The Curse of the Cussing Skier

Every New Year Jimmy resolves to stop swearing. Alas after 21 years of marriage I’ve come to the conclusion that my husband is powerless to profanity.

Ski trips are an especially ugly trigger.

Over break we headed to Lake Tahoe for a few days. There we were changing in the frigid Sugar Bowl parking lot, only to discover that Sax was busting out of his old snow pants. They were two sizes too small, total floods. He couldn’t even zip them.

Already exhausted from packing, driving and unpacking our equipment, that snafu set off Jimmy’s cussfest. “Dammit Kim! I told you to have Saxon try on his pants before we left!”


“Come on, dude!” he yelled, shoehorning the kid into his puffy polyester Daisy Dukes. “BUTTON that F***ER!”

“I can’t!” Saxon whined.

“Um, dad, where’s my ski jacket?” Tanner asked sheepishly from the back seat.

“What do you mean, where’s your ski jacket?” erupted Jimmy. “You F*CKIN’ forgot it? You’re 16! What the F**K, man?”

In calmer moments, Jimmy has admitted the reason behind his pyscho-ness. He says it’s because our teenagers have a case of pussitis. He has a point, I thought, as I watched Tanner wrestle his foot into his new-used ski boot along with two pairs of socks and the bottom six inches of his sweatpants. “Dad!!! This boot is too small! If I shove it in, my ankle’s literally gonna break.”

“Well, why are you wearing two pairs of effing socks?” Jimmy yelled, violently ripping a pair off Tanner’s feet, “and get those sweats the hell out of there!”

By now people in the parking lot were staring. I was mortified. When we finally got up the mountain, the weather was windy and freezing, but we toughed it out until the last lift closed. Then per tradition, we warmed up in our toasty car with apres ski brie and brews, sparkling Clementine Izzes for the dudes. “Ahh,” sighed Jimmy. “Maybe skiing is worth all the hassle.”

After crashing at our pricey one-star hotel, we got a late start the following morning, and SKI NAZI was raging. “This trip is costing me BANK! Why can’t you guys get your A$$ES out of bed earlier?”

I felt bad that we slept in, but I was wiped from the holidays. Plus I was dreading the single digit temps. Thankfully it turned out to be an epic day at Squaw Valley, sunny and gorgeous and…

…Uh-oh. There was Jimbo, lumbering across the frozen tundra like a rabid polar bear. “Guess how much 2-day passes for a family of four cost?” he bellowed. “Seven hundred and forty-eight F*CKING bucks!”

Oh shoot. It was 11 a.m. and we were just now hitting the slopes. Plus the mountain was packed. It was practically costing us $10 a run. Jimmy and Saxon left Tanner & me in the dust. Just as well.  I needed a reprieve from the cuss-a-thon.

That night we met friends for dinner at Village Pizzeria. We had a great time, that is after Jimmy made it back from Sports Exchange in downtown Truckee to buy some used ski poles for Saxon. Unfortunately, we neglected to take into account that when your kid sprouts five inches in one year, he’s probably going to need taller poles. Saxon’s were so short, they looked like he stole them off Verne Troyer.


I googled the store’s address and offered to Map it on his iPhone, but Mario Andretti  peeled out of the parking lot before I had a chance. I shrugged and went in and added our name to the 45-minute wait list. Five minutes later, my phone rang. “WHERE is this place?” Jimmy screamed. “What’s the EFFIN’ address?”

The next morning we rallied and hit the slopes by 9:30 a.m. SKI NAZI actually sweetened up: he tightened our boots, reminded us (nicely) to bend our knees and treated us to warm chocolate cookies from Wildflower Bakery. The four of us skied together and had a blast.

At 4:30 p.m., we trekked to the car, pounded a post-sesh Modelo, packed up, and headed home. Or at least we tried to. It took 35 minutes just to inch out of the parking lot.

“This traffic is SUCH a Cluster F**K!” yelled Jimmy. “The equipment, schlepping, packing, whining, crowds, everything!!! I F*cking HATE skiing!!!”

Look on the bright side, Jimmy, all those coins in your New Year’s swear jar will buy us another trip to Squaw Valley.


"Seriously, Granite Chief Ski Shop, two hundred bucks for these Electric Blue Boogaloo powder pants? That's an EFF you to me!"
“Seriously, Granite Chief Ski Shop, two hundred bucks for these Electric Blue Boogaloo powder pants? That’s an EFF you to me!”

Charlie’s Angels Surf Sesh

Once upon a time there were three beautiful girls who went to the Police Academy, and they were each assigned very hazardous duties. But I took them away from all that and now they work for me. My name is Charlie.”

~Tuesday, Sept. 18th~

Charlie (via iPhone speaker): Good Morning, Angels.

Us (sing songy): Good Morning, Charlie!

Charlie: How are my trio of elite big wave riders—ready to unleash some sick surf moves?

