Monday, September 14, 2009

I Drank The Kool-Aid. And Then I Went Camping.

So I went to my "Priority Management" seminar and it was good. An intense 2 1/2 days and I'm thoroughly brainwashed.
But first I went shopping, and that was fun. Kind of. Until then my work wardrobe consisted of some carefully (ha.) selected Target clearance items, hand-me-downs from my younger sister, and a pair of Daisy Fuentes black slacks from Kohls. Ya, chew on that for a while.
Didn't really enjoy the wardrobe. It was all about function and getting by. I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway. Forgive me.
So I knew I had to step it up for my trip to the Home Office to rub elbows with all the bigwigs and gurus. I was going to have to overcome my dislike for shopping, my aversion to the sweaty dressing room misery of trying & trying & trying to find something that doesn't look lame or cheap or ill-fitting, my miserly ways of immediately judging a garment as "not worth that much money, I can get the same thing at Target for much less."
And I wasn't trying some massive overhaul. I was just headed to the Banana Republic outlet store.
Long story short, it was all Pretty Woman, with me walking in to the store bewildered and helpless, and the sales person helpful and complimentary. Wait, that's not Pretty Woman, they were mean to her...But the gal did seem to have a lot of fun picking out clothes for me to try and then oohing and aahing as I tried them on for her.
I'm still stinging from the amount of money I spent, but I did look very presentable for the seminar.
And though the days were intense, arriving at 7:30am and class til 6pm, I enjoyed the challenge, learned some really helpful stuff, and got to mingle with some really great folks.
And then I went from Miss Fancy Business Pants to...

Camp Middle of Nowhere With No Shower For 2 1/2 Days. Except this year I cheated a little and took a quick sponge-off in the Winnebago shower.
We were deep in the Susquehannock State Forest area of Potter County Pennsylvania. This is my 3rd year for the trip.
The first year, Mark, who had been there several times before, suggested we go along on the annual Labor Day weekend camping trip. Up to the Wagner's Cabin. Stop me if I've told you this already...So I'm picturing a little cabin in the woods, with all the amenities, like something you'd rent from a campground. Charming, you know?
What I found when we arrived at 2 o'clock in the morning after travelling eons on a remote and precarious gravel road, was a sturdy looking shed of a building and a matching outhouse.
There I was in the middle of nothing, damn cold September mountain air, a bladder full of Sheetz coffee from an endlessly long trip, and I am confronted with the outhouse. What the hell?
I was in a panicky shock. Mark was suddenly faced with his decision to omit this very important information in his description of the camp. He said he knew I wouldn't have come if he'd told me about it. Well, Ya.
But. Yet another long story short, once I relaxed, it was a total blast. Not in an exciting amusement park kind of way, but in a free to enjoy the sweet camaraderie that comes from sharing an outhouse and preparing meals together. The joy of watching the kids and dogs run free. Catching salamanders and frogs: Building their temporary home:
There used to be a little plastic baby pool for this purpose, but it went missing.
And then turning them all loose on the last day.
Playing in the yard all day and all night. Aggie can touch her feet to her head. I learned that on this camping trip:Big kids playing with little kids:They had the most intense game of Release on Sunday night. (It's like Jail Break, I guess?) It went on until after midnight, 9 kids from age 7 up to about age 19, and they all played with the same enthusiasm. Even the dogs got in on it a little. (Sorry no pics, too dark. And I was busy sitting by the camp fire eating s'mores and doing nothing.)
Earlier that day Sam took me on a hiking adventure. Now he's been to camp more often than I have because the men all go on their Men Trip the day after Christmas, so he was more familiar with the trails. I was trusting him to go the right way.
What I didn't know was how much Sam likes to blaze his own trails. Up cliffs.(I was fairly terrified.) And across streams. (Sometimes we even used a bridge.)(We both peed in the woods somewhere around here.) And through monstrous nettle patches.This wasn't the nettle patch. It was up on the never ending mountainside Sam climbed leaving me behind on the trail yelling 'Sam, Sam, Why won't you answer me?!' and then finally climbing up after him only to find myself surrounded by stinging nettles. Then I heard him yell that the path he was looking for wasn't up at the top and that we'd have to go back. Through the nettles.
And then I said 'I want to go back to camp!' Wahh!
And then we had steaks on the grill with the wild mushrooms Mark found, oyster mushrooms and this Lion's Mane, my new favorite:
Super Fun Camping Extravaganza: Home again, home again, to my farm peeps:
Pigs acting like pigs:
And RoboKitten. What are his prime directives? Drink milk, hop around all nimbly bimbly from tree to tree, and fight crime.
You weren't expecting that ending were you?


