The 2nd Anniversary Annihilation

Later this week (the 21st) would have been the 10th wedding anniversary with my ex-husband. In honor of the fact that we’re still friends and it’s been so terribly long since the events which I’m about to describe occurred, I’m going to tell you the story of what happened that fateful summer of ’03.

First of all, I need to tell you about the wedding. It was HOT. Who gets married in late July in Houston? Heat indexes alone were in the 110s or some such nonsense that day. In the video of our wedding ceremony, you can see me oh-so-subtly take my arm from his, wipe the sweat from my armpit and then nonchalantly continue with the ceremony.

We were never going to have a cool, 80-degree anniversary in Texas, and yet, two short years later, we got the bright idea to go camping… in Texas. David and I bought supplies. In the end, I believe that anniversary trip to San Marcos cost us about US $1.8 million in tent, ice chest, camp stove, sleeping bag, new car(!) and camp site registration. We were very-nearly-almost prepared for camping and tubing on the river.

We meticulously packed the car. We painstakingly unpacked the same car upon arrival 2 hours away from our home, and set up camp.David made sure to tell the check-in people that he’d been a boy scout and finally convinced me to trust his skills at this camping thing.

We met the neighboring campers in the motor home next to us.

David bragged (well, you did, didn’t you?) about his Eagle Scout background to the guy with the motor home. As he bragged, I noticed, but it did not register, that the pinwheel stuck next to motor-home-man’s temporary abode didn’t spin.

We made dinner and cleaned up, and the stupid pinwheel never moved. David bragged to pop-up-family to our left about his Eagle Scout background before we headed for a walk along the river.

I sopped sweat from my temples and torso like I was getting married, and David admitted he felt pretty hot, but the general sense of foreboding didn’t hit us until we turned into our two-person green nylon tent for the night.

All the windows needed to be opened. We lay on top of the sleeping bag, sans clothes, on our anniversary… and on opposite sides of the tent because it was just too dang hot for physical contact. To my right, I could see that taunting pinwheel, motionless.

An hour later, we decided to leave. I’m not sure if he was tired of hearing me whine, I was tired of hearing him whine, or he thought his plans for anniversary fun might be more well met in a building with air conditionining.

David couldn’t pack up, having bragged to every breathing being in the campground of his mad skillz and Eagle Scoutness. So, he backed the brand new car to the tent. We surreptitiously repacked the car and then, rather than taking our tent down, he shoved it in to the trunk and we drove away, three hours after arriving in San Marcos. As I looked back, I saw the pinwheel, unmoving, unspinning, just… stopped.

What’s the application? What have I learned?

Don’t vacation in hell, and if you do, please, for the love of icy cold drinks, don’t brag about how it’s going to be great.

Tell me I’m not the only one with a holiday-from-Hades story!

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24 responses to “The 2nd Anniversary Annihilation

  1. Good one! How about our honeymoon wake up call in Bermuda? The maid came in to announce breakfast downstairs at 7 am. I freaked (I’m a lot calmer now, really) and my new husband rented a stand alone cottage.

  2. Kristin…..You have probably just described the future in some weird cosmic way……WEIRD!
    I’ve been begging my wife for us to take the kids camping at the same place you mentioned….out by the river in New Braunfuels….
    She is Like NO!
    She is Like…why on earth would I want to sleep outside when I have a nice comfy bed….or the hotels have nice comfy beds….
    She is Like…I love the air condition too much….

    The other day, I mentioned it again….and she said maybe…

    But after reading your story (seeing as my wife would have acted like you….and the kids would have complained the exact same way….and I’m not a boy scout in the least!…..) I’m going to have to let it go!!! lol….

    Well, not entirely….maybe we can do it sometime…in the fall….or just go somewhere else to do it in the summer…like colorado! lol….

