Nightly negotiations and husbandly obligations
December 8, 2005
When my wife wakes me at two in the morning, she usually has only one thing on her mind. Not that I’m complaining – part and parcel of a good relationship is at least attempting to meet your mate’s needs. Until recently it has been only sporadically that she will shake me awake and demand attention. But this winter she’s on a tear and the lack of sleep is killing me.I would estimate that at least seven times in the last two weeks Ellen has elbowed me in the ribs during the wee-hours asking, “Are you awake?” When I tell that “I’m awake now, but was not until you woke me,” the sarcasm is lost on her. Ignoring my consternation, she makes her demands (as if I didn’t already know). I respond, “Not again Ellie, I need to sleep.” Usually her argument is that since I’m already awake I should satisfy my husbandly obligations.”This is the third night in a row you’ve asked me to do this.” I said, “For heaven’s sake, it’s two in the morning.”
Arguing does no good. If I don’t comply she won’t let me get back to sleep. “OK,” I said, “This is the last night we are going through this.” So just to get some rest, I crawl out of a warm bed, walk to the window by our back deck, pull back the curtain, and check how much snow has fallen since we went to sleep.I give my report. “It looks like at least eight inches on the deck; it must be twice that on the peaks.” I then try to fall asleep while my mate, like a crazy woman, talks to herself in regards to where, when, with whom and on what equipment she will ski the next morning. I’ve lived in ski country for more than 30 years; I love to ski as much as anyone I know with the exception of my mate. In all those years of living at around 10,000 feet, I do not remember an early winter as snowy as this one. Normally November and December are months where you’ll ski a few days a week just for the novelty. On the days after the occasional snowstorm the excitement is contagious but then usually a drying period ensues. It is during that time when you might take a few runs in the morning on man-made snow, go to the gym or Nordic center, take a bike ride or get some work done.
This year we went from autumn to winter in one day. The excitement in the community is palpable. That’s all anyone seems to talk about. New snow is like a rebirth, unfortunately for most of us it is a rebirth on old legs.”Do you remember an early winter like this?” I’m asked almost daily.”No,” I respond, “But my memory is not what it used to be.”For many, I’m sure all this snow has been a pain in the neck. But for anyone who loves to ski, this season has been a white-dream. This excitement is a good thing if you are not sleeping with the person who is more excited than almost anyone.While I try to get back to sleep, in a frantic voice, she’ll recite her typical early a.m. monologue: “I’d like to take my fat skis tomorrow but they are a little slow on the cat tracks and if Mona is on her skinny Randonee-racing skis I’ll have to double pole to keep up and then when we get into the deep stuff she’ll be slow and I’ll have to wait at the bottom.
“Sue better get her sorry butt out of bed tomorrow because Mona and I want to be on first chair and I don’t want to stop for coffee – she needs to make it at home before we meet. Will you look out the window one more time?” When I cannot stand it any more I get up and sleep on the cot in my office. Powder skiing is like sex. It is all that more special because you can’t always count on it. And for those of us who love to ski we neglect life necessities and obligations until the snow stops falling. For instance my mate for five weeks has been trying to recycle, do her laundry and take her long underwear to the hazardous waste disposal site. Though these obligations are necessary and important, she reasons that there will be plenty of time for them once it stops snowing. On that happy day, I’ll get to sleep though the night.Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of “Biff America” can be seen on RSN television, heard on KOA radio and read in several mountain publications. He can be reached at email@example.com. Look for Biff’s book, “Steep, Deep and Dyslexic,” at a bookstore near you.