Life On The B Side

Taking all that life throws at us one moment at a time

How A Space Heater Saved Our Lives October 23, 2018

Typically, a group of about 10 of us go camping together in the summer. Some years we have a couple extras. One year we had as many as 22. This year though, we couldn’t find a weekend that was suitable for everyone in our regular crew. Too many other things happening. Babies being born and weddings in other countries being attended and so on.

It seemed as though we’d miss out on our annual camping trip this year. And in some ways we did. But not in all the ways. Our rag tag army of 4 decided to brave the elements and take it on by ourselves.

Camping on a good day is a lot of work. It’s worth it. But it’s a lot of work.

Add to all the normal work that we chose to book a weekend in late-ish October AND hadn’t checked the weather report before heading out. Maybe it was a good thing that we hadn’t checked because had I known a storm was going to pass through I may have pulled the rip cord and spent the weekend on my couch.

 

We arrived at the site around 8pm on Friday; which is later than we normally try to get set up.  I mean, setting up in pitch blackness can be a little tricky.  None-the-less, we got the tent up, made a fire, hung out for a little bit and then went to bed without any problems.

Let me just say – Thank the heavens we had brought a space heater. It saved our lives when the temperatures dropped in the night. Even with the bit of warmth, no-one got a good nights sleep however. It rained pretty hard and the air mattress Shaunie and I were on, lost air steadily as the night progressed. By the time we “woke up” the next day, we were feeling hard ground beneath us.

Oh well. All part of the fun I told myself.

Saturday was a great day. The kids made a hot dog breakfast on the open fire and Shaunie made eggs on the one burner propane stove we had. We toured the site and found that it was quite nice. It sits on a river which I’m sure would be fun to swim in, in the summer time. They had a basketball court, a bouncy thing for the kids to jump on and a game arcade (which we didn’t actually use). Back at our site, we played board games and Jay threw rocks into the river. At one point he tried walking down a hill but he slipped and ended up going down the muddy slope on his butt. It was pretty funny and he took it like a boss.

In the afternoon there was a costume contest (since it’s so close to Halloween) and also there was trick or treating. The boys ended up with 2 bags full of candy. I snagged a snickers bar and some vampire teeth. We had no idea we were supposed to bring candy to give away but it was ok; All the regulars (who clearly knew the deal because they came PREPARED with legit decorations) made up for it and there was more than enough to go around.

When it got dark, we went for a walk on a haunted trail (also set up by the camp site) and it was really good. I think Ace was the most scared out of the 4 of us. But he made it all the way through and I was proud of him.

Saturday night was rough since a storm came through. Really heavy wind and rain lashed outside and our little tent was swaying a lot. It also got seriously cold. The space heater helped for sure, but it didn’t come close to making us warm. Poor Ace got so scared by the wind that I ended up moving to his air mattress and cuddling him all night.

We all woke up exhausted on Sunday and even though the sun was out, it did not help to warm us up at all.

We packed up and left the site at around 11:30.

 

All in all, I think it was good that we pushed through and did it. Shaunie may disagree with me.  But the kids enjoy it and I think it’s good for them to spend time “roughing it”.  Plus, I am all about having family traditions and this has become one of ours.

 

See ya again next year camping equipment. In the summer though.

 

Sneak Peak October 14, 2018

I have news.  Well, you know how I used to talk about how much I enjoyed my job but I had a long, painful commute?  I’ve given that up and I will start at a new job this week.  It is bitter sweet in that you never know what kind of boss or coworkers you’ll get when you start a new job and I really did like my former ones BUT that drive was simply too much.  90 minutes in the morning and 2 hours to get home.  More than half of that being nothing other than me sitting in traffic.

I will now have a 15 minute commute and I am very much looking forward to the extra time at home.

 

Last Thursday was my final day of that awful drive.  Actually, it was only half awful because I left early and was home by 4pm.  I picked Jay up from school on my way home and since Ace takes the bus he was there waiting for us.  By 6pm, we’d had dinner and cleaned up, the homework had been done and checked, we’d showered, I’d taken out clothes for the boys to wear the next day and chores had been completed.

It was quite a shock to my system since 6pm is usually the time I’d be getting home.  I almost didn’t know what to do with myself then.  Bed time seemed so far away whereas it’s usually the next step once we’ve done our evening routine.

The boys, realizing they had lots of time left, took off running.  As I lay in bed watching TV (something I NEVER got to do at that time before), I heard them laughing and play fighting and chatting.  They were up the stairs and down the stairs.  They were in the kitchen and they were in their rooms.  They bounded into my room wearing their Halloween costumes and I chased them out.  They came back 🙂

We got to just hang out being goofy and silly and it was really nice.  At 7:15, when they had apparently exhausted their immaginations, they asked if they could get on their electronics.  (They don’t typically get to use them during the week).  I said they could for a little while.

