I am in a tizzy. The kind of tizzy where I have to make lists and each list has a sub-list. And nowhere on any of those lists does the word “camping” appear. If you’ve followed my crazypants ride for long, you know I’m not a big fan of camping. I’ve written about it before. However, I’ve been thinking about camping, my lack of love for it, and my to-do list. It seems there are correlations.
My first camping trip was very early in my marriage – probably near my one or two year mark. And it wasn’t bad. In fact, I have primarily good memories from those trips where Mister Soandso and I would see how light we could pack for a weekend of camping. We even had a few “pack it in” camping trips and I enjoyed them. But camping today is shudder worthy for the most part. The difference? Aside from the 18 or 19 years that have taken their toll on my back and joints? Three children and a job that gets crazy pants busy during the traditional camping season.
A few weeks ago my husband’s extended family schemed out a way for all the kids and grandkids to go camping with my in-laws. The more animated they got the more anxious I felt. Then I remembered my dog. I suggested I stay home with Charlie and I’d get some writing and other things done around the house. And then I lifted up my arms and shouted, “And I won’t have to go camping!!!” They laughed, but looked at me with expressions of pity and disbelief. After all, who doesn’t like to go camping.
Well, me. I love the theory of camping. The great outdoors, the smell of trees, the change of venue that gets parents and kids out and together. But camping is way more than that. Camping is work. For me, camping becomes a process of preparing to cook, cooking, cleaning up from cooking. Rinse and repeat. There are special groceries to be purchased, prepped, and packed. All the gear must be collected and then stowed into the vehicle. Don’t forget the raincoats and mosquito repellant and pudgie-pie baker and the first-aid kit and so on.
By the time we get there, I’m pooped and I haven’t even started all the work of camping yet.
And, of course, the whole time I’m there, I’m obsessively watching that my three kids don’t fall into the fire, and listening for bears coming to kill me and my family. For me, the “go camping to relax” never happens. Never.
It is how I was hardwired and all my life experiences simply solidified the wiring. Camping stresses me out big time.
And right about now, I need less stress in my life rather than more.
My family left late this morning (actually closer to lunch than breakfast) and I have approximately 46 hours until I go to work on Sunday. In those hours, I must do all the things. Sure, the world won’t fall from its axis if I don’t, but my stress level will definitely improve which will improve my sleeping which will improve the shade of bags under my eyes. And all of which will make me a much more pleasant person for my 3 kids and husband to be around.
Summers are really busy for me. I work in youth ministry and the church year is one of major peaks with small valleys between. So my to-do list looks like this:
1. Prep, pack, and attend National Youth Event, July 10-14. (DONE!)
2. Pack Oldest for his week of camp, July 22-28.
3. Prepare morning lessons for the outdoor ministries camp I co-direct. Pack and attend said camp, July 28-August 4.
4. Prepare and pack for our extended family’s trip to Hawaii to celebrate my in-law’s 50th wedding anniversary, August 5-12.
5. Prepare for the VBS camp I lead, August 15-17.
6. Prepare for the church retreat I am helping to organize and run, August 17-18.
7. Prepare for Kick-Off events in September.
8. Get my novel into the hands of my critique partners.
Yes, I need to get a handle on each and every one of those items. Some I need to get done this weekend. Abso-freaking-lutely must get done. And most have parts completed and it is merely a matter of finalizing documents. And before you ask, yes, I’ve delegated as many items that make sense.
I doubt I’ll sleep much this weekend. But I hope to get as much done in my little world as I can so that when my family returns all rejuvenated from their camping trip, I will be a bit less stressed out.
Do me a favor? Have a S’Mores for me, and several drinks too. Take the long way to your next destination in order that you can see some sight that will make you smile and enjoy your day. Eat dessert first. And wish me luck. I’m going to need it. And if you can’t do any of that, could you please send me a Wonder Woman costume? I think I could really throw that fancy lasso of hers. Plus, it might make tackling my to-do list more fun. Unless I had to run in those ridiculous boots of course. See you on Monday!!!