It was a Dark and Stormy Night…

with too much Flax.


A few springs ago, a friend of mine (the one moving to a far-away state that I recently wrote about) took me and my family camping. My husband is an Eagle Scout, so he knows his way around a campground. Our kids had never gone camping, so it seemed like a great new adventure. And I had gone camping exactly once in my life, with the Girl Scouts when I was in the 3rd grade. To this day, if you ask my mother about that weekend (she chaperoned), she will quicker-than-a-flash answer: “I’ve never been so cold in my life”.

For this weekend of camping, I was super-excited. Trying something new. Beautiful campground along the river. I had only one hesitation and concern….Please don’t let me have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Yes, I was totally gung-ho for camping, but walking in the woods (ok, to a decent public bathroom. I wasn’t going hard-core my first time out) IN THE DARK did not sound like my cup of tea. In fact, it scared the sweet bejesus out of me, as I’ve seen one-too-many Friday the 13th movies. Woods, dark, inexperienced female camper. It all adds up to cinematic disaster.

So, it’s the first day of the camping weekend. Being the healthy eater I am, I pack good snacks for the drive up to the campground. Granola bars, some chips I bought at Whole Foods that had flax seeds in them (never again), fruit. Good mom, healthy snacks! My husband rolled his eyes the whole time. We get to camp where our friends are and set up. Great spot! Up go the tents! Let’s get that fire going! Snacking along the way…more of those flax chips…nuts…whatever. The usual camp stuff. The kids rode bikes around the campgrounds, we made a great dinner complete with, of course, s’mores. Note here: S’mores are taken to a whole new level when made with mint-chocolate squares. Trust me.

So…kids go to bed…adults sit around fire. Look up at the stars through the trees. It’s bliss. But, huh…are those clouds starting to obscure the stars? Was it supposed to rain? Huh. Laughs and talk continues. I singlehandedly torture the husbands with my deck of TableTalk questions. I’ll fess up to it right now. I have a total weakness for question games. Any of those “friend surveys” that come your way via Facebook…you know, the ones that ask “chocolate or vanilla?” or “how many states have you visited?” or “best childhood memory?”…those. I’m a total sucker for any of them and will always answer. It’s my absolute achilles heel. There, I said it.

Soon….little drops start to fall. Hey, it wasn’t supposed to rain! Hey, it CAN’T rain…we’re camping! Run, quick, cover the food stuff! Roll up the car windows! There’s humor in this, as it’s our first real camping trip as a family, so we take the “this will be cozy” attitude. All the gear gets sealed up, we all snuggle into our tents and as soon as I zip us in and lay down…..gurrrrggggle. My stomach. Oh God. Are you kidding me? This cannot be happening.

Nudge husband, who after a long day, is just about in REM sleep somehow. It’s THUNDERING and LIGHTENING now. Oh God. Bathroom. Must get there fast. WAKE UP, husband! Grumbles from him AND the stomach simultaneously.

We sling sweatshirts over our heads and run through the pouring ran to the bathroom that is dimly lit and looking entirely like something out of one of those Friday the 13th movies. This afternoon, it was fine but now I am CONVINCED that there absolutely is a mass-murderer in Stall #3. I just know it.

Husband stands out in rain, silently cursing under his breath. Rain. Wife. FLAX CHIPS from HELL! I hate Whole Foods right now. Couldn’t just have gone with the bright orange Cheetos just once, could you?

This quickly turned into one of the longest nights of my life. All because of Flax Chips. The upside to all of this was that by the 15th trip to those murderer-infested bathrooms, I was a woman of steel. Bring on the dark. The pouring rain. The lightening. Jason with the ski-mask. GET OUT OF MY WAY. Who knew you could metaphorically take down Jason with a Flax Chip? No fear here. I was Woman. On (many a) mission.

I actually remember thinking during one of the sprints to the bathroom, in the pouring rain…”Yes, my intestinal tract is doing sumersaults right now and I’m in agony, but I’m running through the woods in the dark in a thunderstorm BY MYSELF and I’m not scared!! GO ME!!”

Talk about seeing the silver lining in something.

The moral of the story. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Camping season is here. Just be judicious with your take-along snacks.

2 thoughts on “It was a Dark and Stormy Night…

  1. Lol! The summer Alec was 4 & 1/2, I was newly expecting Cole… and had to pee ALL THE TIME during those early months. That included our weekend camping trip. At 3:30a.m. Bathroom was about 1/4 mile away. My choices… wake up husband to come with me, wake up husband AND child to come with me… or go it alone. I did not want to leave child alone in the tent, nor did I want to wake him up in the dead middle of the night. I went it alone. I walked as fast as I could down the very middle of the lane, my flashlight trained dirently in front of me, did not look one inch out of it’s beam of light, and prayed like hell that not ONE of those Stephen King novels that I love so much could ever be true!!

    And rain? We camped in Tropical Storm Andrew a few years back. That was fun. Yeah.

    Regardless, I do love camping!

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