Diary of An Intrepid Camper – Day Three; The Antique Store and the Biker Grandma

7:30 a.m.  The one night that I sleep blissfully all the way through the night and the Armchair Astronomer Husband tells me that he got up at 3 a.m. and could clearly see the Milky Way but didn’t have the heart to wake me.

7:40 a.m.  The 10 year old has somehow gotten wind of the fact that the Camping Spreadsheet calls for pancakes this morning and is sticking his face in mine asking me to get out of bed and make them.  I see no way out of this that does not involve me making pancakes.

8:15 a.m. In one of those serendipitous dovetails of events (or perhaps the word is providential) that occur now and then, I realized I had packed blueberries as a snack and that they somehow got put in the fridge early on in the trip, so they were still perfectly fresh.  Blueberry pancakes and coffee.  Now that’s camping.  The Bacon Master Husband made some darned good sausages to go with them.  It’s a beautiful morning.  I think I may have arrived at the point of the camping trip where I actually relax.

9:00 a.m. Dishes were done by the kids and we gathered to plan the day. The 17 year old’s only wish is to visit an antique store she saw in Running Springs. The 10 and 12 year olds’ only wish is to swim in the lake again. The 3 a.m. Astronomer Husband’s only wish is to take a nap. And mine is to sit in a camp chair and read a book. As things work out, I get my wish first. Woo hoo!

11:00 a.m.  All this down-time around the campsite is giving the Boy Scout Husband ample time to tinker with the trailer.   This is the first time since we bought the thing four years ago that he has been able to poke around in it without a deadline hanging over his head.  And that is why today, the day that he was able to tinker uninterrupted for a blissful two hours, is the first day since we bought the thing four years ago that the sink works. It was a simple matter of removing a couple of inches from the intake hose on the water tank, he tells me.  There was an air bubble.  Simple physics.  Eight to ten camping trips since we purchased this modern marvel of convenience used from a nice couple in Corona, and now he’s telling me it was simple physics that robbed us of the running water in our sink. I have another word for it.

Oh, but wait, that’s not all.  Apparently, now that the water pressure is working, the hot water heater will also now work.  WHAT?  We have a HOT WATER HEATER???

Which means we can take showers. HOT showers. I am speechless.

Does this still qualify as camping?

11:30 a.m. I have finished my book and I’m pretty sure the antique store will be open by now, so we are heading down to Running Springs.

11:38 a.m. Just passed the hairpin turn. They all yelled, “Marty! Slow DOWN!” in unison. Note to self — pack ear plugs for the next time we drive that road.

11:50 a.m. We are almost within sight of the antique shop, but the road has been shut down so it can be repaved. Sitting in a long line of cars waiting to be escorted through by a pilot car. Had plenty of time to examine a house on the side of the road that is for sale.. only $550 a month for a square box with probably two rooms. Maybe three – I’m sure by now it has indoor plumbing. The 12 year old is making a case for why we should buy it, or possibly a larger house, so we can come up here any time we want. It would have been an excellent time for a lesson in economics, but homeschooler status notwithstanding, I have finally relaxed, so I let it go with the comment, “Okay, dear, right after I buy you that pony.”

11:55 a.m.  While being escorted through the roadwork, we missed the turn to the antique store.  The Quick Thinking Husband turned at the next road and pulled a U turn so we could turn back onto the main road.  It was at this juncture we noticed the sign the construction crew had put at the intersection we wanted to enter.

I have a feeling this is going to be a really long wait.  I mean, we sat there a good five minutes and that sawhorse didn’t budge an inch.

12:05 p.m.  Finally made it to the antiques store, which turns out to be named “Treasures Trove.”  Because, you know, they have more than one treasure there.

12:10 p.m. The music inside the store is provided by a record player and consists of easy listening favorites from the 40s and 50s.  Which I thought was a really neat addition to the atmosphere in there until my kids asked me what that machine was that was playing the music.  The TechnoNerd Husband explained it in great detail to the kids, who were fascinated.  I noticed that the record player looked a lot like the one I had as a teenager and just felt really old.

12:15 p.m. Turns out the 17 year old’s aim in antiquing centered more around taking photos than actually buying anything.  But she really did a good job of capturing the ambiance of the place.

