Step-dad Adventures – The Dreaded Night

Cabin Fever

sporesThe prettiest-girl-in-the-world has mommy-hearing. She wakes up if she hears sniffles from downstairs, if one of her children has a late night question, or if one should actually ever say mommy! in distress.  She will bolt out of bed as if hit by lightning. Me, I don’t usually wake up unless someone hits me with a Better Parenting book.

Not so on my first night in the cabin. For some reason, despite having the best group of boys, I didn’t sleep well. I woke up at the sound of every noise. Was there a bear? Was one of the kids sneaking out to TP another cabin? Were other deviants lurking outside our windows waiting to play pranks?

friday 13thAnd! Wait, wasn’t the movie Friday the 13th set in an abandoned camp?

Of course nothing happened, but it’s that horrible ‘middle of the night’ thinking that gets to you, you know, the type that makes you get up and eat a box of captain crunch without milk or dial an old girlfriend just to say hi or pee in the sink.

So by the time we had to get up at 7:30, I was already dog-tired. I slumped out of bed like an 80 year old going to a prostate exam. The boys, however, literally leapt out of bed. Most had chosen the top bunks and those that didn’t somehow managed to fling themselves out anyway.

We had a long day ahead of us. A 3 hour hike. 3 activities and then something fun in the evening. Little did we know what evil the teachers had planned for us in the evening (if I knew, I WOULD NEVER have gotten out of bed.)

grapesWe didn’t have breakfast duty, but they made us cabin chaperones perform like trained seals to see who got to choose from a fine selection of other jobs. I learned that I suck at throwing stuff at my face and catching it in my mouth. Who knew that this skill would be important? And being nearly last resulted in us having to do sweeping. Not a big deal, but I hated being up in front of everyone hoping to catch a grape in my mouth and not choke on it.

We got our jobs done quickly cuz I had an amazing group of boys (and worked my ass off as well to show them leadership by example and not yelling – that came later.)

Then we gathered for the great hike. The Oldest looked like we were about to bathe him in acid, but his friends were all keen and the weather was incredible. The forecast had been for rain, but by 9am, it was sunny and gorgeous.

As usual, the rules were given. Please don’t go off the trail, please don’t pick up stick or stones and throw then at each other. Please don’t climb on trees.  Please don’t whip other kids in the face with branches. You know, the typical hike stuff.

And within 10 minutes, all of those rules had been broken.

Now here’s the thing. The counsellors and teachers didn’t say much unless it was a huge breach of the rules, like someone slid down the hill (which some bright spark decided was a good idea) so I decided not to be the Bellowing Guy today. I was going to be all Zen-Joe.

Ohmmmmmm. Ohmmmmmmm.

IMG_6635The hike was a good one, and I got a chance to chat with the parent in charge of the more challenging cabin. Now there was a truly Zen guy. If the boys wanted to stay up to 3am, so be it. If they wanted to run around, no problem. If they wanted to make noise, sure, go ahead.  Just don’t bother the other cabins.

I think it was the right way to go. Had he gone all sergeant-slaughter on them, they would have rebelled and it would have been a nightmare for him. As it was, they LOVED him. They chanted his name and made sure he was included in everything they did.

Damn, I wish I could be that Zen. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world has a knack for that as well. Me, I’m too much of a control freak not to want peace and quiet, rules to be obeyed, and  grey-haired 50 year-olds to be respected as if they were God.

IMG_6626But everyone made it back alive. A few kids twisted their ankles, a few got smacked in the face by branched whipped at them from the person in front, and a few decided that sitting and leaning out on the edge of a cliff was a fun thing to do, but that’s about it.

We all made it back.

I chalked up another Joe-success.

Now all I had to do was get through the next 3 events.


Oh and hey, if you’ve enjoyed this blog, please forward it to someone you like who could make me rich. Or, simply share on facebook. I need to get my numbers up a bit. 🙂


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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