I didn’t go to overnight camp when I was a kid, primarily because my parents weren’t allowed to go with me. But if I had, I’m fairly certain my dad would have tossed a sleeping bag on the bunk, patted my head and been on his way.
My girls have a different expectation when it comes to their camp “set up.” No, it’s not a sleeping bag. They prefer something that is less campy and more Ritz Carlton.
Each year I dig through the big Tupperware boxes Lisa stored in the attic full of the camp necessities. I then lug a SUV slammed packed with the finest linens and accessories to Arapahoe, NC, for a month-long stay.
You haven’t lived until you’ve made the top bunk for one of my kids in a musty cabin at Camp Seafarer.
This year, DJ’s bunk was in the corner making it even more difficult to dress.
Step 1: The dust mite cover – If your kid struggles with significant allergies, perhaps a better strategy than trying to get a dust mite cover on the top bunk bed is to send them to Manners Camp, which I assume is indoors. Instead, my wife purchased a mattress cover that can keep fleas, tics, dust mites and bed bugs from nesting in the green, plastic, ½ inch thick foam my child will be sleeping on for 26 nights. Last year they found a small snake in her cabin. Dust mites - schmust mites. They need reptile repellant!
Step 2: The egg crate – Yes, the Princess and the Pea requires an egg crate to make her lounge area a bit more comfy. I tried to put it under the dust mite cover – sort of zip it inside. I took the mattress off the bed and laid it in the middle of the cabin. It was like trying to wrap a 200 pound alligator in Saran Wrap.
I could tell the other parent's in the cabin were a tad bit frustrated. I could see it in their furrowed brows:
Stop hoggin' the concrete floor dude!
What IS he doin'?
Where IS his wife?
He's actually laying on that nasty concrete.
An egg crate? Seriously?
With 90 degree weather outside and 48 bodies in this unairconditioned single garage, I felt like I was participating in a hot yoga class.
“Dad, you’re cussing under your breath. Be quiet; it’s embarrassing.”
“IT'S ANNOYINGLY HOT IN HERE AND THE DAG BLURNEDEGG CRATE WON'T FIT! Is that better? Plus the woman in the green Espidrills stepped on my pinkie, and it hurt really bad.”
Step 3: Pink zebra print sheets - After returning the mattress to the second floor, I climbed up the latter with one leg precariously perched on the bunk next door. When I realized two campers who walked by may have briefly been exposed to my private parts which were partially visible out of the gap in my shorts from my awkward position, I quickly lowered my leg, kicking the mother underneath me who was squatted over the bottom bunk working to tuck her child’s blanket under her mattress. She fell onto the bed in a front head roll.
“Sorry,” I said not stopping my quest to firmly attach the last of the four sheet corners. That's what you get for stepping on my pinkie.
She was ruffled - looked like she’d spent the day in training at Parris Island.
Step 4: The Camp Seafarer blanket – “DJ, do you really need a blanket? It feels like we’re on a lava pit in here.”
Apparently she did.
Step 5: The stuffed animals and decorative pillows – I actually feel sorry for “Pink Baby,” “Special Blankie” and “Moosey.” They’re going to die of heat stroke.
After stretching in positions I never thought would be, accidentally flashing a minor, and sweating like a camel in the Arabian Peninsula, the cabin looked remarkable. We pulled out the matching laundry bag and set out her Lilly rug.
“You all set baby?”
“Yes. You may go.”