Friday, June 22, 2012

You Call This A Vacation?

Feeling out of sorts today, and I'll apologize now for this being a LONG post. 

I’m not looking forward to tonight’s get-together with a bunch of moms to plan our joint "camping" trip in July, and I need to vent beforehand so I don't arrive on my broomstick. I'm using the term "camping" loosely - we're at a campground but all the families rent out 36-foot trailer homes with central air and indoor plumbing.  As my husband says, after 15 years with his company, he gets four weeks' vacation, and he’s not spending any of those days sleeping on the ground.

This is the eighth summer my family’s gone “camping”.  Meat and paper goods and s'more fixings are bought in bulk and costs split, with two families in charge of each night's dinner. In our heyday, 10-12 families were involved - in excess of 45 people, or the size of a platoon. Add to the mix some families so dedicated to their kids' sports, they actually drove the 2+ hours home some nights for games.  There were also some families with three kids who'd let each kid bring a friend while other families had only two kids and no guests, so we came up with a way to calculate costs so everyone paid their fair share. Trust me - it sounds more complicated than it is. It also helps that it’s all written out - what the dinner menus are, who’s cooking what night, and reminders of what to bring.  Everyone likes that it's written out, especially the dads – it’s like being on a cruise ship and knowing ahead of time what your choices for the day are. 

Every year before this deployment vacation, the moms get together and review the details – that dinner needs to be at a certain time so those who want can partake of the campground’s evening programs, who’s contributing what (bringing a quikshade or small grill or shopping for the meat) so that it wasn't all on one person's shoulders.  After all, it's a family vacation for ALL of us.

Until last year.  Due to scheduling and kids growing up, only my family and two others remain from the original group. Two years ago, one of the other moms invited two other families to join us, one so that her daughter finally had some girls to hang around with and the other to occupy a second trailer she'd reserved. A third family who knew of our trip also joined our ranks. 

The first year, we paired them up with a veteran family and went easy on them - my family handled one of the nights on our own as there was no one to pair with. Thinking they'd gotten the hang of it, we planned last year's trip. We should have realized the first year was somewhat thrown off kilter thanks to the stomach bug going through our group (and most of the campground). Regardless, the three new families "forgot" the items they were supposed to bring, one mom made continuing snide comments about having to keep to "my" schedule until one of the other moms reminded her she’d agreed to the "group's" schedule. We also had two nights where people who were supposed to cook dinner either got so wasted they couldn't or "forgot" it was their night and disappeared.  We won’t even discuss the two families with toddlers who seemed to believe everyone else would watch their kids while they went and played basketball, swam, and drank until they passed out.

I don’t need this.  I don’t want to spend my week of vacation being responsible for others.  The simple solution would be to no longer go to this campground this particular week.  But I can’t do that to my kids, who are friends with all these kids, or to my husband, who enjoys the “Dad” time with the guys.  I also don’t want to take away my time with my friends.  So tonight I’m going to this meeting with a nervous pit in my stomach.  I’m going to remind everyone of last year’s issues, which no one else will remember because, hey, they didn’t have to pick up the slack.

If you have any words of wisdom, I'd love to hear them!  Otherwise, check back to see if I emerge unscathed.

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