We’re heading out right after school, but I’m so behind in my gear-gathering, I’m checking out early. I’ll be spending the better part of tomorrow looking for my copy of the “Bump in the Night” anthology with the new In Death novella. I hid it specifically to save for this camping trip—a kick-ass story for curling up with, but not so long as to keep me from writing. Well, apparently I hid it too well. Dammit.
I cannot even fathom the amount of spam my site will collect in the space of 2 1/2 days. I thought about taking out the “recent comments” in the sidebar, but it would be more trouble than it’s worth. Just ignore the gobble-dee-gook over there. And be good! If you can’t be good, take notes.
But I’ll leave you with a reposting of my camping DON’Ts and DOs from last summer:
DONâ€™T accidentally throw the bug spray in the cooler. That makes it very cold.
DONâ€™T turn your head to respond to a question while spritzing oneâ€™s head with bug spray. While mosquitoes will stop attacking your mouth, the lingering aftertaste is horrific. The temporary blindness sucks, too.
DONâ€™T continue to choose the campsite up in the woods at the top of the hill all by its lonesome, then complain when 11pm rolls around and you have to hike to the bathroom in the dark. And, while hiking back up the hill with a tiny flashlight, do not get spooked and start running if, like me, you donâ€™t run regularly. When you finally reach the safety of the campfire and flop, gasping for air, into your chair, your husband will roll his eyes and call you a dumbass.
DONâ€™T sit around a campfire with a bored, younger crowd. If said crowd should decide to pour bug spray into an empty beer bottle, put the cap back on and set it in the fire, DO run like hell. DONâ€™T do this if you ever want to see the cap again.
DONâ€™T decide to have a last night campfire with with leftover, wet wood. While you will chase away the mosquito problem for a twenty-mile radius, you and everything you brought with you will reek so badly of wet-wood smoke, your cats will hiss and spit at you when you return home.
DO laugh with your husband when he pulls back into camp on his 4-wheeler like a little boy, muddy and wet and telling stories about getting stuck and flying over rocks and how much â€œnutâ€ his new machine has, because heâ€™s fresh off a 60-hour work week, and the scheduling says heâ€™ll hit 70 this week.
DO take time from trying to be a full-time mom, full-time home office manager and full-time professional writer to sit with your friend, who has a day and half free from the full-time job with commute she works while keeping up with a husband and two grown sons to sit and play Scrabble and giggle together over all the naughty words you can spell.
DO sit and close your eyes and know that hours away your house still holds ringing phones, jammed fax machines, lost permission slips, misplaced blueprints, book edits, comma addictions, unanswered emails, and a full calendar and know that thereâ€™s not a damn thing you can do about it right now. Bask in the â€œNo serviceâ€ signal on your cell phone.
DO laugh with your children when they want to hear more stories and play horseshoes and run around the playground and splash in mud puddles and find good marshmallow sticks, because they probably hear â€œNot right now. Iâ€™m busy.â€ even more than they hear â€œI love you.â€
DO have a roaring campfire to sit around. The best, funniest, most memorable stories are told around a campfire, and nary a â€œShannon did youâ€¦â€ in sight.
And, of course, DO bring extra bug spray, because the neighborâ€™s son will pour yours into the beer bottle and stick it in the fire.