Saturday, July 12, 2008

Camping In Style

Disclaimer: This is going to be one long RIDE; so you might want to get a drink, get a snack and settle in for a while. Fasten your seat belts....

On July 28, I will turn 41. Boy, how time has flown. I can't believe that just a year ago I was getting ready for my 40th birthday Scraptacular weekend. I've been reflecting a lot over the past few months and I'm happy to say that during my 40th year I've made some very positive changes in my life - namely going to the gym and eliminating carbs at dinner and after (can you say "Broken Record"?) Well, now I've lost 27 lbs so I'm a little more than a quarter of the way to my goal, and I'm just as determined as ever. See, I really am the Queen of DETERMINATION.
I know that many people, ladies in particular have concerns about turning 40 and they tend to want to examine what they've achieved in their life thus far, and compare it to what they thought they would have achieved; I don't personally recommend this. I had no concern at all about turning 40; no, for me the magic number is 43; since both of my parents and my paternal grandfather - Wolf Howell (Yes, that was his real name - Richie Howell's father - go figure;) passed away at the young age of 43. Well not me I tell ya. That's NOT going to be me!! I'm DETERMINED to live well past 43. I've got too much living to do, and 2 more years just won't cut it. When I think about this I always seem to think of that Tim McGraw song "Live like I was dying." I always try to think of what it is that I would want to accomplish in these next 2 years - just in case. This slightly morbid notion does have a way of giving one some awesome perspective; and for this ONE in particular, I have decided that I STILL have many changes to make. I am DETERMINED to become a better person (not that who I am right now is so bad, ) but I want to be more patient, more tolerant, less anxious, less insecure, less fat, less annoyed, less critical, and more self-fulfilled. So you know what that means; more blog, more blog, more blog.
So to those of you who have yet to turn 40, I'm here to tell ya - ain't no thang but a number! Live, Live, Live; reflect and live some more!! Everyone goes at their own pace, and that's what makes our stories different; that's what makes us unique, individuals. I say embrace who you are, where you've been and where you're going AND if where you've been was not so great, then get the hell outta Dodge (if you haven't already) and DON'T GO THERE AGAIN.

Now that I'm down off my proverbial soapbox, I'm sure you're wondering what the hell this blog has to do with camping. Well folks, that's why I call it "The Bumpy Ride;" and away we go...

Some of you may recall that I previously stated emphatically "Jews don't camp." For those of you who don't recall this; it's time to yield. Stop right here - go to my archive and read the July 11, 2007 blog entitled "My Disorder;" then come back. For all others; let's move on. OK, so I previously stated that Jews don't camp; but now, this Jew does!! I LOVED camping and I can't wait to go again; and this was a decision that I made (to camp) and something that I discovered (that I love camping,) when? When I was 40. That's right, another major life change for the Queen during her 40th year. Get it now??

So let's talk camping... Luis and I took our time to purchase our tent, air mattresses and cooler - of course we did ; I'm the Queen of Making sure I got the best deal possible. When all was said and done, we had a FABULOUS 14x15 tent with a screened in patio, (I know it must be absolutely hysterical to my nearest and dearest to hear me use the word "fabulous" to describe a tent of all things.) I got us a smokin' deal on an Aero bed (air mattress royalty.) If you're in the market for an air mattress; whether it be for home use or camping (though you'll need to buy an adapter if it's for camping;) I HIGHLY recommend the Aero bed - it Rocks! Well actually it doesn't which is part of what makes it so fantastic. Luis and I had the pleasure of sleeping on an Aero bed when we visited our friends Hollie & Daniel in Colorado almost 2 years ago. We knew that the Aero bed was the Mercedes of air mattresses - and about the same price. Well, not really; but relatively speaking. Anyway, when we'd seen them in the store, they were typically around $200, but in early June I had the good fortune to see it in Costco for just $130. Knowing what a good deal this was; I bought one immediately; and then as luck would have it, about 2 weeks later I received a coupon flyer from Costco and they were offering the Aero bed from 6/23-26 only for $99 - OMG!! Well, you must know by now that I waited until the 23rd, took my unopened Aero bed and coupon (no receipt) right over to Costco; and after a little persuading (because I didn't have my receipt;) they refunded me for the difference. Woohoo!! Now I truly was a "Happy Camper."

