There and back
I feel like I semi disappeared there for nearly 2 weeks, but, I did mention the vacation thing so I’m sure you figured out that I hadn’t just dropped off the earth.
We took our yearly spring break adventure with vacation mom and her son and this time we went to an SCA event in Mississippi. It is a big one, Gulf War, but I’ve been calling it the Gulf Event so my non-sca friends aren’t afraid I’m merrily shipping out in military service. While I was there I had to think hard about if I had been to the event once or twice before. Both times were pre-blog so I don’t have an easy way to look it up, however, I’ve remembered enough that I can say with 99% certainty that I have gone 2x. Once for sure the year our friend got knighted, that was just after we moved to MN. The other trip was a year or so previous and we flew out of the east coast and I only truly remember it because it was just after 9-11 and it was my first flight and I remember seeing a bunch of great fighters on the flight so I knew we would be ok. I basically remember nothing else specific from that first trip. Crazy how easy a trip like this was pre-kids, so easy I hardly remember doing it!
(Now that I’ve blog-archived my sketch recollections of the other 2, here is my mini report of this one. )
Even though I have been to the event before, I started just telling people it was my first time because nearly everything was different. This was my first time camping (hoteled in the past) at this event, I now have 3 kids (wasn’t even married before), and I’m more mature in my SCA life with multiple awards and responsibilities due to the title where last time I was just a regular person hanging out and having fun. I can’t say what version of me had more fun but it was a pleasant week overall.
I know it is on the pessimistic side but I went in with generally low expectations. I set myself up for success by just hoping for warm weather, a set of events I really want to go to, both on Wednesday, and to see a few friends. Building a giant schedule of things I want to get to makes me stressed when I can’t get to them because of timing or kids so I just pick 1 or 2. Giving myself the freedom to go with the flow and take care of the kids made everything easier. Another giant bonus was that a camp mate took on the dinner cooking so that made things even better to not worry about meal timing. I still cleaned the kitchen daily because it needed to be done, and, made breakfast and lunches for us but I do that most days anyway. I didn’t push to go out at night for parties because I didn’t have a built in grandma night sitter like pennsic and as a result, I got more sleep than normal and felt nearly rested by the end. Vacation Mom volunteered one evening of kid watching so Lars and I got to go out the final night and had a fantastic time listening to a great band at the ‘tavern’ and like the stars aligned, all the people I wanted to see were all there that night too.
Our camp site was entirely primitive with a walk to the bathroom and showers (in a building lovingly dubbed the ‘murder shack’) and no power so I made the decision to just check my mail once a day and leave the phone in the tent off otherwise. This was a really nice technology break but I miss that I didn’t take any pictures at all the entire time. The kids were without screens too and they actually didn’t seem to miss it. There were endless games and trips to here and there. The kid freedom is pretty limited at big events but they did all right most of the time. We did archery and water-bearing and they went to a class with VM and Niamh wrangled some time with another friend in the fiber arts area doing some natural dyeing. Niamh and Zoe got to fight in the big kids battles and all of them were good helpers pitching in with dishes and mostly not causing problems. They also got to go to page school a few days there and they all enjoyed it. I know I met most of my friends in early SCA in a program like that, plus, learned a bunch of the basics so I am glad they wanted to go. They went on little field trips around the site and actually saw more of it then I did I think!
I did actually get to my Wednesday events. Through careful planning (and page school) it all worked out so Lars could still fight and I didn’t miss anything and I had a fantastic time. I got to dress up and meet a few new people and see old friends and relax and sew while watching first a jousting event and then a tournament, both with lovely snacks and drinks. Lars was walking over to see how things were going just as I was leaving so it was a perfectly timed day.
There was a share of general blah too. It was COLD at night and I got pretty good at making blanket burritos out of my kids. Those swaddle skills last longer than you think! I also remembered that fuzzy socks make decent mittens. Mornings were also cold but we were warned and I had warm outfits for layering. It was also the first camping trip of the year so I forgot all the little things that make camping easier, however, we made notes so the next event will be much easier. The event also started and ended with a cold downpour and that was not fun at all. Tent puddles to start and then packing up wet to end was not as bad as it could have been. Our team worked pretty well together and the kids decently behaved that nobody got over stressed. We ended up leaving a little earlier than planned but all for the good since we got to the hotel early enough that the kids and VM could have a swim.
The drive was actually longer than Pennsic and about the same as going to NY. All the kids did well due to being used to it, being older, 3 of 4 can now read books, and I give out candy every hour they are good. We only lost candy once each way so not bad at all. We also took a trailer for the first time and it was a very good experience. I like that I didn’t have to be super careful packing and when it was all wet in the end it wasn’t a disaster, just an inconvenience. We are probably going to get a little one that a friend is selling, not anything grand but enough to pack what we need and still fit people in the car too.
Yesterday we unpacked and mostly were lazy all day with TV and snuggles and today the kids were off again so more or less more of the same. I’m mostly done with the washing, just need to put things away, and I’m really very very glad I cleaned before I left since it was so nice to walk into a tidy house. This trip was an end mark on my calendar so I need to dig in and see what is on deck. Birthday season is nearly upon me plus house businesses (building, renting, selling – all of the above). I’m sure I’ll keep busy but I hope I can hold onto some of the vacation calm I achieved over the past week.