... should require vows much like those you promise to abide by when you get married.
Made publicly no less, by all adults involved, that each family will respect each other. Each family will contribute an equal share of time and work cooking the communal meal, bringing up things we need like grills and folding tables, cleaning up the common dining area after the meal and buying firewood for the nighttime fire. They will promise not to drink to excess and then argue with their spouse in front of everyone, including their own children. They'll promise not to be snarky when there's been a meeting, like there is every year, and everyone has agreed to a schedule, like there is every year, and they're too drunk or tired or sunburned or have nothing better to do than criticize the person who simply typed it all up. They'll promise to be prompt and pleasant, not pissy, when it's time to settle up their debts because you shelled out over $200 for half the meat and paper goods and they bought 10 bags of marshmallows for s'mores (our dessert of choice). A schedule, mind you, that meant that every family only had to set up, cook, and clean up one dinner a week. In a team. With another family. Unless, of course, you live in my house. Somehow we ended up handling a meal on our own three years ago when another family backed out at the last minute. And no one thought to offer to change that arrangement because, hey, why bother taking on more work when YOU'RE on vacation.
So what happens the year that two families have called it quits and we're down to five families? A meeting is arranged by text... which I don't have. Rather than by email, like we've always done. And when I ask about it, I get crap. I get bitchy back, saying it needs to be by email, and that I'm not organizing it all - no notes, no schedule, no nothing. Then because some of it was still done by texting, I miss the meeting the night it was rescheduled to... after being rescheduled four times in two weeks.
The email arrives today. Rather than following my suggestion and just having two teams cook, et al. two nights that week instead of one, they've got everyone doing something each night. Except my family. Who have been assigned the task of preparing a main dish one night. Which they had decided would be different from the main dish (sausage, peppers and onions plus burgers/cheeseburgers and hot dogs) that we’ve always done. And setting up for dinner each night. And buying half the meat and bringing it up. And buying all the paper goods and bringing them up. And bringing up a folding table. And bringing up a quik-shade. And…
I'm done. I'm almost in tears. Seriously. There is another family, “Snookie’s” family (you can read about her and last year’s pre- and post-camping trip recaps here and there), that last year brought NOTHING, shopped for NOTHING, and got to split their night for doing the dinner with another family.
I responded to one or two things. Said that we couldn’t bring the table AND the quik-shade AND the paper goods AND the meat – we don’t have room. Said that I’d have to talk to Hubby regarding the meal because it wasn’t what we normally made for the main dish that night. The reply I got told me I can still send the table and the quik-shade up; I just need to make sure one of the dads is able to borrow a trailer from someone else and there’s room and I can get it to him when he wants to pack.
I forwarded the email to Hubby. I was too pissed to respond. At this point, I want to just do our own meals as a family and not deal with this. A large part of why this schedule, this format, was developed was because the other mothers like to start drinking just after lunch… while floating on a large raft. Which usually means they’re still tipsy when it’s dinnertime. This schedule came out of the need to make it necessary for them to sober up only one night, which was difficult enough. Their new way of doing things means each night they’ll need to sober up.
In the military, it’s called (pardon the expression) a “clusterfu@k”. And I can see this coming from a mile away. This is my vacation too, dammit – I don’t need their drama, and I certainly don’t need to be worried each night that they’re going to drop the ball.
Have you ever been on a vacation with another family or families where you know there’s going to be issues? How did you deal with it?