For the past seven years, the Sister Wives and I have done a “glamping” trip. I think I’ve missed two of the seven years due to San Diego Comic-Con. The very term “Sister Wives” came from one of these trips. This random guy had been circling my friends and me like a turkey vulture, assuming we were some divorcees’ group camping with our kids, trying hard to listen in on our double entendre-filled conversations. He approached Heather, asking how we knew each other. Heather, who like my bff Marovich can keep a straight face while crafting the most outlandish statements off the top of her head (a skill I SO envy), informed him that…
(a) We were sister wives
(b) Our husband–Heather was really working it, conjuring up this Warren Jeffries-type character–only allowed us one yearly trip off the rural Utah compound, and
(c) Our husband did have a confederate there keeping an eye on us. We just never knew where or what he looked like.
The turkey vulture exited stage left, never to return.
Somewhere along the way, this weird hybrid of “glamping” rose up and became a thing. It’s not quite staying in a cozy cabin on the lake where plates and utensils are provided, and yet, it’s not quite camping. It’s somewhere uncomfortably in between. First world problems, I know. It needn’t be said. Either way, glamping is a constant level of discomfort and irritation that makes me question every year why my Sister Wives and I don’t just pitch tents in my back yard (and at about midnight, I’d be slipping back into my own cozy memory foam bed…) and enjoy the uninterrupted comforts of home.
Here are the benefits, as I see them, to my new plan of action:
- Solid internet and cell phone coverage. The campground where we stayed allowed me 2 bars of cell phone signal from about 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. daily. The rest of the time I got a “No service” message. To get online, I had to go into the noisy general store and even there, it wasn’t consistent, so working was not an option.
- Clean eating. The last four days have been a whirlwind of non-stop stoner food. It’s so much easier to eat clean when we’re not shopping and cooking in shorthand for 20 people. As the kids have gotten older and hungrier, we’ve been forced to increase our trips to Super Wal-Mart (the local grocer to our campground). Every meal felt like a swarm of locusts had attacked our fridge and pantry. Every trip to the Super Wal-Mart tasted like FREEDOM.
- Two-ply toilet paper. I grew up in the country where the septic tank was de rigueur, forced to endure Scott’s single-ply toilet paper for the first half of my life. I really would prefer not to return to that time. I’ll bet men’s skid-marked underwear is the result of avoiding single-ply paper.
- Easy access to a washer and dryer. I can’t erase that muscle memory sensation of wet towels. A staycation would mean easy access to MORE towels that doesn’t require another run to Wal-Mart.
- Random items you never remember. I really thought I covered it all this year when I brought all of my silverware, plates, spatulas, can opener, scissors and tongs. Boy was I wrong. I forgot the pot holders, drinking cups, coffee mugs, etc. No matter how much crap I pack to take on this trip, we always end up driving to Wal-Mart.
8 New Things I Learned While On This Year’s Glamping Trip:
- Solo cups have indented markings for a reason. Of course, I learned this from Heather! The bottom one is for shots, the middle marking is for wine and mixed drinks and the top marking is for beer.
- Teen-aged girls are no longer shy about flinging tampons-as-weapons at teen-aged boys. Add some spikes on those puppies and they’re Game of Thrones-worthy. (Unused ones, I should add. After that last season of FARGO, one feels compelled to clarify.)
- Impractical Jokers is the greatest! I’ve heard this show mentioned, but never actually watched it before. Heather, Carolyn, and our 4 boys binge-watched it until 1 a.m. Saturday. Recommendation: Check out the episode where they’re in Miami and making their friend ride around on a Rascal while they direct it via remote control. Comedy gold! Especially when they forced him to hold up this sign in public: “Buy Me Lunch. I Have Half a Ball.” I forewarned Jack he may have to hold a similar sign at a restaurant in the near future. He was nonplussed. I think he thinks I was kidding?
- KY-Gel runs wildly inappropriate ads during the after-midnight airings of Impractical Jokers. One ad in particular was for a spray to help a man to maintain his erection because, as the poor actor in the ad confessed, “I git done sooner than I should.” And the best part was, in the background behind this couple in bed, they showed a silhouette of a bear and a wolf together, and the wolf was howling. Heather, Carolyn and I held a heated debate as to whether this coupling would ever really happen in nature, as our boys looked straight ahead in embarrassed horror, averting their gazes from making eye contact with any of us adults.
- S’mores do bake really well in those copper pans. Just like advertised.
6. Chicagoland Chevrolet car dealership owner Brian Bemis owns a bourbon/vodka/brandy/moonshine distillery in Baraboo, Wisconsin called the Driftless Glenn Distillery. Heather and I were making yet another Wal-Mart run and we nearly drove past it, when I made an impromptu sharp left turn into the parking lot–at full speed–thinking I would merely investigate if there was a gift shop. One distillery tour and a 5 shot-glasses tasting later, we went to Wal-Mart, in a shopping excursion that was way more palatable than usual. I found I didn’t even want to bleach my eyeballs after seeing yet another weird guy with his butt crack hanging out in the junk food aisle. I find the most fun adventures in life are those that are unplanned. The Sister Wives who remained behind watching the kids didn’t quite see it my way, but I think I’m finally forgiven. I did make killer meatloaf, after all.
- The local Circus Museum in Baraboo had an escaped elephant right while we were staying nearby. Now that would be been so fun to discover in our back yard! Almost as fun as the random dog that ran through every room of our house unexpectedly, before we corralled him.
- And speaking of unexpected visitors, the owners of the campground decided to hold a LuLaRoe party (which I always confuse with the Lululemon brand–sort of like my David Lynch/David Byrne confusion) in the garage of the raised ranch home we rented. Sister Wife Carolyn outran Jesse Owens as she raced across the street upon witnessing three total strangers breaking into our house, accidentally, as I was napping on the couch just a few feet away.
- I’m pretty skilled at unclogging icky boys’ toilets, but don’t let that get around.
Happy Fourth, Everyone!