Pandemic Birthday Plans, Camping Plans…And Virtual Trivia Games (Oh My)!

I’m on a bit of a winter “vacation” this week. My paid time off for the year kicked in at the beginning of this month, so I’m only working one day this week and getting paid for a couple of days I’m not working.

I’ve been formulating some trivia plans for the week (I’m planning a virtual trivia get together for my birthday Thursday), there’s a high-stakes tournament style game I’ll be playing in virtually on Saturday (googling and looking up answers WILL be allowed), and possibly another virtual trivia game or two as well.

Last year, when I played on my birthday at a bar called McShane’s Pub (using the team name “Happy Birthday, Leslie Nielsen), I had no idea that it would be one of the last “live” trivia games I’d be able to play before the pandemic exacted its sucker punch on the world. Yes, I miss the live games – but I’ve also adapted to staying home more, gathering with friends virtually, etc. There are benefits – wearing your most comfy clothes to trivia games is kind of nice!

I’m not sure whether I’ll ever want to plunge head-first into the rigors of competitive trivia again. I’m not against one day doing the live trivia games with my team again, but tournaments may become a thing of the past. The stress of qualifying for them and hustling players for them was just too much – which is painfully obvious as I look back on some of the crazy shit I did and the toll it took on my mental health. Playing occasionally for drink money might be about as competitive as I will want to get (but nothing is etched in stone).

I’m already feeling some birthday warm fuzzies! A longtime friend e-mailed me an Amazon gift card, and another friend paid the entry fee for the Saturday “Trivia Hunt” game. I have no idea how that game will go – I’ve never played in an “open book test” trivia game!

More warm fuzzies – my mom has offered to bake chocolate chip cookies. When she asked what I wanted for my birthday, that’s what I told her I wanted!

I probably won’t be able to see my folks in person for my birthday (unless we brave the elements and sit by a campfire at a local bar), but we may try to meet up in a virtual trivia game.

I think I’ve already mentioned the whole pizza thing, but my husband and I are both looking forward to getting our OWN pies! My only hope is that the anchovy pizza doesn’t give him the oily shits like it did the last time he had anchovies! Did I just reveal too much information?

So what about camping and other outdoor adventures for when the weather gets better? About that! Because of the fact that camping was insanely popular last summer – much more so than usual, that has kind of forced me to alter our strategy a bit. The few times we camped last summer, we found we had the most enjoyable time of it when we weren’t camping on Friday or Saturday nights (when campgrounds are likely to be the most crowded). My strategy for 2021 will be to avoid peak camping times, avoid weekends (try to do Sunday through Thursday adventures – NO Fridays or Saturdays). Also, no holidays (Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day).

We did one our camping trips on a Saturday and Sunday night last summer. Saturday night was…party central. A group of “kids” camped next to us partied like they were on a sand bar at Torch Lake or something (shakes fist) – loud music, loud awful music, and the group sex (just kidding about the last line item)! It was just too much. I was surprised they cleaned up all of their trash (though they didn’t move back all of the picnic tables to the correct sites).

It was much quieter on the Sunday night, except for the inconsiderate folks running their generator AFTER DARK. They wanted to have the A/C in their trailer. Yeah, I get it – I don’t like being hot, either – but running a generator after hours in a campground? Well, you just don’t DO that! It violates camping etiquette. Thankfully, they turned it off after my husband went to their site to complain. Good thing, getting a ranger on the phone and out to the camp might not have been possible.

One of our camping trips will be in a “retro” camping structure (more about that in a bit)!

So far, I have two outdoor adventures on the calendar – both in the month of May. The first “adventure” is in a rental cabin at Ludington State Park, and the other will be in a rental tent at Interlochen State Park. I’m excited about the last trip – I’ll be staying in a tent similar to the ones I used to stay in at Girl Scout Camp! Except we’ll be able to snake in an extension cord and will have an electric overhead light. If it looks like it might be chilly at night, we can bring our electric space heater – if it looks to be warm, we can bring our fan. It’s Northern MI, though – so if I were a betting woman with late May weather, I’d bet more on chilly night temps than too muggy night temps! Fine with me – better to bundle up and snuggle down into the mummy sleeping bag than to wilt like a hothouse flower. That last line item is one reason summer camping is beginning to lose its charm with me. That and the bugs!

And that’s about it for now.

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