Those crazy (upstate) New York summer nights

There’s nothing like spending seven nights in an 8- by 28-foot space with your nearest and dearest and a very flaky internet connection to make you appreciate the comforts of home. We had fun, we did stuff, but people kept sleeping when they weren’t meant to and then not sleeping when we would have preferred that they did.

Inside the camper van
Camper living

A brief overview of our vacation by the nights, goes like this:

Night one:
I knew we had to bring bedding but I didn’t think to ask if that included pillows as well as pillowcases. I was going to get the kids to bring their pillow pets, but then I forgot. So we spent the first night with no pillows. Now I’m pretty sure when I was 22 I spent an entire summer in London sleeping without a pillow to my bed, but apparently now that I’m Very Old I can’t deal with that any more. Between the bumpy mattress and the strange place and the no pillow, I felt as if I barely got a wink. Dash fell from his pull-out sofa bed onto the floor, but didn’t notice a thing.

Night two:
We spent a large chunk of the next day finding a Sears to buy pillows. One each for the grown-ups and one for Mabel. Dash said he didn’t need one. Insert violas of foreboding here. We all slept relatively well, and I am passionately in love with my new pillow.

Night three:
Dash woke up that morning with a massive crick in his neck. Being not prone to downplay any possible illness or injury, he maximized the melodrama and the whining for the next two days, culminating in the middle of night three when he moved (on his new pillow) and the crick woke him up with a wail of agony (pseudo-agony). Which of course woke his sister as well as his parents. Everyone had to be gently massaged back to sleep over the course of the next hour or so.

Night four:
The previous nights’ discomforts paled into insignificance when we were woken by three long beeps of some sort of alarm at 4am on night four. The trailer/camper/mobile home was fully equipped with a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm, and we had no way of telling which one had beeped, or why. I put Mabel back to sleep, stepped over the still-sleeping Dash, and conferred nervously with B. We cycled the A/C and opened windows, and nothing further happened, so we lay down again, gingerly. BEEP BEEP BEEP said the alarm again, piercingly. There was no smoke, so we thought it might be the CO alarm. This was not the annoying blip of I-need-new-batteries. I didn’t want to risk it. We got the children up and put them in the car, and all sat there glaring balefully at the camper/trailer/mobile home of DOOM, as the birds started to sing and dawn came creeping in. We tried to call the emergency number for the campsite people, but our phones didn’t work there. We didn’t know which trailer they lived in.  Our own residence continued to fail to blow up or do anything remotely dangerous, but the alarm still beeped every twenty minutes or so. The children did not go back to sleep. Neither, therefore, did the parents.

It turned out to be the smoke alarm, saying that it did, indeed, need batteries. I was not amused.

Night five:
You’d think we’d have slept exceedingly well the next night. We would have, except for the hour or so I spent getting Mabel some water, evicting a moth from her bunk alcove where it was fluttering all over my face (urgh), and finally microwaving her a waffle. Which she rejected.

Night six:
Night six was fine once the massive thunderstorm that rolled in at story time rolled away again, leaving me wondering how people in campsites don’t have trees topple on them every time there’s a storm.

Night seven:
Everyone slept pretty well. We’d finally settled in. Which meant, of course, it was time to leave.

Girl in carseat with pillow
Clutching her new pillow for the trip home

3 thoughts on “Those crazy (upstate) New York summer nights

  1. Joanna

    Ah ha ha ha ha, I am dying laughing here…Oh wait, sorry! It’s your own fault for telling it in such an entertaining way. I mean the thing about ye sitting out in the car…It’s too much! The most ironic thing is that your children will probably have wonderful memories of this particular holiday. Hope ye’ve all caught up on your sleep!

  2. Emily

    Having been subjected to many a holiday in a (much smaller) motor home, I empathise with you from the bottom of my heart. I was practically in tears. If I don’t get sleep… My holiday is ruined!! Day trips: they are the only way to go!!


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