Friday, April 8, 2011

Camping Adventure

I like nature. I really do. I like it as long as I can look at it from a distance, and not actually experience it up close and personal. What I mean is I love to look at photographs of nature, or watch nature shows on TV, but, well, being out IN nature for extended periods of time is not really my thing. I get creeped out by bugs, especially poisonous or stinging ones, and snakes, and just critters in general. Oh, and bears. Florida has bears, you know. Add to that poison ivy or any other type of plant that makes you itch, and no thanks, I'll just stay inside, thank you. 
So, it was with much fear and trepidation (not really) that I reluctantly agreed to go tent camping (for only the second time in my whole life) with my husband Phil, our kids, and my husband's family last weekend. I personally was not super thrilled to go, but I knew that Phil really wanted to go. I knew it would be fun for the kids, and be a wonderful memory with my inlaws. My main concern was bathrooms and showers. I figured if they had an actual bathroom with running water and warm showers, I could make it. I've tried the whole "go in a bucket in the woods somewhere," and I have vowed never to get into that kind of situation again. So, we decided to go. It was just one night, I figured I could survive a few hours.

We headed out on Friday afternoon and got to the campsite around 6:30 p.m. The first thing that kinda freaked me out was how close all the "neighbors" (other campers) were to our campsite. I thought it was going to be a little more remote. I worried about what kind of crazy people would be camping next to me all night. As soon as I got out of the car, I begged asked Phil to take me home right then and there. Yeah, I'm a wimp. He just laughed.
So everyone was getting set up for dinner, cooking on grills and camping stoves.
My kids ran around the campsite playing with their cousins and exploring everything in sight. They were definitely in their element. Strange that neither of them take after their mama. I chalk that up to the fact that they just don't KNOW about all the terrible dangers that I know about that lurk in nature. Shortly before dinner, my father-in-law had to move his vehicle to another location, and as he was driving away, the trailer on his truck caught one of the tents and ripped a huge gash in the side. Of course, it had to be the tent I was going to sleep in. So my father-in-law had to run to the store and get some duct tape, and he managed to get it taped up pretty well.

I will have to say, dinner was awesome. At least food tastes extra good that has been cooked outside on the grill! After dinner we roasted giant marshmellows and popped popcorn over the campfire and just hung out.
 I let my kids get extra dirty, and tried not to mind too much. The kids begged their grandpa to tell them a scary story before bed, Thankfully, he didn't make it too scary. It was pretty late by this time, so everyone prepared to turn in. We got everyone down for the night, and I hoped everyone would sleep through the night. Such was not to be the case.  Ironically, it was not bears, snakes, or crazy people I had to be afraid of on the camping trip. The real terror was a handout given to us by the park service containing the pictures of an entire page full of poisonous fuzzy caterpillars to stear clear of. Sort of like this:
Try going to sleep thinking about poisonous caterpillars finding some little hole (or big hole, remember the rip in the tent?) in the tent and stinging you to death in your sleep. Add to that a child in one of the neighboring campsites screaming for half the night, as well as 50-degree weather at night, and me being all like, "aww, thanks Mom, but I don't need a sleeping bag, I'll be fine with my three fleece blankets I brought," when my mother-in-law so kindly offered to let me use some sleeping bags....for which I should have taken her up on, because I freeze quite easily, and indeed was freezing the entire night. And my poor parents-in-law's brand new air mattress somehow developed a hole and lost so much air during the night. Same thing happened to one of my sister-in-law's air mattress. And, raccoons made their way into our campsite and helped themselves to an entire un-opened package of hotdogs that was INSIDE a cooler, then found a chicken and veggie shish-kabob (left-over dinner) that had fallen under the picnic table unbeknownst to us and ate just the chicken off of it, and finally, shredded a roll of toilet paper we had brought just in case the public bathrooms ran out. And did I mention how cold it was? I did? Well, it's worth mentioning again, because it was cold. Don't laugh, all of you Northerners. That might be a heat wave to you, but I've lived in Florida for 15 years, and my body doesn't know how to handle temperatures below 70 degrees.

Needless to say, it was a very long night. I laid awake alternately thinking about caterpillars and how cold it was. I must have finally gone to sleep, but I'm convinced it was probably only for 2 or 3 hours. I was so glad when it was morning. You didn't have to tell me twice to get up. Morning meant that I could go home in a few hours! I headed off for the showers, and then we all ate a big breakfast of eggs, toast, sausage gravy, and corned beef hash. I considered giving the kids a bath, but I knew that they would get dirty again, so I figured I'd just give them a bath when we got home that afternoon. I don't think they have ever been so dirty in all their little lives! They were having so much fun though. We had a leisurely morning just hanging out together, but soon it was time to pack up and head home (yay!).
To be honest, I really am so glad that we had the opportunity to spend time as a family and with our extended family, and I got lots of pictures and video. We all definitely got in some serious bonding time, that's for sure.
P.S. To family - just because I had a great time, you shouldn't assume I will be game to go again next weekend. It's gonna take a while for the "pain" to wear off. :))))



Miss Linda said...

Good afternoon, Laurie. Your post really made me laugh. I do enjoy the great outdoors too. I could look at pictures of beautiful wilderness all day long from the comfort of my tidy, climate-controlled apartment. I live in Texas, and revel in the warmth of our region. Like you, my body is just not attuned to temperatures below 70 degrees.

I'm sure you had a wonderful time (and your children must have been beside themselves with all the outdoor fun they had) but I would imagine you were so thankful to pull into your home and get settled once again.

By the way, I found your blog through a link on the IFB KJV directory. I have enjoyed your lovely blog and look forward to visiting again soon! Have a very nice (and poisonous killer caterpillar free) weekend! :)

Laurie said...

Miss Linda, thank you so much for your sweet comment! :)