Belly aches, brooms, and cakes

Three more of the Deer hut camper dudes. These little guys. Can you imagine? Nine year old boys, away from their mums. They are the cutest little things! All rough and tough and malevolent out in the school yard. Away from home and feeling crappy? They are like sad puppies! So. Freaking. Adorable. Until one of them opened his mouth to get his temperature taken and puked a solid stream onto my clean office floor. Not so cute. Liam missed my shoes though (thank you very much due to my incredible lightning fast reflexes developed from many years of dodging vomit in the ICU. I was not always so good though and many shoes have been put to rest as a result). Charlie, the second camper, then ran to the sink and started to dry heave. Jonathan, the third camper, looked on in bald-faced horror. The two Deer hut counselors who brought the campers up to see me were out in the hall when it happened. David, who was sitting on the floor, rolled over onto his knees and covered his eyes and shouted “Oh no you didn’t!”. Meanwhile Paul, who was leaning up against the far wall, covered his eyes and put his head down to his knees responding, “Yes! Yes he did!”


I love my job. I love my job. I love my job.

I hurried Liam around the corner past David (still rolling on the ground moaning) and Paul (who had recovered and was now just trying to stifle laughter), and into the bathroom to finish up. I motioned for to Paul to wipe him down.

Same symptoms with the three of them. No fevers, minimal appetites, belly aches but no tenderness, disgusting fingernails. At least now with the serving spoons the spread would hopefully (?) minimize but in the meantime I needed another infirmary bed!

I got a Paul and David to find me a spare mattress for the floor and we set the three campers up in the infirmary. I closed the towel curtain and pulled a couple of garbage cans into the room and gave the ‘foot soak’ bowl to the victim in the top bunk. 

I reminded Paul and David to talk to the campers in the Deer hut. The kids needed to be encouraged not share cups or spoons, and that they should wash their hands before meals. They promised they would spread the word. 

I needed to get serious about the hand washing.

Back to the nurse’s station I spent the next fifteen minutes wiping up the barf, doing a quick spot mopping and then replenishing the two first aid kits that Alisa had left me. Then I grabbed stacks of gauze, a hand full of band aids, some tubes of Bacitracin, and tossed them into my backpack. Upstairs I went to collect my son from Sammy. She was going to take the girls (and one of the first aid kits) off to arts ‘n crafts to rendezvous with the remaining Deer hut boys for the ‘twig project’, whatever that was. 

I promised my son some fun times in the water after we made our rounds. It took us an hour and a half to get to all the first aid kits. Needless to say, having an almost 3 year old accompany me was a challenge. By the end of it he was pretty mopey and asking me how many more of the “dumb first aid kits” we had left to check. I felt the same way. 

We finished up at the windsurfing/kayaking docks. It was pretty quiet there so I lay down my back pack and fished out our beach towels. We stripped down to our bathing suits, I put a life jacket on him and we waded into the water. It was so refreshing! And a great way to wash the barf stink off too.

My son decided he wanted to surf the waves so I struggled to get a windsurf board out of the stack. What followed was an hour and a half of ‘surfing’ which consisted of my son and I standing on the surfboard and pushing each other off

the board into the water. My son laughed hysterically throughout most of this adventure. By the end of it, I noticed my arms and upper back were pretty fatigued. Mental note to take some ibuprofen tonight! My thoughts were interrupted by the dinner bell. The afternoon had flown by. We had fifteen minutes to get ready.

The four of us barely arrived on time for dinner. I had checked on the Deer hut campers in the infirmary and none of them were interested in dinner. I got them set up with water to sip on and left them to rest further. During the wait for dessert my son fell asleep with his head on the table. He did manage to miss planting his face in his plate of food at least. I guessed the surfing had really wiped him out too! He, amazingly, was able to snooze through all the noise and mayhem in the dining hall. 

I listened to the daily announcements which included sign ups for camper laundry, sign ups for a seat on the van for ‘night out’ for the counselors, a rehearsal time for the members of the choir for mass, and a planning meeting for the upcoming ‘all camp’ (whatever that meant). Will had a very special announcement at the end. Out of the kitchen closet he pulled what appeared to me to be a very tired looking straw broom that had been covered in silver spray paint and silver sparkles. Will held it over his head, and the room went wild. Counselors jumped to their feet yelling. Kids began to cheer and pump their fists in the air. I looked to Bill, confused. He shouted over the pandemonium.

“It’s the Silver Broom Award.” 

“Oh.” I nodded like that meant something to me.

“It is given to the cleanest hut.” Bill yelled.

It took about two minutes to settle the crowd down. During that time I contemplated how terrible it would be to be a cottage neighbor of the camp. Through it all my son slept on. Finally Will was able to get control of the room again.

“For those of you who are new to camp. This. Is. THE SILVER BROOM!” The room went wild again for another minute. Will was finally able to continue. “It is given to the hut who keeps their hut the cleanest, the tidiest, and the nicest smelling during the session. Our judges will be coming around daily to do an inspection. You will never know when they are coming so you must always have a clean hut! At the end of each day we will announce the points leader. The winner at the end of the session gets cake!” Again a brouhahah which lasted all through dessert and lasted even as they left. Each of the huts were chanting “Deeeeer hut! Roooooock hut!” etc.

Cake? That’s it? Cake? Cake! Yes of course cake. All this ruckus over cake. That totally made sense. And now I knew what I had to do to keep the campers’ hands clean! 🙂

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