Maximillion

Maximillion
I DEFINITELY SMELL SOMETHING

Friday, February 18, 2011

Camping: Doggy Style

A long long time ago, I was nine years old.  I lived in Lake Havasu City, AZ and I was a brand new member of my local Girls Scout troop.  I was a Brownie for a minute when I lived in Florida but that was even further back in time and I'm not sure they had even invented memories yet - this little reference is for my Girls who consider my 40 years to be absolutely ancient.

We came to the States from Thailand when I was around three years old and there were many things we had to learn the hard way or the embarrassing way.  I will be guest posting at another blog soon with an example of the hard way but this particular incident falls into the latter category.

My troop leader sent us all home one day with information on a two week camping trip in northern California and a few of my friends were planning to go.  I begged my mom to let me go and she finally said yes.  I was so excited when I got to our Scout meeting the following week, my hands clenching the permission forms and a check for the trip.  

By the time I found out that none of my friends were going to be able to go, I had already turned everything in to the troop leader.  I was extremely shy and didn't say anything at the meeting and by the time I got home, I had decided to go on the trip anyway.  It was definitely better than admitting to my mom that I had no interest in camping and had only wanted to go to be with my friends.  I just kept my mouth shut and things moved forward.

About three weeks before camp, I was sent home with a list of mandatory items to pack as well as some additional items suggested by the camp counselors.  Needless to say, my mom immediately discarded the suggested items list as a scheme to make her spend extra money.  This was a notion my mom apparently adopted regarding America's capitalist society back when she was growing up in Thailand.  Either that, or she was just very very cheap fiscally conscientious. 

We were left with a basic list of necessities which were pretty easy to acquire until we came to an item that left us at a complete loss: a mess kit.  A. Mess. Kit.  No matter how many times we tried the words on our lips, the meaning eluded us.  We were thinking it must have had something to do with personal grooming but we couldn't figure out what.  Shampoo, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, towel, washcloth...those items were already on the list. 

Finally, my mom contacted the parent of another scout and discovered that a mess kit was "for eating with while camping".   This is how my mom explained it to me when she ended the call.  I suspect that since the call lasted about ten minutes that there was a more detailed description provided but this is what my mom got out of the conversation.

That weekend, we headed out to our local Kmart (no Walmarts or Targets back in medieval times) to go pick up this elusive mess kit.  My mom found a store clerk who advised her that they didn't sell mess kits. The clerk suggested we try a cafeteria style tray and my mom put it in the shopping cart and continued to look around the store. 

She stopped in an aisle with deep plastic bowls in a multitude of colors.  I stood there quietly and unhappily since I really wanted to have a mess kit like the other kids would even though I still really had no idea what it was.  My mom showed me a bright yellow bowl (yellow was one of my favorite colors at the time) and told me she thought this would be much prettier than the ugly tin cafeteria tray we had in the cart.  Plus it only cost a dollar and the cafeteria tray was five dollars. 

Even at nine, I knew there was no point in trying to debate my mom when an 80% savings was thrown into the mix.  Besides, I wasn't getting a mess kit either way so what difference would it make.  We went home; me feeling resigned and my mom feeling great.  She loves a bargain.

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The first day at camp was great.  We were assigned our cabins and we ate dinner in the mess hall.  Wait, mess hall...mess kit, now I get it.  I became fast friends with my cabin mates.  We spent half the night talking and giggling and the other half screaming and hiding, mostly due to the spooky stories we eagerly whispered into the dark.  At least until one of the counselors came in to shush us so we could get some rest before the big camp out the next day.

We packed up our gear, including our mess kits and headed out on a long hike to our campsite.  When we got there, we sang songs and talked while the food was cooking.  When it was time to eat, everybody pulled out their mess kits.  I noticed that some of the girls had brought those tin cafeteria trays but I was the only one sporting a bright yellow plastic bowl.   I was also the only one who had no utensils.  This wasn't a big problem for the hot dogs but the baked beans were a bitch and a half.  I resorted to tipping the bowl into my mouth in order to get to the beans.

