I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Apparently the new buzzword for those of us too broke to actually go somewhere tropical this festive season is STAYCATION. As in, a vacation where you stay exactly where you are instead of enjoying drinks with umbrellas stuck in them. As in, a way to make us all somehow feel better that we are such shit money managers, we can't afford to actually GO anywhere but to the corner shop for yet another Slurpee.

Here's the part they don't tell you about staycations: they're just as expensive, if not more expensive, than real vacations. Then there is the fact that frankly, there is nothing at all relaxing about sleeping in your own bed and cooking your own food. First there is the inevitable question of, "What the hell are we going to do with ourselves?" In order to figure this out, you need to first find things you like doing. So, as a family, when on vacation we like to:

Go to the movies.
Eat nice meals out.

Let's consider the relative costs of these, shall we?

Movies = 5 tix x (average) $12 = $60. This excludes the petrol to get there, the inevitable popcorn, and the desperation you feel when the kids' movie ends after 90 minutes and yet again you are left with nothing to do.

Meals = 5 meals x (average) $18 = $90. This excludes the petrol to get there, the arguments over the type of food to have, the whining from the kids that they are bored (on the way there) and bored (on the way back), and yet again you are left (after LESS than 90 minutes) wondering what the hell to do with yourselves. Plus there is the joy of DD1 telling the waitress that her lasagna is the "WORST EVER!" (and she wasn't all that far from the truth.)

Swim = $10.70 family swim pass. Relatively cheap, so this one is okay although that price excludes the icy poles, the fortieth pair of goggles your kid breaks, the 5 sets of swimming suits, the time finding the lost swim toys, the endless bottle of sunscreen AND the sixteen bags of fruit and crackers required to keep hungry swimmers happy.

Read = Free, thanks to a library card. This is the cheapest of all, but it excludes the cost of petrol to get there, the fighting over the one TinTin book left on the shelf, the demands for sushi (10 handrolls x $2.50 = $25) AND the cost of the band aids after your kid falls and hurts themselves when they fall off the crappy library play ground.

Ergo, the staycation = the expensive option. If I were at, say, Club Med...well, this would all be paid for in advance, so I wouldn't notice the cost if the kids wanted to eat out (again), go swimming (again), see a movie (again), or read a book (again.)

This staycation, I was determined to get out and about with the kids and do some stuff which I've not had time to do when I am up to my eyeballs in cupcakes. So I can report that we've done a massive house clean up and throw out of random crap, we've done a day trip up to Echuca, we've rented some hilarious videos, we've had a few pajama days, we've visited with friends, been to the beach, and even gotten a few minor house repairs done:

(DH, finally giving in to my incessant nagging about the screen door being broken...and with his beautiful assistant, the self-titled "Handy Girl" AKA DD2.) (and note, this photo was taken with my digital camera, now fixed thanks to the Canon gods. Sadly they cannot fix my shit photo taking skills.)

Things at Casa Verde have been pretty good, actually...as long as you forget about my grandfather passing away,The Neighbours moving away (to a house about 10 minutes away, but it feels like miles and miles), Jewel and her DH moving across the freakin' globe and various other things which have conspired to make my staycation pretty bloody miserable. That being said, I've spent the last week surrounded by a loving husband and kids who use every opportunity to break into song. So it can't be all bad, right?

Sure, I'm broke, I'm bored, I'm tired and frankly, I'm bloody over it..but strangely, I don't really mind. I still wake up every morning with a smile (thanks to DH's, err...waking me up skills...oooh, I think I just over-shared) and my kids are all happy, healthy, and they know all the words to the Mamma Mia! soundtrack. Life is pretty good...even if we are enjoying the National Lampoon's version of a staycation.

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