Monday, February 04, 2013

Pants. Seat of

So the tumour is 4.4 millimetres which is genuinely micro in terms of what is allowed to live behind your eyes at the base of your brain. 

Blood tests are imminent, as are some acupuncture sessions to persuade Mr Migraine to bother someone with a 'macro' tumour who is not a nice person, or Tony Abbott; whatever's easiest.  Nothing unfamiliar for me to worry about, but I won't be upset at not having to wake up with a faceful of Exedrin and go to bed with a codeine nightcap.

On to nicer things.

As regular readers would have guessed, we Locketts are not known for wild and crazy purchases.  Darling DeLonghi coffee machine was Love Chunks' essential buy, as was my treadmill (used for hanging damp bedsheets on when my Achilles is playing up, but gratefully used again today after the flu symptoms have largely gone); and Sapphire seems pleased enough with her H&M threads that are, thankfully, viewed as acceptably cool by even the rich kids at her school. No, she's not one of them.

So, when LC suggested we pop into the city to get him a skiing helmet and then a coffee, I was only mildly interested in going.  Enjoying his company was the only reason that got me onto the tram, as Manor in January Sale mode is not a fun activity.  Rich Genevan women are just as aggressive when fighting over cheap knitwear as pensioners in Harris Scarfes.

But then, we saw them.  Vertical lines of gleaming new skis, column after column after column.  Prices were reduced by fifty percent and nearby the helmets lurked, the perfect size for LC's rather compact-sized noggin. In a split second, he shoved one on my small-sized skull as well. It fit like a glove, even if I did resemble a black billard ball with green boogers for eyes.  Damon came over and pointed upwards to a sign dangling from the ceiling. "Take another twenty per cent off everything."

We were hooked.

An hour later, we farewelled Damon, our new best friend, and sidled rather awkwardly out of the sports section and up the escalators to the tram stop, laden with two sets of skis, poles, boots, helmets, waterproof pants (LC), goggles (moi), carrier bags and gloves.

"I'm frightened now," I whispered to him on the tram. "This means that I'm committed, doesn't it?"

He answered only with a big, smug grin.

And so, Sunday saw us get up at the crack of seven AM to meet up with four other crazies in Crozet to ski.  My fumbling fingers nervously tried to zip up my warm boots, idly noticing the appropriateness of the brand......




















...... and hoping that the rest of my gear would somehow camouflage me so that when I invariably fell people would only see a foolish beginner and not some clueless knob in brand new clobber.

Having endured several weeks of migraine, flu, uncertainty, unfair disagreements and friends suffering all manner of awful accidents and undeserved misfortunes, I wasn't feeling particularly brave when Steve pointed down the very steep, icy hill and said, "Yes, it's a shocker of a way to start, but if you can survive this, you can survive anything."

Off he whooshed, grace and style packed into a six-foot-four fifty-something frame.  Twenty year old Chrissie bravely jumped off next, youth and confidence instantly remembering the first and only skiing she'd done in year eight; and Pommy bloke Tim and LC stood next to me.  "Just follow us and take your time. We'll wait for you."

And wait they did. All four of them. They must have desperately wanted to go for red runs over my sedate green and blues but not once were there any obvious signs of boredom or impatience or eye rolling.  My skills were the bottom of the barrel to their shiny apples floating on top but they generously peppered me with praise, provided some useful (and non patronising) tips and truckloads of encouragement.

It wasn't the horizontal snow storm, bracing winds or lingering cold that caused my eyes to fill with tears; it was the realisation that I was gliding down what was a summer road now all powdery white, edged with nothing but Christmas card pine trees and silence.  Tim saw me get out the tissue. "This is what we all moved here for," he said, Russian hat-flaps flying like beagle ears in a BMW as he slid past.

By lunch time and eight runs down the hill with Lake Leman glinting in the distance, I was triumphant: not one fall.  Even light-on-his-feet Love Chunks had almost gone for a gutzer but miraculously managed to save himself by doing a rather good version of the splits in his polyester pants. He swiftly recovered to zoom ever onwards. 

