City Mouse, Country Mouse

It’s not a secret I’m a cityfied, dandified type. I was born and raised on a sea level island packed with seven million people. I like conveniences and fine dining options yet a part of me has always craved the country…

Open space, natural beauty, stars and wind and air and the feeling of experiencing weather and seasons more directly. Room to be alone, room to relax down to a more human scale of time and space. When I travel I always want to go further, farther, away-er, I want to keep driving until I find nowhere fast.

Camping should fit into this desire right? Well, theoretically. I’m relatively hardy and low maintenance. I can handle not showering, bugs, hiking, discomfort. But when it came time to fall asleep our first night in a tent in the Catskills, my body was like no.

My brain and body rebelled. We had tents and blankets but no air mattresses. The kids conked out immediately which was pleasantly surprising. My husband was snoring, yet I could not sleep at all. Our nearest tent neighbors were playing some sort of Forest Bocce Ball game or something, I couldn’t tell, all I knew was that there was this God-awful clanking noise every few minutes until 1 a.m. and cheers or boos. I was close to marching out of the tent and yelling that there was a quiet time policy dammnit! But then I must have fallen asleep, all contorted with my hip bone painfully digging into the ground until some noises woke me up.

“Did you hear that?” Husband: “Yes.” Roll over. Snore. “How can you sleep with those noises?!” “Easy”

It sounded like animals snapping twigs all around the tent. I knew it was nothing since Finn was passed out ignoring it and he has a good nose (being a hound dog and all). But then my irrational yet hyperactive brain started going into overdrive, at this point I was fully nauseously exhausted, and I decided there probably was an animal out there but Finn was so tired from being unable to sleep the whole drive up because he had no room and had to stand up and since he normally requires 23 hours sleep in a 24 hour period, he was too tired and defeated to care that we were about to be attacked by the only mountain lion left in New York State.

Then I realized I was hearing rain drops. I think. Or rabbits. Or mice. But whatever it was was a big fat nothing. Yet after that I just couldn’t sleep. I was so physically uncomfortable and irrationally scared.

Then the kids were up with the bugs and light around 6. So I was really badly tired all day, to the point I could barely function. I tried to nap in the tent but did you know tents are mini greenhouses?

As the afternoon went on (after a trip to a town for air mattresses) and we were cooking our burgers on the fire Walt pestered me to make a decision. If I was up all night again I’d probably lose my mind. I needed to sleep. Do we leave or do we go? I didn’t want to ruin our trip but I also didn’t want to sleep in the tent again. If only we were somewhere with no black bears. This campground had bears near the dumpsters on a regular basis. I know I have more chance of encountering a plane crash lightning bolt winning lottery ticket magical sparkle pony. But try telling someone scared to fly that it’s safer than driving a car. They know that. They’re scared anyway. Everything is cool during the day, but then in that tent…with the dark and unknown out there that you can’t see…my brain is just like Rihanna watching Miley Cyrus as the VMAs.

So I decided to stay. Then some storm clouds rolled in, and we heard ominous thunder in the distance. Anna started freaking out. We made the decision to pack up, and packed our ENTIRE camp in ten minutes flat. Food, tent, clothes, sleeping bags, everything, in a mad dash. We packed it comically quickly into the car, and because it was such a rush we couldn’t squeeze it all in well. It was like Griswold family vacation level of frenzy. The kids were in the car crying, the dog was quivering, and then the skies opened on us as we frantically unstaked the tent.

We drove through torrential rain to a hotel. I had to sit on the hastily folded tent, there was so little room in the car. So that was camping. The rest of the trip involved more in a series of unfortunate events including trying to camp AGAIN only to find this sign when we pulled up to our new campground (Taconic State Park).

So 6% of ticks in this area carry an encephalatis-causing disease that’s 30% fatal that’s transmitted in 15 minutes. So. Um. That’s a 2% chance if you get a tick bite you DIE? No. Girl, no. You can’t even see ticks that size.

We left because we didn’t want to worry about ticks on the kids with that shit out there. So at that point we drove to Northwestern Connecticut (the trip was awesome in the sense that everywhere we wandered was beautiful and new to us, so it was like a fun road trip anyway). But the only campground that took dogs was really shitty, like a Van Down By The River RV parking so we hoteled it again and then just hiked and ran and explored some nature areas nearby.

3 Comments

Filed under Life & Style, Parenting

3 Responses to City Mouse, Country Mouse

  1. Yes, girl, yes! At least you tried something new and different (new for the kids). Who cares how it ended up, as long as you had a good time (or at least moderately good).

  2. Camping sounds exactly how much fun as I imagined. I can hear cows from my bedroom so I never feel the need to get away from civilized life. Hell, I have to drive 2 hours to even get to a mall.

  3. I agree with everything about Catskills except that you “decided to stay.” Also, I didn’t snore. That was the bear.

    (Remember, I can handle a bear with my bare hands.)

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