i, nutso

natalie dee

Test. Test.

I'm trying to get a flippin' poll to post, but so far it ain't happening. Please bear with me.

I'm a little scrambled right now.

You see, I've been getting ready all week for a camping trip this weekend. And not just any camping trip.

Oh no.

It's not like the old days where I could just load up one sleeping bag and ten bags of Doritos (that's three meals per day plus morning and afternoon snacks) and head off to some backwoods camp ground where I'd meet up with a bunch of friends and live like a heathen for a weekend, what with the live Grateful Dead cover band and the living room furniture in the woods and the late night confessional/"wine tasting" circle otherwise known as "The Gutter Table".

<--- Dear Friend after late night at The Gutter Table, circa 1990- something.

No, no! This time I'm heading out to the woods with a whole bunch of third-graders, some of whom - I gather - haven't been out in the woods a whole lot. And we're heading out to the woods and we're staying in unheated shelters.

Oh! And it's going to be cold at night. (We had frost last night. Yes, that cold. )

Oh! Oh! AND the weather for the weekend looks like this:

Friday - scattered thunderstorms
Saturday - thunderstorms, not so scattered
Sunday - even more thunderstorms. Will they be scattered? Who can say?

Wait...here's the best part -

Are you ready?

On this outing into the woods with a whole bunch of children, Yours Truly will play the role of Head Authority Figure and Leader.

That's right.


There I am there in the picture to the right (I'm on the left in the funny hat.) About 20 years ago, I was running around in a jester costume with my sister and some random member of her husband's family.

This weekend, I will be responsible for a bunch of Girl Scouts in the woods, during a thunderstorm, with no heat.

Now, I will say - to my credit - that I made the very brilliant decision to enlist about six other very responsible adults to go with me. I think that I even said to one of them, "Please don't hesitate to pull me aside and slap me upside the head if you think that I about to make an idiotic decision regarding just about any decision I could make while at camp." I'm that confident in the people I surround myself with.

Which would beg the question, "How did you get to be the leader, anyway? Good grief, were there no chimps available?"

Well, let me let you in on the rigorous and highly competitive process for attaining the prestigious and lauded title of Girl Scout Leader.

It goes like this:

1. Call your local Girl Scout Council and ask to register your 5-year-old in a Daisy Girl Scout troop for Kindergarten-aged girls.

2. Fill out the registration form for your daughter and send it in to Council.

3. Wait for a phone call to learn which troop your daughter will be placed in.

4. Tell your daughter all about Girl Scouting and how much fun she will have in the woods with her troop and her leader.

5. Wait some more for the call from Council.

6. Wait some more.

7. Call Council to find out what's up, you haven't received a call to tell you which troop your daughter will be placed in.

8. Get told by Council that they couldn't actually find anyone to be a Daisy troop leader and there are several dear little girls who are all in tears at home because they so want to be little Daisies and their sweet little hearts are breaking because no one will step forward to be a leader and really, it's so easy, only one hour of volunteer time a week to prepare for the meetings and Daisies don't even sell cookies and the little girls are all so adorable at that age and you can just have fun, fun, fun at the meetings and your first training session will be this week and thank you so much for volunteering to lead the troop, without people like you, Girl Scouting couldn't happen and please send $10.00 for your Girl Scout registration fee and welcome aboard, call us and tell us when your first meeting will be held!

9. Put down phone and wonder what just happened.

10. Voila! You're a Girl Scout Leader!

It's actually very much like Amway.

Long story short, sweet little Daisy Girl Scouts who love nothing more than to spend meetings decorating coloring pages and making bunnies out of egg cartons suddenly turn into Brownies and Juniors who want to tramp through the woods and dive off cliffs and bronco-bust wild horses.

And let me tell you, taking a troop of girls into the woods for a weekend requires much more than 1 hour of prep time the week before.

First there is the 6-hour camping training that I need to take.

Then, there is the First Aid and CPR training.

Then there are the health care forms for everyone and the criminal background checks of all adults going camping and the travel request form that I need to send to Council and then there's the drivers' background checks for all the adults transporting girls to the camp plus the parents' permission slips.

Then there is the menu planning for 24 people, taking into consideration allergies and preferences and the one kid who swears up and down that she just will. not. eat. pasta. and you're about ripping your hair out because trying to feed 24 people on a budget and not having at least one pasta meal is just madness, but then you say "Do you know what 'pasta' is?" and the kid says "Nope" and you say, "You know, like, spaghetti," and she suddenly brightens up and says, "Oh yeah! I love spaghetti!" and Eureka! Now just don't refer to cut vegetables as "crudité".

And I haven't even begun to print out the schedule of outdoor adventure badges we're going to earn while at camp, or the camp chore chart, or the directions or the emergency call list, or the location of the nearest pizza parlor just in case scattered showers turn to monsoons and the camp fire cookout is a bust.

And you know what's ironic?

I bet that a good majority of the kids just want to run around in the woods and eat Doritos.

So anyway, that's what I've been doing all week.

And I have much, much, much more to do.

"One hour of preparation a week" indeed.

It's hard being the grown-up.

It's even harder being the sucker leader.

Anyway, if I can get this poll working, you can vote your opinion of just how nutso I am.

