That said, let's just put it right out there that this summer is thus far a humid one for Colorado. Head East and you get more humidity. Humidity = mosquitoes. A plethora of them. As in, we each needed our own personal bottle of bug spray to apply every 20 minutes. Get the picture? Add to that an unknown fact (until now) that E has brutal reactions to bug bites. At any time during our trip she had eyes swollen like she had been in some cage fight (Tom's words, not mine). She also had a huge knot in the middle of her shin...all from stupid mosquitoes. On top of all that, I was completely paranoid about putting any deet-based bug repellent on her for fear of causing blindness or some kind of poisoning. Here's an example of my paranoia: during the first night, E woke up screaming. Tom tried to calm her down but it just got worse and worse. Next, I tried to calm her down. I noticed in the beam of the flashlight that E was not focusing on anything and looked blank. I started screaming at Tom, "She can't see! Can she see?!" to which Tom replied, "How the heck should I know?!" Then I started yelling at E, "E, look at Mommy! E, LOOK AT MOM-MEEEE!! Tom, she's blind!! She can't see me!" Tom just looked at me like I was crazy and said, "What are you talking about?!" I said, "It's the deet! She's blind from deet!" About that time was when E snapped out of whatever nightmare she was in and finally looked at me, put her binkie in her mouth, and laid down to go back to sleep. Crisis over. The next morning our friends in the tent next to us asked how E's eyesight was. Yeah, I don't do well with paranoia in the middle of the night. Oh, and for the record, C sleeps like a rock. Not once did he waken in the midst of the chaos. Bless him. I, on the other hand, got about 4 hours of sleep since there were also train tracks just over the hill from us that (and I am so not kidding here) had a train blowing by every 20 minutes or so. That was the first night.
The next day, 4th of July, was nice...albeit cloudy and nowhere near the nice hot temps of the day before. Despite that, we walked to the lake and played around a bit in the water until C was shaking uncontrollably and had blue lips...a good indication that perhaps it was time to go. We then returned to camp to eat lunch and take much-needed naps. Around 6:30 we packed up food and grills and headed to Ogallala for tailgating and fireworks. Nice right? Weeeell, the fireworks started about an hour later than expected. During this time you see another kind of fireworks on the horizon, in the form of lightening...the constant un-ending kind with no real thunder. Not a big deal in theory. Until we left. We drove in a TORRENTIAL downpour all the way back to the campsite. This was the stuff of hurricanes with excessive wind and rain. We show up at 11pm to this:
Yes, that would be our collapsed tent. Our brand new, barely a month-old tent.
Here's a "before" just for kicks:
Yep, our tent was done in by the storm. The front pole snapped in two places and bent at very odd angles in others. On top of it all, water managed to seep in and completely drench our sleeping bags and clothes. Fun times. While Tom was in the pouring rain assessing the damage, I proceeded to have a total breakdown in the car, crying "why?! WHY??!!", tears streaming down my face, and shaking my fists at the sky. Keep in mind, I was very tired and I think we have already established that I don't do well with drama when I am tired. So to make a long story short (I know, too late), we ended up checking into a crappy Motel 6 at 1am in the morning with a car full of wet stuff, leaving our forlorn-looking tent back at camp. Our very kind friends (who had a pop-up tent camper, mind you) ended up dismantling the tent for us and brought it to us the next day..when the skies were clear and blue and the sun was shining and we were not there. Sigh.
Tom came home today and immediately started looking for used tent-campers. We are so done with tents.