Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I Lived In Nature; Did Not Die.

So I am not, historically, the camping sort.
I am someone who shrieks hysterically when bugs fly near her face. I get itchy just thinking about mosquitos. I have very poor eyesight and a supernatural ability to manage to walk through spiders' newly constructed webs. I have developed a "special" walk to help me combat the into-web-walking. It looks like a child doing the elementary school favorite "crazy walk", but the child is drunk and has vertigo. Because I love you, I made a horrible-quality animated gif of my spiderwalk. Photobucket It ain't pretty.

So, we were unsure exactly how successful our first family camping expedition would be. Why did we DECIDE to camp, you might ask? Well, we had DECIDED to go on a road trip to Chicago, but then we found an amazing couch for $150, and though, oh, well, we don't have any other big expenses coming up... Ha. Ha-ha. That's the sound of our air conditioner breaking, and Brian needing a root canal. Ha. Ha-ha. So we opted for a $26-a-night campsite, and told ourselves that Chicago was lame, anyway.BUT, camping is not cheap! Or, it isn't if you've never done it and don't have all the STUFF. We were betting on the fact that we could become "camping people", and bought a GIANT tent (on sale!) and all the other junk that must accompany one in the wilderness, if one is a city-fied sissy. T'was risky, friends, I will not lie. Behold our giant tent, which is larger than our car. It took an hour or more to put up, and I had never sweat so much as I did while helping Brian assembling the thing. Afterward, I busied myself organizing our new tent-home, enjoying the breeze that came through the open tent doors. OPEN TENT DOORS. This lasted about 15 minutes, and then I noticed I had invited EVERY GIANT DUMB BUG IN THE FORST INTO MY TENT. It was a turning point in my life. It was the moment when I turned into a cold-blooded insect killer, and also someone who will CUT YOU if you do not zip up the tent door as QUICKLY AS IS HUMANLY POSSIBLE, thank you. I did what everyone in my position would do: I put a ziploc bag on my hand and started grabbing insects and smooshing them into bug-paste. I got really good. Every time I got one, I would call out to Brian, "That's SIX! I got SIX!" though he didn't seem terribly impressed. I should mention that the bigs were really dumb and slow. If I had to guess, I would say they were the unlit inbred cousins of lightening bugs, but I am no entomologist.Other things happened while we camped. We swam! We cooked! We hiked! All at 95+ degrees, because we went camping in a heat wave! Like geniuses! But what I will remember the most about our first camping trip was how many bugs I killed. The first day was only the beginning, folks, because despite my best efforts, the ants had moved into the tent by the second night. I was ruthless. I am sorry, ants, but you wanted the wrong person's graham crackers.
What would I say are the most essential camping supplies? Bug spray and ziploc bags, my friends. The former I applied about every 90 minutes when awake, and the latter I used CONSTANTLY.

Have you opened a food product? MUST GO IN ZIPLOC.
Are you putting something into the cooler? MUST GO IN ZIPLOC. (Beverages excluded.)
Do you need to marinate your kabobs? MUST GO IN ZIPLOC.
Are you about to form turkey-burger patties? ZIPLOC IS GLOVE.
Do you need to smash approximately 4,000 ants with your hand? ZIPLOC IS GLOVE.
My camping habits... might not be ecologically sound.

We survived, though, and we plan to camp again in the fall, when it will not be as heat-wave-y, and we will not have to seek refuge in the nearby WalMart/McDonalds/public library. It will be glorious, and I will know that if you run away from hornets, they follow you. Life lessons, people.


Kim Franklin said...

I on the other hand am a camping fanatic! My boyfriend and I went up to Crater lake last summer to camp and there was still snow, so we had to spend a night at the lodge. Well to make a long story short someone had left the back window open and about 500 blood sucking mosquitos had made their way in to the room. Dave and I spend about 2 hours killing them all, but the time we were done there were blood dots alll over the wall lol. I love camping, but do also hate bugs!

Jan said...

I grew up camping, tent camping and trailer camping. I was heart broken when my husband decided he didn't want to camp anymore. I love your post, BTW, too funny.

bellananda said...


i laugh because we're so incredibly similar...and the boy and i are going camping *this weekend*. for the first time in 2 years. with minimal gear. light a candle for me, will you? -- a citronella one!


arajane said...

um, so i've been sitting here watching your animated spider walk for, like, five minutes because it entertains me so. thanks for making my day, lauren!

ScrappyStuff said...

i LOVE you - thanks for sharing!
Now i remember why we gave our camping gear to our kids!
... Congratulations on surviving!

(it will be better in the fall, enjoy the campfire!)

Kristin said...

1. When I was a daycamp counselor, I would kill daddy long legs spiders in a jumbo porta-potty with my bare hands. True story.

2. ZIPLOC IS GLOVE must be come a t-shirt. And I must buy them all. Also, I think it should be the next big catch phrase. "Man, those Royals really suck, huh?" "Eh, what can you do? Ziploc is glove."

Melissa said...

Oh, I knew this would be a great story! So glad you survived and are willing to do it again.

We are gearing up for prime camping season. You'll like it so much more in the cooler weather.

Awesome spider walk, by the way! I'll have to watch and learn. Nothing creeps me out more than walking into a web.

Amy said...

Love it! You made my day. For the tee shirt, I vote for "You wanted the wrong person's graham crackers."

Sharon said...

You make me laugh! The out loud kind, too.

Cristin said...

such stores you tell :-)
I somewhat concur with the ziplock bag theory. KEEPS BUGS OUT!

We ARE the camping type but haven't for the last 2 summers due to baby boy joining our lives... sigh - I miss it!

Malinda said...

You are still young. In a few years, you will graduate to the "hotel suite on wheels" known as the RV. Saves money and has a real bed. Enjoy camping while you can still bear to sleep on the ground!

Mego said...

O.MI.GOODNESS! I 'snuck' onto your blog during lunch and I am now ROLLING in my cube...everyone is sticking their heads in wondering what the HECK is going on...you ruthless bug killer! You have made my day!

rachel said...

Camping is just mini-break practising for an eternity in Hell, I reckon. Earwigs, mosquitos, spiders, ants, in, on and around your bed, in your shoes, your food..... And that's only the things you can see. But you are going to do it again in the autumn?

duckyhouse said...

Ha! this is hilarious...love it!

jacquie said...

bugs...eeeek! chicago is lame...you keep telling yourself that until you save your money, come here and i will singlehandedly prove you wrong. sleeping on my couch costs nothing by the way. omg the word verification is mouse...worse than bugs.

craftytammie said...

i'm not the outdoorsy type. sleep on the ground in a large plastic room, or snuggle on my bed with memory foam topper - not a tough choice for me. but i do love sitting around the campfire, looking at the stars.

Caroline said...

Hey Lauren!
Remember me? :)
I just thought I'd say I love your blog and I've linked you on my brand new one www.pleatsandpintucks.blogspot.com!
Hope to see you soon!
Caroline :)