Summer camping…

Jeremy building a sand castle

Julie at Bon Echo

Julie (Jeremy) and I are already getting ready for our camping trip this July. Mostly because it’s going to be huge. My whole family is going to be there (minus Emma who’d prefer to stay home). Both my sisters and their families, my parents, my cousin and his fiance, their friends, one of my sister’s friends, and (possibly) an uncle and aunt. When I say everyone I mean everyone. We have three adjoining sites and a multitude of tents and a camper. Julie and I have our own tent which has two rooms and sleeps seven. We’re more glampers than campers. Julie’s first concern was electricity for her laptop. Mine was sprawl space.

Her second concern, however, was transitioning and that has no answers from me. How far along will she be. We both know it’ll be early but how early? Will she have started hormones? How long will her hair have grown? Julie’s already told her grandparents she won’t be swimming that trip. I offered to buy the ruffled skirted bikini she wants but she doesn’t want to look like a boy in a bathing suit.

Meanwhile I worry about misgendering. If she shows up as a girl, will she be treated like a girl? Or will the family fall back on calling her Jeremy? Will my sisters explain that Julie’s transitioning or will there be an expectation of keeping things hushed for the younger children? I can’t bring myself to ask, especially since there’s only one answer which supports Julie. And, honestly, it’s not like the transition is going away. The questions will have to be answered at some point.

Julie goes back to the medical centre on Tuesday then has a family doctor appointed to her within two weeks. And hopefully then we can get some answers sorted out so we can focus on the camping part of the trip and not the gender part.

Bon Echo cliff

Because the camping part is gorgeous!

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There’s no place like home…

Update I moved the chipmunk video over to YouTube and it’s working now 🙂

We got home on Sunday afternoon and I’m still happily appreciating all the comforts of home. I love camping but truly enjoy spider free indoor plumbing… especially at 3am.

This trip involved a fair bit of uncertainty for me. We’ve camped on the same site at the same campground for years and I knew exactly what to expect there. I’d have camped there again except for one thing. The price. Fifty dollars a night is a bit steep for a vacation that involves heating my dish water over a kerosene stove and peeing with spiders.

Jeremy promised that Unicamp was really nice and that the swimming pond was huge. As big as one football field or two… or maybe even three. Got to love how specific zie is when it comes to measurements. Zie even took a picture of a small stretch of woods with a dirt path. Which let me know there were at least a few trees but otherwise I was flying blind. The website itself has no pictures except for an aerial view of the campground via Google and Jeremy was even less descriptive. What convinced me to register for a site there was the fact it’s half the price of our usual place so we could camp for twice as long.

campsite 40

I was unimpressed with the site when we arrived. Not only was it fairly open (and right beside the basketball court, hence the basketball in the photo) but it also had an outhouse right in the middle of the site. And, thanks to the location of the firepit, we’d need to position the trailer so the indoor kitchen table had a lovely view of the outhouse.

The first option we were offered was an alternate site that used to be a laneway. It still had the tire grooves. Then they offered to move the firepit, which made all the difference. The trailer tire is over the old firepit. For most of the week there were almost no other campers because it was youth week so the outhouse was only being used by me (and the spiders). It wasn’t until our last evening that other people started using it. Which was uncomfortable enough for me to not want to camp on that particular site again but by then we had less than 24 hours left until we were gone.

Jeremy talked about swimming all week so it wasn’t a surprise that zie wanted to go swimming almost as soon as my parents left. Luckily zie was willing to wait until after dinner as we missed lunch during our drive up; my parents weren’t stopping for anything. And luckily for me I’d planned a quick and easy dinner because zie wasn’t going to wait too long.

Jeremy had only been there for a weekend last year but zie was reasonably sure zie remembered the way to the beach. First we headed out past the goats…

goats2

Doesn’t every campground have goats?

… and down the trail to the beaches.

bench on beach trail

The trail looked like most of the campground. Lots of trees and undergrowth and quite a few meandering creeks. Further along there was a marshy area with lots of cat tails and frogs. Then came the main beach.

