Sunday, April 27, 2008

The money comes in, the money goes out

Been an odd last couple of days on the financial front. I appreciate that it's perhaps a touch inappropriate to talk finances, especially on a blog. But it's been kind of freaking me out.

The trip to New York was pretty much on budget. Which was good. It's pretty easy to blow a budget at one of those cons, but thanks to space and weight considerations, I managed to stay on target. So that was good.

But once I got back home there were a couple of other considerations. First, we were looking at getting a new vehicle. Well, new to us. The little green car is still running, but she is eight years old. And, we're bored of her. She's a good enough car, but we would like to have something that's a bit more appropriate for driving around town. Especially at the time of year when the potholes are large enough to eat our small car.

One of Cathy's co-workers is going out on maternity leave and is likely not coming back. So, they have to get rid of their truck - a GM Tracker. The price is right and she's in pretty good shape. A bit older than I would like, but she handled well on a test drive and the garage said there was no problems with her.

So now we needed money to buy it. We figured we'd pop into bank, get a line of credit and that would be that. And it was. Except our credit is apparently so good they offered us a much larger line of credit than we asked for with a better interest rate. No strings attached and the only risk is if we went crazy with the money. And despite what you're about to read in this blog post, we're normally pretty good with money. Still, that was kind of weird.

So we should have the sort of new truck within the next week.

Then today we booked the tickets to go to Italy. I've been reading stories about airlines and business in Europe concerned that because of the recession in the US, that travel might be down this summer and there will be fewer people going on vacation. And because of that, there might be more deals to be had to lure people over. All I can say to that is you would never guess it considering how much tickets are right now. And this is before we get our hostels/hotel rooms taken care of.

I always tend to do small freak-outs about this sort of thing. A legacy of my father, I suppose. Dad would always like to say he's not cheap, he just hated to waste money. My family might argue the point, but I get what he was saying. Go ahead and spend money, just don't spend it on really stupid stuff you will regret later. And I don't regret getting another vehicle because a truck is more appropriate to have around town. And I don't regret New York because it was one of the best time in my life. And I'm sure Italy will be as well.

But still, it's always that minor "gah!" that happens when I see lots of money go out the door. Or whenever I go to a bank to do stuff other than deposit and withdrawal money. God help me when we deal with mortgages at some point. It's very grown-up stuff and I guess I still don't entirely feel that way. Then again, perhaps me spending a weekend at a comic book convention might have been a tip-off.

So, do people have any recommendations for Italy? Right now Rome and Venice are a lock. We're looking at Florence and maybe Cinque Terre. Given the amount of time we have in Italy (we arrive on June 30, leave on July 19), I figured four places is about all we have time to visit. We want to take our time there and not to a mad dash across Italy with a bunch of Death Marches.

Still, it ought to be lots of fun.

Last Five
1. Casino nation (live) - Jackson Browne
2. Wuthering Heights - Kate Bush
3. I will dare - The Replacements
4. Porchlight - Neko Case*
5. U-mass - Pixies


Anonymous said...

My co-worker is going to Italy next week. I'll see what he reccomends when he returns. I'll keep you posted.

In Iqaluit said...

I went to Florence and LOVED it. We rented a vehicle and that was little scary... driving on the opporsite side, doing 130 km and everyone is still passing us.

I regret not going to other places in Italy. But I do recommend Eye Witness travel guides... they are my favourite. I borrowed one from the library a while back and even brought it with me on vacation!

Mireille Sampson said...

Regarding Italy: all I can say is ICE CREAM! Best in the world. I spent almost a week there several years back, but I couldn't say much for it. It was an in-laws do at a farm guest house run by people who really didn't know what they were doing - the food was actually bad. Great restaurants in town though.

The plane tickets aren't going down for several reasons: fuel price has got to be up there. I think they run on thin margins, I remember an article in an american mag saying how in good times airlines take out lots of loans and in bad times they go begging to the gov't for bailouts - can't let the transportation industry fail. Gotta love corporate welfare. I think they don't have much room to cut prices when volume is down. It would seem the cheap airlines work because of high volume and shape their business plans accordingly.

Maybe there'll be breaks on the hotel side. I think that's much more likely than plane tickets.

towniebastard said...

Mireille, don't take this the wrong way, but I still find....amusing your acquired economic knowledge. But what you say makes perfect sense.

We've pretty much locked into Rome, Venice and Florence. We were looking at a place in southern Italy, but because of the distance and the amount of time we have, we just don't think it will be doable. Pity. The place sounded very nice.

So now we're taking a look at Cinque Terre. I really do like the idea of getting away from the big cities for a few days and just doing something near the ocean. By the time we take out travel days in and out, we only have 18 days or so. There's only so much you can do in that time without beating yourself to a snot.

And yeah, pasta, ice cream and pizza. We're on it.

KOTN said...

I can tell where you are from when you describe a vehicle as "she".

I completely loved the sketch posts, as well as the complete geek-out. Was there any Battlestar Galactica presence at the Con?

I see the San Diego stuff every year, and with that Con being right before TV season, they get the best stuff. That is the one I would love to go to.... In a Stormtrooper costume...

In Iqaluit said...

And let's not forget about wine and espresso! Sitting in a piazza.

towniebastard said...

There was a small BG presence at the con. A couple of panels and a couple of the actors were there (Boomer and one other). No costumes or anything and I didn't see much BG stuff for sale. But this con was actually mostly about comics.

San Diego, on the other hand, has gone have relegated comics to second class status. It's as much about what movies and TV shows they can promote as it is about comic books. I'm not trying to be negative about it....I want to go one day. But that is a key difference between the two.