Gone skinkin’

So the supplies were gathered up, the trailer packed, and this is the part where I would normally conclude “and we were off in a cloud of dust,” except it has been so rainy that there is no dust. We were off in a cloud of mud? Mud doesn’t really cloud. We were off in the splash of a puddle? That sort of works. We packed up and left, is the point. Because why sit around at home when you could sit around in a forest and be eaten by bugs?

[Fun storm fact: Right before we left, the monotony of regular thunderstorm after regular thunderstorm was broken up by ye olde BIG ASS THUNDERSTORM FLASH FLOOD ZOMG, and thankfully that doesn’t mean anything too terrible for us because we live on a hill, but our #^&*@#% cursed pool, I’ll have to ask Otto if he took pictures, because I have never seen anything like it. For one thing, our crappy pool was transformed overnight into an infinity pool! By which I mean the water level was right up to the concrete. (Flash floods are FUN!) For another thing, all of the debris knocked off trees and whatnot had washed down the driveway and directly into the pool, so after EVERYTHING we’ve gone through to right the pool and balance the chemistry, it was not only overflowing, it was swampy with lord only knows what. Otto spent a day fishing out branches and stuff and the water was still brackish when we left even after a day and a half of running the filter.]

I wanted to burn the house down before we left, but Otto—so unreasonable!—was all, “Look, I bought you some candy for the ride, just get in the truck and let’s go.” So we left.

We’d been driving for all of five minutes when the first “Are we there yet?” happened, and I tried to blame Monkey but he totally ratted me out. Rotten child.

Fortunately, although it’s still kind of rainy and gross and we’ve never tried this particular campground before, this location is simply TEEMING with blue-tailed skinks, which means we see them on the paths and scurrying up walls and wandering around the bathrooms. We have tons of lizards at home, but they don’t have blue tails, y’know. These are DIFFERENT. And so whenever we leave our site it’s basically become a contest to see who can spot the most skinks. There are worse ways to spend a trip.

Poor Licorice sat in her crate—strapped in, as it always is for these trips, between the kids in the back seat for her safety and our sanity, as it cuts down on those “he/she’s touching me!” moments—and shivered the whole way. It’s been so long since we camped, I think she forgot we were headed to Squirrel Central. Once we arrived she was fine, especially when she realized that nearly every campsite has a dog or two for her to sniff and/or bark at. (As I type this, she is sitting on my pillow, nose pressed to the tent screening, tracking a squirrel who is taunting her outside. This is a furry princess in her natural habitat, if her natural habitat included twice-a-day kibble and the occasional chewy stick.)

Poor Chickadee had only just regained access to her electronic devices, and therefore her WHOLE LIFE, GOSH, MOM, shortly before we left, so we are having to gently (ahem) remind her periodically to put away her phone, her friends will still be there later. She’s being fairly good-natured about it, but maybe that’s because she’s figured out that cheerful compliance means we’re less likely to notice right away when she sneaks it out again.

Poor Monkey wanted nothing more than to play a game! Play a game! When are we going to play a game? Aaaaaaaaaall day yesterday. But we got here in the afternoon and had to set up camp and relax a bit after that, and then I fell asleep (fresh air makes me sleepy) and then later when I woke up, we went for a walk, and then when we came back, Otto fell asleep (apparently fresh air makes him sleepy, too), and then it was time for dinner and I promised him we’d play after that. But then after dinner there was dessert, and then I sent Monkey up to the bathroom to wash up (because most of his dessert was still on his face), and then he came back and promptly fell asleep. His family being jerks makes him sleepy.

Poor Otto was super excited because this campground sells really cheap firewood, and of course all of OUR firewood was left at home because it’s soaking wet, but theirs was dry, and so the moment dinner was over he was all, “Hey kids, want me to build a fire?” And the kids were as enthusiastic as teens ever get, which is to say they kind of shrugged and mumbled. Undeterred, Otto then turned to me, and said, “Wife, want a fire?” And you know I adore this man, SO MUCH, but I couldn’t help laughing, and then I gently suggested that if HE wants to build a fire, he should just build the damn fire, there is no need to try to reframe it like we begged him to do it, just MAKE THE FIRE ALREADY. Then he acted all wounded and I have no idea why, because it’s not like I was any nicer either when he met me 24 years ago or even when he married me 6 years ago.

I swear I was planning on complimenting him profusely on his SUPER MANLY FIRE MAKING ABILITIES, but the fire kept catching and burning for a minute or two and then fizzling out, proving once again that we have a knack for buying fireproof wood. We managed to thrust a suitable number of marshmallows into the flames between fizzles, and after s’mores there were frozen dairy confections, too, because why not?

We were all in bed by 10:30 or so, and Licorice managed to plunk herself down in the middle of our mattress, so Otto and I were facing each other with her in-between us. Licorice let out an enormous sigh and streeeeeetched until her furry little body was taking up more room than seems possible within the rules of physics.

Me: Depressed dog is depressed.
Otto: Depressed dog is an enormous bed pig.
Me: Depressed dog is depressed that you don’t want to snuggle.
Otto: Depressed dog is going to plunge her tongue into my ear canal at dawn.
Me: Depressed dog is looking forward to that.
Otto: Depressed dog is a pain in the ass.
Me: Depressed dog loves you VERY MUCH.
Otto: Whatever.

Otto was right; Licorice was pretty sure we should all get up at 4:30 this morning. After pinning her back down a few times, she gave up and went back to sleep, though, so it was fully 8:30 or so before I managed to spill coffee all over myself.

In other words, we’re having a fabulous time.


  1. js

    Our family has not had a vacation in so long, because we are planning a really BIG vacation in October. We so need to nap in the middle of the day right now ;-) So glad you’re having a fabulous time!

  2. Brigitte

    Sleeping is always a great time, as far as I’m concerned. ;-)

  3. The Other Leanne

    Ha! I read that as “just get in the trunk and let’s go”.

  4. Rocky Mountain Woman

    I just came back from a family vacation to Yellowstone and I had soooo much fun and I’m sooooo happy to get back to my quiet little life…

    I love the idea of just eating whatever you want, we do that on vacation and it makes things so festive!!!

    • JMH

      We leave for Yellowstone next week! Never been there before..

  5. RuthWells

    Sounds like perfection.

  6. Chuck

    I don’t think you need to burn down the house, you just need to burn down the pool. That one could be a bit of a challenge though. If I can think of a way I’ll let you know.

    • Chickadee

      I read online somewhere that if you drop a bunch of batteries in the pool and then light some matches, the water will catch on fire. We could also just find any flammable liquid that’s less dense than water and pour that in the pool.

      Then again, I sorta like our pool…. Maybe we shouldn’t set it on fire….

      • Chuck

        That actually sounds cool but it would be expensive with gasoline the price it is today. Fill the pool with it, throw in a match from a safe distance and BOOM! Of course then you’d have to deal with the fire department wanting to know why you filled your pool with gasoline.

  7. Mary K. in Rockport

    Your camping trip sounds like fun. My husband, having been in the Israeli army, refuses to ever camp out again in a tent in his whole life. The closest we’ve come is an Appalachian Mountain Club cabin – he didn’t like that either! And the kids, once they determined that there MIGHT be snakes on the path to the outhouse, lost enthusiasm too……..

  8. addy

    “Depressed Dog”? Ummmmm what? Skinks, squirrels and little boy faces with dessert for licking – hmmm pretty pretty princess Dog-up!

  9. TracyB

    Seriously, camping to me is eating, sleeping and taking short walks. Rinse and repeat.

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