“The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before.”
Neil Gaiman

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

a weekend of mixed blessings (not writing related)
Mon 2014-11-17 23:41:16 (in context)

I skated in my new boots for the first time at Sunday practice. (That is, for the real first time. I don't count the five minutes of rolling around at Skate Ratz so I could adjust my toe-stops to a comfortable height and confirm that the newly mounted plates put the wheels in the right places under my feet.) New boots! So exciting! They got a more hard-core first-time workout than I expected, though.

See, John and I carpool to Sunday practice, but we arrive in time for him to assist with coaching the A team's practice. The combined B and C teams' practice isn't until three hours later. I generally spend those three hours in a side office in that building doing my Sunday morning AINC reading (an hour of employment ads from the three major broadcast regions of the state) and generally poking around on the internet.

But yesterday's A team practice was a little underattended, a common feature of offseason snow days. So John came out and found me and asked me to gear up early. "We're practicing a new three-person defensive formation, but we need a fourth person to jam against their wall. Would you?"

So that's how my brand new skate boots and toe-stops got their first real workout. Jamming against an All Stars tripod. For a full lap of the track. Oh my goodness were my ankles sore! I was pretty much driving forward (adequately) and juking around (slowly) on toe-stops the whole time. I also discovered that my boots weren't the perfect fit I'd hoped for--my heels kept shifting up and down no matter how tightly I tied the laces.

Part of the problem, no doubt, was having heat-molded them to bare feet, but then skating with socks on. So when I geared back up after the B/C team off-skates warm-up, I went without socks. THAT WAS A MISTAKE. A terrible, terrible mistake. That up-and-down rubbing of my heel against the aggressive inward sweep of the boots' heel cup resulted in three huge blisters, each at least the size of a quarter, which made any toe-stop work or transitions utter agony by the third hour of practice. I had to bail on the last fifteen minutes of skating, though I was able to participate in the off-skates plyometrics at the end of practice.

(I also ended up bailing on the farm this morning because I quailed at the thought of putting shoes on at all.)

So today I have taken the boots off their plates and remolded them while wearing a pair of my hand-knit derby stockings, that being a lot more representative of how I plan to skate in them. I'm trying not to be worried about re-installing the plates. It's just four bolts per skate, right? To be sent through existing holes? No worse than reinstalling hinges or slider assemblies after staining our closet doors? And yet I worry. Will I get the bolts as tight as they had been? Will I strip the holes? Will everything explode?

Worrying is my default passtime. I find things to worry about. They don't have to be rational worries, either. It's just my brain, being obnoxious as usual.

I also worry about whether my problems with these boots mean I got the wrong size after all. But then I remember how my Riedell R3s ate big bloody holes into my ankles during my first couple of practices with them on. (No exaggeration there--I remember taking off my skates and discovering wide bloodstains on my socks.) So maybe I shouldn't panic about having a painful breaking-in period just yet. Breaking-in periods are what makes new skate equipment a mixed blessing.

Speaking of reinstalling hinges, the first pair of bi-fold closet doors is reinstalled in the living room. It looks lovely and opens and closes smoothly. Hurray! This, however, is also a mixed blessing, because there are three more pairs to do. The next one is currently on the buckets, getting its paint stripped. And so the interminable home improvement project continues.

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