As previously stated, I’ve been on vacation and out of the realm of the interwebs the last two weeks or so, except for a day here and there to do laundry. This jaunt started with a whirlwind trip to upstate New York to visit some amazing friends* and continued with my traditional camping ** trip in the wilds of northwestern Massachusetts.
There is a memorable scene in Titanic in which Rose attempts to commit suicide by jumping off the back of the ship. Jack, in trying to distract her, describes ice fishing and claims he thought she was “more of an indoor girl”. As much as I like the beach, hiking, horseback riding and swimming… I like those things as afternoon activities or at most, day trips. Camping and I go together about as well as oil and water. This has always been the case, so I don’t know why I was so darn surprised this time around.
My first camping experience came when I was nine years old and in Girl Scouts. Somewhere there is a picture of me on my front porch, proud as can be with my backpack, pillow, and Barbie sleeping bag. We were going to tell scary stories around the campfire and sleep in tents. This lasted all of one night, because the heavens opened up and it POURED. The troop, all fourteen of us plus our three troop leaders, got moved into a cabin. That second night, one of the girls stayed up all night vomiting. It wasn’t a simple food poisoning, or stomach bug, or even home-sickness.
Scarlatina. More than half of us came down with it, myself included. I missed a week of school. My ballet recital was that week, and I remember sitting with another girl backstage with paper bags and buckets until we could go do our dance and then leaving immediately. I don’t recall ever*** being so sick.
Nature: 1, Blonde: 0
A year or so later, a went camping for a week with family friends. Surely, the first time was a fluke and this was really a great way to vacation. We were on an island in Maine, almost right on the beach. Sure, it was a hike to the restrooms, but that shouldn’t be a problem.
Unless you get food poisoning.
Nature: 2, Blonde: 0
I (wisely) didn’t go camping again until I was in high school and went away to “God-Camp”. I loved it. I went for two consecutive years without a problem, and during the school years, volunteered with the organization that ran the camp. For the last five years, I babysat some of the younger members -children of those who run it but aren’t old enough to be campers yet. It’s a ton of fun and I enjoy being up there. I never really considered babysitting there to be “camping”. I sleep in a lodge with indoor plumbing, electricity, and hot water. I sleep on an air mattress with real sheets, blankets, and pillows. There’s a mouse or two, but a cat would take care of that problem. I can shower daily without worry. No big deal.
Famous last words. The first week I was there was great. Normally I’m only up there for one week because of my work schedule, but fate allowed me to stay for two this time around. First, by the start of week #2 I was tired and my ears were bothering me, but I had just done three rock concerts**** in less than a week. I wore earplugs everywhere the main group was gathered, from the meeting hall to the mess hall. Monday I dealt with mutated daddy long legs crawling down my neck and into my shirt. Tuesday I found a tick embedded in my scalp. Wednesday I was so overtired I thanked God for the earplugs and managed (just barely) not to doze off during rock concert #4. Thursday I woke with a sinus infection, slept most of the day, and ended up having to call my dad and my brother to pick me up early. After hacking up a lung all Thursday night and most of Friday morning, a visit to the doctor confirmed my suspicion of sinusitis.
Nature: 3, Blonde: 0
Next vacation I take is going to be in a 5 star hotel on a really, really nice beach somewhere.
*the type who pick you up when you’re stranded for a ride, even when you neglected to mention that you were in the area
** “camping” – queen sized, double thick air mattress with sheets and pillows in a lodge with indoor plumbing and electricity
*** Until I had menengitis in college
****and guess who sat really close to the speakers at the first three concerts, including “Panic! At the Disco”