Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Isn't It Ironic, Don't You Think?

Yes, this is the correct time stamp. I admit to sometimes manipulating my posts' time stamps to reflect when I wish I had had time to write promptly. Well, today at 4:00 a.m. I guess I have time to post since I'm still wide awake anyway.

It all started about half an hour ago. Actually, it all started last night, but 3:33 a.m. is when I woke up with no chance of getting back to sleep any time soon. I just find the situation too funny.

Last night the kids begged and begged us to let them sleep in a tent outside. We didn't have time to set up a real tent, and we were afraid they would be eaten alive by the clouds of mosquitoes we've had this summer if they slept in the open air. So we turned them down. However, they were determined, and frankly, they wore me and Kent down with their petitioning. With their promises that we, their parents, wouldn't have to lift a finger for this endeavor, we let them sleep in their toy tipi. It only stands five feet tall, and I don't know how the square footage accommodates them all, but they managed to fit four pillows, sleeping bags, and children in there.

We gave several words of advice:

1. Cover yourselves in bug repellent.

2. Leave the sliding door slightly open so no one gets locked out during the night.

3. (From Kent) Lay down a tarp so the sleeping bags don't get wet. [Of course, he meant so they wouldn't get wet from the morning dew on the ground.]

4. (From sarcastic me) Try not to let the sprinklers bother you when they come on at three in the morning.

*Note: I didn't know Kent had given his advice about the tarp until I saw them dragging one out during their setup, and they told me what he had said.

Of course, wanting to prove themselves worthy and capable of sleeping outside, they attended to our advice as much as possible, sensing (correctly) that if they became a nuisance at any point during the night, they would not get to repeat this adventure. They even piped down permanently when I called out at 10 p.m. that they were talking too loudly. I had fully expected giggles and shrieks and games of tag at midnight; but they were on good behavior, and I didn't hear a peep from them after that.

I smiled ironically to myself when, at 10:40 p.m. the mosquito abatement truck finally started the rounds on our street for the first time this year. He made several passes with his flashing lights and noisy sprayer pump. Any neighbors who might have been asleep were now awake, and my children were now coated in repellent AND mosquito death spray.

Skip ahead to 3:33 a.m.

#3 knocked on my bedroom door and cautiously came in. When I moaned and rolled over and asked her what she wanted, she sheepishly replied, "One of the sprinklers is really big and we can't get away from it. Could you turn just that one off?"

What? The sprinklers really did come on?!

We've had the system turned off since last Thursday because a line broke. Kent fixed it last evening. When I made my sarcastic little comment to the kids, I thought about the likelihood that the sprinklers would actually come on and decided it wouldn't happen. The system is set to water the lawn every eight days, so really, what are the chances that my kids would get watered? (Yes, I was too lazy to make sure the interval hadn't worked through the eight days while the water had been turned off all weekend.)

My earlier laziness now forced me to put on my bathrobe and head for the sprinkler box in the garage at 3:30-ish a.m. On the way, I noticed a lamp in the front room was turned on.

I adjusted the lawn sprinkler interval to stay off for another day, and #3 tentatively asked, "Are you sure you turned off the big sprinkler?"

"I turned off ALL the sprinklers. I'm sorry you got wet."

After our comments about the sprinklers and the tarp, the kids thought the sprinklers were a necessary evil. They spent half an hour moving the tarp, sleeping bags, and tipi around the yard trying to avoid the cycle of sprinklers before working up the courage to send #3 with the request to turn off just one of the sprinkler heads. (I guess they don't really understand how a sprinkler system works.) Someone must have inadvertently locked the sliding door following a late-night bathroom trip, because she couldn't get in from the deck. Instead, she walked through the wet grass to the front door and rang the doorbell. That must have woken Edwin up, who didn't know how to help them; but he left the lamp on (which also illuminates his quarters) for #3 while she worked up the nerve to wake me.

It became a sleepless night for all of us. Except #1 who spent the night at Grammy's with a friend. Although, knowing Grammy, they are probably also awake watching a movie or talking.

Kent frequently tells me that the great thing about camping is the bonding that happens when the family works together to fix everything that goes wrong. The problems that arise during a camping trip might be annoying at the time, but they make for good--or at least fond--memories. Looks like our family doesn't even have to leave home to get these kinds of experiences.



VickieG said...

Well this is a family story that will go down in history. Your family will remember this one forever (like the cherry cobbler at Tony Grove.)

Mary said...

Eww. So glad this particular memory doesn't include vomit.

It turns out to be a good thing that I wrote this down. In the morning, #3 was the only one who remembered any of these events. Maybe the others slept through the sprinklers--and the rain at 6 a.m. #3 had chosen to sleep on the tarp just outside the tent, so its possible that she was the only one dodging water during the night, though she didn't remember much of that either. I wish my brain would go back to sleep and forget restless nights!

Jenni said...

I loved this story! Your kids are so hilarious! My favorite part is that they tried to fix the problem themselves by moving the tent - they're so clever! :-)