So guys, looks like I’m on a stealing-blog-inspiration BINGE right now. I’ve milked The New York Times dry, so it’s time to move on up to more prestigious material. This inspiration steal comes from the ever witty, critically acclaimed, guaranteed to make you snicker just loudly enough in your cubicle to be embarrassing, Another Damn Life by Lyn.
In her latest post, Lyn recounts a recent camping adventure. Since John and I happened to go camping last weekend, I really felt I could relate to many of her experiences of the slightly oversold joys of camping, especially this little nugget of wisdom:
Animals are dicks.
Yes, animals ARE dicks. And on our camping trip one of them was IN OUR TENT.
Ok, so we invited her in and she happens to live with us, but details, details!
Full disclosure: While these are pictures of us camping, they are not from the camping trip in question. We failed to take any pictures worth sharing.
It was Cassie’s first camping trip and she did not quite grasp the concept of the tent. Not that I blame her – it IS weird considering we have the option of an actual roof over our heads. We thought she might enjoy getting in touch with her ancestral roots in the great outdoors but turns out she really prefers a queen sized bed with a memory foam topper. She made this painfully clear when, immediately after we zipped up the tent, she jammed herself at the exit so violently that she tore a hole through the mesh big enough for her to fit through.
Did I mention we had just spent nearly six hours driving to our destination? And that upon arrival we had realized we left behind our patented Camping Box of Essentials and that only the presence of our more prepared friends prevented this from being a complete disaster? And that as a result, a certain female member of the household was already none too pleased with a certain male member of the household, and now also wanted to kill the K9 member of the household?
Oh yes, camping… so relaxing. And so few people to hear you
kill violently hug your nearest and dearest.
And thus this happy family settled in for a night of
barely contained evil looks marital bliss, complete with a leash tied to John’s wrist to keep our spooked-out dog from running outside through the hole in the tent.
Why was she spooked you ask? Well, back to the original premise: ANIMALS ARE DICKS.
The campsite we were at was infested with marmots. In case you’re not familiar, marmots are basically fat squirrels that live in the ground. We learned that they squeak. Especially at night. At high enough frequencies to really freak out a dog.
None of us really slept much that night. We tossed and turned, grabbed at Cassie when she tried to escape the tent, and looked at each other in fearful confusion when the chorus of marmots outside reached an alarming decibel at about 3 am. (It may have been a sacrifice of some kind, it’s better we don’t know the details.) I believe it was about 4:30 am when the marmot squeaks were finally overtaken by the birds on a mad, ultraviolet cocaine binge.
When I crawled out of the already-too-hot tent the next morning at 7 am, having slept approximately 45 minutes, and walked to the outdoor tap to splash cold water on my hideously puffed-up face, I looked over at the lake next to us bathed in beautiful morning light and thought, fuck I love camping.
Cassie got the hang of camping the next night and slept peacefully. We patched the hole in the tent entry with duct tape. The marmots continued to be fat.
Last night, after a long day of doing chores* around the house and preparing for an intimidating meeting I had at work this morning, I decided to end my day with a nice hot shower. We’ve recently been watching The Walking Dead (Lost but with a zombie apocalypse instead of a plane crash) and it glamorizes the hot shower so much that I have gained a renewed appreciation of late.
I went to grab my fresh-out-of-the-dryer towel from the hook behind our bedroom door, expecting to sink my hands into soft, fresh cottony warmth. Instead I meet vaguely damp coldness. Ugh. This is not the stuff of laundry detergent commercials. Where is my kitteny-soft hug? Towels dry slowly here on the eternally damp West Coast so I’m not unaccustomed to this icky finding, but dammit, today I did laundry and I should be hugged in squeaky-dry cotton right now!
I turn on my heel to face my primary suspect, who is sprawled out on the unmade bed. “Did you use my towel??”
John looks at me, all freshly shaved** innocence. “No! Well maybe.“
“What do you mean ‘maybe’? Did you use it or not?”
“Well I used A towel.”
“Why would you use mine when yours is right here?” I say, gesturing toward the other white towel hanging on the hooks, still immaculate and virgin.
I wonder about the side effects of the muscle relaxants he took earlier.
And then a sliver of light appears under the solid door of marital incomprehension: “You DO realize we have designated towels right? That this one hanging over my robe is MY towel and the one hanging over your robe is YOUR towel?”
“I have a robe?”
For the briefest moment I sincerely doubted the foundations of our household and indeed, the very existence of possessions. Only the slightest glint in his eye told me that last part was a joke, but the sheepish look gave away the fact that he had not actually realized until this moment that the towels were supposed to have their own designated users. Unbeknownst to me, all this time I had been living in a free-lovin’, loose-moralled, anything-goes, towel orgy.***
All right then. As long as we’re on the same page.*In which chores also include Titanic 3D and a hockey game.
**His play-off beard barely had a chance to take root before it was shaved off this year. I guess there really is a silver lining to everything.
***Do your worst Google. (Image source.)
John and I move slow. Reeeeeealllly slooooooow. I don’t mean literally – we’re known to knock over amblers on the street – I mean in life. In decision making. We like to take our time, really ponder our options. Maybe sleep on it for a night or 400 (or 4000 in the case of deciding to get married). To us, every little task in life is like docking the space station: we must approach it at just the right time, at the optimal angle, and with peak efficiency or the consequences will be dire.
We might choose wrong.
Of course, most of the time the consequences are just that we might not get the best lamp ever made, or we might be forced to pick a new paint colour, or be subjected to a movie that didn’t move us to our very core. Horrible outcomes clearly, but not dire.
The irony is that we are immobilized more by the little things than the big things that actually could have dire consequences. We bought our home within days of hiring a realtor and haven’t regretted it once. We did our research ahead of time but in the end, it was largely a decision based on our gut and one we made in about 48 hours. But ask us to pick a rug for said home? Well that took months. I have a hard time making decisions, John has a hard time acting on them; turns out we perfectly complement each other in ensuring that we never get anything done.
No surprise then that the major projects in our home remain undone nearly three years after we moved in. That’s three years into the five that we initially planned to live here (though that timeline has likely been extended – turns out five years is not that long and we’ll need at least a couple of years just to decide to move).
In that time we’ve managed to tackle the small things. Things for which the decision making was relatively simple and the first step was clear. Pick a paint colour and then slap it on the wall. Remove the old door handles and screw in shiny new ones. Rip out old crap from the closet and install new shelves.* Not that it still didn’t take us forever to do all those things but we managed to overcome the hurdles because the decisions were at least limited. And we knew which decisions were there to make.
It’s not nearly that simple when you want to gut and replace an entire bathroom and most of your kitchen. These tasks actually start to resemble that space shuttle docking a little more. We have done research, we have talked to family members with renovation experience, we have gotten ourselves a clue, but we are not builders. We have never done this before. Half the time we don’t even know the right question to ask, never mind the terminology to make the question understandable to someone who doesn’t speak in whatchamacallits and thatmetalthingamagigs?
And digging right to the heart of our reason for stalling: What if we start but don’t do things in the most, bestest way ever? Or god forbid, what if we make a mistake? We don’t do mistakes. We ponder our way out of ever having to make one.
Which is why our bathroom has been sitting half ripped apart for the last two months.
But hey, you know what that means? We ripped it apart!! And that, my friends, is progress in our