Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Roughin' It

When my husband and I first got married we used to go camping in a tent. We slept in sleeping bags on the ground, or on an air mattress. Granted I weighed a lot less then but these days if I had to sleep on the floor I wouldn't be able to get up again in the morning! One weekend my mother-in-law offered to keep the kids so we could go camping with a group of friends. They were all couples like us with small children thrilled to have a weekend away. In those days I might have had a glass or two of wine coolers (really cheap Mogan David grape wine mixed with Fresca) as we sat around the campfire. That night after we went to bed a storm blew in. A bad storm. It rained so hard that it sank a couple of the boats. It rained so hard that the force of the rain made the drops come through the tent. Now you may not know this but if you've had a glass or two of wine, or in my case wine coolers, you can't make it through the night without going to the bathroom. The bathroom in this campground was up at the top of the hill above us. I waited as long as I could but then finally there was no more waiting. I braved the rain in my nylon nightgown with a parka over it and immediately lost my shoes in the mud. Out of the tent I was completely soaked in less than 2 minutes. Picture me trying to climb a hill, barefooted, rain soaked, nylon nightgown (do you know what a wet nylon nightgown looks like plastered to your body?) and falling down not once but twice. It was 2:00 a.m. and my flashlight wasn't helping more than a foot or two in front of me. I gave up, did what I had to do where I stood, and went dripping back into the tent. A few minutes later a park ranger came driving up and yelling that a tornado had been spotted a few miles up the road. The next morning I told my husband I was done with tent camping. And I was.

A few years later we came up in the world...we bought a pop up camper! It had 2 big beds on each side with a hard roof and tent sides. It had a stove to cook on and a booth where we could sit and eat. Still no bathroom but hey, this was Heaven compared to the tent so we were happy. Even after the third child was born we could manage because the booth folded down and made a bed. And if you took the table part of it out a play pen fit right in there. See...perfect! One week my husband's parents took their camper and we took ours and we went camping with all the children. My husband and his parents loved to trout fish so we camped beside a beautiful river and they fished. They fished all day. And it rained all day. Every day. No one ever offered to watch the children so I could get out. Except for the day we had to go to the laundrymat. In those days we were still using lard and I accidentally left the can of lard on the counter where my 18 month old son could reach it. Before I knew it he had lard all over him and the play pen and anything else he could reach. That's when I nearly lost it. And that's also when I told my husband he could sell the pop up camper because I would never be camping in it again. He waited two years for me to change my mind and then he sold it. I'm a woman of my word.

Recently I mentioned that I was living in my camper while I babysit with my newest grandbaby and that my camper is very, very, very nice. With my history you can bet that this time around roughing it was not going to be in my vocabulary. I wanted a couch and recliners. I wanted a kitchen with a refrigerator and cabinets, lots of cabinets. I wanted a king sized bed and closets and a shower and a toilet. I got them all. :)

I never thought I'd want matching recliners. Ever. But I love these. I sit and rock and stitch or I lay back and watch television or play a movie on the DVD player. And I just smile. See my little "coffee table?" My husband put rollers on the bottom of this basket we found and converted into a coffee table. It holds my Featherweight sewing machine perfectly. I have a bedspread that matches the curtains and lots of throw pillows but I took those out because the spread kept slipping onto the floor and the pillows were in my way and my grandchildren needed a bed they could crawl on and not worry about getting dirty. I put this picture in so you could see I have not one closet but two! And besides that's me in the mirror and through some trickery of the camera I look slim!

I have a sink and a medicine cabinet and hot water. I have a big shower and a private toilet area. Now I ask you, could a girl ask for anything more?
Now I realize that some of you out there reading this might have one of those huge bus type recreational vehicles that are probably nicer than my house. Some of them have satellite television, a wet bar, a washer/dryer, etc. We looked at some and thought about buying one. Of course, we would have had to sell our house, our cars, our dog and two of our children to pay for it. But if you're coming from a tent or a pop up camper you'll know what I mean when I say I have a very, very, very nice camper. :) :) :)


Linda - Behind My Red Door said...

LOL - I grew up camping - went 6 weeks cross country even and we kept an empty coffee can in the tent because I would never have been brave enough to head out at 2 AM - wine or not! LOL Too funny. Your current digs are MUCH nicer!!

Thanks for your sweet comment. My baby is pretty darn pretty - but because it is Easter, I won't fight you about who's is prettier - how's that!

Have a great day tomorrow! hugs, Linda

Mama said...

Marlene, I love this post. It certainly took me back a few years. Been there, done almost all of that.

Tent camping? check.

Pop-up camping? check.

Camper camping? check, but it wasn't ours. Maybe when we retire?

Unknown said...

I also grew up camping. We started in a tent, then pop-up, and then a Scottie. I don't know if Scottie was the make of the camper or the name my parents gave it? It slept 6, had a bathroom, kitchen, table, but no recliners, sofa or king size bed. I'd say you got it pretty good. Besides, if you pulled up some where in one of those bus looking campers people are gonna look at you like they were expecting a country music singer or something stepping out of that thing. This way you won't have to see the disappointment on their faces. ;D

Have fun camping, and lay off those wine coolers, your a grandma for crying out loud! ;D

Paula said...

Looks like a fun time just waiting to happen!!!

Unknown said...

Ihaveneverbeencamping...there I said it...but if I were to go this IS my idea of are really pimping in the camping world Marlene...I love it. I want one of my own so I can move out and be all by myself!!!

Michelle said...

It's beautiful, Marlene, just beautiful. I love all the oak, and it is just perfect.

Be blessed and have a wonderful Easter.

Sandy said...

