I am glad that I am not responsible for raising children in today's world for many reasons--not least among them the incredible expense.
But of course I expected that when I invited my grand children on a Florida vacation I would be assuming some of that expense for a while. I expected to feed them, to pay for travel expenses, to pay for entertainment. It's a vacation. And a grandma can be a little more lenient on the "I want..." items than a parent working to meet the true needs.
Still, there are those vacation related expenses that I had not at all considered in the planning stages.
1. Toilet paper. Good grief. Two children have used what is for me a three month supply of toilet paper in less than a week.
2. Water. The dishwasher and hand washing dishes in the sink. Showers and baths (although to be truthful, it did take a bit of persuasion to convince the seven year old that NO, time in the pool or the Gulf of Mexico does not count as bath time).
3. Water. The clothes washer is used at least once a day.
4. Electricity. See #2 above.
5. Electricity. See # 3 above and add in the fact that the dryer usually accompanies the clothes washing.
6. Electricity. Is no one who has never paid a utility bill capable of switching off lights, televisions, other electronic devices? (I hear my father's voice and Mike's strangely in unison on this one.)
7. Water. Hosing off all the beach equipment each day.
8. Electricity. Vacuuming all the sand that manages to work its way into the house in spite of the pre-hosing and showers at the beach.
9. Fast food--completely against all my principles but then it gets to be 7 p.m. and we are hungry NOW. Watch Grandma cave. Thank goodness they like fresh veggies. Some nutrition gets in.
10. Gas. The sheer volume of sand deposited throughout the car has the effect of cutting gas mileage nearly in half.
11. Bandaids. Every bump and bruise, regardless of amount of blood spewing (even if it is none), needs to be promptly covered with at least one bandaid, Two is preferable. All must be re-applied periodically throughout the day.
12. Cold medicine. The plane? The kids? I rarely get colds, but this is a bad one. Summer colds are the worst.
Surprisingly, the major area of savings is...wine. Who would guess? By the time they are asleep, I am far too exhausted to do anything but go to bed myself. Actually the asleep thing only applies to my grandson since my granddaughter is rattling around until the wee hours and sleeping til noon. A glass of wine earlier in the evening is very tempting, but not worth subjecting myself to the evils-of-alcohol lectures that can come from the mouth of a seven year old. Honestly, I do wish schools would stick to just the three Rs like the good old days.
I have put receipts in a pile somewhat sorted by category each night. Dane noticed it. My math obsessed young man said, "That's so cool, grandma! You get to have your own piles of receipts!" And he touched them lovingly. Oh, so much to learn!