Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire . . .

by Julie Coulter Bellon

Now, I'm not one to call people liars, but I was lied to this past week and I'm still upset about it.

My husband and I took our family on a camping/fishing trip last weekend. We spent the day getting ready, packing, checking weather reports, and changing the oil in the car. I was a little worried because the weather man said there would be rain, but his exact words were, "We need a really good soaking, and this will only be a sprinkle." I can handle a sprinkle, I thought, and we packed our tent and all our kids and headed to the mountains. When we got up there, my husband's family was waiting and we had a good time visiting, eating tin foil dinners, then making s'mores, and eating dutch oven cobbler. We set up our tent and settled the kids down for the night.

I fell asleep fast, but was awakened at 1:45 a.m. with the pitter patter of rainfall on the tent. Oh, the sprinkle is here, I thought. This is where the lie comes in. It didn't stay a pitter patter for very long, and soon it was a sheeting, drenching rain. After about half an hour with no indication that it was going to let up, I was curled in a fetal position in my sleeping bag thinking about my extreme dislike of the deceitful, weasly, weather man at that moment. (We don't say "hate" at our house, hence the extreme dislike.) So there I am, in my sleeping bag, "extremely disliking" the weatherman and all his lies, when I started to feel a movement above my head, a drip, drip, drip, type of movement. I quickly realized the tent was leaking and I was being rained on inside the tent. At that same moment I heard a groan from my husband who was sleeping next to our youngest son, and he got up and turned the flashlight on. He was literally sleeping in a large puddle of water and as he raised the flashlight to the ceiling we noticed a large swollen bulge of water directly over our heads, making gurgling noises as if it couldn't wait to burst in through the ceiling on us. The walls of the tent had turned to waterfalls, the floor was in puddles and the roof was about to cave in from the weight of the water. So much for a sprinkle!

My husband reached for his boots so he could go outside and empty that bubble of water off the roof, and as he shoved his foot into one boot, it made a horrible squishy sound. It was soaking wet. He reached for his jacket, and it was wet, too. Everything was wet, including all of our luggage, which at this point was practically floating by us on the tent river we had going on. So there is my husband, in a wet coat and wet boots, walking through our wet tent to get the giant amount of rain off the leaky tent roof. When he came back in, and got back into his sleeping bag he muttered, "Didn't you hear the weather man say it would be a sprinkle?" Oh, yes, I remembered. The dishonesty of his words rang through my mind. "We need a really good soaking, and this will only be a sprinkle." A sprinkle! Before I could tell him my plan to write a scathing letter to the network, or at least track the weatherman down and throw water balloons at his house, it started to hail— big, marble-size balls of hail. I couldn't help it, I started to laugh. At this point all the children were awake because the hail was hitting us like gunfire. (My youngest was thrilled because he thought it was popcorn from the sky!) Then, as we all shifted around to huddle in the middle of the tent where it seemed somewhat protected from the waterfalls on the walls, we were listening to the hail and wringing out our pillows, when the cot I was sleeping on suddenly collapsed. As I sat there on my wet, broken cot in a hailstorm, the situation just overwhelmed me in how ridiculous it was and I started laughing so hard I could barely breathe with tears streaming down my cheeks. My kids kept saying, "Is Mom all right?" But seriously, talk about Murphy's Law!

So we lay there in the wet and the dark, snuggled with our children trying to think of the silver lining, something positive we could say about the situation. The funniest one was when one of the older boys said with a serious voice, "at least this isn't a winter camp," and we all burst into laughter again.

So the moral of the story is to never trust the weatherman—he will lie to you. Or else his definition of a sprinkle is different than mine. When we got home we laid out our wet tent, wet tarps, wet clothes, wet sleeping bags, and our entire lawn was covered with wet camping stuff. My husband turned to me and said, "We should just put out a sign that says, For Sale—Good Weather Tent." And I heartily agreed.


