As a general rule, camping is not my favourite. There are bugs, it’s dirty in the tent, if you’re having sex then it’s sort of impossible, if there’s kids then they fuck around in the tent; all that good stuff. Backyard camping, however, means the kids sleep in a tent and I slip into the house, or I wake up stupidly early after sliding around in the sleeping bag making noises like a shopping bag every five seconds so I continuously wake myself up, then slip into the house in the morning. This episode of That Camping Life involves the latter scenario. I woke up at 5.20. What. The. Fuck.

It was lovely to hear the myriad birds outside the nylon, but it was also lovely to shut the heavy wooden door of my house against their melodic warbles and reheat my forgotten tea from yesterday – black as my camper’s heart because I left the bag in – in the modern, non-camping miracle AKA the microwave, and contemplate where to find another modern miracle, the ibuprofen. I feel pretty good, all things considered, but the camp beds sort of suck, probably because they were made to support 200lbs of camo-encased huntin’, fishin’ and fuckin’ man, after a long day in the undergrowth, gun in hand, before he slakes his hunger for meat and thirst for Pabst Blue Ribbon, or etc, whereas I am a more modest 150lbs, and drank white wine and pinot noir, and spilled peppered pork ribs on my dress. In hindsight, it sounds like I should eat and drink more so I pass out, or just sleep on the ground. Or sleep in my own bed, where Husband has slunk off to, now. 

I’m surprised the boys were still asleep. There were up pretty late, but the sun is up pretty early, these days, and the nylon doesn’t do much to keep out those golden rays.

I also heard an animal sniffing around this morning, before I pulled the tag on the zipper of my sleeping bag, tooth by torturously loud tooth, trying to be quiet even though I knew I would have to clamber over Husband’s face to get out of the tent (not as romantic as it sounds) because he positioned the camp beds against the zip and himself the gatekeeper of it. But there was no sign of our friends’ dog when Husband magnanimously rolled out of the way after I mutterred “fuck it” and tore down the last few inches of that damn zip. Perhaps it was a raccoon, and now it is ripping the nylon to shreds and terrorizing my children while I sip my cooling tea and recross my legs on my plush armchair. Or an opossum, coyote, or even a fucking cougar. 

When I opened my eyes to the tent ceiling, I pictured a bloody jacket hanging there and a T-Rex head nosing about. My getaway would have been short-lived because the zip would keep getting caught on the inside of the sleeping bag, and the camp beds are the wrong way. I would have been crunched up and eaten, and Husband would have slept through it. Or it would eat the dog. Either way, I’m in the house, now, and that’s all that matters.


It’s Adventure Time Again, Huzzah!

It’s not raining; there is blue sky and the birds are chirping. The roosters are also hollering themselves hoarse. Earlier, I sent the boys off with water, oranges and clif bars to either die or walk up and down the driveway a few times. I just saw the middle child traipsing into the backyard so I’m assuming the latter applies to all three.
It’s Sunday, post daylight-saving clock fuck-around and here we are. I woke up in the middle of the night because my bodyclock apparently lost 4 hours. After doodling pointlessly for that amount of time, I woke up after a nap feeling refreshed and relieved. I filled the boys’ camel baks and patted their heads on the way out the door to sit on my ass in peace and quiet for as long as they would be gone.

It got me thinking about what I was doing in terms of adventure at a similar age, and also about the articles of crazy crackdowns on parents who are punished by society (or police) for giving their kids different amounts of independence than what people other than their parents think is appropriate.

Cue the Wayne’s World guys doing the doodley-doos with waving fingers…

We lived on a flat street that was U-shaped and the sign at one end said Pelsart St and the sign at the other end said Pelsart Ave. I didn’t think this was a big deal until a teacher told me that Pelsart St Ave was not a thing and it had to be one or the other. Live a little, people! My sister and I rode our bikes up and down the street with the neighbour kids and were supposed to stay in view of the house but, you know. Sometimes when we thought our parents were in the backyard and I was feeling particularly daring, we would ride around the whole block. So adventurous! Mum and Dad never liked that. 

