Monday, July 26, 2010

Observations on "Camping"


Well, I did it. I survived camping with Ruanita and our three kids. I realize that many of you may not call a cushy 2-bedroom cabin "camping"...but there was no TV, no laptop, no video games, and no cell phone signal. As far as my family is concerned, we were roughing it. Despite the "rugged" conditions, we did surprisingly well...all five of us. There were a few moments that made me question the wisdom of dragging us all the way to the woods of northwestern Wisconsin. However, all in all, it was a good experience and we had a really great time. Throughout the course of the weekend, I managed to make some interesting discoveries about myself and my family that I thought I would share. Here are my rambling observations, in no particular order....

1. I am NOT immune to the persistent blood-sucking skills of the common Wisconsin mosquito. The entire weekend, I commented...well, bragged...about the fact that poor Lucas and Ruanita were being eaten alive by mosquitoes while I managed to remain pretty much unscathed. I boasted that I did not even need to apply bug spray because I was somehow immune to their bite. DEET schmeet! However, I realize now that I was out of line. I spoke entirely too soon. On the ride home from the campground, I began to feel an itchy sensation. It began on my arms. Then my legs began to itch. Then my back. Then nether regions that a polite person does not scratch in public. At this point, I have lost count of how many bites I have. Suffice it to say that I was sufficiently eaten alive. Karma is a bitch. Yea...next time I will keep my mouth shut.

2. Once you pack everything needed to go camping, you may as well go away for a month. Seriously. The sheer volume of "stuff" we needed to take with us seemed ludicrous for a two-day camping trip. And we stayed in a cabin! Half of the trip was spent simply packing and unpacking the car. No wonder we were exhausted when we got home.

3. I am not opposed to my children collecting inappropriate souvenirs. So what do you think my children collected to bring home as a reminder of their first ever camping trip? Pine cones? Cool leaves? Acorns? Photographs of the picturesque lake? No......not my children. They collected beer bottle caps. I have to say, it was an ingenious idea for a souvenir...considering the volume and variety of beer bottle caps readily available this weekend. Last night, after we got home, they had them spread out on the floor arranging them by color and design. Perhaps it was an inappropriate souvenir for children...but hey, it didn't cost me a penny and they enjoyed scrounging around for them. It kept them occupied. Judge me if you wish, but I have no guilt.

4. The dismount is the most difficult part of canoeing. Being the outdoorsy adventurer that I am, I thought it would be fun to take Lucas out on the lake in a canoe. I was concerned about him tipping the canoe and threatened to inflict painful bodily harm upon him if he so much as thought about standing up in the canoe. My sister, Amy, and I took Lucas out to the middle of the lake...to the best of our ability considering our utter lack of rowing coordination. After begging me nonstop for 24 hours to take him out on the lake, Lucas was finished and ready to return to shore after about ten minutes. He was "nervous". So we turned around and headed back to the dock...a task that took longer than it should have due to our above-mentioned rowing impairment. When we finally pulled up next to the dock, Lucas hopped out of the canoe with complete grace. I, on the other hand, was anything but graceful. I stepped one foot out and landed on solid ground. However, with one leg remaining in the canoe, it began to shift to the left. I hopped around on one leg for what seemed like an eternity. Eventually, however, the canoe did me in and I landed flat in the lake. I managed to submerge myself entirely...head to toe...in the two feet of water I was standing in. Today, I am nursing a huge bruise on the back of my leg...the one that was still in the canoe at the time I fell. And yes, for the record, I was the one and only person...adult or child...to fall into the lake this weekend. That figures.
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5. One bra is insufficient to take on a two-day camping trip. In the interest of conserving space in our luggage, I thought it made sense to only bring one bra on our trip. I figured I could wear it for two days and wash it when I got home. Yea...I was wearing that bra when I fell in the lake. Despite camping with a group of lesbians, I did not feel comfortable letting it all hang out...because hang they most certainly do! I tried drying my bra by hanging it on a fan. However, that did nothing. I briefly considered sticking it in the microwave before remembering that it had an underwire, and that metal and the microwave do not mix. A cabin engulfed in flames...in the middle of the woods...would have put a definite damper on the weekend. I finally settled on putting it in the oven to dry it. That worked...somewhat. Next time, I will enter our camping excursion assuming that I will fall into a lake, and I will plan accordingly.

