Category Archives: Family

The Me Before I Became Me

Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies  who will dazzle you with insight on various topics.  After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

Denise often comes up with thought-provoking ideas. This week is no exception with, Remember me…

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the Sara I used to be, before I morphed into the Sara I am, now. It happened after I’d found a large stash of my poetry hidden away in a shoe box. I was looking for inspiration, trying to find my way back to Sara the poet. It’s been years since I’d written a single stanza, and I needed something for my writing class.

Amidst the rather bad poetry, I saw glimmers of a young woman who surrounded herself with words. Not much has changed there. I read every day. I’ve done that for several years, but it’s never been my own works, my own words. It seems I put those aspirations away once I’d decided it was time for me to “grow up”. Get some “real” aspirations.

But why do I have to? I mean, if writing is something I’m passionate about, why stop? Why do I feel like I have to shelve the things that inspire me, if it might not measure up to some ideal of what’s acceptable or not?

Like the proverbial snowball effect, thoughts tumbled down a slippery slope of remembrance, bringing me full circle to the other things I used to enjoy, like-

Roller Skating: I could be described as a certifiable “rink rat” when I was a kid. My father DJ’ed the local roller rink, and when I wasn’t in school, I was roller skating. This went on for several years. I made some lasting friendships, had my heart broken a few (or more) times, and thrived within a very unconventional childhood. I still have my quads, passed down to me from my little sister when she outgrew them. They’re sitting in my garage right now, outdoor wheels on, ready to be worn again. Every time I see them, I’m filled with a desire to slip them on and go for a roll around the neighborhood. I swear I will, one of these days.

Singing: Singing had always been  a part of me, just like breathing. So much so, I’d annoy friends and loved ones with my constant warbling. Which is probably why I felt a little awkward during a recent karaoke stint. A friend had asked that I duet with him. He had this notion that I was the old Sara, the one who couldn’t shut up, who had a somewhat decent voice and could carry a tune. Years of choir will do that to a voice box. But, I don’t sing nearly as much as I used to, an understatement, really. Often my radio is turned off. When I listen to music, it’s during a run. My brain is always focused on the next thing, the next task, that I completely block out any opportunity to sing. And while I was a good sport and did the duet, I wasn’t near as confident as I once was. Later I went solo, choosing Young MC’s “Bust A Move”. That was a lot of fun!

I need to sing more. We all need to sing more! It doesn’t matter how you sound. Singing is good for the soul. It just feels good, whether you’re singing, screeching, or rapping to Young MC.

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Dancing: If I could figure out how to post home movies on here, I’d flood this post with my ridiculously fun dancing. I used to choreograph routines with my best friend. We’d pick random songs and come up with something we felt was very creative and artistic, wearing unique outfits she’d created. She’s a dynamite seamstress. Whenever I visit my hometown, I visit her. And whenever I visit her, we pop in the home movies, watching our antics. I enjoy dancing, still do, but there never seems to be the time for it. Or I totally embarrass my kids if I do a shuffle through a store that’s playing music, like Old Navy or the local grocer. I’ve often felt the urge to get up and bust a move, no pun intended, Young MC. I really need to just do it, even if it’s for a few minutes in the comfort of my own home.

Me in my very early 20's... dancing
Me in my early 20’s… dancing

It’s not like I’m devoid of hobbies and interests. Over the years, I’ve picked up some new ones. Like running/fitness. Blogging. Taking care of my family. I don’t want to let that go. But, I want to incorporate some of the old Sara back into my life.

I can wear my roller skates while walking with the kids to school. And while you may not see me at a karaoke bar anytime soon, it doesn’t mean I won’t be belting out my own personal rendition of some Alanis Morissette song while driving in the car. Or Nirvana. Always Nirvana.

And if you see a woman dancing in the aisles of your local grocer, just allow her to carry on. Or join her, if you’d like. Maybe you’re looking for the you before you became you, too.

Murray for President… and a Lunch Date?

Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies  who will dazzle you with insight on various topics.  After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

For this week’s topic, Denise asked that we write about two people with whom we’d love to sit down and have a meal. One must be living, and one must not. To make it easier, do not write about any family members.

Bill Murray appears to be the type of guy I could spend an afternoon with, breaking bread, having a few drinks. Shooting the shit. Maybe it’s just some celebrity-inspired persona set forth by the media or by Murray himself, but I don’t think so. He seems as though he has an awesome energy surrounding him.

