There are many ways in which Otto and I are similar, and other ways in which we are completely different. And then some ways in which we are each changing, due to the influence of the other.
Example the first: Otto used to believe a meal is not a meal unless it includes large hunks of meat or potatoes (preferably both). Thanks to living with us, he now understands that it is, in fact, possible to have a really nice meal that features other foods.
Example the second: I used to believe that the purpose of riding in a car was to GET somewhere. Thanks to Otto’s influence, I now understand that sometimes the journey itself is the goal, not just the destination. I mean, Otto still has a much higher tolerance for riding around aimlessly than I do, but I sort of get it.
Anyway, stuff like that. And then there’s the whole vacation thing.
When I was growing up, we did not randomly vacation. What we did, once a year, was go to Florida to visit my grandparents. At the first set of grandparents’ my job was mostly to let my grandmother walk me around to her friends and have everyone tell me how cute I was. (Yeah, it was rough, being me, and being the only female grandchild!) At the second set of grandparents’ place we did a lot of swimming. Get up, eat breakfast, go down and swim in the pool. Come in for lunch. Go back out to the pool after lunch, or maybe walk down to the beach! Come in for dinner. Watch television. It was a very difficult life.
I’m not complaining about this, by the way. I loved it. I’m just saying that’s what I figured a vacation was.
Otto’s family, on the other hand, used to go camping. For, like, the entire summer. They’d pack up a camper and hit the road and they went all over the country and, um, I think rolled around in the mud. I’m not sure. Isn’t that what you do when you go camping?
I don’t know from camping. Obviously. I mean, our first attempt at it didn’t go all that well, what with the HEAT and the NATURE and everything. I mean, nature is great and all, no doubt. But I live inside a HOUSE for a reason, y’know?
Anyway, Otto has been talking about going camping again. And usually as soon as he starts out I remind him about what happened before, and then he reminds me that 1) the kids are older now and 2) we could certainly upgrade to some sort of camper to circumvent the whole sleeping-on-the-ground thing. And because I’m totally flexible I said OKAY THEN and gave him just a small list of required items I’d need for such an arrangement.
I am completely willing to go camping provided that I get to have:
1) A real mattress to sleep on.
2) Air conditioning.
3) Our own toilet. Enclosed by WALLS. (Did you know that they make pop-up campers that have toilets where there’s just a curtain that goes around it? I believe the technical term for that is EWWWWW NASTY.)
See? It’s like I was BORN TO ROCK THE WILDERNESS. Otto is truly lucky to have married someone so incredibly low-maintenance, is he not?
But, see, I’d underestimated Otto. It turns out that what I require actually does exist in a lightweight camping trailer. And Otto located this model and then took us to the camper show to look at it and I had to admit that yes, it’s terribly cute. It’s 21′ and only about 3500 pounds (plenty light for our goofy little truck to tow), and it has a queen bed that folds out of the front for us and bunk beds for the kids in the back, and an adorable teeny kitchen that reminds me of the galley in my first apartment in college and even—of course—a bathroom.
Otto began searching for this trailer. And he quickly learned three things. First, that that cute widdle trailer is hella expensive. Second, that the company who makes them just went out of business. And finally, that the model he wants is almost impossible to find used.
I sort of thought that was the end of it. I mean, I made supportive noises and tried to act disappointed and kind of went on with my life. Every now and then he’d say something like, “Hey! I just found one used in Illinois!” And he’d look all hopeful while I gave him what I hoped was a withering stare until his shoulders slumped over and he muttered, “Nevermind.”
And then a week ago it happened. Otto found a used one in pristine condition. A bank repossession. For downright cheap. Just up the road a bit. He called immediately, and found out there had already been almost a dozen calls. Apparently he’s not the only person with his heart set on this particular model. He went out to see it. He called me for my blessing. I gave it, and he made an offer.
We waited to hear from the bank. Finally, the bank approved our offer. And this weekend, we towed it home.
That iddy biddy adorable camper? That looked so sweet and cute at the lot? Is now a hulking mass in our driveway. It will eventually be moved to a more permanent parking place (read: NOT THE DRIVEWAY) but right now we’re cleaning and fixing and getting it ready for… for….
Oh, shit. This means I actually have to go camping, doesn’t it? WHERE IS THE CABLE MODEM HOOK-UP ON THE TRAILER, OTTO???
I kid. It’s actually kind of exciting. The kids are completely out of their MINDS about it; they spent half of yesterday lounging on the bunks reading, then demanded that we eat dinner out there last night, so we did. We sat around the little table and talked about where we might go, and what we’ll need to pack, and I could almost picture the same scene somewhere in the woods, with maybe a game of Scrabble or Uno after dinner. I tried not to let my mind wander to the part where Chickadee complains that the air conditioning is too loud or Monkey insists that he saw a bug. I’m sure it’s gonna be fine. And naturey. And stuff.
It just seems a wee bit ironic that I spent all of last summer getting the house fixed up so that I’d want to stay here, and now this summer the goal will be to leave. Heh.
I tell you this: If this is not proof that I LOVE MY HUSBAND BEYOND ALL MEASURE, nothing is.