  3. Girl, when I was married, we lived in California for a short while because my ex was in the military. We decided to try our hand at camping, only it was the cooler months and when you drive up in the mountains during the cooler months, it’s freezing…snow on the ground freezing. He, like your ex, was bragging about how camping in a tent would be fun and how excited he was to cook breakfast on the grill the next morning. So, we rent gear from the base commissary and head out in my Mustang to the mountains. We get there, set up our tent and take a walk around (in our thick jackets because it’s cold). It’s not long before it’s time to settle in for the night. The wind is blowing and the tent is thin and our sleeping bags even feel thin. We lay there for as long as we can before I tell him I just can’t anymore. I was so ready to go home but he was adamant about cooking breakfast on the grill so we compromise and sleep in the Mustang. And when I say sleep, I mean, we catch an hour or two and then wake up to turn the heater on for about 30 minutes to warm up the car, catch another hour, wake up, turn the heater on…you catch my drift. Finally, it’s morning and while he’s cooking his breakfast on the grill, I’m not only wearing my jacket, but I’m wearing one of his military jackets that is supposed to be wind proof and I’m freezing my rear off!
    So, I feel your pain!!

  4. Back in college, a friend and I decided to go camping in Palo Duro canyon. She and I are both pretty “outdoorsy,” so we were confident we could handle anything we encountered out there. Over the next 12 hours, we encountered: a great tarantula migration (more tarantulas than I’ve ever seen in my life!), creepy campground neighbors (if you’ve ever seen Deliverance, you know what I’m talking about), a torrential downpour, and a leaky tent.

    The next morning, we got up and went for a hike. By that time, we were sopping wet and exhausted, but bound and determined to have a good time, even if it killed us! We hiked for about 20 minutes before a park ranger flagged us down. Apparently, the canyon was starting to flood from all the rain, and they expected the floodwaters to cover the only road out within the next hour or so. We finally took that as a sign that it wasn’t meant to be, packed up all our gear (minus the tent, which went in the dumpster), and left. Needless to say, it was a rather humbling experience….

  5. If there is one thing that is guaranteed to get me in a bad mood is heat. Don’t get me wrong, I love summer, but when the temperatures are really toasty, guaranteed you get a cranky Moe. Cranky Moe is dangerous and snaps frantically. That happened to me when I went to Mexico to visit Chichen Itza ( http://bit.ly/qXqEy5 ). I’m not kidding it must have been dessert-like 120 degrees in that sucka. Loved the tour, but I was annoyed.

    With that said, I have some of the greatest pics taken during that trip.

  6. i had a canoe trip from hell. we spent more time pushing the canoe because the water was too low. the mosquitoes were ferocious. and the guys with me are big guys, non-outdoorsy type. i can deal with bad conditions, if I don’t have to deal 2 whiny guys. I know the 2 of them have never gone canoeing since (that being close to 20 years ago). I’ve learned to choose my partners in adventure more selectively (as well making better choice in adventures).

  7. I feel like I didn’t get the story. Maybe it’s because I don’t know anything about a pinwheel or what it does or why it’s weird that it wasn’t moving. Either way…yeah, lost.

    I can’t think of a terrible vacation but I did go on a cruise two years ago. I felt like I was rocking on the boat for almost two weeks afterwards. I was starting to freak out pretty badly just as it went away.

  8. When I was 12 we drove from Los Angeles to San Antonio in the middle of summer (had to be July or August)…. and the AC in the car went out. Nope, we didn’t get it fixed. It was just as bad the trip back home…. :-/

  9. This was awesome.

    I got shaken down by Jamaican customs leaving Jamaica.

    “You have an excessive weight bag fee, mon.

    I shouldn’t. I didn’t pay it on the way here and we didn’t add anything.

    But you still have da fee, mon.

    How much?

    How much you got, mon?

    $45 in cash….

    Whaddya know, mon. Dat’s how much da fee cost.”

    He wadded up the cash and slipped it into his pants pocket in front of me. I’d have felt better if he just pointed a gun at me and took it.

  10. We used to go camping, but in a trailer. I much prefer a trailer to a tent. I don’t know if I’ve actually slept in a tent, but I still prefer a trailer :o).

  11. Crazy! The worst vacation ever…I can’t really say. But I will tell you it involved lots of pulling over and lots of projectile vomiting.

  12. i only camp in hotels with room service. but i love tubing… so i can see the draw for half of this trip :o)

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