Friday, August 3, 2012

Diary of a Camping Trip: Part Two

Part One can be read by clicking here

After packing and loading the car, we left for Lake Shasta. I don't remember much about the drive because I am probably trying to block it out. Road trips with small kids are annoying. Brandon, who will turn two at the end of this month, was the worst because he's not capable of understanding why he has to sit in a car for hours on end. And he screams and cries when he gets tired of being in the car.

He also threw up as we were pulling into the campground.

Yeah. This is a new phase. He apparently gets carsick now, and it sucks. Sucks for him, sucks for us, sucks for the car. The best part about this time is that we drove over the curvy, windy road five hours previously, and he waited until we were literally 2 minutes from stopping to vomit. It's kind of like, thanks for not puking hours before, and making us smell it for the rest of the trip, but on the other hand, ya couldn't have waited two more minutes??

Anyway, we got out of the car into the 100 degree weather for some immediate ass crack sweating. My mom took the boys to the pool, and Nate and I unloaded the car and set up the tents, which only made us sweat even more. I thought I was going to die. And looked like it, too. There were no tent parts missing, so that was great. When that was finally done, I jumped into the pool, and when I came up out of the water, I could feel a coating on my face from all the nastiness in the pool, and could see a grease slick all across it. 

Yum. But when it's 100 degrees, it's kind of a toss-up between dying from heat stroke or getting a combo fungal/bacterial infection in your eyes.

But that wasn't the worst part of the night. I mentioned in the previous post that a what-if scenario occurred that I know will haunt me for the rest of my life. Even knowing that everything is okay, it is still something that will haunt me. 

Everyone was back from the pool and tooling around. I was still setting up stuff and was in the boys' tent for a bit, getting them dry clothes, making their bed, and getting their pjs ready. I walked out of the tent and heard someone calling "Hey, isn't he yours?" or something like that. I tuned it out because I'm good at tuning shit out and didn't think he was talking to me anyway. He kept it up and I could tell he was getting closer, so I finally looked at him.

"Him" was some total fucking stranger walking with Brandon to our campsite. I see some strange dude with my kid and start running to him, totally confused The guy started telling me that he found Brandon wandering by himself in the upper level of the campground. Several hundred feet away and totally obscured by the terrain and a building.

Mmmm hmm. That's right. My kid totally disappeared, and I didn't even know he was gone. I was dying inside. The man explained that he had seen Brandon playing in the pool earlier with my mom and so he knew he belonged to us. I thanked him profusely, and the horror and magnitude of what had happened set in. I realized all that could have gone wrong, and that, my friends, is what will haunt me. The what-ifs. He could have been hit by a car. He could have gotten really, really lost - if he had gone in any of the other directions, he would have entered isolated, woodsy parts of the forest. He could have gotten hurt. The gate to the pool could have not been latched properly and he could have drowned. Someone could have taken him. Someone could have sexually assaulted him. Someone could have murdered him. We didn't even know he was gone.

It was one of those situations where there are too many people around, and everyone is thinking that someone else is watching the kids. I can't even imagine the crushing fear I would have felt if we had realized he was gone and had no idea which direction to start looking in. It will stay with me, the magnitude of what happened. And that's okay, because it will keep me diligent.

And that's not all. Later, at dinner, Brandon got a hold of a knife that someone who shall remain unnamed (it was not me) left out. Ethan, his savior brother, saw it and got it from him, cutting his finger in the process. Not badly, but he nicked a little vein so it bled like a bitch. But he was fine.

Save yourself the effort of calling Child Protective Services on me; I already have called them on myself.

In related news, three sweet little boys are up for foster care. Any takers?

Anyway, after those horrifying events, we got our shit together and figured out how to be parents. The rest of the days were filled with alternating between sweating our asses off and water fun. In case anyone is wondering, Lake Shasta's shores are not sandy beaches. It's rock-filled mud. But who cares. We all had fun.

Bears and mountain lions were not an issue. Flying bugs did scare the bejeezus out of Connor and I got to be a hero several times over by catching moths in my bare hands *shudder* and tossing them out of the tent, and fly-swatting some yellow jackets in the tent. Nobody got stung or went into anaphylactic shock. Ethan did get bit by a yellow jacket but was fine. The boys did NOT pass the fuck out by 7 p.m. after playing in the sun and water all day long. I swear, if that couldn't wear them the hell out, then I have no idea what could possibly tire them out. It's odd. And kind of creepy. I didn't die from lack of internet. I did email from my cell phone, which staved off the withdrawals. I mostly emailed with the awesome blogger of I Like Beer and Babies about future trips to Mexico and drinking and how we need to try to make the BlogHer conference next year but probably won't. She's not only funny on her blog but in "real life" too.

On Wednesday, we packed up and left. My mom and step dad stayed behind because my brother and his family were meeting them on Thursday for the weekend. We left around 11:15 a.m., and shortly after, my mom went to Redding (south of Shasta) to get more supplies for the next round of camping. We all went southbound on Interstate 5.

