Bowling and a Pizza

Among the hidden costs of parenting are the sacks of nickels and dimes embedded in various childrens’ extracurricular activities. You’ll learn about them once your kids are emotionally committed to whatever it is they’re doing. The experience feels a bit like buying a car because they’re expenses for things a rational human being might assume were included in the price, but are cheerfully itemized later. (“Oh, you want the car delivered from Japan?“)

For example, my daughter was in a dance class whose efforts would culminate with a performance of The Nutcracker. Once she was immersed, they threw add-ons like money for recitals and rehearsal, tickets for each family member attending, money for the DVD of the presentation (no personal filming allowed), tax, title, dealer installed ferromagnetic undercoating, the special one-time outfit (which was useful for Chinese New Year), etcetera.

I was commenting about this to the lady who runs the my other child’s preschool. She said it gets worse: her son’s little league was around $2,000 a year. He’s somewhat older and more responsible, and to help him earn money to offset the cost, they were going to host a parent’s night out for a modest fee. Parents could enjoy Valentine’s Eve.

“Quality, affordable childcare” and “Date with my spouse” are my two favorite phrases to hear. (Runners up: “Go ahead and bike all day,” and “Mostly sunny”) They’d entertain the kids from 5pm to 9pm. Wohoo!

Then I tried to find something for us to do during that timeframe…

Red Canyon/Bryce Canyon NP

With only half a day at Great Basin NP, I took a further detour to southwestern Utah, hoping to take in a brief stay at Bryce Canyon national park before heading straight for eastern LA. During the summer, one could do the national park trifecta: Bryce Canyon, Zion, and Grand Canyon. However, the north rim of Grand Canyon is closed in the winter.

(Warning: lots of photos.)