We’re naturalists. Naturists. Well, we smell.

Fall has arrived, and with it the dulcet tones of me suggesting to Otto that “it’s time to get that damn thing off the driveway.” See, during camping season, we keep the trailer in the driveway for maximum access and annoyance. But once it’s been determined that we’re done annoying everyone at our favorite campgrounds, we store it for the winter.

Of course, this means we needed one last camping trip before everything gets packed away for the season. And with Chickadee in marching band this year, she is free to camp… never. Except this weekend! This weekend she didn’t have a game, so off we went.

The trip began with careful instructions to the children ALL WEEK LONG that they should be PACKED AND READY TO GO before leaving for school on Friday. So Monkey packed and was ready to go, and Chickadee insisted as she left that morning that she was “almost ready!” So when it was time to go on Friday afternoon there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth and stomping, because it’s not like we TOLD her we had to go, or anything.

The ride to this particular campsite wasn’t very long, which was a relief, because Chickadee pouted and Monkey fretted because she was unhappy and Otto asked me, again, “No, REALLY, tell me the truth this time: WHY did you want kids?” But once we arrived and began setting up, she perked up a little. Fresh air and sunshine and knowing you’re going to be trapped in a little box with your family for the next two days can do that for a person. Or just watching Licorice twitch at every squirrel that runs by can, too.

The weather was spectacular—not too hot, not too cold—and we enjoyed a nice dinner, a walk around the grounds, and then Otto made a fire and the kids had s’mores before bed. Once they were all tucked in, Otto and I returned to the fire to relax and enjoy each other’s company, which ended about 15 minutes later when I said, “Well, I’m exhausted. I think I need to go to sleep.”

This morning we got up, had breakfast (everyone) and coffee (me and Otto) and charming argumentation over who was touching who (the kids) and after a while, Otto headed off to take a shower. Then Chickie and I went to take showers. Turns out that each bathroom only has one shower stall, so she waited for me and then I waited for her. Now, I can’t tell you for sure that she’s not like this at home—at home I’m not in the bathroom with her when she showers—but this morning was highly entertaining. I was standing outside the actual shower stall, drying off, while she adjusted the water for herself, which involved a lot of yelping.

“Everything okay in there?” I asked.

“It’s just… ACK… the water… EEEP… it’s COLD.”

“Um. Try not standing under it while you get it adjusted?”

“Oh! GOOD IDEA, MOM! If only there was SOMEWHERE ELSE TO STAND!” She had a point. The stall was about the size of a bread box.

I got dressed while she banged her elbows on the walls and yipped and dropped things and made other noises. Really, it was like my own personal episode of The Keystone Cops Enter A Tiny Shower.

Finally everyone was clean and dressed and… it was time for lunch! Books and computer were put aside so that we could all eat potato chips. (We never have potato chips at home. Ever. I do not buy potato chips, unless my dad is coming to visit. But camping evidently requires potato chips, because they mysteriously appear in the camper EVERY TIME.)

After lunch we informed the children that we were going to go on a hike. They reacted with the kind of horror that makes a mother wonder where she went wrong. Nevertheless, we dragged them away from their Nintendos and commenced stomping through the woods to enjoy the local flora and fauna.

“There’s a fungus among us!” I declared, at the first fallen tree covered in mushrooms. Monkey was delighted, but I’m pretty sure both Otto and Chickie rolled their eyes at me.

We also saw… a lot of mud. It made our shoes squishy. Once we were finally out of it, Chickadee whipped off a shoe and I asked her what she was doing. “There’s a rock in my shoe!” she said. Then she thought about it a second and amended that to, “There’s a snake in my boot!”

We’re HILARIOUS. You totally wish you’d been here.

About halfway along the trail, Monkey began to complain that he was tired, his legs felt fuzzy, he was thirsty, and he wasn’t going to make it. The good news is that I had some water. The bad news is that I told him he was just going to have to suck up the rest of that and deal. We plodded along until we emerged near the campground again, and as we made out way back to our site Monkey lamented that he was “all sweaty.”

