Sorry this post is so late today, I spent the morning putting up Christmas lights and driving to Target three times to buy more Christmas lights and also more Starbucks peppermint lattes and then taking a quick jog about the block because I was so high on caffeine. Oh you want to know what I was wearing whilst doing all of this? Here is a picture.
|I am no longer wearing these things because I had to shower after my jaunt around the block.|
And then the cashier at Target gave me 10% off for Christmas Spirit. Or because I had a coupon. One of those two.
Anyway, I thought I would take a break from Christmas programming today (and you're doing a grand job of it Lauren!) to reflect on the subject of camping. ::shudder::
I grew up as the oldest of five siblings and there is quite a large age difference between my youngest brother and me. So there were always babies and toddlers in my life. This I did not mind. I was excellent at being quiet, escaping into a quiet corner with a jar of pickles and a stack of paperbacks.
Sidenote #1: I also brought a plate and a fork and a knife because that is how I ate pickles when I was younger. Because I was pretending to be a long-lost princess all the time. Obviously. I even pronounced pickles as PIKE-uhls because I had a princess accent. This is a true story.
Sidenote #2: Because there were always babies in the house my mother would freak out if someone rang the doorbell. So I made a sign and hung it outside. It said:
Inside this house a baby sleeps,
And you will make its mother weep,
If you come a struttin and press this button.
This is another true story. I have always loved words and being weird. Actually this was my second attempt at a doorbell sign. My mom nixed the first one because it rhymed the word 'bell' with the word 'hell'.
I am very tangential today.
So anyway, I didn't mind the babies. I LOVED the babies. Unfortunately having all of those babies about meant that any vacations my family took had to be super child-friendly and probably not involve flying anywhere. (I never even got on a plane until I was 15 and flew to my grandparents' place in Florida alone.)
So my parents decided that the logical solution to all of our vacation problems was to buy a used pop-up camper. It looked like this.
From what I could tell it was from approximately 1972. The inside looked something like this.
I will concede that it was well-cared for and very clean and everything worked, but still, it was not my favorite place to sleep.
So for years, many many weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day consisted of my parents and all of my siblings and me piling into our green conversion van and towing the camper to yet another campsite where we would do various camping activities and then pile back into the van and drive home.
Here is a run-through of the reasons camping was not my best friend. And NEVER will be unless someone builds a candy and gemstone forest and lets me pitch my tent near the Jack and Diet Coke River.
1. Because before we even pulled out of the driveway in what was the classiest of vehicles my dad would make us do this dumb roll-call where he would randomly shout out our names and we had to answer in the affirmative that we were indeed in the car. Except we could not just say "here." Nope. My dad would not pull out of the driveway until each and every one of the five of us had had our names called and answered with a "YO!" And the lucky child to be called last couldn't even get away with that. Only a "Yo Ho Ho And A Bottle Of Rum Punch!" would result in the journey finally beginning. (My mom added the word 'punch' because she thought it was inappropriate for children otherwise.)
|Our van looked like this except lighter green. My sister Jordan and I called her "Tankie" which made my mom spitting mad.|
3. Because of fishing. Because no one did it to actually catch and eat the fish, which would have been sad but maybe better because instead all of the kids (except me who did not fish) would catch fish and then be entirely too squeamish to unhook the fish and toss it back and I would freak out that the fish was going to die and then even though I was equally scared to touch the fish I would inevitably be the one to grab it and unhook it and save its tiny little life. And then cry a little. Thirty times a day.
4. Three words - Fat Man Squeeze. Which is basically a narrow slit that has been created over time in a huge rock wall that for some reason people think is fun to try to squeeze their bodies through. It gets pitch black and is long and scary and takes like ten minutes to complete. And there are people ahead of you and people behind and it is the most claustrophobic thing in the entire world. I never even tried it. But I just don't like that it exists. People have legitimately gotten stuck over the years and the path has to be evacuated and safety personnel called in. It should not be a thing. And yet it is. And people go to it. On purpose.
So yeah, there are a lot of reasons I will never be a camper. I just don't get it. I'm not snooty or snobby or afraid of getting dirty (I actually really loved "MudBall" - a camping game we invented.) It's just that the combination of all of the things camping entailed made it so I was always nervous that I was getting vampirized by a bug or that there were wildcats plotting to leap out of the forest and make me their lunch.
I do actually have a bunch of fond memories of camping too. Campfires are amazing and stars are beautiful and you have not lived until you've fallen asleep listening to a freaking Whipporwhill that has no idea how to shut its dang mouth. (Just listen to the first ten seconds of this video)
Plus the fact that I had bonafide camped in the wilderness gave me a sense of pride in myself. Like when I was in elementary school and we read My Side Of The Mountain and everyone else was all scared for the boy stranded in the forest I was like, "Pssshh except for the trained falcon, this shit sounds like last weekend to me."
And when I joined girl scouts I actually was sort of horrified at the "camping trips" they took us on. Like seriously, staying in a lodge with running hot water and a curtains made of fabric and a McDonalds down the street is not camping. Those girls did not deserve their camping badges! I deserved the camping badge. So to even things out, I made myself some fake badges that said things like "REAL camping badge" and "Touched A Fish" and "Found A Chigger On My Thigh" and sewed them onto my sash. It was weeks before I was discovered.
So yeah, camping. Love/Hate. Mostly Hate.
And OH OH OH (backwards Ho Ho Ho because I am so excited and typing too fast) - An update on THIS POST - Ryan P. Gallagher, under the almost constant peer pressure of one OJ and one HIS WIFE has relented and will be dressing like Santa Claus and walking around the city with us this December!!!!!! Yes!!!! Thanks so much for all of your help on FB, you really really helped convince him. The date is yet to be determined but I will let you know as soon as I know in case anyone wants to join! And yes there will totally be pictures.
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town!!!!
Stay tuned tomorrow for an update on little miss Zooey Deschanelf (what we eventually named our elf on the shelf) because she has been up to some mischief.