Sunday, September 13, 2009

No Trailer Yet

No, no trailer yet. However, that didn't stop us from taking a short, 2-day camping trip last week. Dang it.

We had hoped to have the trailer before we left for a couple of days at a beach campground we like, just 1-1/2 hours south of us. We had also hoped it wouldn't rain.

But rain it did. It let up long enough for Todd and Chad to set up the tent (ugh, says Kate) and then Todd said (bless him!) we weren't going to cook in the rain so we set out to search for a restaurant. The campground is just outside of Tillamook, which means "Land of Many Waters" but I believe it really means, "Land of Many Cows", because there are a lot of dairy farms in the area. However, it floods there almost annually so there you go. Tillamook is famous for it's cheese and it's our cheese of preference. Now, we've been to Tillamook many times but we've never actually eaten there so we didn't know where to go. I just happened to have called the local radio station before we left home to ask what the weather was there and I still had that phone number on my cell phone (brilliant, right?) We passed the local radio station on our way to the campground so I got the idea to call them again to ask where to eat. I listen to this station all the time at home so I knew who would answer the phone and I was right. The evening DJ gave me a couple of names of restaurants so we headed out for the first one he recommended. It was right on the bay, had a great view but it was under construction and looked like a dive at first. We decided to drive through town but didn't see anything that looked appealing so we went back to the first place. It turned out to be a nice place after all and the food was good. Thank you, Lord.

It was late and dark when we returned to the campground but it had stopped raining, except for occasional drizzle (nothing new here) so Todd started a fire and we sat around until 10:00 or so, talking and telling stories. That's probably my favorite time of camping. Good thing because I had no idea just how long my night was going to get.

After teeth brushing, we put everyone to bed and got in ourselves. The kids were already grumbling and whining. We haven't camped in our tent in over a year and a half and the kids have all grown, as in, outgrown our tent. It's supposed to sleep 6 but we think that means 6 little people or perhaps 2 adults and 4 very small kids. Carmen had outgrown her sleeping bag and kept flipping around until she was out of the bag completely. She cried and cried because she couldn't sleep, gave herself a headache and was nearly inconsolable in spite of all my efforts to comfort her. I rubbed her head, rubbed her back, etc., praying for God's help. I finally put her in my sleeping bag and she began to calm down, finally going to sleep around 12:30 or so. The bad thing about this is Todd and I sleep in two sleeping bags zipped together to make a double bag. With 8 year old Carmen next to me, I was sandwiched in the middle with 6' Todd on the other side. I couldn't move. At least I wasn't cold (for once). I laid there, dozing off and on, all night long, afraid to move as I didn't want to wake Carmen. The boys tossed and turned for several hours, it sounded like Alec was rolling over and over in his bag. Then, around 3:00 or so, everyone in the tent began to snore. First Alec, then Chad, then Todd, then Carmen. It was like a chorus of snoring, in harmony. I nearly burst out laughing but knew I had to be quiet. Before I knew it, I woke up hearing myself snore, proof that I had slept at least a little. What a night.

Did I mention I really don't like camping, especially tent camping?

I laid there until I saw light and, thank the Lord, it was a sunny day. We had breakfast, walked on the beach, made lunch, the kids went exploring. Todd and I took naps in the van. Well, he slept but I couldn't really. He took the kids kite flying while I tried to sleep some more. I wanted to go home but relented because everyone wanted to stay. Todd could see how upset I was and did all the cooking for dinner. We watched the sun set on the water and Todd got some good photos. We had a campfire again, which was fun but we put everyone to bed earlier this time. The kids all said they'd try harder to go to sleep. But we still had to put Carmen in our sleeping bag. Night 2 of no moving. But I was so tired I didn't care and fell asleep almost immediately at 10:00 (I'm a clock-watcher when we camp, a bad habit). An hour later, our camp neighbor's car alarm went off, sending Todd and me nearly through the top of the tent. Todd tried frantically to unzip the tent and I dove to get out of his way. We were both disoriented, forgetting momentarily where we were. He never did get the tent unzipped before our neighbor got the alarm turned off and we heard him say, "Sorry". I called out, "That's O.K." but I was so shaken it was quite some time before I could calm down enough to go back to sleep. During that time, Todd was turning over in his small space, just as I was sitting up a bit and, "WHAM" his strong elbow came into contact with my forehead. My whole head was shaken. He really belted me one good! It still hurts. I wanted to go home so badly. At that moment, I hated the world, hated the tent, hated the stupid yurt campers next door, hated my daughter's too-small sleeping bag. She spent part of the night perpendicular to me, kicking me in the knees. I kept moving her over to no avail. Todd finally offered to be in the middle, which I gladly accepted. Finally ... sleep.

