Sunday, May 31, 2009

Weekend CampingTrip

I took the boys camping this weekend. Yes, I know this is a shock because I am a very vocal opponent of roughing it. This was my kind of camping. We were at a friend's cabin in Forest Lakes. Actually, it wasn't a cabin as much as a really nice house. Okay, so it probably doesn't qualify as camping at all, but it was in the woods and we did have a fire (so what if that fire was in a gas powered fireplace and was lit strictly for ambiance?) The kids loved it. I was with my writing group and my grandma Arnett was there too which was a special treat.
We were hosted by Louise and Larry Laughlin. We ate amazing food and had great conversation and just generally had a fabulous time. Larry took the kids on the quads and Ham was hooked.
I don't know if he liked riding the quad more or wearing the helmet more but he was in Ham Heaven. They had a playground set up in the back and the weather was cool so the kids played and played. There were no other kids there but lots of doting women and fun things to play with so they never got bored.
The drive was gorgeous. We were 35 miles east of Payson. Abe screamed from Payson to Mesa. sometimes people say "my kid screamed for hours" and they are just trying to make a point, but when I say this I mean it literally. He screamed for hours. It was painful but there was no soothing him. at one point Jack got so annoyed listening to his howling that he was begging him to shut up. Finally Jack said (this is an exact quote) "Babyham, In this life you do not get what you want by freaking out. You need to calm down" I had to laugh because I could hear my own voice giving this lecture countless times to Jack. Even though he doesn't always take this advice, it is obviously embedded in his psyche.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

weird dream

Last night John had to leave for Tucson for a firearms instructor training class that will last two days and two nights. He does this kind of thing a lot and he really enjoys it. Its a nice little trip away for him, spending his time getting paid to shoot department ammo with a bunch of guys who are exactly like him. They all get into their sweet tactical pants and compare guns. Comparing the guns is John's favorite part because he always wins. John's gun collection is enough to make any other second ammendment loving man cry tears of joy. John and I joke that come Armageddon, our house will be the headquarters for the Queen Creek militia. Seriously, we have a lot of food and guns. Like to the point that you might wonder about our sanity. If nothing else you would re-think a home invasion chez les Kramers, because you would get your ass kicked. By ass kicked I mean, of course, shot with many rounds of semiautomatic rifle fire. (If our band of fierce chihuahuas didn't already scare you away before you even got started.)

John's favorite gun is an AR-15 named Staci Laurene. Isn't that sweet? Its a little white trash, but very sweet. He even got it laser engraved with the name Staci Laurene, which for John is equivalent to tatooing my name on his body. Its a tribute that one can only really appreciate if you know how much he loves these guns.

So back to John's training. He left last night after packing for at least an hour. I realized something about John. He overpacks to a degree that I'm sure its a diagnosable anxiety disorder. If you read the camping post a few weeks ago, you know that John doesn't like to leave home without anything that he could possibly need. Last night I was entertained and totally helpless watching him pack that Ford Focus to the gills for a two day trip. More guns than he could ever shoot, all the accompanying ammo, clothes, extra clothes, bedding, extra bedding (they are staying in a hotel). You get the point. He has a real fear of not being prepared. It is funny and endearing, but a little sad too. I wish he could just relax about it for his own sake.

So last night John left right before bed time and so I let Jack sleep in my room as a special treat. I had this dream that John came home in the morning. In the dream he walked in and I said, "What are you doing here?" He said "We got all the way down to Tucson and found out the training had been cancelled." It was just a dream but it felt really real. I woke up and started getting the kids ready for the day. My phone rang. It was John saying that when they showed up for training this morning they found out that it had been cancelled. Weird, right?

I'm not a psychic, but I do get odd dreams like this all the time that come true. Does this happen to other people? Why can't I dream about useful things like winning lottery numbers, or what is causing my health problems. Also, if I was going to know the training was cancelled it would have been nice to know before my husband packed one thousand pounds of cargo and drove two hours. Psychic dreaming really is pretty useless after the fact.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

pure awesomeness

Jack brought me the camera and said "take some awesome pictures of me while I do some awesome poses."

