Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Letterboxing (In Less Than 20 Steps)

We just recently learned about letterboxing, and have been waiting for an opportunity to try it out. Today, with a suddenly empty afternoon ahead of us and nappable time abandoned, we decided to give it a go. Here's how it went:
1) Check this map for locations near us and the clues.
2) Drive to the craft store to find the cutest tiny notebooks, one for each boy.
3) Realize I've forgotten the paper with the clues written carefully down.
4) Drive home, get the clues.
5) Drive to a particular park-like area on the other side of town. In rush hour.
6) Realize I've forgotten the bag with our stamps and ink at home.
7) Decide not to go back for it.
8) Try to talk the kids into a trip to Dairy Queen instead.
9) Get denied. In no uncertain terms. We have a mission, Mom. Jeesh.
10) Follow the clues, one by one, til we come to the spot where the box is hidden. Guarded by an army, navy, and air force of vicious blood thirsty mosquitoes.
11) Fight through like the men that we are. Find the box.
12) Run, screaming, like the children that we are, with the box, halfway across the park-like place trying to get away from the swarms of mosquitoes covering our bodies. Biting us through our clothing.
13) Give up. Stop. Drop to the wet grass and dump everything out. Quickly stamp our books with the hidden stamp and the hidden book (with our thumbs, since we haven't got our stamps, and they are at least a personal reflection of who we are, right?). Dump everything back into the box, swatting mosquitoes all the while.
14) Send the 9 year old soldier back to the front lines, so that he can hide the box back in it's exact same location.
15) RUN! to the car, pile in as quickly as possible.
16)Realize as we're driving home that there are no less than 10 mosquitoes in the car anyway. Biting our ankles as we go. Why do they love ankles so?
17) Drive home.
18) Realize that in the flurry of the stamping and attcking you wrote the wrong date in the hidden book. DO NOT GO BACK TO FIX IT. Sorry, girl scout troop. I was only 4 days off.
19) Count mosquito bites. Give up after 20. On one kid.
Amazingly the baby seems to have only gotten one bite. The rest of us are covered in swollen itchy welts. In the 8 years I've lived here I've never once been bitten by a mosquito in town. Until this spring. They're awful. AWFUL! This isn't Alaska after all. It's supposed to be one of the perks of living in the desert, for crying out loud.

Letterboxing, though, seems to be super fun. We're excited to go again, to find all the hidden little places around here, and to hide our own boxes. It's like a scavenger hunt. Like geo-caching for kids. No GPS required. Though we do want a GPS unit, and to try geo-caching too. If, you know, you have a unit you want to give to a poor deserving family. So we can take it far, far away from where the mosquitoes live.


TKSawyer said...

How cool! I totally want to do this, but I don't know if this is something I could do with Lucy. It might be too much for her, but I would love to try.

mama-aya said...

I wouldn't recommend the arboretum with her right now, but otherwise it's really just taking a little walk. Maybe we can try one together, if that'll help her go along with the flow....
It really is fun, and Miles is psyched about his own little journal. It's very cute.

Lisa with 6 daughters said...

LOL- we placed a box at the arboretum a few yrs ago, i havent' been back to check on it. We visited the one at Umptanumm falls and the one at Sarg hubbard park. we should do this again, i used to keep all our letterboxing stuff in ONE fanny pack. back when I was smarter and more fun. sucks about the mosquitoes, I got one up under my dress yesterday while picking cherries. not much fun.

mama-aya said...

This was a new one, or at least a new book- I keep hearing there's one at Franklin and one at Sarg Hubbard, but where do you find the clues? They're not listed on the letterboxing site I found! But, yeah, now everything is all together- I'm trying to decide about just keeping it in the car or not....
oh, the big decisions do me in, they do....