May 17, 2009

Camping Stories Are Good Thanksgiving Conversation in 20 Years

We took the boys camping this weekend with Boy Scouts. In Miami. In May.

It was hot.

Remember THIS picture, that went with THIS story; the story of last time I camped with my boys and how our tent collapsed?

Amazing sometimes how life is just one big long frickin' chain of events.

So we arrived. It was late, daggum close to dark, as I've come to realize that Boy Scouts LOVE to set up camp in the dark.

Or it feels that way.

Even though I do know it's just the time we leave as parents work.

My husband and Bones started putting the tent together while I got things squared away with the Scout Master and... when I returned to the tent, the following conversation ensued to the best of my recollection:

Me: Hun. Why are you using the gray tent poles in the main tent pole sleeves? You are supposed to use black.

Husband: Because this is what we have.

Me: No we don't. We have two black tent poles, wide, one gray one, and a couple small black ones for the rain fly that we don't use as the fiberglass always breaks down.

Husband: Hun, we only have these two gray ones, no black ones other than the small rain fly poles.



Me: That's not right. Where are the black tent poles?

Husband: You're kidding.

Me: No...

All work stopped.

Husband, pulling out iPhone and looking up Sports stores: We're going out RIGHT NOW and buying a new tent.

Me: No. No we're not. I'm going to make this work. It can work...

And with that, Bones and I threaded the two gray tent poles and had our three pole tent standing, at a bulgey angle, with two poles.

Husband: You're joking. I'm sleeping in the car. None of us are sleeping in that.

Me: Fine. You sleep in the car. I'm sleeping here. It will be perfectly fine. I've had a tent collapse on me... I'm sleeping here.

Husband: We're buying a new tent, Sports Authority closes at 9:30. What if it rains. If it's windy, that tent is coming down. Look. It's not sturdy at all...

And I guess reason set in an I said, "FINE" and we went to buy a tent. His rationalization is we needed a smaller tent anyway. The boys were always out in their two man and we didn't always need to haul around a cumbersome 8 man tent when there were times we could downsize.

We were in the car to Sports Authority when I said, "Last camping trip... my poles snapped. I forgot. When I pack up the tent, I always have the poles wrapped in the center, but the new poles I ordered 18 months ago in preparation for the fiberglass breaking down, were on a shelf... and I didn't marry the two after the last camping fiasco. The black poles are in their new package on a shelf..."

So the mystery was solved.

We bought a new tent, it rained like hell every night and we'd have lost our tent for sure if we'd stayed in the make shift old tent.

The food was good. I learned how to tie a timber hitch, a clove hitch, and various lashings.

It was painful to learn it... difficult. Nobody seems to be an expert.

So I think I've decided that might be my niche... to become the knot and lashing expert and in turn have my boys as the knot and lashing experts so everyone can come to them when it's time for the newer boys to learn this for promotion.

We could be the rope family...


The Scouts had gotten Apple Jacks as their quick pack up and go cereal this morning and it came with a little stuffed Nemo. One of the Scouts took a rope and made a noose and hung it from the rafters.

Ringo came into the pavillion, looked at Nemo and said, "That's a crappy noose. I don't know who made that... but I need to show them how to make a real noose..."

A few seconds later, "Really. I need to teach someone..."

And that my friends, is the making of a potential rope expert.

If you look at those pictures of the tent, the first one is a picture of my feet. I wish my feet looked that good. These daggum toenails are NEVER going to grow back...

Posted by Boudicca at May 17, 2009 08:03 PM

Thought of you when I saw the weather map. Nothing like breaking in the new tent. The nice thing about the internet - sharing. has some stop animation on tying knots. Click on the scouting tab at the top.

Posted by: cin at May 18, 2009 01:02 AM

Here is *the* online resource for knots:

Have fun!

Posted by: Ted at May 18, 2009 10:54 AM

I love knots!

Posted by: oddybobo at May 18, 2009 11:21 AM

There are a few knots I don't like:
"You're NOT wearing that!!"
"You are NOT going for a drink!"
"You are NOT going ANYWHERE till you finish that shelf!"

Posted by: bx19 at May 18, 2009 03:18 PM

"That's a crappy noose"


Posted by: Teresa at May 18, 2009 05:16 PM

I'm going to pass on that animated knots website!!!

Teresa- Yeah, can you believe it? I had to shake my head.

Posted by: Bou at May 18, 2009 08:53 PM

After thirty-nine years from being out of the Service I still use the timber hitch, the clove hitch, the bowline and it's variations and the square knot.

If you can teach the boys those knots and hitches, blindfolded they will be way ahead of everybody else.

Posted by: Peter at May 20, 2009 04:37 PM