My Cross-Country Skis

biswajyotim-Ski-man-800pxAs the snow fell heavily across our yard, I turned to my wife and said, “I need…”

She abruptly cut me off. “No, you don’t.”

“You didn’t let me finish.”

“I didn’t have to,” she said, “I recognized the tone.”

“What tone?”

“The one you use whenever you think you need something but only want something.”

“This is more of a need than a want.”

“What then?”

“I need cross-country skis.”

“For what?”

I thought skis more or less explained themselves.

“To ski,” I told her.

“Like you needed a kayak to kayak?”

“Precisely,” I said.

“Except you haven’t touched your kayak all year.”

She had me there. The kayak spent all summer in dry-dock but I still needed it, just not as much as I did when I bought it.

The reason I need cross country skis is because I will be utterly miserable until I have them. I am not sure how it happened but I caught the cross-country skiing bug without ever having cross-country skied – but once I catch a bug, there is no stopping it. I now have full blown cross-country skiing fever.

Things hit me like that.


Without the slightest warning, a passion will arc out of the blue and take total possession of me. It is as if Cupid stalks my desires with a quiver full of catalogs.

The kayak was like that.

I really wanted it bad. So bad that I couldn’t think of anything else. Every time I saw a car speeding down the highway with a kayak bouncing on its roof, I asked myself why it was not me behind the wheel.

It wasn’t just a boat that I wanted.  What I yearned for was the contentment of meandering down the Cedar River or the peace that can only be found by plying the backwaters of the Mississippi.

Finally, I couldn’t handle it anymore.  I went out and bought one and it was everything I imagined it to be. I paddled the lazy currents of the Cedar River and worked my way among the sun dappled backwaters of the Mississippi until one day, while driving to the river, I spotted a group of mountain bikers flying along a trail.


It hit me again.

I asked myself, what was I doing with this stupid kayak bouncing on the roof of my car when I could be out there pedaling madly along a bike trail?

I still needed the kayak – but not so much. What I really needed was the exhilaration of a mountain bike, so I bought one of those too. However riding a mountain bike in deep snow is no fun – which brings me back to cross-country skis.

It is why I told my wife I needed them.

“Why don’t you rent skis instead?” she asked.  This was a perfectly sensible approach but one that did nothing to quench the fever of my desires.

“Let’s go to town” she suggested, “you can drop me off at the quilt store then go looking for a place to rent skis.”

“The quilt store?” I asked.

“Yes, I need…”

I abruptly cut her off and said, “No, you don’t need.”

“You are right,” she admitted, “I merely want a few things – it is you who needs to drop me off.”

Author: Almost Iowa

58 thoughts on “My Cross-Country Skis”

  1. Lol! Your post are always awesome! I’m clearly just like you- I always get this like determination to do something and then go buy all the stuff to do it- and then it’s like that’s enough, I’ve fulfilled my dream. Most recently I was determined to become a great banjo player and bought a banjo and a couple books- and once purchased the idea of that dream was fulfilled. The banjo case has been opened once in a year. Sigh…

    1. It is probably best that you never learned to play it. Banjo players rarely get invited to parties. But don’t be dismayed, banjos are fun to wear.

      1. Lol- I thought it might make a good wall piece. I could tell people about the time when I was a professional traveling banjo player, but then say my banjo was too valuable an art piece to take down so they’d just have to take my word for it…

  2. So I take it no cross country skis? My husband and I went kayaking in Port Canaveral on vacation last month – loved it. I like cross country skiing too, but haven’t done it since I lived in Vermont many moons ago.

  3. Well, it’s almost Christmas, so why don’t you get your wife the quilt as a gift, and have her get you the skis? That way, you both get what you want (for now) without the guilt! But you’ll have to think of a different solution of the next thing you want, unless you can make it a year before the need for it hits!

    1. Well…… that would work but way back in January when we both got something we really wanted, we said, “Let’s make this our Christmas present to each other.” We, however, did not name the year because we are committed well into the 2040’s and at a certain point, we have to admit that we might not be around to deliver. 🙂

  4. Oh my husband does this! He has a canoe, a kayak, a fishing boat, a Jeep, a truck, a tractor, a shed full of rods and fly-tying equipment, weight benches, treadmill, two bikes, every power tool known to man, and more guns than the law allows. Now you got me going. But we can’t afford yarn or a vacuum cleaner.

    1. What?!! He has no ATV? What’s a guy to do without an ATV and a snowmobile? And every red-blooded American guy needs a Harley!!! Geez, these are the basics.

      1. Oh no. but he does have a thirty-five year old Yard Man he has put a blade on and made a lift for. A tree fell on the body so it just looks like a motor on four wheels with giant weights on the back. I tell it’s a hermaphrodite. Will have to do a post with history and pictures the first day its not raining. It won’t mow any more but its’s great at moving compost around, dragging trailers, and pulling and dumping a leaf raker.

