Master and Commander

Each spring I get swept up with the excitement of summer days. The promise of leisurely mornings, long afternoons and warm starry nights inebriates me into stupidity. It's more effective than drinking cheap-boxed wine.

So every year, as I'm drunk on summer memories from the past, I am expected to make intelligent decisions about my children's summer camp opportunities. This is like giving me the keys to a chocolate factory and reminding me as I'm swimming in a river of liquid chocolate with my mouth wide open that I need to remember to save room for Brussel sprouts at supper later that night.

This year I signed my kids up for multiple summer camps even though it meant having to twirl around a silver pole while wearing pasties just to be able to afford the costs. In an effort to save money, because I am nothing if not frugal and really, pole dancing is harder than it looks because my rolls of belly fat act like a big friction filled brake pad which is about as sexy as it doesn't sound and twice as painful, I enrolled my teens in DAY camps.

Day camps. For those of you who are new here, I live in the middle of absolutely nowhere. So day camps require driving. On a highway. To a city. Once to get them there and once to fetch them.

Somehow, months ago, I told myself I wouldn't mind driving to the big city twice a day, every day for several consecutive weeks because it was for my kids.

I must have been huffing sunscreen fumes. This is what a northern Canadian winter does to an intelligent woman. It softens our brains.

Turns out, I was wrong all those months ago. I do actually mind driving for what adds up to be over four and a half hours, per day, all so that my kids can learn how to bounce a ball, draw a flower, design a robot with laser eyes, build a yurt or what ever it is I signed them up for.

I don't really know what I was thinking all those months ago when I handed over my credit card to sign the kids up for a myriad of day camps but I'm pretty sure I wasn't thinking about having to wake up even earlier than I have to for a school morning, try and remember to not leave the house without pants, fight rush hour traffic on both the highway and in the city, endure non-stop teen chatter about whatever is the most annoying topic they can think of that morning, watch them flounce out of the vehicle with hardly a thank you, make the long drive back home, and then to have to make the return trip hours later to bring them back home.

I'm spending more on gas than I would have if I had just ponied up for a sleep away camp.

Unrelated, once upon a time I used to consider myself intelligent. That was well before I had children.

I survived my son's camp at the university last week only to have my daughter start hers at the very same place this morning. I didn't sleep well last night, my daughter overslept, it was raining and I just wanted to call the entire thing off.

Being the sucker I am, however, I just poured myself a large travel cup of coffee, snarled at my kid to hurry up and shuffled off to my vehicle to start the commute.

I don't know how it happened, but on the drive in, my sweet daughter annoyed me. One minute she's chattering away non-stop and the next minute I'm in full mommy mode, administering a lecture any guidance counsellor worth their salt would be pleased to hear.

Portrait of sass. 

Through out my meaningful, well thought out mom talk, my kid dutifully nodded her head and replied, "Yes, Mom," in well-timed intervals.

Like a robot.

When I had winded down my lecture of the morning, I looked at her and asked, "Do you understand?"

And like the good daughter she is, she looked back me and replied, "Yes Mom."

Like a robot.

Because I am not the very definition of rational and patient first thing in the morning, I got annoyed.

"You realize when you just say 'Yes Mom' over and over again in that passive voice it sounds like you are either not paying attention to me or dismissing what I'm saying, right?"

"Yes Mom."

"That's not funny Fric. I don't want to get into an argument but when I'm asking you a question it would behoove you (I like to use fancy words when I'm being a bossy cow to my kid) to answer me in a way that sounds sincere. Got it?"

My daughter, to her credit, opened her mouth to automatically reply, "Yes Mom," and immediately shut it. I could see the gears in her brains spinning as she thought about what I had said. Fric turned to me and with great emphasis and clarity delivered her answer.

"Yes Master."

I could see her waiting for me to react to her sass.

It was all I could do to keep from bursting out into laughter.

"That's right kid. Much better." I really hate it when my kid is quicker than I am.

Almost as much as I hate summer camp.