Thursday, January 17, 2013

January Camping

This past weekend, a weekend in January, the forecast for my area of Pennsylvania was a balmy and "spring like" 62 degrees.  John was already going camping that weekend with one of his buddies and long time friend, Mike.  With a forecast like the one the weatherman was talking about, I asked him if I could tag along too... Ya know, just to get out of the house for awhile.  Since I became disabled,  way back in August of 2011, I feel like I've been staring at the same walls for freakin' ever...  A chance to spend some time outdoors, without the threat of spiders and mosquitos, seemed like a terrific idea. 
So, John said, "Of course.  We'll bring the big tent and our cots."
It seemed set;  just had to get a sitter for my pre-teen because oddly enough, pre-teens and time with the folks (In the GREAT OUTDOORS! AGH! and with no WIFI???!!! DOUBLE AGH!)  camping don't mix. 
So, we got a sitter, made the reservations online and with each passing hour, I grew more and more excited.  The time sort of alone with my best friend and hubby of over 13 years and our good friend Mike, the smell of a campfire, the relaxing atmosphere - just thinking about it made me giggly with anticipation. 
The morning of Saturday came and we were busy packing up the car with various items we couldn't live without while camping... We were going camping at a pet friendly site so even our dog Molson could join us as well.
We got to the campground - about 10 miles away or so - from our home.  And the weather on Saturday was a just a bit nippy, but otherwise, partly sunny and comfortable for mid January.  And with the forecast supposedly reaching the mid 60's the next day, we set up in damp, but certainly doable conditions with hope for even better weather to be had.
The first night we were there, the temperatures plummeted.  In no time, my feet started feeling quite cold, and my hands shortly thereafter.  I couldn't stop chattering my teeth.  Even sitting by the roaring fire I was freezing.  At one point, I went to my tent, stepped in (for some reason, I was expecting a whoof of warm air to hit my face) and after feeling the "just-as-extreme-as-outside" coldness in there, started to feel my first twinges of doubt and sorrow that I just didn't stay home. 
Brushing off my doubts and killing my inner voices, I bravely got my extra sweatshirt, threw it on and "robbled" back to the campfire. 
By this time, our dog, who we were so thrilled to let tag along was being a complete "scaredy-cat"... all the time whimpering, whining, and just not relaxing.  So, John decided to take him home.  I was going to set by the fire with Mike and just listen to the radio and chill-ax for a bit. 
Before he left, I gave John several orders on what to bring back with him - since we had an electric site, I requested a space heater and an extension cord - that way we could warm up the tent and still charge a cell phone or two.  I think I even asked him for my heavy coat and gloves. 
So, after he got back, I started getting sleepy - this was around 8ish... I wanted to take my night time medicines and my long acting insulin shot and then get comfy with my cot, blanket, three pillows and my portable DVD player - with my Anne of Green Gables DVD already queued up inside of it. 
I got comfortable, John and Mike continued their fire poking and small talk and I drifted off into sleep,  just to be woken up a few hours later listening to rain outside.  And it poured.  Or at least that's what it sounded like from inside our tent.  Just raining cats and dogs.  So, as the night wore on, I was up off an on throughout the evening, sometimes uncomfortable or in pain, sometimes because the rain was so heavy that all I could think about was the misery of packing up a wet tent in less than 24 hours time.  And I believe I also thought about writing a very nasty email to the head meteorologist of our local news department.  As the dawn approached, it began to look like he was more wrong by the minute.  It certainly wasn't 62 degrees and "spring like" out there.  It was wet, damp, cold, foggy and quite miserable out there.
Around 7 am or so, the need to pee was quite present and I kind of rolled over to look at John and he was obviously feeling the same need.  We were up, and not really going to go back to sleep... After each of us did our "business" we sort of crawled back into our cots and each of us rolled onto our sides so we could face each other.  As usual, he was cracking some jokes and we got to talking about the rest of the day.  We had to go back to our house to let our dog outside so he could also pee and I forgot bowls to have my cereal in, so a hot breakfast at McDonald's seemed to be in our future as well.  Off we went.  When we pulled up to the house, I started regretting not having brought my supplies from the campground.  The house looked warm, inviting, and ever so cozy...
We walked in, John leashed up Molson and I hopped onto the computer right away.  What is it about being away from the computer or TV?  I don't know what it is, but they were shouting my name and I wasn't about to let them go unanswered.  I soaked in some TV - albeit about 20 minutes - but long enough for me to get my fix.  The computer time was much needed.  I signed onto Facebook for a little, played one of my games for about 10 minutes and then it was time to go back.  To the campground.  During our TV time, we did manage to catch the local weather.  They were stating that the thick, dense fog would lift in the next hour or so, and that the sun would come back.  Yippee!!!    With those thoughts rolling around in our heads, we hit up McDonald's and then back to the campground. 
By the time we got back to the campground, it was around 9 or 10 o'clock.  We started a fire and I got back to the point of camping - relaxing. 
Well, as the day wore on, hour passing by hour, the fog never lifted.  The sun never made it's triumphant return.  The rain/drizzle never let up.  My feet again started turning cold and my hands could barley hold my cup-of-noodles lunch in them. 
That was it.
I stayed as long as I could muster, started crying and announced how bad I physically felt and that I just couldn't do it anymore.  John looked at me, and said, "I'm surprised you made it this far" and then he helped me load up my car with my pillows, medications, portable DVD player, and blanket.  With parting words of "Go home and take a pain killer and relax" followed by an "I love you and call me when you get home",  I left.
I know he wanted me to stay, but he also loved me enough to know that I couldn't.  He sees how I manage on days that I don't have to leave the comfort of home - he sees the pain I endure day after day - and while there was a tiny bit of me that wanted to also stay, I knew that I couldn't. 
Thank the good Lord that I made it home when I did.  I could barely feel anything below my waist when I pulled into my parking spot.  I was so numb with cold and also in quite a bit of pain.  I was all to eager to throw up my feet, turn up the heat, and sit down with a treat...
So, that's it.  My most recent camping escapade.  I'm a little sad I couldn't make it all 2 1/2 days, but, I did what I could.  And what more can you ask of someone than that??

Someone once referred to this tent as the Olley Castle
It's freakin' huge inside of this tent...
Easily fits 3 cots, with plenty of room to spare,
and you can fully stand inside of it...

John and me... and fog, of course

John goofing around with his main
camping tool... :)


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