It was not Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson, or Pink. It was me in my Rock Chick Hat on the Rink of Dreams in Ottawa at around 9 AM this morning.
This is how I dreamt this day would be when I finally got around to making it happen. I would wake early with the darkness of night and head into the shower, get dressed and drive downtown to lace up my skates and glide smoothly along the Rink of Dreams while music by Adele, Pink, or Katy Perry pulsed from the overhead speakers. By the time I arrived downtown, a red-pink sun would just be peeking over the horizon as new fluffy snow carpeted my world. Afterwards, there would be breakfast at the Metropolitan located close to the Chateau Laurier.
The reality of my situation was this: -25 degree temperatures with the windchill that felt like I could lose a finger or two if I left my hand exposed for just a few minutes too long and brown, salt-covered icy frozen snow.
Yeah baby – it’s winter in the city.
When I saw the temperature this morning I thought, ooh, I was hoping for -10 Degrees Celsius? (Ahem, POLAR PLUNGE! Don’t think the irony is not lost on me.) Hubby agreed to come with me to the skating rink and after I concluded my skating assignment, we would head out for a downtown breakfast. (I love downtown. Love it. I go there whenever I can.) It was a good plan.
We parked in the City of Ottawa parking garage, thanks to a tip by a friend of ours who had informed us how inexpensive it was to park there for the day. (Can you say warm car, after cold skate/walk?) When we arrived close to the rink, I laced up my skates, waddling like a penguin as my hubby propped me up by the elbow so I wouldn’t fall over. At one point, I flung my arms back and nearly landed on my butt, but (pun) my husband rescued me by grabbing my arm. I had not even made it to the rink yet. Good start.
As I made my way to the gate I fiddled with the door and mumbled to my husband, ” I better not have to jump over the fence like the other guy did.” (A man had jumped over the boards and swooped along the rink effortlessly.) After some fiddling I unhinged the door and I was in.
I’m a terrible skater and forget this every single year. As I clicked, clicked along in my skates it was forever before I made any real strides. My hubby carried my backpack with his parka, hat, and gloves on and circled on the outside of the skating rink fearful that a tumble would mean my ultimate demise. At several points I flung my arms back and nearly fell down with me laughing at how I must look like a toddler on skates. From my peripheral vision, I watched two other men whisk back and forth crisscrossing here and there, with what looked like zero brain power. On the other hand, I found myself concentrating so much that the pounding music was a distraction and at one point I wanted to bark, TURN IT OFF ALREADY!!! But, I did not do that.
My husband stayed with me for my first loop and I reminded him he could go inside and keep warm. He took me up on the offer, throwing back a word of extra caution and then I watched him walk back to the City of Ottawa building. Then, I went to turn and this is where I have no idea what happened – I flung my arms forward and fell over like a child does on skates in VERY SLOW MOTION. The lower part of my pant leg was snow covered, my red gloves frosty. I continued to laugh.
At one point embarrassingly, I became stuck in a perpetual circle with my skates doing their on thing while I was held hostage by them. I was unable to get out of it like a dog that chases his tail. At this moment, the only other person on the rink who was a man came over (the other guy must have left) and said, “You know I tell women that they shouldn’t use figure skates. They’re harder to skate in.”
I said, “Thanks, yeah maybe I should consider getting other skates.” Then, I giggled like a two-year old with a child’s smile splashed across my face as I thought, Yeah, buddy – it’s the skates. That’s my problem.
He gave me a few more skating tips, and we talked about skating in general. I remember one more thing he said before he glided away and that was this: “You want to survive.”
My response that I stated with zero hesitation was, “But, at least I’m out here.”
After my second loop we headed for breakfast. Given the cold day, we chose not to go to the Metropolitan and started our search along Elgin Street. Not too far away, we found Dunn’s. And breakfast was served.