We weren’t going to take a summer vacation. My husband’s job has been especially demanding, and we thought we’d save the money.
But now, our family needs a short break — a respite and new scenery.
A friend invited us to Lake McConaughy, just north of Ogallala, Neb., to camp with her family. She promised we wouldn’t feel like we were in Nebraska. The lack of humidity and the cooler temperatures would be a change from this heat, she said. She also said there would be white, sandy beaches.
My camping days were presumably over prior to having children. My husband and I camped a few times before we got married. We thought it would be romantic, but somehow sharing a tent at Indian Cave State Park with people-sized raccoons sitting outside our door didn’t lend itself much to romance.
We camped once more when we lived in Northern California. It was beautiful to camp among the redwoods, but everyone else had kids. Kids that got up as soon as dawn broke. Broke my slumber, that is.
I remember my husband saying, “You know, I think I’ve had my fill of camping. I don’t care if I ever camp again. I really hate camping!”
This time around, my husband wanted to get a cabin or motel room near the lake. He thought it’d be much more fun if we could spend the day on that white sand and enjoy showers and air conditioning each night. Our last-minute vacation plans left us with no cabin or motel, and our friends said they preferred to camp anyway.
We’ve agreed to camp.
We bought an 8-by-10-foot, two-room, five-person tent. It’s the first tent I’ve bought. It’s the last thing I ever thought I’d be buying.
Camping was fun when I was a kid and went to Camp Calvin Crest in Fremont every summer for a week. Once you got the right sleeping bag that repelled water (not the Barbie one I took my first year) and learned not to touch the inside of the tents to prevent them from leaking, camp was pretty fun. I went every year for five straight years and loved it.
Then I grew up, had some disposable income and became acquainted with swanky hotel rooms. Camping became a distant memory.
But here we are planning our camping trip. It’ll be the first for our boys. We’ve had a planning meeting with our friends to sort out our supplies and designate meals each family will make. Surprisingly, my “to get” and “to take” lists are rather long despite the fact that our friends have every camping tool known to man.
Sheesh, camping is already kind of a pain. And I haven’t mentioned the bugs, the sand in my sleeping bag, the lack of showers and worse yet, the lack of toilets that flush.
Now that the complaining is out of the way, I am actually looking forward to this trip. It’ll be a few straight days of “daddy time” for my boys. Hopefully, my husband will benefit from the few days off. And I can sit, with my feet in the warm sand and Kindle in hand, in my new beach chair.
How bad can camping really be?
Amy Grace is married with two children. Read her Fridays on momaha.com