You know you may be associating with the wrong people when you ask your best friend for an idea for something cheap and fun to do with your husband that will help end the days of bickering and bad moods and she answers “dogging”. Thanks for your help, Mel! Although, to be fair, she did come up with a fabulous alternative, so I’ll keep her around for a bit longer…
Jack and I had been rowing a bit recently. It’s all been over the usual stuff that everyone has to deal with, really. Take one broken car cam belt, an ill child who’s been up crying all week and climbing into your bed every night after vomiting his guts up all over his own bedroom, a knackered washing machine and a post-Christmas heating bill that suggests your house must have been as hot as the sun all winter, and you get marital stress. I love him to pieces, but he can be so patronising and annoying sometimes. I was draining spaghetti at the sink a few days ago and almost launched the colander at him because he made an idiotic comment about preferring white spaghetti to wholemeal, which is always what you want to hear when you’ve just finished cooking it.
So I sent a quick SOS text to Melissa for ideas on how to prevent myself from smothering the love of my life with a pillow in the near future, and once we got the dogging quips out of the way, she did come up with something useful…geocaching. I feel I have to warn you, this activity should come with a MASSIVE geek warning, but I loved it, and I’m only partly ashamed to admit it.
For you “muggles” out there who don’t know what geocaching is (seriously, the term’s been robbed from Harry Potter and used to unofficially refer to such ignorant people), shame on you, you’ve been missing out, but I will give you the scoop so you can get on board with us “cool kids” asap. Geocaching is a free, worldwide, outdoor treasure hunt. Firstly, you need to Google it and check out the official website. Basically, there are all these hidden containers out there in the world that anyone can find using co-ordinates that you get from the website and then use your Smartphone or GPS to find. I’ll level with you right now, the “treasure” is absolute crap, and you can’t take anything (not that you’d want to!) unless you leave something in its place (be careful, the Geo-Nazis will get you if you do!), but the fun lies in finding the containers.
Jack and I decided to check out the rich-pickings at the local nature reserve, as this place is home to no less than SIX whole caches. So we ditched the kids with his sister (good luck, kids!), and after parking, (and arguing about where to park, of course), we opened up the Geocaching app on his phone, selected the first cache we wanted to head for, and took off on our journey for actual rubbish and reconciliation.
It was hilarious. The first cache we found was hidden in the bottom of a crumbling wall. You get the co-ordinates for the cache, but you still have to do a bit of searching for it, and so Jack, God-forbid he get his hands dirty, kept a look-out for Muggles, while I scrabbled around in dirt, feeling out nooks and crannies of bricks for our loot. I managed to dig out an old camera film container which contained…wait for it…a penny. Geocaches also contain a roll of official geocache paper that lets you record your name and the date you find the cache, and so your geekiness can be immortalised forever, and you can see how many other geeks (or people suffering from a potential marital breakdown) have found it before you, which, I must admit, I enjoyed the most!
The best of it was the massively awkward conversation that Jack had with a park ranger who came over and, instead of asking us what the hell we were doing, got quite excited and started to describe to us all the other geocaches hidden in the park, and gave us a lengthy and thorough, oh so thorough, history of his personal geocaching experiences. One of the reasons I love my husband is that he is so kind, and really does his best to engage with and pretend to take an interest in what other people say, even when I’m trying to hide by hysterical laughter with a coughing fit. He asked many, oh so many, insightful questions to suggest to the poor guy we were genuinely interested in the cereal bar cache he found at the bus station six months ago that was 2 years out of date.
It was a truly lovely day, and I say that with whole-hearted sincerity, and not even a hint of sarcasm. To summarise, we found five of the six caches (I guess every great Geocacher has The One That Got Away), Jack took charge of the phone whilst I did the donkey work, we found our very own out of date cereal bar (seems to be a popular choice of cache), a bouncy ball, a Disney Princess pen (that I was tempted to steal), a toy car and a Christmas stamp. We bumped into our park ranger three more times, and each time yielded, amazingly, a more bizarre and hilarious geocaching tale than the one before, and I was only tempted to push Jack into the river once, and that was only because the one time he condescended to help me to actually find the cache on the river bank, he slipped, his foot went right in, and he whinged about it like a moody child.
So, has geocaching saved my marriage? Who knows?! I do know that Jack and I laughed more together that day than we had for the last month, and I absolutely loved spending that time with him, and being a bit silly together. The great thing about geocaching is that I think the boys will love it as well, so we’re just waiting for a nice bit of weather before we take them.
It would be awesome to know if anyone tries this, and what they think of it! Please let me know if you give geocaching a go…perhaps we can swap treasure stories! What’s the oldest food item you’ve found? Does anyone ever put into a cache a coin of the value higher than 1p? Has anyone swiped the cache and got away with it?
Hope you enjoyed my post, ladies! x