I’ve read the stories. Like the time he was invited to someone’s birthday party and he showed up, bringing along a friend of his who just so happened to be a chef, happy to cater the affair. Or the occasional karaoke hang out, singing with complete strangers, Or crashing a bachelor party. I could go on, but you can read more about it here.

He seems really down to earth, as though being a celebrity hasn’t completely affected his humanity. As though he doesn’t see a divide between the world he lives in, and the one we’re in. Because really, there isn’t one. We’re all human beings who pretty much live life in similar fashions. Yet some of us live under the microscope, and what I appreciate most about Murray is his need to remove it.

I’ve also heard the rumors on how horrifically difficult it is for anyone to reach him. He has no manager. You want to talk with him, you call a 1-800 number. You leave a message? You might hear from him. You might not. This applies to everyone, celebrity or not. I don’t think he has twitter accounts or a Facebook, either. No Instagram. No voice mail. Just an old fashioned answering machine, at his service.

He’s quirky and unique, and I think it would be a real treat to have a conversation with the guy. And sing a little karaoke. I’d totally be down for that.

I might be skewing the lines a little, where our topic is concerned, since I consider my friend Jill to be part of my family in a sense. But since we aren’t genetically tied to one another, I figure my fellow bloggers will allow me this one.

I really, really, REALLY miss my friend Jill. She was the sort of person you could never forget, once you got to know her. She presented herself as this super tough bad ass, and not that she wasn’t. I mean, I would never want to get into a fight with her. I’m sure she would have won, by a lot.

Even though she had a super teflon exterior, Jill was all sorts of mushy on the inside. She got teary-eyed when I’d asked for her to be my pseudo-mom at my wedding. Or, when she saw me in my wedding dress for the very first time. She was choosy with her affections, careful to pick only the best people to surround herself with, and those who were in her circle knew just how much they were loved by her.

I’d love to have a meal with her again. If this were her choice, I imagine we’d go and eat something totally not good for us, because she believed in enjoying yourself from time to time. Not to sweat the petty, because it’s no fun if you can’t have a milkshake every once in a while, as she so eloquently told me once, when I was questioning a strawberry shake from the drive-thru. “Sara Lea. It’s no big deal. You don’t have a milkshake every day. Every once in a while is fine!”

Or maybe we’d have her favorite pizza from Pizza King, in Council Bluffs, IA. I have to admit, it’s pretty good pizza. She’d most likely invite me over, since she felt most comfortable in her own surroundings, and enjoyed having people over for good food and card games.

I miss talking about the mundane with her. She always had this uncanny ability to help me really see a situation, versus working myself up over it, like I’m prone to do. And she never minded when I’d bring my boys along. In fact, she loved seeing them. The one year I forgot to make a pit stop to see her on Halloween with my boys, dressed up in their cute costumes, I heard about it for months.

I can honestly say that I think about her at least once a day.  I can still hear her voice, remembering the inflections. She’s been gone almost four years this December, but time hasn’t erased her. I don’t think it ever could.

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The Summer Chronicles

Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies  who will dazzle you with insight on various topics.  After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

It’s been a long time, ladies! 

After a summer hiatus, the blog group is back in full swing, with a minor adjustment. Due to the busy lives we all contend with, we’ve decided to start blogging bi-monthly. It gives us all a much-needed break between posts, allowing us time to reflect on the topics we’re given.

To kick us back into the routine, it was Tracey’s choice, and she chose: My summer. 

Summer floated by, a two-month break that never feels long enough. When I was kid, we were given a solid three months, with school ending early June, picking back up the day after Labor Day. That’s not the way it works in Arizona. We’ve got a modified school year schedule. That means, more vacation time during the year, less vacation time during summer break.

The day after my eldest had chanted his “no more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks”, we were off on a camping adventure to San Diego, CA at the end of May.  Or, should I say, a misadventure? Either way, there were a lot more pros than cons, and there’s been enough time that’s passed by now to look back on the trip with more fondness, less annoyance. I’m so glad we spent a week with close friends. Well, more like close family. I’d be willing to endure any number of camper water leaks for their company, again!

