Dispatch from Camp

Lately I’ve been pondering how to proceed with my blog. I’m still into it it although less interested in it being public. I’m sure with a little research I could find a way to make the whole shebang private – past posts and future – and blast my followers with a password and proceed in relative anonymity.

I’m not sure exactly what I was hoping to achieve with my blog back when I started, no doubt some type of notoriety, but those days have long passed and I’m not sure my future endeavors will benefit from archives of drunk posts and ill-advised misadventures, amusing as they may be, being just a Google search away.

Also, there is the issue of my boys’ privacy. While I realize that ship has sailed having posted thousands of photos and hundreds of perhaps embarrassing anecdotes, I can at least make it so new people can’t access a treasure trove of personal information.

I’ll be consulting Nina, AKA Sideboob, about this shortly.

She just gave birth to a sweet little baby girl and I got to be one of the first people to meet her, all of us now vaccinated and presumably immune. I’ve taken notice of how she is choosing to protect her baby’s privacy and will ultimately leave her daughter’s social media presence up to her daughter to decide when she is old enough. Her efforts are not lost on me.

Heck, I’m not even sure if I should post this picture but maybe babies being somewhat indistinguishable from each other makes it okay? Perhaps the tiny mustache will help? Nina, lmk if you want me to take it down because I will.

Anyway, be expecting some kind of update in the amorphous future.

Ironically, I started this post to document something in my kids’ lives. They just went camping and I simply cherish the recaps of the experience and want to save them somewhere. My blog happens to be the most organized place I have. So here it is, the Scoutmaster’s Dispatch …

The following dispatch is from a sleep-deprived Assistant Scoutmaster and does not reflect the management of Troops xxx B and G and most assuredly not that of Scouts BSA.

The Scouting motorcade rolled out from Grace Commons church on a Friday evening bound for a dispersed camp site in the Roosevelt National Forest. Ascending Left Hand Canyon, we slowed to obey the 15 mile per hour speed limit imposed by the good citizens of the town of Ward, the better to take in self-architected houses and the linear junkyard of abandoned vehicles lining the main thoroughfare in that garden district.

The crew was composed of 15 Scouts from 171B and seven from 171G along with four Assistant Scoutmasters and six Scout parents all organized into four patrols: two in 171B, one in 171G, and one for adults. The campsite, which was off the Gold Lake Road, had ample sites for tents and an adjoining field and woods for games, but no facilities whatsoever. This lack of infrastructure fazed no one.

The Scouts, who had eaten dinner previously, set up tents to house COVID-related pods, family members, or single campers. The newest Scouts were two girls in 171G who had first visited the troop on Monday night. One of them had never camped before, and resolutely turned down the offer from her dad to accompany her on this new experience. She set up her solo tent and joined new friends as she began her Scouting years.

Camping trips offer great opportunities for advancement through the ranks, with Scouts fulfilling requirements to select good tent locations, cook, build fires, and using outdoor tools. A number of Scouts, especially those in 171G, immediately took up splitting wood with axes and hatchets and producing fire-starting kindling by batoning wood with sheath knives. An observer commented that the girls should change one of their patrol names from Old Goat Heads or Savage Cabbages to the Paul Bunyan Brigade.

Camping trips also offer an opportunity for parents of new Scouts to learn how to gently cut the ties to their offspring. If Scouts had a need or a question, they were directed to ask their patrol leader, then Senior Patrol Leaders, and only then to approach an adult. This practice was observed to varying degrees.

One Scout sat down on a log that, unknown to him, was inhabited by ants. The colony of insects summoned all hands to repel the invader and rose to the attack, thus allowing the Scout to experience the full meaning of the phrase “ants in the pants.” This episode brought on an intense discussion as to whether or not fire ants have come to Colorado. Reports indicate that they have not. 

The next morning, Scouts did their own cooking in patrols. Some younger Scouts learned that propane stoves have a wider range of options than “high” and “off,” with their fellow patrol members consuming the charred food items.