Us: Sure are, Charlie!

Charlie: Good. I’m sending you on an undercover mission to renowned surf break, Pleasure Point, where you’ll infiltrate a ring of scumbag sea otters who are smuggling clam shells into the Point illegally. But here’s the thing, Angels. I need you to pretend that you are really, really crappy surfers. You know, just to throw the otters off your trail.

Us: We’ll try our best Charlie, but it’s going to be hard considering we’re such darn good surfers!

Charlie: Oh, and Angels?

Us: Yes, Charlie?

Charlie: Don’t decapitate the baby otters while you’re pretending to be super lame beginners!

Us: (giggling) We’ll try, Charlie.

Charlie: Perfect, Angels, you look like total kooks.

Charlie: Way to paddle like you don’t mean it, girls.

Charlie: I like the faux crashing into each other. Beautiful.

Charlie: Farrah, way to improvise & act like a sight-impaired/special needs surfer. No wonder you won an Emmy for “The Burning Bed.”

Us: Hands up, Otters. We got you!

Charlie: Great job, Angels. Another mission under your wetsuits.

Us: Thanks, Charlie!

Charlie: Ladies, look who showed up to serve you Mimosas in The Hook parking lot? BOSLEY!

Us: We love you, Bosley!

Charlie: Oh, and ladies, let’s leave the readers with one last pic—Because really, what’s Charlie’s Angels without a gratuitous nipple shot?

R.I.P. Angel.

Bare Naked Ladies

I’ve always dreamed of an outdoor shower. Our friend, Rich, has one and it’s the bomb~a Hawaiian fortress surrounded by black lava and wild tropical plants. Whenever we visit, I go all Howard Hughes, showering 10 times a day. I just can’t get enough. In the morning, I gaze up at palm trees rustling in the trade winds. In the afternoon, I love coming  straight from the sea, washing off the salt water, an icy Corona at the ready on the lava rock shampoo ledge. And at night, a million stars twinkle in the velvety black sky.

Rich’s shower is not quite this tricked out but pretty close.

Wouldn’t it be cool to have an outdoor shower, I asked Jimmy? We’d feel as if we were on vacation every day.

Finally this summer, we decided to go for it. Just a simple, no-frills bamboo shower a la Gilligan’s Island. How difficult could it be, we wondered? How expensive? Very and very, it turns out. But let me start at the beginning.

First we decided on the location: a dirt and sand-filled space off the back side of our house, choked with weeds and a heap of old shit we didn’t want but were too lazy to deal with. I am kicking myself for not snapping a “before” pic. Trust me when I say our teens’ favorite word, ghetto, describes the spot perfectly. However, the close proximity to the hot water heater was a deal sealer.

The proposed site was a good twenty feet from our neighbors’ single story home but I figured it would be well, neighborly to give them a head’s up.

A late 60’s couple with no children, the Jensons* are the nicest people ever. They are as close to Amish as you can get on the grid. For the 11 years we’ve lived here they’ve watered their lawn every morning with a hose, and on top of their roof sits a ginormous, prehistoric silver antenna that powers up either their vintage black and white television console or a ham radio. Not sure which—I’ve never asked.

(*name changed to protect the almost Amish)

Before we broke ground, I paid them a visit. “We’ll mostly just be rinsing off after swimming or surfing,” I explained. “I hope we won’t disturb you.”

They exchanged a worrisome glance. Joseph gulped. “We won’t be able to see you naked, will we?” asked tiny, birdlike Mae in her heavy Japanese accent.

“Oh no, ” I laughed, explaining that, should they ever scale the 6-foot fence separating our properties, Desmond, our contractor friend, planned to incorporate an ultra-private bamboo corridor making it impossible to see us shower from their vantage point.

“Oh, okay,” they said,” they said, still sounding uneasy.

All summer Desmond, Jimmy and I worked on the shower house. Okay, mostly Des did. But I did go to the rockery to help choose the flagstone and Jimmy did slather grout.

Although the posts have been inserted, this is the closest to a “before” shot I have.
Configuring the Arizona flagstone pieces into a puzzle = good.

 There were a couple of snafus like when I asked Des to dig a French drain even though— duh!—the sewer line runs directly by the shower. And oh yeah, Jimmy may have over indulged in Dos Equis the night he grouted the flagstone because he didn’t scrape off the excess before it dried…

No mas cerevezas para usted, Jaime!

…making my fantasy project look like Fred Flintstone’s Stone Age shower. Poor Des had to power wash it off with some gnarly toxic chemicals during a heatwave while I plied him with Otter Pops and prayed he didn’t pass out.

Finally the outdoor shower was done!

Tanman takes it for a spin!

Since we the first day we christened her, both bars of Dove soap in our indoor bathrooms showers have endured minimal shrinkage. Why bathe inside when you can add a pop of alfresco fun to the daily grind?

