Saturday, January 19, 2008

a present for me

When we got our first offer for "Scutmonkey" from one of the publishers this fall (not the publisher we ended up going with, but still, exciting because it was the first offer), I told Joe that there was one thing I wanted to treat us to when and if I actually got a book deal. I wanted us to take a nice vacation this Spring. Not a long vacation obviously, since we don't get that much time off, and not to a far off exotic location either, as the thought of trying to contain Cal on a flight to South Africa or similar makes me just want to sit on the floor in the corner, rocking back and forth and harrowing my face with my fingernails. But just a nice family vacation somewhere warm. This would be our treat, our small self-indulgence from the book money, and the rest we would squirrel away. Like squirrels.

Well, turns out we won't really get a chance to take vacation this year anyway. I had to rearrange one week of vacation to February to fly down to Atlanta for the necessary schooling/housing/employment arrangements, and I'm planning to give back my other week of vacation this Spring, so that I can finish residency, if not on time, then at least one week closer to on time. (I have four weeks of maternity leave to make up--giving back that week of vacation should cut it down to three.) So there's that. I know we can take vacation later, or even next year, but with Joe's fellowship starting up, I don't really know when and if he'll be able to take off. So that's kind of a bummer.

Also, we have a lot of new things that we're going to need to capital for now, like moving costs, housing, possibly needing to lease a second car. Whatever is left over will need to be our "cushion" money, in case I need a few weeks after we land in Atlanta before I start my theoretical job. Since we don't have any childcare in Atlanta yet, it's not realistic to think I can start work right away before getting some household things settled. And so it goes.

We are so lucky, though, and I keep calling this book advance our deus ex machina. Since we really don't have anything in the way of savings (well, we did, but after two and a half years of paying for nanny care, this nest egg has gradually been eroded down to the equivalent of an eight year-old's weekly allowance), getting a little extra cash flow at this point prior to the big move is a saving grace.

However, I did think that we should at least get a small treat after signing the contract. You know, something just a little bit fun, just so if anyone asked me what we did with the book advance, I could have something to say other than, "a downpayment on some shack in Georgia." (It is a very nice tarpaper shack!) So I got this:

A new lens! I just ordered it yesterday, and I am really excited about it. I have been wanting for a long time a lens more suited for low-light photography--something with a bigger aperture and blah blah blah. So I guess it's really more a treat for me than for the entire family, but hey, they get to be in the photos and with more flattering ambient lighting, so everyone wins.