Camp Orkila 2021

This wasn’t the year for Camp Orkila. Talk about a clusterfuck. The trip was supposed to happen back in May…

The May Camp Orkila trip attempt was a total failure. That was a day. Brian takes the kiddos to Camp Orkila every year, starting a the age of three. He has the routine down. And this year, he was all set by morning, long before they needed to leave to catch the ferry. He figured he’d time it so they wouldn’t have to wait long at the ferry terminal, arriving there about 30 minutes prior to departure. He killed time at home before leaving.

This is totally our fault. We didn’t read the ferry email that says to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to departure, otherwise your reserved spot will be forfeited. The ferry departed at 3:45pm. He arrived at 3:17pm, taking his sweet time driving up. He totally could have made it. And it really came down to the booth line he picked. The guy in the booth of the line Brian chose was hardcore about the time. Those two minutes caused Brian to miss the ferry. He was put on standby for the next ferry, at 7:45pm. But being on standby, if he left he would lose his spot. He didn’t have any food for the kiddos. And the 7:45pm ferry would have put them at Camp Orkila after 10pm. He made the call to turn around and come home.

In the meantime, I called YMCA and a super awesome, young guy answered. It’s funny how you can usually tell someone’s age by their voice. Or maybe I talk on the phone with people so rarely, I have no idea what I’m talking about. I told him that I was sure I knew the answer, that we missed out on Camp Orkila this year and nothing could be done. But I figured it didn’t hurt to ask. I told him our sad story and he immediately said it was no problem, he would credit our account, and to let him know which upcoming weekend we would like to register for using the credit. I was taken aback, amazing customer service is a rarity these days—especially when the fault is yours. I thanked him profusely and said I wanted to talk with Brian about which weekend would work out—that he was feeling pretty burned from the ferry experience—and that I’d get back to him Monday.

Brian and I figured out a weekend that would work. Labor Day weekend. After calling off-and-on Monday with no answer, I went ahead and sent an email. A few days later, they responded, telling me registration for the new weekend we selected wasn’t open yet. But not to worry, they would register our family as soon as registration opened and we needed to do nothing. And sure enough, a few weeks later when registration opened, I received an email confirming we’re all set for Labor Day weekend. I was so impressed with YMCA. Brian has been on board with loving them, donating every year. I’ve always said I’d rather put the sum we donate toward another cause, but now I’m sold.


Let’s talk about the Labor Day Camp Orkila trip. At least it happened. Brian left Friday with ample time to make it to the ferry. Two hours to spare when they arrived at the ferry terminal. Thankfully. Why? Because I needed to rush up there to grab Blaise. Because of Covid, they take temperatures at arrival to Camp Orkila. Brian said it was the first thing they dd when they exited the car. And when Brian left home with the kiddos, we had taken everyone’s temperature. Blaise wasn’t feeling 100% but his temperature was fine. And he was excited and acting like his normal self as Brian was packing up the car. Well, somewhere along the drive up to the ferry terminal, Blaise went downhill and now had a fever. I needed to rush up there and pick him up. The only kicker, our van was at the service shop getting new brakes. It was set to be ready that afternoon.

Maive and I were making a mess at the house—part of my process of deep cleaning. I had things pulled out of different spaces, preparing to thoroughly clean with (almost) everyone gone. And I had just made Maive lunch as the service guy called, telling me the van was ready for pickup. As I was on the phone with him—and he was going into details about the brakes that I couldn’t have cared less about—Brian was texting me that Blaise needed to be picked up. And thankfully the van was ready at 1:30pm. My wonderful neighbors gave me a lift to Kirkland to grab the van, and I rushed up to Anacortes leaving Maive’s lunch untouched on the kitchen counter.

Somehow I lucked out with no traffic. And people were actually really cool about pulling over for those of us who wanted to drive faster. It almost felt like driving in California. Washington drivers tend to camp out in the fast lane regardless of how fast the other lanes are going. I’ve actually found the slow lane is the fastest around here. Most people merge onto the freeway and immediately move to the fast lane. It’s weird. And let’s not get into how Washington people are very anti-zipper merge. Anyway. I made it to the ferry terminal just as they were getting ready to load cars onto the ferry. Brian was one of the first few cars in line, since he arrived so damn early. But in case I didn’t make it in time, Blaise was waiting for me in the main ferry building. Brian talked with one of the ferry ticketer guys who agreed to keep an eye on Blaise for us.

When I picked up Blaise, he seemed totally fine. Whatever. We drove back home and made it about 5:15pm. Which means Maive and I were in cars from 12:45pm until 5:15pm. What a fun way to spend the day together. Oh well. The things you do as a parent. Blaise went to bed early, starting to feel worse. And with a cough. Poor guy. If I had to pick one of the Camp Orkila kiddos to be home, Blaise would be the one. He’s quiet and is happy to game, almost making it feel like I had the house alone. The original plan. Well, alone with a toddler. Not that I don’t enjoy alone time with the girls, they just talk. A ton.

Brian and the girls made it to Camp Orkila as originally planned back in May. They had their temperatures checked and settled into their cabin. Brian scored with a cabin on the beach this time. They spent the first night hanging on the beach after grabbing dinner at the mess hall.


Saturday, Brian and the girls kicked off the day with a full schedule of activities. There was gaga balling, archery-ing, swimming, zip lining, fishing, and more beaching. Brian said they were all exhausted by bedtime. Apparently Saige even said she was too tired to walk at one point. Haha, total Saige remark. As they girls readied for bed, Brian was getting concerned they were coming down with fevers like Blaise had. He had packed a thermometer and sure enough, Laine and Baby had fevers. They were fine otherwise. But, Covid. He made the call to come home a day early, on Sunday. Catching the noon ferry. But because he didn’t have a reservation, he decided to arrive around 10am to ensure he’d be able to secure a spot. Thankfully his planning ahead paid off. They were on the ferry and home by 3:30pm Sunday.

At home, Maive helped feed Melvin, by scooping food from his dish to the couch?! Toddlers. And a oldest/youngest meal, with a cheesy toddler smile, without the other siblings.


It wasn’t the Camp Orkila trip that Brian wanted. And it wasn’t the weekend alone I wanted. It’s always something. But the girls had a great time while they were there, and Blaise and I enjoyed our time together. And I ended up with a nasty cold on Labor Day. Everyone was a bit off but I felt terrible. To the point where I took one for the team to see if we all had Covid, and went to get tested. Thankfully it was negative.

Next year I think Brian will take Maive, giving me a true weekend alone. I’m excited for that, and also excited Maive will get in on the annual tradition.

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