Thursday, June 21, 2012

Flat, Small and Neatly Folded

Roland is a great father.  Perhaps he was not always there for his boys – I know that his “work” excuses got old after a while.  And there were disappointments.  But I know he spent quality time with them – I even have pictures to prove it.  And I know that there have been many other countless activities that I don’t have pictures for.  Like Klondike camping.  And Roland hates the cold.  But all the boys were with him.

Recently he told Jenna that they would go “camping” though Jenna’s never really been camping before.  Both times it was putting up a tent in the back yard and roasting marshmallows before going inside.

Initially they were going to set the tent up on Saturday.  Roland would start off his father’s day waking up in the tent - but when he came home from work (which is unusual for where he works) with information about a community fair that featured bouncy houses and free pony rides. 

We could do only one or the other, but not both.  It would be Jenna’s choice.  If she chose the fair, we could always do the camping thing at a later time.  But if she chose the camping . . . well, who knows how soon we would have another opportunity for free bouncy houses?  He wasn’t trying to persuade her – he really was letting her choose.

She chose the fair.  Roland said that maybe they could go camping on a Tuesday night (as he doesn’t have to be to work until later time on Wednesdays) and so this past Tuesday she had been looking forward to their camp all day – constantly asking, “is dad home yet?”

I had the car and had taken Jenna to my mom’s house.  I left a message to ask Bill if he would mind bringing Roland to meet me at my mom’s house. They just happen to work at the same place – but don’t frequently car pool because of the distance our houses are from one another.

As mom and I pathetically tossed the Frisbee around with Jenna, Bill and Roland pulled up in the driveway and Jenna tossed the Frisbee around with them while mom and I rested.

We didn’t return home until just before 6:00.  Roland said he had a class and asked Jenna if they could postpone the camping until Friday.  I told her that we could still make some smores.  And we roasted marshmallows over the stove.

While Roland listened to the lecture online, Jenna played outside with a friend.  After his parents took him away, Jenna came inside and cried herself to sleep.  She didn’t believe that Roland would take her camping on Friday either.  I told him about it the next morning.

He wasn’t aware that she had been looking forward to it all day and that she had cried herself to sleep.  I did not intend for him to feel bad, but he took Jenna aside and told her that they could set up the tent the minute we got home from his work last night.  And we did.  And all before the sun set.

We finished roasting marshmallows and making smores before the sun appeared to leave the sky.  And the sleeping bags were laid out with LOTs of extra blankets.  I slept in the house but relieved Roland at 3:00 this morning knowing he had work at 7:00 or 8:00.  Needless to say that I am sore and tired.  And I hope that three hours in a real bed was enough time for Roland.

At six I coaxed Jenna back into the house.  She went to the TV to watch Phineas and Ferb – and I want back to bed.  I think I slept for another hour and decided to see if I could take down the tent and roll up the bedding.  What a chore.

Taking the tent down was not a problem.  Got the stakes in their bag, and the poles in their bag – now the challenging part – folding the tent into a tiny pillow to put in its bag.  I am really horrible about returning anything to its original container – everything seems to expand once I remove it from the box – or else the box shrinks.

I sat on the tent and tarp and each sleeping bag and tried ever so carefully to squish out the air and fold it ever so carefully.  I would think that I weigh enough that I could squish it to incredible flatness with just one sit – but alas – no matter how flat and careful I think I’m being, the flatness is never small enough.

I remember attempting to fold a child’s sleeping bag that had been given to me by a neighbor.  One of my uncles happened to be visiting and watched with amusement.  I looked up at him and asked if he and his wife were experienced campers, and could he assist me in folding up the sleeping bag.  I don’t recall his exact words, but it was something along the line that he thought it would be easier just to do it himself.  And he did.  But Jenna had it undone within a matter of minutes.  My uncle had already gone when I came across the opportunity of rolling it back up.

          It can be done.  I’ve seen people do it.  Not my talent however.  And the heat of the blazing sun did not help matters.  It was only 8:30 in the morning and I felt like it was high noon.  I stopped.  I think the folding part is a two man job.

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