Sunday, July 19, 2009

Keeping it simple.


Why is it that whenever you get a brilliant idea for a "simple" way to make the kids happy, it ends up becoming more complicated than explaining how to multiply fractions?

My brilliantly simple idea was to have my sister and nieces over for a camp-out in our backyard. Since I have no money and Patrick has practically no vacation time (new job and all), we were unable to go on our annual cousin camping trip. My kids and nieces really enjoy that tradition (as do the adults) so camping in our backyard was a way to still have fun without the cost. Both of our husbands were at a guy thing this weekend, anyway, so it worked out perfectly! (Or so I thought...)

The tent. I love our tent. It is huge and fairly easy to set up. Or, it was, until I realized that 3 of the poles are no longer connected. This caused a slight delay but I remedied the problem with duct tape, a paper clip and a rubber band. (Why, yes! I WAS a girl scout.)

The sky. Holy bat balls! It was DAAAARK and stormy looking! I scrambled around to clean the house up just in case we ended up camping on the floor...

The pizza. Patrick meant well, but bought two very teeeeeeny pizzas! Jill and I freaked out that there wouldn't be enough for our obviously ravenous children, so she ordered some Chinese food at the last minute. This proved to be unnecessary when our kids each ate 2 pieces and then claimed to be full, "Can we have s'mores yet?" We now have an entire pizza and a crapload of Chinese food left over...

The fire wood. Remember that day of hormone-induced tree chopping I talked about? My darling husband thought that just stacking the firewood on TOP of the fire pit would work out just fine. He didn't think about the thorns and scratchy branches that would slice my hands and arms as I tried to clear this drying heap of wood AWAY from the fire pit. I can't just throw a match into a pile of wood and hope it catches fire (or that it doesn't go up in flames, taking my eyebrows with it!). As the storm clouds drifted away and the lightning bugs began their mating calls, my sister and I started the fire.

Heh. "Started the Fire." That's a RIOT. Because THAT wood? Was NOT BURNING. We were really good at lighting the paper from the recycle bin. Yeah. We can burn paper like there's NO tomorrow. But lighting green wood, even though each branch is covered in crispy brown leaves? Apparently not.

It became a comedy of errors. As a branch would light, we'd run out of small twigs to feed it, or the lighter would go out, and the branch would simply fizzle out in front of us. Hot coals (of burnt paper) lay beneath our lovely pile of wood. No flames.

"When can we roast marshmallows?!? Can't we just do them in the microwave?"

"NO! It's the principle. We WILL have a fire. We WILL."

We sure were determined....

My sister finally gave up when the sky was pitch black. She headed inside to make some s'mores over the stovetop while I remained vigilant at the fire pit. I couldn't have our kids telling our husbands that we couldn't light a simple fire on our own!! JUST as I got a few small branches good and flaming, with the larger branches beginning to smolder, I heard the famous words that have become a tradition which accompanies any time that Patrick leaves town:

"Tracey!! Your toilet is overflowing! There's water all down the hall!!"

Yes. Yet AGAIN I got to clean up nasty toilet water from my hallway. (And basement! Don't forget that it likes to flow straight down into my basement!)

Lots of fun. I abandoned the now BURNING FIRE in my backyard to control the flood in my house.

Ok. The poopy water got cleaned up. Everyone washed their hands and we headed outside to make our freaking s'mores.

Notice the pitiful embers we are "roasting" the marshmallows over? Also, notice the blackened branch that never caught fire. We are AWESOME at this...I'd have more pictures, but all of my batteries decided to DIE at this moment. Fitting. (Jill and I grabbed our Mike's Raspberry Lemonades. We'd earned them.)

Got the kids good and sugared up, managed to brush 2 or 3 kids' mouths (out of 5? That's not a bad %) and they eagerly dashed into the tent for their "camping adventure."

Jabber. Giggle. Complain. Sing. BE QUIET!

Ahhhh....

Our liquor devoured, we climbed into our sleeping bags to help settle them down.

Giggle. Wiggle. Poke.

"Mooommmeeee, they won't stop talking!"

Shush. Wiggle. Threaten.

Quiet....

HELICOPTER!

FIREWORKS!

Crying girls!

"Are you freaking kidding me? Tracey, WHERE DO YOU LIVE?"

shhhhh......

Giggle. Yawn. Wiggle....

Quiet....

FIREWORKS!! LOUD MUSIC!! MOTORCYCLE PARADE!! AIRPLANE HEADED TO MIDWAY!!


AHHHHHHH!!!!!

Simple ideas are never simple. And now? Now I get to restack unburnt brush, dismantle a tent, scrub a floor and wash about 20 sopping wet towels.

Worth it?

You bet.
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