Thursday, July 2, 2015

Adventures in Global Camp Counseling

The texts start in on about Thursday from The Princess, who's the riding director this summer at Chippewa Ranch Camp.

"Mom, Can I come home on Sunday?"
"With a few other people?"
"How many?"
"Just three."
"Sure. What do you want for dinner?"

And I'm thrilled. I love the fact that I can see her every week this summer, and am a little tickled that she thinks we're cool enough to hang out with versus carousing around town. Maybe she's over the "town thing." I'm just happy she'd rather be with us and craves vegetables.

Her friends are all sweet...relishing in soft carpet replacing sandy wood under their feet and anticipating "proper" showers, as they like to call them. We enjoy talking with them all, learning about where they live. Did you know that in South Africa the power goes out every day for a few hours? From the demeanor of the South African, it's as annoying as it sounds.

Last week's request involved an all day boat ride with Taco Salad as the entrée. I'm happy to oblige, and so is her dad. I also whipped up some guacamole, mango salsa and "Waldo's Dip," and planned to highlight it all on Apéritif Friday. But the best laid plans are oftentimes thwarted...
We started out by asking how many of them boated before.
Two had, one had driven a boat, and one declared herself a first timer.
The pressure was on to ensure they all had a great day off work. We headed out for an afternoon of fun in the sun.
We stopped along the way... they could test the waters on Stone Lake.
Swimming to the giant stone and standing in the middle of the lake is a rite of passage of sorts on the Sugar Camp Chain.
Kahley's friends passed with flying colors.

Back on the boat and sufficiently cooled from the refreshing water temperature, they kicked back as we made our way to Sand Lake, home of Camp Menominee -  the boys' camp on the chain.
"Mom, Dad, get us close so we can crash their waterfront!"
"No - that's against the rules." That Dad's a stickler.
"Come on!" they all cajoled. "The boys drove a boat over to Chippewa during pre-camp, snuck inside, walked all the way back to the stables and actually took selfies with OUR horses! In the dark! It was so creepy! Let us get them back."

I swooped in to the rescue, telling him it wouldn't hurt a soul for them to swim out to their slide. So with a grunt and "for the record" dismissal of himself as responsible regarding any legal action, he obliged.

That Christie. She wasted no time power swimming to the raft and crowning herself Queen of Menominee.
The others caught up as the sweet water director at Camp Menominee sauntered down to the dock to make sure everyone was safe, even though it was his day off.
I wasn't born yesterday, Gent. I'm guessing you wanted a closeup view of the bikini show on your beach.
Word travels lightening fast when squawking girls emerge out of the water. Suddenly the boys came out of the woodwork, their Lazy Sunday not so lazy after all.
Meanwhile, back on the boat, good ole' eagle eye..., Mr. Musky piped up. He'd been looking at his phone all afternoon, and worried about the 20% chance of a rain shower.

Northwoods weather is wonky. In fact, earlier in the day Kahley said her new friends were so confused about it, they had trouble determining what clothing to pack for the day. Mornings require long pants, sweaters, and a cozy blanket for coffee sipping. By 10:00 the sweater comes off, and by noon it's bathing suit and coverup time. 3:00 requires as little clothing as possible, even in low seventy degree weather, because the sun is so hot. But once that sun starts setting over the treeline - quite late in the day, I might add - it's time for the pants and light jacket again.

And the rain? Shoot. The forecast changes hourly. When there's a 50% chance of rain, it oftentimes scoots around us. And if it does happen to shower, it passes through quickly and the sun comes back out. The boats will clear out for 45 minutes, then they're all back out there playing around again.

So despite the fact that someone was very concerned about what his apparatus of intelligence advised, I didn't worry. If the threat of rain was imminent, it would be brief and we could likely move to another part of the chain to avoid the sprinkles.

"Hon. We are going to get wet."
"No we're not."
"Yes. We are."
I lifted my eyes to the northern sky, and the horizon demanded my full attention: a huge band of rain threatened us, and we were at least 30 minutes away from home.
"That's OK. It'll be an adventure." I was simply having too much fun with the girls.
"Um, no. It's not. It's definitely not OK."

Good grief. Our Captain turned Crabby Daddy, and I knew he was not going to be much fun for the rest of the day. We called out to the girls to make their way back to the boat, and I willed the bad weather away.

But Mother Nature was having none of it. The wind picked up, and the girls, on a high from crashing the boys' waterfront, were oblivious. He jacked the motor into its highest speed and I started stowing what would fit under the seats to keep things dry. I called out for all the electronics to put them under the steering consul, where it's relatively waterproof. I told the girls to hunker down - we were going to get wet.

Then I poured Mr. Musky another glass of wine. I knew he needed it.

It didn't rain. It DOUNPOURED! At one point, I thought it was hailing, the pellets of rain were smarting so severely. I offered the girls to come under the tarp with me, but Mr. Musky put the kibosh  on that idea. We needed their weight in the front of the boat as we sailed through the shallow channels. So they bravely wrapped their towels around them, ducked their heads between their knees, and weathered the storm.

For the record - there was no lightening or thunder, so we plowed ahead. I think any form of electricity would have surely thrown my husband over the edge and we would be in divorce court right about now. Or we would have tied up at the nearest neighborly dock and knocked on their door, asking for refuge.

Oh the horror.

At one point, I simply couldn't help myself. I grabbed my phone out of the wet-proof safety spot and went to work. I love how my dear husband is hunkered down in his lobster shirt, protecting what's dearest to him in that moment.
His glass of wine. Heaven forbid watered down wine. But what I love most? He smiled. He actually smiled in the face of disaster.

Poor Nicole - her first boat ride was likely not what she expected, but there's no doubt it'll be memorable. I can hear her future self now. "Yeah, I've been on a boat. It sucked. I went from steaming in the sun to being forced jump into frigid water just to climb a slimy rock, then had to swim out to a slide. The kicker? I got pelted by rain and froze my toes off. A real blast."

The rain didn't let up on the ride home. In the end, the girls made the most of it, proving that whatever mother country one hails from, universal nursery rhymes make the best of any wet situation.
We safely arrived home and the girls happily jumped into a "proper shower" which means it's clean, hot, with solid water pressure and they don't have to wear flip flops. They all noshed on our boat food at the kitchen table. Sufficiently warmed and fed, they curled up under warm quilts and napped for hours in the basement.

Come back later this summer for another installment in Adventures in Global Camp Counseling. I'm happy to be their tour guide and director, and Mr. Musky enjoys the role of captain. Additional mischief surely awaits.


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