I am a single mother of 4 (almost 5) year old boy girl twins. My mother is 71 and she lives with us in the summer and in Arizona for the winter. My mother thinks that kids today have too many organized activities and need to spend more time with nothing to do. To further this theory, my mother bought us a 16 foot house trailer (the kind you pull behind a car). So, we just got back from our first camping trip. We left on Saturday and got home on Wednesday.
The back story is that when we went to pick up the trailer from the guy who sold it to us he spent about 2 hours explaining to me how to work everything. He told me that once I was familiar with everything the set up would take about 1.5 hrs. I took copious notes and promptly came back to the office and typed them up. That was about a month ago.
Now for the trip; when we got to the campground I proudly took out my typed notes and started to read them. They might as well have been written in Greek. I couldn’t make head or tails of them. There was so much to do it was overwhelming. And in case you think I am exaggerating (as I am prone to do) here is a partial list of what you have to do:
– unhook the trailer from the car ( there are about 45 steps to this one – ok maybe a slight exaggeration )
– “level” the trailer – this involves 4 legs, a wrench, a level, some other tool I can’t describe and much swearing
– hook up the electricity
– hook up the water and turn on the pump
– hook up the sewer (don’t ask)
-turn on the fridge (there are about 10 steps to this one)
– set up the propane
-set up the barbeque (sounds simple but the trick is to get the propane going to the barbeque and the trailer at the same time so you can still use the stove while you use the barbeque. The tool for this job is very strange looking and it took a neighbor about 15 minutes to figure out how to hook this up without causing an explosion and killing us all. (I have to admit while he was doing it, I briefly reflected that if we all went together it wouldn’t be nearly as bad as leaving my kids as orphans.)
-set up the awning (this one is very tricky and not at all logical) but very important to get right otherwise the rain pours down on you
I am sure there is more but my brain is fried.
The whole thing took about 5 hours with the help of our very nice neighbors on both sides. I was exhausted. Thank goodness my mother told my nanny to make us a lasagna for dinner for the first night so all I had to do was put it in the microwave. Then we all went to bed. Of course we brought sleeping bags (that’s what you are supposed to sleep in while camping right?) Well as soon as I got into my sleeping bag I realized what a horrible mistake I had made. I am menopausal and there is not way to survive hot flashes in a sleeping bag. Fortunately, the trailer has air conditioning, so once I figured out how to use it and changed my soaking wet PJs, I was quite comfortable. Unfortunately, the air conditioner sounds quite like a jackhammer so sleeping was a challenge for us all.
Oh, I forgot to mention the bathroom. Yes, the trailer had a bathroom which is very convenient. Sadly it is so small that I had to get out of there to pull up my pants. Of course I usually forgot to close all the blinds before going in so I suspect the neighbors got quite a show. Perhaps that is why they were so helpful!
The following days were less work and more fun. There was a nice playground and a pool. My son Spencer joined a gang and I basically didn’t see him for 4 days except when he invited the gang to lunch at our place!
My daughter Marligh loved the pool and spend a lot of time in the trailer playing with her toys, reading and drawing (basically the same stuff she does at home).
I have to tell you I really didn’t understand this camping thing. For the first couple of days I kept looking at the people and wondering why they do this.
The entire trip was like a combined episode of Green Acres and I Love Lucy.
Kidding aside, although my kids have been to Arizona ( several times), Disneyworld and Club Med, they said that this was their best trip ever. I guess we will be going again.
For more discussion on this and similar subjects, join SMC and take part in our lively on-line discussions on our Forum and at local chapter meetings.