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Photo by Ricardo Reitmeyer/

How to have the worst weekend ever at the cottage

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Everyone knows that Canada’s summer weekends are endless, so we can afford to waste one having a miserable time at the cottage, right?

If you’d like to spend your cottage weekends longing to be back in the city, pay close attention to these tips.

Don’t plan for bad weather

If you’re convinced that you’re going to spend every day enjoying the sunshine and bug-free outdoor wonderfulness of your little piece of paradise, then by all means don’t bother to pack books, board games, a jigsaw puzzle or a portable DVD player. You certainly won’t need to bother researching nifty towns and attractions close by, because cabin fever won’t even be a blip on your radar. And definitely don’t worry about packing too many guests into a tiny space—everyone will be outside all the time, so there’s no need to limit the number of people you host.

Don’t relax at all

We all know cottage maintenance is a full-time job, so make sure you spend every waking minute of your time there obsessively sweeping sand out of the kitchen, touching up the deck stain, and cleaning fish scales off the dock. Feel free to keep the entire cottage spotless at all times, because you may just be called on to host the royal family at a moment’s notice. And definitely obsess over your landscaping—running the lawnmower at 7 a.m. is what responsible cottagers do.

Don’t pack the right clothes

Cottage temps aren’t variable at all, so feel free to spend your weekend in a bikini and a T-shirt—those bugs around the campfire will just ignore you, and the fire will keep you warm if the air gets a little chilly. And of course hiking in flip flops is absolutely the easiest thing in the world — everyone knows that shoes you pick up at the dollar store are fine for scrambling over rocks and tackling big hills. Fashionistas should definitely consider spending the weekend in clothes that are tight, scratchy and fancy, and not give up their fashion sense in exchange for comfy yoga pants and cuddly fleece.

Don’t plan your meals in advance

Everyone loves multiple hour-long trips to the grocery store over the weekend. After all, you come to the cottage to spend time in the car, right? Also, you can rely on every liquor store outlet everywhere to have an extensive collection of artisanal tequilas and craft beers, so there’s no need to stock up on your favourite tipple before you leave town.

Don’t tell your guests anything

Your guests are all mind readers, so of course they know that you regularly cottage with your four cats and that your toilet is as finicky as a two-year-old eating broccoli for the first time. They’re also well  aware that the cottage has no bedding or towels, and that you have a regular tradition of asking guests to contribute a song to campfire time. Oh, and you definitely don’t need to tell them that you’re deathly allergic to eggs.

Do everything yourself

Of course you’re perfectly capable of cooking, cleaning, getting the deck stripped, mounting a bird feeder and disposing of a wasp’s nest. Don’t ask for help with any of these things. Definitely don’t ask for professional help when it might be needed—how hard could getting rid of a family of porcupines be, really?

Don’t stock up

You’re only up for a weekend, so don’t worry about bringing extra water, paper towel, bug spray, sunscreen or disposable cups. Chances are, if you need something, you’ll just be able to run out for 15 minutes and pick it up.

Be obsessive or secretive about food

Look at every dessert and remark on the fat content and calories, eat it anyway, then spend the evening feeling guilty. Enlighten those around the campfire about the dangers of nitrates and sugar as they scarf their hot dogs and s’mores down. If you’re a vegetarian or have food allergies, don’t tell your hosts until you walk in the door—gluten-free beer and texturized vegetable protein are always easy to find in cottage country.

Plan everything down to the minute

Weekends are precious commodities, so make sure you make the most of yours by planning activities for every single minute of every single day. It’s absolutely necessary to milk your cottage time for as many quality experiences as possible, so follow swimming with fishing, then do a craft, then go for a hike, then check out that quaint little gift shop, then have a cribbage tournament. Once that’s done, you can have breakfast, then plan the rest of your day.

Stay connected

With cell service stretching farther and farther, you can stay up to date with work and all your friends even when you’re away. In fact, you may be missing out on something really important, so check your email as often as possible and post status updates on Facebook every 15 minutes so people don’t forget you. Make sure that your bring a music player and headphones with you on every hike, and feel free to stop every five minutes to play another round of Candy Crush or take a selfie.