Category Archives: Outdoor school

Monsoon!

My niece, on monsoon night...

Ever gone camping in the middle of a major storm?  Trust me, you’d remember.  This last week, my family went camping—as we do every year—in paradise.  Think stunning Oregon forest, horseback riding, swimming in the crystal clear river, jumping off the rocks into said river, something called ‘barn-hockey’ for the kids, tons of food and a fantastic friend (Jill, you rock!) with a supercallafragelistic family willing to share interesting (and hilarious) stories of ranch life with this writer.  It was all of that this year, too, but the weather—as it has been around the world—was…different.

One day in particular was soggy, but as night approached, so did a seriously ominous bank of black clouds.

“Oooo,” we giggled, “Looks like we’re gonna get a little wet.”  So naive.

Our family fits into three tents:  the two-man tent for the boys, the six man tent for the girls—sans the 6 men, of course—and the eight man tent for the hubby and me and the dogs.  As usual, the boys passed out the minute their heads hit the pillow.  The girls on the other hand (all teenagers, and my wild woman niece—age 24 going on 13) were all enjoying being nutballs and laughing themselves half silly in midst of this wilderness slumber party.  I decided to let their shenanigans carry on, cuz I’m super cool and, okay, too lazy to get up and tell them to pipe down.

When the first crack of thunder sounded, the girls all shrieked and giggled.  The hubby and I grinned at each other.  Fun, huh?  The flashes of lightning brought some concerned squeaks from the girls, but it was tempered by more laughter.  Then the downpour hit.  And I’m not talking the drips and drabs of Wendy’s shower.  Oh, no.  This was as if a giant cosmic ladle, perhaps the big dipper? yeah, dumped a lake on us.  The thunder got louder, and the lightening brighter and the squeals higher.

Still, I wasn’t concerned.  After all, the girls had been noisy all evening.  I figured the trees all around us would catch any stray lightning bolts and so deluded, drifted off to sleep.  Around 2ish, the boys appeared at our door (flap) soaked to the skin, shivering and mad as wet roosters.

“Our tent is gone!  Our beds are flooded!”

Odd.  Then again, we had cots and a stronger tent.  “Well, come on in.”  I took one ice-cube boy in my bag, the hubby took the other in his.  The girls were still laughing—I thought—as their shrieks started to rival the howls of the hurricane.  After all, if there was a problem, they’d tell us, right?

Wasn’t till the next morning I woke up to find the girls all huddled in the minivan, their tent now an above ground swimming pool, their beds sagging floatation devices, their mascara running, their joi de vivre a thing of the past.  Not laffin’.  No, my niece was snoozing in at shotgun, scrunched and drenched.  Daughter number three was packed into  the middle row and the older daughters slept sardine style in the back.

Took the entire day—and—half a pile of firewood to dry ‘em out.

Thankfully, the remainder of the week was sunny.  And now (after resting for 24 whole hours at home) we are headed to the beach for more life in the old tent, this time with the kid’s high school crowd.  The weather is looking a little sketchy, so I’ll probably be piling into the minivan with a
dozen (or more) teenagers if we aren’t washed out to sea first.

Wendy?  If you don’t hear from me by…say…Thursday?  Call the Coast Guard.

TTFN,

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Anxiety, Bizarre weather, Cussing, Death, Girl Scouts, kids messy rooms, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Outdoor school, Travel, Weight gain

ROAD TRIP

Start spreading the news...I'm leavin' today...

Wendy and I are hitting the road.  It’s Manhattan or bust, baby.  We’ll be updating you all from the Big Apple, God willing, oy.  We’re taking the red-eye and should be boarding in a matter of hours.  Since both of us have a bit of anxiety when it comes to flying, we will be medicating, hence drooling on each other and snoring in each other’s ears.  I only hope we wake up in time to get off the plane and don’t end up in, you know, Aruba… or…

I’d better pack a swim suit.

Carolyn

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Furious R-rated Don’t Read, Pt. 2.

"Make my day, doo-doo head!" This bad boy don't need to cuss.

   Why is it, when you make a decision to rumble with someone, to knock heads (I’m talking Bill Murray’s Ghostbuster rant about “disaster of biblical proportions, old testament, real wrath of God type stuff, fire and brimstone coming down from the skies, rivers and seas boiling, 40 years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria”–okay maybe not that bad), that you end up having to like, I don’t know, sit next to them on a plane, or be their lab partner or neighbor or something? 

Well, that just happened to me.  Remember the kid I was so hot under the collar over several blogs ago entitled Don’t Read, Rated R?  Yup.  Ended up spending a week with him at outdoor school.  (This year, we took on rocks and planets out in Eastern Oregon).

Yes.  I was scared.  I’m guessin’ he was too.

You know that theme from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly that always plays when outlaws are in the middle of a shootout at the O.K. corral?  The one where they squint at each other just before they draw their guns?  Here.  I’ll try a few bars for you:  Doo-doo-doo-doloo, Bah Wah, Wah. Doo-doo-doo-doloo, Bah Wah, WAH!  A big old ball of sage brush rolls by?  Yeah.  That song. 

It’s playing as I get on the bus, where I had to spend the next four solid hours.  And just who do you suppose is the first person I see?  The cussing eighth-grade rap-artist!  He was already seated.  The last empty seat was within spitting distance.  We eyeballed each other, brows a’see-sawin’.  Who was gonna draw first?  As I strolled down the aisle, we never broke eye-contact.  Didn’t smile.  Didn’t speak.  Slid into my seat.  Pulled down the brim of my hat.

Days passed.  Bumped into him every time I turned around.  I didn’t mention the obscene ballad to his mother he posted on Facebook.  He didn’t mention my vitriolic response.

I carry candy.  Lots of candy.  Especially when I’m forced into confined spaces with hormone-crazed middle-schoolers.  One blazing hot afternoon, he was hungry.  I had candy.  He wanted some.  I gave him some.  He said, “I love you!”  I said, “I love you, too.”

I think I got my point across.

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Children, Clint Eastwood, Cussing, friendship, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Outdoor school, parenthood, please and thank you, politeness, The Bad and the Ugly, Travel, Young Love