Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My kinda house party...

Zach was well on his way to being a helluva climber until I fell and landed at his feet last August. That pretty much took any interest he had and shut it down for almost exactly a year. During this time I left him alone, never encouraged him to climb or prodded him to give it a try... I figured if he wanted to, he'd give it a shot eventually; if not, who could blame him? After all, one of his formative lessons of climbing was that if you screw up, you could end up spending two months groaning a lot and limping around the house with a cane, hopped up on percocet and looking like THIS:

He started asking climbing-related questions somewhere around the middle of July, while we were on vacation. The initial questions took the form of, "Would I die if I fell from there?" (Pointing to the nearest high spot in the terrain.) Never one to sugar-coat things (I know this is surprising to my readers...) the answer was almost always, "Oh, yes. You'd die or worse." There's nothing to be gained in minimizing the dangers of the activity... just about every year we loose one or two world-class climbers. I'll be thrilled if my kids decide to climb, but I'm not going to "trick" them in to it by making them think it's safer than it is.

When he started asking more specific questions, I knew his curiosity was back, and he would be back on track before long. About a month ago, he started asking me if I could find a way to teach him to climb and rappel without having to go "too high off the ground." He said he wanted to learn all the "safety stuff" and learn to "trust his ropes" first. Of course I answered with an emphatic "yes" and told him I'd find some way to do a "ground school" around the house.

See... for those who don't know, we live in Ohio. You climb what you can, and you usually can't be too picky. A few weeks ago Zach and I were outside and he looked at the side of the house near the garage and said, "Why not there, dad?" I said, "Sure!" without really thinking about it and told him we'd do it soon. He's pestered me for weeks now... "When are you going to help me set up the ropes?"

Finally tonight, a spectacle for all the neighbors to behold:

I wonder what the neighbors think of us?

Now we've set our sights on the chimney. Better wait and make that sometime when mom is at work...


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