Summertime Camping: Sure Does Beat Having a Root Canal

I am clearly in no shape to write glowingly or positively about camping having come through a partial emergency root canal the afternoon we checked out from our campsite. The pain meds are certainly doing most of the talking, people. But let me say, toothache aside: I swear. Everything you will read below is a true testament to the highs and lows of camping. And I should know, having not only survived a four-day toothache all whilst suffering through the rainy season that is our July camping weather here on P.E.I..

Camping. Oh the joy. Oh the bliss. Oh the pain and agony.

And oh, the memories we have stored away inside. Painful, searing memories that haunt us by night and jeer at us by day. Pushing me ever closer to happy pill prescriptions and mental health counselling each and every summer. Good times, I say.

Good times.

And I especially love camping in the rain. LOVE IT. I love when it downpours and the mud is running off in every direction. When the kids go for a bike ride and come back looking like a chocolate-chip cookie. That’s putting it nicely. Gotta love the rainy camping days. Forcing otherwise respectable families to gather inside damp, grass-covered tents and humid, steamy campers so as to do what families in these circumstances do best.

Fight with one another.

But the best part- my favorite thing of all. Hands down. It has got to be when a certain Someone got the bright idea, before the evening Rook game ever began and while the fighting was just starting to gain momentum and reach a feverish pitch. That certain Someone thought it would actually be FUN to play the “Let’s Say Something Nice About Everyone Game” otherwise known as “What Absolute Foolishness Was I Thinking?”

And that was how the first evening ended. With Someone crying, Someone instigating the crying and still another Someone considering pulling their own eyebrow hair out (but whom instead opted to crawl to the back corner of the camper so as to pretend they were on a real vacation.) Because no one. AND I MEAN NO ONE. Can think of anything nice to say when they are stuck inside a smelly, wet, steamed-up camper during a downpour. Not even a saint like Mother Theresa. No one. Because camping is a private form of torture and punishment saved for people like us who think they are on holidays, but whom are really just living the same life they always lived, only now it’s inside a tiny, stinky square box. So much better, really. Same people, different location. Smaller venue.

That’s what camping is. A good time, had by all. Really. GOOD TIMES.

But it is not all fun and games. Camping is hard work. Ask the man who forgot to bring the rubber gloves to hook up the septic system how much fun he’s having now. And then ask his wife who also forgot (even after he called to remind her), but whom- when she still forgot, supplied him with two plastic grocery bags, thus saving the day. And as if that wasn’t heroic enough. She then stuffed those two grocery bags inside her hubby’s coat so as to create the hand-less look (so popular in the more retro campgrounds). And she did so to prove a point. Just in case the neighboring campers hadn’t already thought the two of them were bonkers already.

And the saving grace, truly- the thing that makes camping all worthwhile… is that the all the various campers and tent trailers and tenters and the like are so densely packed in there together. They’re all just squished in together like a can of ripe sardines. You would think that One such as myself might not like that so much. But, NO. It is sheer entertainment, for lack of a television station for those who also forgot the satellite dish. Entertainment, I say. Just to hear the neighbors growling at their own offspring, makes me feel good. So much more patient, so much more kindly to the kiddos. Like so much a better camper than they. And if one times it just right, it is possible to watch the whole delightful episode unfolding as one squints through the mini-blinds above the couch in their own living space. Just like watching a good sit-com at home. Nothing better, really.

You gotta love camping. And to say the very least: it sure does beat having a root canal.

The Joy of camping…

Husband and I finally went on a date this evening, we even had our children’s blessings.  The tyrants, I mean children are not usually so generous.  I recall tears and sobbing the last time we tried to go out, and it was so frustrating we stayed in and I cleaned the bathroom instead.  Not.happening.tonight.   I know, I know- the children are not suppose to be the boss.  And they aren’t.   Really.  It’s just that these bosses get tired of leading the masses and troubleshooting for the  (free) labour, and I for one sometimes feel a little too much like I am Michael Scott and living an episode of The Office.

Anyhoo, Son came up to me before I had finished mopping the bathroom floor and as I was still frantically trying to make the girl’s beds at 7:00 p.m. before we left (yes I am crazy; I stripped the sheets on two beds this morning because both of my older girls insist on going to bed and sleeping in between the cover sheet and the quilt.  The dirt has nowhere to settle, and it just rolls around on top).  He said to me, “What are you doing on your date?”  Quite honestly, I hadn’t thought that far.  All I knew was that I had not been out of the house past 8:00 p.m. in a very long time, and I needed to see what the sky looks like after dark.  After I admitted I did not have a plan, he recommended that his father and I might like to go watch a romantic movie at the theatre.  His suggestion.  Not sure what that would look like to an eleven-year old boy, but I like the fact that he thought of it first.  I will try not to believe it was for the selfish reason that a pretty babysitter would be in the house.

Our date: looking for a camper for our month-long reservation at KOA Cornwall.  Just the thought of a month away is enough to propel me toward a stroke or in like manner, congestive heart failure.  I can hardly wait.  We can finally say goodbye to the pop-up trailer and live the life of luxury afforded by a R.V.  Ah, one can only imagine coasting into the campground, squeezing one’s camper into the 12’ by 12” postage stamp-sized lot and then letting it all hang out for the neighboring campers to see.  And I do mean let it all hang out.  We have camped enough to know that camping families are a breed of their own.  One of the most memorable neighbours we had was a friendly marijuana grower from down along, and let’s just say that this mother wished she had bought hospital approved face masks for all her children to use during this particular camping experience as the man might as well have been sleeping inside our tent trailer for all the privacy our walls were able to muster.

Another particularly memorable camp-out was one of the first we took as a family of six.  All I remember was the baby crying all night and the rain that came down in sheets the following morning.  I don’t know why that night didn’t do me in forever.  It was a horrible experience.  And as it was too wet to continue on with four children in a soaking wet tent, we packed everything up drenched the next morning and made like a Ben’s Bakery truck and got our buns out of there as fast as was humanly possible.  I’m sure my mother has still not gotten over sight of the six of us arriving in the rain with our water-logged gear that specific morning.

So it is with a tinge of sadness and a pound of mad love that I bid adieu to our little Love Bug, a.k.a. our tent trailer.  I hope she will once again see green pastures, or at least get to live out her days on a crowded field with children’s muddy feet tramping grass throughout her unstable floors once again.  She served us well.  She certainly lived up to our very low expectations and then some.

So I say, long live the tent trailer!  And let me hear a whoop, whoop for the R.V.