Wednesday, February 11, 2009

We are a model family

Over the weekend, we got the annual Cloz catalog. This is the vendor that sells all manner of required gear and clothing for the boys' summer camp. Cloz assists you (the parent) in successfully obtaining all the items listed on the very detailed four-page-Packing-List so that they (your campers) are sufficiently outfitted for their weeks of camp activities.

Truthfully, what this catalog really is is an opportunity to shell out $1000 on t-shirts, shimmer shorts, and sweatshirts bearing the required Camp X insignia. Camp X gear is mandatory. Apparently, only if campers are sporting the camp logo on a daily basis can they effectively bond with their camp mates and achieve the Camp X spirit that will foster them in to manhood full of high ideals and solid values. Only in a Camp X t-shirt will my sons truly embody the soul of the camp. Yup, alrighty then.

This will be my boys 4th year at Camp X. One would think that after 4 years of spending $1000 on camp wear we would be enjoy at least one year where we would have enough miscellaneous camp crap (I mean wonderous things) that we would be able to fulfill the four-page-Packing-List without having to order anything new. One would be wrong. Way wrong.

One would think that George the Younger would grow out if his things and Henry would grow in to them. One would be wrong there as well. Physically, this is a logical progression. Physically, it does happen with their normal daily at-home wear. In point of fact, Henry looks exactly like George did in 4th grade because he's wearing the same exact things George wore in 4th grade (although according to George, Henry looks like a Geek. In his mind's eye, he himself was significantly more stylish in those same clothes). But, camp-wear has unique properties that defy the laws of physics and logic. In other words, I still need to spend $1000.

First,I need to spend $1000 because there are Camp X activities which require the removal of camp gear sleeves. I get pictures from the camp nearly every day when they are gone. One day the pictures show all boys with sleeves on their shirts and the next day the photos capture a fair number of them in similar shirts curiously without sleeves. There are no photos of this mystical camp ritual where all sleeves are torn away. I guess it is worth noting that many of the boys are now sporting head-bands that strangely seem to be made out of the sleeve remnants. This camp ritual effectively renders said torn shirt useless for the next year's camping season. It is useless, since the same mystical ritual will happen again next year and you obvisouly cannot rip the sleeves off a shirt that already has no sleeves. Duh.

Second, each of them returns home after their camping experience with far fewer things than they left with. Camp is akin to a giant washing machine that systematically eats socks. Only this washing machine not only eats socks, but it consumes shirts, shorts and beach towels. Come to think of it, it has a special hankering for beach towels. We send 4 with each, they come back with one.

So, while I am peeved at having to order more shirts and shorts and, yes, head to Ikea where they sell the cheapest and most easily relinquished beach towels, Cloz does its best to make you feel a little better about it. How? They put your kid's pictures in the catalog.

Two years ago, George the Younger was on the cover. It was exciting for him, and somewhat humorous for us. Suffice to say that with the obvious exception of our two guys, the campers at Camp X were mainly nice Caucasian boys from the East Coast. Interestingly, they choose a photo of George for the cover. More interestingly, the diversity of the camp has broadened significantly over the past years. Obviously, a picture is worth a thousand new campers. Or so the adage goes. And more campers = more Cloz gear. Yippee! Everyone's a winner here.

Anywho, this year, both of the guys made the catalog. There was much oohing and awing! Look! We are FAMOUS!! George the Younger is highlighted on the sock page. I am curious whether this was intentional. Historically I have never ordered socks from their outfit. According to the four-page-packing-list, I am required to send 20 pairs of socks to camp. Upon returning, George the Younger typically brings home about 5 full pairs of socks of his own and about 10 odd socks of unknown origin. All look like they were used to clean the latrines while they were there. I buy the cheapest disposable socks I can find.

Henry made the back page. He is wrapped in a Cloz towel. This is the one towel that I ordered from Cloz the first year and it has made it back and forth from camp for three consecutive summers. It is undoubtedly a magical towel.

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