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To Camp or Not to Camp…that is the question

 schools-out

“Why do you need to sign them up for summer camp?”

My husband asked me that question the other day. He actually asked it like it was a real question and not a joke. As if he didn’t notice me frantically scouring the town’s rec department website for fun camps that might still have openings and that I might be able to get the kids to go to for a few days this summer without having to fight them (or pay them, like I did last year. Don’t judge me.)

Why do I need to sign them up for camp? Did he seriously just ask me that? Can he NOT see the wild look of desperation in my eyes?

Oh my GOD! I’m half in the nuthouse right now just IMAGINING the endless summer with all 5 of them at home. I have to send them to SOME kind of camp. Something. Anything. My husband’s rationale was that we could save money not sending them to camp (which does get pretty expensive when you have to send 5 kids) and that HE never went to camp in the summer (so therefore summer camp is unnecessary, somehow.) But when I was a kid I DID go to camp. My mom would get out the summer catalog, and we all “got” to pick two one-week day camps that we wanted to go to. It was the greatest! I felt so lucky as I scanned the catalog trying to decide which class I would grace my presence with. I remember one year I went to baton twirling camp. A one-week camp that taught you how to twirl a baton. I had no need for this skill, but I didn’t care. Neither did my mother. She just signed all the paperwork and stood in our front door waving as the bus pulled into the neighborhood and we all got on for our awesome summer camp classes. See ya later, suckas!

And, by the way, I don’t even actually think that boycotting all summer camps would save us money in the long run.

If you think about it, after an entire summer spent dodging the daily question of “what are we doing today?” (as if I’m supposed to have a daily list of super fun activities planned…like they would at, oh I don’t know, CAMP), and trying to keep them all from killing each other, I’m most likely going to have a mental break down. It’s basically inevitable. I’ll go bananas, and then I’ll need expensive therapy. I’m talking full on, “she’s been hospitalized for exhaustion, look at her over there all curled up in the fetal position in the corner” kind of therapy.

An extended stay at some posh mental hospital has GOT to be more expensive than camp, right? Plus there are all the little expenses that you don’t think about when you are getting ready to lose your mind instead of sending the kids to camp because you’re trying to save a few bucks:

  • All the gas money spent as my poor husband has to visit me 3 times a day (it get’s lonely in the hospital, and I love visitors)
  • The money paid to the babysitter to watch the kids while he visits me (They can’t come with him, I couldn’t bear to have them see me like this…even though it is their fault that I am here.)
  • The daily delivery of fresh flowers (you know, just to keep my spirits up)
  • A personal mani/pedi person to come in weekly to keep my nails groomed (What? I’m supposed to live like an animal?)
  • A once-a-day twice-a-day Starbucks delivery of a grande hot chai tea latte extra hot with an extra pump of chai. Plus tip.
  • A new wardrobe once I get out (I’m pretty sure that I’ll lose weight while I’m in there)
  • Someone to come in once a day and tell me I’m pretty (just because)
  • Not to mention the expense of the limo ride to the hospital, and then home again when I am done with my treatments

It ain’t cheap. It ain’t easy. And it ain’t happening because they are going to camp.

See, the thing about summer vacation is that it only SEEMS fun and relaxing. But it’s actually the opposite of fun and relaxing. Think of something that is tiring and annoying, and that is summer vacation. Oh, wait, picture that your whole day is spent trying to keep 73 bunnies in a cage. That’s your whole job…just keep the bunnies alive, fed, and in the cage. Sounds easy enough. But the cage only has three sides. And the bunnies keep escaping. And every time you think you have them all in you see one across the yard that you have to go retrieve. Every now and then when you get a chance you huck food at them (and you don’t even care that it is basically just junk food because, omigod, they won’t stop escaping) but for the most part you just spend the whole day running around like a crazy person. Oh, and the bunnies complain and tell you that you are mean. And it’s really hot out. So your hair is frizzy.

THAT, that right there, is the real summer vacation.

Help!!

bunny

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Family Game Night. And Day. And Life.

