## About Clark Griswolds Swimming Pool From Christmas Vacation

One of my favorite Christmas movies is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  I laugh pretty much from start to finish at that movie.  It’s hard to believe that it’s almost thirty years old (which is why this post is full of spoilers).  But then again, it is most definitely a holiday classic!  A major plot point is that Clark wants to surprise his family with a swimming pool.  He has already paid the deposit, but needs his end-of-year bonus to cover the outlay.  A nagging question I’ve always had, as a personal finance blogger, is whether the Griswolds swimming Pool ever got installed.

Let’s run some numbers.

The movie came out around 30 years ago, so all the numbers would be completely different.  So, let’s run some numbers based on today’s numbers.

As this is lighthearted and in good fun, these are just wild estimates.  It’s just a little playing around!

#### Cost Of A Pool

Clark shows a co-worker a brochure featuring an in-ground pool.  He had to put a deposit down.  I’m estimating that the pool costs around \$30,000, and that he had to put 50% down.

So, let’s suppose his outlay is \$15,000.

#### The Eventual Bonus: Pool Or No Pool?

Clark counts on the annual bonus to cover his deposit.  While at first he isn’t going to get a bonus, in the end he gets the bonus he got last year, plus 20%.  Say his bonus last year was \$15,000.  That would make this year’s bonus \$18,000.

All set, right?

Maybe not so fast.

While he ended up getting his bonus, there was a lot of damage from the happenings that took place during the movie.  Let’s run some (very highly estimated) numbers.

#### The Griswold Family Christmas Tree

On the way to get the family tree, Clark jumps over a snow bank and lands hard.  This had to cause some front end and suspension damage to the car.    \$1,500

After the tree gets home, he opens the oversize tree only to have it break two windows and a lamp.  I’m guessing \$750 per window and \$50 for the lamp.  \$1,550

#### Outside Christmas Lights

Clark loves his lights. Who doesn’t?  I love putting up lights, and always say that there is no such thing as too many lights.  Still, Clark takes it to the extreme.

I think that stapling the lights to the roof and siding is going to cause some unexpected repair come spring. He might have to repair or replace part of his roof\$2,500

During the install, he destroys a decorative reindeer and Santa.  \$50

Falling off the roof, he dislodges a gutter from his home that will need to be replaced. \$250

Let’s not forget that the electric bill will cost a fortune.  \$500

#### Cousin Eddie’s Contribution

Who doesn’t love Cousin Eddie?  He surprises Clark during the grand lighting.  Unfortunately, his presence means quite a few extra costs for the Griswolds

Clark offers to pay for presents for Eddie and the family when Eddie reveals they have no money.  \$500

Eddie destroys Clark’s package of light bulbs by slamming a bag of dog food on top of them in Walmart (this is just such a funny little touch that I had to add it). \$2

Eddie empties his RV toilet tank into the storm sewers.  This causes a buildup of gas, and there’s an explosion.  I’m sure there would be costs to repair this.  \$2,500

#### Animals

The animals that are part of the movie are also extremely expensive to the Griswolds.

Aunt Bethany’s cat electrocutes itself eating through a line of Christmas lights.  This will require the purchase of a new easy chair and re-carpeting the living room.  \$1,000

Cousin Eddie’s dog Snot yaks up a turkey bone.  From the sounds of it, a complete cleaning of the dining room rugs will be necessary.  \$100

Snot and the squirrel also knock down a china cabinet, destroying the furniture itself and all the dishes it holds.  \$1,000

The dog also bashes through a wooden door in pursuit of the squirrel.  \$100

#### Uncle Louis’ Cigar

Uncle Louis does love his stogie, doesn’t he.  Unfortunately, he torches the Christmas tree, and the fallout won’t be cheap!

