Hat on Top, Coat Below


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End of the Season

April 1, 2014

Mr. Karen and I finished out our ski season with another trip to Idaho, sliding down the slopes of Schweitzer Mountain last week in between doing projects at the condo. We started our trip by flying into Spokane on what happened to be the same day that our alma mater, Michigan State, was playing in the third round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in that fair city. Actually going to the game wasn’t in our plans, but when we landed on time in Spokane after making our connection in Minneapolis, we checked online and found we could get tickets for not completely crazy prices and decided to go ahead and go. There were no tickets available from the venue at that late date, so we went the StubHub route, buying seats using my phone and picking up physical tickets from a hotel conference room where StubHub had setup shop for the weekend. Then it was off to a mall to look for a green shirt for me (Mr. Karen happened to already be wearing the right color) before grabbing dinner and heading to the arena. We used Mr. Karen’s white first aid tape to make block S’s on our shirts in lieu of having actual MSU gear. The first game between North Dakota and San Diego was at halftime when we arrived, then it was on to Michigan State versus Harvard. It was like old times, clapping along to the fight song, watching Sparty’s antics, shouting “Go Green” or “Go White” depending on which side of the arena started the chant. MSU looked strong for the first half and into the start of the second, then Harvard started coming on, making me a bit anxious for a time, but in the end MSU won to move on to the Sweet 16. Go Spartans!

Did I mention I was delighted?

Up on the mountain, spring skiing conditions were in effect, with high temperatures above freezing leading to soft sugary snow at the lower elevations. Much of the time it was sunny, too; one day I saw a guy skiing in a t-shirt (and pants, etc.) and then a little while later two guys with no shirts on at all. Ah, youth. The evergreens on the hill were green rather than snow covered and the fields in the valley were bare dirt brown. Of course we still had fun; we were skiing, and the mostly clear skies meant expansive views all around.

Jack's Dream

We celebrated my birthday (belatedly) a few days after we arrived; it had to wait until we could get into town and get my birthday pie, since going to the game meant we got to Sandpoint too late to hit the Pie Hut that Saturday and they’re closed Sundays and Mondays. Mr. Karen as always did a great job choosing presents for me, with a mix of stuff I didn’t know I wanted and stuff I did that he wasn’t necessarily convinced I needed but got me anyway because he’s sweet.

Belated birthday celebration

The snow gods smiled upon us for our last ski day of the trip, dumping about five inches before the lifts opened and more afterward. It wasn’t light and fluffy powder due to the warm conditions but it was fresh and the deepest we’d seen all week so we got out there and skied it up.

All too soon, it was time to pack up and head for home. We didn’t go back to the airport in Spokane and catch a flight, though—we climbed in our truck, which had been out there all winter, and started driving early Friday afternoon. Because we aren’t as good at staying up late as we used to be, we made it only about halfway through Montana before stopping that first night. The next day, we drove and drove and drove—about 900 miles in all—and got through the rest of Montana, all of North Dakota, and part of Minnesota. It would have been great to sleep in after such a long day, but no, we had to get up early (well, early for us) and keep going, as we still had over 700 miles to drive and had to be at work the next morning. The combination of sleep deprivation and time pressure led to some not so pleasant moments in Wisconsin when Mr. K and I couldn’t agree on when/where /if to stop for lunch but we worked through that by the time we got to Illinois. We made quick work of Indiana since it was the state with the shortest distance we had to travel and then did the home stretch through Michigan, arriving well after our normal bedtime but not so late that I wanted to cry (it helped that there was no snow to shovel upon our return).

Back home to the mitten

Now there will be no more skiing until next winter; it’s time to do spring things, like decorate my office with floral window clings and swatch the new nail polish collections.
All the photos from the trip which I deemed suitable for posting online are here.

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