1. Never Shine Your Flashlight into a Rustic Toilet
“Eyes on me--Do NOT look down,” I commanded my daughter last weekend at a Wisconsin State Park facility while on a waterfall tour. The fact that I knew how to coach her in the "Proper use of a Rustic Park Toilet” speaks to my previous experience in matters of the hole.
When my son, David, was 9, he had to use the outhouse at night, while camping in the woods, and he made the “Life Altering” mistake of shining his flashlight down into the vast hole beneath the plastic seat. He froze, and dropped the flashlight. I looked over his shoulder and saw the light, down, down...down illuminating the indescribable horror up from down the cylinder to Hell.
“I AM NOT going,” he announced, the fear-induced adrenalin-rush enabling his body to “plug up” like a hibernating bear. We departed the next morning, but it wasn’t until days later that he relaxed.
2. Speaking of Plugging Orafaces...Invest in Some Good Earplugs
“Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. Tweetity, Tweet, Chirpy, Chirp Chirp!”
When you finally do get to sleep, don’t get too comfortable. At 4:30 am, plan on greeting the new day feeling like you’re in an Alfred Hitchcock film. I love birds, but my first morning, I willed all bird nemeses of literature and cartoon--Sylvester, Simpkin and Tom, etc.--to unite like forces of EVIL and scare the feathers off of those cheerful, eardrum attackers.
3. Can I have a Blindfold with that Martini?
Although I am an over-protective mother, there are a few things that gross-me-out to the “dry-heave” point. One was when my then-three year old son, Jon, lost his thumbnail after he shut it in a door. Another involved a mouse and a snake, and the latest one was witnessing a tick crawl up my daughter’s pant leg. I was repulsed. I was paralyzed. I wished I had had a few drinks. It didn’t bite her, but it was no thanks to me. Fred, my fearless, outdoorsy husband, had to race over and take care of her.
On a positive note, we did invent the “Tick Crawl” dance move.
4. Bring along Jodi Picoult, for Instance
You might never get to read it--but a good soft-cover, 450 "pager" makes a great fly smacker, in the absence of a more traditional weapon. My apologies to Ms. Picoult (whose novel "Nineteen Minutes" I finally did read and recommend)--I soiled your book.
5. “Never go to Indonesia. I mean it.”
This is a quote from a good friend, Marni Rachmiel, who read my article on bugs and knotty pine. I don’t know the specifics (I’m sure it’s related to size and quantity of insects), but I trust her...so should you!
*Note: No birds were harmed during the writing of this article.