Friday night is game night at my house. And Monday afternoons. Usually every other Saturday, at least…and most Wednesdays as well as Thursdays. Okay, every day. Every. Single. Damn. Day.

Here’s what we play:

spot itSpot It: The manufacturer calls this game “addictive and feverishly fun,” I call it “holy shit, someone wrote on the wall again” Only I don’t usually spot it, because I’m somehow blind to those kinds of things. It’s usually my husband who spots it. Cringe. The Spot It game will most often lead to a rousing game of Clue.

clueClue: Who wrote on the wall? That is the mystery to be solved. What is that? Is that…lipstick? Who the hell used lipstick to draw a heart surrounded by misshapen stars on the wall? I’ve got it! It was Jessica, with the lipstick, in the living room. Phew! Oh my God, I love this game so much!

opposition  Opposition: A game based on astrology. Check your calendar. If it’s a full moon you can pretty much count on the kids going bonkers bouncing off the walls with pent up energy, alternating with being completely ornery and oppositional (Oppositional, get it? The game is called “Opposition” and they’re being oppositional?) Luckily we only have to play this game approximately once a month. I hate this game like no other.

aggravationAggravation: The game’s name comes from capturing an opponent’s piece by landing on its space, which is known as “aggravating”. Oh my God, seriously? Who came up with this game? Why didn’t they just save themselves a lot of time and name it “We All Want the Same Spot on the Couch” or “I Was Sitting There First” or “Mom! He took my spot!” We play this game a lot in the afternoons. My kids never tire of this game. Ever.

wishful thinkingWishful Thinking: Driving home from school pick-up I will often give the kids a run-down of how the rest of the day is going to go: We’re going to go home and have a snack. You guys can play and unwind for a bit. Then it’s homework time. We’ll have dinner, relax and then everyone is going to bed. On time. In your own beds. No one is sleeping in my bed tonight. Now THAT, my friends, is a game of wishful thinking.

beat the parentsBeat the Parents: My kids have NO idea how close they are to winning this game, like EVERY day. I only have so much inner strength. At some point I’m just going to give up, and they’re going to win. The writing is on the wall. But until they are wise to the huge crack in my armor, I’m just going to keep on pretending that I am unbeatable.

the resistanceThe Resistance: The Resistance pits a small group of resistance fighters against a powerful and corrupt government. It’s them against us. We played this game once at the mall when one of them was an infant and I had a huge stroller and probably a gigantic diaper bag over my shoulder, and I had to use the elevator to get where we were going. But the oldest (who was probably no more than 5 at the time) HATES elevators, so he promptly staged a coup. In solidarity the rest of them sat down in front of the elevators and refused to get on. REFUSED.  It was horrifying.

light brightLight Bright: Also known as “Let’s try to waste all our money by leaving every light in the house on.”

troubleTrouble: It’s quiet. Too quiet. There are 5 children in this house…and there is no noise. Shit! What are they up to? That is how the game of Trouble usually starts in my house.

hungry hipposHungry, Hungry, Hippo: Have you played this game? Have you seen the feeding frenzy that goes on when the marbles are released? Now imagine that same scene, only it’s real life kids, not plastic hippos, on an all you can eat mission…and it’s all the groceries and snacks that you bought for the entire week that they are feasting on. It’s an ugly scene. Must. Hide. The. Food.

perfectionPerfection: We love this game. It’s such great fun. This is how we play it: I clean up while the kids are at school. Everything is in its place all nice and tidy, and then BAM! the kids come thru the door and the whole place explodes. Stuff is everywhere. (Bonus: This gives the impression to the other adult who lives in the house that you have done nothing all day except pick at your cuticles and watch The View.) Like I said, this game is SUPER fun. We play it almost every single day.

bullshitBullshit: We only play this game of courage and deception during the school year. And usually only in reference to whether or not my middle schooler has homework. “Do you have homework?” NO. “No?” NO. “You don’t have any homework at all?” NO. “You don’t have to read any chapters in your book?” NO. “NO?” NO. “Nothing?” NOTHING. “I’m calling bullshit. Show me your assignment notebook.” Honestly, it’s June. We’ve been playing this same game of Bullshit since at least January. I’m expecting to play it again next school year. And probably every school year for the foreseeable future because none of my kids seem to be particularly psyched to take out their homework folder each night and get down to business.

