Friday, July 18, 2008

KOA Review

This is a long time coming, but I do have some opinions about KOAs after our trip through Colorado. The short story? In the future I will try to plan more research time for finding a real campground to stay at.

KOAs have nice bathrooms with nice showers. Both of the places we stayed at had pools. One even had a restaurant of sorts that served really good breakfasts. There were also playgrounds, which were helpful when setting up camp. But KOAs are not a good match for us. KOAs are for RVers, not campers.

First, we go camping to be in nature, in the forest if at all possible. I want my site surrounded in trees. It is the green that is soothing. Campgrounds are usually set up in secluded areas, with individual sites set along sprawling roads to provide as much isolation as possible. Camping is often a solitary activity. Not that we don't love going with friends and family, but we don't set up our tent in our tree-lined site and then go try to meet all the neighbors. Not so with KOAs. KOAs are a social setting. The people come not to "camp" but to hang out.

Take Colorado Springs. While driving to and through that city we passed beautiful green hills and delicate forests. I was very impressed and getting excited about our KOA. But no. The KOA was built several miles south of the city area because that is where the desert picked up providing the most space for the big RVs. It was not pretty.

Nor did either place provide any seclusion. In fact, in Grand Junction, there were only 4 tent sites on one small grass patch right in the middles of a circle of parked RVs - and most of those RVs were the kind that looked like they lived there. I felt like we were sleeping on a stage - we were the entertainment with our noisy bunch of kids and tent pitching gymnastics. I HATED IT!!

Being social isn't our forte or goal, but we don't usually have an overwhelming aversion to it. But the people who come with their RVs to hang out are not the people we choose to socialize with - quite the reverse. My kids have never been exposed to so much cigarette smoke or casual drinking. Smokers at the site next to ours, smokers at the pool, smokers at the Kamp Kitchen. * And everyone carrying bottles of alcohol. I even had the adorable experience of making dinner in the camp kitchen next to savory lady and having my children ask me to read a sign of posted rules. No pets and no alcoholic beverages, I read out loud, and emphatically, for who would have an issue with either injunction? I caught the attention of the lady and I smiled. I try to be friendly. I didn't realize until later that not only was she toting a beer, but was cooking beer on the stove top. Happy day!

I have not mentioned that these lovely smoking, drinking, social people also have a penchant for swearing, immodest clothing, tattoos, not disciplining their children, and bathing. Apparently the very essence of a KOA attracts the obnoxious of the earth. (I realize my children are a special breed of crazy, but you will also see me trying every second to control them.)

I will say that there were other people there...some nice old couples, a Swedish kid touring America, helpful KOA workers that were friendly enough for me to practice my small talk skills (which are basically non-existent). But overwhelmingly, KOAs are not a place I'm comfortable having my children. And they are ugly. (The KOAs are ugly, of course, my children are actually beautiful.)

*The second I see someone with a cigarette they drop in my estimation to something stupider than a dog. And if I see them smoking around their children I have to fight the all-encompassing desire to turn them in for child abuse. I literally start shaking in fury and almost almost say rude things loud enough for them to hear.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Trip to Borders

On our last date, Scott and I went to see Hancock (cool movie) and stopped at Borders. This was my haul. I'm excited because I've been on a reading lag lately. (I like to alternate guilt between too much reading and too much computer.) I'm hesitant to start Well of Ascension because I know I won't come up to breathe until it's done. And of course I couldn't pass up the newest Sandra Boynton board book - my collection is approaching tower heights. The box set is the Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede series that I've started reading out loud to Jadyn. It is thrilling to me to see her so excited about reading.

Beginning to Practice

Jen helped me take this one at her house - imitation is flattery!

Cool weed, eh?

Well, I'll keep trying. Since I'm sick of this sunflower weed in my yard, I think we'll go for a walk this evening and take advantage of other people's gardening labor.

Friday, July 4, 2008

How's About Some Religious Ramblings

I know, I don't tend to write about stuff like that. That is because it is hard for me to do - maybe because I'm white, maybe because I tend to the introverted side, maybe because my growth was stunted by eating too much ketchup as a kid. Oh well.

So here's what I've been thinking about. My mom complains a lot about me as a baby, and I now know it's because I was spirited, or at least spunky. I was sensitive, perceptive, had the first reaction thing, and (the real problem) was irregular. (Which meant I never slept.) My mom was so frazzled she apparently prayed daily for a baby that was calm and slept. She got my brother who was so fat and happy that he never moved or spoke.

So here I sit with weird and frightening children and I'm worried that if I get one more Kyra or Xander that I'll be finished. (I don't mean finished with having children, I mean like actually dead.) My mom has only sparing sympathy because she asks, "Did you pray for a calm one? I prayed for a calm one every day!" And what can I say? Nothing. Because I didn't pray for a calm one. And even now I can't pray for a calm one. I am seriously stuck on healthy and whole, in body and mind.

Here are my internal ruminations...can I not pray for calm as well because I have some finite idea of God's generosity, or some concept that if I put all my prayful energy into healthy and whole that I'll be sure of at least that? Can I not add calm to my list because of the experiences I've had and how that has rearranged my priorities...that I'd by lying to myself if I tried to rank calm as high as alive and not disabled? Or can I not ask for calm because I'm constrained - because God knows he won't be saying yes and he's saving me the trouble?

I'd really not like thinking that I think that God is sparing in his blessings. But I don't want to seem greedy. Because here is the thing...I would have another baby no matter what it was. I would take another Kyra or another Xander, or another new make or model of my current monsters. I have friends who felt they were supposed to have another baby, but really couldn't face it. They would pray that they just couldn't do it until so-and-so was potty trained, or so-and-so could swim, or whatnot. And guess what? Those things they asked for would just fall into place and pave the way for another baby. Oh how I wish I could do that!!! Geez, what could I ask for...Xander to be on an even keel, with meds working day and night and me able to schedule and those I'm supposed to do for him...Kyra potty trained permanently or how about manageable (the horrid stinky monster butt!)...Scott's health issues resolved...reassurance that I won't be floored with depression afterwards...a house big enough for all of degree finally security... BUT I CAN'T!!! I know - and I know He knows - that I don't care enough about any of those things enough to let them stop me. And I can't pray a lie!

What kind of masochistic certifiable maniac am I? Sorry, stupid question. I guess here's the thing - I know we are doing the right thing and I know everything will work out. I just don't know how to get from here to there and I don't know what I'll look like at the end. (I'm picturing a trashed car in the junk yard waiting in line for one of those crushing machines to turn it into a cube.) It stinks to be so stubborn.

Happy happy thoughts. (The sarcasm comes out through the words, right? I'd hate to think I'm wasting my efforts...)

Note: I am not pregnant. Don't ask me if I'm pregnant! If I had a dollar.... (Can't I indulge in some forethought?)