Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Crabfam Goes Camping

What foolish thing did you do with your Georgie Bush tax refund?

We spent $800 on camping gear at REI and we are going to test out the tent this weekend.

Okay, so it was my idea. I like the concept of camping. I like the concept of Nature charming the crabbiness out of the family. I like the notion of enjoying a marshmallow over the fire, and telling stories in the dark, and listening to crickets chirp and whatnots make whatever Nature sound they make, and so forth. I like and believe in the idea that Nature soothes tightly wound personalities, adult and child alike. I fully expect that we will arrive at the campsite wound up and all and I'm not expecting us to fully unwind but maybe just to loosen it all up a tad. You know, like a Slinky or something.

But as one who looks for what might go wrong in advance of anything good, it is perfectly apparent to me that expectations for the trip must be kept very low. We don't know what we're doing, we don't really know where we're going, and we definitely know that the car trip will be a pain because Crabtot loathes even the shortest, weentsiest ride to a different neighborhood. "I hate this car," she will bleat. "Taking too long!" she will yell after seven minutes. Even a sucker doesn't do much to improve the ride. She just shakes it at you and sobs when she gets close to the end. "Oh, dear!" she wailed last week on nearing the end of her sucker. "I've eaten it!" Then came the tears.

In all honesty I must admit to looking forward to the camping. Nature's bracing charm will reinvigorate me! It will remind our family that even though we don't own a house and fight too much and eat too much meat and don't ride our bicycles enough and don't back up our hard drives and so forth, we are still Earth's children and as such, entitled to a modicum of serenity and simple pleasure. I think.

Crabhubby was the hardest to convince on the camping score. He has delicate architect hands and likes camping trips where L.L Bean packs you in and out and some nice boy sets up trestle tables at breakfast sporting vats of hot Irish oatmeal dotted with fresh-picked huckleberries. However, he is now quite keen, so keen, in fact that he has polled his more seasoned camping colleagues for "must haves" and came back with this:

"I've heard head lamps are really useful."
"Head lamps? Are you out of your mind? That sounds completely retarded."
"No, really they're just small lights on a headband--"
"Headband? Are you mental?"

Call me crabby and clearly in need of Mother Nature's caress, but we all have our limits: and I draw the line at head lamps. I will never wear a head lamp. Even if I had to quit blogging and, say, the earth was falling apart and it was all apocalyptic and there was, like, only one job and that job was mining. I would still refuse the head lamp. Even if it's night time and I am in a search party looking for someone who has gone missing on a mountain. Sorry, I will look hard and long but I won't wear that head lamp.

Today at the bloglet: please join me in casting your vote for or against baby shower registries in part 2 of my Baby Shower Wars mini-series. I warn you: it will get ugly. If you end up disagreeing with me, please, don't hate me. Remember me as I once was. Remember us as we used to be.
Also chez bloglet, the facts of life:

I'm all about telling kids the truth, even when it comes to uncomfortable questions, such as those about babies and where they come from. You have to tell kids the real deal right from the get-go: babies come from magic baby seeds that you swallow, and then when they're fully formed, they fly out of your belly-button...
Go to You Know What magazine to read more.

Any of you been camping en famille? Did you or your spouse wear a head lamp? If so, how did it feel to look so incredibly naff?


Anonymous said...

Bwahahaha. Yes, naff is definitely the word that comes to mind. Not that you'd ever catch me camping. What? Sleeping on the ground and drinking instant coffee is thought of as fun??

Carey said...

headlamps rock - esp. when you have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. And they are PERFECT for checking your marshmallow to see if it's done (I don't like it when they are burnt).

Be sure to put something between your air mattress & the ground so you don't get too cold!! And don't forget pillows!! Happy Camping!!

Amanda said...

Carey! Thanks a ton for the pillows reminder. would prob have forgotten those.

lace said...

Haven't been camping in years.

If you do decide to go with the headlamps, I learned some fascinating information on Headlamp use and head movements in mine shafts. This is why I sit in front of the tv on a daily basis. You learn some very useful things every once in awhile.

circle your head = come here
head up and down = stop
head side to side = go away

Amanda said...

excellent! I suspect I will be using moves 2 and 3 an awful lot if I am forced to a) get a head lamp and b) spend an entire weekend altogether as Crabfam.

Wynnster said...

I would rather give birth without drugs than go camping, but I live in Alabama where it's as hot as the Sahara but with 100% humidity all the time. I do however own a headlamp, it was invaluable after hurricane Katrina when I didn't have electricity for 2 1/2 weeks. But wearing it did make me feel like a total idiot.
Good luck to the Crabfam on their camping adventure, and please don't get eaten by a bear, because I would die without your crabbiness.
Also, don't forget toilet paper

cathy said...

Please don't take offense, Crabmommy, but I'm trying to imagine you camping, and I just can't. I giggle a little at the thought of it. But, then again, I guffaw at the thought of ME camping! So, good for you! I prefer the rustic cabin route over a tent, but I suspect that my rugrats will have me out there (cursing under my breath) at some point.

Inky Ink Inc. said...

Crabmommy, I've done a bit of camping in my day. Hell, I've done a LOT of camping, and let me assure you of one thing: the moment will come--sooner or later, but believe you me, it will come--when you'll fall down on all fours, curl into the fetal position, and curse the almighty fates for your not having brought a headlamp on your excursion. Hear it now, believe it later.

