Monday, May 17, 2010

They say this is how Columbus stumbled on America.

Hubs and Daughter have discovered a new hobby. Geocaching. If you don't know what that is, I'll give you a brief description.

Geocaching uses Al Gore's Internet and GPS technology to help normal people like you and me find little treasures (or caches) tucked under boxwoods in city parks and inside overgrown weeds on the side of the road.

Most of the containers look like green metal thingies that could be featured on the Military Channel. Some of the items inside are pretty cool, but most of them look like the leftover items from VBS treasure boxes and really bad birthday party treat bags.

The fun is in the hunt. And in the fact that you do find that one really cool coin or toy among all the stretchy lizards and broken, miniature paddle balls.

Yesterday they decided to take me along. I have issues with being in strange places and with sticking my hand in strange containers with stranger objects, but I thought it would be fun to go along and I didn't want to be a buzz kill.

Everybody hates a mama who is a buzz kill.

Daughter told me what to wear, "The same thing you would wear to horseback- long pants and boots."

Which meant, "There may be snakes."

Thanks for the tip.

So, I went. I brought my Diet Coke for hydration and comfort. Hubs packed us all some bottled water. Daughter packed the Official Family Geocaching notebook.

Hubs brought along Nancy's portable GPS system, the kind in which you punch in the coordinates and then look at the arrow. Only you can't really look at the arrow and the road, so he had to depend on me looking at the arrow while he looked at the road.

Hubs- "Okay, where do we go next?"

Me- "S Avenue. We're on D."

Minutes later.

Me-"Oh, wait. It's SOUTH Avenue E. Not S."

Hubs- "Where to now? Right or left?"

Me- "I don't know."

Hubs- "I gotta do something here."

Me- "Okay.... left."

You have to understand that I can read a map. But I was dealing with the portable GPS, the arrow, and the Google map Hubs had printed for us which did not have all the streets on it. Streets are helpful while you are, you know, driving.

We managed to find several caches. Our first was on the side of a road where I discovered a stray cat. Hubs and Daughter continued to search for the cache while I abandoned them and went to the car for some pet food I keep stashed in the back. The cat ran off, but I left food out for him anyway.

You can see why they never invited me before.

Our second discovery was on the edge of a curb, in front of a house. According to the Geocache rules and description, we had permission to search and there was no need to go through any gates. For Paranoid Me, it was dangerously close to trespassing, so I stayed in the car.

(I can hear Nancy laughing right now.)

Our next two caches were in a park. Ok, this I can do.

As we walked, I was again distracted by an animal. This time, a prairie dog, which is not necessarily a treasure, but, according to local cowboys, is a big rat.

By the time we found the prairie dog cache, I was tired, hot and thirsty. My Diet Coke was long gone and I had slurped down two of the bottles of water, reserving the last for Daughter. I convinced Hubs to take a detour to Sonic for some necessary provisions.

We pulled in and Hubs ordered a round of limeades. Cranberry for him, strawberry for Daughter, and cherry for me. When the car hop arrived, Hubs handed Daughter her drink, then put our limeades on the console as he turned to pay.

I turned around to do something and my elbow knocked over my entire cherry limeade, spilling it all in the back floorboard.

You can imagine the trauma. I mean, I was really, really thirsty. Not to mention the HUGE CHERRY STAIN on the back floor mat.

Hubs had pulled too close to the menu board, so I was the only one who could hop out of the car. I ran around, grabbed a blanket and began to sop, hanging my feet and legs out of the car. The sweet car hop brought me another drink as I quickly cleaned up the mess with the blanket, a box of Wet Ones, and a sample of Viva paper towels.

It was very stressful.

We recovered from what will no doubt become known as the Unfortunate Cherry Limeade Incident and moved on to our last cache hunt- a multi.

A multi means you follow coordinates to find the next location, and so on. Eventually, you find the geocache at the end.

Translation- You walk in your boots for a very long time and realize these boots weren't made for walking.

There may or may not have been an incident of Hubs jumping a fence and there may or may not have been an incident of me whining about my poor, blistered, snake-protected feet. The last treasure turned out to be the best one, even if I did have to walk a sweet forever.

And by sweet, I mean the kind of sweet you find at the bottom of a Sonic cherry limeade or, in my case, the bottom of my back floorboard.

I'm so glad I didn't get the Route 44.


Carpool Queen said...

You KEEP pet food in your car? I keep people food, myself, and lots of it :)

Susanne said...

LOL. So will you go again?

Roxanne said...

My husband had done geo caching before and the kids are raring to go. I, however, will sit at home and think of you and how incredibly BRAVE (and thirsty) you are.