Sunday, September 30, 2012

DIY: Home Camping

You'd think we'd accept it by now: we're not the camping couple. We have plenty of good stuff going for us, but camping, nah, not for us. The first time we tried it was in my parent's backyard--a dry run for a bigger trip coming up later that year. Half way through the night, we got cold and went inside to sleep on the sofa. The next time was the big camping trip, for my sister's wedding in New Mexico. We pitched our tent, settled in, and then I had the worst allergy attack of my life and Leslie had to drive me to Wal-Mart in the middle of the night and pump me full of Claritin. I woke up in the La Quinta.

But we love the outdoors! Trees, rivers, bugs, snakes, throw it at us. We feel like we should be naturals at the camping scene, so we keep throwing ourselves back into it, only to be met with the same old results. This time, for our second wedding anniversary, I decided to book us a spot at the Silver River State Park. I know, I'm an awesome husband.

We showed up early in the afternoon, had a little picnic, took some pictures, and walked a trail down to the river. I was excited, to be in the wilderness with my family. I had a campfire planned, with veggie hot dogs, Reese's S'mores (Leslie's favorite), and maybe even some ghost stories after the little one hit the sack. But after a couple of hours, it was becoming apparent that someone wasn't as into it as the rest of us:

Okay, okay. I don't want to blame our camp-abandonment on Junebug. Sure, she wasn't exactly a happy camper, but to be honest, Leslie and I were ready to throw up milk at one point, too. We weren't really looking forward to sleeping on our gravel campsite, or dealing with the mosquitoes for the rest of the evening. So we made a family-decision to pack it in and hit the road.

The whole drive back, I was in a funk. What kind of manly dad was I, if I couldn't even rough it for a night and give my family a memorable outdoor experience. Do I even deserve to wear this plaid shirt anymore?

When we pulled up to the apartment, inspiration struck. I remembered an old book I used to read (or have read to me) when I was a kid, called Bailey Goes Camping. It's about a little rabbit who's too young to go camping with his older brothers, so his parents let him go swimming in the bathtub and roast marshmallows over the stove. Well, if that bunny can do it, then so can I. Leslie, Junebug: this camping trip isn't over yet.

Ah, the fresh breeze of the AC. The ice cubes in our cups and the warm water in Junebug's bath. This is camping.