The reason we got a camper is because my idea of “roughing it” is raising children. And having a place to plug in my crock pot. Details. Our camper is neither large nor fancy, but it did allow us to have veggie chili for dinner last night (seriously, a crock pot while camping is AWESOME) while sitting in our little air-conditioned box. And that is awesome because it is currently 95 degrees and a billion percent humidity every day here at Myrtle Beach.
[Digression: If I had a nickel for every time I found myself turning to Otto and saying, “Have you MET these children?”, I could retire. Yesterday Otto said it was “just a short walk” over to the boardwalk, and a mile and two melting, complaining children later, we scrapped the expedition in favor of ice cream. Otto was disappointed and somewhat exasperated. I would like to stipulate that in this weather, there is NO SUCH THING as a short walk. I may not whine the way the kids do, but seriously, that was the fast track to heat stroke, right there.]
Anyway, vacation is all about making memories. I have no doubt we’ll be telling the one about how Otto led us on the neverending walk for YEARS! Plus dinnertime is always good for magic moments.
Our camper is what’s called a hybrid, which means it’s a lightweight trailer that has a part that folds out. (It’s a combination of a regular trailer and a pop-up, I guess. Sort of. I have no idea.) The part that folds out, on this one, is our bed. As a result, we have a U-shaped seating area around our table, and then our bed is actually up BEHIND the seating, housed in a tent covering. (The kids sleep in bunks in the back, and due to the ENORMOUS SIZE of our camper, by “in the back” I mean “precisely four steps from the edge of the table.”)
Last night we were eating dinner, and as is our custom, Otto and I finished eating long before the kids did. This is because Monkey needs extra time to wrestle with the age-old conundrum of not being overly fond of veggie chili, but knowing he needs to eat some if he wants some cornbread, which he really DOES love; and because Chickadee is the slowest eater on the planet AND she loves to drown her chili in cheese and then complain that it’s too hard to eat with the stringy, melty cheese on the top. (Hence our frequent declaration that “our child, she is giftatated!” Ahem.)
It had been kind of a long day. Our “short walk” had completely worn me out, and after sitting with the family for what seemed like a reasonable period of time, I hefted myself up and over the dog (who was snoozing on the bench beside me) and onto my bed, which is, after all, RIGHT THERE, so it wasn’t like I was abandoning the family or anything.
“MOTHER!” exclaimed Chickadee, and I figured she was about to scold me for leaving the table. “You just kicked the dog in the face!”
“No I didn’t,” I said, looking at the dog, who had raised her head but didn’t appear to have a bashed-in skull, or anything.
“Yes you did!” she insisted. “You kicked her in the face! You stomped on her head. YOU ARE A FACESTOMPER!”
“You’re a facestomper,” I replied, never unable to resist the classic I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I retort. “She’s fine. Licorice! If you’re perfectly fine COME HERE!” Licorice happily hopped the seating barrier and came and curled up next to me and licked my nose. “See? This is not a dog whose face has been stomped.”
“You totally stomped her,” grumbled Chickadee. “But I guess she forgives you for being a facestomper.”
“How about I stomp on YOUR face?” I asked her, swinging my leg into the general vicinity of her head. “I mean, if that’s WHAT I DO.”
“WIFE!” protested Otto. “You are not supposed to stomp on your daughter’s FACE!” Chickadee nodded, satisfied, and made general noises of agreement. “You’re supposed to stomp on her hopes and dreams,” continued Otto, and we chuckled as Chickadee burst into incoherent protest.
“Well… well… how about I stomp on YOUR hopes and dreams?” she finally asked, clearly pleased with her response.
“Too late,” Otto and I replied, in unison, and then we all cracked up.
It was a magical moment, ruined only by Chickadee then turning to her giggling brother to ask Monkey if he knew why it was funny. (“I’m not sure,” he answered, “but it just is.”)
I’m pretty sure you can’t build these sorts of memories in a tent. I mean, trying to figure out what to do with the crock pot would probably take up all of your time.