Thursday, July 21, 2011

Moving into the driveway

I've always loved camping. The fresh air, the fire and roasting marshmallows, watching stars at night and so I tolerate not showering and eating bugs. We didn't camp much as kids because 1) Mom wasn't too keen on camping* 2) Mom was afraid that the car would break down and we would be stranded with no way out 3) With 6 kids it was probably too much work

*When mom was a child the only vacations they ever took were camping trips. Her parents were strict and her dad an alcoholic so this is what a family vacation looked like to them. Friday afternoon load up the car and leave when grandma got home from work. Drive for several hours, set up camp, cook, do dishes go to bed. Wake up, drive for several hours find a new camping spot repeat. Some trips were weekends and some a whole week. No friends were ever allowed, stops at gas stations were for gas only, no treats. You did not stay at a camp site for more than one night. Because of this Mom learned to hate camping. Grandpa would have the kids set up the tent in the sprinklers and time them to improve the speed in case of rain (we have reel to reel movies to prove it) Her favorite trip was when her little sister caught the measles and they had to turn around and come home. Her least favorite was the trip they were going to go to Disneyland (yes, really) and the car broke down and it took the whole week to fix it. At least they stayed in one camp site for more than one night. And she has yet to go to Disneyland.

But I digress- So when I first started dating Brian, he loved to camp and hike. I married him for his dad's boat. Within the first year of dating he took me to Lake Powell (Pal as we Utahns with accents like to call it) It was heaven- camping and boating in the same trip. So for many years we used his grandma's trailer but we also had a tent. We took my sisters and instituted the Kirts family camping trip which Dad dubbed the "Lets put the fun in dysFUNctional" camping trip. And on occasion it was referred to as the Damn Family Camping Trip. The kids and I are writing a musical about camping. Watch for it on Broadway-its gonna be good. But then that went by the wayside as dad got sick and some family members pissed off other members.

So what does this have to do with my driveway you ask?! Well after 21 yrs of marriage (today) Brian and I bought a tent trailer. We'd wanted one before but just didn't have the cashola. Last summer I wanted to go back to Powell (Pal) after a long hiatus (9-11 trip from hell-yes, we were there when the planes hit the Towers and its also the trip when the boat engine seized) So I planned a trip and despite some minor issues (Ron and the free boat, Keegan floating away, my car battery dying and lets not forget 5 hrs in the Walmart parking lot) it was fun. But our tent poor thing was about 12 yrs old and it heaved a final breath telling us that it had been a great life but the end was near. So on the way out we threw it in the dumpster and we were tentless. Its possible that we might have just skipped camping at all this summer being outdoor homeless and all, but I'd already planned a trip to Yellowstone with Meg and Joe and a return trip to Pal with the Hansen's and the Fernadez's (Fernandi). So we were in a quandary. I started looking on Craig's list and for a used tent trailer. We looked at one and Brian asked if we could look at a new one to compare. Well, he won. With a credit score of "what ever you want Mr. and Mrs Smith" assurance that the van could tow it, and our two big loans being paid off in the next 10 months, we pulled out of the lot with our new tent trailer (not without almost setting the RV lot on fire- but that is another story)

We got home and dad had been calling. He wanted to see it. Despite recent events with his health, he was chipper and excited for the unveiling (or cranking) of the trailer. He said twice that he had always wanted one and it made me sad. I hope we can get him camping at least once.

So we hardly got the thing unhitched before Keegan was trying to get in. He dubbed it "the pop-up" and has spent the past week getting it ready for Yellowstone. Getting it ready means he keeps trying to convince me that he need new Lego's (they won't be spensive ones). He has slept out there several times and spends his afternoons and evening playing in it.

Personally, I am thrilled. This is going to make camping easier and I can't wait to get going. My vacation starts in 24 hours and I don't think it will get here soon enough.

Stay tuned for adventures in camping.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Slow Down!

As kids, mom would always say "well the Forth of July is here and that means summer is over" What really, there is still the rest of July and then August. Mom is a pessimist and since they start putting out back to school stuff in July, in her mind its over. But I hated hearing that because I love summer! My family is not so enthusiastic. They don't like the heat like I do and they don't enjoy the outdoors. Me, I live for it. Well that and warm Fall weather for hiking and biking, the crisp cool winter days for cross country skiing but Summer I love you more than anything in the world. Swimming, warm nights, long days, parties and fun.

With all the cool weather we got off to a slow start-snow-in June-Really!!!!!! But the good news is the creek is still flowing rapidly and it sounds like heaven and since my sprinkler system had broken and I just now got to it, i didn't have to worry about the grass.

Aw Pimpernel, May and June were encompassed by Brian, Kate and Daniel being at rehearsal and then the show. Since i wasn't chauffeur this year, I wasn't there for rehearsals and I've never seen the show. Wow, that was great on opening night to have no reference or background. Awesome show! Sadly Keegan wasn't quite as enthralled as me so we could only go to every other show and I broke down to get a babysitter for closing night. I'm a total sucker for a good musical and then to have family and friends who are in the show makes it worse. Maybe, just maybe I will audition one of these years.

More important than the fun of the show was that it got Brian doing something. He broke out of the shell he has holed himself up in since his mom died. Yes, we get occasional glimpses of the "old Brian" but then he goes back to the reclusive "new Brian" he became so long ago. With the show over, he's slipped back a bit and spent yesterday on the computer, but he's been out with fellow fops two or three times since closing night. YEAH!

Kate auditioned at Hale-again and again, she didn't get a call back. I have a love hate relationship with that theater. They are one step above community theater but they think they are akin to Pioneer Theater. Dear Hale, you aren't that great. Your theater is awesome and you have great effects, but your actors are not always that great. And then, Hale is one of the most generous companies around. I can always count on them to donate tickets for fund raisers. I know Kate was bummed but i really think they didn't approve of the song she chose for her audition. Or she was too short.

Keegan has joined my in my haven (the deck) its fun to have his company, but suddenly its not as serene as it was a few moments ago. He dreamt that Gibbles (the school Guinea Pig) was a real pig. Great. And now for the non-stop talking and the mind that goes 100 MPH. I tell you i can't keep up with this kid. But I love him to death!

So on to enjoy another summer day. After Mass we will decorate for Vacation Bible School, head to the pool and then to HD to get some sprinkler heads to fix the broken ones.

Its been a long week with dad passing out and Marcus being in the hospital. I know, it wasn't as long for me as all of them, but its draining to have family sick. And then Mark died. I didn't know him, but I do know his wife and she is a strong sweet woman. My prayers to all of them.