One cabin, one week

One week. Seven adult family members. Four dogs. One cabin.

I suppose it sounds like a great premise for a new hit reality television series, but in reality, it was my annual family vacation to a fishing resort in central Minnesota.

You don’t need the ugly details, and I love my family – I do. But since I’m in desperate need of a column idea, you’re about get a taste of my family vacation.

Since I landed in a remote fishing village with no cell phone reception, vacation always gives me a chance to catch up on journaling and do some introspective thinking. Out of this year’s thinking came my top ten list of things I learned on my family vacation.

My old roommate was able to create a top ten list for absolutely everything. Letterman I’m not, but see if you learn something – it might just make your next family vacation easier:

10. When asking your little brothers to teach you to wake board, ski or anything of the sort, be sure you bribe them with something to get them to drive the boat kindly.

9. It’s inevitable that you WILL MISS something important while you are away. Don’t let that keep you from taking vacations. You can always play catch up.

8. You may come home with a new appreciation for something at home you didn’t know you’d miss. (Examples: your favorite coffee, your own bed, that coworker who always makes you laugh, your job…)

7. You might learn that you didn’t miss something from home that you were sure you would. (Examples: your computer, your remote control, your daily routine, your cell phone charger…)

6. There comes a time – usually by about day 5 of the vacation when “cabin fever” means tempers are flaring and people need some time apart.

5. Girls will kill spiders when they need to. But if there are men present, they don’t need to.

4. When bringing family pets, make sure they get along and play well together. (Of six family pets, two did not make the trip this year.) Keep the 15-year old mutt away from the stairs, blame the right animal for the mess on the floor, and try not to let the boxer tear the princess shirt off the baby pug.

3. In every vacation, especially when no kids are along, it is still necessary to find some activities where you get to act like children. (In my family, this means a trip to ride indy cars at a nearby go cart track, plenty of hand held video gaming and the occasional attempt to throw other family members in the lake.)

2. While some parts of family vacations may be irritating, the real point of the vacation is to be with family. (I’m 27 and my youngest brother is 24, and my family has kept the annual weekly family vacation thing going since I was a toddler.) Family time like that is priceless and rare. Treasure it.

1. There truly is no place like home.