Uncle Louis sets himself on fire, which Clark puts out with the living room drapes\$500

All of the decorations on the tree are likely destroyed.  They’ll need new ornaments and lights \$250

The fire will surely require the room to be repainted\$250

Luckily the carpet that also sustained damage is already accounted for from the cat. \$0

To replace the tree, Clark cuts a tree down from the yard.  This will have to be replanted in the spring.  \$250
Also, while cutting it down, he breaks the neighbor’s window \$750

#### Other Costs

There are a handful of other events that take place that have some costs as well.

Clark destroys his sled using his companies new non-stick product to help it slide down the hill.  \$10

A new newel post will be needed after Clark repairs it by cutting it off. \$100

The front door will need a new knocker after the ‘Jelly of the Month’ delivery man accidentally rips it off the door. \$10

While hiding presents in the attic, Clark fell through the bedroom ceiling, which will need to be repaired and painted.  \$250

There are always unexpected costs for Christmas, no matter what!

#### Maybe More

There were some other costs I debated on whether to include.  In the end, I decided not to.

I didn’t include the cost of the original tree.  You have to figure they were going to get that no matter what.

I didn’t include any damage that Clark did to other people’s property.  He destroyed a small building during his shed ride, and was responsible for some other damage.  Presumably, he got away with nobody finding out that it was him.Beyond the broken window noted above, he did much more damage to the house of Todd and Margot, his yuppie next door neighbors.  But, I’m not convinced that they can recover the cost of the broken window and destroyed stereo that Clark was responsible for while installing his outdoor lights.

So what’s the final damage?  According to the numbers above, Clark’s good old fashioned family Christmas would result in costs of \$13,922.

So, even if the extra 20% of his bonus gave him \$3,000 more than he’d been planning on, he’d still be over \$10,000 in the whole.

Maybe there’s a reason we never saw the follow up movie with the family at the new pool!  After all, having one of the hap hap happiest Christmases ever doesn’t come cheap!  Still, that would have been a funny movie!

### Readers, what do you think?

Is this one of the best Christmas movies ever?  Did I miss any costs?  And most importantly, did the Griswolds ever get their pool?  Let me know what you think in the comments below.

## 18 Items To Take To The Beach For A Great Day

Summer is in full swing.  If you haven’t been to the beach, now’s the time!  The water is still cold here in Michigan due to a late start to spring.  Still, that doesn’t stop people from heading out and having fun.  Here are some items to take to the beach for a fantastic day!

### Clothing And Gear

• Swimsuits.   Wear them or take them.  Just make sure you have them.
• Towels.  These are definitely an essential for drying off or laying on.
• Sunscreen. The sun is hot.  Make sure you don’t end up with a burn.  Take plenty of sunscreen.  We like both lotion and spray.
• Bug spray.  Every once in a while, the bugs like to enjoy the beach, too.  Keep this and use only if needed.
• Sunglasses.  Protect your eyes and avoid squinting with a nice pair of shades.
• Blanket.  The sand is great but it gets in places you don’t want it to get.  Protect yourself with a beach blanket.
• Flip Flops.  The sand gets hot.  Make your walk up and down easy on the feet with a pair of flip flops.
• Shirt / Cover-Up.  You might need something to throw on without changing.
• Change of Clothes.  The day at the beach must end eventually.  Nobody likes getting into a car sopping wet. Have some clothes available to change into.

### Relaxing Time

• Beach chairs.  We’ve got a couple of beach chairs that are easy to carry and don’t weigh much. These are a must have.
• Sun umbrella.  You can get an umbrella to clip onto your chair or one to stick in the sand. Make sure it’s within reach, though, in case those winds off the water kick up.
• Cooler / Drinks.  Bring plenty to drink, including water to stay hydrated in the hot sun.
• Snacks.  Grab some stuff that’s easy to access and won’t make a mess.  Nothing that melts!
• Something to read.  Have some fun on the beach but take some time to relax.  Bring a book, magazine, or Kindle.

