On Sunday afternoon the directors of the Bank of Mum and Dad met to consider an application.

Ordinarily the meeting would have been held at the more business-like time of 10am but the clients, Boomerang Child and her partner Builder Boy, were still asleep having helped prop up the local economy the night before. St Patrick's Day. Enough said.

So, when the clients did make it to the table, the directors of the Bank of Mum and Dad, namely Mrs P and I, were presented with a request for "advice" over the purchase of a house, their first.

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I say "advice" in the loosest sense of the word. A quick check of the parenting handbook will find the word actually means "please can we have some money".

Bikes, old chairs, baskets, boxes, table tennis sets in a chaotic jumble at the back of the garage. Where is that thing we'd put in the garage years ago because some day we might need it?
Bikes, old chairs, baskets, boxes, table tennis sets in a chaotic jumble at the back of the garage. Where is that thing we'd put in the garage years ago because some day we might need it?

Obviously with four in our brood this is a well worn track for Mrs P and I so we clicked into auto pilot and requested more information just to make sure they knew what they were doing.

To be fair as the meeting progressed we came to the realisation that indeed some homework had been done, sleeves rolled up and hard graft added so these two weren't in a bad position.

But, with house prices the way they are, the Bank of Mum and Dad would still need to chip in a bit to get the application over the line. Then there would be the question of how they'd pay for their weekly mortgage.

It was serious, Mrs P and I said gravely, as we launched into the well-worn tale of how we started.

You'll forgive me for not letting the facts get in the way of a good story but basically we told them we lived in a run down one bedroom shack, in the worst of worst areas, huddled together under one measly blanket for warmth in winter.

We barely had enough money to pay the mortgage, rates, power bill etc and lived on watery soup and crusty old bread for ages. If we were lucky we got given an old carrot or potato to add some flavour to the soup.

But we kept plugging away. Grew our own vege, walked to work rather than use a car, economised on everything, lived on love and laughter (actually quite a lot of the former if my memory serves me correctly, as you do. Ahem) and finally, had enough money to take that next step and get something a bit better, a bit nicer.

Sound familiar?

It was obvious the applicants had heard it all before and taken some of it in (literary expansion aside) because they had every base covered in a very impressive budget on a digital spreadsheet. How times have changed.

Amounts were set aside for mortgage, rates, insurance, car running costs and all those important things those of us dipping our toes in for the first time tended to overlook.

There was even a bit of money set aside for socialising and, in the case of the Boomerang Child, the odd hair do.

Mrs P caught sight of my eyebrows raising at that particular figure and gave me a "don't event go there" kick under the table. One of those shin rappers that says: "You know nothing. Your head gets a polish once a month for $10."

We had to give them credit for a preparatory job well done and assured them we would give their application due consideration . . . even though we knew we'd be stumping up regardless because, well, we're parents. That's what you do isn't it?


Later after the applicants had gone back to their rental lodgings leaving Mrs P and I to mull over the situation, we found ourselves on another task, scouring the dark recesses of our garage for that thing we'd put in the cupboard years ago because some day we might need it.

Again, I'm sure you know what I mean.

Of course that day had now arrived so here we were making our way through the piles of stuff stacked up in front of the cupboard where the said item was.

As I surveyed the shifted stuff it occurred to me very little of it actually belonged to Mrs P or I. In fact, half of the garage space was taken up with the goods of the Boomerang Child and Builder Boy.

And, as I started to put it all back where it was, so I could get my car in, I resolved to have a look at their application budget again and discuss with Mrs P the possibility of issuing them with an account for long-term storage.

Obviously I'll make sure I'm out of shin kicking range when I bring it up.

■ Kevin Page is a teller of tall tales with a firm belief too much serious news gives you frown lines. Feel free to share stories to kevin.page@nzme.co.nz .