One man's struggle to make sense of it all

The Secrets Of Man Camp

The Secrets Of Man Camp

Every once in a while I get an amazing idea, no matter what my wife thinks. 
Two years ago, for Christmas, I had the idea for something called Man Camp: a good time of camping between my two sons and me with no influence from my wife or their sister. I wanted it to be a time of bonding and a time where I could teach them the ways of a man, as far as I knew (IE lots of spitting and scratching).Sometimes the teacher learns as much as the student…
Here are just a few of the things that I learned from our first Man Camp:

  1. As soon as you make a big deal about organizing the camping trip For The Guys Only–away from the influence of “the women-folk” your wife will not speak about it again for the rest of the year and you’ll forget.
  2. She will remind you when the summer’s over and it’s too late.
  3. Just because your wife reminds you the second year, during the actual summer, it doesn’t mean that she is booking the campsite for you.
  4. Campsites don’t book themselves.

So as you can see, Man Camp has its value. The weekend looked like this:Tuesday at midnight: My wife asks me what time I was leaving for camp this weekend. I pick an arbitrary time that will be impossible to make, like 5pm immediately when I get off of work. 
Wednesday at noon: My wife calls me at work-“I know I’m being ridiculous but you HAVE booked a campsite, right? I know I usually have to book two months in advance.”Me: “All taken care of.”
Wednesday 12:30pmMe (calling the campsite): “I’ll take any spot. Anywhere. Even by the dumpster.”Campsite attendant: “Doesn’t your wife usually book with us…like in the Spring?”
Thursday 7pmMy wife reminds me to go shopping for food for Man Camp. My Wife: “Where are you getting the money to pay for this food?”She knows I hate that question because there’s only one place I get money at any time, and that’s from her. If she’s asking this question, it’s bad news.Me (my mind is racing. How can I convince her I’m in control AND ask her how much money is in our bank account??): “From our budget?”My Wife: “Nice try mister. Man Camp was your idea so you have to pay for it.”
Friday 5pmLeave work and streak home, remembering that I haven’t packed anything. I saunter into the house, business-as-usual.My wife: “Are you ready to go? The boys are waiting.”Me: “Pretty much. I’ll just grab some extra supplies.”My Wife: “Like the tent?”Me: “Honey, don’t meddle.”I rush downstairs and madly pile tent, air mattresses and various pieces of hardware into a bag.
5:15pm I drag everything upstairs and meet my boys and my wife in the kitchen. Me: “Guys, let’s talk essentials. We need shelter (pointing to the tent), food (pointing to the cooler full of food that I had to pay for myself) and tools.”At this point, we each pull forth our “Camping Knives”. Huge shiny blades. Thick wooden handles. Leather sheaths. Me: “Awesome. We’re set. Let’s go.”My wife: “Do you need any cooking utensils?”Me (rolling my eyes to my boys as we all pat our knives): “I”m sure we’ll be okay.”
7pmWe find the campsite and starting setting up camp. Each of us has our knives firmly strapped to our belt, Just In Case.
Ben: “Dad, where are the tent pegs?”Me: (remembering the blur of packing that took place in the basement): “Should be in there. Check the van.”Ben: “I did already. They’re not there.”Me: “This is a good opportunity to use your Camp Knife to make your own pegs out of branches.”
7:10pmBen: “Dad, the pegs I cut keep breaking. And it looks like rain.”Me: “No problem, I’ll head out to the camp store and pick some up.”
7:20pmBen: “Dad, why did you only buy 6 pegs? We need twice that amount.”Me: “Because the camp store sells them for $1.50 each and that was all the money I had.”
9pmTents are “basically” up. A fire is crackling in the pit. Duncan: “I’m going to go shower. Where’s the bag with the shampoo, soap and toothpaste?”Me: “Hmmm. Pretty sure I put it….your mom must have moved it.”Duncan: “So no soap.”Me: “None. Just like the pioneers.”Duncan: “You know they only lived to the ripe old age of thirty, right?”
7amI wake up to the sound of the cook stove being lit and bacon frying. Duncan: “Dad, where’s the flipper?”Me (from my sleeping bag): “Should be there.”Ben: “Didn’t you tell mom you didn’t need cooking utensils?”Me: “Just use the plastic forks.”Duncan: “On the hot frying pan?”Me: “You have to be fast at Man Camp.”
3pmMy wife: “Hey! I didn’t expect you home so early!”Me: “Man Camp was fun but we all missed you.”My wife (to my boys): “Well, did you learn valuable lessons with your Dad?”Ben: “We learned how to improvise when you don’t have the right tools.”Duncan: “We learned how quickly plastic forks melt on a frying pan when you’re cooking bacon.”Me: “My work here is done.”

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