I married a city boy
Maybe it's the lack of electronics. Perhaps separation anxiety from his email lifeline. Going camping does feel a bit like severing the umbilical cord that links each of us to the grid. (Yes, I'm thinking about the Matrix now.) But, in small doses, I really like it. My husband, on the other hand, doesn't seem to enjoy it, even for a minute. I was pretty excited to go camping over Memorial Day weekend with Stacy and Rose. My only stipulation in agreeing to it was that I didn't want to sleep outside more than two successive nights and we had to get an air mattress. So, the week before we left, we made a rare trip to Wal-Mart (ugh!) and got all necessary gear: a tent, an air mattress, two sleeping bags, and fishing licenses.
We arrived at the Huffman Commune early evening. Predictably, camping experts Stacy and Rose had set up the most complete camping setup I've ever seen. Multiple tents surrounded folding chairs next to a full kitchen, and off to the side was a middle-of-the-night hillbilly bathroom (aka tarp with hanging toilet paper). Impressive!!! This is going to be fun!
The biggest tent imaginable ("the condo") majestically towered over us as we set up our teeny tiny tent (six men, my ass!) and crammed in the air mattress. There's nothing that will ruin my day like a night's sleep with a tree root stuck in my back. Seeing as I'm prone to migraines, I figured the air mattress would solve the problem. Our little tent was actually really cool. Our air mattress left just enough space in the corner for Jake to curl up next to us. I felt like a kid in our own personal fort! With the sounds of the woods and the open sky, the night was beautiful. It was so relaxing. I had the best night's sleep I've had for months. (Holy crap, was I was right about the air mattress!!) For me it was great, but Heath wasn't doing much relaxing. He seemed anxious and nervous.
The next day, after hours of sunning, boating, and drinking, we enjoyed a grand meal prepared fireside. (How does Rosie do it all?!) It felt like it couldn't get any better and then we broke out the ‘smores! Woo hoo! Heath enjoyed spending some quality time with his brother, but was obviously wishing for our comfy couch. I, on the other hand, had a blast pointing out various wild critters. We saw a family of opossums, some chipmunks, and turtles on our campsite. Heath wasn't impressed, giving me that oh-so-common "Are you 12?" look.
The day we were leaving, I pestered Heath until he finally agreed to one more boat ride. We took Jake & his doggie life vest, hoping for an opportunity to try to teach him to swim again. Yes, I know dogs are supposed to instinctively know how to swim, but our Jakey swims like his mom - splashing wildly and hoping someone will promptly save your life. We docked the boat on the swimming beach and got to see Buddy Jo (Stacy & Rose's Boston Terrier) show off his swimming prowess while Jake look around for an escape route. We strapped on his life vest hoping that would help him realize he's not going to die and Heath dragged him out into the chest-high deep water. As predicted, Jake immediately began splashing as much water as he could (presumably trying to empty the lake so he could touch ground again) and violently clawing in Heath's direction as he took off toward shore. It was hard to watch our son feeling
abandoned by his daddy, but he slowly made his way toward shore. We all cheered as he made it onto the sand, breathing like he just ran a marathon. Heath gave him time to catch his breath, then grabbed the life vest to drag him back out into the deep water again. Jake had a terrified look on his face as he clawed at the shore, resisting the torture, but he couldn't win. He was dragged back out into the deep water and forced to make his own way back to shore. This process repeated about 30 times, with each time getting progressively better. Each time there was less splashing and more paddling. Each time he was dragged off the shore, there was less terror and more of a look of resigned inevitability. It was looking like he had the hang of it, so we decided to try it without the life vest. We took it off and Heath dragged him out into the deep end, and YES! Jake swam back to the shore like a pro! Woo hoo! So, now would he go in voluntarily? Anyone who's ever met Jake knows that he's a fetch-nut. He doesn't just like fetching, he's a FETCH-NUT. If you throw anything, he will go get it and make you throw it again about 50 times. We decided to throw a water bottle into the deep end and watch him go get it. He just looked at us like "What? You want me to go get that thing?" Ok, let's try throwing it into the shallow end. Score! He ran to get it and waited for us to throw it again. Progressively, we threw it into deeper water and eventually Heath was throwing the water bottle as far as he could and Jake was happily fetching it and swimming back like a pro. I felt like crying, I was so proud of our son!
Back at the campsite, Heath whined until I reluctantly agreed to pack up and we headed out. He'll be ready for another camping trip with Stacy and Rose in another year, but until then I'll have to set up the tent in our back yard if I want to go camping. I can't complain too much, though. One reason I married him was because he's a city boy. I definitely couldn't do this every weekend - it was really nice to come home and snuggle up on the couch next to my favorite city boy and watch a movie.