### Water and Fun

• Toys.  Kids and adults like digging in the sand, right? Some shovels, buckets, and balls to toss are always a great find.
• Floaties. There are few things more relaxing than floating around in the water.
• Water Shoes.  If the beach is rocky, a pair of water shoes is a must-have to keep your feet happy.
•  Money.  To go to the snack stand and purchase ice cream, of course!

If you’re heading to the beach this summer, have fun.  Remember, be safe and bring along the right stuff to make it the best trip ever!  Readers, are you heading to the beach this year?  What’s your favorite beach memory?

## The Importance of Small Wins

My son enjoys playing sports, but he isn’t a top athlete.  He likes playing more for the fun and the experience.  The teamwork helps as well.  He’s been in a few leagues with a few different sports.  Unfortunately, most of the teams haven’t done that well.  Still, I’m here to tell you that the small wins are important.

### Past Leagues

The past couple of teams that he played on haven’t done so well.  Last summer, he played baseball and I think they won one game for the year.  They were mostly players who had just gotten started, and a lot of the other teams had been in place for a couple of years.

Over the winter he played basketball and they never won a game.  Unfortunately, they played in a league where, again, a lot of the teams had played together for a couple of years.  He seemed to be stuck on the ‘new player’ team.  They tried hard and did their best.  Still, you could tell that the losing was a bit discouraging, for my son as well as the other players.

### A New Start

This year, my son asked to play baseball again.  He’s now old enough where it’s a kid pitch league.  Last year, the coaches did the pitching.

This has been a game changer.

When the kids started practicing, none of the kids had prior pitching experience.  However, one of the kids turned out to be a natural.  Right away, you could just tell he had the control to pitch well.

The teams we’ve played have all struggled to find a similar quality pitcher.  Our team has taken a lot of walks.  That’s one thing about the first year of a kid pitch league, hitting is scarce.  But, our pitcher gets it over the plate most of the time so there are a lot of strikeouts.

As a result, our pitcher has helped lead the team to a 3-1 record!

Three wins in a row followed by a loss where they still cut a nine run deficit down to three!

The kids love it.

### Keeping Expectations In Check

Now, as adults, we are helping the kids celebrate.  But, we’re also keeping things in perspective.  Things are probably going to change, because the pitcher will be going on vacation and is going to miss four games.

I have a feeling those are going to be a lot tougher games!  That will definitely test the kids resolve and make them play.

### Five Benefits Of Small Wins

Either way, these small wins that they’ve gotten in these first games are huge.  And, I realize that they’re very important.

• A taste of victory.  Kids shouldn’t win all the time, but I think that having a taste of victory is important.  It makes kids feel good to win.
• Confidence.  Our first few practices were tough.  Most of the kids hadn’t played together.  Some were pretty new to baseball.  But, these wins have made the kids believe more in themselves.  That leads to them trying harder and taking that extra step.
• Teamwork.  The pitcher is definitely the glue that holds the team together.  But, even outside of that, you see the kids work better as a team.  They’ve won so they believe in each other.  There’s less hesitation and more trust.  It’s great to see.
• Leadership.  Our pitcher has grown into the leader of the team.  He knows that people look up to him, and the kids have somewhat of a role model.  I think that kids around that age (mostly 9-10) need this.
• Memories.  Kids are going to remember winning.  When memories of childhood fade away and only certain ones remain, these will have a chance to stick.  That’s pretty awesome.

This has been a fun season so far.  The kids still have seven more games to play.  No matter how many wins they end up with, having these three in hand has been great for all of them.  And, I won’t lie, it’s pretty awesome for the parents, as well.

## 10 Reasons That I Miss The Old Internet

Nowadays it seems like the Internet has always been around.  For many people, grown ups even, it always has!  Yet, at the age of 43, I distinctly remember the time before the Internet. But along with that there was the time when the Internet was new.  Those were some cool times.  Of course, all those ‘new’ things are now old.  That’s the way it happens.  But, there are times when I miss the old Internet.  Here are a few throwbacks that many will remember.