As decided by the two Senior Patrol Leaders, the morning was devoted to advancement, with older Scouts and adults helping the youngest Scouts complete requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class. One of the requirements for Second Class is a five-mile hike, of which almost all of the younger Scouts volunteered. Ably led by Laura Guedelhoefer and Charlotte Mudar, this children’s crusade set off walking along roads and trails, taking time to climb rocks and, fulfilling another requirement, noting evidence of wildlife along the way.

On Saturday afternoon, the rains came, driving one and all into their tents for over an hour. Following the deluge, sequential games of Capture the Flag and Zombie Tag ensued, with enthusiastic participants from both troops, while three members of 171G braided each other’s hair.

That evening, patrols began to cook dinner. Scout Russell Hutchens prepared tacos that were much appreciated by his patrol, while the 171G patrol fixed quesadillas. Both meals had been planned with an eye to avoiding having to clean many pots.

After dinner, Scouts returned to the fields and woods for games, their shouts and yells gladdening the hearts of adult observers, who noted that none of this fun involved electronics. In the growing darkness they returned to camp, one Scout bearing a deer skull and assorted bones that he had found.

The campfire that night included our usual recitation of “roses, thorns, and buds,” wherein each Scout and adult recited what made them happy, what needed work, and what they hoped for the future. Marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers then appeared, with much discussion about what constitutes proper cooking—slowly toasting or igniting this sugary confection.

Lights out was 10:00 PM, and at that time the rain returned once more. One of the delights of camping is inhabiting a well-pitched tent, warm and snug and dry while the rain falls, and the entire crew drifted off to sleep.

At 3:00 AM, however, one assistant Scoutmaster awoke to find that the rain had turned to a wet snow that bent down his tent until the roof was an alarming four inches above his face. Emerging from this claustrophobia-inducing state of affairs, he brushed the snow off the tent, which sprang back its normal shape. Pausing, he listened to hear if any Scouts were in distress. None were, a tribute to good tent pitching and being thoroughly exhausted.

Morning found one inch of snow on the ground. Scouts crawled out of their tents and cooked breakfast over their stoves. We broke camp and the two Senior Patrol Leaders lined up the Scouts and policed the grounds to make sure we left the campsite better than we found it. Drivers from Boulder and beyond arrived, and the Scouts departed with admonitions to dry out tents and to remove sleeping bags from their storage sacks and to air them out—and to properly celebrate Mother’s Day.

Many thanks to the adults who made this weekend possible. The girl who had never camped before said that she enjoyed every minute of the experience, and professed to looking forward to camping trips yet to come.

As do we all.

—Jeff Bradley

Solid gold, as usual.

My boys are progressing through the Scouting ranks, my hope is that they will achieve Eagle status and thus set them apart from all the other college applicants out there. The first Court of Honor happened after a year+ of Covid lockdown. I had to scramble to get them larger uniforms and sew their merit badges onto their sashes in time. I was struck by how mature they looked up there as they received their honors.

Both my boys have worked so hard this last year-and-a-half. This semester they are both pulling off almost straight As under less than perfect conditions, I really couldn’t be prouder. I didn’t expect much and was ready to give them a pass but they held themselves to a higher standard. How did I get so lucky?

This Mother’s Day was the chillest, least emotionally fraught Mother’s Day I’ve experienced in a while. The boys returned that morning from the campout, I got back home from a weekend in Fort Collins and while I settled back into my house, the boys disgorged their gear, showered, and then came over.

Don’t I look so small next to them?

I thought about making dinner for us but then thought better of it. My first choice of meals (Japanese bento box) was out of the question, as was dining out, so we settled on take-out ramen from a local Japanese joint that also has sensational okonomiyaki (scallion pancake) and passionfruit boba drinks.

I must say, we were all in heaven.