Sadly, as in all good stories, my reckoning was yet to come. With a belly full of hot chips, raspberry tart and pineapple juice, my nemesis was waiting: the six-person, open air chairlift.  This souless set of mechanical seats was encrusted in ice physically and spiritually, accepting no fumbles or clueless newbies. The other four were standing on the right mark, butts poised, ski poles in hand. I can't honestly recall where my feet, arse or poles were positioned but obviously not correctly.  

WHAM! the foot rests of the chairlift smacked me flat to the ground and somehow my brain had enough functioning cells to force me to stay lying there as the cruel metal contraption ran lightly over me and continued on its merry way, my four faithful companions now swinging over the peaks and waving frantically at me. "No worries," I croaked, "I'm fine."

Queueing onlookers may not have cared so much for my well-being as my clumsy collapse caused the entire lift to shut down when an attendant hoisted me to my feet, found my left ski several metres away and shoved me onto another one with a taciturn Italian snowboarder. 

"You eez new to these sport, eh?"  Er, yes, as it happens.  He pointedly started the other way for the remainder of our journey to the mountain top.

Reckonings continued as I discovered just what veterans of the slopes mean when the body says 'no more, even if you think you've still got the energy for it and the light is still good.'  By 3pm, my legs and arms refused to obey even the simplest of commands and my considerably-large rear end ballooned even larger as  my pants filled out with fresh scrapings of snow after each skidding cartwheel.  LC rescued me many times, my limbs now actively declining to function - let alone assist him - to lift my reluctant weight out of the side of the mountain and back up onto two thin planks of forgiving plywood.

With a slightly dented right-hand pole and ice shavings in my eyebrows, it was time to call it a day.

"I was so proud of you up there," Love Chunks said, swishing over in his waterproofs to try and fit his arm around my goose-down-packed parka-clad waist. 

"Me too," I replied, feeling the beginnings of a bruise on my knee and elbow.  "When are we doing this again?"



20 comments:

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Kath:
Bravo! We are absolutely full of admiration for all your efforts.Most certainly we would have been happy to simply stay at the chalet, looking the part [or so we would hope]but not actually venturing out on the slopes.

And yet, you triumphed as we suspect you do over all manner of difficulties. Such spirit, but we can well imagine the enormous sense of satisfaction that this all gave you.Surely, after this you can and will survive anything!!!

River said...

I'm so proud of you! Skiing is not something I'm ever going to try. Just not game enough. (Funny to think if I'd grown up in my birth country I probably would have skied and skated from a very early age and thought nothing of it).
Anyway, Gold Stars for you, Kath!
4.4mm? How can something so tiny have such a huge effect? it just seems so improbable.

Kath Lockett said...

Thank you dear Jane and Lance! We're going to a different spot for a weekend soon and I do plan on doing some more 'hanging around the chalet' in the afternoons when my legs give up. Wine and spa essential too of course.

Aw shucks River. As for 4.4mm, seeing as it disappeared entirely a decade ago, it can potentially have the power to increase my prolactin level (base of the pituitary gland) and muck up a few other things. Tiny but annoying - the brain equivalent of the mosquito in the bedroom at 2am that disappears when you give up and turn the light on.

Pandora Behr said...

Wonderwoman! You ski! Wow - so envious - I'd be far too scared to do that.

Here's hoping they can shrink the bugger again. Your positive attitude will get you places xx

Kath Lockett said...

Pandora, you've walked on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and run several half marathons: skiing would be a doddle for you!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

I've never ever skied. But there is a chance I might - hopefully before it's too late.

I have to say I've had a go on a snowboard - and almost took out a line of skiers who were learning. They laughed at me hurtling down the dry ski slope like a sack of potatoes on a plank - until they realised I was heading straight for them and couldn't stop.

