The girls and I took off for Illinois after one of their orthodontist appointments Thursday afternoon.  We had packed up and were running late.  I called the orthodontist and told them we were running late.  They said as long as we were there within fifteen minutes of our scheduled appointment they would still see her.  I put the address in my gps not because I didn’t know where we were going, but because I wanted to know what time it was saying I would arrive. It was telling me between fourteen and fifteen minutes after our scheduled appointment.

I drove as fast as I possibly could without getting a ticket.  With every yellow light I came to, my four year old grandson yelled, “oh no!” I flew on threw trying to just get this appointment in before our four hour trip to the camper for the weekend.  We did make it.  Barely, but I got her there and she received the needed services then we grabbed some lunch from the grocery store and were on our way.

I think this is the first trip I’ve ever traveled a full two hours without stopping.  I made it all the way to the I80 truck stop exit before we stopped.  I was talking on the phone and let the person I was talking to know I couldn’t send kids into a truck stop alone so I needed to go.  My little guy being four years old required mema going into the stall with him.  As he sat on the toilet he asked if the toilet was one that would flush by itself.  I told him it did.  He screamed.  Apparently, four year olds at least this one, is afraid of self-flushing toilets.  I quickly corrected myself and lied and told him “no” it doesn’t flush by itself.

I know I’m horrible, but I have quickly forgotten how much little people whine and cry over silly things and we big people must think fast, which I don’t often do. In addition to lying about the toilet, I allowed the little guy to eat bread for lunch.  I was powerless. I thought I would do better on this trip and not get into arguments trying to order french fries.  So…I went to the grocery store for lunch.  I suggested sliced turkey and some fruit.  The girls said they needed bread for their turkey.  I gave in and bought small Hawaiian buns.  The short little grandbabe refused turkey, refused strawberries and grapes.  He let me know that he was not going to eat anything, but bread.  He told me that the other food I offered was big people food and he was little.

I am fully aware I was being manipulated, but he’s not my kid, right? I’m to spoil and send the babe home, that’s my job. That is really difficult for me, as nutrition is really important to me. The kids and I have really been trying to make lifestyle changes.  Cutting out grains and eating more fruits and vegetables, less processed food.  That’s what makes the scenario so hard for me. I would love to just give in to him, but it makes me feel soooo guilty!

Well, Oliver and I were pretty excited about this camping trip as this was the first one he had been on with me. We arrived at the camper which once set up was 92 degrees inside.  I started the air and tried relaxing outside, but the camper was taking quite a bit of   time to cool off. I had budgeted one meal out which I had calculated to under twenty dollars.  Pizza! So I decided we would go get pizza instead of fighting the bugs after our long drive.

We drove back eight miles to a nearby town and got water and a large pizza and onion rings.  Oliver again let me know he wasn’t eating pizza, but somehow he loved those onion rings.  We ate and returned back to the camper.  By this time it was starting to cool off quickly as thunderstorms moved in.  I put the awning away that I had just set up, but decided with the winds, when in doubt don’t.  I got it pulled in just in time as the storm really rolled in.  And roll in it did.

Fortunately, my little guy loved watching the storm with his mema just as much as I did with my grandma so many years ago. Watching storms together is  one of my favorite memories with my grandma. As young as three or four I remember her moving a mattress in front of a screen door for her and I to watch storms roll in and I would pat her face and tell her I was scared.  She would explain to me that there was no need to be afraid and we would lay on the mattress and enjoy the view.   I wish she was still here to enjoy the storms with me and my beloved grandbabes.

Well, the next morning we all headed to the prison which we somehow explained to the four year old babe was a castle.  His aunts explained to him that the bad kings lived on one side and the not so bad kings lived on the other side.  This was to explain the two parts of the prison.  The part that supposedly housed the bad kings does not actually house prisoners yet.  Its not operating yet, but the explanation worked.  I think by the time we actually arrived he had forgotten this fabrication his aunties had come up with.

We had a wonderful time at the event the prison put on.  They invited the families of the prisoners for a day of fun.  The Friday before Father’s Day.  All kids were invited and food, crafts and games were on the agenda.  I took the two younger girls and Oliver with me.  Our older son drove separately with my precious 22 month old grandson, Remi.  We all had a nice time visiting and were able to walk the grounds which we aren’t typically allowed to do.

Once we left I asked my son if he would be willing to be a good son and help me move my camper.  I had decided I was sick of the sand at the place I store the camper and I needed to pull the darn thing home to figure out some problems before I attempted to camp again.  He agreed.  I asked him to simply watch me and the girls hook it up to the truck as that’s who would be doing it when we headed home.  We did a good job getting it hooked up, but he insisted I could back the camper up with his supervision.  Mind you, this place is hilly, uneven and sandy.  I had the truck in four wheel drive without the camper hooked up as to not make any ruts for the picky and observant owners.

