Week one was behind us. It had a steep learning curve, but we survived it! After a week at home to decompress (and unpack…. and pack again) we were ready for round two. After all, we had paid our first time dues, right?! Alas, my naivete may have gotten the better of me once again.
The Campground Happy Acres was nice, but we were hoping for a little more woods than apple orchard. And one lesson we actually learned quickly was full hookups are where it’s at! So week 2 was spent at Jellystone Park. The campground was great. Lots for the kids to do and a spot that backed up to the woods. And being able to wash dishes in somewhat ‘normal’ fashion was like heaven (the reoccurring theme of this life is all about the little things). This part of the week was a winner.
The Sights Ok, I need to set the scene here…. Two kids running crazy all day. One teething baby who screams nonstop. And won’t nap (typical Blauvelt child behavior). One overwhelmed momma trying to adjust to a new area, a new life, and still balance the challenges of everyday life that somehow managed to follow us into another state (the audacity). It’s soooo close to the end of Tom’s day but I just can’t quite make it. Then, a light bulb went on over my head. I actually have the truck today, so I’ll pack them all up and drive to Amazon early to pick up Tom! The drive should be just what is needed to knock out the baby, if not another kid or two. Then I could wait in the parking lot in peace. Genius Shelah, genius. Well done. As I pat myself on the back I rush the kids to go potty and get buckled up. *insert fatal mistake here, thought I didn’t know it at the time* And what do you know, the plan worked better than I had imagined! I pulled into the Amazon parking lot with three, count them- THREE, sleeping children. And Tom was actually done on time so I didn’t have to wait in the parking lot. The clouds were parting, things were going our way and I was feeling so confident in my ability to handle things, even after a rough day. High on my success, and giddy from the rare silence, we decided to be uncharacteristically spontaneous. Let’s go out to dinner Tom suggests! Great idea I think, paying no mind that it’s already well past bedtime. We wanted adventure, remember? I do some googling and land on Mader’s Restaurant in Milwaukee. Three kids. Past bedtime. Woken from sleep. FANCY restaurant (google didn’t do so good imparting this fact upon me). You would guess that this is where our big disaster occurred. But you would be wrong.
Mader’s, The breakdown: Food was delicious, albeit on the pricey side. Much fancier than google reviews led me to believe. The staff was friendly and accommodating, but it was apparent this restaurant is not exactly on the short list for families with young kids. SLOWEST. SERVICE EVER. It was past 8 p.m. when we got there. The restaurant was maybe half full. We only ordered two meals, one of which needed no cooking. Yet it took probably the better of part of an hour to get our food. And a pretty good wait for the check as well. I would have thought they would have been in more of a rush to get the kids out (though they were behaving surprisingly well). No matter. We’re living on the edge now. We don’t have a schedule! So we took our time. Enjoyed our meal. Walked around the city a bit. It was really a lovely time actually, though not worth what it ended up costing us… We arrived back at camp late and tired. I walked around the back of the trailer for something and heard a sound I hadn’t noticed before. Drip. Drip. I nonchalantly call to Tom, “hey, something is dripping back here, just so you know.” And that’s when we saw it. Water. Inside our ‘new’ home. Everywhere. Apparently in my haste to get the kids out of the trailer to pick up Tom one of them had gotten the lever of the toilet stuck (to this day we’re still not sure how they managed that- we couldn’t replicate it when we tried). And since I was in such a rush to get out I didn’t notice the sound of the water running. And since we decided to be spontaneous and spend the entire night at Milwaukee’s slowest restaurant there was plenty of time for the entire trailer to back up with water. My heart sank. Especially for my husband who I knew, being more knowledgeable about these kind of things than I, would bear the brunt of fixing this problem. I won’t detail the rest of that evening for you but you can imagine it wasn’t the shining moment of our new adventure. There were tears, a midnight run to the store to get a mop, and eventual surrendering to the mess. The next couple of days were not much better. I tried my best to relieve some of the burden on Tom, but despite my pleading I could find no one in Kenosha who could help us dry out the trailer. “Can you leave the trailer here for two weeks? What?? You’re living in it?! Well no then, I can’t help.” Add in a batch of cupcakes eaten by the dog, and a broken jack on the trailer etc. etc. Things were clearly not going our way. But there was the jumping pillow. And a precious 5 year old’s birthday. And delicious Wisconsin ice cream. So yet again we rode the learning curve, and came out on top. There were moments where we considered that our run of bad luck might be a ‘sign’ that this life isn’t for us. Thoughts of perhaps we should just cut our losses and get out before we’re in too deep. But, I’m naive, remember? And I still feel a strong pull to this life, a calling, a purpose I have yet (or may never) to understand. So instead now I think of all the new things we’ve had the opportunity to learn (like, turn the water off before you leave camp!). And realize, life is going to bumpy no matter where we’re living it. So why not take the road that’s calling to me, even if it may have a few more bumps?