So, for a long time after I moved west, I'd have this kind of conversation:
Someone: "Blah de blah camping de blah."
Me: "Ooops, I'm sorry, I was spacing out. Did you say you were going camping this weekend?"
Someone: "No. Just car camping."
Me: [Blank stare.]
For the longest time, I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about. If you don't know either, car camping is like where you drive your car to your campsite and pull out your tent and your cooler and your lawn chair. It's like Sunshine-Family camping. "Camping" is like with a backpack, energy bars, a mummy bag, skills, a GPS.
Alicia-camping is one step beyond car camping. It's not exactly camping the Amy way, but she is my inspiration for outdoor living. Alicia-camping involves real pillows and a lamp. Last week, I was informed that we were going camping for the night of our anniversary in a yurt. I was excited and a little nervous about this — you know I do love my TiVo, and my ice-making refrigerator, and central air, and also I am a wimp — but I thought it would be okay since I knew the thing had a concrete floor, camp cots, electricity, and water. We packed up the cooler, the camp stove, the dog, the bedding, and my little overnight bag (contact solution and case, face soap, glasses, pajamas, clothes, washcloth, etc. — I was going to be very prepared) and headed out "to the country," and the yurt.
At 9 p.m., the sun was going down and we were getting tired, ready to build a fire and make S'mores. I went into the yurt to change into my cozies and . . . discovered I'd forgotten my overnight bag and had nothing but the clothes on my back and the contacts on my eyeballs (and my natural 20/400 vision). Insert horrified gasp here. Insert me looking around wildly for someone to blame and finding . . . no one but myself. Well, I tried to blame Andy but that didn't seem right. Waaaahhhh! I shouted my frustration through the hole in the ceiling.
So, "yurt camping" without your bag sort of raises the degree of difficulty to "camping" camping don't you think? Not that I feel the need to convince you. I stink at camping. Utterly stink at it. No argument.
I wish I could say I slept well, but I really didn't. I didn't actually sleep at all. The yurt was filled with mosquitoes, and no amount of bug spray deterred them. That really sucked. I was doused in bug spray, and still, they hounded me relentlessly. With my contacts out and no glasses (which were at home in overnight bag), my eyesight was so bad I couldn't see them and was left incessantly smacking at thin air. Andy Paulson, the man who can sleep anywhere and through anything, snored soundly for seven hours. I smacked at my ears with jealousy, trying to stop the buzzing. Around 5 a.m. it started to rain, and then the mosquitoes really started coming in. So we all went outside. It was better out there, even in the rain, and Andy had plans for coffee, sausage, and pancakes on the camp stove.
We huddled around our little fire at dawn, under my huge umbrella, drinking the steaming elixir. I cheered up. It was delish. So were the pancakes and sausage. You can buy a little jug of Bisquik powder, add water, shake it up, and pour 'em out. Brilliant. The birds came out and played on the lawn in the quiet morning. The dog dug a hole under the back of my chair and settled in.
We were the only people there, and that was romantic. In our deserted village of yurts, we sat for hours and watched the island wake up under its big, gray sky.
New-puppy negotiations might have come to a close. . . . I don't think we're getting a puppy right now [insert collective sob]. We're gonna stick with Miss Beautiful Wonderful over here for now. I don't think it's the right time for a pup, as much as I personally want to play with one, right this very minute, even. Well, there's still time to change minds, but for now — we've put the kibosh on the Lizzie-Lemon idea. I can't tell if Audrey looks worried that we are getting a puppy or that we aren't. Those eyebrows. This dog should be a writer, I tell you.
Thank you for all the kind anniversary wishes. There was something sweet and funny about being out in the bright, sparkling, drizzle, just the two of us, talking talking talking, nowhere to be, nothing to do but hang (and slap at mosquitoes). Hours passed. We played croquet. We talked about the past and the future. That's all I really want out of life, really. I just like hanging out together. The rain kind of came and went. That isn't a metaphor, I'm just saying. With him, it's Sunshine Family, no matter what the weather.