Disaster Camping

We had a good plan. It’s only a 2-hour drive to the campground, so we could get there Friday night after picking Miss L up from the airport. We’d pack everything up Friday afternoon. Dan would bring the dogs with him to the airport, and pick up the friend Miss L wanted to bring along on our way out of town. Miss G and I would bring all the gear with us, and meet them at the friend’s house. Then we’d caravan out of town together and be at the campsite by marshmallow-roasting time.

Through the course of a crazy Friday afternoon, the plan fizzles out. The hours get eaten up by this and that. Dan’s buddy needed a piece to his camping stove back that Dan borrowed, and Dan drives around for an hour or two looking for a replacement part for us to use. He ends up just buying a new stove. That took up time needed to get other things finished... like, packing. And loading the car.

Dan calls from the airport, and we work up a new plan: Pick up friend and a couple pizzas, kids have overnight here while we load the cars up, we all leave first thing in the morning. Dan calls me again about an hour later. “Miss L is helping Friend finish packing. I’m getting the pizza. Oh, and it turns out, Friend can’t eat pizza, so I’m getting her chicken fingers. She has an ulcer.”

An ulcer does not bode well for the huge pot of chili I made for tomorrow’s dinner. Crap.

In the morning, I make pancakes and sausages. Friend wakes up in hysterical tears because she saw a cockroach. She no longer wants to come camping, Dan tells me quietly in the kitchen. I said, “Scared of bugs? Did she think we were going to a bug-free outdoors for camping?” Dan says, “Yeah, I guess she’s never been before. I don’t think she understood what it entailed. She called her parents to come pick her up.” At least I’m saved from the chili-ulcer dilemma.

Miss G wakes up with a headache, feeling queasy. She’s not sure if she’s up to camping but really wants to go, because her best friend Miss B is going (separately, with her dad) and is all cruxed out. Tough cookie that she is, indecision is her Waterloo. She spends the morning in and out of headaches and tears.

Dan goes outside to start loading cars, and finds one instead of two. I should mention at this time that Dan’s been borrowing one of his dad’s cars, because his failed the smog test and is now sitting unregistered in the driveway. Dan’s dad mentioned his other car had been running a little funny, and he might need the blue car back. Guess he took it to work without letting us know.

There’s no way I can fit 3-- no, 2-- kids, 2 dogs, both of us and all the camping gear plus cooler into my car. I tell Miss G, “Looks like we’re down to just one car, so maybe you & I will stay here.”

“But Mama! I really really want to go!”

“You do? I thought you felt too crappy to go and wanted to stay home.”

“I do! But... I-- I don’t knoooooow!” Commence full meltdown.

Dan says he thinks Miss B’s dad Jon could maybe bring our gear and we’d just bring the kids and the dogs. Jon agrees, and drives his truck over. We start tossing stuff in. Miss L announces she has talked Friend into going camping after all. I no longer have time to plan/prepare/pack an alternate meal for dinner. Miss G is back in tears.

The cars are stuffed, the dogs are loaded up, and the girls are bickering over who gets the middle seat. We’re within minutes of leaving. Dan and I have a strategy session in the bedroom, trying to figure out what to do about Miss G. Mid-session, she pops her head in, says “I’m going!” and bounces off to fill her water bottle. Problem solved. The girls all want to ride together, but I can only fit 3 kids in my backseat. Jon offers to take all the girls, because he is a saint among men. We take his dog in exchange for the 3 pre-teens, and Dan & I have a pleasant drive up-- just the two of us and a car full of dogbreath and waggy tails.

We approach every camping trip with a cheerful attitude, carefully blocking out any memory of disasters from previous escapades. This past weekend wasn’t bad at all.


Post a Comment