After the pictures were taken he looked at them and said, "pure awesomeness."

I have to agree, Jack, you are pretty awesome.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

shameless photo post

I have recently been reunited with my camera and so I took some time to take a bunch of pictures of the kids today. I just thought I would post some of my favorites, mostly for the sake of my parents who we have been desperately missing since moving back to the QC.

You will notice in this picture that Ella's face has been cut in an unfortunate umbrella accident. Well, not so much an accident as an attack. Can you believe that these two sweet children would be involved in a violent umbrella duel? if you can't believe this then you have clearly not spent any time with them. Its a wonder there is not blood drawn more often. One minute they are slashing each other with sharp objects and the next they are snuggling like this. Its the kind of domestic violence that John runs into a lot at work and we're hoping they outgrow it, otherwise they will both end up in jail.
I just love Hambone's crazy hair. John has suggested that we give him a buzz but I can't bring myself to cut it off.
This kid loves the scooter. He can't ride it on his own and he can barely reach the handles but he will play with it for hours anyway. Sometimes we push him around on it and he gets so excited. He especially likes to push with his little foot just like the big kids.
I have seen this expression literally thousands of times before. It belongs to Jack. I don't know if expressions are genetic or if he has just watched and picked up on it but I had to laugh when I saw this picture. What he is thinking is "really mom? more pictures? can you give it a rest with the camera already?" It is subtle but it is SO Jack.
Perhaps I should refrain from posting naked pics of the kids, but seriously I could not resist this one. You couldn't sculpt a rounder more perfect bum. These cheeks are so utterly pinchable to me.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dangit, I love those lesbians

This week my nephew Milan asked his mother a question. "Are lesbians like terrorists?"
His mother, Cheryl, responded immediately, "Yes, son, that's exactly what they are."

I got a good laugh out of this. Especially as I sat at the Mesa Arts center surrounded by them awaiting the Indigo Girls. There were a couple of ladies (I assume they were ladies, we would need a DNA test to confirm) making out right by us. This is when Ellen coined my new favorite verb. She said that they were "lesbianing" We saw a lot of lesbianing that night. Ellen and I didn't do any lesbianing even though people probably assumed we were a couple.
Ellen bought the tickets and invited me because she knows that there is no greater Indigo Girls fan than Staci Kramer. I have been to probably over a dozen of their live shows and own every album and know every word on every album. John heard about our lesbian date and wanted to come with us. John was forbidden from attending. Not that it wouldn't have been nice to go and show my heterosexual pride, but I am a veteran of the Girls and I know what to expect and have a much greater capacity to laugh off hard core leftist propaganda than John does. I knew that he would just get mad when they got on their soapbox about how bad humans are for spoiling the earth, or how bad white people are for spoiling Native people's lands or ask us to sign petitions in the lobby for gun control. John would end up in a corner sucking his thumb and rocking back and forth. Especially since this concert fell upon the same weekend as the national NRA convention that was held here in Phoenix. John has been looking forward to that for months and then came down with the flu and was unable to go. An Indigo Girls concert would be a poor substitute for him.

Anyway, back to the concert. IT WAS AMAZING. Amazing. How do those lesbians do it? They have put into song every emotion I have ever felt. There is an Indigo Girls song for EVERY emotion. If you don't agree, you haven't listened to enough Indigo Girls. They are seriously two of the most talented singer songwriters in all of musical history. If you don't believe me then go download Power of Two and listen to it three times. They are amazing. They played really deep cuts and of course all of the stuff from their new album. It was fabulous.

The highlight of the show was that there was NO political rhetoric. none. Just great music. We weren't even asked to sign any petitions. In fact the only group they had in the lobby was a food bank collecting canned food for needy families. I didn't have any canned food on me but I gave them a few bucks because I thought it was so refreshing to see such a good cause promoted. John would have been able to attend without his head exploding after all.

