The View From A Slightly Twisted Angle

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Was It Worth It?

on July 2, 2012

I’m sitting here this morning with my cup of coffee listening to my washing machine run and reflecting on our weekend camping trip.  My husband is off to return the trailer to his parents and my parents to their home.  The kids are still all blissfully sleeping in their comfy cool rooms.  So here I am enjoying the relative quiet and thinking about the last few days.  As I avoid beginning the thorough cleaning my house needs I’m asking myself: was the trip worth it?  Was it a good vacation? Where does this rate on the memories list? Would I do it again?

Thursday: I spent the day working while my husband, oldest daughter and youngest son drove home from church camp.  With laundry. A LOT of laundry.  Laundry with sand from the lake. As my weary husband took off again to go to his parents house to deliver our dog, pick up the trailer and my parents who are going on our trip with us I began sorting through the mess.  And cooking.  And gathering together the things we are going to need to camp.  And stressing. Thankfully our oldest daughter caught enough of a nap that she was up to the job of keeping Mom calm. I love that girl.  She makes me laugh when I’m ready to cry.  We were getting to the bottom of the laundry pile and the end of the check list when my husband arrived with the trailer and my parents in tow.  I was excited to see all of them. My mother had also been cooking for days so we hauled in her supplies and started sorting and planning.  Meanwhile my husband and dad figured out the trailer wasn’t going to fit into our driveway without unhitching it. (Not something he was interested in doing.)  Okay. Parked it in the alley next to the house far enough over so it wouldn’t get smacked by a garbage truck in the morning.  Not the most convenient location for loading but it worked. Visiting, sorting and plotting planning complete, we took our weary bodies to bed.  We decided to load in the morning when we could actually see.

Friday:  My husband wanted to hit the road by 9AM.  I love the man, but when he is ready to roll, you’d better have been ready to go five minutes ago.  I wasn’t overly thrilled when my alarm went off in the early morning hours of my day off, but we began the day anyway. Breakfast and loading. Lots of loading. Back and forth carrying stuff across the alley in the early morning humidity. The second trip out it started to rain.  We need the rain but I’d have preferred it waited until I had all the stuff packed. We soldiered on through the rain and managed to pull out at 9:15.  Not bad. My hair was wet from sweating, but we were on our way. The trip out takes around six and a half hours. Our college boy swears it is six. I don’t ask too many questions.  In a large SUV with towing a trailer it takes closer to seven and a half hours unless you want to spend an extra hundred bucks on gas. When you are traveling with seven people you have to stop for stretch breaks and to eat.  We aren’t college students. I always thought there wasn’t much interesting to look at on the trip across the northern part of the state of Nebraska but listening to my parents talk about all the things we were passing was entertaining.  Made me appreciate the wheat and pastures and cows.  It’s all about perspective.  The three kids in the back seat weren’t so excited with the view, but the dvd player helped them pass the time.  We had a lunch picnic in a school yard in a small town along the way.  I was reminded of the old adage “You get what you pay for.”  The cheap paper plates I purchased were awful, particularly when you have to hold them in your lap,  but we made them work. On the road again.  About an hour from our destination we had to make another pit stop.  As I was standing outside the trailer I noticed the blinds in on of the bedroom windows were moving.  What? No one was in the trailer. Upon closer inspection I discovered the window was gone. Seriously. Gone. Apparently somewhere between lunch and the pit stop the wind had caught the emergency escape window just right and ripped it off. You could see where the screws stripped out.  Because it isn’t our brand new trailer a sick feeling overcame my husband and I. After a few minutes of freaking we pulled up the blinds so that they wouldn’t get totally destroyed and decided that there was little we could do until we got to where we were going. We only stopped one more time in the last hour to make sure the screen stayed with us. During that hour we decided it was better that the window did that to us while driving on a relatively quiet highway rather than to his parents driving up the interstate to Duluth this week. Our first stop was the Wal-Mart. We met our son there.   My face actually hurt from smiling so big and so long.  We purchased the last few things we needed to camp, including heavy vinyl and duct tape for the window, got my parents checked into their hotel room for the weekend and headed out to the state park to camp.  As we pulled in they upgraded the dry warning to a burn ban. No fires. My visions of s’mores deteriorating, my husband inquired about grills. Nope. No open flames at all. No grills, no outdoor camp stoves, no citronella candles.  I’m so glad we bought that portable charcoal grill we couldn’t use. Panic set in as I realized that most of the food I packed to eat had to be grilled.  As we found our camp spot my mom and husband assured me we’d figure it out. Luckily we were only planning on sandwiches that evening.  As we set up camp in the hundred plus degree heat I began to doubt my sanity.  Our girls were not happy about the lack of cellular service.  Then I heard our oldest son and his brother laughing as they set up their tent.  It was going to be okay I decided.  Camp set up, supper eaten without the use of flame, we settled into relax a little.  Well: the kids did. Their father and I collapsed.