Camping at Santee Lakes, San Diego CA
Camping at Santee Lakes, San Diego CA

I’d heard through the grapevine (Facebook) that there was a special activities card called the “Pogo Pass“. In a nutshell, it’s a pass that allows the user to attend various venues, like water parks, mini-golf/bowling, zoos, etc. for free. Why is it free? Because the Pogo people have entered into contracts with said venues, to offer discounted rates for those carrying the Pass. For $40 (a special rate offered through our elementary school), I received a year-long ticket into places my boys enjoy, like glow mini-golf, or a place called Makutu’s Island.  We spent a lot of time with the Pass during the summer.

Oh! And, the library. We can never forget about the library, but that’s a give in. We always go to the library.

My husband celebrated a birthday in June. Mine in July. We also celebrated our seven year wedding anniversary. I often joke and mention how my cat, Tank (God rest his soul), is the longest relationship I’ve ever entered into.  Thirteen years. Ninety-one in cat years. Give it another seven, and my husband will surpass that.

The boys started a new year of school in July. Suddenly, I found myself with a sixth grader, and a kindergartner. I used to imagine what it would be like, feeling like that day was a distant experience, yet there it was. BAM. I always figured I’d have a lot more time on my hands, but I’m still not feeling it. Maybe I’m putting too much emphasis on filling my days up with projects and stuff to do. I could be going about it the wrong way.

There are plenty of days where I miss them while they’re gone.

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I went to my twenty-year high school reunion last month. I still can’t believe it’s been that long. I remember a time where I thought that anyone in their thirties had to be OLD, but now I live by the motto of, “thirties are the new twenties”. I really believe that. I think I’m healthier, and happier, the older I get. I guess that comes with time, and wisdom.

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Overall, it was a fun, worthwhile summer. But, I’m looking forward to the cooler temps and the fall/winter holidays that beckon this time every year. As with most things, it feels like it will take forever, but it never does. It will be here before we know, and go just as fast, just like summer breaks do!

 

Firsts

A lot can happen over the course of two weeks. For starters, I’ve finally entered the 21st Century, technologically, by purchasing a new phone. And not just any old phone. A real-life Smart phone. The kind that has a data plan.

That wasn’t my intention. I was going to adopt my husband’s hand-me-down cell phone. Anything would have been a step up from my own 2009 LG disaster.

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As you can see, the phone I’d carried around with me for nearly eight years wouldn’t even close properly anymore. Sometimes, the whole thing would collapse in my hands while I attempted to text someone. I tried really hard to steer clear of a Smart phone. Really hard, obviously. (look at that pic of my old phone). But, that was that, and when it was discovered that my husband’s hand-me-down had a bad battery, I stepped into 2016.

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It’s a nice phone. But I’m trying really hard not to get sucked into it’s capabilities. Like Facebook. Email. And all the other apps that I don’t recognize and have no intention of using. That was my whole reason for holding onto the old phone for so long. I didn’t want to become another face in a phone.

I am now a college student. My writing class started up last week. I’m the oldest person in the class, if you don’t count the instructor, who’s maybe five years older. The girl sitting across from me, she’s only seventeen. But, it feels good. I don’t think I was mature enough for college when I was at a more acceptable age, although I’m starting to realize there’s no such thing as an acceptable age. College is for every age. I’ve seen plenty of people my age, even older, rushing to class the mornings I attend.

I had to read something about myself, aloud, to the class. It was nerve-wracking. You’d think my age would somehow omit me from embarrassment, yet it doesn’t. After I did it, it felt as though I’d ripped some band aid from my soul. The one that fears criticism. A nice ice breaker.

My son is on an all-girl volleyball team. I don’t think he’s the first boy to do something like this, but it’s a first for us. I had received an email from the school district’s sports league, with a listing of available sports for the fall season. Anytime I see information like that, I read on down the line, see if anything interests him. When I mentioned volleyball, he was very interested.

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So, I signed him up. I had no idea it was an all-girl thing. I didn’t find that out until a couple of days later, when I received an email directly from the school with information on GIRLS volleyball. I put two and two together.

I waited a few days, to see if anyone would contact me. Tell me he couldn’t play. No one did. I decided to contact the teacher in charge. I wanted to see if any other boys had signed up, or if he would even be allowed to play. The teacher got back with me, and I was pleasantly surprised. She was very supportive of my son playing volleyball. She didn’t see any trouble with it, and while she’d made sure to check in with the person in charge of the sports league and was waiting to hear back, she welcomed him to his first practice.

