February 1, 2013

Bleeding Love

Someone shovel me.
After having a relatively mild winter last year on Hens on Ice's European tour, we've gotten the brunt of Old Man Winter this year stateside. I thought I was done with winter in 2004 when I moved from Colorado to Florida, where winter is any temperature below 60 degrees. Now that I have a traveling job, I have to bear places with real seasons. Life is hard.

Last year when it dipped below 60, I threw on layers and coats and told myself, "I'm in Europe." Even frostbite wouldn't stop me from taking pictures in Belgium while it was frozen. This year, I tried to tell myself the same thing, but I knew I was a liar. Knowing warm, sunny Florida is just a stone's throw away compared to last year, I've saved my whining only for when it's extremely cold. It's been extremely cold for two months now. "I hate winter" is my new "I'm in Europe."

Until recently, I accepted that I was just being a whiny little chick. No one really likes winter except for snow sport enthusiasts and old men with dementia who call themselves "polar bears." But the past week has reminded me of a legitimate reason for me to whine about winter: gushing nose bleeds at awkward times.

The dry, cold air in Colorado triggered nose bleeds for me on a regular basis. They soon became regular for me, especially while I skated, so I didn't understand why people on my skating sessions freaked out when they'd see blood on the ice. As long as no one falls in it, what's the problem? I still had triple loops to practice - don't try to kick me off the ice!

Now years later, Hens on Ice has brought me back to cold, dry winter climates (How about a Hawaiian tour next time?). I'd forgotten about my cold climate side effect until the past week when Old Man Winter's punch in the nose drew blood - three times.

1. It was 10 minutes before I had to be on our bus and checked out of the hotel. Nature called so I answered. Sitting on the toilet, white pants around my ankles, what I thought was a touch of the sniffles was really blood rushing down my face. Out of tissues, I reached for the toilet paper to push on my face, but now I had to ration the toilet paper since I suddenly needed it for two things. My mind raced about what needed to be the top priority out of all the things that needed to happen in the next 10 minutes. Stop the nosebleed? Get off the toilet? Protect the white pants? Make the bus? Okay, all of those things had to happen in those 10 minutes, and that's a lot to ask of one hen. Holding toilet paper to my nose, I then only had one free hand to accomplish all those things. Sure I functioned with one arm for a few months after an injury, but I never had 10 things to do in 10 minutes, and a sling looks a lot cooler than bloody tissue to the face. I made the bus in time, but left some of my dignity in that Erie hotel bathroom.

Enhanced reenactment 

2. In Indianapolis, I had dinner one night with some old, dear friends from when I lived there as a child. We moved from Indiana when I was 8, but these friends will always be special to me since I've known them longer than anyone besides my parents. We don't see each other often now, so it was a lovely evening to have dinner with old friends. After our dinner, I came back to the hotel and went out for a few drinks with my show hen friends. After a drink, I pulled out the nice picture from dinner of me and my dear friend, Kristine, and showed it to any friend or stranger within earshot. After the second and third drinks, I was waving that picture around like I'd just gotten a new puppy. By my fourth drink, there was no one left to show the picture other than the bartender, so I just sipped on my drink as my friends chatted with each other. I sat thinking of how long we'd been friends and remembered all the pictures of us as 5 year olds. I've never been the emotional bird at the bar (drunken brawls and beak fights don't count, right?) but my trip down memory lane and night of drinking triggered something. As I sniffed, wondering if I'd be that hen tearing up at the bar, I grabbed a bar napkin for my nose to realize that it was just a massive nose bleed starting.
Quit leaving the seat up!

I fluttered to the dingy pub bathroom, with barely enough room for a stall, a urinal and a sink. Once again, I found myself sitting on a toilet with toilet paper shoved again my face. This time I had my pants on and they weren't white, but I was now wearing a new winter coat I'd bought in New York City. Apparently my nosebleeds were drawn to new clothes I wanted to keep stain-free. After about 20 minutes in the rickety stall, the nosebleed stopped enough for me to leave the bar and walk through the dark, frozen streets of Indianapolis with toilet paper pushed upon my face. My night out was over.

3. The somewhat dramatic end to my trifecta of nosebleeds (try to hold back your tears) came at the arena opening night in Indianapolis. I was excited to perform in this city where I first learned to skate. Per usual, we warmed up to Britney and Britney-esque pop tunes before the show. But my warm up and dance moves must have gotten too aggressive, as one of my off-ice jumps triggered a familiar nose bleed. With 30 minutes until the start of the show, there was no time to sit and let it pass like on the luxury of toilet seats, so I had to keep going about my tasks one-handed, other hand holding tissues to my face. Thankfully it stopped before I had to jump in any Hens on Ice costumes, but I put my makeup on one-handed. I was getting skilled at going about my daily tasks with just my right arm. Just to be safe, I skated the whole show with my nose turned up to the 300-level seats. You're welcome, Indianapolis discount ticket holders.

I shouldn't have worn white.

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