By Kristin van Ogtrop
Updated January 22, 2015
Team up with a few friends to get a present beyond your budget. Perhaps each of you pitches in $100 to get them a few nights at a B&B for a getaway weekend, or you each drop $50 to get them a couples massage.
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On Saturday morning I went to the gym and, while I was there, it started to rain. The rain was quite dramatic, coming down in sheets. Pouring, I guess you would say. Anyway, when I got home I saw that both of our Saturday papers were on the front walk, exactly where they were when I left for the gym with the sun shining. Never mind that it was, by then, 11:30, and the four other members of my family had been up for, if not hours, at least a good 90 minutes. Two of my boys were playing Minecraft (a.k.a. the bane of my motherhood existence), one was playing Wii, and my husband was reading a book (yes: reading a book on a Saturday morning. Just imagine!).

The papers were, of course, soaked through and unreadable. Also, the wind had begun to blow the rain in through the upstairs windows, which no one had bothered to close. I asked myself: Is it possible that the rest of my family can’t see or hear the rain coming down? Did they all forget that we get two papers delivered every day, and that, if the wind blows really hard, sure enough, rain can actually come into the house through open windows?


And then it hit me. We do not live in a family house, with a shared sense of responsibility for maintenance and harmony. We actually live in a bed-and-breakfast, and I’m running it! Duh! That explains everything: why no one makes smoothies but me; why people complain when I don’t tell them that there are leftover pancakes in the oven; why the breakfast dishes can sit in the sink until nearly dinnertime; why no one takes in the paper or shuts the windows; why no one replaces the broken umbrellas next to the front door. They’re all just waiting for the proprietor to do it! Silly, silly me.

I suppose I could be angry that I have come to this realization fairly late in the game. But really, what would that accomplish? Instead, I’ve decided that I’m going to try to turn a profit. Starting this week, I’m going to make the rest of my family members pay me for the top-notch accommodations and excellent service they receive. I just need to figure out how much to charge. Is $50 per day too much?