip. As a matter of fact, it might be one of the most memorable.

Friday was a big day filled with shopping, skiing and plenty of food. Will seems to be a natural with skis on...he made three runs on one of the junior slopes and didn't fall once! I wish I could say the same thing.

Lilly Kate finished strong as well. After being a little frustrated early she became very determined, and when LK's determined, look out! She really got the hang of the slow-plow and the turn and stop. She was thrilled and therefore, so was I!

Ashley made three runs as well, fell only once. I made 8 runs on the day, three in the morning and 5 Friday afternoon/evening. Yes, night skiing. I did my first blue, the Spring Dipper. It was all fun-and-games early as I stayed on my skis. But at the end it was long and steep to the bottom. I bit it twice! Very humbling, but fun. And pretty exhausting.

After the 8th and final run of the day it was off to the shower and then pizza.

In the end, despite the multiple trips to resort medical clinic, the oxygen level below that of the Marlboro Man, Will's multiple deposits in the white-bowl-of-truth and an I.V. to get him back up to par, it really was a fun trip. We spent time together (a lot of it in the car! - we drove all the way back Saturday), we laughed together and in the end created a lot of memories.

Now, call Hallmark!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Final Day Redemption

This vacation was down big mid-way through the 4th quarter with little chance to come back. But after a quick touchdown we tried the onside kick....AND RECOVERED!

Last night Will was still a little out of it so he and I stayed home. But the rest of the clan went out to eat with the entire group. That was a big first down...and they go out of bounds to stop the clock without using one of our two times-out!

This morning, Alex went back to the doc to check his blood oxygen level. And as the shirt suggests, yes, he does have oxygen again.

He measured 96...out of the woods and a far cry from the 67 he measured Wednesday morning. The doc even said he could ski today if he wanted....he didn't want. He said he didn't want to feel bad again. I can't say that I blame him.

Will is much better today as well...

...looks like he just saw a ghost...but it appears to have been a funny one....

...a nice 18-yard reception down the middle of the field. A first down and we burn a time-out.

I made three runs down Schoolmarm...fell only once. The third time down I deviated from the normal route and went down Dercum's Dash which is a little higher up the mountain and much steeper than the normal end to the 'Marm'. I tried the Dash a couple of days earlier and fell three times. This morning I didn't fall at all...

...another first down and we're in the redzone....there's under a minute to play and we have one time out...

...this afternoon I'm going to try my first blue...tick, tick, tick...the clock is winding down. Will this vacation come out a winner? Only time will tell...tick, tick, tick!

I have high hopes!

Wally World

At least Keystone was OPEN...

...and there was snow on the ground.

But there are a lot of similarities between this vaca and every vaca Chevy Chase has ever been on.

It's probably not good when you have a standing reservation at the resort medical clinic and they welcome you as if you were Norm at Cheers.

What was thought to be a cold which developed into possible bronchitis was actually High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) for Alex. As it turns out his blood oxygen level was lower than that of a smoker with emphysema. I told him to lay off the Camel non-filters. He's going back to the clinic for the third day in a row to get checked again. He's been on oxygen since Wednesday. He hasn't skied since Tuesday.

Will threw up 7 times Wednesday night into Thursday morning. He went to the same clinic and ultimately was put on an I.V. because he was dehydrated and spent the better part of 4 hours there trying to get him back up to speed. He had fever the rest of the day and stayed in bed.

Poor Will thought his mother and I were laughing at him while he was paying homage to the porcelain doubt it was poor timing, but at that point it was uncontrollable.

Hey, at least I didn't brandish a gun running wildly throughout the resort or we didn't drag a dog on it's leash from the back of our van for hours along the highway and I certainly haven't unleashed a profanity laced tirade in front of our entire group of family and friends.

Now if the distant relatives pull up in a Winnebago....I'm out!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ski School

My last post was headlined "-4!!!", which pales in comparison to what the temperature was as we headed for ski school early Monday morning. Yeah, I know it's kind of blurry, but it does read -18! -18 degrees. I don't think I've ever been in -18 degree temperatures before...if I have, I don't remember it.

It sounds crazy but once we got outside it didn't really feel that cold. Our instructor had us moving alot so maybe that was it.

The kids had their own instructor. Alex, Ashley and I were in a group of 7. We learned the basics and took baby steps. The biggest obstacle was learning how to get on and off the ski lift! We all mastered it on the second go around. Both of our instructors were great, very patient and encouraging...two key ingredients to being a good instructor.

