February 23, 2006

To serve God* and my country,

You know that you are getting old when your daughter has more of a social life than you do. On our way out of town to go camping we stopped at every kids favorite (and parents for the ease) eating establishment. And of course as soon as we walk through the door, it's:
"Can I go play?".
"No, we're here to eat and then we are going camping"
"Ok" (and there is no way I can convey how heavy that ok was).

And of course not 2 seconds after we sit down:
"Hey I know her."

And next thing I know, she's off playing anyway and I'm sitting there eating dinner by myself.

I gave her about 10 minutes and then we are off. After being on the expressway for about 20 minutes, I get the question.....How much longer? And I can't help but say hours yet (even though at this point in time we are just about there). Then I realize that with her winter coat on and the heat cranked, that she may fall asleep, so hours turns into almost there.

After a few wrong turns (it was dark and it was raining) and the inability to see the sign for the camp in the dark (even though all of the other dads turning around did let me know that I had passed it), we made it just in time for check in. We park the car, get out into the mud and walk into the building to be greeted with "Are you here to check in? If so it's the other building up the road". And you can tell that she has had to say it a hundred times already and just wants to shout "Idiot". Back through the mud, up the road, find a spot to park and we are here at Camp O' Fair Winds.

We get in line behind a couple of other people to check in, when I experience a moment of panic....They have yellow pieces of paper. I don't. Wait she is asking for the paper because it is a health history. Shit, I don't have one. Will I be able to fill one out now?...."Name?" "Stieb" a couple of page turns and then, "Ok, your down stairs. Here's the agenda, be back up here at 7." And that's when I realize that my wife is way, way ahead of me and that she turned in the health history when she dropped off the money (reason number 1,010 as to why I love her).

We walk through the doors, down the stairs, into what looks like an elementary gym. There is a stack of plastic mattresses and it appears that we need to grab a couple and find space on the floor. And since we were are one of the last to arrive, it looks like we are going to be in the middle of the floor. We get our stuff from the car, grab a couple of mattresses, stake out our homestead (equal distance from everyone on all sides) and spread our sleeping bags and blankets out. Ryan turns to me and says:
"Is this what you were expecting?"

I don't really answer her, but all I keep thinking is fireplace, TV and me in a state of vegetation.

....to be continued

* The word "God" can be interpreted in a number of ways, depending on one's spiritual beliefs. When reciting the Girl Scout Promise, it is okay to replace the word "God" with whatever word your spiritual beliefs dictate.