Camp Roughing It

Our family has been taking a stay-cation for over a week now. We didn’t exactly plan on this, but the upstairs air conditioning went out. Not to fear, we have insurance. Long story short, the a/c guy told us last Tuesday that it would take five to seven business days for him to get the necessary parts and authorization from the insurance company in order to come back out and fix it. Five to seven business days? We’d be without our upstairs air for a full week? Couldn’t he just come back − tomorrow?

Not exactly.

Alas, grumbling about the good old days when one could get next day service wasn’t going to improve our situation, so we decided just to make due because − like we had any other choice?! As you might expect, not being able to use half of our house has created a bit of a challenge. A sense of humor helps; hence, we’ve dubbed our living situation “Camp Roughing It.” Here’s a breakdown of some of the fun activities we’ve endured enjoyed at camp so far:


Living in temporarily much-closer quarters, we’ve learned to appreciate each other more − all while not killing one another. We play cards and watch TV together. We’re sharing sleeping space and bathrooms. Sure, it gets a little crowded and a little stinky − but that’s what roughing it is all about. And also why Febreeze was invented.


Ryan and Lauren’s bedrooms are upstairs, so we set up twin-sized mattresses in the living room. These mattresses are usually reserved for guests and they aren’t the most comfortable, but they’re better than sleeping on the bare floor or using air mattresses that always leak. Our cats wholeheartedly endorse this sleeping arrangement because they have even more soft, cushy places where they can relax.

Merlin: Mascot for Camp Roughing It
Merlin: Mascot for Camp Roughing It

Lauren lasted precisely one night. On night two, she came into our bedroom complaining that she just couldn’t take it anymore. Her mattress was killing her back and she had to get up early to go to work. David was kind enough to trade places with her. I was kind enough to put on sleepwear. For the remainder of camp, Lauren and I are bunking together. I suppose it could be worse. Ryan could have been the one with the bad back − in which case, he would be taking over our bed and I would also be pulling up rug. Nope. At that point, I would have high-tailed it to a local motel. I, too, have a bad back. Not only that, but I also have a credit card, dammit, and I know how to use it! By the way, having to wear clothing to sleep in reminds me of why I normally don’t!

David sleeping at Camp Roughing It
David sleeping at Camp Roughing It


Ryan's sleeping quarters at Camp Roughing It

Ryan’s sleeping quarters at Camp Roughing It


Lauren waking up at Camp Roughing It



In some ways, this week has actually worked in my favor. I don’t have to worry about cleaning − guilt-free! Laundry has come to a screeching halt because what’s the point if you can’t put clean laundry away and it just accumulates on furniture? Who needs to vacuum or dust or make beds when different people are trying to catch up on sleep throughout the day and night. The vacuum makes a lot of noise and no one likes dust falling on their face when they are sleeping. This week, sleep takes priority. Also, who needs to cook? Cooking creates heat. With the heat temperature index upwards of 105 degrees outside, we wait until dark and then go out and forage for food − at restaurants.


Not only are the kids’ rooms upstairs, but so is my computer, which I use to work on business, writing and online courses. Homework was due last Friday and I put it off as long as I could, but by Thursday morning, I finally braved the heat to get my homework done. I didn’t last five minutes. I came trudging back down, a hot mess having an asthma attack. I had no other choice but to set up shop in the only place left with space: our bedroom.

“Can’t you just use my computer,” David asked. He uses the other downstairs bedroom for his office.


“Well, how about the laptop?”


“So you’re telling me that you have to have all of your computer equipment brought down and reassembled?”

“Yes. But if that’s too much trouble, I can just drop the courses. What’s a mere $1,500? Otherwise, I need my computer and everything that goes with it.”

“Printer, too?”

“Of course.”

Now everyone, including me, has their work space; except I still don’t have task lighting. Like that’s even important!

My temporary office set up at Camp Roughing It
My temporary office set up at Camp Roughing It


I’m not sure what Ryan is working on, but he’s taken over the entire kitchen table. Since we aren’t eating at home, who cares? The important thing is: we have electricity, running water, Wi-Fi and cable. And love. And manners, too. After all, roughing it doesn’t mean we have to be uncivilized.

Ry working on a big project: Merlin supervising at Camp Roughing It
Ry working on a big project: Merlin supervising at Camp Roughing It



We’re giving each other space, quiet and extra allowances. Here are some of our other strategies for making it through:

Ice Cream and Alcohol

Ice cream keeps us cool and tastes yummy − do I really need to explain alcohol?


Everyone’s discovered that extra long showers are the best way to escape. It’s not sipping mai tai’s while floating in a swimming pool, but showers are good for singing camp songs. “Oh, they built the ship Titanic to sail the ocean blue…” Note to self: Invest in a tank less water heater.

Road Trip

Lastly, there’s nothing quite like getting away from it all by taking a short road trip to the store. As I walk aimlessly up and down the store’s aisles, I’m transported to a serene, pristine white, sandy beach. I feel the fresh, salty sea breezes that keep me cool. The water is sparkling and the skies are azure. Off in the distance is my private, beachfront home. I sigh because, face it, this is the life! Not only do I have staff that do everything, but they are exceptional − which allows me to focus on writing bestsellers or taking in gorgeous sunsets or entertaining family and friends at my renowned cocktail parties on the shore! I hear a seagull screeching…

I’m taken out of my reverie and crawl out of the pages of Coastal Living to discover myself standing at the magazine rack at Wal-Mart. A disheveled woman, early twenties, is pushing a shopping cart with her phone jammed between her ear and shoulder while searching in her diaper bag for something. She finds what she’s looking for and pops the pacifier into her screaming child’s mouth (terrible two’s) − his bare legs dangling from his perch in the cart. He has one shoe on and one shoe missing. This is my seagull. Thank God, the pacifier has quieted the little rugrat!

Speaking of rugrats, it’s time to return home. Hopefully, the a/c guy will call with good news soon so we can break down camp. I can’t wait to put everything back in order! More than anything, I can’t wait for David and me to be able to share our bed again. And privacy! Oh, Privacy, how I have missed you!

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