TITLE: One Big Expenditure AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: May 24, 2006 2:09 PM DESC: ----- BODY: map of italy As I mentioned yesterday, as father to two active daughters, I sometimes make price-conscious decisions in other areas. The expenses of fatherhood are on my mind right now, because I have a large credit card bill in store... On Monday of this week, my wife and daughters left for a two-week trip to Italy. They'll be staying with friends who are stationed at Aviano Air Base, in northern Italy not too far from Venice. The friends will serve as local hosts and tour guides, which makes such a big trip less daunting. This will be a great experience for the girls. They will be missing the last two weeks of classes at school, but they'll learn far more on the trip than would during two weeks in school (especially, sadly, the last two weeks of school, when things seem to wind down a bit too fast for my tastes). As Andy Hunt wrote a while back, travel expands the brain. I am so glad that they have this opportunity, and a bit envious. What about me and my opportunity? Bad timing. This is the end of the academic and fiscal years at school, and both present me with things that have to be done in the near-term. Besides, I didn't have the most productive spring and so owe my department some work that I'd promised earlier. On top of all that, I've been tired, run down, and injured since the end of February or so, and I just need time to recover. As much as I miss my wife and girls already, I am glad to have some quiet time to rest and relax my mind a bit. We thought about delaying the trip until later in the summer and traveling as a family but, to tie back to my previous post yet again, the cost of airfare rose dramatically as we got into traditional summer travel dates. We also started to run into conflicts with other summer activities. In the end, we decided that the opportunity was too good for Mary and the girls to pass up... So now I look forward to frequent e-mail, an occasional phone call, and when they return a thorough review from the journals that they are all keeping. (No, we didn't set them up to blog their trip, though they'll be taking plenty of digital photos!) It's too bad we couldn't make a later trip fit our schedules and budget; Italy would have been a great change of scenery for me, too. I've not yet been to Europe, and I know I'd love to see so much of it. The end of next month would have been perfect: I could have attended ITiCSE -- in Bologna, no less! Alas, the airline tickets would have been $1400 or more each, and the idea that the price of my ticket would have been tax-deductible just wasn't attractive enough. -----