Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Tomorrow we're headed out for a family vacation. We're going to be headed out to the true wilderness, which I define as any metropolitan area with a population of less than 100,000 residents. Our facilities are going to be primitive, in the sense that the shower head on the premises may offer only a minimal selection of pulsating massage streams. And there will no doubt be fearsome wildlife, possibly in the form of Republicans. I can never remember whether it's better to stand your ground and make yourself look bigger to intimidate them, or sling the trail mix in your backpack in their general direction and run like hell.

We are going to be staying at a cabin in northern Wisconsin, one that belongs to David's brother-in-law. The brother-in-law has communicated to us that the cabin is "fairly trashed." Far from being bad news, this is GREAT news. If the cabin weren't trashed already, our family would certainly trash it within 30 seconds of arriving, and then I would feel bad. But they've pre-trashed it for us, which is almost like a favor to us. In fact, I'm going to ask my friends to pre-trash their homes before we come over to visit. Really, it's the least they can do.

This is basically what last year's
cabin looked like.
Last year we also went to a cabin for a family vacation,a different one. (Here's the blog post from that vacation) This other cabin belonged to a friend of David's, and was definitely NOT trashed. In fact the term "cabin" was something of a misnomer, because far from being primitive, this cabin was bigger and nicer than our actual house. David was a bit paranoid that we would damage or dirty something at his friend's cabin, and wouldn't even let us sit on the chairs or sofa, lest we damage them. And then at the end of the visit, he spent several hours cleaning the place, which was quite a surprise to me. I had been under the impression that he was congenitally incapable of perceiving dirt, based on his actions at home.

We considered the option of camping out instead of staying in a cabin. Camping offers the advantages of breathing in the clean forest air, communing with nature, and lying in a sleeping bag while gritting your teeth because you can hear the sound of a mosquito flying around somewhere in the tent. There is nothing worse than lying in bed hearing that dreaded whine. When we were in New Zealand earlier this year, every night at bedtime I would turn on the overhead light, grab a magazine, and play whack-a-skeeter until I was satisfied I had gotten them all. I left their blood-spattered bodies on the walls as examples to other mosquitoes. If I could have speared their tiny heads on pointed sticks and posted them at the entrance to the room, I would have.

Whoever invented the
bed should be awarded
the Nobel Prize.
Anyway, camping sounds nice. For other people. For me, there's just something about porcelain plumbing fixtures that I am really attached to. And mattresses! I am going to have to put mattresses up close to the top in the list of the most important inventions over the last couple millennia, right up there with agriculture and diet Dr. Pepper.

Hopefully our upcoming vacation will be a nice middle point between staying at a cabin that is so clean that David requires we remove all body hair before entering, so that we don't accidentally drop a stray eyelash -- and camping, which involves voluntarily sleeping on the hard ground. (It's true that the CIA does not classify camping  as form of torture, but we all know their credibility on this issue is not the greatest.)

Despite the challenges of vacationing with two small children, I'm sure we'll have fun being together as a family, and enjoy the beautiful scenery. I think we'll have fun toasting marshmallows, singing campfire songs, and wading in the river. This is pure speculation, though, until I know that the shower head offers a setting other than "gentle rain."

1 comment:

  1. Have a great time. We too "camp" in the same fashion. I call it East Coast camping. You go in the vicinity of water and nature, but each night return to a nice room with plumbing. We too can trash a place in record time. I've asked my friends who watch TV to let me know if they ever come up with a reality show -- "How Fast can you Trash This Place". If so, sign the 4 of us up. Happy travels!