Saturday, August 13

Rule #1: No Canoes

It's been a long time coming, this update. Let me restate: I have been a near invalid for the past week, so this pause is most definately Not My Fault. Ok, so much an "invalid" as a "lazy bastard", but really, I did have a sprained wrist. Woe is me. Here is the story of how it happened.

On August 4th (a Thursday), we got a phone call from our dear friend Terri. Apparently, Molly and Doug (some friends of hers) were going camping that weekend, and she was wondering if we'd like to go.

"Camping! Yes!" says I.

"Uh. Well, she seems to want to go, so ok," says my husband.

"After all, we already have a tent! Whoopie!" exclaims the foolish wife.

"Shh, I'm on the phone," whispers the husband.

There was much discussion over who would be driving whom, and who would have to navigate by the stars, as everyone seemed to want to leave before we'd even be off of work on Friday. I was unfazed.

The next day, I was much fazed. I'd begun the arduous process of talking myself out of the entire excursion - after all, Bruce and I are not fond of driving places we've never heard of with only the directions of someone who'd never been there before. I'd almost convinced myself I prefered a weekend at home with the playstation, when I got a call from Terri at work.

Isn't this boring? Suffice to say that she convinced me it was still a wonderful idea, and we were still more than welcome to join her, and that she'd drive us in her jeep.

And we gathered our things, shaved our bodies, and were off! We got there a measley 5 hours after starting - due mostly to the fact that we had to stop at every single godforsaken town along the way. Let me tell you, southeastern Missouri is a very unique place. I don't think I've ever seen that many overalls worn in one place. That's just talking about Walmart, mind you. Also keep in mind that I grew up in northeastern Wisconsin, which is heavily populated with farmers. But! Our farmers wear shoes in the grocery store!

When we were almost there, we started exclaiming about how gorgeous the countryside was. And it was! Look at those mountains! Full of leaves! And presumably trees! Spectacular! And Bruce says, "It's so beautiful, I wish I could see it in the rain." You heard me right, folks. My husband brought the rain. I have much to teach him about camping, that's for sure. Needless to say, in about 30 seconds, we were in a downpour. The winding road ahead of us looked trecherous to start, but it only got worse. But we made it alive.

When we got to the campsite, it was a giant pit of mud. You couldn't walk 5 feet without losing half your leg in a slophole of muck. We ran immediately for the nearest shelter - which happened to be set up by Molly's family for this exact purpose. There were a million people under the shelter already, so we crammed in around the edge, and waited for the rain to die down so we could put up our tents. In the rain, and in the dark. That's a camper's wet dream, let me tell you. Surprisingly, it worked out alright. By that I mean, we got the tent up without anyone being sucked into the mudholes of hell, and with minimal biting-off-of-heads. Little did we know what we were in for the next day.

Now, I'm not a native of Missouri, so I find the idea of a "float trip" amusing in and of itself. For those of you who don't know, when you're in this state and you use some sort of device to get down the river - no matter what sort of device that is - you're on a float trip. I've talked to several people here who are confused when I tell them that the rest of the universe doesn't use one universal term for this. "You see," I tell them, "when you use a canoe, we call that 'canoeing'. And when it's a raft, we say 'rafting'. Also, 'tubing'." I usually drop it after a little while, though, because I don't like confusing people. On this particular trip, we were going to be using canoes. "Canoeing" would have made me a lot more nervous than "Rafting", and maybe it was because I assumed the vessels would be rafts that I agreed to the trip. I've been "floating" in rafts several times, and I love it. I have not, however, ever been in a canoe, much less ridden down an unfamiliar river in one. But! I am adventurous, and fun! Also stupid! So we agreed to go.

These people were machines, guys. They woke up in the morning and immediately began cooking breakfast for around 40 people, including coffee. While they were waiting for breakfast, they sat down with 8 loaves of bread and started cranking out sandwiches. It was glorious. They've been doing this for 20 years or so, and some of the kids have never known a summer without a canoe. They're crazy, I tell you, CRAZY. Also very very generous and nice and willing to share all their food with us and I love them.

When we boarded the canoes, I was already feeling better. What could go wrong with so many people there? And then I got in the canoe with my husband and felt a teensy bit worse. But only a little. After all, we'd brought a cooler with lots of beer. I love beer!

We were only on the river for about 10 minutes when the sky turned dark. And then it started to rain. And then it didn't stop raining for the whole trip. We stopped at a sandbar (yes, all 40 of us) and regrouped. Apparently, I was the only one having fun. I LOVE the rain. Except when I'm setting up my tent. Or walking through giant mud pits of hell. Otherwise, I love it! We all had some sandwiches and beers and cigarettes, and somewhere along the way, I got terribly drunk. I think it was all those sandwiches. I knew all that pissing along the sides of roads would come in handy some day! Only with bushes!

And eventually we made it home safely. Or rather, I made it home safely.. You might want to check Bruce's website for an account of his near-death experience. In fact, demand it.


This is where I end things for now. Check in later for a full account of the day after my birthday (AKA: The BAD Day).

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