There was a house just past the Pelsart Ave sign that was not lived in. The path to school inevitably went that way and people talked about that house. There were holes in the windows from rocks (can’t remember if I threw any; I might have dared myself a couple of times on the insistence of other kids but I knew it was wrong) and some holes in the walls. We went in there once or twice, too. I think I was petrified that other kids (or teenagers) would be in there and dare us to do things. There was graffitti and probably poo in the toilet. There were bits of rubble and I can’t remember about condoms or clothes. Positive the parents would have whipped us if they knew – maybe they did, I can’t remember – and my sister would have been either shitting her pants because she was 2 years younger than me, or instigating the whole bloody thing because she was daring when you least expected it.

There was a football oval down the road and around the corner from the Pelsart Ave sign, too, which, incidentally, Husband used to play on as a kid. When it rained for days, the oval occasionally flooded and sometimes I went there with a friend from school and we hunted for frogs and tadpoles. She warned me about Electric Eels. 

I was skeptical because the water, you know, would conduct their electricity, but she was older. My folks have told me about the stink of dead tadpoles at the front door where they made me leave the large containers of stormwater we’d bring back, and the occasional frog hopping around the steps.

Flashforward to today: I tell the boys to leave outside animals alone, to only look and not touch too much because I don’t want other living things in the house and because I don’t want them to become  blasé about fawns and be trodden or gored to death by deer or fucking stags.  We live on a hill with no sidewalks and fast drivers so they don’t ride bikes on the road but they do do BMX riding which is fucking rad. They go “hiking” in the backyard and today they found bones down by the old treehouse. 

I think they’re doing just fine.

Adventure in Progress

I love it when the boys go on an expedition. They fastidiously pack their backpacks with snacks and drinks, hopeful that healthy snacks will allow them to take a treat or two, as well. They hunt for belts so they can walk with their swords, they grab jackets in case it is cold or wet, they often take books to read or notebooks to write in, and then complain when they can’t think of other important items to weigh them down on their journey. They encourage or discourage each other about bringing toys along for the adventure.
Once outside, they rediscover things forgotten and left outside for days or weeks, and pretend to hack stuff along the way to wherever they are going.

I like when they are gone for longer than ten minutes, which doesn’t happen often because they really wish I was going with them. I love that they want me with them, but as I’ve often said to them, kids can’t always have proper adventures when they are with their parents. I don’t recall any parents being involved when people were flying around on the wishing chair. I might have to read them some Enid Blyton books so they get the idea. Maybe 7yo will be ready ro read some of them himself, soon. In the mean time, I’m keeping myself busy by the fire.



Saturday morning and it’s the usual story, except that I am using my stuffy nose as an excuse not to go to the gym. Boys kept themselves occupied well enough (whaaaaat?) til Husband made breakfast, and then we commenced sitting around with our feet up, drinking tea. Now Husband has gone back for a nap, and the big boys are off on “an adventure”. This usually involves 6yo packing a handbag with snacks that will get crushed but not eaten, and coming home crying. But it’s sunny outside, and my tea cup is full, so I’m going for thhe glass-half-full scenario, whereby my cup runneth over with “kids playing well together and no broken bones before soccer games” mentality.
Here is what happened first:
Good: 8yo fed the chickens vegetable scraps like I asked him.
Bad: He kicked the chicken fence a few times which startled the birds and pissed me off.
Meh: 8 and 6yos argued about which route their adventure should take.


Starting out.

Here is what might be going on:
Good: Companionable talk; helping each other on sloping trails; sharing snacks; trailblazing; encouraging each other; investigative endeavours.
Bad: They came back after they finished the snacks, 5 minutes later. Now they are arguing with 4yo about the train tracks he’s been building for 25 minutes.
Meh: Wine?