Jeremy at the main beach

Both beaches were sandy and had a dock and a picnic table. Plus there were beach toys, life jackets, and canoes free to use. Jeremy (of course) refused to swim in any normal fashion. Instead zie took pool noodles and threaded them through zir shopping buggy and swam with that. It looked completely awkward but zie loved it.

Jeremy and zir shopping buggy

I enjoyed the beach as well. We’d swim from one diving platform to another, with me diving in from each. Plus there was a big concrete block at the end of the pond. As far as I could tell, it worked as a drain, pouring water over the edge then under the nearby road to flow into a creek. But it served a second purpose… as a jumping platform. Jeremy refused to try it but I went up several times.

Michelle jumping

The water was freezing at the bottom of the pond!

We went on several walks, mostly to the nearby Cowpye Hill (accurately named) to look at the full moon. Poor Jeremy got dragged onto a hike on the Bruce Trail despite insisting that zie’s a computer nerd and doesn’t need exercise. It was a great trail, absolutely gorgeous, but it came with a warning that it was “more advanced”. I loved it. Jeremy sat and took a break on the trail while I explored the surrounding area.

The trail pretty much consisted of scrambling over rocks and roots.

The trail pretty much consisted of scrambling over rocks and roots. Also, yes, Jeremy is a foot taller than me.

Since our hike went so well, I decided to try out splelunking. To be fair, Jeremy wanted to try it as well. I think zie didn’t realize how small the caves were. I certainly didn’t. I pictured caves we could walk into and then got faced with this…

No, it wasn't any bigger on the inside. In fact it got appreciably smaller.

No, it wasn’t any bigger on the inside. In fact it got appreciably smaller.

This is me leaving that same “cave”. Jeremy couldn’t even fit. Zie did try however and went into every other cave.

me leaving Sherbet Tunnel

Jeremy and I splelunking

There were plenty of things I liked about the campground. It was quiet, friendly, and informal. There were trails everywhere for me to explore and signs dotted throughout the grounds…

signs

I found five signs and am sure there are more.

What I loved the most about our camping trip was that no one, not a single person, stared at Jeremy. In fact the only people who gave zir even a slightly long look were the ones who followed it up with a huge smile and a “Hello Jeremy! I remember you from last year!”

Jeremy claims not to notice people staring at zir (even the hugely blatant ones) but it was obvious that zie felt the lack of negative attention. Zie never goes outside without a shirt on. Never. Not even on our own balcony. And swimming is something that requires zir swimming shirt (an almost too small mesh Spiderman shirt zie’s had for years). By the end of the week zie was going swimming without zir shirt, in front of other people.

And now we’re home. Back to our kitties, our microwave, our running water, and our consistently working internet and phone service. I can’t wait to see how much Jeremy grows when we go back to Unicamp next year.

OMG muffin wrapper

Clicking on the picture will bring you to the accompanying video.

Happy birthday to me!!!

birthday Doctor Who 10th

Since the 10th Doctor never actually showed up, I’m taking Jeremy camping instead. Plus I made myself chocolate peanut butter cupcakes 🙂 The first year I became vegan, my Mom made a bowl of fresh fruit because she doesn’t know how to make a cake without milk and eggs. I’ve made my own cake ever since. This year’s will be the best so far.

Jeremy tried to convince me that today’s opposite day, which means I’m supposed to give zir a present instead of vice versa. I’d say it was a nice try on zir part but zie woke me an hour early then started begging for video games so zie’d have something to do in the car. In essence, since my Mom bought the present and I bought zir three (four?) games, I did buy zir a present. The kidlet’s about as subtle as a sledgehammer but just as effective.

And we’re heading off for five days of swimming, hiking, and exploring. All I know is there’s a large pond (which Jeremy says is at least as big as a football field… or three even), two beaches, caves, hiking trails, and trees. Jeremy assures me there’s lots of trees. I’ve never been there and can’t find any pictures so all my mind is picturing is lots of ????? and a gravely, muddy beach with lots of weeds. Jeremy didn’t mention either so my mental image is probably (hopefully) off.

