The Perils of Camping – Pass the Corndogs Please
Here’s the deal. I hate corndogs. This is nothing against the creator of corndogs or any of his / her descendents, but I do hate them. I also hate the idea of camping, which leads me to my recent corndog consuming exploit.
My daughter’s fifth grade class had a camping trip to Camp Mosquito Up Your Nose (name changed to reflect actual incident). I had never been camping before. I survived growing up in the ghetto so the idea of purposely entering the treacherous wilderness, to sleep on the ground, fighting off bugs and potentially rabid wild animals, never appealed to me. “Why suffer unnecessarily?” was always my motto. But my daughter just loved the idea of me chaperoning, and I loved the idea of her being happy. So I signed up for Camp MUYN.
I was assigned to a group of ten girls along with two other moms whom I was completely unfamiliar with. Personally, I couldn’t have selected a cooler pair of women―and, score!—they laughed at all my jokes and we gelled really well together. The girls were very sweet, ranging from shy to extremely boisterous personalities. It was wonderful to see them interact and support each other through their learning activities.
Tasks included designated servers at mealtimes and rewards in the form of beads were given out for exemplary behavior. You’d be surprised how hard the kids worked for a pitiful plastic bead.
I have to give it up to the counselors. Everything was carefully structured, but the majority of the activities involved some trek through the woods. We had to hike for miles―okay, not really, but it felt that way―in order to accomplish each survival activity. I now know how to build a campfire. And, not to brag, but ours was the biggest and the baddest. GPS tracking led to a candy reward and the mosquito up my nose. Sorry to tell you, the skeeter didn’t make it. It was either him or me. And in case you need someone to roast your marshmallow to golden perfection, I’m you’re gal.
All went fairly well the first day. The food, however, was clearly meant to appeal to children and satisfy their empty bellies: corndogs, bready pizza, etc. However, the adults were all hungry from our hikes and activities so we ate it, and asked for seconds . . . and yeah, third and fourths. Snack time was orange slices on the go. Owl prowl was sifting through pseudo vomit to identify the critter said owl had eaten and regurgitated. And FYI, you could eat fly larva―all protein and zero fat―if you were stuck in the woods and needed to survive.
The biggest hurdle was when nighttime came. Our schedule only allotted ten girls and three adult women fifteen minutes of bathroom time (I’m still guffawing at that one!) and lights out at ten. What sucked was, we didn’t realize our cabin had heat the first night. Most of us froze and didn’t sleep.
The sleep-deprived selfie of me on day two was proof the human body needed more than 2.3 hours of sleep. I texted it to my agent, hoping for sympathy. After all, I did have edits due. Her text back of, “OMG. LMAO. ROFLMAO” was not the said compassion I was hoping for. My husband texted me to ask how things were going. I told him, “I am in hell, and there’s no Starbucks,” then sent him the selfie to prove it. He asked, “Are you bonding with anyone?” I responded, “Yes. We’re bonding in mutual exhaustion and uncleanliness.”
And that was just the start of day two. Shelter building resulted in two girls landing in the nurse’s station and multiple trips between hikes to check on their well-being. I’d never drunk that much coffee in my life. The parents and I were convinced it was decaf in case the 5th graders tried to swipe some. By the time day three came, we (meaning the adults) were done. If it were up to the kids, they would have stayed there in Lord of the Flies-eque euphoria forever.
The best moment came right after we packed up my car to return home. I told my daughter how proud I was of her, and how well she’d done. I admitted then that I wasn’t much of a camper, but I was glad I was able to share the moment with her. She threw her arms around me and told me she would always love me and remember our time together.
So, if she ever goes to camp again, I’ll go, eat the corndogs, and yeah, maybe ask for fourths.