After the meal, we were sent to a designated area to clean our dishes and that's when I noticed something that changed my entire camping experience.  I had turned the bowl over and there was the label still stuck to the bottom of my bowl.  It was a picture of a big cartoon dog with a bib wrapped around his neck.  A bowl (my bowl) was set in front of him and the label read:  Doggy Dining.  Underneath that, in case I tried to convince myself otherwise, it read: Dog Bowl...

My mom had sent me to camp for two weeks with a bunch of girls I didn't know and in order to save four bucks, she decided to have me eat out of a dog bowl.  I could feel my face flush red.  I picked at the label until there was nothing left but some torn paper backing and a couple sticky spots with some grayish little glue clumps. 

Needless to say, I tried to avoid all campfire meals for the rest of my stay.  It was bad enough that I had to eat out of a dog bowl but without my own utensils, I kept picturing myself with my face in the dog bowl and my pig tails flopping at the sides of my head and well, it was just too much for me.  I mean, even the cartoon dog on the label was depicted holding a fork and knife.

When I came home and told my mom about my discovery, she wasn't surprised.  She told me that she had chosen the dog bowl on purpose so it wouldn't go to waste when I came back.  Apparently, our little cockapoo, Winnie, needed a new bowl anyway.

That's my cheapskate fiscally responsible mom for you. 

Gotta lover her...right?

10 comments:

  1. Oh. My.

    Even I didn't see that coming.

    We've all done it though. I rememeber when my oldest was little, about 5, he loved banana pudding. So, I bought banana pudding from gerber baby food, because it had no sugars or preservatives. He loved it... right up until his friends told him he was eating baby food.

    He's never touched it again.

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  2. wow, and I felt bad buying a rat water bottle for my rabbit ;)

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  3. so funny! my child got a dog bowl for christmas from her cousins last year & she loves it! it's her favorite thing to eat out of & she often tells people proudly that it's a dog bowl. i guess no one's made fun of her for it yet.
    and rough to eat baked beans with no utensils. eek!

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  4. I'm so sorry for this but... bwahahahahaha... *breathe* ...hahahahahaha!!

    If the ability to Google had been around then (and I can safely get away with saying that as I'm older than you), I'm guessing it may not have made any difference to your mum's decision on what to buy. It would have been such a waste buying utensils when clearly Winnie didn't need them... ;)

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  5. mum's you've just gotta love them!! That's enough to scar you for life and put you off camping forever. Forgetting to give you a knife and fork, hilarious....sorry!

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  6. @ Julianna...I'm probaby not the best person to go buy, based on my history but I love baby food.

    @ Bella...Just make sure you take any incriminating labels off the bottle before your rabbit has a chance to read them.

    @ Sherilin...If she ever needs a new bowl, my mom could hook her up but you would need to provide the flatware.

    @ Bub...Winnie always was her favorite.

    @ lyndylou...My childhood scars have definitely made for some good fodder in my writing...so thanks, Mom...?

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  7. OMG...I want to laugh so bad....but but but...I've done it to my own kids..."you won't need that!!!"

    but bahahahahaha...wait ...seriously my Dad would have done this.If it was only a one off thing we needed then we borrowed it or went without...or used a cheaper doggy item ....
    At least she got you your favourite colour bahahahahahahaha

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  8. Now that's some funny shit. :)

    Camping sucks, by the way.

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  9. i just posted your story & i hope you'll get some new traffic over here from it. you did a good job, thanks!

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  10. @ IWBY...there is that. I mean how much worse would it have been if she had chosen Winnie's favorite color instead.

    @ other...Camping DOES suck, especially without utensils or a nicely appointed cabin to stay in, with electricity.

    @ Sherilin...I saw it, YAY! and thanks!

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