All these games inevitably lead to the one and only game that is a must have if you have kids: A Drinking Game

drink

1

The Disorder Du Jour

nervous woman

Wait.

Hold on.

What was that commercial that I just heard on the radio? No, seriously, WHAT the heck was it that I heard Monica Seles talking about? Binge-Eating Disorder? Not purging, but just eating…binge eating. At least one time in the past week where you have eaten more than you needed. Eaten when you weren’t hungry. Eaten too much and then felt bad afterwards.

THAT is a disorder??

And you only need to do it ONE time a week (for at least 3 weeks in a row) to be diagnosed with it? Plus you don’t even need to be overweight? I don’t get it. Is eating raw cookie dough until I think I might puke NOT normal? Is eating the leftover frosting on my daughter’s plate because she only likes the cake part somehow not standard behavior? Surely I’m not the only one who orders dessert at a restaurant even though I am full up to the gills from the bread, appetizer, salad, and full meal that I just ate.

I literally don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t have this disorder.

I hate to be there bearer of bad news, but have you been to Disney World lately? I’m pretty sure that 90% of the people there are eating past being full.

Suddenly everything is a disorder now-a-days. Okay, fine. I’ll jump on that band-wagon. Here we go:

Here are 7 disorders that need some media attention.

Double Dog Dare You Disorder ~ Now here’s a disorder that could use some serious government-funded research. And don’t be looking at me like you have no idea what I’m talking about. Does this ring a bell: You’re driving around with your car’s fuel gauge on E…and as a gas station comes into sight you think to yourself, I bet I can make it to the next gas station. You’ve just been double dog dared. Or when you want to move the huge bunk bed from one room to the other with 5 children milling about, and your husband says that it will be impossible for you to do yourself. Challenge accepted. Illness confirmed.

Where Is That Thing That I Have Been Tripping Over For a Week, and Now That I Actually Need It I Can’t Find It Disorder ~ Oooh, this is a goody. I suffer mightily from this disease. (Although you would never know it because I put on a brave face and keep my chin up.) I’m going to investigate some genetic testing for this because my poor son seems to have this disorder as well. I know because the other day he was looking for his headphones that he claims were last seen on the floor of the bathroom. (Why were they on the floor of the bathroom, you ask? Who knows.) He swears he stepped over them every day for the past 7 days. Now he needs them and they are gone. Poof! into thin air. Worth noting: When you are in the diagnostic phase of this disorder, if your bloodwork shows any sign of “a place for everything, and everything in its place” then you can rest assured that you do NOT have this particular illness. You might have something else. You might have the next disorder…

I’m Just Going To Put This In a Safe Place Disorder ~ This is sort of an off shoot of the above illness. It’s like a knee-jerk reaction to the realization that you have a confirmed case of Where Is That Thing That I Have Been Tripping Over. You immediately start putting things away in safe (but not always obvious) places. Things are away. They are not lying about. They are exactly where they kinda, sorta, not really, but good enough belong. Basically never to be seen again.

The Comfort of My Bed Has Just Increased By a Million Percent Because it is Time To Get Up Disorder ~ If your alarm goes off and suddenly you are paralyzed with a coziness previously undiscovered, you may be suffering from this disorder. You need a support group STAT as this disorder can take on a life of its own. You may actually decide one day that you are not, in fact, getting up at all. You will become one with the bed. Then next thing you know they are having to use the jaws of life to get you out, and a fork lift to bring you to the hospital. And then everyone in your house will get in trouble because they have been letting you just lay about all day while they brought you pepperoni pizzas and 2-liter bottles of Coke. The implications of this disorder are far-reaching and need to be stopped at once.

