I got to do my school work from the campground. And my bestie Olivia was there too.
What a whirlwind last couple of weeks it has been! We went from trying to figure out if there would be any camping at all this summer just a few weeks ago to making the decision to spend the summer at a seasonal spot when the green light was given to any private campgrounds with seasonal spots. In the span of 24 hours, two Wednesdays ago, we were making arrangements to secure one of the last few seasonal sites available at Auburn Riverside Retreat. As you already know, we spent last weekend settling in to the site getting the trailer out of storage and spending Saturday and Sunday there setting up. This weekend was all about giving it the first test as our getaway.
All week I was focused on work and getting stuff done around the house. Because if there wasn’t enough going on, our driveway patio project begins this week and there was plenty of clean up to do to be ready. The first piece of that was dismantling the playhouse in the side yard that we had gotten used and was definitely seen it’s fair share of use and was wearing the weather. It wasn’t in a state that it could be passed along to someone else as the base was plenty rotten, but there certainly was a fair amount of wood that would make for great campfires. So after work a couple of nights I set to dismantling it board-by–board, screw-by-screw. But let me tell you the campfires we had this weekend made it so worth it!
The next piece wasn’t really work for us but we did need to get stuff out of the way. Friends of ours Kelli & Bill were looking for interlocking brick to do a pad on their property in Ailsa Craig for their trailer and we had a whole metric crap-ton of it that we needed to get rid of. So they came Thursday and Friday to remove our driveway and patio of that problem and give themselves some free, artisanal-aged brick pavers. It was a win-win. There was a lot more that happened at the end of the weekend (namely clearing our and removing the old shed) and none of that was exciting or blog worthy!
What is though, is that Friday as soon as my work day wrapped up I was home and quickly packing some clothes for the weekend. And within an hour of getting home from work, we were loaded up and on the road to the campground. An hour from then I was starting the campfire. It was bliss. We had some dinner and then spent the evening unwinding by the fire pit. Every morsel of my being was delighted that we made such a split-second decision and gambled on what we could do with the summer. And the best part was we were able to sit out by the fire and watch our friend Jim Bryson put on a virtual concert via web stream on Side Door. It was the perfect way to end a very busy couple of weeks.
We spent the rest of the weekend doing a few more things to make the campsite feel more like our home away from home. We got some patio stones (no longer needed to support the play house) in to make a path to our storage shed, some mulch laid down and then some of the little things that we have when we camp that makes it more homey. By the time we left this morning the campsite didn’t just look like a campsite, it looked like our campsite. I said to Danielle as we sat our by the campfire (an activity that we did pretty much most of the weekend), that I can see myself being very happy with this decision this summer. And I could even see myself skipping our trip to Bon Echo quite happily maybe even. I am not all the way there but at least 80-85% of the way to that decision. That says a lot! We’re in our happy place!
This week was another busy one but a great one. It has been such an emotional rollercoaster over the last few months with the mental drain of the pandemic. Mentally, it has taken its toll. We have close friends and family in the front lines. We have constantly changing realities that impact our day-to-day lives and the direct impact for me is my livelihood of daycare. The daycare life that I had built for 12 years has been pulled out from under our family. It was a steady income for all of those 12 years and now the impact of COVID-19 has changed all that. The reality is we don’t know if the daycare will be able to return. This weighs on me financially as well as my heart as this has been my professional life for almost all of Emelia’s life.
So we needed something big this year. John needed it. I needed it. But, most importantly Emelia needed it. The decision to move to a seasonal site was an emotional necessity but also it made the most sense financially. When we added up what we would have spent on two full, week-long trips and about four to five weekend trips (especially when you add in gas costs into that!) we were already more than the seasonal site would have cost us. So we have applied for refunds for all but one trip now and this will cover the cost of the seasonal site!
We are beyond happy with this choice, it has given us the escape from reality we all needed, it has allowed flexibility for Emelia’s home schooling as well as some of John’s work. What we have also loved about the seasonal site aside from the amazing convenience of it all being set up and ready to go anytime we want to use it is the ability to make it into a home away from home. We spent this weekend cleaning up and prepping the site a bit more to keep it organized but also to make it a calm home away from home.
I never thought in a million years we would be seasonal people but so far we are loving it, being beside one of our closest friends and one of Emelia’s best friends has made this all that much better. We get to social distance while staying connected with friends.
So that is our ‘summer home’ but our regular home is going under a much overdue transformation. We are hoping that by this time next week our side yard and driveway will be wrapping up and we can finally have a quiet little oasis here in the heart of the city. The change will be amazing, right now we are looking a whole lot of ghetto trash but give things a week or so and it will be beautiful out there. We cannot wait. For a summer that started pretty shitty and is still so uncertain to have these two safe places to be together, outside and appreciating what good we still do have is worth all the work.