Two Mittens said...

good thing about camping is you really don't have to look in a mirror to see how dorky you look in a headlamp...and you can just laugh at your hubby for how dorky he looks (in a headlamp)

good gear is the key to happy camping in my experience being married to a gearhead!

Alexis said...

I hate gear of all kinds, but when we went camping with to other couples and snickered about the headlamps and water shoes of one of the couples, we soon realized that we were the morons who couldn't find our way in the dark and that we were the ones with huge cuts on the bottoms of our feet. It was not pretty. They really did look like dorks, though. Happy camping, as they say!

Anonymous said...

Hubby took us camping when Brayden was just learning to walk. We went just south of Crabtown to the hot springs. While beautiful, it was COLD!!! I vowed not to go again until we had appropriate sleeping bags. (We attempted the first trip with quilts and blankets. Ugh!)

Best of luck! Can't wait to read about the result!

Anonymous said...

Okay, it's providential that you asked about camping. I'm a avid camper. Love to get back to nature. My husband shrivels up into the fetal position if he has to think about leaving his satellite-dish and flat panel TV behind. Get the picture? So, I came up with the perfect solution. We have now camped out at my parent's backyard twice this summer already. It's great! The kid loves the unique sleeping quarters and my husband can have a shower, drink coffee and check the scores on ESPN in the morning.

Daisy said...

I camped when I was a kid. We used to travel the US, pop-up tent camper behind the station wagon! Headlamps are good if you're going night hiking or caving; they leave your hands free. I embraced my inner camper by becoming a Girl Scout Leader; maybe that's in your future!

Anonymous said...

I'll admit it. We have a headlamp. I wore it once on a night-hike and scared the hell out of a moose and a few elk. So that was good, better than running into aforementioned moose/elk and being trampled. But I have to say that since that one time, I've fully avoided nighttime hiking and looking quite so silly.

Our headlamp is now mostly used by my insanely ridiculous-looking husband who gets all his ski gear on, straps the headlamp to his helmet and goes. . .backcountry nighttime skiing. No joke.

Anonymous said...

Buy the headlamps anyway. No one can see how dorky you look in the dark when you're trying to findyour way to the outhouse.

Anonymous said...

My husband would be the dork with the head lamp. I think he'd dream of wearing it prior to leaving to go camping.
And if he realized that he could wear it to take out the trash and recyclables at night--well, he'd do that too.
And dog walking, instead of arguing about who would walk the dogs at night, he would dork walk...

Wynnster said...

I made the huge mistake of taking my husband to the Bass Pro Shop this afternoon would you like to guess what he saw and absolutely HAD TO HAVE??? That's right a headlamp.
I blame you Crabmommy.... you put a headlamp curse on me. He plans on using it to read in bed. I think this is all some plot to drive me over the edge

tonypark said...

Love camping. Hate headlamps.

CM, I am in awe. Once again you have shown you are not afraid to tackle the big issues and, as usual,your stance is 100 per cent correct (ie, the same as mine).

Little LED lights on headbands may be practical, but that does not make them right.

I'm interested in your view on 'croc' plastic clogs which are, after all, just plastic clogs. Again, breezy and germ-free they may be, but they are still plastic clogs - by now you are catching my drift, I am sure.

We must say no to camping gear that makes us look like cyclopsian Eastern European chefs.

Mrs Blog and I spend six months of the year camping in Africa so we know a thing or two about matters velcro and ripstop. Report more of your adventures in the wild, please.

Anonymous said...

Last Thursday, I didn't wear a headlamp while biking in a 1.7 mile pitch black tunnel. I thought a flashlight strapped to my bike would be good enough. How wrong I was. I now have a knee that is several different colors and covered in a huge scab. It looks much dorkier, and hurts much more, than the headlamp would have.

g.blossom said...

I HATE crocs-- completely agree with you there. They look like a joke product from the fake commercials on Saturday Night Live. It's footwear AND a canine chew toy!

But I LOVE my headlamp. Go figure. And mine is extra dorky-- the band has stars printed on it, because my little bean head was too small for the plain adult model and had to get a kids'. I've only ever used it on camping trips when the whole group had one strapped on, though, so maybe the key is fitting in?

Crabmommy said...

pibbleterrier, as you will see from my latest post, I resisted the temptation of the head lamp and yet we remained utter dorks for sporting two pairs of Crocs in one family (Crabhubby and Crabtot, not me--heavens, no!) Rache, totally dig your idea. I remember loving the backyard camping thing as a kid w/ my cousin. Actually, what it was for us was a white table covered in a yellow blanket. the grownups would come and fetch us at 2am. wynnster, apologies. If you have an affair, I think it entirely justifiable to blame the headlamp.

Jege (Jen) said...

As I am married to an eagle scout (no joke) we have all manner of camping supplies. And, until I broke down and bought the biggest tent I could afford, we camped in hubby's ultralight backpacking tent, which you have to wriggle into feet first, and forget about sitting up, there is just no room. But it weighs -2 lbs!! (or some such shit) hubby would proudly exclaim. Like I give a shit. Getting dressed/undressed in such a tent is a complicated affair and drove me absolutely batshit. I vowed to purchase a tent that I could STAND UP IN. And I did. Ahhh, that's better.

Jege (Jen) said...

Oh, and we havent yet used headlamps, just tiny uber-bright maglites that hubby holds in an upright backwards fist, all CSI-like.