Since this weekend was a holiday, Darren somehow extracted the promise from me that we would all sleep in the tent one night. We got up Friday morning and went out to my parents who live in the country. Darren set up the tent and the air mattress while my mom and dad snickered (at me).
Then we left and went to a church picnic. I hadn't had much sleep the night before, so I was really tired by the time we got back to my parents'. So were the girls. Lucy was sort of whimpering, and I washed her face and brushed her teeth for her, put her in her pajamas, and she went out and flopped in her bed in the tent where she slept until morning like the awesome little trooper that she is. Elaine? Not so much. She was in full Princess Puff mode. (Princess Puff was my grandma's toy poodle, one of the snippiest little dogs ever to roam the earth. She's in dog heaven now, rest assured on some pink silk pillow.) Elaine wanted to be rocked. "Daddy, wock me!" she wailed. She wanted to sleep in her regular bed. She wanted more pillows and toys and stuffed animals. This girl takes after her mother.
Darren finally got her settled down. I sat inside, reading a mystery about an abusive husband who was killed by his wife because he made her sleep in a tent. Well, all except for that last part. By 9:30 I was done and didn't want the girls out there by themselves anyway, so I went out and got settled.
The next part was the longest night of my life. Possibly Fourth of July is not the night to sleep out in the open. Firecrackers and M-80s went off all around us. Dogs barked. Big dogs, little dogs, dogs on skates and dogs on skis. Go dogs go. Plus all around were people drag racing or something. Who knew so much went on in the middle of the night in Pump Handle, Midwest? Then the arthritis in my hip was killing me. Please don't laugh. It's true. And it was freezing. Freezing, I tell you. It was like lying on a mattress filled with dry ice. And everything was clammy. And oh, the crickets. They were deafening. It was like the Chinese water torture in chirp form. Another huge firecracker boom, and Elaine started to cry. Basically, my life passed before my eyes at that point. I was like, "I am so out of here. It has to be at least 4 o'clock in the morning by now. I have fulfilled my commitment of sleeping in the tent."
I carefully unzipped the opening so as not to wake the girls, but the cover over the tent was so firmly in place that I had to try and squeeze through until I just fell out onto the ground, losing one of my flip-flops in the process so I had to hunt around for that in the pitch black. I made my way back to the house where my dad had thoughtfully left the door unlocked. (He knows me well.)
I looked at the clock to confirm that it was indeed 4:00 a.m., and lo and behold it was 12:30. I'd made it three hours in the tent. I went upstairs, fell into a real (warm, blissfully quiet) bed and slept until 8:00 the next morning.
That was my tent experience. Darren claims it's not all bad and that he's bringing the tent to family camp in August. We'll see exactly who ends up sleeping in it.
Here was the best thing about this weekend though...