Guess what my husband and I almost got into a fight about the other day? That's right: it was about whether it makes more sense to spend lots of money on air mattresses that get leaky and go flat in a few days, or if we should settle for the ones which are leaky and flat right out of the box.

If you look closely, you will see that there is a small strain a fatalism in our plans. This is because we are going camping. With all nine kids. In two cabins without electricity. For five days. Again.

We're doing this for two reasons: (a) we firmly, if unscientifically, believe it is good for us as a family in some way and (b) I dunno. We made our reservations back in January, when all kinds of summer plans seemed pleasant and reasonable, because it was still January. But now our plans are not six months away. Now they are now. In fact, by the time you read this, I will have already risen from the filthy ground which is wretchedly covered by a mattress-shaped puddle of uninflated vinyl, which cost lots of money, and I will blearily be trying to figure out how to use a coffee maker which doesn't have a glowing red button anywhere on it, despite being a coffee maker.

Well, I'm nothing if not organized.  As I write, I may have nothing packed, nothing purchased, and nothing planned, but I do have a very tidy and detailed list of the things I am sure will go wrong on our trip. They are as follows:

  • We will run out of food and we will starve, because obviously we won't be able to get into the car and drive to a store and buy more food. This is camping, and we are going to have to make do with sand tea and acorn kabobs.


  • Sharks. Okay, there are not going to be any sharks, but I'm afraid my kids, who somehow wore us down and got to watch Jaws, are going to be so afraid of sharks that their little brains will actually explode with anxiety. And do you know who is attracted by brain matter in the water? SHARKS.


  • We will be surrounded by such awful, noisy, inconsiderate people that we won't be able to enjoy our awful, noisy, inconsiderate family.


  • We will all die. I don't even know how, but we will not have our beds and our coffee machine and our laptops and our toaster and our closets and our bookends and our sprinkler and our Wii, and it is going to cause us to die.


  • The van, which does pretty well as long as it stays on its little amusement park track that automatically goes home-church-home-supermarket-home-library-home, will do what it always does when we leave the state: it will go, "ka-JONGGKKKchhhhhhh" and that will be that. And we will have to call some strange out-of-state people to tow it to some strange-out-of-state garage, and then -- I'm not even making this part up -- the guy fixing it will suddenly have to go to a funeral, so he will just leave for four days without telling anyone where he is going or when they will get their vans back. Sorry about the death in your family, Mr. Out-of-State Mechanic; I really am. But gosh.


  • The dog, whom we love dearly and whom we tearfully sent to stay with family for the week, along with his crate and his special blanky, and some extra bones and two kinds of treats and his chewy toy and three of his favorite leashes, will miss us, and he will find us. And then we will have to be with the dog.


  • There may be dirt involved in some way. I haven't worked out the details yet, but I feel that somehow when we spend our days wallowing on the ground, walking around through dirtland, and making smoked dirt coffee, our normally pristine hides will pick up a smudge or two, and it will be yucky.


  • Bugs. Bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs bugs.

And finally, my greatest fear of all:  We will have such a wonderful time that we'll make plans to do it again next year.