Great Ideas

I had a great idea on Wednesday; “Let’s Camp Out”

Turns out REI lets you rent a tent! For only $30 you can have the amazing, rewarding, surprising, frustrating and exhausting experience of camping out in your own backyard with your own family.

I now see why there have been no advertisements for this wondrous possibility.

It began Wednesday evening when my husband and I set the tent up secretly while Grandma kept the kids busy in the front yard. In all fairness, the thing was a cinch to pitch. I was expecting the long sighs and frustrating grunting remembered from my childhood when my parents “worked together” to pitch the tent on our family vacation. By “working together” I mean my dad would cuss a blue streak while my mother would impatiently stand close by in case she needed to hand him something… .like a hammer to bash his own brains out.

Nope, this tent was nearly a self-pitching endeavor. … thank god

So, marriage intact, we moved along to surprise the kids. My son, anxiety monster that he is, snuck into the house and out the backdoor to check on us. He hadn’t seen us in fifteen minutes, so needed to find out where EXACTLY we were, and what EXACTLY we were doing.

Surprise foiled

He was actually pleasantly surprised and ecstatic. We then let the three year old in on the act and everyone was giddy with anticipation for bedtime.

But first we had to eat dinner.

On any given evening it is nearly impossible to keep the kids in their seats at the table for the duration of a meal, but now it was laughable.

We (mostly) ate, we cleaned up, PJ’d out, and spent the next hour moving stuff from the house into the tent.

It’s amazing how much effort goes into the facade of being homeless for the night.

Everything was set, and now we just had to wait for dark so we could enjoy the full effect. …. except we live in the green and gorgeous state of Washington where in the early summer, it does not get dark until ten o’clock.  Flashlights lit, sleeping bags zipped, lanterns on, we began to tell preschool-tolerant ghost stories. The kids were mostly enthralled, but mostly just wanted to jump on anything and everything covering the floor of the tent. By 11 we were threatening to end the experience if they didn’t JUST. BE. STILL.

My sciatica tendency led me to sleep on my son’s bed mattress in the hopes I could walk the next day. My poor husband opted to sleep atop our fluffy comforter. The comforter was fluffy enough until there was a body on top of it trying to sleep. It was a fitful night of trying to stay dozed or mostly asleep. At 4am I found myself checking on my daughter beside me for the twentieth time. Too cold? Still here? Bear food? I found my husband also awake and we exchanged pained grunts.

Around 6 my son pops up to announce he needed to pee. The wonders of home camping! “Go inside the house and pee.”

He comes back into the tent and wakes up the three year old… of course. What’s the point in being the only one awake? Who is the least likely to take his head off for daring to wake them at the butt crack of dawn?

“Hey Gemma! You want to wake up and play?”
“What do you want to play?”
“I want to play ‘Go to sleep'”

From the mouths of babes. Not one to accept “No”, he went through his mental game rolodex until he found a game she would rouse for. Jumping I think won out.

Here we are two days post camp and i’m finally able to sit upright without my back spasming  and with just enough sleep in my pocket to slap a smile on my face.

Yes, indeed, it was a magical and wondrous family bonding time. … we all survived and no one was fed to the s’more Sasquatch in the woods behind our house! I think i’ll be up for another camp out next summer


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