I love my boys so fucking much. Like, duh, of course I do, but lately I feel so lucky to have them in my life. They are such good people and not at a traditionally exemplary time of life, aka the teenage years.

Me? I’m doing well. Lately my rental calendar has been on point, allowing me Sunday through Wednesday morning in my house, Wednesday night with my sweetheart, Thursday at The Tiny, and then the weekend back in FOCO. It’s just barely enough time to settle back in before picking up and leaving, but it works. And with the coming of spring I’ve been all about home improvement. I finally redid my kitchen …

The first image is the before, and it doesn’t really look that bad but I super hated the granite.

I replaced it with a white quartz and painted the walls a soft pink. The photos make the previous color look more interesting than it actually was, it was kind of a mushroom beige. Not bad, just meh. I also repainted the cabinets white because the old ones looked permanently dirty. Of course I don’t have a good before picture. I’m terrible at those.

Now all I need are the appliances of my dreams.

Aren’t they to die for?

Unfortunately I am $3000 more away from getting them because Bartleby needs to have his nipples removed. I’ll spare your the photos because they are really gross and upsetting. But long story short, because he absorbed my hormone cream over the years, they have grown and are enormous. I’m now getting my hormones delivered via implants in my ass and his hair is growing back and the nipples have stopped growing, but they have a way of twisting under his diaper and blow up to the size of blackberries. They are bright red, hard, and painful looking.

This last round had one almost die and fall off, it was awful. They need to be removed but the surgery is really expensive. I’m still wrapping my head around the cost but this can’t keep happening to him. It’s happened twice in a month, the last round ended him in the emergency vet and half the nipple rotted and sloughed off. Poor thing. It must have been so painful.

Too bad I don’t have insurance for him like I do for Chief.

Anyway, that’s a bummer but I’ll figure it out. Maybe I can ask Tabby’s horse vet if she can do it for less.

So my sweetheart and I have been getting out there a little more. We hosted a little potluck for a few neighbors at his house. It was a little surreal. Here we were with a dozen people, every single one of us vaccinated. Is this okay? CDC says yes, but wow, I can’t believe we are here.

The weather was kind of okay but this has been a really erratic May.

Every week it is the same thing. Thursday through Saturday it’s nice, then the weather gets cold and rainy, sometimes snowy for the beginning of the week. Luckily we can go inside with our vaccinated cohorts. But who am I to complain about the weather because WE ARE GOING TO MEXICO! More about that later.

As per our usual routine, we do errands on Saturday and I was pretty happy to find a very phallic yam at the co-op. After seeing one on the internet the other day, I’ve been a little obsessed. Because I’m 12.

Then we go to our favorite Mexican place and have margaritas and play cards. I swear it never gets old.

He just loses so magnificently!

The plum trees on his front patio are leafing out and when it’s warm enough I can sit out there with my coffee in the newfound spring bliss.

We took the paddle boards out onto Horsetooth the other day when it was 75 degrees. Of course it snowed the next day.

We even went to a show at The Aggie. It was Manic Focus, one of my favorite EDM groups. As I remembered, it was beautiful, jammy, dancey, happy music and I was filled with joy.

It was one of those weird social distancing shows, which is fine by me. I miss the packed theater where everyone is dancing and vibing together, but at that moment I was just happy to be with my sweetheart and dancing to music I love. It’s so strange seeing acts that usually fill 800 person theaters with 80 people in the whole joint. Baby steps.

Anyway, we are gearing up to to go to Puerto Vallarta in a few days to hang out with Steven and see his show, spend some time on the beach (in the shade, natch), and just being somewhere else for once.

I was messaging with Dirdy Birdy and thinking about how the last time I saw Steven we were all together. Me, him, Michelle, Maddie, Deebs, Marion, Nina, and more.

It’s gonna be great.

2 thoughts on “Dispatch from Camp

  1. I love the juxtaposition in this of you holding that tiny little girl and then standing with your own tall young men. Life is so fun.

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