It's that time of the year again. The time of year when my husband spends 99.9% of his free time outside. The time of year when I can press my naked breasts up against the kitchen windows without getting so much as a second glance. My husband, who will occasionally smile and give me a gratuitous wave when he takes the time to notice me, will continue to skate for seven more hours without heed. Why does he do this you may ask? It's because he has all he needs for fueling his pleasures right there on the ice. He has his hockey skates, his trusty stick bound with enough duct tape to keep it intact for a lifetime, and several little black pucks, which he happily shoots against the boards in rapid gun-like secessions one after another, thwack, thwack, thwack, until I think I may pierce out my inner ear drums with a potato peeler. See, my husband isn't a hunter. He isn't a fisher guy. He isn't an avid sports fan, though happy enough to watch games on TV he doesn't purchase season tickets or use any type of body paint.

Instead he has an ice rink.

He started out small back in the early days. A nice square rink 20 x 20. Completely doable, energy efficient and noncommittal. He has since extended the size to include every free space available in our backyard without taking over the swing set and making the kids cry. He tries every year to encroach on my garden, so I gun bulbs at his head until he moves on.

It's a fun thing to have, don't get me wrong. That is until I am asked by 17 neighbor children to lace or unlace their skates in subzero weather. "Umm, sorry little Suzy, you're gonna have to walk home and ask your mom to do that, and please don't blade up my new decking, just scale the fence right there, do you see that area with the picket missing? Tell your mom I said hello. "

We only have one child born to us who really likes to skate and she's 7 and a girl. She won't take up hockey, though, 'cause she doesn't want to be pushed into the boards. So it's her and her dad. Thwack. Thwack. Little thwack. She broke her collarbone right at the start of hockey season last year, so the rink was a lonely place. This year my husband is hoping to have a playmate again and is already using such lines as, "If you come out and skate with me I'll give you a sucker and you'll be my very favorite child of all time."

It's too bad the rink doesn't come with a video feed and big screen TV. Then it could be the ultimate babysitter. I could go to Florida and no one would be the wiser.

Some people love winter. They die for the skiing and the skating and the snowboarding and the sledding. I don't. I love the beach and the heat and the sun and the tanning. My fingers loose circulation when I sit at the computer on cold winter days and I have to punch at the keys with my numb tips hoping my brain doesn't run too fast, since my painful nubs can't keep up. Not usually a problem. It's not that our house is overly cold, per se, it's more like when it's -17 can you really warm anything up sufficiently? In my limited days on earth the answer is no. I can actually stand at the grate of our fireplace and place my finger tips on the burning metal screen and not feel a thing. After about two minutes, when the blood rushes back, I get the burning jet darts of pain. I love winter. It's my favorite.

The snow has come to Minnesota in the form of a 6" pile-up this weekend. When we usually get our first snow it's a wet, sticky oh-I-guess-I'll-snow kind of snow. Instead, this year it was a freezing-cold-blizzard-I'm-going-to-get-you snow. The kids went out to sled and were back in 5 minutes demanding hot cocoa and whining about the cold.

It's going to be a long ass winter. I better get my skates sharpened.

Go to www.zupho.com to see a picture of my husband's baby.

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Comment by Liz on December 3, 2007 at 3:33pm
My husband is from Syracuse and this is how he spent every winter growing up -- on the homemade ice rink in the backyard. Great post.

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