June 29, 2008: Us, Camping?

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Dominica and I both slept in a bit this morning before getting up and doing a bunch of apartment cleaning that was very much over due.  No one has been visiting us recently and we have been letting the apartment go quite a bit as our schedules have been pretty busy and I have not been working from home as much as usual which always leads to a lack of time for housework.

We found out last night that a new and as yet unnamed Boston Terrier puppy, just nine weeks old, has moved onto our floor at Eleven80.  We haven’t met the new puppy yet but expect to do so soon.  There are now three full time Boston Terrier residents in the building but Oreo is the only mature one.

Around noon Ramona and Winni came by to visit with the intent of playing a small Dungeons and Dragons game.  We haven’t seen either of them in at least two months.  Winni is living in New Hampshire now, but is moving to Frederick, Maryland in a few weeks, and Ramona recently moved from the Ironbound, here in Newark, to Flushing in Queens.

The idea today was to play a quick, little D&D Fourth Edition adventure which Winni had put together just so that we could test out the fourth edition rules, but we didn’t have a lot of time in which to play as they needed to get over to Ramona’s old apartment to deal with some final packing and stuff and none of us had seen in each other in quite a while so we just spent the afternoon visiting.

We ordered in lunch from Nino’s as pretty much everyone was in the mood for some Italian.  We ate and opened a bottle of Miles Wine Cellars 2005 Cabernet Frank which everyone really enjoyed.

Winni and Ramona left around six and I went to work on a few things.  Almost right away while attempting to get my dual monitors working on my new OpenSUSE 11 workstation I did something that caused the root directory to just vanish.  So there was little that I could do but to install again.  So I kicked off another install.  Crappy.

Dominica and I have our nieces coming to visit us sometime in the next couple weeks and we are attempting to figure out what we are going to do.  The original plan was to go see “The Little Mermaid” on Broadway but the cost was going to be astronomic – like close to $600 or more – and we have heard that the show isn’t very good.  We thought about doing the Bronx Zoo and the science center but Dominica doesn’t think that she could spend a day walking at the Bronx Zoo.  We considered spending the weekend at a resort in the Poconos but that was really expensive as well.

Our final idea was to take the girls camping.  Dominica has never been camping (not actual camping) and I have not gone since going t Allegheny National Forest near Warren, Pennsylvania in June, 1994.  I have never owned a tent of my own and things have improved a lot since Eric and I went all of those years ago.  We thought that camping would be pretty expensive but we compared it to the price of going to see a show on Broadway or to a night or two in the Poconos and it turns out that buying all new, top end camping gear would be significantly cheaper – plus it is all reusable.

We hunted around and the best Coleman tent is only $175 from Amazon ($250 MSRP) and the types of sleeping bags that we would need are very cheap.  Some nice LED lights and tent fans (to keep cool) all came up to being very inexpensive.  After looking at the cool gadgets to get Dominica got really excited about camping and has been going crazy shopping for cool camping stuff for the last two days.

We were hoping to be able to camp at a New York State state park but have not been able to find any camp sites that will work for us.  We absolutely need electrical hookup (cheesy for real camping, I know) because I cannot sleep without my CPAP so there is no way around that requirement.  We almost didn’t think of that and might have booked a camp site without power which would have been disastrous, but since we know now that we have to have it it means that we know ahead of time that we can take the laptop and watch movies at night and charge our phones and stuff.  It’s not exactly “roughing it” camping but that really isn’t an option at this point in our lives anymore and that wasn’t quite what Dominica wanted to do anyway.  It does mean, though, that we can never camp at Handsome Lake again which I would have liked to have been able to have done again.

So since the state parks aren’t available to us in July when we need to go we decided to look at KOA (Kampgrounds of America) and many of them come with power and wireless Internet access which is extremely cool.  That means that we can keep in full contact with the outside world and that I don’t even have to go off of being “on call” for the weekend.  I will be able to work as usual while camping giving us a lot more flexibility to do this more often.  Plus, I think, that camping with this level of amenities makes camping a lot more attractive to us in general.  We just don’t live lives that allow for us to completely break contact with the outside world.  We won’t have the camera problems that I have had in the past either since we will always have the car near by in which to store valuables where they can be locked up safe.

So the plan is that sometime in the next two to three weeks that the four of us will head out into the “wilderness” to go camping.  Dominica is even excited about camping recipes and cooking over an open fire!

Tomorrow morning we have a doctor’s appointment in the morning.  I will be working from home before the appointment and Dominica will be off until after lunch.  So she just has a half day.  I will just be “out” for about two hours.

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