Saturday was the Great Cub Scout Family Campout. We have attended almost every year (if not every year) since we’ve been involved with scouts here in the Chicagoland area. It gives the younger guys a chance to go on a “real campout”, something they don’t usually get to do.
I’m not sure why we keep going. I guess it’s kind of like getting our family picture taken… after about a year, we forget how painful it was and sign up to do it again. This year, however, I have finally learned my lesson. I SWEAR.
Maria (apparently the smartest in the family) told me several weeks ago that she didn’t want to go on the campout this year. She reminded me that none of her friends would be there. I agreed. Thankfully, her best friend was coming into town and I was able to
save her from hell arrange for her to do something different.
In the meantime, Andrew was negotiating for the dog to come along. He LOVES the dog. We have never taken Cheerio camping, and other people bring their dogs, so I agreed. She’d love it. He’d love it. How much trouble could it be? Andrew couldn’t wait!
As the weekend approached my friend organizing the campout was obsessively checking the weather forecast. It didn’t look good. Rain and storms were expected. But… only “scattered.”
As we packed the car, the rain began. Dan and I discussed ditching. The kids wanted to go anyway. We decided that Dan would take the older boys ahead and decide upon arrival. If it looked bad, we’d stay for evening activities and then head home. Otherwise, we’d pitch the tent and stay. In the meantime, Andrew and I drove Maria to meet her friend.
When Andrew, Cheerio and I headed to meet the boys, the sky was clearing up. However, by the time we arrived, it was raining again. In spite of the rain, when we pulled in we found that the tent was pitched. It looked like we were staying.
Unbelievably, the rain quit a few minutes later and the sky cleared up. More and more people (apparently waiting on the weather) arrived. It was gorgeous! My dear friend Nancy gave us a second, smaller tent, and we put that up next to our larger one to give us a little more elbow room. This was going to be GREAT!
After eating some dinner, we headed to the common ground area for activities. The kids launched catapults for prizes and searched for gold. We ended with a huge campfire and s’mores. Everyone headed back to their sites to settle in, build fires and play Ghost In The Graveyard (or whatever it was they were playing). It was lovely.
By 10, it was quiet time and the kids were settling down. Dan chose the smaller tent with Andrew and Luke, while I went with Jack, Sam and Cheerio (!?!) into the larger tent. Once we were all arranged as comfortably as possible (ha!) and the fart jokes were out of the way, everyone fell asleep.
Until midnight. That’s when the thunder started. And the lightening flashed. And the torrential rains came. And the wind rocked our tent.
I texted expletives to Nancy, the dog rearranged herself on top of me and Dan texted (he couldn’t be heard over the thunder, rain and wind) that he and the boys were in a puddle of water inside their tent. Jack, my fearless all-weather camper, was begging to ditch the tent and head to the car. Sam was hiding deep in his sleeping bag. I had to pee. There was NO WAY, however, we were going out in that storm. We were getting dripped on, but it was better than OUT THERE.
I prayed and obsessively watched the storm radar on my dying phone. We were in the middle of it. I was SO GLAD Maria was not with us. If she had been, I’d have been cleaning up vomit on top of everything else. She freaks in a storm, even inside a house.
Finally, it was over. I made a break for the bathroom and Dan and the other boys moved into our tent. When I returned, I found that there was not enough dry space for everyone, so the dog, two boys and I hit the van. Only, it was too packed with crap for all of us to fit. Sam took the Accord instead. After and hour, Sam knocked on my window and complained about being alone. It’s not like I was sleeping anyway, so I got out of the van, leaving Luke and Cheerio to snuggle together and headed to share the car with Sam.
It was a long, cold, MISERABLE night. I have never longed for the sun to rise as much as I did that night.
When the sun came up, it was gorgeous (of course). You never would have known that we barely escaped being blown away. Or struck by lightening. Or drowned. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. After we all managed to find dry clothes, we headed over for donuts and (thank God) coffee. I never thought I’d be warm again, but somehow the feeling eventually made it back into my fingers and toes.
We packed up in a hurry and headed out of the campground toward home.
Last night, I’d never been so happy to have a hot shower, a warm bed and a bathroom just a few feet away. Screw camping.
My foolish little Andrew (who thankfully slept through most of it) can’t wait to go again. With the dog. Little does he know that by the time that happens, he’ll be able to drive himself and leave me out of it.
*Disclaimer: this post in no way, shape, or form should reflect badly on my wonderful friend Nancy who organized and ran this campout. She did an AWESOME job, despite the weather. If it hadn’t been for her, it truly would have been a disaster. Thanks, Nancy!!! (But we’re still not going again next year. I SWEAR.)