Rexie gives our new shower two soapy thumbs up!

Even though the view doesn’t exactly look like Hawaii—instead of swaying palms and stars, I gaze up at that massive Ham radio antenna on my neighbor’s roof—the shower is my own little piece of paradise.

Dearest Desmond even gave me a flagstone ledge for my bottle of icy Corona.

Kimmy tries not to flash the neighborhood.

Kim the Star Stalker

When friends invited us to stay at the Four Seasons Hualalai on the Big Island, I was ecstatic. As an avid People magazine reader,  I knew Hualalai was the place to observe celebs roaming in their natural habitat. Like tracking zebras and wildebeasts across the Serenghetti, this was my chance for an up-close encounter with a major movie star.

Unfortunately, it was a slow week at Hualalai. Most of the A-Listers had already migrated back to L.A., although I did spot Ed O’Neill pouncing on a warming tray of lobster mac and cheese at the 4th of July buffet.

But one day, when friends of our hosts met us for lunch, things began to look up. The woman, a down-to-earth mom named Shannon, casually mentioned Leonardo DiCaprio was hunkered down at Kukio, the even ritzier residential community next door.

BINGO! If Ed O’Neill was the kudu on the plain, then freakin’ Leonardo was the lion, rhino or jaguar of the big game celebrity hunt.

“Ohmigod,” I squealed like a tween at a Justin Bieber concert, “if he’s there tomorrow, will you puhleeze call me?”

Low and behold, the following day a text came through: Kim, Leo and his entourage are the only people on the beach if you want to come over.

I hightailed it over, rushing through the tasteful lobby and down the stairs toward the beach. Despite the hushed atmosphere, my heart thumped in my chest. Having been debriefed a day earlier, I kept my eyes peeled for a dude sporting a scruffy beard and much younger Victoria’s Secret model while furiously puffing on an electronic cigarette.

I arrived at the crescent of white sand beach out of breath. “Hi Shannon,” I huffed. “So nice of you to invite me.”

“Bummer!” she said. “You just missed Leo!”

It seemed Mr. DiCaprio and his smokin’ girlfriend had just strolled down the beach toward the Four Seasons!

Hoping to wash away my disappointment, I plunged into the turquoise sea and swam out to a raft moored to the ocean floor.

A few minutes later, Shannon’s husband, stand-up paddle boarded briskly in my direction.

“Hey Kim!” he called. “Shannon says to tell you Leo and his girlfriend just got back from their walk. They’re up by the pool.”

I butterflied back to shore faster than Ryan Lochte, and jumped into the jacuzzi, only to discover that once again, Mr. DiCaprio had eluded me. However, I did recognize a familiar face submerged in a fizzy cloud of jet bubbles a few feet away. I ran the man’s chestnut hair, facial scruff and lopsided smile through the thousands of celebrity faces I kept on mental file. Instantly his name came to me: Tobey McGuire. Spider-man & Leo’s best friend. Just wrapped “The Great Gatsby” together. Married to Jennifer Meyer, a jewelry designer. Daughter named Ruby. Blanking out on son’s name.

My 13-year-old, Saxon, was also chillin’ in the jacuzzi. “Sup’ mom,” he said, cool as a cucumber. “Just saw Leo.”
“Are you serious?”
“Yeah, he was wearing a fanny pack.”
“Eww. A fanny pack?”
“Uh huh. He just took off to go mansion hunting with his mom. I overheard him telling her to double time it.”

I sat for a while in the jacuzzi with Tobey, sneaking covert looks. Tobey was kinda pale and wore lobster-print swim trunks, the kind with built-in underpants that no legit surfer would ever be caught dead in. He seemed like any ordinary, slightly goofy dad.

After a few minutes, Sax jumped into the swimming pool and started a water fight with some scruffy thirty-something guy with disheveled hair, big doe eyes, hipster sideburns…Once again the data flowed, Rain Man style, into my brain…Lukas Haas, the kid from Witness. Also a member of Leo’s entourage. Last movie: Inception. He was horsing around in the pool with Ruby, showering her with attention. And another kid—Tobey’s kid. Otis.

Finally, I hauled my pruney body from the jacuzzi. At the towel station, I eavesdropped on some rich kids bragging about their Leo sightings. Everyone it seemed had a Leonardo story.

Everyone but me.

Dejectedly I headed home. Later that night I finally saw Leo—images of him on the black lava-fringed beach were splashed across the Internet courtesy of the paparazzi.

Thanks to the paps, at last I felt like I was right there up close and personal with Leonardo DiCaprio.

Electronic Cig. Hot VS model girlfriend. Check. Check.
Snorkel buddy. Check.

Fanny pack. Check. Birkenstocks. Check.
“Impressive set of abs,” according to Hmm. Maybe I won’t believe everything I read anymore.