11 April 2006


We went “camping” last weekend – CAR camping, that is (hence the quotes). “Real” camping, to me, means hauling everything you need on your back though black-fly-infested woods uphill in the rain until you’re a minimum of 10 miles from the nearest road, at which point you set up your 4 pound tent, attempt to squeeze your 1 pound sleeping bag into it, pull out your super-light-weight stove and boil water to reconstitute your freeze-dried dinner. I think most people call that backpacking. But I’m not sure because until I met the husband, it never occurred to me that you could do “camping” any other way.

Anyways. We went camping last weekend.

And we took the handy-dandy pop-up camper that my parents gave us when they moved to Florida (gatta love the fringe benefits of having retired parents). It’s pretty cool, this pop-up thingy, and much as I hate to admit it, probably a whole lot more fun than backpacking-camping with a three year old. It’s like playing house to her, only with a real house. It’s got everything: a stove, beds with mattresses more comfortable than what we have at home, a table with cushioned seating, even a frikkin’ SINK, fercrissake.

It also has a heater, which no matter how I looked at it, I thought seemed silly. I mean, would anyone ever actually USE it?? Do the kind of people who car camp even venture out if the temperature drops below 50 degrees at night??

The husband, bless his heart for acting all tough, thought it seemed silly, too. Actually, I think he thought we wouldn’t need it (last year, it was 80 degrees at the place we camped), and when he asked me if I thought we’d need it, of course, I said “Fuck, no! Are you kidding?”. So he didn’t mess with it like he normally would to make sure it was in working order before we left on our trip.

Naturally, it was cold as frikkin’ hell. And naturally, we couldn’t get the heater to work.

Now normally, cold doesn’t bother me. Normally, I fucking love it. Normally.

However. There were extenuating circumstances this time.

First of all, every article of cold weather gear I own is made for non-pregnant people. Apparently, Mountain Hardwear, The North Face, even Patagonia, all assume that pregnant people are not active people and therefore do not require fleece jackets, fleece pants or thermal underwear. (Not that I could afford to buy it, if they made such things, but that’s beside the point.)

Second, I’m no longer acclimated to cold. Despite walking from the far reaches of the shuttle lot every day all winter long, I have succumbed to wussy-ness. It just doesn’t get cold enough this far south of the M-DL* to keep one’s blood thick and one’s skin toughened to the effects of temperatures that approach (*gasp*) freezing. Sad, but true.

Third, and most of all, I was scared to fucking death that Ms. Three-Years-Old was going to get hypothermia overnight and die. Now that, at least, is a legitimate reason for wussing out and trying to start the heater. It is fine, even admirable, for oneself, if one chooses to wear a T-shirt and boxers outside in a blizzard; it is neither when it comes to one’s child.

So we bundled her up as best we could and when she fell asleep in front of the fire after her 5th or 6th S’more, we tucked her tightly into her 0-degree sleeping bag - with her coat on - and piled two blankets and a quilt on top of her (she’s probably lucky she didn’t asphyxiate).

I was plenty warm enough, myself (bundled in my down mummy bag with a wool blanket and comforter on top), but proceeded to worry about Ms. Three-Years-Old all night. I even got up to check and see if she was breathing, something I haven’t done since she was 6 months old.

She was perfectly fine, of course. In fact, trooper that she is, she hardly complained about being cold at all. (That’s my girl… sniff.)

And by morning, my own wussy-ness seemed to be wearing off. I cooked breakfast outside in half the number of layers I had on the night before and sat outside in the sun sipping hot chocolate with my breath steaming the air. It was great.

But it still bothers me that I broke down and really wanted that heater on. Sign o’ the times, I guess…

1 comment:

Queen K said...

Eh - don't be so hard on yourself! Our parents are currently whining when it hits the low 70's...comparatively you're an Arctic explorer!!

And worrying about the Big Bean (as she shall henceforth be known...) is completely legitimate. Though I would suggest that next time you simply sandwich her between you and the hubby OR you sleep next to her in some fashion, thereby warming her and giving yourself easy access to check for breathing. ;P

Frankly I think I might have been whiny myself and I live up here in chilly-ville. But then, I was never the adventurer you were...I like reading about the adventures of others...hee hee hee