BUT, Char came home from school with a note from her teacher about how helpful she has been. We relented and promised her an hour at Skate North Incrediroll.
I didn't think much of it until we were in line to buy tickets. That's when it hit me. I asked Daphne, "We don't have to skate, too, do we?"
"Well, she can't skate by herself. I'd think we have to."
I have a feeling that my face replied by turning white. I haven't been on skates since I was 12, and I wasn't any good back then. I once broke my arm skateboarding. This was trouble.
The rotating lights above the rink made me think of the ambulance I'd soon be in.
When we got on the floor, it was as bad as I thought. I immediately slipped as if I was on ice, and I only missed the ground because the small concrete wall caught me. I patted the top of the wall in thanks. Then I tried to inch my way further out while three-year-olds zoomed past.
Char was between Daphne and I, and when she'd slip she'd almost take me down with her. Char's skate would slam into my foot, and I'd end up back on the wall hanging on as if I was about to fall off a cliff.
I kept thinking about Pieter Bruegel the Elder's painting, The Blind Leading the Blind.
Char fell several times, but she kept getting up. Daphne and I were pretty proud of her attitude. We noticed that quite a few parents had rented a "skate mate" for their kid, so Daphne left to get one of those while Char and I inched along, hugging the wall.
The skate mate helped, but Char didn't want us to hold onto the top tubes with her, and she still wiped out a few times.
About 30 minutes into this week-long hour, the DJ announced, "Don't forget parents, you can walk the rink in street shoes, but you have to remain next to your child the entire time."
My head whipped around so fast I almost lost my balance again. Whaaaat? We could be wearing street shoes? We're risking our lives for no good reason?
That's why none of the other dads were slipping and sliding. They weren't skating! How did I not notice that? When I looked at Daphne, she looked as surprised as I felt.
But it was too late by that time, so we kept chugging away.
This is the only picture I have from those terrible 60 minutes. I left my phone in our locker so it wouldn't get broken like my arm.
I'm happy to report that neither Daphne or I fell this time. That was a relief because I was sure I'd be leaving Skate North on a stretcher.
I know one thing. The next time we go skating, my boots will be made for walking.