And so it begins: Kimerer Camping 2012. During the Easter break last week, the four of us (hubby, son, dog and I) trekked on down to see how our home-away-from-home fared during the winter that sort-of wasn't.
Since it was so mild and what not, we were really expecting that all God's creatures great and small would have the common courtesy to hang out in their natural (read: external) spaces, instead of invading ours.
We figured wrong.
It became apparent rather quickly that the Kimerer Camperer was critter central from November through early April. I can just see the lookout chipmunk now racing to the top of the rig every time a vehicle approached. "No worry, guys, it's just the electric company van again. Pass the peanuts!"
When I told my friend, Chris Ruggieri of Warren - a fellow rodent-phobe - of the furry foray, she said that we should have charged the critters four months' worth of rent.
Maybe. But I shudder to think of their form of payment considering the acorns, twigs and bark strewn about our place. Not to mention the, you know, recycled acorn, twigs and bark we found alongside them.
Suffice it to say that we Lysol-ed, Pine Sol-ed, Clorox-ed and Windex-ed every square inch of that place - the round ones, too, just in case.
Hmpf and blech!
But that was just Day One.
By Day Two, we'd moved on to an empty propane tank, an overflowing water drainage basin, and a bouncy little boxer who decided to take a nearly-hypothermic swim in the river.
Speaking of the frigid temps, did I mention the super fun we had trying to unload the car in the middle of the thunderstorm / sleet fest that began almost immediately upon our arrival to camp?
Yeah, yeah, I know. I called it in last week's column - Mother Nature's vengeance, that is. I knew she was going to spit some snow our way as payback for all those ridiculously warm days in March.
And, as I fought my way against the wind and hail on my regular eight-mile running route down at camp, I realized my words had come back to frostbite me. Man, I hate that.
On Day Three, we had a scene straight out of a horror movie.
I was finishing the dinner dishes when Kyle came to the door with a very serious look on his face. "Mom, Dad needs some Band-Aids - now," he said. I looked out the window just in time to see Kerry's face from his top lip down covered in blood.
"What on earth happened?" I said, dabbing peroxide at his mouth and chin. Apparently, a battle with some potential firewood ended with an "L" in the win / loss column. Luckily, no serious damage was done.
Good grief, Charlie Brown, why did we get this camper again?
OK, so the air is fresh and clear. So the walk along the river bend is soothing and serene. So we all sleep better than we do any place else on earth. So we have uninterrupted, quality family time.
Fine, I admit it. I'm exciting to jump back into camping. There, I said it.
I do not, however, intend to share my comforter with any more rodents. You're on notice Chip and Dale - am-scray!
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist and amateur camper. Contact her with rodent-proofing and insect obliterating tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.