Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Settling in La Crosse

Life is good here.

We sit in our breakfast nook and look out on the snowmen that I built with Christian this week. There are six of them, one for each member of the family. He was very particular with how tall he wanted each of them. I ended up shorter than the Snow Girl, but I have a bigger and rounder head. We put boobs on the Snow Girl, so people could tell who was who.

Little Snow Guapo is less than a foot tall and has tiny rocks for eyes. They fall out every time the sun shines. Sometimes Snow Guapo has to sit on the Girl's hip, because he is so small. Christian is overcome with jealousy when he sees Snow Guapo on the Snow Girl's hip. He won't run over to knock the little snowman down, because he likes the game too much, but he is very adament that Snow Guapo stands alone at night.

He goes to the Waldorf school in La Crosse. It's a lesson in not being quite cool enough for all of us. We have spent hours searching for SmartWool socks that fit a 3-year old and go up over his knees. He wears his Thomas the Train shirt at home, but any sign of pop culture is strictly banned at his school. The parents and teachers make we nervous when they approach me wearing homespun hemp. Then speak slowly and with righteous conviction. They never break eye contact; they drive Subarus or Volvos and are never in a hurry. They shop at the co-op and are probably 100% organic at home.

Yesterday, I got a few points for picking up Christian on my bike. I had temporarily forgotten just how unusual it is for someone to ride a bike in January in La Crosse. Drivers are so nice here that it feels like I slowed down hundreds of drivers. But the weather was nice and it was worth it to see the elites at the Waldorf stare jealously at my muddy pants. Yes, muddy pants trump "eat local" bumper stickers.

Christian and I like to run or bike to the La Crosse River. We throw ice and snow into the river, whether the river is ice or water. Ice floes break loose from upstream and yesterday a floe larger than a minivan sailed past us. We go skiing at Mount La Crosse; when I am more than an inch behind him, he screams "I fastern you, dad!". When I am more than an inch ahead of him, he screams "vent for me, far!". He rides over the jumps on the edge of the run, oblivious to the glares from teenagers he cuts off.

The Girl is in a crazy exercise phase. Like most of the people who read this, she is addicted to exercise. Suddenly she has time to exercise as much as she wants, for the first time since her intern year. She runs/bikes/swims/yogas/etc from 9 to 1 and then she is done for the day. It's a strange relief from the tears and frustrations of life in Denmark, where she was never able to exercise as much as she wanted. Here, She comes home tired from all her exercise, works for a few hours (10 hours a week, officially), and we have a normal afternoon/evening with the kids. Yesterday, the car broke down and we had to spend over an hour to get it jumped and then get it to the shop. It was almost fun. In Denmark, the Girl would have had a full-blown panic attack because her days were so insanely parcelled out that any interruption would topple the exercise apple cart. Last night, there were jokes and laughs.

And of course, she is in great shape. She is taking easy days every other day (ie. she only runs 10 miles and then cross trains for 3 hours). On hard days, she runs quality workouts. If I ran like her, I would be injured immediately. She runs over 100 miles a week. 100K for me is about as high as I can go, and even that is pushing it. She needs to run more intense stuff, which has always been her weakness, but even that is coming around. She is doing 1 mile intervals right now (I wasn't allowed to join her, unfortunately). We have a half marathon next weekend. Depending on how cold it is, I think she has a huge PR in her, maybe high 1:20s.

The chances of me getting "wifed" at Three Days of Syllamo are very, very real.

(An earlier version of this post had an exaggerated description of the Girl's eating habits and singlemindedness during a heavy training phase. I thought it was funny; the Girl less so).


SteveQ said...

It's weird hearing how "progressive" LaCrosse is, when I tend to think of Wisconsin as Minnesota's redneck brother.

As long as your enabling is only temporary, I won't judge. And with her exercise level and diet, it has got to be temporary.

No snowmen here; it's been too warm. I am not complaining.

Karen said...

Your description of the school parents is hilarious. That's exactly how I feel about a lot of the people here in northern California.

I follow SLG's blog too and it seems like she goes in streaks with the obsessive exercising. I don't see any harm with indulging in her drive if it is short-lived.

nwgdc said...

I have only been back to LaCrosse once since graduating. I miss that place...especially the bluffs. I had only begun to find all the trails out there when I was graduating.
Are you two still planning on Ice Age? If so, she's going to be in prime shape!

Fast Bastard said...

Steve, La Crosse as a whole is hardly progressive. But the hospitals and universities offer well-paying jobs to liberal trendsetters.

It's funny what you say about Wisconsin being more redneck than Minnesota. I tend to agree with you, but La Crosse is certainly more progressive than rural southeastern Minnesota. The Girl completely disagrees with you. She cites Madison as an example.

Nwgdc, Ice Age is full this year. We are on the waitlist. And yeah, I can't wait to run the bluffs this spring.

SteveQ said...

I think it's just that I spend my time in Minnesota in big cities and in Wisconsin in small towns. There's some incredibly backwards exurbs around here. Madison's a typical college town, from what I can remember from drunken rambles through it.

We can agree on Iowa: trucker caps and overalls, right?

Karen said...

Haha, I thought Minnesota was trucker caps and overalls. But I must be wrong?

How do you guys feel about the U.P.?

SteveQ said...

@Karen: When I first ran across Fast Bastard, I thought his Danish accent sounded like a Yooper. It bothers me when those from the UP do the Michigan hand map and then turn their wrists 90 degrees, showing the UP also vaguely looks like a hand. There's a beautiful park with nice trails up there, but the second-worst hole in the world is Escanaba.

sea legs girl said...

I just need to explain that Fast Bastard doesn't have a typical Danish accent; not all Danes sound like Yoopers. I think it has something to do with a previous marriage...