My son told me he did get a few eyebrow raises from some of the girls participating, the ones who didn’t know he’d signed up. They were surprised, but no one gave him any grief. He detailed how he’d handed out the perfect serve, how exciting it was. I could tell just how much he enjoyed practice, how much he’s enjoying volleyball.

I’m really proud of him. He’s stepping outside of his comfort zone, because he wants to participate in a sport he enjoys. I don’t know why there aren’t more boys on volleyball teams, or why there aren’t more coed teams, particularly at the elementary school level. Boys (men) play volleyball. Like these guys:

 

2016 USA Men’s Volleyball

Maybe this will start a discussion. Maybe boys will be allowed to play, have their own teams, go co-ed. I can’t say for sure, and I don’t know if his interest in volleyball will carry on past the 6th grade. All I know is, he’s having fun, he’s enjoying himself, and I’ll be there, supporting him at every game.

 

 

The Twenty Year Reunion

I’ve been friends with the same person for nearly thirty years. We’ve known each other since grade school, and amidst the highs and lows, peaks and valleys that often come from sustaining a friendship during those crazy adolescent years, we’re still friends. Pretty good friends, in fact. Best friends.

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We made a pact shortly before our high school’s ten year reunion. It wasn’t anything monumental, really. Just a simple understanding between the two of us. We’d go to the reunion, together. We’d go together to any and all reunions in the future, too.

What I remember most about the ten year, is that it didn’t feel as though much time had gone by. Not really. Most of us still looked a lot like we had in high school, although my appearance was different. I had a hippie vibe to me, when I was a teen. Long hair down to my butt. I carried a man’s wallet in the back pocket of my Levi’s, and I rarely wore anything even remotely feminine. Which is probably why someone had made the comment that I was the most changed.

At the 10 year
At the 10 year

The last ten years went by quickly, a blur of children, husbands, life choices and commitments, changes in my occupation, a myriad of the stuff that makes life, life. Suddenly, the twenty year loomed ahead, a reminder that another decade had swallowed most of us up, and it was time to go back and be reminded of the kids we used to be.

And, you can’t escape that feeling. No matter how hard you try, or how often you tell yourself that we’re all twenty years older now. There’s still that part of you that clings to the memories of what you’d been, how someone else had treated you, the friendships or frenemies you’d made back then. It’s still the same, for the most part. At the party, I really didn’t associate with the girls who picked on me, and they vaguely remembered who I was. If they remembered the rough times, they weren’t saying.

For some, there was no divide. I reconnected with people who I loved whole-heartedly. The ones who were great friends of mine, still are, really. I also connected with those who I never would have connected with in the old days. Those moments felt wonderful. It was like getting to meet someone new for the first time, that you have common ground with. Something you may have never achieved when you’re on different sides of the fence.

Time has changed me. I think I was a lot more outgoing, although inside I was hiding a shy girl, trying hard to squash her. Now, I’m a little more shy, trying to coax the independent, outgoing girl to make an appearance, to show who she is. My best friend, she’s still the same girl. Fiercely headstrong. She had no qualms about talking to nearly every single person there that night, whether they’d ever been friends or not.

Karaoke at the pre-party
Karaoke at the pre-party

There were moments where I sat alone, reflecting, taking it all in. It was a strange. Fun. Awkward. Exhilarating time. I got to dance. I had a few drinks. My feet were killing me. (I’m still a bit of a tomboy, so I rarely wear heels. ) Afterwards, we tried to go to an after party, but the bar had reached max capacity. We were turned away. We made the best of it by eating dinner downtown, at an all-hours eatery conveniently named, “Kitchen”. Maybe it was the booze. Maybe it was the ambiance, but the food was more than a little delicious. One of the best chicken avocado sandwiches I’ve ever had, hands down.

When I’m asked how my reunion went, I say, “It was fun. But it wasn’t fun.” It’s hard to explain my conflicting emotions. There were a few things I wish had gone down differently, but overall, it was well worth the visit. Spending time with my best friend, another close friend of mine in town, family, friends, and attending a pre-party in downtown Portland where I got to reconnect with the people I love and form new friendships- well, they say you can’t ever go back, but you can. I’m different, but in some ways, I’m still that girl with really long hair and a wallet in her butt pocket. She’s an independent, outgoing girl, and it’s okay to let her out every once in a while.

