Saturday, May 31, 2008
Before I get to the whining and making fun of camping (I'm sorry...I tried it and I do think some mocking is definitely required) let me FIRST say that I had such a fun time.
Camping was incredibly fun.
Crazy how even horrific experiences can be enjoyable when you have a few key ingredients...
A husband who is so sweet
Children you love spending time with
A brother, sister in law and nieces that you actually down right adore
And friends who are as precious to you as your own flesh and blood
Without those things, this last week would have been for me something out of a HORROR movie.
But WITH those wonderful elements, this week was one of the best weeks of my life (when the new Target opens in our town, that will be another one of the best weeks of my life).
I didn't write all about getting ready for camping when I was actually getting ready for camping for a couple reasons.
When one is in the throws of trying to throw your entire home into five rubber maid containers, one does not have time to sit down and write.
I didn't want anyone to know we were going camping because there could be whackos reading this blog, and I didn't want any whacko faces coming on our camping trip.
(On the way to the camping trip I thought, hey...I'm going to be in the car forever, I'll finally read that book Aaron's mom told me about...The Shack. I opened it up, started reading and ya know what it's about? Some kid getting kidnapped on a camping trip. Are you kidding me? I almost threw it out the window.)
Here's what I learned while getting ready to go camping...
I am high maintenance when it comes to what I use on any given day.
Prior to camping, I would have said that I was not high maintenance.
But, once you have all the things you love...that you simply can't live without in one pile in one room...there's no denying it. I'm high maintenance.
I admit it.
I have a lot of toiletries.
I also use a lot of dishes.
Even my condiments are extensive.
I stood in the kitchen for thirty minutes thinking through this conundrum...
How am I going to live a week with just plain mustard?
I mean, I like regular mustard, but only on ham sandwiches with cheddar cheese.
If swiss cheese is involved, then I like honey mustard.
But it's silly to take both, so I just stuck with regular.
Before we even left, I knew this was going to be hard on me.
But with three boys and a husband who loves the outdoors, I knew that camping was inevitable at some point.
I should get a t-shirt for living this long with this many males and not camping yet. I'm not proud of this, but honestly, avoiding camping this long took extreme manipulation. I would listen carefully for any hints of camping and then...with precision...redirect the conversation.
Nothing about camping appealed to me.
Nothing about getting ready to GO camping appealed to me either.
Now, I know that I'm going to be made fun of...I lived through a week of this...but I will shamelessly say that when I think of going on vacation, my mind drifts to a happy place where when you need some coffee you pick up the phone, dial zero and then that coffee quickly appears at your door. When I think of vacation, I think of eating in a place where someone else cooked my food and cleans up the horrible mess my kids made. When I think of vacation, I think of packing what I sort of half way think of packing, and if we forget something, pulling into the first parking lot underneath a red bulls eye logo. When I think of vacation, I think of leaving your room for a few hours and then coming back to find it magically clean...new towels...beds made...now that's vacation to me.
So make fun of me all you want, but taking bits and pieces of the home you own and shoving them into Rubbermaid containers to go somewhere less nice than where you live...where even the most basic of things like going to the bathroom or eating breakfast is about 95 times more difficult than normal...that's sort of weird. Really. I don't care what camping lovers say...that's weird. You know that's weird.
Who on earth came up with this train of thought...
"Ooh...I know. For vacation, why don't we leave this house we've worked so hard to afford and go in the woods for a week and pretend like we're poor and have nothing. Won't that be fun? After working so hard all year, why don't we go pretend like we're homeless people?"
The next thing ya know, the new vacation rage will be loading up your family and wandering around downtown Houston pushing grocery carts. It's a slippery slope and I'm pretty sure that sleeping under bridges and eating out of trash cans is where we're all heading.
Before you go camping you have to spend a week paying attention to everything you use every day.
Sheets, pillows, toilet paper, eye cream, coffee creamer, ketchup, ziplock bags in a variety of sizes.
And then you have to go to the grocery store and buy enough food to last you for a week...enough snacks, suppers, lunches, car treats...and if you forget anything, guess what...you have to live without it because annoyingly, no one puts a Target in the middle of a state park that's in the middle of nowhere.
I don't know what's wrong with me, but for some reason, my brain must have thought that when you go camping, your family turns obese.
I packed enough food to last us three months. I don't know who I thought I was feeding, but it wasn't us.
At the grocery store, I saw Ashley Garratt's mom.
She asked me what I was doing.
I told her I was getting ready for the trip.
She mentioned that Ashley (her family went with us) was also running around like crazy getting everything ready.
That's what you do before you camp. You work yourself into a frenzy. I would get up out of the bed in the middle of the night for a week because I remembered something I needed...I would wake up...go get that thing and throw it on the "going to Garner" pile. That's what you do when you're getting ready to camp. You panic and walk around your house carrying cotton balls at 3 a.m. because if you forget them, then no cotton balls for you for a week. You'll have to apply your Proactive Toner with a leaf that a deer probably peed on.
While I was practically crying to Ashley's mom I said something like...
"This will be the furthest I've ever been from a Target in my life."
Some elderly lady was standing in the aisle listening to me whine.
After I was finished with my sob story, exhausted from packing and shopping...exhausted from waking up in the middle of the night, finding batteries and throwing them on my pile...that elderly lady stopped me in the aisle and said...
"Maybe you can take a picture of that Target circle with you while you're camping."
She meant it.
She was so sweet.
So I spent a week getting ready to relax.
By the time we were ready to go, I was so tired...it was a sick tired...like Christmas morning tired.
Then Aaron informed me that we would be heading out with the 5 a.m. caravan.
leaving at 5 a.m.
When I think of the word "relaxing" 5 a.m. never comes to mind.
It was hilarious...really...by this time it was so funny...everything about camping was funny.
By this time, after all the hard work to get ready to go to Garner, Aaron would start smiling or laughing before breaking any new crazy news to me.
"You need to get up at 4. I'll probably get up at 3:30."
To these insane comments I would say...
"Ah...vacation. Can't wait."
We're going to some place crappier than where we live and waking up hours earlier than we normally wake up.
"How far is this place?" I asked the day before leaving...
Another smile from Aaron...trying to keep a straight face while breaking the news to me...
"About 5 hours."
Everyone knows how much I love being in the car.
The morning of the big adventure, Aaron indeed woke up at 3:30. Then, like an excited child, he noisily got ready, turned on the bathroom light...and then, at 3:54 he laid down on the bed beside me and started rubbing my back sweetly.
I still had 6 minutes left and he was rubbing on me.
More to come...