I did almost get into a lesbian fight (not really, but you can never be too careful with those crazy man-ladies) I was pulling out of the parking lot and saw this bumper and was compelled to take a picture. I had to turn the car around and come by for a second pass to get the photo. By then the car had filled up with muscular women who did not understand why I was photographing their car. I snapped the pic and then slammed on the gas. Not that there was an easy escape in a congested parking lot, but it was worth it for this picture of the quintessential Lesbian bumper.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Dream Fulfilled

Babyham is constantly trying to get to the toilet. No, he's not a potty training prodigy, he just knows its forbidden and he wants to play in the toilet water. He is always checking to see if the bathroom door has been left open and every now and then he gets lucky. I bought a childproofing kit for the toilet lid but quite frankly it was adult proof too and I never could figure out how to use it. Not to mention, we have a five year old in the house and so we try to make going potty as hassle-free as possible for obvious reasons. This toilet lock lasted about 5 minutes and was then removed and thrown in the trash
Today Abe was able to slip away for a moment and to his delight the bathroom door had been left wide open. He shut the door behind himself for privacy and literally jumped in. When I caught him in there a few minutes later he was frantically trying to get all of his body into the toilet and trying to shut the lid onto himself. He was not going to take this opportunity for granted. He was determined to squeeze every ounce of fun out of the experience. Yes, it is a little gross (don't worry the toilet was just cleaned) but I had to take a picture.
I will never understand why the toilet is so alluring to kids except for its intended purpose. He loves to splash in it, to flush it, to put things in it, to climb on it and to get inside of it, but he has no interest in peeing into it.


Recently I had an epiphany. I should start exercising. I know, it sounds a little obvious, but the truth is its the first time I have had this epiphany in all of my 32 years. Not that I have never exercised. I once hired a personal trainer for workouts 3 times a week for almost a year. I never missed a workout. There was built in pressure to get my pre-paid money's worth and I was single and the trainer was ridiculously attractive etc. This was before I met my beloved John, who actually was the reason said training sessions game to an abrupt halt. I digress. The point is, I have been a regular attendee of the gym before and came to the conclusion that no matter how many pounds I lift, or machines I look stupid on or mountains I climb on the stairs, I will always have a soft squishy body. I will never be ripped or firm or even mildly toned. Even the trainer was amazed. He would marvel "I have witnessed you doing all of the exercise and lifting all of the weights and still no muscle definition!?!" Incidentally, this trainer was a muscular black man with an affinity for feminine curves so it was not a statement made in frustration but in true reverence.
I can gain weight or lose weight but I will always have a little too much skin and I will always have marshmallowy hips and boobs and thighs.
I'm okay with this. I spent years hating my body and trying to change it. Then I saw what my body could do. I could with almost no effort and a small contribution from my studly husband, create a totally new human life and then sustain that life with food from my own person. How can you hate a body that can perform a trick like that? Not to mention that both times I was in labor I felt no pain. This is a long story for another time, but I found out that my body while it will never be athletic or lean, was made for making babies. Solid healthy cute babies with thick rolls on their legs and cheeks that jiggle when they walk.
So back to my epiphany... It wasn't like I all of a sudden had a desire to drop weight or run a marathon, I just realized that we as a family would all be better off if we moved around more and sat on the couch less. I want to be an active family where we do fun things like swimming and running around because we want to. I want the kids to have healthy habits and I probably need to lead by example. Plus the YMCA has free childcare that is awesome and once I went down there to join, I discovered that pretty much everyone I know goes there already. It was like discovering a secret club. Jack already knew half of the kids in the childcare and it was a party for all of us the first time we went.
The second time we went things didn't go as smoothly. I wanted to do a class and John just wanted to do weights and he wasn't ready to leave when I was so we decided to go separately. I took Abe and he took Jack. On the way there I called a doctor that I needed to cancel and was told that rescheduling the appointment would cost $175.00. Okay, change in plans. Now I don't have time to workout because I have to go to the doctor. I turned around and tried calling John. no answer. I took Abe to my mother-in-law's and arranged a ride to and from preschool for Jack. Still no answer from John. Oh well. He'll call me when he starts wondering where I am, right?
So here's what happened: John left his phone at home and got to the Y and checked Jack into the childcare. He didn't see me but assumed I was in class and went and worked out. When he got done, he went to check Jack out and the log had showed that Jack was already checked out. So he assumed that I had finished before him and taken both kids. Much later, Preschool calls and asks why Jack is not there. John calls me and asks why I didn't put Jack in Preschool. At this point I'm sitting in a doctor's office 65 miles away. Where is Jack? John thought I had him. I thought John had him. The YMCA was minutes away from calling CPS about an abandoned child. They close for lunch and Jack was the only kid left. Once we figured out what had happened John drove like a bat out of hell back to the YMCA. I would have liked to have seen him break traffic laws. He was panicked. The staff at the Y probably thinks we are either neglectful or low IQ, although we never did get to the bottom of why there were initials next to Jack's name showing him checked out. Poor kid. It reminds me of the time my mom left Stephanie at a McDonald's in Scottsdale and didn't notice she was missing until they were home 45 minutes later. Steph seems to have turned out so maybe Jack won't be permanently damaged either.
Alright, I know this post is getting long but I just had to say one more thing about the Y. There is no beginner Yoga class, only advanced Yoga. I am naturally flexible so I did this class and felt like a rockstar because it was REALLY HARD and I did every pose. Two full days have now passed since this Yoga class and I am so sore that I could probably qualify for a disabled parking plate. I can barely walk or sit or lay down without every muscle in my body protesting. I'm not such a Yoga rockstar after all. I'm more like an eighty year old who has been hit by a truck.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Preschool Graduation

