Saturday, October 13, 2007

Camping in Vermont

Doug and Geoff left this morning to go up to the not-too-far-away Boy/Cub Scout camp for an overnight. I'm slightly jealous.

coffee and fireIt has been just about 2 years since we last went camping as a family. Long time readers know, I love me some camping.

September 2005 brought us to central Vermont for a memorable and beautiful weekend at Allis State Park. Highly recommend a visit there if you go up that way.

Then, we bought this house and got busy with all that that implies. Then, we traded in the mighty pick-up-truck-of-death, which could carry all our gear and all our dogs, and bought a Subaru. It's nice, but four large humans, three dogs, and all that gear... well. That just doesn't really work for me or anyone else with common sense.

Top it off with the collective feeling amongst the parents that ... meh. We used to do a lot of camping because, as Doug puts it, he has a "primal need to burn things." And now that he's got a woodstove and can burn things inside his very own house, well then... who needs to go through the trouble of packing up a bazillion things to go camping.

Such a philosophy will end up causing a 2 year gap in what was a very favorite hobby.

Geoff started this summer saying "we need to go camping at least once." And before we knew it, it was time for school to start. He bemoaned the fact that we didn't do anything. So when I told him he had this to look forward to, he brightened up and got so excited. Marked his calendar. Talked about it for days. And then football started and he promptly forgot about this weekend.

See what happens when you get busy and don't obsess over things?

I reminded him yesterday evening and he got to planning and organizing and looking for the gear. And when I got home from work, I started getting them both ready.

Doug had been watching the forecast all week and was moaning at the fact it was supposed to rain today. Well, God blessed his grumpy and recalcitrant spirit with a beautiful, sterling, text book Autumn sunny day, with no chance of rain at all for the next 48 hours. Geoff asked me what I was doing and why I was looking for tent pegs. I reminded him and he set to helping. Before I knew it, we were organized, packed, wrapped up and they were getting in the car to leave.

"You know, you could come too," Doug said to me.

He's right, but there were three things holding me back from this trip...

1. I didn't feel comfortable leaving Jess alone for an overnight. She's old enough, and all she'll do is watch TV (DVRed episodes of House, Futurama, and Avatar, I'm sure) and eat food and goof off on the PC. But she is just 15 and I really wasn't comfortable leaving her alone for the night.

2. Cateringman. I have a meeting with him tomorrow at 10am, and have to finish his brochures so we can get them proofread, finalized and printed for a bridal show he's going to in two weeks. They are almost done -- I just have to reformat and rearrange some photos and we're all set. But if I went camping, I'd not be able to do that.

3. It's daddy/boy time in my opinion. See, I've gone to cub scouts for what, four years now... four. Yeah. And I've gone to every meeting. And I've done all the support work for Geoff. He wants to continue on to Boy Scouts in March, and once that happens, the moms usually back off and the dads step in and do the support stuff.

Our neighbor across the way is in his first year of Boy Scouting, and so far his dad has gone on every trip, every project, every everything. Mom has stayed home. She says she misses it, but it is so cool and important for the dads to now step up with the boys. And I'm trying to get Doug ready for that.

Geoff really loves scouting. And while he's not really aware that I see it, Doug kind of wrinkles his nose. Doug dropped out after the Webelos years, and I think some of it had to do with his lack of interest and some with his father's lack of interest.

Because Geoff does nothing else, I want to encourage him in this. I do not want Geoff to fail, because to be honest... he isn't interested in anything else aside from Football. It isn't like other kids who have ten different extracurricular activities that they do every day and all weekend and four seasons of the year. He likes scouting. He likes the whole format. He loves the outdoors. He needs to toughen up a little bit, and hopefully Dad will help him with that, and he won't drop out after the first couple of months in the next program.

So I packed them off and sent them away this morning, and immediately got a phone call from a good friend who is in a bad way. He and I spent about 2 hours talking. I feel so deeply for him and want to help him but there is nothing I can do except provide love, care and comfort. I was so sad when I got off the phone with him, but part of me hopes that I took away some sadness and gave him some thought and perspective that he can act on. Kind of like a karma swap -- I'll give you some good mojo and take some bad and carry it for a minute, okay buddy?

Anyway -- Doug and Geoff arrived back at the house at 1:30, not because the camping trip was/is a failure but because we had a football game at 3pm. And it was a beautiful day to be out at the gridiron, I must say!

The game didn't get started until almost 3:30, due to some long assed game prior to Geoff's. They were older boys and it was a good game to watch. Our boys tied 6-6 with their opponents, and it was a really good game, too. Lots of action. The last 2 minutes were all our hurry-up offense, and if they'd played like that at the start, they could have blasted the other team out of the water.

But a tie is better than a loss, and it was a good game. I'll take that.

Doug and Geoff brought me home, Geoff got cleaned up and they left. Jess and I went out to dinner where we discussed fundraising for Shakespeare in April and her German Trip in June... what we can do to raise money, not just for her but for the organizations. We have some ideas and it was nice to go out and chat and just have the night to ourselves.

Now I'm home, waiting for Scrabulous challengers to play their moves. Life is good. And while yeah, it would be nice to be camping, tonight I'll get in a queen sized bed and have it all to myself, with Harry Potter and three dogs. I'll feel a little sad for my husband because I could see my damn breath when I came out of the restaurant... but... I know my son is happy. I hope my husband knows it too, and I really hope my son appreciates it.

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