12:20  We had the store to ourselves for a few minutes there, but it has been invaded by three large women with loud voices. Which doesn’t really bother us, except for the fact that the 17 year old and I, in order to fend off peals of uncontrollable giggles, must now avoid catching each other’s eye. Somehow the combination of the Italian accent of the sweet little shopkeeper, Montovani blaring from the record player and the inane comments these women keep sharing with the entire shop, pleased with their own cleverness, one supposes, is just too much for me. I may have to go sit in the van.

12:22 p.m. “Hey Linda, look! There’s some little statues here of frogs here playing poker. Look, look at the frogs. Oh, look, they’re on lily pads, Linda, look at that.” To which Linda replies, in a supercilious tone, “Well of course they’re on lily pads. They’re frogs.” Well. Score one for Linda, I guess.

12:30 p.m. Carefully squeezing past one of the women, who had plopped herself down on an antique chair and was blocking the main aisle, the 12 year old clutched her latest find, a story about horses called “King of the Wind.” I remember reading it at her age. The woman in the chair stopped her and asked, “Whatcha got there? Kings of the Wings? Huh. That a book about birds?” The 12 year old glanced wordlessly at the picture of the horse on the cover and then just smiled and said, “I’m not sure. I haven’t read it yet.”

12:45 p.m. The 10 year old has found something he ABSOLUTELY must have. More so, apparently, than the typewriter the 12 year old has been making a case for. It’s a pocket book of Greek and Roman Art. It appears his preoccupation earlier this year with Greek myths is spreading into an interest with all things classical. Trying to contain my exuberance, I casually sighed and said, “Oh, well, if you must.”

1:00 p.m. Having torn ourselves away from the Treasures Trove, we are heading back to the campground. Oh no. Here comes the hairpin turn.

Just to qualify, this is the Boy Scout Shower-Fixin’ Husband and me, not the older, weathered biker couple grandparents.

1:30 p.m. The grilled cheese sandwiches were such a hit the other night, we decided to repeat the meal for lunch. I don’t even know where the darned spreadsheet is.

2:30 p.m. Back at the lake for another dip. This time the 17 year old and I went in and swam into the deep part. I pretended not to know the 12 and 10 year olds, who were showing a dead fish to a group of small children.

2:45 p.m. One lap of the lake at altitude was plenty of exercise for me. The 17 year old and I are sunning ourselves and listening to the older, weathered, biker couple sitting near us discussing their five year old grandson.

“Did you see that?”
“What?”
“Little Jeremy just borrowed someone’s shovel, used it for a minute and then dropped it right in the water and walked away from it.”
“That’s not right”
“Oh no, look, the owner of the shovel just came to get it and he yelled at her and said he wasn’t done with it.”
“Oh. That’s bull****.”
“Oh, I’m gonna have to get that kid over here. Jeremy! Jeremy honey, come here.”

What followed after that was the sweetest, kindest Grandma to Grandson chat I have ever heard, wherein Grandma calmly explained why the boy’s behavior was wrong, patiently answered his pleas of, “But I was TRYING to be nice, Grandma” and didn’t back down an inch from what she was saying. They then left the lake, much to my dismay, because I just wanted to sit at her feet and ask her how she did it.

Maybe by the time I’m a Grandma I’ll be able to show that much love and justice at the same time. It’s something to aspire to, at any rate.

3:30 p.m. The kids are finally done with the lake and are eyeing the Malt Shoppe. They are making a truly convincing case for a plate of fries. Or two.

3:45 p.m. Caved in. Enjoying a strawberry shake. I can get back on the diet next week.

4:30 p.m. Waddled back into the campsite to find the Well Rested Husband raring to go on dinner. None of us are hungry. Oops.

6:00 p.m. The kids have discovered some of the board games I packed and are happily playing Life. I remember playing that at their age. Only when I played it, it didn’t involve credit cards and lottery tickets. I wouldn’t mind so much about the lottery tickets if they made it accurate, so that you always lost way more than you spent on them, but the 12 year old just won $12,000. Totally unrealistic. And I think if they are going to teach kids about credit and gambling, they ought to include a Life of Crime path too. I’m just sayin’…

9:00 p.m. The Boy Scout Husband and I got about half the campsite packed this evening. We should be out of here in the morning by 10. Or 11. Or noon. Whatever.

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