Our camping story starts well before we got to the Cardinal KOA, as do most camping stories. On Thursday, Reid told her teachers that she wouldn’t be in Friday because we were going camping but when Claire mentioned this I told her that I would call. Reid was excited that Aunt Karin was coming but was flip-flopping on whether she was staying home or going to day care. Routine even more important than to Reid right now. Reid told me at bedtime that she was staying with Aunt Karin and so she wouldn’t have to wake up and get dressed immediately. Reid is a pyjama-lover from a way-back.
On Friday morning, Reid woke up happy and intended to go wake Aunt Karin up. She even gave me a farewell kiss and hug before she left in case she was too busy with Aunt Karin when it was time for me to leave. I think she made it onto the hallway carpet before she suddenly changed her mind. Of course, the chance for me to be on time for school disappeared with the arrival of Reid’s tears at my encouragement to stay. I hurried her into her clothes, fixed her hair as best I could (I’d counted on Aunt Karin giving her a bath) and gave her breakfast. I was much less late to school than I’d expected, which was especially good considering I was taking the afternoon off.
I stopped at home to pick up Aunt Karin on the way to day care. Since she had driven well into the wee hours, I’d suggested she should sleep for a bit. She’d seemed to think it was unnecessary and so when I walked in, I called out, “Wakey, wakey!” And heard a sleep-muffle voice respond. I’m not sure which of us was more surprised that Aunt Karin was still asleep 4 hours later but it was probably her. Reid was sitting at a table reading books to herself when we got to day care while her friends were in various stages of going to sleep. Usually Reid pats a friend’s back until I pick her up. In any case, we headed for the grocery store and then home.
I hadn’t been organized enough to pack earlier in the week and so Aunt Karin and I did that, with Reid’s help, of course. Bruno stopped in for a visit in the midst of packing. Aunt Karin made me ask him if my French was good. He replied that is was “a bit good” and agreed with me that it was “less bad” than when we started talking to each other in May.
Finally everything was in the cars – I asked if we could all go in one but Aunt Karin laughed at me – and we headed to Starbucks. We couldn’t leave civilization with a good, hot drink. And then we had to stop at Tim Hortons because Aunt Karin couldn’t leave civilization without that kind of drink, either. We got onto the highway just in time for rush hour. There weren’t any accidents or crazy drivers and we made it safely out of the city. Reid slept for most of the drive and I enjoyed the quiet time with my radio and the friendly GPS lady. She wasn’t happy with me, though, when we left the highway in search of a Tim Hortons’ coffee to replace the one with the wrong ingredients that Aunt Karin had received. She kept saying, “Turn left at road X in 250 metres. Turn left at road X. Turn left! [Pause] Recalculating.” This repeated 3 or 4 times on the way into Kemptville. I think her voice became increasingly stressed as I failed to turn where she wanted me to and then her “recalculating” seemed to become petulant. Our GPS lady doesn’t like to be ignored. I made it up to her, though, and followed her directions when she suggested a back roads route to the campground.
Ah, yes, we finally made it to the Cardinal KOA campground. We’re staying in a little cabin nestled in the trees. We were disappointed to see that our cabin doesn’t have a swing and isn’t on as nice a lot as the one we stayed in a couple summers ago with LeeLee (Kailee) and Grandma Joyce but it is still pretty good. I cooked hot dogs on the electric grill I brought from home. There was a hibachi sort of thing on the camp site but that would have required us to purchase the briquets and get them lit before actually attempting to cook anything. It was just too much.
After supper Reid and I went for a swim and left the pool at dusk – probably 30 minutes later. Summer is definitely ending, with sunset noticeably earlier these days. I built a fire, or at least was in the midst of trying to do so, when a couple from the campground stopped by to see how we were doing. It was pretty obvious we were having a problem with the fire and they said they’d be right back to get the fire going. What service! Aunt Karin and I roasted marshmallows; Reid ate hers raw. We made several valiant, but ultimately unsuccessful, attempts to get the telescope to show us the star-filled sky in detail and then went to bed. Note: I will make s’mores for anyone able to help me with the telescope.
Reid had asked to sleep in the top bunk as soon as she saw the bunk beds. I told her I thought you had to be 6 to sleep there and she argued the case awhile. By bedtime, she was content to sleep in the big bed, a double, with me and even suggested that Aunt Karin could join us. A lovely invitation that was refused. Perhaps if it had been 20 below, we might have needed the extra body heat but since the overnight low was 20 C, we needed anything but body heat.
I got up in the night to use the bathroom. As I walked, I enjoyed the stars and the chirp of the crickets – and the hum of the air conditioners from all of the trailers. Before I went camping 2 years ago with Uncle Roger and Reid, I would have thought that decadent. Having slept in a trailer with air conditioning, I can’t say too much. But I will say a bit because I can be aware of internal conflicts and still voice them. The air conditioning is great for inside the trailer but spoils the mood for the folks on the outside. I never noticed when we used it because we used the bathroom in the trailer at night.