At 8/31/2006 3:47 PM, Blogger FHL said...

In defense of weathermen (or meteorologists), they're really nothing but statisticians. When they predict a 50% chance of rain, they mean that in the past, under similar conditions, it's rained about half the time. Plus, their comments are for a pretty general area. It's possible that somewhere in the area he was covering, it did only sprinkle. (Maybe at his house!)

Your story is pretty entertaining, though. I knew there was a reason I never go camping! (Plus, there's the bugs.)

* Note: I did take a meteorology class in college. It sounded like more fun than physics.

At 8/31/2006 4:27 PM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Well, FHL, you've brought to mind another silver lining! When it's raining/hailing, there are no bugs to be found. (We did see a raccoon and a lizard though.)

At 8/31/2006 4:29 PM, Blogger Keith Fisher said...

Nose is longer than a telephone wire . . .

I live through a similar incident in the mountains on the 4th of july. it came down, (not in buckets but in barrels) didn't even cloud up down in the valley.

loved the story. I also noticed your decriptions. I learned from a master

At 8/31/2006 5:06 PM, Blogger Marsha Ward said...

Like Keith, I've lived through a mountain storm, except with lightning--lots and LOTS of lightning! I can't tell you how long that night was, accompanied with constant, heartfelt prayer. I was sleeping on a metal cot, you see. Then when the tent pole broke and sent cascades of water onto me, my DH braved the wet and the possibility of electrical frying to shore it up again. May he rest in peace.

Writer in the Pines

At 8/31/2006 6:46 PM, Anonymous rakrose said...

Great post, Julie. I loved your descriptions. My hubby keeps saying how much he regrets his work schedule and how he dreams of retiring and having time to take us all camping. He says this like it's a good thing. I think I'll e-mail him you post.

(Oh, wait. I can't. YOu guys need to change the settings on this blog so that readers can easily mail the links to their friends. It really helps boost hits.)

At 8/31/2006 6:55 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

rakrose, you can email the links. Click on the timestamp at the bottom of the blog -- it'll take you to a blog-specific page.

So there.

At 8/31/2006 9:34 PM, Blogger Sariah S. Wilson said...

And...this is why I don't go camping.

At 8/31/2006 11:35 PM, Anonymous Dawn said...

Your post made me smile. I hate camping. My husband wasn't able to wear me down on that issue until our first child was about two. He told me again and again of how a childhood just isn't complete without camping experiences. Finally I relented and we went camping. He had some clients to go see out of town. We'd go set up a camp and he'd go on his appointments, then come back to the camp. However, we left a little late (I should have predicted that) and instead of helping set up camp he got everything out and asked ME to set it up - and then took off for his appointment. Wouldn't you know it it started to rain. No it didn't rain. It poured. And then, yup, it hailed. I don't think I've ever seen it rain like that so quickly and so feverishly! Now we have an agreement. Kids do need camping experiences - and it's up to him to provide those experiences. I find it a great time to have my own personal time alone while they're off camping. We're all much happier that way. :0)

At 9/01/2006 10:21 AM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

Dawn, you're a woman after my own heart!

Loved the post, Julie. And talk about family memories. These are some that improve with age -- and retelling -- of course. Nobody could tell it better!

At 9/01/2006 4:13 PM, Anonymous Jennie Hansen said...

When our children were quite young (2-11)the seven of us were camping in a six man rented tent when lightening hit two big green trees beside us, bringing them down across one corner of the tent. Fortunately our five-year-old had demanded that Daddy get the crumbs out of her sleeping bag and straighten it for her and they were standing in the middle of the tent exchanging places when the trees came down across her sleeping bag. A big branch punctured the tent, her pillow, and her sleeping bag. We were all a little squished under smaller branches pressing against the tent, but none of us were injured. We had to leave everything and hike to our car to wait out the storm. Since then I've preferred to do my camping in a cabin or Holladay Inn.


Post a Comment

<< Home