Back in the day, I lived at the Lake Superior every summer. I would spend the days picking agates, rolling in the clay banks, water skiing, swimming, fishing from the bridge, biking up and down the campground road, building stone houses on the beach, and lounging around the campfire. My hair would be blonde, my skin brown, and my bare feet would be tough as leather.
Aww, such wonderful memories. I guess no one could blame me for wanting to pass on the summer tradition to my children, right!? So, a couple of years ago, I sat my husband down and told him I think it's time to start looking into campers. He didn't really know what to figure being that camping at the lake just meant a little longer drive time before and after work for him. But, being the man that he is, he told me I could look around for some deals, and even took me to a few places to see what we could see. It soon became apparent that every "deal" that wasn't snatched from under our noses, wasn't sold for a reason.
Finally after many misses, good 'ol craiglist found us an unbelievable deal, and we happened to be the first people that the seller called back that actually answered the phone. So my dearest husband told the guy, "Hold it for me. If it's all that you say it is, consider it sold." And away he drove for two hours to go look. By the time he got there it was getting dark, so a quick overview showed everything was in good shape, the owner promised all was in working condition, so he came home tugging our new gem behind.
Oh, the excitement that prevailed when daddy came up the driveway! Our very own camper and with reservations already made for a week at the lake, what perfect timing!
Bright and early the next morning, there we were, inspecting each nook and cranny and finding the overlooked flaws of the night before. But all in all, still smiling about the deal we found.
Getting ready for camping Lewey realized something wasn't quite right with the fridge, so we just borrowed a mini fridge from my folks to plug in at the site, and figured we'll get to fixing on it later. While he tinkered on odds and ends in the camper, I hauled half the house into it while the kids sat around in their bathing suits with goggles perched on their heads and wondered aloud what was taking so long. That did give me a few flashbacks to my youth when I wondered why my mother always seemed so frazzled packing up the camper. Camping was fun! Just pack up your suit and a towel and GO!
Well, it was coming on suppertime by the time everything was loaded and we could head to the beach. Oh the hooting and hollering and excitement to get the show on the road!
When we got to the campsite with tummies rumbling, we quickly picked the best spot to drop the camper, and thanks to a friendly neighbor, I didn't even have to guide him in. (My most unfavorite job right after backing him up to the hitch). This was going swell already!
Shortly after we plugged er in and went inside to start setting up. First things first, the slide out needs to go out, so we can actually move around. Hit the switch, and viola... nothing. Hit it again just to be sure, then flip a light switch and realize there's no power. Anywhere. The little swimmers are jumping around outside wondering when we can hit the beach, the baby (three months old with colic) is in her car seat letting know that she is DONE, Lewey has maneuvered his way to the fuse box when suddenly an obnoxious continuous alarm starts pealing through the campground. Wherever could that be coming from? Oh wait that's us.
Lewey sits down on the floor with rivers of sweat running down his face and gives me a smirk. This truly is a dream getaway. What kind of dream, we won't specify.
Well, after a trip to find an electrician, we did get some power restored and enjoyed a dusk-ish supper. The swimmers got to take a dip and we witnessed a sunset on the beach.
Back to the campsite to enjoy some marshmallows. The kids make treks non-stop in and out of the camper and you can literally see the mosquitoes being invited inside. It's then when I face another flashback and hear mom's voice, "Keep that door shut, you'll be sleeping with all kinds of bugs tonight, no need to go traipsing in and out so many times." Good thing I memorized that as a kid, it's coming in handy now. No doubt it's probably used in the same tone of voice and all.
"Mom, can I have some pop?" seems to be the most frequently asked question of the night. I think there is an unwritten rule somewhere saying you must try to consume all the special treats the first day. So I respond after hearing the question one too many times, "go ahead have it all so there won't be any left for you to ask about." Not until they are on their third one or so do I realize they have taken me seriously.
Well, after all the fresh air, bedtime goes fairly smoothly, and we only have to yell 11 or 12 times to be quiet and pick a spot to sleep already and quit switching bunks. Then all is quiet and relaxation sets in. "Hhhmmmmyyyyyyyrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr" is the sound that draws me back up from oblivion and finds me smacking at my ear for no good reason. Of course the culprit has moved on by then and so I have to turn the light on to find him and his friends. Once I'm up, it's time to go check on the kids to be sure they aren't being picked up and hauled off by these blood sucking varmints.
Morning light comes quick and with it I find my husband gone off to a hard days work and four kids snuggled in with me. At least this mattress is a tad bit bigger than the one at home albeit 15 times lumpier. But at the same time morning light registers, so does a sound. Rain. Oh, what a nice sound rain makes on a camper roof. It gives me a dreamy smile until I realize I'm stuck inside with four high strung children for the duration. We fight, play and maneuver our way through, and though it isn't quite what we anticipated we make memories just the same. Who woulda known how much money I can win on Deal or No Deal if we would've been at the beach?
The next day dawns bright and sunny and we pack up all the beach gear and head on down to the water. Just as mom and baby settle in on the beach and the other three head for the water, I feel a tickle, than a sting followed by another, than another. Black flies. Big Black Biting Buggers. Covered from head to toe in a little while, I convince the swimmers that we need to head back to the camper for the baby's sake (when we all really know it's for mom's sanity).
Well, kids, there's some of the highlights of the first year with our camper. Last year was much the same except now the baby was a rock eating machine. And mom just sent in a check to reserve our spot for this summer. Let the fun begin.