Today was Jack's Preschool Graduation. It was one of the cutest things I have ever seen. They sang songs and wore these little graduation hats and their teacher, Amber Olsen, called each of them up individually and presented them with their graduation certificate and told a few special things about each child. She told how Jack is an extraordinary artist and loves to follow the rules. I videotaped the whole thing and I have already watched it again twice. I loved every minute of it.

There is nothing better than watching Jack grow up. My heart just swells with pride when I see him learn and grow. I can't believe he is done with preschool! Part of me feels like he is growing up way too fast and part of me can't wait to see whats next.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lets hear it for China!

The other day Jack and I were at McDonald's. Among us in the play area were two or three other families who happened to all be Hispanic. A few of them were speaking Spanish. Jack looked around at everyone and said to me "Sometimes I just feel like the Chinese are taking over the world."

How does a mother appropriately respond to a comment like this? Its just wrong on so many levels. I explained to him that these people were probably Americans just like us or perhaps they are Mexican. Either way they are children of God and that makes them our brothers and sisters. "Why would you say that about the Chinese?"

"I was just thinkin' about the trade deficit."

I'm pretty sure he doesn't really understand what a trade deficit is but I am sure that he listens to every little thing he hears and he is trying to make sense of this confusing world (aren't we all?).

Jack has two very opinionated parents when it comes to politics. Even though we agree on pretty much everything (thank goodness) we still tend to get pretty lathered up on big rants. I realize now that we need to work on filtering our soapbox tirades for the sake of our five year old. Recently he declared that Janet Napalatano is an idiot. He is only repeating what he has heard said countless times and it would be so hypocritical of me to scold him for making this statement especially when it is, after all, SO accurate, but I did feel a twinge of guilt. From now on I'm going to try and keep things less hostile.

So back to the trade deficit that Jack is apparently so worried about.... I used it to my advantage and solved my camera battery charger crisis. My camera battery went dead and I lost my charger in the move. A replacement charger is 80 bucks and a replacement battery is around $60. I just knew that as soon as I spent the money the charger would turn up. Then while searching the Internet I found a knockoff charger for FIVE dollars and a replacement battery for SEVEN. I paid 12 bucks plus 4 bucks for shipping. Both the charger and battery came today from China and they work perfectly! I would feel guilty except that the expensive Canon charger is made in China too. Wow, maybe Jack is right after all.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Traumatized Children

This was the sad scene this afternoon for hours on end. So close, but so far away.