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The 20 year

When One Door Closes…

I used to imagine what it would be like, when both my boys started elementary school. That first day felt so impossibly far away, hard to picture during what felt like endless diaper changes and temper tantrums (sometimes my own, sometimes the children’s). I knew my boys were growing, but when you’re part of the day in, day out of life, it’s hard to see it at times. It doesn’t feel tangible.

Today is the day.

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This past week, I imagined what I’d feel like, saying goodbye to my little guy. I’ve already been there, done that with the big kid, so you’d think this is old hat for me, but it doesn’t feel that way. My two are nearly six years apart in age. So, I can’t help feeling as though this is my baby, the end of some sort of era, the beginning of something new, something different. So many changes.

Both boys handled today like pros. The big kid found friends to hang out with, bidding me goodbye with a wave and a smile. He walked right up to one of them, high-fiving and becoming part of his group. I escorted the little guy to his classroom, where his loving teacher waited to hug each and every one of her students. He found his seat, complete with a name tag right on his desk. After hanging his backpack on his chair, he sat down and looked up at me, expectantly. I knew my reaction meant everything to him in that moment. Would Mommy cry? Would she be afraid, or nervous? Worried?

I swallowed my tears and smiled down at him. He smiled back with ease. He grabbed his pencil case and opened it up, pulling out a crayon to color with. I knew he was ready for me to leave him to it, no tears. No fuss. My independent little guy. So, I said I’d see him later, that I’d be right where I needed to be to pick him up from his class. Such a smooth transition, going from toddler, to preschooler, to kindergartner.

I’m transitioning, too. I have to. Not an easy feat for someone who isn’t always the biggest fan of changes. I cling to the past, to the nostalgia of what once was. Which is why I couldn’t help picturing this little guy vs. the one I just dropped off at school this morning:

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Or, this little guy:benthree

My boys aren’t the only ones who are going to school. In the vein of bettering myself, I’ve enrolled in a community college near me, starting classes next month. Well, class. Having never been a big fan of school, I’ve decided to take it slow and try one class, first, seeing how I feel about it. It’s a writing class two mornings a week, and I’m hopeful  I’ll learn a lot about the proper structuring and flow to a story.

This lends into my goal of completing the novel I’ve shelved for the past ___ years. I’m so close, I can nearly feel the finality of it, and I’m desperate for that. I want to finish it.

Today is also my anniversary. I’ve been married seven years, or what my mother in law has termed, “the seven year itch”. She said the trick to getting through that tumultuous seventh year, is to make sure we’re keeping busy and finding projects or hobbies to engage in. I feel as though we’re both so busy with our family, our personal interests and our interpersonal ones as well, there’s no risk of boredom!

It doesn’t feel like seven years. I can’t imagine ever getting “bored” with him. I recently told him he’s the blank in my life. He looked quizzically at me, while I explained to him that he’s my _____________. (best friend, lover, partner, partner in crime, cohort, rock, supporter, etc.) He’s the fill in the blank, everything to me, for so many reasons. I wouldn’t have it any other way, either.

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Some doors are closing. I can feel the changes, the end of what once was, but that only means new doors will open for me, my children, my husband. For our family. I’m trying to look forward more, instead of always looking behind me, and appreciate what potentially lies in store for us. Here’s to new beginnings, and to many more years together!

Camping: A Newbie’s Perspective

If you’ve been with me for a few years, you know I’m in good company on Thursdays. We’re a fantastic group of ladies,  giving insight on various topics.  Click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

Last Thursday, I couldn’t partake in my weekly blog group, due to vacationing with my family. So this post is my catch-up post, conveniently so. It had been my turn last week for the topic, and I chose: What were you taught to believe, that you don’t believe anymore? Or, the flip side: What had you never believed to be true, and now you do?

The reason I feel this post is convenient, is due to the new revelations I encountered on my vacation, totally fitting in with the “what had you never believed to be true, and now you do” angle. While I’m no stranger to camping, having done it a lot in my youth, I was new to doing it on my own, with my own family.  Especially with an RV.

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For most of my childhood and teen years, I was ensconced with camping. Tents. Under a great big sky, tucked into a sleeping bag. Campers, Fifth wheels, and motor homes. My memories involve a drive that would feel never ending, followed up by a father who would pitch the tents for me, or grandparents who took care of the ins and outs with their camper.

