Friday, January 29, 2010

To France or Not To France?

Earl and I may not be the best at making practical decisions. When the kids were 2, 4, and 6, we decided to take a three-week vacation to Europe with them. We had a big old house that could have used work but a vacation seemed more important.
This spring, we're facing a similar dilemma. Our 20th anniversary is coming up so we hope to go to France.
Oh, it's more than we "hope" to go to France. We read books about it. We drink wine and talk about it. "Remember when we were biking through Provence and we had climbed that long hill, we stopped at that little restaurant?"
"Yes, we had pork and rose wine. That was the best meal ever."
"It looked out over Aix en Provence."
"And we could see Mt. Ste. Victoire from there."
Which leads us to the next conversation: "Remember when we rode our bike to Mt. Ste. Victoire?"
"Look the guidebook said the road was around the mountain..." I always reply.
So we dream of France. Sitting in cafes and walking along the streets hand in hand. We take our dance classes and say we'll have to find a place to dance in France this spring.
We read travel websites and compare airfare. I've organized my work so that I miss the minimum number of classes if we leave at the end of April and come home 10 days later in the beginning of May.
But practicality raises its ugly head.
Or to save money for college?
Financial things are looming, like Grace going to college. For anyone unfamiliar with the cost of American college, it's about $20,000 per year -- that's for a big state school like Ohio State or the University of Cincinnati. Smaller, private colleges run around $33,000 per year, but they offer scholarships. She's been offered $17,000 from one, $13,000 from another, so the price tag is reduced to about $20,000 per year. We're still hopeful more money will arrive for college.
Then last week, the outside water tap was turned on for days. It flooded the basement, saturating the carpet. Another purchase of new flooring for the basement is another imminent cost.
Or to buy a new car?

Our second car is getting old, a 1998 convertible. Spencer will be getting his driver's license soon. Should we buy another car to replace the old one?
Leaving the kids behind always makes me nervous, right up to the time we step on the ground in France. I won't be able to sleep for at least a week before we leave worrying about the possibilities of us not returning to raise our kids.
In spite of all these complications, Earl and I reallllllllly want to go to France this spring.
Should we be practical or follow our hearts?


Sheila said...

Well I'm obviously not a good person to advise in such manners since we spent the equivalent of Daniel's tuition on Beth's modeling trips this year. But here's a couple of my thoughts.

You have your job that you know you can use to pay for Grace's tuition so not having the money saved ahead of time is not a complete loss. It would be helpful to have what you need for the first semester put aside so you're not always behind and having to borrow for the next payment.

As for the car do you really want another 16yo learning how to drive on a newer car anyway? Keep the old car let the kids destroy it in their years of learning how to maneuver, then when the kids are all gone you can get that new car.

There did I solve all your problems? Let's recap:

Put aside enough cash to cover Grace's first semester (minus any scholarships.)

Buy a car much later when the kids won't wreck it.

Go to France and build up the relationship with your husband because once all the kids are gone to college that's what will be left.

I'm a solver of problems, that's what i do. :)

Stephanie said...

Ditto what Sheila said.

Don't even think about it. JUST GO!

Linda said...

I'm for the trip to France. The money will come as you need it.

Michelle said...

Go. Celebrate your love, the beautiful family you have created, your successes, laugh at the lessons and honor your inner hedonist. Then come home safely and blog about it all so we can share in your blessings. <3 Michelle

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

I am with everyone else..Go to France..follow your heart, just this once!!

BFF said...


Vijay Macwan BBN said...

you are good at writing

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien said...

It seems there are solutions for the practical issues and if you spend your life deferring for some ideal *future* situation, you'll wake up one morning and realize it is too late to achieve what your promised your tomorrows.

It is important to be present and live fully today ... tomorrow is not promised and should not be filled with regrets.


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