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I don't know if I'm cut out for this

I have a new stretch coming up in my life next weekend. I'll be moving out of my comfort zone. Pretty significantly out of my comfort zone.

We're going camping for the first time. Well, the kids and I will be tent camping for the first time. Scott's been camping a lot.

I've been RV camping twice. Both times with a friend and their families. But a tent? Nope. Never in a tent.

We're going with a bunch of friends and their kids. Ten families total I think.

Our friends Birgit and Jay aren't able to go and have loaned us their tent. Scott may not be able to take Friday off so I figured I should try to put this tent up by myself.

And hilarity ensued........

A few facts you should know. This tent sleeps six. It's raining outside. I decide to try and put this tent up in my living room. Will is watching a Batman movie where the Joker laughs this "Haheeeeeeeheee heee hee!" a LOT. The tarp on the bottom of the tent crinkles pretty loudly. Will has asked me to turn up the movie so he can hear it over the crinkling. Gibon the Dog has a new toy with a squeaker in it. He can make it say 'squeak! squeak! squeak! SQUEAK!'. And GtD wants to wander around on the tent every so often to see what it is. I got acrylics put back on my nails this last Sunday. They're a little longer than I should have gotten, but, oh well.

Here we go. I get the tent out of the bag just fine. I get it moved over to the big space I have cleared in my living room.

Okay, let's lay this thing out. Tarp on the bottom. Okay. I see the poles just snap together and are already through the cover. Okay, great. Looks like I can just pop this up.

Um. Why won't it pop? Oh, I'm trying to pop one whole pole at a time. Maybe if I do the top part and then the bottom part. Where's the middle? Here's the middle. Wait. This isn't working. These are supposed to go THIS way. Why are they going THAT way? Oh, please don't let me break Birgit's tent. That would be Very Bad.

Dang it! quickly dissolved to Arrgh! which evolved to 'god-fucking-dammit!' And all the while *crinkle crinkle crinkle crinkle* *Ah hee hee hee hehe!* *squeak squeak squeak squeak SQUEAK* "Gibson, shoo. Get offa there!" "Mommy, is the tent ready?"

I tried getting inside the tent and putting it up that way. Wait, what are these yellow ribbons? Ohhhhh, those mark where the tent pegs are. So the poles go on the OUTSIDE. How did I get this turned inside out? How would I get it turned right side out?

*squeak squeak squeak SQUEAK!* *Ah hee hee hee heeh!* "Gibson! Get OUT of here."

Forty minutes has passed while I'm wrestling with this temporary shelter. I folded the poles back up and tried to see which way was out. Which side was supposed to face the elements?

What's this? Oh. Crap. Here's the middle. I had just discovered way, way, way, way too late that this tent would actually go together very easily if I'd started correctly.

It should go like this:

1. Take tent out of bag.

2. Lay tent on ground with round support facing up so the loop of cording shows.

3. Let poles fall out to the ground

4. Pull top up, snapping top half of poles into place.

5. Snap bottom half of poles into place.

6. Use tent poles to secure.

Shit. shit shit shit shit shit.

*Ah hee hee hee hee hee hee*

Okay, I need to get this with the right side out. Why won't this cover turn? Did *I* get it this twisted up? Then I saw that you could snap the ground cover tarp off the poles. I imagine for situations just like this one involving people just like me.

I can't squeeze the clips because I can't get a finger grip because my nails are too long. I went off in search of needle nose pliers. I rejoiced at the fact they were where they were supposed to be.

Now, to get the poles off the tarp. Squeeze, ow! I pinched my finger in the handles. Try again. OW! God-DAMMIT!

One more time. Yay! Got it. Let's check the others. Just one more to be removed. Okay. Okay. Let's try again.

How do I get this going the right way? I managed to get it flipped the right way and got one pole popped up.

Will ran over and crawled in. Then he couldn't get out. I had to root around to find where he'd crawled in. Once I'd removed my son I got another pole into place. Whoo hoo! I'm on a roll!

A third! A fourth! Yay!!!! I snapped the tarp back into place and ran inside to enjoy my achievement that had taken only 75 minutes to complete. Willie and I hung out for a little bit. When I exited the tent, I caught my hair in the zipper.

And now, I have to take it down.


There are reasons that the "3 second tent" was invented. Instructions:

Take out of bag
Throw in air
Peg to ground

Modern tents like you describe send me batshit. I admire your tolerance in managing to get it up!
Sounds like a learning experience! I love camping. My wife doesn't like bugs :(

Oh well. Hope you all have fun!
We'll be doing the same thing with some families from school in June.
I live in fear of this because
a) We don't have a tent yet
b) Paul hasn't been camping in many years and has no clue
c) I haven't been camping since I went with Alisa who has every bit of camping gear ever invented and knows how to put everything together and is super efficient and very good at it all, and
d) I fear my levels of exhaustion,
e) How and what are we going to eat? What will we sit on?
Why am I doing this again?
LOL! I'm going camping in Owens Valley next weekend, but I prefer not to deal with tents. Sleeping under the stars saves all sorts of time and trouble, as long as you're in an area where you don't need to worry about being eaten alive by insects ... or bears. :-)
Oh My.....I expect a full report from my fearless camper. My Hat is off to You!

September 2012

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