Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Family Camping Trip: Day One

Friday marked the first day of our first family camping trip of 2008!

Since we weren't leaving until after lunch I had the whole morning to get the rest of our shit together. I started off by getting a quick load of towels into the laundry and then got to work on a final shopping list.

My first stop was Canadian Tire where I was going to pick up some supplies. Lawn chairs, citronella candles, propane, bug spray and other stuff like that. While I was there I figured I would gas up the van as well.

The gas gauge was getting down near the empty line so I was expecting it to be a fairly expensive fill up. I thought it might be in the range of $70 or so. You can imagine my disbelief as the pump flew past the $80 mark and then $90, and $100. What the fuck?! Was I filling up the inside of the van too or just the gas tank?? I stopped pumping when it hit $110 (apparently that it my personal limit).

Next I headed off to the grocery store to pick up baked goods and produce and other last minutes stuff and then back to home base to finish packing and loading.

At around noon I decided to move the seats in the van around. A simple process, I thought. Just take out the two middle seats and move the three seats from the back row forward. By the end of this simple operation I had become a quivering mass of sweat and I was in a highly irritable state of mind. It turned out that I was on an impossible mission all along. If I had consulted the seat configuration diagram I would have seen that there is no way to have three seats in the first row. But I didn't check the seat diagram. Instead I tried every conceivable combination I could come up with, none of which were correct. Eventually Jules came out and introduced me to the seat diagram, which caused things to move much quicker.

Finally came the loading of the gear! Due to the stupid seat configuration I had to have one seat remain in the back row which caused me to have much less room than I'd anticipated. I used every inch of space available in that van! You could barely see the kids by the time I'd packed them in.

Jules and I did one last run through the checklist to make sure we had everything. It's a good thing we did too because we forgot about the towels that were in the dryer! That would have been a bad thing to forget! We then did a final walk through to make sure the proper lights were left on and everything else was turned off.

Then I locked up the house and we were ready to leave. But wait a second. I still had enough time to squeeze in a little OCD moment.

"Did I lock that deadbolt??"

"I think so, but I'm not 100% positive."

"Well, shit!"

Back to the door I went. I tried to open the door to test if the deadbolt was shut, however I had also locked the doorknob. I had to unlock the doorknob first. Then I was able to try the door and saw that I had, in fact, locked the deadbolt. I tried to re-lock the doorknob but I couldn't do that from outside. I had to unlock the deadbolt, open the door, lock the doorknob and then shut the door. "Don't forget to lock the deadbolt now, that's how this whole mess started in the first place!" While I was doing this I dropped my keys on the ground. Queue the Circus Music!!! After this little episode I jumped into the van and we were off!!!

The drive to Kenosee takes about 2 hours. The drive was going quite well until we got into Saskatchewan and the highway on which we were traveling turned into a long construction zone. It looked like they were in the process of upgrading it from a gravel road to a paved road. "Take a good look around kids because we won't be coming back this way!"

Eventually we got out of the construction and we reached Moose Mountain Provincial Park. As we paid for our park pass the lady at the booth tried to scare us by saying that there were only 9 camp sites left at Kenosee. I imagine she was getting some sort of sick satisfaction by the panicked look on some peoples face when she passed on this nugget of information. I informed her that we were practically VIP's because we'd made reservations for our campsite. Nice try "Gloom-and-Doom", go spread your sunshine on someone else.

Our next stop was the campground office at Kenosee. There was one lane for people who needed to check in and one lane for people who had already checked in. We took our place at the end of the "need to check in" line amongst all of the RV's. We waited as one camper after another obtained their camping permit and moved on into the park. As it got closer to our turn I noticed other people behind us trying to butt in line by heading straight into the park office when it wasn't their turn. I don't know what they thought they were going to accomplish because there were curbs on each side of the lane, so it's not like they could pull away until all the cars in front of them were through!! When it was my turn I went in and got our camping permit and then came back out to the van. I was delighted when I looked back at all of those people who butted in line sitting in their RV's waiting for me!!! Ha Ha!

When we arrived at our campsite we started to work building our home. The first order of business was the screen tent. This was set up over the picnic table and next to our electrical service. It went up quite easily, unlike last year when it took close to an hour. Once this was in place we had somewhere to unload a bunch of our stuff.

