Sunday, April 23, 2006

camping capers

In case anyone's noticed, I've been away. I've been camping for the past 3 days, with Fatty and our kids, as well as another couple and their little boy. It was a great campground - near a lake, with wildlife all around. The photo shows just how many kangaroos were sharing the area with us (click to enlarge).

I haven't been camping since Fatty and I were childless. We may have even been still dating. If I recall rightly, we thought it was nothing but fun, and were all cutesy together. Oh bleah!

I've come to the conclusion that when camping as a married couple, there MUST be marital discord. On arrival at the camping ground, it is essential that griping and bickering begin. If you want to get straight into the swing of things, may I suggest arguing about the tent positioning. There are so many variables to consider, you can argue on this one for hours. Unfortunately, Fatty and I couldn't find a good solid point of dispute with this topic, so we had to move straight on to.....

Erecting the's the pinnacle of camping conflict. Each couple must nag, whine and mutter at each other. If you can, try to leave the tent instructions at home (this was our stroke of pure genius). That way, you can each explain to each other in slow, 'don't-you-realise-how-moronic-you-are' statements, how the job actually should be done. Priceless!

The couple we were with didn't fight at all over tent siting, or tent erecting. The husband, Lonky, did all the tent putting-up, while KP calmly made lunch. Hmmmm, I thought to myself, perhaps that's the way to do it. Just keep away, let one person do it all.

That night, Fatty and I were first to say goodnight, and snuggle down into our beds. All sniping at each other forgotten, we cuddled up and whispered our conversation to each other, so we wouldn't wake the children. Soon afterwards, KP and Lonky switched their gas light off, and all was quiet momentarily. Then there was the flash of a torch being shone about, and the strident tones of an upset woman.

"Look! Look at the roof over there! It's sagging!"

(indecipherable muttering from Lonky, who had during the evening consumed a whole bottle of white wine unaided)

"It is sagging. The whole bloody back of the tent is sagging too. It's going to fall down on us in the middle of the night!"

(murmur, murmur, it's fine, go to sleep, murmur)

"You haven't put the clips on over HERE! Look! No wonder the whole roof is caving in!"

Rustling and tent-unzipping noises ensued, and then the conversation was clearer, just a few feet from where Fatty and I lay, uncomfortable witnesses to the unfolding drama.

"I can't believe I let you put the tent up. You've stuffed it up completely! God! Why can't you put up a tent with clear instructions? This is just ridiculous!".

"Look, it's a little lax but really, it'll be fine. Let's just go to bed. Next time you can put up the tent and it'll all be perfect."

" WHAT? You want ME to put up the tent next time? So that's what this was figured if you stuffed it up, I'd let you off the hook and do it all myself after today. Unbelievable!!!"

Fatty and I shifted a little on our skinny little mattresses. What could we do? There was no way not to eavesdrop on this heated discussion. We were hapless, helpless witnesses to this marital meltdown. Then, like a rainstorm onto a bushfire, a miraculous dousing of the flames occurred...

"Did they just giggle?", KP suddenly asked Lonky. She still sounded angry. I quailed under the sheet.

"I don't know. I'd be laughing if I were them!". Lonky began to chuckle, and KP allowed herself a brief giggle.

"Were you two LAUGHING?", came a stern voice, suddenly mere inches away from our heads.

"No!", I squeaked. "Honestly, we weren't!". (We wouldn't have dared!)

"Good." Silence.

"Really, we didn't!" I repeated nervously.

The flashlight waved and wandered away. I could hear KP and Lonky murmuring and giggling off and on for several minutes.

Silence descended on the campsite again. Fatty and I smiled at each other in the darkness. It's comforting to know that all couples bicker. And if you can laugh together after you bicker, it's a marriage made in heaven!


mackeydoodle said...

I had a good giggle when I read this one because I can relate so well.That camping set up just brings out the best in everyone doesn't it!?:)
A marriage that has laughter is a marriage that will servive the tests of time.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

That was funny, but do you think that they may have staged that little argument just for their own amusement to see what you & Fatty might do?
My first hubby used to play pranks on unsuspecting people like that just to see how they would react, and then he would laugh.

I used to camp quite a bit and the tent falling in or being knocked down by a rainstorm was always very humorous...just another outdoor adventure.
One time we had an army pup tent with no floor attached and flooding water from a heavy rain came flooding into our tents and soaked us all.
Camping has to have some funny mishaps to be fun. Like bringing canned goods and no can opener, or no matches or a lighter of any kind to light the campfire with.

Your picture of all those kangaroos is fascinating...all we ever camped near were hundred of geese and it was hard finding a spot that wasn't covered by geese poop. How about the kangaroons...with so many at the campsite, was it hard finding a clear area to set up your tents?

I bet Laura & Ben loved the camping experience...sleeping outdoors with the roos.

judypatooote said...

I loved that story.....Very Funny.....and the picture of all the kangaroos is amazing....thanks for sharing...

Mimi said...

Kangaroos, I know you're supposed to have them over there but I can only imagine seeing them in the zoo. What a cool photo, can't wait to show it to my kids.


doubleknot said...

Camping with kangroos - now that would be an adventure to me. Do they ever come up to your camp site?
Every marriage must have a little bickering to release tensions. I am glad that your friends were able to laugh at themselves. Did you and hubby laugh? One of the joys I discovered after my divorce was not taking myself so seriously and being able to laugh at myself.

Val said...

This story is priceless. There definitely IS something about putting up tents that brings out the worst in people.

I don't know about others, but kangaroo poo is just not an issue. It's kind of tidy, and doesn't smell bad at all. Is that just me? Geese poo though: ugh. We used to have muscovey ducks, which are very like geese, and that is foul stuff (no pun intended!).

susan said...

Ah the camping life, communing with nature, enjoying the peace and quiet - not! Sounds like you had a great trip, let us know how the kids liked it.

TUFFENUF said...

Funny story, Jelly! Being the avid camper that I am, I really got a major chuckle out of this. It takes years and a lot of camping to get in down to a fine science like I have - but them my rule is to just bring everything with me! Trailer camping is SO much easier than tent camping. At least it didn't rain on you! Camping is wonderful for children, they will remember it fondly for years to come.

DayByDay4-2Day said...

Maybe this is the reason the hubby and I haven't gone camping.

Do kangaroos make a noise??

jellyhead said...

Sandy, no they weren't joking! I have known my friend KP since we were 12, and she was most definitely not joking!! And the kangaroo poos are sort of small and dry, and there weren't very many near were we actually camped.

Doubleknot, the kangaroos do hop around the campsite but keep their distance in the daytime. At night, though, we heard them eating grass right near our tent - a weird night noise!

Susan, the kids thought the entire experience was fantastic....from the swimming, to the walks in the 'secret forest' with their dad, to the sausages in bread with tomato sauce ('ketchup'). But THEY didn't have to put up the tent, now, did they?! (Seriously, Fatty and I had heaps of fun, too!)

day-by-day, I'm not sure about the kangaroo noises. I have never heard them make a noise, but a large male one at the camping grounds 'growled' at my daughter when she walked too close to him (that's how Laura described the noise, anyway).

Kerri said...

Great story-telling as usual, Jelly. I love your sense of humour :) We camped across the country for 18 days all the way to CA in 1979, with just 2 kids then (we had the 3rd child in Australia). And yes, we bickered. But, we had a wonderful time in spite of that :)
Loved your kangaroo picture. What a lot!!!