6. My kids need a dog. Unbeknownst to us, camping with a group of lesbians is like going to a Humane Society Convention. I have never seen so many dogs in one place in my life....it was a veritable canine cornucopia! Big dogs, little dogs, boy dogs, girl dogs, slobbering dogs (Saint Bernard), wheezing dogs (Pug). Initially, my kids were leery of the dogs...particularly the larger horse-looking breeds. However, by the end of the weekend, they were playing fetch and having a grand old time with the dogs. I think it is time my children get a dog. We have a cat, but I am fairly certain that she does not like us. I get the impression she thinks it is below her to have to live with us. So a dog may be in order...at the very minimum, a child needs a pet that can tolerate their mere presence. Right?
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7. Sophie needs a little girl to hang out with. My poor daughter is constantly surrounded by boys. She has no sisters. She has no female cousins. All of her playmates are little boys. She can definitely hold her own with the little boys. However, it was wonderful to see her playing with a little girl this weekend. Her buddy Maya, who is exactly two days older than Sophie, came on the camping trip with us. Sophie and Maya play wonderfully together...they seem to be kindred spirits. It was great to see the two of them running around holding hands, whispering, and conspiring against the boys. Though Sophie plays well with little boys, they (in all of their dirty, burping, farting, worm-handling glory) are a sorry substitute for a real girlfriend.
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8. Nicholas is not, nor will he probably ever be, a lover of the outdoors. Left to his own devices, Nicholas would have spent the entire weekend in the cabin. As a matter of fact, he got in trouble several times for sneaking back to the cabin without telling anyone. He didn't care about the lake...or fishing...or swimming. Eating outdoors was not his thing. Nor was the firepit or playing tag with all of the other kids there. On Saturday night, as I was tucking him into bed, I was rubbing his sweet little face and telling him that I loved him. He looked up at me with the saddest look in his beautiful brown eyes and whispered, "Momma.....I miss my Wii." Try as a might to entice him to love the outdoros, he simply wasn't able. On Sunday, after we had left the campground and were eating lunch in Hinkley on the way home, I asked each of the kids what was their favorite part of the camping trip. Nicholas' response? "When we got to go home." Yep...that's my boy!
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9. Lucas is capable of feeling remorse. OK...this did not really come as a shock to me, but it always nice as a parent to be reminded that your children actually DO have a conscience, are capable of feeling remorse, and are not sociopaths. As we were waiting around to check out on Sunday morning, Lucas was playing frisbee with one of the dogs, Hazel. At one point, he threw the frisbee a little too close to one of the minivans in the process of being packed. The door to the van was open and poor Hazel, in her unbridled excitement over catching the frisbee, was not watching where she was going and slammed head-first into the open passenger side door. The poor dog yelped and cried and the door slammed shut, barely missing the dog and one of the toddlers standing nearby. Hazel ended up with a nice little cut near her eye. Lucas burst into tears, terrified that he had seriously hurt the dog. The dog's owner was incredibly sweet to Lucas and called Hazel over to show Lucas that she was going to survive just fine. Though I hated seeing Lucas in distress, it is comforting to know that my son will not grow up to be a sadist who tortures small animals. He apparently just doesn't have it in him. Whew!

10. I can survive without air conditioning. Contrary to what my brain tells me, I will not melt. Contrary to what my psyche screams, I will not suffocate. I will not die. I managed to survive two days without air conditioning, a feat I would have sworn was beyond me a few short days ago. Yesterday, I came home to find a $233 electric bill in my mailbox from running my air conditioner at 69 degrees 24/7. Yea....it might be time to re-think my "indoor comfort" needs. Maybe...just maybe...I could survive at 71 degrees....?

So there you have it. My top ten observations from our "camping" weekend. We had a great time and got to hang out with some wonderful people. Speaking of wonderful people, I would like to extend a very warm thanks to my friend Molly for taking Lucas under her wing and teaching him the fine art of fishing. I would also like to thank Kathy and Emily for buying Lucas his very own fishing pole. I love people who are willing to take an interest in my children and teach them a skill I woefully lack. He is now completely enamored of fishing and announced on our way home yesterday that he wants to have a "fishing party" for his next birthday. I have yet to break it to him that his birthday is in January. I may go camping, but there is no way in hell I am going ice fishing!


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1 comments:

Jennifer said...

Sounds like you all had a great time and made fun memories. Love your hat... I so need one!

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