We looked out the back window at Krsitens's house and saw that the neighbors have erected a shrine to fun and bounciness (and incidentally, germs) Here's the problem: And yes Ella informed me that it is a BIG problem. They are having a party and we are not invited, but are instead forced to see the top of the bouncer and hear the squeals of delight coming from within. Thats where our participation ends. We don't know those neighbors and as much as I like to be the friendly neighborhood social butterfly, Its a little obvious to pay a surprise first visit under these circunstances. " Hey, We dont know you at all but We coundn't help but notice that your yard is a mecca for kid fun on a short term rental basis and wondered if this would be a good time to become friends?" Yeah its awkward any way you slice it. It would be no biggie except that the thing seems to taunt them all day long and draws them in like a moth to a flame. I'm sure if we knocked on the door and politely asked for a few minutes of bouncing it would be the start of a beautiful neighborly friendship that will last though the ages. Maybe we'll see how tomorrow pans out.

This was the deep conversation beteween Jack and Ella upon discovering that there was a party going on and they didn't have an invitation. (keep in mind these people are total strangers and we have no right to feel snubbed)

Ella: Come on Jack, we will throw our own party and we won't invite them and our party will be even more awesome.

Jack: Yeah. Our party is gonna make them wish they didn't even have a bouncer and it will be super fun and then they will come ask to join our party but we will say no, because they didn't invite us to theirs.

Ella: so what should we do at our party?

-----Long thoughtful pause---

Jack: A bouncy house does make a party pretty awesome. We might just be losers.

Tomorrow maybe we will knock on their door and see if they have any interest in our new pet, the giant tortoise. He tends to get friends easily.
And I just have to post another one so that you can get an idea of the size and scale. He by the way is still a baby and will grow much bigger than this.
The best part of the "tito" as that he is totally social with people and the kids mauling him doesn't throw him off at all. He just goes about his tito business plodding along. He likes neck rubs and baths. He just eats the grass and weeds and whatever green leafy treat we throw out there. He is so much fun.

This is one more to our small zoo. Three dogs, one parrot and 5 co-owned African spur thighed tortoises. Pretty cool. Much better than a bouncy house

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

kindergarten assessment does NOT cover quantum physics

You know that scene in "A Christmas Story" where Ralphie writes an essay about what he wants for Christmas and then there is this fantasy sequence where the teacher is moved to tears and people throw flowers at his feet etc. but then he gets a C+.?I had an experience today that reminded me of that scene.

Today was Kindergarten registration at Skyline Ranch Elementary and I took Jack down there to get him signed up to start school in July. The paperwork that I filled out before hand explained that there would be an assessment done at the registration to test the kid's school readiness.

We all know that I think Jack is a genius. I was totally ready for him to blow them away with his advanced knowledge. Just this morning he was accurately describing a black hole to me. He explained that the gravitational pull was so strong that it sucked in everything, even light. This is pretty advanced quantum physics, people. Last week he drew a me a picture of what he described as "ancient Egyptian cultural dance that would be drawn into petroglyphs." He has such a large vocabulary and such an amazing interest in science. I am a total sucker for all of this stuff and I spend hours feeding his interest. We do science experiments and read astronomy textbooks and make charts and graphs out of things we find on nature walks. Not to mention the two and a half years of preschool and hours a day of reading books and practicing reading and writing. So here I am toting my supposed genius five year old to kindergarten assessment expecting him to shock and amaze the school faculty.

After testing his hearing and eyesight they took him back to a room away from me and I could tell that he wasn't expecting it and he got a little nervous but went along anyway. A few minutes later a woman came out of the testing room and asked, "Is your son's name John or is it Jack?" I explained to her that his given name was John but that he goes by Jack and has never ever been called John in his life. She seemed a little annoyed and went back into the room. Ten minutes later Jack came out with a male teacher who told me that he did fine.

Fine? That's all? No one was moved to tears?

