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All by myself…

16 Aug

That’s right readers; I’m all by myself this week.

It’s just me and my dogs.  It is now official:  Working bites.  The rest of the fam is off enjoying themselves in the Adirondacks, boating, swimming, waterskiing, etc, while I sit in my cramped office getting bitten by fleas.  That’s right folks, my office has fleas.  What a place to work, huh?  Oh, of course they’re going to do SOMETHING about it, but who knows WHEN they are going to get around to it.  That’s how it works around here.  Something is always supposed to get done.  Rarely does it ACTUALLY get done.

I’d rather be out fishing than here.  Yup, fishing.  Specifically, fly fishing.  It’s something I’ve recently picked up and fallen deeply in love with.  It’s much more challenging than spin fishing, and very calming.  You never notice the time going by when you are fly fishing.  It hits you when you are suddenly unable to see your line due to how dark it’s gotten.  Not at all like being stuck at work where you watch each and every agonizing second go by waiting for quitting time.  You hope and pray that time will just speed up.  Just a little bit.  Just enough to bring quitting time a few minutes early.  Is that too much to ask?  Maybe I’m in the wrong profession….  Actually, I’m 90% sure I’m in the wrong profession.  10% of me likes the vacation and sick time I’ve accumulated…  I want to be like the rest of my family.  I want to teach.  Yup, everyone in my family is a teacher or works in a school system.  What does that mean?  That means that every summer my mom, dad, bro, and sister-in-law spend the entire summer together at the lake.  They have the ability to do nothing all day.  They could spend the entire day on the boat doing nothing but tanning, taking the occasional swim.  I know that they work extremely hard during the school year and earn their time off, but come on!  I want more than a week off to try to cram a full summers worth of activities into 9-10 days.  I think I’m going to have to take 2 weeks off next year.  I need that extra time off to really get away and relax.

They keep coming back!

1 Aug

Last weekend The Boss and I dropped our kids off with my parents in upstate New York.  They were in for a week of boating, beach, and goofing off without mom and dad around.  It’s great for them, as they get the freedom of being without their parents, and they get to do all sorts of great activities.  It’s great for us as we get to do adult things and have actual conversations.  Not to mention we can go out and stay out as late as we want (9:30 baby!).

Sadly, they both came back yesterday.  And we’re stuck back into the same old song and dance.  Fighting over the remote, feeding the dogs bits of their dinners, etc.  Oh well, it’s only for 5 days.  Then we all go back up for a week of fun.  This year we’re bringing some friends with us.  And their 4 kids.  What is wrong with us?  Are we crazy to have a house with 14 people and two dogs?  Did I mention that two of the kids are under 3?  Yeah.  The 4 older kids I know we don’t have to worry about.  They’re a piece of cake.  If they get annoying, we can send them across the street to the playground, or drown them, or send them to the beach.  The littles, who knows.  At least they’re not my kids….

Perhaps the best part:  After our week of vacation, the kids are staying for another week and a half.  The Boss may go back to join them, so I’ll have the whole house to myself.  YIPPY!!!!!

How to not get caught sneaking out after curfew

20 Jul

Time for another summer camp story.  Back when I was 13 I started working during the summer at Camp-of-the-Woods.  I worked there for six summers.  I came away from there with a greater sense of independence and a bunch of awesome stories.  My last summer working there, I was a Boat Guy.  What does that mean?  Basically it means I was a slave to a girls camp on the island in the middle of the lake, I gave sailing and boating lessons to people who probably had no business being out on the water, and I taught waterskiing.  I also learned that if you look like you are on official business, people will leave you alone.  Part of catering to the island’s every whim entailed carrying  a radio to be at their beck and call 24 hours a day.  While I hated having to carry the radio, it did have its uses.  My buddies and I loved late night boat rides and hanging out on the lake smoking cigars.  What better way to accomplish this than to leave our bunk house at midnight walking right past the curfew checkers and explaining that you were needed on the island and your buddies were going along to watch for rocks, logs, etc?  Nine times out of ten they didn’t have a radio, so there was no way for them to check up on us.

So kids what can we learn from this?

  1. Sneaking out after curfew is fun.
  2. Hanging out at night in the middle of a lake on a brand new ski boat is awesome.
  3. If you look like you are on official business, you probably won’t get caught.
  4. Make sure no one talks.
It’s that last one that will make or break you.

In which I jump from a perfectly good boat

19 Jul

Yup, you read that right.  I have repeatedly jumped from a perfectly good, moving boat.  Where did that land me?  Well in the water for one, and on one occasion in a heap of trouble.  Back when I was 14 I had a little 12′ aluminium boat with a 9.9 horse power outboard.  For me, this was just about perfect.  I had my own boat.  I could take it out fishing, swimming, etc.  A buddy of mine had a similar sized inflatable (think Zodiac) with a 9 horse power motor.  We would take them out, race each other, snorkel from either boat, and just have a great time out on the water.  Somewhere along the way we (along with my cousin) thought it would be cool to get the boat up to speed and jump off the side (ala Baywatch).  We did this for hours on end.  Sometimes we’d all jump with one of us having the kill switch strapped to our life jacket, other times one would stay in the boat and swing around to pick us up.  We never thought about the consequences of us jumping from a perfectly good boat with a prop in the water spinning at about 3000 rpm…  We never thought about hitting the water at 20+mph.  All we thought about was how much fun we were having.

