Monday, March 20, 2006

Fork in the road

Judging by what I've seen of her interactions with kids at school lately, whatever slump Stacey was in socially has abated. She seems happy when I pick her up from school, lots of kids say goodbye to her, and kids I don't know are being invited over for sleepovers.

One such example was Haley, who came over with another girl for a Saturday/Sunday sleepover. We didn't do anything fancy, just ordered a couple pizzas and went to a movie. Stacey and the other girls were happy and animated, didn't fight, got very little sleep. It's always nice to see a smile on my kid's face, especially with new friends. As for the staying up too late, they are no doubt paying for it today at school. Fortunately, the week of BS standardized testing is over, so they can afford to only be on their B games for one day.

In other news, I just paid off my credit card, and have vowed to never use it again. I'm struggling now to get my car paid off early, and to increase my emergency account funding from the measly $2000 in there now to an amount that would actually get me through an emergency. If I stick to my budget plan, don't get fired, and the price of gas stays under $5 a gallon for a little while longer, I'll be able to meet all my personal financial goals and still help Stacey with college.

I would consider it easy money, except for the little devil on my shoulder telling me to go take risks. I've been doing some beginning research on day care expenses and crunching numbers, considering everything from liability insurance and taxes to 401k matches and field trips, and I think that I can charge a reasonable rate and still pay the teachers well. Either I'm missing something, or what I've heard about day cares only being able to afford paying teachers kibbles and running a very thin profit line is all a sham.

I want to make my escape from IT and work with kids, which I've been saying for the last 5 years, but I also have financial commitments to my daughter. Her needs outweigh my desires, so I won't take any leaps unless I'm reasonably sure I'll be successful (or at least that I'll be able to recover from). I imagine this is what creates the resentment that some parents have for their children, when they realize that they are the old generation caring for the new, and that their pleasure and freedom has suddenly come to a stop. For me, being wishy-washy about making decisions helps to avoid that potential conflict.

I've been thinking about my escape and future entrepreneurship a lot lately, and will soon make the choice one way or the other to go for it, or to stay secure in the work I know will pay well, or take the unsure road of the work I would much rather be doing. Will I choose the road less traveled by? You know, the one that makes all the difference? Stay tuned.

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