Sunday, September 23, 2012

Our Summer Adventure

It was summer, we had a long weekend coming up, and we were pretty low on funds. It was tough being a single parent but I was determined we would do something all of us could enjoy. My daughter was eighteen; my son was eleven, so it was hard to find a common interest. I’m just thankful my daughter was more flexible because it takes a lot more to interest my son. All she really needs is a book to make her happy!
So I sat the kids down and told them what we had to work with and asked them if they had any ideas. We all wanted to get away, see something new, and check out some new scenery. We had a little three man dome tent and decided we would go camping. We were not really keen on the whole no air conditioning thing since we lived in Texas. The nights were not much different than the days as far as the temperature went. We called around to a few of the state parks but could only secure a cabin for two nights and not the three we needed. These cabins had real beds, air conditioning, safety from mosquitoes, and a place to cook. What more could you want?
Now we just had to figure out what to do for the first night. We decided to go half way and stay at a state park closer to our home. We brought along a small fan, a small television with videos, and our two small Toy Fox Terriers. Everything started out joyous, my son loved to fish and we had our poles ready. My daughter was equipped with enough books and I brought the games. The car was packed tight because of all the extra electronics and also because mom is not as young as she used to be and brought along lots of padding! We were just happy to be on the road and on an adventure. 
We got a late start the first day, probably from packing the car, I’m not very good at packing. Plus the fact that I want to make sure I have absolutely everything I might ever need for any and all circumstances! My children tease me about this, because at times my purse resembles Mary Poppin’s magical bag. This makes me think of another time when my daughter went on an all day trip with her class to a local amusement park. I faithfully check the weather every morning to make sure the kids are dressed for it. The season was fall and in our part of Texas that means nobody really knows what the weather will be! It said rain was a possibility and it might turn chilly. So into my daughter’s back pack to her chagrin went an umbrella, hoodie, fresh pair of socks, band aids, Pepto-Bismol tablets, ibuprofen, snacks, juice, and well, I think you get the picture. I was so proud of myself that day and I made my daughter the hero of the hour. 

Needless to say it did rain and when I say rain I don’t mean sprinkle. The first part of the day was great and I thought perhaps it was overkill on my part. But then it was torrential, they huddled in masses under coverings; they had split up into groups and had a meeting point at the end of the day. Since they didn’t know where anyone was they had to wait in the meeting place and most groups were staying where they were because of the heaviness of the rain. First of all my daughter was thrilled that she could get into her locker and had one of the only umbrellas. After that someone came up with an awful headache and stomach ache, for which she had the remedy. Someone else had a blister and she produced the band aide. When they arrived at the bus a little girl was noticeably turning a bit blue from being soaked to the bone to which my daughter offered a dry pair of socks and a towel, yes, I forgot to mention the towel. *pats herself on back* The teachers were impressed, the kids called it the magic bag, and everyone that needed it got a handful of snacks for the trip home. Ta Da! I think I regress, back to the story now.
We arrived at our first park at dusk. Not a good time to put up your tent when you are novices. Granted, it was a dome tent, how hard could it be? I’m so very thankful that my daughter was there, the reader, because had it been up to me and my son we would have slept with the mosquitoes! (More likely, the car) My daughter finished with the tent, we put our padding down, the fan in, the TV in, and the dog’s kennels in. Remember now, this is a three man tent; it was cozy to say the least. Since it was dusk when we erected our home for the night we were negligent in scoping out the terrain. It was something like the Princess and the Pea book I suppose, in that we could feel every root and rock under all that padding. In the beginning we were snacking and watching a video, we had decided to make the best of it. It was during the dark of the night when the mood began to shift. Never mind the fact that we had roots in our backs, or that we had doggy breath in our nostrils, or that my son was sleeping on my back. A very large dog began to bark relentlessly, following this we heard loud voices, and then a shot rang out. The dog stopped barking…. We didn’t know if the dog was happy now that the intruder was dead or the dog was dead. Here we are under a piece of material that I assume is nylon and that is all that separates us from the wild and the crazies. We all sat up and listened. We decided then and there that as soon as the first hint of light came up we were getting out of there! You’ve never seen two children help pack faster. Too bad you can’t bottle this type of adrenalin!

Extremely happy to be out of that situation and on our way to our safe cabin, we were off. It was a few hours away and we had gotten a very early start this time. We made it to the next park early in the day so we could check out everything and get all set up. It was a large park but we were armed with a map and directions from the park rangers. As we pulled up outside of our cabin we were so excited. We scrambled out of the car and went in. It had a lovely screened porch with four plastic lawn chairs and then through the next door… there were two bunk beds, a book shelf, a small table, a wooden counter, and a window unit. My son was oblivious to any problems; he was thrilled because he had an air conditioned fort. My daughter was a bit taken back but was appeased by the fact that mom had enough brains to get a cabin right next to the rest rooms. I was wondering how I was going to make the evening meal, for some reason I had assumed we would have a stove and sink. We looked outside and found a place to make a campfire and a picnic table. Okay, I can do this, maybe not. I decided we needed to make a trip into the local town before getting settled down. As you can tell by now, I’m not a camper and didn’t grow up in a camping family. I needed a little help. We found a local supermarket and went to the camping section, with low funds mind you. We found the cutest little aluminum grills filled with charcoal and a rack on top. It was sort of like a pie tin bottom and very flimsy cookie cooling rack on top. We bought a couple of these and some hot dogs and hamburger and thought we had it made. 
We were right next to the lake; we were fishing and soaking our feet in the cool water. We had the air on in the cabin and would go in and have a cold drink when it got too hot. We walked down the road and found a hiking trail, the kids were not too keen on hiking but I felt like we needed the exercise and we could possibly see some wild life. Not too far down the trail was a huge spider web with an even larger spider in the middle. I was trying to keep the mood light as my children panicked; I picked up a long stick and took that spider down. Mother courageous! They were ready to go back but armed with my stick we trudged on and they ended up in hysterics watching mom and her stick battling the spiders. 
When we returned to our camp we were hungry so we got out our neat new cooking toy. We got out the matches and lit er’ up, it was pre treated charcoal and took right off. We put it on top of the wooden picnic table. It made quite a flame and as we were waiting for it to simmer down a bit to put on the burgers we smelled wood burning. We decided it was just another camper starting their camp fire so we ignored it. What we couldn’t ignore was the white smoke coming from under the picnic table. Hmmm? Curious. My daughter, the intelligent one, donned the potholder and picked up our barbeque pit. Uh oh, we had started just a little bit of a fire. Thank God there was a hose right there and we were able to spare the picnic table. It was a little scary but then after it was over we couldn’t stop laughing. We were not campers… but we were have funners, not a real term I know but it fits us. 
We didn’t do very much right that weekend, we were not fully prepared, but we were together and we had fun. I have found through the years that sometimes these are the best times. We still talk about that long weekend, sometimes we cringe and sometimes we laugh but always we love talking about it. We bonded that weekend and on many other occasions where there were low funds and make shift vacations. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be great. The main ingredient is love. The parent or parents need to have a laid back, fun mentality and the kids will always enjoy themselves. I think it’s important that your kids see you as not having all the answers sometimes but doing your best to make it work. This is a principle that is vital to their development in this dog eat dog world. You don’t have to know it all but give it your best shot. You can make just about any situation fun and make your family happy if you have the right frame of mind. So I suggest that we all go out and make some memories!
Author Bio
Sara is an active nanny as well as an active freelance writer. She is a frequent contributor of

1 comment:

Catherine said...

Sometimes, the things that don't go quite right are the best memories of all. You will probably all laugh about your fire incident for years! Nothing beats time together.