Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Feeding the Hordes Continues, Part VI

So, the Boy Scout pancake breakfast is this Saturday. Last night, just before he fell asleep, Mike rolled over and said he's noticed that his friends are passing the information about it more than he expected. He thinks we might get more than 150 people. When I asked him about adding to the quantities I'm buying, he said to stick to the plan. I hate when he mentions something like this when it's time to settle in to sleep. It's hard to sleep when a wrench gets thrown into the works.

Mike is beginning to pack for the Camporee. Yesterday, the den started filling up with tents, crates of kitchen gear, sleeping bags, flash lights and all kinds of Scout detritus. I'm on track with my pancake plans, starting a pile of my own. So far, I have four large boxes that contain pristine chafing dishes. Later today, I need to set up a cash box with singles, fives, and tens. I wish I could ask for an even ten for each plate. That would make money changing simpler, but it's too much to charge for a plate of pancakes. I also need to make the signs and find Sterno for the chafing dishes I borrowed. Is it Sterno that goes in them? I'm going to inventory the boxes containing the chafing dishes this woman loaned. I need to make sure I get every piece back to her intact. I wish I hadn't asked her. Yesterday, when I called, she told me this horror story about someone who borrowed them, kept them too long, and returned them dirty. Oh.

She's a very clean person and what if I return them too dirty for her standards? Do water marks qualify as dirt? What if dog hairs from the dog's blanket in the car float up and get on them? What if parts get mixed up with the other chafing dishes we are borrowing when we clean up at the end? What if the boys drop a lid and it gets dented? I like that these will look really nice on the table when we serve, but I'm nervous that something will go wrong with them. Next time, I want to borrow old and battered chafing dishes.

This morning, I woke a half an hour before my alarm went off. Mike was already up. I laid in bed, stewing about all this for a bit, then practiced taking deep and even breaths for a while before I sat up. I think I managed about six breaths before I wanted to jump up, ready to tell Mike everything I was going to worry about for the day.

I may have things to do to get ready, I thought as I lolled about in my warm bed, but my job on Saturday is to make it fun for the boys. If I'm a bitch on wheels, they'll never show up next year when we plan another one. Nick and I talked about setting up a golden spatula rank for any kid who exemplified the Boy Scout Law. You know the one I mean. A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly... Last night, as he procrastinated falling asleep, he went through each of the words and told me how it would fit with a pancake breakfast. If I paid attention to each of the kids who showed up, he said I could count points and award a golden spatula rank to any boy who delivered on ten of the good words. It's a good idea, except for one thing.

On Saturday, I'm going to struggle not to be running around like a chicken with her head cut off. I'm going to be trying to exemplify my three most challenging of those words - cheerful, kind, and reverent (or at least respectful of the Scouts and their inexperience and their energy). I'm not sure I'll be able to watch and listen if three people are asking me questions at one time. Mike says that I don't need to reward the boys, that eating pancakes at the end will be their reward. Nick had been really excited about the golden spatula rank. Mike thought I might get a single one and award it, but both Nick and I thought that would cause too much negative competition because there will be more than one boy there who's going to be great on Saturday. So instead, I'm scheduling Foosball time in between cleaning the tables, handing out fliers, and serving portions. I'm setting aside whipped cream for the boys to use on their pancakes and I'll bring chocolate chips and jimmies too. The last bit to make it fun will be the attitude I bring on Saturday.

When I was a kid, my church youth group hosted pancake breakfasts once in a while. There was this really old retired guy, Reverend Boyd, who came and made pancakes and talked with us. He was sweet. He was funny. He listened. He let us bounce around and make silly pancakes. Mickey Mouse is the easiest.

Can I learn from this sweet man's example? Can I?

There should be a Boy Scout Mom Law - A mom is kind, patient, generous, tolerant, persistent, and fun. That's going to be my biggest challenge on Saturday. I need to remember it.

Oh, and there's a wrench that just got thrown into the works. This morning, Nick woke up with one of those deep and scary coughs of his. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be up with him for the next few nights, working to make sure he keeps breathing.

A mom is kind, patient, generous, tolerant, persistent, fun, sleep-deprived, over-extended, stressed, and worried about the worst thing that can happen. I'm hoping I remember to breathe.

Thank you for listening, jb

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