Monday, August 02, 2010

Just make it through the first 12 hours

A few weeks ago we went camping as a family. We haven't all been camping together since... I can't remember when. Eric has taken the kids while I've stayed home either very pregnant or with a small baby, but we've not gone together for years. Which means that I haven't been camping for years. I don't love it, I don't hate it. So.

We started off late Thursday afternoon. Eric had packed up some things on top of the car. And lets start there. A minivan is not a suitable way to transport 6 people and all of their camping gear. Not enough space. So Eric packed the top and I had to pack the back with clothes and such and the coolers but I had to fit it around an enormous log and the other firewood. It didn't fit and that made me quite irritated.

But we got on the road, mostly on time, ate McDonalds as an appetizer since our coastal camping destination was 2 hours away and picked up Eric on our way south. 30 minutes into the drive we hit traffic that lasted for a long time since it was caused by this tanker truck fire. So that made our 2-hour drive into more like 3.5. But okay. The kids were watching movies on the mini dvd player we borrowed from Chad and Angie (thanks!) so they mostly didn't complain.

While in traffic I realized that I had left the potatoes that I had already baked so we'd just have to warm them in the firepit, at home. When we finally got to our campsite at halfpast bedtime and were unpacking, I heard the girl in the campsite next to us say that they didn't have a spatula. That made me realize that I hadn't packed any kind of cooking utensils, just plastic ones for eating. I assumed that we had these things devoted to only camping, don't know why, and that they were in with the things that Eric had packed the night before. We also didn't have a can opener but we were able to borrow one.

So no utensils. We made do, melting a few forks in the process. Eric got our new 7-man tent set up like the camping champ that he is, but our campsite seemed like it was at the end of a wind tunnel, making the tent pancake to the ground. With a few adjustments, several broken stakes, and turning the tent at a different angle, it was mostly sleep ready.

I had started to boil water for hot chocolate and get the grill ready for hot dogs when Eric approached me looking very grave. The kind of look where you know something is wrong.

"Keys are locked in the car."

Luckily we had taken most of our things out of the car already, but not the air mattress pump and not the firewood. There was no way to get a locksmith out at that time of night, it was 9:30ish. It wasn't funny and I didn't try to be happy about it. Everyone was full enough on snacks so we drank hot chocolate, skipped dinner and got ready for bed. The kids didn't care. But here's another thing, we weren't really ready for the cold weather either. We were leaving a very sunny and warm Seattle and I assumed we'd just be about 10 degrees cooler along the coast. Wrong assumption. More like 20 and major wind. Eric was cold all night since he made sure I was warm.

The wind whipped our tent for most of the night, causing a very annoying flapping sound. I was feeling worried and sorry for us and couldn't sleep for a long time. To keep from crying I established this breathing/thought process.
Breathe in and say to self: water off a duck's back.
Breathe out and say to self: water under the bridge.

Eventually I fell asleep and eventually the wind stopped. We woke to a cold morning but the kids were happy to run down to the sand while we made breakfast and melted plastic forks in bacon grease. We ate, played in the sand and mud, and the locksmith came, his fee only half of what we thought. We weren't too far from civilization so it only took him an hour to get to us.

And we made it through the first 12 hours.

ps -- the main reason we went camping was to tell the kids about the new baby. Eric really wanted them to hear the announcement in a special place where they might remember hearing about their sibling later in life. We told them around the campfire, the second night. Sommer will forget but the others might remember. They were all happy about it and immediately started thinking up the craziest baby names possible and laughing their heads off. Eric said, "mom and I have an announcement." and Ridge immediately said, "mom's having another baby." He was surprised though when Eric told him that he was right.

As we were packing to go on our last morning, Cannon said more than once that he wished we could stay longer.

We also learned that Vienna sausages are really gross. Eric remembered loving them, I remembered that we had them in our emergency backpacks when we were little, but no one liked them, except the seagulls.
Water under the bridge.


Beka's Blog said...

Paige - I love your story telling. You are so right that a mini van is not adequate to accommodate 6 family members and their belongings let alone camping gear! We too haven't camped in a very long time except for one overnight visit when I was very pregnant with our third. No plug for the air mattress, also tons of wind, and a kid puking up hot dogs from swinging too much. Camping is not a relaxing vacation. I say bring on the hotel where people make your bed and bring you fresh towels! :) Congrats again on baby #5...what were the funny names if you feel like sharing?

Kim said...

Wow what troopers you all are. You guys made due with what you had and didn't seem to complain much. If that had been my family, we would have complained alot.

I hope your pregnancy goes good. I bet your kids will remember that special camping trip. I know I remember our family camping trips.

Sally said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sally said...

Congratulations! What a special way to tell the kids and I loved the story from your point of view :). And I would love to have heard those names, too!

Paige said...

Eric thinks I was too nice when I was retelling this story. I didn't talk enough about how cold it was, and that it was the most horrible trip ever. It wasn't.

Hmm, I need to write down what they say next time, or record it w/out them knowing so they keep talking and laughing about it. They were "naming" the baby again at dinner tonight. Things like Meyer Fred, Muscle Man, Toot Puddle.

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kelly said...

love your new mantra!
so, time for a family bus?

Bentley said...

Reading your post reminded me why I don't like to camp. :) You guys were total troopers though. I'm glad the kids had fun!

mindy said...

We had a camping trip similar to yours about a month ago. I am sad to say I didn't handle it as well as you did. Peter had to keep reminding me that the kids were having fun and thats all that matters. My enjoyment is no longer important. (neither is my sleep)

Shannon said...

I am trying to decide if you are Wonder Woman or totally insane. :) You really need to write a book, Paige!

Paige said...

Insane. No doubt about it.

Kathy said...

Love that story! We have our first camping trip coming up this month and I will go put some utensils in the camping stuff RIGHT NOW! Thanks for sharing, Paige! I kind of like Toot Puddle, myself. :)

Kelsey K. Hartley said...

Congratulations on news of the little one! Such a great way of sharing that story and news with the kids. Made me smile over and over.

Alexis said...

We loved Vienna Sausages on hikes and camps as a kid, too. It was pretty disappointing to have them as an adult. How did our parents feed them to us back then?