Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Backyard Campout: The Results

My dear niece wanted to know how Friday’s backyard campout turned out. As I am easily persuaded to share any small detail regarding the events of my sometimes hectic, mostly happy life, I’m eager to oblige.

Pre-lunch Activities
All 3 boys haul their camping gear into the back yard. Ethan rolls out his mattress pad, lays out his sleeping bag and announces he is exhausted from all the work and will take a nap (at 9:40 am). He lies in his bag for 15 minutes while Jonah and Isaac fight over which navy blue sleeping bag is theirs. The hose gets turned on and one of the navy blue sleeping bags gets wet. The fight over the navy blue sleeping bags intensifies.

The sleeping bags, mattress pads, backpacks and all other camping paraphernalia get dragged back into and out of the house 4 times.

Afternoon Arguing
The boys raid the coat closets and pull out 3 wire hangers. They work for 10 minutes on straightening them into marshmallow/hot dog roasters. One wire roaster is misplaced and Jonah and Isaac fight over whose wire roaster is whose.

Someone opens the bag of marshmallows and sticks them onto their straightened wire coat hanger. They eat the marshmallow and leave the sticky wire coat hanger on the last remaining spot of un-stained carpet in the whole house. (OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a tiny bit.)

Dinnertime Dilemmas
The gas grill is out of propane. We have to (gasp) microwave the hot dogs. Straightened wire coat hangers are temporarily put aside.

After dinner, Robert constructs a small fire circle in the back yard and gathers as much wood and kindling as he can find in the suburbs. This includes leaves we neglected to rake last fall, little sticks, and a few scraps of 2 x 4’s from various home improvement projects.

Unexpected Guests
After soccer practice, Jonah invites a neighbor to sleep overnight in the tent. I tell Jonah that we need to check with dad before inviting friends. Before we have a chance to check, the neighbor knocks on the door and says he can come and his brother too.

The phone rings. It’s my sister and her Hood to Coast relay team. They have 5 hours before their next leg, are 15 minutes from my house and want to stop by for dessert and some zzz’s before driving on to St. Helens.

Word gets around and more neighborhood boys want to sleep out in the tent with Robert, Ethan, Jonah and Isaac. Robert explains to the little would-be campers that the sleep over is just for father and sons, and invites them to stay for s’mores.

Meanwhile, the Hood to Coast team decides to head directly to St. Helens and sleep there.

Attempted Girl Time
I have borrowed from the library, the BBC 5 hour version of Pride and Prejudice staring Colin Firth. I’ve never seen it. I figure a night with out boys is the perfect time for a P & P marathon. I settle down and start up the movie.

3 kids open the back door and come running into the house. One of them belongs to me, the other two are neighbors. They are playing hide and go seek in the dark and are hopped up on s’mores. I tell them no one is allowed to hide inside the house, shoo them out and lock the door.

I start the movie again. Someone knocks on the back door. It’s one of mine and he has to go to the bathroom. I get him in and out and start the movie again. Smoke from the camp fire wafts through an open window. I get up, shut the window and start the movie again. One hundred and twenty-three more interruptions take place over the next 5 minutes. It’s 10pm.

Bed Time?
Finally, the friends go home and quiet begins to settle on our back yard. Robert comes in the house with Isaac. Isaac doesn’t want to sleep in the tent. He’s scared.

Isaac watches Pride and Prejudice with me for 5 minutes and decides sleeping in a tent might not be so bad after all. A hush falls over the back yard...finally!

I watch 2 hours of Pride and Prejudice and go to bed.

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