I have to admit that I got greedy yesterday and assumed it was the trip to Ted's cabin; that one occurred when Mike was almost done Grade One, not around the Labor Day that marked the beginning of that school year. This lesser trip affords us lesser annoyances:
Milder Martyrdom: Elly refusing to John's offer to drive because she doesn't want to have to deal with the children for once. She'd rather be hot and exhausted, thanks loads.
Milder Dickishness: John not noticing Elly's working like a piston because his head is up his arse; had he thought to look around, he might have offered to be Mister King Woodsman and show her how it was done.
Lechery: John does, on the other hand, pay attention to young women in swimsuits.
Milder Brattiness: Mike whining that there's nothing to do in the woods despite many things to do being displayed.
Pattersnarfing: Elly and the family act like happy barbarians on the drive home when they lay waste to a roadside diner.
and my personal favorite
A creepy obsession with the familiar: Mike hugging the house when they return like a man embracing his lover.
Think of it as a dry run for all their future trips away from the Pattermanse; the main thing is that they have to remind themselves how great life in their cozy prison is by scaring themselves with the novel and terrifying.