So Campy

September 16, 2013 at 10:54 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Over the weekend, I went camping for the first time years.  My mom recently gave Scott and me a nice big cooler on wheels and we bought a tent earlier in the summer so since the basics were covered, we were good to finally go.  Scott  found a state park on the beach about an hour north of the city and we planned on meeting some friends of ours out there.  We arrived fairly early Saturday morning and pitched our brand-spanking-new tent, then sat around snacking until our friends showed up.  The plan was for them to stay the night as well but my girlfriend announced she was pregnant as soon as they arrived and said they wouldn’t be staying all night.  How could we be mad about that?  Truth be told I’ve had some idea that she might be “in the family way” for a while now but I knew that she would tell us when she was ready.  So of course we had a lot to celebrate and we were able to gush with excitement all afternoon!

Campsite Sweet Campsite

Campsite Sweet Campsite

We had plenty of food and drinks (I tend to overpack and this trip was no exception) and after lunch we walked along the beach for a while.  There were a few trails we explored and the campground had quite a few people but not so much that it felt crowded.  The facilities were pretty nice and it was just so peaceful to be out in the woods.  Our friends left after a true campsite dinner of hot dogs (veggie for Scott and me), beans and s’mores and Scott and I stayed up late just enjoying the quiet and the fire.  It didn’t get too cold during the night but it did start raining about 5am and that just didn’t stop.  We had planned on hanging out for a while in the morning but the rain put a damper on things (literally) so we packed up and headed out as soon as we could.  After stopping for a greasy breakfast in a local diner, we were home and taking a nap by noon!

It’s so nice to know that this kind of reprieve from the city is so close and I can safely say that my urge to camp has come back with a vengeance.  The last time I was camping was during Bonnaroo (a huge three-day music fest in the middle of a field in TN, sort of like Woodstock).  That was fun but it was much different from having a place with an actual fire pit and real bathrooms, so I think I’ll stick with this type of camping from here on out.  There’s another local place that Scott really wants to take me to so we’ll try for one more outing in a few weeks, before the weather gets really cold.  The peace and quiet in the woods was exactly what I needed to recharge before another workweek in the city!

 

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Wacky World of Weather

January 29, 2013 at 2:03 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Having lived all my life in the mid-west, I’m used to some random weather.  I’ve seen snow a day after sunshine and temperatures in the 70’s, hid in basements during tornadoes and even heard the elusive thundersnow during the Chicago Snowpacolypse.  Still, strange weather manages to grab my attention and seems a little noteworthy.  For instance, in the past 48 hours I’ve walked in: rain, hail, freezing rain, snow, fog and lots and lots of wind.  Sunday night there was thunder and lightning during a torrential downpour.  This was called a “wintry mix”, which is about the most vague description of weather that once can come up with, making it perfect for Chicago.  Today is supposed to be in the 60’s…for it being the end of January, that really is strange.  Too bad there’s more thunder, lightning and possibly tornadoes instead of sunshine (sure going to make my evening commute fun).  The high of 15 on Friday is more like what I’m used to for this time of year but it’s not exactly something I’m looking forward to.

And then this happens when a building catches on fire and it’s well below freezing outside.

My dad told me that it was in the 80’s down in Louisiana last week and that he had to turn on the air conditioning in his truck.  I told him to bite me.

So when will it end?  It won’t.  And I really do try to accept that fact and just deal with the weather as it comes but sometimes it’s just so difficult.  Much like trying to plan outfits that correspond to climate.

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All They Wanted To Do Was Dance

January 28, 2013 at 1:11 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

If you think your Monday is rough, allow me to give a little perspective..  At least 231 people died last night in a Brazilian nightclub after a fire broke out and they were unable to escape through the single exit available.  I’m shuddering at the mere thought of the panic, chaos and utter hell this must have been.  I don’t think authorities yet know exactly what happened but one thing is clear – they needed more emergency exits.  I know that similar things have happened before (like the fire in the Rhode Island club in 2003 that killed nearly 100) but that doesn’t make it any more forgivable or acceptable.  These people just wanted to go out and have a good time and now they’re laying in coffins in a gymnasium that has turned into a makeshift morgue, because it’s the only place in town that can hold this insane number of bodies.

I know this is a depressing topic but life can be depressing and the families and loved ones of these victims are probably feeling about as gutted as the building the fire took place in.  I can’t imagine what they’re all going through and the stories I’ve read (such as the brothers who did not come home to a family where they were the only children) pretty much break my heart.  I realize there’s nothing concrete that you or me or really anyone can do to “fix” it but this tragedy does put my own Monday bitching and moaning into its place.  Shitty things happen in this world – to good, undeserving people – and I guess the best I can do is send some healing vibes in their general direction while holding my own loved ones a little closer to my heart.

 

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Idiots, Beer and Fire

December 30, 2010 at 11:54 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

As promised, today’s post will tell the tale of how I once saved a house from burning down.  Really.

During my last year in college, I lived in an old house with a rather large front porch.  The porch came with a swing and we added a couch, so needless to say I spent a large amount of time out there.  Man, I miss having a porch…maybe my next apartment will allow me to sit outside again.  I really like to read outside and right now the only place I can do that is on the concrete next to my basement.  Not ideal.  Anyway, I was on said porch one evening, talking to my Mom on my cell (as I often did) when I looked to my left and noticed flames shooting up on the front porch of a neighbor.  I thought someone was grilling something but when the flames got larger and no actual person appeared, I thought again.  After telling my mom I had to go because my neighbor’s porch was on fire, I hung up the phone and dashed down the street.

Can prevent your neighbor's house from burning down

Their porch was definitely on fire and not a soul was in sight.  At this point, the fire was still small enough so I could hop around it and bang on the front door.  When no homeowner appeared, I ran around to the side of the house where a window faced the living room.  I saw some guy walking up the stairs and started hitting the window and yelling something along the lines of “Hey, your house is on fire!”, which finally got his attention.  I ran back to the front of the place as he was walking out, obviously a little surprised.  At this point the fire had melted a plastic lawn chair and was rapidly spreading.  The guy called his roommate a dumbass, told me he was going to get some water and ran back inside.  Since I had nothing better to do, I waited and tried to stop the flames with my incredible mental capabilities.  It did not work.  While I was attempting that, a different guy appeared.  He looked confused and said that he had been lighting bits of paper on fire a little while ago but thought they had all gone out.  Uh, what?  Yeah, that’s what I thought too.  Fire Starter was not the sharpest crayon in the box and after he admitted to starting the blaze, he reached for a beer bottle sitting on the railing.  At this point I seriously began to question his intelligence and before I could stop him he poured what was left in the bottle over the fire.  This did not help things and in fact caused the flames to jump a little higher.  Duh.  By now the other roommate, Water Boy, had reappeared with a bucket and doused the fire once and for all.  The damage wasn’t too bad and beyond the lawn chair that melted to their porch and some burned wood, it was nothing their security deposit wouldn’t cover.

So we stood around awkwardly for a moment, assessing the situation.  Water Boy and Fire Starter thanked me profusely for saving their house and potentially their lives, to which I said if they ever saw my house on fire they could do the same for me.  Then Water Boy turned on Fire Starter and began to unleash an impressive amount of rage at his stupidity.  Since my job there was done, I walked off into the night in search of a cat to help down from a tree or perhaps an elderly woman to escort across the road.  Or maybe I went home, called my mom back and played fetch with my cat.  Either way it was my good deed for the decade day.

And that’s how I earned my badge in Fire Safety.

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