Next came the actual sleeping tent. This is the same tent we've used every year so far and as expected it went up very quickly without any problems. This year we put a tarp on the ground, then the tent and then another tarp on the inside of the tent. Triple water barrier! Oh Yeah!! Next we laid out the sleeping pads, pillows, sleeping bags and tossed in our backpacks. We were officially unpacked!

Now that our site was in order we could get down to business. Jules and I cracked a beer each and she got to work on getting the fire started while I got things set up in the dining tent. At this point the kids were already harping on us about going swimming even though it was cloudy and on the verge of raining. Being the mean parents we are we made them wait until after supper.

We dined on chili that was prepared a couple of days earlier by Jules and the standard staple for kids, hot dogs. However, we forgot to bring hot dogs! Doh! How do you forget hot dogs for a camping trip??!! Since we also needed ice for the coolers I headed off to the store. On my voyage I noticed that the public beach was at the same place as the store. Good to know!

After we'd all eaten it was time to take the kids swimming. Upon arrival at the beach I was kind of surprised that there was virtually nobody there. I blamed it on the weather. The kids waded out into the water until "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" was up to her waist. That was when she noticed that there was tons of "shrimp" in the water. She called them shrimp but they were really insect larvae. For the sake of calmness I referred to them as "shrimp" as well. Once the "shrimp" alarm had been sounded all of the kids evacuated the lake. "Little Miss..." had tons of "shrimp" clinging to her and it soon became clear that the swimming portion of this camping trip was officially over. Now I know why the beach was deserted.

We headed back to the campsite and the kids decided that they wanted to check out the playground.

While they were away I was doing the dishes in the dining tent when someone called my name. Who the hell can that be?? When I looked I saw that it was an old ex-girlfriend that has a knack for showing up every time we attempt to enjoy some quality family time. We go to the winter fair? She's there. Summer fair? She's there. It wouldn't even be an issue except, every time we run into her she's trying to get our family together with her family. I have zero interest in that! For the most part I think friendships expire over time and my friendship with her expired a long time ago, but she won't let it go. She seems to think it would be fun to get our three girls together with her 3 boys and 1 baby girl.

My girls don't dig boys. Not yet anyway. Another fact about my girls is they are blunt to the point of being rude. Just like their old man! This expired ex-girlfriend had her first son with an old (also expired) friend of mine. They were not meant to be parents and from what I understand there was a lot of partying going on while she was pregnant. Anyway, her oldest son is a little messed up, to put it gently.

To put it not so gently, when he walks down the road he has the off balanced, slow walk of the living dead. He's got a kind of Frankenstein/Zombie thing going on, which is very unsettling. There is also something wrong with his vision, I'm not sure what the problem is, but he has to put his face about an inch away from something to see it.

Ya, let's get him together with my kids. Sounds like a great idea. Great, that is, if your son likes being laughed at and called names, which I doubt he does. I think everyone will be much happier if we just keep our families to ourselves.

Anyway I responded to her greeting with as little interest as I could and she quickly went along on her way.

Shortly after that the kids arrived back at the site with a new friend and a dog. They stood at the edge of our site talking with us for a minute or so and then I saw what I thought was a zombie come ambling up from behind them. I almost screamed for them to cover their brains before I realized that it was only Gleep, the first born of the expired ex. They went along their merry way back to the playground with Gleep trudging behind.

After it got dark and the kids still hadn't returned from the playground I decided to go and look for them. I arrived at the playground and started to look around. Of course the expired ex was there. She pointed out the direction the kids had just headed in while Gleep walked up and planted his face an inch away from my chest and made some kind of growling roar. "Nice kid ya got there. I've got to go."

Once I'd rounded up my kids and returned to our campsite we had some family time around the campfire. We roasted marshmallows and hot dogs, I planted the idea of Sasquatch in "Devil or Angel"'s head and then, being tired from the days adventure, we bedded down for the night.

So ends day one of our camping adventure.

1 comment:

Heather said...

If I were you I'd move to another town!

So far, you haven't convinced me that camping is fun. =(