So I have this friend. We will call her Sweetie Pie. Sweetie Pie is the kind of friend who brings you chocolate when you are frustrated with your Pastor or takes your children swimming when you are stressed. She is a very good friend. Sweetie Pie is also the kind of friend who thinks that I am better than I actually am. She thinks I can do things that I can’t actually do. While this is usually very inspiring and motivational, sometimes it lands me in places I may not want to be. This week was maybe one of those times. Sweetie Pie thought I could go camping.
Once upon a time there was a girl named Snarky. Snarky loved camping. Snarky loved camping so much that she thought people who used campgrounds were lazy and wimpy and missing out on a lot of life. Young Snarky thought that unless you were putting in ten miles a day hiking and hauling a canoe through the wilderness, you were not really camping, you were just sleeping outside. Come to think of it, Young Snarky may have been a wee bit judgmental about the whole thing.
Then Young Snarky met a Pastor who was not yet a Pastor. They married and hiked through the wilderness hauling a canoe and made plans to hike the Appalachian Trail. They looked at maps and bought gear. Then, one day, Firstborn entered the picture. “It’s okay,” said Youngish Snarky and her not yet Pastor “we can hike the Appalachian Trail with a child.”
Fast forward fifteen years. Not only have we not hiked the Appalachian Trail, I no longer have even the slightest desire to sleep outside. Really, unless they install Sleep Number beds on the Appalachian Trail, I will probably never camp there. This is why it was such a shock to The Pastor when somehow Sweetie Pie convinced me to go camping. I may have even been the one who suggested it. I think she brainwashed me. Sweetie Pie is big into sleeping outdoors under the stars and makes it sound like something you really want to do. Obviously she never talks about the bugs. Or all of the dirt. Or the lack of a Sleep Number bed.
So somehow, after a lot of brainwashing which probably involved drugs being slipped into my beverage, I end up loading up an SUV with six kids and Sweetie Pie. We take off in the car, all excited, singing and giggling and driving north for three hours. The children all behave like little excited angels and the joy is contagious. Soon we get to a place that Sweetie Pie has previously arranged. I wait for the bellboy to bring our stuff to the campsite. No bellboy shows up. You would be so proud; I didn’t even whine. Much.
The owner of the campground shows us our campsite. It is very cute. It is all rustic looking with a fire pit and logs to sit on. He points us to a path and says that the bathroom is that way. The he leaves. Baby Snarky then heads down the path to use the bathroom. He returns a few moments later looking confused. He says “I couldn’t find a bathroom, just a doghouse.” I walk down the path with Baby Snarky and we come to a clearing where there is indeed, a little doghouse. Well, this can’t be right I think. After looking around for a moment I start poking the doghouse. Then I lift the roof of the doghouse and lo and behold, it contains a five gallon pail. “Ummmm, I think this is where you go potty.” I say. Baby Snarky looks at me as if he is just realizing for the very first time that I have completely lost my marbles. “I cannot pee in a doghouse.” he says “I like dogs.” I think for a moment and say “Can you pee on that tree over there?” Apparently Baby Snarky likes dogs more than he likes trees. He was downright enthusiastic about peeing on trees.
We go back to the campsite where Sweetie Pie and a couple of the boys have built a campfire and are roasting hot dogs over it. While I am not typically a big fan of hot dogs, I am glad that Sweetie Pie has thought to bring them. I have no idea how I would go about making quinoa and kale over a campfire.
Next the children decide to play The Hunger Games in the woods. I remind them that they are not allowed to actually kill each other and then send them on their way. It has now been twelve hours since I took away my children’s gaming devices (because we’re “roughing it”) and, contrary to what they assured me would happen, they have not yet died.
All games come to a halt a little while later when the mosquitoes decide to crash our little party. We get out the deet. Apparently we have forgotten that we are in northern Wisconsin, where mosquitoes laugh at deet. They see deet as the appetizer before the feast. Finally we can stand it no longer and decide to go to bed. Watching three little boys try to set up a tent while slapping themselves would have been a lot funnier if I wasn’t so busy slapping myself.
Once the boys are all set up, Sweetie Pie and I go get ready to sleep in the tiny cabin that is at our campsite. What? I didn’t mention the tiny cabin? Well, it appears that Sweetie Pie loves me and instead of laughing at me trying to sleep in a tent, Sweetie Pie will be laughing at me sleeping in a tiny cabin. With no bed. Sweetie Pie goes to bed on a cot she brought while a couple of the smaller children sleep on the floor. I decide to sleep on the couch because if I can’t have a Sleep Number bed, I can at least have cushions. This is the part of the story where Rufus makes an appearance.
Rufus is the owner’s dog. The owner has sent Rufus over to our campsite because we are just a group of women and children in the wilderness. We might get scared. Rufus will make us feel safe. Rufus proceeds to bark at every stirring of the wind, every fluttering of a leaf, and every hooting of an owl. All. Night. Long. By 4am Rufus is the only living creature on the campsite who should be scared. Rufus is not making us feel safe. Rufus is making us feel angry. Finally, Sweetie Pie gets up and uses her Scarey Mommy voice on Rufus. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. Every mommy has a Scarey Mommy voice. Even Rufus recognizes the Scarey Mommy voice. Rufus is quiet for the rest of our stay.
The next morning we arise, slowly and bleary eyed. Everyone in our group has a few choice words for Rufus. Except for Baby Snarky. He hugs Rufus because he likes dogs. Also he is a very deep sleeper. We then pack up and swim in Lake Superior. If you are ever kept awake all night by a large black dog, swimming in Lake Superior will wake up every fiber of your being the next morning. Next Sweetie Pie takes us to a place that looks just like Middle Earth. The children frolic. All too soon it is time to go home. The ride home is not like the ride there. The ride home is full of crabby people who need to stop and use the bathroom every fifteen minutes because it seems that Baby Snarky is not the only one who didn’t want to go potty in a doghouse. I might just go potty in Rufus’ house.
That is it. That is the end of my camping story. Now I am off to go sleep in my Sleep Number bed and YOU are off to share this blog! Goodnight!