I had told Kenters I had been watching videos on backing up and was confident I could do it.  Of course he laughed at me, but extremely patient with me (patience-he gets that from me not his father!) He was awesome and I backed the darn thing up a grassy hill and was able to pull right out of this god forsaken place. I will explain what I mean by god forsaken….

So, I have had my camper at this place for two months almost to the day.  I have fought to have all the electric work.  I would run one thing and if we plugged something in we would blow the gfi at the pole.  We were constantly having to reset the plug. I couldn’t get the air to work so I had a portable air condition plugged into a drop cord that was at least making us comfortable.  So, I had decided I was going to pull the camper home, find some help in figuring out why I kept blowing the gfi plug on his pole and then bring the camper back over here 222 miles.

In the meantime, with the storm and all I was sick and tired of the sand and dirt and the camper being unlevel because there are no level spaces at this campground.  I decided to have Kenters help me move the camper to a nice state run campground four miles down the road for the remainder of the weekend and I would then pull it home on Monday.  But, something happened.  I got set up in a civilized campsite and to my amazement- not amazement, everything in the gosh darn blankety blank camper works.  The air, the fridge e v e r y t h i n g !!!! I’m laying in bed a hundred feet from a real toilet and a real shower and I’m freezing because the air that blew his breaker every time I turned it on is now freezing me out.  I was able to run my air, the lights, the microwave, the fan and alllllll of it and I’m not blowing anything.

Once I told Kent what was going on he consulted with a fellow inmate who is an electrician and was told I must have a bad ground connection in the camper.  Now that I know what is wrong I can try to figure out how to fix it or find someone who can help me.

With this new knowledge I will just pull it back to the crappy place I paid for storage for the summer four miles away and when I can come back over and camp I will pull it back the four miles to civilization.  It’s not much more work as the only extra I can think of will be putting the stabilization bars up and down.  Everything else has to be opened and closed every time I camp anyway, so what the heck.  I can do it!!

This morning the girls were tired of camping, not so much the camping, but the bug bites we are still fighting constantly. I told the girls if they wanted to go home today and not tomorrow they had to get everything cleaned up, packed up and ready to roll within 45 minutes so we could head to the prison.  My plan was to visit Kent early and leave after three hours so we could get the camper moved and head home.  My plan seemed to work.  The girls had their incentive, we worked hard and fast and had just about everything done so we went for our visit.

It was a beautiful cool morning we were able to sit outside and visit with Kent.  Its nice when we can be out there as its more private and comfortable.  After three hours we said our good byes and went to finish getting the camper ready to move. We got the truck hooked up and everything closed within thirty minutes or so.  I had figured out how to almost perfectly line the truck up with the camper to get it hitched on.  I was way to proud of myself and how quickly I got that thing hooked on.

Pride comes before the fall, in order to pull out I needed to go left, it was a bit of a sharp turn so I went right and went down and around a loop and headed out.  I got the mile out of the grounds to the check in booth.  And I heard a horrible sound and felt something not good.  At first I thought my stabilizer bar had come down because it was touching the ground.  Then I thought I had a blow out over the speed bump.  When I got to the back of the truck I realized the hitch had fallen out.

I was horrified and quickly tried to figure out what to do.  I sent Chloe back to the camp ground to look for the pin.  She called and said she couldn’t find it.  I asked her to get the guy across from our site to see if he could help he was a campground helper.  In the meantime after about fifteen minutes and many people passing by, a gentleman and his wife stopped to help.  He informed me he had an extra pin.  I had been trying to jack the camper up with a tiny jack I found in the truck to no avail.  I wasn’t able to move the crank on the camper because I’m not strong enough.  Long story short once he started working on it the camp helper, the camp attendant and two people riding bikes were all there to help.  The two people on bikes had found my pin and given it to the attendant.

After thirty minutes or so I was once again on my way.  I only had four miles to go get this thing off the truck and I could head home.  When I got back to the sandy pit I asked the owner where I should put the camper as I was just storing it I wasn’t staying in it there anymore.  I made the excuse that the kids want to be able to ride bikes and go to the park at the other camp ground.  He told me to just put it where I had been before.  Once I got down to the spot my plan was to just drive over the railroad ties, pull forward, unhook and get out of there.  He had other plans.  He told me to pull forward and back it in.  REally? I had to back it in when I’d only done it once and just had a catastrophe.  I obliged and did as he asked and I got it on the first try!! Yea, I backed the camper in.  I’m not proud though I can’t handle another fall for awhile. So I’m humble, very humble and staying that way!