Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Calvin and Outsourcing - Part 2

First, some clarifying comments about the situation I described last night.

Chores around the house are NOT tied to compensation, one cleans one's room because it is part of living here. If chores go undone, privileges are revoked.

Separate from all this is allowance. The kids need to learn to live on a budget, learn how to save, and make some financial mistakes in a low-risk environment. Both the kids are getting much better about saving their money, so I feel like this is working.

I was really happy with this arrangement until yesterday. Calvin found the loophole, and exploited it. The requirement has always been "make sure your room is clean before {x}." We have never explicitly stated that Calvin has to clean Calvin's room. We now have to decide whether the important thing is that the work gets done or that Calvin is the one who does the work.

In another Calvin moment this evening, he is working on mathematical models to calculate the cost of various activites. For example, if he walks across the room to get something for mom, that will cost us (not him, since we buy his shoes) a couple cents. The rationale is that if a pair of shoes cost $20, there is a finite number of steps that can be taken before the shoes are worn out. By extension, the cost of each step is $20 / total finite steps that can be taken.

He's begun working on a more sophisticated model called "going to school" which calculates the cost of not only wear and tear on shoes, but wear and tear on clothes, gas consumed in driving the car to/from, lunch, etc.

He hasn't actually come out and said it, but I assume that this will all ultimately lead up to him telling us how it saves us money to let us stay home from school, or when we ask him to do something, how it actually costs us money to have him do it.

It appears that it will soon be time to introduce the corporate accounting concept of "cross-charging" where he responsible for his portion of every expense the corporation (or household in this case) incurs. In other words, we'll start charging for food and rent.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Calvin has Discovered Outsourcing

I was doing the lawn tonight and needed some help cleaning up because it was getting dark. Thomas is trying to earn some money to buy a Nintendo DS, so I offerred to give him a couple bucks to come out and help me finish up.

Thomas then proceeds to tell me that he and Calvin have been working on a deal where Calvin will pay him "like $3/week" to do his chores for him. My initial thought was that if Calvin wants to spend his money this way, I suppose he's entitled to. But then I remembered we pay Calvin $5.50/week, so the little putz would basically be earning $2.50/week to sit around and do nothing.

I think it's time to revisit the compensation structure around here. Alternatively, I'd like to see if there's some way I could apply this technique to my situation.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Thomas has a rudimentary understanding of the birds and the bees

Uncle Joel: Hey Thomas, how'd you lose your voice?

Thomas: Well, either I'm going through puberty, or I have a cold.

Calvin is on his way to becoming a Hollywood casting director

Calvin surfs past an extremely dumb kids' show while watching TV.

Mom: What IS that?

Calvin: Well, I think they got a bunch of actors in a room, had them all draw straws, and the six who got the short straws had to be in this show.