The ramp in the driveway

One of the top stories of the winter Olympics was the retirement of Shaun White, the “Flying Tomato.” Shaun White is a world class skateboarder and snowboarder, having won pretty much any medal there is over the last couple decades.  He ended up fourth in this, his last snowboarding Olympics.  I cannot snowboard, and never could. It’s not for lack of trying…actually it is. I never tried. I admit it. I tried skiing with less than stellar results. After that debacle I figured that me snowboarding would produce less than less than stellar results.

In the 90s, snowboarding was not a sport in the Olympics. It became a demonstration sport, then official. Like many other kids, our son wanted to try snowboarding. My husband and two sons went to the local ski hill and rented snowboards. According to my husband, he and the snowboard-interested son had less than stellar results. Of course the oldest child (come on, there’s always one) who didn’t particularly care about snowboarding, hopped on and zoomed away. This was the last time my husband went…and the snowboarding son decided to concentrate on skateboarding.

When I was young, there were skateboards around. It was a “boy thing” like so many physical activities back then. I did have metal roller skates that clipped onto my shoes. I used to skate around on the driveway and street. I had the “arms out and bent” strategy to deal with the bumps and potholes in the street.

I kind of enjoyed roller skating which was why at the age of 30+ I thought it would be a great idea to take my kids skating at Laura’s Roller Emporium. Laura’s was a roller rink in a squatty little building, with colored lights and loud music and designated skates like “couple skate.”

This is the actual inside of Laura’s which is now under a new owner.

The elementary school would raise money by hosting skating parties for their school. The boys went to a few, so I thought I’d take our much younger daughter with us.  If you have ever tried to skate with a child hanging on to you with their legs flailing like Fred Flinstone trying to start a car, and were able to remain upright, you are a better person than I. I realized this pretty quickly and left the boys to their own devices. The much younger daughter skated around on the carpet. I sat down and watched them while eating M&Ms from the vending machine. I don’t remember any serious injuries. They played a game called the “magic circle” which involved skating to one of five or six circles and sitting down. Right, sitting down on the floor and getting up again on skates? I could barely do the “turn yourself around” part of the hokey pokey. The grand prize for being in the randomly selected circle was a gift pass to come back to Laura’s again. I spent many Hale Road Elementary Skating Parties sitting, eating junk food, and mentally grooving to “Turn the Beat Around” and other gems. But I digress….

I don’t know where it started, but the skateboard inspired son had the brilliant idea of building a skateboard ramp in the driveway. My husband, a “never say die” kind of man, agreed that this would be a great idea. He helped the son build a ramp that took up a large part of the driveway. The oldest son probably helped too, as that is what we oldest kids do.  I was not paying much attention to the project but seemingly overnight we had a skateboard ramp and metal rail in front of our house and garage.

I guess one is the loneliest number, so another one was created…

The son had friends. The friends came over and skated. Frequently. They were good kids, or at least I thought they were. Do parents really know? They took pictures of each other conquering the ramp and rail. We had absolute saints as neighbors. At one point our neighbor came over and very apologetically asked if they could stop skateboarding at 9:30 or 10pm. She was a bus driver and had to get up early. I cringed, realizing that what had become “white noise” to me was quite possibly an inconvenience to others. They did tone it down, and except for one time when they had a backyard rock concert it was quieter at night.

Anyway, seeing Shaun White retire gave me pause. Our son does not snowboard or skateboard anymore (to my knowledge!). I miss the days when something was always happening at our house. The skateboard ramp is long gone and we are quiet neighbors now, boring some might say.

Shaun White expressed admiration for the younger snowboarders and said that what was great back then was nothing compared to what they are doing now. During the last snow, the two grandsons were taking turns snowboarding down a very small hill, and then the slide (I know, thank goodness mommy didn’t see).

Pretty good form for a preschooler!

I wonder if one of them will be the next big thing? It makes me want to belt out “The Circle of Life.” I’m sure their parents would just LOVE a ramp in the driveway! I’ll have to broach the idea…

This is what Chester has been doing.


He has been lazy with a capital L. He goes out, stands on the deck, then comes in again unless he sees a squirrel. The youngest grandson bought him a “bunny” at Petsmart and chewing it up was the most energy he has expended in a few days. I think he has a case of the winter blues.

Keeping new bunny from getting away while he sleeps.

It could be worse though, several years ago we visited our kids in NYC in February. We decided it would be FUN to go to Coney Island. The wind was whipping up and it was NOTFUN. It was kind of cool though (literally) and we did eat hotdogs. I think you can feel it in this picture.

It’s almost March and spring is coming so hang in there and have a good week!

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A classic overthinker trying to age gracefully while living with a big, too smart for his own good shelter pup who must have his daily walk.

10 thoughts on “The ramp in the driveway”

  1. I suppose building a skateboard ramp in your front garden ranks below giving a child a drum and drumsticks in the ‘giving the neighbours a fit’ stakes! Still, your neighbour sounds a good sort.
    Chester must be building up his reserves of energy for when spring arrives. Then he will be able to chew two bunnies at once.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Living in Colorado skiing is almost a prerequisite for residency. I did it but never really enjoyed it (fear of heights on the chairlift, brutal cold on the slopes and uber-expensive lift tickets did nothing to turn me into a fan-then again neither did the long trip home along with 6 million other cars through the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70). As for skating, I remember those skating places as a kid-what a fun day (till you break an elbow showing your own kids you can spin around 🙄). Norman & Elsa get what’s going on with Chester. Winter cabin fever in dogs is a real thing. Have a great weekend! P.S. Loved all the pics!

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  3. I didn’t watch any of the Olympics, but I do remember the name Shaun White from previous years. I like your ramp duo. What a good way to work off energy. I went to skating parties as a girl but skating evaporated from my world when I was in my 20s. I like Chester’s approach to life!

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  4. As a small kid my best friend “Skipper” was a very good roller skater. So good that I think he later competed at US Nationals and may have won something impressive but by then we had moved and drifted apart. He tried to teach me to roller skate. This mightily annoyed his parents who were spending beaucoup hours taking him to rinks at unholy hours to perfect his jumps and spins and all he wanted was to spend time trying to keep me off my butt. Unsuccessfully, I might mention. I got a lot of hairy eyeball and eventually gave up trying, an approach which has been useful for me in many later situations. I got to admit that my first thought on your post was the “Oh, I got a brand new pair of roller skates, you got a brand new key” song by whomever you prefer, Melanie Safka or Janis Joplin, I couldn’t decide which I liked best so I gave up again. Chester…I thought we had the talk about winter chonky dog. I think I see a return of winter chonk.


    1. I sure hope Skipper went into teaching, he seems to have had a passion for it! Yes, I was singing the song also…I grew up with the Melanie version so I guess I favor that one but I do like me some Janis! I mentioned your observation to Chester. He tried to deny it (who me?) but wasn’t motivated to pursue it and went to sleep. It’s those darn Milk Bones!


  5. Snowboarding is a huge passion for me. I’m not athletically inclined, and my kids told me to board rather than ski so I don’t break myself. When out of control one lands on the butt or face with snowboarding. No limbs flying around to break. So far so good. I relate with the active house turning quiet. I miss the hubbub and am ready for the grands to make things more lively.

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