After class was over our instructor, Bert, was kind enough to take us on our first green run. It was a two-mile run and I gotta tell ya, a little intimidating. Hey, I don't mind saying it. We made it down and felt good.
Day one in the books.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


We've arrived in Keystone for our much anticipated ski adventure! The picture to the right is out the back door of our condo....a true winter wonderland.

It's beautiful...and also frigid. Right now as I sit here and type it's -4 degrees. I will say there's no wind here right now, so this -4 degrees is much warmer than what we drove through to get here.

We drove it in two days. First stop was Hays, Kansas, otherwise known as Siberia! As we drove into town I think the wind was blowing 127 miles-an-hour from the south. It was 64-degrees. The very next morning it was blowing 135 miles-an-hour from the north. It was 19-degrees. We drove for about 5-hours through the most desolate country I've been in in quite some time. The temperature actually dropped to -1. Traveling west towards Denver I felt like I had to steer the car on a perpetual right turn just to keep going straight....that's how hard the wind was blowing. Tumbleweed after tumbleweed rolled in front of us across the road. At one point I think I saw a small cow do the same. It got kind of hard to see as the snow fall accumulated and, of course, blew sideways. I thought the car was going go the way of the tumbleweed!

We actually made it to Denver and the clouds began to break revealing these tall sky scrapers and even taller mountains. Majestic! Traffic was slow but sure as we made it to Keystone. Well worth the trip....

...a trip made a lot more peaceful by the ole DVD players hanging on the seats! Thank you Fry family for letting us borrow them. How do you repay peace and serenity?

The condo is very nice and cozy, just ask Lilly Kate. The weather outside is frightful, but the fire is, indeed, so delightful. As is the wifi giving us the opportunity to check the all important fantasy football scores.
Tomorrow it's off to ski school. Is it possible to become olympic caliber in 4-hours? My other question is, where's the nearest hospital?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Fun CrossTraining

First of all it was just time to get that cheating triathlete off the top of my blog....I was tired of looking at him and frankly, while still no less disturbing, the story has grown ice cold, not to mention as stale as a bag of Doritos that your 16-year-old left open and undiscovered in the game room on the "other" side of the couch!

Now to the topic at hand. For the first time in my life I'm going snow skiing. The same is true for everyone in my family with the exception of my wife. She's been several times.

We're all excited! And ready to go. The Town & Country Touring begins its tour a week from this Saturday as we roll towards Colorado. Keystone to be exact. Everything's ready to go. We have a place to stay (50ft. from the ski lift!), we have ski clothes (courtesy of family and friends. Thank you very much family and friends!), we have our lift tickets and we have our health insurance!

We've been planning this trip for quite some time and my wife has done a fantastic job of researching, investigating, negotiating, confirming, securing, internet surfing, reassuring, purchasing and exhausting every possible thought and/or need we might, I'm exhausted just at the thought of all she's already accomplished! Well done!

On to Keystone. We've been there before. In the summertime. It looks a lot different. I did some surfing of my own and found some cool pictures online of the Keystone area. It looks very snowy. We're definitely going to have to try the ice skating on the outside skating rink. No doubt a few might want to go on the horse-drawn sleigh ride. And of course.....skiing.

As I mentioned, I've never been skiing before. Everyone assures me that I'm going to love it. I anticipate loving it. Everyone says I'll get the hang of it in no-time. I anticipate getting the hang of it in no-time. Just to make sure, the entire family's getting educated with a half-day ski school. Let's get some guidance and practice on the user friendly gentle slopes.

Now to some random thoughts. I looked on-line at the ski report for the Keystone area and I see they have a 25 inch base with 4 inches of snow within the past 24 hours and 7 inches in the past 48. Wow, that's incredible! I have no idea what that means! Is that good? Is that mediocre? Should I be saying, "Wow, that's horrible!"? I don't know much about this kind of stuff, but I'm pretty sure I know two things at this point: 1) there's going to be snow on the ground that my family can ski over & 2) as long as they have these things in this bottom picture I'm pretty sure there's going to be snow on the ground that my family can ski over. That closes the book on random thought number one.

Random thought number two. As I mentioned above, thanks to various family and friends, we'll be fitted with some fantastic ski clothing. I used to play a lot of golf. I would play a couple times a week and play in a few tournaments a year. I remember scoping out the competition on the driving range before the tournaments would begin. Most of the guys would have the latest equipment, the nicest bags, clubs and they would always dress the part of a low-handicap golfer....and then tee-time would come ultimately confirming the old addage that most golfers look better than they play. The same holds true for triathletes as well. The same will hold true for me on the slopes in less than a week-and-a-half...boy am I going to look good! Skiing?, not so much!