4.4 mm seems so bloody tiny - as River says. Let's hope your mozzie can be swatted.

:0)

Cheers

PM

Andrew said...

You could have just stayed home and stabbed at your arm for a few hours. However, I just know you will go back for more. Well done. Oh yes, my mental image of you and LC on a tram with all that equipment was interesting.

Alexia said...

Wow good for you! It sounds wonderful, bruises notwithstanding.

Hope the annoying mosquito is suitably dealt to and that M'sieu Migraine can be disposed of entirely... I am in awe of your strength and sheer gutsiness :)

franzy said...

On nicer things: HOW GOOD IS SKI FOOD?!? Obviouly, your body is crying, screaming out for carbs and sugar and protein, but the best I've ever had have been eaten from greasy paper bags on mountains covered in schnee.

My eyes get a bit watery wondering how I'm going to show my brood the snow...

The Elephant's Child said...

How WONDERFUL. The one and only time I went skiing I was considerably faster on my face than on my feet.
Even more WONDERFUL is to hear of your micro tumour. Yay. And I would love Mr Rabbit to have your migraine.

Fenstar de Luxe said...

ooh you are awesome, even I wouldn't dare ski! I have the co-ordination of a giraffe on ice, it would at least be spectacular(ly bad)

4.4mm huh, annoying enough but still small. Hopefully it can be dealt with quickly and relatively painlessly x

Kath Lockett said...

PlasMan, the mozzie WILL be swatted. Blood tests done this morning and my first acupuncture ever in my life commences tomorrow....

Andrew, we looked like Lano and Woodley on the tram but less coordinated!

Thank you Alexia. Don't be in awe - it'll just make me feel overwhelmed and a fart will squeeze out...

Franzy, those HOT CHIPS tasted like they'd been deep fried by god himself, and the tart..... oh my....

E-Child, I'm very glad that none of my four buddies had access to video during my last 'run' down the hill. I personified a white Catherine wheel.

Fernstar, I think that everyone is bad when they start, especially if they're grown up. Little kids just whizz right by being much lower to the ground and less fearful. I'm the one swearing and sweating, gripping the ski poles until my hands hurt!

nuttynoton said...

Good news about the Mozzie? Hope that can be shrunk further. As for skiiing, well done,brilliantly described. Unfortunately I have the balance and co-ordination of an elephant. I once tried water skiiing and was told they would get me skiing as they have everyone.... yes they gave up when my left knee did. Still table tennis is more my sport

JahTeh said...

Kath, dear, it's only a teeny tiny tumour, you don't have to start on your bucket list for years.

But if you must ski then have visions of someone of my size right behind you and out of control, this will keep you upright and skiing beautifully.

Kath Lockett said...

Table tennis, Nutty? Even *that* can turn into a pretty intense sport though (esp if you play with very competitive brothers).

JahTeh, the image I had in my mind as I very cautiously pootled down the slopes was 'I do NOT want to be the poor schmuck wrapped up in a sleeping bag who gets dragged down behind the First Aid ski-do past everyone who *can* ski and stay upright...!

Anji said...

I wouldn't dare try to ski - anyway my knees are a good excuse nowadays. Glad you enjoyed yourself - I bet you ached the next day.

I hope that the acupuncture does the trick

Kath Lockett said...

Anji, I'm *still* aching!

Kirstie Olley said...

I love skiing. Very jealous you have such easy access to skiing and ski equipment - though I don't miss those 'T' bar lifts at all.
Keep it up and keep having fun!

Kath Lockett said...

Thanks Kirstie. I'm starting to feel that mastering the lifts is harder than the actual skiing.

diane b said...

Good for you for sticking at it until exhausted.It is daunting the first few times but then you get addicted. Take it easy and have fun. You can't live in Switzerland and not go skiing. (Even though TOH doesn't like skiing.) Can you believe that I married a Swiss who doesn't like skiing. I did most of my youthful skiing in Australia.