 

It was such a lovely evening and while I don’t expect that every evening from now on will be like that, I do feel like it gave me a little sneak peak into what I’ve been missing out on and what it will be like soon.

 

The one downside to this arrangement is that it seems I’ll be the one responsible for preparing dinner since I’ll be the first adult to get home most of the time.  It was kinda nice coming home to a cooked meal every day.

Not THAT nice though.  I’ll take the extra chore of cooking dinner if it means more quality family time.

Wish me luck!

 

3 out of 3 October 4, 2018

Last Sunday was a pretty quiet and uneventful day.  To be honest, the entire weekend had been pretty quiet and uneventful.  There was lots of electronics time and lots of time spent in pajamas and lots of “every man for themself” where food was concerned.

 

One of the few times we left the house was when Jay and I went for a bike ride on Sunday evening.  It seemed like a great idea BEFORE we went.  1) Fresh air.  2) Exercise.  3) Bonding Time.

The reality of it was somewhat different.

 

I mean, it was still good, but also:

As soon as we got the bikes from the back yard and brought them to the front, Jay announced that he needed a snack break.  I stood there watching him munch on Doritos.  Finally he put the bag with the remaining chips in his cargo pocket and we were off.  OK good.

Except, I spent a lot of time reminding him to stay to the side of the road – instead of riding down the middle.  We made it around the block one time and then he parked in front of our door claiming he needed to take another snack break.  As he was snacking on more chips, mosquitos were snacking on me.  Not so much fun.  Although it may have been entertaining for any neighbours watching me dance around and flail my arms.

I managed to get him back on the bike after a few minutes where there was more of me working over time to keep him out of the middle of the road.

*Please note it’s not a main road. There’s light traffic in our development and drivers are well aware that it’s a hot bed for kids playing outside but it’s still a little stressful for me as the parent.*

 

We were half way around one more block and Jay stopped riding because he couldn’t make it up the hill, plus he needed water.  Fortunately I had some.

As we walked towards home, he stopped repeatedly to watch a family of geese, to check out a little girl playing cornhole in her yard, to complain about the hill we were climbing, to ask me if I was sure he wouldn’t get run over by a car, to confirm that he’d get more snacks when we got home, to pose for pictures and to wave at children calling to us from their bedroom windows.

 

All in all, we were outside for over an hour and we didn’t go more than 3 blocks.

It was one on one time spent outside with the boy though and I still count it as exercise because the alternative was me sitting on the couch so I guess we hit 3 out of 3.

 

Lightening It Up May 25, 2017

With all the talk of crap parenting and the confederacy, things have gotten a little heavy around here.  Let’s lighten it up a bit.

I’ve been seeing all the graduation pics on Facebook this week … My friends kids are moving up from kindergarten to first grade.  Some are leaving middle school behind and heading off to high school.  Others yet are done with college.  It’s kind of jarring because for many of these kids I remember them as little tiny tots.  In a couple of weeks my own child will have his elementary school graduation and move on to middle school.

 

I went home yesterday and asked my boys if they wanted to go for a walk.  Ace was an instant yes.  Jay wanted to know where we were walking to and if he could bring a snack in case he got hungry.  That’s so them.  Ace jumps in head first.  Jay is cautious.

It wasn’t the best weather day.  It was grey and had been either raining or drizzling all day.  None-the-less we took off.  As I tucked my phone into my back pocket, Ace informed me that I was not allowed to use it at all on this walk.  This was our time.

Jay held my hand as we strolled through the neighbourhood.

We talked about how our days had been and about plans for the summer.  We talked about new friends and friends that we miss in New Jersey.  We even talked about the meaning of Christmas.

It was nice.  No plan; no agenda; nothing we were running late for.

 

When we got to the end of the road, I asked the boys if they wanted to walk back the long way we had come or if they wanted to take a short cut through the field.  There was a catch though; If we took the short cut, we’d have to race home.

You know what they chose.

 

Through a wet, muddy, uneven field we ran.  My lungs were burning by the time I climbed the final hill that would drop me in front of our house.

 

In truth, we hadn’t been out for very long but it was clear that the boys had enjoyed themselves and I certainly had as well.

 

The next time I blink, it will be one of my boys who is graduating from college and who knows if they will still want to just hang out with dear old mom.

 

3 pairs of dirty sneakers and some burning lungs were more than worth the quality, no electronics allowed time.