Camping · Life · Parents · Weather

First Snowflake Freakout Lady and the Blue Tarp Camper

Blue Tarp Camper:

This weekend, dad says “We’re camping on the coast.” And what dad says, goes. “We don’t need to check the weather report, we brought our own blue skies with us” Blue Tarp Camper, you’re one of us.

First Snowflake Freakout Lady:

This is a seasonal saga of tire chains, kitty litter, all wheel drive and one woman’s willingness to simply walk away.

She knows it’s coming. There on the double Doppler: a slight chance of accumulation mainly near the Puget Sound convergence zone …on higher hills of 500 feet or more. In other words, climactic Armageddon. Somewhere out there in the dark there’s a slippery, malicious snowflake with evil in its heart. And neither she nor her urban assault vehicle (with optional winch adventure package) will be going anywhere tomorrow. So what if there’s a major presentation at work tomorrow – don’t you understand? She lives on a hill! First Snowflake Freakout Lady, you’re one of us.

Pemco Insurance launched an ad campaign  a while back with “Northwest Profiles”. I saw the Blue Tarp Camper on TV a couple months ago, and just heard First Snowflake Freakout Lady on the radio. These two profiles are hilarious to me because they accurately describe my parents.

First, the Blue Tarp Camper – my dad. Every year with our Thousand Trails membership card in hand, we would camp as a family. It didn’t matter where really, and it certainly didn’t matter what the weather was supposed to be like. We camped. First thing we did upon arriving at the campsite was set up the tents while my dad built a virtual fortress of dryness out of blue tarps. He would knot the corners with ropes and tie them around the surrounding trees to create a maze of blue tarps that rain had no hope of penetrating. He was a genius at it. No matter what the weather, we always were snug and dry…and ALWAYS had blue sky. Those camping trips are some of my fondest memories – and I don’t have ANY of a promised trip that was canceled due to weather. Thanks Dad.

Second, the First Snowflake Freakout Lady – my mom. We don’t get snow in the Northwest that often (at least I don’t remember getting much as a kid), and even when a few flakes do fall,, there’s usually no accumulation.  No matter. Whenever there was the threat of impending snow, my mom was ready. At the first mention by Steve Pool or Jeff Renner (the local weather folks) that there could maybe possibly be a chance of snow in the forecast, my mom headed to the grocery store to stock up. She’d make sure we had plenty of wood, hot chocolate and marshmallows, soup, bread, milk etc – all the essentials. We were ready for the storm of the century every time. Out came the bag of snow clothes. All the gloves, hats, puffy coats would become strewn across the floor as all five of us kids tried things on to be sure we had proper fitting snow attire. We went to bed with the anticipation of snow – because we knew that any snow…even a dusting meant we wouldn’t be going anywhere but outside to play in it. Because my mom absolutely positively will not drive if even a flake is falling. I loved knowing that. Most of the time we’d wake up with no snow – weather men here are not famous for their accuracy. But on those rare occasions that we awoke to a blanket of white, we were totally set. With nowhere to go and a fully stocked kitchen,  we had from dawn to dusk to just be kids and play. Making snowmen and snow forts where we could wage major assaults on the neighbor kids, sledding down our hill…the whole day was dedicated to the fun of snow. When we couldn’t feel our toes and our cheeks and noses resembled a certain famous reindeer’s we would come inside – always to hot chocolate with marshmallows. Usually a few neighbor kids would end up joining us – cause THEIR mom’s weren’t prepared like my First Snowflake Freakout Lady.
Thanks Mom.


5 thoughts on “First Snowflake Freakout Lady and the Blue Tarp Camper

  1. I knew your dad was a boy scout, but it sounds like your mom was too! “Be Prepared” – that’s their motto, right? I’m sure both camping and snow days were always a blast with your family!

  2. Boy, can I relate to “Blue Tarp Camper” – many, many fond memories of camping with our ‘blue skies’. We at one point had our whole area covered with a little hole for our fire so the the smoke would go up.

    Being the annoying little kid I was, as soon as I was tall enough to ‘tip out’ any accumulating water, all my family had to beware… somehow that never got old..

    Anyhow, thanks for the grin, it’s nice to close off a day reminiscing over pleasant memories…

  3. I love you keep up this page, I often times quote snowflake freakout lady to others, and you are one of the few who have the text. THANK you! And yes, growing up in the Columbia river gorge area, Fond memories of snow days and sledding, Inner tubes on the pasture hill on the neighbors farm.

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