Thursday, 31 March 2011

Cheapskate Tuesday

Better late than not at all!

Frog has been sick - and by sick I don't mean she has a sniffly cold that makes her nose run - I mean she came down literally overnight with the cold from Hades. She started getting clingy in the morning on Sunday, and by the afternoon she sounded like a seal, and looked like a washed out rag.

Cough medicine is expensive. It is also not okay to give to under-twos. In fact I would be wary of giving it to an under-five unless my doctor expressly told me to.

Frog's bark was scary, and obviously painful so I gave her some Panadol and put her to bed. Then when she was asleep and wouldn't play with it.... I placed a cut onion on her bedside table. Next day, she was already starting to clear the yukkies, and has not been heard barking since. It generally clears up chesty coughs within a night or two, which has saved me taking many sick days from work in the past.

Don't ask me why it works, I can't tell you, and you would probably just think I was a crazy hippy if I could. 

The miserable has not left her though, so we went to the doc today so she could scream at him, and he prescribed some anti biotics to piss off this bug that has outstayed it's welcome.

Never mind - we still escaped for a little while before I was dragged back to be tortured by the demands of a sick toddler who just will not lie down and REST, but instead insists on Mummy reading Where Is The Green Sheep and I Know A Rhino until mum is repeating them in her sleep.


But hang on? ESCAPED?? Yes indeed - WonderMan and I went to bed on Friday night gloomy and uninspired by what the coming days, weeks and months held for us. I was trying to get into a book that apparently was "A laugh a minute" and "Uproariously funny" and was only funny if you considered some moron had actually paid this mentally deficient author for the drivel contained in it's pages. And then WonderMan uttered these dangerous words....

"Why don't we go away this weekend?"

"Because I still have some braincells, even after reading this book, and I think that would be a stupid idea considering the state of our finances and Tiger's current tween angst"

"But I've been saving my mowing money, and plus we quit smoking so there's actually money in the bank account, and it's depressing being here so why don't we just go somewhere else?"

"Fine.... Find somewhere less than 200kms away, somewhere to stay and something to do and I'll think about it."

So WonderMan came up with a trip to the beach (just to let you know I am so ocean challenged I have to go 100kms MINIMUM to see the sea... this is truly the worst part of my existence). We packed the Astra - which a mensa spatial exercise in itself - and set off. 

Now I'm all for sharing the driving, and I'm probably a bit of a driver's seat hog if there is any chance I may be allowed to try out my racing style on some mean curves.... but I was looking forward to a retro housewife style "Father driving the family" weekend. Until we realised that if WonderMan drove the only way Tiger would fit would be by amputating both her legs. 


We can't afford those mini wee thingos so we played I Spy... cultimating in uncontrollable giggles after WonderMan couldn't guess "bush" after fifteen minutes...

We hit our chosen beachside town and then we found out something really shocking. Everything was expensive. A teeny tiny cabin at the local caravan park set us back half our weekly shopping budget. A light lunch from the bakery cost us $20. That's 3 pies, one baby sausage roll and a drink to share. OUCH

We started to wonder if the world had gone completely mad. But after a whole weekend of squinting at the prices at local cafes and shops, we realised it's not them - IT'S US.

We have not eaten out, gone out with the family, or even had a proper holiday, for over two years. And we have been on an increasingly tighter budget every month for all that time. WE HAVE BECOME COMPLETE CHEAPSKATES. We stand like old men in tweed hats peering over the tops of our glasses and exclaiming "Highway robbery! You won't get away with this young'un!"

But we still had a great time, especially walking on the beach in the evening with a glass of wine in hand and the kids shrieking about how cold the waves were on their toes.

We got away for less than $300. Which is a HUGE amount of money for us, but pocket change for the everyday middle class Aussie. Here's how we did it:
  • We drove the smallest, most economical car, squishy but cheap!
  • We took our own linen and bedding which saved on the price of the cabin.
  • We took all our own food and snacks. 
  • We took a bag of games, and played cards around the table in our cabin.
We also gave Tiger free reign in the $2 shop when we arrived. We gave her $10 each to spend on her and Frog to keep them busy during our stay. She came out with a bucket and spade each, toy cars, chalk to decorate all the pavements outside our cabin, pencils, paper, balls and little dolls. In fact she did such a great job I think I'll let her do my Christmas shopping from now on!

Saturday we had the most fun we have had in years. We grabbed a local bottle of white wine and took the kiddos for an evening play on the beach. Frog and Tiger ran circles around us, with their jeans rolled up, shrieking with laughter at every touch of the freezing waves on their little toes. We lined up our footprints in the sand and giggled uncontrollably as Frog tore past doing her best impression of a 2-stroke motorbike "nyeeeeeenn nyeeeeen nyeeeeeeeeeeeeen". A warm shower and into their bunk beds (both girls thought this was one of the coolest bits of the whole trip - it doesn't have to be expensive to be great!) and WonderMan and I could watch the sunset over the water. 

Sunday we drove up the coast to the next town on the bay, had morning tea on the foreshore while the kids played in the playground. And on the slow drive home we stopped at a local produce farm and tasted some of the greatest relish ever (I even bought a jar for me and one for my mum) while drinking gorgeous coffees and letting the kids discover the free range chooks cruising around the gardens. 

It was heaven.  For very little outlay we have started to reclaim our family, our relationship and our sanity. I think we might do it more often.  

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