That one time we went camping…

Oh you’ll love this one!

Before Armando and I moved to Virginia we were visiting every week or two for interviews and pre-employment stuff for the job Armando was looking to get upon on our move. We wanted to try and save money with our wedding coming up. His parent’s had gotten me a 4-person tent for Christmas because they knew how much I loved being outdoors and wanted to do more camping. Armando and I had the bright idea to save the money we were spending on hotels and just take the tent and a cooler with us from Pittsburgh and go camping at First Landing Park in Virginia Beach for some pre-employment stuff and to look for an apartment to live in.

Mind you, it is June. In Virginia.

So we pack the tent, a cooler, some clothes, and I come up with a small list of supplies we’ll need to buy when we make the 8hour trip to Virginia Beach and make a stop to stock up on camping essentials. Off we go!

Armando and I have a blast in the care together. We talked for the 8hours straight, or listen to “safe zone” music that we both enjoy. For whatever reason, we always have fun in the car together and this trip was no exception. Eight hours later we make it to Virginia, head to Walmart and get some bread, peanut butter, bacon, water bottles, portable phone charging block – ya know, the essentials.

We make our way to First Landing and get checked in then head to our spot. You park your car at the top of the camping plot right off the road and then walk a few short steps downhill to a little dugout. It’s nice and shaded, with one of those fire pit rings already set up.

“Do you want to set up the tent or go get firewood?” Armando asks me.

“Set up the tent!” I answered all giddy to set up the tent I got for Christmas.

So Armando leaves and I turn around to get started on the tent. I’m already sweating and swatting at bugs I can feel, but can’t see. Fun Fact: Mosquitoes love me, and I mean LOVE me. I pick up the tiny little tent bag thinking how in the world someone fit a 4-person tent in this thing and start to take out all the pieces. It dawns on me that I don’t have a clue how to set up this tent and there are no directions in the bag. What am I supposed to do now?! …Clearly the answer was to wait for Armando to get back and beg for his help…

Armando comes back and I had successfully got all of the pieces out of the tent and had them laying on the ground in an order that I assumed made sense. Needless to say, he got the firewood and set up the tent with a very small amount of help from me. I made the tent all cute with a comforter for cushion (which was promptly removed shortly after placement for being “too hot”) and then added a light sheet because well it was 90degrees and 170% humidity.

We were legit miserable at this point. Even just laying perfectly still, we were dripping sweat. Armando was sweaty and hot. I was sticky with sweat, frizzy hair, and being eaten alive by bugs who were also sticking to my sweaty skin. It was great. Everything was just peachy. We tried to make the best of it and made dinner and smores to put us in a better mood so Armando got the fire going and I got the food ready. The food was great, but the fire was soo hot it made us more irritated at this point.

After dinner, we remembered our spot was close to the beach access! Nice, cool ocean water, now that would be refreshing! Off we went on a walk to find the beach. A few short cuts through some neighboring campgrounds later, we trudged up the dunes breathing heavier than we should have been and found the beach on the other side. It was gorgeous and the breeze felt amazing! We spent 20minutes soaking it in then headed back to our campsite before dark.

We climbed in the tent around 8-8:30pm that night, I grabbed a book light to try and make the most of myself sticking to the tent with sweat, tasting my own saltiness. There was nothing cute about us being in that tent. No cute pictures to take, no cuddling because we would have just stuck to each other and made each other even hotter, and we honestly were not even talking at this point. I knew Armando was miserable. He doesn’t do well in heat and the humidity was so terrible that day. Me? Well, I was completely miserable too, don’t be fooled. I am also the biggest “glass half full” human you’ll ever meet, which drives Armando crazy about 98% of the time. This was one of those times.

I went along bouncing about in the tent trying to make conversation or make a “dad-joke”, which is my only form of joke-making that I’m pretty positive Mondo laughs at out of pity majority of the time. Armando said he was just going to go to bed so I laid in the tent next to him, quiet as a mouse, hoping I could actually fall sleep in the humidity.

Not even 10minutes later, he broke the silence – “I’m just going to go sleep in the car with the AC on, you have fun in here babe” and he started to get up and climb out of the tent. I jumped up and asked if we could just make it through the night in the actual tent. This was one of the first times I’ve ever seen Armando completely serious in demeanor, he looked me in the eyes and said “You can sleep in the tent if you want, but I’m f*cking miserable and I’ll be sleeping in the car with the AC on.”

This was way beyond me trying to “glass-half-full” the situation.

After about a 60-second conversation, we came to the very quick agreement to tear down the tent as fast as we could, put the fire out, pack up the coolers and the car, and find somewhere with AC to sleep for the night. Ya’ll that was record time to tear all that stuff down and pack the car. I think we were in the car with the AC on full blast within 5minutes. Tops.

We pulled out of First Landing Park and into a Red Roof Inn, showered off the sweat and bug spray, had the AC set to 65 degrees and asleep by 9:30pm.

That was a huge fail.

We get to keep that comical “camping” trip in our memories though and add it to the pile of Adventures with Mondo and Rissa as we like to call it.

Side note, I have not been able to convince Armando to go camping with me since this incident. No lie. We were supposed to re-do our camping trip and go in October that same year for my birthday. There was coincidently a warning about a large number of ticks in the woods in Virginia around that time. Instead, Armando ended up setting up the tent in our apartment living room, ordering Chanelo’s pizza and wings, and we had a movie marathon all night/weekend. I can’t complain, that was one of the best birthday weekends I’ve ever had – who knew camping in your living room could be so fun!?

Note to self for the future: Don’t go camping in Virginia in June. Not a smart move unless you like having bugs stuck to your skin, tasting like salt and OFF bug spray, and ending up in a hotel by 9pm.

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