Wow, a long way from the tent. It is lucky you are. Enjoy your time with your grandbaby.

Tracy P. said...

I love this! I spent two summers in a tent when I guided canoe trips to a wilderness area for a church camp. The last time I went (long after my guiding days) was probably 13 years ago. I am afraid to even attempt a sleeping bag in a tent now.

Our camping experience of choice now is a KOA camping cabin. We love them! But I keep thinking the tent will rear its ugly head one day, and I wonder if I should be proactive. The kids have lots to learn, after all. (Sleep in the cabin and put them in the tent, right?)

Happy Easter, Marlene!

P.S. I am not too proud to find myself a little spot between the trees if the bath house is too far away.

Adrienne said...

Long gone are my days of tent camping and sleeping on the ground! I, too, might get down there but I would never get up again. I love your camper and everything you've done to make it home-y. We have a small travel trailer and it's such a haven for us after all the years of tenting. Some day we hope to have a bigger trailer but for now we're fine! No problem - we aren't complaining. Love your 'coffee table' and the way it holds your sewing machine. Great idea. I may 'steal' it when I get a bigger trailer!

Happy Resurrection Day, dear friend, from my home to yours. Because He lives, we too shall live!

Granna said...

Sounds familiar. We had a tent, then finally a tent camper. It got to be too much trouble putting it up and down so now we don't have anything. I would love to have a Scamp or Casita. I only want to sleep inside. We love cooking outside. A potty would be nice. And an air conditioner. Our son is going tent camping at Albert Pike next week with his wife and two girls, and I bet he comes home and goes trailer shopping.

Joy said...

Wow, you've given 'camping' a whole new meaning. That really is luxurious :o). I'd 'camp' anytime in that!!!!
Joy :o)

Suzanne said...

I'm green. It's just beautiful.

- Suzanne

Lelia Chealey said...

My parents went from tent to pop-up and now have a beautiful house on wheels.
I just avoid all that and stick to hotels! :)

Very beautiful though and looks very comfy!
Have a blessed Easter celebration today!

Lindah said...

Oh, I am so happy for you! It is a beautiful camper. I grew up roughing it in tents made my parents own hands, poles, stakes and all. Even a homemade wood stove for those icy winter hunting camps. Never. Ever. Again. Much to DH's chagrin. He loves unrolling his sleeping bag in the dirt. Not. Me. Never mind that I could not get down into or out of said sleeping bag now. And the midnight journeyS...well, never mind. I understand where you're coming from. And I am so glad you have that lovely camper. :-)

Angie said...

You are so funny Marlene. I never dreamed of your 'campervan' being as posh as this. It looks like it may have more space in it than our house. Yup, this is the life..

love, Angie, xx

Love Bears All Things said...

I had a similar experience with a tent and never used it again. We didn't graduate to a pop up, either. My parents had one and then a small camper. Many years later we went with them to a KOA campground that celebrated Halloween in a big way. We slept in the back of Daddy's pick up that he pulled the camper with. He had a cammper shell on it. We took a foam mattress, an electric blanket and a milk jug with the top cut off to use for those nightly needs. Although, it was still semi rough, I cherish those few weekends with my parents.
I have seen campers like yours and I think I could handle camping that way. We've talked about renting one sometime.
Enjoy your visit with the grands and enjoy your home away from home.
Mama Bear

Ruthie said...

Sounds like you and I could swap camping stories. After my ex and I divorced, I went back to college and one of my essays for an english class was titled, "Why I traded a camper for an upright freezer in my divorce."

Lori said...

You commented on a post of mine awhile back that it seemed like we lived paralell lives. Now, even down to the campers. We also started out with a tent and have some storm horror stories to tell, then went to a pop-up with a brief stopover in a trans-van campign van, then upgraded to a self contained trailer (but hated it as I couldn't hear all the hoot owls and coyotes). Then we didn't camp as much so sold the trailer and went back to the tent for awhile, then onto a motorcycle pop-up camper. Now we're back in a toy hauler trailer for practicality purposes but still prefer a popup. No matter the accomodations. Nothing beat a few nights camping in the great outdoors.

Anonymous said...

Sounds exactly my experiences in the past 20 years. First, it was a tent, pop-up, renovated Dodge truck with camper top, conversion van and now, a 5th wheel with all the comforts of home. One of my camping friends said it took her 40 years to get up off the ground and into a modern camper. We love it. There are 5 couples that go camping together and all of us have 5th wheels but started out in tents.

Have a blessed week.


Anonymous said...

In years past I did the tent camping thing, and loved it, but am over it. Hubby and I had travel trailers for several years and then bought a park model which was left in place in a campground for a few years. We sold all that when we bought our little house near the lake to be close to the boat marina. I miss the camping days a lot and we still talk about changing back, but how likely it is I don't know. Sometimes dreaming can be fun too. Your place is gorgeous and reminds me of our previous one.

Janet, said...

We used to camp a lot when the kids were little. They loved it too. But they soon grow out of it. I do not like tent camping, went one time, my husband and I slept in the van while the kids had the tent. We had a pop up and then a regular camper. Yours is beautiful. I miss it sometimes and wish we could do it again.

Marilyn Robertson said...

My parents took my sister and I on many camping trips as we grew up and I did not enjoy them. I am not a camper. My Hubby is a camper and enjoys the outdoors. Poor Hubby! I have camped with him a couple of times and that is enough for me!

Valerie the Pumpkin Patch Quilter said...

Missed this post when you posted it, but it is so funny to read it because we are currently looking for a pop up camper to buy! Your camper is AMAZING!!!!!

BTW - your tornado story is my worst nightmare when it comes to tent camping! Lol*