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Friday, June 25, 2010

Our Summer Vacation: Money Out, Money In

Poor Mr. FS: he is in charge of travel reservations, which make my head spin. Each summer, we visit our remaining two parents--one on the west coast, one on the east coast. Like last year, the plans of our children limit our travel dates, so, again like last year, we will travel in a triangle: Louisiana to Massachusetts to California and home. We will be gone almost three weeks. The bill for plane fare plus car rentals in both places: $3000.00. Everything has gone up this year.

Yes, it is time for our annual scary credit card bill. Our upcoming credit card bill will be $4000.00! About half of that is plane fare for 4 people. Plus Mr. FS is rebuilding our garage, so lots of lumber yard bills.

I love reading extreme frugality blogs, with the writers living (very well) on $1000.00 a month or so. I guess I don't qualify.

Lest you feel sorry for us (and please don't), let me point out that our parents live in places people spend big bucks to visit. To visit my mother in Massachusetts, we get to visit a cottage on a lake near Tanglewood, Tanglewood is where the Boston Symphony Orchestra plays in the summers. (The link to the cottage on the lake is to a much fancier one I found on the internet. But even our modest house is wonderful.) The area is full of nature AND culture, with the great Clark Museum nearby, not to mention Edith Wharton's home, Herman Melville's home. Oh, I could go on forever.

The original owner of our house was my mother's uncle, Viktor Polatschek, who was with the Vienna Philharmonic and then, luckily for our family, with the Boston Symphony. When my mother and her parents came to the United States from Vienna in 1938, they lived with my great-Aunt and Uncle in Boston. Eventually, the house came to be owned by my grandparents and parents. Today it is owned by my mother. This is a place with tremendous emotional resonance for me; it is also a fantastic to visit.

We do not lack for things to do there. Still, that's a lot of money out in a single month. Wait! There is some money coming in. My mother's uncle, the first owner of the house, played the clarinet and wrote some exercises, which, I recently learned, are still in print.

My mother told me that she gets part of the royalties from Polatschek's work*: She said it's around $25.00/year and "Someday it will all be yours."

*If you buy through the Amazon link, my mother will get a few cents and so will I! Only if you play the clarinet, of course.


Boywilli said...

You couldn't have your family any more spread out, could you? Still, until I lived in England, after my parents were both gone, most my holidays were spent visiting in-laws in Tennessee and California. We go back to the US every 3 or 4 years to see the few remaining members of my more distant family. Travel is a financial priority for us - and I can't claim anything was very frugal about our recent trip to Italy!

Boywilli said...

Oops - that was Shelley that posted that last comment, not Boywilli

metscan said...

I´d like to read more frugal blogs too. Maybe I´d learn something new. So, how long has your family been doing the triangle trip?

Anonymous said...
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see you there! said...

I played the clarinet in high school but don't think I would know what to do with one now so won't be buying the music.

Can I just send you and your Mom a few cents???


Frugal Scholar said...

@Shelley--At least your travel costs were low. For us, the plane fare is the killer.

@metscan--This is our second triangle. Our parents used to visit us also, but now travel is difficult for them, so we like to see each parent twice a year. We feel it's important for our children.

Frugal Scholar said...

@See you--thanks! I'm sure you already sent my mother a few cents--w/ the music you bought for your clarinet.

Duchesse said...

We visit them; it ends. Do you know what this means to them, even if they do not say?

I'm thankful you are not going to a grim, crabbed location. Once it ends, you may miss it more than you ever dreamed, even though you find the expense onerous now.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse--I don't resent the expense at all. I am so thankful that we can visit and that we have the money to fund our children's visits also. We will continue even after our kids are out of college. Strangely, I don't mind the big expenses (except for health care) as much as I mind the little ones!