I am trying to recover from one of the most disastrous weekends that I've ever had. Chinua and I are so exhausted that we might decide to implode.

Scenario One: Thursday.

We leave for the festival feeling bright and chipper, although a little late, in a caravan of two vehicles. Derek warns me before we go that the van has a tendancy to overheat. He warns Chinua. We forget to warn Renee, who is driving. The van overheats, on the side of the highway, as we are on our way with the three kids. I decide to drive down with the baby in the other car so that I can register for our camping. The others will wait for the van to cool down and then follow.

Except that our beloved old red van became a little too hot and will never drive again. Chinua sits on the side of the road for five hours with Renee and the two kids, until Derek is able to come and rescue them. I wait in the cold car, shivering and wishing I could eat a gallon of créme brulee to help myself feel better. They reach the campground, (a gravel RV lot) at 1:00 am. We proceed to pitch the tents and lay our weary heads down. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day, we think.

Rest in Peace red van. You were good to us. 18 years and 279,000 miles is a good life. You were even stolen once and then recovered. I think this really is goodbye, though.

Scenario Two: Friday

We are a day behind now. The guys pick up the stuff to construct the booth with, while Derek, Spencer, and Renee and I sit around trying to amuse young children in a gravel parking lot. The kids do really well, falling down a little more than we normally advise, but mostly entertaining themselves fabulously, throwing rocks at cars and stuff. Next, it's my turn. Renee and I run about a thousand errands, picking up business cards, mats, and prints, and buying food. We return. Chinua starts to look through the prints.

A little while later, he calls me over to the van. "This isn't good news," he warns me. Basically, the printer did a terrible job. The prints look like a five year old did them on a printer made in 1985. They are unsellable. Fortunately, he didn't have them all ready, so we didn't pay for them yet. Unfortunately, we now have thirteen prints to sell, prints we had done previously at a shop recommended to us by a friend. (You were right, Lavonne, Swanlunds is amazing.)

We are doomed. I cry myself to sleep. Lesson learned. Always test a printer, even if they have great equipment and show you great samples.

Scenario Three: Saturday

Chinua is able to bring the prints back, and in showing him the difference in quality of several prints from the same files, helps the guy to understand why we can't pay for what he's done. I feel really really badly for this man, but he does need to learn.

We work feverishly at framing the prints, and have the booth ready just a little bit late, not too bad considering our breakdown in the red van. Cate has brought her paintings, and I have one of my own (we had originally intended to have my paintings and prints for sale, but due to a lack of time had settled on selling only Chinua's photographs) so we manage to fill the empty space with those. The booth looks really, really nice.

We sell absolutely nothing.


Nope, not even one.


All the vendors are doing terribly, although I hope none did as terribly as us. One lady said that her hat business did the worst it had in sixteen years. I think it was a combination of having too many vendors and the extremely high price of the festival.

I don't cry anymore, although it does feel a bit torturous to sit at the booth and continue to sell nothing.

Lesson learned: we won't be doing this again.

Scenario Four: Sunday

Sunday is pretty much the same as Saturday (more sitting at the booth not selling anything) except that now I know that my children have Coxsackie's virus. They have sores in their mouths, although they have no fevers, and this isn't all that bad except that it makes them absolutely miserable. Crying, tantrums, lying on the grass and weeping inconsolably. It was pretty horrible. YaYa was affected more than Kid A, since she soothes herself by sucking her fingers, and this was painful. So, she felt miserable, and she couldn't comfort herself. Lots of crying ensued.

We broke up camp and came home, a little poorer, a little more humble, a little shaken. Poor, poor us.

On the EXTREME upside, I am right now at this very moment sitting at a table. In my HOUSE. IN MY LARGE FRONT ROOM. The kids are sleeping. IN THEIR ROOM.

Today we moved across the Land to our new home. We feel a little nostalgic. This little three and a half year era of sharing one room with our family has come to an end. Although I'm sure we'll have plenty of chances to relive it in India, not to mention for a month in our tent at Rainbow Nationals.

From 280 sq feet to almost 900. It's a little crazy. Chinua said, as we were walking across the Land for Keller night, "This is the only good thing that has happened to me in a long time." It's a very good thing.