Amazingly, and by God's grace, Carmen never woke up during all that commotion.

Another beautiful morning but I couldn't wait to get out of there. I accidentally tossed out one of my favorite paring knives (Note to self: Never take a kitchen utensil that you really like camping). I also closed the van door on my hand, not hard enough to do much damage but it scared me (well, it did hurt). My knees are bruised from getting in and out of the back of the van where the cooler and the food were stored. My back and knees hurt for 2 days from sleeping on the ground. What a baby ... waaah, waaah.

O.k., I've gotten this all out of my system. I am not a good camper, didn't camp as a kid, I'm spoiled by the conveniences of life. I do appreciate the beauty of the outdoors, God's creation and all. I just want a shower and private toilet at the end of the day. And a bed. Is that asking too much?

Oh, yeah. If we ever get the trailer, I will have those things. I think that's what frustrated me so much, knowing that trailer is across the river and there we were, sitting in the rain, slogging through the mud, sleeping on uneven ground under a wet, wet tent. This campsite is completely shrouded by trees, dripping, wet trees. All night long, the trees dripped so hard on the tent I envisioned chipmunks slapping the tent. (Chipmunks were everywhere.) Every time I got into the back of the van, there was one particular tree branch that waited for me, just to drip down my neck. Seriously! After the umpteenth time, I was ready to scream.

So much for relaxing in the great outdoors.

Perhaps I had to go through this experience to really appreciate the trailer. God forgive me for being so spoiled.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Our Long Trailer

In case you were wondering, I have reached my goal of learning "Memories" by the end of Aug. Now, I'm working on "The Sound of Music", although I'm not setting a deadline. But, gosh, playing piano is fun! I love the challenge of trying to make my fingers work at the same time my brain is trying to remember what note is what. It seldom gels but when it does, I'm so stoked!

But that's not what you came here to read about. Are there any Lucille Ball fans lurking about out there? I'm not much of a fan anymore but I grew up on the "I Love Lucy" b&w reruns that were always on Channel 11. There was also that movie (in color) called, "The Long, Long Trailer", starring Lucy and Desi Arnaz (of course). If you've ever seen that movie, you will understand the next paragraph.

We are in the process of buying a long trailer. A travel trailer. And more often than I care to admit, that movie comes to mind. I have no idea what I'm getting into. I'm sure camping in the trailer will be not that much different than tent/van camping except we'll have our own kitchen and bath (a godsend) so I'll bet I will like it a lot more. And perhaps I won't be cold, now there's a selling point right there. But I get the feeling that I should learn a lot more about it and fast. I stopped a neighbor down the street the other day (we've never spoken but he was walking out of his travel trailer as I drove by) just to see if he had any advice about RV's, like safety issues, etc. I've been reading anything we have in the house about RV's, which isn't much. I get research-happy about new things and this is no different. I just haven't had much time to research lately but I will.

In that Lucy movie, I remember her trying to prepare dinner in the trailer while her husband was driving it. As you can imagine, stuff was flying everywhere, typical Lucy-humor. In fact, it's the only scene I remember from the movie, which was probably way too adult for me to watch at the age I saw it. While I know I won't be in the trailer while it is moving, I keep thinking of stories I've heard, like the time some husband was doing a repair on the road and something electrocuted him, leaving the wife stranded. True story, unfortunately. I keep thinking, "What exactly did he do?" I also wonder if I'll get claustrophobic but the thing is huge, much larger than the van or the tent. I'm trying to look at the positive things and not dwell on my concerns. But I keep seeing Lucy lurching about, trying to stir something while her husband is turning corners. I think they pulled their trailer with a car. Don't ask me why my mind has chosen this scenario - I can't figure it out.

You know, my poor dear mother actually asked if we were going to pull that trailer with my prius. I guess that's the only vehicle she can remember that we have. I wanted to scream but I simply said that, no, we have a van quite capable of doing the job. My mom makes me want to scream frequently these days but that's another story that won't be posted here. Respect your mom, never write negatively about her. There's some stand-up comedienne who's being sued by her mother-in-law because of the negative things this lady has been saying about her in her comedy shows. That'll teach her.

Oh, I've digressed again. The trailer. Yes. My family is excited. It hasn't sunk in for me. It's not here yet. When we do finally pull it into our driveway, perhaps all my concerns will be put to rest. I hope.