Chapter 20: Birthday Camping Chaos, Part 2
When the day arrives, SO and I had a pleasant drive to the campsite and our friends arrived in short order as well. Well, my friends arrived as the SO’s friends had to cancel due to a conflict with their youngest daughter’s soccer schedule. Everyone set up tents and started to break out some food and adult beverages. As the evening wore on, there was still no sign of Bratty. Finally around 9 pm Bratty texts that they just made it to her friends’ house to drop her off, and the drive took a long time due to stops for the infant. Bratty said she was too tired to drive another 5 hours that night to the campsite and asked if she could stay overnight at our house and drive early the next morning. I was frankly annoyed but at that hour I said sure and gave Bratty the entry code, as it seemed like the only logical choice at the time.
The next day, just as we finished breakfast and were heading out for a hike, Bratty finally rolls into the campsite around 10 am. SO had woken up that morning not feeling well, but after some hello’s I told Bratty my friends and I were heading out for a hike but SO was going to relax at camp that day. Bratty said she’d like to join us for the hike so I said sure, the more the merrier.
We had a pleasant 3 hour hike and Bratty actually interacted well with my friends. She talked about her new shared apartment, which was a dump, and her Americorps job. After we finished the hike, my friends wanted to drive out to another section of the park (about 20 minutes away) to see a certain feature since they had never been before. So I said sure and we drove the 20 minutes so they could see it. The plan was to get out and look around for 10 minutes or so and head back to the campsite.
It just so happened there was an organized bike race happening that day and the sponsors had set up tables of snacks and refreshments for the riders. Bratty, being a world-class freeloader, lit up. She practically jumped out of the car to see if she can score any freebies but the attendant politely told her no as the food was for the riders. So we all walked towards the main walkway to look around. There are a few exhibit boards, etc. and my friends were taking pictures. At this moment Bratty decided she was tired and asked me for the keys to my car so she can nap.
Now I was annoyed because we said we’d only be there a few minutes and Bratty seemed fine a minute ago when she was racing towards the free food. I opted to ignore her and then she starts a full-on tantrum – she’s sooooo tired, can we leave, she’s bored, she’s seen all this before, etc. Really annoying to everyone but we all still mostly ignored her. Finally we headed back to the car for the return drive to the campsite. Bratty went to her tent to nap and I decided not to say anything to SO as I didn’t want to ruin his birthday.
The rest of the evening is fine though of course Bratty managed to make a rude comment to one of my friends. We cooked burgers and veggies on the fire for dinner and Bratty opened the one can of beans she brought with her and of course proceeded to mooch everyone else’s food. I had brought along SO’s favorite cake (non-vegan, tough luck Bratty). Our friends hand over a small gift they brought for his birthday and Bratty handed SO a card. And then Bratty hands me a card she brought so ‘I wouldn’t feel left out’. Huh? Who would feel left out if they didn’t get a card for someone else’s birthday? On top of that it was a Halloween card. Because Bratty loves giving out cards to everyone on Halloween and Valentines Day like she's a 4 year old. It was bizarre but I just said thank you.
On Sunday morning, after breakfast, we packed up our campsites to head home. Bratty was stuck taking the long way again as she was obligated to pick up her friend near our house and then drive north. She asked if she could stop and rest our house on the way back and we said sure. As we’re leaving I remind Bratty that she hadn’t paid her entrance fee. She stays silent but when SO walks up she says casually ‘oh Dad, I forgot to pay the fee and its getting late now. Do I really have to do that?’ And SO says ‘No its fine’. I was pissed that he let her off the hook. That was the one thing she was asked to contribute towards and he basically overruled me. I let it slide again as I really just wanted to go home and get rid of Bratty.
Bratty did stop at our house on her way home but only stayed briefly before heading out again. It was like a hurricane passed and we were left in our quiet home with the calm after the storm. Of course it didn’t last for long as Hurricane Bratty would return again in a couple of months. But before that, Bratty of course had more workplace drama and a curious case of an unpaid Bridge toll. And, Thanksgiving 2019!!