Misadventures in camping

Wednesday afternoon: Decide to go on a short weekend camping trip. There’s not much time to plan, but it’s only a couple of days, so it should be fine. There is a chance of rain, but the forecast could change. My friend and I decide to make a final decision based on the weather forecast Friday morning. She and her daughter are already at the campsite, because she is a teacher and has the summer off.

Wednesday evening: After work, I head for my parents’ house, where the kids have been hanging out all day. The boy has his summer mohawk, and he is suitably smugly pleased about that. Both children are ridiculously excited about camping, because my daughter and my friend’s daughter have been texting about the possiblility. I decide not to point out that we are not sure to go because of rain, instead telling them that they have a lot of cleaning to do before we can think of leaving for the weekend. After dinner, we head to Target and purchase a new tent, air mattresses, a tabletop grill, bug spray and smores forks.

Thursday: I am working from home, so I am able to do a lot of laundry and shop for food over lunch. I make a couple of things ahead: tuna salad, marinate onions for avocado salad. We can do this, right? Even though I am heading out for a pre-scheduled Mom’s night out that will take me out of the work all evening? The children will work on this while I am gone, right?

Thursday, 10:00 PM: Wrong. So wrong. As far as I can tell, the children watched TV, played on the computer, and ate granola bars while I was gone, shedding wrappers throughout the house (and when I say throughout the house, I definitely do NOT mean into the various trashcans placed in nearly all rooms in the house) as they went. I lose my mind, threaten the children with no trip unless they work like fiends the next day, send them around to pick up granola wrappers and make gazpacho. Upstairs before bed, I do most of my clothes packing. I don’t need much, it is only two days. Maybe this will work out fine.

Friday morning: This is an office day. I wake up the girl before I go, so that she can get right to work. I pick many mint leaves from the garden while I take the dog out, so that we can have mojitos with the Cuban themed BBQ I have planned for Saturday. Before I leave, I start to make the marinade for the cuban roasted pork and realize I forgot to get lime juice. No problem, there is a store a block away from my office, and I need to get rum anyway–all of my rum is being used to make homemade mint liqueur.

Friday work day: Throughout the day, I text the girl to keep her on track. She seems to be moving along, cleaning the kitchen, getting a lot of packing done. This won’t take long, right? All I have to do is get out of work a little early, finish the pork marinade and trim the roast, pack the food, finish my stuff and we can head out.

Friday, 3:00: Damn! I finished my financials, due today, but I only did half of the financials for the guy on vacation I am covering. No problem, I will dive in now.

Friday, 3:50: Wait, what is this? I have no idea what he is doing on this screen, and I don’t want to mess it up. I want to leave at 4:00, but I call my team lead for help anyway. I can’t get someone else in trouble. We get it straightened out, and I doublecheck everything, only to find that some things have gone out of whack in the hour since I balanced them. I re-fix them, knowing my detailed notes for the regular guy are screwed, but figure we can get this ironed out when he returns. By the time I wrap everything up and head out the door, it is 4:39, approximately 21 minutes earlier than I would normally leave, and I still have to go to the store. Well, we can make it up, right?

6:00: I make it home with all stuff, ready to swoop in, approve the kids’ cleaning activities and finish up. The kitchen does look a lot better, but the kitchen floor is still sticky.

Me: “The floor is still sticky.”

The girl, surprised: “I mopped!”

Me, starting to lose my mind: “But it is still sticky! It isn’t enough to just run the mop over it, you have to check and see if it worked!”

7:10: After much arguing and reminders, we make it out the door. We need to stop for gas and ice, then pick up some fast food and we will be on our way. Sun down is 8:28, so I point out that we need to put the tent up right away when we get to the camping site, before it gets dark. Overall, though, I feel pretty good. We are going camping!

8:15: We arrive at the camp site, and take out the tent right away. The girl announces that she needs to go to the bathroom. I suggest we put the tent up first, but she threatens to have an accident, so I tell her to hurry, it is starting to get dark.

8:45: It is really getting dark. Where is that girl? My friend, who is much more experienced with tent installations than I am, has been helping me, but the girl was supposed to hurry back. I text her: “Get back here now.” She replies: “we r on r way bak” I reply: “Run”

She returns, and we only have the rain flap left to install. I show her the directions and head for the bathroom myself. I ask my friend if there is a closer bathroom than the main one the girl went to, but she says the one two camping sites down was damaged in a recent storm and has been closed. Oh well, more exercise, right?

The rest of evening goes pretty well. We play travel Pictionary, the kids have smores, and we get a little bit of reading done. The pump for the air mattresses runs out before my mattress is fully inflated, but the girl spends some time inflating it with her lung power, too. Surely it will be fine.

11:00: The girl and I head to the bathroom for a last trip before bed. She tries to convince me to just let her use the trees, but I say we should walk up. I am so tired that I try to convince her to carry me back, but we make it back without incident. The boy proclaims he is not tired, and I decide to let him play on his DSi for a bit while I read. The mattress really isn’t inflated enough, but it will probably be fine for one night.

12:00: Okay, boy, close the DSi, it is time for sleeping.

Boy: “I have to go to the bathroom.”

Ugh, I am so close to sleep now. Me: “How about you just go behind a tree?”

Boy: “I’d really rather go to the bathroom.” Why didn’t I make him go with us at 11:00?

Me: “You are lucky I love you.”

We make it up and back, with only a little bit of dramatic pretending to fall asleep while standing up on my part. This is good anyway, because he is sharing my air mattress and we don’t want any accidents.

12:30 AM: I hate those people at the end of the street. This is not the time for throwing things at your friends so that they will yell at you, and talking loudly. God, will they ever SHUT UP?!?

2:30 AM: The trip to the bathroom was not enough. He is off the edge, and there is a huge wet spot on the sheet. Fortunately, it doesn’t come all the way over to me. I go back to sleep.

3:30 AM: The girl: “What? What? I don’t know!” She has done this before, so I know not to compound the problem by talk ing to her. She is asleep throughout, but I am awake. It passes quickly, though, and I go back to sleep.

5:00 AM: The girl wakes me up. “Are those tornado sirens?” Me, sleepily: “Hmmf? Yeah, but we are fine. We can still sleep.”

5:02 AM: My friend, outside the tent: “Do you hear that? What does the radar look like on your phone?” Damn, I have to get up. I check the radar, and there is a giant line of storms headed our way. We start loading our stuff back into the car, trying to decide whether to abandon the whole trip or just leave during the storm. My decision making skills are seriously hampered by the lack of sleep, but we decide to empty the tent, but leave it for later, go for breakfast, and reavaluate later in the day.

7:00: Several cups of coffee are keeping me awake now, but it won’t last. We decide to head home and nap before the final decision.

7:30: Driving home down the corridor of concrete that is Highway 40/61. I understand why the people in the surrounding houses want the sound buffering, but 8 lanes of highway hemmed in by 10 foot high concrete walls? My god, that is bleak.

8:00: Stagger in the house, give kids directions to put the food in the fridge, wash my sheet, and charge the air mattress pump then head up to bed. Sleep, glorious sleep!

8:38: “Girl! Stop singing!”

After a couple of hours of sleep, I feel much better. We are getting ready to head back out, despite a 60% chance it will rain again tonight. We can always hang out and then leave before bed if the radar looks menacing. Wish us luck.

2 responses »

  1. We did go back, and it totally rained all night, but it wasn't too bad. It didn't start raining until we went to bed, and the tent kept us dry. I am glad we did it, we had fun!

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