"Yes. He is fine. He did have a problem with writing a few of the numbers backwards but that's pretty normal. Also, when we asked him to write his name and he wrote Jack instead of John we were all confused but we got that sorted out."

Is there anything else? (he didn't happen to tell you about recent advancements in the US military weapons technology, did he? Because usually he goes on about that for hours)

"Well, there is something else, but I wouldn't worry too much about it since he is only five. When we asked him what his last name was, he didn't know. So you might want to review that with him, but I'm sure he will figure it out with time."

Well no wonder he didn't know what his last name is, he just got the news that his first name is John. I can see that this would be a little confusing.

So apparently in my efforts to prepare my son for Kindergarten I should have been focusing more on the basics like which way the number 5 is written and what his last name is instead of the mechanics behind an internal combustion engine and the migration patterns of blue whales. Who knew?

What is funny is that my mom recently told me that when I started Kindergarten I could already read and she was so proud of me. She couldn't wait for the teacher's assessment so that she could hear glowing praise about how smart I was (keep in mind she was a kindergarten teacher at the time and knew that I was a genius). Instead the teacher brushed over the fact that I could read like it was no biggie and went on and on about how my handwriting was poor and I needed to work on cutting straight lines with scissors. My mom brought the topic back to reading and the teacher said, "Yeah she's a good little reader but her handwriting really has me concerned" My mom still gets irritated by this memory 27 years later. For the record, I am still a good reader and my handwriting still sucks.

I got out the camera to take a picture of Jack and Ella while we were waiting in line in the school office to document the occasion. Ella didn't want to pose and a spontaneous fist fight broke out right before I snapped the picture. This is a good illustration to explain why we asked the registrar specifically to put them into different classes.

I did finally get them to pose for the picture but you can see that Ella was not totally on board. Jack scolded her "You have to let my mom take the picture so she can blog it." He has been trained. The smile is fake but he knows the drill.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Caged Clark

My little nephew Clark has been sick for the past few days and wheezing really bad. They admitted him to the hospital yesterday at Mercy Gilbert. I went last night to bring Kristen her overnight bag and to keep her company. Clark will be fine, but the little guy is cursed with his mother's asthma and allergy genes so he gets sick often and they have to be really careful because a little cold can turn into something really dangerous fast. He is at the worst age for hospitalization because he is old enough that he wants to run around but he is too young to understand why he's not allowed to.

They keep the babies in these medical grade cribs but to me they look like cages. When I get to thinking about it, I guess that's all any baby crib is really, but there was something about seeing him in there that just broke my heart.
Kristen is a trooper. She has to stay at the hospital pretty much all day because she is still nursing him and he is allergic to so many other foods that she doesn't dare wean him because he needs the nutrition. She also has the same bad cold that Clark has and was in the ER for herself yesterday morning. She had such a severe ear infection that she needed an injection of pain killers. And of course lets not forget that she has three other children at home who need her and don't let her rest.

So, say a little prayer for Kristen and her brood. They will get through this but lets hope that she gets through it with her sanity intact.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Kramer Man Campout 2009

The boys are home and they have sucessfully camped their little hearts out. The only piece of gear that got omitted from the great cargo haul of 09 was a camera. So I have no pictures to prove it, but I do have three very dirty and enthusiastic Kramer men home from the campout. They didn't end up using quite as much stuff as they packed. In fact, each and every one of them is wearing exactly the same clothes that they left the house in yesterday evening. Yes, even the same underwear. Jack had a full dirt goatee and mustache. They had a ball. They can't wait for next year. Neither can I.

Abe and I also had a ball. I think he liked being an only child even if it was only for 18 hours. When he got up this morning I brought him into my bed and we snuggled and played and I had such a nice time showering attention on him with no interruption. Since John works the swing shift, we usually have to clear out of the bedroom right when we get up so that he can finish sleeping. Babyham could sense that it was a treat. We took a long bubblebath together and then came downstairs and danced and played.

