Monday, January 26, 2009

Time, Patience & Trust

Just as I began to scan newspapers and websites, learning $2,000 would get me adequate but well-used transportation with 200,000 miles under its wheels, a surprise message offered me a car with almost half the miles for half the price.

It seems a recent graduate moving to Chicago needed quick cash for a deposit on his apartment more than he needed a car, so he was willing to pass it on for half its value. Originally his uncle’s, he received it during his high school years. He added a racing stripe, mag wheels, a thumping stereo (it’s all about the tunes!) and it got him through college. With a mechanic in common between us to recommend it, I paid cash at first sight without even a test drive.

Certainly not my style of vehicle, but between insurance and payments, it knocks $500 off my monthly budget and ignites the eyes of my son to imagine it might be his in a year once my life is more stable. Although the kid alluded to the peculiar noise it roared at a certain RPM, I was mortified to actually hear it as I drove away, considering myself once again duped into a foolish decision by my desperate circumstances.

“The Redster” sat a week in my drive as I scrounged for title and taxes, making its maiden voyage today, a trip to work at the Mountain. Completing the roundtrip of 90 miles on highway and twice over a pass, I learned to shift creatively to minimize the embarrassing rumble. The economic argument constantly reminded me that this served such a practical purpose. I got comfortable in the seat and reminded myself once again that I was responsible for making the choices and over-looking the signals that had lead me down this road, it is up to me to drive myself out.

On the slopes yesterday, our group of eight was rambunctious and needy. Sub-zero wind chill gave a good reason for tears that froze on their faces. An exploration of a new trail terrified a few into regressions of snow-plow wedges between our legs. In the lodge after hot chocolate, sorting through the pile of clothing to reunite each with their proper helmet, goggles, scarves, jackets and mittens, I really questioned plaintively (under my facemask) why I ever wanted this job.

Today started even colder, so half stayed home, but the sun shone warmly and the snow was powder soft. The most intransigent in our group was miraculously confident and excited, agreeing to take the lift that yesterday had frightened her to tears. Instead of two meager, painful and exhaustive runs, we managed six, the kids loosened their "pizza's" (wedge turns) to make “French fries” (legs parallel) and “milkshakes” (shaking their bodies to relax) non-stop in a wiggly line, asking to go up once more again and again.

My son has become a master of the teaching clown, leading the pack or picking up the stragglers, entertaining them with a game of “I spy” at trailside, or wiping faces after hot chocolate. The kids each want to ride up with him just as much as they beg to go with me, and wonder how he can actually be my son when he is 3 inches taller. At one point, as they all raced to the bottom, he flew past, smacking my glove in exhilaration, shouting with glee as loud as theirs, “Best day EVER! I get paid to ski backwards!”

The gloomy reports shadow the news, hurdles of economic challenges darken my daily efforts. The job I wanted goes to someone else and the horizon shows little promise and lots of doubts. Spirits are difficult to keep raised with my head down walking forward against the bitter cold. But these precious moments when life goes well, the car runs and the skis turn, these afternoons of careless satisfaction that lessons are well learned and hard work is applauded, make it just a little easier to awake to face the next day.
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Laurie said...

Kip, I am incredibly inspired by your perseverance and integrity. I know your days are difficult but the lessons you are learning are irreplaceable. When you are back on solid foundation, you will have such an appreciation for what that is and the effort it took to get you there. What a great role model you are for your son Kip. And I think your car rocks! Red is my favorite color! Keep your chin up so others can see your warm and friendly smile.

Debra said...

"these precious moments when life goes well" may not come as often as you'd like them to, but at least they come, and when they do you know how to appreciate them.

Delena said...

I stumbled upon your blog through my daughter-in-laws blog where you commented. You write incredibly well. Every word paints a picture and I just want to say keep positive and good things will come your way. Life is always an adventure isn't it?

Zannah said...

Dad this is SO great! How much fun! I love the car, it's hysterical! And those kids are going to remember how to ski forver, I sure never forgot your lessons. Tell Sawyer I am proud of him. You guys are making a great team!!! :)

Erin said...

Hi Kip,
This is amazing. Your writing is wonderful. We wanted to let you know that you and Sawyer have amazed us! As you know Sabrina started out terrified....and now thanks to you is having the time of her life! She now wakes up every morning asking "I am skiing with Kip in Vermont today?" Thank you for all your tremendous effort. My husband and I applaud you and how you handle the kids. We will definitely be loooking for THE red car in the parking lot too :) THANK YOU!!!!!!