Tent is a four letter word

It was a gorgeous sunny day yesterday. Warm. Hot, even. My kids and I were taking full advantage and playing soccer in the backyard. You never know how many true summer days we’ll get here in Alaska, so it’s best to take them by the horns.

While outside, running around and playing, I had a “Brilliant Mom Idea.” Such ideas are defined as something that sounds good at first until you quickly realize how very wrong you were. Examples include: letting the baby swim without a diaper in a public pool, telling your five-year old that he can go potty in the bushes “just this once”, or asking your nine-year old daughter to help you text someone while you are driving. They all come back to haunt you. The baby craps in the pool, the five-year old thinks of the great outdoors as his primary toilet and the nine-year old now wants a cell phone for Christmas. My “Brilliant Mom Idea” was to offer excitedly to put up the tent for a backyard sleepover. And oh how it soon backfired.

It occurred to me as I took the tent out of the bag that I’d never erected it by myself before. My husband always did it for me while I wrangled the children. As I pulled the stakes and poles and tents from the bag, I foolishly felt confident. I thought it would be easy. Boy, was I wrong. I pulled out the completely useless directions. Step One- lay out the tent. It showed a picture of the tent laid out on the ground. Step Two- set up the tent. It showed a picture of the tent erected. Step Three- put the rain cover on the tent. It showed a picture of the tent with the rain cover on. Really?! Wow. So, I’m supposed to magically know how to complete these steps? I mean, no shit I’m supposed to erect the tent. That’s the point, right? I called my husband. He told me to put the poles through the holes. I did. Nothing happened. It was tent shaped fabric with poles sticking out, laying on the ground. He offered to send me a drawing. It looked suspiciously like Step Two of the tent instructions. About 40 F bombs later, I sent the kids to ask our neighbor for help. It made me feel somewhat better when he struggled to get the tent to stand up too. While working on the poles, I realized we were late for something. We thanked our neighbor and left the tent half-complete in the backyard.

After our in-town outings, I invited my friend, her husband and kids to Kids Eat Free night at Chilis. I felt compelled to warn her of my banshee like behavior of my youngest. The last time I took him to Chilis, he screamed. So much so, we had to take him to the car. My friend was okay with this, as she has two boys of her own, but I came up with a better plan: leave the baby with Grandma. As we pulled out of the driveway, off walked my mom with the baby in the stroller, for a nice stroll through the neighborhood.

Chilis was great. My friend drove, which was even better. And, after my tent tribulations, I decided a margarita was in order. It was so nice to be able to eat a meal without having to bounce a baby in my lap, discreetly nurse him or take him to the car while his screams deafened the entire restaurant. We took our time and finally decided we better get on home. When we got out of the car, there stood my mother, baby in hand. The first words out of her mouth were “Do you have the keys?” Yep. She’d been locked out the entire time we were gone. Luckily, the RV was unlocked and she was able to get in and feed the baby a dinner consisting of chips and graham crackers she found inside. I felt horrible!!! This is what I get for leaving the banshee at home.

After my friends left, I looked outside and realized my neighbor must have returned, because the tent was up. After much ado (my two older kids played rock, paper, scissors to decide whether or not we should sleep in the tent) we took the sleeping bags outside and crawled in to the tent. By this point, it was 10pm. We laid down. The midnight sun streamed into the tent. I began cursing in my head my stupid “Brilliant Mom Idea.” The baby thought the tent was great fun and would not lay down. The kids started talking. The baby started fussing. I gave up. We went inside.

When I got up this morning, there it was. The big red tent sits in our backyard, mocking me. Oh well. Maybe we’ll play cards in it today. Or something. It better get some use. Because, frankly, I don’t know how to take it down.  




5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 15:09:07

    I’m laughing WITH you, not AT you! I can’t count the number of “that sounds like a great idea!” times I’ve had. In recent years I’ve just learned to keep my mouth shut and not be at all fun anymore. I am however an expert at tent putting up and taking down. All that tent camping you know. To become an expert you have to have put up or taken down a tent in gale force winds and rain.


  2. Kay
    Jul 13, 2011 @ 13:26:18

    You are so funny! I wish you luck in taking your tent down – in fine weather too. Playing in the tent is still fun!
    Author of Tent Reviews


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