See you in August!!!!!

p.s. Depending on cellphone service, I might stick a picture or two up on Instagram 🙂

Jeremy’s camping trip…

Jeremy came home on Sunday evening with a suitcase full of mostly unworn clothes, his thankfully unbroken TARDIS mug, and my camera. The camera was important not just because it’s mine but because I’d asked him to take some pretty specific pictures. I’ve been thinking about camping there and wanted to see what the beaches, pond, campsites, hiking trails, and caves were like. Instead he came home with four shots of the same stretch of trail.

“Why didn’t you take a picture of the beach?” I asked as I flipped through the camera once more.

“There was a naked man on the beach. I didn’t think it would be right to take his photo.”

One of the beaches is clothing optional so the naked man wasn’t a surprise.

“Why didn’t you turn around and take a picture away from him?” I asked. Judging by his expression, that thought had never crossed his mind. Jeremy and logic often have barely a nodding acquaintance.

“We have to go there next summer,” Jeremy said excitedly. “It’s much better than where we usually go and it’s closer too.”

We usually go to a provincial park called Sibbald Point. It’s a wonderful campground with a long sandy beach, sheltered sites, a heritage museum, and a lovely (albeit buggy) hiking trail. We always camp at the same site too, right near a trail to the beach. Something I don’t mind sharing because the campground has almost a thousand sites.

I didn’t bother booking a site this year as I spent almost $200 for three nights there last year then couldn’t stop thinking I could have stayed at a hotel for that amount. I love camping but, seriously, that’s a lot of money for a short amount of time.

So I went onto the Unicamp site and discovered it would cost us $25 a night to camp there… or $150 a week. Versus $49.44 a night at Sibbald Point.

“We’re going to camp at Unicamp next summer,” I told Jeremy then watched as he grinned.

“That’s great,” he replied. “We’ll have to watch the times though. If we camp in July, that’s when all the youth campers are there and they don’t let you do some stuff. It’s better to camp in August.”

“Some stuff… you mean swimming naked on the clothing optional beach,” I retorted. “You just want to oogle naked people.”

I knew full well he wasn’t planning on going nude anywhere. He won’t even walk onto our own balcony without a shirt on, just in case someone sees him topless. Peeling off everything in public is beyond unlikely.

“Well yeah,” he replied honestly.

So we have our campground picked out for next August. And, since they don’t have any pictures on the website, I’ll have to wait until then to see what it’s like.

And he’s off…

The last few days have been horrible, as in “restraining myself from punting Jeremy off the balcony” horrible. If he’s not forgetting to do his chores, he’s outright refusing because he’s mad at me; which is immensely fun when I’ve just come home from work. He makes patronizing comments like, “I know you tried your best when you got the computer Mom but next time you’ll need to take me. You don’t know anything about computers so you got a crap one…”

The computer in question is an Acer Aspire with HDMI. It has a 2 terabyte hard drive, 6 gigs of RAM, and a 2.20GHz processor plus more than enough USB ports to charge and plug in all our devices. Jeremy’s mad because I didn’t buy a computer with a 4K resolution monitor. Course Jeremy’s not coughing up $4K to cover this dream computer of his and he forgets he loved our computer when we bought it. Last year he called it the Mini Beast because it was small and fast.

He pulls out all his stuff and leaves it spread across the entire apartment; we’re taking Rubbermaid bins of crap everywhere. Dishes and chewed tissues strewn across the computer desk. Laundry heaped in the bathtub (???). And a low-grade constant sniping.

But today he’s off to a Unitarian Universalist campground for two days with the Youth Group. He’s packed his TARDIS tea mug, a jar of honey, tea bags, his netbook, an extension cord, his favourite perfume… and clothes and other boring stuff. He almost forgot his pillows but he remembered his tea.

He should have a wonderful time. They have a pond with two beaches, hiking trails, and caves to explore. I told the camp supervisor that Jeremy would be happy camping with the girls. And he’s eagerly anticipating roasting marshmallows.

I miss him already.