Life

Labor Day Wrap-up

I apologize if this entry is boring, but considering I blog to journal my life, and this is what we did over Labor Day weekend … well, it’s a bit tedious. I remember my grandmother used to write in a diary and she would document her days, the weather, what she had to eat, what she wore, the conversations she had and though that sounds boring on the surface, it wasn’t. In fact, it was strangely … comforting to read about her mundane life.

I miss you grandma.

I’m writing this from Cooper Creek Campground in Branson, Missouri. We arrived at the park Friday night at 5:30. We had to rush to get going after the boys got out of school and as a result, we forgot quite a few things.

But we’ve adapted.

The campground is packed – there isn’t an empty site to be found. The weather has been perfect – sunny and mid-80’s. The air coming off the lake is cool and refreshing.

And judging by the weather reports, we took this camping trip just in time – Hurricane Gustav (?) is heading toward the Gulf of Mexico and though that weather won’t affect us for a few days, it will indeed affect us – we have rain in the forecast for most of next week.

The only flies in our perfect ointment are:

We’re surrounded by dogs and children. The dogs howl and bark, the children scream and cry. We actually saw one little guy wipe out on his bike when he zoomed past us on the hill, swerved, lost control, sailed over the handlebars and fall face first on the gravel and concrete.

He wasn’t wearing a helmet. Luckily, the boy was okay and walked away, his lower lip trembling as he tried to absorb his stinging wounds. Why his parents allowed him (this boy couldn’t have been more than six) to ride his bike without safety gear on, in my opinion, is not only foolhardy but a form of child abuse.

All four of us witnessed the little boy fall – the husband and I thanked the Lord that he wasn’t our little boy and our boys walked away learning the importance of protecting themselves in precarious situations.

The bathrooms? Are ½ mile away from our campsite. In fact, we are in the next to last campsite in the park. I made the reservations at the last minute and we were lucky to get a spot at all. I usually request a space near the bathrooms (we use our camper bathroom as a storage closet – though this trip the guys did use it for peeing only. Not me, I’d rather hike the ½ mile to the bathrooms – I’m funny like that) but unfortunately, I forgot this go-around and now we I have had to hike to take a pee and a shower.

But I’m not complaining too loudly, it gives me the opportunity to walk off the excess food that I’ve been eating (there’s just something about camping and pigging out).

The neighbors to our left moved in late last night. In fact, we didn’t even know we HAD neighbors until we woke up this morning. It was really weird because when I woke up, started the coffee maker and opened the shades, it was like looking into a mirror. Our neighbor’s camper? Almost an exact replica as ours. The only difference is that they have a slide out – we do not.

I’m jealous.

They are from Oklahoma. The guy is a big dude – not fat, just big. The woman is thin and attractive and they have one lone boy with them – he’s about GD’s age – and painfully skinny. They have one small, quiet, brown and white Chihuahua that shakes whenever they take it for a walk.

All three people are wearing the same shirt so I’m assuming they are here for some sort of family reunion or some sort of organizational meeting.

The neighbors on our other side are two men. They are both large and overly hairy. I know this because they sit around their campground without shirts on. They are the only ones in the campground that are using a tent. They are driving a brownish-tan Dodge Ram 2500 pulling a very long and well used fishing boat. They left early this morning and are now back (5:00 pm.) and sitting in front of their tent watching various cars and people pass by.

They’re a bit creepy. They don’t talk very much, but they seem comfortable in each other’s presence. I have no idea if they caught any fish but judging by their self-satisfied expressions, I’m assuming they did.

This is the first time we’ve camped here that we haven’t been able to access WiFi. As a result, we’ve had to walk down to the office and use the small platforms they have nailed to the wall and sit on the hard, uncomfortable stools to check our email. The boys have been pretty bored without Internet, but they have adapted by playing around with a laptop the husband saved from a co-worker who was just going to throw it away. The husband simply reformatted it and it works like a charm now. The co-worker didn’t want it back (he had already bought a new laptop), so now the boys have a computer they can goof around with. And they have been the whole camping trip.

