Sunday, June 19, 2005

Sore, Smoke Scented, and Oh, So Blissful

Listening to: James Brown, Make It Funky - The Big Payback: 1971-1975

Listen: if you're thinking of spending some downtime in the mountains, don't do it if you're the only adult among five children. Another night up there and I would have been the prime suspect in a couple of fresh, shallow graves.

Aside from my three (all complete angels, BTW), I took my brother's kids on the campout, my nephew (11-years old) and my neice (14-years old). After finding a spot along a mountain stream, we packed in the gear about a quarter mile and the fun started. "It's too cold, it's too smoky, there's too many bugs, the ground's too hard, I'm hungry, I'm full, I'm thirsty, I don't want water, I want to use a toilet, I want some candy...." This after, "How much farther?" every five miles.

Believe me, I've considered that I might be a tad bit biased but I have to say that my own kids were nothing but thrilled to be camping with daddy and seldom was heard a discouraging word. Indeed, about the only complaint I heard from my brood was someone wasn't getting enough lap time.

Not only were my neice and nephew malcontents, they were greedy little shits. I had to lock up the juice and Hershey bars (for the S'mores) if my kids were going to get anything. And I don't know if it was my neice or if this is something I have to fear once my own kids hit fourteen but getting that snotty teen to do an ounce of work was like asking Tom Cruise to take some Prozac. If there was any labor that needed attenting to, she was either staring at the task with stupefied confusion or chose to skip off into the woods to puff some half-smoked Doral she'd copped from an ashtray. Had someone spontaneously burst into flames, she would have simply stared open-mouthed and then complained that the heat was too intense to spark up her pick-up cigarette.

By nightfall, my body was a throbbing mass of aching joints and spent muscle and it occured to me that I had been serving whims and needs of everyone else the entire time; I was not having fun. If I had come to the woods to relax a bit, I'd been cheated. Stuffing my sorry carcass into my sleeping bag, I grumbled off to sleep.

I woke before everybody the next morning, got the fire going, started breakfast. A new day, a new way. I became a drill sergeant, began barking orders, making threats, refusing privileges. My neice and nephew got their tender feelings hurt but at least things got done and, I admit with some twisted glee, I was having fun.

Never again, my friends. My kids and I will do more camping throughout the summer but we're going at it alone. Anyone else's kids risk a gruesome and untimely demise or becoming employed in my Southeast Asian sneaker factory.

13 comments:

vicki said...

I'm very short on wi-fi time but I wanted to stop by and wish you a Happy Father's Day, Jim. And if you think of it let what's her face know I said congrats on B4B. I'll catch up with you all tomorrow.

Betsy said...

Five kids and one adult?

You are a brave, brave man...

Kathy said...

Yeah, no matter how much I bitch about my girls, they are so much better behaved than a lot of other children. One boy is constantly helping himself to juice boxes and treats that my daughters know have to be asked for first. Toys we've had for 11 years are broken within 5 minutes of other children playing with them. I've had to be a drill sargent and be the bitch right from the start. Makes you appreciate your own children! Hope you get to take them on their own next time.

panthergirl said...

Hey...sorry about the miserable campers, but Happy Father's Day to you, and glad your own were happy ones. ;)

Natsthename said...

Sounds like a wonderful way to spend Father's Day!

I'm afraid I'm a "I'll Camp At A Hotel" gal, and when there was camping to be done when my older son was a scout, I headed back to my air-conditioned house at light's out, then back to the camping area for breakfast at 0-dark-thirty. I got fewer chigger bites and more sleep, I think.

Mamacita said...

You know, I never took my own kids camping. All those years of working in a camp, teaching canoeing and campcraft, kind of did me in. And now, my own kids are avid campers and canoers. They found it on their own and they love it. Go figure.

And yes, there was always at least one whiny-tale in every group. Ruined the experience for them all.

I usually made the loudest complainer dig the latrine. Eventually they caught on and behaved better. Except the ones who were born complainers and actually made whining into a lifestyle. I still figure those people are the latrines of life.

Unless it's me, of course.

"Latrine" is a funny word.

Oh, and Happy Belated Father's Day to one of the best fathers and coolest persons I've ever encountered.

Glitzy said...

Happy belated father's day!

Sounds like quite the camping experience. 14 and 11 are rough ages to be and to deal with. Ugh.

Heathen said...

I think 14 is when girls get in touch with that deep and brooding inner bitch. Well it was for me anyway. 14 and the hormones are in full swing, you've got a chest that everyone stares at... basically your whole world changes at 14... it'd make anyone bitchy.

Little kids are definately more appreciative of the wonders that come with camping outdoors.

No matter what, your kids had a blast and that is what matters.

seeingdouble said...

**sigh** Teens!! You are braver than I, I have been pondering taking the kids camping, but 2 three year olds in the woods without Dora or Blue scares me. A LOT! Then again, I'm a girly girl, so camping must involve lots of ammenities. Anyway, I came looking for MOOBS! Where are the moobs you promised me?! Don't make me huff and sigh, I've got my own cigarettes, and the attitude to boot. :)

Jenorama said...

Oh, god I miss smoking...

that SUCKS! You are much nicer than I am. I would have been IN THAT GIRL'S FACE! But I am a meanie!

Hey, Patriside is spelled wrong on the BB blogroll, by the by-- they used a "c" instead of an "s."

rugdesigner said...

Belated Happy Father's Day. Glad you got everything sorted out and were able to enjoy time with your kids.

Now I'm really wanting some smores...

chip said...

man, you are a brave guy to bring a teenager camping who is not even your own daughter! My kids always bug me to bring a friend when we go up to our rustic cabin, and I always say no way. Glad you had a good father's day!

Taamar said...

I feel your pain.

I took my son (10) and my brothers (12 and 13) skiing last winter and it was miserable. My son was very well-behaved, but my brothers kept complaining that they wanted to buy souvenirs, wanted to go to a movie, wanted dinner at a steakhouse, we should have rented a condo with a hot tub, it's too cold to ski, it's too hot to ski, why didn't we have a way for them to check e-mail, and how dare I make the same breakfast (belgian waffles, real maple, bacon, scrambled eggs) for everyone!