The origin of the word camping is derived from the French word campo. It can be defined as: cramming-as-many-of-your-household-possessions-into-your-car-attaching-car-to-pop-up-camper-and driving-as-far-as-possible-from-your-house-only-to-reassemble-all-of-these possessions-in-the-dirt. Once completed, I made this startling discovery:
I forgot something.
I was exhausted.
For a June weekend, I'd packed two ten-year-old-boys, one dog, spaghetti, bacon, eggs, fleece pants, fleece underwear, fleece hats, fleece pj's, sleeping bags, ground beef, bug spray, hiking shoes, water shoes, flip-flops, rain gear, warm weather gear, coolers, block ice, fishing poles, nets, buckets. I arrived at the campsite and realized I forgot:
My warm coat
Fuel for the propane tank
"It's part of the adventure." I sang out to the boys. "This is roughing it."
"Really?" My son replied. "How come so many other people have satellite dishes on their campers?
"Oh that's not really camping," I replied. "Besides, I did bring three first-aid kits, six bathing suits and eight bottles of sun tan lotion."
"Great. What is there to eat?"
"Carrot sticks and marshmallows for appetizers. Then spaghetti."
I love to walk (because I couldn't figure out how to get my bike in the car after I have loaded it with gear) around the campsites and see how other people are set up. Most people seemed able to set up the awnings on their campers, string clothes lines for drying wet bathing suits, put down a piece of carpet in front of the camper door. They'd figured out how to bring their bikes, boats and brains. They had postcard-perfect camp fires, red checked tablecloths with citronella candles burning brightly and seemed able to relax at the campsites in comfy lounge chairs. Sitting down looked like a lot of fun. But I couldn't sit down yet. I had to get fuel for the propane tank.
I made a run to civilization for propane only to discover my wallet was back at the campsite. Well, no wonder! I'd banged my head so hard dragging the propane tank out from underneath the camper it was a miracle I even walked upright. Back to the campsite to retrieve wallet, back to civilization, back to camper. Now the hose thingy-majigys had to be attached and tightened. This required a four-letter word I surely didn't possess: tool. I wandered over to a monster RV and threw my blonde-headed self at the owner's mercy.
Monster RV man trudged over to my meager pop-up camper and looked at the propane tank. He didn't really get the full experience since he didn't bump his head.
"Do you have a wrench?" Monster RV owner asked me.
Hmmmmm, wrench. Not wanting to be mistaken for a novice pop-up camperette, I quickly decoded the malespeak "wrench" and decided to ask a question that would demonstrate my command of all things mechanical and manly.
"What color is that? I have a yellow-handled thingy in the tackle box for pulling out hooks." I said.
"I'll be back with a wrench."
Surprisingly, he returned. He deftly reattached the propane with an impressive display of wrench whirling and twirling.
After he left, I finally had a chance to sit down, munch on a carrot stick and inspect my constellation of black and blue marks. One from banging my knee on the trailer hitch while loading the car, one from tripping over a massive log the boys had put by the campfire, two bumps on the head and a few miscellaneous scratches.
Where did I pack the Ibuprofen?