Once again, my teens are off on a camping weekend with the youth group and I’ve opted out.
I spent a couple hours tonight, staring at myself in the mirror, attempting to shame myself into a better, younger, sturdier version of me but the minute I laid down on my own bed, it was over.
The last time I tented with them, we had a squadron of skunks patrol the area all night.
It’s a desperate moment when you have to choose between needing a toilet at 2am and deciding if there’s a way to unzip a tent without sending skunks into red alert firing position.
But there’s more than one way to pitch a tent.
I myself would pitch it over a cliff and be done with it.
So let me start at the beginning.
When Hubby and I married, camping equipment was high on our registry list.
Fishing gear was also a coveted wedding gift. Fine china and crystal goblets, no. His n Hers graphite poles and a Coleman stove, yes.
We love to be outdoors, hiking and exploring and fishing, but it’s hard to remember we would cheerfully sleep on rocks.
When the deep REM cycles break around 2am, you roll over so your other side can bruise, too. If you’re going to wake up a cripple; you may as well be balanced.
It’s a little trickier when you discover that your tent sits on an incline. You wake up at 2am with the mother of all head-rushes.
After a couple of kids join you in the tent, it gets real cozy. Most of your gear has to stay in the car so your sleeping bags will fit in the tent.
After a couple of barfing incidents at 2am, all the people need to fit back into the car as well.
You re-think the tent, and you’re also a bit weary of 2am.
The next phase involves an army tent so large Ringling Brothers could use it. It takes a couple of hours to put together but once it’s up, you can really spread out. Unfortunately, spreading out involves tracking in mud, sand, natural treasures, and S’mores goo that attaches the sleeping bags to the tent walls.
You’d think an ‘indoor’ water balloon fight would be the answer.
No. But thank you for trying to be helpful.
It’s stupid when you end up cleaning the behemoth like it was your house.
Isn’t it nice to ‘get away from it all’?
No one will keep the screens zipped properly.
The mosquitos are grateful.
They throw a party on your face at 2am.
Enter Phase Three: the tent trailer. Ours had only one purpose: elevate us from the ground.
It had no bathroom; we never used the little sink or stove or table. It configured into enough beds for seven large people and kept the bugs, the rocks, and the dirty laundry outside.
Not the campfire smoke, though.
Fun Fact: the wind can blow campfire smoke into your tent any time it wants to.
And you are stuck with it because once the trailer is in place, there’s no shifting it.
Like most of our things, it was no match in the end for a family resisting containment. We sold it just before it came apart at the seams to a young couple who had a large dog and wanted to camp every weekend in the desert.
Power to ‘em.
My idea of a fun campout is sending everyone out the door with their gear and heading to the kitchen for S’more tea.
I’m a good sport, but the only thing I want to do at 2am is hibernate.
There’s no place like home.
So here I am.