I don't have a story about my coolers; but I will say that for novices, Luis and I packed them up perfectly and EVERYTHING stayed cold for the duration.
Now for those of you who were expecting some crazy story about me falling in the lake or getting sprayed by a skunk or anything verging on the bizarre and outrageous, like what I'm usually up to; I do apologize; but I have nothing to report. I was safe other than tripping over a rock or six. I didn't have anything to complain about, other than the enclosed hole in the ground that they called a bathroom; and I did something that I have done very few times in my life - RELAX!!

For me going camping was a lot like going to "The Pines." The Pines was a hotel in the Catskill Mountains (NY). I liken it to Kellerman's in "Dirty Dancing." My Nana and Papa, would check in on Memorial Day weekend, check out on Labor day weekend, and since I only lived about 2 hours away; I'd go up to visit EVERY chance I got. My major activity at The Pines (other than hooking up with a waiter or lifeguard,) was sitting. LOL Well, not JUST sitting; hanging out, sitting and talking. I'd meet my friends for breakfast, eat and talk; adjourn to the couches in the upper lobby, where we'd sit and talk till lunch; where we'd eat and talk, change for the pool, (sit & talk - occasionally swim.) Shower and get changed for dinner, meet friends in the lobby, sit & talk till dinner. Go to dinner (s&t) walk up to the nightclub - AKA theater where we might see a mediocre performance at best. Let's just say it would not have been unusual to see a "Mambo Madness" type performance or we'd go into the lounge to listen to the vocal styling's of Speedy Garfin and the Garfin Gathering (thought you'd like that BIG V - she was a BIG fan;) then we'd sit on the couches outside the coffee shop where we'd eventually have to go because it had been over 3 hours since anyone had eaten - ha ha ha. Is it any wonder that I had 100 lbs to lose? OK, anyway my point was - camping was a lot like The Pines; a lot of sitting, talking and eating; and I loved it!! I had some wonderful "Scrabble" games with Michelle (It's July and she's still not legally) K, I got to read, play poker, have some cocktails and enjoy my family and friends without having to rush off somewhere - What's not to like? OK, the bathrooms. The bathrooms at this particular campsite were not to like; but next time we will camp in a place with flush toilets. My bed was comfy with a capital C. My "Survivor man" husband showered me and treated me like the Queen I am - OK, yes I said he showered me. Yes, I stood outside naked on a large rock, (it was dark and no one could see; at least I hope so;) and he poured water over me so that I could get clean. My hero!! Luis AKA "Survivor man" (SM) was AMAZING to watch in action. He practically put up our tent by himself at nightfall, in the rain (I had kids to trek to the bathroom.) He blew up our air mattresses to help make our comfy, stylin' camp. He cooked 3 packages of bacon, he made pancakes AND eggs, cooked to order. He chopped wood, took the kids fishing, bathed the kids, bathed me, secured our tent when it rained, he grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for 15 people, he helped me with everything and anything and even got our tent back into its original bag. Watching SM at his best just convinced me more than ever that he truly is "survivor" bound.

Before we even left the campsite I was already trying to plan our next camping trip. Heck, I would have gone again that weekend but I knew we wouldn't be able to get a reservation due to the holiday so we're now planning to go on August first because July is a busy month for us. Not only will I celebrate my birthday, but Luis and I just celebrated our 14th anniversary. Upon reflecting I am thankful for every day that we've had together during my 40th year as well as ALL others. I have come to the realization that no one is perfect (especially me,) and marriage is the toughest job that you'll ever have; but at the end of our very busy days it's all worth it and I'm glad that we've got each other . I have a feeling that we've got many more camping trips ahead of us; and you just have to know that an accident or mishap is bound to happen - so please stay tuned.

Till next time...


The Colonel (Angus, that is) said...

It takes a true artisan of words to be able to mingle the terms "Speedy Garfin" and "Flush toilets" in one blog!!! You go girl! What an introspective, thought provoking piece.

Rachel said...

This was a GREAT read. You are truly funny and full of heart...all the qualities of a great writer! Thanks for reminding us that 40 is nothing to be scared are an inspiration~

nancy said...

If I were an editor (and I was in a former life) and this piece crossed my desk, I'd latch onto it like it was that Aero mattress and I was drowning in the middle of the lake at Kellerman's and I'd publish that sucker before you could say "Speedy Garfin."

Anonymous said...