In the preceding months we had run through a couple of one day 'condensed format' (eight hour) mini camps, mostly because it was impossible to get a three consecutive days to ourselves and, being new to ttwd we needed to establish our roles.
For me, they were an opportunity to get a handle on some of the different aspects of being a HoH but were also a good lead in to boot camp - to get a feel of what it would be like. It allowed us both to explore and try to start to properly fill our roles (the aim of boot camp) and for me it provided a forewarning of areas where I was not strong.
Issue 1. - Organisation.
As HoH you are responsible for every aspect of boot camp! While I try to be organised, I have to acknowledge that I am not the most organised person. I tend to write lists and if it's not on a list I nearly always forget.
In our mini camps I had worked out tasks and we worked off a time table but I came unstuck when Hez completed tasks faster that expected. So what do you delegate as quick 10 minute filler while you complete your current activity? Yes, I know it can be easy - 'just sit there quietly for ten minutes dear' but in boot camp you actually have to tell her to do it! There are no 'self initiated filler tasks' permitted for your spouse. Everything is at your direction. [Makes you wonder how much of our daily lives are filled with trivial tasks that we choose to do just to fill in the available hours of the day].
In the days leading up to D-Day, Hez made up a notebook documenting our house rules and for my benefit, lists of possible tasks and activities (both recreational and fillers-in).
We discussed these and then added the extra rules for boot camp, the privileges that were going to be restricted, the punishments -what and where and how they were to be carried out, the menu, the most common tasks and the Assignments.
A very detailed summary covering three days but what if I needed longer? I made the menu up for four (just in case) and created a timetable spreadsheet (saved to dropbox so it was visible from my laptop, phone and tablet). This included details that were missing from our notebook, such as the assignments.
So far so good. I have a fair idea of what we are doing in 15 minute blocks!
Issue 2. Distractions. Call them squirrel moments.
You are in the middle of a conversation or activity and you suddenly remember something (should have been on the list) and off we go on a different track. Yep, now where was I???
This can also a problem with offences. I found that we might be in the middle of a conversation and you recognise that something is said, perhaps disrespectfully, but 15 seconds later the subject has change you cannot recall what was actually said; you just remember that there was an offence.
Actually sometimes I get McSquizzy's clan all throwing nuts and I get totally side tracked to the that point I forget that I have awarded a punishment at all.
Issue 3 Filling the Boots?
Families are interesting organisms. The female personalities on both sides of our families are strong and growing up, I never saw a male figure in a dominant leadership role of their families, let alone HoH type role. So for me having a vision of what a HoH should look like and how they act in real life is somewhat of a mystery. Maybe the closest role models might be either John Walton or Charles Ingalls off the '70s TV series, but certainly no examples in this modern life. But hey, isn't that why we do boot camp? To learn.
Issue 4 Catch 22
Hez was able to research areas and read blogs, where as my 'available time' was somewhat limited. Being the better informed, she was better able to determine the appropriate actions for a situation. Being unsure if I was filling the HoH role appropriately, I tended to lean on her as an 'instructor'. (Oh for a DD coach/referee or even a DD book that you could reference)
This caused a bit of a problem. You cannot exactly ask in the middle of a spanking if you are doing it properly! And she is not going to say I did this wrong and you have to spank me!
Being unsure and second guessing if I was doing it correctly was probably my biggest issue.
For some of these assignments this was the third time through, so I decided to do them differently using mind maps to show the relationships between the elements. We covered commonly used topics such as: our rule list, pros and cons of DD and its benefits, what we needed to work on in our relationship and of course communication. Financial goals were in there plus a couple of extras that were solo efforts for Hez like "why do I find it so hard to submit to my husband"
So how did we go?
Well in a way it was just like hiking. We started off fresh and things went well. Second day the fatigue started to slip in (it had been a stressful time leading up) and I failed to notice things -letting them slide.
This was frustrating for Hez as she was not able to properly able to fulfill her submissive role. Using the hiking scenario... we got blisters. We seemed to be two steps forward one step back, and at times it seemed that we were going round the mountain back to where we were rather than climbing.
By the end of the third day Hez was at the point of not wanting to do it any more. Tension time, so we followed the good British tradition of having a cuppa and a talk and we decided that we would carry on for another few days, with an adjusted time table. I would step up and things would go swimmingly...
Well it did for a short time but by evening we had progressed to mutual silence. (a natural state for me but in this case - not good). Hez was abandoning the boot camp boat.
Time for some deep analysis which came up a bit like this
Essentially most of our marriage I had been nice to her; trying to please her and make her happy. Sounds good, but sometimes the well intended is not what is actually required.
My not being firm
Try to please Hez ---opportunity--> Hez takes control
Silent Frustration Frustration for Hez
Comes back to those old family issues of being nice to gain acceptance and approval.
So a change was needed
Wife feeling loved and secure -->Willing to submit
Happy Hez ---->Happy Silence
Change of method
You cannot change a habit but you can redefine the triggers and actions, so I identified the triggers ("No" "I don't want to") and worked out appropriate actions which led to the reward of a happy wife.
trigger ---> action -----> reward
Actually I had to write them on my hand (mobile list) and also changed some of the "nice" phrases such as 'shall we do this?' to the affirmative 'we will' or 'you will'
Boot camp Extended
Day four and beyond went, well swimmingly. The blisters healed, and the path got easier. I found the new insight made it easier to apply my authority and we both got the reward that comes when we operate in our correct roles.
Officially our boot camp was six days but we carried some aspects on for another few weeks.
We dropped the four compulsory spankings and the assignments but retained a hard reminder spanking at night time to reinforce my HoH role.
As part of the closure we also went through the notebook and reviewed the rules we had set up. Some of these we decided to retain permanently, such as the bed hours (to encourage Hez to get a good quantity of sleep) Eating breakfast (previously a non event for Hez), and lunch together when I am home (to ensure good eating habits).
So there we have it. We are boot camp graduates. Did I really need it? Definitely. It is hard, stressful and frustrating but it worth the pain.
We stand on the peak and enjoy the view. Our hike isn't over. We now have to climb down the mountain back into the valley of every day. However this journey like every completed hike we have gained experience, strength and endurance that we take with us on the next leg of our journey together.