Yeah sort of like that…

So we’ve been jumping from the boat for weeks.  We. Are. Pros.  We could put the “actors” on Baywatch to shame with our skills.  Then of course fate, or karma, or whatever has to intervene.  My cousin and I jump from either side of the boat while our bud stays on board to pick us up.  He swings around to get me, and turns just a bit too much.  I am hit by the front of his boat and forced under.  Fortunately, he has realized that he is going to hit me and pulls up the motor before I get chopped up into chum.  Unfortunately I am trapped under the boat by my life jacket.  I’ve never been one to panic in tough situations.  I also never panic when I’m in the water.  I very quickly assess the situation and realize that there is no way that I am going to get out from under the boat with my jacket on.  I remember unbuckling my jacket, swimming out from under the boat, then reaching back under the boat to get my jacket.  My cousin and friend were amazed to see me alive.  This is why I hate to wear a life jacket.  The only time I wear one is when I’m on our wave runners.  Kayaking, hanging out on the boat, swimming, whatever, I won’t wear a life jacket.

The Last Boy Scout

18 Jul

When I was in the 6th-7th grades, I was a Boy Scout for a minute.  I thought it would be pretty cool to learn how to start fires, handle an ax, etc.  I was sort of right, mostly wrong.  Turns out the Boy Scout troop I joined sucked.  They didn’t do any cool stuff at meetings like other troops did.  We didn’t even learn how to start fires or chop stuff up with axes during meetings.  We had to go to camp for that stuff.  So I go to  scout camp.  What a joke.  Our troop is the laughing stock of camp.  We can’t tie knots, do Morse Code, or start fires with a couple of sticks (ok, we were lazy).  Our scout leaders must have been pretty sick and tired of our goofing off and not earning any badges while we spent out time goofing off.  They told us we would all get our fire chits (apparently you need one of these to start fires…) if we could keep a fire going.  Did I mention it was pouring rain?  Yeah.  It was pouring and they want us to keep a fire going?!?  Well thanks to one well placed London Fog rain slicker (mine) and some dry wood we probably stole from another troop we got our fire chits.  Immediately we had one corner cut off for our stunt (get all 4 corners cut off and you can’t start fires anymore).  Our troop leaders were like that…

Fast forward to winter.  We sit in the local elementary school gym going over some useless nonsense when the leaders announce a winter camping trip that’s mandatory.  Mandatory winter camping?  Pass.  They wanted us all to go back to camp to freeze our collective asses off during February break.  No thanks.  So I tell the leaders I’m not going.  My family and I had already planned our annual ski trip.  Sorry, no way am I going to skip that to eat crappy hash and freeze my butt off in a tent.  The oldest leader stops the whole meeting, looks at me and says, “You need to decide where your priorities lie, with your family or with the Scouts!”  Yeah, sorry buddy.  Family first (and skiing).  Hands down.  I left the meeting and told my mom I was never going back.  I think I owed about 4 months worth of dues anyway.

In which I pull a prank at summer camp.

12 May

For 6 summers I worked at Camp-of-the-Woods in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.  I, along with many others, pulled countless pranks during the long summer months.  Mom, if you’re reading, you may want to stop doing so by the end of this paragraph.  Some were innocent, some not so innocent, all where hilarious.  Some I got caught, most I didn’t.

Working at Camp is always a trip.  You’re away from home, in a new environment, and you’re meeting new people all the time.  Some of my best friends I met while working at Camp.  We still keep in touch, sharing stories of the stupid stuff we did as kids.  We did the usual stupid stuff, like streaking, pouring cold water in the head of the dude in the shower, and sneaking out after lights out.  This is not one of those usual stupid things.  This is MONUMENTALLY stupid.

I lived in a small cinderblock room with three other guys.  We all got along well enough.  Sure we pulled pranks on each other, but they usually weren’t too bad.  There was a time when we made the smallest roommate we had sleep on the floor (which was gross, btw) because we turned his bed into a sculpture.  Then there was the time we did something that was really bad.  Once again, involving our poor smallest roommate, we first duct-taped him to his mattress.  “Big deal” you’re probably thinking.  Well, I’m not done yet.  After he was duct taped to his mattress, we duct taped his mouth.  Couldn’t have him screaming, could we?  Then we dragged him down from our hillside room to my boat at the docks.  Once we had him on the boat, we took off to the swim dock, a little floating platform at the end of the swim area.  Making sure he couldn’t get out of his sleeping bag, we un-duct taped his mouth and took off.  All of the campers were already at breakfast, and then they would head directly to chapel, so no one was around to hear him scream.  I think he was found close to lunch time.  We never did get caught, and he never told.  He was a good guy, and very smart.  The retaliation would have been awful.

Did you ever work at a summer camp?  Have you ever pulled a stupid prank?  Share your stories in the comments below.