Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pack it up, pack it in

Pack it up, pack it in,

Let me begin,

I came to win,

Battle me that's a sin

--House of Pain

On the way to what was sure to be another fun-packed family camping adventure with David's kindergarten class, Angie dared to challenge me to a tent-building contest. Please, woman.

I honestly couldn't believe that Angie was coming on the trip in the first place. Last year, she bailed with the whole 'Tom's a baby' excuse that only too conveniently fit with her hatred of nature and large gatherings of screaming kids. I had honestly assumed and planned on her not coming until the night before when she was gabbing away on the phone.

'Oh, damn, I'm so sorry - I'd really love to go to your cousin's neighbor's daughter's baptism rehearsal, but I'm going camping...'

Despite adamantly denying it, I still think Ms. Outdoors 'changed her mind' at the last minute. Whatever.

So anyway, I was enjoying a surprisingly quiet and pleasant ride until Angie started rambling on about how easy it is to set up a tent and how maybe even I could do it. That's it, lady - it's go time!

As we pulled up to the campground, there were plenty of parents who weren't two hours late who came up to gloat at us. They grinned and pointed at their deluxe super-duper-sleepers and explained how they had already pitched their tents, collected firewood, set traps and whatever the hell else over-zealous campers that show up on time do.

We promptly ignored them and raced for the colossal mess that we had crammed in our trunk. Angie beat me there and claimed stake to what I would later refer to as 'the easy tent'. I got there just as Angie was skipping away and was forced to take what I would later refer to as 'the WWII hut that requires an engineering degree and a blow torch'.

Normally I do not let David climb up on top of any car, moving or not. Angie had already unrolled her 'push-button' tent, though. I was torn between the safety of my children and kicking Angie's ass. In the end, I just pretended that David was wearing a helmet made of bubble-wrap and convinced myself that the pavement was not that hard.

In case I forgot to mention it - it was freakin' hot, and not in the 'Roseanne Barr naked' kinda way. For some reason, Angie was not breaking a sweat. I've read a few books, though, and realize that it's probably because she's from Venus. Apparently Venusians can't cook to save their lives, but they are fairly proficient when it comes to selecting the 'easy' tent from a pile of tents borrowed from said alien's father.

I don't know what was more humiliating - that I was beaten in a simple tent-building contest by a freakin' extraterrestrial that can't even cook, or that the creature's offspring just stared at me in pathetic disgust as it's Mama hammered in the victory pin.

For not being able to cook, this Alien could certainly chow down. She didn't even mind that I was somewhere in the background, cursing and tripping over cryptic tent pieces as I tried to decipher non-existent instructions and reconstruct pieces that had decayed years ago.

After finally getting my Quonset hut assembled, I stumbled my way over to the well-fed for some bread and water. Tommy stopped me on the way and demanded my head for his creative foot stool.

I noticed a potentially disturbing trend forming with Sitting Tom and decided to kick his lazy ass out of the chair for a bit of exercise. He chose instead to sit on a blanket and play poker with La Principessa.

I understand and can accept responsibility for the poker part, but where does this kid get his 'lounging around' bit? Hmmm...

In a totally unrelated segway, Angie was busy preparing a string of candy for a game of 'gummy bear dipping'.

I wasn't really sure if Tommy's dallying had warranted a treat, but I called for him anyway.

'What? I can't hear you and there's no way I'm walking over there. Come closer!'

'I said - you better get off your ass if you want to chow down on some yummy gummy candy'

Okay, not exactly what I meant, but at least he understands me. He also comprehended the growing crowd of children surrounding Mama's string of goodies and mosied on over for a snack.

The whole 'walking over' and 'chewing candy' must have really tuckered out poor Tommy. He plopped his lazy boy down and watched as Mama took her turn.

I don't know what it is about this picture, but it somehow reminds me of the scene in Pinocchio when the bad boy shooting pool suddenly turns into a donkey. You might think that obscure jackass comparisons might irritate the crap out of my wife. As it turns out, it just meant that happiness came an hour earlier. Hee-haw!

Bed time inconveniently coincided with the USA-Ghana World Cup match, so I conveniently left the camp site in search of more beer and a satellite TV. Yes, in that order.

I thought that Angie would be happy that neither of my searches were in vain, but let's just say that happy hour was over by the time I made it back to the camp site. The cool thing about tents - no sofas.

The morning after the night before was rather interesting for the boys. Peter and David are old enough to retain memories for more than 24 hours, but Tommy woke up completely baffled.

In computer chat talk, it would probably be something like WTF R WE? I know, I'm so hip it hurts sometimes. I understand and can accept responsiblity for the whole 'waking up and not knowing where you are' part, but instead of inquiring about his whereabouts, Tommy frantically searched the camp grounds until he found his coveted chair. Hmmm...
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When we were by the camping.
David: When I play with the fire.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When I in trouble over the flashlight.
David: When I throw in the fire and you say that I no can do that.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play soccer and do the treasure hunt.
David: To go home again.

1 comment:

  1. T.J. is currently the hottest director in the camp! I love those pics. Kaboom.