Oh my words, but it's been a doozy of a last month. A DOOZY. We just returned from a weekend of camping with the Boy's family and it was the worst example of how to successfully camp that I've ever heard of. We've all forgotten matches or foil or even toothbrushes and have had to improvise for a moment when camping. But, have you ever forgotten
1. the handy little backpack to carry water and such for hiking,
2. the campstove,
3. all towels & washcloths,
4. a hatchet/mallet,
5. all of the bread for all of the sandwiches for all of the family members' lunches that you've signed up to bring, and
6. all of your cups/plates/bowls/silverware?
All on the same trip. As I basically drove the long way around the big city to get to the camping grounds (why did I go the long way? why did the Boy not stop me?), we basically kept thinking of more things that we completely whiffed on remembering to bring. To be clear, it wasn't just me not remembering this stuff; it was the boths of us. It was me looking around the shed where we keep our camping gear and telling the boy "I got the tent out...I think I got it all" and both of us either foregoing our usual pre-camping checklists or electing to only write down the foodstuffs that we needed (and that obviously still didn't work as I forgot all of the bread for all of the sandwiches and the Boy's side really likes their sandwiches).
We DID, however, bring along 2 lanterns which need new batteries (i.e. don't work right now) even though I told the boy "Hey, here are our lanterns, but they both need new batteries." We still brought them. So that helped us out.
But it turned out to be a completely lovely weekend of camping, despite all of the head smacking going on. And this was my inaugural effort at sleeping with our new mats (instead of the air-mattresses-that-are-always-flat-come-morning). Two melatonins and six hours later, my hips feel a bit bruised but otherwise all went well with that.
With the next camping trip on the horizon, we're basically just throwing all of the necessaries in a pile in the garage whereupon we will not have to think too many pre-camping thoughts next time but will instead just fit it all back into the car.
But we come by our absent mindedness honestly, folks. We have been doing & completing & compiling piles of paperwork of late because, in part, we are selling the house. (We've also been cleaning & discussing & cleaning & showing & deep cleaning some more.) Eight years later, the stars have aligned. It turns out, the market is pretty good right now for selling this little box, and four days after throwing the old "for sale" sign out in the yard, we were offered full asking price minus a bit of closing dollars; we looked at each a few times, stopped talking about it for the night, rehashed the "Are you really sure...I think we really should..." options and then signed to agree.
This house was supposed to be a three-year commitment as we were young and didn't need much space, as I went through graduate school, before we were going to move on the proverbial bigger and better things. But those biggers and betters didn't really materialize because in hindsight, we needed all the years of our 20s to really get those end goals figured out.
There's a good dose of comfort in staying where its familiar and relatively cheap, where we have the walls painted our preferred colors and where a delightful pair of cardinals know that I'm going to feed them. But this bit of land was really never supposed to be our final landing spot, and the upside of staying true to the potential we anticipate is worth something. So when we figured out that we maximize the equity on this place, we gotta do it, even though there are going to be some really painful moments ahead for us as a family. The girls, as one might imagine, are confused and scared and anxious about a lot of it but alternately excited about choosing the paint colors for their new rooms and finding out that they might have access to pools and new playgrounds.
The flip side of the coin is that while we're in a great position selling our house right now, we're in a frustrating, difficult position buying a house right now because the seller's market here is similarly a seller's market there and houses are f-e-w and far between. Things will somehow work themselves out, but right now, we have no house come 30 days after closing on this place.
The impetus for putting the current house on the chopping block came about when I had a full-time teaching opportunity rather fall into my lap fairly easily and quickly. It's not a "we have to move" situation but rather a "we get to move to where we've long talked about wanting to live someday - we now have the reason that we need." The stars, good people, the stars...they are in some crazy alignment right now.
So the future seems to be coming fast and furious for this little family, not exactly like we imagined it would be, which is kind of fun and lots of worrisome. The whole lesson learned here is that when your world is full of the end of one school year, swim lessons, gymnastics, orientation days for a new job, selling your house, frantically searching for a new one, cleaning and paperwork galore, a little kitty boy who isn't eating much anymore, commitments to conferences, and teaching two summer classes, you just might forget to bring dishes and towels when camping because your mind is too full of all those other bits and pieces.
When every part of you is feeling weary, it helps to have a bit of a camping boondoggle with beautiful weather and plenty of nature to reset and renew. Plus, a good old fashioned campfire really does wonders for the soul.