Although summer's cunning agent will tell you that summer is about relaxing we all know it's not. Summer is about trying to fit everything you want to do into the two and a half months you have to do it. Take off at least half a month for rain days and buying school supplies to send your kids back to school. Ok, take off a whole month for that. So, you're left with a month and a half to pack in everything you want to do over the summer. And everything you want to do will require one thing.
Don't forget the sunscreen, bug spray, water bottles, hats, sunglasses, towels, goggles and, of course, most important, the food. And then the real question...do you really want to pack that potato salad? With all that mayo, that will be in the cooler for an undetermined amount of time, maybe even sitting in the sun. DO YOU? And if you do decide to risk it, don't forget to pack forks and plates. But not those cheap paper plates that collapse when you put food on them. And for god's sake, not the Styrofoam ones that don't biodegrade. No, the expensive thick Chinet ones that you can use as kindling to start the fire for s'mores. Don't tell me you forgot to pack the marshmallows. Amateur!
Of course, that's not the worst of it.
It never is. The worst of it, obviously, is camping. Packing enough (non-mayonnaise based) food to last x amount of people (in our case 6, including teens with voracious appetites) for x amount of days. Food that will be floating in a lukewarm puddle of water by day two of your camping trip no matter what kind of ice packs you use. It's inevitable. It's also inevitable that the entire camping trip will be spent reminding kids that open the cooler every 15 minutes to shut the freakin' lid to the cooler. Seriously, this the summer battle cry of parents everywhere that can be heard echoing from every pool, campground and backyard barbecue all summer long. SHUT THE (insert expletive of your choice here taking into account the age of the child of course) COOLER!
Of course, that's still not the worst of it.
Did your kid forget to pack their hoodie? Swimsuit? Extra underwear? Their glasses that they wear on their face every day of their life? And forget a toothbrush, they definitely forgot that. And did you forget to lock your food away at night and become a bear magnet? Neglect packing wine? You really are an amateur aren't you? The wine gets packed first, in a perfectly packable Bota Box and the cardboard box can be used for kindling. The empty bladder can be filled with water, hung from a tree and left in the sun to be used as a camp shower. This becomes a really appealing option on day 3 or more of camping. I hope you didn't forget to pack Campsuds so you can wash your greasy, matted down hair that reeks of ashy campfire. And don't forget your pits.
No, that's still not the worst of it.
The worst is coming home with a not-so-fresh crotch on little sleep because those assholes in the next campsite were singing Poison songs til 1am and then the birds started singing before 5am then having to unpack and wash everything you brought with you. And I mean all of it. But, then 5 days later, when everything's finally put away and all the snafus have become hilarious stories your family will tell for years to come, that's when your kid's head starts itching. Your kid, who forgot to pack a pillow. who substituted someone else's random hoodie at camp, as a cushion. Your kid who now has lice. And you have to go through the list of everything you packed AND all the bedding (and everything else) in your entire house and wash it all over again with a whole new fervor.
ADDENDUM: The lice incident is a true life story that happened to one of my kids (who shall remain nameless due to the shame* factor) two summers ago. We still don't know the exact origins of the lice because you can't exactly post "Whose (insert expletive of your choice here) kid gave my kid lice?" on Facebook because my kids are also on Facebook totally inhibiting my freedom to mortify them on social media. Though I somehow (unintentionally) still manage to.
*Also, let's take the shame out of lice. It only infects clean hair. I may have repeated this over five hundred times that summer as my other kids mercilessly teased my lice infected kid, but only because they somehow miraculously escaped it themselves.