I had some dreams ... they were klowns in my koffee.

(With apologies to Carly Simon)

This is my journey through job transition from a toxic environment to a better life. Join me for a few thoughts and a few laughs along the way.
What are "klowns in my koffee"? They are the factors large and small that make you less than you are. A "klown" can be a grossly incompetent boss,
a short-sighted policy or a moronic coworker. They won't kill you, at least not immediately, but they abrade the soul
as you scrape past them to get through the day. Sometimes it's best to dump them out of the cup.


Day 58 - Scout Kamp

Today, we were outstanding in a field. Unfortunately, we were out standing in a field in South Haven, about one hour west of the Twin Cities, during a downpour for a couple of hours. Huddled under canopies with hundreds of Boys Scouts wearing garbage bags is an inauspicious way to start the day. As the rain started to retreat, I spotted a coffee tent in the distance and trotted out despite lingering jagged cuts of lightning in the sky. The day got better.

This is StarCamp, a feel-good festival for Boys Scouts of all ages and their soggy, resentful families. With jean pantlegs soaked to the knees, we began to slosh our way to the displays and activities. We pealed off soaked sweatshirts, preferring to shiver in and dry out the lighter layers underneath until the sun would presumably start to shine.
Here's a typical Scout activity and a very smiling Bear Cub enjoying it.

The lanyard (see Day 42 post) around his neck carries a tracker of the various activities that he completed. The emphasis was on trying at least one activity in 60% of the "Action Areas" — broad categories like communication, cultures, history, survival, climbing/ropes, and team building.

There were Civil War Re-enactors firing cannons, yo-yo artists and aquariums of poisonous snakes. There was a trebuchet. It was malfunctioning and, as a very short person, I was wary since a trebuchet had already injured one dwarf on Little People, Big World. Perhaps trebuchets hate the vertically challenged.

We learned about conservation, how to count in Chinese, how to walk on stilts, and how to sail a little boat in a rain gutter. Not everything was educational or even tasteful.

Here, for example, is the goal object for Booger Wars, a game played by stuffing large green sponges in giant noses at either end of the court.

Yeah, it's hard to make a comment that makes this seem dumber than it already is.

I'm always a little apprehensive about the Boy Scouts as a general concept. As the Inquisition is taken by some as the ultimate poster boy for organized religion (I lean toward Unitarian Universalism, not really a religion and about the least organized anything that you can imagine), the Boy Scouts carry a whiff of hyper-conservatism, homophobia, and — obviously — sexism. In real life, almost all the contacts we've had with the organization have been free of those influences. There was a minor exception to that today during registration when the groundhog behind the folding table gave my husband a "participant" badge and me a "visitor (non-participant)" badge when we had both paid the adult registration fee. When I questioned it, I got a blank stare and the statement, "I didn't think you'd want to do anything." Since this was before I found the coffee, I nearly missed the bus while helping the gentleman create the appropriate badge (a rewrite that my husband suggested as a more even-handed version of my draft clause: "handed him his ass"). Other than that, the Scouts have been reasonable and accepting and a good choice for my son who needs structure to feel rooted.

The sun came out, my son completed enough activities to get his pin, and then we sprawled on the grass in the arena to listen to the band. For some reason, the organizers felt that the perfect entertainment to book was a mock-metal cover band with the motto, "Totally 80s — Totally Awesome." Wake me up before you go-go ...

Muddy and sunburned, we schlepped back on the bus and realized that we'd really had a good day.

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