Tuesday, January 25, 2011

sickness, trip planning, budget issues

....and I was doing so good at posting nearly every day.

Oh Well

That nasty bug stayed with me for an extra week after everyone else was feeling better. I'd wake up feeling horrible and through out the day, it would get tolerable, to the point that by dinner time I was fine. At least it's gone now.


I got a call from my boss a couple weeks ago asking if I could be ready to be backup for a conference in Portugal in February. I didn't have a passport but my work was willing to cover the cost, so I thought, why not? Well, after about a week of being not sure, it turns out that I AM going:

How cool is that?
Our project's Lead Researcher will also be there so I have to attend her presentation and then Ill be speaking, along with my boss, at the session following. Otherwise, I don't know how much I'll need to attend, but I am so excited to see a little Europe in the process!
Thankfully, I have some wonderful people around me that are going to take over the childcare while Im gone. It'll be about 5.5 days that Ill be away, including travel and for a single mom, that could be really difficult to pull off. Instead, I have four people taking various shifts to make sure the kids are well looked-after. Without them, I would never be able to take advantage of such an opportunity.
But that brings up some difficult issues regarding my budget. I've not done nearly as well this month as I would have liked so I was hoping to make up for it in February. Not gonna happen. My trip is covered in that I don't have to worry about flights or hotels, and I get a daily allowance for transportation/food. What's missing from that? Childcare. Two of the four people who will be looking after the kids will need to be paid, and well. There are two full days and nights of all four children, and two full days and nights of two children. I have no idea what is reasonable for each person, but it isn't going to be cheap. Add to that, I'll be missing out on three days of babysitting money and I don't have much of a chance to save anything in February.
One way Im trying to reduce expenses is to think of easy, cheap meals to leave for whoever is looking after the boys at dinner time each night. My brother isn't much of a cook and so I know he'll most likely open a box of kraft dinner or order something. My cousin is more of a baker, but when she cooks it involves more expensive items, as she doesn't have any children. Id appreciate any suggestions of easy, cheap meals that wont be a chore and that my kids will eat! Now if that isn't a tall order....
I think Ill leave a little money for pizza one night and thaw out a chicken in the fridge for another. I've taught my brother how to roast a chicken and it's one of the few things all the kids will eat. I just have to find one on sale between now and then. It's funny; when it's just me to menu plan, grocery shop and cook, I don't worry as much. But knowing that someone else is going to have to do it, Im scared that I wont have enough food in the house and they'll all starve!
There's also the worry of school. Do I keep them out during the 3 school days Ill be gone or do I try to navigate homework, lunches and pick-up/drop off times with a babysitter? My cousin will most likely have them during those school days and she has picked them up for me before, so I know she could pull it off, but it's a stress Im not sure I want to deal with. If they stay home, that's more work for the babysitter. If they go to school, Ill have to send in a note to their teachers explaining why homework isn't getting done, set up hot lunches with their teachers before I leave and leave detailed instructions about drop off in the morning. Ack, I so don't know what to do!
Anyway, that's what's going on here. We're getting through the cold winter and Owen has decided to potty train, but that's a post for another day.


Ashley said...

How about cooking up a bunch of pancakes, sticking them in the freezer and toasting them for a dinner while you're gone? Pancakes and sausage?

So exciting about the trip! I hope you get all the pieces figured out. I'm sure you will!

Cherish said...

great tip!