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I'm Hoping Pigs Will Learn How To Fly
From The Desk Of Drumlin S Boulder

Why is it that bad things happen when I don't listen to people who know better?

It was going to be a great hot sunny weekend. Lots of sunshine, beach, and camping at the Pineries, with a number of families from my daughter's dance group. The mothers including my Bene, had organized a weekend together on Lake Huron. I hadn't been there since high school and was eager to go, and the kids simply had to come along, not that they minded.

We left mid morning on a hot, sunny, Friday and drove to west to Woodstock, Ontario where before Toyota, Woodstock was known for the couple of glasses of water we had with our lunch there  which they pipe in from a local swamp. Its true! I won't bore you with the details of how I know Sweaburg Swamp because we had to get moving. We waved at Guurt's house (he wasn't home), and drove west through places such as Thamesford, Kintore and Lucan, where, as I told the kids, the story of the The Black Donnellys originated. Their life and death and discussion took up some travelling time on the last leg north westward towards Grand Bend. We'd reserved a campsite several weeks earlier, as had others we found in the long line up to get in. The word of a hot sunny weekend was out.

The long line up at The Pineries wasn't nearly as bad as I feared because the camp staff had busy weekend check ins down to a fine T and my Bene has keeping children distracted and occupied down to a T I'm getting bronzed. Once past, we set up our campsite pretty quickly thanks to the wonderfully easy to erect dome tents we have, but not before the welcoming committee member told us about the poison ivy.

Now I'd camped at the Pineries long before, and only in the Dunes, so this was an unknown we would have to be very wary of.  High school long weekends were spent at the Dunes, and included long rainy in tent under cover weekend of fun and one particularly shortened one with Needy Onewen who was so wrought up pining over a guy to the point I simply packed up and hitchhiked home Saturday afternoon. Mostly against traffic. . 

Anyway, this time it was Riverside and the low three leafed slightly skewed leaved shin and ankle biter that surrounded our campsite, and which more closely and almost cozily grouped around our recently parked car. Well armed with foresight and avoidance strategies, we erected our two tents, moved in, and began inflating the beds and a kayak, and warned the others in our party about the poison ivy as they moved in. We certainly didn't want the coming hot sunny weekend spoiled by a nasty encounter with a lasting rash.

By about seven in the evening, most everyone but a straggler or two and the to-comes had arrived and I got better acquainted with the moms and dads I'd only met in passing over the years of dropping off, picking up, and spending the least possible amount of time at dance studios and dance recitals with, which is basically a lot of sit and wait and watch final spectacle in a hot cramped hall in a place you have to map a route to that I'm not made for. Mothers do it well because they turn it into a social thing.

I know this shows disinterest in my daughter's activities, but honest it's not that at all.

And I'm a sociable enough guy. In my defense, studios and recitals are nothing like hockey games and arenas and practices and locker rooms and hockey banquets which I've shared through the years with my son. But this was camping, it was basically informal and organized and orchestrated by the ladies, which left us guys talking hockey, kids, kids and hockey, business, kids in school and hockey, soccer,  three on three, the show's on the ice and of course we guys talked about hockey and other guy things as we drifted through dinner conversation and beyond into a summer long weekend Friday night into what we all agreed was going to be a hot sunny weekend.

The next day at the beach was an awesome day of hot blazing blue sky sun and sand and water, and walking along the shore of Lake Huron under that mid day to early afternoon wonderfully blazing hot sun. With its white sand and sparkling blue green water, The Pineries is awesome under a wonderfully blazing hot sun. It's rays really know how to bounce off the surface of the water and off the sand and get you everywhere, so no matter where you are, and whatever you do, a hot sunny weekend means that

On we went to challenge the waves and play in the water with the kids and bask on the beach under the hot summer sun. 

Now for those of you keeping track, and I apologize to those irritated by it, you'll note I have mentioned sun, sunshine and sunny weekend ad nauseum. Yup, dumb me didn't listen to my Bene who'd warned me at least that many times to play wise with the sunscreen. So I got sunburned and blistered under that glorious sun, with one blister that eventually grew to be the size of Detroit.

Now back in my teens we used to leave Woodstock (see, that's how I know about their water) for weekends beaching at Long Point. Guurt (the same one that wasn't home) and Rookus and I would lie out under the hot sun, and every now and again slather ourselves with a home made baby oil and iodine concoction we swore by, while Gaarek lay underneath a sleeping bag. Of course we teased him and called him Betty Boo Suntan while we toasted and browned, and enjoyed the sun, until Rookus learned why his mother always told him to use bottle openers while getting his finger stitched up at the hospital. The evening was not all bad because Guurt and I wore whites and pastels to really show off what we'd achieved that afternoon.

And of course sometimes I went a little far, so once burned twice shy has not applied to me and sunburns. As a result when my Bene told me to apply sunscreen to myself and the kids that morning before she headed back to the campsite to make lunch, I became a parent who hid behind the "do as I say, not as I do" line in order to recapture some of my youth.

At least that's the story I'm sticking to because of course I should have listened to my Bene and of course I should have known better. My youth was before the days of thinning ozone layers and hairlines and tan lines now from the sun's rays are more damaging. The news is full of warnings.

So why didn't I listen?

I listened to the welcoming committee and avoided the poison ivy. I listen to my staff and advisors and they often come up with the solution or strategy we run with. I listen to my friends and business networks. I listen to my kids, and very often I listen to my wife.... though she does have to prompt me every now and again and ask if I am. In this instance, the proof was in the pudding...or rather on my skin, so she knows I didn't

No this time the lesson was well learned, I hope. Nothing like a blistered back and several weeks  of uncomfortable itching to reinforce the experience. Yup, experience is a good teacher as long as you can live with the tuition fees...which in this case did include my Bene taking extra care of me and my back. Thank goodness she can overlook my idiotic moments.

And maybe that's why I restrict not listening to my Bene. She forgives and mends and throws the odd admonishment my way, unlike in business where the market is ruthless. If you don't listen to your customer, you lose sales and even them. If you don't listen to suppliers, you miss out on coming trends. If you don't listen to employees, you miss chances to do things better. In fact a business mantra is to listen at least twice as much as you speak. My own tool, and I really have to work at it sometimes, is to make sure I wait a moment before jumping in. Let's others complete their thoughts, it let's the impatient have their say, and often brings something useful to light.

Yeah that's it. Its all her fault for taking such good care of me when I don't.

But somehow I don't think that approach is going to cut it with her. Oh maybe some psychiatrist charging $350 for a fifty minute hour might be somewhat on my side, but only because I'd be paying for that opinion at that rate. Nope, trying to persuade my Bene that my stupidity was her fault is not a viable option here. Before that argument flies I think I'll see a pig with wings.


 
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