A few posts ago you might have seen how we slept just a week ago during a teacher training session in Unalakleet. We are blessed to be in a district that provides many opportunities for professional development, however we are lacking in accommodation options. Since there are no hotels, everyone has to either stay at a friend's house or pile into classrooms at the Unalakleet school. The district provides air-mattresses to anyone who wants them. In any case, you are usually somewhat crowded and the air can get a little stale with a dozen people sleeping in the same room.
Luckily, the adventurous types have options. If you don't mind people walking around you while you sleep and if you can handle lots of light, you can sleep out in the hall. If you don't mind getting up early you can even sleep under the insurance salesman's booth table, which is seamlessly shrouded with a tablecloth, limiting the hall light (just wake up early before the salesman himself returns).
Another option is to sleep in the gym on the hard floor. I know of at least one person who does this with the goal of distancing himself from snorers. He doesn't use a mattress. Why? I don't know. His name is Matt, we call him Floor-Mat (his idea for a nickname, not mine).
If none of these above options appeal to you, there is one option left. Heidi and I utilized this alternative option last week during our second week of training. We camped on the beach in a brand-new tent, and it was beautiful. No snoring and nothing but fresh air.
In this picture below, you can see we had a campfire, some teachers from Diomede (hi Ben), and a tricycle that had washed up on the beach to make our camp feel warm and welcoming. I'll have to say, I had a great nights sleep.
Everything was fine and dandy with our new sleep situation until one little oversight. No, we didn't oversleep. We had been careful to bring an alarm clock, and picked a location within one-hundred yards of the school. (And no Robbi, we didn't get attacked by a bear. Bears don't usually eat people at this time of year, they're already full of salmon.)
In close study of this picture above you may notice a few key details. First, there is driftwood holding the tent stakes into the ground. Experienced campers know that this insures a firm grounding, as slender tent stakes by themselves soon loose their grip in beach sand. Second, on the horizon you can see that the ocean is almost placid, which means that there was no wind.
The first morning Heidi and I rose up, packed up everything (including the tent), and returned to the school for our sessions. The second morning we decided to leave our tent set up and recruit a couple local kids to keep an eye on it during the day.
Halfway through that second morning everyone had to meet in the gym for a special special session, which included district staff, principals, para-pros, and of course all the teachers. Now during this large meeting in which everyone was present and able to look at me at once, a message was urgently brought to the speaker at the front, who in-turn announced the following:
"Is there anyone here who is sleeping on the beach in a blue tent?
...Damon...Damon Hargraves...Is Damon here?
Damon, your tent is blowing down the beach.
You are excused from this meeting to go retrieve your tent."
The wind picked up during that second day, and I neglected to leave anything in the tent to keep it weighed down. The driftwood on the stakes alone couldn't keep the wind from sucking the tent up and tossing it down the beach.
It was embarrassing, and I had concerned colleagues asking me about it all day. Luckily though, there was no damage done. Our tent rolled one quarter mile down the beach without a rip or a bent tent pole (I'm very happy with my purchase).