I’ve generally enjoyed the great outdoors at night.
Actually, that’s a bit too general. My lack of night vision means I’m not at all fussed on the sounds of killer scrub turkeys stalking me or tripping on tree roots, although I do love looking up at a night sky unhindered by streetlights and the glow of a distant city.
Essentially, I like stars.
But my position has now officially changed: I think the great outdoors at night totally suck balls.
This week we’ve been staying with a family of eleven in Hobart on their rather large acreage to help them prepare for the Project 365 Gala event & silent auction this Saturday night.
I say eleven, but that’s just the humans. They also have a horse up the back ‘paddock’, a couple of black cats and two dogs.
As you might imagine in a household of nine kids, the dogs in particular are spoiled rotten.
But they also have roles to play.
Of an evening the kids, when they eventually settle down, can do so confidently because one dog – the black & white furry bear-shaped one – takes on guard duty inside the house while the other – a beautiful, snow coloured, horse-sized fur ball – wanders the grounds keeping the place safe from, I’m assuming, menacing scrub turkeys.
It’s a system which seems to work.
We ‘met’ this family through the wonder of the internet when Tracey was laid up in hospital and their son, Campbell, sent our family one of his bear hugs. We’ve been keeping in contact ever since and finally met in person last year in Sydney when Campbell was being interviewed for a segment on Little Big Shots. If you don’t know who Campbell Remess is, Google him. The kid is quite simply a booster shot of hope for the world.
The long and short of it is our big ol’ bus in currently taking up most of their driveway near the house and our kids have been sharing rooms inside.
Because that’s what you do when you live in a bus with your kids and you arrive at someone’s house when they’re super-stressy-busy: you get them to mind your kids while you take advantage of the situation and shag.
I should feel shame but I’m waaaay too happy for that.
Although I will say we have been attempting to do our bit to help. I’ve been driving errands & cooking meals, while Tracey’s been photographing bears and a heap of other stuff upstairs in the lounge room. In fact, with the Gala happening in just a couple of sleeps, every common space in the home has been taken over with bits of bears, actual bears, bear boxes, table settings, donated auction items and all the rest of it.
And another seven of us added to the mix is not helping.
So I thought I’d do my bit.
“I’m just popping outside,” I told Tracey. “I need to pee but I don’t want to wake everyone up.”
“You aren’t going to go in their garden are you?” she asked. “You can’t.”
“On the grass,” I corrected her. “And of course I can. I’m a guy. Besides, we’re in the sticks. No one’s going to see me.”
And I want to be clear this happened EXACTLY the way I’m about to write it.
I stepped outside onto the grassy area near the bus. I undid my zip and then, as I began to relieve myself into the darkness, I looked up and marvelled at the stars.
A perfect night, I thought to myself. The sort of night you want to remember for the rest of your life. I got my wish.
Because then, midstream, something huge white and furry snuck up and licked my…
Trust me, if it was anything else I would never, ever tell this story.
But it has ruined me.
Despite having no night vision I used to LOVE both looking at the night sky and, on occasion, answering the call of nature in the great outdoors.
Now I’ve decided there are way more confronting beasts out there than friggin’ scrub turkeys.
Raising a family on little more than laughs
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