maiden voyage

there has been a new addition to our family recently. and no, no, i’m not with child. no, no, not me. it’s a volkswagon  eurovan weekender! the short of the long is that it’s a small-ish van (no, no, no, NOT a minivan) with camping capabilities–the top pops up and has a bed. the boys can sleep up there, while brian and i sleep on the bed in the bottom, back of the van. it’s nice to be together, but separated during sleep. no more will seb grit his teeth in my ear! no more will oren suck his thumb in my other ear! and neither of them can kick me! it is also our only car now instead of the ford focus, so that opens up a whole other world of transportation of the urban-kind too. carpooling! large loads of things from home depot!

this past weekend we took said van out for our first camping trip in it to coopers rock state park outside of morgantown, wv. just for a quick overnight, saturday night and a day of bouldering sunday. we did everything right. we left early enough to get to the campground well before bedtime and dark. we even got stuck in traffic getting out of the ‘burgh and still arrived in good time. take it from me, there is nothing worse than getting to the campground in the dark, past bedtime, with two little kids in tow. or one for that matter. as i was saying, we did everything right. we got there, got a nice spot close to the bathrooms, ate dinner. our friends arrived with their four year old son, and all the boys were running around having a grand ol’ time. there was even a mini camp fire (though unfortunately no marshmallows–ok, so maybe we didn’t do EVERYTHING right)! bedtime came and everyone was ready for it. there was no gnashing of teeth or anything. we get in bed, everyone in the whole campground eventually gets in bed and all is quiet.

all is quiet until the dude right next to us calls his girlfriend on the phone. all is quiet, and then the guy calls his lady, and talks on the phone for what, a few minutes? a half hour maybe? NO! in fact, the guy stays on the phone FOR THREE HOURS. and did i mention that he was in the spot right next to us? and did i mention that because of the unseasonable heat we had the back of our van open, facing him? and did i mention that i’m a chicken and so is brian, so we never told the guy to go sit in his car or anything FOR THREE HOURS? even though it sounded like he was sitting there right next to us having this conversation on the phone? oh wait, and i think i forgot to say that this was not some teenager on the phone to his girl. this was a middle-aged man, camping with this three kids, 10 years old and under. he came with his kids, he put them into bed in the tent at their site, and not five minutes later, the man calls his girlfriend to talk about how he wants to introduce her to the kids without telling them that she’s his girlfriend. i don’t know for sure, but i don’t think that it takes a rocket scientist to know that tents are not soundproof, and that kids don’t go to sleep right away, and that at least one of his kids heard at least part of his THREE HOUR LONG conversation. oh, and the other thing i forgot to say about this guy is that he’s a professor, and this detail is very important to note before reading the NEXT THING THAT HAPPENED.

okay, so finally after THREE HOURS, the professor gets off the phone and goes to bed, and we are in the midst of some other kind of angst at that point, the kind that involves three year olds screaming about snot in their nose and the super-bad cough that is keeping them awake. but once that is over, we finally notice that the professor is not on the phone anymore, and we breathe a sigh of relief. brian finally goes to sleep. i begin to drift off and i am almost there when the raccoons come out. they sound like gremlins rolling through the leaves past our van headed straight for the professors picnic table, where he left out all his food in plastic shopping bags. in fact i’m willing to bet that the entire next hour or so could have been the sound effects directly from the first gremlins movie with the rummaging through bags and the ripping open of potato chips and the loud and very fast nibbling that took place. even the occasional growl between the two or three that were sitting there partaking of this guys’ food. so finally the professor gets up and shoos them away by whispering “hey, hey you, go away” and hitting the side of his tent waking all his kids up, and waving around his flashlight. it was not scary to the raccoons, and i could imagine them sitting there on the picnic table blankly staring a the professor. he did get out of the tent eventually, at which point, they ran away. away, away, foul raccoons!

you might think that i encountered peace at this point. that there was nothing left to happen. but you would be wrong. things don’t happen in twos, people. they happen in threes. you may also think that this professor was a smart man, but i think you are wrong again. you may imagine that he put away his food, removing it from the pinic table and putting it in his car or something. but no, you are wrong AGAIN. he left it out, just as he had the first time, and the raccoons did not stay away. they came back, and i believe, from the sounds of it, that they brought some family and friends. and this did not wake the professor up so the noise went on another good hour, until either i finally passed out from dillerium, or the raccoons left. so i got some sleep say, from 4 am until, oh, 6 am when the crows began beckoning to eachother that the sun would soon be coming up.

did i forget to mention that the van was comfortable?