Happy new year!
We have just returned from a week in Vermont. After a seven hour drive home yesterday, the Littleboys returned (grumpily) to school, and The Doctor and I returned (grumpily) to work. And so on to January, a month in which we have both decided to forego wine for three days a week. What is more, since we left early on Boxing Day morning, our house still looks like it did on Christmas Day, with toys old and new strewn everywhere, in between the dried up spines of the Christmas Tree. Happy days.
Vermont was as lovely as ever, but ski-ing this year provided us with some challenges. For one, the snow (not good anywhere in the US at the moment) has been inconsistent, so only 30% of the resort had opened up. When it did snow, the ski-ing was great, but then it would warm up again within 24 hours, leaving the slopes an interesting mixture of slush and ice. There was also a thick cloud sitting on the mountain most days, meaning that the beautiful views of the Green Mountains we enjoyed last year were mostly obscured.
Littleboy 1, at 6, has now also passed the age where all day ski camp is included in the package; we could have paid for him to do it every day, but it's expensive, and after the first two days, when they managed to put him in the wrong class for his ability, we decided he'd stick with the two hour lesson instead. This meant someone had to be back at base camp to pick him up at 12 every day, and because some of the runs were shut, this involved taking a shuttle bus from one part of the resort to the other. (On New Year's Day, sharing this bus with a load of hungover snowboarders was NOT fun).
The net result was that The Doctor and I spent parts of several days skiing by ourselves, and sharing long chairlift rides with strangers. After the first day of doing this, The Doctor compared it to 'speed dating' - you have to pour out your entire life story to someone within a 15 minute window, and then never see them again as you ski off in different directions. Luckily my 'rides' were fairly interesting; a good thing too, since on one journey the chairlift broke down for a good 15 minutes.
Still, we adapted to the new routine, taking Littleboy 1 ski-ing with us in the afternoons as he improved (by the ending of the week he was beating me down the hill, and taking flying leaps over bumps whenever he got the chance.) I still got to have my Amaretto coffees in the Black Bear Tavern, and the warmer temperatures meant at least your hands and feet weren't blocks of ice by the end of the day. Meanwhile, Littleboy 2 progressed steadily at ski camp. After spending just one afternoon with us, when he decided to throw a major, glove-related tantrum midway up the mountain, we decided it was best to keep him there. (We asked him if he would have behaved that way at camp. "No," he answered, wide-eyed. Yup. He is as good as gold with teachers and other people, saving the meltdowns for us).
Anyway after a nice but fairly low-key Christmas Day (Highlights: the boys loved their new toys and were really thrilled by Christmas; Lowlights: I was ill and on antibiotics, and the 'ham' we thought we had bought turned out to be a shoulder of pork due to some communication problem with the butcher) it was good to get away from it all and have nothing more to think about than whether to do another ski run, or go in and warm up with another hot chocolate. We even got to see the New Year in at a rustic Vermont inn, with the boys safely having separate fun on a 'kids' night out' which involved bouncy castles and pizza. Here's to a healthy, happy and productive 2012 for all. Now, pass me the sparkling water....