Ah, winter. Time to snuggle up, drink hot chocolate - and plan for summer camp.
I know, it's crazy, but you gotta do it. At least make your chart. What, you don't have a camp chart? Oh, you gotta do it. Here's how:
Create an Excel chart. Or insert a table in Microsoft Word. Or get a giant piece of cardboard and a Sharpie and start drawing lines. It's your choice. I start by outlining the weeks of summer. Under each week, I write the name of each child, and under each child I begin noting any and all camps that have sessions that week.
Put the name of the camp, the location, hours of operation and price. I usually figure up price per hour, and later I put together my Bang For The Buck list - a ranking of all the camps based on price. That way I can tell my husband that camp is only $6 an hour. The fact that it's 55 hours isn't really important. Ladies, I highly recommend this.
Once you've got your options laid out, start cross-referencing. Put a star by the weeks that all your kids have a camp option. Put a second star by those weeks if the camps are in the same vicinity. And if the camps are at the same time as each other, put down your pen and call Guinness World Records, because it has never happened before.
At least not to me.
Pick up your pen again and decide it's better to drive all over town dropping kids off at camp, then having them at home. Get you some Mary J. Blige, a Starbucks - enjoy the ride.
Where it works, space out the weeks that you're doing camps in a one week on, three weeks off pattern. That leaves you open to going to the pool and getting in on the happenin' clambakes.
Pin it up on the fridge, then wait for "the call." This is the call you get right after you've figured out your whole summer - when someone invites you to a place you could never afford to go, but someone got a house and you get to go for free. It always falls on the week that has 2 stars and a gold seal from the Guinness people on it.
Call the camps and find out how much deposit you're losing. Then tell yourself you're actually saving money by forfeiting your deposit and going on an unaffordable vacation at someone else's expense.
Then tell your kids you're really sorry they didn't get to go to camp, but Mommy and Daddy sure loved St. Maarten. And that when they get to be teenagers, they can go to camp for the whole summer - as a counselor - working. And then watch them cry.
On second thought - just enjoy the hot chocolate. We can worry about all this later.