John said he will take the boys every year if for nothing else, just to renew his gratitude for our comfy home and bed. This camping trip did the same thing for Abe and I but we didn't have to sleep in a tent.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Roughing it with John

I just kissed my husband and Jack goodbye. They are off to their first Father/Son ward camp out. This is a day I have been looking forward to since before I even had children. I always hoped to have sons and a husband who was an involved dad to take them out and so manly things with them. Now I don't care so much what kind of manliness they accomplish, I'm just happy to have a little mom break for a day. I still have Abe with me, of course, so its not like I will be chilling at the spa and sleeping in, but I can guarantee you that for the next 24 hours I will not see even one second of Star Wars the Clone Wars or accidentally sit down on a toilet seat that has been sprinkled with pee pee.

John and I are not campers. My idea of roughing it is a rustic cabin with toilets and showers but maybe we have to make a fire in the fireplace to warm the place, or wash and dry our own dishes. Not that I'm a snob, I have just never been a big fan of, well, nature in general. I feel like it is not entertainment to inflict unpleasant conditions upon myself. To me camping is like giving the finger to thousands of years of human progress. Did not our ancestors work their butts off specifically so we wouldn't have to sleep on the ground and pee in the wilderness? Also, I don't like getting dirty and I like being cold even less.

John and I have always been on the same page about camping so in all the time we have been married, we have never gone. John has always claimed to have grown up going camping a lot.

A few weeks ago we got the flyer for the Father/Son camp out and I was surprised that John was totally willing to go and take Jack. We got Jack all excited about his first campout and he has been counting down the "sleeps". John also invited his nephew Zak to go too which is totally awesome for a number of reasons. As the campout got closer and Jack got more excited, I could tell that John's excitement was waning. He looked up the location on the Internet and came to me and said solemnly "This is a crazy place to have a campout."

"What do you mean? There's a running creek and its in the woods and its not too far away. Whats crazy about it?"

"Its PRIMITIVE. I looked it up and there is no running water or electricity....nothing. Just the wilderness and us. I don't know about this."

I don't know why this was so funny to me. I guess because John is such a big tough guy and you'd expect him to be so much more of a camper. No electricity? He expected there to be electricity? It is camping after all. Then it occurred to me... all of his experience "camping" has been at like a KOA campground type of place. Like the kind of place where you can plug your appliances in and for a few quarters, take a cold shower.

I let him know that there was no getting out of it and reminded him that it wasn't like a week long survival camp. "Its just one evening and night and then you get up in the morning and come home. No biggie." He grudgingly agreed.

So today was the big day and let me tell you, you have never seen anyone prepare so thoroughly for an overnighter. He even had to go borrow his parents Expedition because our van wouldn't "haul enough cargo". After hours of packing I went out and looked at the "cargo". He had the entire Expedition so packed with stuff that Zachary would have to sit in the front with gear under his feet and the back seat was folded down except for one small space for Jack's booster. He had (among a LOT of other things)
a Camp stove with a collapseable table for the camp stove to sit on
A full size memory foam mattress topper
Half a dozen assorted semi-automatic rifles and handguns with accompanying giant boxes of ammo
Three sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, bedrolls
Two coolers of food
a flat of bottled water
Two laundry baskets full of warm clothes, plus a bunch of backup clothes for any weather eventuality.

He toyed with the idea of bringing a generator but ultimately decided against it because he was out of "cargo space". Its a good thing that it wasn't a family camp out because we would have to pull a trailer to accommodate the gear and make a place for me and Abe to sit.

I know it sounds like I am mocking him, and yes, I will admit to a tiny bit of mocking but more than anything I was just entertained and tickled that he is doing this for Jack and Zachary even though it is so obviously not his forte.

I can't wait to hear all about their adventure tomorrow. I know Jack is going to absolutely love it. My plan is to make this yearly father/son camp out a tradition and my boys can get their annual fill of the wilderness without any involvement from me. Next year Abe will be old enough to go too and then I will have a real break, complete with the spa and sleeping in.

Kramer Boys

Kramer Boys