Becky said...

Aaaahhh, that's better!

My only complaint is that we obviously need more photos of your Banana Republic transformation. I love them--you can't go wrong and everything works.

Your camping adventure sounds divine. Now did all the people in that last photo stay in that little house? What was the bunking situation? I feel a twinge that I wasn't part of that group! I make a mean s'more.

Amy said...

Well, no wonder--you've been busy! What a contrast, to go from your conference to roughing it in the woods. :) Sounds like fun!

I look forward to doing stuff like that when the kids are just a little older. I can't deal with the outhouse issues with little ones, but I know that I am a wimp.

honeypiehorse said...

Well I'm glad you finally got out into the countryside for some fresh air! Oh, wait, you LIVE in the country surrounded by fresh air. Er. . . why did you go camping again?

Michele Renee said...

I loved all the info about the work time and then the back to nature camping time. Sounds a lot like me. Wait--you are a Gemini too, right?
My hubs will get more picky than me about the no shower camping thing and will get into the cold stream with a wash cloth. Too cold for me!
P.S. I have those same Daisy Fuentes black pants. They fit me well and I wear them (or the grey or the tan) to plenty a meeting.

Michelle Johnson said...

Love the contrast between your work transformation and the camping out. I would have killed John if he left out that there wasn't a bathroom but an outhouse.

Aggie looks to be very flexible. Love the pictures of the salamanders and their temporary vacation home.

Hope all is well.

Analisa said...

You are a better woman than me. One camping trip when I was a kid and I was scarred for life. LOL

Sara said...

I'd like to see pics of your new wardrobe. :) As for the super sly your husband pulled, gotta give him props. Jon has told me of a cabin his Grandpa owns down by Cumberland lake. We've been together 13 years and I've never gone to the cabin. I hear it still has an outhouse... I'd rather pee in the woods, but the woods are infested with snakes.

Sara said...

Becky, I knew you'd totally call me on not including photos of my new clothes! Part laziness, part shyness, you know.
The bunking is possibly a whole 'nother blog post. Hmmm. I'll get back to you on that. And I have no doubt you would be a fun camping buddy/s'more toaster.

Amy, I'm with you on that. I think they should be old enough to do the outhouse potty solo. *shudder* I just thought of something: it's possible to fall in that thing! gah!

HPH, precisely! We get that a lot. But believe it or not, it's way more rustic and remote in Potter County. Breathtakingly beautiful. Plus the awesomeness of having nothing to do but sit around the fire, drink beer (or cocktails,) and eat.

Michelle Renee, yup, Gemini. Oh ya, Mark has to shower or wash at camp. When necessary he will heat water on the stove and wash out of a five gallon bucket. Funny, he doesn't seem so particular at home... :) For real, those pants do fit really well. And I tried on a hell of a lot of pants to find those. Props to Daisy, I guess!

Michelle J., Mark was definitely fearing for his life that night!

Analisa, maybe you could give it another shot. If this germaphobe can do it, you can!

Sara, well see now, you have both options: outhouse & woods. You're good to go. I kept telling one cabin mate that the snakes wanted nothing to do with her peeing, so no worries. You need to go, so you can blog about it!

OsageBluffquilter said...

Now what a way to sneak the girls in on that picture of the famous outhouse!

Anonymous said...

Such a fun post! Totally related to the wardrobe, totally related to the campin. Cept I haven't used a real outhouse in decades... I think my favorites were the description of your transformation (we all luvvv us a lil transformation!) and then the game of Release, mingling the ages. That's so very, very cool!

And I ate a s'more this weekend too. Solidarity, sistah!

Annette said...

That's a yoga pose that Aggie is doing. One that I can't come close to achieving by the way.

I remember hearing about that first trip and the little surprise Mark sprung on you regarding the outhouse. I'm amazed you ever went back! I'm also amazed HE survived and made it home.