Before we begin, let me define camping:
Camping, noun. Any event which requires an overnight stay in a location with rustic living conditions, no toilet hooked to the “living” structure, being forced to make dinner over some sort of open flame, and the likelihood of a tornado picking you up while in a sleeping bag and tossing you into Indiana. Because you’re too dumb to sleep in the real house you already own.
If you think camping involves a tent, meager supplies, and tinkling into the foliage then we are not of one mind. Please adjust your expectations and feelings about me accordingly. I can live with your disappointment.
I want to like camping, I really do. I just don’t. But I also know my kids love camping and my laziness shouldn’t deprive them of a wonderful childhood experience. My family camped all the time when we were kids. We’d hook the ancient camper to Dad’s Jeep and trundle off, stuffed to the gills with sleeping bags and marshmallows and bug spray. Eric’s family camped for years (and his parents still do) in tents! Tents! For a family of five!
As adults, this is appalling to both Eric and me because the work involved in packing, setting up, and repacking is horrifying. Eric and I both spent all day at work last Thursday, came home, tried to shove all the required things into the minivan, and then drove to the grocery store.
Eric almost lost his life in the middle the cracker aisle when he asked what I had packed for breakfast the next day. What he meant was “Do we need to stop in the breakfast aisle to grab some cereal?” What I heard was “I hope you remembered to pack some breakfast along with everything else you did today.” I nearly jumped for his windpipe with my claws extracted, but he saw the frantic look in my eyes and rephrased before I committed a violent act near the Cheese-Its. (Cheez-Its? It seems like sketchy spelling is involved in that snack cracker.)
Camping just really stresses me out. That’s my only excuse.
After spending more on groceries than we would have spent at a restaurant, we finally made our way to the campground where we had a cabin reserved for the night. This is the very same campground my family loved back in the 1980s, except WAY BETTER. Triponds is duly named for the three ponds on the property, and I spent my childhood happily swimming in the one with a beach (the other two were for fishing or something). The ponds are still there, but the family who owns it has added a pool, mini golf, a cafe, another swimming beach, tons of extra camping spaces, and cabins.
Sweet, adorable, cabins. It’s tiny house living for a night at a time! I was in heaven until I realized I needed to unload the van. But I ate a few chips as we unloaded and felt better.
It really was fun, I have to say. Even getting up in the middle of the night to walk to the bathroom wasn’t too bad. But I realize this experience had nothing to do with actual camping. No bears ransacked our tent, we could have turned on the air-conditioning if it got too hot, and swimming pools hardly count as roughing it.
The kids had fun, although they would have had a lot more fun if we’d let them bring some friends. Maybe next year. Maybe if I get brave enough to try it again we can camp with their friends.
Lord, give me strength.