I had no clue about the inner workings of a camper, or how to maintain it. My job was to be young, to enjoy the journey, to behave myself, and to explore my surroundings. Some of my best memories involve the many walks I’d take along the Oregon Coast, wind whipping desperately through me, my hair. Sometimes the ocean was brutal, choppy and forceful. Other times, peaceful, calm. That’s what I remember most about camping.

Fast forward nearly fifteen years. My husband’s mother bequeathed a very nice camper to our family, one that has sat unused on her property for a very long time. Our first step was getting it ready for travel, making sure everything worked. Our first mistake was taking it to Camping World, in Mesa AZ.

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We should have read the reviews on Yelp. There’s a reason they only have 1.5 stars. After dropping the camper off early April, we didn’t see it again until the end of May, and even then it was sketchy. Whenever we’d call to check on the status of things, no one would return our calls, or emails. Even when we’d go in, in person, we were brushed off and told that things would be done “soon”, and that wasn’t the case.

We went in asking for their head to toe inspection, and came out with an estimate of around $6000, which was far from accurate. They wanted to change a light bulb for $30, citing 1/2 an hour of “labor” in order to do so. There were other fixes like that one, ones we could do on our own, and we did. We left four items for Camping World to fix, the big ticket items, and they did. We received our camper two weeks later.

The camper hadn’t been cleaned in as many years as it sat, so I spent over four hours cleaning it, from the ceiling to the floors, and everywhere in between, getting it ready for the five hour trip (which took eight) to Santee Lakes in San Diego, to visit a good friend of ours. The drive felt long and weary, but we were in good spirits, filled with excitement. It felt as though our camping excursion was a long time coming.

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After arriving well after dark, my husband had to back the camper into its spot, not an easy task to do, even in daylight. Luckily, we had other campers to assist us, and everything went smoothly. Or so we thought.

After hooking up the water line, we discovered not one, not two, but FIVE leaks on our camper. What happened with that expensive inspection? Did it even happen? One leak came from the bathroom sink. Another, from the kitchen sink. The other three were all on the underside of the camper. My husband, being the awesome man that he is, managed to take care of all of them, save for the one in the bathroom, which wasn’t a huge deal. It still upsets me, though, that we had leaks.

I’m sure he felt like most of his vacation consisted of leaks. The kids, however, had an absolute blast. We went to Legoland, and Universal Studios, when we weren’t spending a ton of time with our friends. Santee Lakes is a beautiful camping resort, well worth our visit. We’d ride bikes, roast smores, grill out, and just enjoy the good company and the scenery around us.

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The day before we were to leave, we decided to hit up the coast, visiting La Jolla beach. It was interesting how a ninety degree day in Santee, quickly turned into a sixty degree day at La Jolla. Bright blue sunny skies made way for gray, cloudy ones, but none of us cared. It was fun just being there.

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The morning of our drive back to Arizona, we discovered a clogged toilet. A matter of contention, until a snake finally loosened it up. After talking with our neighbor next to us, who admitted they never throw toilet paper, even RV approved toilet paper, down the toilets for fear of clogs, I vaguely recalled a similar situation when I was a kid, camping. And how, you really have to watch how much you put down those tiny little toilets. A rookie move on our part, for sure.

On the drive home, we were all reflecting on the vacation we’d just experienced, and whether it’s worth it to camp with the camper. Although I’ve always considered camper camping as a huge step up from using a tent, this wasn’t in any way an “easy” vacation for us. There was still a lot of work going into it, the money, the time. The little steps you have to take in order to ensure a smooth experience.

We’re still new to it, learning as we go along. Some people live their lives in a camper, like my friend, and her family. They wouldn’t have it any other way, and even through our own struggles this past week, I can see why. It’s a whole other experience when you’re living within nature, somewhat off the grid. The great outdoors is their playground, full-time.

This wasn’t smooth sailing, it wasn’t at all how I remember it when I was a kid. But, my boys get to form their own memories from their RV experiences. This may mean they’ll do something similar with their own families, when they’re grown. They’re fourth generation campers, whether they know it yet or not, a tradition I intend to carry through on. And, I’m sure it’s going to get easier the more we do this. We’ll develop our routines, or patterns, we’ll know what the easiest route to go on, is, vs. the hardest (less toilet paper, perhaps?)

Or, the best places to take an RV, when it needs fixed. Camping World is not on that list.