It’s that time of year again. A time I dread. It’s time to register for summer camp. It’s hard to imagine summer camp when the weather is so cold and gray out. But it will be upon us in no time and if I don’t want to be driven crazy by three kids for two months, than getting into a camp is important.
I already experienced my first disappointment when the Nature Centre around the corner from us filled all its summer camp spots within an hour. The previous year we were able to secure a spot two days after registration had started. I guess word got out about how good the program was. I was determined not to make a mistake this time around.
Being in a big city we have a huge assortment of camps available. But I have to factor in the convenience of getting to and from the camp, the ability of my two oldest being able to participate at the same location (my youngest is too young for camp this year), and like it or not cost is an issue. I tried to co-ordinate with our friends which camps and which days so the kids could hang out with each other.
So I was set. I left the main computer on in the office so I wouldn’t be slowed down by start up time, I had all the camp codes and city codes needed and of course my handy dandy credit card.
6:30 am the next morning I squinted at the clock across the room as the morning radio chatter woke me. Damn, I left the alarm on and it’s Saturday. I put a pillow over my head to drown out the radio and then it sunk in. I didn’t forget to turn the alarm off. I was suppose to get up. Registration! With that thought in my head I popped out of bed and bounced up the stairs two at a time. In the office I typed in the online registration address and prepared for the computer clock to click over to 7:00 am.
I thought I was quiet, but I guess my bouncing up the stairs woke my youngest. As I sat in the office I could hear her hesitant steps up the stairs. I was able to set her up in the playroom just before registration opened online. I kept refreshing my browser trying to get through (the city limits the number of online access points to make if fair for those without an Internet connection). Twenty-five minutes had passed and still not through. My other two kids were now up and doing their best to distract me with questions and comments.
Now I was desperate. I started calling the touch tone registration number at the same time. One hand kept refreshing the website and the other redialed the number. The adrenaline I first felt when I woke up was now wearing off and I was having a hard time staying awake. The text on the screen was getting fuzzy as I zoned out. I sometimes hit the wrong browser button and had to find my way back to the registration page. On the phone I hit an extra key and had to retype the phone number. Forty-five minutes had past. Every pause on the phone or on the website gave me hope that I made it, that I was getting through. Then a busy signal or web message to the contrary. At this point I was loosing hope that I’d get into all the programs I wanted.
And then…I got through on the phone. Great news! Only problem is I didn’t have the client codes for the kids (you don’t need this online but you do on the phone). I raced down two flights of stairs to get the codes. They were saved on my mobile. The prompt on the phone was asking for the first client code. I cursed at my mobile for taking so long to start up. Finally, numbers in hand I was able to get through the registration process.
In the end I was able to get all the programs I wanted with the exception of one, I had to book an earlier week. Overall I was happy. I went upstairs to tell my kids and receive my cheers and applause for my extra effort. Instead I just got a thanks. They have no idea. I guess I shouldn’t complain too much. I had to get up early, but at least I could register at home in my PJs. I can’t imagine the poor moms who had to get up, dressed and visit the community centre in person to register. Do you think they received cheers and applause? Sadly, they probably just got a thanks too.