I won't be offended if the answer is "a lot".

I plan on re-earning my "Gutter Table" badge as soon as I get home on Sunday.


Anonymous said...

HAR! I was torn between the smores and the alien frog...so I settled for the smores.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

You're talking to a veteran. I took one troop from kindergarten to tenth; the others from k-7.

Delegate, delegate, delegate--let those little girls make fruit salad with plastic knives and a carton of lemon yougurt.

Great rainy day activity. White bandanas from Michaels and lots of colored sharpies to color them in. Hours of inside entertainment.

It will be great, you will want more.

Can I tell you that I count among my first set of girls graduates of: UCLA, Occidental, Bryn Mawr, Stanford, George Washington University, University of Puget Sound, and more?

You're always a gir scout in your heart--its just that later the girls will grow up and then you can take wine on your camping trips again!

Blog Antagonist said...

Yep. That's pretty much how I got to be team Mom, room Mom, Cultural Arts Chair....lots else too. None of it was intentional.

But you rock for doing it. Your girls will always remember that.

Have a great time out in the woods. In the rain. With children.

I'll be thinking of you. No, I really will.

Anonymous said...

hey J. love the pic of A! she deserves that. as for the weekend. why not just pretend it is the old days. bring an i-pod with lots of the dead, 20 bags of doritos, a fifth of tequilla, oh and don't forget the brown acid. all will be ok, or at least ok enough. ken

Anonymous said...

It's gonna rain.

josetteplank.com said...


Many Doritos will be brought, mostly because you showed me what long-burn great fire starters they make.

However, no tequila. Caffeinated coffee will be the medication of choice on this trip for all moms involved.


Renée said...

There is no doubt in my mind that you are crazy my dear, but it's the good kind of crazy. The endearing crazy. The crazy that makes me want to snuggle up with you under an army surplus blanket and drink hot cocoa while watching 20 girl scouts play with the camp fire.

Have fun! :D

Noelle said...

I think you're crazy, but that post was funny. I'm wishing you the best of luck.

Have you thought about doing omelettes in plastic bags in boiling water? That was always successful in camping trips. Not that I got to go, because when I wanted to be a girl scout, my mom went through the exact same thing, only she stopped at step 8. No troops for us.

Anonymous said...

You are my hero. I couldn't be a Girl Scout leader, even if DS would let me dress him up in a brown jumper. ;) I hope you all have fun and eat lots of chocolate smores and drink tankards of hot chocolate. Can't wait for the after camping with 3rd graders post. -KK

Debbie said...

(nice work on the subject line, btw. beautimous.)

(and the voting system. what kinda crazy is able to work something like that out? crazy like a fox, *I* say.)

(did you know that my hands can talk to each other?)

(I like parentheses!!!1!)

(frog eyeballs are the best licky part.)

(you are going to have SOOOO much fun. on the real, yo.)


anne said...

Here's what you do.

The first night sit them down and explain the laws of the wild. You know, how the weak animals that don't help the herd get eaten first. Then tell them matter-of-factly that it also applies to Girl Scouts. It'll be fun. Like Girl Scout Survivor.

Seriously, you will have fun. It will be all kinds of go, go, go and, before you know it, you'll be back in your nice warm house with a big pile of musty camping gear.

Flea, fly.
Flea, fly flo-oh!

Kath said...

I liked Anne's suggestion. I would be happy to loan you my three Savage Boys to sneak around and wreak some havoc (they specialize in havoc) in case the thunderstorms don't sufficiently freak everyone out. I'm thinking about the cabin booby-trap scenes from The Parent Trap, for starters. You have my number if you need it....

Anonymous said...

Doritos and cans of cherry pie filling. That's camp food. Well, for people who aren't of drinking age.

Have fun?

Unknown said...

I was all geared up to become a Junior troop leader starting next fall, but now Joe's going back to Drexel full-time for his Ph.D. starting in the fall. But I've been one of the extra moms on many a Brownie campout, and Cookie Mom twice now (never again!). My leader is the kind that plans WAY more than anyone could possibly do and then panic and freezes and deals mostly with her own diva of a daughter at every event, leaving much of everything else to me and a couple of other moms. Yikes.

karengreeners said...

I'm so sorry, I said you were lotta crazy. But I admire crazy.
I am so ducking when I enroll my little one in Sparks (our version of the Daisys, I believe). My sordid camping past sounds very much like yours.

Karen Jensen said...

Woo Hoo! Camping with girl scouts during a thunderstorm! When I was a girl scout my troop went camping in a thunderstorm! Great fun and only a few hysterical girls. Let us know how it went.

Carey said...

Sounds like fun...In just a few years, I will sign my daughter up for your troop! LOL. Hope it went well and of course, I hope you post some highlights of the trip...

Anonymous said...

I'm a Boy Scout merit badge counselor and I find it highly ironic that we must PAY to volunteer our hours. One would think that scouting would be willing to front the $10 in order to lure--I mean--make an even exchange for the hundreds of volunteer hours you'll be coughing up. Just saying. Eat a s'more for me.

Moobs said...

Please tell me yuo all got out alive, it all has the slightly worrying feel of a TV movie about it and I am on tenterhooks.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

This is exactly how the GS's got me. Excellent!

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