  5. This is a Case of I-Have-To-Have-These-Just-In-Case. I get that with books. I have so many books that I will never read them all. But I still have to have them. When I get ready to read those books, the library and the bookstores may be out of them. They could be out-of-print and I might not be able to find them on Amazon.

    1. I spent last summer building bookcases to cover two walls of the basement and I still have a shed full of books. I have books that I bought fifty years ago and have carried with me on at least ten moves… I can’t bear to part with them.

  6. We all do that. It’s in the DNA. Sort of like something shiny to a bass. I still ride my cruiser on the beach and try not to look at the fat tire bikes as they go by me.

  7. I hear you! My hubby flies R/C airplanes and there’s always something he’s needing. But he doesn’t ski, bike, hunt, fish, golf or watch football so I’m okay with it. Happy wife, happy life!

    1. Take it from me, he should get his kayak buying done now…. plus any other toys he is thinking about. After he gets married, the next stop for toys is… well, there is none. 🙂

  8. I agree with what that Melanie person said above. In fact, when we were out last weekend snowshoeing the paved trail, I saw a track left by one of those fat tire bikes. So, your mountain bike might be useful in snow after all with some tire modifications.

    1. I find the fat tire bikes fascinating… but not nearly as fascinating as the wild and crazy people who ride them. The thing I take most to heart about aging is not that it limits what you can do, rather it takes so much longer to recover from what you can do.

  9. A friend began muttering about cross-country skiing this weekend. Her kids went to Breckenridge for a skiing Thanksgiving, and she was jealous. She can’t ski any more because of her knees, but she thought that cross-country might be better. Then, she remembered how much work it is, and went directly to snowshoes. I asked her where she was going to find the snow to go with them, us being on the Gulf Coast and all, and she said she’s still working on that.

    1. “she said she’s still working on that”

      The only barriers that hold us back are the one we allow ourselves to be held by…..but then there is the matter of snow.

      I know several people, my buddy Stan being one, who possess an extraordinary exceptionalism. For them there are no barriers…and it drives everyone nuts. I would like to see what Stan would do with snowshoes on the Texas coast, after all he is the guy who introduced the neighborhood to sidewalk surfing.

  10. We got the snowshoe bug 3 years ago. We wanted to be outside more in the winter. Sidewalks don’t get cleared well enough to go out for walks safely, and the bike/walk paths don’t get cleared at all, usually. We rented the snowshoes first and decided, yeah, we would use them. We did several times the first season. Last year the mix of snow and cold didn’t work well (not enough snow or way too damn cold, at varying times) so we only got out once or twice. Big snow a week or so ago gave us the chance to try again. It was a good decision to buy, so far. I think they are useful in more places than CC skis are.

    1. I am thinking that is the route go too. I live next to a large wildlife management area which I affectionately call The Minnesota State Mosquito Preserve. Actually, it is a preserve for sedge, a swamp grass that dominated this area a century ago. Unfortunately, that means it is full of frozen hillocks and unreliably frozen pools of water. Still, I think it will be fun. Scooter says he approves of the idea.

  11. I’ve been thinking about how much I need a kayak for a long time. I have a road bike that I can’t really ride anymore, but I would if I could and I will if I can figure out a way to do it without causing neck/shoulder pain. I have never wanted cross country skies – it’s a lot of work – hard work – probably harder than kayaking. You might want to reconsider this one. Ouch on the camera grab.

    1. I had the same problem with my road bike and had to give it up. Now I ride a “city” bike. I like the geometry that allows me to sit up straighter. When I want to tuck in, I cross my arms and lean on the bars.

      It is an excellent bike for trail riding, not nearly as skitish on sand or gravel as the road bike which I appreciate.

      1. I’m going to see if the bike shop has any options for me. I’ve seen some handlebars that have a higher profile but still offer the low curve(although I never care about that anymore). It would involve moving the brakes but I’m hoping they can do that. I would guess sand and gravel are a challenge for you. Here, we just wait until April when they sweep it all off the roads.

    2. I have a camera, a road bike, a kayak, a couple of compound bows and a telescope my husband will never miss. Oh yes, and several guns. When can you pick them up?

  12. Do you ski? I only say that because recently I decided I had to have the mother of all camera’s yet a doubting wife made me look at it in the shop and it struck me that I don’t do technology (at least at the level necessary to turn the bloody thing on)!

    1. I have skied, though I do not do it very well. As for cameras, I never mastered my Cannon EOS – but it is gone now. Someone smashed my car window and stole it – in the police parking lot.

      1. When my middle son was in training for the police (at a national training place that will remain nameless) someone nicked his mobile/cell phone while he was in the shower!

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