The reality is that I LOVE spending time creating something or having fun without spending a lot of money. This doesn’t mean that I don’t like paying the price of admission or having a meal out every now and then. It just means that I REALLY enjoy a picnic, a potluck, repairing things, painting, hammering, etc. I like to fly when I need to get somewhere fast, but I thrill to the adventure of a car trip.
Staying in a hotel room is nice. I like to see the new features, like the time I stayed in a hotel that had a television screen built into the bathroom mirror. (Somehow it was appropriate that the Beverly Hillbillies was being broadcast.) Of course, at some point I begin to wonder about who stayed there last and used those sheets, etc. (I know, I know, the sheets were laundered and the staff works hard to ensure that everything is clean. . . . . ) BUT, I LOVE the night air as I fall asleep under the stars and awake to the sound of birds chirping.
It’s not my fault, really. I grew up in a large family and Dad insisted we camp. He trained us to be frugal and love a bargain. For Mom, it was splurging to go to the discount store and (gasp) buy something without telling Dad first. So, blame them. *smiling*
My husband had some days off recently, and we didn’t need to spend the money on a road trip to some memorable place. I must admit that I wondered if our time together would turn into a stretch of forced confinement.
I shouldn’t have doubted the creativity of my family.
The boys, with dad in tow, took several trips together while I took care of some items around the house. They enjoyed the library, the local hardware/building supply store, went to see the chicken lady about eggs and ran other assorted errands. The boys were fine with this even though it entailed looking at the back of Daddy’s head as he drove them from place to place. They were his happy escorts.
Once hubby wore himself out running, he attacked the wood pile and worked up a good sweat splitting firewood. One of his favorite things to do there is get a log too big for to handle (there didn’t used to be any of those). He will give it a good try and then call our oldest son over (he’s over 6 ft and likes to show off his muscles). It’s always a thrill to watch that
The ‘iron man’ competition came to a halt when the rain started. It lasted long enough that hubby found things to do indoors. After he replaced the burnt out light bulbs, he decided that we would create our own seminar and outreach project.
He pulled out a DVD set on a subject he wanted to research. We started going through the series and taking notes together.
What’s fun is that my husband doesn’t necessarily agree with everything the speaker says. This means that we have an extra session at the kitchen table the next morning to hear hubby’s take on things and what his thoughts are on the matter. There’s nothing as interesting to me as getting to see how that man’s mind works.
The outreach project involves the coupon section of the newspaper. Because we don’t stock processed foods, we never use those coupons. At the local library, the boys noticed that people are exchanging coupons. So, dad & boys spend about 15 minutes each day, looking for and cutting out coupons to contribute the next time we go. It’s a learning experience as they see how very little actual food can be purchased with coupons. (We call real food something that came from the farm, without a lot of processing.)
When the rains let up, the boys moved outside where our resident 9-yr-old ‘Park Ranger’ decided to set up his own ‘National Park.’ He got this idea as he has been logging onto this site to become an online park ranger. Our grill and bench table became the ‘picnic area.’ The end of the driveway became the ‘visitor parking.’ The house is the ‘ranger station’ and the bedrooms are ‘cabins.’ The tent was set up and became the ‘camping area.’ The swing is now labeled the ‘playground.’ The woods behind the house are the ‘nature trail.’ All of this (of course) is identified by several cardboard, hand-lettered signs secured with (what else?) duct tape.
I think they even have plans to utilize the stimulus package if it ever trickles down.
This led to a backyard overnight camping trip. I declined the invitation because I am a pretty good judge of where little boys in a tent always end up. I smiled knowingly when my husband came inside the next morning telling me about whose foot ended up where and how many
times he was awakened.
Meanwhile, I had a quiet night IN.
The tent remained up and I asked hubby if we could have it to ourselves, just the two of us. He seemed pleased with the idea, but a day or two went by where he seemed to forget.
I reminded him of my request. Hubby said he wasn’t going to spend the night in the tent because it was going to rain. I can blame this one on my parents also. Every time I sleep in a tent, it rains. It would be strange for me to camp when it DIDN’T rain.
I knew the tent would be packed away soon, so I put the boys to bed one evening and kissed hubby goodnight. I said I’d see him in the morning and smiled widely. Then, I went outside to make myself comfortable.
As an aside, you shouldn’t tell little boys when you are going to sleep in the tent outside. Put them to bed and just go. If they know where you are, they WILL find you . . .
I wasn’t surprised when hubby joined me with extra pillows.
It was a WONDERFUL time. We lay there and listened to the night sounds, talked about our children, our life together, our future and held hands as a misting rain splattered on the tent. This morning, we awoke naturally to the sounds of birds greeting the day (instead of the tap-tap-tapping at our door and the little voice saying, ‘Mama?’). If you didn’t know any better, you’d think we were a couple!
My sweet husband slipped into the house and returned to our little hiding place with coffee. It’s good for old folks to sneak off together every now and then.
It’s been a WONDERFUL vacation!