Tents for Algernon

Dear Diary,

It is exactly 9 months until I must be ready for The Next Big Thing. I have created and birthed two human beings in that amount of time, surely I can do the same with my outdoorsy self?


I took the time last week while my Eagle Scout of a husband and daughter were enraptured by the fourth quarter of the Seattle/Green Bay play-off game to sneak my brand new REI backpack tent into the yard for a trial run assembly.

One of the reasons that I settled on this particular tent was the guarantee that it would take less than 10 minutes to erect, even in the most challenging of weather.

Just sunshine and a nice dry, grassy, level back yard for me, should be easy peasy.

I lovingly laid out all of the contents of the little sack as recommended on the directions to ensure everything was there. Check.

I tossed aside the rain cover and laid out the tent as directed. Check. I thought there would be more to it than there was, but I guess if I got one of those “footprint pads” it would cover the ground a little better . I made a mental note to add that to my list of things to get.

I assembled the poles and laid them out over the tent in a direction that would match the color coded sides. Very smart REI. Check.

I inserted the poles into the matching colored grommets (I didn’t know what a grommet was heretofore, but easy enough to figure out). Check.

The directions then said to hook the tent onto the poles. But I have no hooks. I HAVE NO HOOKS! I only have loops.

WTFarm? I run into the house and get my iPad where I watch on You Tube a young girl put together the exact same tent with associated HOOKS that I don’t have on mine. I check and double check. NO HOOKS! Only loops that no matter how I bend the poles, they don’t fit through.

I notice the tent in the video is different colors than mine and the date is from 2010 and my tent is a 2014. Maybe they did away with the hooks since then. But why would the directions on my tent say to attach HOOKS and not loops?

I’m 30 minutes into it now, 3 times the guaranteed time already and I only have my tent laid out with poles in the grommets.

I watch another video with step by step instructions for my tent and again, it has hooks. I DON”T HAVE HOOKS DAMMIT!

I’m 60 exasperated minutes into it now, the football game is over and I must gather my Eagle Scout of a hubby to come and verify that I do not have hooks, only loops. He knows he is on dangerous ground by the tone of my frustrated voice and reads the instructions, then verifies that what I have laid out on the ground does not have hooks but loops.

Then he carefully backs away.

There, that’s all I needed to know. REI has let me down by packing the wrong tent into the right sack.

I call REI to find out how late they are open (it is a bit of a distance from my house) so I can exchange it and confirm they have another one in stock. With their usual cheerful countenance REI assures me they will be open and more than willing to exchange it for the right item.

Fine then. That does not make me any less frustrated and I feel as though I can spit nails as I make my way back outside to pack up the tent and embark on an unplanned trip out of town.

I roll up the tent with no hooks and put it back in the bag with the stakes and guylines. I pick up the rain cover I had tossed aside and realize IT IS ACTUALLY THE TENT.

I had been trying to erect the rain cover in it’s stead.

Ah geez, how could someone so astute and well respected  for 40 years in the business world have become vacuous? Am I Algernon?

I laid out the actual tent, put the poles into the color coded grommets, and there they are…the hooks that I need to attach to the poles. Kind of idiot proof…so what am I?

Never mind, don’t answer that.

After 90 minutes, I put my tent up in less than 10. As I lay in my newly erected tent with my little non-judgmental canine companion Lucy, I hope REI doesn’t have caller ID and we can just pretend none of that happened.

I still don’t know what guylines are unless they are of the “Thunder Down Under” in Las Vegas variety, but not to worry, I have 9 months to figure it out.

I suspect making human beings will prove easier.

Until next time dearest diary.

4 thoughts on “Tents for Algernon

  1. Smiling here as I know only two manufacturers/retailers whose directions are near always spot-on: REI and IKEA. As I was reading I was thinking, uhm, she’s getting unnecessarily frustrated. 🙂 Better it happened in the comfort/confines of your own property and… with a non-judgmental canine. They get us. 🙂

    Oh, I hope also that they were rooting for the Seahawks.

    Liked by 1 person

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