Saturday: Early morning wake up. My super husband cooked his campfire breakfast on the stove in the trailer.  We all piled into the car and drove to the shower house which was a ways away…uphill…with stairs.  After everyone was freshened we headed into town to pick up grandparents.  Unfortunately Grandma was not feeling well. We left her in the hotel room to rest while we took Grandpa on a tour of the college campus and our son’s new apartment. It’s definitely a twenty-one year old guys apartment. He’s quite proud of it.  I surveyed the laundry all over the bedroom and decided to keep my mouth shut.  I’m proud of him because he is trying to make it on his own without help from us.  A little laundry (okay – A LOT) isn’t worth ruining that feeling.  After further touring the town and stopping to purchase a stove top grill we checked on grandma.  She was better.  Back out to the campsite for hotdogs grilled on the stove and a lazy afternoon of cards and visiting and naps.  My youngest son learned that if you are a boy you don’t have to hike up to the bathroom. You can pee in the trees.  I just hope my husband explained that was only when you are camping and out of the site of other campers. After a supper of hamburgers grilled on the stove we went on the scenic drive in the park and relaxed.  The great thing about the panhandle in Nebraska is that it actually cools off at night unlike the eastern part where we live.  No humidity.  As we sat around the non-campfire and our daughters made s’mores for everyone over the flame on the trailer’s stove our oldest son started in.  I make this really funny noise when I laugh hard. It’s partially because I can’t breathe and partially because my stomach starts hurting.  His goal in life is to get me to make that noise.  He usually gets the job done.  He certainly did that night.  We sat for quite a while just enjoying the night and each other. All tucked into the trailer for the night I thanked the Lord for the fun day.

Sunday: Departure day.  Again my husband’s goal in life is to get going.  My job is to be ahead of him.   More sweating and loading and breaking down camp.  The feeling of melancholy over leaving our kid again began to settle over me.  I miss him and two days just didn’t seem long enough.  At some point my husband asked if I was going to be sad all day or just for a little while.  Okay….snap out of it.  At least I got to see him for two days.  We stopped at the hotel to pick up the grandparents.  I went to move some things into the back of the SUV so we could all fit for Grandma’s tour of campus.  I discovered that the tailpipe was hot.  Really hot.  I have the burns on my shin to prove it.  Thankfully there was aloe gel in the trailer.  Grandma got the tour she missed the day before minus the laundry  bedroom. It was time to go. Between the burns and hugging our son goodbye I wasn’t in a good mood as we started off on out seven hour return trip.  My mom, because she is an amazing mom,  understood how I was feeling so she gently chatted my out of my funk.  The woman is precious. The trip home was uneventful – thankfully. Once we got home there was more sweating as we unloaded, cleaned the trailer and sorted through things in the house.  An “eat what you can find” supper, showers all around and everyone fell into bed exhausted.  Our vacation was over. Just some mess to clean up.

Back to this morning and my pondering if it was worth it. All the things that went wrong.  The heat.  The work.  The sweating.  Then I remember that I got to spend time with my parents and our kids.  I think about my parents enjoying their grandkids.  My daddy picking on the boys.  My mom making them laugh as they played cards with her.  I realize that we worked around the apparent problems and enjoyed ourselves anyway.  I am thankful we got to see our oldest child for a few days.  I smile at the  belly laughing. The teasing.  The fun.  Being together as a whole family for a weekend.  It was a lot of work but it was so worth it. I can’t wait to do it again!

Grandpa and The Kids:

Dad’s Camping Breakfast:

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