Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Lawmommy behaves badly...

So. I. Uh. Behaved. BADLY. Really, quite embarrassingly badly. Snotty and bratty and spoiled and, well, really, just BADLY.

This last weekend was supposed to be our annual family camping trip, in which all of us siblings and our parents and one set of cousins who we have adopted as being our “own” go “camping” together.

Now, two of my five siblings were not able to go this year, because my brother N~’s wife recently was transferred to Nashville, and so they moved to Nashville last month. As such, it wasn’t feasible for them to drive to Nowheresville, Northeastern Indiana for two days at this juncture. And my other brother, A~, had to work. So, we were missing some of our group.

For the last few years, we have been doing this “camping” at a Jellystone “Campground”. And if it weren’t for the fact that the campground spaces we have reserved for the last several years have been right on the lake, it would SUCK. Because this particular Jellystone “Campground” is really more like a parking lot of mobile campers stacked practically on top of each other, and much less like camping – i.e. in NATURE, AWAY FROM PEOPLE. (See, it’s possible I have a bad attitude about this. Is it coming off that way??)

Can I preface this by saying that camping isn’t really my thing? I mean, as children, we camped, in a very serious way. From the time I was seven until the summer after my freshman year in college, we had a MAJOR LEAGUE family vacation, in which we drove all over the country, camping, for two weeks at a time. I have camped from just east of Philadelphia to just west of Los Angeles, and as far north as north of Toronto and as far south as some miserable border town in Texas. I have CAMPED with my family, is what I am saying. And I did enjoy it, as a child and as a teenager. (To the extent that a teenager actually enjoys much of anything). But, truthfully, I didn’t know, really, what other vacation options existed. And, as an adult, I really prefer the kind of vacation where one lies on the beach with a stack of books and contemplates going snorkeling, while handsome men in brightly colored shirts come around and ask if one wants some more rum. Or, the kind of vacation where one stays in a nice hotel in a big city and goes to lots of good restaurants and goes shopping and visits quirky museums like this one http://www.tenement.org/. Or the kind of vacation that involves really really fast roller coasters and enormous water slides. Or the kind of vacation that involves rugged guys named Jake who offer to teach one how to ride a horse, while one stays at a comfortably appointed, yet charming, "rustic" cottage. This is just who I am. But, as far as hanging out in a campground, particularly a campground that is CROWDED…it’s not my best thing. It doesn’t really make me happy. (Does this make me a misanthrope?)

What DOES make me happy is having the opportunity to just hang out and enjoy my obscenely large family, which is kind of hard to do, because there are six of us siblings (plus six spouses) and 14 nieces and nephews and two parents, and all together that is 28 people, which is a lot to fit into one place, like someone’s house. So, we’ve been going and hanging out at this campground for the past few years, for one weekend per summer, and mostly, floating in the lake drinking beer is the main form of entertainment for the adults. (Save my mother. Who is a clergy person. And therefore generally refrains from drinking beer because she thinks it is unseemly. Or maybe because she just doesn’t like the taste.) And at night we sit around the fire and make s’mores and maybe switch from drinking beer to drinking wine. And the kids play and swim and fish or whatever.

Back to my behaving badly…I had a late real estate closing on Friday afternoon, so, Husband and Gabe and Lana and I didn’t leave for Indiana until Saturday morning. And when we arrived at the Jellystone “Campground” of many many RVs stacked on top of eachother, the lady at the gate charged me $32 just to come in.

This is after we had paid $440 for the four campsites for 2 nights.

Am I the only one who thinks this is an obscene price for a campground that is not really a campground??????????????????

And the woman was kind of a sanctimonious shrew about the whole thing. Essentially, from my point of view, she acted like I was trying to sneak into the Ritz Carlton or the Bellagio or something. Not, that I was simply appalled that after having paid $70 (our families share of the $440), they wanted me to pay an ADDITIONAL $32.00 because “there are too many people at your sites and you are TRYING TO BREAK OUR RULES.” As if I had some kind of devious plot in mind to sneak into the damn Camp F**KING Jellystone.

So…I threw something of a fit. And I begrudgingly handed the shrew my credit card for the additional $32.00, and when I arrived at our campground I threw a class A hissy fit about coming out to “Hell” to “pretend to camp” and wasn’t there something more fun the 28 of us could do for $472??? Etc. Etc. I was kind of a huge bitch about it. And then I sat in a camp chair, listening to Harry Potter 6 on my new Zune, staring at the lake with a brooding, angry look on my face for the next two hours.

At which point two of my sisters and one of my brothers physically dragged me off behind the campground’s restrooms, where they thrust a cigarette into one of my hands, a beer into the other hand, and informed me that I had 10 minutes to drink one, smoke the other, and bitch uninterrupted. After which I was to “stop being a bitch” and “just enjoy being together.” (This was kind of a throwback to our teenage camping trips, when we would sneak off to smoke the cigarettes that one of my sisters had bummed from her boyfriend, who was old enough to buy them. None of us ever really smoked much, except that it was something for jaded teenagers on vacation with their parents to do.)

Anyway, I tried to have a better attitude about the whole experience after that, I did lighten up a little, and tried to have a good time. And it WAS cute when 9 of the children (Lana and Gabe included) all piled into our four-man-tent and fell asleep for the night, curled up around each other like a pile of puppies. (And thus allowing Husband and I to sleep in one end of my sister’s pop up camper, which was better, from my point of view, than sleeping in the tent. On the ground.) But, I couldn’t help feeling like I had kind of ruined the weekend with my incredibly poor attitude. And I'm still ticked about the $32.00.




Blogger jenn said...

I despise campgrounds like that. You are 100% justified in having a tizzy. Never did understand the big RV's with their internet and TV satellites...is CAMPING, people!!!
Perhaps it is time to find a new campgrounds, right? or even better yet invest in a time share or something of the sort to share? Perhaps a state park or something where they give you room to breath the fresh air and you can hear each other over all the generators. Anything is better htan being in a tent or pop-up next to a sea of RV's.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007 4:33:00 PM  
Blogger Sue & Charlie said...

I hate McCampgrounds! And you are totally justified in your behavior!
I hate RVs never understood the whole lets go to nature so we can still sit our large asses in front of the TV, and not absorb nature's lovelyness, ugh I sound like a freak! But, geesh it's true! I agree with Jenn, time to find a new campground without the cheesy-ness!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007 5:11:00 PM  
Blogger S. said...

I am just jealous of the cigarette. And my kind of vacation also involves books and beaches and being served alcohol.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007 10:55:00 PM  
Blogger Mia's Mommy said...

I believe my fit would have started at the actual notion of having to "camp" with siblings, and pay for it too! I'm quite the fit pitcher myself, and it usually takes more than a beer and a cigarette! Your completely justified sister!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007 11:02:00 PM  
Blogger ShellyW said...

I'm laughing WITH you, not AT you! We used to camp and have found that a lot of campgrounds have "hateful and unhappy" people working their gates. It also seems that a lot of the RV'ers we've camped next to have not been too "tolerant" of children or of laughing in general. Go figure!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 7:50:00 PM  
Anonymous rachel said...

I hate "parking lot" campgrounds too. And yes that is an incredibly outrageous price!! And then they charged you even more? I would have been bitching to high heaven right along with you. I haven't *smoked* (I don't think I ever really smoked, I just made attempts) since high school but a beer and a cigarette behind the restroom sounds really good to me.

That's sweet about all the kids sleeping in one tent. At least you were able to leave with some good memories. :)

Friday, July 20, 2007 3:44:00 PM  

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