### The Dial-Up Tone

The Internet was first accessed over phone lines.  You had to connect your computer’s modem to another and establish a connection.  This was done with a series of bongs and boops and clicks.  It was a pretty cool sound.  I was such a geek that I could often tell just by listening to the patterns if I was going to get a good connection or if I’d have to re-dial.

### When I Was An Expert

I was pretty computer savvy back in the day.  As such, I learned a lot about the Internet before many others did.  Even though it lasted only a couple of years, I became sort of an expert.  I was one of those people that others asked when they needed to learn how to connect to the Internet, to find things on the Internet, or even to explain what the Internet was.

### When The Internet Wasn’t Full of Ads

The Internet is all about making money nowadays.  Everything is monetized, it seems.  But, it wasn’t always like that.  Before everyone figured out how to place ads, the Internet was mostly filled with real information.

### A Distinction From The Real World

You know you’re an old timer if you remember ever saying that you were ‘going on the Internet’.  Back then, going on the Internet was a distinct and separate activity from everything else in the world.  Now, it’s become part of the world.  But, there was a time when you ‘got off the Internet’ and returned to your life.

### When The Internet Was Mostly Fun

Nowadays, the Internet gives everybody a voice. This lets many people talk, but few remember to actually listen.  Back when the Internet was a baby, it was mostly fun.  I remember once when someone created a web site and had nothing but a picture of a toilet.  People searched for this and talked about it and we all laughed.  Nobody knew, at first, what to do with the Internet.  But one thing’s for sure, the seriousness that abounds today was not yet there.

### Counters

Part of the appeal of the early Internet was getting page views.  Pages had little counters at the bottom that showed how often it’d been viewed.  People would look at this when visiting a page to make sure they were on a ‘cool’ site.  When people started creating personal sites, having big numbers was huge.  Of course, it was pretty easy to ‘Refresh’ over and over, but nobody ever cheated, right? 🙂

### The Novelty Of Shopping Online

Buying something off the Internet?  Believe it or not, that was once a foreign concept.  Nobody really knew what to do with it. Once sites started establishing an inventory, it grew even further.  You started having sites that did nothing but sell random items that were supposedly deals.  Yes, deal-of-the-day sites were once a novelty!  And they even went further?  Remember the Woot Off?  People would sit literally all day in front of their computer as random items would go up for sale.  Maybe they still do them, but if so, it’s definitely not the event it once was.

### Usenet

Once the Internet started growing, some felt it went a little too far and wide.  This was before Google and search engines were very reliable.  So, Usenet became the spot where specific categories and discussions could take place.  For example, fans of The X Files didn’t know how to find all the different places where they could discuss their show.  Usenet gave them the forum alt.tv.the-x-files.  Everyone knew to go there and soon every subject under the sun had a group.  I’m sure Usenet still exists, but I haven’t used it in over a decade.

### Yahoo

I still lament how cool Yahoo was back in the day.  For awhile, the Internet and Yahoo were pretty much the same.  For me, anyways. I used them for e-mail, games, news, sports, stocks.  I stored photos there.  It was my first dab at online dating.  Their Messenger app was the first of many different chat apps I used.  In the age where you didn’t have tabs on your browser, all I needed was the My Yahoo page with links to everything.  Slowly, Yahoo found themselves beat at their own games, and now they’re pretty much an afterthought.

### Finding Music

Nowadays, you can find music anywhere.  Pandora and Spotify have nailed the market on streaming apps. If you want a specific song, it’s probably on Youtube.  But it wasn’t always that way.  For a number of years, finding music online was a huge deal.  And it was often illegal!  Finding MP3 copies of a new album was a pretty big deal!  At first the music industry basically tried to keep music off the Internet altogether.  Very interesting times!

Those are some of my favorite memories of the old Internet.  What are some of the things you remember or have heard of?