Two things should have tipped me off that this weekend was going to be challenging, to say the least. On Saturday morning, getting ready to go dive the Homestead Crater* up in Heber, I was trying on one of those elastic headbands used to hold bangs back when you are swimming. It had slid down to the middle of my forehead and as I grabbed it to pull it back my fingers slipped and I snapped myself in the middle of the forehead. Hard. I still have a mark now three days later. Then walking out the door later that morning, as an after thought, I went back into the house and grabbed a jacket while giving my gentleman lover the mock lecture/finger wagging “if you fail to plan then you plan to fail.” A classic jinx.
Looking back, there are a ton of “I don’t know why we did thats” from that day, the first being ignoring the fact that there was supposed to be a huge storm coming that morning and J was wearing sandals and no shirt other than the one he was going to dive with. Also I don’t know why, when we knew there was a storm coming, that we headed out to cross two mountain passes, hauling four full air tanks and other SCUBA gear, in Abigale, my little coupe, when we also have a perfectly capable F-150. I don’t know why we chose not to bring any clothes, or underwear for that matter, given the fact that we would be leaving soaked and no doubt cold. And I don’t know why we didn’t gas up before hand or even checked our money accounts. I really don’t know why.
But by the time we hit Parleys Summit near Park City we were driving in snow and at Strawberry Summit it was packed ice and low visibility. But we made it safely into the Heber Valley and to the resort in Midway, where it was just light rain. The dive was glorious and warm but three hours later when we emerged everything was white and the snow was coming down fast, heavy and wet. Abigale BARELY made it out of the parking lot and we were sliding everywhere. We finally made it to a gas station to fill up, only to find out that both ways out of the valley were treacherous and nearly out of the question in my car. (They actually closed one of the passes for a while that day). We knew we were going to have to find a place to stay. But here’s the tricky thing about newlywed finances, which we are still trying to figure out. We have our money spread across five different accounts (I promise we aren’t just idiots, there is kind of a rhyme and reason to it) and that day we had brought cards to only two – the two with very little money in them. And we certainly didn’t have the money on us to book a hotel at Sundance Film Festival prices.
So sitting there under that 7-Eleven gas pump awning eating hotdogs** two 30 year olds called their parents and asked for money to book a hotel. We ended up at the Swiss Alps Inn, taking the second to last room available in town, soaked***, cold, humbled and exhausted. I would imagine back in the 70s the SAI was a honeymoon hotel for lovers complete with the bright red blankets and hearts painted everywhere. However 30 years later the décor seems baffling and slightly creepy when paired with that faint smell of smoke that accompanies old smoking rooms. After checking in we managed to make it a block down the street to Walgreens where we scored a matching set of long underwear (the only kind of clothes they had there), toothbrushes and two Cadbury Eggs for good measure. The following 24 hours were spent lounging in our long underwear, battling power outages and watching Dateline. We did managed to put on our wet clothes long enough to go grab some Chinese food**** later that night.
The next morning the door was frozen shut. But after Junior busted through we made the drive of shame, wearing the same clothes, back to the crater for our second dive and then made it home safely without incident. I don’t feel it’s necessary here to go through the list of everything I learned from this weekend. The humiliation alone is enough to burn countless lessons into my very soul.
* Awesome place, 60ft deep with 90 degree mineral water.
**Chalk it up to stress eating. It was like the sickest hotdog ever but post diving hunger makes you do really irrational things.
***Jun was shirtless with only a light jacket on and snow caked on his sandals. As an alternative he put back on his wet SCUBA boots because he said they were the warmer option.
****Its called Canton City and it is hands down the best Chinese food I have had in like 10 years.