“We’re ALL all sweaty, sweetie,” I said. “It’s okay.” He remained unconvinced.

Now we’re all lounging around the site, again, and after everyone had some water and complained about being sweaty (“My shirt is sticking to me! AAHHHHHHH!”), Chickadee went inside and came back out with some grapes. As she sat there snacking, I asked her for some, so she started throwing them at me. When Otto asked her what she was doing, she threw some at him. Then Monkey came out of the trailer and asked for some, so both Otto and I said “DON’T THROW THEM!” at the same time.

“Just hand him a stem,” I said. So she gave him… a bare stem.

Eventually everyone was parceled out some grapes, and we all lived sweatily ever after. Because camping with the family is FUN. (And fragrant. Don’t forget fragrant.)

13 Responses to “We’re naturalists. Naturists. Well, we smell.”

  1. 1
    Lynda M O September 24, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    I totally wish I were there; you are right. And pretty. Sweaty.

  2. 2
    Beth R September 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    Oh, she is SOOO a teenaged big sister! :)

    Have a lovely weekend!

  3. 3
    Varda (SquashedMom) September 24, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

    Sounds perfect. And fragrant. Our boys have never been camping – sad but true.

  4. 4
    My Kids Mom September 24, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

    I can’t type the sound that camping makes me utter. Guyuglyck perhaps?

  5. 5
    SillyMe September 24, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    Camping is one of those things that I promised I would never make my kids do. (because 30 years later I still harbor resentment towards my Dad for doing that to me -yuck!) To me hiking is not fun, Camping is not fun. Swimming in any body of water that you can’t see through is NOT FUN. So. Kid is in Girl Scouts. If she wants to go she can. If not, we can hang out at home. Or downtown shopping, that works too.

  6. 6
    MomCat September 24, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

    I never tire of the “fungus among us” joke. Or any pun, for that matter. So call me when you want to pun and I promise to laugh. (:

  7. 7
    Daisy September 24, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

    Sigh. I enjoy camping; the rest of my family does not. Stinky and muddy and all, I still envy you your weekend.

  8. 8
    Midj September 24, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

    Husband had an extra week of vaca. Went camping this past Tuesday with our 80 lb dog. Camped at Land between the Lakes, TN. Torrential rain, two inches of water in the tent, dog on the cot. Drove to Brevard, NC for day two. Night two was a gorgeous night followed by hiking, wading (dog) and all around fun the next day. Night three? Torrential rain, thunder, lightning, dog in the cot. Next morning, packing up in the rain and heading home to FL. I now have camping paraphernalia drying in the garage. But, as husband says, three days camping beats three days working.

    Glad you guys had such beautiful weather and wonderful, sweaty family time.

  9. 9
    Pam September 24, 2011 at 10:31 pm #

    ‘They reacted with the kind of horror that makes a mother wonder where she went wrong.’
    Perfectly put! And with so many applications, alas.

  10. 10
    Megan September 24, 2011 at 11:04 pm #

    Sigh. Now that my own kids are old enough to actually be nice to each other for an entire weekend, the little ingrates have scattered to the winds. Enjoy your grape-hurling sweaty little barbarians while you have ‘em!

  11. 11
    Kathy September 25, 2011 at 12:22 am #

    Totally fun! Glad you’re having a GREAT weekend!!

  12. 12
    elz September 25, 2011 at 10:20 pm #

    Chips are a necessity for out of town trips. Every time we head to the ranch we have Doritos. Why? I don’t know, we never have them at home, but we HAVE to have them. Clearly the chips firms have been using subliminal advertising for all naturists/naturalists among us!

  13. 13
    Katie in MA September 27, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    Please tell me there was a singing around the campsite and I’d have been perfectly happy to tag along. :)

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