Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I survived Gator camp 2012

Marley: What do you call a clock?
Solomon: Ummm... Daddy!
They both laugh.

So on Saturday morning I take the kids and we head to Dunkin Donuts. I decide to drive past Dater to see if the line for first-come first-serve registration has begun. I wasn't 100% sure but I had a feeling that someone had started the line. I had driven by at 2am and there had been no one there. Well apparently they set up their tent at 3am.

There were 7 people in line by the time I got there at 8:30am. By noon all 7 of the preschool spots were gone. Which later it turned out there was only 6. I had the 3rd spot (for Solomon). I had the 5th spot for kindergarten (for Marley).

One by one the line just kept growing. There was a lot of speculation about how many spots there were for kindergarten, how many for preschool, what the process was when we finally got in the doors, what the rules about everything were, whether there would be line jumping drama... or a knife fight. People talked about their kids and their ages, where they went to school now, why they like Dater. They talked about their jobs, their spouses, all that stuff.

Each night we sat around fire pits. Every time we needed to use the bathroom we walked to Mercy Hospital's ER or UDF. Either our individual posses delivered us food or the collective arranged for communal food. A lot of  very kind people paid it forward and delivered us bagels, soup, sandwiches, tacos, cookies, brownies. Amazing kindness. It would have been easy street if it were not for the night and day of rain and the night when it was 28 degrees.

Now the 4th day- that is when it got interesting. That was registration day. The Dater principal had mercy and decided to open the doors at midnight rather than waiting till the next morning. We had to strike our tents and get rid of the camping stuff because kids were back in class (they had no school on Monday because Veteran's day). So we all got in our official order on the sidewalk in our chairs. Pretty dull until 4pm when the principal led us all up to wait by the doors instead of on the sidewalk. The reason it was exciting was because we were bodily moving towards our goal. Other than that nothing really changed. People were getting really anxious. Worrying more about line jumping drama (and potential knife fights). Sticking to their assigned spot in line.

Some of us didn't handle the change with rigid amounts of stress. I made a friend Jenny and she had a nervous energy to match my own. The fact that it was freezing helped because only moving helped to keep us warm. Jenny and I ran a foot race from the building to her car. She won because she ran through the extremely treacherous wet sand of the baseball diamond. Some people reportedly said that if we both got hurt or died that we forfeited our spots in line.

We decided to continue the epic battle for awesome supremacy. We engaged in slide-racing (three times, three ties; judged by a onlooking 6 year old). Speed peeing contest. Competitive art-critiquing. Thumb wars. 20 questions (no one won, that is an awful game). Dance off.

Then we played this really awesome game called Werewolf. There was about 13 of us playing. If you have never played Werewolf, I suggest you look into it and get a game going in your life. I was lynched multiple times and ravaged by werewolves. Probably owing to the fact that I have a loud annoying voice. We DID NOT play Red Rover. People were concerned that they would get hurt and have to go ER and that it would cost their spot in line.

At around 9:30 the principal let us into the building and we went to the auditorium to wait. Until Jenny discovered the gym was open and that the gym had a huge closet full of awesome stuff to play with. So after a race on little wheeled square things, a game of dodgeball was organized. 6 vs. 6 with a referee and many onlookers. My team was the losingest team but I blame my turtleneck, snow boots, double socks and pants.

After everyone was exhausted we decided to be a bit more tame. We played kickball. I was on the winnigest team that time. Much better game in my opinion.

Then it was time to sit quietly and try to stay awake until the magical midnight hour when we all got called in groups of ten to fill out our applications. I secured Marley's position as a 2013 Dater Gator and discovered that my preschool position for Solomon was lost because I was applying for free tuition. So he got waitlisted.
Can't win them all.

I met a lot of awesome people and loving parents.

I wonder how the rest of the campers are transitioning back to normal life in society. Not easy to go back after being the Mayor of Dater or the secretaries of fire stoking, grocery, defense, kickball, etc.


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