A good day today. Elaine and I needed some quality time together, but as I had to work, it looked like it might be tough. So she came into the shop, and as there was work to do, she volunteered to do some of it. First, just waxing. No problem, she's an ex-ski racer, she knows the gig. Passed test A, then onto scraping and buffing. Cool. Then she went over our backlog of rental gear, waxed it and got it ready to roll. Went to lunch, came back, and she announced she wanted to learn to pine tar. Cool – there were two skis that needed pine tarring in the cue. She put on a shop tech's apron, showed her how to do it, and then she went to it and did an exceptional job. I managed to bust out a bunch of harder mounts thanks to her help, and eliminate all our rental backlog. We got done a little early, so I taught her how to base weld on some test skis…not a beginning shop tech skill. Girl's coordinated…managed the torch and the base material just fine. Even gave her a basic stone grinding lesson. No problem after a couple passes. Girl's got natural skill…clearly the daughter of a mechanic. There is nothing like working with your sweetie – makes me think that future idea we have to start a business together might just work. What can I say…we like each other's presence. All that hard work deserves a reward, so we got some italian sausage, onion, cheddar, jalapenos, cilantro and green salsa, cooked it up and feasted. Caboose was a balmy 43° when we got home, 65° now and a fire roaring. Tomorrow, up to Loveland to ski all the new powder. Very cool.
Yesterday was an interesting day. Went up to the old ghost mine town with my co-worker Ryan for a dawn patrol session. Six inches up top and dumping. I broke trail straight into a white-out at timberline. Couldn't see ten feet. We skied in close tandem on the way down – Stella in tow – and then broke out into some clearer goodness. I asked Ryan if he wanted to do the honors and get first tracks for the morning, and of course he did. Kid's got good form and it was fun to see him tearing it up. I followed, came over a little knoll, and was bummed to hear his yelling and grabbing for his knee. He heard a pop and went down. Crappy. We were still three miles from the car, and it was cold, windy and snowy. Went into NOLS instructor mode, and decided, well, a hurt knee isn't going to kill him, but hypothermia might. A little encouragement, grabbing his pack, and he slogged along on one leg. We made it back to the car and were only thirty minutes late for work. Still, skiing is Ryan's passion, and I hope he isn't out for long. Part of the ballgame as a skier of course, but you never like to see it happen.
Driving home tonight…saw an awesome shooting star. Heading west, to new horizons. Life is good, but made a wish anyhow.