Each summer, I try to find an activity that will appeal to the three of us. It's not always easy with a 24 and 16 year old. One summer we went to a ton of local parades, one year it was several county fairs and almost all of those summers included a large, temporary pool in the yard. Thanks to the red squirrels wrecking this years pool, I've given up on pools. I have spent considerable time this spring trying to come up with something new. I've decided on camping. The first thing we needed was a tent.
Becky and I jumped into the car and away we went to Walmart, full of high hopes and lots of excitement!
I was busily trying to read the brief set up instructions on the outside of the bags so that I could determine if I was capable of assembling the tents when Becky gleefully starting chanting " Mom! Mom! Mom! Here's the perfect tent!"
The tent she brought over was an:
Ozark Trail 3 Room XL Vacation Lodge Camping Tent: Sleeps 10
Now , please notice that tent is the last word in this very long description. After a long session of begging, pleading and arm twisting, I relented and purchased the tent.
Becky chattered all the way home about how much fun we would have camping. I was lost in my silent thoughts. It wasn't long before the perspiration began to bead on my forehead and I was asking myself "How am I going to put this huge tent together?" "How could I let myself get talked in this?" Arriving home, Becky promptly jumped out of the car and took the tent out of the back and put it away in the garage (all this without being asked). So there the tent sat for days while I tried to picture myself erecting this tent and having a wonderful, first camping experience for Becky. Trouble was, I just could not picture it! Now I had to convince Becky that it wasn't quite the right tent for us. I used as much reverse psychology as I could muster and low and behold, she agreed with me!
The next day, I packed the tent back into the car and set off for Walmart, alone. I reached customer service in no time, smiling with tent and receipt in hand. The clerk promptly asked me:
"Is there anything wrong with it?"
I quickly replied "No, nothing, it's just too big."
Once I received my money back, off to the camping section I went. This should be easy since I'm alone and will not have to succumb to the pleadings of a 16 year old! Glancing around, I immediately noticed this Walmart had a much smaller selection of tents. Since there weren't many to consider, I opted for the
Ozark Backpacking Tent: Sleeps 4
I happily returned to the car and headed for home. I was actually smiling as I pictured myself setting this tent up. After all, it said one person set up on the bag! I'm relatively smart...well...I can read and follow directions so I should be set. However, while unloading the tent I happened to notice that it only has room for one queen sized air mattress. Ut oh! I am pretty sure I could manage sharing a bed with Becky for a couple of nights, even being flung from the bed to the floor each time Becky rolled over, but it would not work if TJ were with us. How could I keep this tent when the whole reasoning behind it was so the 3 of us could have some summer adventures together? Another few days passed before I concluded that this tent would not work. So, back to Walmart again! And again, I went alone. And of course, the first question from the clerk at the returns counter was:
"Is there anything wrong with it?"
To which I replied,
"Oh no, it's just too small!"
Back to the camping department I trudged. Oh happy day! This Walmart had a wider selection of tents! They had tents that sleep 10, 8, 6, 4 and 2! I very carefully read the set up directions. Hmm...not bad. Then I checked how many queen size mattresses would fit in it. Great! It fits 2. It seemed that all of my requirements were met with the:
Ozark Dome Tent: Sleeps 6
I quickly paid for the tent, loaded it in the car and home I went! Now I just had to hope it satisfied Becky. It did! She liked it! She really liked it! Whew!
Today, we set it up in the yard. I had to make sure
we I could do it. I'm happy to report, we managed it and we're both still in one piece!
The first camping trip for Becky and me is this weekend with friends. It will be the true test to see if this tent is....
Stay tuned and I'll let you know next week!