Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hell No

So, I've decided that if the Boy Scout troop doesn't want me on their trips, I'm going to find a group that does. There's a whale watching trip I could take at Friday Harbor. I've always wanted to paddle the Bowron Lakes. That trip costs $1500, but Grandma would love if I spent the money I got for her inheritance on something that I love. There are trips all over the country, even one to Turkey. Todd won't go to Turkey. I should plan all my trips to coincide with his. I should try to bring Buddy.

I can't tell you how sad I am, being excluded from activities I love because I'm female. Todd said that it really would not have been appropriate for me to be at camp, that there was a men's club only atmosphere to it. He said I could pretty much guarantee that it isn't appropriate for me to go to camp from now on. That means I can schedule a trip every year while they're at camp. So, instead of holding their hands and packing their gear for them, I'm going to plan my own trip. I will not sit at home while they do adventurous things. I can go canoeing, kayaking, or backpacking. I can book a tour to Germany or Scotland or France. Oh Mike, it's going to be expensive!

Where did all this anger come from?

It was when a guy last night said that there was no singing at camp and that they had work to do and they got right down to it, total bullshit. At first, I thought he was joking. He said I wouldn't have liked Camp Meriwether, that it wasn't like Camp Brinkley at all.

It was when another guy said that I should organize the moms to make a picnic for them while the men trained the boys how to paddle a canoe. He actually said that our 'little family canoe' was good for an occasional outing, but not much else. Well, fuck that shit.

What does Mike think of these plans? I don't know. I haven't told him yet.

If I am going to be excluded from paddling this trip to Ozette, I'm going to plan a trip of my own. I think sea kayaking at Friday Harbor would be a good start. Then, I'll have to begin planning my trip for next year. I want to paddle the Bowron Lakes. It's going to be expensive. That's just tough shit. By the time I'm done, these companies are going to be hiring me to help guide their tours.

That would be funny. The Boy Scouts has access to a person who's quite experienced at paddling a canoe and they're sending her off to paddle with strangers because she's female.

I have to stop whining about not being able to go with them and start planning my own trips. And they aren't going to be trips to Indiana to visit relatives. Hell no.

Thank you for listening, jules


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Left Out Again

Mike is back from camp. He's tired, but he had a great time. He's spent most of the afternoon on the couch, alternating between catching up with work on his computer and napping. I had a million questions for him.

Oh, I don't want to write about this.

I am so jealous that he got to go to camp and I didn't. There were bonfires on the beach, challenge courses, wilderness survival training. They arranged for the kids to sleep on the beach. Some of them liked it so much, they dragged their dads out for another night of it. They sang songs at lunch. They had a Dutch oven chili cook off. There were skits and merit badges and snacks stolen from tents by a raccoon. It made me sad that I missed all that.

Mike told me there were some helicopter moms that were in their kids' faces during the challenge course. We both shook our heads.

"But you know I wouldn't do that," I said. Mike continued to type on his computer.

"I know," he said absently. There was a pause and he looked up, right into my eyes. "No, I know you wouldn't do that. I know you wouldn't."

Another pause.

"But it would have changed to dynamic to have you there. It really would."

"When we met, you asked me to come to the Explorer Post trips. You needed a female advisor so the girls could come and I was excited about being included. I loved these trips, the camping, canoeing, whitewater rafting, climbing, hiking, even pushing against my claustrophobia by caving. You knew that I loved doing those things. You knew that about me and you married me. Now, you're telling me that I can't come on the best trips."

"It was definitely not right for you to be at camp. I don't know why. It just wasn't. We'll have to think about the canoe trip. We'll really have to think about doing the right thing, here."

I know what that's going to mean, ultimately. And I know what the difference is between the woman I am now and the woman I was when Mike met me.

I wasn't a mom then. I could come on the trips and, regardless of the way I approached the activities, I wasn't viewed as a mom. Oh, when the bear came into camp and a girl clung to me, wondering if a bear would attack her because she was on her period, I sort of acted like a mom. More like a big sister, really. I let Mike handle those things. He was more sympathetic. He listened and told her she'd be fine. Those stories were about grizzlies and these were black bear. He was the one the kids went to when they needed support. There weren't any adults old enough to push against when it came to parental authority. All of us leaders were in our twenties. None of us had kids.

When the boy was afraid to go into the dark by himself to pee, I rolled my eyes at him and only reluctantly found him a place half way between me and the campfire to relieve himself. The challenges I faced, I faced as a young person trying something for the first time, not as a middle-aged woman beyond her physical abilities.

And yet, I detest the idea that I can't keep doing things just because I'm getting older. I'm friends with a 93 year old woman and when I asked her if she still mowed her own lawn, she said, "If I don't do it, I won't be able to do it." She has a good point. The more I bow out of things that I used to do, the fewer of them I'll be able to do.

The problem is that I don't particularly like camping solo or I'd head off on my own while they're at camp. I guess I'll just have to start going solo or join a tour. Are there canoe trekking tours for women? I'll have to check it out. I can't just sit around at home, waiting for them to come home. I can't. I won't.

Thank you for listening, jb

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Revamping Our Dutch Oven

Why am I still awake?

I'm trying to season one of Mike's Dutch oven and I have to clear the smell out of the house before I go to bed so that Nick won't wake up and hack a lung.

Here's some advice for you - don't wait to clean your Dutch oven. If it rusts, you have to start over. Then, you have to scrape off flaky black stuff and start from scratch and, especially if you don't happen to have any steel wool, you'll be at it for hours.

Do I sound like I'm working from experience here?

I also learned today that it's best to put the lard onto the Dutch oven while it's hot. A website said that the iron is porous and sucks up the oil better if it's hot. Then, when you put it onto a hot oven, it seals over like a varnish finish. Only, since it's lard, it's edible. Once, an expert I talked to at a Boy Scout conference said that flax seed oil was the best at a long-lasting coat. My only problem was that I couldn't stand how the flax seed oil smelled. I use lard and it works pretty well. I've read that some people use Crisco and others use vegetable oil. Well, then.

Since it's summer and Nick's at home all day, I had to do all this at night when he wouldn't be driven out of the house by the smell. Even the dog and the cat got a little worked up over the smell.

I'm getting smarter about this. When I think it's done, I turn off my kitchen oven and hold onto my curiosity, leaving the oven door closed. I put all the exhaust fans on high and open just one window in the house. That's the best way to draw in fresh air. It doesn't work as well if too many windows are open. This way, the draw of fresh air comes from that one window which I set up to be across the living room.

I'm starting to think it'll need another coat. Oh man, I'm going to have to open that oven.

Sleep? What sleep.

Thank you for listening, jules