There’s this weird tradition I really wish I could get rid of. Namely, my birthdays tend to suck. It’s this weird thing I’ve noticed over my life where attempts to plan things almost always completely fail or have something mar the day. Even birthdays that I can look on fondly were overshadowed by something bringing me down. Twenty-second birthday at Great America with my surrogate siblings? I had bronchitis. Twelfth birthday at Disney World? Oh, hai, tropical storm! This year, I can see the humor in everything, but it by far is NOT a successful birthday as far as those things go. My ‘fond memory’ for this year will of course have to be the release of my latest book, but the rest . . . oh, do stay tuned. Misadventure is the only word for it!
Let’s start on Wednesday night, which was the night right before my actual birthday. I have a screwed up back. I’ve had it since I was twelve when I discovered that rollerblades and linoleum do not mix. (Laid me up in bed for three damn days.) My back stays in alignment for the most part, but as I get older, it does have more issues. Weds night was one of those issues. I went to bed at 9:30 and work at 11:30 in pain. My back was VERY out of alignment. I won’t give details. I’ll just sum up by saying I got no further sleep, and that by morning, there wasn’t even bile left in my stomach. (Yes, I tried to take meds. I couldn’t be sure I didn’t puke them back out, so I had to wait a few hours before taking more.) I thusly spent the day of my birthday in a relative sleep deprivation fog with a very sore back. My mom helped me realign it, and the meds finally worked, but lingering effects clung. Saving grace for the day? My best friend Dawn came over and hung out. We watched musicals and veged. ❤
I slept fine that night, thankfully, since Friday was the day we were to leave for my birthday camping trip. We were going to the beach to camp for two days/nights and get night photography and basically escape the city. The trip was me, Mom, Dawn, and my other two dear friends Jeannie and Sia. Packing the car was an adventure all on its own, and it involved me and Jeannie corseting the sleeping pads to the top of the car. No, really, we corseted them down. We loaded the trunk, filled the small attached trailer, and we piled in to set off!
Hiccup One: Having to stop an hour out in order to fix the lacing since apparently the pads did not want to stay on top of the car. This involved me standing plastered against the driver-side door as vehicles zoomed by on the freeway. A big rig’s wake almost stripped my t-shirt off, and I got catcalled by another car. That wasn’t a compliment, gents, sorry.
Hiccup Two: Stopping another hour out but in a safer place where we could yank down the pads, fold them in the tarp like a sammich wrap, and then re-lash them down. They held that time. Getting them back onto the car, however, involved trying to stand on the side of the car while it was on a slope. Gravity was not being nice. I ended up sitting on Dawn’s shoulder to keep from falling. That’s friendship right there.
We arrived at Lawson’s Landing in the mid-afternoon, and it was NOT what we expected. LL is a privately-owned beach campsite versus being a State-owned public one. State campsites are situated a bit apart allowing for relative privacy and actual ‘roughing’ it. Lawson? Not so much. Allow me to give you a visual idea of what the campgrounds looked like:
Lined up along one side facing some dunes, and the other facing a tiny strip of water that wasn’t really a beach, were basically slightly larger than average parking spots that were in fact campsites. They were also not labeled very clearly, and the directions were given were not wholly clear. We found our spot, unloaded everything, and then enlisted a nearby camper to help us with our tent as we had never put it up before and the instructions might as well have been in Latin. We settled in, relaxed, and it seemed . . . okay. I wasn’t entirely happy, though. Too many damn people around. I’m an introvert AND shy, and being in what felt like a hotel without walls was NOT comfortable. Still. We were out of the city and it was nice weather . . . for a while. Remember the night photography thing? No dice. Clouds came in around 5:00pm and stayed. Can’t photograph the sky if you can’t see it. We decided to hope for better the following night and all piled into the tent to relax before sleeping. It was just about dark (about 8:30pm) when we heard someone pull up and reflect on confusion about our presence. Yeah. Remember me mentioning those terrible signs/directions? We were in the wrong spot. We were supposed to be in W-03, not X-03. It was right across from where we were, just over the gravel road, so not TOO far. Kudos to the couple who had arrived. They had a great sense of humor over everything and felt really bad about it. They even helped us moved everything. (We had the tent on a tarp, so we were able to just have four of us take a corner and drag it across. Innovation FTW.)
We were now facing the water rather than the dunes. You would think that would be better, but it wasn’t. We had a lot more wind now. Our opinions on the trip were tanking already, and it hit a new low when we had tried to crawl in for sleep and our ‘neighbors’ arrived. At 10:00pm. With screaming kids. And a need to put up a tent that involved hammering spikes. The neighbor on the other side was having a rousing bonfire and they conversed over our campsite as if it did not exist. I didn’t sleep all night. The mattress pad would be perfect for someone who slept on their back or stomach, but being a side sleeper meant I sank through and might as well have been on the ground. I got a bare few naps that lasted maybe thirty minutes at most. How do I know I didn’t sleep? I had my contacts in all night and they didn’t get dry at all. (Which they do if I’m asleep for more than an hour at a time.) Come the sunrise–before it technically–we all decided we had had enough. We packed everything up and left early. The rest of Saturday involved getting home and then trying to recover from sleep deprivation. I DID get some photos shot, and that helped make the trip not a total waste, thankfully. Here are a few.
Sunday ended up being the best day of my extended birthday ‘vacation’ though it was relatively similar to other weekends. Dawn, Jeannie, and Sia came over to hang out at the house again, and we watched Disney movies and made crafty things. Jeannie and Sia hadn’t seen Frozen before and therefore did not know about the plot twist. Their reactions were awesome. (We also watched The Emperor’s New Groove, Mulan, and then non-Disney Quest for Camelot.) I’m thinking of boycotting my birthday next year, though double digits are usually supposed to be fun. Oh well. Overall grade for the birthday weekend? C-. Passing grade, but only barely.
For now, life is back to normal. I’m preparing for SacAnime (in just over a week!), and apparently I’m going to have some booksignings in September. What’s the worst birthday you’ve ever had? Commiserate with me in the comments!