I spent Friday night and a very LONG Saturday at Cuboree, an annual Cub Scout camping event. It was fun. Yeah. I can't wait to go next year. And I'm SO relieved that next year is still a year away.
As usual, all my plans for getting out of the house early went to pot. Somehow I always feel like my life operates according to Murphy's Law. I awoke Friday morning feeling a little under the weather--like I was coming down with a bug. A very dear friend had agreed to take my boys along with her on a co-op field trip, so I had most of the day to get stuff done, but instead I started the morning taking a needed nap. I wouldn't have, except I knew the boys would be very disappointed if I couldn't take them camping. When I got up, I had an extended quiet time with the Lord, then I had to get my five hours of chores done in about one. Not a great start.
I managed to pull together most of our camping stuff, but even after I picked the boys up and got them home, I kept thinking of so many things I needed to do before I left, that we left much later than planned. We finally arrived at the camp ground at about 7 pm. It was hot and very muggy, and I was already sweaty, tired and crabby from the hectic packing and leaving. With very generous help from the dads on the trip, I managed to get set up pretty quickly, and the evening was pretty laid back--mostly just playing around the campsite and toasting white fuel. (I've decided that I need to just reset my thinking and call marshmallows what they are--fuel.) Of course, it was laid back after I made the trip home to get some important things I forgot (like the pump to blow up the air mattress).
Getting ready for bed was a little tricky. While the scout camp ground was equipped with enough Port-O-Potties, there wasn't much in the way of other facilities. I suppose other people had had a rough evening too, but there wasn't much excuse for the guy who kept heckling us while we (three of us!) used the bathroom to do our end-of-the-evening business (the kind even boys can't do in the woods!) and clean up. I finally told the guy in no uncertain terms that there was a line INSIDE the bathroom just like there was one outside!
Then we headed back to our tent and the boys headed inside while I washed my filthy feet (bright idea wearing my imitation Crock sandals in Florida dirt). As I was trying to clean myself up, the boys found a guest in our tent--the kind with wings and a large brown body, and a cute Mexican song named for him. They kept panicking over him, while I kept telling them to just pick him up and throw him out--after all, it is better to catch him than to have him crawl over you in the middle of the night! (Ugghh! Gives me the heebie jeebies all over again!) But he got away. So I searched all over (didn't want him crawling on ME in the night) and finally freed him from the constraints of our tent.
At last we laid our sweaty bodies down in the stuffy tent. (Sadly, I had to sleep on the real hard ground. The pump made it but the nozel to fit into the mattress didn't.) The boys complained that they'd never be able to fall asleep, and I had just enough time to threaten their lives if they touched me before I heard them snoring. It only took me another two hours to start dozing. But dozing was all I did for a long while. First the heat kept me awake. Then one of my boys started talking in his sleep. Then I heard another boy in another tent crying for mommy. Night noises. Woodsy noises. My other boy sitting up and talking. Finally I dozed off, almost asleep. It was probably about 2:30 am. At about 3:30 I was jarred awake by the sound of wheezing--an all-too-familiar sound of someone (a dad, not a kid) having an asthma attack. My heart raced as I wondered what to do. Finally I got up and stepped out of the tent. By that time, he had evidently found an inhaler and the gasping had turned to just coughing, and was settling down. But of course my heart was racing and my adrenaline pumping. I was wide awake now. And hey! It was cool outside! But I got back into my tent and decided to read and pray for a while. Then I went back to sleep for a few more hours.
Morning came too soon, but I got up, got the boys fed and we headed to the flag ceremony. The day was filled with activities for the boys, as I ran back and forth to camp to pack things up, break down the tent and lug stuff to the car (we weren't allowed to take the parked cars back into the camp sites on Saturday). After lunch, I left for a while to head home (just a couple miles away) and check on the dogs and at that time I did the smartest thing of the day--I unloaded most of our stuff. I spent the rest of the day walking and either looking for our pack or watching the boys.
While I know this sounds like a terrible trip, and it WAS hot and exhausting, I actually found many things for which to be thankful. Last year every single camping trip we had planned was cancelled by inclement weather or something else. All year I never felt the group blended well. But this weekend I was able to get to know and really enjoy the other dads and boys. It was really fun to be around guys talking about air conditioning units and football teams--I don't get to do that much. It was also fun to see the boys really enjoying other boys, and running around without hinderance. The activities were fun for them, and the men there really pitched in and watched my boys or helped me with things so I could juggle everything.
I was also thankful that Saturday we had overcast weather and a little rain, but it never poured. It was nice weather for outdoors activities. We also came home to a fairly clean house, and although I still have all the stuff to go through, I always feel good when I do something so out of my element like camping. One of the experienced dads teased me as a couple of newer dads helped me set up that I was actually more experienced than anyone there. It was fun going and kind of knowing what I was doing. And even though it was hot, and I clearly saw again how out of shape I am physically, I survived, got much needed exercise, and slept VERY well last night. I also really appreciate all the little luxuries God has given us that I usually take for granted (like air conditioning and hot showers).
So the next camping trip? Well, I think we could go.