Tuesday, January 13, 2009


We bought skates. Yesterday. My husband and myself. Both of us. We’re not spring chickens, either one of us. My husband is a bit older than me, he’s 61. I’m 43, and I weigh 750 pounds. Ok, I feel like I weigh 750 pounds. Most of it is between my boobs and my knees, and sinking fast.

My husband was born in Scotland and I have lived there for the last 10 years until recently. One of the many reasons I love Scotland so much is because the weather doesn’t really go from one extreme to another, like Canada. Where we lived, it was pretty much even all year round, hovering pretty close to a few degrees above or below zero in the winter. We never had need to purchase a shovel. In the summer, we’re talking an average of about 18 degrees. To illustrate, I have the whitest legs in the world. They look like appendages you would find on a corpse. They haven’t seen the sun in the last 10 years. See? Not too hot, not too cold.

So then we re-locate to Canada. In the winter. My goodness I forgot how limiting snow can be. It’s pretty tricky to drive in, isn’t it? And it’s generally very cold, and wet. I must admit, we spent the first few snowfalls cocooned in our room in a rather unpleasant state of shock. We trembled at the sight of the first flake. We were ruled by the tiny little bastards, those harmless looking harbingers of doom.

Slowly, we are starting to metamorphose. We’re getting through our “firsts”. The first time being snowed in. The first time driving on slippery roads. The first road trip in the winter. The first time getting stuck in the snow (in a graveyard no less, that was fun). We are now the proud owners of two shovels. As far as road travel is concerned, we’re pretty much set. Due mostly to the kindness of friends and even strangers, and a ton of money (it’s not cheap to prepare your car for winter!), our car is pretty much equipped with winter get-stuck-in-the-snow-could-be-stranded-for-hours supplies.

Once we reassured ourselves that we were unlikely to die of hypothermia in our car when it careened wildly off the road and into the snow in a thousand differently imagined scenarios, we started to branch out a bit. To look at snow as, while not necessarily our friend, maybe a little less than our enemy. To be frank, we were looking at declaring a truce. It started the day we went sledding.

It began innocently enough. We were visiting with friends who had three children of sledding age. They wanted us to come out and watch as they had their fun. Grimacing at the thought of spending any length of time in the company of snow, we traipsed outside and watched the kids, camera in hand. They were having so much fun. Echoes of winters past started running through the halls of my brain. Days when winter was embraced and not avoided at all costs. Hours spent going down the hill, feeling like you could fly, oblivious to your soaked skidoo suit and your runny nose. The anticipation every time you climbed back up that hill. Knowing the next run was gonna be the fastest yet!

Suddenly I was pushing a child aside, grabbing her sled and going down hill on all fours. Now in my mind, I was a sleek, speedy, sledding fool. The subsequent pictures have proven otherwise. 750 pounds on all fours crash-landing into a tree do not a pretty picture make. But boy, did I have fun. Don’t get me started about my husband. We sledded till we dropped. We outlasted the kids. We laughed until we cried. I can’t remember the last time we had so much fun.

Suddenly, winter wasn’t such an evil beast. We weren’t going to invite it over for dinner and drinks, but we could spend time in its company without running for cover. We had made our truce.

Yesterday, a friend related excitedly that the pond next to our house was close to freezing over and would soon be ready for skating on. We jumped up, drove to the nearest sports store, in a snowstorm no less, and bought ourselves a pair of skates each.

Could this be heading for an all-out love affair?

Perish the thought.

I’ll let you know how the skating goes before we talk commitment.


  1. Yo sis, you should also carry a bag or two of rock salt, like I did when I moved to my new apartment during a blizzard! Still got stuck, but I had both shovel and rock salt.

  2. Hey Sista, one of those kind strangers I mentioned gave me a bag of kitty litter. 'Supposed to be as good :)

  3. thats quite a lovely experience i would say. One starts to love winter once he realizes all the pleasures of it. One is either a winter person or is not. Seems like you are slowly becoming one :)

  4. Lena

    That sledding experience really changed our outlook. We hadn't had that much pleasure in *anything* in such a long time, it was quite a surprise to find that winter could do that for us. We certainly looked at snow and winter with a new respect and affection after that.