April 03, 2006

The Adventures of Camping

We had camping this past weekend as is evident by my posts as well as lack thereof. We went camping with the Cub Scouts on a small island off the coast here called Peanut Island. It’s a state park.

Thursday night we were at dinner and my second son said he didn’t feel well. He’s the one with stomach issues, so it was just par for the course for me. So I told him I thought perhaps he wasn’t getting enough sleep with homework, projects due, baseball etc and this is when Bones’ chimed in.

Wait. Did I say it was dinner? Yes.

Bones: Mom. Son#2 had the most disgusting diarrhea ever today when he came home from school. It was gross…

Son#1: Oh man. It was bad. I can’t believe you didn’t smell it Mom. The stench was all over. It was the worst we’ve ever smelled.

Meanwhile my 2nd son is sitting there grinning at me as if this is something to be proud of, as if there is some award that can be gotten for the nastiest paint peeling poop. The boys continued on their vast description of the foulest most explosive poop ever and I’m not even saying anything. I haven’t given up complete hope for civility at our dinner table, but there are days that I just know it is truly not attainable. That was one.

By 8:00 he’d thrown up. He repeated it then at 10, 10:20, 10:40… see a pattern? He was ill every 20 minutes until about 4AM. I slept on the couch so I could be with him every time he was ill. Around 2AM, realizing I wasn’t going to sleep but 15 minutes, I defragged the kids’ computer and ran a virus scan.

It was a long night.

Finally at 4AM he was better and I attempted to catch some sleep on the couch, but I was more concerned about the next day. It appeared we’d have to cancel our camping trip.

I had set it up so that we’d camp next to the family we are friends with… he being a former Marine F/A-18 driver, who is now an airline pilot. That little piece of information kind of comes into play. My husband had to work late, so I knew I had to pack the van and get all the stuff to the island, as well as set up camp by myself. I’m cool with that, totally cool, as daunting as it was, but it was just nice thinking someone might have my back.

So we’d all agreed that since his wife had to stay behind with their baby, that he and I would take the remaining boys, set up our camps, and all would be cool.

He is like me however. We are rigid people and although both he and I are trying to mellow and be more flexible, when we make plans, we expect we’ll stick with them. We all laugh that if he and I had gotten married, we’d laugh a lot, but we’d have killed each other.

So I knew I needed to let them know as soon as possible about our having to cancel. I called them at 8AM and said I’d know by 11, but it looked bleak.

But by 11, my son had eaten breakfast, kept it down, and was pinging off the walls. Camping was on. My only concern was that one of the other boys, or even I, was harboring this stomach virus and it would rear its ugly head while we were camping.

I had no desire to live our 11th Annual Puke Fest while in a tent on an island. Blech. (Every winter or spring for the last 11 years, we’ve had a stomach virus in this house. The last two years I’ve been lucky enough not to physically partake… my job only to wash sheets and towels and offer words of encouragement that they in fact only felt like they would die, as I wiped drool from their mouths.)

I had so much crap in my van, I thought the tires would pop. Sleeping bags, tent, food for 3 days, clothes for 5 people… eating utensils, a Coleman stove (courtesy of my sister for Christmas and I LOVED it), etc. We were packed down.

We caravanned it to the Marina as we had to take a water taxi to the island. We dropped the boys off with our stuff and then Tim and I drove our vehicles to park them. And this is when my secret came out… I cannot park worth a flip. Here I am with a man who used to park aircraft on a postage stamp, a man who flies big airliners and manages to get them parked at airport gates and I… can’t park a frickin’ mini van.

I pulled into my parking spot, got out and I was cockeyed. I mean COCKEYED. Bad. I looked at Tim and said, “uh oh.” He replied with a ‘Sweetheart, you park like a woman. You need to straighten it out…”

My secret is out with him. Mr. “Can land a jet on a postage stamp” is now fully aware I can’t park to save my life. He was already aware I can’t back up my van. I informed him of that previously… that last time we camped if we had to back in and my husband wasn’t there, it was his job to back in my van.

I was honest with him, however, and said, “I think you just insulted all women. I park far worse than any other person I’ve ever met…” He was nice and tried to tell me it wasn’t so bad, but we both know… yes.it.is.

We made it over to the island and I set up our family’s camp without help. I got the tent up and everything. He said he had a tough time not interfering. He told my husband when he arrived much later from work, he really wanted to jump in and do it, but I had told him in the outset I needed to know I could set up our site by myself. I did.

We had the best time. The boys were up at 6AM every morning (we are not having problems adjusting to Daylight Savings Time), grabbed their fishing poles, and were on the beach until I called them in for breakfast, lunch, dinner or s’mores. If they weren’t fishing, they were digging in the sand, or wrestling with their buddies, or down at the snorkeling lagoon.

During the day it was in the 80s, but at night it dropped down into the low 60s. I slept hearing the waves lap the beach, fresh salt air, and my boys exhausted… until 6AM, when the sun came up and I could hear them scrambling to put their clothes on to hit the beach again, fishing poles in hand.

This is why people live in Florida…

Posted by Boudicca at April 3, 2006 10:17 PM | TrackBack

"This is why people live in Florida… "

Yeah, I know.....

Glad y'all had such a good time! ;-)

Posted by: Tammi at April 3, 2006 10:35 PM

Sounds like fun. Maybe when my boys get old enough, your boys can show them the 'ropes'.

Posted by: vw bug at April 4, 2006 06:07 AM

Yep, it is nice to be able to go to the beach in the spring. Sounds like that trip would have been a good one to release the goldfish on a hook

Posted by: GUYK at April 4, 2006 06:23 AM

Sounds like you had a good time. And they've fixed Peanut Island up nicely. It'll be better when all the replanted trees fill out though.

I didn't see any mention of no-seeums or mosquitoes. That's a good thing. A friend got chased off the island one summer night they were so bad. He slept on his boat anchored offshore instead.

Did you meet the park superintendents, Jim and Kathy? They're old scuba diving friends. Nice folks. Jim used to help decide where to sink ships as artificial reefs. We ran a story about their idylic life living on an island in the middle of metropolis. Except for party weekends, they say it feels like the South Pacific.

Glad you had a good time. And it's great the kids are able to experience this stuff. - George

Posted by: George at April 4, 2006 01:22 PM

Sounds like you had a wonderful time!! Whoohoo! And with no mud and no puking!

Posted by: Richmond at April 4, 2006 02:36 PM