Life Out Loud: Camping? Just give me indoor plumbing instead

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I am not “the outdoor type.”

I made clear early on that Mr. Wonderful, an avid athlete and outdoorsman, had made a poor choice in mates. He did not marry anyone even remotely “self-sufficient” or “outdoorsy.”

I agreed that I would try camping because early in the marriage is when you are still willing to do things you will probably hate because the good Lord made your husband so darned cute.

Nonetheless, I made clear that I had no idea why anyone in this day and age wants to go and sleep in the dirt. Didn’t our ancestors work hard to climb out of a hardscrabble existence purely to AVOID that? To say that I was a hard sell is putting it mildly.

Give me indoor plumbing

I have never, not once, been choked up over a blade of grass or the sight of a squirrel.

I’m outdoorsy in the way that I like to drink wine on the patio. I enjoy Internet access, a soft bed, and plumbing. I am what you would call “indoorsy.”

Too much like work

I had been warned by fellow women that, all too often when it comes to roughing it, mom ends up doing most of the work.

Camping, I was told, becomes “shopping-packing-driving-unpacking-cooking-cleaning-organizing-cooking- packing-unpacking-and-laundry.” I am not a huge fan of work.

Still, for the sake of family unity — and a cheap vacation — I go camping.

Frankly, I’m a bit of a princess (shocking, I know) when we arrive. I will not be gathering firewood or waxing rhapsodic over the beauty of a large body of fish-filled water until my bed and dinner are safely assured.

I have found eating early the first night helps. I’m like a bear. It doesn’t matter if all you do is toss me a peanut butter sandwich and whatever crumbs you can shake out of the cooler, but I have got to eat or someone is going to get hurt.

I sleep nowhere but a hotel until my air mattress is fully inflated.

Not all bad

I do enjoy the experience of camping, once we get to a point where were all set up, everyone has been fed, and I’m planted in my lawn chair.

On Day One I expect to be sitting by the fire with my cold drink and hot marshmallows no later than half past dark.

We camp with friends, so I look forward to the socializing. We boat, jet ski, and people who are not me fish.

I’m a reader and am happy to do that anywhere. Near or far you are likely to find me with my nose buried in a book. I’d probably read on the rim of the Grand Canyon or sailing down the Nile, presuming the light was good.

Where’s the entertainment?

Just don’t ask me to sit back and bask in all the nothing. Sitting around glorying in trees all day holds no interest for me. We have trees at home, thank you very much.

For someone so sedentary that snails regularly outpace me, I tend to need entertainment when on vacation. I want to go, see, do or read.

Siren song of RV

Despite my disdain for communing with nature, I am happy enough with tent camping and have no real desire to step up to the camper/recreational vehicle lifestyle.

Campers are so cute and cunning that I am always smitten with the little tables and cabinets and things that turn into beds. What’s not to love about “seats six for dining AND becomes a double bed!”

I just don’t want something ELSE to clean and say “take off your shoes!” and “don’t eat that on the couch.” If I’m camping, I plan for spills to be ignored and allowed to seep into the ground. Just like home.

Mornings are worst

Being quirky and unpredictable, I do love sleeping in a tent.

I love the cool night air, the outdoor sounds, the wind, but come sunrise my love affair with the great outdoors — like many things that seemed like a good idea late at night after a few drinks — dies in the cold light of day.

At home, I really appreciate that I can get up and go flip on the coffee pot and visit a bathroom that doesn’t require me hiking across a campground nodding to other people in the wee dawn hours. I am definitely a first-world girl and a major fan of the miracle of indoor plumbing. I’m not looking to meet new people at 6 a.m. in my bathrobe.

I think someone needs to invent a small bathroom on wheels. Just a little personal outhouse with hot running water would leave me feeling quite flush — literally.

This year as summer looms (Lord willing), Mr. Wonderful does his best to try to reduce my camping stress — by telling me to not stress. If I didn’t “stress”, we’d be out there with no underwear, towels, bug spray, dish soap, or food that isn’t a slab of meat.

He’s so cute, truly, which is why I still go camping.

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt likes camping — and indoor plumbing. She welcomes comments c/o LifeOutLoud@comcast.net; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460, or KymberlyFosterSeabolt.com.)

About the Author

Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless. More Stories by Kymberly Foster Seabolt

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