Isn’t it amazing what people are willing to throw away? One person’s trash, is another person’s treasure. *smile*

For me? I was disappointed at first whenever I first discovered I couldn’t establish a connection from our camper, but it’s been very nice to be FORCED away from cyber world.

I needed the break. Especially since these past few days have been insanely busy for me and I’ve been on the computer and working nearly 12-hour days.

We treated the boys to Bandana BBQ for dinner Friday night. I felt grungy, sweaty and completely underdressed, but Branson is a tourist town and they are used to seeing grungy, sweaty people.

Saturday, the husband I went to the new bookstore called “Books-A-Million” or BAM for short. In short, it’s a Barnes and Noble type of establishment and it was quite busy.

I was quite pleased to see people milling around. You hear how less and less people are actually reading and it was encouraging to see that at least in my area, that’s not entirely true.

I walked away from the bookstore with “Killer Smile” by Lisa Scottoline and “The PMS Murder” by Laura Levine. I like to try and buy at least one book from an author I’m not familiar with whenever I visit the bookstore.

I need to stop buying books and start reading books – my personal library is taking over the house.

Saturday night, we took the boys go-cart racing and it cost us $30.00. It was the best $30.00 we’ve spent in a long time. The cars were fast and the boys beat the pants off of me and the husband. In fact, I was a whole lap down from them. But judging by their flushed cheeks and excited lap recounts, they had a ball and we made another fun childhood memory.

After go-carts, we went putt-putting. We went to a very popular dinosaur-themed course and the place was wall-to-wall people. In fact, the back nine was so backed up we ended up standing around as opposed to actually playing. But the people were friendly and everyone was in good spirits so we had a good time.

The boys beat the pants off us again. Isn’t it amazing how kids adapt to sports/games? I felt awkward and stupid, but it was fun to be teased by the boys so I got over my feelings of inadequacy. *grin*

After we finished golfing, we went for ice cream. The husband and GD had chocolate malts, MK had a vanilla ice cream cup (he won’t eat any other flavor ice cream), I had a raspberry concrete.

Oh. My. Gosh. That raspberry concrete was TO DIE FOR. Very scrumptious and definitely a new favorite. It’s a good thing we’re so far from the bathrooms, I’ll definitely need to walk that those calories off.

We ended up spending $85. (I need to stop keeping a running total in my head. How can you put a dollar sign on family moments?) But we really had a great family night together and I’m so glad the husband and I decided to do this camping thing. You’ve heard me talk about how much work it is. And how uncomfortable it can be, but by golly, we’ve had the best times in our camper and we’ve walked away with some pretty fun stories in the process. I’m quite confident the boys will tell their kids about their camping trips with grandma and grandpa. *grin*

It’s now 7:57 a.m. Sunday morning. I’m the first one up, the guys are all sleeping in. It’s a cool, crisp morning and I wish I had brought some sweats with me. I just got back from the restrooms and I have goosebumps. The park is quiet, but it’s slowly coming to life. I can hear various birds chirping their morning songs and an occasional bump as people move about their RV’s.

I can smell bacon and coffee in the air – there is NOTHING like smelling bacon cooking at your campground early in the morning. It’s very … real and comforting.

I’m drinking my morning coffee and after I finish writing this, I’ll head to the showers. We really have nothing on tap for today’s activities. We’ll most likely spend a lazy day around the camper, though the husband and I will probably head out to some craft booths later today – I have a craving to buy a Christmas ornament (I have no idea why).

We might walk down to the lake and just sit and watch the people fish off the pier or the boats slowly float past. We don’t have anything planned for this evening, either. We’ll most likely pop some popcorn and watch a movie … or not. That’s the beauty of these little camping getaways – anything goes – our plans are wide open.

We’ll head back home tomorrow morning. We’re only about 45 minutes from home, so we’ll get home and unpack well before lunch. I’ll most likely catch up on laundry and clean the camper out, then I’ll catch up on emails and various other duties. We’ll have a relaxing afternoon at home before the kids go back to school and the husband goes back to work on Tuesday.

And life will resume its hectic, but very satisfying, pace.

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