For the third time this winter, my laptop and I are hanging in a ski lodge while Younger One snowboards. Or is it the fourth time? Or the fifth? I dunno. They all kinda blend together.
This particular day, however, is worse than most. The lodge is packed to the rafters with people in brightly colored, puffy ski clothing. I’m sharing a table with a Mom who is knitting, and a group of Japanese skiers. The table is packed to the gills with coffee cups, soda cups, leaky juice boxes, pizza crusts, a school of Goldfish Crackers, hats, gloves, Kleenexes and other flotsam and jetsam of the day. I have to do some subtle rearrangement to squeeze my laptop, water bottle and cup of coffee into the tiny glimmer of table space before me. Massive ski equipment bags and backpacks are at my feet, forcing me to lean forward to type. The table is disgusting. And I can barely get near it.
And it’s loud in the lodge. It’s always loud at this particular lodge, but today is particularly soul-crushing. There are hundreds of people here, all yelling at each other, and the din is extraordinary. The people are yelling at each other because they have to, in order to be heard over the music, which is being pumped out of the intercom system at volumes that would make The Who wince. And it’s not even good music. It’s some sort of cacophonous cocktail of contemporary hits. Lots of thumping and yelling. The only song I have recognized so far is “The Macarena.” That’s how bad it is.
And I’m wearing ear plugs.
I’ve only been here half an hour, and have already taken two ibuprofens. Ear plugs, ibuprofen, water bottle, laptop, cell phone and all the necessary chargers. Clearly, I am no rookie Lodge Dad.
But the worst part of this whole affair is that the wifi doesn’t seem to be working. I was counting on doing some Internet-based work, and now that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. I’m a bit concerned about how the absence an Internet connection is creating such a hole in my existence. I’ll get over it. Nothing an hour or two down the rabbit hole of Buzzfeed.com can’t take care of.
There are lots of Moms and Dads in the lodge today. They’re engaged in all the standard variety arguments, negotiations and cajoling you’d expect. Much of it is food-based. Parents pushing the more nutritious options, and kids pushing back. We’ve all seen the movie.
Knitting Mom has just sprung into action. Her six year-old just came in bawling his head off. Over the noise and through the earplugs, I’m picking up something about an ankle injury. The boy is calming down rapidly. It appears some good, old-fashioned maternal comforting is all he really needed.
The deafening flurry of activity continues, as one group of resting skiers/boarders replaces the other. They bumble around tables and chairs, trying not to spill their freshly purchased, overpriced food. Meanwhile, I, Lodge Dad, take it all in, and wonder if Younger One will ever fully appreciate how I’m putting my sanity—not to mention my Saturday—on the line for his snowboarding pleasure. I suspect someday he will. Assuming, of course, he becomes a Dad himself.