Step-dad Adventures – Camping Day Approaches

The Challenges

about to be executed

It is a far, far better thing…

The day had almost arrived. D-Day. Day of the Grade 7 camping trip.

The Oldest looked like we were about to pluck out his eyes or, worse, ban him from electronics forever. I’d seen pictures of people about to be guillotined who looked happier.

Me? Well, let’s take a look.

  • Rod_SerlingI am an introvert, as confessed in an early blog. This whole thing, from talking to parents and teachers, to helping organize the kids, to working with the staff and whatever wild bears come along, I’ll be so far beyond my comfort zone as to be in my own personal twilight zone (the Rod Serling version, not the sparkly-vampire one.)
  • I have a cold. Not good. Makes is harder to hike and I’ll likely sneeze on all sorts of people who’ll resent me for getting them covered in goo.
  • Honestly, there is no way to make braces look cool

    Honestly, there is no way to make braces look cool

    I have braces, so eating will be a challenge. Or, most specifically, not spitting food at people will be a challenge.

  • I’m not a loud guy, so shouting for kids to stop setting each other on fire will require a serious diaphramic effort.
  • I’m not in great shape so chasing them around to get back my underwear will be futile at best and probably a you tube video that goes viral.
  • Worse, I’ve never done this before. I have no training, no natural skill and they wouldn’t let me take a switch, (especially after I told them I wasn’t talking about an electronic thingee).

So I’ll have to rely on my innate ability to BS my way through anything.

Yup, that’s my skill. I BS’d my way through managing a toy store for years. Hell, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, I made it up on the spot. Even now, I BS my way through being a step-dad every day!

But it’s all about the attitude. People think you know what you’re doing, and that’s basically the same as knowing what you’re doing, right?

Am I right?

no electronix

No electronics? The moment I learned this, my eye began to twitch

To add insult to injury, this was going to be an electronics free zone. That rule was meant for the kids, so they wouldn’t be txting each other every 5 seconds, but come on, I need my txting, too, dammit. And my games. And my facebook, oh god, what was I doing to do without facebook?

But a no wifi zone is a no wifi zone. So, despite really wanting to take my laptop and write, I left it at home and took my phone (so I could at least take some pictures.) Yup, this was going to be a challenge all right.

However, the first real challenge came before we’d even left.

We’d gotten specific instructions as to what to take. Being somewhat Germanic and a little OCD, someone gives me a list and I follow it. It what makes me a good husband – I am totally list friendly. So the list included, 2 sweaters, 2 jackets, 3 pairs of shoes, a pillow and the usual pants, shirts, underwear and socks.

But we also had instructions to pack light, that we would be carrying our packs to the camp site.

backpackOk, call me crazy, but the moment you add that many sweaters, jackets and shoes to any bag, you’re talking a big ass bag.

The pre-pack proved it. I would need a full-on pack for just 3 days of camping.  Or a huge suitcase, the type that the Prettiest-girl-world usually takes for a whole week.

This was nonsense. How could I pack small AND pack what they wanted me to take?

It was impossible. So, using my executive BS ability, I hauled out the sweaters, picked one spare pair of shoes, left one of the 3 pairs of pants behind and packed the lightest rainproof jacket I could find. I unpacked my jammies and went with shiny shorts and a t-shirt that could double as an actual shirt if necessary. I left behind my big pillow and bought a tiny, comfy one.

Somehow I stuffed it into a regular backpack, the type I usually reserve for laptop transportation. It took some grunting, some sitting on the damn thing to zip it all up, but it was good to go. It looked a little like a whale about to give birth, but whatever, I had what I thought I needed.

The Oldest, with a larger pack, was able to squeeze in his sweaters (or more specifically, his hoodies.) It took a bit of effort to zip his pack up, too, but we did.

We we’re as ready as we could be.

Neither one of us got a good sleep that night.

marchingThen the day dawned, all sunny and hopeful and we marched off to our fate. (Ok, we were driven there, but whatever, you get the idea.)

Our adventure had begun!


About Joe Cummings

Aquarius. Traveler. Gamer. Writer. A New Parent. 4 of these things are easy. One is not. But the journey is that much better for the new people in my life. A life I want to share with others, to help them, maybe, to make them feel less alone, sure, to connect with the greater world, absolutely.
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