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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Should we charge our kids board?

Whilst lunching with friends a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that twenty year old son Hagar, had recently landed an ace job placing him into a much higher pay bracket than ever before.

“So are you charging him board yet?” the gal pals all badgered at once.

“Well…” I hesitated, “Not exactly. I did ask him if he could contribute a hundred bucks every quarter towards the electricity bill though.”

There was a stunned silence at the table.

“I know it seems a lot but his girlfriend Meggles, has moved in you see and they use a lot of power what with hot showers and airconditioning…” I trailed off self-consciously.

“Whaaaaat?” shrieked Emmsie. “They’re both living in your house for a hundred bucks every three months?”

“Can we all move in too Pinky?” squawked Kaz and Rach. “We’ll even do the washing up!”

“I did ask him if he’d pay board but he said he didn’t like the idea because it would seem like I was making a profit out of him,” I whimpered pitifully.

Gales of mocking laughter erupted.

“It’ll teach Hagar to be responsible!” wailed the howls of protest when I screwed my face up in reluctance.

Scotto, my sister Sam and her husband Pedro, and all my colleagues have advised me in no uncertain terms that I’m being the biggest chump since... 

                                   The Three Stooges

...and I’m starting to think they’re on to something.

Hagar does sweet F.A. around the house to earn his keep. The only conversation I get out of him is “What’s for dinner?” and now his girlfriend Meggles, is living here as well.

Pushover Pinky.

Easy Pickings Poinker… that’s who I am.

Until one day Hagar made his fatal mistake.

It was Friday afternoon and I was feeling burned-out and jaded after a challenging and shitty week. The dishes from the previous night’s dinner were still in the sink as they seem to be invisible to everyone apart from myself and Scotto. 

The laundry shute was crammed with stinky tradie uniforms all belonging to Hagar and I’d noticed empty Maccas bags sitting on the letterbox as I walked in.

Hagar had just arrived home from work and languidly plonked down beside me on the couch yanking off his mud splattered work boots carelessly spraying bits of dirt all over the floor.

“So Mum… just wondering, how much do you earn in a week?” he drawled, grinning most unwisely.

I knew that grin… it was one of smugness. He was just about to gloat about how much he’d been paid this week.

It was time to pull out the big guns.

The cannon ball was loaded, the gunpowder lit. 

I brought out my comprehensive list of household expenses (one I’d prepared earlier). With insurance, rates, electricity, gas, etc; our household needs entail 900 buckerooneys to run smoothly each week and that estimate doesn’t include car registration and insurance, food, pool servicing, and blah-dee-bloody-blah.

All Hagar is required to pay is thirty dollars per week.

He begrudgingly agreed.

“But that means I don’t have to pay that money for electricity though, Mum.” he admonished with the magnanimous generosity of Scrooge McDuck.

Somehow I don’t think I’ll be making a profit out of the negotiations.

What do you think? Should kids in full time work be charged board?