This year, camping at The Spot was mostly (and I mean this in a relaxing way, not a boring way) uneventful. (Update: I left before they fired flowers out of a cannon. No fairs!) I mean, there isn’t much activity you can pack in when you’re only there for one night and miss the day trip (hiking through gorgeous pink granite shut-ins – so sad I missed this), but it was a good time.
Three things that stood out:
1. Death by Cat Hair
When Justin and I went to bed, we zipped up the tent and my throat promptly began to close. I have never wheezed like that in my life. I coughed so hard that people heard me down by the fire, and Justin checked to make sure I wasn’t coughing up blood. He made me go sit in the car, got an inhaler from Niki, and finally we realized that the sheet was at fault.
A few weeks ago when Chauncey was sick, Justin kept him locked in the bedroom. He spent most of the time hiding behind the air mattress propped against the wall. So the sheet was probably coated in cat hair. While I can handle cats in a loft with 15-ft ceilings, a tiny tent is another story, especially when the sheet was zipped in there with no ventilation for 6 hours.
I still wheezed a little and we both slept like crap (plus we decided to sleep with the door and window open, so now we have colds) but I lived.
About halfway through Ron’s amazing fireworks, a mysterious car pulled into the property. At first, we thought it was a cop or the Forestry people. (These were huge fireworks.) It turned out to be some random dude named James. He had been camping in the area alone, was driving around bored, saw the fireworks and decided to check it out.
Everyone had mixed feelings about James. His story seemed legit – a seemingly privileged guy (expensive car) from Northern California (crunchy clothes) studying geology in Michigan (“It’s too flat for me”) here for Missouri rocks (vast knowledge of the area). He looked a lot like my ex, Tim.
However, a strange dude appearing in the woods at night? Some folks in the group were not having it, and eyed him warily the whole time. Others were enjoying being hospitable and friendly. I was suspicious until I noticed his shoes: no self-respecting serial killer wears Gurkee’s Rope Sandals.
Given my epic romantic history at The Spot, I probably would have hit on him if I was single (and obviously in that scenario he would have been a murderer).
This weekend marks only the second time I’ve fired a gun. The first was with Bonus in the Stockade using a musket. This time around, it was with Bonus by the dam using a pistol. Last time I shot (or um, “aimed” at) a coffee can. This time it was a zombie clown named Uncle Huggz.
I got him directly in the heart, though clearly he needs to be shot in the brain. Also, the heart shot was a fluke. I couldn’t really tell where I was hitting, so it was hard to aim and it just seemed so dangerous. I’d love to go to a firing range someday, but guns out in the open kind of scare me. Still, it was a fun way to kick off the week.
I can’t believe I almost got murdered by my tent, and not by the amateur gunfire or the transient who randomly appeared in the dark.
The only other thing I need to mention are Dustin’s Badass Breakfast Burritos – it’s the best part of The Spot every year, without fail. I dream of that skillet all year. We had farm fresh eggs that were so bright and yellow. Oh, and there was a baby this time (with us, not in the skillet). He’s about 4 months old and he whined much less about camping than I usually do.
Ron works so hard to put together a great weekend for us every year; he and Jen devote a lot of time and money to it and we’re always so appreciative. I used to hate camping but these years at The Spot have made me love it.
If I had to write myself a Progress Report on my camping skills, I would say, “Stephie’s s’more cooking techniques, while still unconventional and arguably gross, have improved greatly over the last year, thanks to a new found patience while melting marshmallows. It’s probably due to this year’s classy drink selection of juice-boxed Pinot Grigio.”