Mommy Perfect takes the family camping and my husband learns that camping is f*cking intense. (Part 2 of 2)
Continuation from Part 1 in which we set out on a group camping trip to Walt Disney World Fort Wilderness Campgrounds. We had just finished our first night there, waking to sore backs and tired heads.
Once the coffee and Advil had kicked in and we’d had breakfast, it was leisure time, sitting around sipping beers and chatting with the grown-ups while the kids kept themselves entertained. After lunch the kids asked to go swimming at the public pool. We looked at the map Disney provided us to see that the pool is in a location separate from our campsite loop. Since we didn’t rent a golf cart, we got to walk there. Mr. Perfect declared that he’s not coming. I notified him that he was mistaken, he is in fact coming, and that since he didn’t want to rent the golf cart he gets to carry the bags.
I loaded up our beach bags with towels, sunblock, water bottles and snacks, and off we marched to find the pool. It was about a 15 minute walk to reach the pool — the Disney campgrounds are massive. Guess who suddenly decided that we should have rented a golf cart after all? Since we still had 3 more days on this trip and he had come to his senses, after the kids were done swimming Mr. Perfect took the bus up to the main office to rent a golf cart for the remaining days. Surprise! — they were all sold out for the remainder of our trip.
For those who’ve never been, Disneyworld was built on a swamp. Through earth-moving and landscaping they’ve done a good job masking this fact, but the facility is dotted with lakes and man-made canals linking all the bodies of water together. They call them “rivers”, but its stagnant water; no flow. Disney rents canoes for people to paddle around and pretend they are in a Davy Crockett movie. These canals are about 20-feet wide from one shore to the other, with an embankment on either side, and we had one of these bluffs right alongside the edge of our campsite. It was very pretty, especially at sunrise when fog would settle along the surface of the water and the sound of bird calls filled the setting; you peer half expecting Hiawatha to appear from the mist paddling his canoe in the pre-dawn light.
Around mid-day the 7-year-old boys were out riding their bikes around the campsite loop. They would ride through our campsite, up onto the grassy bluff beside the canal (“river”), then back down to the road making a loop. The bluff beside the canal was a broad, smooth, grassy section with plenty of space to ride. I was sitting in camping chair by the canal sipping a hard cider and watching the boys in their mock BMX race, when suddenly one of my son’s friends named Cam steered a little too close to the canal-side of the embankment where the slope became quite steep, gravity took hold and he rode his bike right down into the canal, disappearing out of site under the murky brown still water.
I’m sure you remember that 2-year-old boy who was killed by an alligator at Disneyworld this summer (2016). This canal is connected to the same lake where that deadly incident occurred. The spot where Cam and his bike disappeared is at least 50 yards away from me. I stood up urgently expecting to see a flock of adults rushing to him, but I realize that I’m the only adult around who witnessed the event. I haven’t done a 50-yard-dash since high school, but off I ran to the boy’s aid while shouting “help help”. Fortunately Cam could swim and by the time I got there he was dragging himself back onto the grassy bank. He was scared and crying, but unhurt, so I told him that was a neat trick, gave him a high-five, and helped walk him back to his campsite. Fortunately no hungry alligators were involved in this story. After that excitement Cam was not allowed out of his mother’s sight for the remainder of the trip.
The bathroom and shower facilities at the Disney campsites are very nice and clean, unlike most other campsite restrooms I’ve been to, and that night my husband decided he was going to take a shower. As he tells it, on his way into the facilities there was a boy leaning against the wall beside the entrance door, giving him a very strange look as he walked in. Mr. Perfect walked through to the shower area, there was nobody else in there, he stripped down and jumped into the shower. Hot showers on a camping trip when you’re not the one paying the water bill tend to be a long ones. He washed and rinsed and soaked his sore neck muscles, when he suddenly heard two women talking through the sound of the running water. As confusion led into fear, he turned off the water and stood in silence listening to the unfamiliar female voices outside his shower stall — inside the building, not outside. Realizing that either these women are in the wrong showers or he is, and that his towel and change of clothes are on the bench outside his stall, he stood still, wet, and silent, waiting for the sound of their showers to start up. When he thought the coast was clear he tip-toed out of his stall, dressed himself while still wet, put his towel over his head, and charged out of the building. As he walked out he looked beside the door at the obvious “WOMEN” sign attached to the brick facade. The boy who was there when he entered was no longer standing beside the door, but the youngster’s head would have stood conveniently where the letters “WO” are. Although Mr. Perfect claims to not have peeked through his shower curtain at the women as they undressed, I remain slightly suspicious — he is a man after all.
After that excitement he decided to retire to our tent. He set upon making up the bed with the newly purchased inflatable mattress he had bought that afternoon (see part one of the story). Perhaps he intended for me to join him, given the voyeurism that may (not) have just occurred in the lady’s showers because he asked me to help him setup the bed. He unboxed and spread out the mattress, the smell of fresh rubber filling the tent, then I asked him where the pump was. “Isn’t it in the mattress box?”, he replied. I handed him the empty cardboard box and pointed at the text on the front: “Pump sold separately.” He went to bed grumpy and alone.
All in all it was a fun trip. The kids had a blast, nobody got seriously injured or ill. Disney does a really great job about theming everything; you really feel like you’re in an old western movie. My husband learned a few things for next time, not the least of which is that camping is a lot more than just f*cking in tents.