Camping in the 21st Century

Picture the scene…a family sitting around the fire, singing songs and telling ghost stories. Their tent set up in the background, fishing poles and bikes leaning up against the tree. The family is roasting hot dogs and marshmallows and everything is charming and lovely.

And now the reality.

Camping isn’t as simplistic as it used to be. You just don’t go pitching a tent somewhere and light a fire. Those days are long gone. Camping is a high tech business now and it starts with the camper.

T Minus One Week:

We have a modest camper. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very nice and we love it to death, but it’s not especially big nor does it have all the latest gadgets that you see on the RV showcases. But it has tires and last weekend they were giving us a problem. New valve stems later and we seem to be back on the road. Road, wait, lights?

“Where’s the adapter for the lights?”

“Wait, you bought a new truck this year darling, do you even have an adapter for the lights?”

“Oh shit, no.”

Trip to the camper dealer!

“And what the hell happened to the latch for the hot water tank? Oh geeze, add it to the list!”

T Minus Five Days:

During the last week, after dealing with tires and latches and whether or not a family of raccoons has made a home of the camper (thankfully no!), I agonized over clothes, food and when to tell the Shitzuh.

“What’s the weather going to be like?”

“Check the satellite!”

“Keep the menu simple, don’t work yourself to death cooking the entire week.”

“Why don’t you cook?”

“What? That’s not my job.”

“Mom, can I break the news to Nudgee that she’s going camping?”

“No, it’s only Wednesday. I can’t deal with a moody Shitzuh right now.”


T Minus Three Days:

This is when we have the mad electronics dash. We look under beds and in dressers and pull out bookcases looking for DS’s, iPods, and any other assortment of techy shit that my people feel they need. I am not innocent in all this. I have been secretly downloading shitloads of books on my tablet all week. Hey, I’m just as much a slave to my gadgets as the rest of these people.

Once we find the devices, we have to make sure we have the chargers. The woods is hell on battery life and you just can’t be running out of juice when there’s only three chapters left in your smutty novel…err, I want the kids to be able to play Temple Run all day long! To hell with nature, where’s my sweaty highlander! Sorry, I digress (again). I guess I really do need a vacation.

I won’t put the dialogue in this section, its really rather raunchy. We’ve had a few issues finding a certain 10 year old she-devil’s iPod Touch this year. She’s offered her brother $50 for the use of his for the week. Negotiations are kinda ugly right now.

T Minus Two Days:

I wake at 4:00 a.m. in order to get ready to go camping. And I’ve done little of the preparing for the camp yet. I’ve washed clothes and blankets, found hoodies and sweat pants and cleaned out the fridge and freezer. And that’s just for Son#2 who no longer camps with us.

In the evening, after my dear husband has put in a full ten hours of overtime, we go to WalMart. Oh my God, just freaking kill me now.

“Do we really need to eat food when we camp?”

“Lots of it.”

“Oh guess what, the cooler lid is broken. Here’s one that’s $20”

“It’s $55, look at the other side of the sign.”

“Why that’s just bullshit. See this is why I hate WalMart!”

We blow $200 plus on groceries, dog food, a new cooler and a new lantern. Son #1 may or may not have our old lantern. No one knows for sure and frankly, I don’t have the strength to pursue the issue any further. It’s worth $30 just to have the matter settled and a lantern on my picnic table.

Now it’s hot as hell in our area and carrying around all this shit is making me sweat. And it’s making me angry. A sweaty, angry me is not cool. And then we remember that the daughter had a birthday party. And it’s too late to get her there. So that makes two hot, sweaty and angry women in one pickup truck with a guy with a short fuse. Things just got interesting.

Know a good divorce attorney?

We get home and unload all the crap. I put the new cooler in the kitchen so I can wipe it out. The cat hacks a hairball on it. I wipe it up before the husband sees it and takes out all the shit I heaved on him in the truck on one six-toed mental cat…with a hairball.

Let me just take a moment to say that I’ve cleaned up vomit and I’ve cleaned up crap. I’ve even been vomited and crapped on. I’d take either of those any day over cleaning up a hairball. I don’t care how many paper towels or sets of rubber gloves you put on, it’s still warm, gooey and, well, damn, it’s just nasty.

Okay, I’m better now.

Night closes the door – or rather the coffin lid – and I’m hoping against hope that everything gets done before we leave on Sunday.

T Minus One Day:

I wake up at 6:00. I check my emails. I actually respond to an email. I get up go downstairs and decide to begin the day. I lay on the patio. I lay on the front porch. I lay on the husband. I go upstairs and go back to bed until 10:00. I waste a good four hours of time when the humidity isn’t so bad that you can actually move around outside without sticking to yourself. I had plans to go out to the camper; voiced them even.

“It too foggy to go out to the camper.”

“I can see the camper in the back yard. It’s not too foggy.”

“Sit on the chair, it’s early.”

So I sat. Couldn’t risk getting lost on the 100 feet or so to the clearly visible camper in the back yard. Scary fog.

So now I’m back on track, sweating my you-know-what-off, making sure blankets are clean smelling so they can become wood fire smelling. Soon I’ll go finish my grocery shopping and maybe in the evening we’ll pack the camper.

T Minutes 36 Hours:

The camper’s packed, mostly, the clothes are done, and packing and cold stuff is all that’s left. My husband is worried that he didn’t bring enough booze and I am kinda concerned that maybe only two bottles of wine won’t be enough. Wait! Beer, there’s beer. All is well.

I’m starting to get excited. Not as excited as the daughter, who breaks into song every so often:

“We’re going camping tomorrow, we’re going camping tomorrow!”

It’s a catchy little tune and I’m beginning to warm to it.

T Minus 18 Hours:

My big strong husband twists his ankle in the back yard. He tells me I have to set up camp now.

“What the F**k are we going to do? You’re the muscle of the outfit!”

“And what are you?”

“I’m the brains.”

“God help us.”

We are somewhat derailed. I’m considering my options. Do I have enough time to find another big strong husband?

The Big Day:

So the camper’s packed and put down, ready to get hitched to the truck. Clothes, bug spray, aluminum foil, dog bed, medicine, flip flops, tongs, steak seasoning…yes, it’s all packed. The coolers are clean and hairball free, all the laundry is done, there’s a few dishes left to do. Hubby can’t remember if he packed his sandals. I lie and tell him I remember putting them in the camper. Truth is, I don’t have a damn clue. It’s been a blur. It’s been one big blur of no sleep, tireless work and now, dark skies.

But once we get set up, I put the table cloth on the picnic table and set out the bug candle, it will all be worth it. We’ll get a fire started, toast some marshmallows (we had to pack them deep in the camper so wouldn’t eat them raw) and our vacation will begin.

And frankly, I can’t wait. See you later my lovely readers. I’ll blog at you in a week!


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