I don't know if you heard (I'm sure you didn't) but at approximately 1:38 p.m. that day, a vegetation fire broke out along the Lakehead/Shasta part of Interstate 5, closing it for the rest of the day and into the night because it has grown to an over 500 acre (at the time I write this) fire, with evacuations. The fire is a mile or two south of where we camped.

NEAT-O!! My mom and step dad were coming back from Redding with their supplies when I-5 was closed, and so after several hours of waiting for it to reopen, gave up, turned around, and went back to Redding to get a hotel room for the night. And hope that the fire didn't get blown northward too much and consume their camping trailer and other fun camping stuff. Then when they got back, they were getting smoked out, could actually see flames, and had to pack up camp and find another campground farther north.

So yep, how fun for them, and everyone else who has had to be evacuated and lose their homes. How fun for all the motorists who were stranded on I-5 for hours upon hours in the triple-digit heat.

We missed that dream by a mere 2.5 hours. It's kind of amazing how lucky we really were on this trip, what with Brandon not dying, either from an accident/abduction or by knifing himself, and then we just missed getting stranded on the highway for a half a day, in triple-digit heat, with three kids. 

And then when we were about 15 minutes away from home, Brandon puked. Again. Profusely. Toddler car sickness remedies, please.

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  1. All-in-all sounds like a not-so-bad first camping experience with 3 young 'uns. My husband and I used to do lots and lots of camping/backpacking, but have done none at all since our daughter was born almost 15 months ago. I always like stories of people surviving the woods with their kids. :)

    1. Yep, all in all, it wasn't too bad! I'm sure you're looking forward to getting back out there; if you start your daughter young, she'll think nothing of it! Become a camping pro!

    2. That's our intent, a camping pro...we need to get started on it one of these days!

  2. Before we were old enough for dramamine (sp?) my mom would cut a lemon in half for us to smell. the scent helps curb nausea. it helped as long as we got before the point of no return (of the puke that is ;))

  3. What about the sea bands they are supposed to help with nausea without medicine. Also try and keep the car cooler than normal. The coolness helps with not getting nauseous. ( I learned this from flying with turbulence) Another thing I learned the hard way. Zip lock bags make great yack bags.

    1. Thank you, Karen! I thought about the sea bands, just need to check whether they make them that small? He's just about to turn 2.

      And I'm sorry you had to learn the hard way about the ziplocks, but thanks for passing it along! Puke + smell containment = WIN!

  4. so again, a late comment but i can totally relate with the toddler carsick phase...what the hell is that about?! for my daughter it went on for almost an entire year, did not matter if we were driving 15 minutes or 3 hours it was almost anytime she was in a car. nightmare!! also unfortunately i have a similar what-if situation from two months ago with my 2 1/2 yr my own house! so a friend came over and i didn't think she'd be staying long, so i didn't lock us all into the house by ensuring that the two locks on the front door were set. she takes my daughter (and i thought my son followed) upstairs to put some i dunno glow in the dark stickers or whatever on the wall in my daughter's room. meanwhile i am in the kitchen finishing dinner. few minutes later i hear banging and yelling "HEY! HEY Hello!" and tuning it out because we can hear all our neighbors all the time in our house...however this did not stop over 2 mins and i went out to see what the racket was. it was my neighbor, who i did not know....letting me know that brody, my 2 yr old was outside and had been sitting on our porch steps for SEVERAL minutes...before calmly deciding the street looked like the place to be!!!!! what the what?! obviously i frantically explained that i had thought he was upstairs and i was making dinner. god only knows what the neighbors thought i was doing while my child ran around unsupervised, worried that at some point a neighbor would call cps or something...and adding to the ridiculous amounts of stress over what if situations that did not occur in real life, but i get to live out nightly in my worst dreams. so yeah, you are not alone, especially in crappiness- fallon

    1. upon rereading i should mention that the bottom lock was locked, but apparently he was able to figure that one we know, crap for crap...

    2. OH my gosh, how horrifying! I'm so glad everything worked out in the end. We had to install a lock at the top of our front door because the boys also figured out how to unlock the door!

  5. I was the carsick toddler in my family. Could never read a book and if they had them in those days, I'm sure I couldn't have watched a movie. I'm sure carseats are an issue today, but you can try sticking the puker in the middle seat. Looking out the front window is way better for avoiding motion sickness than having to look out the side at everything whizzing by. Only problem is that you can't roll down the window for fresh air or a puke out the window, but you can use AC and ziplock bags instead, right? Also, I remember feeling guilty about saying anything about not feeling well, as everyone would be upset about having to stop and be delayed, or the driver claiming that there was no where convenient to stop at the moment. Make sure your puker gets it through his little head that stopping the car is A-okay and to please speak up as soon as anything starts to feel a little funny!

    1. Thanks for the great tips, Darcie! And we definitely have a stash of ziplock bags in the car! :-)


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