Tents! Three of them.

A newly purchased screen house!

Air mattresses! Three of them!

Tarps. Too many to count!!

If anyone reading this is heading to southern Maine to go camping, please beware. There are no tarps left!!!

Here is my advice. If you absolutely must experience the outdoors, set up your Godforsaken tent in your backyard. Save the camping site fee.

I’ve camped since I was a kid. I scoff at those who say, “I don’t do tents.”

“Amateurs,” I say.

This time, even my hopelessly optimistic husband agrees – Mother Nature wins – tenting in Maine in the rain stinks.

Day one:

It is raining so hard we must form a plan to dash to the bathroom that is 50 yards away. My son and I take shelter in the van and marvel that it is raining so hard that we cannot see the tents just 10 feet in front of us.

One tent is leaking. One air mattress is deflated. Two out of three tents are soaked.

Optimistic husband stands under his beloved canopy with his big, stupid hat and waits for it “to let up.”

My son and I want to go home!

By 10 a.m. we are on our first of many expensive vacation field trips. This one is to Cabela’s.

We leave with one air mattress, but are told that tarps are pretty much sold out. We journey elsewhere and pick up a couple of small tarps.

Day two:

Conservative (cheap) banker husband figures out that the only way to keep us here is to spend money. We buy all the tarps available. We go out to lunch. We talk about going out to dinner. We go to the movies.

“Isn’t this fun?” optimistic husband asks.

Eventually we end up with a screen house because at least we can put our picnic table in it and perhaps play cards in the rain.

We buy more tarps.

Mosquitoes love this weather. We are bitten from our toes to our noses. I’m convinced that the little bloodsuckers are quite capable of getting through the holes in our new screen house. It seems to be very capable of keeping out houseflies. It does little for wind-blown rain or mosquitoes.

Day three:

It is not pouring rain.

We head to Fryeburg to canoe the Saco River. It’s too fast they tell us at the canoe-rental company. Though we have absolutely no canoeing experience, it is finally decided that we promise to wear our life jackets and we will do only the top portion of the river.

The next day the local paper runs a front-page story about how many people have been plucked from the river by rescue workers. Only the most experienced paddlers were being allowed on the river, it said.

Apparently that was us. That makes optimistic husband very proud!

Day four, five and six:

My mother calls to let us know that the weather is not nice inland either, but the rain at least “is soft.”

The rain is not soft here. It is hard. It borders on violent.

I figure we’ve spent about $400 in camping fees, $200 in food bills, $80 in kennel fees, and $300 for new equipment to try to stay dry.

My feet have not been dry for six days.

Optimistic husband is grumpy!

Tents, air mattresses, portable grills and sleeping bags all on sale at our house next spring.

Have fun!