It's not what we had planned at all. But life has a way of throwing us challenges and curve balls when we least suspect it. And our job is to do the right thing and make the best of it.
For me, our stay at Snow Mountain Ranch got off to a rocky start (pun intended!) when I brought along the flu and shingles bugs I'd been harboring for two weeks already. Energy zapped and battling the symptoms, I've had to scale back my normal instincts to hit the trails and spend as much time skiing as possible. It's not easy when surrounded by mountains and opportunities to ski and snowshoe. But my body tells me otherwise.
Then came the phone call. Rich's dad was in the hospital, and needed a family member to come be with him and see him through surgery and recuperation. Less than 24 hours later, Rich boarded a plane for Florida without booking a return flight. He's where he needs to be, and the YMCA was more than understanding about his sudden resignation and departure.
It feels strange to be here without Rich. Life goes on, and perhaps fortunately my work schedule has me busy for the next 4 straight days. I am surrounded by caring fellow volunteers who have quickly become our friends, and they are all looking out for me.
Just at the time we long to be connected and be able to talk, Rich and I are technology challenged. My phone has no service here, and Rich doesn't have internet at his Dad's house. Text messages are the best we can do, and arrange to talk via Skype when we can work it out. Between work schedule, hospital hours and the time difference, that's not always easy. In an age of instant communication, we feel the gap acutely.
The plan is to be reunited some time late next week – just in time for our return to Minnesota. It's doubtful we will linger on our trip home as originally planned. I expect instead we will be anxious to return to some semblance of normalcy.
Our memories of Snow Mountain Ranch may be a bit tarnished. But in no way is it the fault of the program. It lived up to all we expected and more, and there are many highlights we will remember fondly. And it's likely we will return. Hopefully next time things will go more according to plan.