Higher math for vacation

There has always been a certain amount of figuring to be done when it comes to vacation time.  It’s almost never as simple* as just determining when to use the two or four or six weeks of vacation time we have to spend.  I’ve had many years of practice figuring out when we’re going to earn the time versus when we’re going to spend the time, so that’s become routine.

This year, things have just gotten a lot more complicated.  In addition to Dan’s vacation time for the next year (6 weeks, earned at a rate of 2.5 days/month) we now also have to take into account the time B will be permitted to take away from school.  B gets 4 set weeks off, when the school is closed (2 at Christmas, 1 at Easter and 1 in early February for the semester break), and Dan gets 10 holidays throughout the year.  (B doesn’t get holidays, but there are 3 teacher work days when the school will be closed.  We don’t yet have those dates, and probably won’t until September.)  Additionally, B can take 3 weeks off at any time, plus any time he likes off during the summer (July and August), without penalty.  Dan having to work on a day B doesn’t have school is no big deal (but it would be nice to maximize our travel possibilities) but B having to go to school on a day Dan has a holiday would be kind of a bummer.

With me so far?  Because my brain has been trying to process all of this for the past few weeks and failing.  I finally sat down with a pen and paper today (and used actual Algebra!) to try to sort it all out.  I’m not complaining — I understand that this is a wonderful “problem” to have.  I’m just kind of surprised at how complicated it’s all gotten.  (I think I may need differential equations for next year.)

Mostly, I want to be sure that we are all able to take time off for Christmas, and at least two other travel weeks through the year (again, having to ensure we’re not planning to spend the vacation time before we’ve earned it) and that we don’t leave ourselves with a bunch of vacation time that we can’t use because either Dan or B can’t be away.  There’s just so much that we still want to see.

It’s basically a complicated logic puzzle, and I think I’ve finally solved it.  I think.  Now we get to figure out where we’re going to go.


* The one exception in my adult professional life was when I was teaching dance.  The vacation policy was so Draconian that there was nothing to plan.  We were simply assigned a week, twice a year (once at Christmas and once in the summer).  We were only informed of which week we’d been given a few weeks before it happened, and we just had to make the best of it.

Addition, subtraction and spontaneous German

I know, all parents think their kids are brilliant.  But mine really are.  (For the moment, I’m talking about Benjamin — not that Liam isn’t brilliant, I actually strongly suspect that he is, but the examples for today are from Benjamin.)

Last night, Liam was enjoying his Cheerios, and Benjamin was finished eating.  Benjamin moved over a seat at the table so that he could sit next to Liam and help feed him.  Benjamin’s answer to Liam’s interest in Cheerios is to inundate him — if he likes them, then he should have a lot of them!  To keep Liam’s first day of eating Cheerios from also being his last, Dan implemented a rule of “Liam can only have 4 Cheerios on his tray at a time”.  So, Benjamin looked down at the 2 remaining on his tray and said, “Ok, that means he can have 2 more”.  (See?  Brilliant.)

Then, today, we were on Skype with my mom.  At the end of the conversation, as we were saying goodbye, he blurted out, “Bis Morgen!” (until tomorrow) which is how his teachers at school say goodbye to him every afternoon.  (I am so impressed — first week of kindergarten, mostly spent crying, and he’s already picked something up!)

To the casual observer, these things would mean that my child can count to four and repeat a phrase he’s heard all week.  But, from my perspective, he can do addition (subtraction, actually, maybe?) and speak German.  Brilliant!