What I Didn’t Know About the Boys’ Bathroom

A ski weekend in Vail is always great for people-watching.

“What’s people-watching?” my teenager had asked me earlier in the day as skiers in elaborate costumes – some drunk by noon and very entertaining – lined up for the gondola to celebrate the final day of the ski season.

Seriously? What’s people-watching?

Later, I returned to our restaurant table from the girls’ bathroom and repeated some of the humorous conversations the ladies were engaged in. Comparing shoes. Heels no heels and associated mishaps. Gossip about the wedding they were attending. Dancing in their 60s. The much too short dresses of the younger girls.

“Wait,” my eighth grader looked confused. “They were talking in the bathroom?!”

“Well, yes,” I answered equally confused. “Why do you think girls head to the restroom together?”

Blank stares around the table.

“To talk about stuff,” I added. “Especially boys.”

“While you go to the bathroom?” All three boys looked disgusted. My husband smiled at me.

Apparently, the boys’ bathroom is silent. No talking. All business. Even if it’s just you and your brother. It’s like a rule. You do not talk.

“That’s weird,” they agreed, looking at me sideways as if I had just revealed yet another reason why girls are so strange.

After 15 years of living in a house of all boys I am still learning. No people-watching. No chatting in the bathroom.


Traffic Jam with the Kids

On Sunday, the boys and I were driving home from Aspen to Denver. After a winter of weekend ski lessons, we are used to the hour traffic jam caused by accidents or winter weather. We even sat one Friday on the mountain highway, closed for hours due to a police chase and shooting.

So leave it to the authorities to conduct unexpected tunnel blasting in July. Another “hour plus” delay. Importantly in our car, another “hour plus” before the kids would see the dog.

I expected a disaster of bad moods, whining and bathroom breaks. Instead, my ten year old rolled down the window and shouted at our fellow travelers.

“I hate this! Drive, people!”

When that elicited minor laughter from his brothers, “Santa, where are you! Save us!”

More laughter.

“Where is the Easter Bunny when you need him? EATER BUNNY!!!!”

What would the Easter Bunny do?

Followed by chanting, “WE HATE THIS! HEY! WE HATE THIS! HEY!”

Grateful for laughing kids in bumper-to-bumper traffic, I had to join them. “NOT AS MUCH AS ME! NOT AS MIUCH AS ME!”

And so it went, interspersed with shouts for the Easter Bunny, until we detoured past the tunnel and picked up speed.

When Mom Takes the Kids to Ski School

I will never like skiing. I will never sign my kids up for those every-weekend programs. I will never drive them up to ski school by myself. I will never ski alone.

Never say never.

Life is constantly throwing us curve balls. Lost jobs. Untimely deaths. Unexpected illnesses. Kids with talents or weaknesses we don’t share. Surprise pregnancies. Undreamt of promotions. Big moves to places we’ve never been. Kids who like to ski.

I will never… until last weekend.

I woke up at 4:45 so that we could leave for Vail by 6:00 a.m. My sons are enrolled in a weekly ski program called High Rockies. There is a bus that brings the kids up and back, but I have a morbid fear that the day I put my kids on the bus, it will be buried by an avalanche. This year, with almost know snow on the cliffs overlooking I-70 that would be virtually impossible, but logic has nothing to do with it.

So this past weekend, even though my ski-loving husband could not come with us, I vowed to get the kids settled in their lessons and ski… all by myself. After only three weeks in the weekly ski program, my kids can already out-ski me. They go faster and higher and more dangerous. I figured I should practice.

I picked a slope I had skied with my husband, so that I could remind myself on the steep spots that I’d survived it before. Simba. On my fourth run, near the top, I skidded on ice, spun around and lost my ski. It is important to note that I have never stood up from a crash on my own before. I am cautious enough that I rarely fall. My arm muscles are non-existent. I am slightly uncoordinated. A second crash while trying to stand is certain to send me into panic.

Deep breath. I will never do this again. Just get me down the mountain. I will never like to ski…

…until I actually made it down in one piece with two skis attached… all by myself.

Still shaking, I grabbed my book out of the car, found a nice table in the sun with a view of the mountain, ordered a glass of chardonnay, and was quite pleased with myself.

What a great way to enjoy a warm day in January! Ski until you fall. Drink wine in the sun with ski boots off. If I hadn’t taken the kids to their weekly ski program on my own, I would be back in Denver worrying that an avalanche was going to hit their return bus and doing laundry. Did I say I would never like to ski? Silly.

Then, half-way through the glass of wine, the phone rang. “Are you still in Vail?”


“Can you come to the top of the gondola? Your son has a fever.”

Did I mention that gondolas give me vertigo?

I will never, never, never… until next weekend.