After our Christmas, I spend 8 days being sicker than I have ever been in my entire freaking life for a flu. Exactly one day before I become sick with a 102°f fever my husband takes me to buy my Christmas present – a new pair of ski boots. (This is an important detail, as I have to believe my brain was already on fire with fever.)
We are in Como, so we go to a place my husband’s cousin knows well. A place that is hidden, known only to the locals. A place that has exactly 4 pairs of boots to choose from. Now, I grew up in Lake Tahoe California, a skiers haven but skiing was also very expensive and so really I didn’t start until I was able to pay for it myself, which was when I was about 13 years old. My first ski’s and boots I bought myself with the money I had saved from working in the local movie theater. A year later, always after school, I found a job at Heavenly Valley ski resort thus giving me the opportunity to ski every single day, of every single winter.
Now 20 years later, I feel like I know a thing or two about ski equipment. So when S-man takes me to buy my new ski boots I know exactly what I want. I am ready for an upgrade on my ski equipment.
I try on 4 pairs of ski boots. The first 2 that are lined with enough fur to become a serious rival of the moon boot. The third pair is hurting my foot squishing it on all sides. The fourth pair, well the fourth pair fit my foot like a glove. Like a second skin. I say to my husband ‘prendo questi’ and that means ‘I’ll take these’ and my husband who is a decision maker says.
‘Amore, forse questi sono un’po rigidi per te.’ which means ‘maybe these boots are a bit rigid for you.’ and I don’t know what happens to me in that exact moment, but all of sudden I am sure that I MUST OWN THESE SKI BOOTS! Like all of a sudden my life is depending on the red pair of boots that sit before me. The man in the shop says ‘I’m sure you are a good skier but these boots are really made for hard-core skiers.’ My husband has already picked up one of the fuzzy looking pairs again, and is smiling at me saying…’no vuoi riprovare questi?’ and that means ‘why don’t we try these on again?’ I don’t hear what my husband and his new friend are saying to me because I know I have to stick with my decision. As though there is life time of decisions that are counting on this very one, each one of them starting in this way. With me eventually giving in to a decision that I had no intentions of making. With this in mind I look at the shop owner and say. ‘we will take these boots, thank you.’ and I feel triumphant, knowing that I just bought a pair of womens Nordica 120 racing boots named simply, Doberman Spitfire. (and here something should have clicked in my brain..)
The days that follow, I am so sick I barely make it to the mountains. But I want my children to enjoy their Christmas vacation and I do my best to do everything, including going skiing. I get dressed, pulling on my new ski boots and making my way out the door. My first run and I feel great. My ski boots feel like they have been made on my foot. It is only after my second run I feel a strange pain in my left shin, two more curves and I feel it on my right shin too. With every movement I make afterwards I feel like broken glass is being rubbed into both shins, causing tears to run down my cheeks because of the pain.
‘Tutto bene con i scarponi?’ my husband says and this means ‘Everything okay with your ski boots?’
The pain is so great I think I’m going to faint. ‘Si!’ I say to him brightly.
This goes on for 2 days, I am expecting to pass out from the pain at any moment. I am sure my shins must be black and blue with bruises – but they are not. The 3rd day I can not take the pain anymore. I try leaving my new boots outside of our hotel room hoping someone will steal them. Hours later I open the door and they are still there. I have no choice. I have to tell my husband. Everyone makes mistakes.
We are getting off the first lift when I start with ‘ho un piccolo problemino con i scarponi..’ this means I have a tiny problem with my ski boots.’
S-man,who is my husband, the one person who has asked me a numerous amount of times to never write about him on this blog takes one look at me and I’m sure he is going to murder me. So I continue full force, I have nothing to lose now. ‘Mi fanno un male cane, ho sbagliato, è una tortura no posso metterli. mai più.’ which simply means ‘They are killing me, it’s torture. I can’t wear them. Ever. Again.’ This does not go over well. Something to do with me refusing to listen, always doing things my way. He suggests we take the chair down. I think of all the times I was made fun of for taking the chair down in middle school, when all my school mates could easily ski down the black run called ‘the face’ at Heavenly Valley. I say ‘I’ll be okay’.
By the time we ski down my cheeks are spotted from the tears that run down them. The next day I go to the ski service and rent a pair of ski boots that have been worn enough to put both of my feet in one boot. My shins are still in pain, from the invisible bruises that have formed under the skin. I ski better than I have in ages, forcing myself to ignore my new soft spots.
‘Come va?’ says my husband and this means ‘how’s it going?’
‘Never been better.’ I say. ‘domani andiamo a prenderti un’altro paio.’ he says and this means ‘tomorrow we will go and get you another pair’. I smile. We ski down the beautiful Dolomite mountains, without anyone ever noticing..
I haven’t had my boots latched all day..