My Apologies to Lucy Liu

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My wife Kristen and I are TV addicts. Make that were TV addicts. Being a parent cuts down viewing by more than 60%. Yes, I just made up that statistic. We know it kills our brain cells but it’s our way of winding down after a long week.

Last week, after seeing nothing but Disney Jr., Nick Jr. and cartoons from Netflix we planned to watch the two-hour season finale of “Elementary” after the kids went to bed on Saturday night. The crime drama starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as a modern day Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson is a new favorite of ours. The episode aired over 3 months ago and we wanted to get caught up before the new season starts in September. Exciting couple aren’t we?

Saturday afternoon my wife reminded me that our 5-year-old son Tyler had earned a reward for making good choices over the past week and a half or so. He selected camping outside as his reward this time around; something we have never done before. We’ve built forts in the house and “camped” in his room but the idea of camping in the yard and under the stars was especially exciting to Tyler. The weather was going to be great Saturday night and Sunday would be filled with chores in the house and yard.

Just one problem: We don’t have a tent. The only tent I’ve spent any real time in since the 1980s is a beer tent. The family across the street let us borrow their dome tent. Not being much of an outdoorsman I was initially confused by the fact this tent had more than two poles. Our neighbor’s son has been setting up tents since before he was 2-years-old. He had the tent up faster than I had been able to get it out of the bag.

Another neighbor saw the tent going up in our backyard. He came out to see what we were up to and started laughing hysterically as I carried a Bob The Builder sleeping bag and about a dozen stuffed animals outside (Tyler calls them his meeps because they’re peeps who meep). My neighbor then jokingly texted me, “Do I need to bring a drink to your tent tonight?” He then asked if he and his family could come visit. I must say the setup was pretty impressive. Tyler had his toy lantern and fireplace going and his animals stuffed into various pockets built-in to the tent.

After visiting with the neighbors for a few minutes we played Uno, read books, ate popcorn and talked and played with his meeps. I expected that  a few hours later (once it was time to go to sleep) we’d end up back inside. I was wrong. No complaints about noises or being afraid of the dark or not liking it outside. We woke up the next morning around 8. Both of us were a little wet from the morning dew seeping in through the top of the tent but neither of us cared. Tyler smiles at me still half asleep and says “Thanks dad. That was really fun. I hope we do this again.”

I think it might be time to buy a tent. “Elementary,” my dear Lucy Liu, can wait.