Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Camping is not for Cowards (I am a Coward)

We're home now from camping, which you would think would mean that my work and stress load has diminished significantly.  Not so much!  I feel like the proverbial dog chasing his tail, going round and round, but not accomplishing much at all.  Both this week and next week are going to be horrifically busy.  I'm kind of looking forward to the week after that, understandably!

We made it to the campground and it went pretty well, considering - considering how much I hate camping, that is!  Oh, I am just not cut out for the outdoor life!  And I have an air-conditioned camper!  But I did really well at hiding my extreme discomfort.  I know Paul absolutely loves it, so I hate to rain on his parade.  This trip was not easy at all, though.  We had an extra person with us, which didn't help.  I came down with a bladder infection our first night there - not fun!  The temperatures soared into the 90s for two of the days.  We spent one afternoon at the lake (ick) and the next at a local aquatic center (much better!).

We celebrated David's birthday out in the wilderness, complete with his "13" box that I do for each of the boys' 13th birthdays.  I read a lot - I've been making my way for the past couple of months through Karen Kingsbury's Baxter family series and got a couple of those books read while there.  I just can't get enough of those stories!  Our friends, Keith and Julie, came out to eat supper with us on Sat. night.

We had an unpleasant incident, though, on Sun evening that just cracked my heart.  It had never occurred to us before that Ben is probably too old to be hanging around playgrounds.  That's where his mentality is and that is what he likes to do.  So he spent quite a bit of time at the campsite's playground.  Well, Sun. evening a DNR guy came to our site and said that a little girl had said that Ben was trying to look up her dress at the playground.  We know that wasn't true and Ben was absolutely devastated by the accusation.  He was nearly hysterical - after talking to him I realized that he thought the police were looking for him, so we were able to calm him down once we figured that out.  We know he wouldn't do something like that.  That definitely soured the trip for me (like I wasn't soured anyway by the mere fact that we were camping!)  Why are people so mean?

We had a respite child with us while we camped.  That actually went pretty well - until the end.  I'm not allowed to talk specifics because of confidentiality rules, but let's just say, our eyes were definitely opened a little wider this week about children in the system and the system itself.  As a fellow foster mom talked  with me  yesterday, she exclaimed, "You can not take God out of anything - including foster care - and expect it to work!"  We're feeling a bit frustrated and angry at the moment.  However, we are getting this particular child back in a few weeks and Paul is suggesting to me that that may be a "God" thing - a chance for us to show Christ to this little boy.  Once I get done being mad, maybe I'll be willing to agree!

Last week Sam showed me some bumps on his hand.  I didn't think anything of them - thought maybe they were seed warts or something that he had when he was a toddler.  But by Monday morning (still camping) I realized that Sam had poison ivy all over his face!  Will had done some weed eating last week and has had poison ivy on his ankles since then.  I guess Sam got into it, too.  It was after 7 that evening before I could get him to the hospital.  Oh, and did I mention our camper had a flat tire before we left the campground?  Yep - par for the course, I'm thinking.  So, anyway, he's on prednisone and some hydra-something-or-other for the itching.  He even has it inside his mouth, poor kid.  Last summer it was Will that got it on his face and Sam got it so badly on his legs that they got all infected.  They told us then that once a person has been exposed, they will have a susceptibility to getting it in the future.  In fact, the ER nurse told me her son gets it every single summer.  Will told me he did some research yesterday, though, and what he read seems to indicate that that susceptibility lessens with age.  I hope so!

I spent all day yesterday shopping with Ben and David.  I ended up trekking to the south side Walmart THREE times!  That's always my last stop on my shopping days and we got there and did a little shopping and then it was time for the boys' chiropractic appt - in W. Des Moines.  So we jumped in the van and headed that direction.  Then we still had some time before Will and David's softball game, so we went back to Walmart.  And then after the games, Ben and I went back to finish up!  You'd think after all that, I must really love Walmart, but I don't.  I hate that place.  We didn't get home until almost 10:30.

Ok, so this blog is a downer, I'm seeing.  Camping does that to me, I think!  I need to come up with some good news to include in here.

Oh, here is one:  I wrote a story for FaithWriters two weeks ago and it got 7th place!  Here's the link:    Our topic was "fame" and I wove that into a story about the elderly, specifically those suffering from memory loss.  I need to write more and I need to write for other venues.  I need to do a lot of things.

I had a stunning thought yesterday.  I was wearing my favorite "Twilight" t-shirt.  Everybody knows how much I love my vampires.  Two summers ago I blew through all four of the books in about three weeks.  I have eagerly anticipated each and every movie (Breaking Dawn: Part 2 comes out this Nov. 18!!).  While I have always appreciated the quality and message of the entire Twilight saga, it has, unfortunately, spawned a whole genre of really unacceptable vampire books, shows, movies, etc.  All of a sudden, while driving (of course - my most intense thoughts always seem to hit behind the wheel) Deuteronomy 30:19 popped into my head where God tells the Israelites to "choose life."  Wow.  Vampires are dead (well, ok, they aren't real, but in the fantasy world, they are dead).  All this time I thought Twilight was just a fun, romantic story.  But now I'm wondering if I have been wrong all this time.  By getting excited by the underworld, am I embracing life, as God tells us to do?  Perhaps I'm being too introspective here and it really is just a harmless diversion.  But it really has me thinking, anyway.

I will say, the one nice thing about camping is that my to-do list had to stay home.  Unfortunately, coming home from a camping trip only adds to the list once home!  So, I've got a multitude of things to conquer on that list today, as well as more laundry than I have seen in a long time.  Better get moving!  I promise to be more cheerful in my next post!

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