Week #51: Bedtime bivouac

“Let the tent be struck.” — Robert E. Lee

I used to drive a Ford van. It was a big green, gas-guzzling machine, but I loved it. She was almost like an institution of my life; ‘the girl with the van,’ that was me. I could haul people & things & even used the van for sleepovers & camping once or twice.

Come to think of it, I’ve slept in some weird places. Not only in the van, but on a trampoline & in church pews. What can I say? I’m good at sleep. But I still haven’t slept in a blanket fort—you know what’s coming up next—till last night.

Le fort

My brother & I used to make sofa cushion forts & play all sorts of games in our little world, but I think Mom always had us put things away before bed. I felt like a kid as I was putting the blankets together, creating a little cave with blankets & chairs. Layered blankets, pillows & my bear completed the inside of my den. Crawling inside, I let my sleepiness do it’s thing. I woke up a few times throughout the night trying to find a comfortable position & stay warm. When I finally emerged I realized why people don’t usually do this after the age of ten. My back was kicking me & muttering doubts as to my decision-making skills.

But would I do this again? Heck yes! I like caves/homey holes. Not nasty, dirty, wet holes, but comfortable ones. So next time I’ll put an air mattress in it or just build it over my bed 🙂

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Weeks #36 & #37: Family time & road signs

“The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway.” — Henry Boye

In Roald Dahl’s The BFG, the giant informs the girl that she’s not eight-years-old, but is younger because the time she’s spent asleep doesn’t count. I don’t agree, life is lived just as much sleeping as it is awake. But I’m probably biased. I love sleep; it’s one of life’s beautiful things. Not only are there awesome dreams to enjoy, but it’s just delicious. These past two weeks, I have slept in a special place & not slept in a new place.

You might have noticed that I missed posting last week, but I’m totally fine with that because I still did my new thing & I wanted to focus on spending the time with the people I was visiting. During week #36, I flew up to Wisconsin to visit my brother & his girlfriend. I had never gone to visit my brother without one of my parents either sending me or receiving me. My brother & I spent the majority of our childhood separated, so it was a strangely adult experience to visit him. The years apart really came to the front because our last substantial time together was when we were both rather immature & still going through that sibling rivalry phase. But my brother has changed & I have changed. He’s still funny, charming, & brilliant, but he’s not pushing me out of trees anymore. His girlfriend & the extra years of wisdom brought out a really sweet side of him that was wonderful to encounter. I felt a bit like I was getting a brother back & becoming a sister. It’ll take time & effort to get to know each other again, but I can’t thank God enough for how He’s worked this out to bring us back together.

Week #37’s thing is directly tied to that because part of the reason that I went to see my brother is that he’s a mechanical genius. I had been looking to get a new vehicle because the full-size Ford van that I drove since high school used gas like boy bands use styling gel. He had an older car for sale that got great gas mileage & since he offered me the sister discount, I found my car. It’s the first car that I’d ever really bought (this trumps buying the van for a dollar from my mom) & the first manual transmission I’d ever owned. Add to the top of that the 9-hour solo road trip (first ever such road trip) back down from Wisconsin with three pages of hand drawn maps my brother drew for me & I’d say these two weeks were a rousing AN52 success. I only killed the car once on the whole trip & felt like a mini speed demon since it didn’t take five minutes to go from zero to 60. It was a pretty awesome solo roadtrip ever because I encountered no cops, wanted no naps, filled up twice for about half the price of an old fill up & rocked out to music & podcasts the whole way.

After all that hard work, I’m going to go reward myself with some most excellent sleep 🙂

Week #34: Boy-quets

“No, really. Just do it. You have some kind of weird reasons that are okay.”—Paul Thomas Anderson

I don’t typically wear makeup because I value any amount sleep more than being sort of cuter (& blinking 10 times more frequently because my eyes are irritated). But as a girl, I’m glad it’s socially acceptable to have the option of painting my face sans being an extra in Braveheart or supporting my favorite sports team. Being a woman isn’t easy (reportedly, neither so is being a man), but we do have some awesome perks. We can choose pants or skirts, no problem (though Scottish men have got me there too), be enchanted by butterflies, rock a Bedazzler & a table saw, & chocolate? Can guys lay claim to an entire flavor—bacon doesn’t count, it’s God’s gift to everybody—but I think you get my point. Girls have it pretty lucky. We get to be pretty, pretty princesses & boys are generally supposed to spend money on us.

One of my guy friends recently gave me a book for my birthday with 1,000 ideas for AN52 things in it. So, as the last hours of the week approached without a project, I flipped through the pages & stumbled across one that was coincidentally poetic. Add to the fact that same guy friend wasn’t having the best day & I had to get groceries anyway, I bucked the norm, did what the book said & bought the boy a bouquet.

For such a small thing, I definitely got some good experience out of it. First of all, what flowers to choose? Piddly flowers wouldn’t do; like a floppy-armed hug, that would just kind of say, I don’t really want to do this. But an extravagant bouquet would be weird(er). I ended up picking some brightly dyed daisies with a majority of blue blooms (hehe—blue blooms—I like that), figuring it was a neutral-ish bouquet. I stopped by his house on the way home & his dad let me in. I explained to his parents what I was doing & also bribed them with ice cream so they wouldn’t feel left out. Waiting for him to come downstairs, I felt kind of strange standing there holding the flowers. All of the examples from history & cinema of such moments were running through my head & it seemed as if I was breaking some unwritten girl code. Luckily, he didn’t think it was (too) weird & no womaninjas came out of the woodwork to see that it never happened again. The weirdness feeling was gone (smiles will do that) & it was just good to see a friend having a little better day because of something goofy.

As one of my smaller, yet weirder AN52 projects, I think I’ll brand ‘Bouquets for Boys’ as a success. Flowers make almost all people smile & I like that—I think this perks sharing thing might become a habit. But chocolate’s still just for girls!

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