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.