We decided late last week to load up the ole’ Suburban and head to Bible camp for a few days. We didn’t go on the weekend. Oh, no. That would be too public-school of us. So, instead, we waited until Sunday afternoon to start the trip. We’re homeschoolers, you know. We have to do things differently. It’s in the by-laws. So, we invited a friend each for the Goose and the Beetle, and surprisingly, two other families said they would entrust us with the care of their children. (Apparently, they don’t follow my blog.)
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Wow! Four big kids? That must have taken a lot of pre-planning to pack and make sure you had enough food to feed them!” To that I say, you have apparently never hung out with the Not-Average Family for very long. Planning is for sissies. Instead, I started conquering the mountains of laundry late Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, we got up and went to church. Then, we came home and started packing. That’s how we roll. We had given each friend a time frame of when we would pick them up. We pushed those time frames to their limits, but we weren’t QUITE late. Then, we headed north for two and a half hours.
I want to point out that I told Mr. E that it was going to be a tight fit to get everyone and all their stuff in the Suburban. He said it wouldn’t be a problem. I would like the record to reflect, as it rarely ever does, that I was right and he was wrong. With his tools, all our clothes, sleeping bags, the TV and X-Box for the Beetle (don’t ask) and the belongings of the two friends, we had a very tight squeeze. Mr. E got it all loaded, and then said, “See. It all fit. We didn’t need to see out of the windows anyway.” Uh-huh.
So, once we shoved the doors closed, we were off. Halfway to the camp, I said, “You did get our pillows, right?” Mr. E responded with a blank stare. He had forgotten our pillows! I’ve told you how I am about hair and about creepy crawlies, so you can imagine how I am about my pillow. I don’t want anyone to touch it. Don’t breath on it. Don’t even look at it for that matter. Mr. E isn’t even allowed to sleep on my pillow, because it is my personal space. So, if you think I’m going to sleep on some nasty pillow from camp that children have drooled on, cried on and possible pee-peed on, you’ve got another thought coming! Instead, Mr. Everything said he would buy me a cheapo pillow from the Dollar General store. I said that was fine since it was better than the alternative.
The most interesting part of our trip was the fact that I had a training phone call right in the middle of the drive. This wasn’t the kind of training phone call where I could just dial in and put my phone on mute and listen. Oh, no, my friends. On this call, I was doing the speaking. I was the trainer, not the trainee. So, my poor trainee had to listen to four children and a Chihuahua for a two hour phone call. Bless her soul.
Actually, the kids did really well. They weren’t too loud, and the dog just lounged beside me. That’s all he ever does. That, and breathe. Unfortunately, he was breathing, too. The entire Suburban smelled like his breath. To get an idea of how bad that is, combine the worse dog breath you’ve ever smelled, double it and feed the dog some moth balls. Now, you’ve got an idea of the chronic halitosis this animal suffers from.
We stopped in the little town near camp and got pizza. We figured that was the cheapest way to feed and satisfy two teen boys, a small teen girl and the Goose. The dog guarded the Suburban for us while we were gone. Way to go, Killer.
We arrived at the camp after dark. That’s always a good idea. If we had actually had a plan, we might have planned to get there a little earlier. Although I knew how dark that camp was during the summer when camp was going on, I had no idea how dark it actually is when no one is staying there. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen darkness of that magnitude. (Well, I guess technically, I couldn’t see it.)
We thought we were going to stay in the house at camp. It’s vacant and waiting for new caretakers to move in. Mr. Everything had called the man in charge a few days ago and again on our drive up but didn’t reach him either time. So, we had no plan of where we could stay, and no one was expecting us. (Maybe I should have told the two other families that little tidbit before I took their kids…) I was a little nervous about that, but Mr. E said, “What’s the worse that can happen? There are 15 cabins that we know are unlocked. We can sleep in one of those.” I was pretty sure sleeping in one of those cabins was the worse thing that could happen.
The house was locked. (I saw that one coming.) Of course, with Mr. E, we don’t need no stinkin’ keys. He went in and looked around. He came back and said he thought someone was living there. This made my heart pound. Was this someone home, and did he own a shotgun? Since we were in the woods in Alachua County, Florida, I was pretty sure I knew the answer to that second question. Luckily, the answer to the first question was no.
The person who lives in the house next door also works for the camp. She wasn’t home, so we left her a note. We left the boys at a cabin in the woods after we made sure they had working heat and running water. (Great parenting, huh?) We ran to town to buy me a pillow. (In my defense, Mr. Everything bought one for himself, too. He’s not so big and bad.) Luckily, the lady next door called us and said someone from out of town was staying at the house. It would have been awkward to find that out by sleeping in their bed and having them walk in on us. I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t have ended well.
When we got back to camp, Mr. Everything needed to lock the house back before he gave the visitors a scare that their house had been broken into. He had left it unlocked so we could get in easily. As he stepped onto the porch to lock it, the lady next door came out and said, “It should be locked up tight.” Mr. E said, “Okay, I was just checking for them!” I guess she didn’t see him open the door while “checking” the locks. Good thing it was dark.
So, we checked on the boys. (Still alive, and by that point, playing X-Box.) We drove around to the different cabins and found another one that had working heat. The girls had originally said they were sleeping in their own cabin. Somehow, that changed after they arrived in the darkest night in the history of the world. So, we went to a cabin with separate bedrooms and a bathroom. (Thank goodness it had heat and running water. I was not looking forward to walking to the nasty bathhouse in the cold.) Mr. E pulled mattresses of the beds, pushed them together and put our king-sized air mattress on top. We were set and ready.
After wrapping up 4 more hours of work on my computer, I hit the sack. I slept like a rock, except when I woke up with Pepe Chihuahua breathing on me. The girls slept, and I’m hoping the boys did too. So, today, we are waiting for an adventure. Mr. E’s adventure will be pulling eight toilets out of the girls’ bathhouse and replacing the wax rings. Fun times. My adventure will be working on my laptop. (That’s new and exciting.) Who knows what the kids will get into? Hopefully, it won’t be ticks or poison ivy. -Al