Sunday, August 19, 2012

WashJam, Day Four

The man in the camp next to ours sang the 'Little Birdies' song at 7:00am again this morning.  I'd been awake for ten minutes and was hoping for it.  His gravely voice rang through the encampment and I could crane my neck from my position and see him hopping up and down and flapping his arms.  I loved his enthusiasm. 

I also love being able to walk along with total strangers on a dirt road and talk to these people, who might be headed for the porta-potties like I am, and have nice conversations about the weather, the condition of the boys, and the activities.  There's a camaraderie among the leaders, as if I'm going to run into some of them again, as if we have a shared objective, as if they can see that I'm working to learn my job of being the Scout Master's wife. 

In a way, I'm new at this.  I really am.  When I was an advisor for the Explorer Post with Mike, I didn't know anyone from Council, anyone from other Posts, or anyone from Sabbattis, the Boy Scout camp from which we started so many of our treks.  I didn't plan the trips, the meals.  I didn't know what to do with the equipment.  I couldn't put up a tent.  I didn't even have any lists for gear or meals.

Six years ago, when Mike became the Den Leader at Cub Scouts, I learned how to support him.  I even had my own title in the Pack as the awards person.  Oh, there were projects he needed me to help with.  It usually involved drawing some pictures for him, going to Costco for snacks, or going to Council for one thing or another.  I was getting pretty good at it, but Boy Scouts is different.  I'm still learning how I can help make this work for Mike.

Somehow, I did manage to get ready for camp a half an hour before we had to leave this time, plus, I made apple pie for one of the desserts.  Actually, I planned all of the food for the adults.  To tell you the truth, I'm still pretty new at planning all of the food for a trip.  I've helped plan the meals for years, but for these last two trips, WashJam and our family canoe trip on the Diablo, I bought the food, portioned it out, packed it away, and organized how it should be cooked.

Here's what I missed for the Diablo trip:
  • I didn't bring any meat for spaghetti night.  That's how I invented spamghetti.  I had thrown in a can of Spam in case we got hungry for one of the breakfasts.  It was the only extra meat we had with us.  It was pretty good in a pinch.  I guess. 
  • I tried dehydrating matchstick carrots for a meal, but even after soaking them in hot water for a while, they still tasted like wet matchsticks in the rice. 
  • I forgot to plan any desserts.   At all. 

Here's what happened at WashJam:
  • I didn't put the new package of flour tortillas into a Ziploc and they were waterlogged when I pulled them out.  We were supposed to have huevos rancheros for one meal and tuna salad wraps for another.  That had to change.
  • I did put the Ziploc bags of trail mix in the cooler so the M&Ms wouldn't melt in the 90 degree weather, but some of them got wet too.  I guess the whole shebang should have gone into another layer of Ziploc.  What the hell did the pioneers do in their covered wagons before there were Ziploc bags?
  • I only brought one small package of instant chocolate pudding for the Oreo cookie pie crust.  It was a slim pie, but they ate it anyway.   
  • We needed more chicken for our peanut chicken.
  • I didn't mix the tomato paste into the sauce before I added the meatballs and the dried olives and it burned onto the bottom of the pan.
  • I forgot Parmesan cheese.
All in all, we ate pretty well.  Just the fact that Mike had pie made him willing to overlook the scarcity of meat or the total lack of Parmesan cheese.  Oh, you know him.  He might make a suggestion, but he'll eat it anyway. 

I guess I've got a new job in the Troop.  At least now I've got a list to work from.  As it turns out, I like feeding people.  I especially liked handing my apple pie off to the Scout who'd been working most effectively with the younger boys.  There was also some chocolate pie left for the kid who scoured the boys' cook stove. 

Yes, I am not above rewarding kids with food.  I also spent some time carving a walking stick that I thought Mike could give out once a year to a boy who did good work.  After I got a bunch of the bark peeled off and carved a couple of spirals into it, it got knocked onto the ground and one of the kids accidentally stepped on it and broke it.  That really hurt and he could see that. 

Still, when I was making my survival bracelet, a guy there learning with me said if it broke so easily, then it wasn't the right wood to start with.  He told me alder is good.  We have a ton of alder in the yard.  He also said that if I left bark on it, bugs would come and it would all peel off eventually anyway.  So, what I was carving was just practice. It figures.  It was a lot of practice.  I still need a good carving knife.  The one I was using wasn't very sharp and didn't have a good blade for the work.  At least that's what Mike told me. 

So, I have more work to do.  This morning, I never did manage to get up to the Tully's at camp before they closed.  That would have been a good Sunday morning thing to do.  We seemed like we were in a hurry, so after having a quick breakfast of instant oatmeal, we packed up and drove the boys home.  The ones in my car got the giggles at making acronyms out of the three letters on license plates.  You know they were Freudian about it and so 'P' almost always stood for poop, 'F' was for fart, and so on.  I didn't stop them.  There are lots of people to yell at them for these things and I wasn't in the mood to do it.  The one that got us was X-ray Crap Toilet.  Do you know how something totally inane will get you on a trip like that and you end up saying it over and over and laughing until tears come to your eyes?  That happened on that drive back. 

When we got home and got some of the stuff unloaded, I took a long hot shower.  Oh man, that felt good.  The water draining was brown and my loofah turned temporarily grey.  The crud on my ankles didn't want to scrub off.  After all that sunscreen and dirt packed onto me like a facial treatment, my skin was incredibly soft.  When I got out and sat down in my recliner, I fell asleep for a couple of hours.   Think I earned it.

Thank you for listening, jb

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