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A creek in the Cascade Lakes Highway trying to peek out of feet and feet of stacked snow.When Work Gets Tough






F*%k it, go Skiing






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It was only Tuesday.  Tuesday!  And I was already to snap into my own Tet Offensive and cross under the wire to Charleyland.  Diamond Jim, my boss, saw my face tightening, my mongloid forehead starting to tip forward like a ready-to-charge  bull in Pamplonian streets, the vein in my temples was getting as turgid as an arm-wrestling forearm and had ceased to pulse and turn into a full running torrent, in oilman's terms, it was a gusher.  He knew it was only minutes before I reduced another co-worker to tears.

He told me to go home, get my cross country skiis and meet him at Safeway.  He explained to everyone else that he was going to take the dangerous man outside and away from the building far enough to where smalls arms fire stops being so deadly.

Mount Bachelor on a fantastic, sunny day

I called El Presidente, the CEO of the company, and told him I was quitting and Jim was going to go out and try to talk some sense into me.  I told him not to wait up for us.  Diamond Jim and I were giggling as I made the call.

The sun, the trees, the blue sky and the snow all on the way to Todd Lake - Cross Country OregonIt was a day to behold.  We had a massive early winter in Central Oregon in 2006.  There was over 180 inches of snow at Mount Bachelor's base at the end of January.  We headed out of town to the Cascade Lakes Highway towards Mount Bachelor with the sun blazing all over the purifying blanket laying over the land.  There were no clouds in the sky marring the cobalt-blue skies with scorching white-peaked mountains all around us.

Originally, we were going to out to Swampy Lakes and do a loop on the many trails in that area.  Diamond Jim instead pulled into the Sunrise Parking Lot of Mount Bachelor.  We gussied up and sallied forth to the Nordic Center and got strapped in.  Diamond Jim gave me quick cross country skiing instruction and we were off to Todd Lake.  His wife, the operator, and president I believe, of the fantastic Overleaf Lodge, Fireside Motel and the Overleaf Village in Yachats, Oregon, had broken track after the last major storm went through the mountains.

We crossed the stream that feeds into Todd Lake and could see the snow caves the stream cut through were ten to twelve feet deep.  It was overlooking an expansive snow meadow where a waxing three-quarter moon was just rising up over the horizon, amazing considering how bright it was outside.  This was at least a Hallmark Moment.  But I wasn't going to go there with Diamond Jim.

Jim Inkster standing in front of frozen Todd Lake with Broken Top Mountain in the background

We made it out to the lake and could see Broken Top peaking over a ridge and watching over the frozen, snow-covered lake.  We each took a minute and just admired being out on such a beautiful day, isolated a few miles from anyone else without a sound on the breeze, no smells except the quiet forest and no other people.  The only true sound I could hear was my pulse starting to drop, my pressure deflating and my normal pissheadedness taking the place of Super Pisshead.

We took a small lap around the lake and a different track back to the Nordic Center.  We took off the skiis and went to the Bar at Bachelor.  Sitting on the back deck, Diamond Jim bought a pitcher of a golden ale.  The sun was glistening off the slopes, the temperature was perfect with almost no wind.  Diamond Jim handed me my phone and told me to call El Presidente.  I gave him a call and told him that Jim and I had a great talk, he really got me to understand the fundamentals of my job and how I can further the company along in its goals.  Basically I told him that with each decision, I would ask myself one question: Is this good for the company?

Sunset on Mount Bachelor after taking a quick ski trip around Todd Lake

El Presidente called complete bullshit on the call and asked if I was out skiing.  I unabashedly told him I was hurt and felt sullied by his accusation and that having to hear crap like that was making my beer taste flat, the sun dimming on the slopes and the magic out of the sunset.  He laughed at me and told me I was fired...then hung up.  Diamond Jim told me not to worry about it, he would take El Presidente out tomorrow for a talk and work it all out.  I want Diamond Jim's job.