Camping (Or: I Know Why None of the Pioneer Women Were Smiling)


Day 1: (Saturday)

I am at least 4 hours late leaving the city. 2 babies in the backseat. Talk with sister-in-law turns to baby tragedies that have befallen friends of friends. For 4 hours. Get to campsite. Beer. Sleep. Oblivion.


Day 2: (Sunday)

Sleep was interrupted last night by baby. She woke half screaming, half sobbing in the middle of the night. She was probably cold. But I convinced myself she was having night terrors, remembering the one step she fell down. Remember how much I love making a bed with exactly 2 inches of clearance over my head. Vow, for the first time this trip but probably not the last, never to camp again.


Day 3: (Monday)

My baby has the plague. She wakes up with runny eyes and nose. She is lethargic and stumbling around. She has bites on her chubby little arms the size of quarters, and they are angry. Send alarmist text to friend (something along the lines of “Dreadfully sorry to interrupt you, but my baby is dying, when you get around to it, can you call for help?”). All is explained by midday (cold caught from other baby, hole in screen has let mosquitoes in to where baby was sleeping, trailer is not level, thus the stumbling). Maybe I just wanted an excuse to leave? Holy Münchhausen syndrome, Batman!


Kids start swimming lessons at lake. Son is a fish, and teacher can’t seem to control his love of deep water. Baby girl is confirmed city kid, takes one look at lake water and screams.


Conversation between my son and his grandfather at dinner:


Ben: Where’s grandma? (she’s around the corner, and he can’t see her)

Grandpa: I don’t know. (Laughs) I thought she was in the truck with me on the way out here…

Ben: Well, did you hear talking?


Husband and I make an attempt at a campfire, and adult conversation. Neither really catches on.


Day 4: (Tuesday)

I don’t know how they did it back in olden times. I mean, I have air conditioning, a fridge, and running water on this trip. And by the end of the day, I’m still exhausted. I miss parking my kids in front of a TV when I need time to cook. I miss running to Safeway when I realize I’m out of a minor ingredient. I miss my dishwasher (I’ll be home soon sweetheart. Let’s never fight again.). Those women were awesome. And they did it wearing skirts.


Take son’s clothes off to remove sand. He chooses to go outside and dance wildly while naked. He cares not for our warnings that people will see him. Let your freak flag fly, son.


Day 5: (Wednesday)

There is a bird here that has learned to approximate the ringing of a cellphone as its call. Or maybe it always sounded like that, and I never really used a cellphone and had nothing to compare it to. Either way, its fucking annoying.


I am burnt. I am surprised there are no blisters. I put on an SPF 50 sunscreen. Waterproof. My skin did not care. I am in pain. Sadly, I am already looking forward to the peeling. $170 Miracle Suit looked fabulous on me, and no one will ever know because I am covered up to avoid 3rd degree burns.


Day 6: (Thursday)

Go into town for respite and Chinese food. This is husband’s home town. Meet up with people he knows on Main Street. Girls my age with thick German accents (who are 3rd or 4th generation Canadian?) squeal in delight when they see our chubby little girl. “She’s so healthy!” they say, squeezing her thighs. That’s the difference between city and country folk. I actually had a mom in the city ask me if I’d had Jane “checked out” by a professional, because she is so big.


Introduce kids to bush pies. For those of you unfamiliar, they are basically a grilled pie filling sandwich made over a campfire. Son loved them. Until he touched one of the still-hot irons used to make them. He slept with an ice pack. No blisters. But had to promise no more bush pies.


Day 7: (Friday)

More sun. More burning. Will I ever learn?


After talking to 4 year old son about not staying out in the sun too long, he announces to one and all that he has “sun sex”. I am assuming he means sun stroke. Hope he means sun stroke.


Old and dear friend shows up just when I am ready to say fuck it, we’re going home. We sit up, annoying husbands and children till 1:30 in the morning. We drink the cheapest, best tasting red wine I’ve ever had. We both decide we are filthy filthy smokers again for a night. We watch a thunderstorm. The evening is magic, and I can go on.


5 responses to “Camping (Or: I Know Why None of the Pioneer Women Were Smiling)

  1. Not for too much longer…I hope.
    I can’t stand the pain.

    What is the name of that wine? And does it come in white?

  2. God, this is beauitful, Ginny.

    Painful. Agonizing. But I’ll take these “thousand words” over a photograph any day.

    Praise be for red wine, thunderstorms and old friends!

  3. Bronna: The wine’s name escapes me. It was in an honest to God jug, with a little handle at the neck. There was a picture of horses (I think) on the front. I’ll keep looking into it.

  4. I got to escape the PIONEERING WEEK last year as the boy took lessons in town, across our street at the pool! There is a God. However, because of the HELLISH heat in July, the unusual overwhelmingly popularity of our outdoor COOL pool, the staff ran out of BACTERIA KILLER and the levels have closed it down 4 days out of 10 per session.
    Boy has had the shits all month of July, think he drank some pool water? Tests said not, it’s a virus.
    Had it not been so hot, and the flood we had in our basement the first 2 weeks in July, we would have come out and visited you for an evening, maybe got into some CRANTINI’S again this year. Well, maybe next year.
    We missed having Bush Pies, sure enjoyed them last year!
    You should write a book, Ginny. You are so talented.

  5. Thanks, J! 🙂 Glad you liked it.

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