I used to spend more time on my finances, back when I was working and supporting a family and saving to send my kids to college and hopefully put aside a little for retirement as well. But today, now that I'm retired, I must admit I spend more time planning our vacations.
Most of my income now is automatic. I won't ever get any more raises or promotions. I'll just receive my Social Security, and an automatic withdrawal from my IRA. (Sorry, Tom . . . no pension for you.)
Since there's nothing I can do about my finances, why spend a lot of time on them? But there's plenty to do about vacation . . . in part because I have more time to actually go on vacation. And even though we often go back to the same spots, we still have to figure out where we're going to stay, what we're going to do, where we're going to eat.
|We pull into the parking lot ... anticipation!|
But when we arrive on Cape Cod, where we go for a week or two every summer, there's no question. The first night, we head straight to Kream N' Kone in Chatham, Mass.
|Bellying up to the counter|
Now maybe your dream restaurant involves tablecloths and dimmed lighting and waiters and fancy embossed menus. Ours features picnic tables out in the parking lot, counter service, and a menu in large type displayed up on the wall.
|Wide selection of refreshing drinks|
Maybe your dream restaurant features various steaks and chops, grilled salmon or swordfish, or gourmet variations on risotto or artichokes or asperges blanche.
|Clam chowder ... or "chowdah" as they say here on Cape Cod|
Our favorite restaurant offers clam chowder, fried clams on a hot dog bun, piles of greasy onion rings, vats of creamy cole slaw. And for dessert . . . well, they have pretty good soft-serve ice cream at Kream N' Kone. But instead we plan to stop of at Sundae School on the way home, for the best ice cream cone you can ever find in New England . . . actually, on the whole East Coast . . . actually, probably in the whole United States.
|Yes, there's a hot dog bun under there somewhere|
And the total cost? Well, let me tell you, the most I ever spent for a restaurant dinner was $328.00 for four of us. I got a gift certificate to this fancy restaurant for $100 and thought, B and I will never spend $100, even though the restaurant had tablecloths and dimmed lighting and waiters and fancy embossed menus. So we invited another couple to come along. "On us," we told them boldly.
But the restaurant was a lot more expensive than we anticipated. And we didn't count on them having two glasses of wine. But we . . . well, we invited them out to dinner. So what could we do? At least we were out of pocket only $228 because of the gift certificate.
But dinner at Kream N' Cone was $27.00.
I have had cheaper dinners. But never a better one. Only problem: we were so full we couldn't even stop for ice cream. So we'll leave Sundae School for tomorrow.