Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Camping Out

Now for the night under the stars. . .

Okay, so it wasn’t really under the stars since there was a canvas barrier in the form of a teepee between me and said astrological markers. However, we did cook out over a fire pit that we dug, skipped most bodily cleansing rituals (save brushing my teeth, I can’t deal with slimy teeth), and froze our derrieres off on a very chilly night. While I had helped Connie with the preparation of dinner Dad had set up the teepee that we would share for the night. My Dad is a very handy man but it was evident that it had been a while since he had last “roughed it” because he assembled our humble abode on a bumpy patch of grass located on an incline. Luckily, we both had cots so the bumpiness of the grass was not a big deal but the incline provided less than ideal sleeping conditions.

Around eight thirty all of us cowboys (and girls!) moseyed on to our tents for the night. Before I could actually slide into the comfort of my Coleman sleeping bag I made a short hike to take care of my nightly need to. . .errrr. . . . relieve myself. It was already dark so with flashlight in hand and a few scraps of toilet paper in my hoodie I wound my way around cedar trees and cholla until I was comfortable with the distance I had placed between myself and my fellow campers. Now, I’m not going to go into detail but I do want to point out that I find it quite natural to relieve oneself in the position required for out-of-doors toiletry. And, if the Asian custom of installing toilets in the floor ever takes off in the US, I will probably be on the short list to have one.

Anyway, by the time I was ready to settle in for the night Dad was already snuggled down into his brand new, high dollar sleeping bag that he had purchased just for this occasion. Unfortunately, when he bought the bag he made sure that it would be long enough but neglected to check the circumference. Needless to say, Dad was trussed up in that bag so tight he might as well have been sleeping in a straight jacket. I realize now this would have been an opportune time to get even with him for the time he had stuck his head out the window of our vehicle and made kissing noises at my childhood crush. I was in third grade at the time and, yes, at twenty-eight I am still traumatized. When I think about it, the boy probably suffered psychological scarring as well. Lucky for Dad, on this night I was just too tired to put any thought into retaliation. I did manage to smirk at Dad’s predicament before I fell into a fitful sleep.

Over the course of the night Dad and I both found out that slippery sleeping bags on cots in a teepee set up on a hill do not a sound night’s sleep make. I lost count of how many times I woke up with my feet hanging off the end of the cot and my body folded up like an accordion. The process of inching my long frame back up the incline of the cot until my full body was situated comfortably was an arduous one but it had to have been much easier for me than for Dad. At least I had full range of movement. With his arms tight to his sides Dad had to wiggle his way up like a caterpillar, a very healthy caterpillar. Added to that, I guess with all the riding we had done that day and the wiggling he was doing that night Dad’s leg muscles had had enough cause he caught a whale of a cramp on the inside of his thigh in the middle of the night. His complaining groans woke me up to the sight of him flopping in his bag like a fish out of water. Needless to say, our night under the stars was a looooong one and the morning came too soon.

**In reading back over my recollection I realize that I have managed to compare my Daddy to a straight-jacketed asylum inmate, a pedophile, a giant caterpillar and a flopping fish. Sorry, Dad, that I sacrificed you for the sake of the story. Please forgive me and I love ya.


On a side note, the following is information on above mentioned Asian toilets that I borrowed from Wikipedia. Just in case you were curious. . .

Benefits of squat toilets:
-- It is less expensive and easier to clean and maintain.
-- It does not involve any contact between the buttocks and thighs with a potentially unsanitary surface.

-- The lack of water in the bowl avoids the problem of splashing.
-- Squatting might help to build the required exhaust pressure more comfortably and quickly.
-- Squatting makes elimination faster, easier and more complete.
-- Elimination in squatting posture protects the nerves that control the
prostate, bladder and uterus from becoming stretched and damaged.
-- Squatting relaxes the
puborectalis muscle which normally chokes the rectum in order to maintain continence.
-- Squatting securely seals the
ileocecal valve, between the colon and the small intestine. In the conventional sitting position, this valve is unsupported and often leaks during evacuation.
-- For pregnant women, squatting avoids pressure on the
uterus when using the toilet. Daily squatting helps prepare the mother-to-be for a more natural delivery.
-- Squatting may reduce the occurrence or severity of
hemorrhoids and possibly other colorectal disorders such as diverticulosis and appendicitis.
Detriments of squat toilets:
-- Squat toilets require certain balancing skills. To those in the many "Western" cultures in which the squatting position is rarely used, using the squat toilet can be difficult or even impossible to use.
-- Use of the squat toilet can be difficult for the elderly and others with joint troubles or limited mobility. It can also be difficult for those recovering from leg injuries.

Hopefully, you found that interesting and not too crude!

Branding to come. . . .


  1. Well I sure knew about these things having a daughter that spent time in the Phillipines and a sister that dated a guy from China but I had never seen one, had no idea of the health benefits, and feel much better about the things I had heard about this topic. So I don't think it was weird at all but then old people always seem to end up interested in poop, lol,( just laughing at my self). Your dad sounded awesome to me, anyone who would camp with a daughter is good in my books: hills, tight sleeping bags and all.

  2. My dad is truly the best and a good sport too ;).