Well. That was less than spectacular.
I went to Grand Outlandish (an SCA
event for those of you who don't know) this past Memorial Day weekend. The event was pretty tame. Where were all the people? It was a new site. Beautiful location. I hope they keep it.
Arrival day, Friday: We leave at 10:30am. Headwinds the ENTIRE way. We arrive at 7:30PM. Two hours later than it should have been. Heavy rain just before we arrive. It is cold. Weather reports were for nice weather. Fortunately, the rain stopped before we arrived. It is muddy. It is getting dark. Baron Sean from Tir Ysgithr greets us with a flask of Irish whiskey and flagon of pear cider. God bless that man!
We set up the yurt
in the cold dark. We freeze at night. I turn on the portable heater but left the roof vent on the yurt/gher open. The yurt is cold but now not as bitterly.
Saturday: Corned beef hash for everyone for breakfast. I am awake at the crack of dawn. I slept like crap between the moaning 2 y.o. child that refused to stay inside her down sleeping sack and the shivering apprentice whose slick covers kept slipping off. Fighting? Nah. Forget it. I need sleep. I am grumpy. I hate life. My back hurts (slipped disk from a few years earlier - story for another time). A couple of hours later the girls get up. Hot water is still bubbling away on the camp stove. Hash has to be reheated. I make oatmeal for my girl. Mom-in-law feeds the baby. Dad-in-law eats the leftover hash. The neighbors from Keg's End household are eating omelettes. Gah... I wish we had prepared better. I want omelettes too...
More rain that afternoon. I figure there was about an hour's worthwhile fighting before the storms. I spent the day enjoying the hospitality (and beer, and cider, and whiskey) of Keg's End. I take several naps with interruptions. The yurt is hot so I strip down to my spandex shorts.
The night is again freezing. The girls go out and desperately try to find a good party. I am beat so I opt to take the baby to bed and join her. I can hear the drums, songs, and laughter outside. I am too tired to care. I can't sleep either. I have the portable sun on.
Sometime in the night, the sun runs out of gas. My heater has a safety feature that when it is too cold, the gas valve shuts off. Fortunately we are all tucked in and survive the night. Mostly. The apprentice is shivering and moaning despite the sleeping bag, wool blanket, and other covers. God knows what hour it is. I can see faint blue light outside. It might be the moon. Nope. It is the sun about 45 minutes before peaking over the horizon. After my trip to the porto-throne, the poor apprentice is shivering and moaning. My wife asks if I am wearing shorts and then suggests that I crawl into her apprentice's bed to help keep her warm. I am a heater after all. Now I am shaggy dog boy. How often does one's wife ask their husband to sleep with another woman? Ha! Not gonna miss this chance, even if I am not attracted to her (sorry S., I love ya bunches, but not that way). No wonder she's cold. Her covers have slipped off again. It is probably 4:30am. I doze until about 5:30am. I give up and putter around outside doing kitchen stuff. I am the only one awake... except for the rooster a few camps over. Sunrise, despite my sleep-deprived demeanor, is still beautiful.
Sunday: Keg's End is having Guinness pancakes. With butter. And syrup. Dad-in-law comes round and we head into town to buy more propane. I get the gas and some cash. I have had only $0.01 since the trip began. Back at the site, I wander through merchant's row. The kitchen witch is the only one that has anything that I find interesting: spices and herbs. Okay... I like to cook. For my midlife crisis, I plan on becoming a gourmet chef. Gotta plan for that paycut....
I have a mug of beer and then go do water-bearing for the fighters. Then another nap. No rain. The weather stays nice, dry, and warm. At night I go to the Al Barron party. Tame. Tame. Tame. This is not the G.O. I remember. I collect my "thank you" gift from the vast amount of treasure on the volunteer table. I chose "Outlands Brand Stinky Whacker" soap. I like handmade soaps - not all of them. Just the ones I think smell good This one has sandalwood and a really funny lable. To wit:
"Outlands Brand Stinky Whacker
I am a citrus-sandalwood bar of Outlands brand Stinky Whacker. Directions for use: Get you wet. Get me wet. Rub us together until I leave frothy stuff on your skin. Rinse it all off. This bar of great handmade soap contains lots of glycerin and soap, but no ick-full phosphates or detergents. It's made mostly of olive oil and it's really good for your skin. Use it often and members of the opposite sex will be less likely to find you icky. Members of the same sex too, probably. And bees. And Aunt Bea. Wow, are you still reading? Go bathe with this soap and then go socialize. Mind you, moose bites kan be pretti nasti."
Back to camp. I party until I cannot stay awake... that means we sat around a fire, passing the bottle, telling stories, singing songs, and laughing a lot. Tame, but a good time nevertheless. I go to bed. The girls stay up late and party. My daughter has crawled out of her covers again. I light the sun.
I get up. I make no attempt to be quiet. Eventually my wife wakes. I wake the apprentice up by yanking her covers off her bed. She gives me a REALLY nasty look and rolls over. I thought *I* got cranky when not getting to sleep. She later explains that she is really grumpy when she is woken up too early. What's early? It is only 5:30am back in Arizona! I am NORMALLY awake around then - without the use of an alarm clock - even if I go to bed at 2:00am. I haven't had the need for an alarm clock in years... even when traveling.
DAMN ALL YOU LATE SLEEPERS!!!!
I explain to her that it will then be a long trip with her being grumpy. I further tell her that in that case, it was a good thing I got her up early. She still has another 1.5 hour drive from my house to get to hers. Three hours and three people to pack up our yurt and other crud. It took the entire Keg's end that same amount of time to pack up their entire encampment with all their people (15? 20? I didn't count). That does not say many nice things about the complexity of my camp. I must find efficiency here.
Headwinds all the way home.... again. Can't win. The weather always seems to be against us. I try to sleep on the ride back. The girls know I am totally beat and won't let me drive. Fine. Linnet fusses and I stay awake. I start to doze off, and the apprentice looks back at me. "Not yet." And I remain awake. The car fights the wind and I remain awake. I start to doze and the wife reaches back and fondles my ankle.. how sweet. I remain awake. More crying kid. More gears. More exciting music for the driver. More gas stations. I start to doze. My wife reaches behind and fondles my hand. I remain awake. I give up. I don't even try to sleep anymore.
Once safely home (thanks, God!) I unload the trailer and find a shower. Gads. Showering feels so good. It is amazing what a bath will do for your mood and energy level.