For Father’s Day, my family went camping with four other families who live on our street. This was a pretty momentous event: while they have camped together before, this was the first time that we joined them. Though no one said as much, I have this feeling that they thought I might be a whiner, what with my neuroses regarding germs. Just to clarify, I definitely have a thing about germs, but I don’t have any problem getting dirty, grassy, or smelling like a roasted hot dog. Would I prefer not to be hosed down in bug spray? Sure. Do I still like to go bed with clean feet? Absolutely. Do these issues mean I’m a camp-hating-prissy-bitch? No. It simply means I’m a tad particular.
To be completely honest, this kind of camping wasn’t exactly roughing it. We stayed at a camping resort-ish area complete with four, pristine pools, two playgrounds, basketball courts, full softball field, stocked fishing pond, laundry mat, activities center, and fully-loaded grocery store/gift shop. Think Dirty Dancing compound minus the hot dancers, plus a tent and quite a few motor homes. They call it “glamping” (glamour camping) and it has now become my new favorite activity. After a wonderful weekend, here are a few things I learned after three days with my neighbors.
*HOT COFFEE IN THE MORNING IS ESSENTIAL: There are two things I need in my life so as not to be a raving witch each day: the first is a good night’s sleep. The second is my morning coffee. Admittedly, I am somewhat of a coffee snob, which means I like my coffee rather strong, hot, with whole milk, and plenty of sugar. Our camping facilities not only came with water spigots, but also electricity. You know what that means, right? Bring the coffee makers from home. We started each day with two pots of coffee gurgling through the filter. I literally got out of my sleeping bag looking forward to my morning cup ‘o Joe. Yeah! Bringing own coffee maker from house = good move #1.
*CLEAN BATHROOMS MAKE ME A VERY, HAPPY CAMPER: Here’s where my germy-prissy tendencies kick in; yes, it’s absolutely imperative the bathroom/shower facilities are clean. The bathrooms at this “glamping” facility weren’t just clean, they were spotless. The ceiling was done in oak stained wood panels boasting beautiful skylights, the walls were gorgeously tiled, nary a stain in the grout. The showers weren’t moldy, the water pressure actually rinsed the shampoo, and there was absolutely no waiting in line. Instead of getting a stomach ache at the thought of trekking the kids up the hill to the bathroom, I looked forward to it. “Who needs to pee? Let’s Go!” In fact, those bathrooms were cleaner than the one I’m using now in my own home. Clean bathrooms = great move #2.
*EXTRA BLANKETS ARE A NECESSITY: While nighttime temperatures were supposed to be around 55 degrees or so, Friday night proved a bit more chilly. Since sleeping well is on my top-two-must-have list, I packed an extra sleeping bag and a few extra blankets. While I still could have used a knit ski mask for my face and head, the rest of me was warm and comfortable. Turns out, not everyone in our camping party slept the same. All three other families froze, and since I had to run into town to pick up my daughter from a birthday party, I offered to stop by their houses for a few more extra blankets. So, for this rookie camper, packing extra blankets = superb move #3.
SKUNKS EAT VOMIT: No party or camping experience can rank on the “Fun Times” chart unless someone pukes. Thanks to my 13 year-old son, we can now officially classify our trip as a Fun Time. After downing a grilled hamburger, snack foods, and plenty of soda, my teenager proceeded to roll down a 50-foot grassy hill. Twice. And then twirl in circles. And then run around the ball field. Needless to say, him losing his dinner in the woods while I held him up, probably wasn’t high on his list of cool moments. Later that night when he had gone to bed and the adults were kibitzing around the campfire, a skunk wandered over to dine on my son’s leftovers. While animal lovers might be thrilled that at least one skunk wouldn’t go to bed hungry that night, it wasn’t such a pleasing thought to our camping group, who then had to deal with a skunk threat for the rest of the evening. Note to self: next time child threatens to throw up, take them towards someone else’s campsite.
While I’m usually pretty mediocre at making plans for the summer, I had such a good time I’ve already started brainstorming for my second “glamping” adventure. On my packing list: a ski mask, gourmet coffee, extra blankets, and barf bags.
How many of you like to go camping? Do you prefer tents or tent trailers? We’d love to hear your camping struggles or successes! Do share!
More from GEM:
Rachel Vidoni is a professional writer and blogger and former classroom teacher. She is a mediocre mother to three pretty neat kids. You can follow her humor and family blog at www.eastcoastmusings.blogspot.com. You might not be a better parent after reading her blog, but you will feel like one. Follow her on Twitter @RachelVidoni