Sunday, August 14, 2005

We're Crazy

Tent camping with a 2-month old and a 2-year old? Crazy. While the night hours were sleep-filled and peaceful, it was the awake times of tending to camp duties, child care and socializing with friends seen once-a-year that got to us.

Friday Night
It rained. We arrived in the afternoon and set up camp. The dining tent required some guesswork and deductive reasoning to assemble. (The instructions are lost and unavailable online).

There was a quick excursion to the beach with Rei and friends where she played in the sand and admired the water from afar. It came time to head back which did not suit her idea of a good time, so I had to carry her back to the campsite, literally kicking and screaming the whole way. There were many amusedly sympathetic glances from other parents as we rushed by.

We got settled back in and began the supper process when the rain came. A torrential storm that blew from all directions, through the mesh walls, soaking everything we rushed under previously mentioned dining tent for safe keeping. It passed relatively quickly, as summer storms do, and some of us had to relocate our tents.

There was hot sun in the morning which dried things out quite nicely. Another beach excursion ended with Shelley carrying Rei back (without histrionics this time) for the entire return trip.

It rained. This time, we had a warning from Jon, whose PDA/Blackberry had access to the Environment Canada website. Earlier that day, I expressed my admiration for Jon's "I am not a Geek: I am a Level 12 Paladin" T-shirt.

With Rei having quiet time in Aunt Shauna & John's tent, Kai strapped into the Baby Bjorn, I zipped up flies, put soakables into the car, and waited for Shelley to get back from the shower (now there's irony). We hunkered in our neighbours' bunker - their dining tent with impenetrable sides - watched the rain, watched the kids and drank our drinks.

In the evening, Rei had a meltdown (from overtiredness and an ice cream cone sugar high) as we put her to bed. She wanted some lotion for her skin (we have a variety of unguents and salves for her eczema) but I didn't want her to squeeze it out of the bottle herself, anticipating a great gooey mess. She wanted cough medicine. She wanted to take a cup of milk with her to bed ... When we didn't give in, she wailed and screamed and kicked and howled.

Kai was not settling well either, crying and refusing consolation.
Such situations are stressful and frustrating enough without the public forum of our peers or a fully-booked campground. Eventually, they both crashed from exhaustion. We just wanted to spend time with our friends around the campfire.

The evening campfire was cut short. By rain.

Sunday morning
It rained. The campground (at least our section) was without hydro and water. I haven't seen Shauna run as fast as she did for the Porta-potties arrival. We hurriedly packed up as best we could, while cobbling together some food for Rei and keeping a watchful eye on her wanderings.

We trooped off to a "family" restaurant in Blenheim for breakfast/brunch. Our car arrived first and as I scouted out seating, the server peevishly told me she didn't know about a party of 12 with children coming in, that no one called with a reservation. I civily explained we got rained out while camping and thought we'd support a local business, a decision made 20 minutes beforehand. I civily refrained from added, "If you don't want our money, I'm sure Tim Horton wouldn't mind our dollars."

On the whole, our camping weekend was not a terrible experience. I did get to showcase my Homer Simpson Springfield Chili Cook-off T-shirt to an appreciative crowd. We have many great memories and stories from our time. But the tale is more entertaining when there is great hardship to endure and towering obstacles to overcome. But seriously, next time the kids are going to the grandparents.

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