Living Retired #196- May 22, 2017
FAMILY CAMPING TRIP AKA: WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING!
There’s no explaining…
Parents who do everything they can to raise their children– help with their homework, drive them to extracurricular activities, and let them hang bolts from their pierced earlobes– lose it at this time of year.
For some unexplainable reason the weather turns nice and parents dream about taking the kids camping…
Men dream about cooking over an open fire and peeing in the woods. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Women are more practical. They dream of complaining about cobwebs in communal outhouses!
The kids dream about roasting marshmallows on a campfire and watching mom and dad fight over who forgot to pack what.
One things campers do agree on is their love of the great outdoors: black flies the size of Buick Enclaves, every stitch of clothing reeking like a California wild fire, and when it rains, sitting in the car watching the tent float away. Such fun!
Say what you want about campers– but what they do well is pack. They spend every night during the week packing, so they can go camping Saturday and Sunday.
Men are responsible for packing the sleeping bags, inflatable mattresses, and bug repellant: anything with DEET in it including a propane-powered zapper capable of shooting down any bug that enters their campsite… and anything that flies within the surrounding County.
Women are also responsible for packing bug repellant– anything with citronella in it: citronella spray balms, citronella rub-on lotions, citronella taper candles, citronella candles in votives, citronella torches, citronella incense sticks, and citronella makeup remover!
Women also prepare the menus and pack the food into a gazillion different sized plastic containers to make it more difficult for the ants to get in.
The kids are responsible for packing their toys– a portable Wii game and a standby generator.
Finally! It’s Friday night and time to ‘go camping!’ And time for moms to check their list one last time…
“Dear, before we back out of the driveway did you turn my curling iron off?”
“Kids are you wearing clean underwear– just in case we’re in a collision and you have to go to the hospital?”
“Why don’t you try to pee one more time?”
Mens check list in basic: beer.
Finally, dad takes a deep breath. OMG! It’s time to back the car from the driveway!
It’s like the Clampetts pulling into Beverly Hills! Strapped on top of the trailer is a full size barbecue. On the back of the trailer the kids bikes are mounted so nobody can see the brake lights. On top of the car a canoe stretches from bumper to bumper. The kids are oblivious: they’re playing games on their iPhones. Call it women’s intuition, wives can feel the tenseness. So they help… by posting on Facebook.
Show me a camper and I’ll show you a guy with an EverReady flashlight clinched between his teeth in the middle of the night hammering tent pegs in a rainstorm! Are we having fun yet!
“Dear, when you set up the tent poles this time please make sure you hang lots of bright red rags on the ropes that stretch down to the tent pegs. I brought extras this time so you’ll have a few for tourniquets when you trip over the rope in the middle of the night when you go for a pee.”
It’s about this time– for one fleeting moment– that men envisage their wife holding a tent peg in the ground, while he swings the axe!
Camping is so popular that people call to reserve a campsite. They figure they’ll have a better chance of getting a site that’s relatively flat, not at the bottom of a slope, not on the main path leading to the washroom with a bazillion insects flying around the light at night, a site with electricity, some shade, a fire pit, and most importantly– away from college students!
Not everyone sleeps in a tent…
Those who need to have running water, electricity, a large screen television, a slide out canopy with an attached screen patio, a kitchen with gas appliances and a granite countertop big enough to display a collection of matching canisters and a digital picture frame of their grandkids they left behind– like to rough it in a Winnebago.
Winnebagos are the camper of choice for many couples– particularly those who enjoy maneuvering a vehicle the length of the Grand Canyon through parking lots at drive-thru restaurants!
Winnebago campers don’t worry about reserving a campsite. That’s because the parks they go to have lots of sites– it’s called a Walmart parking lot. They park among other rigs under a 50′ high light standard. If it’s too bright they lower the automatic California shutters.
Meanwhile back at the park, it’s almost time to pack up and go home…
Of course the weather was awful! It was cold, damp. The kids have been ‘getting along’ sitting in the car all weekend. Mom hasn’t stopped saying, “Why do the mosquitoes only bite me?” As for dad, his head is wrapped in rolls of white gauze– covering third degree burns to his face when he fell in the fire pit tripping over a tent rope!
Here’s the part parents never learn…
Back home– even before the car comes to a stop in the driveway and dad can say, “Never again!”– the back door opens and the kids leap from the car.
“Bye mom; bye dad. We’re going over to our friends house!”
Gary Chalk, a retired Canadian baby boomer is a member of Humor Writers of America. Each week 3000 people read Living Retired. To unsubscribe, or to book Gary’s keynote address, ‘I Don’t Have Wrinkles, I Have Laugh Lines’ visit https://livingretired.press
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