Friday, October 28, 2011

Adventures in Backyard Camping...and Airborne Assaults

Neither my husband and I would be considered experienced or skillful campers. We love the outdoors but for most of our lives have loved the outdoors during the day and enjoyed our soft beds at night. Occasionally, we both experienced backyard campouts or an overnight at a campground and I did once spend a few days hiking through the Adirondacks, but we are probably pretty soft-core when it comes to braving the overnight elements.

So, when it came time to introduce the child to the wonders of campouts, we decided to stick to family tradition and start out with the backyard. Last night, we borrowed the neighbor's firepit, cooked hotdogs and s'mores over an open flame, managed not to set the fearless dog on fire who was gamely attempting to steal said hotdogs, pitched a tent, told 'dog' stories (we actually wanted the kid to sleep, after all), had a flashlight show and hunkered down for the night.

Upon which I remembered why I don't camp very often as I tried in vain to roll in any direction that would let me sleep on a surface that did not have multiple acorns and sharp rocks intruding into various organs. Ah well. The sacrifices we make for our kids.

So, there we were, child sound asleep, adults sleeping fitfully and dog occasionally woofing gently as another neighborhood dog made his presence known by howling at the bright moon when I was abruptly shaken awake to hear my husband militarily whispering "let's go, let's go". I stared incomprehensibly at him with the child in his arms and a panicked look on his face and, of course, was instantly awake in my own state of panic. What was wrong? Was Josh ok?

Of course, the next minute, as reality began to set in, I realized that we were under airborne assault. It was as if a thousand squirrels had banded together in one final act of mutiny against humankind, counted to three, and then launched every existing acorn at our feeble tent. I think I even heard one laughing maniacally. As small gunshots went off around us and the wind roared and the smell of rain became more pungent, the panicked whisper came again. "Let's go, it's coming!"

Now, this moment reminded me of one of the first few months of our marriage as we were still getting used to sleeping in the same bed when I was awoken to my husband who had protectively thrown his body over me and was shouting, "stay down, the sky is falling"(no, neither the sky nor ceiling was actually falling down)  so it's possible that he was experiencing a not-unusual sleep-motivated bout of hysterical heroism.

We paused, talked quietly about it, realized that it was not unlikely that a large limb could come down on our sad little tent the way the wind was blowing and carried the soon-to-be-disappointed-but-still-in-a-dead-sleep child upstairs to bed.  We took apart the tent in the moonlight, calmed down the dog who was potentially more worked up than my husband over the whole event and trooped upstairs to our soft beds and a likely painful explanation to come in the morning.

Clearly we have developed no new outdoor skills since the last time I tried camping.  Ah well, here's to giving it a try and to a flexible child who awoke with a  few disappointed tears a little later and then rallied to the cause of comfort by snuggling up with us in bed for the night.


  1. hahahah! great story! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. this is hilarious! you guys are troopers. we heard the acorns last night, too.