Monday, August 22, 2005

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Oy, what a weekend. Hope yours, at least, was fun. Before I start pissing and moaning, let’s start off with a little light reading.

Let’s Make Litter of the Literati

Recently read: The Preservationist, by David Maines, a reimagining of the Noah and the Ark story, told from varying points of view. Very quick read and hugely entertaining.

Currently reading A Gesture Life, by Chang-Rae Lee. It’s wicked good. Almost finished.

Next up to bat: The Safety of Objects, by A.M. Homes.

On to more painful subjects.

Camp Makemewannaholla

Camping. So not what I thought it would be. Expected some minor irritations but overall, figured we would have a good time. Here is what transpired.

Friday night, the night before we leave for camping trip: after a day running around like a crazy person, I am still packing and making food. Sweet William is at the Jeep dealership, trying to buy a new car, because he has realized that we can’t go out into the middle of nowhere in August in a car that is either (a) rattling like it is going to fall apart (mine) or (b) sorely lacking in the air conditioning department (his). While I am simultaneously preparing dinner, finally getting the birthday cake into the oven, and supervising Viva’s bath, he comes home with paperwork for me to fill out. Because – get this! – while he has an outstanding FICO score, he has no credit history. Student loans don’t count. He has a very well-paying job and generally pays cash for everything; the one credit card he has (which he pays in full every month) is a card in his business name, so that doesn’t count either. Since I have a credit history (and also a good FICO score, amazingly, though not as high as his), I had to co-sign on the car.

He returns after Viva is in bed, sometime after 9 PM, bringing the salesperson home with him, so I can sign everything. And then, my friends, we are the proud drivers of this.

It is fully loaded (leather everything, power everything) and it rides like a dream. One down, one to go.

Saturday: Thought we would be on the road by 8 AM, but we don’t actually get on the freeway until 9:30. We drive to Bakersfield (please note well: this trip was arranged by my sister-in-law, since she actually camps on a regular basis). We get lost. We are on the phone with my sister, who is also lost. We keep passing each other on this two-bit highway in the middle of nowhere. It would almost be funny except we each have small kids in the car, and they’re all sick of being in the car. It’s also already really frickin’ hot, so thank God for the beautiful new air conditioning.

Now, we reserved a campsite to share with my sister and her two kids and my sister-in-law and her husband and two kids. Since the Blah Blahs don’t camp, Diva suggested we rent an RV instead of having to get a tent, sleeping bags, etc. That way, we could have a cool place for the kids to nap during the day, as well as a place for everyone to pee and use the shower instead of traipsing to the public bathrooms.

All well and good. We finally arrive, unload, get settled. It is hot, and a long day ensues. We are lucky enough to have a huge tree providing shade in the middle of the campsite, with a picnic table beneath. Diva, Big Mike, Junior Mike (17), and Cousin Charles (16) arrived the day before, so they already have tents set up, trash and lights taken care of, etc.

At the adjoining site are friends of Diva and Big Mike. Herein my woes begin. Because I knew that a couple of their friends were coming with their own RV, but I didn’t realize that they would be sharing their site with other friends and relatives – all of whom, it will soon appear, think it would be no problem to use our RV as well. During the day, this is not really a problem. Of course, it’s easier to go to the bathroom in the RV, why should anyone shlep down the path to the public toilet?

But as the day begins to wind down and people return from the “lake,”* where they have been boating and (illegally) swimming, everyone decides they need to take a shower. Between the two campsites, we have nineteen people. And the sun is down and we are getting ready to put Viva to bed, but people are cleaning up from dinner, and they want to wash pots and pans out in the sink. In the RV. And they want to use the bathroom. In the RV. And they want to just for whatever fucking reason, be in and out of the RV, slamming the door over and over. Finally, I make a stink with Diva, which really isn’t fair, but these are her friends, not mine. One of them stayed in the shower for over half an hour, which is incredibly rude when you know other people are waiting. And by the way, they have not paid for the RV, we have.

Sweet William, in the meantime, has been bitten by bugs and/or is having an allergic reaction to something. (We later determine it might be peaches.) Earlier in the day, at around 3 PM, he has told me he is miserable and we should leave, that we are city folk and this is not what we signed up for. I have some sick idea of family loyalty and don’t want to abandon my sister with two small kids and a bunch of people she doesn’t know (besides Diva and fam), so we agree to stick it out and leave at dawn the next day. By the time the RV (our only sanctuary, since we don’t have a tent, unlike everyone else) has become Grand Central Station, Sweet William is in “I told you so” mode. I hate everyone, but mainly myself, and end up walking first my nephew Tyler (age 2.75) and then Viva** around and around the edges of the campsite in the dark, as neither of them can fall asleep with all the commotion. My back is protesting fiercely by the time we get them to bed (at 10 PM), but the walking and cuddling are kind of soothing, so I am resigned to make the best of things by the time I get back to the RV. I fall asleep next to Viva on the pull-out couch in the RV “living room,” waking up throughout the night as people still come in and out to go to the bathroom, although with far less frequency.

The power in the RV (including the AC) goes off at some point in the middle of the night. I wake up with Viva’s huge sweaty forehead pressed to mine. I am sweating buckets. Did I mention that I began menstruating the day before? Do you have any idea how unpleasant that is?

Sunday: we get up at about 7. I get to take a shower in the RV that we paid for – which I didn’t the night before, since by the time I got Viva to sleep and even thought about getting into the bathroom, there was already someone in there and I was too exhausted to fight it. We have breakfast, play with the kids, load up the truck, and we are out of there. Geez Louise.

* It is a man-made lake, which I didn’t realize until the day before we left. Gross. Just seems like a breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria. I (of course, you know me) do not even set foot in the water, as a result. Did I mention that it was hot, and swimming might have been refreshing?

** Gratuitous cuteness: since I graced you with a picture of Tyler's brother in the last post, here is my most recent pic of Viva and Tyler, for fairness' sake:

How Much is That Doggy in the Window?

Moving on and keeping you in the know: How insane is this?? A related sidebar estimates that Americans will spend $35.9 billion on their pets by the end of 2005. Wow.

Don’t get me wrong, I am an animal lover, not a fighter, but still: Whoo!

And with that, I leave you for today. Time for leftover pizza…but wishing I had ice cream.

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