Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Camping and Parenting

Over the weekend, Sal and I went camping for the first time in 8 years.

The last camp trip we went on, we left before night fall because it was a 4 hour float trip where 9 of the 10 couples on the trip, were broken up by the end of the 4 hours. Sal and I were the 1 couple together and we decided to get out of the poisonous environment and sleep in our own beds.

We left the tent with friends of ours (who drank way too much and we later found out were on drugs). They returned the tent where it sat on various shelves of ours over the past 8 years.

Last week I pulled the tent out only to find that our friends never put the poles back in there.

Should've definitely checked that years ago. I think the "statute of limitations" on shaking them down for a new tent was over at least 7 years ago.

We bought a new tent and were the Swiss army knives of survival. We had a dry kit with toilet paper, matches, an LED latern, paper towels, allergy medicine, itch cream, bug spray, 3 different sun screens, etc. We had the easy snacks and hot dogs ready to go. We were ready.

We went to a place in Steeleville Missouri called Brown's Canoe Rental. We were greeted by a rough shack and folding table where we checked in and were shown the beach where we could pitch our tents.

It was a pretty cool spot. There was a harder ground only 50 feet from the river's edge where the tents went. So within 15 minutes, we had our tent up, tables up, chair in water, and beers in hand.  The weather was perfect, sunny, low 90s, plenty of shade. Really, the ideal setup.

Some of our friends came with their kids, and this is where I really loved camping. I got to be the "father" figure to keep them entertained.

Archie is almost 1. We put him in the water in this chair thing and that dude was loving life. He kept taking my hat off, pouring the water on his head, laughing, just being a real dude.

Then I got to teach the two girls how to skip rocks. I blew them away when I skipped 5 times and made it across the river. They kept practicing and kept asking if they were doing it right. Eventually, Clementine nailed a 4 skipper.

There was a bridge that was about six feet off the water. At one point the girls asked if I was going to jump off the bridge with them. No hesitation, hell yeah, I'm going to jump off the bridge. We spent roughly an hour jumping from the bridge, floating underneath it, and climbing up the other side.

And then came the discussion of the Snipe Hunt. I brought it up, remembering going to the woods and turning out all of our lights when I was a kid.

Soon the adults had swapped stories of what a Snipe was. I discussed the opossum / raccoon hybrid while others spoke of a peasant like creature.

We talked about various capturing techniques.

I brought up the freezing them with beams of flashlights. Another spoke of chirping, "Snipe" while dragging a plastic bag across the ground.

I decided to go against the more intense "scary" Snipe hunts I remember and told of a shy, but cuddly animal, much like a Leprechaun. If able to catch one and pet it, good luck would follow.

I told them that I and another master Snipe hunter would lead the charge and that they would have to take the pledge to protect the Snipe and to only divulge the secrets to people they trusted.

The kids were amped up, ready to go on a Snipe hunt. Unfortunately, one of the dad's there was being a butthole all day and didn't want the Snipe hunt to happen. He killed it before it started.

But not all was bad. Smores came out and the girls made me some incredible smores. Like I really don't know how they got everything perfectly melted. Most of my smores involved burnt marshmallows and cold, unmelted chocolate.

Sal and I went to bed around 10:30.

Some of the other people decided it was time to share a box of wine. So while Sal and I attempted desperately to sleep, we got to hear really intelligent debates about gun control, obesity, how to off a lantern with literally one knob on it. We got to hear a couple argue over a flashlight that wasn't working, got thrown into the woods, and then they realized it wasn't theirs.

According to my Fitbit, I had one nap of 40 minutes and another for 120 minutes. Around 5 am, I got up to use the restroom. I heard the lightning and thunder rolling over the hills. I decided trying to sleep wasn't worth it and started packing up some of our stuff.

Soon Sal came out of the tent with the same intentions. We picked up all of our stuff, took a bunch of trash to the dumpster and were out of the campsite by 5:45. The storm hit right as we got on the highway. Our friends got a bit wet, we however, got home by 8 am and were able to sleep in our own bed for a few hours.