Camp starts in late June and I run a tight ship. I am all about planning and balancing. I balance the family’s meals around the camp lunch menu. I refuse to acknowledge the cookies and milk served at morning line up. Bagels with cream cheese are beneath me. I eat only from the salad bar and just say “no” to the sugary afternoon snack. I drink three liters of electrolyte balanced water each day. I tell everyone how it is “much better than the high calorie Gatorade.” I wake up extra early to work out, and swim ten laps before lunch. I wash the camp clothes separately so as not to “contaminate” the rest of the laundry with the sweat and sunscreen. I lather each of my three children before leaving the house with the highest grade sunscreen available. Everyone showers before dinner because we don’t sit in a chair or get into bed unless clean.
About the third week in July shit gets real.
Ten hours in the 95 degree humidity, the kids and I drag our sunburnt, beat down, carcasses through the front door. We smell. We’re greasy. We’re cranky personified. We go into the pool instead of showering because everyone knows the chlorine kills germs and remove twelve layers of sunscreen. A win-win!
The only plan I have is to get to the bottle of Chardonnay, stat. Europeans eat this way and they’re healthy… I lie to myself as I scoop ice cream into bowls for the kids’ dinner. At the morning line up I grab a cookie or two, (three, four…what’s a good number?) out of the tray because I didn’t have time for breakfast. Bagels with cream cheese you say? Awesome because I couldn’t face egg whites at 7am. I also can’t move my body out of bed at that hour let alone exercise. (Europeans don’t do that either. They are too busy being cool). By noon my exhaustion and thirst have reached epic levels. Just give me whatever crap is on the menu. I’ll have a pretzel AND and ice cream for afternoon snack, thank you very much. A keg of Gatorade to go please. I’m sweating like a sinner in church and my body needs to replace the electrolytes otherwise I won’t be able to sing 752 choruses of Michael Row the Boat Ashore. I don’t tell anyone that. I just drink it quietly while I cry with my inside voice.
Laundry separating is for pansies. I save on water bills and my strength by putting all the clothes in at one time: towels, underwear, white socks, camp shirts with chocolate ice cream stains and my husbands work shirts all get cleaned in the same hot, bleach filled water. It’s my quest to find a way to wash the kids AND the laundry while they swim in the pool. I am all about one stop washing. Just like Europeans.
Sunscreen? Our ancestors never used sunscreen and look how long they lived. When I was a child, there was no sunblock. We had tanning lotion like Bain de Soleil. By August 1st, the bottles and spray cans are empty and I have no time to go shopping. We have coconut oil, which has no chemicals and is natural. Natural is always good. In Europe they have very natural sunblock I am told.
I start to recover around week seven. The fog inside my head lifts. Summer is nearly over and it’s time to go back to reality laundry, food shopping and my husband’s rants of “you’re too tan for sunblock…”
It’s all good. Especially the first three weeks.