Been There, Done That by Laura Nethken

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For the most part, I don't have to worry about staying out of the sun at our camper. There isn't any. The trees block it all out.

They say we camp up in "The Alps" on the hill because it's always about 10 to 15 degrees cooler there. If I'm wearing shorts and a tank top in our driveway at home before we leave for the camper, I make sure to pack long pants and a flannel shirt for when we get there.

This year, it's not like we went sunbathing or anything, but we haven't spent our whole summer up on the hill, either. We've ventured out to friends' campers, ones not in "The Alps," where you can wear sleeveless shirts and even need sunglasses.

And amazingly enough I haven't gotten sunburned. I used to get burned bad every year. I've been through all the home remedies, like soaking in a tub of tea. Not hot tea, not iced tea. Just tea. Sort of like insult to injury to be sunburned as all get-out, sitting humiliatingly in a tub full of tea.

Per my mom's instruction, I once slathered the burned parts of my body with Preparation H. According to the ads, it's supposed to reduce pain and swelling, so I suppose it could work on a sunburn. I'm still kind of wondering what happened to Preparation A through G and more importantly, the people they tested them on.

Spritzing yourself with a fine mist of vinegar seems to be the most soothing of the home remedies I've tried, although learning to stay out of the sun has been the most effective.

My husband burns just one time every summer. He burns bad, too. It's almost like he does it on purpose, just to get it over with and out of the way for the year. After all the burned flesh has peeled away (and let me just state for the record -- total eeew!) then he just tans. He gets darker and darker as the summer progresses.

Our oldest son started out like me. He burned every time he got in the sun. You'd have thought he was a vampire's kid the way we had to cover him up from the sun. And sunscreen is not cheap. The greater the SPF rating, the greater your protection, and the bigger the dent in your wallet.

At that point, it kind of comes down to how much are you willing to pay to protect your children.

Do you get the highest SPF and just sign over your week's paycheck for it and rest assured you've done everything in your power to protect your offspring?

Or do you buy the cheap stuff and tell him to wear a hat and put on one of grandpa's old T-shirts?

Now, he's just like his dad -- burns one good time and then tans the rest of the summer. Totally unfair. Now that I don't have to pay for his sunscreen, he doesn't even need it. How come he gets to outgrow it? I never did.

And apparently, dealing with sunburns is a universal problem not related to just my family. We were sitting in the bleachers at the fair last weekend and the lady next to me kept looking at me.

No, I didn't warp back to being 7, sitting between my older brothers in the back seat of the car. "Mom, he's looking at me again."

But every time there was a little lull in the action on the track, she was looking at me.

What? Do you think you know me? Do you want to say something? Do I have something in my teeth?

As it turns out, since most of the truck action was in the other direction, she was purposely turning my way every so often to keep from having only one side of her face sunburned. She was kind of "flipping" herself like a pancake to get an even glow.

All I did was take my sunglasses off now and then to avoid going to work on Monday with "raccoon face."

Copyright 2014 Laura Nethken

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