I Can’t Stop Talking (and talking and talking) Disorder ~ This disorder is near and dear to my heart because my 5-year-old daughter is afflicted by it. Big time. She talks constantly. Like, all the time. Even when I finally get her to realize that she needs to take a break from talking she will talk about how she is not going to talk. And about how quiet she is being. And about how this is the longest she’s ever gone without talking. While I’m just like, “yea, um, you’re actually STILL talking.” Which surprises her. And that surprises ME, because how can she not even know that she is talking about not talking? Do you know someone with this disorder? If you want to join me, I’m thinking about launching a major fundraiser to help find a cure. I need the incessant talking to stop.

I Have So Much To Do, Therefore I Think it Would Be a Good Idea To Poke Around Facebook For An Hour or Three Syndrome ~ Why? Why do I have to have this damaging disorder? Why, I ask you! Why me? Oh, wait, you have it, too? And you? And you, too? Damn you, Mark Zuckerberg and your wily ways. Facebook addiction is no joke.

Pinterest-itis ~ This is a newly discovered disorder. You might have it if you find yourself pinning, and pinning, and pinning all kinds of fabulousness…but then never actually doing, making, or creating any of the stuff that you so loving pinned. If I didn’t have this disorder I would be a firm-bodied, healthy-minded, organic-soap-making, crafty little chickie with a homemade, tie-dyed bat house hanging in my woods. But I’m not. I’m just sitting here in my pajamas writing a blog. So add Pinterest-itis to my list of disorders.

I think these disorders should be recognized by the medical community. I’m sure the pharmaceutical companies could come up with a pill to cure each one. They would make gobs of money, because seriously, who wouldn’t want to cure their I Double Dog Dare You Disorder with just a small daily dose of medicine? I knew I should have been a doctor. Or a scientific researcher. I missed the boat on that one. Oh great… now I have the dreaded I Missed The Boat Disorder. Will this medical madness never end?

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Stop Walking in Front of Me!

trip

Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow

Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead

Just walk beside me and be my friend

Ummmm….yeah. I’m going to revise that just a tad.

Dear child of mine, who for some reason cannot grasp the concept of just simply walking along next to me…

Don’t walk in front of me. Seriously, don’t. You keep stopping short and I have tripped over you three times already.

Don’t walk behind me. First of all, I can’t see you when you’re behind me because you are literally RIGHT behind me. I have to keep swiveling my head all around to try to find you. Plus, you’re probably stopping short and tripping up the people behind YOU. So quit it.

Just walk beside me. Like I’ve asked you to do. Like 5 thousand times so far. Five thousand times, and we’ve only been in the store for 7 ½ minutes. You are stumbling all around like you had a Bloody Mary for breakfast. Are you zig zagging on purpose? Are you trying to aggravate me? The world is not your oyster in this store. That straight line right there? THAT is your oyster.

And by the way, that goes double for when we are walking in the town parade proudly representing our favorite preschool in town (South Walpole Community Preschool! Holla!) You keep bobbing and weaving in front of me. I can’t even look up to wave to anyone I see on the sidewalk because if I do I will most likely go ass over tea kettle in front of the whole town. I’m not cool with that.

Oh, and that goes triple for when I am trying to carry a huge basket full of laundry. I can’t even see you down there because you are so small, but I know you are there because I can hear you talking and singing. And I can feel you dangerously close to my legs. I know your tricks. You’re going to lull me into a false sense of “hey, maybe I can make it from here to there without practically breaking my neck”. But this isn’t my first time at the rodeo. So I’m not walking, I’m shuffling. It’s the only way I feel safe.

And, oh my God, that goes quadruple for when I’m trying to hoof it up and down the street with the neighbor. You’re breaking my stride, kid. If you absolutely, positively must INSIST on walking with us then stop criss-crossing in my path. I’m trying to break a sweat. Trying to burn off some of this winter weight so that I can look super snazzy in my summer clothes. There’s a reason that I’m out here and it’s not because I like to walk up and down the street…it’s because I like to eat cookies. Particularly chocolate chip. But that is beside the point.

What is so hard about walking straight?! I’m going to Google it. No, wait! I’m going to check it out on Pinterest. Genius!! There must be some sort of crafty, super-fun way to repurpose an old tv stand that I find on the side of the road into some sort of sanded and painted apparatus that will keep you walking on the straight and narrow. This is going to be awesome! I’ll let you know what I find. Gotta go!