Monday, January 11, 2010

Wintertime Shangri-La

At this time of year, I sometimes need a reminder of why I work in a business that gets slammed so hard during the peak winter months. Ay yi yi. Last week was pretty intense - the fact that it is snowing in Florida has huge repercussions on us here. Couple that with a visit from a consultant to belatedly try to finish up a 2009 project, and the fact that I was returning from 2 weeks of vacation time and things had piled up while I was away - well, it was a loooong week.Luckily... it was also a short week, in that we had Friday off as part of our alternative work arrangement. And I was thrilled when we got our first good snow of the season on Thursday (since it does not snow here as much as you might expect). Cold weather + no snow = no fun. Cold weather + snow = fun.The kids got sleds for Christmas, and this was the first chance we've had this winter to put them to the test and pit them against a few older models. When all was said and done, it felt like we spent our entire weekend outside. It took a bit of time to get the snow packed down to a good fast track on Friday. But by Saturday, the kids were really into it. We didn't come in until it was dark and the smell of the neighbours barbecuing steaks was making us all ravenous. Then we went out again first thing Sunday morning, even though it was ten below and the wind had picked up. When you're running up and down a hill, that somehow doesn't seem to matter.Even Mallory (who refuses to wear the brown mitts that match her lovely snowsuit) loved it, which was a nice surprise, because last winter she most decidedly did not like the snow. I think she is coming around. While the snow was still fresh she took it upon herself to 'do her work', that is, clear the snow off off the rocks and fence in the yard. But she also turned into quite a good little sledder. I think there is hope for her yet. When we bought this property, I didn't give much thought to the fact that the back of the lot slopes down to the creek. But it is the perfect sledding hill for us, and when you live in a city that is almost completely flat, one where kids get carpooled into the two city parks that have hills in order to go sledding... it's a big deal to have it in your own back yard. (Plus, I only recently found out that that hill at Water Street Park? It's an old glass dump. Do I really want to be flying down that hill on my backside??)There is a flagstone path that leads from the house to the back of the property, and near the back it widens into a patio area with boulders for seating. The idea is to install a fire pit back there. This was meant to be a summer thing, so we can enjoy campfires in our own backyards. It didn't even occur to me that a campfire can be a good thing in the winter, too. I can picture us doing this again next winter except that by then we should be able to roast hot dogs and marshmallows while we are out there. Awesome!After all... this sledding obsession of mine, while it might seem sudden... it's no flash in the pan. I'm a seasoned pro. Here's the highlight reel.