Herald and Journal Herald & Journal, July 12, 1999

Can you guess what this will cost you?

By ANDREA VARGO

I promised my two granddaughters, Megan, 6, and Danni, 4, that the next nice weekend they came out to stay at my house, we would camp out.

That was last spring. It was wet and cold, and nice weather seemed a long way off. I may have been a little insane from being cooped up all winter, too.

The girls reminded me of that promise about 10:30 one Saturday night recently as they played in my living room.

I firmly believe Grandma should have a few different rules than parents. We do what is fun, mostly, so they were up way past their usual bedtime.

I was waiting for them to fall asleep, so I could take them to bed without any argument.

I try very hard to follow up on any promise I make to them, so off we went to collect sleeping bags and pillows.

It had been raining, and the threat was still in the air. I opted to dump the idea of putting up a tent, and asked them if they wanted to spend the night in the camper portion of the horse trailer.

It was parked in the yard, and the tent was not to be found anyway.

Thank goodness they wanted the trailer. I figured they wouldn't want to stay more than an hour or two. My bet was on a short night, because they would be scared. Then I could get back to my comfy bed, so I planned on sleeping in my clothes.

The kids thought the trailer was really cool.

"Can I open my window, Grandma?" asked Megan.

They loved the windows. Open and close, open and close.

I asked them what they were going to do if they needed a drink or had to go to the bathroom.

"Go to the house!"

"What will you do if you get scared?" I asked.

"Go to the house!"

Now that we had the emergency plan in place, I said "Goodnight."

As they crawled into their sleeping bags, I relaxed on my cot. They were sleeping in the area over the gooseneck.

Into the silence pipes a little voice, "Grandma, can we talk for awhile?"

Well, it was their campout. "Sure, you can talk," I said.

They climbed out of the sleeping bags and hung their feet over the edge.

Kaboom! Kaboom!

Four little feet thumped back and forth on the aluminum panel, while I smiled and gritted my teeth.

They finally relented and dived back into the sleeping bags.

The girls slept through the rain thrumming on the aluminum skin of the trailer, through the farm dogs barking a mile away, strange noises around the outside of the camper, and an occasional roll of thunder - I did not sleep.

It was miserable on my cot, and I missed the steady, white noise of my fan.

My son and husband were in the house, snug in their beds. No one in the house pitied me. It was my idea.

I rolled out of my bed about 6 a.m. to mix the promised pancakes, and the little scardycats (not) slept until after 8 a.m.

Why is it that almost sleeping is more tiring than not sleeping at all?

The lesson was learned. Next time we sleep in the tent, so they can't bang their feet - or maybe we should do the trailer again and run an electrical cord for my fan.

I'm still not sure what was wandering around outside the trailer. It growled!


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